From the Mind of Master Imaginationist Crystal Connor ~"A Trusted Name in Terror."

The Darkness, Artificial Light, In The Valley of Shadows

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The End is Near!

Word of the Day:
PRONUNCIATION: (nik-tuh-FOH-bee-uh) noun: An abnormal fear of night or darkness.

How to survive a horror movie tip #9:
If on a stormy night, you find a window open which you thought was previously closed, do not close it. It may be your only way out when whatever has come in through it is chasing you.

With the endorphins from world wide celebration of the birth of Christ for the year 2010 still following thru our veins, many people are now looking at the calendar with trepidation. Why? Because this may very well be the last time, mankind will be allowed such a festival as the fulfillment of Mayan cataclysmic prophecy is now only 725 days away.

What better time to talk about the Apocalypse.

For those of you who hadn’t heard the name Timothy W Long until you went with me on my quest to find Jonathan Moon know that he too has been in hiding due to the release of The Apocalypse and Satan’s Glory Hole. As difficult as it was to locate Jonathan, Timothy was actually harder to find. After spending a King’s ransom to a Mexican Coyote and under the threat of being slapped in the face by a Russian Crime Boss Timothy was finally located coming out of an Science Fiction Writers Anonymous meeting.

A burlap sack was placed over his head; he was thrown into the back of a van and brought to this warehouse in a secret location. Understandably he is pissed off and not happy to see me but Vladimir injected him with truth serum and Enrique gave him a hand full of pills and three shot glasses full of tequila so he is starting to calm down...

Notes from the Author: Hey Tim, I’m sorry about all this but since the Church denounced The Apocalypse and Satan’s Glory Hole as blasphemous, labeled you and Jonathon heretics and demanded your head on a sliver platter, you haven’t been exactly easy to find. How long do you think this whole exile thing will last and with a $25.99 bounty hanging over your head why would you risk going to a Science Fiction Writers Anonymous meeting, wouldn’t have been safer just to call your sponsor?

TWL: I suppose we can come back once a new religion develops around the ideas founded in The Apocalypse and Satan’s Glory Hole. I have always wanted to have a religion and I have always wanted to write a book with a one-armed heroin addicted monkey named ‘fuckin Phil. It seemed like the right time to write it. Well, after I pulled Moon out of that little spot with the Serbians.

NFTA: Speaking of Science Fiction, how many science fiction and horror stories did you write, publish and sale before you started writing almost exclusively about zombies?

: Quite a few. I was hard at work on a noir-ish sci-fi story when I came to the realization that it sucked. Bad. I think I had about 40K words done when I tossed the whole mess.

One of the first stories I sold was titled So Lonely the Stars. I wrote it and had it critiqued by a number of people in a writing class. It was about a group of rotund bugs that spend millions of years trying to find another form of sentient life. They ended up building a super-AI that left the planet to do what the little guys could not. It takes him over a billion years to return. It was one of my first sales and a story I still read from time to time.

Shaun of the Dead is probably my favorite movie, as well as 28 days later. I have always thought zombies were cool. I was surprised to find that there was a whole sub-culture of zombie fanatics on the Internet. I just sort of fell in with them and started cranking out zombie tales.

As far as other published stories. I think I have about a dozen out there on various web sites, webzines and anthologies. They range from weird sci-fi to dark horror.

NFTA: From extremely frightening films like Danny Boyle’s 28 Days later, and Craig Singer’s Perkins 14 to over the top slap stick movies like Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead, and Andrew Currie’s Fido zombies can be found from one end of the spectrum to the other. Why do you think zombies are such a crowd pleaser?
TWL: More like a crowd clearer. Ba-Dum-Bah. Everyone fears zombies because they are us. They give us a chance to show the best and worst of humanity from both sides. From a spouse with nothing but murder in her undead eyes chasing you, to group of people holed up with supplies threatening you if you don’t leave.

Zombies are terrific for satire. When I was working on The Zombie Wilson Diaries, I cracked myself up coming up with more and more outrageous situations to put the protagonist in. The guy is stuck on a deserted island with everyman’s dream, a hot girl, . But he can’t do anything because she is a zombie. I may write some sick stuff but I’m not about to have him start doing her. Gross! So instead he spends his days justifying why he keeps her around as she leads him on more and more adventures. All she wants to do is eat him. It is definitely relationship satire.

NFTA: Culturally, which was conveyed in the Halperin brothers 1932 film White Zombie, zombies are terrifying. In your opinion how did we get from Night of the Living Dead to Fido?

Because we are silly people. Where there is great horror you will find humor. Someone is always going to be the jerk that makes fun of people being eaten. I am happy to be that jerk.

NFTA: What I expect from my horror is to be disturbed beyond sleep, shivering in a corner and shooting at shadows. Among The Living is nowhere near silly, and you get a sense of the tone just by looking at the cover. I was born and raised in Washington, though I have traveled all over the world I always come back home because Seattle is my favorite place in the world. I have a visceral reaction when I see artwork, movies, or TV shows in which the Space Needle is in shambles or being destroyed it’s like being slugged in the stomach. Can we talk a bit about how you came up with the concept of Among The Living’s cover and Jodi Lee the artist who did the artwork for you?

TWL: It was all the idea of Doc Pus over at Library of the Living Dead Press. He told me early on that he had this image of the Seattle skyline in flames. I had a hard time picturing it. Living here can be dark and depressing when the rain doesn’t let up for weeks at a time so it was easier for me to picture the scene as much darker and bleaker. Well he asked Jodi to do the cover and when I got a look at it my jaw hit the ground.

The cover came in second place last year in a contest over on Editor’s and Predator’s. I think we should have won. That cover has sold a lot of copies of Among the Living.NFTA: What’s available on is the revised and expanded edition of Among The Living. Why did you feel the book needed to be expanded and revised and is the original Among The Living available for sale anywhere or is it now a collector’s item?

TWL: When Among the Living came out, Library of the Living Dead was still a very new press. Everyone was excited to get the book in print, me most of all. I had help editing it but once it was out it became apparent that a pro should have stepped in.

I had also tried to keep the original book around the 100K mark and a couple of chapters got cut. I asked the publisher if he would let me do an updated version with a professional editor and he gave me free reign. So with a year of writing experience under my belt, I went back to the manuscript with a scalpel. There is not a single page in the book that wasn’t touched. I updated, changed, and added stuff that I wish had been in the first printing. It took me a month just to go over the manuscript then another month with a top notch editor named Stephanie Kinkaid. She took my scribbles and made them much better.

A lot of people like the character Kate in the book. She is a budding young serial killer with peculiar tastes. I was happy to go back and give her a little more depth and backstory. She really turned into a badass in the book and took to chopping zombies with a pair of Japanese swords like they were fresh tuna. She will play a huge part in the sequel.

I also added a few minor scenes that showed the virus spreading throughout the town. A legitimate criticism of the first book was that it took too long for the zombies to show up. I can understand that because Among the Living is not the typical zombie book. I call it a pre-apocalyptic zombie tale. It is really about the characters in the first few days. The typical zombie book takes place afterwards.

I have about 10 copies of the original Among the Living at home but to be honest I prefer to keep them out of people’s hands. Read the new one and you will read the book the way it was intended to be written. I have even offered to take the old one of people’s hands and cons, and give them a new one in exchange.

NFTA: One of the things I like about Among The Living is how you did the chapters. Instead of chapter 1, chapter 2, and so on you give us the name of the character on the day of the infection Day 0 – Kate. George R.R. Martin does the same thing. Was it you intention from the beginning to use the names of the characters instead of numbers as chapter headings or did it come later as you were writing Among The Living?

TWL: I had two main characters in mind from the start. I wrote them in third person and was pretty happy with their story line but I really felt like the book needed a more visceral point of view. Enter Mike, the newspaper reporter. I tried to write him in third person but I didn’t feel a connection. So I jumped to first person and immediately wondered if I was breaking some writing rules by having multiple viewpoints.

What this allowed me to do was to switch back and forth between characters as I wrote. So I had three distinct stories lines to juggle and a definitive ending point in the distance.

I am a huge fan of Martin and I love his books and the way the viewpoints start with character names. It also makes it a little bit easier on the reader to follow. That way they don’t have to read a descriptive few paragraphs to figure out who is the main character.

Plus people can skip around. “Ah crap, another Mike chapter? I think I’ll read ahead and see who Kate is slicing to pieces.”

NFTA: Barriers Beyond and The Zombie-Wilson Diaries are two more zombie novels that you released this year. With the overwhelming amount of art, comics, books, and movies and now with AMC’s The Walking Dead, a TV show, do you struggle to come up with original concepts and material?

TWL: Not at all. I could write this stuff until the end of time. Half of me wants to do the funny stuff. I love satire and could write that forever and be happy. I also love the scarier stuff. And could do the same. It’s like there are two competing voices up in my noggin and they are duking it out with pogo sticks.

I have a zombie western novella in the works, another comedic piece about some nerdy survivors, plans to do a book involving the porn industry and zombies with another writer … I could go on and on and …

NFTA: I find that zombie fans are a complete different beast from horror and science fiction fans. They tend to be more lenient about conflicting theories and more forgiving of a weaker story line if there is a lot of gore. I’ve seen some pretty horrible zombie movies, and have stopped reading books after the 3rd of 4th page because the story was so bad. Do you think some artist exploit the fans love, tolerance, and excitement about zombies to produce poor quality material?

TWL: In dream land, where I often dwell, I imagine that every artist does their best to create a good story. At the heart of writing, there is a story, if you can’t tell a story, why are you trying to write? We have a million literary writers out of New York that can’t sell 500 copies of their books and they tell a damn good story, right? But someone can write Dawn of the Dead, change the names and add buckets of gore and get it published. Know your craft, cater to your audience, ask for input from your fans, and you won’t produce crap.

NFTA: Including three anthologies and co-authoring The Apocalypse and Satan’s Glory Hole just in the last two years there are seven books out there with your name on them. Are you writing full time now?

TWL: Yes. And I also have a full time job.

NFTA: Speaking of The Apocalypse and Satan’s Glory Hole and for the simple fact that I had you kidnapped and brought to this warehouse I have to ask you the same question I asked Jonathon. It’s clear that you guys had a blast writing The Apocalypse and Satan’s Glory Hole, but did you ever think for one moment that the Church and members of the literary community would so vehemently denounce your work? And knowing what you know now, do you think you would have done things differently?

TWL: We pretty much set out to upset every person we could. In fact, I was talking to our editor,Stephanie Kincaid, just the other day. I told her about a new scene I was doing for a possible sequel that involved Noah in hell. She said “I get it. So this is just in case you have not offended everyone in the world?”

I do want to point out that even though some of the material in the book will be considered offensive (like Jesus swilling vodka and redbull while swearing like a sailor), we also kept the book very level headed. There are some very strong dialog scenes between Death and Jesus that people have commented on as being very introspective.

If you hate that kind of stuff, Moon tempers it with a giant shit monster. So there’s that.

NFTA: Jokes aside for a moment, the reviews for The Apocalypse and Satan’s Glory Hole, hover around the 4 ½ to 5 star range. Most of the reviewers are fans of the bizarro genre and they get it, has TASG received any bad reviews and if so how did you deal with it?

TWL: I don’t know of any bad reviews. I am sure we will get them and to be honest, there is no such thing as bad publicity. The devious part of me has even contemplated sending a copy of the book to a religious group and asking them to protest it. You can’t PAY for publicity like that.

As far as bad reviews go, in general they sting but really, who the hell cares. I know my work won’t make everyone happy. I remember getting a negative review on Among the Living because there were a couple of sex scenes in the book. The reviewer didn’t care about the extreme gore, heads getting lopped off, exploding bodies, or women and children being killed. No, she only cared about the sex.

Not only did I get a chuckle out of the review. I’m pretty sure I had a spike in sales. Hey man, sex sells.

NTFA: Sex does indeed sale. That’s interesting that your reviewer focused only on the sex scenes. I had a reviewer blast me because one of the characters in The Darkness is gay but you don’t find that out until way later and its only in passing. He didn’t mind the illegal research being conducted by rogue scientist and didn’t have a problem with extreme descriptions of the occult, but he wrote a two page, thumbs down, nasty review over 22 words. I was pretty devastated.

TWL: If they don’t like it they can move on to another writer that floats their boat. I wouldn’t be caught dead reading a Twilight book then leaving a negative review because I’m some hoity-toity fucking horror writer. That whole mentality is wasted on me. If you feel the need to leave me a negative review, I hope you are putting that much effort into doing negative reviews of things that matter, like health care or bacon missing from a maple bar.

NFTA: As far as name recognition and of course books sales, how important is it to appear at the Cons and how many do you plain on attending next year?

TWL: It is essential. Not going to cons, even if it is to sit at a table and hand out flies for your work, is just asking to be ignored. You can’t just write a book and put it out there, and expect to sell a million copies. Unless you are Stephen King and have decades of name recognition. You have to promote the hell out of it. Getting out there and meeting fans of the genre leads to lots of word of mouth. Not to mention - book sales.

I love to wander around cons and talk to people, see what they do and then tell them about my books. You never know where it will lead. In the last year, just from cons, I have put my books in the hands of well knows writers, producers, artists, and tons of fans. I have met publishers, other writers and even movie stars that took a moment to pose with my book.

NTFA: How much time passes from the moment that you wake up to the moment you start writing?

TWL: More like how much coffee passes? I have my own measurement of time that doesn’t involve clocks. It involves how much caffeine I ingest. I would say a good two cups is the norm.

I actually have a pretty strict writing time set aside. I spend at least an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening working on stuff. I have also been known to sit in front of the TV, on a weekend, and write for five hours with occasional bathroom breaks.

NFTA: So what can we expect from you next year?

TWL: Probably sequels. I do have a new trilogy in the works. The first book is done and I am shopping it around right now. I hope to have some good news in the near future.

I am doing a sequel to Among the Living called Among the Dead. I also plan to do another slice of coconut-bra, hula-skirt-wearing, outrageous Zombie-Wilson stuff.
I can’t guarantee all this stuff will be out next year, but I will do my best.

NFTA: It was super good seeing you again, and sorry for the rough abrupt way in which this interview started. Vladimir will take you back to where we took you from but before you go what words of wisdom do you wish to impart to so many newbie writers, who have delusions of grandeur and dream of having the careers of Ben Templesmith, Scott Sigler, or LA Banks seemingly overnight?

TWL: It’s all-good, pretty much like any Friday night to me.

NFTA: Oh my God, LLMFAO!

TWL: Don’t expect it to happen overnight. Those folks are immensely talented but they probably worked their asses off to get where they are. If they didn’t have a ton of stuff out already, they probably spent years getting an agent to look at their work. Don’t expect the fairy tale that shit only happens in books and movies. Expect to start small and STAY small for a while. It is all about getting your work out there and promoting yourself.

Notice I said a keyword there? Yourself. If you aren’t too busy drooling from my boring answers, take that one word to heart. I don’t promote my books, I promote ME! I want people to know me and expect good things when they see MY name on something.

NFTA: Thanks again for your time Timothy. Will I see you at Seattle’s 2011 Crypticon?

TWL: You better believe it! I will be there with my full pimp daddy costume on, trying to sell ice to Eskimos.

For more information about Timothy W. Long please visit:

And to purchase the any number of books that Timothy has available please visit:

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