Tis the Season…

Santa Knuckles

Greetings, patient readers!

We’re still putting the finishing touches on the latest Episodes from the Zero Hour! book (surprise!), but while we do so, we’ve got a Small Business Saturday / Cyber Monday deal to help you give the gift of reading this holiday season! Now through Monday, save 20% on all books and 10% on all stationery at the Episodes from the Zero Hour! online bookstore — http://www.lulu.com/zerohour.

If you’ve been looking for an excuse to pick up our back catalog, now’s the time to buy! And in addition to supporting us, please make sure you visit some of our friendly neighborhood bookstores who’ve always opened their doors to us in the past, like Paranormal Books and Curiosities and Words! in Asbury Park, NJ and Farley’s Books in New Hope, PA.

Thanks, and hope to have news on the new book front soon!

-The Zero Hour! Team

The Wolves of Omaha


By Anthony Schiavino

Wind currents buffeted the flying fortress’s wings. Four engines drinking in deep, one last shot, before facing certain doom. Inside the cargo bay, soldiers prayed with their rifles in hand as the fuselage rattled, threatening to tear itself apart and plummet into the drink. Under the cover of a billowing mass, they approached a fortified coast high above but not out of reach. Flak exploded outside of the thin glass, shaking the plane harder with blunt force intensity. The cabin lit up by tracers closing in.

One of the soldiers made the sign of the cross. “You going to be able to handle the door?” he shouted, straining to be heard across the cargo bay.

The other vomited in his helmet before wiping his mouth on his sleeve. With his pallor still ripe, he said, “I’ll get it done. Don’t worry about me.” Another wave of nausea crested.

“Two minutes until dead drop!” shouted the co-pilot through the cockpit door.

The light came on, bathing the soldiers in a blood-red haze. Both of the men stood up and hooked their safety lines onto the rod above. The bay doors opened as they made their way down, slowly approaching the cage.

Continue reading….

The Wolves of Omaha © 2013 Anthony Schiavino
Taxis to hell – and back photograph © 1944 Robert F. Sargent

Zero Hour! 2013 Halloween Hub:: Werewolf Flash Fiction Challenge


It’s that time of year again! Time to gorge on pumpkin-spiced everything and your kids’ Halloween candy, and check out this year’s Episodes from the Zero Hour! Trick ‘R Treat offerings!

We’re doing things a little differently than in past years. In the past, you’d get one story to sate your Halloween appetite, and then it was time to move on to the next house. This year, we set it up as a flash fiction challenge, and put the call out to pulp writers near and far. We can guarantee at least two fantastic stories (Jay’s and Anthony’s — hope you think they’re fantastic too!) and hopefully more to roll in throughout the day!

This year’s theme is werewolves. Why werewolves? Well, from a logistical standpoint, it made sense… We hadn’t done werewolf fiction before. But also, there’s something primal and scary about the wolf legends, losing out to your animalistic urges, unable to control yourself by the full moon, but otherwise, looking and acting like everybody else. Zombies, you can spot from a good distance away. Vampires, if you know the signs, you can spot one of those, too. But werewolves? They can be any one of us, and we might not even know it…

Last week, we laid out the ground rules for the challenge. If you’d like to enter a story, post the first three or four paragraphs below, with a link to the site where your original is posted. If you’re just here as a reader, we encourage you to reply to the story comments and interact with the writers… They love that s$&t.

Let the games begin! And Happy Halloween!

-Jay and Anthony
We’ll get things started with a story from Episodes from the Zero Hour! Managing Editor Jason Butkowski below:

Too soon. It was all happening too soon, too fast.

He forced himself forward, trying to push beyond the pain welling up inside his body, but it was simply no use. His legs buckled as the first shock wave hit him in the stomach before creeping through his extremities. He collapsed in a heap and rolled over onto his back, staring skyward, pleading for mercy. The light from the full moon broke through the canopy above, mocking him for his foolishness. As if he could have outrun the curse…

As the pain coursed through his body, he tried to remember what it was like before all this had started. It had been seven months since that night with the damn gypsy witch. They had both been so young and stupid. The next morning, he got up to leave, and that’s when she condemned him to his fate with her strange hex. He wrote it off as the ranting of a jilted, superstitious lunatic. Transformation by the light of the full moon? Utter nonsense. But then that first full moon came, and, well… he quickly became a convert.

The throbbing behind his eyes made it hard to focus. Have to stay in control. Have to keep my wits.

Continue reading

The Fault of the Flesh © 2013 Jason Butkowski
“The Witches” photograph © 2013 Kelly Anne Milo, KanneMilo Photography

Zero Hour! Annual Halloween Trick ‘R Treats


Notice the plural in the post’s headline?

Our annual tradition at ranchero de Zero Hour! has been to rollout a slice of micro-fictional creepiness to coincide with the Great Pumpkin’s reign of terror on the countryside. If you missed it in past years, check out the archives for the 2010 Halloween offering here, 2011 version here, and 2012’s addition to the ranks here.

So this year, we thought we would change it up a little.

Continue reading

Imperious Rex!

Front and back covers for the Weird Game Hunter book repackaging.

Think you’re a Tough Guy?

Front and back covers for the Tough Guy for Hire book repackaging.

BookFest Post-Mortem and New Mailing List

Anthony and Jay pose for a photo at the first annual Asbury Park BookFest.

Anthony and Jay pose for a photo at the first annual Asbury Park BookFest.

Last weekend was the first annual Asbury Park BookFest, and Anthony and Jay had a great time talking to fans and fellow writers alike at the art629 gallery on Cookman Avenue.  Some highlights from the weekend:

  • We kicked off our festivities even before getting to the art gallery by downing some gigantic burritos courtesy of Bubbakoo’s Burritos in West Long Branch.  If you have to sit in one place for the next three hours, hell, why not Mexican food? (I seriously recommend Bubbakoo’s… one of the best burritos I’ve ever had!);
  • We met some great writers and general literary types, including our table-mate, Jean Criss (author of My Pain Woke Me Up: A Survivor’s Tale of Breast Cancer, Love and Life); fellow pulpster Kevin Michaels (author of Lost Exit and contributor to the great Fight Card series of two-fisted tales); fantasy author Harry Aderton (author of Heaven’s Night), the crew from The Idiom literary magazine (including one dude who looked like a disheveled version of Jack Arnold, Kevin’s dad from The Wonder Years), and many others;
  • We got to — briefly — see our buddy Kathy Kelly from Paranormal Books and Curiosities and drop off some swag for her;
  • Special thanks to words! Bookstore in Asbury Park, and to owners Scott Asalone and Jan Sparrow, who graciously hosted a kick-ass post-game reception in their store for all the authors involved in the BookFest;
  • Extra special thanks to Steven Froias, publisher and editor of Asbury Pulp, for organizing a great event!  Looking forward to participating in the future, if you’ll have us back!;
  • and a special shout-out to the crew of the Serenity… hope you guys like the books!
  • We ended the evening with beers and beef at The Brickwall Tavern.

We had a great time chatting up fellow creative types, selling a few books, and generally enjoying the great artsy vibe of Asbury Park.

If you haven’t heard already, we’ve created a mailing list to keep folks up to date about the latest releases from Episodes from the Zero Hour! (including the any-week-now release of Episodes from the Zero Hour!, Volume 4).  If you’re so inclined, you can check it out here.