The Future of the American Family

I have seen the future and it's this adorable family.


Last night was Toad Suck's first annual zombie walk. It was a beautiful event. There was unity and peace. Everything I wrote about zombies in Brains is true. I thought I was making shit up, but I wasn't. The horde was calm, walking the streets in an orderly fashion. Admittedly we were slow and awkward, but the mood was gentle. I felt a kinship with my fellow zombies. I felt like I belonged.

Here is but one example of the tolerance of zombies:

Mark went as a Sleestak. At first I thought he would be ostracized, made fun of, cast out for being alive. Not so. The zombies loved him. In fact, so much that those with the ability took his photo. And that's the kind of tolerance America needs.

Zombies are dead. Long live zombies. I love my undead friends.
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A Good Week for Zombies


It's been a great week for zombies.

First, I watched Otto, Or Up With Dead People, the radical Bruce LaBruce post-modern arty gay zombie movie, which was a blast. It had a film within a film structure and the interior movie was a hilarious and pretentious film about the oppression of gay zombies--shot in black and white with lots of cliched art school touches. The larger movie was about Otto himself. The viewer never learns if Otto is really a zombie or just crazy and/or suffering from an existential dilemma. Dead inside and so acting dead on the outside. This movie is not for everyone--there are some graphic sex scenes complete with gore--but I liked it.

Then I read from Brains at the Faulkner County Library dressed as a zombie! And people came dressed as zombies, which was shocking, thrilling, and exciting. There was a zombie haiku contest. Winners received books and bloody severed fingers. There's a review of it here.

Finally, I was interviewed by PBS at the end of the summer--and the episode will air October 27 at 6:30 and October 31 at 10:30 p.m. Just in time for Halloween!

And oh yeah, Halloween is almost here! I'm thinking about going as a 1970s victim of Jason, inspired by Friday the 13th Part II which I watched a part of the other day and was delighted by. Happy Weekend!

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Faulkner County Library with Zombies

Pic is of me right after the Zombie Apocalypse. Things were crazy and blurry during that time.

I was secretly hoping that my last post would result in some free swag from Fluevog. Sigh. No such luck. I still love them shoes, though.

Anyway--this Thursday, Oct 21, at 7:00 I'm be reading from Brains at the Faulkner County Library. More importantly, I'll be dressed as a zombie. Be there or be eaten by a horde of zombies. Or by me. There will be a book giveaway--and Halloween candy too!

If you come as a zombie, you get a free book. However, zombie attire is not required for entrance. Here's a link to a fun article about it. Nom. Nom. Nom.
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Shoe Pron

A couple of posts back I asked for shoe recommendations. A few people responded--and they all recommended Fluevogs! Which happened to be the shoes I wanted.

I was ready, primed. fluffed and pumped for those shoes. On the Saturday of my panel, I took the subway to Soho and found the store. It was small and stuffed with adorable funky shoes. To be fair, I already knew I was going to buy a pair before I even walked in. It was an easy sell because I was determined to come back to Toad Suck, Arkansas with a pair of expensive New York shoes, by gum!

After I brought the shoes home, things got crazy. We had a glass of wine and somehow the laces came undone! Oh Fluevogs, I love you.

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Another Totally Obvious Thing I Learned

I was in New York over the weekend for Comic Con. The stereotypes are true; there really were tons of geeks in fantastic outfits.

This is a picture of my panel's standing room only crowd.

It's clear people love their zombies.

But that's not what I learned. I already knew zombies are the future. No, I learned something so basic I once again feel like a fool.

This is it: Writing is a business.

This came home to me when I had lunch with Janet Reid and her fabulous client, Sean Ferrell, and my editor at Eos. The talk was about deals and contracts and what's selling, what genres are hot and if they might be cooling. And then the next night at the panel I met a bunch of other writers and some very nice people from Wiley and again the talk was business, but this time over dinner and I had a mojito too.

I suppose I always knew it, somewhere in my reptilian brain, but I didn't really know it. This weekend the fact hit me like that moment you realize you're going to die, really going to cease to exist, and it makes your stomach ache, because the realization is so visceral and pure and unavoidable. Sometimes it keeps you up at night. The fear of not-existing, I mean. The terror of your own impending non-consciousness.

Of course, the realization that writing is a business wasn't nearly as shocking as the existential knowledge of death. But it was important nonetheless. I live far away from the publishing industry in Toad Suck, Arkansas, where the pace is slower and the okra is plentiful. Heck, I even live in a dry county! And as for writing, I toil away upstairs in my nook, alone, thinking only about the next word, not the business side of things. I have friends who are writers, but we mostly talk about the process of writing, or go into long (and sometimes boring but never when I do it!) discussions of our works in progress. Not marketing. Not money. Not business.

But there are people thinking about the business end. Smart people. Charming people who love books and want the world to have more of them. Oddly enough, I found this inspirational. Comforting. Liberating even. Because if writing's a business, then they need products to sell. That's where writers come in, even ones who live in central Arkansas. Or the Upper Peninsula. Or Baltimore. Or wherever.

The fact that writing is a business is a good thing. Without the commerce side, writing would be ephemeral, fleeting, maybe even pointless. And that would make my stomach hurt.
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Twitter and Me

Twitter has never worked for me. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong, why I never gathered that many followers or even spent much time on it. Overall I just didn't get it.

Until now...maybe.

Those of you who are successful tweeters will think this revelation is as astute as saying "there is no spoon" when, duh, this reality is an illusion and everyone knows you're The One anyway, so just get busy. But what I realized is this: You have to actually talk to people for Twitter to work. Not only that but you have to talk to strangers. Strangers!

I discovered this because of Sean Ferrell. Today I logged onto Twitter and someone had tweeted something to him that was vaguely congratulatory. Don't ask me what or who it was; I don't remember. But I wanted to know if Ferrell had won a prize or sold a book, mainly so I could writhe on the floor in a fit of self-loathing and jealousy if he had. Instead of scrolling back through a bunch of tweets, however, I clicked on his name to go to his homepage and see if I missed anything.

By the way, I rarely go to Twitter homepages. I mean, why would I? Quite possibly, that is another Twitter misunderstanding on my part.

Ferrell's feed had many messages to many people. Not just his pithy and humorous observations about lunch, but all kinds of communications with @ signs to named individuals, making my small attempts at conversation pale in comparison. And then I realized this is why he has 800 followers and I don't. The clouds parted, a light bulb showed up above my head, etc. etc. The whole experience was instructive and humbling. Talk to people? So simple! So pure! What could be more human?

But honestly I can't promise I'll change my ways and suddenly become a chatty Kathy replying to all sorts of comments. Mainly because I don't always have a witty comment at hand and I'm not one to say something just to say something. But I learned, gosh darn it, and doesn't that count?

I could be wrong about this though. Maybe that's not how you make Twitter work better. Maybe talking only works at cocktail parties. Maybe we should go back to smoke signals.
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Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep?

Next weekend I'll be headed to NYC for New York Comic Con. I couldn't be more stoked. I grew up in Hackensack, which is just 10 miles off the George Washington Bridge, but my parents retired and moved away from the east coast in 1990. I haven't been back since. It's hard to believe it's been 20 years and I'm curious about all the changes. I hear the city's cleaner. And safer. And I know for sure Times Square is more wholesome than it used to be. Does Danceteria still exist? Probably not.

But more than memory lane, I'm stoked about my panel at NYCC. It's called Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep and it's amazing. Besides me there will be Mac Montandon who wrote The Proper Care and Feeding of Zombies, Mira Grant, who wrote Feed, Alan Goldsher who wrote Paul Is Undead, and Richard Kadrey, author of Kill the Dead. Sake's alive! I've read those books in preparation--loved them. I can't wait to talk about zombies and writing with all of them. What's more I'll finally get to meet my fabulous agent Janet Reid, not to mention a few of her minions.

Another thing I'm excited about: I've given myself permission to buy one pair of fabulous shoes! Store recommendations more than welcome.

If you're at NYCC, check out the panel and come over and say hi after. I'll be the one wearing brand new shoes.
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