All zombie stories are the same.
The dead rise, they attack the living and maybe some people with big guns swoop in and make an even gorier mess. As writers, we have a duty to take this classic formula and polish it up all shiny and new for readers.
The point in my life when I began writing the short stories that would become AiZ: Alice in Zombieland was very dark and depressing for me. Just a month before, though, I was sitting on top of the world. I was in love with a beautiful woman and things we’re going great. My job, while not awesome, it was a steady retail job, and those are hard still hard to find. I was living with a friend, but the girlfriend and I were looking at getting our own place. Sam Dogg was happy as any dog could be. The world was bright and sunny.
Then it wasn’t.
It began with the messiest break-up I have even been through. I mean things got really ugly. This drama stretched out for about a month, each day tearing my heart out more and more. While dealing with this, I lost my job. Times were already tight, but now there was no money coming in. Then a fight with my mom turns ugly and we haven’t spoken since. Top all of this off with my friend losing his place and my life was a perfect storm of depression.
With no job prospects coming, and no foreseeable light at the end of the tunnel, I began to write. As the writing went on, things got more emotional for me; there were many times that I would write myself into tears. What some people do not appreciate is how much it takes out of a writer spending that much time in such a dark place. It is draining both mentally and emotionally. So why do we do it? To set our stories above the rest of the zombie fiction running rampant out there.
We have all felt lost and alone at some point. These are real emotions that we feel every day. By focusing on the emotions of the story, I am able to connect with fans of zombie stories, but also with readers who don’t normally enjoy the undead.
Excerpt from AiZ: Alice in Zombieland (Complete Saga)
Having grown up in the Age of the Zombie, Gee knew what needed to be done. She pulled the fence board out of Barbara’s head, finding a sick gratification at the squishing sound it made as it overcame the suction of the wound, and headed for her step brother.
Gotta make sure he’s dead… For good.
Gee stood over her little brother’s body. Even though Josh and Alice weren’t her full blood siblings, Gee had always thought of them as her little brother and sister. The tears came and she was powerless to stop them. She waited, watching for any movement through the blurry lens of her tears... Nothing.
Still better safe than sorry.
Gee tightened her grip on the fence board and braced for what she must do. She took a deep breath to steady herself and, without hesitating, she stabbed the sharp wood through her little brother’s head and fell to her knees, sobbing uncontrollably.
As she rose to her feet, wiping tears and blood from her face, Gee surveyed the devastation that surrounded her. At her feet lay the dead body of Josh, an innocent child. Barbara, once a loving mother and wife, was now a corpse, skull fragments and blood surrounding her. Young Alice’s life was still in trouble. There was no fairness in any of it. The anger over the injustices swelled inside Gee until she could not resist one last kick to the side of Barbara’s bloody head.
You caused this. I only wish you could feel the pain.
AiZ: Alice in Zombieland (Complete Saga) is now available in the Amazon Kindle Store, on Smashwords for all formats, and through many online retailers. Pre-orders are open for the signed limited edition paperback, as well as the regular paperback editions, at ZombieACRES.com. Also available through Amazon is the anthology 100 Horrors, which features an exclusive Zombie A.C.R.E.S. story, along with 99 other tales of terror. 100 Horrors is available in Kindle and paperback formats.
Joshua Cook is a writer for hire living in the Seattle area. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. To find out more about Zombie A.C.R.E.S., visit them on Facebook, Twitter, and in the ACRES merch shop.