Tag Archives: Jay Wilburn

The Curse of the Perfect Holiday


All month long I’m going to be hosting the posts of other people as part of my 2015 Giftmas Blog Tour. All the guest bloggers are welcome to write about anything they’d like so long as their post touched on a December holiday in some way, no matter how tangentially. The blog tour extends beyond my blog as well, and I will do my best to link to each external post from the here and share them on social media using the hashtag #GiftmasTour.

But wait! There’s more!

We’re also giving away a whole whack of prizes (check out the list here) which you can enter to win using the Rafflecoper code below. Whatever December holiday you celebrate (or don’t) winning a stack of books will make it better!


The Curse of the Perfect Holiday

by Jay Wilburn

I write a lot of horror. You might be surprised how often horror publishers are looking for holiday related stories each year. Usually these involve ghosts or some species of monster wreaking havoc. The true horror though is usually found in the ghosts we invent to haunt us from our own pasts or the monsters we create within ourselves.

While Moby Dick is about the obsession of endlessly chasing the White Whale, our curses might be chasing the White Christmas. The captain at the beginning of that story talked about getting the desire each year to knock people’s hats off and to cause other mischief in response to others’ joy upon the land. This was his signal that it was time to return to the sea. Even in this early part of the novel, the symbolism of self-destruction is used to describe this desire. It may describe out unease as the holidays approach.

Our desire for the perfect holiday season may be the same alien feeling in our lives that the captain felt stuck on land. We know in our hearts that no family is perfect, but we desire to capture perfection within our own family for a little while. We want this perfection for ourselves or for loved ones that we have let down or that we sense see us as a let down. We might want to spare our children from holiday disappointments we fear in our own lives. There are kernels of memory surrounding moments through the years that hint at the perfection. They draw us deeper into that desire and then the cold reality of all our imperfections plague us through the holidays.

Let me tell you what you already know. There is no perfect family and no perfect holiday. If there is joy in the world to be found, it is found despite and through our imperfections. Others may live in disappointment no matter how much we come to embrace this truth, but we can still find joy in that imperfection as well. Peace is often associated with rest and rest is a gift we can either grant or deny ourselves at all times. The act of wanting to show love to those that don’t deserve it in your life is a beautiful thing in all its pain and imperfection. The act of forgiving someone that does not warrant such a thing is freeing, but never easy. Finding a bright moment when there is so much darkness to be seen in our lives and in the world is divine.

The depression that can take hold of people this time of year reflects the magnification of our emotions around the holidays. The imperfection of our imperfect lives can be magnified as well. It is further intensified by those we do have around us during these emotional times and those we don’t have around.

Give yourself permission to find joy and rest despite the imperfection. Allow yourself to enjoy small moments of light and happiness even when darkness seems to be winning.

Your holiday does not have to be perfect in order to be perfect. So, I wish you and yours a joyfully and restfully imperfect holiday season.

Enter the Rafflecopter for a ton of prizes connected to the tour. Do it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out Jay Wilburn’s excited apocalyptic series. Dead Song Legend Dodecology Book 1: January from Milwaukee to Muscle Shoals
Start the series here  http://amzn.to/1CvxbST

Dead Song Legend Dodecology Book 2: February from Vicksburg to Cherokee
Continue the series here  http://jaywilburn.com/book-2/

Check out the first soundtrack to the series, The Sound May Suffer: Music from the Dead Song here  http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/thesoundmaysuffer6
or on Spotify. The hard CD is also available on Amazon.

Visit: http://jaywilburn.com/

Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in Conway, South Carolina near the Atlantic coast of the southern United States. He has a Masters Degree in education and he taught public school for sixteen years before becoming a full time writer. He is the author of many short stories including work in Best Horror of the Year volume 5, Zombies More Recent Dead, Middletown Apocalypse, and Truth or Dare. He is the author of the Dead Song Legend Dodecology and the music of the five song soundtrack recorded as if by the characters within the world of the novel The Sound May Suffer. He also wrote the novels Loose Ends and Time Eaters. He is one of the four authors behind the Hellmouth trilogy. Jay Wilburn is a regular columnist with Dark Moon Digest. Follow his many dark thoughts on Twitter, Instagram, and Periscope as @AmongTheZombies, his Facebook author page, and at JayWilburn.com

In Defense of the Crappy Zombie Movie

I volunteered to host a guest blog to go along with this year’s Winter of Zombie. And here it is. Jay Wilburn talking about the allure of the crappy zombie movie:

In Defense of the Crappy Zombie Movie

by Jay Wilburn

me (1)There is comradery between zombie fans centered around terrible zombie movies. From video stores into the age of Netflix, the choices of badly shot, badly written, and badly executed zombie films has grown and grown. There are some great, even epic, zombie movies, but they just serve to emphasize the very low bar that other films reach. Some of them don’t even bother to reach, but they provide painful bonding experiences to fans all over the world. The fifth season premiere of The Walking Dead set the record for the series to date with over seventeen million viewers. There are films that will be classics and enjoyed for generations. These are not the ones I’m talking about.

Horror films are quick go-to’s for amateur, aspiring directors. The special effects that used to be mysteries are easier to replicate using information available online and software has expanded exponentially what can be done with visuals in editing. There are some high quality movies made on relatively low budgets. I’m not really talking about those either.

The zombie movie made with a cheap camera and bad make-up: Here is where life-long friendships are forged. There is nothing like a movie that has you bowing and shaking your head part way through. Other genre of film do the same thing, but those are likely to be turned off at that point. Zombie fans will sometimes let them run. They will let the pain continue. If others are with them, they can hold on together in the misery.

There is nothing nearly as character building as surviving the poor recreation of the zombie apocalypse and telling others what you have learned. These are the moments where an adult man looks into his soul and asks himself what a grown man is doing watching something like this. Worse, what is he doing watching another one and then another one.

Some of these films have titles that give full warning that there is a terrible experience ahead – titles that are offensive to one or more groups – puns that are so awfully conceived that they make porn look intellectually sophisticated – stories that are so monumentally terrible that no amount of nudity will ever make it worth the journey even in fast forward. These are the trials the separate zombie fans from others that demand quality in their entertainment.

I realize some of you have had enough. You are done with the terrible, independent zombie film. You are rightfully tired of the badly constructed zombie books and you value your time too much to subject yourself to it any longer. I respect that. You are still a fan and if the genre ever rises to meet its true potential, it will be because you demanded it. I will be no help, however. I do strive to make more of my books and stories, but a secretly (maybe not so secretly now) I love the terrible zombie film. I want more.

I challenge myself to sit through another and then another. I see a zombie film with Danny Trejo above the title and I am sold. I look at the terrible title and the worse artwork and I’m itching to hit play. I know what I am in for and I let it happen. I can’t wait to post about how such a thing still managed to drop below my worst expectations.

Occasionally, these forays of self-abuse surprise me by revealing a better than average story or film. This is my rare reward for being willing to dive into the fray again and again. The real reward is seeing the terrible joy the filmmakers had in putting together something they knew was awful, but they saw it through until the end anyway. There is also a forbid fascination with the projects where it becomes clearer and clearer with every minute that they have no idea how bad this was. It’s like watching a train wreck for an hour and twenty-seven minutes.

This brand of torture may not be for you. You can still enjoy the stories of those who endured the terrible stories. It is part of what makes zombie fans strong. It is the element of the genre that makes the fans so appreciative when something truly amazing happens. Set the bar high, but know that if you don’t, I will still be watching.


The stench of frozen rotted meat is in the air! Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 10 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of November.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #WinterZombie2014


I’m Interviewed at Jay Wilburn’s Blog

Summer of ZombiesLike the subject says, I’m being interviewed over at Jay Wilburn’s blog today as a part of the Summer of Zombie blog tour. As a part of that, I’m also giving away a few copies of Waste Not (And Other Funny Zombie Stories) on Facebook 🙂

And with that, I’m going to hit ‘Publish’ on what might very well be the shortest blog entry I’ve ever written 😉