Posts Tagged ‘Dredging Up Memroies’

Dear Faithful Readers,

I want to tell you about Hank Walker, the main character of Dredging Up Memories. He’s an everyday average guy who ended up in the not so everyday average zombie apocalypse. He, like anyone dealing with the end of the world as he knew it, struggled to cope with the loss of loved ones and of humanity as a whole. He dealt with the loneliness in the best way he could. Maybe that was the wrong way, but it also may have been the way a lot of folks would have dealt with it. Who knows?

When I created the character of Hank Walker, I wanted to put him in situations that would test his mental fortitude. I wanted to break him and see how he came out on the other side of that. There were things I put him through that bothered me, especially as I got to know Hank and see his personality develop.

Sometimes when we write characters, we have to hurt them in order to make them believable. We have to hurt them in order to make you, the reader, feel something in your heart of hearts and your mind of minds. But by doing that, we also hurt ourselves, we break our hearts. As a writer, I know I have done my job, if I feel the pain of the story as I am writing it.

I’ve been told on several occasions that Dredging Up Memories is like The Walking Dead with more emotion. I take that as a huge compliment.

I can’t go into too much of the actual storyline without giving a ton away. However, I would love to give you part of the story, here in this post. Enjoy:

51xtx8nzwslA middle-aged man groaned as we neared each other. I screamed back at him before taking the top of his head off with the machete. The pistol took out several more, just click and boom and down they went.

I spun and saw another rotter moving toward me. His glasses were still on his face though hanging cock-eyed, just on the tip of his nose. His hair was short, a few cowlicks kicked off the edges. He was thin, and all I could think was Paul Marcum taking a bite out of Lee, essentially ending my oldest brother’s existence. The man looked similar to him.

I backpedaled to the truck, climbed in the bed, and shoved aside part of the tin can alarm system. There were other guns back there, plenty of ammunition, but all I wanted was a vantage point.

The other dead approached, flies swarming around them, their stench filling the air, making my stomach churn. Even after these few months, that smell still makes me want to heave. I plucked them off one by one until only the Paul Marcum lookalike was standing at the tailgate. He was missing three fingers on one hand, and up close, he was a lot worse off than I originally thought. Skin had peeled away from his face, exposing facial muscles as tough as jerky.

“How you doin’, Paul?”

He looked at me, gave a moan, and stretched out his arms.  

“Okay, so you’re not Paul—at least you weren’t in another life. But today… Today, you’re Paul Marcum, and you killed my brother.”

I brought the heel of my boot down on the bridge of his nose. He stumbled backward, let out what sounded like a howl. He was in pain, and I was happy to put him through more of it. I jumped from the truck, landed a few feet from him. A quick whip of the machete on one arm and it separated from his body.

“You think that hurt?” I yelled as he groaned. “You haven’t felt anything yet.”

I circled around him, rage having consumed me entirely. The blade found the other arm. The snap of bone and the rush of fetid blood spilled from a new wound as the arm fell away. Another pain-filled howl left the Marcum lookalike. I pulled the pistol from my waistband and took two shots at his legs—two wasted bullets that I’ll never get back, but at that time…at that time, wounding an innocent man who unfortunately looked like another one was all I cared about. The rotter fell to the ground, lay there with no hands to pull himself along, his legs useless.

With the toe of my boot, I rolled him onto his back. His teeth clattered together as he gnashed at me. His filmed-over eyes held anger in them.

“You’re mad at me? Is that how it is, Paul? You kill my brother, and you’re mad at me?” I laughed. Maybe the wheels had finally come off the car, and my mind had taken the short road to insanity. I don’t know, but at that moment—that frozen, horrible moment in time—I didn’t care about the pain the dead must have been in, the fear that must have been sitting in their undead veins. The only thing that mattered was revenge. Plain and simple. And revenge I would have.

I brought the blade down on the dead man’s chest, yanked it out, and swung it down again. Over and over, I bashed the body of the poor man as black blood spilled from each wound, and dead tissues tore free, bones broke. After several minutes, I finally stopped, my arms aching, my breathing heavy and harsh in my ears. The zombie still stirred, his mouth still opening and closing, his eyes still focused on what could have been a meal.

And the anger was gone from me, all of it unleashed on that poor dead man. I shook from adrenaline and sudden guilt. A hand went to my mouth, and I dropped the machete to the ground. I took several steps back until my back hit the tailgate. The man still moved, still made little groans and moans, and his head turned from side to side like he was saying no no no no over and over again.

I pulled out my pistol, walked the short distance to the mutilated body, and pulled the trigger. The man’s head ruptured, and he stilled. Hands shaking, I got into the truck, closed the door, and locked it. I could feel Humphrey’s eyes on me, sense his disappointment.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered as I stared out the windshield at the carnage around me. The dead were truly dead, their bodies lying where I felled them.

I hope you enjoyed this snippet from Dredging Up Memories. If so, consider bee-bopping over to Amazon and getting a copy. I would truly appreciate it. If you have already read it, would you mind leaving a review if you haven’t done so? That helps me out more than you probably know.

With that said, I leave you all and hope you have a wonderful morning, afternoon and evening.

Until we meet again my friends, be kind to one another.

A.J.

A while back I tried a series of blogs titled Theater of Nightmares. I liked them, but found very few people following them or even reading it. I abandoned it as a lost cause, but often wish I would have finished the series. It had a great premise that could have turned into a novel later on.

It was trial and error.

I also have a series titled, Dredging Up Memories, that has been running at Tales of the Zombie War for a little while. It’s through part VI and I have the next three installments written. The tenth chapter, which I am about to write, brings a revelation for the main character (as if he hasn’t already had a few of those) that could change the entire series.

As it is, I enjoy the series writing, though not so much to write full blown novels about people or events.

My question is would any of you readers be interested in a series? I have ideas, including something I call Missing Man, but if I were to entertain these thoughts, I would like to know someone is going to read them besides myself and a couple of friends.

So, dear readers, would you be interested in a new series? I might even let Herbie write some of the installments.

Thanks for checking in and I look forward to your responses.

Until we meet again, my friends…

~Sniffle sniffle, ah-choo, cough, hack, wheeze, sniffle sniffle~

This has been my life the last couple weeks.

I call it the Creeping Crud. Or the Lucas Pederson. (Sorry, inside joke to one of my friends. He’ll know what I’m talking about and probably get a good laugh out of it.)

This cold, allergy or whatever it is came at both a lousy time and a somewhat good time. Yeah, contradicting, I know. But, hear me out.

Wait, before I go there, let me give you a little back story to this.

The weekend before Thanksgiving we came home after my son’s final flag football game to find a little kitten in our yard. It took off running and got itself stuck between our privacy fence and the neighbor’s fence. We tried to entice it out with a bit of food–it was scrawny and looked like it hadn’t eaten in a very long time (even though the kitten couldn’t have been much over six weeks old, if that).

Throughout the day, my kids kept watch for the thing, fretting over it all the while. Then later that night it ended up in our house. This, after me saying, ‘No, we will not have another cat.’

Yeah, we know who won that little battle, don’t we?

My wife fell in love with it and the rest is history. So, now we have a new pet–a little kitten named Mia.

However, since that day I have been sick. I blame the kitten. I say I am allergic to the little thing (which, by the way, I have dubbed Hellspawn). My wife says for me to get over it. I’m not winning this battle and that’s not the way it’s supposed to be.

[[Side note: I grew up around cats. I have one appropriately named Pouncer. He’s eleven or twelve now. I’ve never been allergic to cats. However, the Hellspawn must have some special dander or maybe it’s Cat Scratch Fever, since the demon scratched me when I tried to pick it up. End side note.]]

Now that I have you completely sympathetic to my plight (yeah, right) I will get on to the real story at hand. This Creeping Crud (or Lucas Pederson. Take your choice.), complete with the sniffles, sneezing, coughing, heavy chest, headache, watery eyes and just overall blahness, has stuck with me now for 13 days. I hate it. One minute I feel okay, the next minute I want to stick a hot poker up my nose. It truly sucks.

Sleeping in bed is next to impossible, so the recliner has become my friend–oh, yes, it has. I have sneezed so many different ways that I can’t even begin to count them. My ribs hurt from all of the ah-choo’s and hacking I’ve done. I am tired of wiping my *^%$ nose. Thankfully, it’s not the other end running…

So, the timing sucks with Thanksgiving and my son’s birthday and my daughter’s drama group’s performance coming up and the parade and… oh yeah, work… But, it’s also kind of beneficial that it happened when it did. You see, I’ve been working on this series of stories titled Dredging Up Memories.

[[Side note: Shameless plug. You can find Dredging Up Memories at Tales of the Zombie Wars. Just follow the link and enjoy. End Side note.]]

In the current installment, my main character gets sick and thinks he is dying. He fears he will become one of the zombies that have plagued the world. I’m not going to tell you what happens, but being sick has helped me write some of the symptoms for my main character. It has helped me to write a more believable sickness into the story.

And that’s really what this blog is about.

To be good writers, we have to draw on life. To tell good stories, we have to make them as believable as possible–even stories with zombies in them. By drawing from the Creeping Crud that has kicked my tail end the last two weeks gives my main character’s sickness more depth. It makes it more believable.

That’s what we writers need to do with all of our characters: draw off of real life and put them in situations that the readers can believe. Rich characters with depth to them make for great stories, believable stories; stories you like or hate because of the main character was either loveable or detestable.

So, while I have suffered from this sickness, I have also paid a lot of attention to how my body feels. That way I can get it right on paper when I write about it.

To go with this, the little Hellspawn has, well, spawned a story idea as well, so I guess that’s one thing good about the kitten that my family loves.

I said all that in hopes of impressing upon you the importance of paying attention to your surroundings, your body, the weather, the way the world is, people and so on. If you know about the world, if you know about people and if you know about feelings, then you should be able to write an engaging tale. It’s our jobs, as writers, to tell stories in a way that makes our readers feel something. That’s the goal: make the readers feel… anything. Love. Happiness. Sadness. Disgust. Hate for a character. Anything at all. Give them something to feel and you give them something to remember.

For now, I’m A.J. and I’m out.

~Sniffle sniffle, ah-choo~