Thursday, April 21, 2011

Zombified: Episode 1: Wooneyville (Volume 1) by Matt Di Spirit

Classic zombie horror comes to Wooneyville! Joey wakes up to a bone-chilling call from his girlfriend, Dana. She is a nurse on the front lines as the dead and dying develop a hankering for human flesh. Joey grabs his gun and heads off to find her before the undead overwhelm everyone. He has a plan: meet up with his childhood buddy, save his girl, and hold up in his parents' well-stocked house. Nothing ever goes has planned, however.

Matt Di Spirito is an indie author from Rhode Island. He writes horror, fantasy, and science fiction short stories and novellas. Matt spent a decade practicing the craft of writing and trying to sell to publishing houses and magazines. With the advent of digital media, self-publishing became a viable option for Matt.

What will readers like about your book?
If you enjoy classic zombie fiction with a focus on survival horror, then "Zombified" should be right up your alley. The zombies aren't just background noise in this story: they are the story. Everything the survivors experience and fight through is centered on the undead and the effect of flesh-eating monsters in modern society. If you find yourself enthralled by "Night of the Living Dead", "Dawn of the Dead", and the show "The Walking Dead", then you're in good company: the author is a fan of those same movies and shows.

Why did you self publish?
While finishing college and correspondence courses for writing, I marketed a lot of work to magazines and publishing houses. I ended up with a lot of rejection letters and a handful of promising leads, but none of my work was accepted. I learned a lot about how to proofread, format, and submit properly, but I never had the satisfaction of seeing my writing in print. When I learned about digital platforms for publishing, it was an easy decision. The goal of any writer is to have others read and enjoy the story; without readers, a writer isn't a writer.

What is your writing process?
I wing it, mostly. Starting with a basic idea (usually no more than a few sentences), I throw the characters into the story and see what happens. Sometimes a particular scene comes to mind, but it always results from something else that happened in the work. All of the work I've done from a detailed outline is the absolute worst writing I've ever done--seriously, it's that bad. Writing from a script feels phony to me. I want to enjoy the story, too!

How long does it take you to write your first draft?
It depends on the length of the work. I focus on short stories and novellas. Novellas are a perfect medium for expressing a full story or starting a series, and that's the medium I work in most often. Assuming the work is 150 printed pages, I aim to complete the first draft in two weeks.

What inspired you to write this particular story?
The same thing that draws people to zombie horror: morbid fascination. My buddy--who is the inspiration for the main character of "Zombified"--spends a lot of time with me talking about things like "what would you do in a zombie apocalypse?". Needless to say, we have a plan... just in case. Those conversations, and my fascination with uncompromising terror, inspired and continue to inspire me in this particular genre.


After the next apartment building, Joey hung a left and stuttered to a stop. A beat-up station wagon rested against a telephone pole, smoke curling up from the radiator. The driver-side door was open, the window busted. A dark trail ran from the seat, across the pavement, and behind the car.

Joey raised the Glock, mag-lite held in his left hand, and lined up the night sights with the flashlight's circle. He walked slowly around the car, keeping a healthy distance, and approached the rear end.

The sound turned his stomach.

What the hell, he registered the thought as his eyes came to rest on a woman crouching over the prostrate body of a chubby, flannel-shirted guy. He was sprawled perpendicular to the rear bumper, spread-eagle, and covered in gore. The woman wore a nightgown, splattered red, and held a ropy strand of intestine like corn on the cob. She gnawed and chewed, slurping the bloody slime.

Joey wretched and took a few steps back. Tears welled up in his eyes. There's no movie in the world that can get you ready for this, he thought. He raised the Glock, fixing the green dots on the woman's head. His finger resisted; he'd never killed anyone before, and he knew once he started…BANG!

The muzzle flash and ear-splitting sound stopped his heart. Joey lowered the gun, breathing heavy; adrenaline rushed through his body. He didn't remember pulling the trigger, but the woman was thrown forward several yards. What was left of her head oozed and squirted; chunks lay in a wide arc around her body. A wisp of smoke curled from the barrel of Joey's gun.

He looked up at the moon and forced himself to breathe. Sweat coated his body, running down his face and neck. Joey scanned the area, sweeping the mag-lite for any signs of movement. He started to walk away when he heard it.

The dead man groaned and stirred, his limbs making a blood angel on the street. He tried to sit up, then rolled over and staggered up. Blood-shot eyes fixed on Joey; its intestines hung like spilled noodles. It lurched forward, teeth snapping. Joey backpedaled and raised the Glock: the second shot came easier, more controlled and deliberate.

The man's head exploded; fragments flew back, splattering the station wagon and sidewalk beyond. The headless corpse floundered for a moment and then flopped to the side, unmoving.
Joey shuddered. At least head shots work, he thought.


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