Katalina Blog Challenge

Revenge of the Zombie Girlfriend: A Brief Interlude

It has been quite a while, almost 5 months to be exact, since I started writing my “Revenge of the Zombie Girlfriend” story. A recently self-published author friend of mine started a blog challenge back in February called the Katalina Blog Challenge. It was partly to get herself motivated to write if I recall, but I also felt the need for motivation myself, so when the first challenge came out I was quite excited to get started.

We were told to write ourselves into a short scene, but as the main character and in third person. We were told to describe ourselves as we were then. I decided to put myself into a zombie infested wasteland as a survivor. For anyone that knows me, this shouldn’t be a surprise. I love anything Zombie… I had also just started dating my girlfriend back then and in the story I had found out that she had been turned and shot her in the head. It was quite funny seeing the reaction that got from her and my friends. I came to an agreement with my girlfriend that the zombie version of her in the story is not her and started referring to that version of her as “alternate not-you” in conversations with her.

In the second challenge we had to insert some sort of solution to the scene we had created. From that day I started getting increased traffic to my blog and decided to carry on with the story under the title “Revenge of the Zombie Girlfriend” and haven’t wanted to change it since.

Every time I have posted a new part of the story, I have received massive boosts in the amount of traffic to my blog. When I published the last part, I had the highest amount of traffic for one day at over 600 hits. I know this is still very little in the grand scheme of things, but for me it’s more than ten times the amount of traffic I had to my blog in it’s first month in just one day!

I have come to the decision that I need to start giving the story some of the desperate attention it deserves. I need to take this ugly chunk of wood and carve something awesome out of it. I’ll be the first to admit that, right now, I would never buy this book if it were one. It’s a bit messy, really untidy, very random, it’s all over the place and is more bad than good right now. I won’t even get into plot holes.

Thanks for all the support my story has received so far nonetheless, and hopefully soon I’ll be able to compile it all into a nice neat e-book for your enjoyment. For now you can still read it here though.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my awesome girlfriend for putting up with me about this. I have to admit that I rather enjoy your reactions to the parts which the Zombie Girlfriend (alternate-not-you) is in.

Wish me luck!


The Katalina Blog Challenge #8: Screw Yous and Other Taboos

swearing in cartoon

Image via Wikipedia

I swear… a lot! Too fucking much actually. This is in all aspects of my of my life, from conversation to writing, so my feelings about the word in general are exactly how I feel about it in writing.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am completely okay with swearing. In fact I completely endorse swearing. Sometimes saying “fuck” is better than me beating the shit out of something – human or not. I’m not a violent person, in fact I am a complete pacifist. The reason for this is my screwed up mind. Everything is going on in my head. I am imagining that I am beating you to a fucking pulp with a wooden club or blasting you away with a shotgun, while merely letting loose a mere “fuck” or “asshole” in real life. Hence my endorsement mentioned above. I used to, or still have, a t-shirt that was black with one image on it – an outline of a hand in white, pulling the middle finger. I’d walk around all day and if someone pissed me off or needed a good “fuck you”, I merely pointed. Very useful… until it stretched from wearing it too much. I don’t swear at inappropriate moments though and I can easily bury it in these situations. There are some places, however, or situations where I am used to swearing – my swearing comfort zones. Introduce a foreign element into these zones and I just can’t get it right though, I will still swear, but then feel kinda bad for doing it.

The thing I like about swear words is the their versatility and I think George Carlin described it best in his skit on the “Usage of the word fuck”.

Shit that is censored just pisses me off, in fact I spoke about this last year in a blog post on the topic of censorship. The world needs to grow a pair and stop worrying about stupid shit like swearing and sex and shit that doesn’t fucking matter and focus on the serious problems. I realise that I am kind of ranting and going crazy here, but this is a topic that really gets me going. We need to prioritise shit in our short life on this rock floating in space, otherwise it just becomes our children’s problem and then their children’s problem and on and on and on. Starvation, War, Murder, Rape and much more vs Swearing.  I realise that I will probably have a exodus of Facebook friends, but I really don’t give a shit. This is how I feel, so just deal with it.

I will write what the fuck I want. I will say what the fuck I want. I will live my life that way that I fucking feel like. All within reason obviously ;)


The Katalina Blog Challenge #7: Let’s Talk About Sex

Sexy Pinup

Image via Wikimedia Commons

* For more details on the Katalina Blog Challenge, click here and more on this specific challenge, click here

Sex in writing… makes me think of Sheldon in “The Big Bang Theory” when he re-discovers his text adventure games. He said something along the lines of “it uses the most powerful graphics chip ever made: the human imagination.”

That’s how I feel whenever I read a sex scene in writing. Actually it’s like that with all writing, but it’s somehow different with sex scenes. Writing them is also somehow different from writing other R18 scenes, be they murder scenes or scenes with foul language.

Sex isn’t something we should be ashamed of. It’s one of our core functions as human beings. Keep that population up. But it’s more than that. Most swear words out there are based in or around it, Fuck, Dick, Cunt, Motherfucker, Asshole (for some anyway)… you get the idea.

Yet despite this, most people get nervous when speaking about it. Some books that I have read use descriptions of genitalia that actually just show how uncomfortable the writer was with the scene, and this makes the whole thing seem awkward somehow.

Admittedly talking about it makes me blush a bit at times, but I haven’t really ever struggled with talking about it. Sometimes I take things a bit too far… but rather that than feel that it is something to be ashamed of. Please don’t mistake this for being rude or crass about it. I just feel comfortable (mostly) talking about it.

I’ve practiced writing a few sex scenes, during my morning pages, for the 12 weeks of “The Artist’s Way“. Some of them were just downright dirty, dirty enough to go into Playboy or Hustler actually, and others were actually pretty decent. I had a few in my NaNoWriMo novel last year as well. Nothing more than a few pages, but it was a lot of building up to the act.

One thing that I feel pretty strong about is that sex, even more so when writing about it is that it is more than just the act itself. It’s the building up of the tension between the two lovers, the little moments that make you wanna scream out “Fuck me now!”, the teasing, the… you get the point. If all you’re gonna do is describe the actual scene, you’ve got it all wrong and shouldn’t even bother. You have to get inside their heads. The reader needs to be the character and feel what they are feeling for it to be an effective scene.

I can’t recall which book it was, but about a hundred pages in, the author had written three sex scenes that just described the room and talked about penetrating rods and such nonsense, without actually making it seem erotic at all. It’s like the partner that just lies there, it just doesn’t work.

In my epic novel series, mentioned in the previous Katalina Challenge, I intend to have some pretty mindblowing sex scenes; to go along with the massacres of humans, zombies, aliens, cyborgs and many other strange and wonderful scenes. Until then, practice makes perfect :)

If you aren’t sure how to proceed with a  sex scene, Google it, Google is your friend. There are plenty of guides out there.


The Katalina Blog Challenge #6: My Writing Self

* For more details on the Katalina Blog Challenge, click here and more on this specific challenge, click here

Why is writing an important part of my life? Why do I do it? Simply, it is an important part of who I am. In the Katalina Blog Challenge #4, I shared how I got into writing, so I’ll skip over all that.

I like to think that I lead quite a busy life. But despite all the distractions and possible excuses I could make not to write, I could not imagine not writing. Whether it be sneaking in a few minutes here and there at work while I’m waiting for something to finish running, or when I sit in my car at lunchtime or even sitting in bed at night. I *WILL* always find a few minutes everyday to write.

It keeps me almost sane. If I could not write, I don’t think I could make it through every day. Whether it be writing about zombies killing people when I’m in a bad mood or writing poetry to clear my head, if I didn’t write I think I would have probably turned out to be a sociopath or a proper crazy person. Like crazy crazy. I like to think of myself as a little crazy, but not madhouse crazy. I think that little bit of craziness helps with my writing.

Of all the things I do write, I only ever share about a tenth of it at most. I have severe doubt in my abilities. No-one has actually ever told me I was crap, but that is not the issue. Some of the stuff I write is just way to personal to share. Some of it is just me writing random thoughts. Mostly though, I just feel that some of it isn’t good enough. I’m working on it, but at least some stuff I am willing to share, so be happy with that :)

I write because I hope that one day, sometime in the future, this series of novels I have floating around in my head will become a reality. I started writing one part of it during NaNoWriMo last year and I realised that I wasn’t really ready for it just yet. I also don’t think I should do it during NaNoWriMo though, it just wouldn’t be doing it justice to rush through it. I will do it one day, but when is a completely different issue.

Basically, I just love writing…


The Katalina Blog Challenge #5: Sophisticate Me

Schopfer Infinitas

Schopfer Infinitas Yacht

* For more details on the Katalina Blog Challenge, click here and more on this specific challenge, click here

 

This challenge had me stumped. What 25 things would indicate sophistication and success in my life? I’m a really simple guy, I just want enough to get by comfortably and have all the gadgets I want, but I don’t just want to put down a list of gadgets I want. Don’t get me wrong, I would be completely happy without having most of the stuff on this list, but in a perfect world, this would be me. So in no particular order:

1) First up, a fully stocked wine cellar

2) A walk-in humidor with a large selection of quality cigars

3) Speak a whole bunch of foreign languages

4) A wide selection of tailored suits

5) An Audi (RS5 ,R8 or Q7)

6) Or even better – A rare sports car (Bugatti, Koenigsegg, Pagani)

7) A Schopfer yacht

(Ok now I’m getting ridiculous, so back to reality)

8 ) Serious cooking skills; I know how to cook, but I want to know how to COOK

9) Travel… just travel without a care. No worries about budgets and work and all that other stuff life throws in our way

10) Being able to give less of a damn about other people’s issues with me

11) A kick ass entertainment system

12) Financial freedom

13) My zombie series of novels finished and on the bestseller lists

14) Have a PA

15) Lots of gadgets!!

(Alright, I admit that by now I’m starting to grasp at straws… I told you that I’m a simple guy)

16) Every bit of Zombie paraphernalia that exists

17) In case you didn’t get how serious I am: Every bit of Zombie paraphernalia that exists

18) A beach house

19) A cabin in the mountains (in the middle of nowhere)

20) Being able to tell people what I REALLY think of them.

21) Did I mention gadgets?

22) My own little happy family

23) Not having to make lists

24) Just in case you still don’t believe me: Every bit of Zombie paraphernalia that exists

25) A really successful blog


The Katalina Blog Challenge #4: Why I Write

* For more details on the Katalina Blog Challenge, click here and more on this specific challenge, click here

Growing up, I loved the stories my mom would read to me and eventually when I could read myself, I would lose myself in the worlds that were created by the likes of Roald Dahl. Don’t ask me how old I was or any such silly thing, but it was from really young. I remember her fondly telling friends and family the story of how I liked books and stories from young and was a regular at the library. Then she’d say that when she took me to a bookstore for the first time to get a book, I couldn’t grasp the concept of buying only one book. I can’t remember what book I got, but it would be the first of many, many books that I would own. I have to thank my mom for getting me hooked on the written word.

I never showed much interest in writing anything until my early high school years at Queens College. There I met Mr… *checks high school year book*… Mr Cleary, my high school English teacher (Standard 8 I think), who somehow ignited a spark of creativity in me and I began to explore writing. My one school project involved writing a short story and I wrote one about a post-nuclear world. It was my first work (about 50 pages, but it may just be my memory exaggerating a bit though.) I remember lending it out for people to read, since I got a 80+% (possibility of memory exaggeration again) which I was pretty proud of and I just never got it back, which is a bit upsetting.

I was also in detention (headmaster’s detention *sigh*) a LOT that year, oh how many grey hairs did I give Mr. Harker (sorry Sir! :) ), I admit that I was a completely naughty shit! During these long afternoons spent in an empty classroom, my mind wandered a hell of a lot. Since my homework only took an hour or two at most, the rest of the detention (yes it was the whole afternoon) and night homework sessions (can’t recall what they’re called now :/) left me with a lot of free time, and I had to make it look like I was doing something. I wrote a lot of stories and poetry, but besides my short story, never shared any of it. I lost those stories, poetry, etc years ago and kinda regret it now, because some of best writing (memory exaggeration alert!) was during this year.

The next year we moved to Port Elizabeth and I somehow felt the need to try be one of the cool and/or popular kids. Well that didn’t work out at all since I kinda realised the cool/popular kids were pretty screwed up people and soon I just settled into my old self again, I became my geeky self again and met some of my awesome friends (Alex, Stephen, Gareth, Craig, etc, you know who you all are :P)

I didn’t get back into my writing though. My creativity had buried itself pretty deep. It wasn’t until I started working, that my creativity started to show itself again. Slowly, very slowly. During my time as an armed response officer, I had plenty of time during night shifts where I would sit at my stand-off point, just waiting for the next alarm activation, burglary or worse to happen. It was during these long quiet nights that I would start reading regularly again; I was reading about 10 books a week at this stage.

When my dad passed away 5 years ago, I had feelings and emotions that I was holding in. I showed the world a brave, calm face, but inside my head was a disaster area. I started writing a bit again to get it all out. Nothing major, just the equivalent of doodling. It got me through though. Then I got promoted to Area Manager and I never had the time to write and my creativity dug itself a shallow grave this time round.

When I transferred to IT a few years later, I met my “boss”, Tyrone, and when he met his current fiancé, Nadine, little did I know that my creativity would start digging it’s way out eventually. Nadine started something called The Poetry Project and asked for poetry to be submitted, which is matched up with a photograph; a marriage of sorts between written and visual media – check it out here). I started writing some poetry and even submitted those I was willing to.

Through that I found out about a writers club, The Tequila Thursday Writers Club, which she was starting, and that leads us to the present.

So to answer simply, I write because it is who I am. It got me through my dad’s death, it kept me (in)sane in detention during school and is one of the ways I show the world who I am. I don’t know if I’m a good writer or if I’ll ever get published, but I do it because I enjoy it, the rest of the world be damned. My paranoia and self-esteem issues keep me from ever accepting compliments on things that I’ve written, although it does keep me writing, which is good enough I suppose.


Katalina Blog Challenge #3: Pretend You Are Me

* For more details on the Katalina Blog Challenge, click here and more on this specific challenge, click here

Hey buddy

You sure you wanna do this? Don’t say I didn’t warn you that it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

1) First off, you should know that you am completely obsessed with zombies; You do have a zombie bite tattoo on your shoulder after all. I mean who does that? Oh right, you have… never mind. People may refer to you as Zombie Boy occasionally.

2) Next up is your CDO. No I don’t mean OCD, I really do mean CDO. See below. From making sure that your cellphone is in your right hand side pocket, to making sure the DVD collection is either colour coded, alphabetically sorted or organised in a specific way that takes your fancy on the day, it’s just one of those things that make me who I am…

3) As if that isn’t bad enough, you have extremely bad short term memory and are very easily distracted. This isn’t very helpful in day-to-day activities. This is also probably why you sometimes end up eating at 9pm in the evening or never getting to that cup of coffee you were going to make an hour ago. Or why people get annoyed at you for forgetting to do stuff for them.

4) You love cooking, but sometimes get a bit too experimental for your own good… especially with your chillies and peppers. Avoid baking at all costs, you really do suck at that, because you refuse to follow recipes and measurements. This is also the one possible exception to your CDO. Granted, being a guy that is able to cook is awesome, since I read somewhere that the average guy only learns how to make four meals in their lifetime, and you have created (from scratch) that many already.

5) You are a romantic at heart although it is not always obvious. Embrace it, your girlfriend hopefully loves the little gestures and it can’t cause any harm, unless it gets a bit overboard that is… then you’re just being a stalker! Some flowers from your garden once in a while, a massage here and there, have a nice home-cooked meal by candlelight, that’s what it’s all about.

6) You are quite shy at first, but I think people wish you would shut the hell up when they get to know you. When getting involved in conversations with people, you need to constantly remind yourself not to interrupt them while they’re talking. I know you want to get your point across, but that won’t happen if you piss them off!

7) Your musical tastes don’t make any sense, just go with it. If you enjoy a song, you will feel compelled to go download the entire album or even buy the CD. This keeps you sane and your CDO in check, so again I say,  just go with it.

8 ) Although not as bad as it used be, you are kinda bad with money. Stop buying crap you don’t use or need. I know it’s tempting to go buy that new game/CD/DVD/gadget/etm but you will probably end up regretting having bought it after the fact. Put it off and if in a few months time, you still feel compelled to buy it, then still don’t buy it until you can afford to buy it with cash money. Credit is the devil!

9) You also need to make sure you keep up with the whole healthier lifestyle thing. You’ve done quite well to lose the 15kg you did since last year. I know it’s tempting to just go back to eating crap, but trust me you don’t want to, people have started to notice you are looking healthier.

10) You are a bit lazy, but at times you just need to force yourself to do the chores and tasks you tend to ignore. They are not going to go away, no matter how much you wish they would.

11) Paranoia… it is not your friend. Stop second guessing every decision, not everything will end badly. You need to just put yourself out there. Sometimes it may not work out the way you wanted, but at least you won’t be left wondering what could have happened.

12) You tend to get bored quickly and frustrated when things aren’t going as planned. Maybe this has something to do with the CDO and short attention span, but regardless, just remind yourself that you need to stick with it. You started doing it for a reason (probably), just keep reminding yourself of that reason.

13) You also cannot stand still or sit still or do anything without moving some part of your body. When speaking on a cellphone, you will most likely also wonder around like a crazy person, pacing up and down. Even if you tell yourself to stop, it probably won’t work. Your body moves and does it’s own thing regardless of what your brain tells it to do.

There are probably also a whole bunch of other quirks that you don’t even know about, but you should figure them out pretty soon. Possibly your obsession with the number 13 could be included, but let’s not even go there.

I would wish you luck, but that probably won’t be enough, so just deal with it.

Regards

DonCharlieV


The Katalina Blog Challenge #2: Inserting A Solution

Part 2:

Note: For the previous part of this story, click here, or to start from the beginning, click hereFor the full story, click here, or click here for the next part

For more info on The Katalina Blog Challenge, click here for this specific challenge or here for the general info on the entire challenge

*

He stared into the mirror before him. Not that it was much of a mirror after years of neglect. Scars down his body were a sign of how his life had changed in the years since Day-Z, as he liked to call it. Day-Z was the day that he awakened to the horror of the media’s so-called “Zombie Apocalypse“.

Back then, he had been a lot more carefree and didn’t have to constantly watch his back. In those first few months, he had to become a survivor. He had to stop caring about others as much as he had in the past. On a few occasions, before he had come to this decison, it had backfired and he barely made it out alive. Once in a while though, he came across a survivor or a group of survivors, but his trust of them held him back, so he was still alone. At first he had thought that after a while the zombies would just die away, but that was definitely not the case. All this time later, they were still around, and were always growing in numbers. The disease, or whatever it was, had evolved and once the ‘easy’ human targets were difficult ti attack, something had happened that still scared him. As if undead humans weren’t bad enough, undead wolves, bears and whatever other animal got infected were just as bad, or worse in some cases. Trying to ward off a zombie bear on attack, or avoiding bites from zombie squirrels or rats was not one of his favourite pastimes…

He stepped out of the dark room into the harsh sunlight. He heard a rustling noise to his left. Out of the brush, came what was left of a once beautiful young girl. Closer inspection revealed that the entire bottom half of her body was missing and entrails were being dragged behind her as she pulled herself along toward him. The next part never got easy. He unsheathed the machete hanging from his belt and moved toward her, putting her out of he misery.

A few hours later, he reached the place he had been heading for. It had taken many months for him to build up the courage to come here.  Ahead of him was a cabin which was built on the banks of a once peaceful stream; it was a place of memories long forgotten, or rather forcibly forgotten. Many years ago, he had spent his vacations here with family and friends and even now the memories were coming back. His thoughts were interrupted as he got nearer however. Something made him realise that while he may not have been here in a while, there was signs that the cabin had been used quite recently. The survivor in him took over as he slowly approached, expecting anything.

As he was approaching the back entrance of  the cabin, something made him turn around. He was now staring down the barrel of a sawn-off shotgun being held by a boy who probably hadn’t even finished school before Day Z. Before the survivor in him came out, a familiar voice called out, a voice he had not recognised straight away and truly had never expected to hear again.

“Hello little brother,” the voice said, “you were probably the last person I expected to meet. Please excuse Alex, he is just very protective, he means you no harm.

“Isn’t that right Alex?” she said, before asking: “Now tell me, how has my nerdy brother manage to survive for this long?”

For a while, our hero just stood in the same spot, completely speechless. This was truly the last thing he expected to find at this place.


The Katalina Blog Challenge #1: Who Do I Think I Am?

Part 1:

Note: For the full story, click here, or click here for the next part

For more info on The Katalina Blog Challenge, click here for this specific challenge or here for the general info on the entire challenge

*

It had been a long day for our hero, so he had stopped at a deserted picnic spot along the road. In the past few weeks, life had become increasingly difficult; food was becoming scarce, as were most of the supplies he needed to survive. People had once called him Charles, but he hadn’t come across another human being in past few weeks for that to matter much (not one that didn’t want to eat his living flesh anyway). He doubted whether the “zombies” cared what his name was. This wasn’t really a problem for him. The loner in him and the fact that he was actually quite shy and withdrawn now served him well.

It was a pity that no-one seemed to care who or what he was anymore. He had once been just an average IT guy, working in an average shitty  job, but still had some interesting stories and knowledge to share nonetheless – the fact that he was a bit of a zombie expert had actually helped him to get through this so-called zombie apocalypse and what he knew now continued to keep him alive. Zombie Apocalypse – thats what the media called it. For the first few days anyway, after that pretty much everything went to shit and all forms of news had ceased to exist within the first week.

He wiped the sweat off his forehead. He was always sweating, even in mild weather. He also brushed his hand through his short brown hair, again noticed his receding hairline. His ever increasing baldness pissed him off to no end. It was in the genes, but that wasn’t any consolation to him. He had lately resorted to shaving it all off to try hide the fact, but even then it was annoying to him. A while back his weight had also pissed him off, but in the year leading up to the end of the world as we know it, he had lost quite a bit of weight, which was pretty lucky, because if he hadn’t it was unlikely he would have made it this far. Zombies have no mercy for fat fucks. While he was nowhere close to a ten or even a six or seven for that matter, he was looking the best he had in years and he knew it. It had also boosted his confidence a teeny bit. It was most likely also the reason that he had managed to start dating the girl that he had ended up having to shoot in the head at the beginning of this SNAFU. It was a pity, as he had really liked her, even after only a few weeks of dating: he hadn’t even had a chance to change his Facebook relationship status.

Thinking about Facebook made him think about the biggest problem that he had encountered so far, and it annoyed the hell out of him. It was the fact  that all the gadgets and tech that he had loved in his old life were pretty useless. In normal times, he wouldn’t have been found without at least a few gadgets in his possession. The only gadget he had left, that he could actually use, was his iPod and the only reason he used it was due to his luck in finding a wind-up charger for it. At that moment he was listening to some metal on low volume through one earphone. Any other way and he would be dead within the day; the zombies were damn sneaky sometimes and hearing them coming gave you a bit of an advantage.

One of his favourite songs by Killswitch Engage started playing.  He got up from where he was resting, slung the shotgun over his shoulder and put the machete and pistol back in their places on his belt. He carried on walking, singing along under his breathe, along the deserted road ahead. He let out a deep sigh and wondered what his future held, all he knew was that he was now really sick of zombies…


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