Book Review: Season of the Dead by Lucia Adams, Paul Freeman, Gerald Johnston & Sharon Van Orman

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Review:

Season of the Dead

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I know two of the authors (Paul Freeman and Sharon Orman), and so I opened the book with high hopes – both Paul and Sharon write very well and are published by small presses. I wasn’t disappointed: 4 authors, 4 different points of view and 4 great stories.

This is quite a short review, and for that I apologise. I try not to write long and bombastic reviews. Basically, if I say I like it. I like it.

Zombie stories are hot right now, and to be honest, they’re not only difficult to get right, they’re difficult to make original. There are only so many viruses and wake-up-in-a-hospital scenes an author can do before the reader feels like stabbing themselves in the eyes.
The style, pace and characterisation are startlingly different, and to start with I worried that they wouldn’t ‘gel’ together – but I’m happy to say I was wrong. The stories weave together towards the end, and the final few chapters show just how skilled the writers are.
The characters made me smile, and I strongly suspect there’s a HUGE amount of each of the authors own personalities poured into them. When the characters met, I enjoyed the exchanges between them and the way the banter rolled easily. Though, if it were me, I’d be a lot more suspicious meeting survivors.  The Walking Dead taught me that. Don’t trust anyone.

Things I learnt from SOTD:

A squirrel costume will save your life.
Don’t mess with the Irish (ok, I knew this already, but SOTD cemented this!)
It’s always the government’s fault. Everything.

Gerry can write… like, really write.
Kitty is a symbol of hope.
A SOLID 4 1/2 STARS.

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Blurb:  “It is said that unto everything there is a season…these are the stories of a group of survivors during the season of the dead.”

Four individuals fight to survive as the zombie apocalypse crashes over the world in a wave of terror and destruction. Color, creed, and social standing mean nothing as the virus infects millions across the planet.

Sharon: a zoologist from Nebraska, USA, has worked with the virus, and has seen the effects on the human mind. She knows more about the virus than nearly anybody alive, and far more than she wants to. Gerry: from Ontario, Canada, he gets his first taste of the virus from inside a prison cell. Locked up after an anti-government riot, his prison guard transforms before his eyes into a flesh craving zombie. Lucia: a chemist from Pittsburgh, USA, flees from a furry convention dressed as a giant squirrel, and escapes from the city in a Fed-Ex van. She’s a girl who knows when to run and when to fight. Paul: thinks he can sit out the apocalypse in his apartment block in Dublin, Ireland, until the virus comes to visit, bursting his bubble and leaving him with no choice but to face reality or perish.

All four begin perilous journeys in mind and body as they face daily trials to survive: Four threads, four different parts of the world, one apocalypse!

 

Amazon US linkhttp://www.amazon.com/Season-of-the-Dead-ebook/dp/B00DYIUB4U/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1374135237&sr=1-1&keywords=season+of+the+dead

Amazon UK link:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Season-of-the-Dead-ebook/dp/B00DYIUB4U/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1374135810&sr=1-1&keywords=season+of+the+dead

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18210441-season-of-the-dead

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SeasonOfTheDead

 

Two months … FAIL!

Yes, I’ve failed big time. It’s been two months since I last posted on my blog. I’m really sorry …

I’m going to make more of an effort from now on. In my defence – it has been a very busy two months, both personally and professionally.

My paid work (police) has been hectic, and my writing work even more so. I’ve embarked on a new business venture and the last month has involved getting the groundwork for that sorted. More to come on that!!!

In my personal life, I found out that I had cancer. I admit, when I was first told I was so shocked I was numb. I’ve been under a specialist for a while for an intimate problem an so I’m used to bad news … but this time I didn’t even know the big C was on the cards.

However, I’ve been very lucky. It was stage 1 and has been cut away. When they investigated further, due to the depth and size, no radiation therapy was needed – and instead I’ll be having 3-monthly checks for 2 years. It’s made me realise that I was incredibly lucky. You see, they only found the cancer because a biopsy was taken from the wrong place. It failed to diagnose the original condition- and instead they found cancer. Shit.

I haven’t really spoken about it to many people: those that know me know that I always put a smiling face on things and try and brush them under the carpet -when really,I’m terrified. This is no different. I don’t like the false sympathy that comes from some people – nor do I like the ‘I’m so sorry’ comments, they make me uncomfortable and I always think about those who are in worse situations.

So that’s enough on that subject.

Health related, I’m seeing another specialist on Monday. This time, it’s a pre-op with a surgeon. I’ve been told I need something called a ‘vestibulectomy’ and that involves 30 stitches in an intimate area. 30!!! Holy Moly! My eyes are watering just thinking about it. Still, I have no doubt it’ll be worth it in the end!

 

Writing … well, with everything that’s been going on in the last few months – writing hasn’t been at the forefront of my mind. I’ve been pootling around with a few ideas.

 

Monday just gone though … I had a meeting with a literary agent, and …. it went well. VERY WELL. I’m making edits on ‘Anna’ and then the sky is the limit! This agent completely understands my book and the themes/threads I’ve introduced. She spoke of the big publishers such as Virago, HC, Bloomsbury – so here’s hoping!

 

On that note – I’m signing off. I’ll get more posts on here soon … promise!

 

 

 

 

A Fleeting Visit

 

I should apologise again. I’ve not written anything for a couple of weeks. Blog, book, short stories or otherwise …

Can I blame it on the lovely weather?

No?

Ok, I’m just useless.

 

Since I last posted I’ve been poorly, shattered, bogged down with work, hot, bothered, uninspired and then suddenly inspired and excited again. Probably in that order as well.

I’ve finished a 60pt module with the OU – AA100 is officially finished. I find out my results in August – but I’m pretty confident I’ve passed. I only need 40% overall, and I’ve been averaging 80% on the TMAs – so unless I’ve completely dropped the ball on the EMA; it’s in the bag.

Looking ahead: I start Ancient Greek in October A275 – a very in-depth and difficult module. Bearing that in mind, I’ve submitted a flexible working request in to the boss. I want every Monday off work to study, and I’ve increased my remaining working days to 4 x 10hr shifts so that I don’t drop any hours or lose money. Fingers crossed they (the faceless automatons in HR)  accept it …

It would help being in the office a little less as well. I’ve felt very undervalued and despondent recently. It’s a long story, and nothing to do with the people I work with … more to do with the management and new supervision. I’m finding it difficult to explain, but it’s similar to water torture. Drip. Drip. Drip … bit by bit, little digs, little comments, little changes. And on their own it’s nothing and seems pretty ridiculous – put it together and BAM!!! Drowning. This has then fed on to my writing.

I’ve hit a bit of a downer with it. The usual “what’s the point?” “I’m rubbish” “This is garbage” and so on has flooded me and I’ve struggled to write even 1000 words. I’ve got a few projects on the go – but nothing is inspiring me at the moment.

Yes, I sound like I’m whining, and I suppose I am. But I’ve just hit that point again where it doesn’t matter what anyone says, unless I feel the confidence myself, I’ll just wallow. Like a hippo.

But, I am slowly creeping out of my warm muddy water bath; and a good email chat tonight with another writer about possible collaborations and ideas has left me feeling all warm and mushy again. The little voice of optimism whispered to me: “if this talented writer is talking of collaborating, you can’t be that bad.”

 

 

 

Juggling

I haven’t updated this in ages, I do apologise … Not that I expect many people to care, but those that do read it – I’m sorry!

I’ve been rather busy and my life seems to have been taken over by two things 1) Authonomy and 2) My OU course


Authonomy is the brain child of Harper Collins (HC) and is a website predominantly for  fledgling writers looking to get their work reviewed, read and critiqued by their peers.

I’ve joined, I’ve devoted far far too many hours to the site, but ultimately, I’ve met a cracking bunch of people and actually made some nice friends. Oh the “Alliance of World Builders” how I love you all!  Oh Mr Muir how wonderful you are! You are by far, one of my favourite Scotsmen!

On the forums, a member each week runs a ‘flash fiction’ (FF) competition and last week, the theme was “horror” and “416 words, no more, no less.” – It was a massive hit and there were literally tens of entries. They were so good that they’ve been compiled into an e-book and it’s available free  here …

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/97935

Please download and enjoy, it doesn’t cost you anything and you’ll be able to revel in the talents of so many writers …

My own little story “Diamonds” is there *blush.* It’s not great – but it’s a bit of fun!

So …. Apart from Authonomy, my time has been spent reading and researching my OU module.

If I’m honest, I think I underestimated just how much time it will take, but I think it’s doable. I basically have one assignment a month to write, but a lot to read.

I’m at the writing stage of my assignment and I’m finding the whole referencing malarky a chore! I appreciate why these things are a must, but seriously …. Arghhhhhhhhh!

Hopefully if work is quieter in the next few days, I can organise my scraps of paper and post-it notes into a comprehensive and thorough report … Yeah right!

I’m not allowed to post on social media or networking sites for help with the course (OU sent an email to everyone, this is apparently a no no) but if any Cleopatra / Antony / Plutarch experts want to offer their views to the way that P viewed C & A’s relationship … I won’t say no!

I’ve also got to compare two pieces of work by  Cezanne and Zurburan respectively.

I’m still finding it difficult to understand what a “picture plane” is – any idea?

Personal life update …

Nothing really to update! My sis had her 18th birthday and is currently in Singapore with her friend. I’m the same healthwise – EG falling apart!

Got to play “Heroquest” the other week with some friends – Oh how I’ve missed RP games!!! I cannot wait to start D&D again!!!

Our tenants have signed for another 6 months, so that’s Coalville house forgotten about until the start of May 2012! Happy times! The central heating system there does need a powerflush though and at £300, it’s going to sting! Got to keep the tenants happy though, they are lovely and we’ve been so lucky with them!

My own central heating system isn’t working either, the RX1 receiver in  the Danfoss thermostat has broken. Only £50 to replace, but got to wait until the end of the month … Socks and jumpers!!!

We finally let “evil cat” out of the house … His name is Riker, but he is called evil cat. All he used to do was pee everywhere and eat. He would glare at humans and never EVER allow us to touch him. He hated being an indoor cat and after 2 1/2 years, we were still at square 1 with him. So we let him out … he’s not come back. I don’t ever expect to see him again …

Part of me is sad, the other part knows that he’ll be much happier outside and in the fields that being in the house with humans.

Running – I’ve not been able to go running for a while. I’ve had strange pains in my hips and lower back, I know it sounds like an excuse, but it really isn’t! I’ve subbed walking for running though and started walking to work as well as walking back from work. A good 3 miles total at least.

I’d like to shift some more weight before Christmas, but I don’t know if I have the willpower. I’ve turned into a chocoholic recently and practically drool over the thought of a wispa … It’s pathetic. I’m pathetic. I’m sorry.

Christmas, hmmmm …. That’s not far away either! We’ve set a strict budget this year and we’re only buying for those we really care about. I’ve not spoken to my mum and that side of the family all year, so I doubt I’ll bother getting them anything this year. It’s not because I don’t care, it’s just that it seems like a waste.

I don’t know what to get the husband for Christmas. 2009 he had a surprise trip to NY and a camcorder. 2010 a new Xbox 360 and kinect, 2011 …??? Probably a clementine and some socks. I’m so poor this year it’s unbelievable! Damn you overtime cuts! Damn you expensive OU!! Damn you alll!!!!

Ciao.

Bookworm Orgasm

First off, apologies for the lack of updates, I guess not much has happened in my life in the last few weeks that bears mentioning!!

Work seems to be “same old same old” – my shift partner leaves for greener pastures at the end of this week 😦 Sad times.

My iPad arrived – yay! It truly is a good piece of kit! The absence of adobe and a flash player is slightly annoying but the incredible kindle app and social networking capabilities excite me greatly!

I downloaded my first book – Patrick Rothfuss’ “The Wise Man’s Fear” – was released in March but I had deliberately been waiting for an e-reader before I read it.

WELL WORTH THE WAIT! Mr Rothfuss has such an interesting way of telling his story.

The journey started with ” The Name Of The Wind”  and continues with the above.

Kvothe (our hero) has started a new life as Kote, a humble innkeeper. He is tracked down by a chronicler who has figured out who Kote really is and is desperate to hear his tales, so the whole two books start from Kvothe as a young boy through to him being fifteen, check out this paragraph and tell me that it doesn’t reek of awesomeness!

***

“I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. My name is Kvothe. You may have heard of me.”

***

I devoured the book in two days, all 998 pages of it, my speed reading left me incredibly sad 😦 I’ll probably have to wait another 2 years for the next one.

My only saving grace …

A DANCE WITH DRAGONS IS RELEASED TOMORROW!!!!! OH YES!!!

I have it set to auto download on my iPad and I will hungrily be reading it every chance I get!!!!

Best be worth it GRRM!!!! ………

I cannot believe how many free books the Kindle has to offer, tis incredible. My geeky little heart practically explodes with joy each time I see a new free title pop up on my “recommendation list” – I’m a book whore, I’m sorry.

I have over 300 books in my bedroom and gave away over 150 late last year, I seriously cannot buy many more paper books, electronic all the way from now on!!!

My own writing is coming along well, I’m slightly torn though, do I finish writing my story to absolute completion, edit and split into three OR do I work at polishing the first third to perfection and send it off to an agent??

Thoughts greatly appreciated, especially from those who have any idea how the agent/ publishing world works!

I know some people will probably sneer and raise an eyebrow at me being so enthusiastic about my work, but I’m a great believer in “if you don’t try, you’ll never know”. I’m my own biggest critic and I lack a lot of self confidence, but I have grown to love my characters and my tale has progressed and is maturing at a good rate.

Away from the writing talk now and back to my real life!

Hospital appointment on the 20th … I have an ultrasound and have to drink a LITRE of water before hand, anyone who knows me will understand my anxiety at this. I have the world’s smallest bladder. Fact.

I cannot even manage a full cup of tea, how I am going to manage that much water is beyond me …. Arghhhhhh

My 3rd wedding anniversary is coming up on the 25th, where has the time gone??? I was reflecting the other day and realised that I will be 29 in February, my 20’s have flown past. Not happy, time for me to make my mark on the world!

With that, I’m off.