Panic by K.R. Griffiths

Panic by K.R. Griffiths

K.R. Griffiths isn’t blazing any new ground in Panic, the first of his six-volume Wildfire Chronicles series. We’ve seen the outbreak of a zombie apocalypse before in Dawn of the Dead, The Walking Dead, and Fear The Walking Dead, and all of the familiar horror tropes are employed in Panic (though the Infected of Panic resemble the regular-folks-turned-crazed-killers of Stephen King’s Cell, or Richard Laymon’s One Rainy Night rather than Romero or Kirkman’s shambling ghouls.)

While Griffiths’s tale doesn’t bristle with originality, it is well told, and once he establishes the heroes —a cop, a young girl, and her Of Mice And Men-ish, special needs brother — and the villains —a mad scientist/survivalist (nice trope combo, K.R.!), a sister secret government agency, and an exponentially-growing hoard of killer  cannibals — the story chugs along at a good pace. Panic is a page-turner, and Griffiths plots at an all-out sprint as the novel reached its half-closure/half-cliffhanger ending.

Sure there are a couple of clunky mid-chapter POV changes, and a few things don’t entirely add up. One of the first people infected is a priest who beheads his “wife.” Are priests allowed to marry in rural SouthWales? That’s pretty progressive. And why do the Infected tear out their eyes (other than some latent Oedipal complex)? Griffiths creates modern “fast zombies” but then lessens their threat by having the creatures blind themselves. Sure, the Panic people are pretty spry compared to a Romero zombie, but they can’t see for shit — and it’s their own damn fault!

It’s an odd choice in an otherwise by-the-numbers beginning-of-the-end tale. Maybe Griffiths will address it in the other books in the Wildfire Chronicles series. (Zombies with bionic eyes!) Whatever Griffiths has in mind you can be assured it will be fun, fast-paced, and wholly familiar.

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Write, Print, Publish, Promote by Kyle Burbank

Write, Print, Publish, Promote
The complete guide to writing and publishing a book by Kyle Burbank

Write, Print, Publish, Promote

The complete guide to writing and publishing a book by Kyle Burbank

There are a million different do-it-yourself guides to publishing an e-book, and Kyle Burbank’s Write, Print, Publish, Promote is as good as any at introducing authors to the basics of digital publishing.

Burbank published a successful niche book —The E-Ticket Life, about his adventures at Disney theme parks— and Write, Print, Publish, Promote has more of a nonfiction slant than some of the other DIY publishing guides out there. Still, the principles Burbank outlines apply to fiction and nonfiction ooksalike.

Some of the advice is laughably broad stroke, like “learn Photoshop,“ and “learn Adobe Indesign.“ Good advice, akin to “master chess,“ or “learn how to drive a forklift.“ Great skills to have, though some take a lifetime to grasp.

Burbank excels at giving advice on selling print copies of your book at conventions and various distribution models for your work including audiobooks. There’s good advice here at a practical price. In a world of how-to guides, Write, Print, Publish, Promote, The complete guide to writing and publishing a book by Kyle Burbank sticks out for its honesty and feel-good approach to digital publishing.