Saturday, February 23, 2008

Guest blogger Mark Henry on internet addiction

Or, why Meredith Vieira is pointing her Holy Water Super Soaker at me.

Introducing your next mad obsession, debut author Mark Henry. Mark's new novel, Happy Hour of the Damned, comes out on Tuesday. It's the first in the series about Amanda Feral, advertising exec-turned flesh-eating zombie.

Tez Miller in her review at Urban Fantasy Land called it "so all-encompassingly engaging that I started hating my work and myself." More soothingly, Romantic Times pronounced it, "A truly unique and wildly warped tale!"

Mark has graciously agreed to take a few minutes away from the cuticle-gnawing, pulse-tripping, inner-cheek-chewing anxiety of a debut release to guest-blog.

But that's not all! He's agreed to give away a signed copy of his book to one lucky commenter. See below for details. But read the entry first.


Blogging: Harmless Promotional Device or Devil's Playground?

When Jeri asked me to guest blog, I was skeptical. Guest blogging, Jeri? I asked. Is that really an effective use of my time? Shouldn't I be writing? Trying to make money for my family? Oh nay, Mark, she assured your naïve and humble writer friend. Guest blogging is a harmless means of reaching out to potential readers. Looking back on the conversation, I can see her now, rubbing her hands together like the succubus she is.

That's right, faithful readers. Goody Jeri is a succubus!

On Wednesday morning, over my steaming cup of Kirkland Signature coffee ground fresh in the most inconvenient coffee pot/grinder (that the devil himself designed) with cream and two Splendas, I saw with my very own eyes. The Today show did a segment on internet addiction. There was Meredith Vieira, that purveyor of all that is holy, talking to an "addictions expert" and an author/blogger who was an "addict." The "expert" reported that authors who blog were particularly susceptible to the "desires of the plastic and wire." I may be paraphrasing that last bit, but it doesn't make it any less true.

Take this blog here. I've spent days trying to figure out what to say. Days I could have spent interacting with my wife, bathing the dogs (or myself), writing a new manuscript. But no. It was not to be.

Why this very morning, Jeri used what they call "e-mail" to remind me that I'd agreed to partake in the guest bloggery. Was I frightened? Yes, dear reader. I'm not ashamed to say, I was. For it was clear. I was being led down the path to "internet addiction."

So I ask you, won't you help? Before I end up in the sights of Meredith Vieira's judgment?

Or at the very least, prove me wrong by buying my book (Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry, in bookstores everywhere February 26th, 2008). That's Tuesday, people. Is it too much to ask?

Or has this succubus entranced you, too?

MARK HENRY was a psychotherapist before he did a 180 to torture minds with his fiction. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, three furry monsters that think they're children, and a waterboard, in case Goody Jeri comes a-calling. His debut novel, Happy Hour of the Damned, is a zombie comedy in urban fantasy clothing. Visit him at his website at

Ask Mark a question or lament/deny your own internet addiction in the comments, before 5 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 28. (That's 3:30 for you Newfoundlanders--don't make me remind you again.) I'll draw a name and announce it Friday morning.

If you don't have a Blogger account, don't worry! Just sign in as anonymous and leave your name at the bottom of your comment so I can identify you.

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Ooo, I want it, I want it, I want it! Because I truly am addicted to the internet and I need something to pull me away. My own work-in-progress isn't doing it, sad to say.

So Mark Henry, here's my question. (Awesome name, btw.) Your HEROINE is a flesh-eating zombie? Do tell!

-Victoria, off to google her own name again

Posted by: Blogger Victoria Dahl at 2/23/2008 2:33 PM

Hi Victoria,

Sad to see you've succumbed to Jeri's internet menace. But, glad you're interested in my zombie gal.

Amanda is a gleeful anti-heroine (and isn't it about time for one?), who's as challenging as she is hilarious. You'll be cringing as she chews through men (literally and figuratively) but laughing when she forgets to dab the entrails from her cheek. Silly.

It's not all gore. In fact, there's quite a fun little mystery in the shape of Liesl, Amanda's succubus friend, and no relation to Jeri. Our zombie pal scours the Seattle underworld, encountering demonic bowling leagues, 12 step groups for the recently departed and a sinister plot to release a zombie plague that will totally threaten Amanda's food supply.

It's a comedy most of all and I hope you'll get a kick out of it.

Thanks for swinging by you little addict, now repeat after me: God grant me the serenity to...

Posted by: Blogger Mark Henry at 2/23/2008 2:45 PM

Hi, my name is Wendy and I'm an internetaholic.

I should be studying for my exams next week but what am I doing instead, you ask? Reading blogs and commenting, that's what! It's sad, really.

So, Mark, I've read wonderful, gross things about Amanda but we're all forgetting a really important character here. That's right. Wendy. So, anything you can tell us about her?

Posted by: Blogger Wendy at 2/23/2008 2:49 PM

Oh yes. Wendy, Amanda's super slutty zombie bff. Quick with the barbs and the boys, her gut-wrenching dependence on Twix bars will have you steering clear of the candy bar aisle for months to come.

Thanks for swinging by Wendy, I hope you like your namesake. Not that your super slutty or a zombie, or anything.

Are you?

Posted by: Blogger Mark Henry at 2/23/2008 3:04 PM

It's hardly an addiction if you *need* it. I could stop using the Internet anytime I like, but honestly. What happens when I *need* to find out if Sterno always came in cans? What happens when I *need* to know what kind of wildflowers grow natively in a particular county in a particular state?

I never know what I might need in the middle of a paragraph. Maybe I need to order brownies. Maybe I need to read a recap of a show I already watched on television. It's a NEED, do you hear me? A NEED!


Oh hai Mark's pretty book coming out on Tuesday, tell me. How did we get the charming Amanda, if not through a zombie plague?

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 2/23/2008 3:06 PM

Ah Saundra,

Amanda's a special breed of zombie, a secret best left for the book. Let's just say she was created not by bite, nor was she already dead when a comet passed too close to the earth, nor was it radiation from dying stars. Likewise, she wasn't afflicted by puffer fish toxin, dried out by voodou bokors and blown in her face.

It's all so mysterious.

Have a great weekend.

Posted by: Blogger Mark Henry at 2/23/2008 3:15 PM

It doesn't hurt that she is pretty too.

I am here to see what's happening, and Jeri said if I was doing nothing on myspace to cruse on over.
So here I am, checking out the book.

Posted by: Blogger Saroya at 2/23/2008 3:24 PM

OH hell, now I can't even go downtown Seattle without worring some creepy guy will turn me into a zombie.

It is drive though coffee for me from now on. Wouldn't San Fran been better for a zombies?

Besides, won't zombies rot in all our rain? eeewww


Posted by: Blogger Saroya at 2/23/2008 3:29 PM

Hi Saroya,

Oh yeah, the rain does tend to wrinkle the flesh, but I'd think the San Fran fog would be just as damaging.

Anyway, my zombie girls have great skin care regimens.

Thanks for saying hello,

Posted by: Blogger Mark Henry at 2/23/2008 3:33 PM

Well, I know I am particularly susceptible to the desires of the plastic and the wire.

And I check my email and blog almost constantly, too.

Posted by: Blogger Stacia at 2/23/2008 3:36 PM

I've been looking forward to reading this book for awhile :) Can't wait for Tuesday.

I'm Lis and I too, am an internetaholic. If that turns Meredith against me *deep breath* then that's just the way it is :)
Besides, I'm sure she spends her insomniac hours checking out the vids on youtube *g*

Posted by: Blogger Lis at 2/23/2008 3:51 PM

Oh Stace! You're doomed.

Posted by: Blogger Mark Henry at 2/23/2008 3:51 PM

Hi Lis,

You bet. Meredith is all over the internets you could see it in the glaze on her eyes.


Posted by: Blogger Mark Henry at 2/23/2008 3:53 PM

Mark, tsk. OF COURSE I'm a super slutty zombie.

Don't you remember me kidnapping you and making you add a character with my name in your book?

Huh. I guess those little yellow forget-me pills did work.

It doesn't matter anyway. There's a Wendy character who's a zombie and that pretty much makes me ridiculously happy.

Posted by: Blogger Wendy at 2/23/2008 4:15 PM

the desires of plastic and wire...

well, leaving William Gibson behind and moving on to Mark's book...

Actually, I don't have much to say. I now avoid elevators, Starbucks and the Depends aisle, in case there are zombies there. I am not so much an internet addict as afraid to leave the house. But there were some good laughs along the way.

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 2/23/2008 4:16 PM

Some, Todd? Some? I open veins for you people and I get "some".

Oh God, let me go check my Amazon rank; I felt is shriveling just then, along with my testicles.

Posted by: Blogger Mark Henry at 2/23/2008 4:21 PM

Some, Todd? Some? I open veins for you people and I get "some".

Oh God, let me go check my Amazon rank; I felt is shriveling just then, along with my testicles.

Posted by: Blogger Mark Henry at 2/23/2008 4:21 PM

I've been excited about this book since I heard the title! I'm not really a zombie fan, yet I can't wait to get a copy of this book. It surprises me, but I'm not going to let my lack of love for zombies stop me from reading this.

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 2/23/2008 4:25 PM

Hey Mark,

I've never heard of a zombie heroine before. Well, being someone who sees a flesh-eating mindless corpse when I hear the word zombie, I'm really interested in your take of zombie is in your novel. I'll definately check it out.

And the internet is the cause of 90% of procrastination, I bet. It's funny how I live in a generation where we can use website names as verbs. Google it. MySpace it. Wiki it. Facebook it. Dictionary it. It's such a phenomenom I think.


Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 2/23/2008 4:28 PM

And oh! If I go to one of your book signings, do you promise to sign my book with something along the line of "To the wonderful zombie Wendy." or something sweet and possibly bloody like that?

Posted by: Blogger Wendy at 2/23/2008 4:29 PM

MANY good laughs. Plus MANY creatively disturbing moments where there are many more laughs! Please don't repo my copy!

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 2/23/2008 4:33 PM

I'm sooo not addicted to the internet. I only check my my lj friends list, and Urban Fantasy Land, and Gaiman, and Churchillblog, and then the stats on my on Aether and Aer shared community board - AFTER I have my morning cups of coffee (and then only two, maybe three, times more in the day).

I would love a copy of Mark's book because I also read that Urban Fantasy Land comment regarding -beginning to hate your own work- and well, I've started to be too comfortable and smug with my progress in my writing skill.

So help me out - show me how far I can come yet. Kick the rug out from under me. I'll build a little shrine to Mr. Henry out of clay and... well alright I won't do that even for a free book.
R.M. Ridley

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 2/23/2008 5:15 PM

Mark, I take it that your concept of zombies is totally different from the typical mindless, flesh eating menaces that we norammly see in zombies. I mean those zombies really wouldn't be very good at most jobs or at most social events.

How did you get the idea that a zombie could be undead, flesh eating, but still keep a job and a social life?


Posted by: Blogger Katie at 2/23/2008 5:20 PM

lots of days, i stagger out of bed to check my email, lol
but im not as bad as my kids, especailly my 20 yrs old, geez. im starting to think she has muilti personality , as many ppl as she goes by
she FREAKS when dont get to get online

lol she probaly is turning into a internet zombie

Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 2/23/2008 5:45 PM

Do I have an internet addiction? I should probably be enrolled in a 10 step program, wearing a patch, chewing gum, or something.

I'm not particularly worried about it. There are worse things out there, or so I hear. Fabulous zombies for one. I'm actually on my way to the bookstores again to see if they've been released early! But, you know, I just had to hop on really quick to see if it was my turn at Scrabulous before I left...

Posted by: Blogger Pigdog and The Wordmonger at 2/23/2008 6:20 PM

Sixverstein - thanks for breaking your no zombie rule. Amanda and Wendy are VERY well preserved!

Nozomi - they're definitely carniverous but completely sentient, that's the twist, plus a little something extra or two up my sleeve.

Wendy - You'll get something absolutely fiendish in your inscription. The name alone demands it!

Posted by: Blogger Mark Henry at 2/23/2008 7:15 PM

R.M - Tez was way too nice in that review. I nearly swallowed my tongue. That said, feel free to pick one up and prepare to be humbled! Muhahaha.

(little do they know about the powder between its pages. Sniff children. Read!)

Hi Katie - I allowed them to retain their consciousness. Imagine the lengths you'd go to keep your dead flesh from being noticed, not to mention certain cravings.

Posted by: Blogger Mark Henry at 2/23/2008 7:19 PM

Hi Blackroze and Stacey - I see you guys around everywhere.

(shakes his head)


Posted by: Blogger Mark Henry at 2/23/2008 7:21 PM

Hi Mark,

Are you considered an internet addict if you're reading blogs before the coffee has brewed? Never mind, I don't think I want the answer to that.

Super slutty zombie BFF? I'm intrigued. I'm a fantasy fan but I never got hooked on zombies. Can't wait to read your book and find out your twist.

Posted by: Blogger Liane Manso Betton at 2/23/2008 7:53 PM

Wendy, are you talking to me or Mark? Because he's already established that I suck.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 2/23/2008 8:36 PM

Not you, Jeri, you're awesome. I meant Mark.

Posted by: Blogger Wendy at 2/23/2008 9:07 PM

I have no idea what a waterboard is. Enlighten me, Wise Ones!

Ach, I was so emo when I wrote that review. Readers, I swear I'm usually somewhat cheerier. Ta for the linkage, though :-)

Internet addiction: What happens on the Internet can affect my moods. Found out today that my eBay account had been hacked into, and now I can't use it. I'm starting a new account, but I've lost years of 100+ feedback. Me sad.

Who is Meredith Vieira?

Have a lovely day! :-)

Posted by: Blogger Tez Miller at 2/23/2008 9:14 PM

Super slutty Zombies? Succubi? Flesh eating zombie girls? Hmm, well 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Really, there isn't enough humor in UF. (Is there enough in any genre?)

I want to win because I am cheap, and I like to read.

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 2/23/2008 9:56 PM

Hmmm, not sure whether I'm addicted to the internet or not. On the one hand, I use it to avoid working on my dissertation; on the other, I'd clean the bathroom of every apartment in this building (145 units or something) to avoid working on my dissertation.
I'm quite looking forward to this book. I haven't read much zombie fiction (Tim Power's On Stranger Tides is the only book that comes to mind), but I am also looking out for something new in urban fantasy. And if it will make me laugh, so much the better!

Posted by: Blogger Kimberly B. at 2/24/2008 12:33 AM

Gypsy - thanks for the interest, maybe I can be the one to hook you.

Tez - I loved your emo review. Meredith Viera is a morning show host. She was also on The View. A waterboard is a torture device.

Tom - cheap works.

Kimberly - I promise. It's something new.

Posted by: Blogger Mark Henry at 2/24/2008 10:30 AM

I want that book. I will eat through the competition like a true zombie will. Just make it crispy and add ketchup.

Okay, so here is my question. So Amanda is this zombie and then she ends up being a succubus too? How does that happens? As far as my undead knowledge goes those two are different and seperate from one another creepy crawlies.

Oh and tell me how cool and easy is it to write from an anti-hero POV? I expect a 'very much' answer. Hope my predictions are correct.

Posted by: Blogger Harry Markov at 2/24/2008 11:43 AM

Hi Daydream - No no. Jeri's the succubus in real life. Liesl is the succubus in my book and Amanda is all zombie. I'm not big on hybrids, so there you be.

As far as writing an antihero, the comedy helps, but it's extremely difficult to keep the character villainous and yet likeable, even loveable. It was a tapdance.

Posted by: Blogger Mark Henry at 2/24/2008 12:16 PM

Hi Mark,

I'm really having trouble reconciling "sexy" and "zombie." "Flesh eating," I realize, I have no problem reconciling with either term. It's where the Venn diagrams intersect.

So how do you do that? Is there rot involved? (Please say no.)

Posted by: Blogger Rob S. at 2/24/2008 8:30 PM

Rob - Oh oh oh yes, there's rot. But the girls are pretty well preserved. Still prepare yourself. White knuckling is common through the sex scenes.

Posted by: Blogger Mark Henry at 2/24/2008 10:57 PM

Sounds like you have an interesting take on the zombie genre. Good luck with it and hope to see more from you in the future.

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 2/25/2008 1:35 AM

I knew there was something amiss here! It seems my brain was amiss, vacation again.

So I see writing from the dark side is hard. Making characters that munch on their men and totally leave food on their cheeks, likeable is a great task. So far the critics in blogging community like it and I am still considering how to get that book. There is a whole science to buying a book, when you live in Eastern Europe and don't want to wait for the translation.

Posted by: Blogger Harry Markov at 2/25/2008 3:14 AM


I'd like to win your book because I've been checking you out of Reluctant Adults and Fangs, Fur, and Fey. Happy Hour of the Damned sounds wonderful and I cannot wait to read it, whether I win or not! :*)

Posted by: Blogger Tyhitia Green at 2/25/2008 9:37 AM

Thanks Reagu!

Daydream - I guess I assumed that any bookstore would be able to do an order, even if they had to import. I know Murder One in London is carrying it. It's available on Amazon-Germany, if you had a friend there or maybe they ship out of Germany?

Demon - Of course, I see that icon all over the place. I hope you'll love it as much as I do. Actually, I hope you laugh like crazy, that's my real goal.

Posted by: Blogger Mark Henry at 2/25/2008 10:34 AM

I rationalize it by saying at least I can communicate with people online and maybe even learn things. It beats the mindless drone of a television, no? (And clearly, an intelligent addiction is better than a mindless one, right? ... )

Book sounds neat.

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 2/26/2008 8:49 AM

Wow! the book sounds great, I will look for it the next time I am out at the store. (That might be awhile saying I would have to get off the computer!)


Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 2/26/2008 12:42 PM

My mom just wrote me wanting to know what a succubus was. Thank you very much, Mark, for provoking these comfortable family moments.

If I'm a succubus, it's because I've been dragged into the devil's own pyramid scheme through my own addiction. I miss my old laptop, where I could just yank out the network card and be free. Sure, I can switch off the network card in my new laptop, but that's like taking the bottle out of an alcoholic's hand and setting it on the table in front of her.

Another guest blogger, Ann Aguirre, is giving away a signed copy of her debut sf romance, GRIMSPACE, here on the blog. Friday will bring us our third debut author, Anton Strout (DEAD TO ME), unless the zombies eat him at his booksigning tonight.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 2/26/2008 12:59 PM

Good luck on your release and I've been looking forward to reading a good zombie book. Sounds great!

Posted by: Blogger tetewa at 2/26/2008 3:28 PM

wow sounds great i seriously want. And I am addicted to the internet. need to e working on my son scrapbook for graduation.

Posted by: Blogger Pamk at 2/26/2008 9:15 PM

I have to guess anyone who is here blogging is probably totally addicted! Your book sounds wonderful!


Posted by: Blogger catslady at 2/26/2008 10:08 PM

Congrats to Saroya, who just won the drawing! Saroya, send your mailing address to me at jeri AT jerismithready DOT com, and I'll pass it on to Mark.

Everyone else, thanks for commenting, and go buy HAPPY HOUR OF THE DAMNED now before all the copies are gone. Also, come check out my interviews with debut authors Ann Aguirre and Anton Strout. You can't win if you don't play.


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