Saturday, 30 January 2016

Free Zombie story - Pick Your Brain

What would happen once the zombie apocalypse was over and people (and zombies) were forced to justify their actions?

That's the scenario I took and then ran with it for my short story Pick Your Brain. I'd describe it as horror with a dash of crime.


Pick Your Brain

by

Jenny Thomson

“Miss McBride, in all my years of representing clients whom other less well attuned legal brains would turn down as unwinnable, I have never come across one single case I could not win.” He pursed his lips. “Until now that is. Do you honestly think citing a…”
He cleared his throat.

“And, I’m quoting your expert witness Professor Romero here. "A virus that renders people incapable of rational thought and gives them an uncontrollable compulsion to consume human flesh, especially human brains," is going to assist your boyfriend in his defence after he was caught by two police officers, standing over the lifeless body of his friend, clutching a baseball bat soaked in the blood and chunks of brain matter from the deceased who was later found to have died from multiple brain injuries consistent with several blows to the head from a baseball bat?”

“Yes,” I said. “It’s the truth.”

Charles Benson, who had so many letters after his name it was like a game of Scrabble, eyed me like I was the last lunatic left in an asylum. “Did one of my learned colleagues put you up to this?” His eyes swept the room. “Are there hidden cameras? Is this some TV prank show?”

His reaction was hardly a new one. I’d encountered similar reactions from other barristers who were convinced I was delusional. “No,” I said, defiant, “this isn’t a prank. This is real.”
He raised his chin. The gesture reminded me of a haughty child.

“Well, in that case Miss McBride, I can’t help you. It’s a psychiatrist you need, not a man of law.”

Condescension seeped from his every word.

It was hard to hide my disappointment. I’d been sure he was the one man who could help us and argue that Scott had acted in self-defence. His friend, Archie was trying to eat him.
“I’m sorry to hear that, Mr Benson.” And I was genuinely sorry. If he couldn’t help Scott in this way he’d have to help him in another.

“I honestly thought someone of your calibre who’d successfully argued that a man wasn’t guilty of murdering his wife because he mistook her for a lion, would have a more open mind.” I paused to eye him with disdain. “Perhaps you could speak to Scott and explain why you won’t help him. He’s a teacher and a well-respected pillar of this community just like you. It’ll only take a minute. He’s outside.”

Charles Benson’s face went pumice grey. “No, I’m sorry, I don’t have the time. My next client will be here.”

I stood up and walked over to the door. “Well, in that case our business is over, Mr Benson. But there’s one last thing you can help me with.”

With a nod of the head, I opened the door. “I think you should meet Scott anyway, so you’ll understand. You see, in the attack he was bitten. More like a scrape caused by teeth sliding against his skin really. He didn’t turn as quickly as they do in the movies or in The Walking Dead.”

I gave a wry smile. “Well, things are seldom as they are in the movies.”

Scott shambled into the room, feral eyes glowing as he saw his prey. His nails were ragged and torn and bloody from eating the two prison guards on the way over and the secretary outside.

Charles Benson’s eyes were wide with terror. “You better leave now, or I’m calling the police.”
His words were strangled.

As Scott pinned him to the desk and sunk decaying teeth into his fat flesh, I couldn’t resist one last parting shot.

“Do you believe me now, Mr Benson?”

He was unable to answer. Scott had ripped out his throat – the blood that spurted out of the arrogant lawyer’s veins reminded me of raspberry sauce on an ice cream cone. Blood is never as red as you think, not when you get used to it.

Scott devoured the lips, then the nose, followed by the brain. The intestines he gorged on like cheesy string. Benson’s fingers he wolfed down like hot dogs.
Once he was done, he licked the blood and flesh from his teeth.

I wagged a finger at him. “Christ, Scott, we’re gonna run out of lawyers soon.”
Scott drooled. “HUNGRY. BRAINS.”

My face softened. “Okay, but we need to tidy up this office and go. We have more legal brains we need to pick.”

The End (or is it the beginning?)

 


Note - This story first appeared in the kick ass Pulp Metal Magazine


Jenny Thomson is the author of Scottish zombie novel DeadBastards that's been described as "a cross between Trainspotting and Shaun of the Dead."

Friday, 29 January 2016

Write your own version of The Walking Dead

Get your teeth into writing a zombie novel


I never expected to be able to write a zombie novel. I thought horror was best left to three of my favourite authors – Shaun Hutson, James Herbert and Graeme Masterton.


Then this image came into my head of a couple lying in bed when there’s a knock at the door. One of them pads down the hall, opens the door and finds his friend Archie standing there. Archie looks like he’s been mugged. Then they notice that his insides are dripping out…


And so Dead Bastards was born. 


Along the way I’ve learnt a few things -


1. Don’t concentrate on too many people’s stories.
This is a big mistake. Too many characters and too many stories distance the reader from the story you are trying to tell. You want to being everybody into the world you've created. 

2. Respect the genre. 
When it’s a genre that people are well acquainted with like zombies, you need to stick to the rules. By all means push the limits. I recently read a book by a well known author who gave one of his zombies the gift of thought. Bad enough, but he also gave them the cloak of invisibility. I threw that book across the room in a hissy fit. 

3. Make your characters distinctive.
People should know who’s speaking even without speech tags. This is tricky to do. 

4. Every step of the way, your characters must have a goal.
Simply surviving isn't enough. Just look at The Walking Dead. They always have a goal, whether it's to get revenge, find the rest of the group or help take Eugene to Washington because he says he has a cure.

For instance, in Dead Bastards they had to go to a shopping mall for supplies. There was no way out of it. Having goals creates conflict and brings your characters to life. Put your characters into a situation and see how they get out of it. 


5. Don’t do what writers of The Walking Dead’s did and get too bogged down with one aspect of your plot.
In the case of the hit show, they focussed too much on the Lori, Shane and Rick love triangle. In the end, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who got bored with it. If I wanted that kind of storyline, I'd watch a soap opera. 

In a zombie novel, the zombies must be king. 







Now for the zombies

Now yo've got the book sorted, it's time to think about what kind of zombies you'll have? 
Will it be the shufflers or the runners?

Will they be smarter zombies or the standard slow kind? 


Choose wisely, then run (or shuffle) with it.


Remember, it's your story and nobody can tell it like you can:) 




Why not check out my zombie novel? 

Check out the cover. It's pretty cool and is actually a scene from the book.






Dead Bastards is available in paperback and Kindle (although a book's probably better as a Kindle isn't much use against a zombie - trust me, I've tried). 

Thursday, 21 January 2016

I have some great news - I've inked a deal with Caffeine Nights!






In 2011, I entered my Glasgow crime novel, Vile City in a crime writing competition for a first novel. I won and thought now I've got a great chance of finally getting the thriller published. 

I sent it out to agents and publishers, had some great responses but all so close and no cigar. The closest I came was a publisher who wanted to do it as an eBook only. 

Now a publisher I have long since admired, Caffeine Nights, who have one of my all-time favourite authors on  their books, Shaun Hutson, have offered me a publishing deal. They loved the book and the humour. 

The book is the first in the Detective in a Coma series and won't be out until 2017, but I'm so freaking excited. I'm already halfway through writing the follow up, Cannibal City


One of the crime scenes from Vile City 


Meet DI Duncan Waddell 


Vile City features DI Duncan Waddell who's starting to hate the city he once loved because of all the horrors he's seen. He's overweight, borderline diabetic, but it's his wit that gets him through the day. 

Vile City also tells the story of Shelley Craig and her battle to escape after she's drugged and kidnapped by a sex gang. Shelley's a modern girl, battling to get home and will do anything to reach her goal. 

One character didn't so much as yell for my attention as grab me by the arm and bark: "GET WRITING."

He was DC Stevie Campbell and since he was attacked by a suspect with a broken bottle, he's been in a coma, but his friend DI Waddell is able to speak to him. 


Is Stevie really in a coma?

Can Waddell really speak to him, or is he losing the plot? 

Or, is Waddell the one in the coma? 

At this point, I don't even know myself, but I hope this Life on Mars type twist will intrigue people.







Friday, 8 January 2016

Feature Friday - the Crime Files





The Crime Files
By Jenny Thomson


The CRIME FILES SERIES by Jenny Thomson is AVAILABLE NOW! These books are a MUST if you're a fan of the thriller, mystery, and suspense genres!



HELL TO PAY - Book #1



- SYNOPSIS -
Nancy Kerr refuses to be a victim—even when she walks in on her parents’ killers and is raped and left for dead…

Fourteen months later, Nancy wakes up in a psychiatric hospital with no knowledge of how she got there.

Slowly, her memory starts to return.

Released from the institution, she has just one thing on her mind—two men brought hell to her family home.

Now they’re in for some hell of their own…



- PURCHASE -
AMAZON US ➜ http://amzn.to/1MABiQL
AMAZON UK ➜ http://amzn.to/1ExdHvz


THROWAWAYS - Book #2


- SYNOPSIS -
Huddled in a doorway, in a blonde wig, and my best Pretty Woman outfit, I'm already soaked to the skin. As downward spirals go, this was bad.

But I wasn’t here because I was reduced to turning tricks for a living. I was here to catch a killer…

Throwaways.

That's the word they're using for the four Glasgow sex workers who've gone missing. But two people do care.

When Suzy Henderson was found dead in a landfill site, her eyes pecked out by crows, they found the finger of another missing woman wedged in her throat.

Nancy Kerr and Tommy McIntyre are on the case and they won’t stop until they find the missing women.

But, how can they trust anyone when they can’t even trust each other?


- PURCHASE -
AMAZON US ➜ http://amzn.to/1UaRNUR
AMAZON UK ➜ http://amzn.to/1MABBee



DON'T COME FOR ME Book #3


- SYNOPSIS -
What if you were charged with your boyfriend’s murder, but you knew he wasn’t even dead?

That's the position rape survivor Nancy Kerr finds herself in. Now, she faces a race against time to find Tommy before she’s convicted of his murder.

But, someone doesn’t want her or Tommy’s Special Forces buddy, Eric from finding out the truth.

And getting too close could get them killed.

- PURCHASE -
AMAZON US ➜ http://amzn.to/1MABO14
AMAZON UK ➜ http://amzn.to/1M0Ddhj



- JENNY THOMSON -
Jenny Thomson is an award-winning crime writer who has been scribbling away all her life. She also writes as Jennifer Thomson.

Inspired by her love of zombies and The Walking Dead, she wrote Dead Bastards.

She kills people for a living in the Crime File series of books for Limitless Publishing. Book 1, 2 and 3, will be out soon. To find out more details, check out her publisher's site at http://www.limitlesspublishing.net/authors/jenny-thomson/

Her novella, How Kirsty Gets Her Kicks, about a one legged Glasgow barmaid who goes on the run with a gun and a safe load of gangster's cash after killing one of his henchmen, will be out soon.

Vile City (Detective in a Coma Bk 1) will be published by Caffeine Nights in 2017.

She blogs about writing at http://ramblingsofafrustratedcrimewriter.blogspot.com/ and about zombies at http://deidbastards.blogspot.co.uk

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/jenthom72
WEBSITE: http://jennifer-thomson.blogspot.com/
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/HelltoPaybyJennyThomson







Vile City - coming to BookBub July 6th

I'm delighted to announce that Vile City will be listed on the awesome BookBub on Thursday July 5th. You'll be able to get th...