Early Reviews: PLANET OF THE DEAD

Early reviews are starting to come in for PLANET OF THE DEAD!

See what these readers had to say…

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“Readers of Horror: run, do not walk, do not shuffle, do not pace, to get PLANET OF THE DEAD. I can’t imagine any author who loves the Zombie culture more than Thomas S. Flowers, an author who stands out from the run-of-the-mill (in every piece of writing!) When we love someone or something, we speak of that at exceptional length; indeed, we rave over it. If we love it enough, we write of it. Thus, Thomas Flowers, whom I can see in the future writing Zombie screenplays, stage plays, documentaries…

“No two ways about it: love this novella! If you’re a zombie lover, you can’t help but revel-the author loves this subgenre, and his devotion shines in every sentence. If you’re convinced you don’t love zombies, or you think zombies are long since overdone, or you believe all that could be said about them has been written:  think again, seriously.  Just give PLANET OF THE DEAD a try. Read the first page; when you surface for air, you’ll realize you read the whole story.

“How can I suggest this? I can because I’m a second-category horror fan: I just don’t like Zombies. Really, never have. BUT I raced through PLANET OF THE DEAD absolutely as fast as I could, staying up late because I couldn’t bear to wait overnight to finish it. That’s the effect on a reader who normally walks away from zombie books. Thomas S. Flowers is the exception. This man writes fantastically, and I continue to metaphorically follow him around as he releases his wonderful literary talent to a grateful universe.

“What’s so great about PLANET OF THE DEAD? The pacing is nonstop, breathtaking. I CARED about the characters, even the feckless ones, even that weird surfer dude. I could visualize the war scenes because Mr. Flowers vivifies them, and every human sense is awakened to comprehension. I loved PLANET OF THE DEAD because I immediately became part of the story. As the newsreels used to iterate: YOU WERE THERE. Only, I WAS THERE. Still am, because PLANET OF THE DEAD still unreels in my head—yes, just like a film” Mallory Haws, The Haunted Reading Room

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“Over the past five years or so I have found myself gradually losing my enthusiasm for zombies. There are any number of reasons why this could be the case. Certainly the first could be that The Walking Dead has kind of saturated our brains a bit. But also, I think that the digital, demystified movies we see these days aren’t as well suited for the vibe I want to feel from a good zombie story.

“Now cue the music and bring on this book. Planet Of The Dead, by Thomas Flowers.

“My favorite part of zombie stories are the beginning. There is some beautiful and grim foreshadowing in the early stages as we get to watch the confusion and despair set in among the population. Seeing the start of the collapse is what I find the most thrilling. So since this is essentially an entire book devoted to that part of a zombie uprising, well let’s just say Christmas came early for me this year.

“Thomas is a fan of Romero and zombies. You need read no more than a few chapters of this to figure that out. This story is quick and brutal. And I love the structure of it, with the narrative jumping around between central and less consequential characters. Since the Subdue series, Thomas has long established himself as being adept at juggling multiple points of view and this was no exception. He weaves from one vignette to another, layering the narrative in such a way as to heighten the dramatic tension in the story. At times, we see a horrific event only to go to the next scene and start again with a different character’s perspective, just to heighten the tragedy of what they don’t see coming.

“Thomas Flowers may have brought zombies back from the dead for me and I am definitely already impatiently waiting the next book in this trilogy” -Chad A. Clark, author of Through the Slip and Behind Our Walls. 

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“So I got to review this baby and damn it was beautiful. A few times I broke out into goosebumps because I could relate to the characters so much. Well thought out and hard to put down. I don’t normally read Zompoc fiction but damn this was one of the best books I’ve read in a while it seems like every book I read from him takes me on a journey I wish wouldn’t end. If you haven’t read anything by Thomas S Flowers I suggest you do, you just might find your new favorite author!” -13, Insanity Book Reviews, Memes, And Other Insane Things. 

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PLANET OF THE DEAD on pre-order SALE!

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PLANET OF THE DEAD: Sneak Peek

PLANET OF THE DEAD

By: Thomas S. Flowers

Walter

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Washington D.C., West Wing.

Walter Friendly already knew what was waiting for him on the other side of the press room door. Even before he had heard the buzz of nervous excitement, anxiety, and worst of all, dissent coming from the eagerly waiting reporters wanting nothing more than to take a giant-sized bite out of his ass. At this point, he wasn’t even sure why they were holding a live press briefing. The message could have been sent via phone call or email or Tweet for crying out loud. But it had been pressed upon him by the President’s Chief of Staff to send a clear and concise message.

“Wouldn’t that message sound better if it came from the President himself, or Press Secretary Godward?” Friendly had asked.

“Just read what we gave you.”

“What’s going on, Mike?”

“Walter…”

“Jesus, is he sick.”

Silence.

“This is real, isn’t it? It’s an epidemic?”

More silence.

And with that, Walter had his answer.

He glared at the press room door, feeling that pinch behind his eyes again. Reaching into his blazer coat pocket, Walter pulled out two Meclizine tablets and chewed them. He swallowed hard, wishing he had a glass of water to wash down the sour taste. It was strange standing in the small cramped room by himself. Normally there were aides running memos back and forth and cosmetic ladies readied to give aged politicians a light dusting. There’d be none of that today. The entire West Wing seemed damn near deserted. Countless out sick calls, and countless more unreported.

Jesus…what is going on?

In all our years that we’ve known each other, I’ve never seen Mike so cold.

There was more going on.

More to this he wasn’t, or couldn’t, say.

But what exactly that was, Deputy Press Secretary Walter Friendly, just as every other American waking up to hear rumor upon rumor and broadcast upon broadcast stretching from South Korea, through Europe, and the United States of some “Super Flu,” had only the media news to go on. And now he was about to go in there and tell them they are all wrong. That rumors that the President was sick was a lie. That the epidemic, not that they were confirming it, was under control. That the CDC has everything under control.

Did they?

He hoped so.

Walter took a deep breath, exhaling slowly. He stepped toward the press room door and stopped. He turned to the door behind him, the one that led to the West Wing offices.

What was that?

He angled his head slightly, listening.

Sounded like a gun report…

No. No. Look at you, Walt. You’re getting yourself all worked up.

You have a job to do. Just go out there and get it over with.

He stepped through the press room door in a flood and furry of camera flashes and rolling conversations about the end of the world. Most of those ceased when he came out, but he’d caught enough to gauge that he probably shouldn’t take any questions. Unless he was prepared to give them answers. Which he wasn’t.

At the podium, he exhaled, trying to avoid the glare of the spot lights.

“Good morning,” he started. “I have a statement the Executive Office would like to address. There will be no questions taken after the conclusion.”

Eye rolls and smirks among the press corps.

He rumpled the papers in his hand, already damping with sweat from his fingers, smudging the ink.

“To answer rumors going around, the President and his administration have been working very closely with CDC and Health service officials and State Governors.” Walter cleared his throat. “I’m only going to say this once, so listen up people. There is no epidemic. There is what we understand to be nothing more than a flu, and it is treatable. The Department of Homeland Security will be providing information on where you can go to be treated if you or your loved one is sick. These clinics are being outfitted by the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services, with vaccines. The Secretary of Health and the President urge their fellow Americans not to panic. Help will be provided.”

Walter exhaled and turned to leave. “Thank you,” he said, wanting nothing more than to be away from the bright lights and flashes of cameras and dozens of steely- eyed dissenters.

Shouts from the pit erupted.

Walter stopped, more out of reflex against the sudden surge of shouting than wanting to answer the barrage of questions being fired at him. He noticed Sarah Evan from Fox News and gestured toward her. At least she ought to have some common sense. Some loyalty for the President and his administration.

“Yes? Go ahead.”

“Deputy Press Secretary Friendly, Sarah Evan reporting for Fox News. These so-called rumors, as you called them, seem to be more than just rumors. There are reports coming in from across the nation, especially those having to do with looting and riots. What does the President plan to do regarding the reported violence that has occurred near or around these medical stations set up by the CDC?”

Walter took a step back to the podium. “The rumors I mentioned were about wide spread panic, which is simply not the case. Unfortunately, there are those who are willing to take advantage. As I have been briefed, the President is working closely with Homeland Security and local state officials to control the spread of looting and acts of wanton violence.”

Another body stood up in the crowd of jeering, eager reporters.

“Deputy Friendly, Joe Peters reporting for NBC World News. According to our sources, this isn’t just a national epidemic. Reports are coming in from London and Paris and even far away as Seoul. What are the administration’s plans on dealing with our allies?” Joe, a short-squared man dressed in a smart- looking tweed jacket and olive colored slacks, held his pen at the ready, with a somewhat smug grin Walter noted, waiting for him to answer his question.

Walter glanced around. Dozens of reporters stared at him, waiting. He cleared his throat. “At this time, such reports have not been verified with—”

“Have not been verified? What are you—”

“Excuse me, Mr. Peters, perhaps you should let me finish.”

“Is there no comment regarding aiding American allies?”

“Perhaps at this time it would be best for America to worry about American interests.”

“And just what are American interests, Deputy? And if this is not an epidemic, why is the President unwilling to collaborate with foreign nations to figure out what exactly is causing these global and widespread riots?”

Walter bit his tongue. This was exactly why he didn’t want to field questions. This constant dissent and banter from the news media. “I believe I have answered your question. Next?” He refused to let things end with the likes of Joe Peters.

“Deputy Friendly, Jason Kelly with CNN.” A man in a pinstriped suit stood up in front of Joe Peters, his black hair slicked back. Thick framed glasses precariously teetered on the edge of his nose.  “You mentioned a moment ago that the President was working closely with local authorities. Some of these reports or rumors as you called them are reporting that some of these medical centers set up by the CDC and Health Department are being overrun.”

Walter rolled his eyes very obviously. “I’m not hearing a question, Mr. CNN.”

“Is the President considering the use of the National Guard?”

Walter pushed back from the podium. “What?”

“Has Martial Law been declared?”

More clicks and whorls of camera flashes. Yet, oddly silent otherwise.

“As I said before,” Walter started. “There is no epidemic. This has been trumped up by the liberal media and nothing more than—”

Sneers and grumbling erupted from the crowd of reporters.

Jason Kelly pressed on, “Sir, there has to be more going on, why hasn’t the President—”

“FAKE NEWS!” Deputy Press Secretary Walter Friendly shouted. “That’s all you are. Fake news.” He could feel the veins on his temple and forehead bulge. There was little doubt his face was beet red. His image on screen wouldn’t look good. The President’s Chief of Staff would be disappointed. He was blowing it after all. Rule number one was to never give in, never be baited, never overreact. But he couldn’t help it. He didn’t have all the answers, hell he didn’t even have one answer to give. Still, he’d be damned if he was going to let these tabloid junkies have a free run at the candy store and bully him into saying something he or someone else in the administration would have to deny later.

Camera flashes and smirks and even mocked expressions of shock surrounded him.

“Sir,” Joe continued undeterred, “is there some sort of cover up going on? Is there more the President isn’t telling the citizens of the United States? And why haven’t we heard from him? According to our sources, his Twitter feed has gone quiet for the past twelve hours. Is it true that the President is sick with whatever this epidemic is? Has the Executive Office been compromised?”

Get out now, he told himself. End this before things gets out of control.

Walter turned to leave, head downcast, feeling as if all he’d done was made things worse.

A wave of shouts and more questions and more flashes followed him to the press room door. Reaching for the handle, he stopped as the door flung open.

“What is this…? Floyd?” Walter took a step back, staring at Floyd Bennet, one of the secret service agents on the President’s detail. His black suit was wrinkled. A white button up underneath his black blazer partially untucked, as if he had gotten into a struggle with someone. His usually perfectly combed and parted brown hair a mess. With reddened yellow eyes, he glared back at Walter.

“Agent Bennet, is everything okay?” Walter offered, the dozens of dissenting reporters behind him momentarily forgotten.

The sickly-looking agent stepped toward him.

Walter held up his arms. “Floyd, what’s going on?” he whispered hotly, wanting to direct the agent back out the door, remembering they were not alone by a sudden flash of a camera behind him. “Did something happen to the President?”

Floyd Bennet opened his mouth as if to say something. Salvia drooled out in strings on his chin, drooping down and touching his suit.

Floyd?”

The agent lunged and speared Walter, knocking him down to the floor. Around him, shouting erupted, now filled with actual visual terror. Screams and yelling. Pleading with someone on the security detail to come and help.

Jason Kelly and Joe Peters and Sarah Evan stared, frozen with their mouths agape.

Walter wondered, just for a moment as he held Agent Floyd Bennet back, trying to push him off him, trying to keep those gnashing teeth that stunk of gaseous spoiled milk from his throat, which was the greater sin, inaction or misinformation?

With that, Floyd batted away Walter’s arms and thrust his sour smelling teeth, biting down on his throat, sinking in and chewing, pulling away flesh and sinew in a jet of crimson blood.

Walter screamed, hitching his pelvis, clamping a bloodied hand over his gushing wound.

The reporters around him pushed back more frantically now, knocking into each other, fighting over who got to the exit first.

Deputy Press Secretary Walter Friendly reached out with a numbing hand for help, but found none.

If you liked what you read here, be sure to pickup your copy of PLANET OF THE DEAD now just $0.99 ($3.99 original price). 

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Me on Writing

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As much as I claim not to be reactionary, more often than not I end up eating my own words. I’d say I do not like to be reactionary, but truth be told, there’s a small part of me that takes some twisted pleasure in arguing or venting or blowing off steam. Come on, we all do, on some level. I think I’d be more concerned with those who don’t vent some of that frustration. AND, to make a long point even longer than it needs to be to justify this post, isn’t that the objective of writing/blogging, to vent , to talk, to discuss?

Okay, so…

What’s got me miffed?

Yesterday, I read an article published by Huffpo, Huffpuff, Huffpost, or whatever the name is, regarding how indie writers should stop publishing 4 books a year. I think the article is a few years old, published back in 2015, and seeing how the book world is really measured in dog years, I wonder if the author of said piece still feels the same way. I mean, is it even a valid argument, to tell indie writers NOT to publish a mass of books?

If you want to read the Huffpo argument…..[here]

I think the spirit of the article was really…though narrow minded, way of trying to get readers/writers to focus more on quality than quantity. In that respect, I absolutely, 100% agree. I have seen the fall of a few authors and small presses whose focus seemed to be almost exclusively on quantity rather than quality. Why put out a crap story just to put out a crap story? Right? Even if your name sounds very similar to Stephen King (wink wink).

But there’s an assumption being made here. That is, good work, as mentioned in the Huff article, so called “classics” of literary fiction, can ONLY be achieved through diligent, tedious, time consuming research, vetting, editing, etc. etc., that spans over months, YEARS, god help them even DECADES! The article sited work such as Goldfinch and To Kill a Mocking Bird as books that took decades to finish. Ignoring, of course, all the many other literary classics that were completed in a shorter span of time, such as A Clockwork Orange, A Christmas Carol, or The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas (to name a few) that were written in weeks or even days.

My point being, why do you have to spend year after painful year crafting and honing that PERFECT book? I’ll make a statement that may or may not be popular, but its an honest one, and its mine. That PERFECT book, the one writers have been nibbling and deleting and redoing and shaping, guess what? It doesn’t exist. Though i’m sure i can be proven wrong, in a majority of cases these books are nothing more than pet projects. They’re not books, not really.

But you know what? Its okay. Pet projects are good, i think. I’ve got one, haven’t touched it in a while, but had spent years crafting it, knowing in the back of my head that it would never be published. Nor do i think i would want to. It had become too precious for me to allow it to be picked at and prodded by reviewers and critics.

Me on Writing?

I’m no expert. These are just my opinions in my thus short career as a writer. What I think is something similar to Aristotle’s advice to his son regarding the Golden Mean, writers would do well to avoid extreme polar sentiments. On one hand, never sacrifice quantity over quality. That said, never assume quality is restricted to a set standard of time. Some writers are simply prolific. They have a natural talent at storytelling and can pump out book after book like it was nothing. And there’s probably an even more sinister assumption that just because they are able to publish more than one book a century, they are not working as hard. I’d say prolific writers work just as hard, truth be told. And yes, those writers who require more time, or prefer more time, are just fine too. At bottom, you gotta do you. In either case, writers shouldn’t be aiming to be the next great literary master. Odds are, its never going to happen. And most of the writers who are considered to be great award winning masters of lit were never trying to be. They just wanted to tell a story, and if that is your goal and focus, does it really matter if it takes you one week or one year to write it?

Just some thoughts from young writer.

Why Zombies?

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Why zombies is a question worth consideration. For me, my fascination for the ghoulish undead started in the early 1990s. My older sister and I used to have what we called Fright Movie Nights. We’d set up camp downstairs in the basement where my dad typically watched TV. I suppose you could call this space a den, of sorts. It was cold and usually damp feeling. In the winter, the wood fireplace would be burning, giving a very pleasant warmth to the place. At any rate, this was where we’d have our ritual Friday night movies. We’d drive to Blockbuster, rent a couple VHS tapes, order a pizza, pop some popcorn, open a bag of candy, and fill our cups with glorious soda.

I cannot recall every movie night, but i do remember one in particular. I’m not sure if it was my idea or my sisters, but we rented Night of the Living Dead, the Tom Savini directed remake with George A. Romero writing the script. I can still recall how mesmerized I was. Not just the gore; I mean, yes zombies are cool and all. But I was also mesmerized with the personal struggles between the characters, how they were at root their own worst enemies. As Barbara amply pointed out, “[zombies] are so slow, they could walk right past them, if they were careful.”  But, as it seems, even for level headed Ben, fear of the unknown crippled the survivors from taking any sort of action. They had no guarantee of success and so became paralyzed from taking risk.

Barbara on her part understood the risk and was also afraid but was still willing to take a chance, to do something, anything but sit around bickering and being consumed by their own internal turmoil with each other. She had no guarantee but was still willing to confront the risk. And, in the end, she survived.

The beautiful ugly about zombie movies, at least the ones in the Romero vein, is that the story isn’t so much about those walking dead, its about the people struggling to survive. Seeing how they behave in the most extreme situations. This is why, I think, AMC’s The Walking Dead is so popular. I’m sure there are maybe some other reasons too, water-cooler edict, so to speak, not wanting to be the last in the know. Fundamentally though the show is really about the survivors in this new world in which all the things we take for granted, internet, government, electricity, stores, shopping, gas stations, cell phones, are all gone.

But why this is such a popular motif?

While sure, some are watching because they want to know what their co-workers are talking about at the water-cooler. And there are those who are in it for the kills, the gore, and the very well done practical effects. But some, I think, are in it for the story in part as an examination, even if only subconsciously, of society. TWD is a sociological study on what happens when you take away all the barriers and comforts. How civilized does civilization remain when you take away the things that made people feel safe? Which begs the question, what are the things that make us feel safe? And like any good horror story, there are no easy answers, rather, horror works in order to drag (kicking and screaming) those nagging questions out into the daylight and forces audiences to examine themselves and come to their own conclusions.

This is why zombies.

George A. Romero had once said, the story could be about any natural disaster, and while that is true, I believe that zombies, the living dead, and their unquenchable lust for living flesh is the perfect stage for a sort of metaphorical critique. Of which I suggest you come to your own conclusions of what those metaphors might be. In my new book, PLANET OF THE DEAD, I forced myself to look at what I thought those metaphors might be, as I saw them. There’s a line in the book, I think near the end when one of the characters says something in the line of how people have always in one way or another been consuming one another, now people are literally consuming each other, and to survive, something will have to change.

Well…that’s my two cents on the subject.

What’s your opinion on “Why Zombies?”

And before you go, be sure to take a look at my latest release. PLANET OF THE DEAD is currently on sale for $0.99 (pre-order). After October 13, the price will be $3.99. Still not bad, but why pay full price when you can download the eBook for a buck???

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Pre-order for just $0.99!!!

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NOW AVAILABLE!!!

From the author of FEAST and Reinheit comes a new chapter in horror… 

PLANET OF THE DEAD

News reports speak of mass panic and violence spreading across the globe. Negligent leaders hide behind misinformation. But in an age of paranoia and suspicion, who can say what is true anymore? Struggling to survive against a sweeping epidemic that has engulfed the planet, survivors will have to make hard choices in a world that no longer makes sense. 

Live. Die. Or become one of the undead.

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THE INCREDIBLE ZILCH VON WHITSTEIN

“Funny and Twisted Story” -Amazon Reviewer. 

“I can’t recommend this story highly enough” -Jeffery X. Martin, author of Hunting Witches. 

“KTRH Channel 8 New, coming to you with a breaking report. Just hours ago, workers at Ronald’s Burger discovered the body of the store manager in the parking lot adjacent from the building. Warning, the images we are about to show you are extremely graphic and unsuitable for children under the age of eighteen…” 

Whit had played it safe all his life, but when the world seems against you, how long can good boys stay good? He was never a drunkard, he never said a bad word to anyone, never gossiped or cut anyone off on the road, he paid his taxes, even called his mom every Sunday, he’d never even had a tattoo before…until one night, the night a mysterious and malicious clown turned everything upside down.

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Now available for pre-order (releasing next week in Sept), the third installment in the going 13 Anthology Series with Limitless Publishing, 13: Night Terrors (An Anthology of Horror and Dark Fiction), featuring 13 original works of dark fiction, AND including my 3rd installment in the continuation of my Twin Pines Hotel serial, Room 158 (a Twin Pines Hotel serial).

NIGHT TERRORS is priced at $0.99 and boasts over 400 pages and 13 various best selling writers within the genre of horror and dark fiction. Themed around tales that keep us up at night, horrors we dread giving a name, that scald into our psyches, living up to the title, NIGHT TERRORS, bringing you the best of nightmarish dreamscapes.

Pick up yours now!