Dead Girl: A Romantic Zombie Tale of Revenge
Published: August 2011
Publisher: Crazy Duck Press (CDP)
Cover Artist and Illustrator: Charles Hearn
“…Death was a dream of sleep where the eternally dying dream the sleep of death. The undeniable evidence in the stillness of her being, the stark paleness of her complexion, and the lack of blood pooling from her cuts after climbing through the window whispered dark truths in her ears. Rigor Mortis. There was nothing familiar to Jamie about her skin. Time and time again, she found herself asking what had happened, only to arrive at the hard won conclusion that she, Jamie Lund, wasn’t alive anymore. Somehow in the foolhardy night, she’d been a dumb girl. She’d gotten herself killed…”
From the mind of Stavros, the critically acclaimed author of Blood Junky, comes a new twisted tale of horror and adventure. An average girl, living in the city is murdered. Nothing new, right? It happens every day. Just another statistic. That is…until she woke up dead.
Trapped within her own decaying shell, the dead girl struggles to piece together the awful events of her untimely death and hunt down the man responsible. Armed only with a kiss from an ancient Egyptian God, a pockmarked memory, her ex-boyfriend, and a murder of crows Jamie Lund comes face to face with something more terrifying and real than mere death…she suffers the agony of being undead!
With twelve black & white illustrations and a full colored cover from tattoo artist, Charles Hearn, this sardonic tale comes alive like no other zombie story, popping from the page with stunning, unnatural brilliance. Dead Girl: A Romantic Zombie Tale of Revenge will keep the reader on the edge of their seat suspended in this unique supernatural thriller.
Praise for Dead Girl: A Romantic Zombie Tale of Revenge…
“A Bittersweet punch with a suspenseful plot and somber romance, showing us the vulnerable perspective of death from the other side.Definitely, not to be missed!” -Tara Lindsey Hall; Writer/Editor
“I couldn’t put it down. I loved it. You are a great writer. Can’t wait to read the next one.” -Bethany Tanner-Evanko, a Facebook Post
“Just wanted you to know…I was about to wrap Dead Girl in festive Christmas paper but decided to read the first page...now I'm on page 88 and I'm keeping the book...and I'm not going to bed anytime soon.” -Sabrina Buckman, a Facebook Post on Dec 21, 2011
“WOW! Holy shit…Thank you for this. Thank you for bringing forth a story that more than restores my faith in a type that has gnawed at my entrails for over a decade. It was different, it was refreshing, it was a damn awesome break from the “same old, same old” crap this genre is filled with. It’s so hard to find an original zombie tale any more. And even harder to find someone who can make an old story their own in some personal way.But this? Definitely not the same old crap.” -C. Dulaney, author of the Roads Less Traveled series
“OMZG! (Oh My Zombie Goodness) I absolutely Loved this book. Dead Girl is not the conventional zombie book, but a great one! It’s a book of mystery and revenge with Egyptian influence felt within the pages. Plus the actual attention to detail of rigor mortis and decomposition of the body is spot on and a great additive to the book. I love this book and highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good revenge tale. Plus I couldn't put the book down!” -Sunshine Rose, Chicago, ILL. April 2013
Jamie didn’t hear the splash when her body hit the water. She didn’t feel the cold grip of swirling liquid engulf her or lift her back up to the surface minutes later. She never noticed a murder of crows perched on the railings of the dilapidated concrete bridge. Or the way moonlight reflected off their coal black wings, shimmered in the rippling river and her wet hair. Jamie didn’t see, feel, or hear much of anything anymore. Because at twenty-two… Jamie Lund was dead.
The water carried her like a baby and birthed her to the grassy bank on the other side of the bridge. A branch grabbed the black mini-skirt that she had worn that night and held it against the tug. A thousand ebon eyes watched her body drift and moor like a boat. A cold wind bent the tall grass on the river’s edge and filled the night with wings. Against the churning bubble and the damp lights of the city in the distance, a cacophony of beaks erupted. Caws like locusts fell from the sky.
As if struck by a hammer to the chest, breath fueled Jamie’s lungs. An awakening gasp burst through icy, cold lips and teeth that were filled with muddy leaves and liquid. Jamie’s back arched and her head rose from the water with a jolt. Her eyes were milky white and distant. She sucked in a gulp of air with the grate of a straw searching for that last drop of soda under the ice; raspy like thorns – broken as the wind in the hollow of a tree. Her arms pushed up and drove her hands deep into riverbank mud. The chips and cracks in her red- polished nails were covered with dirt. Crows swarmed above her as a single mood. She coughed the river from her throat and pulled her shaking body from the frigid wet.
Ebon eyes glared at the wretched girl from the sky, from the trees, and their concrete perch on the dilapidated bridge as she struggled with stiff limbs to drag her sore and aching body through the tall weeds to the road. Jamie sat at the edge of the busted tarmac and looked around as her vision slowly tuned into her surroundings. The moon smiled down on her, a faint yellow, illuminating a patch of earth that she had never been to before. Nothing was familiar. Everything felt wrong. Fog peeled back from her memory like Russian nesting dolls, opening into themselves, getting smaller and smaller with the same effect, revealing nothing. She didn’t know how or why she was here. Worry blossomed inside her chest like a fruit basket.
She tried to call out. To simply speak, to utter a sound, to work her feeble voice, but her throat burned hot nails all the way down her windpipe. A tiny squeak parted from her icy blue lips and she placed a hand to her throat. It was fraught with pain. She struggled. She worked her jaw to loosen her voice box, wind the organ up to play, but a flash of memory slammed into the back of her skull. It shook her shoulders awake, repeating on a loop. Scorching Jamie’s cerebral cortex, her eyelids fluttered.
She was looking at herself in a freestanding mirror - getting dressed. A column of jet-black hair fell past bare shoulders, framing her pretty face. She had a lithe, curvy shape, sensual lips, and thin fingers that pulled the zipper of her skirt up the side of her hip. She turned the cute little black number around so that the fastener was in the back. She straightened her black lace bra, smiled, and then did her make up. She was going out...
Suddenly, Jamie felt wet and shivered. Fear crept past her damp clothes and crawled under her skin as she lifted herself onto the road. Every muscle rebelled. Her knees argued at the thought of bending. The joints in her fingers and elbows ached, popping with movement. Her back felt as if someone had surgically implanted a slab of concrete, and a blinding pain ran from her neck down her spine. Her shoes were missing, toes numb, the sides of her feet scrapped along the busted edge of the tarmac as she rose crooked and wobbly onto two weak legs. It was a horrible dream, unspooling limbs for the audience of the blackbirds. Nothing was clear, nothing was familiar. A dull ringing
filled Jamie’s ears and she felt cold. Bitter and deep, that sprang from her center. Jamie Lund felt the cold that no one ever feels but which we’re all made to visit. Somewhere vaguely in the coils of her mind the little lost dead girl was reminded that it was July. Its not supposed to be this cold out! Slowly, Jamie wrapped her arms across her chest and lumbered toward the distant lights of the city.
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What inspires your love of "darker" writing?
When I was growing up my father would wake me on Saturday nights to watch Creature Feature with him, hosted by Count Gore de Vol. These were my earliest and most bonding moments with my father. He and I spent most of our lives detached, unconnected, and dejected from one another. Outside of movies, and horror films in particular, we just didn’t click. So from very early on a love of horror developed as a way to connect with others.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but as a kid I wasn’t like most of my peers. I was a deep thinker, overly concerned about the global environment and climate change (I even tracked it in old journals), and was occupied by the larger spiritual questions of why are we here and what’s the purpose and meaning of life. I mean, I was studying Taoism and sociology before pubic hair finished decorating my nads. I believed in peace and the rights for all sentient beings to co-exist without harm to another. My dad, and indicative of the area in which I grew up, were into hunting, fishing, auto-mechanics, football, and race cars. I wasn’t. Poetry, music (and playing in a band), and getting to the heart and nature of the cosmos was more my speed. Horror, and science fiction respectively, became that bridge to people and society.
I used to collect monster models and loved building them and painting them and re-enacting scenes from old B-movies. And I distinctly recall the moment that I decided to buy a car model. My dad was shocked. I also noticed his interest and enthusiasm. Car models moved into Star Trek models and aircrafts, which led into rockets…and that led into blowing things up, which my brother and I became quite good at.
One of my fondest achievements, as an adult, and horror author, was to meet Count Gore de Vol at HorrorFind in 2011, and again in 2012. I don’t gush over celebrities. They’re just normal people with a more highly profile job. I would rather see a teacher or fireman on the cover of People Magazine any day, or being followed by paparazzi, or talked about on TMZ than I would all these actors and actresses. But when meeting The Count, I was excited and nervous - it was definitely a thing. I got pictures and posted ‘em on Facebook. I wrote a blog about it. It was cool. I just wished my dad had still been alive at that point. My first book, Blood Junky, is dedicated to my father, who was instrumental in helping me to launch my small publishing company, which carries my books. He never lived to see it published.
So, he’s the root, the core, of my love and journey into horror writing and film. But beyond that, my own interests and being guided by Spirit, my life experiences and studies, have all helped to shape me and mold me into the man I am today. I never would have thought that I was going to write vampire novels, and not just novels, but outline and orchestrate such an epic and monstrous story line that it involves 4 distinct story arcs with at least 5 to 6 books in each arc. I am speaking specifically about the One Blood Series. And that all began with just a simple dream I had while on a visit in Washington State, back in 1995.
I had no idea that that was going to happen. I was studying Impressionist painting and writing poetry and music. I had other plans for life. Sure, I had read Anne Rice and liked them and all, but werewolves were way cooler, and a heck of a lot more interesting than a bunch of pretentious, preening vamps. But I didn’t possess any of my own beastly story ideas. All my writing at this time, and prior, was about the real horrors of life in America and on planet earth. There was no greater evil than the evil that men do. I considered myself a political poet on a rampage to either wake the world up or burn it down with words. I was impassioned and arrogant. But then the dream happened…and it was the beginning that would change everything.
In it, a figure that would later become the character, Cornelius, who will be introduced in book four of the Song of the Vam Pŷr story arc, was hovering above my face, staring at me intently. He did not say anything or do anything. He just floated there. I awoke that morning at 5am, sweating, with a million ideas reverberating through my head like cannon fodder. I began taking notes and asking questions about who he was, where he came from, and why he looked the way that he did. I knew he was a vampire, but little else. What followed was 15 years of intense research and development to make our most favored bloodsucker real and plausible in our world with our laws of physics and history. And through this R & D my love, respect, and appreciation for vampires – lit & culture – also grew.
With the One Blood Series, I was finally able to fuse all of my real world musings, ingrained love of horror, and the atrocious nature of mankind into this factually-based nightmare. My love of drama and hyper-visuals, from years of being nursed on the tit of movies and TV, found purchase on the precipice of my imagination, and I found with ease that life had been molding me into this type of scribe. I wouldn’t actually call it “dark” per se, because I inherently see the balance of nature in its scope. Neither aspect is good or bad, it just is; and each aspect is reflected in the other’s being. I chose to tell stories from a macabre sensibility to better highlight the themes I wish to discuss. Writing is a conversation. Not just between author and muse(s), but between author and reader. I am more interested in crafting stories that people can step inside of and become a part of, and by so doing, alter and effect change within the StoryWorld, and perhaps their own lives. Life is an active sport. It demands participation. Books are, for me, at least, an active way to engage with the world through imagination. They are so much more than mere entertainment. I’ve found some of the best answers to life’s lesson within their pages. That is one of the reasons why I’ve opened the One Blood Series up for interpretation from other writers and have an opened submission policy for a collection of short stories through Crazy Duck Press. The mechanics and biology of the world is there. Its mythology is intact. So, theoretically, anybody could enter it and play.
I’m still that idealistic kid inside, who enjoyed watching old black and white creature features with his dad, dreaming of the world being a better place. The only difference now is that instead of telling you that murder is wrong, I tell you stories about broken, undead killers, showing you the bloody corpse and chewed entrails. I’ll make you love them and care for them, so you’ll join their plight as they either move toward enlightenment or away from it. I craft ways for people to feel the cut, to know its shape, depth, smell, and color, because honestly, I don’t know any other way to say, “Hi.”
About the Author
Notorious Poet. Fool. Born in Washington DC. Stavros was a writer and editor for The Independent Underground Magazine. Raised in Southern Maryland, he fled the Chesapeake Bay to the wilds of the New Mexican desert. He is a single father of two, whose poetic works have been published in several online and print publications, including Central Avenue, The Sword That Cuts Through Stone, Poets Against The War, Conceptions Southwest, The Mynd, Imagine: Creative Arts Journal, and Bartleby, where he won a specialty award for his poem, Blackbird.
In 1999, he won an Official Selection into the Writer’s on the Edge Festival for his play, The Redline. In 2001, he created the Poetry Television Project for public cable access in Albuquerque, NM. All eight volumes of Ptv’s ground-breaking show were broadcast to over 100,000 viewers on a network of regional PAC channels throughout the Southwest and Baltimore. He helped to launch Unpublished Magazine, sponsored the monthly poetry series, The Word Café, in the Duke city, and produced a political compilation, Poetic Democracy. In 2007, he released the award-winning documentary film, Committing Poetry in Times of War.
In 2010, he launched the production management company, Organic Ghetto, and released its first imprint, Crazy Duck Press, with his first novel, Blood Junky. Blood Junky received exceptional praise and review, even being called "one of the best vampire novels ever written," by Living Dead Media. The following year he helped to launch BioGamer Girl, undertook a bigger East coast tour where he began selling his original photographic art, and released two new novels through Crazy Duck Press. Dead Girl: A Romantic Zombie Tale of Revenge features a stunning full-color cover and twelve black and white illustrations from tattoo artist, Charles Hearn. Blood Junky’s sequel, Love in Vein, cemented the One Blood series with its continuation of the story, garnering such review as to claim that the book and the series is "comparable with, and at times surpasses, the 'Vampire Chronicles' by Anne Rice."
In 2012, Stavros joined forces with the Vampire Professor, Bertena Varney, M.A.M.Ed, to co-create the nonfiction annual anthology, Vampire News, and officially became a Fangsmith with the creation of Organic Ghetto's second imprint, KaosKustom Fangs. He rounded out the year by writing and editing screenplays for the One Blood Transmedia Project, recording Dead Girl as an audio book, and undertaking his biggest national marketing campaign, The Book & Fang Tour.
In 2013, he and the Vampire Professor released the second volume of Vampire News: The (not so) End Times Edition and is currently working on writing and growing his imprints. Stavros is also a musician who has scored commercials, film shorts, documentaries, and television programs.
1grand prize pack containing t-shirt, sticker, art print, button and book
1 prize pack containing a button and t-shirt
1 prize pack containing an art print and button
10 ebook copies of Dead Girl
Author’s choice of designs for items in prize packs.
Physical prizes open to US Shipping.