Undead Uncensored Cover Reveal

From the mobile unit of ZSC Commander-in-Chief Juliette Terzieff:

After months of anticipation the day has finally come when we can release the cover art for Undead Uncensored, the second Zombie Survival Crew anthology. This year’s anthology is a vibrant collection of short fiction, poetry and non-fiction pieces designed to help you get your zombie freak on and prepare for what we might all face if the zombipocalypse hits!

Undead Uncensored features the work of yours truly alongside other ZSC Commanders actor Michael Rooker, award winning author LK Gardner-Griffie, and authors Jinxie G, R.C. Murphy and Amy Sundberg. ZSC crew members including Wendy Sparrow, Jessica Capelle, Robin Sellman, Amber Revelt, Stephanie Allen, Christopher De Voss and many others contributed their artistic endeavors to this creeptastic collection!!

Undead Uncensored is already available for pre-order here and orders will begin shipping on December 1, 2012.

Now without further ado… (yes, you can stop holding your breath now)

The cover for Undead Uncensored


Fear and Zombies in Northern Texas

Dispatcher: RC Murphy

Hang on to your hats! Convention season is in full swing for your Zombie Survival Crew commanders. So far we’ve scouted new troops in Albuquerque, New Jersey, Virginia Beach, and Calgary. Our next stop puts us in Dallas, TX for Texas Frightmare Weekend. How many loyal brigadiers will we see there?

The brave Commanders attending Texas Frightmare are:

Anthony Michael Hall

Norman Reedus

Michael Rooker

RC Murphy

IronE Singleton

Juliette Terzieff

Tony Todd

Also attending are The Walking Dead cast members:

Madison Lintz

Chandler Riggs

No, not *this* zombie bunneh

We’ll be holding a brand new Con-test during the Saturday and Sunday of Texas Frightmare! The zombie bunnies RC keeps as pets in the Command Center have escaped and we think some of them stowed away in her luggage. Find the zombie bunny hiding on the ZSC table and win something special from us!

One prize per day, so you better be quick! Never know where the zombie bunnies will show up…

If you are following us on Twitter (@TheZSC) you’ve probably noticed that we’re creeping up on 2,000 followers over there. Pass the word along to your friends, family—anyone you want to be safe and secure when the Zombiepocalypse begins. When we reach 2,000 Twitter followers, we’ll pick a random follower to win a signed copy of our first anthology, Undead is Not an Option!

 


Undead Is Not An Option: We Take Care of Our Own

To ZSC Brigade leaders and 1st Lieutenants:
I’m sending this from a tiny town outside Moab called End of The Line. I’ve holed up in an Old West museum with a Navajo named Joe Holiday. The walkers have thinned out, but that won’t last long. I’ve had a lot of time on my hands, so—
We Take Care of Our Own is about a tight-knit family dealing with survival amidst the Zombie Apocalypse in a small Midwestern town and was inspired by the The Walking Dead. The treatment of both the graphic novel and the TV series inspired this tale because it’s brilliantly complex, poignant, and shockingly real. We Take Care Of Our Own examines the human reaction in the shadow of the Zombie Apocalypse.
I’ll be moving on in the morning with Joe. We’ll be heading to Monument Valley, where his people are. In the meantime, keep up the good fight…I know I will.

Please note because the characters are dealing with a zombie outbreak, this excerpt may have some strong language.

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We Take Care of Our Own
by EC

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My brother and I are the only two left in Churchville, Illinois, population once 112. I’d say last two alive, but that’s not really right. I’m alive, but my brother, Tom Nolan, is very dead. He’s a zombie now. An undead man walking. Tom used to call them flesh-heads, like the towel-heads he fought over in Iraq, but that was before he got bit. I know I’m supposed to put him down, but he’s my brother, and we promised Dad that we’d take care of each other no matter what.
     Dad always said, “Us Nolans, we take care of our own.”
     It’s the six hundred and sixty-sixth day since we stopped using calendars. I only know because 665 is written on the little chalkboard I keep up here. Beneath it are the thin remnants of all the numbers that have been written and erased. I take up the nub of chalk, erase the 5 with my finger, and draw a 6 in a looping motion.
     666…the number of the beast. I think of the Iron Maiden song. It was one of my brother’s favorites. I remember their mascot, Eddie; tight dead skin pulled over his skull face. In one of their posters Eddie was dressed like Uncle Sam, grinning and pointing his rotten knife of finger. That’s right; UNCLE EDDIE WANTS TO EAT YOU! Welcome to The Zombified States of America!
     I lie still for a minute, breathing in the warm attic air; wood and dust, mixed with my own stink. I’ve long taken to sleeping in my clothes. Tom used to say they’d stand up on their own if I bothered to take them off. I don’t sleep very well anymore. Mostly because my mind always goes back over all the things that have happened, and partly because of the Metallica that plays all night long. I play it for Tom, and for me. They were his favorite band, and it helps to drown out the racket he makes the minute darkness falls. I don’t know what it is with flesh-heads, but the night wakes them up, like rats or coyotes; gets their zombie engines runnin’ full throttle and sharpens their senses. Even though Tom is walled up in Grandpa’s bomb shelter, he always knows when night has come.
     I sit up on my mattress. My butt sinks down through whiny, shot springs to the wooden floor beneath. The emptiness in my stomach howls. Man, I’m hungry. Maybe I’ll find some food today in town. Maybe.
     The lone window in the attic glows white hot with sunlight that blots out Illinois farm country below and beyond.
     I pull on my boots, and remember buying them with Dad and my brother. I reach for my brother’s belt and stand up, careful not to whack my head on the low eaves thick with shadows and cobwebs. I thread the belt into my jean loops, and pulling it tight, see I’ve punched six new holes in its cracked leather. My brother used to say I looked like one of those starving children on TV.
     I take up my shotgun that stands against the wall like a cowboy leaning on a post. It’s a Remington 870 express pump action. Dad gave it to me when I turned thirteen. I’m seventeen now, and I miss being thirteen something terrible.
     I start down the attic steps, each one creaking its own note like piano keys.
     
     The basement is cool and dark as a moonless field. Morning quiets my brother, and all the Metallica albums on the mp3 player usually run out about four in the morning.
     I snatch the mp3 player, with its cracked plastic face, out of the speakers it spends the nights docked in. Mom gave us the mp3 player and the speakers. She bought them right after she got herself a eBook reader. Mom said we shouldn’t be afraid of technology, especially if it helped a person appreciate the arts. I guess Metallica, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen are as much art as Mom’s books.
     I stare for a moment at the thick steel door that keeps my brother safe. I touch my hand to it, wishing I could still touch my brother. I wish I could still muss his hair, or try and make him flinch. He stirs behind the door. I hear the slow clicking and clacking of his teeth, tired from gnashing all night, followed by a low, growling grunt, then silence. I slip the mp3 player into the front pocket of my jeans and bound up the steps, thinking of Mom instead of my zombie brother.
     
     The sunlight leaks into the kitchen around the edges of the ply boards that cover every window on the first and second floor. I hate it because it makes the whole house feel like a cardboard box, lit by seams and cracks, but without them, there’d only be a pane of glass between you and death. Not that plywood keeps death out, ‘cause it doesn’t, but it’s a good first line of defense.
     I set my rifle on the kitchen table, next to the boxes of shells, and go to my bike angled against the counter. I check its chain and return to the table. Man, I’m tired. I sit down. Just for a minute.

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To read more and find out the depths to which Lord Henry Abercrombie falls, check out Undead Is Not An Option.


Second Round Anthology Finalists

From behind the zombie bunny cages of RC Murphy

We’ve been busy little bees in the ZSC Command Center the last few weeks—all thanks to you, our extremely talented brigadiers. After a lot of reading, we’re ready to announce the second round finalists for our second anthology contest (try saying that ten times fast…). BUT in order to see who moves on to the second round, you have to be a member (or login). Once you’ve created your account (or have logged in), check out the Second Round Anthology Finalists.


Undead Is Not An Option: Never Say Die

A gentleman’s club becomes a refuge for the well-to-do when the dead rise, through one member has a dark secret hanging over his head which threatens all who discover it. One by one the group’s number dwindles, until there is nothing left to do but the unthinkable. This alternate history zombie tale recounts the final days in the life of one of the survivors, as his time – and the 1930s – draws to a dark close.

Please note because the characters are dealing with a zombie outbreak, this excerpt may have some strong language.

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Never Say Die
by Gary James

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The choir invisible isn’t as invisible as it used to be; now streets chime with the tones of their number, and it seems their number grows every day. It is almost as if they have been drawn out into the streets from where they have fallen to join their fellow geaches in some macabre pack instinct unknowable to those of us whose eyes are still bright. Their irrepressible desire for the dark meat disturbs me in ways I have not the words to describe, though Asher seemed able to stand witness to their atrocities with no ill.
     For the longest time I feared I would be ensconced within the walls of the Athenaeum forevermore, a living ghost who bore witness to the darkest of times. As there is little in the way of outstanding duties to perform, I have decided to use what time I have left to put to paper that which I know, and which I have done. Having had time to consider the alternatives, leaving this note – this memorial to events – is most likely the only way my story will be told. I can only hope some souls exist elsewhere in the city; that this is not in vain.
     As days pass by unmourned and unmarked it becomes ever more evident to me my salvation is not to be. I have made peace with my eventual demise, and leave this testimony that some part of it may illuminate that which transpired here, as unbelievable as much of it must seem. You may scoff at my telling of events, for they are indeed incredible, but I am not a man of grand delusion nor fantasies. That you are reading this, that you have survived, is enough for me.
     My name, if such things matter any more, is Lord Henry Abercrombie, though that was not my birth name. I was born in undistinguished circumstances, and by a mix of good fortune and cunning enterprise managed to make good of my existence. Public works may have sealed my reputation, but it was private financing where I truly made my mark, not least of which was scientific funding of up and coming men, visionaries the likes of which rarely achieve their fullest. It was not without some modicum of self-interest in which I bankrolled their endeavors, but I dealt fairly in both contract and company.
     We were to be the architects of a bright new future. We were to be kings.
     One of my protégés was a remarkable American named Weston, who had arrived in London after some scandal or other had disgraced him in the face of his Miskatonic peers. He had the most unique notions of chemical understanding, such that I had ever encountered, and was engaged in research in cataloging something or other which was beyond me. I was assured, from men of good standing, if he were to succeed there would be a pretty penny to be made in the use of such information.
     But that was then.
     Good fortune and cunning, as I have said, were my hallmarks. Both factors played in my favor on the morn of the twenty-first, as my ritual decreed I savored brandy and a Montecristo in the library on the second floor rather than in the reception rooms with the others. Asher was telling one of his stories about, I believe, some far-flung adventure. The disruption came at the ringing of the ten o’clock bell, with Fairfax staggering in claiming to have been assaulted by a most unkempt fellow. His arm was bloodied, and Caruthers – a fine practitioner of the medical arts – set to attendance.
     The commotion outside soon became apparent, and the grand doors were closed almost immediately. I ventured down to see what assistance I could provide, but it was clear matters were well in hand. Beyond the confinement of the great club, however, the populace was busying themselves tearing at the walls of civilization. Never in my days had I thought to see Englishmen behave in such a fashion, for it was clear to all it wasn’t the expected troublemakers, but good and honest people who were acting in such an undignified manner on the streets.

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To read more and find out the depths to which Lord Henry Abercrombie falls, check out Undead Is Not An Option.


Undead Is Not An Option: Dead Man’s Shoes

Dead Man’s Shoes follows a young man named Carlo when he wakes on the autopsy slab at his local hospital to find that the world has ended and zombies have taken the place of almost every human on the planet.
     Almost.
     Carlo meets up with Antoinette as he tries to escape, and discovers that not only does she have strange powers over the walking dead; she seems to know more about Carlo than he does.
     As Antoinette brings Carlo closer to knowing the role he has to play in ending the apocalypse and saving the remnants of humanity, they are confronted by the demonic source of the plague, a creature named Legion.
     To battle the demon, Carlo must confront his past, and call upon the Voodoo god of death, Baron Samedi, to fight for the future of mankind.

Please note because the characters are dealing with a zombie outbreak, this excerpt may have some strong language.

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Dead Man’s Shoes
by Andrew Jack

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Carlo woke up in the morgue. He’d been awakened by screaming, and the echoes of it crashed around in his head.
     His muscles creaked as he rolled to the side on the examination table and sat, letting the sheet covering him fall away. Emergency lighting cast the room in halogen relief. He heard a soft, wet sound coming from behind the supply cupboard.
     A woman crouched there. She wore a thin hospital gown, so slick with blood it clung to her body, accentuating what had once been beautiful. She crouched over the body of a heavyset man. She reached down and wrenched a chunk of red meat out of his chest, then shovelled it into her mouth.
     Carlo gagged at the sight, and the corpse jerked her head up to look at him. Her eyes were milky white, and black veins stood out under the translucent skin on her face. She opened her mouth and hissed at him, a sound not even remotely human.
     Trying not vomit, he back away and tripped over something solid on the floor. Another moving corpse, its mouth working soundlessly as he fell beside it. Carlo screamed and thrashed back to his feet. Tears streamed down his face as he took in the rest of the morgue. There were five bodies in all, all awake. Only the woman and the body on the floor moved, the others were tied to exam tables. Bloody clothing littered the floor, vaguely medical, in a bio hazard way. He didn’t look too closely, afraid what the clothes might be covering.
     The dead woman rose slowly, blood dribbling from her open mouth. Her head lolled to one side, and her filmy eyes didn’t blink as she walked towards him.
     “Get away from me, get…” Carl’s dry throat reduced the words to a croak.
     She growled, from somewhere deep inside her, and the rotting meat stink filled the air between them. Something was wrong with the way the woman walked, as if she hung from the wires of a drunk puppeteer.
     He cringed away from her, driving his head back against the wall, his feet slipping in the blood on the floor.
     She sniffed him, like a dog at suspicious roadkill, then she extended her swollen purple tongue and licked across his eye.
     Carlo closed his eyes, feeling the dry rasp of her tongue scrape across his face, snagging his eyelid and dragging it open to see the veins creeping under her skin as she tasted him.
     Just as Carlo thought he was going to pass out, she moved, lurching back to the body she’d been eating. The other bodies still mouthed and grasped at him, but as long as he kept to the walls, they couldn’t touch him.
     The terror stayed with him for so long Carlo began feeling detached. In a quiet corner of his mind he felt his heart trying to leap out of his throat, his rapid breathing and the sweat running off his face and mixing with the blood on the floor.
     I have to get out.
     It was the first thought that counted as a thought instead of a pure terror reaction. He started looking around for the door. There. Tantalisingly close, just past the rows of grasping hands.
     Carlo took two deep breaths and charged as quickly as he could past the tied down bodies and into the double doors. A heavy chain held the doors closed. Carlo bounced off the doors and landed on his ass on the slick floor. He swore and pushed himself up to his feet. Carlo was a big guy, and he threw himself at the door again, aiming not at the chains but at the bolts holding the door to the frame. There was a loud crack, and the abused door tore out of the wall. Carlo entered the main hospital in a shower of splinters, just about running over a woman who’d appeared just to the right of the main door.
     They stood blinking at each other.
     “There you are. Do you have any idea how many morgues there are in this city?” Her eyes flicked behind him. “No, you stay where you are.” She pointed a long white stick over Carlo’s shoulder and unleashed a stream of words in a language that seemed oddly familiar to Carlo.
     He turned to look at the zombie woman who stood behind him, her mouth hanging open. The creature stood transfixed by the woman in the hallway. There was a long second where Carlo thought the zombie would attack her, but she simply swayed in place for a few moments before grunting and turning back into the darkness

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To read more and find out what happens to Carlo in his battle with Legion, check out Undead Is Not An Option.


Undead Is Not An Option: Love Me Dead Or Alive

Love Me Dead or Alive is the touching… nay… poignant story of Mindy who is attempting to come to grips with her own mortality as her undead boyfriend pressures her to join him so they can be together forever. Titus has more to fear than just his girlfriend’s ticking mortal clock, though; an old school buddy is trying to force Titus’s hand in doing a little doctoring the dead. It’s the age old story of boy loves girl… girl loves boy… boy is dead and wants girl to be also but she isn’t sure if she is ready for that commitment… with zombie monkeys.

Please note because the characters are dealing with a zombie outbreak, this excerpt may have some strong language.

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Love Me Dead or Alive
by Wendy Sparrow

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The incessant dinging of the doorbell could either mean trouble or the neighbor kids. Titus opened the door just as Mindy dropped dead at his feet. Again. She needed to stop doing this. He snatched her up off the ground and carried her into his back room, laying her on the metal table. It looked like blood loss was the culprit this time. He lifted her shirt to see two stab wounds. Holy crap. She had to take more time off. Using the searing wand, he burnt the wounds closed while covering his nose. Burnt flesh smelled bad enough, but Mindy’s burnt flesh creeped him out like nothing else could.
     Finally, when he was certain she wasn’t just going to die all over again, he stabbed the hypodermic in her chest and flooded her heart with the solution before he hit her with the magnetic pulse.
     “C’mon, Mindy,” he whispered. He watched the monitors for her vital signs to spike.
     Crap. He hit her again with the magnetic pulse.
     The beat of her heart made him sigh. Her wounds started closing up as the enriched blood pumped through. Every time he did this he experienced a Dr. Frankenstein moment where he wanted to yell, “It’s alive,” but Mindy probably wouldn’t appreciate it… at all. Then again, he didn’t appreciate her dying on him.
     Her eyes fluttered open, and she smiled at him.
     “Hey, Beautiful.” Titus leaned over her and brushed some hair from her eyes. “You woke up just in time. I was starting to worry I was developing necrophilia. It turns out you look hotter alive than dead.”
     She laughed.
     “So, stop dying on me,” he said.
     She winced suddenly.
     “What? What’s wrong?” She really needed to stop the vigilante business.
     “My shoulder. I think that freak I took down knocked it out of its socket,” she said.
     His jaw tightened with disapproval as he leaned over and felt her shoulder. She just had to stop. If not for herself… for him….
     “Don’t, Titus.”
     “Don’t what, Mindy? Don’t worry about you?”
     “It’s not that bad.”
     He shoved down and pulled on her arm. She screamed in pain and curled into a ball. Tucking his frame around hers, Titus rubbed the muscles on her back. She already showed signs of healing, but that hurt them both every time.
     “I’m fine.”
     “You’re not, Mindy. This is getting ridiculous. Do you know how hard it is seeing you dead? No, you don’t because I don’t keep dying on you.”
     “It doesn’t KEEP happening,” she said, sitting up.
     “Fifth time, babe. Fifth time,” he said, cleaning up the crash kit he kept near the door for just such occasions. “What if I can’t get to you within eight minutes? You know how complicated it is to restore brain cells in someone with oxygenated blood and a beating heart. They don’t always work right. You could end up as a real zombie.” He threw the syringe in the disposal, and it shattered which actually seemed to help his mood. “Not to mention I’ve never done this more than nine times on anything. Chester might have had nine lives in him, but who knows if you do. You’re a lot more complicated than a freaking cat, Mindy.”
     She wrapped her arms around him from behind. “Shh, Titus,” she said. Her skin felt warm, and he tried to pretend it wasn’t nice… that he didn’t like the heat radiating off her. He rubbed his hands across her arms. If her skin was cold, it wouldn’t matter; he’d still love her… with all his cold, silent heart.

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To read more and find out what happens to Mindy, Titus, and the zombie monkeys, check out Undead Is Not An Option.


Undead Is Not An Option: But I Do Love You For Your Brain

Erik and Jaimy have a relationship that’s filled with love and commitment. There’s just one problem… she wants to eat him. He works hard to keep her grounded in the world of the living, but Amanda, Jaimy’s best friend, wants her to embrace all aspects of being undead, including munching on Erik, buffet-style. Erik knows that he’s fighting an impossible battle, but he’s become a zombie in many ways himself. When he’s left vulnerable, will Jaimy’s love save him or will she embrace her true nature and destroy him?

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But I Do Love You For Your Brain
(A Zombie Love Story)

by Jessica Capelle

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“I have to put my foot down, Jaimy. I mean it.”
     “Mmmmm… foot. Jaimy like foot.”
     She grins, and her jaw sags. It makes her look like the Joker. Good thing I like Batman.
     “Focus, sweetie. I’m serious. Amanda can’t come over if she’s going to attack me. Don’t you understand how that makes me feel?”
     “But foot good. Jaimy hungry.”
     “Enough with the foot!” I yell.
     Jaimy’s bottom lip drops below her chin, the zombie version of a pout.
     “I’m sorry, honey,” I sigh. “Let’s just finish the movie, okay?”
     She snuggles up to me and digs her head into my neck. The familiar smell of mold mixed with coconut shampoo clings to her limp, matted hair. No matter how often she showers, the mildew smell lingers. I’ve come to love that smell.
     I never planned to have a member of the undead as my girlfriend. My opinion of zombies had always been they were disgusting, unnatural creatures. Hell, they only existed in bad horror films until two years ago. No one’s sure how it started, but the current ratio of undead to “stays dead” is about even.
     After the initial panic, the government held mandatory classes on how to deal with zombies. Unlike the film versions, our zombies behaved pretty much like when they were alive. Once you got past their steep decline in I.Q. and their cravings for human flesh, you could almost forget what they were. Congress fast-tracked legislation to make it a crime to kill a zombie unless you were under attack.
     Zombie rights groups formed soon after, and the push for integration led to hate-crime legislation. The compromise was the installation of “big brother” cameras on every corner. With the cameras, you could prove you only acted to save yourself. Zombie hate crimes are pretty rare now, although I suspect that’s because many people provoke zombies into coming after them.
     Jaimy will graduate from King High this year, unless there’s another unfortunate incident with a teacher. But it’s really not her fault. Amanda is to blame for Jaimy’s slip-ups. She always tries to get Jaimy to eat people and destroy things. Just because they’re zombies doesn’t mean they can’t be civilized, but Amanda has completely embraced her inner zombie.

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To read more, and find out what happens to Erik and Jaimy, check out Undead Is Not An Option.


Commander Monday – Orange Brigade Commander R.C. Murphy

Keeper of secrets,  slayer of demons, romancer of vampires, destroyer of zombies and things that go bump in the night,  Orange Brigade Commander RC Murphy is as gifted with the pen as she is with the sword, and twice as deadly. An accomplished writer, blogger, student of history, musical theatre and Oreo aficionado, RC Murphy is a creature of extraordinary talent.

"Puppy breath makes the world a better place."

She resides in a dungeon of red satin and lace by day, putting her talents to work in order to best prepare us, the hapless and clueless, for that fateful day when all that goes bump in the night becomes reality. By night she patrols the California coast with a sharp eye on the perimeter and an ear tuned into the undercurrents, listening, watching, and waiting for even the smallest sign that the Z-pocalypse is upon us.

While devoting much of her love for her craft to The Path of a Struggling Writer  some of RC Murphy’s  other published work can be found in the Zombie Survival Crew Anthology: Undead is Not an Option, and she also contributes regular field reports from ZSC Command.

This coming April, RC Murphy will be attending the San Jose Fantasy Festival for book signings and sales alongside other fantasy and paranormal writers, artists and performers April 14th and 15th.

RC Murphy and our Commander in Chief Juliette Terzieff enjoying a rare moment of calm, just before the onslaught begins.

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Don’t forget to check out our other Fearless Leaders!
Commander in Chief and Red Brigade Commander Juliette Terzieff
Blue Brigade Commander Norman Reedus
Yellow Brigade Commander Jinxie G
Light Blue Brigade Commander Anthony Guajardo
Green Brigade Commander IronE Singleton
Purple Brigade: The Oracle
Yellow Brigade First Lieutenant Sean Patrick Flanery

 

 




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