Tag Archives: j. whitworth hazzard

Zombie Flash Fiction: On Domestic Soil

This piece was written as part of a promotional contest for J. Whitworth Hazzard, who prepares to release his four Dead Sea Games books within one print compilation. The flash fiction contest is judged by Miranda Kate. See the link below to read the other entries.

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“Returning Home” 1919, New York Times

On Domestic Soil
by Marissa Ames
486 words

We returned from the Great War, certain no worse horrors existed than we’d witnessed in Europe. Dead French children, lying in pieces after German invasions, could not compare to American children, walking in pieces after the Spanish Flu.

Ten months we waited in Nantucket. Olive drab wool hung from bodies that had been strapping before the draft. Farm boys and dockworkers, we had obeyed Woodrow Wilson and defended the world. We swore we could see Lady Liberty from the coast if we squinted. We wanted to kiss our mothers, for the war was over. Ten months, because of a pandemic on domestic soil.

We only knew what the dots and dashes told, brief code testifying of a plague ravaging young bodies. A flu threatened to exterminate New York before the next decade. It took fathers and mothers, and boys too young for the draft. It would take us as well if we left Nantucket.

For ten months, the officers wouldn’t let us rest. We trained like Germans on the Western Front, building trenches out of bricks and wood. They claimed the next war would not be in the countryside. Our bayonets stabbed straw dummies. Aim for the head, they said. Always the head.

The dots and dashes stopped. A final four words: All dead. Feeling sick.

We boarded the ship home, clutching scarred bayonets. Ghost ships drifted in Long Island Sound. Sailors shuffled on deck, ignoring our hails. The officers refused to stop. Dead, they said, though the sailors still walked. Bodies floated in the East River, bloated and stinking. Still they twitched and swam.

New Yorkers roamed Times Square, all dead. Rotting hands clutched newspapers, as if the bodies remembered they still had jobs to do. Women shuffled through the streets with dried blood on their hobble skirts, testifying that hobbling for fashion had been their downfall. Bowlers and fedoras tumbled in the wind, kicked by the mindless ambling of corpses in spats.

With khaki cloth tied around our mouths, we slunk through the streets. Keep quiet, the officers said, until safe within the trenches. Keep your bayonets ready, else you fall the same way as did the previous platoon.

That platoon had not known what to expect, the officers said. The dots and dashes never mentioned an appetite for flesh, or inhuman speed despite rotting limbs. We found pieces of the previous platoon, leftover after the dead had eaten their fill. Those pieces walked or crawled, draped in olive drab, searching for more flesh to consume.

Within trenches built before that platoon fell, we whispered and prayed. For our mothers, we said. For President Wilson, and the United States. An attack developed by an enemy more human than our former patriots would give us the advantage. Strike hard and fast, the officers said. Aim for the head. Always the head.

We raised our bayonets high, to defend the world before the next decade began.

 

Soldiers from Fort Riley, Kansas, ill with the Spanish Flu

Soldiers from Fort Riley, Kansas, ill with the Spanish Flu

Did you enjoy this story? Read the other entries, contest rules, and information regarding the Dead Sea Games books HERE!

Like my story? Kickstart the zombie apocalypse by publishing Dead Sea Games.

Want to write like me? Personal coaching and critiquing by Miranda Kate.

Dead Sea Games Reading Challenge

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Read a book. Write reviews. Win prizes. The third reading challenge is going on right now over at Facebook.

We’re switching genres with a wide arc this month. We’ve done young adult mystery, and we’ve done fantasy romance. Now we’ll highlight some books that I have really enjoyed, by J. Whitworth Hazzard. James is releasing the third book in the series, Kidnapped, very soon. We’re hosting the reading challenge for him, to ramp up the excitement.

The Dead Sea Games books begin where all the other zombie apocalypse stories leave off: after the infection. Jeremy, aka “Deathwish,” is a 15-year-old boy during a time when adults haven’t even figured out how to live again. Teenagers never had it figured out in the first place. Jeremy and the survivors live in a cell of apartment buildings, in lower Manhattan, where zombies mill about on the streets below and teenage orphans aren’t welcome in society.

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Both “Adrift” and “Exiled” are eligible for this contest. You may read/review either, or both if you would like. Expect action from the first page to the last, satisfying all through these quick reads.

To learn more about the Dead Sea Games books before downloading, check out a review I wrote about the Dead Sea Games books. You can also check out J. Whitworth Hazzard’s blog over at Zombie Mechanics.

Parenting info: Mature language and situations. Violence and language comparable to Zombieland.

Rules:

1) Read one of the books (or both).
2) Write reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, BN.com, or your blog. Or all of the above! The more places you post, the more entries you get. Each review earns one entry into the prize hat, whether you liked the book or not.
3) Post the links to your reviews on this event page.
4) Reviews must be posted between October 1st and October 31st. If you have already read the book and have not yet reviewed it, all new reviews are allowed in this contest. Any review written prior to October 1st will not be valid.
5) Invite friends! If a friend submits a review and tells us that you invited them, you win another entry.
6) All winners are drawn by a random number generator, and will be chosen after October 31st.

There will be one grand prize winner, who will receive a hard-copy book. Five other people will win free eBooks from other amazing authors!

And on October 1st and 2nd, both Dead Sea Games books are FREE! Check out Adrift and Exiled over at Amazon. Both versions are free in the UK as well.

Dead Sea Games

The zombie apocalypse has happened, but society has not yet recovered. In lower Manhattan, survivors have secured sixteen apartment buildings, which they now call the Colony, their sanctuary above the sea of zombies at ground level. Adults, who had their worlds figured out before the Emergency, grapple to reclaim any normalcy. Teenagers never had it figured out in the first place.

Jeremy, known on the street as Deathwish, is a fairly good kid. But even good kids turn desperate when their parents can’t even survive. Fifteen years old with a bad attitude and a reckless streak, Jeremy learns parkour from Master Chueng. He accompanies teams into the abandoned parts of Manhattan to bring back supplies. And though his mother chooses to look the other way, Jeremy plays The Game: fighting zombies in the streets, gladiator-style, as others bet on him.

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So far, I’ve read some indie books that aren’t too bad. I’ve read some that I’ve really enjoyed. But none have earned my rave approval like Dead Sea Games. I’m not the only one who loves DSG. On Goodreads, the Dead Sea Games books have rated 4.73 out of 5 stars for Dead Sea Games: Adrift, and 4.70 out of 5 stars for Dead Sea Games: Exiled. Adrift has 4.6 stars on Amazon, and Exiled has 4.7.

In Dead Sea Games: Adrift, Jeremy knows the Colony is a cruel joke. Just existing isn’t enough. But when two of their own go missing on an excursion, Jeremy is determined to bring them home.

Dead Sea Games: Exiled picks up exactly where Adrift leaves off. He doesn’t even have time to heal before he’s accused of murder and runs to save his own life. Facing the Sirens, an all-girl gang, he decides what he’s willing to sacrifice for an even greater cause.

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J. Whitworth Hazzard has published these two of his Dead Sea Games quartet. Top secret intel has informed me that he’s currently writing the third book. His established fanbase is already gnashing its teeth in anticipation.

This is big, people. If you’re reading this and you happen to be in the publishing industry, do yourself a favor and look into these books. Mr. Hazzard has caught the fad while it’s big, and has taken it in a completely new direction.

Mr. Hazzard doesn’t try to retell the beginning of the Zombie Apocalypse, as nearly every other zombie work has done. This story starts mid-apocalypse, right after the survivors have stopped running. It takes a completely different viewpoint: that of a 15-year-old boy running around with gangs, intent on survival. The reader jumps into the mind of that boy who has been forced to grow up far too fast, seeing the other teens, whom have made some rather mature decisions in the absence of their role models. The action begins at the breakfast table as he hides the day’s plans from his mother, and continues on all the way until…

 Until you’re downloading the next book because you can’t stand it any longer! You have to know what happens next!

I honestly don’t know why these books aren’t more known. Obviously, word hasn’t gotten out about them. They aren’t your average self-published novels. Sure, they’re not for all audiences. Seen through the mindset of a hardened teenager, they have mature language and situations that aren’t appropriate for younger audiences. Mr. Hazzard doesn’t sweeten it for anyone. I can’t imagine many kids in that situation watching their language or acting puritanical around the gang leaders.

The writing is tight. The books avoid two things I hate: deus ex machina, and clichés. Even Master Chueng (first name is Carlos) is half Chinese and half Filipino, skilled in Eskrima and Kali fighting styles. Extra time isn’t spent trying to explain why zombies happened, or what the government is doing about it. That story has already been told again and again. These books aren’t really about the zombies; they use zombies as the backdrop. Mr. Hazzard tells the inner story, from one person within that sea of walking dead.

Right now, each book is only $0.99 on Amazon, and they are worth much more than that. They’re quick reads which will leave you satisfied.

Give it a try. I dare you.

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To read more about author J. Whitworth Hazzard, visit his blog Zombie Mechanics