Daily Archives: March 6, 2016

How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 6

Here we have our first introduction to Standing Eagle. We learn that there is a tribe of Native Americans living nearby, and that Slade and Standing Eagle have formed a tenuous friendship over the past year that has kept the townsfolk and the tribe from attacking each other.

I had to put a lot of thought into this. Native Americans got a pretty raw deal and that’s an understatement. To fully grasp what happened, imagine if a race of better armed aliens comes to earth today and is like, “OK, I guess we’ll live here now” – would we humans be like, “Hello, we’re already here.”

Purposely, I don’t mention what tribe he’s from because I know if I do someone will object. “You have him doing this or that but that tribe didn’t wear that kind of clothing, do that kind of thing…etc.”

I don’t believe Native Americans particularly care for being portrayed in Westerns since the sentiment behind any western is “Hooray for the cowboys!” and the cowboys didn’t really give the natives much to celebrate, to put it mildly.

But I felt any western really needs Native Americans so my attempt at keeping everyone happy revolves around basically making Standing Eagle feel like, “Sheesh…another mess made by these dummies that I have to help them clean up.”

I do need to rewrite the curse. Initially, it was going to be more of a mystery where people wonder whether the zombie outbreak was caused by the curse or by Doc’s medicine.

But as we’ll see later – we find out that Blythe is plotting a zombie apocalypse before our heroes find out there’s going to be one.

Thus, the reader will become bored if he/she knows who’s bringing the apocalypse – once everyone knows, the red herring is pointless.

I may change the curse to “something bad will happen” or I might remove it all together. I had to remove it because I enjoy the line, “Shut up, dumbass. I’m trying to curse you here.”

Bookshelf Battle


There Smelly Jack laid, face down in the dirt, defeated and humiliated, his hands and feet hogtied behind his back. His brothers, cousins, and brother-cousins were all arranged similarly in a line that stretched the entire length of the the road.

Slade and Gunther stood watch over the wanton criminal, ignoring his demands for clemency.

“Dammit Slade, ‘aint you an officer of the law?!” Jack asked. “You’re just going to let them damn dirty Injuns take me away?!”

He didn’t show it, but the Marshall enjoyed letting Smelly Jack sweat.

Standing Eagle approached.

“Let me do the talking,” Slade said to Gunther.

“Since when do you do any talking?” Gunther asked.

“Don’t do the fake Injun talk shit,” Slade said. “He hates that.”

The Chief embraced Slade, who in turn, just let his arms hang down at his sides. Slade’s machismo would not allow him to hug another man.

“I am glad I…

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 5

Smelly Jack Buchanan.

He’s an example of a character I didn’t really consider in my mind at first but then after sitting down and flushing things out, it has been a lot of fun to create him.

I needed a hook. And after thinking of a few different problems he could have had to make him reviled by my 3.5 readers, I finally settled on that he’s smelly.

And he isn’t happy about that nickname. He regularly protests that the press was supposed to refer to him as “Handsome Jack” but that nickname just won’t catch on the way “Smelly Jack” did.

Then on top of that, he has a gang, “The Buchanan Boys” which largely consists of 30+ members of his inbred family.

Brothers, cousins, and then the running joke becomes that most of them are his “brother-cousins.”

So in other words, his mother got together with one of her brothers and…

OK nevermind. We don’t need to think about that. Yuck.

As the story progresses, the ancillary Buchanan Boys become a lot like “the Minions” i.e. the little yellow henchmen on Despicable Me.

There isn’t much description of them because I can’t provide individual descriptions of over 30 people, but whenever Jack needs a lackey to do something, I just think of another name for a Buchanan. Rufus Buchanan, Frank Buchanan, Artie Buchanan…the list goes on.

They’re all expendable.

Also, I liked Smelly Jack’s line about “if you’ve got the steel you make the deals.”

Pretty much a good introduction to what the Old West was like. The US Government wanted it, but either didn’t have or didn’t want to spend enough money on Army/Law Enforcement so the day was often won by a-holes with guns i.e. people like Smelly Jack.

Almost makes you think Gunther has a point about walking away.

Bookshelf Battle


Jack Buchannan earned the nickname “Smelly Jack” due to the fact that he and soap weren’t exactly good acquaintances. His hat and duster were covered in stains. That’s because he never bothered to wash either of them. Ever.

His beard was filled with little chunks of food. Amongst the populace, there was a difference of opinion as to whether Jack was saving his lunch for later of if he was just a sloppy eater. The answer was likely a little from Column A and a little from Column B.

Worst of all, he was bat shit crazy, a murderous psychopath who should have been thrown in an insane asylum the day he was born. And that’s just what his mother had to say about him.

BLAM! Jack blasted his Remington straight in the air. His boys were rowdy. Anxious. Itching for a fight. They shared their leader’s grooming habits. Most…

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 4

A glimpse at the affection held between Slade and Miss Bonnie.

Slade’s stoic facade is cracked by a smile when he is told by Gunther that Miss Bonnie is concerned about his well being.

Bookshelf Battle


Slade was right where Gunther had left him, still in the street, concentrating on his duty. The Marshall finished his chaw and traded up to a cigar, chewing on it as he squinted through his half-closed eyelids under the blinding high noon sunlight.

“I’ve recruited a special deputy,” Gunther said.

Doc put his hand out. Slade shook it. “Obliged,” was the most gratitude the stoic was able to muster.

“A distinct honor to meet you, Marshall,” Doc said. “Doctor Elias T. Faraday, M.D. by way of Boston, Massachusetts though I assure you I’m no relation to the Chestnut Hill Faradays, lousy beggars…”

“He’ll chew your ear off and spit it out if you let him,” Gunther warned.

The three men stood in a row, watching and waiting, waiting and watching. Had you, the noble reader, been facing them, you’d of seen Slade in the middle, Gunther on the left, and…

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How the West Was ZOMBED – Chapter 3

We meet Doc.

Of all the things to make fun of about the old west, “snake oil” or potions, elixirs, so-called medicine designed to cure everything has got to be at the top of the list.

Doc is quite the hilarious showman, though I don’t believe he intends to be funny.

I see Doc as a man who is full of himself, yearns to have a place in history as a revered, great man and honestly believes he’s doing a good thing by peddling his Miracle Cure-All.

And keep in mind, even as far as the 1950’s, cigarette companies were putting out ads with doctor approved cigarettes, so heck, you almost can’t blame Doc for thinking himself a genius for “touting the curative properties of cocaine.”

By the way, I’m thinking of changing cocaine to opium. Cocaine seems funnier. Opium seems more time period appropriate. As far as I know, they had both in the 1880s.

Bookshelf Battle


“Step right up! Step right up!”

While Gunther was pleading Slade’s case to deaf ears, a flashy salesman set up a cart just outside the Bonnie Lass’ double doors.

The only thing slimier than this lowlife’s pitch was his appearance. He had a devilish black beard, the kind that came down his face to a point just like the letter, “V.” His mustache curled upwards at each end. He wore a red velvet suit, wrapped his neck up with an ascot, and carried a cane topped with a golden ball. Sitting on his head was a top hat that extended an extra two feet above his cranium.

“Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, step right up for a taste of Doc Faraday’s Miracle Cure-All!”

A large group gathered to listen to the huckster’s silver tongue wag away as it made all manner of suspicious promises.

“Step right…

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How the West Was ZOMBED – Chapter 2

My four observations about this chapter:

1) We meet Miss Bonnie for the first time. She’s sassy – throws a dude over the railing, yells at Gunther for shooting his gun inside the joint, and offers to help Slade when no one else will.

2) I never intended it but there’s an ongoing theme of “employee/employer” loyalty. Being a good employee means sticking by your boss even when you think a different course of action is warranted.

(Obviously, I don’t advocate taking that to a ridiculous level – i.e. if your boss orders you to do something super evil, you should walk away).

Thus, Gunther gives a rousing speech in an attempt to find some volunteers to help Slade fend off the Buchanans. He does this even though in the first chapter, he tried to talk Slade out of the whole thing.

So if your idea is rejected, still do your best with the idea the boss is angling for.

(We’ll see this concept later with Blythe and his dealings with the Legion Corporation Board of Directors. Although in that case, there is much evil happening.)

3) Gunther is a bit of an homage to Festus on Gunsmoke. Every episode, Festus would tell his boss, Matt Dillon, that his idea was the dumbest idea he ever heard, sure to get everyone killed, and then after his protests fail, he’d be the first to have Dillon’s back.

4) Scenes like this also happen in westerns. The hero and the townsfolk would often be at odds as to what to do about the bad guys. Townsfolk would often pressure the hero to just let the bad guys do what they want lest the bad guys engage in even more evildoing.

Thus, Blake and Townsend sort of become like those old man muppets in the Muppet Theater, constantly heckling Kermit the Frog and telling him how much he sucks without offering an idea of their own.

Bookshelf Battle


The Bonnie Lass. It was named for its owner and proprietor, one Miss Bonnie Lassiter, declared by the populace to be the most beautiful woman in all of Highwater. A wood carved outline of her sultry shape adorned the sign hanging above the swinging set of double doors to her saloon.

Gunther strolled on in.

Drinking. Gambling. Wine, women, and song. Women especially. Ladies of the evening, even though it was daytime.

A fight over a fixed card game was in full swing. Grown men punched one another and slammed their opponents in the back with wooden chairs that conveniently splintered and cracked into pieces upon impact. There was even a fair amount of glass bottles being cracked over heads with reckless abandon.

The ladies were quite bored with it all. They milled about the bar, clad in fancy, frilly lace dresses, their hair done up perfectly, faces painted like…

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How the West Was ZOMBED – Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Reblog – The story begins with the classic western showdown scene. Slade is standing in the street, waiting for the Buchanan Boys.

Gunther, his elderly deputy, tries to talk him into a “common sense approach” – i.e. it is unlikely Slade will survive when there’s so many Buchanan Boys coming and is it really worth it to die just to make a point?

Bookshelf Battle


In the dusty, horse dropping infested main street of a two-bit town, a young man stood and waited patiently. He was a quiet fellow who cast a stoic figure. He didn’t care much for most people. They irritated him to no end and it was impossible for him to pretend as though they didn’t. From the pained expression on his stubbly face to the bulging vein in his forehead, the townsfolk knew it was best to just steer entirely clear from this man’s general vicinity whenever possible.

Beads of sweat formed on the stoic’s forehead as the sun grew higher. He checked his pocket watch. A half-hour to go.

He adjusted his Stetson. It was black but that didn’t mean he was the bad guy. After all, he didn’t live in a black or white world. He knew all about the various shades of grey.

His shirt was black too…

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How the West Was Zombed – Reblog

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Howdy 3.5 Cowpokes.

I’ve come along way this year.  Still much more to go, but I’m 40,000 words into a novel and that’s the farthest I’ve ever come on a book idea before.

I may have a chance at actually getting this thing out to the masses, to Amazon, in the hopes of expanding my website’s readership from 3.5 to 30.5 readers.

It has also been interesting to look at the characters, where they started, and how far they have come as well.

So for those 3.5 readers just tuning in, I will start today by reblogging a few chapters and will keep up with the reblogging from time to time so anyone interested can check it out and give me their feedback.

Thank you and hopefully the world will enjoy this novel enough to get the Mighty Potentate off my back.


All Hail the Mighty Potentate.

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Loss of Productivity

Should have written more novel this weekend.

Alas, been binge watching House of Cards instead.

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#31ZombieAuthors – Day 29 Interview – Rick Chesler and David Sakmyster – ZOMBIE DINOSAURS!!!

OK…stay with me here, 3.5 readers.

Zombies + Dinosaurs = ZOMBIE DINOSAURS!

Oh my God I was so excited to interview these guys. I really was. Such an awesome concept. Undead zombie dinosaurs wreaking havoc.

Really and truly, a must read!

Bookshelf Battle

Rick Chesler


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Holy Crap, 3.5 readers.  Holy Freaking Crap.

I’m so excited I’m about to plotz.

Since the beginning of time, there have been two badass varieties of monster:

  1. Zombies who ravenously devour any humans in their way.
  2. Dinosaurs who ravenously devoured any other dinosaurs who got in their way.

Zombies, as far as I know, are fictional.  At least I think they are.  Maybe that’s just what “The Man” wants me to believe.

Dinosaurs, on the other hand, were very real.  Long ago, they walked the Earth, stomping and chomping along, ruling all they surveyed like a bunch of gruesome lizard kings.

My next two guests have taken the sheer awesomeness of zombies and the raw power…

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