East Bay Comic Con

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All of my posts seem to start with an apology for not posting enough. Since I like to keep with tradition: I’m sorry I haven’t blogged in months, but I swear I have a really good excuse. Last November I had a baby boy, and I’m head-over-heels in love with this tiny little person. Caring for him takes up most of my waking hours (and some of my non-waking hours too). I wanted to post something before I go back to work fulltime next week because I’ll really be strapped for time once I’m back at the office.

Glasses Wearing Green Zombie Office Worker Missing Top Half Of Skull, Exposed Brain, Sits At Desk Typing At Computer, Working Hard

A lot has happened since I last posted. The Walking Dead is back (wahoo!), and season three of Z Nation wrapped up (I have them all saved up on my DVR – gotta get to those), and season one of the new zombie Netflix series Santa Clarita Diet is now available. My husband and I already binge watched all ten episodes. It’s an original take on zombies, and it kept us laughing. I’ll definitely watch season two once it’s available. So many zombie shows, so little time.

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In addition to my zombie TV addiction, I’m a sucker for a good Comic Con. I found out there was a huge comic convention in the East Bay, just five minutes from my house! Well, I couldn’t pass that up, right? The convention was only for one day, from 10am to 5pm, so my co-author, Anne Barrett, and I made the most of the seven-hour time period. Here’s a picture of us at our booth a few minutes before the doors opened to fellow comic lovers.

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We met some awesome zombie fans, tons of book lovers, and a pirate Santa. He was nice enough to pose for a picture with our zombie Christmas book, ‘Twas the Bite Before Christmas.

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I also made friends with a nice fellow wielding a machete.

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And then he tried to kill me…

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I used my catlike speeding reflexes to survive, and I will definitely be at next year’s East Bay Comic Con. That’s pretty much it for now. I’ve just been busy changing diapers, watching zombie shows, and fine tuning my Young Adult novel, which is very close to being done, and I should have some exciting news about my book very soon!

Until then, I’ll be busy focusing on going back to work, and saving up enough money to buy this The Walking Dead dress I found on Etsy (love that website!):

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Halloween is Here!!

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Candy!!! My favorite day is finally here. I was ticked off that it had to be leap year, which pushed Halloween to a Monday (blech!), but I decided to take the day off work to fully enjoy the holiday festivities. My two-year-old daughter decided to be Batman, and I’ll admit I was slightly disappointed she didn’t want to be a zombie, but there’s always next year!

I’ve been hard at work preparing my Halloween feast all afternoon. I’m making Devil Eggs, Haunted Chex Mix, and Jack-O-Lantern Rice Krispie Treats. Yum! I didn’t go overboard because everyone needs to save room for gorging on candy. We got the good stuff this year – Twix, KitKats, Snickers, M&Ms, and a whole bunch more (full size of course). Here’s a picture of my collection this year:

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Moving on to other business, who’s excited about The Walking Dead being back? Everyone, apparently. The season 7 premiere brought in a record-breaking 20.8 million viewers. It was one of the goriest episodes I’ve ever seen, but I think it was necessary. The producers wanted the fans to see just how sick and twisted Negan is. That dude is pure evil. Which is why I’m ashamed to admit that I really, really, really like him. Negan is mixing things up on the show, and it was time someone came in and scared the pants off Rick (Sheriff Grimes was getting a little too villainy for a minute). The writers did a fabulous job of creating a charismatic villain. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not on Negan’s side, but I do enjoy when he has screen time.

Episode two was a lot less gory, even funny at times. We got to catch up with Carol and Morgan, two of my favorite and most lethal characters. They were rescued by King Ezekiel’s subjects. Ezekiel had me fooled in the beginning. I really believed he thought he was a medieval king, and I was quite relieved when he admitted to Carol he was a regular dude putting on a front. This week’s episode was a lot mellower than the premiere, which is a good thing. We poor fans of The Walking Dead were quite traumatized over the first episode. I can’t wait to find out what happens next week. It looks like Daryl might be in trouble.

Speaking of The Walking Dead, the wicked awesome zombie convention Walker Stalker Con is coming back to San Francisco in April of 2017. They haven’t announced who the celebrity guests are yet, but I know I’ll be there for sure. Here’s a link to more information:

http://walkerstalkercon.com/sanfrancisco/

As for my writing, I’m still working on editing my YA novel. I’ve gotten some helpful feedback and I’m hoping I’ll be done soon. I started a new novel but stalled after chapter one, so I’m letting it cool off until I’m inspired.

That’s what’s going on in my world. I’ve been getting ready for baby number two, who’s due in six weeks! So it might be a while before I have time to post again since I’ll be busy with my Little Ass Kicker.

Here’s a picture of the Rice Krispie Treat graveyard I made for Halloween. I used headstone Peeps and gummy spiders. Spooky and delicious!

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Halloween in August

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Costco is such a tease. I was making my way toward the pastry section and skidded to a halt when I saw a Halloween display. It’s August 3rd!! And they have Halloween decorations! I got excited for a second, thinking it was almost Halloween, but alas, my favorite holiday is still three months away.

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Seeing those unseasonal decorations got me thinking about my blog. My poor, neglected blog. I’ve been ignoring it to focus on editing my Young Adult novel, which is almost done (happy dance!). I figured it was time to post something, even if it’s a short one.

Lucky gal that I am, I had a weekend getaway in Vegas in May and got to see the best musical of all time: Zombie Burlesque. That’s right, there’s a musical about zombies. And it’s magical! I posted an article on Zombie Guide Magazine about my killer experience. Here’s the link: http://www.zombie-guide.com/zombie-burlesque/

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While I was ignoring my blog, I found the time to answer twenty “Would You Rather” questions for The Next Best Book Blog. It was nice to take a break from writing my novel to answer questions about writing novels. Good clean fun. Here’s a link to the blog post: http://thenextbestbookblog.blogspot.com/2016/06/j-cornell-michels-would-you-rather.html

Happy news: The Walking Dead trailer for season 7 is finally out! The show comes back October 23rd. I can’t frickin wait! I’ve been dying to find out who Negan killed. My guess is Abraham, but who knows. We’ll find out soon enough! Here’s a link to the season 7 trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmUz88zoIg0

In other news, I’m pregnant!! I’m about five months along now, which is another reason I’ve been neglecting my blog. Being pregnant makes you exhausted. During my first trimester, I felt like it was three in the morning all day long. It sucked big time. But things are better now that I’m in my second trimester. Still, this is how I feel most of the time:

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That’s all for now. Hopefully it won’t take another six months for me to post again. I’ll definitely write something up for Halloween. I need to think of a costume that will work for a pregnant lady. Wish me luck!

Zombie Valentine’s Day

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I could kiss the person who decided the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead would be on Valentine’s Day. What a way to celebrate! Sure, I like chocolate and roses, but if you add zombies to V-Day, it truly is the perfect holiday. And, and, and, we went to the movies on Valentine’s Day Eve and saw Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. Here I am in my holiday garb:

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I loved both the book and movie version of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, but they were quite different. The movie plot went in an entirely different direction from the book, which ended up working well. The Bennett sisters were perfectly cast; I knew who they all were even before they opened their mouths (come to think of it, I don’t think Kitty had a single line in the movie). Instead of being genteel ladies, the Bennett sisters were zombie fighting ninjas. Can you think of anything better?

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Now, onto the important stuff: zombies. The special effects and make-up crew killed it.  The gore wasn’t over-the-top though, which was a smart move because the movie will appeal to a wider audience. What I loved about this story was the zombies could talk. Not just to each other, but to humans as well. Creepy, creepy. If you’re a Jane Austen fan or a zombie fan, I highly recommend Pride & Prejudice & Zombies.

Then on Valentine’s Day, the hubby and I celebrated by grilling a couple steaks and watching the mid-season premiere of the greatest show of all time. The Walking Dead was jam-packed with action. There have been quite a few bloggers pointing out the inconsistencies in the plot, but I say phooey on them. I thought the episode was hella cool. Spoilers ahead! That stupid Wolf character finally died (I couldn’t stand him). Some central characters died, but only the annoying ones that everyone expected to perish. Daryl is back and more badass than ever – I should’ve known he’d make use of that bazooka. Shockingly, the gang took back Alexandria. I thought it would be impossible! I’m super glad Glenn didn’t die (again). That would’ve been messed up. Anyway, The Walking Dead writers have done it again. Another action filled episode! I can’t wait until the next episode – only six days away!

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I realize I haven’t posted since October (having a toddler doesn’t allow much time for blogging), but I’ll try to be better about it this year. I did actually finish the first draft of a novel last month. The book isn’t about zombies (sigh), but my protagonist is obsessed with zombies (yay!). Hopefully I’ll have the final draft finished in the next six months. After that, who knows… Maybe an idea for another zombie novel will come to me. Until then, I’ll work on editing my draft whilst watching The Walking Dead reruns. It’s a wonderful life 🙂

 

Zombies, Comic Con, and Halloween

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Much has happened since I last posted on here. My baby girl turned one, she attended her first Comic Con, Fear The Walking Dead premiered and wrapped up, then The Walking Dead (the real one) started up again, and now Halloween is only six days away! Time flies.

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My little lady got to meet her first cast member of The Walking Dead, the late great Beth Green. It’s a shame her character died last season, but all of us should have seen it coming. They tend to kill off their characters as soon as they become interesting. Sigh. Anyway, it was nice to meet Emily Kinney.

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I bought my little girl her first comic book, and she found it quite tasty. We also got to meet indie author M. Todd Gallowglas and buy three of his books. Gotta support the indies! My hubby read his trilogy within a few days and really enjoyed it. You can find more of Mr. Gallowglas’s work here:

http://www.amazon.com/M.-Todd-Gallowglas/e/B004YXN326/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1445801675&sr=8-1

Now, I’m just going to take a moment, let’s say four sentences, to write about Fear The Walking Dead. Did I love it? No. Will I give it another chance and watch it next season? Sure.

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Okay, moving on to the real Walking Dead. The whole premiere episode was top notch. It was perfectly balanced with action and backstory (loved the black and white flashbacks), and the dialogue was also outstanding. While I’m an Ethan Embry fan, I’m glad his character didn’t make it through the first episode (whiny know-it-alls don’t fare well during the zombie apocalypse).

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As much as I loved the premiere episode, the second was even better. Carol is a beast! I was nervous they were going to kill her off, but no one can touch her. She’s as tough as ever, and she’s by far the most developed character on the show. I have trouble picturing her as the subservient housewife she was in the first season now that she’s a ruthless killing machine. I can’t wait to find out what happens on tonight’s episode. Will the mega-herd make it to the town in Alexandria?? We’ll find out in about five hours 🙂

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As always, I’m getting pumped for Halloween! We’ve got my little girl’s costume all ready to go, and we’ve stocked up on full-size candy bars. It’s fun to be the cool house that gives out big candy. And, of course, we have our movie line-up all set. Shaun of The Dead, then Army of Darkness, and we’ll end with our new favorite Tucker and Dale vs. Evil. There’s nothing better than watching funny horror movies while stuffing your face with chocolate, and occasionally being interrupted to give candy to adorable children in spooky costumes. Bliss! I hope everyone enjoys Halloween. Have fun and stay safe!

Interviewed by Inion Mathair!

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When my favorite writing duo, Inion Mathair, asked to interview me for their blog, I said, “Yes, please, sign me up!” They asked some really fun questions. Most of them were zombie-related, but they asked a few personal questions as well.

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Inion Mathair wrote The Perfect 7 – one of the scariest YA horror novels I’ve ever read. Not only was it creepy, but it was side-splittingly funny. So if you’re looking for a clever horror novel you should pick up a copy: http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Bastard-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B00VDHLWEM/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1439164541&sr=1-1

Click this link to read the complete interview: https://inionnmathair.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/meet-horror-author-j-cornell-michel/

Here are a few highlights:

(INM) There are so many nuances to your story yet the theme of female empowerment is consistent, more specifically the security in one’s self. Is that something you wanted to bring to that particular era?

(JCM) Absolutely! There are female empowerment themes in all my books. I really didn’t plan on Where’s My Dinner turning out to be so focused on self-acceptance, but it happened organically as I was writing. There’s way too much emphasis on superficial beauty, and young’uns these days aren’t taught to value their true selves. The media is too busy shoving unattainable beauty ideals in their faces in order to sell them products. If you ask me, the beauty industry is the real horror show, which is why I insert bits about self-acceptance in my books whenever I can.

(INM) Beautifully said, Ms. Michel! Preach!!! lol

(INM) We promised no spoilers so I have to wiggle my way around this next question. You have such unique zombie spins in your novels and quite often there is a sympathetic edge; like you want your readers to empathize with the monster. Have you always identified with the zombie lore in that sense?

(JCM) Great question! And, yes, I have always sympathized with monsters. We humans sometimes forget that we’re in this together. Sure, we all have a bad day and act like “monsters” to those around us every once in a while, but life is so much better when we treat each other kindly no matter what. When I see someone acting “monsterly” (it happens pretty much every day on the commuter train), I try to put myself in their shoes and not judge them. And when I act like a monster I hope people will go easy on me too.

(INM) As in any genre and history we like to pay homage to those who paved the way. Writer-director George A. Romero needs no introduction to horror fans, having almost single-handedly invented the modern zombie film as we know it. Tell us, Jillian, how this man has inspired you and your writing?

(JCM) George Romero is a genius! Of course, I love Night of the Living Dead, but my favorite movie of his is Day of the Dead because the heroin (played by Lori Cardille) kicks some serious butt! And I love Bub, the zombie who is befriended by a scientist. Romero has a way of humanizing his monsters, especially in his later works. In Land of the Dead, he “sticks it to the man” when zombies infiltrate a city where all the rich, snooty folks are holed up. The 1% sure are tasty!

(INM) Zombies are in the now and trending; Inion and I can remember when the literary world announced their comeback. What do you think it is about Zombies and the “End of World” theme that appeals to the readers?

(JCM) I think post-apocalyptic stories tend to be more popular when people are feeling unstable, like the apocalypse could happen at any moment. With all the war, natural disasters, and economic uncertainty these days, I can understand why zombies are trending at the moment. Plus, they’re fascinating because zombies are human, but you can’t reason with them or ask them politely not to gnaw on your face – it’s quite terrifying!

A big thank you to Inion Mathair for interviewing me. I had a blast!

https://inionnmathair.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/meet-horror-author-j-cornell-michel/