Posts Tagged ‘left with the dead’


September 5, 2012 5 comments

Over at Drunken Zombie, The Gathering Dead and Left with the Dead go through the review process and manage to come out pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. Check out the fun here.

Will hopefully have some new stuff to talk about next week, folks. Stay tuned!


International Reviews of THE GATHERING DEAD Series

August 16, 2012 1 comment

Heh… McDaniels, Gartrell, and a few million dudes named Zed are gaining some (small) notice internationally. After all, it’s not often that I would expect a German reviewer to proclaim the works are “Exciting, exciting, exciting.” (“Spannend, spannend, spannend.”)

Nice to see! Now all I need to do is sell the foreign rights. ūüėČ

Almost a Year and a Half Later, And I Still…

…get all giddy when I get reviews like this one on The Gathering Dead:

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read with more to come,June 14, 2012
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Gathering Dead (Paperback)

I finally write this review after reading this book and then the two & half others that follow (the half being a novella coming directly after this first book.)

I’ve been following zombie genre based books for the past ten years. Up until the last three or four years, the selections have been limited. Nowadays, it seems that everybody and their brother are producing books in this genre. What was then my scrounging for something new to read in my favorite genre (often with long waits) has now been swamped with countless books (literally hundreds). So many authors are now in the fray

You would think it would be great as a reader with so many options. Well, not really. There have been many disappointments in the long list of authors I’ve tired out… some self-published and others just jumping into the game after this genre found general popularity (too many who really don’t get what this genre is really about… just looking to cash in on the “next thing”.) While I have enjoyed many of the “new comers” in terms of authors, there have been a larger number that just fell flat. It has felt that I’ve sifted through many that have jumped on the bandwagon.

I guess where I’m getting at is that there’s now just a huge influx of books in this genre, literally too many to pick from. I happened across Stephen Knight’s book, “The Gathering Dead,” last fall and gave it a chance. From the first pages, I realized that this book was different, it was good!

The action was fast, the writing was crisp and polished, the plot was riveting and the characters intriguing. This book was the real deal. So I immediately got the next book in line which was a novella that focused on one interesting character in particular… God, how that even went back to make my memory of this first book more enjoyable (as well as making the next two in line that much more enjoyable… this was a kick-ass character on so many levels) These are characters that I as a reader thought about even after finishing a book. And that’s a mark of a good book… you as a reader winds up thinking about the characters as real people and then reflect upon them as someone you actually knew. Their being lingers long after you have read the last page.

More than that, these characters are soldiers. In my experience, having read literally hundreds of books in this genre, I have found that so few authors have been able to write military types beyond the cliched. Hell, most authors seem cartoonish in how they portray the military. Not Knight, either in this book or the others to follow. His military characters are well crafted and throrougly believable. They are real people.

Now, I haven’t told you much about the story in this review. That is on purpose. I don’t want to give away any spoilers. I will just say that this is an excellent read and you WILL find yourself getting the rest of the books in the series. This will be as close as you will get to an addiction if you don’t have one already.

Hell, I liked this series enough that after I was done I wound up seeking Knight’s other works in different genres of which I don’t usually follow… Had gotten his “City of the Damned” which is about vampires… a subject I’m not too enthusiastic about. But, hell that was a good read too (not to mention I hope for a sequel on that score too). So this says that Knight is a good writer. He knows how to tell a story. He has a style that draws you in.

If you decide to try “The Gathering Dead” go ahead and preorder the rest in the series. Have them waiting on hand. You won’t want to wait to find out what happens next.

Now, this series starting with “The Gathering Dead” is a complete story. But there is an opening for a sequel.

God, I hope Knight has plans for one. If not, start something else. But make it quick. I can’t wait!

As we all know, the zombie subgenre is generally overlooked by the vast majority of readers and filmgoers, and it wasn’t until The Walking Dead came to life on AMC that people have begun to take greater notice of the subgenre’s flexibility. While being surrounded by thousands of carnivorous corpses is very likely going to ruin your day, as things progress they become less of an adversary and more of an obstacle. The real conflict comes from the relationships between the survivors, be it between the rather grisly menage a trois illustrated by The Walking Dead‘s Rick, Lori, and Shane, or that between McDaniels and Gartrell in The Gathering Dead.

At any rate, it’s really a kick in the pants for me to see The Gathering Dead and the rest of the books continuing to receive such good marks. Surprising, actually. I always knew I had the ability to string words together, but not with enough… ah, mastery?… to spur folks to write reviews like this one.

Thanks for everything, folks. I’m glad you like the stuff, and there is more to come…

Books, Movies, Comics: A General Update

I hope everyone’s doing well, and are healthy and happy!

I’ve been pretty quiet lately, but it’s not because I’ve lost interest, have been abducted by aliens, or wound up as Scarlett Johansson’s newest boy toy. (Though she apparently does like dalliances with older guys, so I might still have a chance at that.) While I needed some downtime after moving heaven and earth to knock off The Rising Horde books, I’ve also been busy at work on other related projects that I’ll briefly detail here.


Sales for The Rising Horde: Volume 1 and The Rising Horde: Volume 2 are moving right along, especially on Amazon. Even better, their release caused some renewed interest in The Gathering Dead and, to a substantially lesser extent, Left with the Dead. I’m very, very happy with the pace of the sales of all the titles, but I see the spillover hasn’t touched any of the non-zombie books. I’m a bit concerned about this, because it makes me wonder if I’m going to wind up as a one-note writer: those guys who can only sell one specific type of property. I have a widely divergent list of interests and skills, and I’d hoped to be able to tap into that for fun and profit in the years ahead. But when I see some pretty rich fare such as City of the Damned and White Tiger essentially withering on the vine, it does make me take pause. This is a business for me, after all, not a hobby. So I need to be mindful of what I can and can’t do.

Which leads me to wonder if I should release Tribes, a decidedly non-zombified science fiction adventure novel set in the¬†Antarctic, under the Stephen Knight monicker or if I should consider breaking out with another name. There’s a lot to be said for this approach, and there is some data that indicates folks only buy specific books from specific authors. While I like writing about zombies, their retinue is fairly limited, and I’ve already encountered resistance even to my mild attempts to spice up the genre by inserting some feral intelligence into some of the stenches. I get the desire on the part of the reader to want to enjoy similar good experiences, but as a writer, it does leave one feeling a bit boxed in. This is stuff I’ll have to contemplate strongly over the next couple of months as I finish Tribes and send it into the editorial stage.

After that, I have several other projects waiting for my tender ministrations. I haven’t decided which one I’ll do next, though I do have a lot of folks clamoring for more Gathering Dead-like fare. Will I, or won’t I? I’m afraid I don’t know myself, just yet.

Oh! And if you’ve read any of my stuff, please do leave a review wherever you purchased it. That’s always a thrill!


Yeah okay, the Indiegogo crowdfunding stuff is kind of sucking wind. But that’s all right, because at the end of the day, I wasn’t expecting a groundswell of support from that venue. The Gathering Dead is a very specialized product in that it deals with the military response to the zombie apocalypse, then specializes it even further by focusing on Army Special Forces. A lot of folks know about SEAL Team 6 (which hasn’t been called that in years, by the way), but the last time the Green Berets were on anyone’s mind was during the Vietnam War and because John Wayne played one who miraculously took in a glorious sunset where the sun somehow set in the South China Sea. But to that end, look for an Indiegogo Version 2.0 campaign sometime in the summer. By then, I’ll have my multi-thousand dollar trailer locked and loaded, and I’ll be able to better show people what I’m looking to do.

And about the trailer? Work is coming along nicely. Very nicely, but it’s not stuff that I can easily show. This is going to have to cook for another couple of months, and to reveal anything that’s not fully formed is going to hurt the initiative more than help it. I haven’t even shared it with my partners yet, because I know seeing partially-formed footage is going to be something of a downer at this point in time. They want something they can use to raise funds, and gray scale polygons and non-rigged animatics ain’t gonna do the trick. So I need to wait, and let the effects team do what they need to do.

But, there are other things happening on this front as well. I can’t speak about them directly just yet, but people are beginning to take notice of my little zombie picture and are inspecting it here and there. Some of these people are quite famous people as well, people the casual reader of this blog would know and say, “Really? XYZ is interested in The Gathering Dead? Wow!”

But interest is a fleeting thing, and balances are all very delicate. So for now, the less I say on that, the better. But things are continuing to progress in this area, albeit in more stealth mode than I would normally like.


I’m still following up on converting The Gathering Dead into a 100+ page graphic novel. Since I’m a bit of a control freak, I need to ensure that I fully vet the possible printers out there and understand their requirements fully. The folks who print my current books, Lightning Source, aren’t really adept at this kind of product, so I need to determine just who the final contenders will be and move from there.

In addition, I’ll need to assemble the following team:





Production engineer

Overall, it looks like the project will have an out-of-pocket pricetag of around $7,500-$15,000, which is enough to make me take it slowly and ensure that I take the right steps in the right order. Because hey, I really don’t want to have to spend twice as much as I need in order to get this done.

And for all three projects, it’s pretty much the same set of circumstances. I’m committed to doing as much by myself, for myself as I possibly can. Why? Because it’s my property, and while I recognize I’m going to need the participation of others–especially for the film!–I’m not going to cede any control unless it’s absolutely necessary. Because at the end of the day, everyone else gets to walk away from these projects with money in hand. I’m the one who has to shoulder¬†the mistakes and failures, while everyone gets to share in the glory.

And my aim is ensure there’s more of the latter than the former. Approaching it in any other way is just looney, and I’m sure you guys would agree!

Anyway, more to come. Stay tuned, folks.


May 16, 2012 4 comments
Left With The Dead, A "Gathering Dead" Novella

Art for Left With The Dead, A “Gathering Dead” Novella. Artwork by Jared Rackler

Continuing to prove they have simply great taste in zombie apocalypse fiction, the crew over at Bricks of the Dead have reviewed my “Gathering Dead” novella, Left with the Dead. Happily for me, they gave it a general thumbs-up. You can check it out at:¬†

Left with the Dead review 

For those who may be curious, LWTD picks up pretty much right where The Gathering Dead left off. 1SG Dave Gartrell is alone in New York City, cut off from the good ship Escanaba. The only way he’s going to survive in the city is if he pulls himself together and resources every ounce of skill he’s accumulated over his thirty year career as a U.S. Army Special Forces Green Beret. But hey, this is Gartrell we’re talking about. Of course he can survive!¬†

Well, until he picks up a young mother and her autistic son. Then the mission essentials kind of change for him…¬†

From the review, there’s this little snippet which pretty much sets the tone:¬†

Our protagonist starts off surrounded by zombies in a giant city, short on ammo, and without any real resources other than what’s on his back. Things don’t really improve for him from there. Instead, they just get tougher. Not only does he have to try to extricate himself, he also becomes responsible for two other people: a mother and her severely autistic seven year-old son.

That young boy is what really made Left with the Dead work for me. It takes our √ľber-masculine special forces soldier, and humanizes him in ways most books like this could only dream of. He also makes for some interesting challenges throughout the narrative. Not only must the boy be protected, he must also be kept occupied and calm so as not to draw in the army of zombies prowling the streets.

Kind of a raised bar there if ever there was one, if I do say so myself. Interested parties can find this little zombie apocalypse sojourn at the following sites:

Amazon (eBook)

Amazon (Paperback) 

Barnes & Noble (eBook)

Barnes & Noble (Paperback) 

Smashwords (eBooks in a variety of formats) 

For those who haven’t had the opportunity to check it out, now would be a great time. And yes, I am using Jedi mind control…

Showboating Is Bad For You

March 22, 2012 11 comments

AH-64D Apache Longbows appear in both Left With The Dead and The Rising Horde, and they do what they’re supposed to do because they’re piloted by disciplined aircrews who understand that in order for everyone to go home at night, they can’t screw around.

Alas, in real life, some guys forget that high speed approaches at high altitude that end with power bleedoff can result in settling with power, and at 60+ knots, contact with terra firma can culminate in tail rotor separation…which in turn results in a total departure from controlled flight.

Check out the video here.

At least this one didn’t have the Longbow millimeter wave fire control radar installed. I wonder if the Army’s Safety Center¬†will award the pilot and his CPG with the Broken Wing Award before they prosecute them?

Gee, I've got the collective pulled into my armpit, why are we still sinking?

Gee, I’ve got the collective pulled up into my armpit and the power control levers full forward…why do I still have that sinking feeling?

Skids are for kids–woo-hoo!

Are we flyin’ or drivin’?

Pop goes the weasel!

Look at all the troops standing near the initial impact point. Those guys could’ve been killed.

A Belated Happy New Year

January 3, 2012 14 comments

Happy 2012, everyone. I’m a bit behind in things these days (such as updating this blog), but hey, life is tough and then you die. Hopefully not this year, though. Clearly, I don’t buy into any of that “the world ends in 2012” nonsense that’s going on.

I will tell you that I just entered Left With The Dead into the KDP program, and it will be available for FREE starting tomorrow. So if you don’t yet have it, grab it! Nook and Smashwords customers, don’t fret that it’s disappeared–it’ll be back in 90 days.

Keep cool, y’all…or if you’re in my sector of the world, keep warm! In the meantime, enjoy the pic. Zombies…so cute and cuddly, once you get past the bad smell and their desire to eat you…