Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Want a signed copy of Zomburbia for the holidays?

It's that time of year again and I bet you're wondering what to get for the folks on your gift list. Books make wonderful presents, I think. And do you know what's better than a book? A signed book! And not just a book signed by any random person who might or might not be a hobo. No, you want a book signed by its author! Who may or may not be a hobo...

So, if you'd like to give someone a signed copy of Zomburbia (or give one to yourself -- you deserve to treat yourself), here's how you can do it:

  • If you're lucky enough to live in Salem, Oregon, stop by at The Book Bin in downtown. They have copies on hand, and I'll sign 'em up for you. I'm usually there Monday through Friday until 5;30, and even if I'm not, they have a pile of books I've pre-signed.
  • If you're from out of town, you can always call The Book Bin and order a signed copy and they'll ship it anywhere you'd like. Their number is (503) 361-1235. If you'd like me to personalize it, let the staff know. You can tell me exactly what to write, or rely on my sparkling wit to come up with something...
  • Finally, let's say you already have a copy and want a signature. What do you do then? Easy, you email me with your address and I'll send you a signed bookplate. For free. The bookplate features an excellent illustration by my buddy and collaborator, Todd Demong. The only downside is that the space for the signature is somewhat small, so I can't really personalize them.

This is what the bookplate actually looks like.
I sign it on the blank space on the bottom.

There. I've made your holiday shopping easier by a factor of, oh, I don't know, ten. Or zombies. Or something. I'm a writer, math isn't my strong suit.

Happy holidays, folks!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Forgive me while I crow a bit..

Me upon reading said review.
So, Bill Ransom, who has an impressive list of accomplishments, among which I can number:

  • Finalist for both the Pulitzer and National Book Award 
  • Coauthor, with Frank Herbert, of the Pandora sequence.
  • Possessor of a "hot" rating on RateMyProfessor.com 

That very same Bill Ransom left this amazing review for Zomburbia on Amazon:

"This is the best-written Zombie novel I've ever read, and I'm looking forward to 'Zombified'. Gallardo has captured the essence of suburban adolescence and angst with masterfully crafted scenes. This could be some director's next hit film!"

This means a lot to me because I studied with Bill at Evergreen and have long admired his work.

Thanks, Bill! And thanks to everyone who's rated or reviewed the book. It's truly appreciated!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Another Zomburbia review, and a belated thank you

To quote my publisher's publicist (Hi, Vida!): "VOYA(Voice of Youth Advocates) magazine is the leading library journal dedicated to the needs of young adult librarians, the advocacy of young adults, and the promotion of young adult literature and reading."

This is a great organization of which I just recently became aware. I think they're doing terrific work. So it's really satisfying to me that they chose to review Zomburbia, and that they seemed to like it.

Here's the TL;DR version in case you don't have time for the whole thing: “Gallardo provides a fresh take on the post-zombie apocalypse…Gallardo develops Courtney with an authentic voice, and while she is thoughtless at first, she becomes a strong heroine. Teens looking for zombie action with a determined female narrator will enjoy this quick read.” – VOYA

And here's the full review: “How do you live like a normal teenager after the zombie apocalypse? For snarky high school junior Courtney, this means dealing with boys’ attention, working at a fenced-in fast food joint, and selling illegal drugs derived from zombie brains, all while the undead lurk just outside. In the suburbs where Courtney lives, the rich are protected in gated communities while people like Courtney press their luck with chain link fences. Her only dream is traveling to soon-to-be-reclaimed New York City to attend college. She almost has enough drug money saved when popular jock Brandon Ikaros shows interest in her, leading Courtney into a world where parties, drugs, and bad decisions are the norm. As Courtney struggles with managing different cliques, more reports of zombie attacks crop up. Courtney is among the first to notice the zombies are different now: smarter, faster, healthier, younger. When a few bad decisions lead Courtney and her friends into a dangerous situation, Courtney must decide whether she has the guts to fight or become a zombie.
Zomburbia is filled with the typical high school drama, but Gallardo provides a fresh take on the post-zombie apocalypse. The world is not destroyed, but the challenges faced in high school are much more tense and violent. Students carry weapons, take zombie virus courses, and deal with more death. Gallardo develops Courtney with an authentic voice, and while she is thoughtless at first, she becomes a strong heroine. Teens looking for zombie action with a determined female narrator will enjoy this quick read.”

That's nice, right?

This reminds me – I know I've been writing about the reviews that appear in big magazines, but I also wanted to give a shout out to everyone who's taken the time to review the book on sites like amazon and goodreads. I really appreciate everyone who took the time to read the book and comment on it or rate it. And that includes the people who gave it one star (there are a few), not just the ones who gave it four or five (the majority, I hasten to point out...). Really, thank you! It means a lot to me. And it's never to late to add your review if you feel so inclined. It really does help.

Thanks again.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It's Zomburbia release day -- let me give you something

My book hits store shelves today. This brings up huge feelings for me that will probably lead to tears (mine) if I talk about it. Instead, let me send you a free something.

I'm doing readings in both Portland and Salem for the book's release, and folks will also be able to get their books signed at these readings, if they want. But I don't have any other events planned right now, so how might a person who is geographically-challenged get a signature from me for their book? With these lovely bookplates that I have designed and had made which I will send to you free of charge. All you need to do is ask for it.

I'm especially happy with this piece because I got my buddy, Todd Demong, to supply me with an original zombie sketch. Todd is the artist with whom I created the comic 100 Girls, and he's truly amazing. Please don't hold it against him that he's Canadian.

You want one, right? Well, all you have to do is email me your meat-world address using this here email address and I'll sign one of these bad boys and put it in the mail to you.* Just like that. Once you get it, just place the sticker in your book and you'll have something that book-selling site like AbeBooks considers just as valuable as an original signed book. Not that you'd ever consider selling your copy of Zomburbia, right? Right?

*I think I'm going to have to restrict this to North America only as postage anywhere else would probably break me. Sorry, four-fifths of the world's population...

Monday, August 18, 2014

Publishers Weekly shows Zomburbia some love

Publishers Weekly have posted a capsule review of Zomburbia to their site. I imagine it'll show up in the magazine, but who knows. Anyway, they seemed to like. Here's the sentence that made me wet in my pants in a little bit:

"With its complicated and believable heroine, exploration of moral dilemmas, and disturbingly mundane vision of life among the undead, this action-and-gore-soaked adventure entertains on numerous levels."

So, for those keeping score at home, Zomburbia has now been reviewed favorably by both Publishers Weekly and Kirkus. And I know that Booklist are going to review it, but who knows if they'll like it. Either way, I'm pretty stoked about the critical response the book has received so far.

One hopes that unmitigated commercial success will follow. That's how this usually works, right?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Musical crush #4 in a series (plus a tangent and lots of parentheses)

I'm doing a lot of writing at the moment, which is great for a lot of reasons, chief among them is that I listen to a lot of music when I write. Lately I've had the self-titled album from Elastica on repeat as I work (despite the fact that it is in no way appropriate for what I'm writing). 

I know a lot of writer types, and I would say that the majority of them have said that they need to listen to music that is somehow related to what they're writing. If it's a horror story, they throw on the soundtrack to The Shining. If it's a period piece, they listen to music from that period. Et cetera. I have never been like that. All I require of the music I listen to is that it be music I have some familiarity with. If it's brand new to me, I have to listen intently. Too intently for me to be able to write down the thoughts in my noggin.

Elastica hit it big back in 1995. The album spawned five singles here in the US. And the band never recorded another. According to Wikipedia, they got in some trouble with other bands for "borrowing" riffs and melodies too heavily (they settled everything out of court). It's a shame. I really thought they were going to go places. They had a great look and sound (though maybe the sound wasn't entirely their own...). Regardless, thanks to Spotify, I am now able to listen to this band again and dream that someday there'll be a follow-up album and a reunion tour.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Aspirations of a ten-year-old

My book for reals.
I think I was nine or ten when I decided I wanted to be a writer. It was around this time anyway that I started looking for ways to write stories as a means of fulfilling homework assignments, and that I began to fudge the answers on aptitude tests so the results would show I ought to be a writer. Since then I've done some of the things that most writers do – I've sporadically kept journals, I've written and submitted in a variety of genres and styles, I've bought and read entire libraries-full of writing how-to books. And I've done some things most writers probably don't, such as just plain trying to give up writing because it's so fucking hard and heart-breaking.

But I've always come back to it. And I always feel a huge sense of relief when I do.

And now, finally, after a lot of years, I have a novel coming out that has my name on the cover and everything. And I know that I already have several books with my name on them out there. But they've been collections of comics and that's just not what I envisioned back when I was nine or ten. And this is not meant as a slight against comics at all. Comics buoyed me at a time when I was very low, and they helped me pay some bills. The work I did in comics kept me believing that I was able to write at all. Hell, it's because I was able to sell comics scripts that I even decided to give writing prose again a chance. So, yeah, I owe a lot to comics.

Still, I always wanted to write a prose novel and to have it be published and loose in the world, and it looks like that's about to happen. Last week I received a small package from my publisher (Kensington, which is an independent publisher and which has been just freaking wonderful to work with). The package contained a small number of comp copies of my book, Zomburbia – just a taste, the rest of my comps will come later. I opened that package and held in my hands a real book with my name on the cover.

And the nine-or ten-year-old in me knew that I hadn't messed things up too badly if I'd accomplished this.

Listen, I know what the book market is like. Zomburbia may come and go without making a single ripple in the publishing industry, but it's here now. And that's enough. Also, the sequel is already written and in the hands of the publisher and now I'm writing something new and I have a reasonable expectation that someone will buy it. So there's that.

By the way, my second choice of career when I was ten was to become a politician. I think we can all be happy I chose to become a writer.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Wasn't there some sort of contest going on?

Last night I had my son, Oscar, help me draw names from a literal hat to determine the winners of the little contest I had going. Remember, there were ten signed cover flats up for grabs and one lucky person won a signed ARC of Zomburbia, my debut YA novel which is set to be released next month from Kensington.

Without any more rambling, here are the winners:

Signed cover flats (in the order they were drawn):
  1. Marlene Pardo
  2. Hans Strickler
  3. Mike Perron
  4. Zachary Jernigan
  5. Victoria Fountain
  6. Trinh Le
  7. Dan Jones
  8. Benjamina Harmon Balmer
  9. Kat Kem
  10. Eryca Latham

And the winner of the signed Zomburbia Arc:
  1. Aaron Marvin!

I'l be contacting all of the winners in the next day or two to get addresses where I should send their goodies.

I want to thank everyone who helped me spread the word about my book. I truly appreciate it.

And if you're disappointed that you didn't win an ARC, Goodreads.com is still giving away 25 of them. Of course, more than 300 people have entered the contest, so maybe the odds aren't great – and none of those will be signed. Or not signed by me, at least... Also, I think I'll be doing something different as the pub date gets closer, but I'll be giving away a signed copy of the regular book. So stay tuned.

Finally, if you definitely want a copy and don't want to leave it to chance, you might consider preordering it from one of these fine online retailers*:

Barnes and Noble
Indie Bound

Thank you again to everyone who helped out!

*I realize I called Amazon a fine online retailer, but rest assured I did it with tongue firmly in cheek. Still, I won't judge you if that's where you choose to preorder the book.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Want a signed ARC of Zomburbia?

These are the cover flats you might win. They look better in real life.
It's contest time, folks!

I have an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy – though Action Robot Cop would be a lot more cool...) and some cover flats of Zomburbia to give away.

And what, I hear you asking, must one do to win one of these fine prizes? The answer is simple: Help me spread the word about Zomburbia. The book comes out on August 26, which is just a little over a month away, and I'd like to build awareness of its launch. Some people have already been talking about it with folks they know, and for that I'm very grateful. I'm hoping this little contest will help the word-of-mouth campaign build (and, as a result, will help grow the preorder figures as well).

You can talk it up on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and your own blog. Or anywhere else it occurs to you to mention it. But here's the thing: If you share it, let me know. If you do it on Facebook or Twitter, you can just tag me and I'll see it. If you choose some other venue, you may need to actually point it out by emailing me.

Talk about the book and I'll put your name in a hat. More than likely it will be a metaphorical hat, but who knows, I may go crazy and get a real-live hat for the drawing. Share it on multiple platforms and I'll put your name in multiple times. Get it?

This blog post is going live on Friday, July 18, so we'll give it until Thursday, July 24 when I'll choose winners and announce them that Friday. Ten folks will win a cover flat, signed by me if you'd like. One lucky winner will get the ARC well before the book is available to everyone else. And I'll lower its value by signing it if you'd like.

Here are some suggestions for things you might want to shout out to the world:

And please remember to tag me. On Twitter, I'm @adamgallardo; If we're not already friends on Facebook, why not friend me?; and if you do something on a site other than those, email me to let me know.

You have a week. Get to sharing! And thanks.

Seriously, I appreciate everyone who's already talked about Zomburbia with their friends, and I'm grateful that so many of you are excited for me and for Zomburbia to be published. Thanks!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

New, I mean old, musical crush #3 in a series

Weird Al Yankovic. Let that sink in. My musical crush right now is Weird Al Yankovic. We listen to music at my day job thanks to Spotify. Yesterday we spent at least half the day listening to my buddy Al. It occurred to me the other day as I was watching a new Yankovic video that he's had a career spanning more than three decades. A lot of the artists whose songs he's parodied would kill for that kind of longevity. Hell, I hope my own career as an artist last that long.

His latest song and video are right in my wheelhouse (are we still saying that?). Parodying "Blurred Lines" and turning it into a grammar lesson? Yes, please! I'm pasting it below.

And I'm hoping the "Weird Al" will still be singing in another thirty years.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Enter to win an ARC of Zomburbia on GoodReads

This is just a screen cap, Bucky. To enter, click the link below.
My publisher, Kensington, are giving away a number of ARCs of Zomburbia on Goodreads. The contest is open now until the 31st of August. Unfortunately, it's only open to people in the US and Canada. Sorry about that, rest of the world...

For those of you in North America however, go to it!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Kirkus reviews Zomburbia

As stated in the headline, Kirkus have reviewed, mostly favorably, Zomburbia. Pasted below is the full text of that review.

Author: Adam Gallardo

“Comics author Gallardo nails her voice—likable yet self-absorbed… the interpersonal drama strikes a comfortable balance with undead action. More brains than your average zombie novel…and more entrails as well!” – Kirkus Reviews
Unlike the classic zombie-apocalypse scenario, humanity here hasn't been completely devastated—in suburbia, life has adapted. Post-zombie outbreak, people live behind gates or fences, students take a yearly health and hygiene class on the zombie virus, and firearms are commonplace in backpacks and cars. Courtney's determined to escape the suburbs and attend college in New York—the government hopes the city will be habitable again—but her father will only pay for her college if she goes in-state. To fund her dream, she works at a local burger joint—and sells Vitamin Z (an illegal drug made from zombie brains). Then jock Brandon falls for her, crossing clique lines. Courtney vacillates between her old friends and Brandon's popular world while hiding her drug dealing. Courtney's smart and ambitious, and she makes terrible decisions.Comics author Gallardo nails her voice—likable yet self-absorbed. This rough world lends itself to drug dealing, partying, guns-blazing action sequences and unvarnished language, but it occasionally enables the characters' emotional detachment, resulting in weak motivations for their actions. There's an additional mystery about some smarter, faster zombies—seemingly left for the sequel despite heavy hints that make the answer seem obvious. Aside from that, the interpersonal drama strikes a comfortable balance with undead action. More brains than your average zombie novel…and more entrails as well! (Horror. 14 & up)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

New musical crush #2 in a series

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down have been in very heavy rotation in my ear holes as I finished off the manuscript for Zombified. I think there's just something really sexy about this music, and about Thao's voice. So there: now you get to picture me thinking sexy thoughts while you listen to this. You are welcome.

Also, it occurs to me that I was introduced to Thao and the GDSD, and to Valerie June, by my co-worker, Trinh. We listen to music at the book buying counter via a Spotify account and I think I'm lucky that she has such good taste. Thanks, Trinh!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

What's been happening?

Since last we spoke, some stuff has happened. Some of that stuff took up so much of my time that I failed to update this blog. For instance, I finished up the draft of Zombified, which is the sequel to Zomburbia. I finished it, I got it to my agent, my agent gave me notes, I made changes based on those notes and sent it off to my editor. Just yesterday, I heard from my editor. She accepted the manuscript with no major revisions. All the notes she had will be incorporated along with the copy editor's notes on the production draft. The process I just described took up a good chunk of May and all of June.

I may go into more detail about this process at some point, but maybe not. I'm not being coy, I'm genuinely trying to suss out how I feel about what I just went through and how much I want to share. So, you'll have to wait and see, I guess.

What else? Well, despite the fact that the manuscript was just accepted yesterday, there's now a cover for Zombified. It was photographed by Blake Morrow, the same guy who shot the cover for Zomburbia, and I think it's just as great. Ready to see it?

Terrific, right?

Zombified is already in Kensington's catalog and it has a pub date in January. Believe me when I tell you that I'll keep you informed as that date gets closer.

And I'll also be doing some promotion-type stuff for Zomburbia as well. Watch this space later in the week for more on that.

That's all for now, I suppose.

Man, my blogging skills are rusty...

New musical crush #1 in a series

It seems like my capacity to develop crushes on musicians is pretty much limitless.Valerie June is one of a couple of new acts (new to me at least) that I've had on heavy rotation as I've been writing lately. And since I've spent so much of the last month writing, that means I've been listening to this a lot.

Rather than fumble around for an inadequate description of her music, why don't you just listen to a little of it? You can than me later.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

What's that? I have a blog, you say...?

Did you know that even when I don't write posts here about what I'm doing, things still continue to happen in my life? I know, it's as flabbergasting to me as it is to you... So I thought I'd write a bit of a catch-up post to, you know... catch you up...

The biggest news is that I sent the final edits of Zomburbia off to the printer. Preparing the manuscript for printing basically meant I had to read the novel again and mark any typos or errors I found. Despite having been read many times by many people, I still found a number of both. Typos and errors, I mean. I apparently have a habit of switching from the past to the present tense every so often, and I found errors of continuity that I can't believe were still present this late in the game. Now that those are off, I can devote myself to writing the draft of the sequel, right? Right?

My oldest, Oscar, turned six a few days ago. Do you realize what this means? It means I am the father of a human being who is six years old! I used to write about him (and the rest of my family) more often than I have recently. I might get back to that. For now, here's a photo of one of the cutest creatures on Earth.
Do you think he gave me a bite? No, he did not.

I joined the SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) recently. If you aren't a part of the SF community, you may still be aware of the organization because it's going through some growing pains and a lot of its dirty laundry is being exposed. I thought this was a perfect time to join, actually, because I want to be a part of the rising tide which sweeps a lot of bigoted old men out to sea. There, I said it. It felt good.

I am also a member of the HWA (Horror Writers Association. This years's World Horror Con is this coming weekend in Portland, Oregon. I'll be attending, and I'll be taking part in a panel on using Social Media Marketing. The panel will be Friday from 2-3. If you're around, you should come by and watch me struggle to understand what Twitter and Facebook mean...

Finally, a couple of buddies and I are making a short film in a couple of weeks. It's set in the same world as Zomburbia and it should be a blast. I'll write more in a bit about how it all came together and what we've done on it so far. Let me just say here, in case you are my editor or my agent and you're reading this, it's stolen very little time from my writing the next book. I promise.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Zomburbia chapter one

I've written often enough that I have a novel coming out later this year. Perhaps you'd like to read a sample of it? If so, then you are in the right place!

My publisher, Kensington, have given me permission to post the first chapter of Zomburbia here. I'll post link to various online retailers at the end of the excerpt in case you like the sample and want to read more.

A Zombie Apocalypse Novel
By Adam Gallardo

Chapter One
Good Times at Bully Burger

The night shifts at Bully Burger are the absolute worst. It’s like sitting through a five-hour History lecture from Mr. Chanders, only you have to wear a festively colored polyester uniform while you do it. Maybe a car an hour comes through the drive-thru, and you really get tired of that fearful look people get in their eyes after dark.

The Bully Burger—whose mascot, I swear to God, is a cartoon of Teddy Roosevelt holding a hamburger—is a minor big deal in these parts. Six stores that sprouted up back at the dawn of time. People around here are crazy proud of this homegrown franchise. This particular store, the last one to be built, is at the far end of a developed strip out on Commercial Street. That nicely named strip is where the town started to shove all the franchises and big-box stores in the late ’70s and, as you can imagine, it looks like one long stretch of hell. It’s all Walmarts and Mickey D’s as far as the eye can see. Depressing.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Zomburbia cover image and some quotes

This seems as good a reason to start writing on my blog as any, I guess.

Last week, my editor at Kensington sent me the design for Zomburbia and said I could share it. So that's what I'm gonna do. This is the art that will go on the printed ARCs (advanced reader copies) and so it may be tweaked a bit on the final product, but this should give you a good idea of what it's all about.

I think the designer(s) did a great job. I love the design elements and I think the photo is evocative without being over the top gory. I'm just over the goddammed moon about this and can't wait to hold the final product in my hand.

If you feel a similar desire, perhaps you'd consider pre-ordering the book. Something that's very helpful, I understand. I'll post links to different web sites below, but first, this:

And here are those links:
Barnes and Noble
Indie Bound

You'll notice that the pages for the book on those sites currently lack any cover art or description. Well, as an enticement, let me hit you with a couple of quotes from folks who've already read the book:

"What if the zombie apocalypse didn't get all that apocalyptic? What if life
went on pretty much as normal for most kids, except it was incredibly
dangerous just getting to and from high school? What would it be like togrow up in a weird but eerily familiar Zomburbia? Meet Courtney, a flawedbut spunky teen, and her misfit pals who are trying to find their places ina world where death lurks around every corner. Readers are guaranteedplenty of mayhem and romance, laughter and heartbreak in Adam Gallardo'saccomplished debut novel."-- James Patrick Kelly, winner of the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards

"If you haven't read Zomburbia, you haven't read about zombies. This is a new take and it is scary, freaky, and original. Gallardo resets the zombie bar and it's sky-high. Get this book!"-Nancy Holder, NYT Bestelling Author, The Wicked Saga

Man, if those don't make you want to read the book, I don't know what will. (I really, really hope those make you want to read the book...)

Next time I'll write a bit about what's going on with Zomburbia schedule-wise, and what's going on with the sequel.

Yours in self-promotion...