Monthly Archives: October 2012

You had to ask…

Last week Armand Rosamilia and I had a book signing at a local bistro and it was a great success. For two solid hours we spoke with readers, met some new ones and generally had a great time.

I really enjoy talking to readers (both new and old). I enjoy answering their questions and I’m always happy to get feedback on my books (good, bad or indifferent – it all matters).

There is one question, however, that becomes more difficult to answer each time I release a new book. It happened several times during the evening for both Armand and me; a new reader would stand at the table trying to decide which book to buy. They pick them up, check out the cover then turn it over and read the synopsis on the back, then look at the cover again – comparing one to the next – then ask the question…

“Which one should I get?” or “Where should I start?” or the worse form of all…”Which is your favorite?”

Naturally my first response is “All of them!”, but that rarely works out the way I wish it would.

After we stop laughing I look down at my five novels, all of which I love dearly, and try to figure out how to answer the question. It’s sort of like a parent being asked to choose a favorite child.

I am intimately familiar with all of my “kids” – I know their strengths and for the most part, their weaknesses. I also know how much of myself is in each and every one of them and therein lies the rub…

How can I possibly choose a favorite?






I know it’s not Sophie’s Choice…but it’s nearly impossible for me.

I don’t know exactly how many times I was put in the situation at the signing, but each time I gave a different answer. I suggested to one woman that she start at the beginning with “Living the Dream”. I advised one man to start with “Water Hazard” because it had a nice fast story line. One lady was looking for something to read on her upcoming cruise, I recommended “Pump It Up” – for no other reason than I had more copies of it than any of the others.

I suppose this whole thing falls under the heading of a “nice problem to have” – and truth be told, I hope it gets worse!

Just to let you in on a little secret…I do have a favorite, but like my mother (she, the mother of 7 children) I’ll never admit which one it is!

But please feel free to keep asking.

As always – thank you for reading.

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Guest Blog – Zombie Author Mark Tufo

Today it is my pleasure to participate in the Haunted Halloween Blog Tour 2012. Please join me in welcoming Zombie Author Mark Tufo. I hope you enjoy his post.


Hi my name is Mark Tufo, I’m the author of the Zombie Fallout series (look away from the shameless self-plug), Zombie Fallout 6 ‘Til Death Do Us Part, has been released as of October 1st you should really check it out!

Why zombies? Why not?

I’ve been asked by family, friends and readers why I chose to write about zombies, like maybe they are the red headed step children of the horror world. I’ve noticed that the largest writers in the horror genre have for the most part completely ignored them, some might say Stephen King’s Cell was based on them but I’d say that was a stretch. Some think the genre is played out, I mean how many ways can you portray a slow-walking, ambling shuffler that likes to eat brains?

I honestly don’t care what any of the detractors say, I love to read a good zombie book or watch a good movie. Ever since I was seven and my cousin, who was babysitting, decided that watching the Dawn of the Dead movie was a good way to pass time, I have been hooked. I remember as a kid my heart was hammering in my chest as those zombies slowly descended on that house in the middle of nowhere. When those hands started crashing through the boards in the windows and the door was shaking in its frame I damn near wet myself.

I’m sure someone will eventually conduct a study and tell us about our innate fear of the undead, but all I know is if I want to be thoroughly entertained I just need to find something zombie related. And then we get back to my sister-in-law who can’t decide if I am completely off my rocker or a decent person just trying to tell a story. (She won’t read my books by the way). I’ve told her that the relationships of the survivors in my books are as important as the zombies themselves. There has to be some good to balance out all that is horrific. But she can’t get past the word ‘zombie’—like it is somehow a dirty word.  It’s funny I truly think there are folks out there that won’t buy a zombie book just because they consider themselves ‘slumming’ if they do. I think they’re missing out on some really good new talent and some pulse pounding action. A good story is a good story plain and simple.

Zombies really hit their stride with George Romero’s brilliant take and they have waxed and waned over the years. Obviously right now we are riding a crest, there’s barely a set of commercials that go by that don’t reference them, plus The Walking Dead, and Max Brooks’ World War Z hitting theaters with an uber A-lister playing the lead so yeah it’s a hot genre. But even when it goes into its lull there will still be those amongst us that will always love to read someone else’s take on a zombie apocalypse, so whereas I think the chances of an actual end of the world scenario involving zombies is fairly unlikely, I still can’t help myself as I prepare diligently for just such an event, because I don’t want to be on the inside of a house leaning up against flimsy boards when zombie arms pull me outside where I have my brains munched on. No thank you!

Thank you for allowing me to spend some time on your blog!

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All five of us – Tonia Brown, James N Cook, John O’ Brien, Armand Rosamilia and Mark Tufo – hope you have been following along on the Haunted Halloween Blog Tour 2012. We love to see comments after the posts, and we also love to pick a random commenter and give away a free eBook or even a signed print book, so maybe you’ll get lucky!

We have centralized all the upcoming dates and blog posts on a Facebook event page. Feel free to join us there and see what is coming up next!


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What’s Your Genre?

I don’t have any statistical data to support this, but I imagine the question authors hear the most when they meet somebody new is “What sort of books do you write?”

It may be in different forms, I’ve heard it asked many ways, but it’s always there.

My friend and fellow author Armand Rosamilia has an easy time with it… “Horror/Zombie” usually works for him. Of course he can always elaborate, and he usually does, but at least he can answer the question quickly and easily.


I, on the other hand, struggle with it—my answer usually goes something like this…”Well, they’re sort of off-beat, crime, suspense thrillers…but not like mysteries…and they tend to have some unusual plots and some pretty unconventional characters. There’s usually some humor involved, but they aren’t comedies.”

My books, at least in my opinion, don’t fit neatly into any one category. Obviously, they’re fiction—but after that it’s anybody’s guess.

There is always crime involved, but the police are never the ones who handle it and it’s not really a mystery. With my books you won’t have to pay attention for minute clues only to be pissed-off at the end by the insertion of new evidence you couldn’t possibly have deduced.


Elements of suspense are often present, but not the “creeping into the dark basement with a flashlight” type.

Likewise with thrills…it isn’t unusual to find a thrilling scene or two, but my books don’t belong on the shelf with those of my Canadian friend Russell Brooks.

People being what they are, you will find a relationship sprouting in my books, but don’t make the mistake of thinking I write chick-lit or romance novels. Nor are there any spicy bedroom scenes or whips and chains.

They aren’t espionage books, courtroom dramas, vampire stories and there isn’t a single elf or wizard in any of them.

As you can tell – I’ve put a lot of thought into this—to no avail. I suppose I could change my style to fit a pre-made category, but that just wouldn’t be me. I never did like being pigeon-holed – so it looks like I’ll have to keep struggling with my answer until my books are so wildly famous that no explanation is needed.

In the meantime – I will be glad to hear any advice, suggestions or comments about “my genre” from those of you who have read my stuff.

And for those of you who are yet to have the pleasure—you know who you are—I invite you to read a book or two and see if you can offer any insight.

As always – thank you for reading.


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