Archive for April, 2012


This is an excerpt from the book I am working on now, a sequel to RISE and AGE OF THE DEAD.  It is set in Mission BC eight years after the dead rise.

DEAD INSIDE by GARETH WOOD

CHAPTER FIVE (Excerpt)

Mission Safe Zone, September 1st 2012, the Essential Supplies Warehouse

Alexander Corrone reported for work early. His shift began at seven thirty in the morning, but he was there by seven. He was the boss of one of the two warehouse crews for Essential Supplies, the day shift, and he ran his crew efficiently and well. He was lean and dark haired, just slightly greying. His features were blunt and forgettable, and he blended into a crowd easily, unless he spoke. His age could have been anything from thirty to fifty.

Alexander stood outside the warehouse in the warm morning sunlight and greeted his team as they arrived. He knew them all by name, knew the names of their families if they had any, and knew their cares and worries. He was considered a great boss by everyone on the crew. He was known as a leader and a team player. His team thought he liked them, and genuinely cared about their lives and problems.

It was all a lie.

“Morning, Bob,” he said, as one of his team came in. Bob made small talk for a few minutes and finished an incredibly rare cigarette.

“Helen,” he greeted his forklift operator when she arrived, “how is Sandy doing?”

He listened to the replies and filed them away, tucking the memories away inside his head to be evaluated later. Soon everyone was there, all of them on time and happy to have jobs in such a prestigious place. Essential Supplies was the place to work if you weren’t a salvager or a Wall guard.

As the last member of his team arrived, Alexander went inside, listening to them shooting the shit, watching them gesture and touch and catch up. Alexander smiled and nodded as they engaged him in conversation. He spoke words of encouragement and got his team to work. None of them suspected that beneath his affable and kind exterior, his well practised expressions and calm manner, Alexander felt nothing.

Nothing at all.

He had come into his position through a combination of what appeared to be good luck on one hand, and terrible tragedy on the other. Alexander had become foreman of the day shift crew when his predecessor had been killed and eaten by a wandering zombie. At least, that was how it appeared to everyone but Alexander.

He had been working his way up the ladder of command in Essential Supplies for some time, nearly six years. Unfortunate but not always fatal things tended to happen to those in his path. He was very careful, and no one yet had managed to guess that it was him behind the scandals, accidents, and deaths.

Alexanders goal, ultimately, was to be in charge of Essential Supplies. That was the high seat on the Town Council he aspired to. Not to serve the interests of the population, or to help people, or protect the town against the undead, but purely so that he could have the pick of the salvage for himself, to make himself more comfortable and affluent. One of the few things he felt anymore was the distinct pleasure of skimming something out of the incoming salvage. His pleasure would be tenfold, he knew, when he was in position to take anything he wanted and make it his own.

Every few weeks the list of salvaged items was prepared for the Council meeting, and it went through the head of Essential Supplies, but not before Alexander got it and looked it over for choice prizes. Once a month or so he would select a few things and put them aside, then delete them from the list. There were no further records kept below his own, since he made sure the salvagers were subtly discouraged from keeping records. If they took a little initiative and made a list of everything they had recovered, Alexander would take the list and then ignore it, making his own list right in front of them on his own clipboard. His people would explain that they had to go over everything that came in themselves, even if the salvagers came in with a typed, double-spaced, and in triplicate inventory of their haul. Most of them took the hint and just dropped off the goods at the warehouse.

He planned to take his team with him to the top, not because of any loyalty to them, but because he needed well trained minions to do the hard work. He had absolutely no interest in doing the work himself. So he got to know the crew, made sure they were loyal to him, and made sure they were taken care of. A little something to help them out now and then, like a few extra cans of food, a pack of cigarettes, or antibiotics for a sick child. Whatever it was, it always came from his hands, so they thought he cared and stayed loyal.

All the while he was cold inside, quiet like a grave.

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Accidental Publication

How I ended up becoming a published author is really a story of coincidence.  I had never intended to publish. When I started RISE back in 2004 it was a hobby.  I needed something to do since I was at a crossroads in my life.  As a fan of the zombie genre I had seen many of the films, and read a few of the online stories.  What had always struck me as absurd about the movies especially was the fact that the characters acted stupidly out of character, and died for it.  I understand that it’s a movie, yes, and they don’t always make sense.

What I set out to do with RISE was explore a little bit of what might happen if reasonably intelligent people, faced with a Romero-style zombie apocalypse, were to learn from experience.  But never mind that, this is about getting it published.

A few years after I finished RISE, and was a ways into the sequel, AGE OF THE DEAD, I got an email from a Spanish publisher.  I had put up my email address and invited comments on the story on an Angelfire website where I posted the fiction, and had gotten several dozen emails from all over the world from people with comments on the stories.  The email in question came from Dolmen Editorial, a Spanish publishing house that does translations of books and comics from other languages to distribute in Spain.  They also have Linea Z, their Z Line of zombie fiction that they publish.  Apparently it is a big thing in Spain, this whole zombie genre.  So the email said that zombie fiction sells pretty well in Spain, and would I consider having RISE translated and published?

After a few emails back and forth I asked my wife what she thought.  With her encouragement I asked for a contract, and signed it.  That is how “EL DESPERTAR DE LOS MUERTOS” came to be, the Spanish language translation of RISE, published in physical form before the English language version was even a thought.  To date the book has sold 1100+ copies in Spain.

What this did was open doors.  It made me think, can I sell English copies here?  I decided to try Lulu, a print-on-demand free internet publishing company.  I uploaded a copy of RISE with some cover photography I had done myself to the Lulu site, and ordered myself a copy.  It arrived, looked pretty good, had an actual ISBN number and everything.  So I approved it and it was for sale in electronic and physical form.  I sold 22 copies.  If you have one, it’s a collectors item.  If I ever meet anyone who has one I will happily sign it for them.

About a year and a half ago I was on vacation in Vancouver, walking across the plaza in front of the hotel we were staying at, when I decided to check my email on my iPhone.  There was an email from Permuted Press, publishers extraordinaire of post apocalyptic fiction.  I had received one email a long time ago from them, back when RISE was nearing completion, but I never followed up on it.  This new email wanted to know, since they had seen that it was now available in Spanish, would I be interested in publication in English?

This was a no-brainer for me.  I had done nothing other than write a book.  Both times, publishers CAME TO ME.  How could I not do this?  So I replied, we talked, and I mentioned that I had just finished the sequel.  Soon there were two book contracts to sign, I am writing two more books, RISE has been published in many forms, the Lulu version and the free online versions are long gone, and AGE is going to be published this fall.  Both books had the attentions of a real live editor who did a great job of cleaning up my rough framework and turning them into intelligible words.  Thanks Felicia!

Ebooks and Audio books are a huge market.  The physical book is cool to have in your hands, but the real frontier of publishing is electronic.  I have read three or four books just on my iPhone, and my daughter has an eReader that she has read many books on.  I see people on the bus and train all the time reading on their iPads and Kobos and such. Expect far more of this in the future.

That is the story of how the books came to be.  Like I said, I had to do almost nothing other than the original writing.