Zombies, Zombies, and more Zombies.

Everywhere you look there's Zombies. A large percentage of new releases of self published books are, from what I've seen, about the Zombie apocalypse. The walking dead want to eat your brains and they're everywhere from prime time TV to the shelves of your local bookstore. I want to interject right here that I've done no real research to back up my statement above. So please don't fill my comments with links and figure to prove otherwise.

Zombies have become synonymous with horror fiction. or would it be the other way around?

During a recent conversation in a local book store, talk turned to writing. I alluded to the fact that I was a writer and one person asked what I wrote about. I replied, horror. Eyes rolled, heads nodded as knowing glances were exchanged. So you write about Zombies? One of the group asked.

No, I write about things that go bump in the night. Ghosts, haunted places, evil spirits, that sort of thing. The blank looks were enough to send me on my way. Curses, foiled by Zombies again.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Zombies. In fact I have two short stories that deal with Zombies in my soon to be released collection. Well not directly with Zombies, the two stories deal more with the characters who find themselves in the middle of a Zombie apocalypse, and how they adapt, or not, to the changing situation.

But I have come to my own conclusions as to why the genre is so popular. I believe it's a response to the growing confusion that has become our daily lives, the maddening pace and the over crowding. We're connected 24/7 and are being overwhelmed by information.

Zombie fiction as well as Dystopian Fiction such as The Hunger Games, offers us an escape from the insanity that has become our lives in the twenty first century. Not to mention the lifting of the normal restraints society places upon us. Zombies are a target rich environment whose presence has thinned the herd that is humanity, giving those of us who survive more elbow room to live. It offers a wild adventure of survival of the fittest, assuming of course that you are one of the lucky ones who doesn't end up as a hapless, undead, stumbling creature that craves the taste of brains.

A Father's Love

Writers write. It's what we do. We have our own little rituals we perform, our own schedules we follow, we maintain a chronological order for our work. Finish this first, then focus on that. Can't work on that book yet, gotta get this one done. It's what we do. Well, I don't know about about anyone else, but it's what I do.

While working on my novella Reprisal last year I realized that what I really had was two books in one. A sub-plot that was to have been a bit player in the final draft took on a life all its own.  It forced me perform surgery to separate the two, like a surgeon delicately crafting two individuals from one co-joined twin. Well maybe not quite that melodramatic. But in the end, what emerged from the scattered cast offs of the core story in Reprisal, was a second book entirely that I have titled "A Father's Love."

The manuscript sits on my desk right now, all 67,000 words of it, waiting its turn under the knife of revision. On its surface the story is about a young girl and her stuffed bunny, Puddles. But this is a very special stuffed bunny for it contains the love of the young girl's father who gave his life to the cause in Iraq. She and her mother have moved from the west coast to the small unincorporated town of Porter Mines, where legend has it the ghost of a Witch burned at the stake in the seventeen hundreds returns every generation to take her due. Will the love of her father contained within that stuffed bunny be enough to protect her from the Witch?

Beneath the main story runs an undercurrent of a theme that is echoed throughout. The power a Father's love, or lack thereof, has over his children. Little Bobby who will fall prey to the witch dreams nightly of the father he never met. Old man Williams is filled with a bitter regret over the loss of his wife, and his children who have grown weary of his remorseful anger about the loss of his young son, and his own acts that fateful day. Donnie Tasker has returned to Porter Mines to take vengeance on those responsible for the loss of his father to a mob of angry parents. Sheriff Paul Odenton and his wife never had children, so he views the citizens of the county he protects as his extended family.

When the time comes to revise this manuscript that I have scheduled for release on Father's Day 2014, I will be facing my own shortcomings as a father. I have two grown boys who have chosen to not be a part of my life. I guess it's only fair as when they were growing up I was not really a part of theirs.  I was always too busy working, or too busy drinking, to be bothered with them. I was too young for children, too immature, if the truth must me told, and it must. I have carried this burden of remorse for far too long and the time has come to put it down.

They say a writer writes from the depths of his soul. A Father's Love will come from my own remorse over a past that I can never change. In the process I hope to excise the demons that have haunted me these many years.