My story, Disappointment, is included in Middletown 3: Metal Apocalypse!
What happens when a metal band gets caught up in the apocalypse? Even better, what happens when you give that same scenario to twelve of the genre’s hottest authors? Rosamilia, Besser, Abell, Buda, Shelman, Silverman, Stallcup, Wallen, Johnesee, Wilburn, Welmerink, Madron … each author was put to the task to take the apocalyptic story up to eleven.
1. 12. 11. Do the math. It all works out to rock and roll; zombie style.
Meet one of the authors and hear a tidbit about her book below:
Name: Jaime Johnesee
What is the title of your book that’s included in the Summer of Zombie Box Set? Bob the Spy
What is your favorite character in that book? Face is one of my personal favorites. He’s just an average guy; aside from the fact he drives a yellow Gremlin and happens to be rotting.
Are there any “author secrets” in your title (things you included or ideas you had that aren’t shared with readers in the title)? Well, there is that one secret code hidden deep within the font. When read correctly, on a Wednesday during the second blue moon in the month of February between the hours of four and four oh one AM EST, it can open a portal into Bob’s world. Other than that, the title is fairly self-explanatory.
Tell us something about your book that will make us want to read it: It features a scene where two bumbling zombies, driving a yellow Gremlin, are attempting to follow someone inconspicuously.
Is your book part of a series (if so, what are the other titles in the series we should be looking for)? Yes, Ma’am, it sure is. If you search for Bob the Zombie on Amazon they’ll all come up.
Where can readers find you (website, social media, etc.)? You can catch me on Facebook, Twitter, and at my desk, writing.
Do you have a website readers might want to check out? I do indeed, thank you kindly for asking, www.JaimeJohnesee.com
Bio: Jaime Johnesee is a wife and mother who spent fourteen years as a zookeeper before shifting her focus to writing, full time. She is known for her bestselling horror comedy series, Bob the Zombie, and is currently coauthoring the paranormal horror series, Revelations, for Devil Dog Press.
Thanksgiving is my favorite time of the year. I love having so many of the people I care about gathered around sharing what we’re thankful for. I just absolutely love what the holiday represents. I don’t want to get into the history and the politics of the holiday, I only want to speak about the spirit of it. It’s very important to take the time to appreciate the things around you. With our busy lives we so often forget to take that time. Sometimes we take the people, and things, we love most for granted.
Also, the food frigging rocks. Succulent turkey (or tofurky) with that crisp buttery skin, steamed Brussel’s sprouts topped with butter, creamy mashed potatoes with thick gravy made from the giblets, cinnamon sweet potato casseroles with toasted marshmallow topping, ended with the tangy spice of pumpkin cheesecake… Bliss.
So, in the spirit of being grateful and sharing, I’m grateful to share this NC-17 short story with you – Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. May your families and friends be healthy, happy, and grateful for you.
Turkey Day by Jaime Johnesee
Every year we would go to the Jacobsen’s farm and pick out a turkey. I hated the screaming of the bird when Mr. Jacobsen would grab it to lop its head off. Every damn time that turkey would scream and every year I would beg my dad not to take me back there. I didn’t like it, didn’t understand why we couldn’t just buy a frozen turkey from the grocery store. He didn’t listen, and so, year after year I had to participate in the slaughter of a poor, defenseless, admittedly tasty animal.
Although I shouldn’t say defenseless because this one time Jacobsen got his ass handed to him when a big thirty pound tom decided to fight for his life. The turkey broke his nose and punctured his right eye before a farm hand managed to pull the thing off him. I was rooting for that turkey. I’d like to think he went to his grave a hero. He was absolutely delicious as a sandwich, so I guess he had that going for him.
Dad died before Thanksgiving this year and, as I held the frozen Butterball in the aisle of our local grocery store for the first time ever, I found myself oddly missing that much-loathed trip. I put the store brand turkey back in its place on the frozen pyramid and walked out of the store. I’d go to Jacobsen’s and get the turkey myself. My wife and I would dedicate the dinner this year to Pop and we’d make sure all his favorites were on the table.
I waved goodbye to the cashier, my neighbor, and headed for my car.
“Looking for a turkey, mister?” The boy approached on my right and startled me. He couldn’t have been older than sixteen.
“Yeah, I’m going to Jacobsen’s right now, actually.”
“I can get you just as good a bird for cheaper. Won’t make you watch the end, neither. ”
That appealed to me greatly and I stopped and faced the kid. I’d never seen him around before.
“Which farm do you represent?”
“Oh, uh, Smythe’s.”
“Are the turkeys organic?”
“Are they what?”
“Organic. No antibiotics, hormones, fed a good diet, allowed to run free?”
“Sure thing, mister.”
“Lead the way, kid.”
We got into our cars – his a beat up, blue and gray 1977 Jeep Honcho. I followed him to Oak Street and grunted as I realized he was taking me out of town. I preferred to buy as local as possible so this wasn’t something I was comfortable with. It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and I wanted to get the turkey and get home quickly. I had a case of beer back home that wasn’t going to drink itself. Holidays were stressful times and the only times of the year I actually drank. Then again, family will do that to you.
The boy drove to the edge of the county and just when I was about to turn around and head back (any savings on the turkey would be offset with the amount of gas my SUV would guzzle), he pulled into a driveway that led through a dense patch of woods. I began to feel slightly uncomfortable about the whole thing. As my car slowly drove through the thicket lining either side of the tatterdemalion drive I felt sure that there was no way someone could possibly live there. The driveway looked like it had been overgrown for at least two years. I ignored my instinct to back up and head home, certain I was going to get a turkey, go home, hole up with my case, and drink the whole damn weekend away. Uncle Fred hitting on my wife was not going to bother me this year. It’d still bother her though, for sure.
I pulled up into a yard that was just as overgrown and choked with weeds as the driveway. The house sat derelict and broken. The windows were boarded up and the porch roof had collapsed. Nobody lived here, nobody could – the second story had collapsed into the first. I stopped the car and threw it into reverse, but I was too late. Another truck blocked me in. It was the twin of the one in front of me. Fuck, I thought to myself. They were going to rob me, or worse. I’d seen Deliverance I knew what crazy guys did to sane ones. I felt no urge to squeal like a pig. I locked my doors. It was stupid and pointless as I was basically in a windowed box. If they wanted in they’d get there.
A man climbed out of the Honcho behind me and came to my window.
“You looking for a turkey, son?” He was old, at least seventy, and I relaxed a little.
“Why you looking so nervous, boy?”
“Well, sir, I’m blocked in at a house I don’t know by two people I don’t know. It’s a mite uncomfortable.”
“Aw, yous just a poor baby, ain’t ya?” He chuckled.
“Sir?” I was certain the squeal-like-a-pig moment had arrived and I screamed at myself not to cry.
“What sorta turkey you want, son?”
“Twenty-pounder would be nice.”
“Oh, yeah, bird like that’d be real nice for sure. Bet it’d cook up nice, buttery, and crispy on the outside, moist and juicy in the center.”
“That’s what I’m hoping for. My family just loves Thanksgiving.”
“What decent family don’t?” He gave me a mean sort of squint and I nodded my agreement. I took a quick look at the boy who had lured me here and saw him get out of his Jeep. He went around to the back, took out a tarp, an axe, and a bag of apples. It reminded me of some crazy Wile E. Coyote trap and I just stared, transfixed as he began setting out the tarp. A small TV tray came out next and on it the boy assembled a myriad of odd tools.
“What are those for?” My voice came out much smaller and squealier than I had expected.
“For guttin’ the turkey. You can’t take a turkey home with the innards left inside. Why, that’d ruin the meat.” A small bead of drool appeared at the corner of his mouth.
What the hell had I gotten myself into? I was starting to feel slightly panicked when the boy grabbed a cage from the back of the old man’s Honcho and set it on the tarp. There was a turkey inside. I almost sighed with relief.
“He be ready soon. You gon’ watch him end that bird’s life, right?”
“He told me I wouldn’t have to.”
“If you’re to be takin’ a soul’s life then you ought to look ’em in the eyes while you do. Dontcha think?” He looked at me hard and I felt like I was sitting in my old family home getting chastised by my father. My horrible, evil, rotten father. Suddenly, I hated this man. I despised his very being.
“Stupid fuckin’ turkeys,” I mumbled.
I was never able to face the truth behind what really went on at the Jacobsen farm with my dad. That’s why he created me. I was there to step in for him at those moments.
When the old man stuck his face closer to mine in an effort to hear me better I grabbed the pen from my shirt pocket and thrust it up through his jaw. He started trying to scream, but the blood pooling in his mouth made screaming near impossible. This wasn’t my first time wielding a pen. I prefer close kills. It’s something Daddy taught me. Well, drilled into me, really. All those neighborhood pets he got me started on. Yes, sir, every Thanksgiving we went out and found us a turkey. As much as we liked the Jacobsen’s family, the meat we got off them was getting too stringy. The homeless that showed up to work their ranch tended to be way to lean to make good turkeys. This year was different. This year there’d be two.
Oh, I couldn’t have taken the two together, but I have a good chance with the boy now that the old man is gone. I opened the door of my car and stepped out, moving closer to the boy with every step. He had his hands wrapped around the turkey’s neck and didn’t even see me pick the axe up. I swung it overhead and let gravity do my job for me, it slid into his skull and he doubled over, releasing the turkey in the process.
The bird looked at me and said, “Hey, thanks, man” before running off into the woods.
“Happy Thanksgiving, bird,” I called as I went to load my turkeys into my car. The family would be eating good tonight. We had so much to be thankful for this year.
Visit my interview with Jaime Johnesee to learn more about her and her “Bob the Zombie” series:
Bec: Welcome to my blog! Please tell everyone about yourself –
Jaime: Firstly, thanks for having me here today. I’m Jaime Johnesee, JJ for short, and I’m an author, mother, wife, and zoologist. I write a little bit of everything but all my work has a thread of horror running through it.
Bec: I know you have a new Bob the Zombie book out, can you tell us where Bob came from?
Jaime: I have a few friends who roleplay as zombies online. Bob was the offspring of that idea mixed with my own bad luck streaks.
Bec: Tell us about the adventures (books) Bob has gone on so far in the series –
Jaime: In “Bob the Zombie” we learn about him and how he came to be where he is now as well as learn about the notable Undead American Brawl that started over a mint Donkey Kong arcade game.
In “Bob the Spy”, Bob and his undead friends work on figuring out what he believes is a plot to overthrow the world. It doesn’t turn out the way you’d think.
In “Bob the Valentine” we learn more about Lilly Jay, the zombie Bob has a crush on, as well as get to accompany them on their first date.
Bec: Do you have more adventures planned for Bob? Can you share anything with us about them?
Jaime: Well, in the upcoming collection –The MisAdventures of Bob the Zombie– readers will get a novella that has yet to be seen by the public. I’ve also included a bonus Bob short. I don’t feel as though Bob’s story has been told fully yet, so I expect we will see a lot more of him in the future.
Bec: Have you written any other zombie stories? If so, what are they?
Jaime: I have, actually. I have a short story titled ‘Flight 509’ in the anthology “Still Dying 2” it follows more of the current zombie trend than Bob.
Bec: Will you be participating in All Hallow’s Read this year? If so, what book will you be giving away?
Jaime: I am not. Sadly, I am a bit strapped for time at the moment. I do plan on doing a giveaway sometime before Thanksgiving so keep an eye on my website for details.
Bec: Share with us your favorite books you’ve read in 2014?
Jaime: There have been so many… The ones that stick out most in my mind at this particular moment are Leigh M. Lane’s Jane series, I liked that one a lot. I also really enjoyed Mark Tufo’s “Dystance: Winter’s Rising” and James Glass’s Murdered Metatron series.
Bec: Tell us about other books you have out on the market –
Jaime: I have a novella about a werejaguar FBI agent and her cases called “Shifters”. I’m working on a novelization of it right now. I also have a recently updated short story collection called “Oh, the Horror” available. I am several amazing anthologies (“Spiders”, “Scare Package”, “Grave Robbers”, “Still Dying 2”, and the upcoming “Dead Harvest”) as well as a box set that I will give more details about as the release approaches.
Bec: Is there anything you would like to share that I haven’t asked about?
Jaime: I find it rather nifty that somewhere in time somebody decided that their bread wasn’t cooked enough and so, in search of a properly cooked piece of bread, they made toast. It’s not much, but the thought that one person’s mistake has become something a lot of us do on purpose always makes me smile.
Bec: Where can people find out more about you and your work?
Bec: Welcome to my blog, please start out by sharing a little bit about yourself –
JJ: Thank you so much for having me. I love your blog, this place is fantastic. What can I tell you about me…hmm. Well, I’m married to the sweetest guy and we have two wonderful sons, both under four. I was a zookeeper for 13 years but had to leave it behind when I started coming down with a mystery illness. We’re still looking for a diagnosis and things just get weirder and weirder.
Bec: What first got you interested in writing?
JJ: When I was eight my teacher had the class write a story. I was hooked from then on. She actually made us these little cloth covered books to write them in. Mine was about a superpig trying to stop an evil dog bent on world domination. I still have it, and I even still love the psychedelic tie dye cover.
Bec: What are the worst struggles you think writers face, writing and marketing?
JJ: The hardest part of writing as an Indie, is getting your work out there. People assume writing books is the bulk of what we do, but, as you know, it’s the smallest part of our job as independents. We write them and then (if you’re like me) we spend another month or so editing everything so that not just the grammar and punctuation are as flawless as we can get them, but so that the story flows effortlessly. While we’re pulling our hair out doing that, we’re also doing our level best to promote the book and keep in touch with our readers and friends to let them know how it’s all going. It’s literally like doing every job at a publishing house for ourselves and almost all of the authors I know still have a day job. It’s definitely not a job we do for money, but one we do because our hearts and our Muse demand it.
Bec: Tell us about your book/s –
JJ: Well I have one available through Kindle and Nook it’s called Oh, The Horror and it’s a short story collection made up of my favorite psychological horror shorts. I also have a novel available on my website that I wrote for a bunch of pals. It’s called Enter Vampires and it will always be up there to read for free. Right now I am editing a novel that I’m planning on releasing for Kindle and Nook within the next few weeks.
Bec: Are you working on a sequel/s?
JJ: The novel that’s up on my site will indeed have a sequel. So far, none of my other novels have called for one.
Bec: What’s your favorite holiday? Why?
JJ: Thanksgiving. I like it because it is the one time of year you gather everyone you love together with no intent other than sharing the joy and thankfulness for what has come your way. Yeah, behind all the murderous intent beats the heart of a sap.
Bec: What other projects are you working on or involved with?
JJ: I’m working on a new novel as well as a short story that’s been scratching at my cerebellum. I’m also working to edit my previous novels so I can get them out there. Not to mention I’m also writing a young adult series about a girl who can talk to animals and the hijinks that gets her into.
Bec: Dance or sing?
JJ: Gah! I have to pick? I’m sorry I can’t choose. I’m the geek who’s out there dancing and singing at the top of her lungs, even though my singing sounds more like a cat stuck under a rocking chair. My kids and I make up songs about everything and dance as much as we can on the days I feel well.
Bec: What’s your favorite color?
JJ: It’s a tie between blue and green.
Bec: If you could reset the hours in a normal day, how many would you put into one?
JJ: 100, and since I have the power to do that I would also like to make 50 of those hours designated for naps only. You’re welcome.
Bec: Do you like to listen to music while you write or have complete silence?
JJ: I prefer silence. I tend to get up and dance or sing if a good song comes on so silence is more conducive to me actually writing.
Bec: What’s your favorite season?
JJ: Summer. I love working in my garden and helping things grow. Living in Michigan we only get three months of decent weather a year so I try to soak up every second I can of those.
Bec: What genres do you most like to read/write?
JJ: I read anything I can get my hands on, seriously. I’ve also written in all genres but tend to prefer horror, and Children’s books for writing. My kids and I will sit down and make up stories, they’re actually pretty good.
Bec: What was your favorite TV show when you were a kid?
JJ: For sitcoms it would have to be ALF. Cartoon wise, I adored Voltron, Transformers, and The Thundercats.
Bec: Do you find writing a lonely profession?
JJ: Yes and no. Facebook has made it less lonely, but when I get sucked into my writing it can be days before I deal with a human outside of the house.
Bec: If you made school uniforms, what color would you make them?
JJ: Black and white, that way kids could accessorize with anything to make the outfit fit their sense of style and self.
Bec: What would you share with a beginning writer?
JJ: It’s a hard road you’re starting down. Having good, supportive, helpful friends and amazing peers can really help make it a fun one.
Bec: Ponytail or hanging loose?
Bec: What do you wish someone would have told you when you first started your writing journey?
JJ: I wish someone would have told me to have faith in myself. If they had I would have several books out by now.
Bec: Day or night?
JJ: I prefer very late at night, between 3 and 5 am. It’s more peaceful and still, it’s almost magical.
Bec: Do you think having other writers as friend is a good thing for your growth as a writer?
JJ: Absolutely. Without the help of some wonderful authors *Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge* I wouldn’t be where I am today. When you’re friends with other authors, they often will have insight into your writing and marketing that can help you in ways you never even dreamed.
Bec: What’s your favorite book? Why?
JJ: There are two books I would classify as my favorites. The Unabridged Edgar Allan Poe and The Works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I love both their writing style as well as the characters they created.
Bec: Who’s your favorite author? Why?
JJ: My favorite author is Edgar Allan Poe. His work touches that dark part that lives deep inside all of us and because of that, he is timeless. Take his short ‘The Black Cat’, it’s a story that could, and probably even has, happen today.
Bec: Is there anything you would like to share that I haven’t asked you about?