On October 20, I will be releasing Ranger Martin and the Search for Paradise, the final book to my zombie apocalypse trilogy. I’ll spare you the long introduction. Below is the first chapter. I hope you enjoy it.

Matty’s gaze locked on to Randy. There were too many. The redhead knew if they didn’t do something fast, they’d quickly become bait for the undead. As she let off one shot after another from her silver Colt .45, a gun that had once belonged to her grandfather, a terrible thought sliced through her head. What if this was it? What if this would be the last time she’d ever see Randy alive again? Then what? Her plan never included dying at the hands of the horde.

The undead crashed through the door, piling into the abandoned parking garage. As one zombie fell, another would take its place. As the bullets hit their targets, green blood flowed freely into the cracks of the pavement.

“We’ve got to do something, Matty.” Randy said, reloading his gun. “We won’t be able to hold them back much longer.”

He was right. The crowd had chased them clear across the back alleys of Sedona and into an empty apartment building where he and Matty thought they’d be safe. But when the rotting corpses burst through the outside door, then burrowed their way through a second door at the top of the stairs leading into the garage, the kids couldn’t think of anything to do other than open fire.

Despite the heavy shelling the zombies received by the pair, the undead didn’t surrender. They continued to flood the basement at the cost of losing more of their brothers and sisters in death.

While a group of zombies hugged the walls near the parked cars, Matty called to Randy and nodded at the vehicle closest to the door. A hidden language was in place between the fifteen-year-olds. When one would signal an idea, no matter how vague the signal appeared to be, the other would run with it. Chances were good they had the same idea. In this case, they did.

The kids retreated to the very back of the parking garage, diving behind several cars and trucks. Nothing had stemmed the flow of bodies shoving their way toward their next meal. The undead footsteps slamming against the hard pavement of the empty area sounded as thunder.

“Now, Randy!” Matty said. “Now!”

Without hesitating, Randy perched his arms on the hood of the car and aimed his gun. The crosshairs landed on the gas tank of the parked vehicle next to the door from where the undead came. He took the shot. He missed. Instead, he clipped the taillights, sending shards of plastic all over the back wall opposite his target.

“Do you want me to do this?” Matty asked.

“I got this.” Randy adjusted his grip to his gun.

In the meantime, the sons of rot continued to hug the walls, shinnying closer to where the teens hid.

Randy closed one eye, stared across the barrel of his gun, and aimed dead center at the gas tank. This time, he thought, he wasn’t going to miss. As more zombies poured into the parking garage, he slowly squeezed the trigger. The sweat from his forehead trickled from his brow into his open eye. He blinked several times until the sound of the gunshot echoed through the lot.

The bullet screamed through the air and hit the car without a problem, but it didn’t hit the tank. It hit the wheel and flattened it.

“You’re kidding me, right?” Matty’s ponytail jumped in the air as she grabbed Randy by the scruff of the neck. “Let me do it.”

“I said I got this.” He twisted his shoulders pushing her hand away.

The group of zombies hugging the walls was now halfway in its journey to making Matty and Randy a main course to a feast of its choosing. That was to say if Randy had anything to do with it. He wasn’t about to let anything happen to Matty. With both hands cradling his gun, he pursed his lips, squinted, and took a deep breath before he positioned his arms back on the hood of the car. Determination covered his face and he held his grip firmly on his weapon until peace passed over him.

The bullet left his gun in a flash and pierced the tank where the car rested, igniting the tank and the back end of the car. It exploded into a firestorm, taking the zombies hugging the walls and everything else in the sizzling blaze.

Flames crawled along the walls engulfing the door and the family of flesh eaters that had entered the parking garage. The fire ate through the crowd, shooting into the stairwell and flooding the steps with heat.

Nothing survived.

When Matty and Randy raised their heads from their hiding place, they couldn’t believe the devastation Randy had caused. They jumped into the air, slapped high-fives then fell into an embrace with one another. Bodies littered the floor of the garage torn apart from the explosion. The kids had imagined what it would have been like hitting that gas tank, but nothing quite as extensive to cause everything to become charred cinder.

In the midst of the kids’ celebration, as they held each other a while longer, the crowd of zombies that had hugged the walls hit by the fireball and was seemingly lying on the floor dead, began to rise. Whatever had happened, whether the flames weren’t hot enough or the impact of the explosion hadn’t been strong enough, they continued to lift from their fiery grave.

Gawking at the sight, Matty released Randy, pulled her gun and began shooting at anything that moved. Randy did the same without regard to what they would do if they ran out of bullets.

It took a few minutes before the inevitable happened. They ran out of bullets.

Randy tossed his gun and searched everywhere for something he could use to defend themselves from the rising bodies. But Matty had another idea. She yanked Randy’s sleeve and pointed to a door hidden in the shadows behind them. If they could make it to the door, she thought, they’d have a chance of living another day without worrying about the undead. At least that was the plan.

An even half-dozen rose from the ashes of the explosion, skinned seared, hair razzed. The undead spotted the kids and their white eyes grew wider knowing the pain they had gone through would never satisfy their hunger for human flesh. Their lips quivered in a roar as they dragged from the spent fire. Their clothes hung from their skin. From that moment forward, not a bullet, human or fire would stop the zombie horde from shrieking its appetite to take hold of the kids.

Across the scorched threshold, Matty estimated they’d have ten seconds before the throng would reach them. It was not something she had imagined. The air caught in her lungs and she tore from her crouch, hauling Randy along with her.

The couple scurried to the door behind them, slamming into it, unable to stop from the inertia of their run. She grabbed the door handle and twisted it. No use, it wouldn’t turn.

“Turn it, Matty! Turn it!” Randy poked her in the shoulder.

She frantically twisted the handle, rattling it, pushing, pulling and finally kicking the door at the same time. The door, however, didn’t give in to her desire for freedom. It stood solid, and in some way, mocked her saying it had the last word regarding their fate.

Matty faced Randy with a ghost in her eyes. The realization hit that they had reached the end. They had escaped the undead clutches multiple times, ducking in alleys, stores, tossing broken crates in their path, slamming doors behind them, climbing fences and finally hiding in the parking garage thinking they had outwitted the undead crowd. Their last chance to leave death behind evaporated with that last tug at the door handle.

“What are we going to do?” Randy asked. He had always looked to her for a good idea.

“I don’t know.” Matty answered, allowing a moment where the groans of the rotting monsters could fade in the distance. “Randy, I have to tell you something. I don’t know if this will make sense to you or not, but I have to say it because it’s in my heart, and I’ve felt this a long time. I couldn’t bear to think what I’d do if I left without you knowing what’s been weighing on my mind.”

“What is it?”


A blast tore through the silence and ignited the parking garage with sound.

The kids gazed at the opening of the stairs where moments ago a fireball had consumed everything in its wake. A silhouette appeared from the smoke. Solid. Firm in its stance. When he took a step forward, the remnant of the garage lights shining from above caught and revealed his face—Ranger Martin. Zombie slayer. The undead’s worst enemy.

Ranger adjusted his Oklahoma City RedHawks cap and reloaded his trusty Mossberg 500. Without a word, he pulled the trigger on his first victim, a deranged dragger that possessed no concept of self-preservation. Its brains splattered on the wall behind. The eater stood there for a moment with a gaping hole in its skull until it dropped to its knees and collapsed. The remaining five steered their attention away from Matty and Randy and pushed against the wall toward Ranger. No one had the right to kill one of theirs.

Despite what the undead thought, Ranger tossed several more volleys of gunfire into the horde, eliminating three more of the mass. As he reloaded, the two that remained turned and quickly raced to the teens that hadn’t moved from the door. Their feet had frozen in place as fear washed over their face. They had nowhere to go except forward, but that wasn’t an option either because forward was from where the zombies came.

In that split second while Ranger reloaded, a boy appeared from the shadows of the stairwell. No more than eight years-old, he shouted, “Matty, catch!” And with a long toss, a clip hurled through the air, passing over the heads of the undead to land in Matty’s hand. Instinct propelled her to unload her Colt .45, inject the new clip and pull a bullet in the gun’s chamber.

Bring ‘em on.

The zombie pair extended their paws as drool spilled from their mouths with only a few feet between them and their dinner. They were so close they could taste the kids.

At the same time that the redhead had reloaded her gun, so did Ranger. Two shots escaped their weapons and both zombies dropped to the ground. Green poured from their wounds. The undead never had a chance.

Relief blanketed Randy’s face. He thought for sure they would have met with death this time around, but fate had other plans for them.

Ranger slipped his shotgun in the holster that he had tied around his right leg, and he strolled toward the kids. Smoke smoldered in the background. Matty also had a place for her gun. She hid it in the small of her back. The teens met with Ranger in the center of the underground lot. Jon, the eight-year-old boy who saved Matty’s life, ran and hugged her. He said, “You didn’t think we’d find you. Did you, sis?”

“I knew you’d show up sometime.”

“You did not!” He pulled away from her then smiled.

“Sure I did. There was no way you’d miss the explosion. How many doors did it take out upstairs? Three? Four? I’m sure it even blew out a few windows, too.”

“You’re so full of yourself.”

Ranger shook Randy’s hand and said, “I thought we lost you.”

“You’re kidding. With Matty around? I wouldn’t think anything else would’ve survived.”

The reunion didn’t last long. As soon as they did away with the pleasantries, the sound of a thump travelled through the garage to hit their ears. Another thump, but this time it sounded like a pounding had erupted from behind the door where Matty and Randy wanted to escape. It happened again. Massive hits to the door until there was silence.

Jon’s face flattened. Matty stared at Ranger while Randy focused on the source of the pounding. They didn’t need another fight—not when they had resolved to put away their guns and go home.

Something else had other plans.

The handle to the door slowly turned as the four watched with gaping mouths. The latch clicked open and from the backdoor stepped a chewer, pale and tired. It must have heard the fuss from the other side. Soon, another appeared. Then another. And another. The longer the humans stood motionless, the more the undead emptied from the door.

“Now would be a good time to run.” Ranger said to the kids. “Go!”

They dashed to the stairwell from where the fire had left ash and soot in its path. As Ranger followed, he had an idea. He wasn’t ready to take a stand, not against fifty of the gut-churners. However, he did want to make clear that nothing would threaten the kids under his protection. This he knew to be true.

When the kids had all but disappeared into the stairwell, all except for Matty who trailed behind, Ranger grabbed her gun from the small of her back, pushed her into the stairwell, and aimed the weapon at the car she and Randy had hid behind when they had set off the first explosion. He waited until the crowd had passed the vehicle to pull the trigger.

The bullet burst through the gas tank and sparked another fireball, bigger than the last, taking with it three other cars. Shrapnel tore through the bodies as if they were sacks of green oatmeal bursting into liquid sludge. Whatever the fire didn’t catch, the shrapnel took care of.

In that instant, when Ranger could have waited a little longer to witness the destruction he had caused, he slammed the door shut behind him as the flames raced and crashed into it, trapping the undead throng.

As the blaze consumed everything in the parking garage, Ranger escaped with the kids with only one thing leaving his lips. “Yahoo!”

Search for Paradise Excerpt



I’m writing this a day after the big eclipse I had the pleasure of watching from the front steps of my home. By the time you read this Freedom Friday post, it will have been a couple of weeks from when it happened.

Blood Moon

Blood Moon

Apparently, from reading about the event, the lunar eclipse was not only when the moon was at its closest to the earth in over thirty years, but it also was a super blood moon. For some, the blood moon holds a sacred significance that has led many to speculate the end times is near. I’m not one of those proponents. After all, we’re still here.

The other far-reaching impact of this event is also the fact that Eastern Canada had a full view of the entire event. If you lived in places like Arizona or California, you were out of luck.

I wasn’t sure if I’d catch a view of the moon. Throughout the day, cloud covered the region and in some towns, including ours, heavy fog cast a thick layer of obstruction that would have taken a miracle to disperse, if I’d wanted to actually witness the event.

Surprisingly, a few minutes after ten o’clock, the clouds separated, and there, in the sky where it rested, the moon in its full glory disappeared in earth’s shadow. My family and I were in awe of the event. While everyone was taking photos, I stood there enjoying the view with my mouth open. For the first time, I didn’t feel the need to capture the moment with my camera. I simply wanted to experience the moment instead.

Super Blood Moon

Super Blood Moon

If you’ve ever seen a lunar eclipse, then you will know what it’s like. A solar eclipse happens when the moon sits between the sun and the earth casting a shadow on the sun. A lunar eclipse, on the other hand, occurs when the earth sits between the sun and the moon casting a shadow on the moon.

The great thing about the evening was I could enjoy the moment without the use of any aids such as a telescope. The other thing I liked about it was the temperature outside was mild enough that all I needed was a T-shirt to stay comfortable.

For this event, I saw how the shadow slowly began creeping on the moon until a sliver of light penetrated the moon’s surface. As the whole thing took place, I could also see traces of red opposite the sliver. In all honesty, I’ve never seen anything like it in all my life. It really was a remarkable sight.

By the time earth’s shadow covered the moon, I was in awe. The moon had become a big red ball in the sky giving a performance I would have never imagined possible, even if I had planned the whole thing myself.

Overall, the evening was something I will remember for the rest of my life, not only in content, but also with how I had my dear family by my side sharing the moment.


Had you seen the lunar eclipse of September 27, 2015? If so, what did you think of it?



In the film Oz the Great and Powerful, James Franco plays a Kansas carny performer who has overstayed his welcome. In every town he visits, he performs the same scam. He first gains the trust of those around him then he takes advantage of them until either they throw him out, or he has no choice other than to run. You see, Oz is not your ordinary circus performer, he is a very good circus performer who knows people and how they work. That is why he makes an excellent profile for today’s Wednesday Warriors.

James Franco as Oz

James Franco as Oz

In Kansas, Oz is your typical sideshow act. He’s a magician, an illusionist, a performer, an example of what is right in the world—or at least that is what he thinks of himself. Meanwhile, he has wooed multiple women with the same technique he has used countless times. A music box does wonders to a woman’s heart.

But not everyone admires the dashing actor. Husbands, in fact, hate him, and would do anything to see him hanging from a tree until dead.

When Oz attempts to sweep the wrong girl off her feet, his worst nightmare becomes a reality. In an effort to escape an enraged spouse, he hops into a balloon and casts off to places unknown.

The resourceful Oz has no one to rely on than himself. Yet, how different is that from the other times he had to make a quick getaway from other folks who have wanted to make him part of a funeral procession?

The Great and Powerful

The Great and Powerful

What Oz doesn’t count on is the twister that suddenly makes an appearance during the most inopportune time. With the winds wailing, the balloon lifting to heights beyond comprehension, Oz can only dream of a time when his feet will once again walk on solid earth. He will never again take to flight in order to thwart the evil musings of a jilted lover.

After having landed in a place unknown, he discovers the land is not what he expects. He notices the large flowers, the waters alive with creatures he has never imagined and the air running amok with birds that have the ability to swallow him whole. Indeed, Oz is not in Kansas anymore.

As the story progresses, Oz comes upon two sisters (Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz) and a kingdom filled with riches. His eyes fall on the treasure promised to the heir of the fortune—a great wizard who will save the land from the Wicked Witch and her minions. Without knowing what the prophecy means, Oz becomes the unwitting center of the story. But he has more on his mind than saving a people from a woman he could dismiss with a wave of a hand. Oz has the treasure in mind that he wants to inherit all to himself.

The film could run a predictable course where Oz steps on everyone’s dreams as a means to exact his greed-filled desires. But in true Disney fashion, Oz becomes a bigger man than he would have otherwise predicted for himself.

Revealing more of the story would also mean to ruin an experience for the viewer that would highlight a man’s willingness to put aside his own desires for the love of a people.

And seeing Oz in that position of growth is not only inspiring but also a miracle.


Have you seen Oz the Great and Powerful? What do you think about Oz’s growth in the film?


What Scares You?

Somehow, whenever October rolls around, I feel a definite shift in people’s attitudes. I think a lot of it has to do with Halloween coming at the end of the month. I also think the time change at the beginning of November has people thinking of the darker evenings. For some, it brings SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and for others, the shorter days can prove a great motivator to flee for warmer climes.

The Exorcist

The Exorcist

However, for today’s Monday Mayhem, I’d like to concentrate on one thing: Horror movies.

For some, Horror movies can be a sensitive subject. Depending on the story, the film can act as a portal for demon possession. Don’t ask me where I read that. I just did. I can’t blame anyone for thinking that. If you’ve seen The Exorcist, you would think there is more to that film than the simple possession of a little girl on screen. I saw it when I was ten years old. I couldn’t sleep for a week. Years later I read somewhere that two main characters connected with the film died unexpectedly shortly either before or after the premier. Reports surfaced that during the film’s run, certain members in the audience passed out in the aisles while watching the film. Stationed outside movie theaters were ambulances waiting for more and more victims. A few of the cast members once said they believed the set was haunted.

The Sixth Sense had a similar effect on audiences, but in a different way. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched that movie. I would consider the flick a perfect case study for writers who want to learn about plot, pacing, character development and escalating action. The film also sports an ending that few, if any, could have guessed. I know I didn’t have a clue.

The Sixth Sense

The Sixth Sense

I consider The Sixth Sense a Horror movie, but not in the way that others might consider it Horror. The escalating images of dead people with its eerie musical cues and scenes written in the Hitchcock style, makes this film more than an ordinary Horror film. It’s scary, not because of what you see, but because of what you don’t see.

The whole Horror genre nowadays has changed. More and more filmmakers attempt to outdo each other with graphic scenes of gore that would even make a serial killer take notice. As the audience desensitizes to yesterday’s splatter count, they also want more. Gone are the days when a filmmaker could get away with not showing the murder. In fact, if I may be so bold in saying, today crime films can fit into a category all on its own for being a cross between the Detective and Horror genres. Throw in a couple of demon possessions and there you’d have the perfect genre.

Nevertheless, knowing all this, I have a question for everyone—and I’m genuinely curious about your thoughts about this subject.

What scares you?

What I mean is, what really scares you?


What scares you?



The other day I read how someone believed everyone in this world has a superpower. In a sense, I believe that is true. I would have never assumed the art of writing as a superpower, but if it moves people to change is some way, no matter how small a change, then yes, I would say writing is a superpower. Sounds crazy for a Freedom Friday post, doesn’t it?

Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics

The very definition of superpower is the accentuation of strength beyond normal boundaries. That strength can be physical, but it also can be a mental or spiritual power. For instance, up until recently, I believed the Marvel and DC Comics superheroes were characters whom I would classify possessing superpowers. And why not?

Superman is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and is able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Captain America possesses super speed and strength beyond that of mere mortals. Thor has the power of thunder rattling within his bones. And Hulk is a formidable opponent against just about anything.

Other superheroes, however, are natural superheroes based on their integrity to stand for truth and justice. Batman and Iron Man fall into this category, owning superpowers beyond the equipment they utilize to help fight crime. Should they not have their equipment, they would equally be able to defeat their enemies with their superpowers of persuasion, honesty and firm resolve. Their inherent powers are from within, unseen on a physical level, but evident in situations when called upon.

DC Comics

DC Comics

Similarly, if someone were to tell me I do not possess superpowers like comic book superheroes, I would agree. I am not faster than a speeding bullet. I mean, it would surprise me if I can catch the train on time. I am not more powerful than a locomotive. After all, I’m a scrawny guy with limited capacity to lift anything beyond a milk jug. And I cannot leap a tall building in a single bound. If I can lift my feet to climb the stairs, then that is as far as I’ll go exerting any physical activity for the day.

Of course, I’m being facetious. It’s fun making stuff up as I go along.

No, I may not be a superhero according to the standard definition, but neither is anyone else I know—at least to my knowledge. What I do know is every person on this planet has something they are really good at and no other person in this world can replace them doing what they do. Does that make sense?

Look at it this way, a brilliant writer who submits a 250-word article to a prominent magazine once a month will get paid $250 bucks. That’s a buck a word. For every “a”, “and” and “the”—that’s a buck. To be able to do that on a consistent level is having a superpower beyond imagination.

My dad had a superpower. He could do all sorts of plumbing. He used to crawl into exhaust tubes to retrofit vast arrays of water pipes from source to destination. At times, the pipes would burst and drench him from head to toe, but he’d always survive. There are only so many people in the world that couldn’t do that. To me, that is a superpower.

If you are a mom, then you would know you’ve got all those superheroes beat. No one can touch you. And no one can say you’re second-best.

I guess what I’m saying is you don’t have to be Superman, Captain America, Batman or Iron Man to make a difference in life. Your superpower is what you’re good at, and you can share it with the world.

And that is an amazing thing.


What is your superpower?


Daryl Dixon

The Walking Dead has had a plethora of characters grace viewers’ displays. None has had as much of an impact than Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus). If there were a character that could define a series from start to finish, Daryl would be that character.

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon

Today, Wednesday Warriors looks at the life of a single individual who has made a difference in the perception of people’s expectations of what a hero ought to be. Today, Daryl Dixon takes the spotlight in this weekly feature.

When the rise of the walker first takes hold, no one knows what to make of it. People attacking other people consuming their insides becomes the norm. A little girl wandering the streets is more than a curious image. When she turns around and reveals her true nature, the viewer sees the effect of the devastating virus that has taken hold of humanity to reduce society’s most vulnerable to an eating machine.

Throughout the upheaval, two types of characters hit center stage. First, there is the selfish character that makes it a point that one will interfere with his plans of staying alive. He doesn’t care about anyone else other than himself. This character has a short lifespan in The Walking Dead. He either falls to the bullet, knife or ax, or ends up as a walker’s next meal. Second, there is the hero character. He takes on the role of the reluctant champion to anyone who needs him to intervene on his behalf. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is this type of character. He gives of himself regardless of the situation.

Daryl Dixon of The Walking Dead

Daryl Dixon of The Walking Dead

However, a third type of character rules The Walking Dead. He is subtle with his actions. He is not your typical hero. If anything, the image he exudes is that of the first group—a selfish man who is looking out for no one else but himself.

Daryl is that character. When people think they have him figured out, he pulls a rabbit out of his hat surprising everyone.

Others in the group may consider him a redneck. He hunts squirrel with a bow. He chews on the bark of trees. He can live off the fat of the land devouring crawling things that would make a billy goat puke.

Say what you will about Daryl, in that he may pose as a front for the survivor who has no interest than to save himself, but underneath that facade lies a man very much consumed with doing the right thing in spite of others getting in his way. Left on his own, he can outlast the strongest of a group.

The only enemy Daryl has to worry about is himself.

Torn by the demons haunting him, a brother who he’d rather not call a brother and the sadness of losing one of the only people he truly cared for, Daryl lives each day as if it were his last. If his friends settle into a new place feeling comfortable with their new surroundings, he doesn’t follow. He has always questioned authority. In his mind, if the folks he hangs with use commonsense, that is good enough for him. But don’t expect him to do what the others would want him to do. He’s his own boss.

The best part about Daryl’s character is his steadfast push toward killing walkers at all costs. When someone falls to one of the undead, he spares the others by taking a direct approach to solving the walker problem. He kills them. There isn’t anything Daryl hasn’t done. Aside from his lack of social skills, he knows where he fits in the zombie apocalypse.

Perhaps Daryl has a lesson for everyone, not only those watching him every week on The Walking Dead. Perhaps his way of doing things—grabbing the world by the throat—is the only way to solve a problem.

Maybe he does have a lesson for those interested in making a difference.


What do you think of Daryl? What do you like most about Daryl’s character?


What Would You Do?

The apocalypse has happened. It’s not what you expected. Zombies have taken over the world. It’s up to you to survive. Will you?

City of the undead

City of the undead

For today’s Monday Mayhem, I’d like to ask a question. It’s a simple question.

What would you do?

Everyone has a notion one would know what to do when confronted with the inevitable decision of taking a life to save another or oneself. But I ask, would you be capable of such an act? Morality plays a big part in the decision making process. What if the guilt is so unbearable that you couldn’t do it? What if the very person you had to remove from existence was your brother? Your sister? Your mother? Your father? Would you?

Remember, the world has fallen under a full-blown zombie apocalypse. You don’t know if the condition your loved one is suffering is temporary or permanent. You have no clue as to the status of the government’s involvement to finding a solution to the condition. You have no idea whether it will be ten minutes before someone walks in to present a solution. Ten hours. Ten days. Or even ten weeks. For all you know, your loved one has become one of the changed and you have a choice to make.

What would you do?

Alone with the undead

Alone with the undead

Would you take the life of your loved one in order to save yourself, the rest of your family or anyone else who is not your family but appears to have evaded the condition that has made the person banging at the door one of the changed?

I’ve concluded that I wouldn’t know what I’d do if confronted with such a decision. If the person I love turns on me because of the change, then I will have quite a time justifying the death if I don’t know what caused the condition in the first place. My problem is also a moral dilemma, since I would still see the person as he or she was before becoming one of the undead. Moreover, to add salt to the misery, I would probably do my best to protect the victim of the condition as a means to prolong their life until I was sure there isn’t anything else I could do for them.

Like I said, for me it would be a moral decision, regardless of who it is. I would have to be good and sure there would be no looking back before I take a knife to the evil that has invaded the victim.

I know, it is strange, and I agree. After all, I write about zombies. Getting rid of them in fiction is very different from living through the process of guilt inhibiting every crevice of my heart. But the idea of taking a life because they pose a threat may seem premature to me if I don’t have all the facts at my disposal.

Then again, I could be wrong, in which case I would have to reevaluate the criteria I would use to save my family.


What would you do?


The Decision

You’re gonna think I’m strange. In fact, you’re not only gonna think I’m strange, but you’re also gonna think I’m just plain weird. I wouldn’t blame you. If I were you, I’d think the same way. I mean, I typically have a high regard for the decisions I make. I don’t make them in a rash manner. I think about things. I ponder the consequences. And sometimes, I’m slow to act in order to gain the benefit of the doubt.



I gotta tell ya, though, for this decision, I dropped the ball.

I know what you’re thinking, “Hey, Jack. For Freedom Friday, don’t you usually write about things that are on your mind? What could be so terrible that you feel you can’t talk about it?”

Good question.

Here’s the thing—a few weeks ago I cancelled cable.

Yeah, I know—big step.

Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating when I say it was a big step. You have to understand the context from where this decision came. I cancelled cable and got Netflix.

Yikes! And here we go?

“You mean you’ve never had Netflix? What’s wrong with you? Have you been sleeping under a rock? Aren’t you a guy who likes growth? Netflix? You couldn’t afford Netflix? Where have you been?”

Okay, okay. I got the message. Yeah, I’ve been living my life in a box stuck on a shelf. Smack me.

But I have it now. That’s what counts, right?




Listen, this isn’t an ad for the service. I’m not going to get a commission or anything mentioning Netflix on my site. But know this—why hadn’t I subscribed to the service earlier? It’s great!

Let’s see, I can choose my shows and add them to a queue, which I find really cool. I can search for movies I’ve wanted to watch but never had the time to fully appreciate. The service makes recommendations based on my viewing habits. It even goes so far as to separate my watch list with those of the other members of my family. They’re not into zombies. That’s a good thing, right?

The best part about the service, and I’m not exaggerating here, is its ability to remember where I left off with a program I was viewing. By far, this has to be the one and most useful feature of the service.

I can begin watching Star Trek: The Next Generation from my TV in the family room, pause the program and continue watching the show on the TV upstairs in our bedroom. Then, if I want, after dinner I can pick up from where I left off on my phone at the kitchen table.

You might consider this a “meh” moment, but you gotta realize I’ve come out of the 20th century by getting rid of cable. Cable, folks. You know—where you only get twenty-eight channels and the best you can come up with for entertainment for the night is some guy balancing a chair on his face while someone’s sitting on it playing a rendition of Ride of the Valkyries on a clarinet.

Anyway, that’s what happened with me these past few weeks while I prep my upcoming book for release on October 20.

What have you been up to?


Have you tried Netflix? What do you think of the surface? It is all that you thought it would be?


Captain Jean-Luc Picard

There isn’t a Star Trek episode I haven’t seen. There isn’t an actor from the multiple series or of the many movies who I don’t know their name. I grew up with Star Trek. I love the idea of universal peace and a Prime Directive that includes not interfering with third-party affairs. The technology may look dated, but the overall ideas remain valid even today. Can anyone argue that the idea of the tablet and cell phone did not come from the series?

Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard

Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard

For today’s Wednesday Warriors, I would like to take a few minutes to talk about Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

When Captain Picard took the helm of the newly christened U.S.S. Enterprise, he knew he had a crew capable of great things. For instance, his first officer William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) graduated Starfleet Academy with the ability to navigate a starship into a manual dock. The second officer, Commander Data (Brent Spiner), an android, can do what humans can’t do, but wishes he could become human nonetheless. Counsellor Deeana Troy (Marina Sirtis) is equally amazing as Jean-Luc’s telepathic aid. She has rescued the captain on more than one occasion by sensing the feelings of others. Then there are the other crewmembers that although they may occupy side stories, play an important role in the Captain’s compliment.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Captain Jean-Luc Picard

As for Captain Picard, his focus is on the Prime Directive. The rule simply stipulates that no member of Starfleet shall interfere in the domestic policies of societies or civilizations, no matter how primitive or advanced they are. The rule also prevents the captain from interceding on behalf of a weaker civilization, should the threat of war mean the extinction of their entire species.

Picard abides by a strict code of ethics that other captains would do well to adopt. Characteristics such as loyalty, integrity and honor are the captain’s currency for a disciplined life. Part of his duties is to instill a sense of confidence in his crew in order for them to act in accordance with their pledge to his leadership.

I can think of two examples that would emphasize Picard’s ability to lead.

First, the captain and Riker become prisoners of Bynar, aliens that have melded their intellects with computers. They have captured the ship and Picard enacts his right not to allow the ship to fall into the Bynar’s hands. Riker didn’t have to think twice. Realizing he would die, he follows the captain to take action against the Bynar threat by enabling the vessel’s self-destruct sequence.

Second, has all to do with how the captain takes a young ensign under his wing and rears him as his own son, leading his growth, which eventually leads to a placement into Starfleet Academy. Often times, Picard appears as a totalitarian, but it is necessary since his goal is to train the boy Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) in the way he should go.

There are other instances I could use to show how Picard as a leader, but I’ll save it for some other time. For now, I’ll leave you with the this thought:

If there was no Star Trek, do you think we’d have cell phones or tablets?


Are you a fan of Star Trek? What do you think of Jean-Luc Picard?



One of the perks when writing books about zombies is the fact that I can research various subjects such as physics, epidemics and psychology. With each subject comes a set of fascinating facts I never knew, had I not looked into it on my own. The most interesting and morbid of all subjects I’ve had to study is the rate of decomposition of the dead, the various phases, and the ultimate appearance of the body weeks after the process had begun. It is not a subject for the faint of heart or for regular readers of my Monday Mayhem series to indulge in while having breakfast.

The Walking Dead cast

The Walking Dead cast

Having watched every episode of The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead, my perspective has changed from when I first became interested in the genre.

For instance, in the early years of my fixation with the undead, my focus fell on what the survivors had to do in order for them to stay alive. Coincidentally, the underlying theme in the early seasons of The Walking Dead is that of survival in the thick of a zombie apocalypse—even if no one really calls them zombies in the show. Survival means different things to different people. In the broad context of the show’s premise, survival means living another day without having had worried about a walker getting in the way. To this end, the survivors play a game of human vs. beast throughout the early part of the series.

As the years went on, however, and by no means would I compare my experience with others who follow the genre, I’ve noticed the plight of the survivors has not been against the walkers but against themselves. Nothing could be more evident of this fact than with last season’s premier when the survivors’ main enemy was a band of cannibals determined to make Rick and his crew their evening meal. For some, cannibalism may have crossed the line, but the ratings sure haven’t reflected that matter. If anything, the audience, including myself, keeps coming back for more.

When it comes to story, The Walking Dead, and now Fear the Walking Dead, has and is leading viewers through a range of emotions that only a good drama can deliver.

Getting back to my original thought about my education within the genre in relation to the shows—has anyone else noticed the walkers in The Walking Dead are different from when they hit the scene in the first episode? Recently, they’ve decomposed rapidly leaving no doubt they’re slowly dying but at a slower pace than otherwise any medical student would suggest. Their skin has lost much of its elasticity. Their color has turned darker. And they have become sluggish as opposed to their former selves, living or otherwise.

Yet, it leaves me wondering what the walkers will look like once the series is over. Will they explode like a bag a goo, as depicted in one episode of a walker trapped in a well? Or will they simply shrivel into a nub and crunch to their ultimate death?

I know that it’s a silly observation, but how can anyone ignore the basic levels of rigor? I can’t imagine what science will do to the walkers once it gets through with them.

Just a thought.


What do you think will happen with the walkers when the series completes? Will the science of rigor finally take revenge on the undead?


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