Thursday, January 30, 2014

True Story: My Husband Wrote a Book That Doesn't Suck

Full disclosure:  I'm about to pimp my Man-Meat.

Before I do so, I feel like there are a few things that I must mention.  First, I am indubitably the most verbally abusive individual to him.  On a regular basis and for no reason.  I don't know how to show feelings so I say mean and hurtful things instead of "you are a nice person" or "I've grown to tolerate your odor as well as your complimentary face." See.  I can't even type nice things.  Limiting my abuse to verbal is also inaccurate.  I have a tendency to pelt my bony fists at his voluptuous Wookie torso just because he wasn't expecting it.  While he recovers from my fierce attacks, I tend to humiliate and confuse him more by gently caressing his chest and whispering how I will murder him in his sleep.  He does nothing to deserve any of this.  Luckily, we don't have stairs or he would probably have to come up with a good list of excuses as to why he's in the ER for stitches so frequently.  Lucky for him indeed.
Affection is best shown with knives.  

The second thing I should mention is that I am insanely critical and for the most vain of reasons.  Remember, I started a blog to inform people how to be pretty when the world ends instead of prepared.  I don't want to have to witness any ugly!  I expect the best.  I don't like half-assed attempts at anything... from other people. I like to listen to quality music, drink quality alcohol  coffee, and read quality stories.  The last may be the most important on the list.  If I'm going to drop everything around me and devote my time to a book, it better damn well molest my brain with sexy, sexy thinking words.

With all that in mind, I would like to tell you the story of when my husband started writing a book...

I was terrified.  At first, it was just an idea.  He wanted to write a zombie book.  No big deal.  Everyone has ideas.  We talk about stuff, never do it.  But then he actually started writing.  The start of his book meant the start of my list of supportive but not too encouraging comments.  I needed to be ready to say something like "that was fun" or "now the dog can have something nice to look at while he's crapping!"

The day finally arrived when he had written enough to convey the start of his story and was ready to share.  He hands me a neatly stapled packet, approximately 40 pages of single spaced hopeful apocalyptic goodness. He holds my gaze with his----

His eyes.  If one nice thing can be said about my man-meat by me, it is that he is the most charming individual I have ever met.  He has eyes that change from blue to green on any given day and the longest lashes I have ever seen on a full grown Caucasian male. He works it.  "Can you please read this and tell me what you think?  It really means a lot to me." Slight fluttering of the eyes as he looks down then returns to hold my gaze.  "I value your opinion more than any ones."
The author checking out the first edition with some dead chick. 

I'm mean but not heartless.  I held the start of The Reaper Virus (then titled "Barely a Soul")in my hands and prepared myself to decide it's future... and by that I mean 'prepared to think of a way to let him down lightly.'

It begins with a tremendous amount of bitterness from the main character.  He was defeated.  Run down.  A husband and a father of two.  It was based on our life and our family but it was set in the future.  I didn't know these people.  He was writing about our daughter who wasn't even born yet.

The story captured all of the meticulous and analytical details that Nathan uses in his real life (some that have since been cut from the book.  You're welcome.  You have no idea HOW MUCH detail this man puts into lists.  For real, for real...).  The story continued to lay the ground work and so far, so good.  No overwhelming need to vomit.  No urge to drop it in the trash, throw it on the ground, set it on fire and then stomp it out with the kukri my husband makes reference to owning in the story.  My interest was piqued. Enough to keep reading...

And then SHIT GETS REAL!! By the time I finished reading the packet, I was ready to punch a Wookie but this time he deserved it.

I wanted more.  I needed to know what was going to happen next but it hadn't been written yet!  Seriously.  What an asshole move.  I didn't have to lie.  It was good.  It was solid.  A little wordy at the beginning but it was a story I had never read.  I NEEDED to read more.

So began The Reaper Virus blog.  And so you know, it was MY idea.  Not only that, I got to read each post before everyone else.  I was first.  Suck it bitches!

I, like many others, continued to follow the story of Nathan, the middle-aged, over-weight police dispatcher who got stuck at work when the world fell.  We watched as this simple, untrained family man used the few things he had and his ever-questioning mind to find a way out of the ruins of a burning city.  We saw him evolve as his friends and coworkers turned into monsters, infected with a mutating virus, their veins blackening and showing through their skin and their eyes dark and empty, craving the living.  The only thing driving him past the heavy onslaught of lethal and untiring obstacles: his desire to see his family.
Nathan: the Man, the Lego, the Legend.

It's a zombie story, sure.  But it's not about zombies.  It's about the people and the way crisis makes us change.  How we handle our fears and adapt to the unexpected.  It's easy to say what we think we would do in a disaster but The Reaper Virus shows us how one man challenges himself to do more.  As the story unfolds, we watch the protagonist soften as he focuses on his loved ones and harden against the remainder of humanity.  It's an easily identifiable dilemma for every citizen of earth and one that questions your own priorities.  The more I read, the more I rooted for this family.  I wanted to get to know them, to discover more about the people I hoped one day I would be.

For the record, he described our future children perfectly!  Our son is just like he is in the story and our daughter... well she can be that sweet sometimes.  It makes you wonder how much of the remaining story will come true.  Perhaps you should read it so you're prepared...

Our daughter turns four next month and this month The Reaper Virus sees it's second edition come to life with it's new home at Permuted Press.  The very same publisher that got us both hooked on the genre many years ago.  The re-release also includes a heart stopping alternate ending, one you will be glad is not the real ending but equally pleased that you got the chance to read!

So yes, I want you to check out my Man-Meats book... cough* The Reaper Virus by Nathan Barnes*cough...  I think you'd like it.  He's a far better writer than I am and I would never suggest something that would reflect poorly on myself.  Remember: I'm mean and vain.  Only the best!

(side note: Mr. Barnes has actually written for this lovely Pretty & Putrid thing before he stopped loving me and started calling himself an "author." You can check out his writing style a bit on these posts: )

Nathan Barnes is the author of The Reaper Virus and it's upcoming sequel The Reaper Virus: What Remains, both from Permuted Press.  He is also the author of the darkly humorous novella My Friend Asmodeus, available on Amazon.  Follow him on Facebook but not Twitter.  Twitter is Skynet says he. 


  1. I did not realize that that was your hubby! I have MY FRIEND ASMODEUS on Kindle, (I remember Joy telling me to download it & I'd love it).
    I may have The Reaper Virus, too.
    I must get to work, these need to be discussed on BBB!! ;)

    1. It is indeed! He's so normal in comparison (and since you've read Asmodeus, you know he's not THAT normal) sometimes it seems like an unlikely match... but he's perfect! If you don't already have TRV, or even if you do, I would check out this edition. The short story alone makes it worth the purchase. But I am partial.
      If you want to talk to the author for let me know. I KNOW him! ;)