Tag Archives: horror

Early Christmas Present

Hello all! The star of my zombie collection, The Z Word, is back in a new short story called Check the Halls (for Brains and Zombies), available in An Undead Christmas in paperback and for Kindle.

In this story, Zach escapes a ton of zombies and takes refuge in an apartment building, only to see a lit up Santa displayed on a nearby rooftop. He follows it to discover a small community of survivors who, after almost shooting him, invite him to Christmas dinner. Inside the safety of their fenced-in private school, they have some semblance of a normal life, enough to enjoy the holidays together. But is their haven really as safe as they think? Check out Check the Halls (for Brains and Zombies) and many other fine holiday zombie shorts in the new collection by editor Anthony Giangregorio.


A Holiday Zombie Story

Hello all! I was asked to write for an upcoming holiday horror book that collects zombie short stories that take place during Christmas. Fun, huh? It’s about my favorite zombie killer, Zachary Ward (recurring character in The Z Word), who is chased into a building in the city by zombies only to discover a school in the distance decorated for Christmas. He heads towards the survivors, gets to know them and celebrates Christmas like only a true zombie apocalypse hero can…by saving the day and killing zombies!

Here is a schematic for the school where he makes new friends and helps them out a bit:


I was having trouble picturing the property, so I drew one up as a rough sketch. It really helped move the story from building to building. I may have to do this more often!

Anyway, the book won’t be out until closer to the holidays, so keep an eye out for it! And if you haven’t read The Z Word, check it out!

The Z Word Origin Stories – Kathy



Author’s note: If you’ve read The Z Word, there was a little confusion over names and there were two women named Kathy in the story. One, a sixteen-year-old, lived with her parents and ran away during the apocalypse. This is not her origin. This is Kathy, the bad-ass late-teens gal who eventually met and teamed up with Zachary. Enjoy!

Click the image to like us on Facebook. And if you haven’t read The Z Word, you should. 🙂

Kathy hit the punching bag over and over as the song Bad Reputation by Joan Jett blasted in the background. She took a break from her workout to play some air guitar. She resembled the old Joan Jett poster she had hung on the workout room wall behind her; her dark brown hair was even cut in a similar fashion. After a few more chords on her invisible instrument, she hit the bag until the song ended and then walked over to the stereo and hit stop as she heard the front door slam.

Sid entered the workout room and smiled. “Quite a sweat you’ve got going on…tough workout?”

She shook her head and smiled. “If you’re asking if I’m too tired to spar a little, I’m up for it.”

He grinned and tried to look at the back of his arm. That’s when she noticed the blood and grew concerned.

“What happened there?”

He saw the rips in the shirt he was wearing and tore off the blood-splattered sleeve. “Nothing, some crazy guy bit me on the way home. It kind of burns a little.”

“I’ll get some peroxide.” She walked down the hall towards the bathroom and yelled over her shoulder, “But don’t think you can use this as an excuse for losing when we spar!”

She returned with the peroxide and a towel and dabbed his arm. “Oh you big baby, there’s just a few teeth marks. You’re fine. Just barely broke the skin. Ready?” she said, smacking the cuts.

“Ow! Jerk. Just for that I’m not holding back!” he said as he put on the gloves. She just laughed at him.

“Yeah…like you ever hold back.”

He walked up to her and put his hands out, which she bumped with her own. “Ready?”

He nodded and she punched him in the jaw faster than he could react. He backed up and shook his head, then laughed. “That all you got?”

Punches were thrown, most were blocked on both sides, and each worked up a sweat as they switched between punches and banter until Sid seemed to slow down a bit and was hit a few more times.

Kathy became worried. “You okay? It’s not usually this easy. And you’re looking a little green.”

He pulled off the gloves. “Yeah, I’m not feeling so hot. I think we’d better stop for now.” She nodded and took off her gloves.

She smiled at him. “Guess I’ll take a shower. Go lie down and I’ll make dinner when I get out! Maybe some soup for you…something light since you’re looking so sick.”

Kathy got undressed and slid the glass door shut on the shower, letting the cold water run over her sweaty body. As she washed the soap off, she noticed a shadow through the glass. She finished up and turned off the water.

“Feeling better already, Sid? Trying to catch a glimpse?” she said with a laugh as she reached out for her towel. He walked toward the door and she slammed it on him. “Oh no, you have to work for it if you want some!” she laughed as she dried off with the towel and wrapped it around her. Sid approached the foggy glass and then slammed a hand against it, scaring her.

“Sid? What the hell?” she said with anger as she opened the glass door. He turned to look at her and she noticed a different look in his eyes, almost cloudy. “Sid?”

He lunged at her and she dove across the bathroom, all while keeping the towel wrapped around her body. He fell through the door of the shower, shattering glass everywhere.  “What the hell, Sid?” she asked as he jumped up, glass sticking out of his chest and face. He growled a little and went for her again. This time she was better prepared and threw a right uppercut, hitting him square in the jaw and knocking him off his feet. She slammed the bathroom door and shoved a chair under the knob so he was trapped.

She ran to their bedroom and threw on a vintage Runaways tee, skipping the bra and underwear to throw on a pair of black skinny jeans. She heard slamming against the bathroom door and then a scream from outside their studio apartment. She ran to the window to see two little kids being chased by a man covered in blood.

She thought about what she saw outside and what was in her bathroom, the man she loved turned into something else, and knew what was going on. She’d seen the movies. It was zombies. She grabbed Sid’s aluminum baseball bat and jumped onto the ancient fire escape. The ladder, rusted stuck, wouldn’t give so she jumped with her full weight onto it and as it clanged loose held on until it jerked to a stop, almost flinging her from it. She jumped the last four feet and landed as the kids ran by her.

The zombie stopped, looked from the children to her, and let out a piercing sound almost like a scream as it started in her direction. One swift swing of the bat to its head took it down and she turned to the kids. “Are you two okay?”

They nodded without making a sound until one pointed behind Kathy and screamed. She turned to find two more monsters right on top of her. She screamed to the kids “Run home and don’t stop for anything! Lock yourselves in!” The two monsters pushed her into the glass behind her, shattering it as she dropped the bat and held both creatures at the throat so they couldn’t bite her. They pushed and clawed at her, one scratching at her arm as she put a foot into each of the monsters’ chests and pushed with all her strength. They both toppled backward and fell as she reached around for a weapon in the window display. The window belonged to an old army-navy surplus store and lucky for her had a crossbow under the splintered glass on the display floor. She grabbed it just as the zombies stood and let loose with an arrow, shooting one in the head. She loaded as the second walked in her direction, firing as it got close but only hitting the shoulder. She quickly reloaded and this time hit the target.

She stood in the display, brushing glass from her body and looking around. The cut on her arm was more of a scratch and hadn’t drawn blood, but she knew she would need more protection, and that’s when she saw the dummy in the window wearing a long, black leather coat. She snagged that and went into the store to see what else she could find for protection. The dark building had the usual stuff, camouflage clothing, camping gear, old army surplus items, but nothing really lethal until she noticed the curtain covering a doorway to a back room.

“Jackpot,” she said as she pulled the curtain back. Guns, swords and all kinds of illegal weapons garnered the walls. She took what she wanted.

Back at her apartment, Kathy used the hidden key to get in the front door. She looked toward the bathroom door, which was now splintered, half of the remnants hanging from the hinges and the rest in small pieces on the floor.  She reached into the backpack she now carried and grabbed the handle of the shotgun she’d taken from the store. A scratching sound came from the kitchen and she turned in time to see Sid, or what used to be Sid, coming at her slowly.

She aimed the shotgun at her boyfriend’s head and fired.


The Ghost Train

The dilapidated railroad station, aged after years of disuse, loomed above them like a ghost as they trudged up the hill.

“I always come up here when I want to be alone. You’re the first person I’ve brought here.”

She smiled, a little out of breath from the steep path.

The rusted rails disappeared into surrounding woods as she looked left, then right.

“The tracks are unused now, right?”

“Are you nervous?” he said with a smile. “They’re retired. Look at them.” He kicked a bit of rusted metal off the top. “I doubt they’d be safe run a train over them.”

She took his hand. “Thanks for bringing me here. I know this place means a lot to you. Do you ever go inside?”

“There’s a broken window around back, but it’s pretty dirty in there.”

A sound, far off in the distance, made her look to the right. “What was that?”

“I don’t know, but I hear it all the time.”

“It sounded like-“

“Go on…”

“No, never mind.”

He bent down and put his hand on the track. “Feel it.”

She did as she was told and felt the slight vibration. “What is that?”

“You were going to say it sounded like a train was coming, right?”

She nodded, a little unwillingly.

“I hear it all the time. And after I hear it, I can always feel the tracks vibrating the tiniest bit.”

She quickly removed her hand from the rusted metal. She wiped the brown dust off her hands onto her jeans as he stood back up. She stood as well and watched the tracks coming from the woods to the right, waiting.

“It won’t come,” he said, breaking the silence.

“What won’t?”

“The train.”

She took his hand, and squeezed it tight from fear when they heard the sound again, this time closer. It sounded like the echoes of the horn of a train, but not the actual sound itself. She continued to watch, waiting.

Photograph taken by Nessa Skotnitsky of Ethereal Fine Art and Photography.

My Second Book, Coming Soon!


Coming soon! Wrags Ink., a new publisher in the Philadelphia area, is putting out a collection of my typography on vintage photographs! You’ve seen some of them before here and possibly on my Etsy, but this collection has about fifty images and more than half of them have never been seen before! So get ready, readers! My work is also being featured in a few magazines coming out this summer, and I’ll be sure to let you know about that as it comes up!

Also, once the book is out the prices will probably be going up a bit on my Etsy, so if you want any, better get them soon!

Thanks for reading!

The Z Word Origin Stories – Marie

This is an origin story to one of the many characters in my first published novel, The Z Word, available here both in paperback and for the Kindle. Follow us on Facebook as well!

Marie happily ignored the doorbell as she played with her Nintendo DS. Her mom and dad called to her to answer it, but she pretended not to hear and then threw on her headphones so it would look like she couldn’t have possibly heard them over her game.

If she’d only kept them off, she would have heard the screaming.

After another half hour or so of taking care of her virtual dog, her stomach growled so she threw the game onto her bed and ran to the kitchen for a snack. She grabbed a banana and jar of peanut butter before she noticed the odd crunching sound coming from the foyer by the front door of her family ranch home.

As she stopped and listened to the odd sound curiosity got the better of her and she went into the living room for a quick investigation. She saw Grover, her dog, hiding under the couch, his little tail sticking out, and a muffled whimpering coming from the little guy. As she turned into the foyer, she dropped the banana to the marble floor.


Her parents were both attacking the mailman, tearing at his flesh and apparently eating it. Her father had his severed arm and was biting a finger off when he noticed her. He froze for a moment, like a kid caught eating sweets right before dinner, and then growled.

“Dad? Mom?” They both turned on the ten-year-old and lunged for her, causing her to fall backward onto the floor. Her mom’s bloody hand grabbed onto her foot and yanked but Marie wiggled her foot out of the sock and tried to pull back. Her dad was too quick for her and gripped her ankle. As his teeth neared her flesh Grover jumped out from the couch to protect her and started barking. He bit her dad’s hand, forcing him to let Marie go. She jumped up and backed away toward her room as both of her parents grabbed Grover and started tearing him apart.

Marie screamed and ran to her bedroom as fast as she could, shutting and locking the door behind her. Her bed seemed the safest place, so she jumped into it and hid under the covers, waiting. After a few minutes of silence, scratching started at the door, followed by banging. She screamed again and realized she would have to come up with a better plan.

She ran to the window and saw her best friend and neighbor, Joey, walking into his home with his dad. She slammed her hands against the window, and Joey looked over for a second before his dad pulled him inside. Her screams went unnoticed as the neighbors’ front door slammed. She was on her own, and the hammering on the door intensified. She ran to her dresser and tried to push it in front of the door, but her small body couldn’t make it budge so she gave up and threw on a new sock and her sneakers. The banging continued at the door and she screamed at it. “Go away!” The other side was quiet for a second or two before it started again with renewed violence.

As Marie threw some things in her backpack a crack appeared in the door, which grew larger with each slam. Eventually her father could see her and started making a sound that made her blood run cold. She was out of time and ran to the window again, leaving the bag behind.

That’s when she saw Joey run out, a little blood splattered on his t-shirt. She watched him look at some nearby neighbors who clearly resembled her parents and he ran around his house to the deck between her window and his. He climbed under it and disappeared. She knew she had to go there as well. She turned and looked as the door splintered from its hinges. She yanked the window open, jumped out, and ran straight for the deck where her best friend was hiding. Maybe he would know what to do.

The Z Word Origin Stories – Joey

The following story is a prequel to my first published novel, The Z Word. If you enjoy the prequel check out the other prequels available on my blog, like it on Facebook or order the book.

“C’mon kiddo, we’d better get back or your mother will kill us both,” Joey’s dad said to him from across the baseball field.

“Just a few more throws!” Joey yelled, and his dad just laughed and loosened his tie a bit.

“Fine, a few more,” he said. He’d really started to cherish the few minutes they played catch between the time he got home from the office and dinner. Five minutes later they were walking down the street toward home.

A man was walking behind them slowly and moaned. Joey turned and looked but his dad pulled his arm.

“What’s wrong with him dad?”

“Don’t know, don’t care. Let’s just get home.”

Joey peered over his shoulder at the man and saw the blood running down his chin and an odd look in his eyes as if he were far away.

Another tug forced Joey to look ahead of them and their house came up on the right. Joey ran ahead.

“Bet I can beat you!” His dad laughed and played along to the front door where Joey was standing bent over, panting.

“You beat me, you win.”

“What do I win?”

“You get to run right upstairs and wash your face and hands. You’re covered in dirt from the baseball field. If your mother sees you like this she’ll kill me.”

As his father opened the door Joey started to go in when he saw Marie across the yard waving from a window. She looked a bit upset, but a large hand grabbed him and pulled him into the front door.

“Let’s go! Get washed up! Honey, we’re home!”

As Joey ran up the stairs two at a time his father went into the kitchen to see what was for dinner. A quick sniff made Joey wonder if anything was being cooked in the house.

A change of clothes and a minute in the bathroom had Joey looking like new so he ran back down the stairs, jumping the last four and then looking back at them, impressed with himself. That’s when he heard a whimpering combined with a crunching sound.

“Mom? Dad?” he called as he ran around the bend into the kitchen and stopped with a squeak of his sneakers on the linoleum.

His dad was sitting on the floor as his mom seemed to be eating his neck.


His dad suddenly opened his eyes and pointed at the door. “Joey! RUN!”

Joey noticed the blood dribbling down her chin and that same weird look in her eyes as that strange man on the street and knew something was wrong. She stood from his father, the man’s body limply falling to the ground, and started in Joey’s direction.

“Mom?” he whispered.

She growled and he turned and ran for the front door. Outside he noticed a few people wandering around and they all stopped as soon as he let the screen door slam behind him. They all had that same look, and Joey knew he was in trouble. He thought about places to hide, somewhere they would never find him, and his mind went back to the game of hide and seek he’d won, beating all of his cousins, even the older ones. He knew just where to go.

Come back tomorrow for the story of Marie, and who knows, maybe even a continuation of Joey’s story…where will he hide? Will Marie survive too? Find out tomorrow!

Safe in a Zombie Apocalypse

This original print, along with many others, is available on my Etsy. Make sure to check out my new novel, The Z Word, available here.

My Fellow Survivors

This zombie flash fiction piece is available on my Etsy along with many other typography pieces.

Also, my first published work, The Z Word, is available on Amazon. You can also join in on the zombie fun by liking our facebook page for contests, giveaways, prequels and lots more!

My first interview ever!

Check it out, friends. I had my first interview with the wonderful Kate at The Book Engine about my new book, the publishing world and e-books.