AND AFTER-The Soundtrack

I’m inspired by music, and And After was no exception. There are songs that are mentioned in the book, but there are also songs that go along with (or inspired) scenes and/or chapters. As I mentioned in a previous post, I do a lot of writing in my head while listening to music.

I love all of these songs, but if you’re only going to listen to one, scroll to the end. It’s the song of the final chapter, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. Do it now.

And, once again, the artists I’ve compiled here have never heard of me, don’t care about me and might be horrified if they knew. But I love them anyway.

So here they are, with cryptic descriptions to avoid spoilers:

You’ll know where this one belongs:

In the woods:

After the woods:

Quarry:

A tent in Quebec:

Oh, just stuff that happens later. Like with the tent in Quebec. Yes, I know this makes no sense:

“The perfect song for our lives.”

The school bus. A dirt road:

This is the one. The last chapter. LISTEN TO IT. Loud. It’ll be worth any ear damage you sustain. Promise.

So, there it is. The soundtrack.

Writing Process Blog Hop

I was asked to participate in this blog hop by the lovely Toni of My Book Addiction. Not only does Toni write wonderful reviews of books, but she’s also working on some books of her own that I hope to read one day (Soon, right Toni?).

And the hysterically funny Tracey Ward also tagged me. So go by and say hi to her or pick up one of her books. I know I’m always glad I did.

Anyway, here goes:

1. What am I working on?

Right now I’m finishing up And After, book two in my zombie apocalypse series, Until the End of the World. While I’ve been waiting for edits I’ve gotten down a tiny bit of book three, All the Stars in the Sky.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My books focus more on relationships and love–both romantic and platonic–than many other zombie books. My zombies are a catalyst that moves the story along, but anyone looking for tons of gore or military-type action is going to be disappointed.

3. Why do I write what I write?

I love the post-apocalyptic world. In books and movies, of course, since I think the reality would be so much more terrifying than we can really imagine. I read Malevil when I was a kid, and along with The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder (which probably started me on my love of food storage), I was hooked.

I write about Zombies because they’re relentless, yet emotionless, and that makes them terrifying. There are so many ways that they can ruin the day of a character, and it’s fun to use them to push the story where I want it to go (or have them push back and send me in a direction I wasn’t planning on).

4. How does my writing process work?

I let my first draft come out with hardly any editing, changing major plot points as needed. I might look back and cringe, but I keep writing, knowing that no one except me will ever see that first draft. It allows me to plow ahead and not get stuck trying to perfect every chapter, which would probably result in my never getting past chapter three. I write scenes out of order, I wrote the epilogue to book 3 before starting book 2, and I don’t use an outline, although I usually have plot ideas jotted down in a computer file. I write and rewrite scenes in my mind, which means my head is up in the clouds much of the time. 🙂

After the first draft, I take a break from the manuscript (usually a month or six weeks). The first draft looks almost like new after a long break, and I’m better able to see the areas that need changing. After draft 2, or even 2.5, I send it to my first readers and fix any plot and character issues/typos that they or I have found. Then my husband/editor works his magic. He says there isn’t much to do at this point, but he’s an amazing critical reader (as well as a grammatical wizard), and he makes the book so much better, in my opinion. I go through one more time, have a few people proofread, and then it’s done.

Easy-peasy! No, not so much, but I love the entire process.

Here are a couple of writers I’ve nominated for the blog hop:

Glyn Gardner

Glyn Gardner grew up in the suburbs of Dallas. He attended Southwest Texas State (now Texas State University) and majored in Law enforcement.  He joined the Army as a medic in the 1990’s, and traveled the world

He met his wife in 2000 on the internet, who’s active duty air force, and they married in 2001. They’ve been to South Dakota (where Glyn graduated nursing school) and Alaska. They have two sons and currently live outside of Shreveport, Louisiana where Glyn has worked as an ER nurse for about 3 years.

Visit Glyn’s blog!

Lindsey Fairleigh

Lindsey Fairleigh lives her life with one foot in a book–as long as that book transports her to a magical world or bends the rules of science. Her novels, from post-apocalyptic to time travel and historical fantasy, always offer up a hearty dose of unreality, along with plenty of adventure and romance. When she’s not working on her next novel, Lindsey spends her time reading and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. She lives in the Napa Valley with her loving husband and confused cats.

Visit Lindsey’s blog!

Love in the Time of Zombies

I’ve liked post-apocalyptic fiction since I was a kid, when my dad handed me Malevil the summer before fifth grade. Hey, what dad doesn’t give his nine-year old daughter a book about the survivors of a nuclear holocaust?

What’s that? Oh, I guess just mine does.

But it struck a chord, and I’ve loved the genre ever since. So much so, that after being dissatisfied with reading a bunch of prepper, zombie and post-apocalyptic self-published fiction, I decided to write my own.

The problem wasn’t that the books I read weren’t any good—a lot of them were. The problem was that, if it wasn’t Young Adult, the protagonists in those stories were men. And although I like men as much as the next guy (girl?), I wanted to read about someone like me, like most of us females, who faced the end of the world. And not some chick who happened to be well-versed in every martial art, or who had no emotions except the urge to kick some zombie butt. Nope. I wanted a woman who would still have the entire range of human emotions, complete with sense of humor, even when the zombies were just outside the door. Or maybe a few miles away—if they were just outside the door I’m pretty sure my only emotion would be f*****ck!

And this led to writing about love, and not because I’m a woman. We all want to be loved. Yep, even tough, gore-spattered zombie hunters. And, although Until the End of the World is partly a love story, I don’t just mean romantic love. I mean the steadfast love of our friends, the I’ll-do-anything love for our children, and the comforting love of our families, whether that family be blood-related or not.

Now, I don’t know for sure—and as much as I adore post-apocalyptic lit and prepping, I hope never to find out firsthand—but I think that even in the midst of the end of the world all of our human emotions will survive. We’ll love, we’ll hate, we’ll be jealous and cranky and happy and sad. And I hope we’ll still have a sense of humor. We’ll need it.

I know some people find love stories soppy and think they have no place in the genre, but I disagree. And I think that in a time when death is so close and people so scarce, we’ll hold on to that need with a kung-fu death grip. It won’t be all flowers and romantic dinners, but who wouldn’t want the girl they love to stick a sharp blade into a zombie’s brain for them? Or vice versa.

So, my characters hope, they argue and laugh—they laugh a lot—they’re petty and generous and loyal and weak and brave. They’re like all of us, because we are all of those things, sometimes all at once. And they love, because as cliché as it sounds, I don’t think we could survive in a world without love, no matter how great a shot or quick with a machete. Besides, we might need someone to sacrifice themselves so that we may live, and they’re not gonna do that if they don’t love us, now are they? Or vice versa.

This piece was originally published 11/13/2013 on Zombiepop.net.

Canned Peaches and the Apocalypse

I love canned peaches. Let me rephrase that. I love home-canned peaches. The ones from the store, well, they’re palatable, but not necessarily delicious. And, no, they’re not that attractive when they’ve been unceremoniously plopped on your school lunch tray. But I love home-canned peaches enough that they come up several times in my novel, Until the End of the World.

The funny thing is that I had no idea that canned peaches are common in apocalyptic writing. Really, they’re everywhere. I can my own peaches, and my main character, Cassie, is the daughter of preppers, so it seemed natural to include peaches in the story.

But, why, when the found can of food in other post-apocalyptic books could contain anything at all, does it contain peaches?

There is a thread on Goodreads discussing this, and when I last checked it the other day, I saw that a few people had stated what I’d been thinking. Namely, that those peaches offer hope.

My main character, Cassie, says canned peaches are “like summer in a jar.” Even in our fruit-laden, shipped from South America winters, peaches are almost impossible to find. And if you do find one, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be terrible.

Which makes them inextricably linked to summer, to warmth, to juices running down our chins, to swimming and being a kid and not having to board the windows against things alive and/or dead.

So maybe, when the world is gray and destroyed, when we’re fighting for survival and eating things that we may have turned our noses up at before it all went south, the bright sweetness of peaches will be like coming home. Even if they do remind you of school lunches you’d rather forget.

After all, the world was a lot better back then, wasn’t it?

Thank You. And Some News.

Originally published 10/6/13

When a writer (or artist or craftsman, or anyone, really) sends something they made out into the world, it can be scary. You know not everyone will like what you’ve created, but you sure hope that somebody  does.

And a lot of you do. You’ve left me wonderful reviews, emailed and commented on Facebook and this blog, all to tell me how you enjoyed Until the End of the World.  I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate those comments. They make me all squishy inside. That you would take time out of your day to do that means a lot. So, thanks.

And now, some news:

I now have a mailing list. Sign up on my website or here to get updates when the sequel and the “side-quel” are ready. I won’t bug you unless it’s important, or at least not incredibly annoying.

Until the End of the World is available as a paperback. And there’s a giveaway on Goodreads, so come on over!
http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/66797-until-the-end-of-the-world

Also, there will be a giveaway of the paperback, ebooks and some other stuff on My Book Addiction on 10/15. Toni is having a month of zombies on her blog and Facebook. You should really check out her site for great reviews and such:
http://mybookaddiction.com/

Also, an audiobook edition of UTEOTW should be forthcoming. I’ll give you more details when I have them!

I guess that’s it. And again, thank you. Oh, and thanks.

 

UTEOTW–The Soundtrack

I don’t listen to music while I write on the computer (too distracting), but I think I probably do half of my writing in my head. I hear the characters talking and make little adjustments. I watch them move and tell them to back up and try it all again. I do a lot of this in the car, where I listen to music constantly. And where, I just realized, I watch pretend people doing things in my head–don’t you want to be on the road with me?

A lot of Until the End of the World  was “written” while listening to certain songs. Some went with a specific scene and some are general mood, but they all played as a background while Cassie and friends tried to figure out how to survive.

By giving you this list I have completely outed myself as someone who used to be cool, until she had kids in 2006 and stopped paying attention to new music. I am trying to catch up, at least a little. If you have a good indie rock band (or any other band) to recommend, I’d love to hear it in the comments.

And, of course, the artists I’ve compiled here have never heard of me, don’t care about me and might be horrified if they knew. But I love them anyway.

This last one, “Elephant Gun,”  is the epilogue. I think the epilogue would have been very different without this song. It’s absolutely gorgeous- the music, the vocals, the lyrics. Sigh. Makes me want to dance on a dirt road.