Zombies and Real Life Monsters by Christine (C.A.) Verstraete

Today, I’m excited to have Christine Verstraete back in my blog for the Brain to Book Cyber Convention’s Genre Tour.

Christine is an award-winning author and journalist from Wisconsin. She loves writing odd little stories with a touch of the macabre. I’m currently reading her book, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter and loving it.

When I mention zombies to some people, they cringe and complain about the blood and gore. They’re grossed out.

Maybe they don’t watch The Walking Dead or are a crime TV fan instead, which has its own share of blood and death, albeit in a different format. But in either instance, it’s a depiction of something we fear—crime, death, danger—that draws us in. It’s watching or reading about what seems impossible or often unbelievable.

Real life, of course, can be more frightening than anything an author can create. That’s what makes actual killers scarier than any monster with fins, scales, fur, a non-beating heart, or other elements. You can’t imagine what leads someone to cross the line to the “forbidden” and kill their own family, or attack a stranger, or do even worse things.

Maybe that’s what made writing my recently released book, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, so interesting and challenging. In reality, it’s almost hard to accept that Lizzie—a seemingly “normal” Victorian woman, Sunday School teacher, daughter of a wealthy businessman—could so viciously attack and kill her elderly father and stepmother. At least that’s what the jury probably thought, declaring her not guilty of the crime in June, 1893.

But was she?

That’s what we have trouble with, and what makes human killers so scary: they don’t have four eyes, or scales, or whatever. They can look perfectly normal, like your neighbor; like the girl or guy next door. And even more frightening? You can’t see what’s going on inside their heads.

In my case, writing about an accused killer had to come with a reason as to why she did it. And what more plausible reason could there be for viciously striking them in the head, especially once you look at the actual autopsy photos, than to say she committed the crime since her family members had turned into zombies?

It doesn’t mean the crime should be taken less seriously, of course. It was a terrible crime made even more horrific if she was indeed guilty and got away with it. But as this year marks the 125th anniversary of the murders, it’s far enough in the past to make it more of a historic event.

Sadly, history is full of real-life monsters, from Genghis Khan to 1920s mobsters, Manson, and those who kill out of hate, for so-called “honor” or other nonsensical reasons. The list is endless. The human race is drenched in blood. Maybe it’s true that it seems worse the older you get.

And that’s the scariest part of all: fictional monsters can be vanquished, but the human soul has a darkness that often can’t be cleansed.

About Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter:

Every family has its secrets…
One hot August morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden picked up an axe and murdered her father and stepmother. Newspapers claim she did it for the oldest of reasons: family conflicts, jealousy and greed. But what if her parents were already dead? What if Lizzie slaughtered them because they’d become… zombies?

Thrust into a horrific world where the walking dead are part of a shocking conspiracy to infect not only Fall River, Massachusetts, but also the world beyond, Lizzie battles to protect her sister, Emma, and her hometown from nightmarish ghouls and the evil forces controlling them.

Amazon: http://getbook.at/LizzieBordenZombieHunter
Add it on Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/hp9rvyd
Website: http://cverstraete.com
Blog: http://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com

C.A. Verstraete is also appearing this weekend in the B2BCyCon Book Expo, Blog Hop and various Panels.


The Goodies

WIN A ZOMBIE MUG: For those of you in the U.S. and Canada, leave a comment on any of the blog posts for the event or LIKE my Facebook page and you’re entered to win one of three of these zombie mugs. I’ll draw a new name all three days of the convention. Winners will be announced in the right column.

WIN A $20 AMAZON GIFT CARD: Anyone who signs up for my newsletter or downloads Call for Obstruction on NoiseTrade during B2BCyCon is entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card.

Why We Create Monsters

Scavenger Hunt & Drawing Details Below

Welcome to the final stop on the Walk with the Monsters Blog Hop and Stalk the Monster’s Scavenger Hunt. Be careful! It’s dark at the end of the road and there are dragons lurking.

Who doesn’t love dragons, one of the fiercest of monsters created across world cultures? How did they become such a universal threat in the minds of man? I particularly love David E. Jones take on how this monster came to be in his book, An Instinct for Dragons. Jones says that our primate ancestors combined a fear of large cats, birds and snakes in our evolving minds to construct an image of the worst predator. Take a look at a dragon and tell me you don’t see a little of each animal.

Whether or not Jones’s controversial claims are true, the fact that our ancestors struggled to survive against the worst of circumstances was an everyday reality. Hell, we’re still struggling to survive in our own ways. The monsters we battle are both fictitious and genuine, and they have evolved throughout time based on our ancestors creative and terrified  psyches.

Down through history, humans have invented numerous monsters to provoke fear in the name of controlling others. Take child-rearing for example. ‘Big Bad Wolf’ stories such as Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs are still told today. We tell children these terrifying stories to teach them about the dangers of life or to ensure they stay out of mischief. And we twist our need to control in some of the most warped of ways. Santa Claus, a jolly old elf, is meant to bring happiness with his annual drop off of presents. However, many children would argue he’s a sadistic monster whose lap is capable of eating countless babes alive.

We greatly fear organizations that steal our loved ones and our sense of security.  We have made real-life monsters out of evil banks and corporations. Terrorists are today’s ‘Big Bad Wolf.’ It’s unfortunate that we take protection against some monsters to the extreme, and if that means labeling certain cultures as monsters, so be it. Yet we cower against other evil organizations that steal our livelihood.

Not only are we terrified of what we might lose, we’re angered. It’s a strong combination of emotions that brings us together as a community. While once we used sticks to protect each other against teeth and claws, countries now band together to combats our greatest fears with some of the worst weapons imaginable, making us equal to the monsters we fear.

What beasts are lurking in our future as technological progresses? Drones and artificial intelligence and cyber attacks, OH MY! These are not things to worry about for another day. We’re already venturing into this territory with self-driving cars, job loss to robots, election tampering, drone bombings and more.

Now step off the Monster Blog Hop path and hike back to reality. You tell me, which is scarier?

The Goodies

STALK THE MONSTER’S SCAVENGER HUNT: Find the thing down below that kept you up at night as a child. What color is it? I’ve contributed a $10 Amazon gift card for the winner of the scavenger hunt, so GOOD LUCK!

Go to the B2BCyCon Horror Page to submit your scavenger hunt answers.

Go to A.F. Stewart’s blog to start the hop over again.

WIN A ZOMBIE MUG: For those of you in the U.S. and Canada, leave a comment on any of the blog posts for the event or LIKE my Facebook page and you’re entered to win one of three of these zombie mugs. I’ll draw a new name all three days of the convention. Winners will be announced in the right column.

WIN A $20 AMAZON GIFT CARD: Anyone who signs up for my newsletter or downloads Call for Obstruction on NoiseTrade during B2BCyCon is entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card.

Welcome 2017 B2BCyCon Visitors

Hello and Welcome Brain to Books Cyber Convention Visitors!

I’m author W. J. Howard, but you can call me Wendy.

Tomorrow starts the Brain to Books Cyber Convention and Book Expo, so I thought I’d let you know what I’m up to the next three days.

I write dark stories mixed with comedy for all ages. My main focus is creating action-packed stories for young people who are looking for books as fast paced as video games. My stories feature unique and memorable characters everyone can relate to. I have watched countless horror movies since the age of six, and have become a bit addicted to any form of media that aims to scare. In my spare time, I hangs out with her husband and two cunning beagles while drinking lots of wine. MORE ABOUT ME

This is my first Brain to Books Cyber Convention. I hope you enjoy the events here on my website. Below is a summary of my activities from April 7th through April 9th. Go to the B2BCyCon Horror Page for more awesome activities.


Christine (C.A.) Verstraete is my guest author for the the B2BCyCon Genre Tour. She’s written Zombies and Real Life Monsters, and you can return here tomorrow to read her article.

I’ve also contributed Horror: Best Believable with a Daub of Blood to the Genre Tour. I ask “What is it about the horror genre that makes us want to transform the questionable into the believable?” Christine is hosting me and you can CLICK HERE to go to her blog.


I’m the final stop on the Walk with the Monsters Blog Hop, and it’s dark at the end of the road where dragons lurk. I’m talking about how monsters have evolved from human fear and anger in Why We Create Monster.


I’ll be on Joe Live April 9th at 12:00 PM MT with Joe Compton, Karina Kantas and the other horror authors.


FOR THE HORROR SCAVENGER HUNT, visit my Why We Create Monsters post for the blog hop tomorrow for the details on how to enter this contest. I’ve contributed a $10 Amazon gift card for the winner of the scavenger hunt.

WIN A ZOMBIE MUG: For those of you in the U.S. and Canada, leave a comment on any of the blog posts for the event or LIKE my Facebook page and you’re entered to win one of three of these zombie mugs. I’ll draw a new name all three days of the convention. Winners will be announced in the right column.

WIN A $20 AMAZON GIFT CARD: Anyone who signs up for my newsletter or downloads Call for Obstruction on NoiseTrade during B2BCyCon is entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card.


I believe in taking full advantage of any and all available methods to distribute my stories. There are a number of ways to read The Courier series. Follow the links below to access my profile pages and then further purchase, download, or read online.

AmazonNoiseTradeWattPad – Smashwords

Want to save a book for later, follow me on GoodReads or add Call for Obstruction to your to-read list.

BOOK DREAMS ANTHOLOGY: My short story, Road to Nowhere, is in this year’s B2BCyCon Anthology with a bunch of other great authors works. CLICK HERE to purchase Book Dreams.

Road to Nowhere Blurb: What’s a girl to do when she find herself lost on a rural highway? Text her sister? Consult the GPS? Whatever her choice, there’s only one way to exit a road to nowhere.

Book Review: The Witch Casts a Spell by Suzanne Williams

Today’s Halloween book review is The Witch Casts a Spell by Suzanne Williams. Here’s what it’s about:

With its delightfully hair-raising surprise ending, this Halloween frolic is set to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell”

I had fun reading this story with the music of The Farmer in the Dell in my head. What I really liked about this book is the illustrations. Barbara Olsen did a spectacular job! Very creative! It’s a mix of drawings and fabric that made the visuals very eye catching. I actually went back and browsed through the book a second time.

My Rating: 4 out of 5

Thoughts of Foul Boys


Neilan Thunblom is a 4th grader at Meadow Point Elementary. He enjoys listening to music, playing on his computer, and playing the piano. He also enjoys taking photographs and drawing pictures of nature. For the above picture, Neilan used the fall leaves to set the background for his dad’s art pieces. The brain piece looks like it comes out of a skull as a Halloween theme.

Neilan created this photo for a book cover for W. J. Howard’s first release of Grand Scares, a collection of her #fridayflash stories. He’s also helping his Dad with future covers.

Neilan is pictured below
with his father Chris.

This was an extra special week to write #fridayflash for the Horrific Visions theme over on the Vamplit Blog. This week I’ve written another young adult story featuring the photograph to the right, taken by my young friend Neilan Thunblom of his father, Chris’s pieces of art. You may have noticed that I plan to use this picture as a cover for my first six months of #fridayflash. Please leave a comment for Neilan if you like his picture.

Jack stood on the front porch of his home, sipping a box of orange juice his mother insisted he drink before heading to school. He stared next door, waiting for his best friend Lea to emerge from her house like she did every morning at exactly the same time. This morning she was late according to his Spiderman watch. Ten more minutes and they would have to run to school to make it before the bell rang.

Two more houses down the screen door opened with a screeching whine then slammed back against the doorframe. The boy who exited the house turned and yelled a word Jack was not allowed to say through the screen then stomped down the stairs.

Jack twitched and his heart skipped a beat but not because of the commotion the boy was making. Fudgy was double trouble: both neighborhood and grade-school bully.

Every morning, Jack and Lea made sure they left for school early enough to avoid Fudgy. This morning it was too late for him to escape the bully’s wrath. Fudgy had already seen him. Any attempt to flee would result in worse punished later.

Just as predicted, Fudgy stopped at the bottom of Jack’s front porch steps and leaned casually against the railing. Fudgy skipped his usual insulting greeting and instead pointed at his black t-shirt. It read, “Your lunch money or your life.”

Jack sighed and reached into his pocket for both the dollar bills his mother had placed beside his cereal bowl that morning. He held it out but Fudgy didn’t move, expecting Jack to come to him. With his arm far reaching, Jack descended the stairs as if approaching a hungry tiger, then retracted with a jerk when the bully snatched the money from his hand.

Out of the corner of one eye, Jack caught sight of a reddish-yellow leaf, falling from the maple tree that shaded the porch in the afternoons. It landed behind Fudgy, covering the head of his sister’s doll where it sat on the lawn. She never picks up her toys, he thought.

The leaf appeared to grasp the doll’s face then turned black and shriveled in an instant. Beneath it the ground collapsed into a swirling softball-sized hole. A root burst from the hole and lashed at the neck of the doll until only the head was swallowed down into the ground.

Jack stood by, his mouth gaping open, not sure what to think or do.

“Hey, retard,” Fudgy said while mashing his fist into his palm. “What’s your malfunction?”

The sound of Fudgy’s voice distracted Jack from the unbelievable sight. He was about to point down at the hole when Lea walked out of her front door.

Lea happily skipped down the stairs and approached Fudgy without fear. “Hi, Fudgy,” she said. In her opinion, being nice to Fudgy would somehow transform him into a good person.

Fudgy replied by pointing at his shirt.

Lea held up a brown lunch sack.

Fudgy repeated his demand by pounding twice on his chest.

“I’m not thirsty today anyways,” she said and pulled fifty cents her mother had given her for milk from her pocket. She handed it to Fudgy with a grin.

Jack leaned to the side when he noticed the swirling black hole had again widened. He pointed his finger at it this time.

Lea’s eyes followed his lead. “What is that?”

All at once, the doll’s head shot out of the hole. It hit Fudgy in the center of his back with enough force to send him stumbling forward.

Jack jerked backward and lifted his arm up for protection, sure the bully would take the strike out on his face.

Instead, Fudgy reached down and picked up the head and stroked the surface. “Funny looking rock,” he said then threw it down onto the sidewalk. It shattered into white powdery chunks like chalk and released a potent stench of rotting garden mulch.

All three of the children backed away, Lea holding her nose closed and Jack tripping as he retreated up the stairs.

Fudgy was sure they were playing a practical joke on him. He held up his fist from where he now stood over the closed hole. “You did that on purpose.”

Time seemed to stop as Jack and Lea waited for the bully’s next move. At the same time, the wind rustled through the old maple, loosening a dozen or so leaves that floated in slow motion down upon Fudgy’s head. He swatted at them as if shooing away flies, but they clung to his hair and face. “Get them off,” Fudgy tried to holler.

Jack and Lea rushed to help out, but it was too late.

Again, a gap opened up and tree roots emerged like king cobras snakes, dancing upward and wrapping around Fudgy like threads on a screw. In unison they spun the bully, drilling him into the ground until the earth sealed over his head.

Frozen from fright, both Jack and Lea stared down at the spot where Fudgy had disappeared for nearly a minute before Jack said, “Should get a shovel?”

“No, we should tell his mother!”

They were about to run down the street when the hole reappeared. This time it launched Fudgy’s brain at the sidewalk where it shattered beside the crushed doll’s head.

Jack and Lea looked at each other but didn’t say a word. They were, however, thinking the same thing. The hungry abyss must be sickened by the taste of plastic as well as the thoughts of foul boys.

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