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Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

can they do it? - Last Siege of Haven (The Undertakers #4) by Ty Drago

While away on an undercover mission, Undertaker Will Ritter has made an unthinkable alliance...with a Corpse! But though Robert Dillin (aka 'The Zombie Prince') is indeed one of those alien invaders who animate and possess the bodies of the dead -- unlike the rest of his kind, 

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Publication Date: May 11th, 2015

While away on an undercover mission, Undertaker Will Ritter has made an unthinkable alliance...with a Corpse! But though Robert Dillin (aka 'The Zombie Prince') is indeed one of those alien invaders who animate and possess the bodies of the dead -- unlike the rest of his kind, Dillin isn't evil. In fact, he wants to help. And Will needs that help, because the Queen of the Dead has learned the location of Haven, the Undertakers' secret HQ, and is planning a massive and deadly assault.

With the last day of the Corpse War finally upon them, Will and his friends find themselves in a desperate race to close the Rift between worlds and forever kill the Corpses. But can they do before Haven is overrun?

For that matter, can they do it at all?

GUEST POST
The "real" limitations of the YA (horror)

I’m fond of telling people that I scare children for a living. It usually gets me a laugh.

But the fact is that I’m the author of The Undertakers, a middle grade horror series about kids fighting a desperate war against an invasion of murderous “smart” zombies. So, in a very real sense, I do scare children for a living, or at least I try to.

One question I get from teachers and parent is this: How do I know what’s too scary?

My reply?

There is no such thing as too scary.

That may sound cavalier, maybe even a little callous, but I honestly believe it’s true. We live in an age of sensory overload, when our kids are bombarded with adrenalin-charged entertainment on all sides. A commercial novelist has to contend with and compete against far more visual media. I’ve never been a big believer in the rumor that “a picture is worth a thousand words;” I’ve always thought it depended on the picture – and the words. But when it comes to zombies, which are my bailiwick, shows like The Walking Dead and games like Resident Evil and Left 4 Dead definitely have the upper-hand.

So, yeah. I go for scary, as scary as possible.

That said, there’s a big difference between “scary” and “gory.” My Corpses, those aforementioned “smart” zombies, are unquestionably gross. I pull no punches there. They’ve all in various stages of decomposition, which I describe with gleeful delight. Nor do I shy away from lopping off Corpse-heads with swords, or having them explode in wonderfully horrific eruptions of blood and guts.

But that’s the Corpses.

When it comes to the people in my books, life isn’t cheap and violence, while present, is never flaunted. This series chronicles a war, wars have causalities and, yes, some of those casualties are kids. But each time the Undertakers lose a kid, there’s nothing delightful or wanton about it. It’s tragic, and I treat it as such. And it’s never gory.

That may sound like splitting hairs, but it’s actually a firm principle – one that I locked onto when I first began the series. The blood and guts is always on the Corpses side of the equation, never the humans. Period. 

And I’m pleased to report, it works.

I get a lot of fan mail, mostly from kids, but many from parents of kids who bought my books and enjoyed them. I’m routinely thanked and often praised for earning the loyalty of “reluctant readers,” and for presenting these middle schoolers with tales about real, relatable characters forced into terrifying and dangerous circumstances. To date, I haven’t received a single negative email. No parent has ever told me that I’ve “gone too far,” or described the nightmares my books inspired.

So, here’s some advice for any MG or YA author out there who’s worried about being “too scary.” Scary, when you boil it down, isn’t the issue. Give your readers a solid, believable story, with heroes they can care about, worry over and, yes, occasionally grieve for. Empower your reader by empowering your characters. And then let them win the day.

Trust me: Do that, and you’ll give Left 4 Dead a run for its money!

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About the author:
Ty Drago does his writing just across the river from Philadelphia, where the Undertakers novels take place.

In addition to The Undertakers: Rise of the Corpses,The Undertakers: Queen of the Dead, and The Undertakers: Secret of the Corpse Eater, he is the author of The Franklin Affair and Phobos, as well as short stories and articles that have appeared in numerous publications, including Writer’s Digest.

He currently lives in southern New Jersey with his wife and best friend, the real Helene Drago née Boettcher.


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