Returning to Rundberg

Back in 2005 (was it really six years ago? Weird!), Frequency Press had just released my first graphic novel, Drive.  It wasn’t exactly setting sales records, but the fine folks at Frequency were itching to get started on something else, and I wasn’t about to look that particular gift horse in the mouth.

At the time, zombies were already hitting big in comics.  It was early enough that folks weren’t talking backlash, and I thought zombies would allow me to tell a ridiculously over the top action story, which I really wanted to do.  My brain started turning, and by the time I came back from a weekend camping trip, I had the first draft of A Trip to Rundberg‘s script written down in a notebook.  I was excited about the book, which told the story of a band of survivors in the small Indiana town of Millwood, and I thought we might have something really cool on our hands.

That December, A Trip to Rundberg hit stands.  It did pretty well, certainly better than Drive.  So maybe it wasn’t setting sales records or anything, but it wasn’t performing pathetically.

In the following years, however, I started wanting to go back to Rundberg.  I’d promised to tell more stories of the Millwood survivors, and I had dropped a short story or two.  The Rundberg story nagged at me, though.  Through a few script decisions that were completely my fault, I had told a story that I thought I could have told better.  I had designed the book to read fast.  Not just fast, but ridiculously fast.  Looking back, it wasn’t the best choice.  The characters were interesting folks, and I had every chance to let them breathe a little more.

So that’s what I decided to do.

At first, my return to Rundberg was going to be a novella.  I wanted to release a 40,000 word novella with periodic illustrations.  I don’t know why I had this scheme.  It just seemed like the way to go.  As I started writing, however, I kept looking back at these characters to see what they’d been up to before their trip to a zombie-packed town in search of food.  How had they live before and during the zombie outbreak?  I wanted to find out.

Due to a ridiculous timeline that saw me wanting to bust out the novel in time for an upcoming deadline, I wrote the first two drafts of the novel in about two weeks, sending chunks at a time to my pre-readers.  I made the deadline, but the book wasn’t in any kind of publishable shape.  So I took my time and crafted the story more thoroughly.  As I wrote, I started toying with what I thought was an interesting theme.  There had been too many zombie novels that made mankind the ultimate villain.  “Man is the real enemy” is kind of a zombie staple.  I wanted to tell a story where mankind deserved to survive.

I like to think that’s what I did.  You’ll have to be the judge of that, though.  What I can say is that I’m very proud of Scavengers.  I think it’s one of the strongest things I’ve written, and I hope you enjoy it.  If you’re coming to World Horror in a few weeks, pick up a copy of the paperback. Until then, grab it for your Kindle. 

Scavengers for Kindle now available

Just received word that my new zombie novel Scavengers is now available for Kindle.  Right now, you can grab it for $3.99.  So go grab it!

A little info…


Small, isolated, easy to defend. The survivors there forged
a community, weathered what came, and began to prosper.
But then they ran out of food.

Now, Millwood is sending five men to the neighboring town
of Rundberg, a place ruled by three thousand living dead,
to find enough food to save their community.

Five against three thousand? They don’t stand a chance.

“Nate Southard’s SVAVENGERS has got everything fans of the zombie genre crave: huge cannibalistic crowds of the undead, violent, almost continuous action, mounting paranoia and dread… Not since Richard Matheson have we had a writer so adept at dangling the average American guy on the end of a rope so we can watch him twitch and turn in the wind.”

Joe McKinney, author of DEAD CITY

“Nate Southard is one of the best new writers of his generation, and something new by him is always cause for celebration. I’m a big fan.”

– Brian Keene, author of DEAD SEA and THE RISING

PRINT IS DEAD is a new line of top-quality
zombie novels brought to you by the critically
acclaimed indie publisher, Creeping Hemlock
Press. Each title is available in both paperback
and e-book format.


“These guys know more about the undead
than I do… and that’s saying something,
because I’ve been hanging out with zombies
for as long as I can remember.”

Announcing… FOCUS

Don’t say the words!

When hard-working mechanic Denny attends a corporate focus group to earn extra money, he discovers that Frost & Revans Marketing wants more than his opinion. The group he joins is manipulated into performing an ancient rite, summoning demons that intend to seize the bodies of the unwitting test subjects.  Only a secret Denny struggles to keep hidden allows him to escape possession and the ensuing slaughter.

But his getaway is short lived.

The demons hunting Denny are one of two summoned tribes, and every nine years they face off in a tournament that can change the course of human history – or end it. He is forced to decide between joining the fight or escaping, leaving the human race open to extinction.

Six meet six in the arena. The fate of mankind is the prize.

“FOCUS is a novella of demented, demonic mayhem.  It’s thoughtful, moving, and beautifully written … and is also brimming with kick-ass action.  I loved it.  So will you.”
– Tim Lebbon, NY Times Bestselling-author of Echo City and The Thief of Broken Toys

“Southard and Thomas are superb writers on their own, but their combined talents elevate FOCUS to phenomenal. One of the best stories you’ll read this year. Absolutely wonderful.”
– Brian Keene, author of The Rising, Urban Gothic, and Jack’s Magic Beans

“Original, subversive and fast as a bullet, FOCUS is a welcome change from much of the standard apocalyptic fiction out there.  In the deft hands of Thomas and Southard the result is a mind-blowing thrill ride that’s not only deeply disturbing, but a whole hell of a lot of fun.  Don’t miss it.”
 — Greg F. Gifune, author of Gardens of Night

“Thomas’s and Southard’s FOCUS is a cold, brutal beauty; it cranks up the tension to page-clutching proportions, while conveying with deft subtelty and masterful language man’s fear of inadequacy and the sinister and inevitable grind of corporate drain. It’s a neat package of supernatural thrills, a must-read for fans of either author.”
– Mary SanGiovanni, author of The Hollower and Thrall

“FOCUS by Nate Southard and Lee Thomas is a nail-biting thriller that works on many levels. Fans of thoughtful, engaging works of dark fantasy will love this; so, for that matter, will fans of pulse-pounding pulp fiction. Set aside a few hours before you read this one. You won’t be able to put it down!”
– J. F. Gonzalez, author of The Corporation and Back from the Dead

FOCUS is a limited edition, paperback novella available at the 2011 World Horror Convention from Thunderstorm Books.  Stop by their table in the dealer’s room to purchase a copy.