Jessica Meigs

More The Becoming: Outbreak News

So I’ve obviously decided to try to post here more often, because well, I’m paying for the .com and there are people who actually read this. (And I’m an author who likes to be interactive, I suppose you can say.) Since this website is for my zombie-style horror novel The Becoming, you can predictably say that most of the posts will be related to zombies or my books in some way, shape, or form.

…are we going to say that that’s a bad thing?

So quick news on the novel itself. Sales are going smoothly. Since January 1, 2011, The Becoming: Outbreak has ben purchased on Amazon’s US Kindle Store twelve times and one time on Amazon’s UK Kindle Store. I have no idea about how many have been sold on Barnes & Noble’s NOOKboks store, because their reporting system sucks like you wouldn’t believe (perfect example: they’re still updating and posting sales from last month on my monthly reports; at least I’m happy to report that from December 20-31st, 2010, I sold at least ten copies of the book on B&N).

Reviews are coming in on a slow, barely there trickle on Amazon and B&N. As of this point, on Amazon, there are two reviews and the novella is carrying a four-star rating, which is definitely better than I expected. No reviews on Amazon UK, sadly. But on Barnes & Noble, there’s been five ratings, and I’m averaging four stars. So I suppose this means I’ve written a four-star novella?

I will ask that everyone who’s purchased and read the book leave some form of rating on Amazon and/or B&N. Even if it’s just rating it via the star-system without leaving a written review, that’s fine with me. You can hit the B&N page with my novel on it here and the Amazon page here. Much love for those of you who take the time to review it, and even more love for everyone who has bought it so far! (And even more love for those of you who are helping me pimp it out to your friends, online and off!)

Zombie Book Recommendation of the Week:
Feed (The Newsflesh Trilogy, Book One) by Mira Grant

Summary: (from Amazon) Urban fantasist Seanan McGuire (Rosemary and Rue) picks up a new pen name for this gripping, thrilling, and brutal depiction of a postapocalyptic 2039. Twin bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason and their colleague Buffy are thrilled when Sen. Peter Ryman, the first presidential candidate to come of age since social media saved the world from a virus that reanimates the dead, invites them to cover his campaign. Then an event is attacked by zombies, and Ryman’s daughter is killed. As the bloggers wield the newfound power of new media, they tangle with the CDC, a scheming vice presidential candidate, and mysterious conspirators who want more than the Oval Office. Shunning mysogynistic horror tropes in favor of genuine drama and pure creepiness, McGuire has crafted a masterpiece of suspense with engaging, appealing characters who conduct a soul-shredding examination of what’s true and what’s reported.

My Thoughts: I love, love, love this book! I’m not going to say too much on it, because it would totally spoil the major twists and turns in the plot, but this is seriously one of the most thoroughly detailed post-zombie worlds I have ever read. The characters are realistic and extremely likable (or hateable in some cases!), and I have rarely read a book that so easily sucked me in and made me not want to put it down. Highly recommended for everyone who is a fan of the zombie genre!

My Rating: ***** (out of 5)

Where to Buy: Amazon (available in both DTB and Kindle editions) | Barnes & Noble (also available as both DTB and NOOKbook formats)

What I’m Currently Reading: Plague of the Dead: The Morningstar Saga by Z.A. Recht

Ready to Buy The Becoming: Outbreak?

You can purchase from the following places:

From the Amazon US Kindle Store: http://amzn.to/fUCOim

From the Amazon UK Kindle Store: http://amzn.to/eR4WCO

From the Barnes & Noble NOOKbook Store: http://bit.ly/eDI6Jd

Directly from Me (via PayPal): http://bit.ly/eAOPy1

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The Becoming News

Just thought I’d drop a note and let everyone know how sales are going.

2011 seems to have started off on a good note. The Becoming: Outbreak was officially digitally released on December 20, 2010, and in the eleven days from the release to the end of the year, I sold 33 copies through Amazon’s US and UK Kindle Stores and an additional five copies through Barnes and Noble’s NOOKbooks store. These sales figures are definitely not bad, and they don’t inlcude the handful I sold directly via Paypal either. On average, I sold 3.4 eBooks per day for the eleven days remaining in December after release. This is three times better than I had personally hoped for, because I would have been pleased if I’d been averaging ONE book sold a day.

Now, in the two days that have passed in 2011 so far, I’ve sold seven books through the Amazon US/UK Kindle stores. I don’t know about Barnes and Noble, because frankly, their sales reporting tools suck more than words can express.

I hope everyone is encouraging their friends and family and Twitter and blog followers to buy my book! The links you can purchase it at (if you don’t already have them) are below. Hopefully, the second part of The Becoming, which is currently titled Safe House (though that may change between now and release) will be out by the end of January, early February at worst.

To purchase The Becoming: Outbreak:

From Amazon: http://amzn.to/hKAUs1
From Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/hZi8qA
Directly from the author (on a pay-what-you-want-but-you-must-pay-something basis): http://j.mp/ff1dXy

Thank you for your support!

Have a Very Merry….

I just couldn’t resist this as a perfect way to wish everyone here a very Merry Christmas!

Kindle and Nook Stores Release Coming Soon!

The Becoming: Outbreak has been officially submitted for purchase to Amazon’s Kindle store and Barnes & Noble’s nookBooks store. According to Barnes & Noble, it should be up within the next twenty-four hours, and Amazon says the same. I’ll keep everyone posted so you can buy the book from those stores if you prefer.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book now, please hit the entry just below this one or click on the link to your left under the “The Becoming” menu. 🙂 That page includes the first chapter of the novel plus payment options for the book itself.

The Becoming: Outbreak Now for Sale!

As promised, here it is! The semi-official release of The Becoming: Outbreak! It’s been a long two years, but I’ve finally put the first novella in a series of five up for sale!

The price is $2.99, which is cheaper than it will be offered via Barnes and Noble and the Amazon Kindle Store. The book will be sent to you in a .pdf file format; if you require .epub or .azn, I’d highly recommend you wait until The Becoming: Outbreak is available through B&N and Amazon before purchasing.

Payment is available through Paypal only for now; if you’d like to see a different method of payment, please comment to this post with your suggestions and questions.

Click the button below for your purchase. And please be patient, as I’m sending the .pdf manually for now until I finish getting the checkout process set up! If for any reason you do not receive your book within twenty-four (24) hours after purchase, please email me at jessica at jessicameigs dot com with your email address and when you paid and I’ll get it sent to you asap!

Note: (12/20/2010) The Becoming: Outbreak is now available in both .pdf and .epub formats! If you’d like to purchase the .epub format instead of the .pdf, please let me know with the text field above the Buy Now button! And thank you for your support!

Book Synopsis
The year is 2009. In the heart of Atlanta, Georgia, a virus capable of causing untold misery is unleashed into the world. Known only as the Michaluk Virus, its effects are widespread and devastating. As civilization begins to crumble under the hoards of homicidal infected, three people — Ethan Bennett, a police officer with the Memphis PD; Cade Alton, his best friend and former military sniper; and Brandt Evans, a lieutenant in the US Marines — band together in an attempt to survive the oncoming crush of death and terror sweeping across the southeastern United States and eventually the entire continent.

Want to read an excerpt before purchase? Click here to read the entire first chapter of the book!

Ready to purchase? Click here! (Link will direct you to my LiveJournal entry on this; please click the purchase button at the bottom of the page to purchase the book. This is a temporary measure until I can get my buy now button working here.)

Major News About The Becoming!

I am pleased to announce the completion of my five-part post-apocalyptic novel The Becoming. After nearly two years of hard work, blod, sweat, and tears, I have reached what I believe is the end of the novel. And what a ride it has been.

There were many times during the course of this novel that I believed it would not be finished. There were several points in this novel that I found myself ground to a total halt, unable to continue; there were even times when the subject matter in general nearly overwhelmed me. The research I have put into this novel is the most I have ever done, and I have strived to make it as accurate as possible. Once I begin releasing the novel, I hope that everyone will provide me with whatever feedback you deem necessary, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

There were also times where I wondered if I was just plain nuts when I decided to draft this thing out on my BlackBerry. I’ve been through several models of smartphone in my attempts to draft out the basics of the story, everything from a Bold 9000 to a Curve 8900 to a Bold 9700 and now a Torch 9800. And the durability of this particular brand of smartphone will always amaze me.

So here’s how this is going to work: The novel is long. Ridiculously long. It currently runs at over 200,000 words. This is after editing and cutting out and moving around the things that needed to be edited and cut out and moved around. Due to the sheer massiveness of the book, The Becoming will be broken up into five novellas that will each be released separately over the span of the next year. At the end of that year, all of the proceeds from the sales will be used to do a print-run of the novellas in a complete single volume, on a preorder basis.

The novellas will be available soon for sale here on this site and on major eBook retailers Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The pricing will run at $3.99 for each novella on B&N and Amazon, but they will be available for $2.99 if you purchase the eBooks directly from me; they will be emailed to you in whatever format you choose, and payment methods will be performed exclusively through Paypal. I hope each and every one of you will purchase the novellas and follow the saga of the seven people who band together in a struggle to survive as the hoards of infected threaten to overwhelm the world.

Further information — such as the release date and summary for the first novella, The Becoming: Outbreak — will be available soon.

Some Minor Ramblings

So since it’s been a bit since I’ve posted a section of The Becoming, I thought I’d drop by and give my readers an update on what’s going on with the novel.

Things took a turn for the interesting as I worked on revising the novel, and needless to say, said interesting turn is definitely for the better. I’ve added approximately 30,000 words to the beginning of the novel, so what you’ve read as the prologue/chapter one is now the beginning of the second part of the novel.

Basically, this is what happens when I have too much time and you turn me loose with a word processor.

Anyway, things are hopping and I’ve been attempting to wrap up this revision so I can begin the process of poking around and trying to find an agent. I have a few agencies I’d like to try, and I’ve already drafted query letters for them. Which brings me to the audience participation round of the game.

Does anybody know of any literary agencies that you believe The Becoming would be a good fit in? I’m looking for places that accept submissions for paranormal, horror, science fiction, and other similar genres. Of course, these need to be places that are currently actively seeking submissions. I’ve got the Nelson Literary Agency on my list so far (primarly because they do accept post-apocalyptic novels and they’re the agency home of one of my favorite authors, Gail Carriger). But I need others, because the chances of me getting an acceptance letter from the one and only agency I’ve got on my list.

I also need a couple more impartial people that will be willing to read over my entire novel once it’s completed and make constructive criticism and suggestions and ask questions and point out areas that need changing and clarifying and all that other fun stuff. Of course, I want people that are serious about it but who also enjoy the genre and are willing to put in the hard work required to do a thorough reading of the novel (sometimes more than once). If you’re interested, please email me at jessica dot meigs at gmail dot com (change the “dot”s to periods and the “at” to @, of course). Or you can nudge me on Twitter at @a_silent_song. 😀

Evolution


(Click on it to see the animation!)

MegaTokyo is awesome because of strips like this:

Yes, I found another comic strip that has to do with zombies. I thought I’d share. 😀

Zombie Sex Appeal and Why We Can’t Get Enough of Them

It always amuses me how when I’m working on a particular project – whether for myself or for others – it seems like all the news organizations and websites I like to read seem to pop out of the woodwork with related articles. I’ve already posted about Cracked’s “7 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Outbreak Would Fail Quickly” article (which you can read right here), but two other zombie-related articles have popped up that seemed rather interesting, so I thought I’d take a moment to share.

First up is Cinematical’s article Can Zombies Trump Vampires Even Without the Sex Appeal?. In all honesty, I was unaware there was even a competition between vampires and zombies. They’re so different and appeal to two completely different audiences in most cases that I can’t imagine why Cinematical is even comparing the two genres (and yes, I consider them two different genres). The only similarity between the two is that the creatures in question are undead.

Anyway, what I found interesting is the quote that the article uses about halfway through. I’ll reproduce here for those of you who don’t like following outside links:

The idea is that after years on the sidelines, flicks like Dawn of the Dead, Resident Evil, and Zombieland have come, earning big bucks and thrusting the ghoulish undead into the spotlight. And now that Twilight is winding down and new projects like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies are on the way, there’s the idea that one undead menace can replace another.

The zombie playbook needs a rewrite, something that pushes zombie evolution forward to open up new possibilities. The obvious target is their intelligence. Aside from their typically lethargic pace, zombies have traditionally been mindless killing machines that could fairly easily be dispatched. … What zombies most often offer in a universal sense taps into humans’ baser desires: to rule the world and to kill without remorse or repercussion.

I thought this was particularly interesting in light of both The Becoming and in Mira Grant’s Feed, which I’ve been re-reading a little. The idea of making zombies more intelligent is one that I toyed with as far back as the very very first incarnation of The Becoming, when it didn’t even have a name and featured a character named Coty Peterson and her four-year-old daughter Ana. If you read that particular draft, the current version of The Becoming that’s being written would be completely unrecognizable to most of you. (And that’s thanks to CrackBerry.com‘s Kevin Michaluk asking me, “Can you write me into the book?” because apparently he’d always wanted to be written into one lol. Which basically means I have him to thank for being able to even finish the novel.) The intelligence levels of the zombie have been the one constant between both the earliest versions of my novel and the current one being worked on. In The Becoming, the zombies are much more intelligent than the ones typically portrayed in the genre – they’re able to strategize and recognize patterns. And though that’s shown a little in The Becoming, specifically when the safe house in Maplesville is attacked, the idea is going to come more into play in its sequel, which I’ve been loosely outlining on the side (and will possibly be called The Changing, but that’s a working title right now).

Mira Grant does something similar in Feed. In her novel, the zombies develop more of a hive mind than any sort of intelligence. On its own, a single zombie is almost no threat (almost, because it can still kill you and eat your face off). But, in her universe, when a group of zombies gets together, they become more cunning and begin to work like packs of wild dogs to corner their victims. It’s rather interesting how she portrays it, and I was glad to see another author doing the same.

Which leads me to the other article, which was posted on Unabashedly Bookish: The BN Community Blog. It was titled 2010: The Year of the Zombie, and unlike the Cinematical article, it more straightforwardly predicts that the majority of the best books of the year involved zombies or zombie-like creatures. The article is intended to promote zombie-related books, such as the aforementioned Feed by Mira Grant and the upcoming The Living Dead 2 anthology (which I hope and pray comes out in eBook because I really want to read it), but it offers some interesting food for thought:

So why can’t readers – and writers – get enough of zombies? [John Joseph] Adams shares some theories:

“Zombies are:
• an enemy that used to be us, that we can become at any time;
• a canvas writers can use to comment on almost anything;
• a morality-free way to fulfill a world-destruction fantasy;
• a monster that remains scary and cannot be easily romanticized.”

I agree with all of these points, especially the utilization of zombies as allegory. Zombies can be representative of humankind’s sheep-like tendencies or political and religious prejudice or just about any human defect…greed, rampant consumerism, apathy, etc.

(emphasis mine)

I think that the B&N blogger who wrote this article missed something with the bold part, especially considering they missed what I’m striving to show with The Becoming (and which is most evident in the final draft): that zombies can be used to show the inherent good in humanity, because the undead throw into sharp relief everything that makes us human, the bad AND the good: love, honor, friendship, compassion, and all those other good things that truly make us human, right alongside all the hatred and apathy and greed and the other negative emotions and actions humanity is capable of. It’s why when people ask me what my book is about, I don’t say, “It’s a zombie novel.” I say, “It’s a post-apocalyptic novel about a group of friends trying to help each other survive.”

Anyway, enough rambling. I really should be writing. Any thoughts on this? I do love a healthy debate and discussion. 😀