We interrupt Africa for…South Korea

…and zombies!

Horror movie aficionados, zombie movie fans, subtitle lovers, have you seen “Train to Busan” yet?

South Korea’s first blockbuster zombie flick, it came out last year and had a good run in U.S. theaters (although I managed to miss it) and has also won some awards. There’s even talk of an American re-make, but don’t wait for that. You can easily find it on Amazon Prime or Comcast’s On-Demand, etc. That’s what I did and it was fantastic! Loved it. When’s the last time a zombie movie made you cry?

Run to your computer or tv now. Well, first pop yourself some popcorn and find a comfy seat. If it’s chilly, grab a blanket. Okay. Settled in? Type “Train to Busan” in your search window. Even typing “Snakes on a Plane” uh, I mean “Zombies on a Train” will get you there too. You won’t regret it. In case you need a little convincing first, here’s the trailer:

 

Zombie Haiku

Brains, brains, brains, brains, brains

Brains, brains, brains, brains, brains, brains, brains

Brains, brains, brains, more brains 

———————————–

What? You were expecting something more sophisticated than that from a zombie? 

Experiments in Marketing

Following the advice that “Twitter sells books” I have been concentrating on developing marketing campaigns to advertise my short story collections available on Amazon Kindle.

There’s something for everyone: horror & dark fantasy and erotica (okay…smut! smutty smut!)

I’ve been trying to create enticing blurbs that highlight either the collection (as a whole) or individual stories within the collections to pull readers in. It has been working – to a degree. I’ve been making some money, but it’s still just pizza and beer money.

Therefore, I’d be interested in any feedback my readers care to offer as to whether you think my blurbs are interesting. Do they at least make you click on the links to look?

For example, to advertise my horror/dark fantasy collection, “Skin and Bones” I’ve tweeted the following pertaining to individual stories:

1) Ancient taboos collide in “Bones in the Fire”

2) Zombie insects? Find out in “Zombitos”

3) The buzzing sound died; maybe the bugs had busted his eardrum. Then he heard chewing noises inside his brain. (From “Zombitos”)

4) She did not stop the cat as it ran past, an eye clamped in its teeth. (From “Third”)

5) And then her husband melted away…a stream trickling, then rushing, toward the sea from whence he came. (From “The Fisherman’s Wife”)

From my horror/comedy/political satire “Zombies and Aliens” (note: may offend you depending on your political affiliation):

1) “A Congressional Zombie Love Story”

2) Republicans v Democrats: whose brains taste better? (From “Prop Z”)

From one of my erotica collections (“The Box Quadrilogy”) (Adults only!)

The “Box Lunch Cafe” smelled not of burgers or fries, but of women.

Of course, I try not to bombard my twitter followers with constant “buy my books!” tweets. That’s a huge turn off. I also tweet about my other interests: cats, more cats, travel, zombie fiction, animal rights, environmental protections, space exploration, and even more cats, etc.

If you’d like, you can also follow me on Twitter @TheFarPlaces

“Do you have Pepsi or Coke?” “Coke.” “Cerveza por favor.”

Yes, that was me while traveling through much of Spain along the Camino de Santiago. Many of the little cafe bars – especially in Basque Country – would frequently have Pepsi signs on the outside, but no Pepsi on the inside. Here’s me enjoying one of my few treasured bottles of Pepsi I did find along the way. pepsi_spain

So frequently…okay maybe more than frequently…I would choose beer instead. (I saw the word “biere” far more often than “cerveza” which many Americans are more used to.) It’s quite easy to get used to drinking beer for lunch AND dinner. But I most certainly did enjoy my morning tea with its companion croissant. I just wish I could remember where it was I ate the most delightfully freshest croissant I’ve ever had in my life.

I have to admit I developed a love/hate relationship with the food along the trail. I think experienced peregrinos will know what I mean: the Pilgrim’s Menu. Designed to be fuel for the trail, there were a lot of carbs and a lot of protein. And the choices can get rather repetitive.

One of the items I never want to see again is a bocadillo.  What is a bocadillo, you ask? bocadilloA huge hunk of bread with some form of pork between them. See how that sandwich is almost as big as I am? There were, of course, some really good bocadillos on really fresh bread. And then there were some stale ones, like the one in the picture on the right.

Did I mention that you get french fries with almost every meal? And fried eggs too? (It must be the horror writer in me that caused this Freudian slip: when I looked at my trip notes just now, it said “fried eyes”) Ha! Hey – I could use that in a story. Hmm…do you think Hannibal Lecter would ever want to eat a zombie’s eyes or eat a zombie’s brain? But I digress.

The fried eyes…uh, I mean eggs, have followed me home. They’re now finding themselves topping foods I’d never before considered combining them with: a nice filet mignon, a glob of chili over a bed of rice, a basket of french fries. Oh – there’s those french fries again.

penguin_san_beer

But back to the beer. I much preferred the San Miguel brand to Cruz Campo which was served on Renfe (the trains) and in Barcelona.
 As you can see, #PenguinAboutTown also preferred San Miguel. And both of us were delighted to find that Spain is such a civilized country they offer beer in vending machines! But…sigh…no Pepsi.

beer_vending

 

Paella, Paella, Paella!

paellaStella, Stella, Stella!  Oh, oops, wait, that’s from a movie. Never mind. Back to the paella. Spain is a great country for paella. If you like paella, that is. I have to confess I’m not a huge fan, especially since the ones I encountered were mostly seafood versions. And, no, I don’t like seafood…unless it’s in a Japanese restaurant in the form of sushi.

So I had high hopes for this dish, a homemade vegetarian paella, served up by our hosts at La Casa Magica in Villatuerta. While I wasn’t overwhelmed by it, the dish was certainly flavorful, the veggies fresh, and it was quite filling. I selectively dug out the rice and veggies I like most and made a meal out of that, along with the ubiquitous bread that was everywhere with every meal (or so it seemed).

The most enjoyable part of the dinner, as with most evenings, was the company that we enjoyed surrounded by citizens of a variety of nations from as close as France and as far away as Asia. There was Henry and Alba, originally from Venezuela but now residing in Canada, Amy from South Korea, Essa from Finland (Essa seemed to be rather fond of Amy, but it didn’t seem she was reciprocating), and the trio from Killarney in Ireland, among others.

We had already met “Ireland” (as we called them) along the trail thanks to the decorative ribbons on my backpack. Being that I travel most frequently with Lindblad Expeditions, I have a multitude of their blue and yellow ribbons (which they provide to better identify your luggage during group airport transfers) and are – I’m told – based on the flag of Sweden where Lars Eric Lindblad (Sven Olaf’s father) was born. It turns out they’re also the colors of Killarney, Ireland, and “Ireland” wondered if perhaps I hailed from their hometown. Alas, I do not, although I am of Irish descent. (My mother’s family immigrated to the U.S. during the great potato famine in the mid-1800s). While one of her relatives has done a genealogy, I don’t remember most of the details so I can’t say whether we might actually be from Killarney. Too bad I’m not, for the young-ish male third of “Ireland” was quite handsome.

Yes, we really did refer to people by their country (or town). it was easier to remember. And, being a horror writer, it reminded me of the movie “Zombieland” where the characters referred to each other by their hometowns (like Columbus and Tallahassee) lest they become too familiar with and attached to one another. Not that I was expecting the zombie apocalypse to occur while we were on the Camino, but I certainly had ample opportunity to let my mind wander while walking, concocting all sorts of scenarios for future horror stories. Like, what if that paella dish – easily two feet across – had been a zombie’s dream: brain paella. Hmm Hmm Good.

Small Business Saturday

 

 

 

NewSkinAndBonesAmazonCoverSupport your independent authors. Try someone new.

Horror, Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Magical Realism, something for all fans of genre fiction from the authors at XC Publishing.

 

 

 

 

 

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August Roundup

The latest update from the authors at XC Publishing:

Cheryl continues working on the third book of the Gauntlet Trilogy.

Erotic, kinky tales occupy Deb’s time…with more to be published for her eager fans soon. (She promises!) And who could think of a more fun way to occupy one’s time anyway?

Janet has released the 2nd Edition of her horror/dark fantasy anthology “Skin and Bones” to include a new story titled “Zombitos” (yes, zombie bobitos – if you’ve ever been bedeviled by those annoying flies in Baja – this story is for you!)  “Skin and Bones” also sports new cover art. Find it for sale on Amazon.com

Janet also released a new piece of erotica “Ivy League” (sex with plants!) which you should find on Smashwords.com, as a free introduction for you to try out her stories. (Note: it can also be found on Amazon.com, but Amazon has not yet changed its price to “free,” so go to Smashwords first.)

Xina has been very busy promoting her “The Cat’s Guide to Human Behavior” as well as an audiobook “Out of the Bag and Other Quirky Short Stories” (tales of romance, science fiction, and fantasy by Deb, Janet, and Xina). You can find the latter on Podiobooks.

She’s also put together “The Ruling Elite and Other Stories” as a free teaser to introduce you to the fantasy stylings of herself and Janet.

We’re all hard at work blogging and writing new stories for you to devour.