Book Review: I Will Hold My Death Close

10502254_592407747547506_7740250097570509581_nI Will Hold My Death Close by Stant Litore

Available for pre-order on Amazon for your Kindle

Circa 1120 BC – Israel –

The story is based loosely on the events of Judges 11 where Jephthah (Yeptha) promises to sacrifice the first thing he sees upon his return home for victory over his enemies.  The first thing, he sees his daughter and only child.

So one might expect that the story to be told from the father’s perspective and involve his internal struggle keeping such a horrible promise.  This is however an installment of the Zombie Bible and Stant Litore has a way of turning the story you know into something beautifully different. Something powerful.

Jephthah’s daughter is marked for death and flees to the hills where she has to fight for her life from the unburied dead (zombies).    She fights off the dead knowing that at any moment, her father could appear with his stone blade in hand to take her life on the sacrificial alter.   Through the course of her struggles, she remembers the songs of her mother and how she stood again the unburied dead with only a stick.  She fights to keep her death close and her own.

The centuries to come will not remember her name. But generations of young women will climb the hills to remember her.

Litore once again proves that he is a master storyteller.  This story didn’t let me go for a moment and literally left me grasping for breath at end.  He has taken the story of Jephthah’s daughter and elevated beyond the scanty lines in Judges 11 to something incredibly powerful.  No matter what your faith or spiritual path, there is something that you will find to love in this book.  I really am in awe of Litore at this moment and can’t wait to see what he writes next.

Kickstarting Zombies

Stant Litore
Stant Litore

One of my favorite authors, Stant Litore, has begun Kickstarter campaign to help fund his latest project.

Here is it in his own words. If you can please invest in this unique project, thank you.

Whether you want to read about a zombie apocalypse in the Middle East in 1160 BC, or in second-century Rome, or enjoy the dark, brooding, philosophical horror of the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah entombed with the undead in a dry well — The Zombie Bible has incredible stories to tell.

I began the series in 2009 and published the first novel in fall 2011.

I’m still struggling to break even financially with the series, given my daughter’s continuing medical crisis; she has suffered debilitating seizures since she was 11 days old. A moment of profound wonder and blessing in my life was the moment that her medical bills and my royalties began arriving on the very same day, allowing me to cancel out those expenses.

So far, this set of standalone, read-them-in-any-order novels includes:

  • Death Has Come Up into Our Windows – an Old Testament prophet trapped in a dry well with the ravenous dead.
  • What Our Eyes Have Witnessed – Polycarp has a Gift. He can bring rest and peace to the restless dead. But Rome might burn him for it.
  • Strangers in the Land – A zombie apocalypse in 1160 BC Israel. Four must stand against the dead…if they can first stand together.

Right now, as I write this, I’m wrapping up the fourth book, No Lasting Burial, retelling a New Testament story (you can read about it here), and I am deep into planning something amazing.

Now I want to do something even bigger. Something even more ambitious. Something daring.

This summer, I want to undertake my largest project yet — a project of a truly epic scope. A 700-1000 page novel in which one courageous woman will lead thousands of refugees from the ruins of zombie-infested Rome. This novel has quiet, intimate moments and panoramic set pieces grander than anything I’ve ever attempted:

  • The Colosseum converted into a refugee camp, defended by a small band of gladiators
  • The descent of an angel by night over Rome (and by angel, don’t think of a little cherub of wings. Think seraph. Picture a being of grace and beauty and unthinkable power, a being that might juggle supernovas like tennis balls).
  • A face-off with the Roman emperor while zombies blaze in flames behind his throne.
  • A desperate exodus down a road lined with tens of thousands of crosses, on which the Roman legions in their rage and grief have crucified the writhing, moaning undead.
  • A final escape sequence that will leave you awed. All I can tell you about it right now is that it is big.

I am very excited about this project. More than I can possibly express.

I have proven that I can deliver a moving, evocative, and thrilling novel that mashes up history, biblical stories and themes, and zombie horror. Now I want to take this to the next level. I want to deliver not just a zombie story, but a zombie epic.

But I need your help.

The fact is, I’m financially strapped. I’m caring for my 1 1/2 year old daughter Inara‘s special needs, which are considerable (though I am heartened by her incredible inner joy — for those interested, you can read Inara’s story and how her story is linked to The Zombie Bible here) and I need both time and funding to:

  • Undertake some ambitious research this summer and fall, while I continue outlining and sketching the key sequences of the novel.
  • Secure a series of retreats or a “sabbatical” during the winter 2013-14 and spring 2014 — time away to just write. There are 1,000 pages of story to tell, and for both my readers’ sake and my own, I don’t want it to take as long to complete as A Game of Thrones.

I want to ask for your help raising a $10,000 crowd-sourced advance to fund my work on this novel, and I want to invite you into the excitement of its creation.

Some of the higher-tier prizes you’ll find over to the right offer exclusive previews into the novel in the midst of the creative process — or even offer you opportunity to brainstorm with me. I hope you’ll check them out, and consider joining me in this adventure in a hands-on way.

But even if all you have is a dollar in your pocket, I’d appreciate your help. A kickstarter campaign is all-or-nothing; I have to make that $10,000 goal to receive any funding. And a dollar may make all the difference in helping make this unique novel happen.

To contribute to the campaign, click here.

Micah by Laurell K. Hamilton

Take Two on Micah – Book Review

Micah by Laurell K. Hamilton
Micah by Laurell K. Hamilton

Review of Micah by Laurell K.Hamilton

Available from Amazon.com

Beyond Facebook Games I have another serious addiction – Laurell K. Hamilton books.  Each time a new book comes out I reread the entire series.  Last week, I finished Micah, previously my least favorite of the series. It has now successful moved up…

The first time I read it, I was in a new book hazy rushing to get my fix and that is when I missed it.  This book like Obsidian Butterfly was a chance for readers to get to know a well liked character.  Micah has been Anita’s go to guy since his first appearance in Obsidian Butterfly.  He is the only man in her life that doesn’t argue with her, well, besides Nathaniel, but his background is well covered in the books.

It isn’t as clever as Obsidian Butterfly, no big bad monster to defeat or befriend; instead this book is about Anita’s emotional development and how she begins to learn one of the hardest truths of being in a relationship, don’t poke at it until break.  It is a lot harder than you think.

Long term fans of the series love Anita because not only does she kick ass she goes through the same mental obstacle courses that many folks tackle in throughout their lifetimes.  Her struggles with her paranormal lovers and friends artfully echo real life.  What do you do with the man you love when he hates himself and you for still loving him? And how after so much betrayal do you let yourself trust someone who seems to good to be true and isn’t actually.  How do you let yourself be in love when love seems so toxic?

This read through I discovered there was way more to the plot than I original thought. Sticking to my tradition helped me see where this book falls in the series.

My Zombie Hunting Addiction…

This blog helps keep my focus on my writing goals. Zombie hunting keeps me from loosing my mind amid life’s conflicting duties.

I hunt daily. Everyday, I kill zombies. My preferred method of dispatching them is with a katina, but a shovel or shotgun will do in a pinch.

Sometimes, well, most days, I sneak off whenever I can to feed my obsession with killing the icky undead.  Thankfully, modern technology has seen its way into creating applications for cellphones and other electronic devices into order to feed nearly every unholy addiction known to man. The few addictions that remain undiscovered will soon be reveled  by computer programmers working through the night on Red Bull and Mountain Dew binges.

My zombie culling cravings are satisfied though playing Zombie Lane on Facebook. Silly.. absolutely, but it is a distraction that is free and doesn’t requiring me having to wash zombie remains out of my hair.

There are friends of mine who have stopped playing Facebook games all together stating that they are wasting too much time on them or are simply can’t keep up with all the requests.  The number of requests for items or to join this or that game can be quite annoying, so this is more than reasonable. Still, I delight in doing something which is mindless. Something that only requires my attention in a limited capacity.

We all need distraction. For some of us that distraction comes in the form of mindless games, others similarly mindless television programing. In the great depression, movies filled the role of the great distract-er .

In my chosen mindless distraction, there are tasks to be accomplished which when completed sometime fill me with a false sense of accomplishment; given that most of the jobs I have chosen in my life to undertake are never ending, it is nice to be able to finish some thing every once in a while.

Plus, if anyone asks what I am doing I can always tell them that I am preparing for the upcoming zombie apocalypse.

His Devil … the Devil within

Review of His Devil

By Erick Lynd

This short story delighted me and disappointed me. I wanted more.  A fast paced story that will tug at your heart strings as a young boy deals with the abandonment of his family by his father.  It is easy to step into the boy’s shoes as he works to make sense of the strangeness surrounding him.  A bad dad leaves and comes back a more frightening monster.

I feel like the readers have missed this gem and it’s quick and dirty nature.  Yes, it could have been longer, but what the author gave us was well crafted and original. A taste of his style so we would crave more and check out his other works. Next time, a larger morsel from author might tempt more would-be readers to take a bigger bite and try one of the main courses he has to offer.

The petite short story is available on Amazon for free.  Check it out, give the author feedback he can work with and see where things go from there. Supporting indie authors doesn’t mean just buying their e-books; reviews help drive sales and provide them with fuel to make their next creation.

Add Zombies & Enjoy…..

Pride and Prejudice is the final installment in my Jane Austen commitment.  It was the hardest to finish, but well worth it.  As with all of her novels, there is an ever present quest for both the perfect match for the lovely female protagonist.  True to its’ name, the marriage themes of the novel are pride and prejudice cause the conflicts which move the novel along.

The Bennet sisters, five in number, are in need of husbands.  Mr. Bennet is content to have his daughters live out their days at home. He seems unconcerned with the great marriage question. It is a Mrs. Bennet’s passion to find suitable gentlemen for her daughters.

Confusion and miscommunication play a role in this novel as well, but it stems not so much from social constraints as it does from their own character faults.  There is a reason why this novel’s plots has been copied and shamelessly reproduced again and again over the years, it is dam good.  The characters are compelling and although I loved the zombie version the best, it is worth more than one read.

Currently, my bedside table is a third version of the novel, the DK Illustrated Classic, complete with background information.  The history nut inside me is dying to read this version with it’s background chapters scattered through-out.

My quest to get know Jane Austen has led to where most of you who have already met her suspected it would; I admire her work and talent.  She tapped the glass ceiling of her times leaving cracks for others to exploit.

Apocalypse Babes

Review of the Z-Word by Bella Street

I really wish I had picked up this novel before I went on winter break so I could have read more in this ingenious six book series.  As it is, I am committed to reading at least five novels before I can get back to it. I would pout, but that would silly; nearly as silly has throwing four West Hollywood twenty-somethings into the Montana desert with zombies and oh yes, sparkly sand.  Except, the novel isn’t foolish, it is well crafted and brilliant. With plot twists that whisk you along faster than a roller coaster, just when you think it is settled, off it goes again.

Admittedly, at first I thought it was the undead love child of 90210 & a Twilight Zone spin off in book form; thankful I was wrong.  It is realistic, humorous and original.  It doesn’t fall into any plot and character cliches.  Street is skilled at creating her characters.  She slowly unveils them, never rushing their description or revealing too much too soon.  The perfect strategy for a serial author.

Our heroine, or at least the main character, Persephone aka Seffy is a women on the run from her mundane Montanan past who has managed to convince herself that the only way to achieve her goals is to ignore where she came from.  Three of her friends came with her to Hollywood and remade themselves according to her wishes.

Seffy’s strong personality is obvious and while she is entirely vain and shallow, her friends love her.  They stand by her, even after she makes out with slightly dead man.  Even when her friend, Gareth’s nerdy knowledge saves her and their friends was certain death she criticizes him at the same time pinning away for him. Like many shallow people seeking fame, she doesn’t see the need to actually work at the craft that she wants to famous for.  Her ignorance would have been her undoing if it wasn’t for her friends.

The explosion sends them into a wasteland filled with disco loving zombies, survivalist, worn out hippies and communists. It sends readers on wild adventure and will leaving them craving for more.  Maybe in the next installment, Seffy will live up to her potential that only her friends seem to see.  Maybe she will become a heroine like her namesake. It is worth my money to find out.

It’s Going To Be A Bloody Winter

Review of  Undead of Winter  – Nine Zombie Tales from Armand Rosamilia, Brent Abell, Suzannobb, Jonah Buck, R.S. Pyne, Tim Lieder, Blaze McRob, Lisa McCourt Hollar, and Carole Gill

When I picked up this book, I didn’t realize that it was actually a collection of short stories. I saw something on Twitter that snatched it.  Each author presents a different tale, some modern, some gory and all unique.  They all had their own twists;  none were not worth the price of  the book in either of it’s incarnations; Paperback or Kindle.

What I liked about this book was the variety.  The  most unique of the tales was The Second Wave by Lisa McCourt Hallar.  As cliche’ as it sounds it really does take the traditional zombie tale and turns it on its ear. I would love to learn more about the world in this tale & how humanity deals its unique zombies.

Armand Rosamilia was not only the editor of the book, but the author of its first tale, Undead of Winter.  The main character is Darlene Bobich, who has been featured by him in other tales.  If you want to catch up with Darlene and her adventures this is a great tale. It was definitely the right choice to begin the anthology.  He has several other anthologies available on Amazon.

Every story was entertaining, a few though were a little too gory for my taste.   My least favorite tale was The Christmas Video by Tim Lieder.  It is well crafted, however the content leaves a lot to be desired since the story deals with a group of friends who gather to watch zombie porn every year.  Ya, I said it, zombie porn. Conceptually, I understand what he is trying to do here, but it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. There were times in that tale that I wanted to look away and didn’t; despite being revolted by aspect of the story.  Lieder does his job as an author; he keeps you reading.

Lovers of Zombie fiction will love this book. It gives you a taste of a lot of different authors and may wet your appetite for more of their work.  If you don’t like a lot of gore, this book still has something for you.

Death Has Come Up

Review of Zombie Bible: Death Has Come Up into Our Windows

By Stant Litore

This first book of the Zombie Bible is very promising for lovers of fiction and the horror genre.  The story is set in an ancient city besieged by the Babylonian army and the dead, setting it apart from others in the genre.

Zombies aren’t a new terror in this world, which is a welcome relief from the norm of post-apocalyptic zombie filled tales.  It invites the reader to step back in time and follow the journey of a prophet chosen by God to spread her warnings to the people..

The plot weaves back and forth from the man fighting for his survival and sanity to the events which lead him there.  Litore’s writing is compelling and honestly it keeps you interested even when you want the tragedy to end or to beg him to have some mercy on the characters.

This is truly an original work, no clichés or worn out metaphors. Litore gives us vivid and heat wrenching descriptions like this “The memory found him and fastened to him like a great leech in the mud, and he lay against the wall as it drank from him.”.

A good novel should go for the throat; this novel goes for your heart, rips it out and eats it before your eyes. It elevates this genre from blood and guts spilled for amusement to something with a greater meaning.  Many of know of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as a horror novel, but its’ greatness comes not from the fear it produces instead it comes from the thoughts it produces in the readers.  Both this book and Frankenstein draw the reader into reflecting on the human condition and its’ gruesome reality.

For lovers of fiction, particularly those of you who love zombies, this is a must read.

* Death Has Come Up into Our Windows on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005SNK13K
* On Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1036343407
* Website for the series: http://zombiebible.blogspot.com