No, this book is not about zombies……

dragonI confess, I never got into the thrill of the whole dragon phase that fantasy lovers went through about thirty years ago, although I do have to say that it appealed to me more than the vampire thing (that is, the previous round of vampire interest) which got going a few years after that.  Nothing wrong with either, mind you, but …

Fast forward a couple of decades. I’m still not so fond of the the vampire thing, part two, althoughvampire I do confess to a certain lingering fascination with werewolves and other such creatures.  But vampires — just dead guys.  Ick.  So enter the whole zombie fascination. Okay, to each their own.  But double ick for me.

Which does make the fact that I’ve just called my third novel z2 a little problematic.  Zombies are everywhere. Brad Pitt stars in a movie called World War Z coming out in June.  Every search I do that starts with a z turns up zombie books,  zombie movies, and just plain more zombies. We really do have a zombie problem.

cake-topper-xoThe title of my third book was supposed to be x2, where the 2 is a superscript.  You know, x squared.  But as I explained on my other blog in a post called “Hugs and Kisses“, when I named my first novel x0 I discovered that you can’t make superscripts appear on this blog or anywhere else that matters. And, as I pointed out in “Why why one?”  my love of X-men and respect for Patrick Stewart made me change the name of my second book from x1 to y1.  I just didn’t want to intrude.

When fellow indie author and blogger Hock Tjoa interviewed me on his blog last August, he joked about my third novel being called z2. Ha. I was still playing around with x2. Or with 2x because that fit my theme better mathematically. Or maybe even 2z just to blend the three titles together better. And then I realized that Hock, who I’ve never met, was absolutely right. The logical next name was z2 and I simply had to go with it.

So ….. the book’s hero Alex Zeitman now forms his own club, z2, for time warpers like himself and other interested parties.  He calls his club “zee squared”. I call the book “zee squared”. Others call it “zee two” because you can’t tell it’s a superscript and many of them suspect it has something to do with a second coming of zombies. Arrgghhh.

Have I learned my lesson yet? No. Of course not. The last three books will have superscript titles also. I’m not sure why.  Maybe I like consistency. Maybe I like doing things the hard way. Maybe it just fits to have superscripts for super heroes. Yeah. Superscripts for super heroes. I like that.

Surviving and Strong

61DxiskibfL._SL500_AA280_Alex, the hero of z2, is a strong man in the classic sense in that he is big and athletic. But he is also wiser than most, and he knows that true strength comes in many types of packages. Over the years he has coached a lot of students, some talented and some less so, some with easy lives and many with serious obstacles to overcome. As he gets to know the new transfer student named Xuha he recognizes that along with the boy’s unusually short stature is a strength that is both physical and mental.

When it comes to music, our hero Alex has a fondness for oldies and as he hits tennis balls with Xuha (pronounced “schwa”) he hears the Jerry Butler hit from 1968 in his head. Check out this video and if  you enjoy it, consider a purchase here. It will have you swaying in your chair, humming along and feeling just a little stronger yourself.


z2 featured

Please check out fellow author SJ Hunter’s  blog here where she features z2. It’s also a good place to learn more about her own very interesting series.

Also, it  was fun to watch z2 this week-end as it rose through the ranks of Kindle giveaways.  It made it up to #64 in the very large category of general science fiction, and up to #4 in the more specialized category of political fiction.

ranked #4!

New note  — before the day was out I ended up #4 in political fiction, at least for awhile.  The next giveaway of z2 on kindle will be March 16 & 17.

Today I promote z2 in a free giveaway and Amazon ranks these free books by how fast they are flying off of the shelves. Breaking into the top 100 for your genre is very good. No, z2 has not yet done this, not  for science fiction.  However … I forgot that I also listed it as political fiction and guess what.  I’m number 14 in political fiction, on the top page with a wild assortment of novels.  Check me out here!

and the winner is ….

February is music awards time and the novel z2 begins with hero Alex Zeitman sitting dejectedly in a hospital room watching the 1981 Grammy Awards.  Alex likes his music uptempo and he’s rooting for Fame, made famous by Irene Cara, to win song of the year.  He’s just torn his ACL and his dreams for playing professional basketball are going up in smoke, and to make the evening even more miserable Christopher Cross with his soft rock sound of “Sailing” ends up winning in every major category. Christopher Cross even beats out Pink Floyd for album of the year.  What is the world coming to?
Check out this video to see why Alex was cheering on the song “Fame.”
Purchase the music to Fame here.

Alex Zeitman is, of course, made up of a good bit of Sherrie Cronin, as are all my characters, the sympathetic and the less so.  My tastes in music run more towards stirring lyrics and less towards rhythm than Alex’s tastes do, but I think that he would join me in cheering for Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know”.  It’s a haunting two-sided song yet it has that mesmerizing tempo that Alex loves.  I was glad to see it win record of the year, and to know that in spite of Alex’s concerns thirty-two years ago, good music has hardly died!

First Review for z2

Waiting for that first review to come from somewhere, anywhere, is one scary experience.
Luckily, z2 is off to a fine start, and I am posting fellow author Bob Craton’s review of z2 below.
I should add that I don’t know Bob personally, but I am a fan of his books, we’ve exchanged some emails on writing websites, and I very much appreciate that he seems to enjoy my books too.

Bob Craton‘s review is posted on Goodreads here and Amazon here.

Feb 06, 13
5 of 5 stars false
Read from February 01 to 05, 2013

I’m a big fan of this author’s first two books, ‘x0’ and ‘y1’, so it is no surprise that I love this third volume of the series. Once again she has put together a marvelous tale. I don’t know of anyone doing better in the genre of magical realism than she does. All of the books involve the fictional Zeitman family with a different member featured in each volume — Lola (wife/mother) in the first, Zane (son) in the second, and now Alex (husband/father). Each character is a very real and believable person who just happens to have a special ability.

The author is unafraid of tackling serious social problems, in this case racism, and she does so without being preachy. She also does a lot of research so the facts in the ‘realism’ part of magical realism are always accurate. (That makes those of us who just make stuff up as we go along feel lazy.) I don’t give spoilers so all I will say about the story is that there are two subplots, each with its own set of characters, and that the story-lines merge and the characters meet each other.

As before, the ending is very upbeat and optimistic. As a skeptic, I would not expect such happy endings in the real world. In the Zeitman family’s world, however, the conclusion shows the way things could be — and should be. I find this approach very encouraging.

Southern heroes worth celebrating

Friends who have read z2 have begun sending me articles and links to other blogs  discussing the disturbing tendency in my home region to glorify and revere some of the most vile leaders of the confederacy while overlooking the genuine heroism of people of all colors who stood up for human freedom and dignity. It is nice to discover that some of the more admirable characters in z2 have real life counterparts.



Please check out Chris Hedges column “White Power to the Rescuehere at a site called TruthDig, where  you can read about the battle in Memphis to cease honoring Memphis native Nathan Bedford Forrest, who along with other dubious accomplishments was the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.  Many citizens of Memphis would prefer the city instead laud crusading black journalist Ida B. Wells, who risked her own life to write about the lynch mobs in the area, or German immigrant  Jacob Burkle who used his house as a stop on the underground railroad for escaped slaves in the decade before the Civil War.

Part of the message of hope in z2 is that there are people from all backgrounds and all places worthy of our admiration.  Too often, however, they aren’t the ones who have been etched into granite and are shown riding in on a horse.