Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Rotter - Are Zombies Self-Aware?

-posted by Saul

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Rotter

Alan Sillitoe’s short story, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, was required reading when I was a freshman in college, and one with which I had formed a profound and abiding intellectual connection. I was a budding scientist working on an ecology project deep in the backcountry above Santa Barbara, California. The site was quite remote, requiring a ninety-minute hike through some fiercely dense scrub along the bottom of a seasonal creek named after the cut it had dug through the rock, Rattlesnake Canyon. I often lost myself inside my own head during those hikes and would be startled upon reaching my destination having only the faintest memory of the ground over which I had just traversed. (At least until the day I stumbled upon an actual rattlesnake sunning itself in my path, but that’s different story.)

Suffice it to say, there was a period of time after finishing Runner that I entertained taking up the sport of cross-country. Fortunately, twenty minutes later, the takeout pizza I had ordered was delivered, and sense returned to me. So ended my brief foray — well, mental exercise — into track-and-field.

Fast forward roughly thirty years and once more I find myself revisiting that story, its main character Smith, and the theme it embraced— not of what it must be like to be a working class young man in 1950s England, but the mental processes that Smith uses to escape thinking about his dismal prospects beyond petty crime. As a writer of zombie fiction, I can’t help but wonder what it must be like to be trapped inside the mind of one of the undead slogging through the apocalypse, nothing to do but to contemplate a future far bleaker than Smith’s, no hope and only the slimmest promise that the slow eternal jog through hell will eventually lead to some blessed salvation.

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Zombie Crawl Ushers in Prizes and the End of an Epic Undead Saga

October is the scariest of months, and to celebrate all things Undead, the fine folks at Band of Dystopians have set up the Zombie Crawl Blog Party and Giveaway (see schedule below). Please visit them to read more and to earn chances to win some great swag.

As my contribution to the crawl, I'm treating you to an exclusive inside peek at my forthcoming novel, Dead Reckoning, the second book in the Jessie's Game duology and the final installment of my GAMELAND saga, the epic cyberpunk, dystopian zombie series. (The final cover has not yet been decided).

To kick this off, I'm offering the entire first season omnibus (8 books) for only 99 cents everywhere and chance to win a personalized ecopy of Signs of Life (Jessie's Game, Book 1)! Just leave a comment below. The omnibus offer is good only through Halloween, so hurry to your favorite ebook store to get it. 


The lights in the cell flickered, then went off, throwing them all into a dull, gray twilight. The backup generator kicked in, along with the emergency strobes. Stu didn’t seem to notice.
Eric held up his free hand. “He needs help. We need to call someone.”
The rattling of the ventilation system came to a halt. All was eerily silent for a moment. Both men looked outside the cell, as if sensing that something had changed.
Marco sputtered on the floor.
From elsewhere in the block, someone shouted in dismay. Then the racket quickly grew as the other prisoners took up the chorus.
Stu turned back and stepped toward Eric again. Marco was holding onto the cuff of his pants, gawping for air. Stu tried to shake him off. “Get offa me, homes.”
“Wait a minute,” Eric said. He could see that Marco was trying to speak. He was gesturing with his other hand out through the bars of the cell. “There’s something—”
A screamed pierced through the growing clamor. The banging noises and shouts sharply increased. Then came another scream.
But Stu was too focused to hear them. He leaped. Eric hadn’t been expecting it, but he instinctively stepped back, barely managing to avoid what might have been a fatal attack, but Stu had misjudged the distance and gotten off balance. Eric grabbed his shirt and pulled him down. “Something’s happening out there! You need to stop!”
“It’s nothing compared to what’s happenin’ in here, f**ker,” Stu growled as he stood up again. His eyes flashed red. He backed Eric up against the bunk and laid the edge of the shiv against his nose.
“Now you gonna see what I’m gonna do to you for f**king up my friend Marco.”

To be notified of when Dead Reckoning will be released and a heads up for the pre-order discount, as well as other news and offerings, make sure to register for my newsletter, The Tanpepper Tidings.



Zombie Crawl Blog Party Schedule

Party Host & Grand Prize: Band of Dystopian

October 22

October 23

October 24

October 25

October 26

October 27

October 29

October 30

October 31

Monday, August 4, 2014

Should you KU? Subscription plans. Plus my newest story free 4U.

Hey Best Fans in the World!

By now you'll have heard about  Amazon's new subscription ebook/audiobook plan called Kindle Unlimited (KU). It adds to a segment of the market already occupied by Scribd and Oyster. But should you pay for a subscription service? And if so, which one?

Are ebook subscription services worth it?

If you typically consume, on average, more than about $10 in ebooks per month AND the limited catalogs currently available don't constrain your reading habits too severely, then you should definitely look into these services. But even if you're not sure, I recommend checking them out anyway (they each offer a free 30-day trial period, which I'll talk about below).

What do I get, and for how much?

Kindle Unlimited offers access to 600,000 books for $9.99/month.
You're allowed to have 10 books on up to 6 devices at any given time.
Oyster boasts a catalog of over 500,000 books which will cost you $9.95/month.
You're allowed to have
 10 books on up to 6 devices at any given time
Scribd's catalog contains ~400,000 titles and costs $8.99/month.
You're allowed to have
 2books on up to 6 devices at any given time.

Amazon titles are currently limited to authors participating in Select (primarily indies, a few traditionally published books, and Amazon imprints), and their audiobook selection is very small (~2000 titles).

Both Oyster and Scribd offer ebooks only, but both include titles from Harper Collins and Simon & Schuster.

None will likely offer new releases for the foreseeable future unless they're exclusive to Amazon. Consider these  services the Netflix equivalent in the ebook world.

All three services work on iPhones, iPads and Android devices. Scribd and Kindle also work on personal computers and Windows devices. Only Kindle supports webOS and BlackBerry and dedicated Kindle e-readers such as the Paperwhite.

So, how many Tanpepper titles are currently available in each service?

Kindle Unlimited: 2 titlesOyster: 25 titlesScribd: 39 titles

Why the differences? Kindle Unlimited requires exclusivity, which means if I enroll my books in KU, they are no longer available through any other vendor. I dislike this practice and believe it penalizes faithful readers and shuts out whole segments of the market. The two titles I currently have have been available elsewhere and will be leaving the program in a couple weeks. I am also enrolling my latest short, They Dreamed of Poppies, for a 3-month term as an experiment, which is why I'm offering it to my newsletter subscribers for free for the week preceding its launch. All of my titles are enrolled in Scribd and Oyster through Smashwords, but Oyster appears to be very slow getting the books onto their site.

Take advantage of a free 30-day subscription

If you're curious, sign up for one or all, but make sure to mark your calendar to cancel before the 30 days is up so you won't be charged if you don't wish to continue with them. Here are the links to the free trial period pages:

If you've been thinking about reading all of my works, or even just the GAMELAND series, now's your chance to do so for free! And don't worry, I still get paid. Win-win!

So, where's the free ebook you promised?

I wrote They Dreamed of Poppies specifically with the intention of enrolling it into Kindle Unlimited to test the new program's ability to reach a broader audience. Because this requires 90-days of exclusivity, I'm offering it to you free on my website through a secret link (to get it, subscribe to my newsletter here). It's available in both ePub and Kindle (mobi) formats, but only until August 11, which is when it goes live on Amazon and I have to stop giving it away.

What is the story about?

Decades after an ecological disaster destroyed life on Earth, twenty intrepid individuals flee their crowded space station in hopes of resurrecting a failed terraforming experiment on Mars. What they find is an abandoned planet turned into an Edenic paradise. As they prepare to receive the last tattered remnants of Mankind, they slowly begin to realize the missing colonists who came here fifteen years earlier never actually left.
I hope you enjoy the story. I'd love to hear what you think. And I hope you found this post about subscription services helpful.

All my best,

Find my books at:


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

THE CATASTROPHE THEORY - A Progressive Story in 20 Voices

Following on the heels of the wild, dystopian ride that was The Hunt For Tomorrow, 20 of the participating authors are collaborating on a tale of disaster and hope like none other. Written over the course of three weeks, each author adding a chapter in turn, the story follows Eve, Cassie, and Jared as they reconcile their existence and learn how to survive in a dark, new world. The story title and character names were suggested by Gayle Noble, winner of the Hunt for Tomorrow contest.

Here's a teaser from the first chapter published today, written by Joseph Turkot, author of the post-apocalyptic series, The Rain, and the story collection Darkin.

For the second time in the long dead night, the flicker came and went. Wide and bright and so quick that Eve almost didn’t have time to grab Jared so that he would see it. So that he would believe her this time. Because she was convinced he was ignoring it on purpose—that he’d seen it each time through the window and was pretending he hadn’t. Buying time for something. Stalling for hope. Hope that everything would just fix itself.
      When he saw the light, just the last bit of it—and he knew she’d seen him see it—he drew up tightly against her. Everything looked so far away. Even the sidewalk and the street and the dead cars right below them, and the black windows in every house surrounding theirs. With a nervous jerk, he nodded and pulled her down from the slope of the roof. Down to where the incline wasn’t so steep, where no eyes could watch them anymore—or whatever was looking out from dark windows, or the hill that rose to the east, a ridge of pine so high it touched the first strand of space dust.
    “We’ve got to go…” she said as he tugged her back to the window....

The rest can be found here.

Check out Joe's books:

For more dystopian, pick up the 11-author box set, A Taste of Tomorrow. Including works by Hugh Howey, Joe Nobody, T.L. Piperbrook, Jason Gurley, and Saul Tanpepper, it's a steal!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Want a good laugh? Check out my Voigt-Kampff interview.

Ever wanted to know the biggest lie I've ever told? Or if I have a police record? And what kind of sauce I would eat with children? Then check out my Voigt-Kampff  interview on the Hunt for Tomorrow blog! 

The Hunt for Tomorrow: Saul Tanpepper:


Sunday, June 15, 2014


A virtual scavenger hunt through twenty-two fictional dystopias.
Friday, July 18 at 6:00pm (EST) - Sunday, July 20 at 6:00pm (EST).

Join THE HUNT FOR TOMORROW, an on-line scavenger hunt, and embark on a virtual odyssey through twenty-two dystopian futures. Become an intrepid scavenger and solve clues at each of the dystopian author stops as you navigate your way to the finish line where you’ll be entered into a random draw for the Grand Prize.

For each correct answer collected along the way you’ll get an additional chance to win. During The Hunt, the authors will offer up their own exclusive material, sneak peeks, contests, and giveaways at their individual stops on The Hunt, giving all scavengers multiple chances to win bonus prizes. The twenty-two participating indie authors include best-selling, award-winning and emerging writers from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom who all have books included in three dystopian boxed sets - - What Tomorrow May Bring, A Taste Of Tomorrow, and Shattered Worlds.

In a unique collaboration of story-telling, nineteen of the authors will write a progressive short story over nineteen days following The Hunt. The Grand Prize Winner of The Hunt For Tomorrow will name characters and contribute the title for this dystopian world, and all participants in The Hunt will receive an advance copy of the story for an exclusive period before it is made available as a free download. The Grand Prize also includes a signed copy of books included in the boxed sets, an ebook of all the boxed sets, and the first copy of this one-of-a-kind progressive story.

THE HUNT FOR TOMORROW begins at on Friday, July 18 at 6:00pm (EST) and ends on Sunday, July 20 at 6:00pm (EST). The Hunt is on for one weekend only, although there is no time-limit for completing the course. The Hunt is open to scavengers around the world; there is no cost to enter and one grand prize winner will be selected at random from all eligible entries.

Go to THE HUNT FOR TOMORROW for details and the full list of participating authors.


book blast button
Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 7/20/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 13, 2014

Writing from the Peak: The Serialized Novel: Part 4 - The Formula

Pikes Peak Blogger and Creative Writing Coach Deb McLeod talks about serialization in her 4-part series. This final installment summarizes my strategy in serializing GAMELAND as an example.

Writing from the Peak: The Serialized Novel: Part 4 - The Formula: by Deb McLeod In the final episode of my exploration of serials and serialization, I want to look at what makes a good serial and how t...