Tag Archives: SCIFI

Zombies, Bram Stoker Awards, and author Joe McKinney #horror #scifi #amreading #amwriting

Author Joe McKinney is serious about zombies. Image: moonbooks.net

Author Joe McKinney is serious about zombies.
Image: moonbooks.net

In our ongoing series THE BOOK THAT HOOKED YOU at the Lachesis Publishing Daily Blog we feature Q and As with established and successful authors who tell us about the books and authors they love as well as telling us about the books they are working on.

Today’s Q and A features Joe McKinney, the multi-talented and a Bram Stoker Award winning author (multiple times) of horror fiction, science fiction and crime thrillers. Joe McKinney is based in San Antonio where he is a sergeant for the San Antonio Police Department where he helps to run their 911 Dispatch Center. He has been a homicide detective and a disaster mitigation specialist. 

$_35200px-Sc48Take us back to when you first discovered horror and science fiction. When did you become a reader? How old were you? What were some of the books that made an impact on you?

JM: My gateway drug was Stewart Cowley’s SPACEWRECK. An absolutely beautiful book. Every page featured a full size colored painting of some eerie, abandoned spaceship. There was a two or three page short story to go with each painting, and I would spend hours going through them. I must have read that book a thousand times. I think I was seven when I first found that book, and after that I went into Robert Heinlein’s juveniles. My favorite of those was SPACE CADET.

51lQEI1IcrL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_bl_26_ebookimg-swan-song_134432244231Tell us about a few of the authors who inspired you, when you first started in your own writing career?

JM: One big inspiration was Lee Thomas. We met at a convention in Dallas shortly after I published my first novel, and we’ve been friends ever since. Lee has been through just about joy and nightmare the publishing world can throw at an author, and he was a tremendous mentor. As to authors who inspired me, I’d have to point to Robert McCammon. His early works were amazing takes on classic horror tropes, like vampires and zombies and werewolves. But after that, he went into these fantastically lush novels like Boy’s Life and Swan Song that set the bar impossibly high. When I write, I push myself to try to be that good.


51XeozUmMVL._UY250_
51zJ3HUbaCL._SX309_BO1,204,203,200_You write horror, science fiction, and crime novels. Tell us what draws you to those three genres?

JM: You know, I think the genre finds you and not the other way around. It’s like water finding its own level. You end up in horror because you have to be there. I’m a pretty upbeat guy most of the time, and I try to have a great deal of fun in everything I do, but when I write, it just ends up going to dark places. I wish I could give you a better answer than that, but that’s about the size of it.

Image of Joe McKinney perpetualpublishing.com

Image of Joe McKinney perpetualpublishing.com

You’re a police supervisor in your “day job”. How does your very challenging police work impact your writing?

JM: Well, police work has colored my entire writing career. Not only because a lot of my characters tend to be cops, but also my approach to characters. In fact, I think it’s impossible to underestimate the influence it’s had on my writing. You can’t do this job without it changing you in a fundamental way. Maybe that’s where the dark stuff comes from.

51JOK-Blf7L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Tell us about a book that you’ve read recently (past year) that blew you away (can be from any genre).

JM: That’s easy. 14 by Peter Clines was an amazing science fiction adventure story with a crazy Lovecraftian turn at the end. A young man is looking for a cheap apartment in the heart of LA. He finds one, but after he moves in, finds one odd quark of the building after another. Any one of them wouldn’t amount to much, but when taken in their totality, they add up to a mystery with shades of a government conspiracy and cosmic horror. Trust me, one of the best times I’ve ever had between the covers of a book. I also loved The Martian by Andy Weir and Ready Player One by Earnest Cline.

What is the coolest thing a reader has ever said (or done) for you?

JM: I once wrote a magic typewriter story called “Writing for Exposure.” A fan of mine enjoyed it so much he found a 1939 Underwood typewriter, completely restored it, and sent it to me as a gift. It has a special place of honor on the shelf in my office.

510hvfHPSeL._SX296_BO1,204,203,200_You’ve won the Bram Stoker Award twice now – tell us about your books that won and how you feel about being on that illustrious list?

The first time I won was for my novel Flesh Eaters. That’s the origin story for my zombie series, The Dead World. You can probably tell from what I’ve written above that I’m a huge Robert McCammon fan. Well, he was one of the presenters for the award, and when I went up to the stage to receive it, McCammon leaned in and whispered, “Great job, Joe. I love your book.” I nearly fainted right there. To this day, that remains one of my finest writing moments ever.

51QLxzTbdLL._SX302_BO1,204,203,200_Tell us about your latest release THE DEAD WON’T DIE (part of an ongoing series) Tell us about the book and the series.

JM: The Dead Won’t Die is Book 2 in my new zombie series, The Deadlands. It’s been thirty years since the zombie apocalypse, and only little pockets of humanity have survived. One of those communities is a place called Arbella. Arbella has not only survived, but thrived, and now they are getting so big they need to expand. The trouble is, nobody knows what’s out there. So, one of the up and coming members of the community, First Deputy of the Constabulary Jacob Carlton, organizes an expedition to go explore the Deadlands. In the first book Jacob and his friend Kelly Banis barely survive their encounter with the nomadic communities that wander the Deadlands. They are rescued by a super advanced society called Temple. The Dead Won’t Die takes us into a vast conspiracy that is threatening to destroy Temple from the inside out. Fun stuff, with tons of zombie action thrown in to boot.

THE-RETREAT-both-coversWhat are you currently working on and when can we expect it to be released?

JM: I’m currently finishing up Book 3 in a series that I’m writing with Craig DiLouie and Stephen Knight. My installment is called Die Laughing. The series takes place in the present day, along the Eastern seaboard. A new disease called The Bug appears on the scene, and it turns its victims into unspeakably cruel and viscous killers. The disease victims are called Klowns because they cannot control their laughter. It’s how they process pain, both their own and their victims. A battalion of light infantry is in Boston when the series starts, tasked with protecting the populace. But they never had a chance, and now they are in full retreat. The first book was about getting out of Boston. The second book was about the rolling gunfight that got them to Philadelphia. That’s where I pick it up.

You’re a writer of horror and crime and sci-fi. What truly scares you?

JM: Well, snakes and heights. But those are just things that give me the creeps. When I think about things that truly terrify me, I think about Alzheimer’s disease. I watched my grandfather die of that, seeing his mind taken from him just scared me to death. Now that I’m older, the fear is even stronger.

Bonus: What is your “go-to” snack when you’re writing?

JM: Popcorn. Definitely popcorn.

limbus-inc-coverJoe McKinney is the San Antonio-based author of several horror, crime and science fiction novels. His longer works include the four part Dead World series, made up of Dead City, Apocalypse of the Dead, Flesh Eaters and The Zombie King; the science fiction disaster tale, Quarantined, which was nominated for the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Award for superior achievement in a novel, 2009; and the crime novel, Dodging Bullets. His upcoming releases include the horror novels Lost Girl of the Lake, The Red Empire, The Charge and St. Rage. Joe has also worked as an editor, along with Michelle McCrary, on the zombie-themed anthology Dead Set, and with Mark Onspaugh on the abandoned building-themed anthology The Forsaken. His short stories and novellas have been published in more than thirty publications and anthologies.

Connect with Joe McKinney via is his website, on facebook, twitter, @JoeMcKinney and you can email him at joemckinney2033@gmail.com

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What inspires your writing? (guest blog by David Lee Summers – sci-fi and horror author)

S FALL COVEROur guest blog today is by Lachesis author David Lee Summers. David has written several horror and science fiction novels for Lachesis including The Pirates of Sufiro which is free, and Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order.

Our ongoing topic is: what inspires your writing? Over to you David . . .

When asked what inspires me, I think of the 1985-92 television series Ray Bradbury Theater. During the intro segment, Ray Bradbury walked into an old cage elevator and came out in an office full of memorabilia and toys. He referred to it as his “magician’s toyshop.” All he had to do was look around and begin. As it turns out, I first met Ray Bradbury in 1983 and he encouraged me to go through life with eyes wide open, because an author never knows where inspiration will strike.

As with most writers, books can be an inspiration for me. Several years ago, I read Robert A. Heinlein’s Time Enough for Love and John Nichols’ The Magic Journey, back to back. Both told stories of life in a frontier. In Time Enough for Love, the frontier was space. In The Magic Journey, the frontier was New Mexico. As I read the two books, I thought of my grandparents and great-grandparents who homesteaded New Mexico at the end of the nineteenth century. I wondered what it would be like to tell that story in space. Ultimately, that became the genesis of my first novel, The Pirates of Sufiro.

4-meterMy “day” job is operating telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory.  Not only do I have the opportunity to contribute to world-class science, I find myself awash in inspiration, and sometimes in very unexpected ways. Back in the 1990s, one of my fellow telescope operators was a fan of vampire novels. She loved everything from Bram Stoker to Anne Rice, and she hooked me on the genre. We used to joke that telescope operators were the vampires of the observatory because we were only visible from sunset to sunrise. This made me ask what if a vampire really was a telescope operator? As I considered that question, I wrote down what would ultimately become the first chapters of Vampires of the Scarlet Order.

Of course, working at an observatory, having the opportunity to see planets, stars, and galaxies regularly, also inspires me in more expected science fictional directions. One night, while observing the heart of our own galaxy in the infrared, a visiting astronomer remarked that we were seeing farther into the center of the galaxy than any human had seen before. I began to imagine ways humans really could visit the center of the galaxy and that started me on a writing path that ultimately led to my novels Children of the Old Stars and Heirs of the New Earth.

My current writing project takes some inspiration from my job at Kitt Peak. The 4-meter telescope is housed in a 17-story tall skyscraper on a remote mountain in Southern Arizona. At night, the building is mostly empty. Stairways go off in unusual directions. Doors open onto odd-shaped, closet-like spaces. What few lights there are, are typically red and dim. Astronomers often remark how scary the building feels. Because of this, I’ve been working on a new novel that imagines a terrifying night at a haunted observatory called, The Astronomer’s Crypt.

Magician-ToyshopOver the years, I’ve been building my own magician’s toyshop. I collect things that grab my eye, build models of spaceships that capture my imagination, and buy prints from science fiction convention art shows that depict alien worlds. On the wall in the picture (on the left), you can see a model I built of a solar sail, a type of spacecraft NASA and other space agencies are trying to build. It’s the thing that looks a little like an old farmhouse windmill. Imagining travel aboard a solar sail spacecraft led to my novel The Solar Sea

In general, inspiration comes in favorite songs. It comes when I spend time with my kids and my wife. Sometimes inspiration finds me while I’m taking a walk through my neighborhood, hashing out an idea. I’ve found Ray Bradbury’s advice to me all those years ago to be absolutely true. A writer must go through life with eyes and ears open, because inspiration is everywhere.

Connect with David online via facebook and twitter, and check out his web site.

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THE PIRATES OF SUFIRO by DAVID LEE SUMMERS (science fiction)

THE REVOLVING BOOK TUESDAY EDITION IS FREE! 🙂

THE PIRATES OF SUFIRO by DAVID LEE SUMMERS

POSTED TUESDAY MARCH 13TH, 2012

GENRE: SCIENCE FICTION

FREE on Barnes and Noble Nook: http://tinyurl.com/7l68xpf

ONLY .99 CENTS at Amazon Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/6qtdxqe

PUBLISHER: LACHESIS PUBLISHING: http://tinyurl.com/8xvpnm5

READ AN EXCERPT: (scroll to the bottom) http://tinyurl.com/7l68xpf

SYNOPSIS:  The Pirates of Sufiro is a novel by David Lee Summers. It tells the story of the colonization of a planet by pirate captain, Ellison Firebrandt, his first lieutenant, Roberts, and Suki, his lover.  The planet soon becomes a refuge for people of all sorts, looking for a new life and a chance to start over.  Things go wonderfully, until Captain Jerome Ellis of the Mao Corporation discovers the rare mineral, Erdonium, on the planet.  Soon, the old settlers are battling the new entrepreneurs for control of the planet.  At the same time, the galaxy faces a new threat…a power that destroys space ships at will…an enigma called the Cluster.

An all new edition of The Pirates of Sufiro with a new cover and four interior illustrations by Laura Givens is now available!

“Not unlike his other works, David Lee Summers’ novel, The Pirates of Sufiro offers extraordinary storytelling, diversity, and battles combined with fine writing, tight plots, and rich, memorable characters. This is definitely one author I’d read again and again.” Nicole Givens Kurtz, author of Zephyr Unfolding <http://www.zephyrunfolding.com>

REVIEWS:

http://tinyurl.com/84k2pg7

http://tinyurl.com/7ff2nmu

AUTHOR BIO:

David Lee Summers is an author, editor and astronomer living somewhere between the western and final frontiers in Southern New Mexico.  He is the author of five novels: The Pirates of Sufiro, Children of the Old Stars, Heirs of the New Earth, Vampires of the Scarlet Order, and The Solar Sea.  David is also co-author, with Lee Clark Zumpe, of the book, Blood Sampler, from Sam’s Dot Publishing.  His short fiction has appeared in such magazines as Realms of Fantasy, The Vampire’s Crypt, Aoife’s Kiss, The Fifth Di…, The Martian Wave, and Science Fiction Trails.  He edits the science fiction and fantasy magazine, Tales of the Talisman and serves as a consultant for El Paso Community College’s literary magazine, Chrysalis.  In addition to his work in the written word, David has also worked at numerous observatories around the southwestern United States.  Currently he works for Kitt Peak National Observatory, outside of Tucson, Arizona.

He lives in Southern New Mexico with his wife Kumie and his daughters Myranda and Verity.

CONNECT WITH DAVID ONLINE:

WEB SITE: http://www.zianet.com/dsummers/index.html
BLOG: http://davidleesummers.wordpress.com/
FACEBOOK: http://tinyurl.com/7r48kqm AND http://tinyurl.com/7fjke34
TWITTER: http://twitter.com/#!/davidleesummers

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