Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Ever Gone On Tour With The Undead?

Today I'm delighted to welcome author Peter Welmerick back to my blog as he tours the internet with his undead friends and a wonderfully post-apocalyptic Hunt for the Fallen (second in the Transport series). Welcome Peter! And have fun, dear readers, as Peter tells us about...


When I first starting writing my TRANSPORT Military adventure series, I wasn’t quite thinking I’d have the shambling Undead wandering about in the background, foreground or side to side. TRANSPORT was originally going to be about a huge armored personnel carrier (the HURON) and its crew and the crap and adventures they’d endure in some kind of a hostile, post-apoc world.

But then I had to figure out WHAT KIND of post-apoc world I wanted them to venture out and about into.

Post-nuclear war devastation? Nah. Cool, promising, but, nah. Technology run amok, sentient robotic beings overtaking and/or fighting against humanity? Hmm, I’ll use that for something else. Zombie apocalypse? Hmmm, yes, that would be cool, but, damn it, I have to make it MY OWN.

Enter the TRANSPORT “world” and storyline in a POST-Post zompocalyptic setting. The initial crisis (viral pandemic) has passed for the most part. Good ole Humanity’s still here. The rotting, walking, moaning carcasses of Humanity are still here. We’re rebuilding, treating each other with reborn tolerance and respect, while skipping gleefully along with our undead brothers and sisters through a field of green grass and black-eyed susans.

Not quite. Not even close.

But I did have some, um, demented fun with my local undead citizenry. In fact, there are undead citizens harbored on the big city of Grand Rapids west side in TRANSPORT. They are fed, and clothed, and city ordinances protect them from being brutalized by the Living. This goes as far as even accidentally, in the throes of panic as the city’s undead family and friends advance, you aren’t supposed to do them bodily harm without the potential of being arrested and fined.

The HURON and crew, when going in for a feeding run, or patrol, have to be sure to maneuver their 72-ton wheeled and tracked vehicle through the streets without mooshing anyone.

Did I mention there is a mission store/house in the heart of the UCRA (Urban Civilian Retention Area) overseen by a big, gun-toting nun and her Holy sisters who administer aid to the local teetering denizens.


Billet looked at the pair, a picture flashing in his mind’s eye of his late wife and son. These two weren’t them; his son had been much older when he’d been lost. Judging by the stump of a small arm in a torn, frilly sleeve in the woman’s right hand—she seemed unaware and not alarmed she was missing a child—the family had been larger than his anyway.

Sister Mirose lifted a solid forearm, scarred red with bite marks. She stopped the undead woman before she walked by the building. The woman and child sniffed at both her and Billet, but showed no sign of hostility.

“Inside now. Sister Terese will see you.” The big nun said, turning the woman towards the open door behind her.

The woman and boy, and bodiless small forearm, teetered and wobbled into the Apostolate.


The HURON’s driver, LCpl Loutonia Phelps, is schooled in several dialects including ZOMBIE. She uses her training to get Intel from one of the undead locals during their excursions into the UCRA. This particle Zee is what they refer to as a “Satellite Zombie.” For whatever reason, he picks up “transmissions” from both the local and Ferals, informing Phelps of any abnormal situations inside and outside the city when it comes to other Undead.


Bob’s head jerked upward, startling Jake.

Mumbling unidentifiable words, Bob drooled a line of bloody spittle to punctuate his statement. He moved his hands and arms about as if mired in molasses, yet with gestures like a frustrated mute explaining something, trying to get his point across.

Phelps leaned in, listening to the gurgles and halting grunts and groans.

She interpreted: “Marauders detonated…section of Interstate 96…between Coopersville and Nunica…”

“Yes. Old news. Two year old news.” Billet responded. He thought he saw a curtain move in a second floor window of the sagging house across the street.

“Current news. M-45. Between Grand Rapids and Grand Haven,” Billet said at Bob who continued to grumble and gesture.
He knew it took a while for those rotted cogs to turn in the undead man’s head.

Jake looked up at that same window again. This time he watched as the tattered curtain fall back into place.

Bob coughed violently, and continued “talking.”

Loutonia continued to listen with a grimace, wiping foul spittle from the front of her uniform.


It all seems pretty humorous, how I have depicted MY zombie populace. It isn’t all sunshine and unicorns pissing raindows as you will discover if you read the TRANSPORT series. Like I said, I wanted to change things up a bit, and not have it all be standard zombie fare.

I had my fun with the Undead theme in my own sinister sort of way.

*evil laugh*


Okay, now I know your undead are seriously undead, and I'm eager to read more. Thank you for introducing us, Peter! And here's some more information for readers - where to find you, where to find the books, and how to follow the tour.

PeterWelmerinkAuthorPhoto_BWPeter Welmerink ( was born and raised on the west side of pre-apocalyptic Grand Rapids, Michigan. He loves his hometown and West Michigan, which is why he writes about it. He writes Fantasy, Military SciFi, and other wanderings into action-adventure. His work has been published in ye olde wood pulp print and electronic-online publications. He is the co-author of the Viking berserker novel, BEDLAM UNLEASHED, written with Steven Shrewsbury. TRANSPORT is his first solo novel venture. He is married with a small barbarian tribe of three boys.


Twitter: @pwelmerink (TRANSPORT-related posts) (author interviews and all things fantastical)


9/21 A Work In Progress Interview
9/21 I Smell Sheep Guest Post
9/21 Beauty in Ruins Guest Post
9/21 shells interviews Guest Post
9/23 Book in the Bag Interview
9/23 Sheila Deeth Book Blog Guest Post
9/24 Bee's Knees Reviews Review
9/25 WebbWeaver Reviews Guest Post
9/26 Vampires, Witches, & Me Oh My Top Tens List
9/26 fuonlyknew Review
9/27 Coffintree Hill Guest Post
9/27 Armand Rosamilia, Author Guest Post


Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble


HuntFortheFallen_Cover  Find Out More About Book Two: Hunt for the Fallen:

Captain Jacob Billet Journal Entry - Sunday April 5, 2026

It’s raining, it’s pouring, the undead are roaring…

Amassed at the UCRA east end enclosure, the dead strain the fence line while soldiers keep watchful eyes, the survivors on the opposite side of the rising river about to lose their minds.

It’s a crazy time: nonstop precipitation; everyone's up in arms; paranoid city council members with an asshat City Treasurer. Water, water everywhere. Zees dropping into the churning drink. Troops afraid of being stitched up and thrown back into the fray as Zombie Troopers. Tank commanders getting itchy to head out on their own after drug-laden shamblers. Reganshire insurgents trying to extract our west side civvies for some unknown reason, possibly pushing the city into taking heavy-handed action against them.

Then there’s some black-haired dead dude staring at me through the fence, grinning like he’s off his meds.

And I thought Lettner was a headache.

All this sh*t might give me a heart attack.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Who's on First?

I seem to be reading lots of books written in first person this week. Each tells of a time, place, or way of life that I don't know. But how the author tells the reader what's going on is different in each. I read somewhere that there are different kinds of first-person writing, so I'll see if I can figure it out as I work through these reviews. Find yourself a coffee, and enjoy.

The The Jamie Quinn Mysteries by Barbara Venkataraman are narrated by the eponymous Jamie Quinn. She's a family lawyer, and I know nothing about family law. Jamie offers details to the reader in an enthusiastically natural voice, like a friend sitting over coffee. There are three books in the set (and a fourth coming out soon). And I like the way the "telling" is so personal - first person enthusiastic perhaps?

Jamie could tell me tons about autism in "Death by Didgeridoo" but instead she tells a little - it's not something the character, Jamie, is passionate about. But about how adoptions are so much more fun that divorce? In The Case of the Killer Divorce, the telling is part of creating the character. And in Peril in the Park,  I learned lots about parks and recreation - why? Because Jamie's passionate about someone who's working in that field.

Enjoy Jamie's passions and solve mysteries while drinking some well-balanced, full-flavored three-star coffee. Meanwhile, can you think of a better name than first-person enthusiastic? First-person involved maybe?

Dobyn's Chronicles, by Shirley MacLain, is also told through first-person narration. The setting is Oklahoma in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The world is changing, and the character - a trustworthy and hard-working young man, orphaned when Yellow Fever takes his parents - changes gently with age, Some of America's history is seen through the character's eyes, and I love his surprise at, for example. his first encounter with indoor plumbing. Maybe I'll call this first-person memoirish (since it's not technically a memoir). Other parts of history are revealed instead through long-winded dialog which slows the story down--but life was slower back then. Meanwhile more details are revealed through occasional slips into other characters' eyes--characters who might have told their tale later. All in all, it's a fascinating book. Enjoy with some dark five-star coffee, since the world was unforgiving and death a close companion of those who lived in it.

Until We’re Strangers again by Sean Gorman is a tale of a young man growing up in the world of wrestling. Okay, I know nothing about wrestling, but the author manages to convey information with casual asides from the first-person narration, and interesting musings on his passions. It's a long book, with many dark scenes. Stage violence and imaginary personae leave the real world to be turned into a playground of failed relationships, sex, drink and drugs. Drink some seriously dark five-star coffee with this one. And the first-person style? Definitely memoir.

Finally Dene Hellman's The Ninety-Ninth Reunion tells a story through several different first-person narrators, each flowing naturally from the telling of the last. This time the author's pulling you into the story, rather than asking you to sit and listen. The narrators are following through events whose conclusion they can't know, and neither can you. Maybe I'd call it first-person deep, to match with third-person deep narration. Deeply involved in the characters, you share their hopes and fears, and a certain sense of dread without ever knowing what's going to come. A wonderfully evocative novel, a romance where land and siblings and the recent past are all important characters, and a tale that defies expectations, this is one to enjoy with some rich, elegant, complex four-star coffee. Highly recommended.

Of course, I'm still reading first person novels - Gary Gibson's Extinction Game this weekend (just for me, but I might post a review). There really are a lot of them around, and my beloved, soon-to-be-released Infinite Sum will be a first-person tale too; first-person deep, by my flawed definitions!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Do We Live In Dark Times?

Last year, part of my research for writing children's Bible stories based on Acts was to undertake a study of Acts with a group of friends. Of course, Acts took place in ancient history - dark ages, dark times perhaps, and surely a world much different from ours.

We looked at history, geography, social issues, non-Biblical resources and, of course, various books of the Bible. It seemed those were indeed dark times - days of wars, riots, political unrest and intrigue, refugee crises, death and destruction...

Then I listened to this week's news from Europe, of refugees sailing from Turkey to Greece, storms at sea, shipwreck, and more... And I realized they are sailing the same dark seas as Peter and Paul must have crossed when Christianity was born. Hence my question in the title - do we live in dark times? And is the world really so changed? We have our new technologies, new countries and new laws. But the seas and shipwreck are the same. Politics plays the same games with refugees. And people are ever the same.

My first book review this week is of a tale from Europe in a different dark time, between then and now. Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund describes the world of political, religious and social upheaval at the time of Luther. Encouraged by Luther to flee the convents, women enter the secular world only to find the promised freedoms belong only to men. Meanwhile men are fighting oppression, churches are fighting change, and it's hard to find that balance between duty and love. Read this one with an elegant, rich and complex four-star cup of coffee.

Luther's call to freedom isn't the only one that can lead to greater pain. Modern America's siren lure can bring refugees crossing arid borders to find no solace here, as in Journey Through An Arid Land by G. Davies Jandrey. Arizona's desert isn't the only arid land in this novel though, as very human characters face the aridity of their own souls, a lonely man investigates murder, an abused child tries to make sense of her life, a rejected woman confesses her true nature, and a woman losing her senses perhaps finds herself. It's a lovely novel, best read with another rich, elegant, complex four-star coffee.

G. Davies Jandry's A Garden of Aloes takes a journey through one long summer - a dark summer for the mother who has fled an abusive husband, but unexpectedly darker for her child. The aloe garden of the title provides a wonderful metaphor for a tale filled with unexpected gentleness, quiet healing of violent hurt, and a multitude of wonderful characters. Enjoy some more rich elegant and complex four-star coffee with this one!

Then there's Weapons of Mass Destruction by Margaret Vandenburg, a tale of moral certainty invaded by the slippery slope of human nature as soldiers march into Fallujah and mass destruction isn't just a threat or a weapon anymore. It's a tale for all time, quickly read, rushing forward into battle while sneaking its peeks at the past, and revealing the humanity behind all those moral pronouncements and certainties. Drink a bold, dark, intense five-star coffee with this one.

Finally, perhaps to counterbalance the dark worlds of these tales, here's a short volume for kids called Teaching Christ’s Children about Feeling Angry by Corine Hyman. It's illustrated with well-chosen Bible verses, and it offers lessons based on very real and natural childhood events. My only complaint is that in the version I read some of the pictures in this illustrated book felt stretched or shrunk, though I was very impressed with how easy it was to recognize characters and expressions - more so than in similar books I've read. Enjoy with a bright, lively, easy-drinking two-star coffee.

So now summer's bright lights are giving way to fall. Do we live in Dark Times? Or do we define our own darkness. I loved how these books made me question that.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Is it a strange tale or a mystery?

We're working on our next Writers' Mill Journal - volume 4, 2015 coming soon! But click on the image to learn aboutVolume 3. It's a collection of writings from our local writers' community, and any sales benefit our local library so...if you like what you see from the link, please buy copies for all your friends!

Like all "random" anthologies, our journal contains entries in multiple genres, from poetry for kids to scary horror stories for uncles and aunts (well, maybe not too scary - it's still PG13), and I get the joy of making sure all the entries end up in the right place. This year "It's a Mystery" had so many entries we had to start splitting them up. Some went into the "Kids' Corner." Several book excerpts landed in "Book-It." One mystery whose answer lay under the bed was assigned to "Under the Bed." And the rest were split between Mysteries and Strange Tales. But what's the difference between a mystery and a strange tale?

For our purposes, we decided it hinges on clues. If clues are important, the story's a mystery. If strange events predominate, we'll call it a strange tale.

All of which leads nicely into my reviews of recently read books, many of which were mysterious or strange, and none of which had their reviews posted because I was too busy working on the journal. Today I take a break while other editors read, so grab a coffee and see what you think:

Space Monsters by Peter Joseph Swanson is definitely a strange tale. Combining real history of the early '80s with a genuine feel for the obsessions of university students and teens enjoying their first clear tastes of freedom, the author creates a novel where monsters, real, imagined, science fictional, historical, twisted and natural all work together in a thoroughly weird, convincing and absorbing narrative. Enjoy this odd dark read with some oddly dark five-star coffee.

Portrait of Ignatius Jones by Peter David Shapiro is similarly strange, starting with an evocatively scary Victorian scene, then moving forward to a woman haunted by a painting, and that scary intersection of psychic power with human greed in the present day. There's a great female protagonist as the mystery deepens, and I'd love to read more books about her. Meanwhile, this is one to enjoy with a rich complex four star cup of coffee.

Dead Market by Gary Starta is harder to classify. There's definitely a mystery, with clues. There are bad buys with plans. And there might be a scientific explanation for it all. But it's also very definitely strange. I think I'll have to call it a strange mystery, blending medical discoveries, police detection, and something suspiciously like vampires - very cool. Enjoy with a dark five star coffee.

The Ghosts of Petroglyph Canyon by Christopher Cloud is a children's mystery, with some intriguingly strange overtones. But this time the clues are the thing, so I'll definitely call it mystery. Imagine Enid Blyton's Famous Five on a New Mexico Ranch, protecting a heritage while their uncle prays for rain, and you'll get the picture. It's fast, fun, and a nice blend of action and information for middle-grade readers. Enjoy with some bright lively easy-drinking two-star coffee.

Indemnity Only by Sara Paretsky is a clue-driven mystery with a cool female protagonist. I know it's the beginning of a series, and I plan to read more, if I can only find the time. It's set in Chicago, which to me means Harry Dresden, and the mystery has the same sense of bad news growing worse. But the story's entirely believable, modern-day, with no paranormality. And the protagonist is a determined young woman, getting no younger, balancing check-books, lives and loves with the needs of others. There are some seriously dark scenes, so enjoy a dark five-star coffee with it.

Then there's Death by Coffee by Alex Erickson, first in a new mystery series, so it must be a mystery. It's set in a bookstore/coffeeshop, so it's bound to appeal to me. Hapless coffee-pourer Krissy proves an even more hapless solver of mysteries, but the case is closed by the time the last door closes, and the bookstore's still open so all's well. Plus the detective is really handsome. Enjoy this one with some lively, easy-drinking two-star coffee, and don't forget to visit your local bookstore.

That's all my mysteries and strange tales for the last two weeks. I'll post more reviews as soon as I escape from editing again.