Zombie Book Club

"Planet Dead" Interview with author Sylvester Barzey | Zombie Book Club Podcast Episode 35

March 10, 2024 Zombie Book Club Season 2 Episode 35
"Planet Dead" Interview with author Sylvester Barzey | Zombie Book Club Podcast Episode 35
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Zombie Book Club
"Planet Dead" Interview with author Sylvester Barzey | Zombie Book Club Podcast Episode 35
Mar 10, 2024 Season 2 Episode 35
Zombie Book Club

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Join us as we delve into "Planet Dead," a thrilling exploration of a post-apocalyptic world that masterfully blends dark comedy with the stark realities of survival, featuring formidable Black heroines and unforgettable clown cannibals. Sylvester gives us insight into the inspirations behind this gripping tale, including the societal reflections that underscore the narrative, and shares his perspective on the future of humanity amidst our own self-made barriers. With a keen eye for character development and a sharp wit, Sylvester discusses the importance of humor in horror, the power of centering stories around Black female protagonists, and the importance of writing across different genders and ethnicities.

Beyond the pages of "Planet Dead," Sylvester opens up about his personal life, touching on the joys and challenges of fatherhood in today's world, his deepest fears and sources of inspiration, and his deliberate choice to pursue an indie author path. For those eager to dive deeper into Sylvester Barzey's horror universe and discover more about his impactful work and where to find it, join us for this unforgettable episode that celebrates the art of storytelling, the importance of diverse voices in literature, and the enduring allure of the zombie genre.


Sylvester Barzeys Website
https://www.sylvesterbarzey.com

Follow our linktree for social media links, and links to all the places you can find our podcast!
https://linktr.ee/zombiebookclub

Zombie Book Club Voicemail
(614) 699-0006‬

Zombie Book Club Email
ZombieBookClubPodcast@gmail.com

Follow our linktree for social media links, and links to all the places you can find our podcast!
https://linktr.ee/zombiebookclub

ZBC Discord Server
https://discord.com/invite/8hCSb4eg

Zombie Book Club Voicemail
(614) 699-0006‬

Zombie Book Club Email
ZombieBookClubPodcast@gmail.com

Our Secret Website That Isn't Finished
https://zombiebookclub.io

Our Merchandise Store (Where you can find our Evil Magic Chicken Zombie Shirts)
https://zombie-book-club.myspreadshop.com

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Join us as we delve into "Planet Dead," a thrilling exploration of a post-apocalyptic world that masterfully blends dark comedy with the stark realities of survival, featuring formidable Black heroines and unforgettable clown cannibals. Sylvester gives us insight into the inspirations behind this gripping tale, including the societal reflections that underscore the narrative, and shares his perspective on the future of humanity amidst our own self-made barriers. With a keen eye for character development and a sharp wit, Sylvester discusses the importance of humor in horror, the power of centering stories around Black female protagonists, and the importance of writing across different genders and ethnicities.

Beyond the pages of "Planet Dead," Sylvester opens up about his personal life, touching on the joys and challenges of fatherhood in today's world, his deepest fears and sources of inspiration, and his deliberate choice to pursue an indie author path. For those eager to dive deeper into Sylvester Barzey's horror universe and discover more about his impactful work and where to find it, join us for this unforgettable episode that celebrates the art of storytelling, the importance of diverse voices in literature, and the enduring allure of the zombie genre.


Sylvester Barzeys Website
https://www.sylvesterbarzey.com

Follow our linktree for social media links, and links to all the places you can find our podcast!
https://linktr.ee/zombiebookclub

Zombie Book Club Voicemail
(614) 699-0006‬

Zombie Book Club Email
ZombieBookClubPodcast@gmail.com

Follow our linktree for social media links, and links to all the places you can find our podcast!
https://linktr.ee/zombiebookclub

ZBC Discord Server
https://discord.com/invite/8hCSb4eg

Zombie Book Club Voicemail
(614) 699-0006‬

Zombie Book Club Email
ZombieBookClubPodcast@gmail.com

Our Secret Website That Isn't Finished
https://zombiebookclub.io

Our Merchandise Store (Where you can find our Evil Magic Chicken Zombie Shirts)
https://zombie-book-club.myspreadshop.com

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Zombie Book Club, the only club where the book is an interview with our favorite indie zombie author, sylvester Barzee, about his book Planet Dead, a dark comedy that includes badass black heroines, nightmarish landscapes, edge of your seat, suspense and most horrifying clown cannibals you can imagine Horrifying. I'm Dan, and when I'm not being loved to sleep by Leah as she sweetly reads Planet Dead in a variety of voices, I'm writing a book about a soldier tasked with rescuing a politician responsible for allowing a zombie outbreak in the middle of New York City, despite his own desires to throw him off the roof of the building they are currently trapped on.

Speaker 2:

Just throw him off?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, maybe I will.

Speaker 2:

And I'm Leah, and while I love voice acting, the dude's voice is especially in Planet Dead. Sylvester, please do not ask me to do them on air, because they're really embarrassing and you would never want that to be in your audiobook. Sylvester is a best-selling horror and fantasy author who grew up in Bronx, new York, and was later translated to Lawrence, georgia, way to Go, georgia, my favorite state. A military veteran with an addiction to all things horror, sylvester's goal is to shine a spotlight on black, indigenous and people of color characters within the horror and fantasy genre. Welcome to the Horde, sylvester, and thanks for being with us today. How's it going?

Speaker 3:

I'm just going good. Thank you guys for having me. I was a little worried because you know I don't have any zombie chickens in my university and I had no plans of zombie chickens. I have a zombie like deer and cow coming up.

Speaker 2:

What does a zombie cow sound like?

Speaker 3:

You can think on that. It was quiet. They lure him in or he walks in and then, like people, get infected from eating it sweet. That's what makes me laugh, you know I like that.

Speaker 2:

Sounds vaguely reminiscent of what does that disease call again the pre-on disease, mad cow disease?

Speaker 3:

Oh, mad cow disease, yeah, yeah, mad zombie cow disease.

Speaker 2:

That's honestly terrifying. I love cows and I don't want to think about them being evil. Sylvester, I want to get our chastor with five rapid fire questions, so we're going to throw them at you real fast. Just go with your gut, never a wrong answer at the book club and, dan, you're going to go with your first one.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, okay, which would you choose A 40 hour work week or a zombie apocalypse?

Speaker 3:

40 hour work week. I got too many people to protect my face. I got time for it.

Speaker 1:

That's fair. I was expecting a different answer, but yeah, I guess it changes when, like you, have to drag along some humans that aren't capable of fighting zombies.

Speaker 3:

One of them is a new baby. Yeah, the survival plan is to hide in the closet. I don't want to get here right now, honestly that's a pretty decent plan.

Speaker 2:

We can work on that. Okay, it's the zombie apocalypse. Sorry, it's not the 40 hour work week when you get to eat only one shelf stable food item for the rest of your life only one, what would you choose?

Speaker 3:

Maybe chef or beef or other foods, that's not bad Because if you go hunting you can get the protein. I've never had a kid. Yeah, I've never had a kid, so I think I can stomach it for like the full apartment that's impressive.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean, if children can survive off of it, I guess it's not too bad. Next question which character from the golden girls would you want in your survival crew, and why?

Speaker 3:

I want Dorothy. I feel I've said that blanche and I said that Blanche would probably be a good survivor, but, like, if I had to team up with somebody, it would be Dorothy. She annoyed me a little bit, but I feel like she'd be on top of me.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, she's tough, dorothy yeah, yeah, she's tough and pragmatic.

Speaker 2:

Dorothy is not a Sue in your book. No, and for the folks who haven't read Planet Dedia and our book Club, Shame on you. You should know who Sue is. In another interview you said that when you were younger you hated horror, but then your sisters helped you find your love for it, and I couldn't find what age you said you were when you started watching horror with your siblings. So I want to know was I wrong to talk with my six-year-old nephew about zombies, Like what's the age cut off?

Speaker 3:

I don't think you're wrong. I feel like there's like there's introductions to horror. There's like definitely like Scooby-Doo, like Zombie Island was big and things like that. I feel like there's ways to ease people into horror instead of saying you know.

Speaker 2:

What I learned is that he already knew what they were. It was my mom who was horrified, his grandma she was not okay with this conversation, oh okay. I was trying to get him to be a guest on the show, and my mom, if you don't know it, oh, okay, yeah, my mom.

Speaker 3:

She gets the books but she doesn't read them. She's like I'll read you stuff when you start writing about living in people.

Speaker 1:

There's living people in your books Come on Last question, very important one, in another interview you talk about zombie zoos and we have a running discussion here about evil magic chicken zombies. Who do you think would win a battle 100 evil magic chicken zombies or 10 gorilla zombies?

Speaker 3:

100 evil magic chicken zombies.

Speaker 2:

Versus 10 gorilla zombies, because I feel like it's unfair if it's 100 versus 100, you know yeah.

Speaker 3:

I feel like the 10 gorilla zombies can still do it. Now I feel it was like one gorilla zombie or five, I'd probably feel no, but I feel like 10 of them was smashed, them all with their hands. Like I've watched, like it's like an animal planet, a tax show I am prey or something and it wasn't even a gorilla. It was just like chimpanzee and that thing was scary. What are you doing? Yeah, I'm pretty sure the gorillas could handle it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, our ape relatives are kind of freaky, honestly. Baboos, those teeth. I wouldn't want to mess with one of those. I think I agree 10 gorilla zombies. No offense to our evil magic chicken zombie fans.

Speaker 1:

Let's talk about this book that we've been reading for how long?

Speaker 2:

Six weeks. We're a very slow reader. Sylvester and I would read a chapter a night before bedtime, so it took us a little bit. 10 weeks, 10 weeks yeah, it's kind of hilarious. If I didn't read audiobooks, I probably wouldn't get any Same.

Speaker 3:

It comes to me like reading is probably. If I had to physically read a book, I'd probably get like two or one. Yeah, I mean, there's so many things to do in the day that, like, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know.

Speaker 3:

But I would say that like I don't. I mean, I know that there are people who have time to sit down and read, but I don't understand how, when I get time to sit down, it's just kind of like when I read it. I don't know.

Speaker 2:

I tend to fall asleep when I'm just reading and then, like I kind of hit me in my face and then, yeah, that's what happened a few times.

Speaker 2:

Reading to Dan, I'd be like, literally, your visuals were so disturbing, sylvester, that I'd be like looking away from the book like as if I could like read it and also know what's happening by not looking at it like it was a movie, and I look over and Dan's like just starting to slumber. This is not fair. And it's not because it wasn't wonderful, it's just. You know the soothing sound of my voice? Yeah, that's a clown cannibal.

Speaker 3:

Right, cool, that's very cool.

Speaker 1:

I think it's even more exhausting if you're doing, if you're reading out loud. I don't know how school teachers do it. I've been read so many books in school and it's like, oh, you do this all day.

Speaker 3:

That's why they used to pick you I forgot that. Oh yeah, they did.

Speaker 1:

I mean, like you read one section and now you go and yeah, and I'll sit in the back and lay my head down on the desk in the dark.

Speaker 1:

I have actually had a teacher like that. He would basically just put on a movie, be like watch the movie version, and he'd go like lay his head down in the back of the room with the lights off. He was only an English teacher for like a year, so we invited our listeners to read along with us. So many have probably read your book already, but for the delinquent Horde members who haven't yet, could you introduce to us what Planet Dead is all about?

Speaker 3:

Okay, yeah, sure. So Planet Dead is a post-credits story that follows Katherine Briggs. She's just like this kind of like final girl mama bear. I call her my Sarah Connor, that's pretty much what she is to me. So Katherine is separated from her family. They believe she's dead, and it's just all about her going through Georgia to find her husband and her son. It's like I'd say it was like a distant future, alternate reality thing, because there's like the wall was already built and like it's kind of funny because, like when I was writing it, I thought about Trump president. I was like this could only happen under someone yeah, and that's how I wrote my book and then he became president. I was like, well, this.

Speaker 1:

Nobody's ever gonna believe me. When were you writing your book 2010?

Speaker 3:

is when I first started writing Planet Dead. It was I started hearing things about the walking dead. I hadn't read the com books before, but I was getting closer and closer to a show coming out. I was pretty hyped. So I was like I'm gonna write my own thing.

Speaker 3:

Before I only wrote like poems and stuff and I wanted to actually give myself the task of actually completing something and to make it less intimidating I broke it down into like chapters. I treated chapters like they were short stories and the story was always like rotating, so each chapter was a different story. So there was Catherine's story, there's her husband's story, which is the Great's Voids Mixed State, and then there's Jessica's story, which is Love Bikes. So at some point I just stopped the three story thing. I just focused on Catherine. Probably around the time that I like I deployed, because I took a break from writing, and when I deployed not that many people know that it was sometimes a time when I was in between, so when I wasn't in the kitchen cooking, I was working on it and yeah, and so I wrote Catherine's Own and then I doubled back, wrote the Great's Voids and Jessica continued it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'm looking forward to picking up the next couple of books for this it's gonna be I think it'll be our continued tradition, like bedtime stories with Sylvester You'll be here. That's starting to sound creepy. Okay, sorry, not intentional. You talked already about how you base the world of Planet Dead sort of on reality, and I didn't realize that you were like predicting this possibility of Trump, because reading it in 2024 was like giving me bad flashbacks. And also, frankly, our world is already and continues to be a mess, especially with the wall, and I loved how you framed it with this idea that, because the wall is built, it's now impossible to escape the undead. But I will say I am Canadian, sylvester, and I was kind of like what about Canada? There's no wall.

Speaker 1:

I guess they're in Georgia, I guess they're in Georgia.

Speaker 2:

It's a long way.

Speaker 3:

I just had this thought process that like America kind of like messed up with all their allies and they're just kind of like cut off. Like you can try and go to Canada and they'll probably be like yeah, you can come in and but I don't feel like they're actively trying to get people out of America.

Speaker 1:

So I believe that's how I did my university. Understandable.

Speaker 2:

Frankly, we moved to Vermont so we could be three hours from the border and since I've got Canadian citizenship.

Speaker 3:

If we need to, Just you evacuate your good Basically, yeah, yeah, it's an intentional choice. I hate to say it.

Speaker 2:

But what I wanted to ask you was like in your book, you show us clearly like you do a great job of doing some like horrifying zombie moments that are pretty gory and scary, hence me having to look away. But the real enemy is the other people and this political context that they're in, and I'm I ended this book thinking like Sylvester do you have hope for humanity? Why not? I definitely have hope for humanity.

Speaker 3:

Like, although the universe is like terrible, catherine is a hope for humanity. Catherine is she comes off kind of like standoff it and like she only cares about getting her family done, but as you follow her and you see her, she just kind of puts herself in front of people that she feels like needs to be protected. So I feel like Catherine is the hope for humanity. I feel like she just doesn't realize that she's more trusting than she believes.

Speaker 2:

I think that's actually very real too, like there's women like Catherine Briggs out there right now that are frankly hope for humanity Because it's a mess, and I look to people that are trying to like make the world a little bit different. I think that's actually very real too. I think that's the people that are trying to like make the world a little bit better in this really world, weird world that we're living in, a really weird world.

Speaker 3:

Like it's crazy.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's sometimes kinda difficult to think about Because it's just like. It's sometimes just so unbelievable, it's like it's hard to believe that it's true. Yeah.

Speaker 3:

Like um, it's funny that you brought up Canada, because I'm working on like a short story about Canada, because they have that, um like uh, youth in Asia program where you can just like sign up and get medically taken out, so like that. When I first heard that on the news I was like this is insane, I don't, I don't get. This is insane. So it just kind of developed into like a story.

Speaker 2:

I will say I'd probably sign up because I don't like not knowing how I'm going to die.

Speaker 3:

So just for yeah, just so you know you have your dates extended. Yeah, it's like a nice, peaceful, hopefully I mean who knows what it's really like.

Speaker 2:

right, but I've put some pets down to not to get too more, but as far, as the basic goes yeah, I guess we got to hope that it was peaceful.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it looks like it anyways.

Speaker 1:

It's kind of like the karmic ending Like I guess I'll go out the way I sent so many pets, yeah, and then you realize at the end this was actually horrible.

Speaker 2:

That's a disturbing. That's disturbing. I'm very interested to see what you do with this, the story of your Sylvester. So I have to talk with you about, um, the cannibal clown story arc, because what happened is when I got your book, first of all, I really loved your packaging, it super entertained me. But I opened it up to like a random page because that's always what I do, even if I'm not going to get a chance to read it right away and the first, the first page, was happy, being not very nice, not a very happy guy, happy. And so I'm just curious like what on earth inspired clown cannibals? Why did you put the two scariest things together that could happen to the apocalypse?

Speaker 3:

I mean that's why I thought like I thought it'd just be really cool to like I'll, in my head, the biggest fair in the apocalypse probably would be campus. I feel like with people lacking food and resources and we're going to have these groups, people are like, well, I'm just saying to you so, um, that was probably always going to be an aspect to it. But as far as the clown thing goes, I just I think zombie clowns and just like circus things are, when you flip them to be scary, it's fun. I just I just thought it would be fun and I think we watch a lot of true prime and stuff.

Speaker 3:

So things like John Wayne, jc and Jeffrey. I kind of play into it Because if you, if you kind of look at the ringmaster and he's he's very charismatic, he's very psychotic, like he's probably more like Ted Bundy than anything and yeah. So I just kind of went that route with them and a lot of people have said that why did you put them both together? I was like I had no idea that people would be impacted like that, like I never really had a fear of clowns, but then I realized I never actually seen a clown, aside from Ronald McDonald.

Speaker 2:

That's for the best. That's for the best it's. I mean, that's interesting because I didn't know the term. Is it cool or a phobia? I don't think I really could say it properly.

Speaker 1:

But I didn't even know that was a term before.

Speaker 2:

I just thought that it was innate humanity to like be afraid of a clown.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we're all afraid of them.

Speaker 2:

It was kind of brilliant and, like the, the zombies in the crowd that was I was just like that is. I won't. I'm not going to do any spoilers, but highly entertaining moment in the book, even though it was definitely the parts where I started being like I've got to look away, even though I know I need to look back to know what happens next. This is not a movie.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, follow up to to the cannibal clowns. Something that like immediately came to mind when we were reading that was the episode of Z Nation where they come across the, the Juggalo survivors. Yeah, but you, you probably started writing that long before that show ever got there.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah, I do love that episode though, because it was like Warren just kind of flipped everybody's expectations. I've heard you did not expect that the worm is going to be a jiggalo or jiggalo, so that really, that really stood out to be that episode. I don't believe that. But yeah, no, I wrote the ringmaster in M before that. So, and and they're a little different than the juggalo people because they were, you know, reasonable, I feel like you could get along with them eventually. Some of them he doesn't want to get along with them. No, yeah.

Speaker 1:

No, he wants to eat them. So one of the things that we loved most about your book was dialogue. Like you had hilarious dialogue, did you manage to find the right balance between your characters saying hilarious things and dire circumstances and the realism of the zombie apocalypse. How did you manage to balance?

Speaker 3:

that I just always been like I love horror, but I've always been really into like horror comedies and things like that, like I prefer to be in over the walking dead just because it makes me laugh and stuff, and I just I've always felt like in in dire situations, there's still going to be other emotions, you're still going to laugh, you're still going to have things go on, nobody's just being mad. I don't see how that's. And as far as like happening though, it's kind of like in the black community, when things are negative, like if you look at like black Twitter and stuff, there's still people that just joke about it and they just kind of make light of the situation, kind of like when that submarine went down with those people.

Speaker 1:

I'm guilty. I was really happy about that.

Speaker 3:

The internet did not get dark at all. So I just, I just enjoy being able to make someone laugh. Yeah, I feel like it's when I was first reading I want to say it was Slow Burn, the Slow Burn series by Bobby Adair I was laughing out loud and that's when I was like I really I want to do this for other people. So I'm really making people laugh and it gives them a nice little break from the horror and then it keeps them from expecting something dark.

Speaker 2:

I appreciate that the characters were aware of the absurdity of the situation they were in. I feel like you've got a laugh in situations like that.

Speaker 1:

Otherwise it's euthanasia, right Like those are your two options, and then that's the situation, like that yeah. Yeah, I mean I think that, like something that people get wrong when they try to make something that's ultra gritty and realistic is that they don't inject the comedy into it. And like what we've learned as veterans is that there's comedy everywhere.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, even in the worst times, off the wall jokes and stuff I've ever heard would probably be a bit of a joke. Yeah, but the military definitely shaped my sense of humor too. I feel like Katherine has a military base, yeah she does.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, Do you as a fellow. Are you? Are you still the military? Are you a veteran? I think you're a veteran, right? Yes. Okay, it's great to hear I'm Dan will like make jokes that are incredibly dark, like so dark I use. I worked in veteran suicide prevention and I'll just say some of the what you know that he makes them like please don't make this job, it's so upsetting. And he told me that it's because of the military. Do you think that that's true? Like is that just super dark humor to cope.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I believe there's like definitely dark humor in the military. Just to get over it, I feel like, okay, so before the point like we're getting ready to deploy, and we did have one soldier who's pretty scared and I'm just standing there and I thought they were gonna like tear him up and be like it's gonna be fine. It wasn't like you're not gonna make it, I was just like you can't tell him that, I'm just letting him know.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, like your next duty station, you're gonna PCS to the afterlife.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, Like, yeah, it's definitely, definitely things like that is just dark humor and it's funny because if you're not, if you're not laughing, you're gonna cry or you're gonna say that's real.

Speaker 2:

I can only imagine, yeah.

Speaker 3:

I'm a firm believer of that.

Speaker 1:

So, given that, how would you say, is or is not your desire to write about the, about horror and zombie apocalypse? Is that in any way connected to your experiences in the military?

Speaker 3:

Not so much.

Speaker 3:

I was really into horror and stuff before the military and like I grew my heart recollection to and staying amount of DVDs when I was a boy. But I feel like if I took any aspect from the military that I infused into my writing, it's probably just mental health and mental illness, depression, ptsd, like that I infused that into into my books. Like if you I guess this be like spoiler but if you kind of follow Sue's path, you can see that she's dealing with a lot of PTSD and trauma from her experience with their ring and so like yeah, I, just I I work on things like that Because I feel like it helps to let people know that they're not alone. Like sometimes when you're battling with mental issues and stuff, you feel like either you feel like you're the only one experiencing this or you feel like you know everybody's experiencing it. You just need to set it up and something like that. So I try and express that through my characters. Anything that I'm dealing with kind of like emotional lives I just working out through my writing.

Speaker 1:

Something that I've been like a working theory that I have about dark humor and veterans is that, like you know, like from an outsider, you might hear the jokes that we say about taking the long sleep, or, you know, going to the six feet of rope store and then picking up a wobbly ladder on the way home. Like you might. You might cringe at that, like Leah is right now. Yeah, well, like, something that I'm kind of thinking is that these types of dark humor is kind of how we let other veterans know that they're like, they're not alone in how they they feel sometimes.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, Just because it's hard. It's hard Like I've lost a few battles to suicide and then you just kind of kind of feel like I should have said something. I wish I was there, or something like that. So, yeah, it's difficult. So I feel like, yeah, we do use humor to just maybe just open up the door or to just let someone know that year struggling, yeah, we can talk about it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's like a shorthand communication. Yeah, yeah, most definitely yeah.

Speaker 2:

That's interesting. I think I appreciate that you write about it in your books because I agree with you. I think a lot of people do think that they're alone, whether they have PTSD from being in the military or just mental health struggles. I mean, I certainly have my own. It is nice to see that reflected what I appreciate about your books. Even Catherine, who is incredibly strong, still is a human and clearly experiencing challenges, finding moments really difficult, and sometimes I feel like the zombie genre is incredibly white male power fantasy version where, like like when I rewatched World War Zed and I will never call it C, so don't make me- Zed Nation.

Speaker 2:

World War Zed. When I watched World War Zed again, like I've watched it years ago, I was so just disappointed in it. Really just Brad Pitt, ian Nebatas basically mowing down hordes. Yeah, seeming completely unfazed by it all. Yeah. His family is just his peripheral set of characters.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's kind of crazy too because like that is kind of like the consensus with the books and then you'll get into these like zombie groups and that's kind of like the thought process with a lot of them and everybody's a super prepper. Everybody's like I have like 50, 60 guns. I'm like, okay, but are they clean? Have you gone to the range? But it's just, it's crazy because I'll hear people and they have like these master plans and I'm just like you're not going to make it out of your house.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, for real. And that, like something that I'm trying to think of like while I'm writing, is like how much do people who are so ready to pull the trigger Like how much does that put them in danger in the first 48 hours of the outbreak? That's true.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, like people who were just handling garing and ready for it. I feel like they'd either try to be like shell shocked by it, or they would cause more harm than they actually think they would. So I feel like things like that would happen a lot.

Speaker 1:

Like so much more crossfire because they haven't been trained to.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, very big dude, and they end up hitting your neighbor through their window and stuff. It's just like crazy?

Speaker 1:

You know there was. I don't know, have you ever read the John Dies at the end books?

Speaker 3:

No, I've been meaning to read it because I wanted to watch a movie, but I was like I need to read the books.

Speaker 1:

God, I don't want to spoil this for you then, but in the second book there's just this scene where there's a lot of buildup with this group of people that are all super highly armed and they think. They think that zombies are just coming at them out of the out of the walls, and they mow them all down and it's it's, it's messed up and it goes very badly just because, like they were these types that just had all the guns but none of the training.

Speaker 2:

This is why I feel paranoid when we go to the Walmart in New Hampshire, because there's so many people with open carry guns. I'm just like you're just waiting to like be a hero and you're not. You're not.

Speaker 3:

It's crazy because, like that's the argument all the time, you're like if everyone had guns, then mass shootings would stop. I was like, well, some people have them and it's still happening. So, yeah, I don't know what you talked about and I was like I feel like that would just give more access to someone that wants to do mass shooting. Yeah, I keep seeing things that are like I don't know, like they made that bulletproof backpack and they're like they'll just put it in front and now it's bulletproof. And I was just like I was a shooter. I'd want that too. But yeah, there's this like jacket where the whole front just comes up so you could just shoot from the hip, and I was like you guys are just making this shit. I feel like people make things and that their anticipation is like this is going to help society. And I feel like that's what happened with the atomic bomb this is going to help society. It really didn't. That's some things I just read into. I'll see them posting it in groups and I was just like no.

Speaker 2:

You could be spending all that like research and development on I don't know like actually solving the crisis of mass shootings and mental health and mental health.

Speaker 3:

Like I feel like you put all that money towards mental health and, like I don't know, get rid of the NRA before they turn into the purge or something.

Speaker 1:

And it's just like the new founding fathers I know like.

Speaker 3:

I feel like eventually they're going to be like. You know what this purge is a pretty damn good idea.

Speaker 1:

You know what? That's what I was saying before about how it's so crazy that it's hard to believe, like like Leo watches the purge movies and the purge movies and she's like this is so unrealistic, I'm like I don't know.

Speaker 3:

We're like one politician's bad day away from the purge.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

This one of them just like. Well, I can't be president, so I'm just going to take it over.

Speaker 1:

I mean, I don't want to look at where we are.

Speaker 2:

I do feel like the only reason our society is sort of still working is because, like we've collectively just decided to pretend everything's okay, you know, because, like the stock market is literally just some people being like, yeah, I think things are good.

Speaker 1:

Half the time. That's all. It is Just people and their feelings. Yeah, I feel safe today. Yeah, do you want to do the next one?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. So obviously, like as a woman, it was really awesome for me to see that pretty much all of the main characters in Planet Dead are women. Katherine Briggs is a black woman and that is not something that you see every day and I know it's like a big part of why you say what you write about and choose to. And I'm curious you know this is something that Dan and I talk a lot about on the podcast, why representation is important and why we're tired of just reading another white male power fantasy. But I would love to hear from you, like why do you think it's important to have Katherine Briggs is of the world and why did you choose to make the men characters like they were there and they had some purpose, but they were certainly peripheral, I think, to the main folks in your book.

Speaker 3:

I feel like my whole existence is because of black women. Like my mom was a strong black woman, I have tons of strong sisters and my wife's amazing. So I feel like black women are just kind of like easy targets society and no one likes to focus on the strengths that they have. And as far as like the apocalypse or the apocalypse, I don't like the thought process that some people come to, where it's like oh, there's no rules, so women are just going to end up on rape farms and all this other stuff. Yeah, I've definitely seen that.

Speaker 3:

I've been in the military with women that would like run circles Like it's just, it's ridiculous. Some of the things that people come up with and I just feel like my character is they're badass women and they're just. We just like everybody else. They want to survive. They have more emotions than just this one track mind thing. I just prefer that. I just want to be able to, I guess, make my mom a friend if she ever.

Speaker 2:

I'm sure she's already proud, sylvester. I think that's really awesome. I mean, I know that black women have been responsible for so much of whatever is good in our world, which is why I think you're totally right about like why do you that's Catherine Briggs of the world's are the folks who give you hope? That makes a lot of sense to me. I am curious, though, like well, let me double check. You do identify as a man, yes, okay, and I assume, but I thought I should. You know, I'm trying to be thoughtful. I am curious what it was like for you to put yourself in the shoes of women.

Speaker 3:

I feel, I feel like, like a lot of this, I watch horror, so a lot of the media I consume is final girls and women are the centerpiece. The only difference between like the horror genre what I do is find it dead is our genre normally has like a meek female protagonist goes through all this trauma and then she becomes strong and planet is just a strong Like I don't need her to be broken or to be looking to somebody to save her because she can do it.

Speaker 3:

And save a bunch of other people save the Susan world. Yeah, what just seems yeah.

Speaker 2:

My voice for Sue. I will refuse to do it, but it was a good one. I forget, so I'm not doing it.

Speaker 3:

People hated Sue a lot more than I thought they would Like I just I wrote Sue and I was just like, okay, yeah, she's annoying, she's just, but she's there, she serves a purpose. And then some people was like I would never open that door. Oh, she grows a lot.

Speaker 1:

Like you know, like, yeah, pre cannibal clowns, yeah, maybe a little bit annoying, but like it's fine. But then like like there's there's that moment, and like things change, yeah.

Speaker 3:

And I'm one character that I really enjoyed and I felt like I put a lot of thought into it and I was like people are going to love this, they can really get what I'm going for. And nobody cares about his faith. So I felt like I put like a lot of emotions into faith. Like this is like country saw a lot like black tears. I listened to it the whole time I was writing face so thing and then like I haven't had one person like you know that faith care no not one.

Speaker 2:

Well, I do have one more question for you on this, on this piece, because I think it's something that writers need to be thinking about, and I want to just commend you because you did a really great job of writing many female characters coming from different backgrounds, I think really well, and when I do sometimes see men write women characters, I mean you know the cringy stereotypes. You didn't do that and I really really appreciate it. So do you have any tips for other authors, dan, like me, who want to have main characters that are really important to you, whether a different gender or race on? Like, how do you do that effectively and respectfully?

Speaker 3:

I feel like for a different gender. I feel like just treat them the way you would your male character. If you're writing this book and you don't ever figure your male character is going to be held down or raped, then I don't understand why you feel like she needs to be. So that's, that's one thing that I do. As far as like other races, I feel like you should definitely do your research and speak to people. Try to make sure that you're not offending anybody. Like in part two, we have Christian, Christian, Mexican and I grew up in that community with a lot of like Hispanic people. So I felt like did injustice. I don't feel like I did anything to offend anybody. If I did, I hope they would come and help. But like for the most part, like just leave out stereotypes, just like do your research, that's the biggest thing and just treat them like you would your main character. Like I mean, I know most people got to be victims. Some people are in there just to be canonized, but you know they're fictional.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. I mean I think that basically what you're saying, what I'm hearing you saying, is so obvious and yet I see a lot of people fail at this when they write, which is like I don't know. Treat people who are different than you, that you write about like they're real people that are complicated.

Speaker 3:

It's so weird. It's because, like, I'll read a book and then they'll have this male character and he's just like I was in the military and that's all we know about. Then this female character comes in and I help her bra side.

Speaker 2:

I was like what is going on.

Speaker 3:

Like why are we this detailed?

Speaker 2:

I will say, though, that I really like appreciated the intro. I think it's in the first chapter of your book, where Catherine is like fantasizing about her husband and there's like this really lovely sensual moment where I thought like maybe there'd be more of that in the book.

Speaker 1:

The spicy version, yeah.

Speaker 2:

There could be some spices.

Speaker 1:

Is it going to be in the first chapter?

Speaker 2:

I was like that's kind of open. Maybe you can alternate a version.

Speaker 1:

It's time to release an alternate version, yeah.

Speaker 2:

It's like a smut companion.

Speaker 3:

Maybe one day I was thought about like alternate universe planet did. Yeah, that'd be super fun yeah.

Speaker 1:

The way that you write is really very visual, like it's easy to picture what you're describing, and so much that sometimes Leah would look away from the book and shield her eyes from the gore.

Speaker 2:

Repeatedly.

Speaker 1:

That she's reading, so which you can imagine how that affects her reading experience.

Speaker 2:

I think it was more affecting your reading experience because I'd pop because I would like be reading a hat and then be like, oh God, I'd be like take a minute. Dan's like what Just give me a second.

Speaker 1:

You know, when you wrote this, did you imagine it like as a film or a series one day?

Speaker 3:

Oh yeah, most definitely. I just feel like that's just kind of out into play out. When I grew up, when I was growing up, I read Tom books and I watched a lot of TV. I didn't really read too many books, maybe like Goosebumps, book Air so I feel like my thought process towards books is very visual. It's funny because some people are like. You describe things a lot and I feel like I don't describe a lot of things. Me and my wife get so much. You're very detailed with things. I'm like I don't know. Katherine walks into a room. It's just the room until I eat something, that's a far away to tell it's not like golden trim and whatnot.

Speaker 3:

I had an editor because I'm working on this zombie apocalypse book that's set during the golden age of piracy. So this play trade is what causes zombie apocalypse. Yeah, so like, I mean technically true, yeah. So my editor was kind of like I think it was like a scene and she walks in, she's like looking for the captain and he's behind a desk and he's like, nope, the desk just appeared and you didn't describe anything in the room. So this is just a blank room with a desk out of here. So you want to know?

Speaker 1:

You're like getting on, indeed like new editor.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So I feel like people just like attack things differently when I read books. I'll read Stephen King books and I'll be like, why did we have this three paragraph of this? This was not easy. So I feel like when I write things, I cut things that I feel like needed. I know there are some readers that don't like that. They feel like my world isn't fully explained because they're like oh, what does Catherine eat? When does she use the bathroom?

Speaker 3:

I didn't think once about that, unless the zombie is going to come out. Once the zombie is going to come out of the toilet, I don't care about that.

Speaker 2:

Have you seen zombie ass toilet at the dead? I heard it. Yeah, we have been working on courage up to try and watch it, but I don't know if I can.

Speaker 1:

We watched the trailer.

Speaker 2:

I can do it. But seriously though, if it was a TV series or a movie, who would you want to play Catherine Briggs and who would you want to play Sue?

Speaker 3:

So I don't want to butcher her name. I believe her name is or she was in. She was in a period piece of song Bell and then she's also been in black mirror, like the episode when these elderly women are in a virtual reality. Yes, the black woman in that one, yeah, and she was in the Cloverfield paradox. You said okay, so I've always just pictured her and that's Sue, probably because I watch a lot of CW, and probably Betty from Riverdale Nice.

Speaker 2:

I can totally picture that.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so that would definitely be that.

Speaker 1:

You picture like the people, like you'd like pick somebody in your head while you're writing to like help you keep track of like who these people are, what they look like, what their mannerisms are. Yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 3:

I definitely like fan past things, so I have a better way of describing things Like if I probably had a picture of somebody that my character's here is probably like that I. It's weird, I must show you how very young but I used to do like online comic book role play on my space.

Speaker 2:

You and Dash would be besties.

Speaker 3:

So, yeah, I used to do a lot of that and people kind of just like use celebrities, that they're like pictures and stuff. I get a lot of my dialogue and anything that I do design wise.

Speaker 2:

I love that. Did you ever watch succession?

Speaker 3:

No, I heard it was good.

Speaker 2:

Oh, it is good.

Speaker 3:

Okay, well, this will make no sense to you, but now you have to watch it just so you can get to know this character, because he's wonderful.

Speaker 2:

Dan picked Greg.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I was succession to play the walking dead RPG.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, oh yeah.

Speaker 2:

Greg like character.

Speaker 1:

The walking dead RPG has like a lot of archetypes, so I picked the nobody and I'm like who's the biggest nobody? And it was Greg from succession.

Speaker 2:

Who pukes through the eye hole. I'll just give you a little taste of Greg to make you want to watch this Sylvester. The first thing we see Greg is that he's his first day on the job at a theme park and he's the mascot and he's hung over and he pukes to the eye holes of the mascot. It's wonderful.

Speaker 3:

That's Greg. That would definitely be a nice zombie apocalypse survivor. I could see it starting like that right after he gets fired.

Speaker 2:

I probably being in a mascot suit would be like a great protection. I never thought about that. I'm getting like a really big mascot suit.

Speaker 1:

It could be a drawback and it could help you yeah.

Speaker 3:

I feel like if you watched and the apocalypse is this dude in this like snowman suit, so I feel like it could be protection because you're really covered, like I feel like maybe a lot of the Disney mascots might be okay, but they said those things are hot as hell, so great for the winter. You know, you can choose what you think.

Speaker 1:

Some of them, I've heard that they put like cooling systems in them. Wow, but that's probably just because so many people passed out. Yeah, or pukes to the eye holes.

Speaker 3:

Do this for the insurance purposes, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Wait, they actually. Yeah, they don't care about the people in the suit, just the costume. Yeah, before we wrap up, sylvester, I would love to hear you talk about your latest book, young Blood. It sounds very exciting.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, young Blood is. I love the premise because it just it brought me back home to the Bronx. It's based in the Bronx and I wrote it during the pandemic, so if you get pandemic flashbacks from it, it's because that's where it was born.

Speaker 2:

So, yeah.

Speaker 3:

So it takes place in this alternate world where there's like kind of like a zombie outbreak, there's zombie ish and New York was kind of like ground zero. So this company makes a vaccine and you're like, well, we're going to save New York and we'll do that, but the vaccine one out of every 10 people kind of turn into these like vampires. Wow, yeah. Then the government's like okay, well, you know, we're just going to cut our losses and we're cutting off New York because it's pretty easy now for any like terrorist out there. But it's pretty easy to kind of like cut New York off from the rest of the world or from the rest of the country. A lot of people don't really remember that it's just a series of islands. Yeah, that's what New York City is. So if you take out the bridges and the tunnels, then it's.

Speaker 1:

It's a couple traffic accidents will cut it off. Yeah, so the world, yeah.

Speaker 3:

So we have our main character. Her name is Raven and when Raven was 12, her parents took the vaccine and they turned and she had to escape with her baby sister. And then we picked up with Raven. When she's 16, her sister's four. Her sister might have autism, but basically they're trying to just survive the apocalypse. The only person that cares about them ends up dead and Raven uses her identity and her past military experience so she can get into the military to basically get all the benefits that she needs to keep her sister alive, because her biggest fear, their biggest fear, is going back to the closet.

Speaker 2:

Wow yeah, that also feels eerily true in terms of like why a lot of folks joined the military because there's not a lot of options, and wow, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

So it's a little bit of like a shiver thinking about it.

Speaker 2:

Also, I appreciate that her younger sister is likely autistic. I don't think that autistic folks get enough representation Pretty much anywhere. I love the love on the spectrum which I adore.

Speaker 3:

We just finished.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, my son, he's 10 and he's autistic and he's non-verbal, so I basically take a lot of him and put it into a Raven sister's talk, like star is non-verbal, but she's like, really intelligent and it's only because Raven doesn't communicate with her enough to realize how intelligent that she is. So I feel like that's how it is with my son. They're like he's very smart, but the communication issues cause me, cause it to seem like he's not where he is. But he's really smart. He'll have his endo and he's just like finding all these videos and I have you spelled it. But why are you watching this? You watched the whole documentary about boys. That's amazing.

Speaker 2:

I think it's such an unfortunate stereotype that, like, if you're different in some ways it means that you're not smart, but it's just that you're different. I have ADHD, dana's ADHD it's a fun household here, sylvester, and honestly I would never treat it in for the world to be to have a normal brain, even though it causes some challenges sometimes are quote unquote normal. So, on that note, I'd love to hear, like, what is something about your son that you're, like, the most proud of?

Speaker 3:

Something about Aiden that I'm proud of. I'm proud of Aiden for everything that he does. He was pretty easy to potty train. I'm going to try and see if this new one is. I'm getting the vibe he's not going to. Yeah, yeah, it was pretty easy to potty. My God, my wife left him with me for one day and I was just kind of like, well, we're just going to go with the other guy. He doesn't, he didn't want to, he didn't want to create a mess on himself. So he was quick to go. I see, yeah, so and yeah, and he's just, he's really, he's really kind and he's very understanding. Like, if his brother's crying, he'll go and he'll try and like, make a bottle, even though he can't really do that. Try and bring the bassinet. I mean, yeah, there's a moment that sometimes he's throwing him out of the bedroom too.

Speaker 3:

Like, I've seen him wheel the bassinet into the living room and he brings out all his stuff and I was just like, oh, that's nice, you want him to lay out here, and he locks the door.

Speaker 2:

I'm like oh, I mean, you know, for siblings you've got to be like that sometimes.

Speaker 1:

You've got to be yeah.

Speaker 2:

Um, what does it like to be a dad in 2024? And like, has it changed the way you think about horror?

Speaker 3:

Oh yeah, I feel like I feel like me and my wife. We came up with this genre. We call it parent horror. So basically, if we're watching something and it just makes us want to helicopter parent to hell out of our kids, that's hard to us Like black phone, the boy beyond the door, things like that, and so having a kid just put a different level of fear in my mind, like I might have been worried about people or didn't trust people before, but now I have a ton more reasons why.

Speaker 2:

My brain is going into this weird spirally place around trust and why we need it so much in an apocalypse scenario, because I think, like while there will be a lot of bad people, there will also be good people. But how do you figure that out? And I feel like that's a little bit of a theme in your book for Planet Dead actually, I'm not going to name the character that that is about, but there's definitely some questionable characters we're like are they good, are they not good?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, are they trustworthy? Because I guess you would think, with everything going on, that people wouldn't have time to be evil. But when I first joined the military, I had a AID instructor who said that bad people can wear uniforms. So that's always stuck with me. That always stuck with me. To just like, no matter what situation you are in, even with like fandoms and stuff fandoms online you feel so safe because this is something you love and you feel like, oh, this is a community, allows it to. But I mean serial killers, love on books, racist love on books, that's true. Not, it's not as nice as you would want it to be.

Speaker 2:

That's depressing.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, sometimes I just want to believe that people out there. Sometimes I just want to believe that everybody that likes the same stuff as me is probably a good person. But like, yeah, so not true.

Speaker 2:

No, I work in like political advocacy, non-profit, lancelvestre, and let me tell you what I realized pretty quickly that there's still weird, horrible, power hungry people in spaces where you're supposed to be quote unquote doing good. Yeah, a lot of people that. I was like wow.

Speaker 3:

I definitely feel like the pandemic probably opened up a lot of people's eyes about not only big business being practical super villains, but regular human beings are kind of just kind of like outward themselves, Like don't forbid if we did need toilet.

Speaker 2:

I really and truly believe and this is why the trust turtle is like such an issue to me that the only way we're going to get out of this alive as a species is community. But I think it's really hard in a world like we have today to actually trust people and want to do that, because sometimes I'm like yeah, like let's have my friends move over into our land and we'll have a nice little community. But then I'm like but what if I don't like them after a while?

Speaker 3:

What if Frank wants to make this his land now? So it's weird Like people, people kind of turn for like authority. It's like like even when you're in the military, when you're in the military sometimes you're friends with people and then you become squad leader and you're kind of in charge of people and some people resent that and it's just kind of it's it switches. So like I don't know, yeah, that's pretty.

Speaker 1:

People will be resentful of some of the strangest things too, like, yeah, I had some NCOs that like they didn't deploy in 2002 to before Iraq happened and when we came back, like they, they had a really weird and I don't even know what to call it. It's like. It's like they had this need to still be able to hold their experiences over top of ours. But, yeah, also just didn't like they're like, well, you know it was hot in in Egypt too. You know, when I was in Egypt, and it's like yeah, they bomb you in Egypt.

Speaker 3:

Like there is one thing about the, the military. It's like when you get back on that patch and you come back and people are trying to tell you stuff and they have their little fuzzy sleeve, you just have fuzzy sleeve. I'm not dealing with this.

Speaker 2:

Two things. Given all the horror, horror that you write, what keeps you up at night? Now, I think it might be parent horror, but let me know. And, on the other hand, what makes you like melt into a puddle of love, go and like, believe everything is going to be OK. So what?

Speaker 3:

keeps you up at night.

Speaker 2:

What makes you really like feel the love?

Speaker 3:

the love feels as far as anything that like keeps me up at night or that really scares me. It definitely would be anything that involves, like, my kids or the fears of my kids, and like the only genre that could probably keep me up at night is paranormal, like like I don't know if you've seen Dead Zodiac, dead Silence, but that old lady is terrified. So ghost old ladies terrified.

Speaker 1:

So yeah, I mean, old ghost ladies is like its own genre, so yeah.

Speaker 2:

I know so. Like did the redditary scare you? Because that one really freaked me out.

Speaker 3:

No, she wasn't. There were no, weren't. No, there wasn't any ghost in hereditary for me Actually I wasn't a fan of her. Hereditary there's like a big free of movies that me and my wife don't like, that everybody else seems to love. So it's like hereditary the witch and it follows Like you're just kind of like the first time we watched it, we're like, oh, we don't like this. And then we watched the second time for a podcast to see if we were missing something.

Speaker 2:

And, yeah, we saw you at a podcast with your wife. What's it like to have a podcast with your spouse, sylvester?

Speaker 3:

It's amazing because one you get to spend a lot more time together and I just love seeing her just kind of like open up, because sometimes she can be really introverted and very quiet. So I love seeing her just kind of open up and talk about things that she loves and to just see her laugh. I feel like I feel like the podcast is really good for her. So that's that's the most reason why I keep trying to to do it. But we have two different like processes for it. Like I'm like I want to record all the episodes and then put them out, and then she's like you can just do it weekly.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I guess we're close with that sometimes yeah, I mean like it'll be like the Saturday before the Sunday that we upload it, and I'm like trying to edit it at the last second.

Speaker 2:

Sometimes we're prepared, but I think it's. Maybe we just need that extra ounce of like last minute.

Speaker 1:

I'm trying to do the description and thumbnail upload before the VEAD edible kicks in.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I've made too many mistakes of eating and edible. Before starting recording, I did it today. I'm like this is not the day to do that. Before we finish up and like I'd love to hear what you'd like to promote and where people can find you, but why did you make the choice to be an indie author? I think that's something that feels like a distinct choice to me, and Dan's talked a lot about how much he cares about being an indie author. So, yeah, what was the process for you?

Speaker 3:

So for me is I'm just I'm probably just really impatient and stubborn and I don't like the gatekeeper feel of like traditional publishing. I don't. I don't like someone basically saying that they don't like my story, like if I have to like pitch it to an agent and they're like no, this isn't going to work.

Speaker 3:

You're one person out of billions, so why does your opinion outweigh everything? Yeah, I don't like that. And traditionally, the traditional publishing system isn't very kind to minorities. So, like I've I've had friends who've gotten published and they got their first book published and they had plans for like maybe a five series of publishing. So like, no, we're just going to do one more. No, wow, what do you mean? Like, yeah, it's not done.

Speaker 3:

I don't like things like that. So, with self-pulishing, I just I sent my own deadlines, unless I'm working with other, I am this year, so I have a lot of them. But yeah, I sent my own deadlines. I write about what I want to write about. Yeah, I have more control. So I just like that, did I.

Speaker 2:

I think it makes a lot of sense and, frankly, my little bit of understanding from learning from Dan about the publishing industry. You're an excellent social media marketer. I don't think anybody could do it better for you. Frankly, like, I think that the way that you talk about your work on Instagram is super fun and the way that you support other artists and writers and just like creators is really cool, and my understanding is that, like, even if you're going through a publisher, you basically still have to do all that anyway. So, like, why yeah?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I don't. I don't really know what you're getting from the publisher, you know yeah.

Speaker 3:

And honestly, there's other. They're basically doing everything. Yeah, there is another evil corporation.

Speaker 2:

Like you, don't need Barnes and Noble. Barnes and Noble is my friend.

Speaker 1:

I know that you like them on threads.

Speaker 2:

You like the person behind the you know like actual.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, you guys are besties, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Me and Barnes and Noble.

Speaker 2:

That's one strategy to get your work done there.

Speaker 3:

Keep that relationship going until your book comes out. See if that's the only post.

Speaker 1:

See, like hey, bestie, hey, I mean, maybe I'll work out about it. That's kind of hilarious.

Speaker 2:

Well, you better hope that they don't move on to a new job, because they might. Where can folks find you if, sylvester, and what would you like to promote before we finish up?

Speaker 3:

So people can find me like most definitely on Instagram. I think I spend more time on Instagram than any other place. I'm on threads too, but they tend to argue a lot these days especially. Yeah, you can reach me at my website. It's wwwsavesterbarzicom. And I am Sylvester Barzi on like every place. So there's only one Sylvester Barzi, If you look me up. Well, except for Facebook, because there was one person I was trying to pretend to be me.

Speaker 2:

Get out of here.

Speaker 1:

That's fine, I'll steal my but is that like a three of them? Is that? Is that like, like a, like a fuck, no account, like a Fords? He's a writer. I didn't eat the edibles, okay, I just have ADHD. Um, uh, what, what? What's what? What am I thinking of? What's the word for when somebody does something that's good and is nice?

Speaker 2:

So last year you got any suggestions?

Speaker 1:

I need. I need a writer's workshop to find this word.

Speaker 2:

Are you trying to say?

Speaker 1:

Sylvester A counter-lement.

Speaker 2:

A very uh, so you want to counter-lement?

Speaker 1:

No um so okay, my question is, when, uh, when this happens and somebody's like impersonating you, uh, do you kind of see that as like a compliment?

Speaker 3:

No, because they're just trying to get money. They're just trying to.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, they think that you can make the money.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, they want to go to your friends and be like I'm in the hospital and you send me $500.

Speaker 2:

Damn, these people are serious.

Speaker 3:

I'm sorry to the person who falls for that. You could have just sent it to me.

Speaker 2:

Has somebody actually sent $500? Please tell me nobody. No, not to this person. I got, I got caught.

Speaker 3:

I, we caught it really early and um they, they went away. I had a lot of people just posting out because I was on Facebook. It's like if you ever had anything you wanted to say to me, now's your time. You just I go to this profile.

Speaker 2:

We really do live in black mirror. Um, sylvester, this has been really fun. Like this was truly on my bucket list for 2024, for the podcast was to talk with you, especially like as we got further and further into the book I was like we can't, we can't talk about this book without Sylvester. Um, and I just thought that you and Dan have some interesting like commonalities with being veterans.

Speaker 2:

And um it was neat to just hear your perspective on that, because I hear Dan talk a lot about it and like why it's important to him as a writer. So, um, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to chat with us. Have you figured out how a cow zombie sounds yet? What about a chicken zombie?

Speaker 3:

Maybe be a grown. It feels like a move, but it's like, yeah, a little more raggedy.

Speaker 2:

Chicken zombies? I'm not sure.

Speaker 3:

I feel like you can spot a big zombie right off the bat. I feel like it's going to be moving. Hella weird.

Speaker 2:

This will come out. I've already come out. It'll be in the past, but it's currently in the future. Recording this, my favorite one that we've heard so far is somebody going cockadoodle brace.

Speaker 3:

That's a good one, yeah, and if your kids.

Speaker 2:

well, it sounds like your one kid is very young, but yeah, you're welcome to at some point. You can just anonymously throw us a evil magic chicken zombie sound anytime you want Sylvester would love to hear it or a move, we'll know it's from you.

Speaker 3:

If it's a move, evil, zombie move, yeah, I mean that sounds like a good shirt too.

Speaker 1:

Evil zombie move.

Speaker 2:

I've done a lot of time with cows growing up, so I can picture this Well. Thank you so much for everything, sylvester. Go to SylvesterBarsycom. Get the Planet Dead books if you haven't already, and I will definitely get young blood.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, buy it. Support indie authors.

Speaker 2:

Also you might if you're lucky you might get a cool inscription in yours, because I will. I will just close this out by reading what you wrote to me. Maybe to everybody, is that okay, sylvester? Yeah, that's cool. All right. Says to Leah Welcome to the end of it all. It was like fuck, you look like a survivor, but we'll find out soon enough. I felt very red. How do you know me? Yeah, it's really fun to get get your books in the mail, so highly recommend it if you haven't yet books. Thanks for coming. Yeah, thank you, sylvester. Thank you for having me. Dr Cicero, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Speaker 1:

Thank you.

Speaker 2:

Thank you for having me, dr Cicero, so that was super fun Dan.

Speaker 1:

That was super fun. I've been, you know, kind of like in the same thread of verse as Sylvester Barzy for a little while. It's always fun to like see him pop up on the internet when we're like chatting on the same discussions and fighting the same trolls.

Speaker 2:

You really hear own zombie survival crew on threads.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, what's up with?

Speaker 2:

their trolls. You're your troll survival crew.

Speaker 1:

Yeah Well, trolls are kind of like zombies.

Speaker 2:

Hmm, actually, that's perfect, because the the episode that we're going to do, coming out after this, is a casual dead and it's going to be about a troll zombie.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I wonder, was he?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, sylvester did weigh in on that one. Okay, not to find it. Yeah, but that was super fun. It was definitely a surprise, like when we started reading the book. We didn't know that we're going to have Sylvester on and we didn't want to make any promises, so we sheepishly reached out on Instagram, was like Sylvester, will you come talk to us?

Speaker 2:

That's how it felt in my head and he said yes, so I hope you all enjoyed that as much as we did. Of course, now that we have had the honor of talking with Sylvester about Planet Dead, his very first book that he ever wrote, which is kind of amazing, he's been what 14 years he's been writing. I think he said he started in 2010 writing that book. Your zombie homework for episode 45 is the comic series Path of the Pale Rider, written by none other than our reigning champion of zombie ween game show. Oh yeah, that's right, she won, she won. I call her the zombie ween queen.

Speaker 1:

She is the zombie ween queen.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, dan. Do you want to read the description of the comic series from the website, because it is wonderful.

Speaker 1:

Yes. In a world tearing itself apart, june St Clair begins his journey to find what caused the dead not to die. What would you do if, upon death, your soul didn't leave your body? You are now trapped in decaying flesh and the world no longer makes sense. Forgetfulness, violence or indifference set in.

Speaker 3:

People, animals, insects.

Speaker 1:

The death process has been broken for all 10 years. Into the apocalypse, most people just try to scrape by, but June St Clair is titleously searching for the answer to the question why do the dead no longer die? What will he discover? Government conspiracy, chemical spill, meteor from space, sentient yogurt? What Very curious about that? Come with Jude on his path through undead bears, famine, riots and the fall of society, as he tries to survive long enough to uncover truths Each more unbelievable than the next. You don't want to miss the extraordinary journey through the wasteland. Can Jude heal the world and succumb to an eternity of decay?

Speaker 2:

I'm a team. Eternity of decay.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, even though let's call up Laurie and tell her how it should end.

Speaker 2:

Okay, I think that's not mentioned here. Folks, if you don't remember what Laurie described a path of the pale rider to us back in October, it includes a zombie bear. So we've officially talked about zombie chickens, zombie cows and a zombie bear. Also zombie gorillas and a zombie horse.

Speaker 1:

What's your?

Speaker 2:

favorite zombie. Oh yeah, zombie deer. There's a whole world of animals that are becoming zombies.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and you know, if we want to, if we want to really add to our experience, we can watch the movie Zombie verse.

Speaker 2:

Really, rounded out. Is that really a movie?

Speaker 1:

That is really a real movie.

Speaker 2:

That's my national animal, canada. Really, yes, it's from Canada.

Speaker 1:

Oh, we have to watch it, it looks awful and I think it'll be a wonderful thing to watch.

Speaker 2:

It makes me feel kind of all warm and squishy, thinking about a Canadian zombie for a movie.

Speaker 1:

As always, we want to be clear that we read what we want to read on the zombie book club and we don't receive compensation for it. So this is truly because we think Laurie is fabulous. We also think that Sylvester is fabulous, yes, so we receive no compensation, unless they want to pay us a million dollars.

Speaker 2:

I think you should just buy some chicken shirts when we finally print them out.

Speaker 1:

All right, you're all on the hook. You're buying chicken shirts.

Speaker 2:

And, of course, you know, between now and then, that's 10 whole episodes. You have so much opportunity to go out to their website, which is, unsurprisingly, pathofthepalewritercom. You can buy a digital or physical copies of the comic series. We have the Choose your Own Adventure version, which I'm so excited about because I love those as a kid. Yeah, and the first three. There's also a fourth and a fifth that is going to be, I think they're going to do a Kickstarter for by the time this comes out in May. So it all works out kind of nicely. But but in between now and then, my year long campaign, my objective for this year, if one would say, is that we want as many evil magic chicken, zombie clucks as we can get. So please call in. I want to get at least 100 if you have not called yet, or even if you have and you want to, like try it again. So wait, when are we deciding, deciding what on? The best clock? Yeah, who's the best class?

Speaker 3:

we get to 100.

Speaker 2:

I think the very first time I brought this up I said 10, but I she's moving the goalposts. I'm officially keeping it at 100, 100. I need 100 clocks.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, she deserves her 100 clocks.

Speaker 2:

This is the thing that's keeping me going on this insane planet.

Speaker 1:

Okay, yeah, so far it has been quite hilarious.

Speaker 2:

It has been. It gives me a lot of joy because it's so frigging stupid, and also people's willingness. If you have kids, oh, some of the kid ones are the best ones. You can just tell them it's an angry chicken if you don't want them to know. And I think I'm going to save some of the kid ones for like a kid friendly segment and we'll be like all right parents from here to here. You can let your kid hear themselves and then I promise not to swear or do any R rated contest.

Speaker 2:

I promise I know how to turn it off for the kiddies.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I know.

Speaker 2:

So the number you want to reach is 614 699 00006. That's 614 699 00006.

Speaker 1:

I love how you say it multiple times like it's 1998. Well, it's commercial yeah you know, you can also find this number in the description, you don't have to write it on a scrap of paper like it's like oh yeah, the number in the description is the one that's coming out tomorrow.

Speaker 2:

Yes, oh, okay. Okay, you're more organized than I thought. You can leave up to three minutes of zombie clocks and, honestly, no one has gone past 60 seconds. I want a full, committed three minutes. Oh, my God, that would be too much, no, but you know it'd be even better as it was like you and a group of friends, so that we had the full horde experience.

Speaker 1:

I'm telling you, I don't know if I can handle the three minute experience and I might check out.

Speaker 2:

Wait to associate? So yeah, give us a call. Don't forget to subscribe, rate review. What else should they do, Dan?

Speaker 1:

Oh, they should follow us on Instagram and threads and there's a link tree in the description. In the description yeah, it's a link tree.

Speaker 2:

I know the link description.

Speaker 1:

You can find us on all of the podcast platforms, so if you're like I've been listening on YouTube and I'm tired of these ads, well, you can go somewhere else like Spotify.

Speaker 2:

So keep listening, but just go listen somewhere else.

Speaker 1:

We need you to keep listening. Don't stop listening ever.

Speaker 2:

Although the only place that it's monetized is YouTube, so YouTube's also okay.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's fine.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, thanks for listening. This was very fun. Help us spread the virus, in fact new listeners through their ear holes, even if it's just getting involved with the Evil Magic Chicken, zombie Clucks.

Speaker 1:

I think this is how we're going to send us your clocks.

Speaker 2:

We're going to make the big time with these.

Speaker 1:

This is what's going to make us the clocks. Yeah, mother clocks, bye-bye everybody.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the end is nigh. Bye-bye, bye, thanks a lot, bye, thanks a lot, bye, Thanks a bunch Bye Thank you Bye.

Speaker 1:

Thanks a bunch.

Zombie Book Club Interview With Author
Horror, Humor, and Mental Health
Importance of Representation in Literature
Portrayal of Strong Female Characters
Survival, Trust, and Family Dynamics
Discussion on Indie Authorship and Marketing
Zombie Comic Series Discussion