Monday, October 20, 2014

Forgive me while I crow a bit..

Me upon reading said review.
So, Bill Ransom, who has an impressive list of accomplishments, among which I can number:


  • Finalist for both the Pulitzer and National Book Award 
  • Coauthor, with Frank Herbert, of the Pandora sequence.
  • Possessor of a "hot" rating on RateMyProfessor.com 


That very same Bill Ransom left this amazing review for Zomburbia on Amazon:

"This is the best-written Zombie novel I've ever read, and I'm looking forward to 'Zombified'. Gallardo has captured the essence of suburban adolescence and angst with masterfully crafted scenes. This could be some director's next hit film!"

This means a lot to me because I studied with Bill at Evergreen and have long admired his work.

Thanks, Bill! And thanks to everyone who's rated or reviewed the book. It's truly appreciated!


Monday, September 22, 2014

Another Zomburbia review, and a belated thank you

To quote my publisher's publicist (Hi, Vida!): "VOYA(Voice of Youth Advocates) magazine is the leading library journal dedicated to the needs of young adult librarians, the advocacy of young adults, and the promotion of young adult literature and reading."

This is a great organization of which I just recently became aware. I think they're doing terrific work. So it's really satisfying to me that they chose to review Zomburbia, and that they seemed to like it.

Here's the TL;DR version in case you don't have time for the whole thing: “Gallardo provides a fresh take on the post-zombie apocalypse…Gallardo develops Courtney with an authentic voice, and while she is thoughtless at first, she becomes a strong heroine. Teens looking for zombie action with a determined female narrator will enjoy this quick read.” – VOYA

And here's the full review: “How do you live like a normal teenager after the zombie apocalypse? For snarky high school junior Courtney, this means dealing with boys’ attention, working at a fenced-in fast food joint, and selling illegal drugs derived from zombie brains, all while the undead lurk just outside. In the suburbs where Courtney lives, the rich are protected in gated communities while people like Courtney press their luck with chain link fences. Her only dream is traveling to soon-to-be-reclaimed New York City to attend college. She almost has enough drug money saved when popular jock Brandon Ikaros shows interest in her, leading Courtney into a world where parties, drugs, and bad decisions are the norm. As Courtney struggles with managing different cliques, more reports of zombie attacks crop up. Courtney is among the first to notice the zombies are different now: smarter, faster, healthier, younger. When a few bad decisions lead Courtney and her friends into a dangerous situation, Courtney must decide whether she has the guts to fight or become a zombie.
Zomburbia is filled with the typical high school drama, but Gallardo provides a fresh take on the post-zombie apocalypse. The world is not destroyed, but the challenges faced in high school are much more tense and violent. Students carry weapons, take zombie virus courses, and deal with more death. Gallardo develops Courtney with an authentic voice, and while she is thoughtless at first, she becomes a strong heroine. Teens looking for zombie action with a determined female narrator will enjoy this quick read.”

That's nice, right?

This reminds me – I know I've been writing about the reviews that appear in big magazines, but I also wanted to give a shout out to everyone who's taken the time to review the book on sites like amazon and goodreads. I really appreciate everyone who took the time to read the book and comment on it or rate it. And that includes the people who gave it one star (there are a few), not just the ones who gave it four or five (the majority, I hasten to point out...). Really, thank you! It means a lot to me. And it's never to late to add your review if you feel so inclined. It really does help.


Thanks again.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It's Zomburbia release day -- let me give you something

My book hits store shelves today. This brings up huge feelings for me that will probably lead to tears (mine) if I talk about it. Instead, let me send you a free something.

I'm doing readings in both Portland and Salem for the book's release, and folks will also be able to get their books signed at these readings, if they want. But I don't have any other events planned right now, so how might a person who is geographically-challenged get a signature from me for their book? With these lovely bookplates that I have designed and had made which I will send to you free of charge. All you need to do is ask for it.

I'm especially happy with this piece because I got my buddy, Todd Demong, to supply me with an original zombie sketch. Todd is the artist with whom I created the comic 100 Girls, and he's truly amazing. Please don't hold it against him that he's Canadian.

You want one, right? Well, all you have to do is email me your meat-world address using this here email address and I'll sign one of these bad boys and put it in the mail to you.* Just like that. Once you get it, just place the sticker in your book and you'll have something that book-selling site like AbeBooks considers just as valuable as an original signed book. Not that you'd ever consider selling your copy of Zomburbia, right? Right?

*I think I'm going to have to restrict this to North America only as postage anywhere else would probably break me. Sorry, four-fifths of the world's population...



Monday, August 18, 2014

Publishers Weekly shows Zomburbia some love

Publishers Weekly have posted a capsule review of Zomburbia to their site. I imagine it'll show up in the magazine, but who knows. Anyway, they seemed to like. Here's the sentence that made me wet in my pants in a little bit:

"With its complicated and believable heroine, exploration of moral dilemmas, and disturbingly mundane vision of life among the undead, this action-and-gore-soaked adventure entertains on numerous levels."

So, for those keeping score at home, Zomburbia has now been reviewed favorably by both Publishers Weekly and Kirkus. And I know that Booklist are going to review it, but who knows if they'll like it. Either way, I'm pretty stoked about the critical response the book has received so far.

One hopes that unmitigated commercial success will follow. That's how this usually works, right?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Musical crush #4 in a series (plus a tangent and lots of parentheses)


I'm doing a lot of writing at the moment, which is great for a lot of reasons, chief among them is that I listen to a lot of music when I write. Lately I've had the self-titled album from Elastica on repeat as I work (despite the fact that it is in no way appropriate for what I'm writing). 

I know a lot of writer types, and I would say that the majority of them have said that they need to listen to music that is somehow related to what they're writing. If it's a horror story, they throw on the soundtrack to The Shining. If it's a period piece, they listen to music from that period. Et cetera. I have never been like that. All I require of the music I listen to is that it be music I have some familiarity with. If it's brand new to me, I have to listen intently. Too intently for me to be able to write down the thoughts in my noggin.

Elastica hit it big back in 1995. The album spawned five singles here in the US. And the band never recorded another. According to Wikipedia, they got in some trouble with other bands for "borrowing" riffs and melodies too heavily (they settled everything out of court). It's a shame. I really thought they were going to go places. They had a great look and sound (though maybe the sound wasn't entirely their own...). Regardless, thanks to Spotify, I am now able to listen to this band again and dream that someday there'll be a follow-up album and a reunion tour.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Aspirations of a ten-year-old

My book for reals.
I think I was nine or ten when I decided I wanted to be a writer. It was around this time anyway that I started looking for ways to write stories as a means of fulfilling homework assignments, and that I began to fudge the answers on aptitude tests so the results would show I ought to be a writer. Since then I've done some of the things that most writers do – I've sporadically kept journals, I've written and submitted in a variety of genres and styles, I've bought and read entire libraries-full of writing how-to books. And I've done some things most writers probably don't, such as just plain trying to give up writing because it's so fucking hard and heart-breaking.

But I've always come back to it. And I always feel a huge sense of relief when I do.

And now, finally, after a lot of years, I have a novel coming out that has my name on the cover and everything. And I know that I already have several books with my name on them out there. But they've been collections of comics and that's just not what I envisioned back when I was nine or ten. And this is not meant as a slight against comics at all. Comics buoyed me at a time when I was very low, and they helped me pay some bills. The work I did in comics kept me believing that I was able to write at all. Hell, it's because I was able to sell comics scripts that I even decided to give writing prose again a chance. So, yeah, I owe a lot to comics.

Still, I always wanted to write a prose novel and to have it be published and loose in the world, and it looks like that's about to happen. Last week I received a small package from my publisher (Kensington, which is an independent publisher and which has been just freaking wonderful to work with). The package contained a small number of comp copies of my book, Zomburbia – just a taste, the rest of my comps will come later. I opened that package and held in my hands a real book with my name on the cover.

And the nine-or ten-year-old in me knew that I hadn't messed things up too badly if I'd accomplished this.

Listen, I know what the book market is like. Zomburbia may come and go without making a single ripple in the publishing industry, but it's here now. And that's enough. Also, the sequel is already written and in the hands of the publisher and now I'm writing something new and I have a reasonable expectation that someone will buy it. So there's that.


By the way, my second choice of career when I was ten was to become a politician. I think we can all be happy I chose to become a writer.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Wasn't there some sort of contest going on?

Last night I had my son, Oscar, help me draw names from a literal hat to determine the winners of the little contest I had going. Remember, there were ten signed cover flats up for grabs and one lucky person won a signed ARC of Zomburbia, my debut YA novel which is set to be released next month from Kensington.

Without any more rambling, here are the winners:

Signed cover flats (in the order they were drawn):
  1. Marlene Pardo
  2. Hans Strickler
  3. Mike Perron
  4. Zachary Jernigan
  5. Victoria Fountain
  6. Trinh Le
  7. Dan Jones
  8. Benjamina Harmon Balmer
  9. Kat Kem
  10. Eryca Latham

And the winner of the signed Zomburbia Arc:
  1. Aaron Marvin!


I'l be contacting all of the winners in the next day or two to get addresses where I should send their goodies.

I want to thank everyone who helped me spread the word about my book. I truly appreciate it.


And if you're disappointed that you didn't win an ARC, Goodreads.com is still giving away 25 of them. Of course, more than 300 people have entered the contest, so maybe the odds aren't great – and none of those will be signed. Or not signed by me, at least... Also, I think I'll be doing something different as the pub date gets closer, but I'll be giving away a signed copy of the regular book. So stay tuned.

Finally, if you definitely want a copy and don't want to leave it to chance, you might consider preordering it from one of these fine online retailers*:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Powell's
Indie Bound

Thank you again to everyone who helped out!

*I realize I called Amazon a fine online retailer, but rest assured I did it with tongue firmly in cheek. Still, I won't judge you if that's where you choose to preorder the book.