June 4, 2014

Michael J. Frey stops by!!!

State of Infection

Michael J. Frey

Just months before the Battle of Central Park and the onset of the Second Civil War, President Obama declares martial law in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as Montoya's encephalopathy spreads.

Despite the military's best efforts, the government falls and Manhattan is reborn as a city-state under a military dictatorship. Survivors Mike Calaf, and Avalon Calendar struggle to survive, caught between the zombies and the new ruler of New York.

But long before the zombie infection, during the First Civil War, Doctor William Jackson (of the Confederate States of America) is trying to unravel the mystery behind this strange new sickness. He knows that if Complex P fails to work, there could be devastating consequences which might influence the future of mankind.

Buy Links: Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble

Now we have some words about writing ideas from Michael!!!

With so many books out there, I am sometimes asked, How Do You Keep Your Writing Different? It’s hard to stand out in a sea of new books. It’s not easy to pull off a novel which is acceptable to publishers but which is different enough to stand out to the reader. In my experience publishers and editors like a little flavor, not too much mind you, but enough to spice it up.

Let me start with the not-so-spicy. Grammar is important. No one will take you seriously if your grammar stinks. If your grammar does stink, consider a refresher by way of a book (ex: The Elements Of Style) or online course. Even if you have the greatest novel in the history of the world, no one will publish it if you don’t use proper grammar. I could never begin to call myself a grammar expert but I will suggest a few basic concepts that are very important to creative writing. First, begin sentences with subject noun before the verb, making meaning early (if at all possible). Use strong verbs. Try to avoid words ending in –ing. People are often confused about sentence length and what is appropriate. I think long sentences are fine but you should consider mixing them up with short sentences. That way it’s not boring or hard to read. For more technical areas, keep sentences short. 

Word choice is a way to spice your story. Writing interesting sentences can be a draw to your novel. Some writers like to use slang words. I think this is a great spice to add (though the grammar police might disagree). Say you’re not a slang expert, try wordspy.com. They have an extensive list of fun new slang expressions which you can work into your story. If done carefully, adding the occasional foreign word can spice it up too. Beware, some folks hate to read foreign words, but if added only in the tiniest degree, it can be a fun addition. Ditto on curse words. There are also advanced concepts like homilies, and internal repetition but that is a bit beyond the scope of this blog.

I think throwing in CAPITAL letters is a fun way to express ideas without putting exclamation points everywhere! Ditto the use of italics to stress the expression of certain words in a sentence. 

When proofreading your work, always read it over twice. Once out loud, once to yourself. All writers have heard the expression, ‘Kill your darlings.’ After your first draft is completed, go through the manuscript and kill off all extra, unwanted words. Also try to avoid using the same word over and over again. Keep “same” words separate by at least one paragraph if possible. Also if at all possible, reject all cliché sentences. 

Anyway, these are just some tricks I use when writing. Again, I’m not an expert, but this is what I’ve come up with so far. Hope you enjoy State of Infection and thanks for reading this blog. 

Michael Frey is a physician and assistant professor in New York City. He has been published numerous times as a short storyist and poet, but this is his first zombie novel. He lives in New York with his wife, two children and two dogs.

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The Second Civil War began with the arrival of a fleet of ships from the Southern Federation. The ships anchored off Pier 86, in the Hudson River, and the soldiers poured out, organizing along the West Side Highway. Not since the Battle of Fort Washington in 1776, has Manhattan been invaded. No one was prepared. The Southern Federation moved quickly at first, with minimal opposition. 

No, it’s not Robert E. Lee leading the group this time around, but they definitely had their act together. 
Panic spread fast. The exodus of survivors still grows as the war is picking up steam and intensity. Some are heading north to the Bronx, while others are going east to Roosevelt Island. The one place evacuees aren’t going is Liberty Island, which is a dumping ground for dead zombies; a place where corpses are incinerated and disposed of by the soldiers of Gallum City. 

Could there be a shittier job? I mean what do you have to do wrong to get assigned disposal and incineration duty? Those poor souls must have forgotten to salute someone pretty important, and judging by the constant billowing of smoke from Liberty, they don’t get much rest. 

As for me, I too am on the move. My stomach is empty, and as Avalon might say, I look rougher than ten miles of dirt road. Her real name is Jessie; Avalon is her TV name, Avalon Calendar. If you lived in NYC before the ZA, you probably know who she is. You’ve probably seen her reporting on the evening news. I met Avalon a few weeks before the world took a nose-dive into the zombie stew. 

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