The Zombies and the Burning River: Why Collaborating is Not for Sissies

We’re heading into Act Three which will be done definitely by the end of the May, and I’m thinking we’ll actually have a complete rough draft including Act Four done by then, emphasis on the “rough.” The problem is that it’s a real trial for Bob to write a book with a small body count. He wants to blow things up. As I told him once a long time ago, romance readers do not want to read about people dying. They get attached to characters. To which Bob replied, “Then stop giving them names.”

He’s doing pretty good these days, aside from his preoccupations with zombies and a river that burned in Ohio in 1969.

Please note, the images below have been edited to remove spoilers, along with evidence that we don’t know what the hell we’re doing.

So now I still have two scenes to write in Act Three, one major multi-character blow out scene, and one turning point scene I already have written someplace and then I’m done with Act Three until Bob comes in and tells me he’s moved the whole story to Virginia because he wants a civil war reenactment in it with zombies. I’m just saying, I don’t get nearly enough credit for putting up with this stuff. Thank god he’s a good writer and keeps me focused on the book, when I’m not cutting the parts about the zombies and the damn river fire. The Ohio FLOODS, Bob, it doesn’t BURN.

62 thoughts on “The Zombies and the Burning River: Why Collaborating is Not for Sissies

  1. Do you think James Patterson and Bill Clinton have a series of texts that look like this?

  2. What if… and this is just off the top of my head… but what if you could put a boat full of zombies on the burning river? Then Bob’s idea is completely plausible, amiright?

      1. Ok… but what if it’s a METAL boat?? One that is operated my the zombies using metal oars so they wouldn’t burn.

        OR… it’s solar powered so no combustible fuel to worry about.

        Hey… this could work!

        1. I once owned a 16.5′ aluminium V-hull with a 40HP Mercury outboard motor. We had three aluminium oars and one wooden one. We used it to fish many Connecticut lakes, and even took it out in the Long Guyland Sound.

          In Virginia, we launched it in the Bay and up the James River.

          Depending on the heat of the fire, aluminium is at best fire resistant. It can burn, and once you start it, it’s like magnesium. Instant zombie flambe.

          1. Now I want to burn an aluminum boat.


          2. Oooh… but burning zombies could be fun. Even if they burn they don’t die, right?? This could go in a whole nuther direction.

            It could be like the 1st Pirates of the Caribbean movie where the cursed crew were skeletons that could walk under the water!

            The possibilities are endless!

          3. But you can just have the burning boat!

            Lavender’s Aluminum just doesn’t have the same ring, though. 😆

          4. NO.

            Since when are you guys so invested in burning zombies? Is Bob paying you?

  3. In a story I wrote, the main character named her house Ashtabula after the train disaster over the Ashtabula River in Ohio in 1876.

  4. You know, you and Bob’s emails including “white outs” would make a really really funny 😄 book, not the first time I’ve thought that. Still chuckling.

    1. It just makes me realize that the reason the books are so funny and enthralling is that the author is.

  5. I have long wondered what it is about the male of the species that makes destroying things so enjoyable and necessary. I don’t get it. I have lots of trees, shrubs and flowers in my yard, of which I am very protective, and the kid next door thinks it’s his mission to kick every ball he owns into my yard. I now have a trash bag full. He’s down to maybe three, and is toning down the kicking in my direction. Why does he do this? Is it testosterone? The Y chromosome? Social conditioning? WHY???

    1. How old is he ? He may just need to burn off energy. Maybe you can get his family to get him a soccer net.
      My son was super energetic and we had to make a rule that he could not do gymnastics on the couch next to the window only the one against a wall. He still eventually put a foot through a window. And he is a very rule bound kid.

  6. If you’re going to have burning boat full of zombies, I want someone to set it alight by shooting a flaming arrow at it from land. Even zombies deserve a classy send off

    1. There are no zombies and no burning boats or rivers.
      You guys are worse than Bob.

      Who just asked me if I’d deleted one of his scenes.
      I told him I would never do that.
      Unless it was a burning river scene. Then it’s goin’ down.

      1. You could have the burning boat on a non-burning river and then joke that it better not set the river on fire!

        1. Oohhh…Viking Zombies!! How cool would that be? Jenny could start an entire franchise and new genre.

          1. The Viking zombies could be added to Surprise Lily which has a Viking theme going on. That would be a cool direction. Warrior undead zombies? Finn as shapeshifter dragon royalty? Could be done.
            Dragon Finn can breathe fire and that gives us the burning river.
            Why is the river on fire? Oil spills? Toxic waste? Mysterious radioactive fluid?
            We need a pyrotechnic mage as the best friend.

          2. No.
            Although points for imagination.
            All of which you lose if Bob sees this comment. Like I don’t already have enough problems here.

          3. The Big Bad could be a water mage triggered by Global Warming. He wants to flood the earth for a fresh start, saving several animal species and a happier planet. Now he’s a villain with a cause.

            Everyone at the diner could be librarian mermaids but they dont know it. Are Sirens & mermaids the same? They can delay the Water mage but he cant be stopped.

            The dragon royalty has their treasure horde buried under the mountains and the great flood is a problem for them.
            It cuts their connection to underground lava which fuels their powers.
            Floating treasure is bad news too.

            Saving humanity is just a happy side effect.

            The Water mage declares a bounty on the Sirens. The pirate zombies arrive to collect. They are fierce, silly & broke.

            This is how we get both the zombies and the burning river.

            (Finally breathes)

      2. Listen, burning zombies on a trash fire river could totally work. And if you’re worried it sounds a bit redneck, you could class it up by making it like Pride and Prejudice only with, yknow, zombies.

        Ummm… wait…

        1. I was born a redneck. This is not something I worry about.
          I was also born a Republican. THAT was a worry. (Very small town, very conservative parents. No zombies.)

  7. Jenny spake thusly:


    Too late. The rumor has been born and taken flight.
    Like a wingéd zombie on a burning river of no return.

  8. You know we’re all going to buy this book, then flood you with messages:

    ‘Where are the zombies? Where’s the burning river? You PROMISED!!!!’

    1. We need a t-shirt: THERE ARE NO ZOMBIES OR BURNING RIVERS. I’d totally wear it.

      1. And people would stop you on the street and say “Well, there are no zombies. But did you know the Ohio River caught on fire?”

  9. We play this cooperative board game Zombicide, and you play a character (we almost always lose, zombies are relentless). I’m often Wanda, roller skating waitress, fond of dual wielding chainsaws. Sometimes I lose and get Zombiefied. Point is, if there’s an aluminum boat full of burning zombies, I want Wanda on it.

    Has anyone seen the new Derry Girls, Liam Neeson as the cop? I’m feeling strong “there is no tape” vibes. (Also omg laughed till it hurt, so perfect).

      1. Me too.

        I thought some of the appeal might be that I was a Catholic school girl in the 90s, but since I’m assuming the same can’t be said of Bob..

        Also my family is from there, I hear echoes of thought patterns, conversations, stories…

        Here’s a weird thing, in my NZ accent, my name rhymes with Anna, or spanner (we don’t pronounce er as err but as a short ah), not banana (um, all three syllables a long a, with emphasis on the the middle syllable) (omg this is impossible to explain) But my dad had an accent, I couldn’t hear it, so I still heard Allanah rhymes with spanner, but other people heard him say Allanah rhymes with banana. I suspect this is not something I can explain at all in writing, because god, how do other people pronounce banana? I wish I hadn’t started this comment but I’ve invested all this time now. I’m Uncle Colm.

        Anyway sometimes I’ll meet someone from Northern Ireland who’ll say my name just like my dad did and it squeezes my heart. That’s how the accents on the show make me feel.

        1. Oh. That’s lovely.
          So your nickname is Allanah Banana? Sorry, had an Anna flashback.

          1. Yes to the burning Zombie nuns… who engage with the burning Viking zombies… in order to save their souls…

      2. That show is awesome and hysterical. I love the nun! She has clearly Had Enough. 🙂

    1. I will be checking for that! Love that show. Have you seen Great British bakeoff holiday episode where Derry Girls cast were bakers? Hilarious!

      1. It was hilarious. One of the best moments for me came when Paul Hollywood told the boy baker something like “you’ve managed to char the outside but leave the center completely raw” and a Derry girl turned to her co-contestant and said in a truly admiring tone: “Well done!”

  10. I’ve heard that by the time people get to checkout areas in an IKEA store, they’re practically Zombies. There’s an IKEA in Columbus Ohio. AND a river as well. Do you think this might have something to do with Bob’s thinking?

    1. I don’t think Bob’s ever been to Columbus. Or an Ikea.
      Although we hit a lot of cities on those book tours.

  11. Picture if you will, George Washington crossing the Delaware. Famous painting. Only it isn’t George, it’s a bunch of flaming zombies in an aluminium John-boat. And the picture is on a t-shirt, which says, “Ask me about my burning river zombie book.”

    Where do you want it sent?

      1. Is it into the ground yet? ‘Cause I have more flammable zombie ideas. You know, zombies come out of the ground. If Pratchett could have a zombie on the Watch, why can’t you have a few in your book? Wait – at the reception, a bartender mixes drinks with too much alcohol. You can have a token flaming zombie just for Bob. 🙂

        NOW it’s into the ground.

  12. You realize that we are buying this book, with or without zombies or the burning Cuyahoga River. (I grew up in Akron and was in the area when that happened. A true wake-up call re: environment, though sometimes I don’t think we’ve gotten very far on saving the planet.) And we would still buy the book even if you gave away all the plot, though I can see how you’d want to brown out all the special stuff. Thanks for letting us read and laugh at your texts/process.

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