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


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

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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.

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

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Zero Hour! Annual Halloween Trick ‘R Treats


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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.

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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.

Episodes from the Zero Hour! at Asbury Park BookFest!


Asbury-Park-Bookfest-fb-featuredWhile we’re still slogging away on the copy edits for Episodes from the Zero Hour!, Volume 4 (more to come on that soon, we promise!), Jay and Anthony will be at the Asbury Park BookFest on Saturday, April 20 promoting the entire line of Zero Hour! books.

The Asbury Park BookFest is a weekend-long celebration of the written word, organized by Asbury Pulp Publisher and Editor, Steven Froias in partnership with some of Asbury Park’s many great downtown businesses (including our friends at Paranormal Books and Curiosities).  For more information about the many great events lined up for the first ever Asbury Park BookFest, visit: http://asburypulp.com/2013/04/asbury-park-bookfest-writers-films-workshops/

Jay and Anthony will be at Art629, an art gallery at 629 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ, from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM on Saturday the 20th.  They’ll be selling some books and promotional items, signing whatever you want (body parts, yes… personal checks, not so much), and talking up the Episodes from the Zero Hour! book line.  Stop on by if you’re in the area and say hi!

So you want to be a book designer… ENTER, THE PULP-O-MIZER


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So, one of the keys to a great modern pulp book is a great book cover.  Of course, not everyone has a guy like Anthony Schiavino in their pocket to design said-cover, and not everyone has access to the talent pool of brilliant artists that we’ve been able to work with to produce some really amazing artwork for our covers.

However, now there’s hope.

Thanks to our friends over at io9.com (great source for your geek news fix), you too can be a pulp publishing magnate, because they’ve clued us in to the Pulp-O-Mizer!

The Pulp-O-Mizer is the brainchild of Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual (another site that we’re going to have to bookmark).  You choose from some pre-approved banner headers, background artwork, and character pieces, you fill in your own text, and boom — easy peasy pulp cover, complete with authentic weathering around the edges!

Of course, we encourage you to build your official book cover from scratch, and only use the Pulp-O-Mizer as intended… a fun way to kill some time on the Interwebs.  If nothing else, fooling around with the Pulp-O-Mizer might fan the creative flames and provide a new angle for your own cover, or even an idea for a new story.  Have fun playing around!

And in other Zero Hour! news… Continue reading