Posted in Monday Mayhem

The Enemy Within

There is a place for everything and everything has a place. Given today is Monday Mayhem, I can attest that if nothing is in its place, there will be mayhem.

Star Wars' Darth Sidious
Star Wars’ Darth Sidious

In the past, I’ve written extensively about zombies, The Walking Dead, aliens, the end of the world and other flavors of destruction you might consider chaos for the choosing. I think one of the most interesting subjects is what would happen to this world if all social boundaries no longer existed. What I’m thinking has to do with human interactions. Although I’ve written about the subject in my book Ranger Martin and the Search for Paradise, the matter keeps popping up. One can only cover so much in a book before the themes spill into other works, such as this post you’re now reading.

One of the themes I wanted to explore with the book, and related to this subject, pertains to the absolute corruption of the human soul. For example, when people turn into zombies, it is easy to see them as enemies—they see their food ahead, they smell it and they want to eat it.

However, when people are not zombies, and they try to kill the hero, that becomes a more fascinating story. I read somewhere that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. I don’t think that is too far from what I’ve learned when dealing with dark characters in my books. Again, I’ll bring up zombies. With zombies, you can see them coming. They are easy to spot. Humans, though, are tougher.

Edge of Tomorrow
Edge of Tomorrow

Of course, not everything is easy to understand. In the film, Edge of Tomorrow, the adversary is simple to find. They’re creatures bent on the destruction of humanity. They will not rest until every human is a grease spot.

The tougher challenger is the one you can’t see coming, or even worse, the one who at first is not an enemy at all. A great example of this is Darth Sidious of the Star Wars prequel trilogy. The term wolf in sheep’s clothing comes to mind when I’m thinking about this particular breed of maleficent.

All right, now you may be wondering what I’m talking about, since I’ve completely deviated from the subject matter. Or have I?

It is my opinion that the corruption of the human soul is the key to a good story. And as I said, it is one of the most fascinating aspects of writing. Not only does it provide a great deal of conflict for the reader, but the theme also provides a remarkable sense of accomplishment for the writer—if done right.

I’m wondering aloud. That’s all. I suppose I’m wondering about evil characters. Are they compelling enough to write a story centered only around them. Do we always need a hero?

Get the Ranger Martin trilogy now!

What do you think? Do we always need a hero in a story?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombie Pranks Revisited

I tend to ask silly questions, questions people avoid asking because it either may prompt a negative reaction or actually provoke discussion. Now you’re wondering what the question is.

Zombie Experiment NYC - Boy (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC – Boy (Photo credit: AMC)

What will it take to horrify people?

In my Monday Mayhem series, I’ve always included something to stir an emotional response. Given I’m writing horror in the context of terror, I wonder many times what horrifies a person.

Alfred Hitchcock was a master of suspense. He once explained how a person simply sitting in a chair could turn into a scene filled with anxiety and breathless moments. Of course, it’s not very suspenseful when someone sits in a chair. It’s actually quite boring. But, as he once said, place a bomb under that chair, and all of a sudden the scene becomes interesting, suspenseful and replete with horror. Will the person remain calm? Will they run? Will they try to defuse the bomb? What will run through their mind during the last seconds of their life? How did it get there? Who put it there? Why did this person have to be the one sitting there?

Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock

Once again, I ask, what will it take to horrify people?

I’m an avid YouTube watcher. I have several set-top devices that can stream video directly to my TV or display device. Most of my viewing, though, happens on my computer. I enjoy searching for fascinating videos I feel no one else has seen before.

The other day, I came across a genre of videos I first found funny but under later analysis found equally shocking. They are zombie pranks. You can search for it yourself and you will see a multitude of content specifically geared toward humor.

The very first video I saw Zombie Experiment NYC deals with zombies roaming the streets of New York City. If you’re thinking actors in zombie suits and makeup, you must’ve seen it before. The video quality and presentation is top-notch. I later found AMC produced it as their answer to Dish Network’s removal of its network.

Zombie Experiment NYC - Mailman (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC – Mailman (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC - Girl 1 (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC – Girl 1 (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC - Girl 2 (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC – Girl 2 (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC - Girl 3 (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC – Girl 3 (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC - Bench 1 (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC – Bench 1 (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC - Bench 2 (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC – Bench 2 (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC - Walker (Photo credit: AMC)
Zombie Experiment NYC – Walker (Photo credit: AMC)

What I find utterly fascinating is the reaction of people on the streets to these zombies. Some are dressed in city worker clothes, much of their costumes authentic, dripping in blood, skin in pieces, yet some folk do not react at all to the zombie invasion. Seriously—I write about zombies, and if one of these actors approaches me with death in its eyes and hunger in its jaw, I’d run for the hills!

Another video I found is London Zombie Prank. It’s one guy in London dressed as one of the undead, blood and all, horrifying the British in their parks, streets and historical sites. Funny stuff. But, again, what if the guy was real? I saw folks laughing at the thing. One fellow ran after the zombie. No fear.

The last video, which I will not link to, had a guy in a zombie outfit crawling into the middle of dimly lit road from a cemetery. You read that right. Cars passed, yet no one hit him. He should be thankful.

I’m not sure what to make of the reactions of the people in the videos. Perhaps laughter is the body’s mechanism to cope with shock and disbelief. Perhaps standing around doing nothing in a horrifying situation is the mind’s way of shutting down to other gruesome acts. Not sure. Or is it we’ve become so desensitized that we recognize truth from fiction? Your guess is as good as mine.

Get the Ranger Martin trilogy now!

What will it take to horrify people? Have you ever played a prank on someone?

Posted in Freedom Friday


Happy New Year, everyone! I’m so glad you’ve taken a moment of your day to visit. It truly is a pleasure to be here as well. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. To you, I tip my hat in honor of your steadfast support of my work, and for all that you do for me over the course of the year. May this year bring you good tidings.

Happy New Year
Happy New Year

As always, my goal is to entertain you.

So, what are my plans this year? Well, last year was interesting, to say the least. I wrote tons about zombies, went off on a tangent delivering my perspective of the Jodi Arias trial, and completed my Ranger Martin trilogy.

My wish for 2016 is to be able to provide you with the best entertainment you can’t find anywhere else. This will take a lot of work from my side, delivering engaging topics, discovering new theories, and highlighting my favorite things.

I think, though, it will be worth it. Much of what I have planned for 2016 will be in the context of what I come to realize as truth then impart to my readership the information as lessons learned. I may actually write more about writing given folks have been asking via email how do I maintain a site so consistently and still deliver a book a year.

You may also find me talking more about human nature, overcoming trials, and getting along.

New York Fireworks
New York Fireworks

But not everything will be serious. I’ll always continue to provide my favorite recipes, my very best photos, my vacation summaries and most of all, an honest opinion. I really want to make this new year a banner year for creativity—not only for me, but for everyone visiting my site.

If this is your first time here, have a look through my archives. I have them grouped in sections so that you can enjoy them as individual pieces or as part of a series. I’ve written my site with two purposes in mind:

  • To attract readers interested in the topics I love writing about, and
  • To support my books

Some topics, such as cooking and family life are not what one would come to expect from a writer who has written about zombies for over three years, yet I think it’s important to get to know a writer from all angles. That’s my honest opinion.

For those of you who have been with me from the beginning, I am in awe that you are still here. The longer I keep contributing my thoughts on my site, the more I realize how wonderful a support you have been toward my writing and me. I’m very thankful for your kind words, your generous views and most of all your ceaseless faith in what I do here, week after week.

Like I said, I’m in awe.

Now, I’m not much for resolutions, yet given today is the typical beginning of New Year’s resolutions for most people, I thought I’d add one for myself.

My resolution for 2016 is to become more transparent with my writing goals in order to provide my audience a peek into what I’m working on.

What’s that? What am I working on now? I can’t say. Shh, it’s a secret.

Oh, well. So much for resolutions.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Get the Ranger Martin trilogy now!

What are you doing for New Years’ Day? Have you made any resolutions for 2016?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Rise of the Zombies

Zombies are everywhere nowadays. You can’t turn around without bumping into one. They’re all over. What would my Monday Mayhem series be without them?


In 2013, hackers in Great Falls, Montana infiltrated KRTV’s Emergency Alert System (EAS) and broadcasted a dire warning to viewers—the zombie apocalypse had begun. A pulsating noise followed by a voice had drowned the audio to the regularly scheduled program. “Dead bodies are rising from their graves.” A blue bar at the top of TV screens ran the names of counties and areas affected by the event.

The announcement continued: “Follow the messages onscreen that will be updated as information becomes available. Do not attempt to approach or apprehend these bodies as they are considered extremely dangerous.”

Local police reported viewers had called the station requesting information. What type of firearm can the citizens use against the roamers? Of course, the police took every call seriously even though folks had placed them in jest.

Abandoned Morgue
Abandoned Morgue

But has anyone ever asked if this scenario is actually possible? It’s all very well and fine that we know this whole thing was a hoax. Who in their right mind would take something like this and act on it is beyond me. However, several things stand out.

How did the hackers gain access to the EAS? Aren’t there security checks in place to prevent this kind of thing from happening? Who performs the yearly audit of the system? Shouldn’t someone have caught this vulnerability in deployment testing? If I were the affiliate station, I would certainly place a very concerned call to the FCC demanding a revamp of the system. Then again, I am Canadian, so my ramblings really don’t count.

More importantly, I’ll ask again, has anyone yet asked if a scenario such as this is possible?

My answer? No. A resounding no! Dead bodies rising from their graves makes for a cool horror flick but looking at it from the perspective of science can prove informative.

There’s this thing called Primary Flaccidity that occurs soon after death whereby every muscle in the body relaxes. Following this condition is Rigor Mortis, which takes place about three hours after death causing muscles in the body to stiffen. During this stiffening process, blood pools into larger veins discoloring the body giving it a pale look. This is called Livor Mortis or what embalmers call Postmortem Stain, for the bruise-like appearance of where the blood settles. The sequence by which the body stiffens tends to differ due to the variance with lactic acid levels in the muscles and glycogen levels in the different types of muscle fibers. Suffice it to say the process may begin with eyelids, neck and jaw. During the course of Rigor Mortis, the body cools in another process called Algor Mortis.

Within twenty-four to forty-eight hours, the body’s muscles relax again in Secondary Flaccidity. Within a week, the abdomen swells with gas produced by bacteria in the body. Skin blisters appear. Within two weeks, abdomen tightens and swells further. Within three weeks, organs and cavities burst. Nails fall off. Within a month, skin liquefies making the body unrecognizable.

It’s pretty morbid but fascinating nonetheless.

Anyway, getting back to the scenario of dead bodies rising from their graves in a maelstrom invasion of sorts—impossible. That is, impossible if the bodies hadn’t gone through decomposition. It would mean every body rising in every grave had to have died within minutes of each other and rise just before Rigor Mortis stiffened the muscles, Livor Mortis pooled the blood, Algor Mortis cooled the flesh, and Secondary Flaccidity prepped the abdomen for exploding organs.

Doesn’t make sense to me. If the reports from Montana were true, they’d of had skeletons roaming the streets and not bodies.

What does make sense, though, is an invasion born of the living, much like the post Zombie Apocalypse: Revisited I’d written regarding the origins of such an event.

Get the Ranger Martin trilogy now!

What do you think? Is a Zombie Apocalypse possible from bodies rising from the graves? Where does science fit in all this?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

What If Zombies Knock?

It’s Monday Mayhem and you know what that means—yep, zombies running amok making life miserable for all humanity.

Los Angeles
Los Angeles

If you’ve read my Zombie Apocalypse: Revisited post last week, I wrote how I believed if a zombie apocalypse were to take place it would happen in a large urban area. Some have mentioned to me later that it would be more difficult to detect the event in a rural area instead, thus a challenge to contain.

Regardless of where it happens, we’d still have to find ways to defend ourselves. In my post Zombie Kill of the Week II, I wrote a detailed list of how I’d like to see zombies killed. As amusing as it was writing that post, some truth remains: If a zombie were to enter our house, what would we do? It’s fun saying we’d love to jam an ice pick in the soft part of its temple but if we didn’t have an ice pick, it ain’t goin’ die by lookin’ at the thing and screamin’. That’s a fact.

So, what are we to do? What would you do?

Here are a few tips you can use in the event the world collapses and the zombies begin knocking on your door.

  1. Doorway

    Do not open the door. Simple, right? Wrong. Those resilient maggot bags will stop at nothing if they hear life creaking inside your house. Don’t assume they’ll show up in the middle of the day either. Expect the unexpected. They can appear anytime. If you have a snorer in the house, lock ‘em in a windowless room in the basement. You don’t need those miserable gut suckers chomping on anyone in your household at three in the morning. Bar all the doors with deadbolts and chairs. Board up your windows and make only one door your access point. Dictate which door they can use.

  2. Keep weapons handy. If zombies make it into the house, let their first greeting be a bullet to the head. Nothing says hello like a .357 Magnum. Be careful though, a gunshot will alert the others and instead of fending off one, you’ll have to deal with a whole neighborhood full of scab festerers. That’s why it would be a good idea to keep an assortment of garden tools interspersed throughout the house. A shovel can perform the duel role of cracking skulls and burying the remains. A hoe can function in a similar manner. Again, always think of the multiple uses for these tools. Now let’s say one of these brain eaters chases you around the house. What are you going to do? Sporting equipment works good too. Wouldn’t it be a relief to know at the end of a hall you can grab a baseball bat and beat the living tar out of these zombies? There’s nothing like hearing the crack of a Louisville Slugger upside the head of an undead.
  3. Plan an escape route. If worse comes to worse and the whole house gets overrun with those walking fly heaps, the next and best course of action is to—RUN! Don’t stick around. Don’t even look back. You cannot afford to stay in the house any longer. Take what you can carry and head for the hills. Your life depends on it. If you’d planned ahead, you would have left a loose bottom board to one of the ground floor windows to make it easy for you to kick in and crawl through. Better still, you could have rigged the whole house to explode with you and your family safely halfway to the woods. This would ensure the zombies would remain in the house and you wouldn’t have to worry about stragglers chasing you.
  4. Prepare a secondary home. As with any plan there should always be a Plan B. If something should happen to your primary residence, it would be beneficial to have a secondary residence in mind to act as your temporary home. This could be anything from a barn, a tent in the woods to a shed. Anything that will function as a place where you can lay your head without worrying if you’ll still have a head by morning.

These are only a few tips to keep those vermin beasts at bay while you plan your escape for the coast and hop on a boat for the nearest island away from it all.

Get the Ranger Martin trilogy now!

What are your plans for the zombie apocalypse? Have you figured out an escape route? Will you be heading to an island somewhere in the Caribbean?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombie Apocalypse: Revisited

I’ve always wondered if a zombie apocalypse were to take place now, where would it hit first?

Zombie Apocalypse Mayhem
Zombie Apocalypse Mayhem

You know, I’ve thought about this question. It’s not one of those precious topics floating around lunchrooms across America. Like, how many Twitter followers does Lady Gaga have? Does Justin Bieber like chocolate chip ice cream? What will Katy Perry choose as her next hair color? Or some other mind-numbing question like that. No, since I began my study into zombie propagation methods, I’ve pondered on possible contagion locations.

According to zombie folklore, zombies become zombies when a virus infects and kills a victim. The victim rises from the dead as a zombie and carries on the cycle of infection by biting other victims. That is, if there’s anything left of the victims after the zombie attacks. Zombies are known to have a voracious appetite for human flesh and will do anything to consume as much of it as possible.

Which begs the question I asked earlier: Where in the world would a zombie apocalypse have a greater chance of beginning?

Let’s use some logic and think about this for a moment. It would be fair to assume a typical zombie virus falls under the category of designer viruses engineered to deliver its payload to as many victims as possible. Obviously, no one in their right mind would volunteer to release such a virus into the population, therefore, should it happen, it would happen by accident.

Zombie Apocalypse Devastation
Zombie Apocalypse Devastation

Okay, how about location? For a virus of this magnitude to cause such devastation, the lab would have to be located near a huge population. Like a city. I did a quick search on Google for labs located near large populations and found one just outside a metropolis in a quaint suburb. Located across the street is a hotel.

Forgive me if I’m naïve, because sometimes I don’t get things right away. But if this lab should ever have a breach, isn’t it reasonable to say the hotel across the street would fall victim to the contagion first? Don’t hotels contain travelers? Travelers need airports. Aren’t airports in cities? If a whole city gets infected by these busy travelers, wouldn’t the likelihood of the contagion spreading to surrounding communities increase? And let’s not forget the infected flying out of the city. Where are they heading? Europe? Africa? China?

Now, let’s say, for the sake of argument, I’m wrong. Let’s say a zombie apocalypse starts in a rural community first. What are the chances of it stretching its legs beyond the borders of a small town? Do you think the military would allow it? I don’t know. Seems unlikely. The military’s response is quick when it comes to these types of situations. They’d have the location secured once they see zombies running around town trying to make meals of its residents. They’d then execute a containment protocol to prevent the spread from affecting outlining regions.

No, a zombie apocalypse wouldn’t survive in those conditions. The military would make sure of that. If it does happen, it’ll happen in a large urban area. As for my research, I’m not silly enough to reveal what I found online, although if you’re smart, you probably already figured out my Google search. You also know to which lab I’m referring.

Get the Ranger Martin trilogy now!

What do you think? Big city or small town? Do you have any other locations where a zombie apocalypse could start?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

A Zombie Christmas

The most interesting part about this season is not so much about seeing generosity spreading like a contagion among shoppers, as one would hope, but is about seeing how crowds run amok in the aisles in a senseless quest to attain the unattainable. I say interesting because it reminds me of something else that runs amok seeking the unattainable. If you guessed the zombie horde, then I will have to agree.

A Zombie Christmas
A Zombie Christmas

When I look at the situations, there really isn’t much difference. Christmas shoppers will stand at the doors waiting for them to open, they will stampede as a group and some in the crowd will hope they will get their hands on the spoil that has called them to defy logic in an effort to satisfy an inner need.

Now, take a look at the zombie horde. It, too, will stand at the door, in some cases, pounding to get in. Once the doors open, as one unit, it rushes through the door in hopes of capturing that which it has sensed as its need—human.

Strange how this season brings out the best in people.

The perfect zombie Christmas present.
The perfect zombie Christmas present.

I’ve noticed this happening online, too. A large electronic manufacturer will have a sale of merchandise, yet, in limited quantities. The ads purport the sale will begin at the stroke of midnight. The crowd eagerly anticipates the timing. Only a handful for sale, but that’s okay, everyone in the crowd believes the item will be in one of their hands. However, the reality is further from the truth. At exactly one minute after midnight, the item is no longer available.

If I were part of that crowd, then I will have been one of those wanting an explanation. Why the hook to bring in the horde? Why so few for so many? Why not introduce further victims into the fray by releasing more stock to the waiting throng.

Doesn’t this season bring out the best in people?

Let’s go deeper—the parking lots. The day before Christmas, all of a sudden the mall parking lot becomes ground zero for the battle of the century. If zombies existed, they are the ones driving the cars in hopes of finding a spot. They drive around several times with the belief of attaining the unattainable, a free spot. And once a free spot becomes available, like a hornets’ nest stirred to anger, cars swoop in for the kill. Only one is lucky enough to grab the spot, but not without a fight. Necks bulge. Fists shake. The lucky one is lucky to make it out of his car alive.

Ah, isn’t Christmas wonderful? Like obedient zombies looking for their next meal, shoppers flood the malls and online retailer with the belief they can attain the unattainable. Of course, a lucky few do walk out of the store with their prized item. But, for what? For the item to be forgotten in a chest somewhere a year later?

Maybe we’re not too different from the zombies after all.

Get the Ranger Martin trilogy now!

What do you think of the Christmas shopping season? Have you noticed the horde stampeding through doors?