A Joint Effort – ‘Dreaming of a Zombie Christmas’

Dreaming of a Zombie Christmas book coverChristmas is a family time. And in our house, we celebrate family times with family activities – like putting out a book of zombie Christmas stories.

My husband Pat has decided to join me in the world of fiction.

Pat isn’t new to writing; he is a journalist – although for the last few years a natural knack with computers and the internet has taken his job in a slightly different direction. But he has kept his hand in, and now he has written some fiction that he is choosing to publish with some of mine. I am delighted.

Pat has been right there all along, encouraging me first to write, and then to publish.

He is also the one who introduced me to the delights of speculative fiction, lo, those many years ago.

It was the spring of 1977. I was a freshman at the University of Colorado in Boulder. I had sipped from the cup of fantasy fiction with Oz, Narnia, fairy tales, Middle Earth and myths, but that was about it. And then I met this guy…

Pat eventually took me with him to the comic book store in Boulder, Mile High, which, at that time, was a storefront that also carried an incredible selection of science fiction and fantasy, both new and used, along with comic books, both mainstream and the underground comics of that era  (like ElfQuest – which I collected – and Mr. Natural and the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers.)

Speculative fiction was exploding, and it was all there on the shelves waiting for me.

And Pat was more than happy to make suggestions from his favorites.

I was sunk, and never even knew what hit me. Thanks to Pat, I was soon reading Niven and Pournelle and Heinlein. I wandered the back alleys of Lankhmar with Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser. I found Anne McCaffrey and Patricia McKillip and Katherine Kurtz, and a friend introduced me to Roger Zelazny’s Amber series. I was no longer sipping from that cup of science fiction and fantasy, I was guzzling from it and coming back for refills. I haven’t stopped since. I have veered more into the reading of fantasy, over the years, but other than that, I haven’t slowed down. And what I have chosen to write is primarily fantasy.

Eventually, we decided to combine our book collections – and our lives – and proceeded to add to both books and family. Four kids and a basement full of books later…

When I actually decided to start putting my stories down a few years ago, Pat was right there, cheering me on and doing anything he thought would encourage me. He was thinking about a few stories himself, but wasn’t quite ready to jump into writing fiction. We had some really fun brainstorming sessions, and I decided to start encouraging him to write down his ideas, too.

With the collection Dreaming of a Zombie Christmas, we are putting out our first joint effort, with one story by Pat and two by me. We hope to follow this up sometime in the spring with another collection featuring stories about Nicholas Northing, the main character of Plumbing and the Modern Necromancer, with each of us writing several of the stories, from our slightly different viewpoints. It’s been a lot of fun, and I hope it is the starting point for a lot more.

For now, enjoy our trio of short stories about Christmas – just a little to the other side of reality.

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