Manuscripts Burn


"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Today we have a very special guest: fellow zombie author Shawn Chesser!  Shawn's been with us once before and we're delighted that fate, Providence, or kismet has brought him back.  First, let's get to know Shawn and then jump right into an excerpt from his latest novel, WARPATH: SURVIVING THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE.

About Shawn Chesser:

This is what Shawn looks like now...

Shawn Chesser resides in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and two children. He studied writing at Harvard on the hill (PCC Sylvania) many years ago. Shawn is a big fan of the apocalyptic horror genre. Stephen King, Cormac McCarthy and George Romero are strong influences. When not writing, Shawn spends the rest of his time doting on his two children and doing whatever his wife says. :)

...And this is Shawn during his youth in New Jersey.  (Not pictured: His beloved Trans Am, Bruce) 


Chapter 1

Like a makeshift guillotine, the shovel’s blade cut a silent flat arc through the cool morning air before burying inches deep into the rasping creature’s temple. As the rotted corpse crumpled to earth, Duncan squared his shoulders, squinted against the driving rain, and poked the V-shaped cutting edge into the next rotter’s sternum. Having gained a precious yard of separation from the handful of attackers, he backpedaled blindly uphill—in the direction of the white Toyota Land Cruiser which, at the moment, was keeping his two-way radio, the short barreled combat shotgun, and a half-empty bottle of Jack Daniels dry.

Hell of a lot of good they’re doing ya in there, old man, he thought glumly, his equilibrium failing him. In the next instant his legs buckled, and suddenly the gloomy overcast sky was all that he saw.

“Fuck happened?” he muttered, shaking his head vigorously and spraying droplets of water in all directions. But the action had no effect on his vision, which, from the combination of alcohol, sleep deprivation, and the fine mist clinging to his aviator glasses, remained clouded and fuzzy around the edges.

Now, flat on his back, two things registered at once. To his right, wrapped in a rain-drenched sheet, was his brother Logan’s corpse that he’d just tripped over. He walked his gaze along the contours of the young man’s lifeless shell. Regarded the facial profile which had slackened in death, but was still unmistakably Oops—handlebar mustache and all. He noted the crimson blossoms of blood that had dried to black but had reconstituted and now ran in all directions, turning the once-white death shroud into some kind of macabre tie dye.

A half beat later he recognized that the pickle he’d gotten himself into, both figuratively and literally—the former because he’d gone ahead and left the heavy artillery in the truck, the latter because he was more than half in the bag—was about to get exponentially worse.

He flicked his gaze sixty yards downhill at the spot where he’d removed the triple-strand barbed wire from the fence paralleling SR-39 so that he could drive the Cruiser through. There, three disheveled first turns were heading his way, fighting against gravity, their feet slipping on the slick grass. Then his heart skipped a beat as he looked past the struggling trio and noticed another dozen flesh eaters leaving the blacktop. Slow and clumsy, they negotiated the shallow ditch and, jostling shoulder to shoulder, exploited the newly created breach.

The new arrivals to the party were deadly for sure, but it was the half dozen to his fore— spread out in a phalanx line, jaws working in eager anticipation of fresh meat—that were the clear and present danger. Knowing that he was turtled on his back with Logan and Gus lying in state nearby, one hissing monster looming over him, and another in the half-dug grave less than two feet away, sent a cold wave of dread coursing through Duncan’s body.

First things first, he told himself.

Only a second and a half elapsed between him tripping over Logan’s corpse and his fingers finding the knurled grip of the .45 riding high in the paddle holster on his hip. Another half-second ticked by and he had depressed the palm safety, thumbed back the hammer, and his index finger hovered near the trigger guard. By the time the weapon was clear of leather and tracking swiftly right, he had already found the trigger and drawn off a few pounds of pull, the hammer poised and ready to fall.

Flooded with adrenaline and running mainly on muscle memory, he didn’t recall caressing the trigger, but the two reports crashing the still morning air confirmed it and set his ears to ringing. The noise, like tearing paper, bounced off the Toyota’s metal skin and toured the nearby trees before the shock wave rolled back over top his prostrate body. It was awakening and cathartic at once, a substance he could almost feel.

One down, too many to go.

As he watched the flesh eater he’d just blessed with a second death roll towards the Toyota, spilling brains and viscous blood from its cratered face, the female first turn he’d just poked between the breasts with the shovel point was crawling out of the freshly dug grave where it had fallen.

Over the pattering rain, the grating rasp of its clawlike hands grappling for purchase, combined with the wet rattle escaping its working maw, sent an icy jolt through his body. Shivering profusely from a combination of fear-induced adrenaline, his already lowered core temperature, and the desire for another belt of Jack Black, he dug his left boot heel in and pushed uphill. Feeling a tug slow his progress as splintered nails tore into the blue denim just below his right knee, and with a new wave of shivers wracking his body and the stink of death and decay thick in his throat, he spread his legs, a kind of half-assed mud angel, aimed between his boot tips, and pumped a round between the zombie’s beady eyes.

Two down, too many to go.

He kicked free from the dead thing’s grasp, rolled over onto his stomach, and clawed his way towards the SUV; his ultimate goal: getting inside and radioing for help. And then shortly thereafter, making bubbles in the whiskey.

But those things weren’t happening without a fight because a pair of rotters had inexplicably looped around the passenger’s side of the Toyota, flanked him, and were now doggedly lurching his way.

“Where’d y'all learn that trick?” he muttered, bracketing the one nearest him in his sights. As he drew back on the trigger, a sudden flash of reddish-orange, like a .50 caliber round fired at night, minus the sparkle and pop, entered his side vision. Momentarily convinced he was seeing ill-timed tracers—a flood of chemicals to the brain brought on by the stress of a dozen dead things wanting to eat him, or perhaps a byproduct of the Jack Daniels in his system—he held his fire, blinked his eyes, and kept them closed for half a beat. Upon reopening them the thought that he’d had too much of the latter won out because now only one rotter stood between him and the SUV.

With the throaty rasps of the dead advancing on his six, he wasted no more precious time processing what had just happened. Instead, he fixed his gaze on the flesh eater at his twelve o’clock, rose from the ground, and with the .45 extended at arm’s length, took a tentative step towards the SUV.

Make sure to buy your own copy of WARPATH and tell all your friends about it on Goodreads! 

The stench of frozen rotted meat is in the air! Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 10 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of November.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don't miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #WinterZombie2014

AND so you don't miss any of the posts in November, here's the complete list, updated daily.

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