More with the Talking

Tonight I'll be at the Lake Oswego Library starting at 7pm, talkin' zombies, food television, and animated octopi. Yes, my writing skills include not only the undead, but also seafood and cartoons! Should be fun. I'll also doing a little reading, book signing, and answering of any and all questions that come my way. If you're in the neighborhood stop on by. Free bookmarks!

Lake Oswego Library, 706 4th Street, Lake Oswego, OR

13 Hours of Zombies in the Rain

Now available for download, the Portlandtown audio-book! That's right, now you don't even need to work your eyes to enjoy 13 hours of old west adventure and zombie killin'. Hooray! 
If you're curious, you can find a sample here, read by the talented Mr. Scott Sowers. Very nicely done. He has just the right mix of creepy and old western grit in the reading. Heck, I might have to get myself a copy.

Presently, the download is available at Audible and Amazon, starting at $25. You can get it cheaper if you sign up for a membership. CDs and cassettes should be available soon.

The Sleepover

Here's a little something fun from director Chris Cullari called The Sleepover. It's a proof of concept short for a feature about a town the has one of them nasty supernatural serial killer types hanging around, always causing trouble. It's a little bit bloody, but otherwise wholesome family fun!

What's Next?

For my next trick, I've begun work on a novel set in the present day called Pumpkin Eater. Think Halloween spooks, pumpkin-carving, and messy family trees. It's currently in the development stage, but writing will commence soon, and (with a little luck) I'll have a first draft in short order (unlike the Wyldes, this one should come a little easier).

I'm also working on the follow up to Portlandtown, which currently is claiming the title, Ghost Town. Pretty simple, but it fits (and will probably change anyway). I guess ghosts are the new zombies (at least in my world).

So, that trailer for World War Z came out the other day and we all went...huh? And then there's this: Warm Bodies, based one the book by Isaac Marion. Tell me this doesn't look like a ton of fun. Can't do it, can you? See you in line.

Oh, Hai Goon!

Is this not the coolest thing you've seen today or what? Don't say "what." This lovely bit of concept art comes to us from Blur Studios, the fine folks attempting to get a Goon movie off the ground. They've still got 5 days left on their Kickstarter campaign to produce a full length story reel. Looks like they're about 75% of the way there, so...if you feel like kicking in a few pennies us Goon fans would really appreciate it. Thanks.

Grim Grinning Ghosts

Found this and just had to share. This is the original "Grim Grinning Ghosts" tune from the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland. This clip has the full audio from the ride, including all the screams, hoots, and  hollers, plus all the different vocalizations. Very cool.

New Signing

Added another signing, this time at The Willamette Store on Thursday, December 6, from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM. In case you were wondering, yes, that is on the Willamette University campus in the middle of Salem, Oregon. Apparently, the college kids love me.

Powell's Event

Hey, just wanted to drop a thank you to all who showed up Monday night to hear me read from Portlandtown at Powell's. Somehow it stopped raining just long enough for me to slip in and out without soaking the oversize poster I brought along for show and tell.

If you missed the event, but really want a signed book they should have a few at Powell's (I signed a stack of extras). Plus I'll have a few more appearances in the coming weeks/months, so check the Appearances page for more info.

Thanks again.

Well, My Birthday is Coming Up

Your eyes do not deceive you. That's a group of zombies done up old-fashioned Army Men style. How awesome is that? These beauties are officially licensed Walking Dead merchandise, not that you can tell. Still awesome. Ten walkers per bag. I'll take a dozen.

The Walking Dead Zombie Army Men from Gentle Giant, LTD.

Monday 7:30 PM Powell's on Hawthorne

If you're not too busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, I'd love to have you stop by, give a listen. I won't bite. Promise.

Zombie Talk

Hey, look it's me! This would be an interview I did with the lovely Inessa at KINK FM here in Portland. Expect 15 minutes of talk on such subjects as "zombies" and "Portland" and "why do you like zombies and Portland?" Actually, it's a pretty good interview. I don't sound like an idiot at all. Enjoy!

Monster Roll

This is a ton of fun. Giant sea monsters battle angry sushi chefs. How can you go wrong with that? For more info on the project (this is just the proof of concept) go here.

Not So Dead After All

Has to be said: two episodes into season three The Walking Dead is as good as it's ever been and just might be the best show on television*. Hard to believe I just wrote that. After last season's agonizingly slow start and, at best, watchable finish, I figured the best we could hope for was more of the watchable episodes. Instead we get gritty, gutsy, gutty, gruesome, and, above all else, smart television. Amazing. Even more amazing? Carl is no longer annoying and I almost feel sorry for Lori. (I said "almost". I was still rooting for Herschel to give her the kiss of death.) Call it a Ricktatorship if you must, but definitely count me in. Congrats to all involved.

Oh, yeah...don't screw it up.

*Note I said "on" as in "on right now." Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Justified are not currently on. And the "might" refers to Sons of Anarchy, which has been better longer. If Walking Dead holds strong all season, we'll see. What about Homeland? Meh.

Creepy Skeleton Spiders

Hominid from Brian Andrews on Vimeo.

Yes, now you can just as disturbed as I was watching this clip. You're welcome.

Zombie Hearts Comics

Yeah, this is a commercial, but it's my kind of commercial--probably yours, too. Things From Another World is a local Portland comic book chain (and apparently SoCal, as well). I've done my fair share of shopping there over the years and can attest to their zombie friendly policies. More or less. the Wild

Today my first novel hit stores. You probably know this. If you bought a copy, thanks! You are awesome. If you're thinking about buying a copy, you are awesome, too. Just want to make that clear.

I went shopping myself this afternoon, just to see the real thing on a the wild, as it were. Wyldes in the wild. Har har. I found a few, first at the Beaverton Powell's (I'll try the big boy downtown later), and then at a Barnes & Noble outlet near Washington Square. 4 copies. In General Fiction. Stephen King was there, too, so I guess it's okay.

Funny thing, though...the B&N was closing. Half empty. Nothing but bargain bins, Nook salesmen, and stacks and stacks of 50 Shades of Grey. Oh, and 4 copies of Portlandtown. Huh. A dying store. Zombie Barnes & Noble. Go figure.

As I was leaving I slid a couple copies of my book onto the table next to the Nook guys. They seemed chipper, eager. Somehow I didn't punch them.

BTW, Portlandtown is available everywhere, including as an ebook.

Alternative Worlds Portlandtown Review

This is me not paying attention to Portlandtown reviews, good or bad. Speaking of good's a nice one from the delightful Harriet Klausner over at Alternative Worlds. Exhilarating, face-paced, and action-packed? Holy crap I wrote an 80's action movie. Totally awesome!

Alternative Worlds Portlandtown review

My Bookish Ways Interview

Portlandtown is in stores tomorrow. Finally. Hey, it's only been...several years since I finished it. Welcome to publishing! While you're waiting for your copy, here's a friendly interview I did with My Bookish Ways to keep you occupied. BONUS! Free beer-steamed mussel recipes included.

Portlandtown Teaser

Here's a little something I've been working on. If you dig the music, I highly recommend checking out the works of Gustavo Santaolalla. Well worth your time. Enjoy.

Zombie 911

Oh, man...this tickles me. The affirming...zombie story you'll see all year. Heh. Heh-heh.

Zombie Apocalypse Run

So this is happening...three days before Portlandtown is unleashed on the public. Good timing. Nothing like a good run for your life to get the blood pumping. For those who don't live in the Portland, Oregon metro area I suggesting dressing up like a zombie and chasing the kids around the yard. Or the neighbors. Whoever is available. For more info, go here. (NOTE: the above video isn't exactly chock full of zombies, but it does have a nice vibe. Plus in this race the zombies run, too. They don't just jump out of the bushes.)

Portlandtown Update

Portlandtown hits stores in less than two weeks (October 16). Hard to believe. I just added another event to the schedule: December 18 at the Lake Oswego (OR) Library. I'll be speaking as part of their Third Tuesday Author series. Should be fun. They said I could bring books to sign and/or sell. Get your Xmas shopping done early--buy books for everybody!

Powell's Signing

Hey Kids! Guess who'll be signing books at Powell's Books on Monday, October 29th @ 7:30pm? Yup, yours truly. I guess I'm moving up in the world. Maybe I'll try a little light a little reading while I'm there. (Out loud, I mean.)

Do note that's the Powell's at 3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd., just down the street from Apizza Scholls (yum), not the monster downtown. Maybe next time.

Hope to see you all there! Here!

Well, it's at my house anyway. I got a copy in the mail yesterday. Thanks Mr. Publisher! For the rest of you the book drops on October 16. That's our pug, Chloe, by the way. For more pictures of her (and other pugs), go here. (Note the look of excitement on our local critic's face. Thrilled! Or sleepy.)

Herald of Doom

What's that Mr. Crow? Zombies are coming? Why yes they are...pretty soon. Like, in three weeks. Less than three weeks! October 16, to be exact. That's Portlandtown: A Tale of the Oregon Wyldes. Zombie fun for the whole family.

The Quillery Guest Blog

Hey Kids! If you pop on over to The Qullery this morning (or whatever time it happens to be when you catch this) you will find a delightful little post penned by yours truly entitled ZOMBIE 3.0. Yup. Another bit of writing about zombies. Is there anything else in life? (Brains.)

Jokes aside, it's a fun piece about zombie evolution and just a wee bit of plug for PORTLANDTOWN (October 16 at a store near you!). Thanks to Sally at The Quillery for the chance to share. Enjoy!


Library Journal Portlandtown Review

Hey, look! Somebody else likes my book. I know I shouldn’t read these things, but . . . it’s just so hard to look away. The fine folks at Library Journal were kind enough to give Portlandtown a “starred” review, which is apparently something special. I’m honored. Here’s the part where they say I’m too cool for school:
DeBorde’s extraordinary first novel, a dark fantasy set in the Old West, tells a compelling tale of the battle between evil personified and a remarkable family with special abilities. Fans of Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” series will enjoy discovering this accomplished writer.
Yes, they did just compare my book to The Dark Tower. Ha! It’s not just the publisher anymore. Here’s the whole thing if you’re curious.

Portlandtown Update

We're coming up on 2 months and counting until the release of Portlandtown: A Tale of the Oregon Wyldes by yours truly. Only 68 little days. Wow. Still not ready.

I am, however, very excited. The fine folks at St. Martin's Griffin (Go Fightin' Griffins!) seem to have things under control, which is good. Promotion and marketing and getting enough people to read the book early so more people will read it when it comes out. All very complicated stuff, I'm told. I'm just happy someone is finally getting to read it!

Funny thing . . . I have been hearing conflicting reports as to whether "zombies" as a genre are solid or yesterday's news. The book people are psyched, fans of the undead are still rabid, and the mainstream media can't seem to get enough (particularly if the zombie in question is "real"). Hollywood, however, is apparently starting to cool to slackjaws, walkers, and haters - at least in terms of new projects. To be honest, I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did.

What does the mean for Portlandtown? Not much. We might not get that awesome movie deal right out of the block, but that's fine. When the book hits we'll have more leverage. And I would point out that Portlandtown isn't strictly a zombie book, not in the classic sense. Yes, there are plenty of dead things in the book causing trouble, but it's not a story about zombies. It's a supernatural western action adventure.

With zombies.

Fun with Fake Dead Things

Here's a little preview of them fun-time zombies that populate The Walking Dead over on AMC. Does it surprise anyone to learn that random zombie-fied chunks of rubber have more personality and style than any of the actors on that show? No. No, it does not. Enjoy.

ParaNorman Promotional Swag

Have I mentioned how much I'm looking forward to ParaNorman? That would be a lot. The movie opens August 17, which can't come soon enough as far as I'm concerned. Why should you be excited? Well, besides the whole stop-motion coming-of-age zombie flick, there's this. Yes, that's a bit of promotional swag sent to one lucky toy reviewer. Marketing much?

By the way, if anybody at St. Martin's happens to be reading this and you want to do a similarly-themed Portlandtown promotion tie-in toy, I'm fine with that. Really, REALLY fine with that.

via Tomopop

Booklist's Portlandtown Review

Got another positive review, this time from Booklist. Much of the piece is an summary of the book (a pretty good one actually), but here’s a choice cut:
Whoever said westerns are dead was wrong—they’re undead . . . If period zombies crawling out of the rainy muck is your kind of set piece, this is your western.
Well, it’s my kind of set piece, so there you go. I’m glad to see reviewers are picking up on the rain element, which has to be an important part of any book set in Portland, Oregon, right?

ParaNorman Posters

Check out these seriously awesome posters for Laika’s new “coming-of-age zombie flick” ParaNorman courtesy of the fine folks at Mondo. Apparently, these posters are out in the wild and if you find one, take a picture of it, and tweet it with the hashtag #weirdwins something happens. Maybe you win the Internet, I don’t know. But cool posters.

Call Me...The Pimpkin!

So I tried something new this morning: pumpkin sex. No, I’m not talking about some weird gourd fetish. I just saw that our Cinderella Pumpkin plant needed a little help with the birds and the bees...minus the bees. (Apparently the bees can’t be trusted these days because of some colony wide die-off issues. Perhaps the Zom-bee Apocalypse? Har har.)

QUESTION: Did I feel the power of Ma Nature in the palm of my hand as I introduced male and female flower bits? Absolutely. FOLLOW-UP: Did I feel dirty afterwards? A little. Might have been the dirt.

Go Team Pumpkin!

Protect Your Brainz!

Don’t get caught out in the Zombie Apocalypse without some protection for your brain. These stylin’ embroidered hats are just what you need to keep your grey matters intact. No, seriously. No self-respecting zombie would dare bite into such a fine piece of contemporary sportswear. Probably. Plus I like hats, so...more fun for me (and you). You can find the whole set here.

Publisher's Weekly Portlandtown Review

A very nice review of Portlandtown just materialized courtesy of Publisher’s Weekly. An excerpt:
“DeBorde crafts an exhilarating hybrid of grit, guts, dusty cowpokes, and rotting flesh, honoring genre conventions without succumbing to cliché and anchoring black magic in realistic contexts of politics and family dynamics.”
Makes my cold zombie heart all warm inside. You can see the whole review here. (SPOILER ALERT: some basic plot point are revealed in the write-up. Nothing damning, just a word of warning to those who like to know as little as possible.)

Portlandtown Simplified

I couldn’t resist. For those of you familiar with the works of graphic designer Saul Bass (particularly his movie posters, duh), this lovely piece of promotion will seem least stylistically. The idea here is to condense the story down to its essence, or this case primarily just the villain. Dead guy, gun, noose. And the color orange. Color me happy. I did a couple variations which I’ll post on the Facebook just for kicks.

50 Shades of Grey Matter

Wrote a new piece for the fine folks at Criminal Element. Don't worry. Despite the title, it has nothing to do with necrophilia or undead S&M. Just a bit of silliness about the relative legal standing of zombies and their ilk. Enjoy!

50 Shades of Grey Matter by Rob DeBorde

Do Zombies Need Jobs?

I got a job today. Don’t worry, it’s only temporary. It seems my current freelance gig, the last one I’ll ever have before my life as Mr. Bigshot Writer takes off (fingers crossed), had to go corporate for tax reasons (theirs, not mine). So I agreed to be an employee for the first time in . . . well, a long time. I’ve been a freelance writer/designer/animator for so long I couldn’t even remember the last time I actually had a “real” job. Turns out it was 1997. Everything since then has been contract work, freelance, and spec (as in, I write and pray somebody pays me for it . . . eventually).

It’s not the perfect system—freelance, I mean. There are quarterly taxes and no 401k. You can get health insurance, but since you-know-who is the boss, guess who foots the bill? Worst of all the break room is sadly devoid of office gossip (the pug likes to hoard her secrets). But I also never have to get notarized to prove to myself that I was born in the United States, so there’s that.

The job should be done in September, just in time to start seriously flogging Portlandtown. Until then I will try to be the model employee. Wish me luck, my zombies.

Say Caw!

I have a new obsession: crows. Currently it involves taking pictures of crows—or trying to, at least. Crows are sneaky bastards who like strut their stuff right up until you get them in focus and then—poof! They fly away. Oh, they’ll let you snap some pix from half a mile away, but get too close and they’re gone with the wind. The above still represent my best effort to date. Sigh.

And they know what I’m up to, I’m sure of it. Since I began this venture they’ve been following me, usually when I don’t have the camera. Sure, I’ve got my mobile, but by the time it’s out of my pocket and the camera app is open and the crow is in the frame and focused . . . well, actually I’ve never gotten that far. I can hear them laughing at me even now.

Caw! Caw! (That’s crow for “Ha! Ha! You stupid flightless monkey!”)

But I’ll get them. Eventually, they’ll slip up and I’ll capture their likeness and put it on my wall. Until then I’ll periodically post my best efforts for your amusement.* Please don’t judge my photographic talents solely based on a few sneaky birds.

*If you’d like to support my obsession feel free to pre-order a copy of Portlandtown. All proceeds go toward the purchase of a telephoto lens.

Zombie Cowboys...and Primus!

Hey look everybody it's a new music video from Primus . . . featuring Zombie Lee Van Cleef! Gosh, that's cool. For those not familiar with Primus, well, get familiar. They're awesome. Go look for "Tommy the Cat" or "Jerry was a Race Car Driver" or just buy Sailing the Seas of Cheese. Good stuff. As for Lee Van Cleef . . . what do you mean you don't know who LVC is? Grrrr . . . all right, all right. Start with For a Few Dollars More and go from there. Sheesh, do I look like your pop culture history teacher? (Really? Oh . . . okay. Job accepted!)

Get Out Your Mask

We’re coming up on June which means we’re closer to next Halloween than last. Too early to start thinking about costumes? Think again! Zombie? Cowboy? Zombie cowboy?* I’ve always wanted to cut two holes in a white sheet and rock an old school ghost. Cheap and a good way to keep folks guessing as to your identity. I’ve also tried on several occasions to talk the wife into getting matching Mexican style Day of the Dead face-paint. She never goes for it. Sexy skull! What’s not to like?

Speaking of things that are better off dead, do we really have to suffer six months of election coverage? What did we do to deserve 24/7 coverage of such nonsense? Was it Global Warming? It was, wasn’t it? Leave the fridge open a few times...

We all know who we’re going to vote for, right? Those claiming to be undecided are just looking for attention (or maybe a casting call). Romney’s veep nom certainly isn’t going to be running for office, but rather applying for a job at Fox News. Can’t say I’d want either job.

Which is why I write. On the page I can juxtapose Halloween costumes and politics and almost make it look like I did it on purpose. Almost.

*Boys and girls that’s called product-placement, as in, yes, I did write a supernatural western adventure with undead outlaws and such. My publisher loves me.

My Television Vision

I used to be the kind of person who loved movies and watched television. Now I love TV and wish movies were better. I’m pretty sure I flip-flopped somewhere between The Matrix and The Matrix Ruined. Or maybe the first time I watched Deadwood. Could have been Arrested Development.

There are movies I still love, although most are stamped with the Pixar logo. When it comes to live action it's usually some crazy documentary about street art or typesetting that tickles me most. 

It’s the writing I think, both good and bad. Long form cable series like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Justified tell big stories over the course of a full season in detail that few movies can match. Watch a season of Sons of Anarchy and then find me a similar movie that's better. 

If you're looking for spectacle the theater is still the place to be, although rarely do story and special effects merit the same attention. There’s a lot of crap between The Dark Knight and The Avengers

Television does require more of an investment. I do occasionally feel guilty watching another episode of True Blood when I could be reading (okay, not that guilty). And I do have to admit to looking forward to the end of a season, even for a show I love. Time away makes the heart grow fonder and so forth. 

However...when the network suits make the asinine decision to fire the very hands on creator of a series, like, oh let’s say Community...well, that makes me hate TV just a little bit. 

Classy move NBC. Now you know why you’re a fourth place network. I'm going to the movies.

The Saltwater Phoenix

On the Trail of the World’s Most Sought After Seafood

One hundred and eleven years ago, Maine lobsters were introduced to the Pacific Northwest in an attempt to create a new fishery. The lobsters didn’t take, but a few years later a lobster-Dungeness crab hybrid species appeared in the waters around the San Juan Islands. Remarkably, the crustacean was made up of the best parts (culinarily speaking) of both species—the crab’s extensive body and leg meat and the lobster’s tail and claw meat. In a word: delicious. Dungeness lobsters filled the fishermen’s traps for seven seasons and then suddenly disappeared.

Thirty-one years later, the hybrids miraculously reappeared and quickly became the most popular item on menus in Seattle’s best restaurants. A local festival was kicked off to celebrate the catch, the first of which was attended by just under a thousand visitors. Unfortunately, the crustaceans disappeared again after only six seasons. Speculation was that there was some weird migration going on, hibernation, or maybe the species was actually the result of a recessive gene in the local Dungeness crab population that only surfaced every thirty years or so. A substantial testing program was proposed but never implemented due to the onset of World War II.

Zombie Apparel

I finally went and did it. I put together a little online shop to sell t-shirts, hoodies, stickers, and eventually more. Goofy stuff, but I like it. There are two series of designs up now: 1) the Deadball designs which are based on a little know baseball team that played in Portland back in the late 1800s, and 2) the Portland Zombies Track Club which urges you to get out and run...for your life.

Don't feel obliged to buy anything. It's not like I have to pay down a mortgage or anything.

It's Always Hoodie Weather in Portland

Summer has come early to Portland this year. I know this because it’s already hoodie weather in my office. (Hang on, this will make sense.) When the temperature outside starts to rise the heat inside goes off, thus the house gets colder. This is especially true in my office particularly in the morning. By late afternoon it might be tolerable, but before lunch I need the layers. Don’t believe me? Come by in July when the AC kicks in. Bring a parka.

But I like it. As much as I don’t like the fluctuating wardrobe I love the sun or more precisely the light. The long days just seem to make me more productive. Portland really is the best of both worlds as the daylight hangs around until almost ten and most years we don’t experience much sweltering. A week or two worth of 90s, tops. There was that weird year where it was 100 degrees for a week, but that’s not the norm. And it’s not humid. It rains, yes, but not when it’s hot. Suck on that Atlanta.

The upshot is that I write more . . . or I could. I could also spend more time in the garden, behind the grill, or at the dog park. Not a complaint, just an explanation for my sporadic blog posts. Now excuse me while I find a pair of mittens.

Saturday is for Stomping!

When I was in grade school one of my favorite pastimes was plopping down in front of the television on Saturday afternoons to watch Matinee Monster Mayhem—three hours of rubber-skinned Tokyo stompers, polystyrene insectoids, and tin foil aliens zapping army surplus generals. If you were lucky a giant extraterrestrial cockroach might kick Los Angeles into the sea. The fact that you could see the zipper running down the big bug’s abdomen just made it that much more monstrous.

This would have been the 70s & 80s, but the movies were mostly cinematic sci-fi from the nuke fearin’ 50s & 60s. Think mutated men, monster bugs, and giant floating radiated eyeballs—classics of Western Civilization. And they all shot lasers. From their eyes. There was the odd stinker now and then, maybe a Godzilla beating up some overgrown caveman, but even that was better than mowing the lawn.

How Did I Get Here?

Or, more precisely, how did I become a writer of scary stories? Good question. I always wanted to tell stories. I wasn't always a writer, but I definitely spent a lot of time making things up. I was an artist first, and then a designer. I studied graphic design in college (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo) and loved it. Not surprisingly my senior project involved a series of illustrations for a book . . . that I also wrote. I'm pretty sure it was awful (the writing not the art). It was the story of what happens to Death after everyone on Earth dies. If memory serves he ended up walking around the world until he stumbled upon a small house in the desert. There he found a change of clothes, a couch, and a television that played nonstop eighties sitcoms or some such nonsense. Like I said, awful.

A few years later I started writing screenplays. In 1995 I actually wrote a good script. How do I know it was good? When I read it I got lost in the story. This was also about the time I decided to get an agent and make my millions in Hollywood. SPOILER ALERT: I did not make millions in Hollywood. I did write a bunch of scripts, none of which were made into movies. How close did I come? I sold a paragraph to Paramount Television that they used as the basis for an episode* of Star Trek: Voyager. Millions, no. Paid writer, yes.

Skeletons on the Bookshelf

There’s a skeleton in my office. Full-size. He’s not real—those are way too expensive since they don’t make ’em anymore. Make? That’s not right. How about harvest? Hmmm . . . not sure what the proper terminology is here, but unless you happen to be a serial killer with a bone fetish it’s unlikely there’s a real skeleton in your closet. Or your office.

But I’ve got a fake one. I also have a box of faux skulls and assorted bones in the garage which only come out at Halloween. I’ve been decorating with a hybrid Day of the Dead/gothic dungeon theme for a few seasons. Last year we added a half dozen vintage horror movie posters. Fun stuff and I keep adding to the collection which thrills the wife to no end. She likes the bones, or so she tells me. Could be she likes that I do all the decorating.

My point—and I do have one—is that I like creepy things. Scary things. Bony things. Oddly enough I’m not a big fan of modern horror movies save for the odd zombie flick (Shaun rocks), but I do appreciate that elements of horror have wormed their way into just about every genre we’ve got, be it on the big screen, the little screen, or the printed (or pixilated) page. Which brings me to Portlandtown.

Portlandtown: A Tale of the Oregon Wyldes is my entry into the world of horror by way of the supernatural western adventure (that’s a genre, right?). I didn’t set out to write a horror book, but by the end things got pretty scary. And I like that. It’s fun. Plus there are zombies. In the rain. If that sounds like a good time to you I think you’ll enjoy the tale I have to tell.

More to come.

Portlandtown Pre-Order

A little slow on the reveal, but you can apparently now pre-order my novel Portlandtown online. Where? Why, anywhere of course. If you like, you can start here and pick your favorite online retailer (if you want to support the little guys try Indie Bound, which is a resource for finding independent booksellers). The price seems a bit jumpy, but you should be able to score it for around ten bucks. And yes there are digital editions available if you prefer pixels to paper.

The novel comes out October 16, 2012 so you'll have to wait a while for delivery. But isn't it nice to know you'll be getting a quality zombie product just as soon as it's available? Why yes...yes it is.

Portlandtown Cover

Welcome to Portlandtown. Yes, it's the actual cover to my novel, due October 16 from St. Martin's Griffin. I told you it was real.

I like it. A lot. And the process from concept to creation was painless. They took my suggestions, made some changes, and the end result is something everyone's happy with. Shocking. It is a bit on the nose, but then there are zombies in the book, including one fellow who caries a gun, but isn't exactly what you think he is (suspense!).

And kudos to artist Torstein Nordstrand on the awesome cover. If you'd like to see some of his other pieces check out his online portfolio here.

Portlandtown Tease

Hey boys and girls, guess what time it is? That's right! It's Portlandtown teaser time...text only version! Hey, where are you going? Sorry, but it's a book so there aren't any movie pictures, not yet anyway. There will be some very pretty pictures shortly (cover) and maybe a few of them will move as we get closer to publication (October 16). Today I simply offer the official back cover pitch, which barely scratches the surface in terms of story but does make for a nice tease.

Welcome to Portlandtown, where no secret is safe—
not even those buried beneath six feet of Oregon mud.

Joseph Wylde isn’t afraid of the past, but he knows some truths are
better left unspoken. When his father-in-law’s grave digging awakens more
than just ghosts, he invites the former marshal into his home hoping a booming
metropolis and two curious grand twins will be enough to keep the old man
out of trouble. Unfortunately, the marshal’s past soon follows, unleashing a
terrible storm on a city already knee deep in floodwaters. As the dead
mysteriously begin to rise it’s up to Joseph and his family to find the truth
before an unspeakable evil can spread across the West and beyond.

Ooooo...sounds scary. And it is! But it's also full of adventure, suspense, and vitaminseverything a growing mind needs to keep it entertained. 

Say It With Me: Han Shoots...

Good morning ghouls and ghosts! I know, I know...I'm about as reliable as a three-year-old rubber band but here I am once again attempting to entertain you. Believe me, once we get closer to publication I'll start posting with more regularity. I might even have something insightful to say, or at least it'll seem that way. Nothing makes a body seem more like a somebody than a tiny dash of "Hey, I know that guy!"

Don't worry. I'm not suddenly going to go all celebrity on you. Fame and fortune be damned! I have to stay true to my peeps, yo. Thus I humbly present the above zombie construction courtesy of Dan Hipp, aka MISTERHIPP, which combines two of my favorite things: Sean of the Dead and Han shooting first.

Portlandtown Update

Okay, kids, it's time for an update on the book. For those not in the know that would be my book, Portlandtown, a novel of suspense, adventure, and zombies in the rain. It comes out on October 16 from the fine folks at St. Martin's Griffin (Go Fightin' Griffins!). The final edits are done (fingers crossed) and the first bound copies are on my desk (advance reader copies, but still cool). The cover is finished and as soon as the publisher says I can share I will. It's good. You'll like it.

I also heard from SMG that they plan to do some very nice bits of marketing and promotion for the book. Warms my little heart. I've had a few projects go south in the past, but the Portlandtown process has been delightful. The publisher has not only listened to my suggestions, they've actually taken them. I know. Boggles the mind (in a good way). 

We've actually got a lot of fun (and undead) things planned, some of which I will start previewing here shortly. Hate to be a tease, but...actually, no I don't. I'm a writer. That's what we do. 

More soon.

The Zombie Paradox

Zombies love to eat brains—we all agree on that, yes? Good. And the most sure fire way to kill a zombie is to destroy the brain. Right. My question then is this: where do little zombies come from?

Think about it. If a zombie munches on a dead man’s noggin to get at that sweet, sweet brain-meat how does the man ever rise up to join his undead pals? He’s got no brain!

Unless of course zombies don’t eat brains. Could this be some kind of conspiracy to scare us into thinking (with our brains!) that zombies are all brain-thirsty cannibals? Maybe they just want to nibble on a kneecap. But would you be afraid of an advancing horde of zombies moaning about random joints?


See? Not scary. So, it has to be brains, which brings us back to the paradox.

Consider also that the long dead don’t necessarily have much in the gray matter department to begin with. That stuff deteriorates rather quickly after death turning to mush in a matter of days if left out in the sun. Stuffed into a top-of-the-line coffin with a couple pints of embalming fluid will keep it fresh a while longer, but in a year or so it’s all gone. That would make most cemeteries safe zones when it comes to the zombie apocalypse. Unless...

What if it’s not the brain at all, but the idea of it?

Sounds like magic to me, which makes sense. The zombie menace was originally born of a voodoo curse, was it not? I know there’s a whole bunch of pseudo scientific research out there about prions, mutant proteins, viruses and the like. Bah! It’s magic I tells ya! Nothing else makes sense. And if it’s magic then simply the idea of a brain would be enough for the corpse to reanimate. Conversely, the perceived destruction of said “brain” would destroy the zombie. He thinks he’s supposed to die so he does. Makes perfect sense!

So eat up Mr. Zombie—and don’t forget the brains!

Thoughts on The Walking Dead

My thoughts on AMC’s The Walking Dead are all over the place. It entertains me. It angers me. It makes me twitch (not in a good way). I thought the pilot was brilliant, but found the rest of Season 1 a slow decent into blah. Season 2 was better and worse. The first half was a long slog to a small, but lovely payoff. The second half, which ended just in time for AMC to start putting all that ad revenue where it’s desperately needed (lining Mad Men pockets), was up and down. Kudos on the big kills. Boo on the crazy. Do we really need psycho Rick? (Answer: maybe.)

A little history: I’m not a fan of the comics. I know, I know...just didn’t think they were that good. Loved the idea, just not the execution. Been considering a second look, so maybe if I read a little deeper I’ll be sold. But having no reference does give me a fresh perspective on the show, which I’m not sure I want to give up. I like not knowing what’s going to happen even if the show is often predictable. And strange, unpredictable things do seem afoot. Exhibit A: Andrea's new friend. A sword-wielding forest Jedi with no-armed zombie minions? Count me in! I’ve desperately wanted to see something in the writing other than the doom and gloom moodiness that drives the show. I would have suggested a little humor, but over-the-top weird is cool, too.

And I must admit the show’s success pleases me. It demonstrates a stable, sizeable fan base for mainstream zombie material, a genre to which I will soon be contributing (Portlandtown, October 16, buy many copies). And even when the story veers into blah-blah-land, I still watch. A bit schadenfreudian perhaps, but we writers are a jealous bunch.

Where does that leave me? Cautiously curious, maybe even hopeful. Granted, I wouldn’t mind if 90% of the cast took a header in the first episode of Season 3, but at least I’ll be watching, ever hopeful. Go Team Zombie!

A Sign of Things to Come

I just finished reading my novel Portlandtown, probably for the last time prior to publication. Once more through to check for any lingering typos, make final tweaks, add more zombies, etc. I made a few changes, mostly tweaks (an author can never let go, you know?). At this point I think I've read the story...two dozen times? Maybe not quite, but close. The wife has read it 4 or 5 times and she wants nothing more to do with it. Can't blame her. It's scary!

As for you, future reader, I ask that you only read it once. Twice if you really like it. (You only have to buy one copy, however.)

The Wampug Strikes Back!

Yes, this is exactly what you think it is: Awesome. Thanks to Boodapug for the heads up. (And Chubbs the Pug for the awesome.)

Monster Mash-Ups

Every once in a while one comes across talent that just has to be shared...and today is that a while. The above image was lovingly pilfered from the blog of Dan Hipp, aka MISTERHIPP. There is nothing stopping you from going there right now and enjoying a leisurely scroll through dozens of awesome mash-ups. Seriously, this is one of of the best "I have nothing better to do with my time but draw pictures for you for free" sites on the web. Go. Now.

Stop-Motion Zombie Awesomeness

I think the title of this post says it all. Really, just awesome. If you aren't excited for this movie (opening in August), well, then why the heck are you visiting a site called Zombie Clambake?

If you want to check out the trailer in HD head on over to Apple.

Fade In...

The opening credit sequence from The Fades. Cool, right? Yeah, I thought so.

All Hail The Fades

This one came out of nowhere, didn't it? Oh, sure, we all like the BBC and the oddball collection of cooler-than-our television series. (Luther being a recent favorite). Still, I didn't see The Fades coming and that's something of a surprise given the content. Ghosts. Zombies. End of the world. Superheroes. Pop culture references up the wazoo. Hell, it's everything a genre junkie could want and--here's the kicker--it's really good. Good story, good characters, good pacing, good...well, just about everything. And it's unpredictable, which is a bonus. Maybe it's the British take no prisoners approach to television that makes it so refreshing, but I like it.

The teaser above is a bit cheeky in the narration, but it's honest. (The show is genuinely funny.) There are plenty of videos on the official site, but I'd recommend seeing it as cold as possible. Why ruin the surprise(s)?

More Runnin' with Zombies

Apparently, this whole zombie athletics thing is a trend. To wit, experience the audio wonder that is Zombies, Run! Yep, it's a workout app that tries to scare the crap out of you while you exercise. Or something like that. The video doesn't sell it as well as I think the creators intended. Seems a, at least for the zombie apocalypse. Still, not a bad motivator to get out of the house.

A better rundown of the pertinent fact can be found here. And look--the app hits the iOS on Monday. Happy running!

Sticky Zombies

You know those family stickers one sees on the back windshield of of every other minivan on the freeway? Hate them. So. Very. Much. Do I really need to meet your family in stick figure form? No.

This family, however, I would have no trouble following in traffic for a couple hours on the way to nowhere. They seem like fine, upstanding citizens. Oh, look, a kitty.

If you feel the need, you can buy one here. Drive safe.

A Fun Run...with Zombies!

Heh. This is delightful. Not sure how I missed this until now, but come August, if I'm upright, I'm going to be dodging zombies. What a fun idea. Get in shape by fleeing in terror. Maybe if more cross country programs included a few zombies our kids would be in better shape. (I ran cross country one year in high school. One. Year. Bah. Where's my donut?)

For more info, check out Run For Your Lives.

Hi There, Zombie!

I'm still recovering for the Cold of Doom, which is why there's been a lack of postings recently. One might think I'd be lying around doing nothing, so why not blog away? Apparently I'm not programmed to blog sick. Tweet yes, blog nope. I think it has to do with my sinuses draining fluid from my brain. There's a limit of 140 characters of cognitive thinking or something.

Anyway, to make up for my lack of attention I went out and found a fun-lovin' zombie for your viewing pleasure. This delightful dude was created by Vince Chui. Follow the link to see more great work by Vince.

And I promised to toss a few more friendlies your way in the days to come. Zombies are good. Zombies are life.


Been under the weather all week and working nonstop. Thought maybe today things would turn around, but no...I feel worse! Don't get sick very often so when I do I whine incessantly about it. Only seems fair.

Anyhoo...found this lovely piece by Bob Canada and it made me feel just a little bit better. If you'd like to see more of Bob's work (Zombie Space Cowboy!) check out his Flikr page.


Not that he really needs the help, but Stephen King's most recent, 11/22/63, is one of his best--and that's saying something. It's a big novel, both in terms of ideas and length, but it never feels heavy. And, yes, it's a time travel story about JFK's assassination. And yet it's not. It's about a time and place, fear and violence, and love. And it's great. I wasn't a big fan of The Dome, but this one hooked me early and never let go. Kudos, Mr. King.

BONUS: If you've read It, there's a very nice call back. Beep-beep, Richie.

Zombie Playground

Saturday morning cartoons were never like this...which is too bad. I think I would have enjoyed a show about preschool zombie wars. This particular flight of fancy comes from artist Jason Chan. It's a few years old, but new to me and perfect for reminding one of battling slack jaws on the jungle gym. (We all did that, right?)

For more of Mr. Chan's art check out his website.

Zombies...on Broadway?

I think the title says it all. Yup. I really don't have much more to add, except that I hope to make such a thing a reality one day. All dancing, all singing slackjaws? Well, not exactly...but close. I have this idea for a play, a murder mystery actually...with zombies. 
I'm not saying it'll go straight to the Great White Way, but a man can dream, can't he? 

ParaNorman Zombie Art

For your fun and enjoyment, a selection of art from the ParaNorman teaser previously posted. Look at all that delicious zombie fun!

ParaNorman Teaser

This is been out there for a while, but I'm still testing some things around here so I thought I'd post a cool video...and this is a cool video. Made by the local (Portland, OR) crew at Laika, ParaNorman tells the story of a boy who can speak with the dead, who ends battling a bunch of supernatural beasties to save his town from an old curse. Go Norman!

ParaNorman is currently set to be released in August.

Danger Zone

This popped up a few weeks ago. Handy, although I'm not sure how accurate it is. The zombies in Sean of the Dead were definitely slow and dumb, but a good portion of the cast got themselves killed, so...follow at your own risk.

(I realize the clown in the bottom right is from Zombieland, but I can't help but see the big bad from Stephen King's It. Pennywise lives!)

Zombie or Zoom-bie?

Time to pick a side. Coke or Pepsi? Edward or Jacob? Han shoots first or...please. But fast zombie versus slow zombie--there's a debate worth having. Are you a fan of the slow, stumbling, barely able to keep its head on straight slackjaw? Or do you get goosebumps dreaming of a sprint to the death with an unrelenting, tear you limb-from-limb hater on your tail?  Tough call. 
I like the slackers. There's just something about creeping, stumbling, uncoordinated death that I find appealing. Plus there's more opportunity to stand back and gaze at the slow motion deconstruction of society. What's a zombie story without a little social commentary? (Boring, that's what.)
Now, your average undead sprinter is all about action. Run! Now! Fast! Or you'll be gobbled up by surprisingly agile old Mrs. Blevins from down the street, she of the foul-smelling dentures. Nobody wants that. Sure, there's excitement, but chances are you'll be dead before the first reel ends. Social commentary is only for survivors, people. (In case you were wondering the slow zombies will get you too, just not before lunch.) 

So, what'll it be? Zombie or zoom-bie? 

Happy Bunnies!

Gosh, that's two posts in a row that featured damsels in distress where zombies are doing the distressing. Can't have that--this is a family blog!

So, in accordance with the No Blogger Shall Do No Harm or Nothing Treaty of 2007, I submit this photo of a cute little bunny. Enjoy!

Zombie Morning

Good morning! Just testing out some new blogging tools, so there's really nothing to see here. Well, that hardly seems fair, does it? Okay, let's add something fun. How about a nifty zombie-themed movie poster? Excellent! I've amassed quite the collection but this is one of my favorites. The movie is god-awful, but the poster? Zombie-licious. Enjoy.

UPDATE: Okay, so this required Blogsy, a Blogger iPhone app, a direct attempt through Blogger on my iPad to alter the layout, and finally a fix on my desktop PC. Lovely. Do you see anything complicated here? Me neither. 

Fun with the Apocalypse

Hey look! What do you get when you combine classic pin-up girls with end of the world scenarios? Naturally you get great fodder for a 2012 calendar. I'm partial to the lovely image shown here, but the full set is a lot of fun. Interested? Check out artist Andrew Tarusov's blog.

Interview with a Zombie, Part 1

Welcome to the first in a series of interviews with the zombie I keep chained under the house. For scientific purposes. His name is Gorm.

ZOMBIE CLAMBAKE: Good morning, Gorm. How are you feeling today?
GORM THE ZOMBIE: (head lolls forward) ...brains...
Later. First question: who's going to win the best picture Oscar this year?
(tilts head, blinks)
By your silence I assume you’re indicating The Artist. Safe bet. Got a favorite?
Great movie. Emma Stone, right? Wasn’t she in Zombieland, too. 

Welcome to the Zombie Clambake


Welcome to my corner of the online universe. Who am I? My name is Rob. I’m a writer of books and assorted seafood recipes. Mostly books these days. In October my first novel will be published by St. Martin’s Press. It's called Portlandtown. There are zombies in it, although it's not strictly speaking a “zombie novel.” I’d call it a supernatural horror adventure...or something like that. Don’t tell me editor. 

Being the observant reader you no doubt noticed that the name of this blog is "Zombie Clambake." True. I never said I didn't like zombies. I love the silly bastards. This is my place to write about zombies, monsters, books about zombies and monsters, and whatever else comes to mind. Fun stuff.

Hang around if you like. Eventually, I might think of something clever to say (it could happen). There'll be some cool things to come, I promise. A little of this (zombie interviews), a little of that (zombie sports), some of those other things (recipes) know the drill.

Thanks for stopping by. 

More Monsters

It occurs to me that My list was a little short on Universal Monsters. I didn't mean to slight anyone, I was just calling out the big four. In fairness, the full list should include: Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, the Bride (of Frankenstein), the Phantom (of the Opera), the Wolfman, the Mummy, the Creature (from the Black Lagoon), the Hunchback (of Notre Dame), and the Invisible Man. Quite a list.

Classic Monster Mash-up

Okay, I've been thinking about monsters lately, the classics, AKA The Universal Monsters: Dracula, the Wolfman, the Mummy, and Dr. Frankenstein's creature. A nice bunch (hence the "classic" moniker). But not exactly a relevant gang today, at least not without some revisions.

So...vampire, yes, Dracula, no. Sexy Vamp is probably the best answer. If you want to attach a name, be my guest. I'd got with Eric Northman over any of the sparkly vamps, but then I'm not 13. Or a girl. Anyway, pretty boy vamp is in, as is wolfy--moody, sensitive, nature-lovin' wolf. Sigh. Okay.

Now, there have been a few Mummy movies in recent(ish) years, but the mummy wasn't particularly memorable. Not a problem. Zombie is the new Mummy. Makes sense, right? Resurrected dead guy, curse, black magic, plagues, hygiene issues, gonna getcha...sounds good. (You knew there was gonna be a zombie here, right?)

That just leaves Frank. Hmmm...that's a tricky one. But I have suggestion: Wikus from District 9, specifically after he's transformed into a prawn. That's close, right? I know, I could just stick in an alien or predator, but there's something about Wikus that just seems to fit. (How about that sequel, boys? Hello? Pete? Neil?)

That's my take anyway. Now, somebody get on that Abbot & Costello Meet the Zombie reboot.

Flags of Our Zombies

I like flags. There's just something cool about fabric flapping in the breeze, especially when it says something. Thus I present to you the Jolly Sam. Or Uncle Roger. Really, this flag should be flying over every patriotic zombie's house. Or grave. Whichever seems more appropriate.

This is the Zombie Clambake

Yes, friends and neighbors, welcome to the newly remastered Zombie Clambake. As you can see we're still in the process of renovating, but like any good work in progress it's better to keep things lively, hence this pleasant post and its visual aid. That would be the official poster for the ZCB on the left. Every good blog needs a poster, right?

Expect to see more pretty pictures, stories, random anecdotes, and interviews with interesting and undead people. In fact, the very next entry will likely be the first in a series of posts entitled: Interview with a Zombie. Don't say you weren't warned.

We apologize in advance if our clean-up efforts take longer than expected, but it'll be worth the wait, we promise. Go Zombies!

Zombie Says Brains?

Okay, we're not up and running just yet, but just doing a little bloggy test. Old school. More than 140 characters in other words. Are we there yet? Sweet. See you soon.

Changes are coming...

Yes, this rarely update blog will soon undergo a radical redirection from a blog about graphic design and food to one about...zombies! More or less. There'll probably still be some writing about beer and the occasional recipe or something. Why? Good question.

On October 16, 2012 my first novel, Portlandtown, will hit stores thanks to the fine folks at St. Martin's Griffin. It's a fun story set in Oregon, 1887, that features heroes, villains, and a few zombies. You'll like it. And in advance of publication I'll be doing a few things to help promote my new career, such as transforming this blog into a place where humans and zombies can coexist peacefully without fear of brain-eating or brain-bashing. Really, can't we all just get along?

So, anyway...zombies.

Are coming.