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Friday, November 14, 2014



I grew up in a period called The Cold War. Historians will likely call these years The Age or Terror. We live in a constant state of fear because we don't know who are enemies are. The nice family next door - no matter what their country of origin or religion - could be plotting to blow up the government building. The paperboy could grab a dozen assault rifles on the way to first period. This amorphous, ever present dread means we have no target for our fear, nothing to point at and say "evil".

Zombies are simple, the perfect monster for a politically correct world. We feel no remorse them because they are already dead. Zombies are raceless, country-less enemies that allow us to feel zero-guilt when we kill them in video games. Zombies have no children. Their only motivation is to kill us, to destroy our world.

When I was a kid, we played cowboys and indians. Then, as a society, we realized celebrating the mass slaughter of innocents makes us the monsters.

"The terror that is engendered by zombies is not the fear that they can be evil, but the fear that one might become one of them." (Source: Zombies - The Encyclopedia of Death and Dying.


Any horror buff knows our current pop culture image of zombies evolved from Haiti.

In traditional Haitian beliefs, people have two souls:  the gro bonanj (the eternal self-less spirit) and the ti bonanj (our consciousness and individual will). For those that die naturally, the gro bonanj goes to the afterlife, what westerners would consider heaven. For victims of murder, their souls are vulnerable (Source: Haiti and the Truth About Zombies)

A bokor is able to capture one portion of the soul, trapping it in jar for use in magical ceremonies. One such use is the reanimation of the corpse to create an eternal slave, a laborer to work the fields who will never question his owner. 

Now take a loot around you. Have you ever felt like you're surrounded by zombies? Like 99% of everyone you meet is under the mental control of the 1%? No matter what the government does, the people silently accept it. Very few rebel. Those that do are silenced. Assimilated. It wasn't a bokor that took away our will. We actively, consistently give away our individuality every day.

In Haiti, a country that has known a long period of slavery with the Spanish and French colonizations until their independence in 1804, the fear of becoming enslaved has remained a part of their collective consciousness. The fear of being changed into a slave for the rest of one's life is a fear of being constrained to live without individuality, will, and conscience.


The first movie I remember that tried to rationalize the Haitian magic into something believable was The Serpent and the Rainbow (link: Serpent and the Rainbow IMDB) in which ethnobotanist Wade Davis exploded the science behind zombies. The most terrifying aspect of this movie (aside from being based on a real story) is how completely plausible it is. A mixture of chemicals could easily convince others that a body is dead. Another mixture of chemicals makes the victim extremely susceptible to suggestions. 

The majority of zombie stories today, whether its a rampaging bio-engineered weapon like Return of the Living Dead or World War Z or t-virus in Resident Evil, are based on science creating something it cannot control. Something science creates to make our lives better instead destroys all of civilization. Most people have heard of the fungus that can turn ants into zombie-like creatures. You have to know some crazy idiot out there is trying to find a way to use this on humans. Our species doesn't know when to leave good enough alone.


So where is this fear coming from?


Maybe it's the ever-present threat of global warming. Maybe it's the increased presence of GMO foods and pharmaceuticals. I've even heard several people are concerned that the rise of ebola is what will cause the zombie apocalypse.Whatever the cause, the abundance of zombie fiction today points to one root cause: something in our gut tells us the world is about to blow up. We're afraid that the comfortable lives we've build for ourselves are on the brink of being destroyed. But that's not a safe fear. Thinking about that too much could drive you insane. 

So instead we focus on simple fears. 




Amazon: M Joseph Murphy on Amazon: Paperback and ebook
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Check out M Joseph Murphy's own zombie novel Demons of DunDegore available here:
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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

BLOG TOUR - Interview with Genre-Bending Writer Maer Wilson


Most of Thulu and La Fi's clients are dead. Which is perfect since their detective agency caters to the supernatural. But a simple job finding a lost locket leads to a big case tracking relics for an ancient daemon.

The daemon needs the relics to keep a dangerous portal closed. His enemy, Gabriel, wants the relics to open the portal and give his people access to a new feeding ground – Earth.
Caught on live TV, other portals begin to open and the creatures of magic return to Earth. The people of Earth are not alone, but will soon wish they were.

When Gabriel threatens their family, Thulu and La Fi's search becomes personal. The couple will need powerful help in the race to find the relics before Gabriel does. But maybe that's what ghostly friends, magical allies and daemonic clients are for.

When the creatures of myth and magic return to Earth, they're nothing like your mother's fairy tales.

You can buy RELICS at these retailers:

Barnes & Noble - Nook - Relics: Modern Magics Book 1 for Nook


Let’s start with an easy question: Sith or Jedi?
LOL…Best question, ever. Thanks for having me on your blog, Joseph. To answer your question - Sith! I actually play the MMO, Star Wars (Star Wars: the Old Republic), and my main characters are Empire - Sith.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
To switch universes, which of the Star Trek races most closely matches your own personality?
Hmmm….Probably have to go TNG and Betazoid.

I can totally see that. In previous interviews (see here) you’ve stated that JK Rowling and George R.R. Martin are authors you can always count on to deliver a good story. What elements have to be in place for you to consider a piece of work a good story?
Character comes first for me. I need to be invested in the characters to love a story. Next, the story itself has to be solid and intriguing. What I love about Martin is that he keeps me guessing. He surprises me…a lot. With Rowling and Harry Potter, it was just the sheer pleasure of that world of magic, on top of the great characters.

I’ve read that you believe finding good beta readers is one of the most important parts of the writing process. How did you find your beta readers?
My beta readers came to me from all over. A few are folks I know personally. One is a fellow author I met through an online group, several are friends from my guild in the online Star Wars game. They each bring a different perspective to their comments and notes. Some catch typos, some address voice or story, but all are important to the process.

Many of my readers are authors looking for new and effective ways to promote their work. What have you found is the most effective way to reach new audiences? Also, what’s the best way you’ve found to keep in touch with your loyal fan base?
I’m not sure I’ve discovered the best way to reach audiences yet. I’m always trying new things, but Facebook and Twitter seem to be my go-to place to connect. My favorite way to stay in touch with my fans is through my street team. It’s not very big yet, but they get to see things before anyone else a lot of times. Such as the cover art for Magics: Modern Magics, Book 3 by M Joseph Murphy. (Thanks again for my gorgeous covers, Joseph!) Team Thulukan got a sneak peek at that last cover, even though the official cover reveal hasn’t happened yet.

Jen Ryan - Editor
In preparing for the re-release of your series, you’ve re-edited Relics. What elements do you think makes the new edition stronger than the previous edition?
My editor, Jen Ryan, and I cut some things in Part One that were bogging down the story. It’s been tweaked and tightened throughout. It’s also undergone a vigorous housecleaning for typos, punctuation and such.

Link: Imagine That Editing by Jen Ryan

I know your upcoming book, Magics, has some big changes in store. What comes next? Do you plan on continuing to work with the same characters? If not, what other types of books do you plan on writing next?
For now I think I’ll be done with the Modern Magics universe. I’m working on a Biography/Memoir that I may or may not finish any time soon. It’s based on the ten years I knew author Philip K. Dick.

However, I also have a Historical Fantasy that I began a couple years ago. It’s called The Journal and is about a witch killed back in the late 1400s, who returns every other generation to live one day. The story spans 550 years, so entails a lot of research. There’s also a SciFi series I’m ready to begin writing. So, most likely, one of those two will be the next project. Whichever one of the characters yells at me the loudest to tell their story.

Last question, most of your fans are probably aware you’re an avid gamer. What is your favorite game and why?
Ah, definitely Star Wars: The Old Republic. I moved to this game 3 years ago after 7 years in World of Warcraft. It’s taken the game a while to find its identity, but it’s a fabulous game to play. I love gaming for the social aspect of playing with other people. We communicate via voice programs, so it’s in real time. Gaming is a great way to stay young and in touch, too. This game has a lot to offer: space ships and cool planets. And who can resist shooting purple lightning out of your fingertips?

There’s always something to do and not enough time to do it all. I particularly enjoy raiding…think dungeons and dragons online in real time…only in the Star Wars universe. I’m a healer there, which means I keep the other players alive. Even though I play a Dark Side Darth, I find the juxtaposition of healing and being evil at the same time to be fun.

Anything you'd like to end with?
Joseph, thanks so very much for having me on your blog. What a fun interview! I greatly appreciate the opportunity.


After a successful career being other people, and later teaching others the many tricks of that trade, Maer Wilson has decided to be herself for a while. Turns out she's a writer. She's always loved stories, especially fantasy, mystery and sci fi. Maer was born in the Year of the Dragon and has a dragon-themed room in her home, but sadly no dragons in the back yard. When she's not writing, Maer plays online video games, teaches college and reads. Maer is a partner in Ellysian Press, a small publishing house. She also co-hosts the literary podcast MythBehaving. Maer lives in the high desert of Southern Nevada with her three dogs, a chihuahua and two poodles.

Her books include Relics and Portals, Books 1 and 2 in the Modern Magics series. The upcoming third book in the series is Magics. There are also three novelettes in the series - “Ghost Memory,” “Unwanted Ghost” and “Ghost Dancer.” A fourth story, “Wedding Ghost” is also planned. You can find all books and novelettes in the Modern Magics series at Amazon.

For more info, you can visit Maer’s website at
You can find Maer Wilson at these links:
Maer’s Website:
Maer on Twitter:

Check out the other hosts on the tour for chances to enter the Giveaway!

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