It’s always flattering when someone solicits for commentary on their work, but especially so if it’s another writer whose work you happen to respect and enjoy. If that writer also happens to be a good buddy? That’s pretty much a trifecta.
Anyhow, for a few years now I’ve been helping my friend Justin Robinson with feedback on various novels he’s been putting together for attempted publication. Justin has been a very patient man, first with drafting and redrafting his fiction, and then (after suffering the slings and arrows of myself and others picking apart his blood, sweat, and tears), finding a company to help bring his work to the masses, where a professional editor once again would call for rewrites before greenlighting the book. To say the least, it’s not the greatest vector for instant gratification.
Thus, when one of his books finally does make it through all these hoops, it’s a justifiable occasion for joy. I’m particularly happy with this latest, and it’s not necessarily for the reason you might think. Yes, it’s an imaginative take on the zombie genre. Yes, Solstice Publishing saw fit to use my testimonial (even if they call me “Creator” of Zombie Ranch, when I try to always present myself as a co-creator). But what I love best about Undead on Arrival being officially available in PDF, Kindle, and soon, print, is that it puts to rest the Curse of the Wolf.
Let me explain. I am not a superstitious person. I do not believe in things like spilling salt or the number 13 being inherently unlucky, and yet it seemed like so far, every one of Justin’s drafts I’d been lukewarm about sold, while the ones that were my favorites languished in unloved, unpublished limbo. It got to the point that when he sent me his newest tale a few months back, I jokingly responded with something akin to, “I like it. It’s doomed.”
But after several years of watching their non-Wolfened brethren find homes, this is the year both UoA and Mr. Blank, another of my personal faves, get to have their turns in the spotlight. If everything works out Justin will have some print copies of UoA in hand by the time San Diego Comic Con opens its doors, and you better believe I’ll snag one. The Curse is banished. Now we just have to see how many other people in this wide world are as discerning in their tastes as me!