Playing hooky and back to the grind

Last week, my wife and I committed one of the more controversial and horrific acts that parents can do: we took our kids out of school to go on vacation.

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They’re terrified

Whether this is a good or bad thing, I’ve heard it both ways. In our case, our kids are doing well enough that neither of their teachers thought they needed to bring any work along with them. (My 6th grader was asked to put together a presentation to the class about his trip when we got home, and he knocked it out of the park by all accounts. That’s something that would have made my knees tremble when I was his age, so good job, dude.)

I debated on whether or not to bring my laptop along, but eventually did pack it up. I even got in a little bit of writing, but I spent most of my time doing family stuff. The nice thing about vacation, of course (other than warm weather in the middle of winter) is being able to kick back and read.

And man, did I buzz through some books. I started on Cannibal Gold, the first book in Chuck Dixon’s Bad Times series, a few days before we left, and by the time we departed for home, I’d gone through all five of the available books. The series follows a quartet of former Army Rangers as they’re hired for a rescue mission by a physicist who’s developed a working time machine.

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Thrust back into prehistoric Nevada, the team has to track down the missing researchers, who’ve been — no spoiler, here — waylaid by cannibalistic proto-humans. The disparity in numbers between the good guys and monsters makes for some tense action scenes, and the ending dovetails nicely into the following books. I’m loathe to spoil it, but suffice to say Dixon does a great job bouncing the team through time periods and pretty much entirely avoiding the well-worn eras we’ve seen too often in this sort of fiction. The research is top-notch, and Chuck has expertly crafted books that will keep you up reading way past your bed time.

And, even better, the next book in the series, Pirates of the Cretaceous, is out at the end of the month! Check out the rest of the series and you’ll be ready for the latest release on launch day.

In between kicking the tires on my outline and opening chapters for Vigilance, I’ve been working on a couple of stories that will bracket the upcoming Z-Day anthology. The first is a bit of a bridge between the outbreak and the meat of the events in A Place Outside the Wildso expect to see some familiar names in there. The second occurs after A Place for War and will lead into the eventual follow-on books. To get myself in the proper headspace, I’ve been looking around for more pure survival types of stories, rather than simply just zombies. Any suggestions? Drop them in the comments below, or shoot me an e-mail.

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