Monthly Archives: July 2014

Bringing You: John O’Brien!

Unless you live under a rock, you should be familiar with John O’Brien.  I’m proud to be able to call this guy a friend. He’s always willing to give advice or help out, or just offer encouragement whenever I get discouraged.  Isn’t that what a friend does?


So, if you live under a rock, it’s time to crawl out and get with the times.  If you don’t live under a rock, you need to know what all the cool kids are talking about.  And buddy, they’re talking about John’s zombie series!

So, who is this guy?  Let me tell ya.  John is a former Air Force fighter instructor pilot who transitioned to Special Operations in the latter part of his career gathering his campaign ribbon for Desert Storm. Immediately following his military service, he became a firefighter/EMT with a local department. Along with becoming a firefighter, he fell into the Information Technology industry in corporate management. Currently, John is writing full-time on the series, A New World.

As a former marathon runner, he lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and can now be found kayaking out in the waters of Puget Sound, mountain biking in the Capital Forest, hiking in the Olympic Peninsula, or pedaling his road bike along the many scenic roads. In other words, far more active then I’ll ever be!

So let’s kick this thing off.  I want to welcome John O’Brien to my humble blog.  And he’s got something new to spread the word on.

Me: John, welcome to the blog.  Please disregard the mess.  We have some new construction going on.  Anyway, let’s get down to business.  Tell us what the title of your latest release is?

John: Thanks for having me.  I don’t mind the mess so much, but I think I stepped in something.  Do you have a cat?  Oh, the title is A New World: Untold Stories.

Me: Um, no.  No cats.  I don’t know what that is…anyway.  Can you give us a spoiler-free quick description of it? The book I mean.  I have no idea what that is on your shoe.

John: The sun touches the horizon…
A hush before the storm…

The sun set as it had every other day. Then night fell and the world ended. For many, it was a long, slow, lingering death. For others, it came quickly, full of terror and agony. Few survived. The ones that did watched the setting sun with a rising panic. Out of the ashes of humankind’s demise rose the night runners. They were death loping down darkened streets, their shrieks echoing off empty buildings.

Untold Stories is a series of short stories depicting the experiences of some who faced the fall of civilization as we know it.

A scream in the night…
And terror poured forth…

Me: That sounds AWESOME!  I can’t wait to read it. So tell me, can this one be read as a ‘stand-alone’ novel of short stories or does one need to be caught up in your A New World series in order to know what is going on?

John: It can but it would be better if the first two of the series were read first.

Me: So, what (if anything) makes this one unique?

John: This is a set of short stories based on the world created with the series, A New World. It shows the short glimpses into the lives of some who went through the first days of humankind’s downfall. The last section are fan fiction stories.

Untold Stories

Me: Dude!  Are you serious??  You let fans contribute to this?  How unique?  How in the world did you come up with something like that?  I mean…I don’t think I’ve ever heard of somebody doing that before.

John: I don’t know. I just thought it would be cool if the fans were given a chance to write some fan fiction if they felt so inclined. I received a lot of messages saying this or that would be cool, so I thought it would be a neat thing if they wanted to include those.

Me: Okay, but I have to ask…didn’t you get a bit apprehensive?  I mean…was there anything negative that you went through in that aspect?  Like, maybe some fan fiction that was just so poor that it didn’t make muster?  Or maybe somebody got upset because their piece of fiction wasn’t used?

John: Honestly, I was worried about something like that when I thought about it and almost decided not to on account of it. But, everything worked out well.  And since I didn’t receive anything negative and all of the stories were great, I’ll more than likely be putting out a second edition. But don’t tell anybody. That’s just between us, okay?

Me: Oh, sure.  My lips are sealed.  I won’t tell a soul.  Pfft.  I’m telling anybody who will listen! You’re on the hook now pal!
Okay, back to the regular question.  For those two or three people who haven’t read your books, tell us about your nightrunner zombies? Slow and rotting or fast and viral? And more importantly, if the dead were to rise, do you think you’d stand a chance against yours vs others?

John: Definitely fast and agile. They aren’t technically zombies but more of mutated human’s that have formed a new species. And their intelligence grows as time goes on.

Me: True.  Intelligent zombies scare me.  I was going to make a joke about them voting, but…how about your chances of survival?

John: I know that I wouldn’t want to face any kind of zombies and certainly wouldn’t want to run up against night runners. I’ll just stay in my cozy abode out in the country and venture forth only if necessary…and I would definitely avoid being out at night.

Me: I hear ya.  I’d rather stay in the country, too. So, what was your first experience with zombie media (movie, book, comic, etc)? Was that experience what drew you into writing the genre?

John: I would say the first zombie books I read were World War Z and Bourne’s series. I don’t read much in the genre in order that I don’t inadvertently take someone else’s ideas.

Me: Oh man.  I hadn’t thought of that.  And you know, now that you say that, I can honestly say that there are a lot of times I’ll read something in somebody’s book and think, “Oh, crap!  That’s a heckuva idea!” or worse, “Dammit!  I was going to do that!” then I check their publication date to see if they might have stolen the idea from my draft…they never do.  They’re just smarter and faster than I am.  Okay, so  Pop Quiz: The dead rise now and you can choose ONE weapon as your only weapon during the Zombie Apocalypse. What is it and what do you think are your chances at survival are?

John: 6.8mm carbine although .223 rounds are more prolific and would be much easier to locate. I would place my chances of survival around the mid-range. Shit happens. The early days would be the most difficult with a lot of variables.

Me: Good choices.  I’d have a hard time choosing a SINGLE weapon. But I like your choices.  Okay, last question and I’ll let you go.  If you had to give a list of authors who most heavily influenced your work, who would be your top picks?

John: Easy. Robert Jordan, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Stephen King.

Me: Yeah.  I notice my name wasn’t listed there, but…oh yeah.  You’ve been writing a lot longer than I have.  So…I guess that’s a given.  Hey…where are you going?  I was only kidding…oh.  Yeah, you can wipe that off your shoe there.  That’s fine.  Thanks for dropping by John!

For those of you who are just chomping at the bit, here’s the myriad of ways you can reach him:
Author page:
Web site:
Merchandise store:


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Posted by on July 18, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Spotlight on: Eric Shelman!

So, that group of writers that I’m with?  Yeah.  Well somebody left the door open and these strays wandered in. Lucky for us, they’re writers.  That means we have to lock up the beer, hide the good snacks and lock out the PPV on the remote.  But hey, other than that, they’re a great addition.


Of the additional members, one is none other than Eric Shelman.  Eric Shelman was born in 1960 in Fort Worth, Texas.  In his early teens, his widowed mother remarried a man named Ed Middleton, and his new dad moved the family to southern California.  Eric used to write short stories that featured all of his friends as characters, but because Eric was a longhair living in Laguna Beach, California in the 1970s, you can bet they usually involved drugs of some kind (this is from him, not me, so I don’t want to get any anti-hippie hate mail!).

Fast forward … to the mid-nineties.  Eric started writing some short stories, and finally had one published.  After that, he felt it was time to write a book.  He initially intended to write supernatural fiction, along the lines of Stephen King and Dean Koontz, as well as many others. But when he discovered the story of a little, abused girl who was rescued by the ASPCA in 1874, he got sidetracked and wrote the very first book on her case, Out of the Darkness: The Story of Mary Ellen Wilson. It came out in 1999, and since that time, thousands have read it, and it is one of his biggest selling books ever. It’s also been optioned for a Major Motion Picture.

From there he wrote a thriller called A Reason to Kill and shelved it.  Eric began work on a witch novel that involved past lives, but he became so confused while writing the book that he put it down at 53,000 words and didn’t write again for eleven years.

Wow.  That was dumb.

Eric Breaking Bad

Since 2011, Eric has written and released NINE full-length novels, including SEVEN volumes of his Dead Hunger zombie series.  So … time travel, zombies, witches and serial killers.  Something for everyone … everyone twisted, that is.

Eric A. Shelman lives in Southern Florida with his wife of 27 years, Linda.

Life is good.

Don’t forget that his newest release, Dead Hunger VII: The Reign of Isis should be available as a paperback on Monday!

If you want to find Eric, here’s some different links:

On Facebook:

Eric’s Blog:


Don’t forget folks, if you are a fan or if you become a NEW fan, the best thing you can do for ANY author is to leave a review!  We all live and die by reviews!


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Posted by on July 16, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Introducing: Shawn Chesser

It has been my pleasure to be a part of a really cool group of horror authors.  Over the next few weeks, I hope to highlight each of these fellows and let you the reader get to know a wee bit more about each of them.

Tonight I bring you a short interview I did with none other than Shawn Chesser!

Normally I ask for a short Bio to give the readers a quick primer on who we’re talking with, but come on!  This is Shawn Friggin Chesser here people!  But, in case you’ve been living under a rock or just arrived from another planet…

Bio: Shawn Chesser, a practicing father, has been a zombie fanatic for decades. He likes his creatures shambling, trudging and moaning. As for fast, agile, screaming specimens… not so much. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, two kids, and three fish.

Shawn Friggin Chesser

If any of you didn’t notice, I got the ‘friggin’ in there, didn’t I?  That’s a little joke between the two of us.  He’s been having his covers reworked by a really awesome graphics group and I commented that he really needed to have his name BIGGER.  He hemmed and hawed a bit until I declared, ‘C’mon man.  This is Shawn Friggin Chesser we’re talking about.  The name needs to be HUGE!’  Then I used my mad MS Paint skills and totally defaced his cover…but I think the point was made.

Shawn, I want to thank you for dropping by and gracing my humble blog with your presence.  As I mentioned, the whole point of this is to get the word out about your latest release and spread the word about you and your awesome writing.  How about we start with your Social Media links:

My pleasure.


Warpath: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse on Amazon
Author Web Page
FB page
FB author page
Amazon author page
Twitter handle @sdchess

Sweet.  Hopefully we can get more people to stop by these places and experience all of the awesomeness that is Shawn Chesser!

Now, to the bangers and mash.  We can rapid fire a few simple Q&A for the folks and get the word out about your zombie series!

Me: What is the title of your latest release?

Shawn: Warpath: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse


Me: Can you give us a spoiler-free quick description of it?

Warpath: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse- In the crucible that is the zombie apocalypse, Cade Grayson, father, husband, and former Delta Force operator has forged new friendships and tempered old ones. In those same metaphorical flames, he has seen blood spilled, loved ones perish, and dealt his own brand of justice. Now, three weeks after a world-wide viral outbreak has left the United States in ruins and transformed most of her population into walking corpses hungering for the flesh of the living, he finds himself at an Army Forward Operating Base on the outskirts of Grand Junction, Colorado. With only a set of GPS coordinates to go by, Cade must deliver his small family and a trio of young people from the distant outpost, across hundreds of miles of Utah’s sun-baked high desert, to the promise of safety the random-looking string of numbers represent. Meanwhile, eagerly awaiting their arrival at the Eden compound, Duncan Winters goes about the grim task of burying the recently fallen. With each shovelful of dirt he deposits on the bodies of kin and friends, his insatiable desire to strike back at the people responsible tugs him ever closer to the edge of insanity. With the dead hunting and moving in herds of ever-increasing size, will Cade and his group survive the running of the gauntlet? Will Duncan see the light and accept that he truly needs Cade’s special set of skills in order to find and bring those responsible for the recent murders and abductions to justice? Or will he give in to burning desires, shirk the old adage that revenge is a dish best served cold, and go it alone, charging blindly headlong down the Warpath to certain disaster? Come along and find out who has what it takes to survive the Zombie Apocalypse.

Me: Man, I can’t wait to sink my teeth into this one.  I’m still catching up though so I’m really glad you didn’t let any real spoilers slip.   So, what (if anything) makes this one unique?

Shawn: Warpath is a post-apocalyptic thriller set in a thoroughly devastated United States. This fast paced romp through Colorado, Utah, and Idaho is unique in that it features not only heavily armed hard-charging soldiers in camouflage and body armor, but also a group of regular citizens who have come together and are doing their best to survive the zombie apocalypse. Thrown into the mix are strong female characters, a group of younger survivors trying to find their place in the new world, and a host of human baddies my readers love to hate.

Me: Ain’t that the truth.  And you really do have strong female characters in your stories.  I remember you talking about possibly incorporating that into future covers.  Anyway, tell us about your zombies? Slow and rotting, but any chance of incorporating the viral fast ones in the future?

Shawn: I’m a Romero purist, Heath. My zombies are slow, plodding, and tend to hunt in packs, usually overwhelming their prey with their strength in numbers. These creatures are infected by the Omega virus which is present in their saliva and blood and spread by introduction of those bodily fluids to the living, mainly via bites. Infection of the Omega virus (so far) has proven one hundred percent fatal, however, the victim’s turn time is determined by a wide variety of factors.

Me: Ah.  Staying true to the original.  Well, there are a grand majority of folks who think that those are the only true zombies, so I can’t blame you a bit.  But tell me this?  What was your first experience with zombie media (movie, book, comic, etc)? Was that experience what drew you into writing the genre?

Shawn: When I turned twelve or thirteen my mom let me rent Night of the Living Dead and the original Day of the Dead on Beta or VHS…can’t remember which. I watched them with a couple buddies and have been a fan of the genre ever since. My desire to live vicariously through my characters in a world created in my own imagination is what prompted me to write Trudge. Over the course of a rainy fall and winter I wrote that first novel in small chapters on my iPhone while my son, Cade, played soccer and rode trikes at the indoor park. A friend read the first incarnation, liked it, then turned me on to Smashwords where I eventually self published my short debut novel.

Me: And man, are we ever glad that you did!  I think Trudge is my favorite because it introduces us to Cade and his family.  It’s raw and gritty and…well.  It feels like it COULD happen.  Forgive my gushing.  I just really liked the story.  Okay, now for a goofy question. Pop Quiz: The dead rise now and you can choose ONE weapon as your only weapon during the Zombie Apocalypse. What is it and what do you think are your chances at survival are?

Shawn: I know this is kind of a cop-out but, if the dead were to rise today, Heath, I’d want them to be the Romero variety. Frankly, if I had to face the rage infected creatures in 28 Day’s Later or the fast Zs from WWZ or the Dawn of the Dead remake I would have me foraging for Depends undergarments more so than beans, bullets and band aids.

Me: Sorry.  I snorted on that one.  Here I am thinking you’re gonna call dibs on some fancy assault rifle and you’re worried about Depends.  You got me with that one.  Okay, how about this one…if you had to give a list of authors who most heavily influenced your work, who would make that list?

Shawn: Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Cormac McCarthy, Dean Koontz, Terry Brooks, Lee Child, Brad Thor, Vince Flynn … to name a few.

Me: I know most of those names, but thanks for giving me a few new ones to check out, hehehehe.  Now to get personal. How do you balance your ‘writing time’ with ‘family time’? Do you find your wife encouraging you more now that you have a huge fan base?

Shawn: You know, Heath, my wife wears the pants in the family and I pretty much do whatever the hell she says. (Sound of whip cracking in the background) I find this approach instrumental at reducing domestic friction in our household. All kidding aside actually being able to make a living writing is a definite win-win in that I get to set my own hours, spend those hours doing something that is still very rewarding and then decide when I want to punch the clock and commence that short commute from my upstairs office and go down and hang with my family.

Me: Awesome.  And trust me…I think we all can relate with who rules the roost in most homes.  Shawn, thank you so much for dropping by and giving us some insight into what’s going on and what’s new with you.  I really appreciate it and I’m sure my followers will appreciate the heads up on your series.
Folks, seriously, if you haven’t checked out Shawn’s ‘Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse’ series, you NEED to!  You won’t regret it.

Shawn: Thanks for having me, Heath. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you via FB. Perhaps we’ll meet at a future Con or WHC.

Me: I am SO looking forward to that.  Take care buddy!


Posted by on July 13, 2014 in Uncategorized


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