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?

pride--prejudice

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/

Zombie Books for Kids

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I was terrified of monsters when I was a child. I was convinced there were ghosts living in my closet and refused to sleep in my own room for several weeks in a row. I think my fear stemmed from my lack of exposure to monsters. I didn’t read monster books or watch monster movies, but one of my friends at school told me about ghosts, which completely freaked me out. Kids will find out about monsters one way or another, so it’s good to tell them about monsters when they’re young and explain that they aren’t real.

When I had my baby girl last year I knew I wanted to start reading zombie books to her because I didn’t want her to be afraid of them. I was scared of zombies until I was about twenty-nine years old – don’t judge! I came around. So I perused my local bookstores for kid-friendly monster books. I found some cute ones about Sea Monsters, Dragons, and even Yeti, but zombie books for children are hard to find (imagine that!). I started scouring Amazon for zombie books for little ones and found a few gems as well as a few duds.

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Hands down, the best zombie book for kids is Zombelina by Kristyn Crow. My ten-month-old daughter loves this book. She starts wiggling when she sees the bright red cover. I don’t know if she likes the soothing rhyming text, or the colorful pictures, but this is by far her favorite book. It’s about a little zombie who wants to learn how to dance, so her mom signs her up for ballet classes. On the day of her big recital the audience gets freaked out by the zombie onstage and flees the theater. But Zombelina dances for her family of monsters, and she’s a big hit! The rhyming text is so clever, and there are several puns that parents will appreciate. My favorite line is: “They said my performance was HAUNTING tonight! My family makes everything turn out all right. ‘You sure came ALIVE on the stage!’ my mom said…But I was DEAD tired. Yaaaawwwwnnnn. So I danced off to bed.”

Five stars all the way for Zombelina. There’s a sequel coming out in September called Zombelina Dances the Nutcracker. I’m getting a copy for my baby girl for sure!

http://www.amazon.com/Zombelina-Kristyn-Crow/dp/0802728030/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1437332848&sr=8-1&keywords=zombelina

Another cute zombie book for kids is Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio. It’s about a zombie named Mortimer looking for a date to Cupid’s Ball. He places an ad in the newspaper to find a date: Tall, Dead & Handsome. He writes, “I’m dying to meet you.” Poor Mortimer waits and waits by the punch bowl for his dream date to show up…and eventually a “drop-dead” gorgeous girl named Mildred approaches him. It’s love at first bite! The pictures might be a tiny bit scary for little ones, but I think any kid over the age of four should be okay with this book.

http://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Love-Kelly-DiPucchio/dp/1442402709/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1437332876&sr=8-1&keywords=zombie+in+love

There is one zombie book I wouldn’t recommend for very small children. That’s Not Your Mommy Anymore by Matt Mogk would be okay for older kids (seven- to eight-year-olds), but younger children would probably be terrified by the concept. It’s about a little boy whose mother turns into a zombie and tries to eat him. The little boy has to run away from home and ends up finding a group of other kids who’ve had to flee their homes too. I read this book to my four-year-old niece before reading it on my own…oops! She asked, “Why is the mommy biting that man?” and “Why is there blood?” Even though this is a picture book, it seems like it’s meant for older children because of the gore and scary storyline. Someone gave this book to me as a gift, so I’ll hang onto it and give it to my daughter when she’s older (perhaps when she’s a teenager and wishes I were a zombie).

http://www.amazon.com/Thats-Not-Your-Mommy-Anymore/dp/156975926X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1437332899&sr=8-1&keywords=that%27s+not+your+mommy+anymore

There’s a series of books called Abigail and her Pet Zombie by Marie F. Crow, which is perfect for beginning readers. They’re cute stories about a five-year-old girl and her zombie. The first book teaches acceptance and reminds kids not to judge a book by its cover. I have the Abigail series on my Kindle, and I’ll buy the paperback versions for my daughter when she’s a little older and can read. These books are perfect for kids between the ages of three and six. They’re not scary at all, and the pet zombie isn’t very gory. These are indie books (hooray for indies!!). If you’re looking for zombie books for little ones and you want to support an indie author then you should buy these books!

http://www.amazon.com/Abigail-Her-Zombie-Marie-Crow/dp/0989424286/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1437332924&sr=8-1&keywords=abigail+and+her+pet+zombie

You’ll find hundreds of dinosaur picture books on Amazon, and countless books about farm animals, but there aren’t an abundance of zombie books. Even though there are only a handful of choices, I was able to find some fun options. With the zombie craze at its peak, it’s inevitable people will want zombie books for their little ones. Hopefully my baby girl won’t be terrified of monsters like I was when I was a kid… because how can a child be scared of an adorable zombie ballerina?

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Zombie Guide Magazine’s Review of “Where’s My Dinner”

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One of my favorite zombie authors, Ian McClellan, reviewed Where’s My Dinner for Zombie Guide Magazine. I feel deeply honored that Mr. McClellan enjoyed my book because I’ve been a huge fan of his for a long time. If you’re not familiar with his work, I recommend reading his first novel, Zombie Apocalypse 2012: A Political Horror Story. It’s the funniest zombie book I’ve ever read. His book made me laugh so hard I couldn’t breathe. Of course you’ll love it, so you’ll also want to read his second novel, One Undead Step.

You can find his books on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Apocalypse-2012-Political-Horror/dp/147820138X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1433308717&sr=8-2&keywords=ian+mcclellan

http://www.amazon.com/One-Undead-Step-Zombie-Novel-ebook/dp/B00IK9RQV4/ref=la_B0088Q14BM_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1433308736&sr=1-2

If you’re looking for more zombie tales, you might want to check out my 1950’s zombie novel. Here is Ian McClellan’s review of Where’s My Dinner:

http://www.zombie-guide.com/book-review-wheres-my-dinner/

In the mid-1950’s, a virus begins turning only women into zombies. As fearsome female flesh-eaters rampage, society begins to crumble.

Believe it or not, there are people out there who look down their noses at zombie books. If there is a single, overwhelming complaint that I hear, it’s that they are all the same. I don’t find that to be true at all, but I probably read more zombie books than the average person whereas most of those folks are likely just forming their opinions based on a small sampling. While I don’t feel the need to push my literary leanings onto others like some zombie book Jehovah’s Witness, if I could make the “they’re all the same” crowd read one zombie book, it would be Where’s My Dinner. This story is very unique. Set in the 50’s, it tells the tale of Rose-Lynne, a columnist and terrible cook (basically, a radical feminist in 1950’s America) who tries to get along with the other ladies in the neighborhood, all of whom live to look their best and dote on their husbands. When those ladies start turning into zombies, the men folk come to realize they’re incapable of taking care of themselves.

This book struck a bit of a personal chord with me. I didn’t grow up in the 50’s (I’ll be 38 next month) but I was raised in a very patriarchal, old fashioned home. I left that home at seventeen to live with the woman who would eventually become my wife. She did most of the domestic stuff while I worked a few jobs. Things often don’t work out the way you plan, and I became a single man who was (and still is) an awful cook, didn’t know how to work his washing machine, got headaches after looking at the bills for a couple of minutes, and was generally inept in every way when it came to keeping a home. If not for the kindness of some good friends who had me over for supper quite often, I may have starved in those first few years. Luckily, there were no children involved. I can’t fathom how I would have managed. I can easily imagine a complete meltdown in a world full of guys just like me who were suddenly forced to fend for themselves and their kids.

Where’s My Dinner is a quick, fast paced, and fun read. The main character is a true underdog who doesn’t just have zombies to worry about, but society, as well. The story has some great dry humor sprinkled throughout. There is definitely some tension, but not many scares. It’s a very PG-13 tale and, while I enjoyed it immensely, it may not be for the folks out there who are gore hounds. For me, this one gets five stars and two emphatic thumbs up!

http://www.amazon.com/Wheres-My-Dinner-J-Michel-ebook/dp/B00XLKIHK6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1433308872&sr=1-1&keywords=where%27s+my+dinner