Saturday, October 15, 2011

Blog Tour: The Gossip Ghouls: Zombies and Lipstick and The Gossip Ghouls by Z

Zombies and Lipstick
By Z
Gossip Ghouls Book One


Zombie punk Z wakes up in her designer coffin to learn that Vampie, the undead Paris Hilton wannabe, killed her. At first, Z believes this attack stems from Vampie’s jealousy over Z’s boyfriend. Soon, Z learns Vampie's master plan: stealing Z's boyfriend while eliminating werewolves and zombies altogether. Z decides to pose as Gossip Ghoul to get revenge on the billionaire vampress. Impersonating Vampie’s party girl cousin, Z enters the world of the super wealthy, of birka bags and designer fangs, of Parisian shopping sprees and lavish parties. Will Z be exposed before she texts Vampie's scandalous secrets to the undead world? Or will Z vanquish Vampie to once again make the high school of the living and the undead a safe and fashionable place for all?

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Undead Hollywood
By Z
Gossip Ghouls Book Two


In this sequel to The Gossip Ghouls: Zombies and Lipstick, Z finds herself heading for the Hollywood A-list. There's just one problem—to get there, she has to join The Club, a studio system run by the vampires who rule Undead Hollywood. During a wild party, Z learns that the entire film industry is truly run by the undead, some of whom plan to stage a war against the living to reclaim their old Hollywood status. Z must fight against parodies of Hollywood stars of the past in TV's Undead Idol to save her new husband's life and to reclaim her status as the zombie it girl.

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Excerpt Gossip Ghouls
Zombies and Lipstick
Book 1 Chapter 1

Never make out with a chick's boyfriend at her own funeral.
I mean, it should be a law somewhere up there with not stealing another girl’s lipstick or swiping her bra.
It’s just wrong. And anyone with the least degree of common sense, living or dead, should just know it—without the corpse having to spell it out for them.
But apparently these girls never got the text message because there I was, lying in my designer coffin, complete with gold trim, cell phone in hand, seeing every word they texted while they were supposedto be crying for me. Everyone knew that dying was the one way for any girl to become popular, no matter how much of a pariah she was, but these chicks were cold, colder than I was, and I was the freakin’ corpse.
Dead people were supposed to have friends all over—suddenly, everyone knew you, everyone could recall a memory where you brightened up their otherwise crappy day. It was like being prom queen for a day, no matter how you looked. And there was Vampie, the filthy rich—and rich, filthy—blonde, trying to take it all away from me.
You might be wondering, unlike Vampie and her clique, say, what rendered me lifeless? What exactly took the life of a perfectly tanned and scrumptiously attired sixteen-year-old with a whole life to give to the wonders of fashion? Why was it that school was canceled today so that Auburn Heights High kids could attend the funeral of second girl to die in just as many months? I’d have an answer if you bothered to ask, but leave it to Vampie to spread as many rumors as her stubby little fingers could text.
Let me dispel the rumors for you.
Rumor #1: Z—that’s me—was drinking, smoking, and puffing so much she poisoned her body.
Now this rumor was just stupid. Yes, there was a party. And yes, I went. But no, I wasn’t drinking—or won’t admit it—and I never touched drugs. It’s not like Vampie would know—she was too busy making out with any guy who happened to come her way.
Email Rumor #2: Z ended up dying because she was getting so fat her bod couldn’t take it anymore.
Now this one just made me want to scratch Vampie’s eyes out. Vampie weighs more than me any day of the week, twice as much on Sundays, and she was always jealous that I was able to stick to a diet. Especially when Brent Stoker, her so-called ex-boyfriend, ended up taking notice. I suppose that’s what started it all. Vampie, with the largest mansion on the hill, never loses a guy, and so she had to bury me by text.
So if the rumors aren’t true, what really happened?
I wish I knew. I was standing there at the party, waiting for Stoker to show, and something was stalking me in the shadows. At first, I thought it was just Vampie and her clique. But there was something different, something darker, about this shadow, as if it was out for blood. Whatever it was, whoever it was, struck fast, pierced me so hard I felt like I was popping out of my own skin. So there I was, dead. It was so humiliating to die at one of the biggest parties of the year, but what could I do: get red all over and wish I was dead?
So I just lay there, hearing everything, feeling everything, but unable to move. Until I woke up in a casket as the dean of students took the podium—even at my own funeral, I couldn’t get rid of him—and started talking about what a shining light I was for the school and how Auburn Heights High would miss me and raise scholarships in my honor. If I hadn’t known it was me, I'd have thought the girl Dean Morris was talking about was a saint and I would’ve missed her too.
I must’ve been headed in the other direction, though, because the first thing I know I’m looking at my phone, propped as it is in my cold, dead hands, seeing all of Vampie’s texts, and then a single message that stood out from them all: Do you want to start a few new rumors?
How could I answer that one? I mean, who doesn’t?
I’ll meet u 2night at flying angel’s headstone, the text read.
I wanted to ask who this messenger was, exactly, or how I’d recover my senses, how I’d get out from a great big mound of earth. But something in me knew: I had to go.
How many chances does a dead girl get to meet her killer?


That night being dead was beginning to become a serious drag. I could hear everything, including kids tossing beer cans as they drove past the cemetery; I could smell anything, including the worms in the earth above me, and I could even sense my strength gaining as I pressed against the casket lid. But I couldn't doanything but just lie there, hungry as hell, as night unfolded above me. Until I heard it, the magical clang of shovel against rock and realized that at least two people were digging me out.
I pressed against the coffin lid, but there was no moving it. I was far too weak. I just waited, unable to make out who the voices belonged to as they asked What should we do with her? I was too frantic to hear who replied, even with my super senses, but an answer must’ve been given because before I knew it I was being lifted and placed on the ground. The motion brought up my queasiness, which was nothing compared to when the casket was actually opened.
Standing there, wrapped in night, was the prom queen from hell herself, Valerie “Vampie” von Starkberg, all decked out in her classic pink brazier that she called “a top,” and a silky lace Valentino dress that looked so pricey it must've been made out of pearls. She had bright white heels, and a necklace and earrings of glowing white gold. She would’ve looked like a high class escort girl were it not for the blood red lipstick and dark mascara she wore, which earned her her nickname. She had tattoos of different men up and down her left arm, men she claimed to sleep with that we saw once and never again. This, along with her money, earned her fear and respect.
“Val,” I said as these two guys, her guards, lifted me up. The word was spoken with honest relief. “Thank God. I thought I was dead, except I couldn’t just die.”
Vampie laughed—hers was never a good laugh—and said, “Slower in death than we are with my men, aren't we, Z?”
Her tone was as catty as ever. I just looked at her, wondering what she was going to do next. She pranced around me like a cougar--a fat one--stalking its prey. Off to the side, in the shadows, was my boyfriend.
“Stoker,” I called. Everyone called him that, even his girlfriends.
He looked like he was in some kind of trance, with eyes that didn’t focus and a face that lacked soul.
“What did you do to him?” I threatened more than asked.
Vampie smirked. “Nothing he didn’t want me to do.”
“You’re lying.”
Vampie walked up and slapped me hard enough to leave a pink mark.
I would’ve hit her, but I was too weak to move, let alone fight. I just put on the bitchiest glare I could, but I was so afraid I was trembling.
“Val,” I said, trying again to conjure some humanity in her. “Haven’t I been through enough? I thought I died.”
“You did die, slut. Look down—at your stomach,” Vampie told me.
Blood red was beginning to stain the amber dress my mother laid me out in. Given the choice of dress, that may not have been a bad thing.
“I don’t understand,” I told her.
“That’s why I’m here—to make you,” Vampie said.
I gulped. Vampie’s tone was more threatening than I’ve ever heard her, and, when I was alive, I heard her quite a bit.
“No one takes my guys,” Vampie said, “and certainly not trash like you. I get as many as I want as often as I want and anyone who lays a finger on them without my permission will end up like you. So don’t worry about the dying part—we’ll get there, once I know how much your body is worth—but I want you to see something first.”
I tried to spit at the bitch but was too weary to do that much.
“Brent, come here, now,” Vampie ordered.
Stoker moved forward, even though he never responded to Brent, not with me, at least.
“Stoker,” I said.
“Shut up,” Vampie yelled at me. “Now, Brent, tell Z exactly what you told me earlier.”
Stoker paused; Vampie slapped him.
“I never loved you,” Stoker said to me. “I just went out with you because of your reputation for putting out.”
Vampie laughed snottily enough. No one else did, but it became clear this little get together was a party for one.
“That was lame,” I told Vampie, “even by your lack of standards. You’ll have to do way more than that to get to me, you heartless bitch.”
“Then let’s get on with the festivities, shall we? Brent, undress, now,” Vampie ordered.
I tried to catch Stoker’s eyes, but I couldn’t seem to budge him from his dead gaze.
Vampie spent more time watching the pain on my face than she did watching Brent.
“Stoker,” I called out again. “Wake up!”
“Oh, he’s quite awake and quite aware of what’s going on. It’s nothing he doesn’t want to do, Z. I can do nothing to Stoker that he wouldn’t willingly do himself.”
Stoker stood there naked as Vampie said, “Time to hook up. Do you love me, Brent?”
“Of course,” Stoker said.
“That’s sweet. You’re nothing to me, you know that, right? Nothing. Now, get it on, and make it good.”
I had to watch, powerless, as Vampie and Stoker went at it. At Vampie’s request, Stoker whispered about what he was going to do to her next. I could see their skins moving closer, their breathing uniting, their lips moving up and down each other’s bodies, and I could do nothing, nothing but say that only a slut of the highest order would do the nasty with the deceased’s boyfriend just after the funeral.
“He’s mine, all mine, like any man I meet,” Vampie said.
Vampie didn’t even finish the act. She stopped just short of sex, slapped Stoker, and said: “Get your hands off me. You’re the worst lover I’ve ever had, and I refuse to finish with such a pig.”
“Honestly, there’s been so, so many lovers, right, Vampie?” I asked. “It has to be such a chore to remember which is the worst.”
“Smack her,” Vampie ordered a guard. “Leave a mark.”
He did, and it hurt whatever senses I had left.
“I hope you enjoyed watching. Now, bitch, we get to the death part, as promised,” Vampie told me.
She reached down in her stockings and pulled out an engraved knife with a golden handle and encrusted rubies and pearls.
“See this,” she said. “It’s special. The oldest knife on the continent. It cost a fortune, not that it matters to me. You’re worth it, aren’t you, my little zombie killer?” Vampie kissed the blade and then said, “That’s all you are, you know, you and your worthless ex, zombies, the poor white trash of the undead. But you know what you’ll become? A chance at immortality for wealthy the world over. I’d call that a fair exchange. We just need to cut you open and have a look at you first. You may be trash, but you're worth far more than you know.”
She said the term with zombies with such disgust it was like she was talking about her poor relations, if she had any.
“You’re not even worthy of being handled by a real vampress,” Vampie said. “Guards, take the knife and stab her slowly right in front of Brent. Not fatally—not until we get her to the lab. I just want her worthless ex to see this. Maybe it’ll help him get it up for me next time.”
Vampie turned to Stoker and added, “This is for being so lousy a lover.”
Just then, I felt tremors in the ground and heard a large, inhuman growl from the woods beyond the cemetery. I stood there embarrassed until I realized it wasn't some bodily function. I looked out and saw two of the largest, fiercest yellow eyes I’d ever seen. So much for hoping for a quick rescue. They looked like the eyes of a wolf, but larger, much larger. The guttural growl grew louder and then the creature, this huge, almost bear-like body with a wolf’s snout, came lunging forward. I just wished the guards would've hurried it up and gotten it over with.
Vampie took the knife from the guards and tried to plunge it into me as quickly as she could, but it was too late. The monster wolf was on her.
The knife fell just as the wolf tore past the guard and lunged for Vampie.
“Just hang on,” the werewolf told me.
I could've sworn the wolf was wearing lipstick.
Before I could ask which brand, I felt myself being thrust on its back, seeing an image of
Vampie, bitten, blood-stained, but not beaten.
She got up, raised her hands in the air, and summoned a whole conclave of miniature vampires who dropped like rain from the trees. They looked soulless, like she had just made them from the air or something.
“Bring the wolf and the zombie to me,” she ordered these elemental vampires.
The tiny vampires lunged through the air with unnatural speed, surrounding the wolf, until the wolf went for one of the creatures, nearly tearing it in half in its jaws. Vampie then stalked forward; lightning and thunder appeared all around her—she was definitely the uber bitch. Right as she lifted her hands to do God knows what, the knife she’d dropped flung right into her. She turned and saw Stoker looking right at her. He'd finally gotten it up after all—just not in the way Vampie imagined.
Even the elemental vampires seemed to weaken for just a moment as Vampie fell to the ground, not dead, but pissed—really, really pissed. They were connected, somehow, Vampie and her creations.
“Run,” Stoker said to the wolf. “Get her the hell out of here!”
The werewolf obliged. I was rendered unconscious too quickly to protest, and the last I saw was us racing into the slutty black of night.


My Review
It is not every day that there is a Gossip Girl-style book written about zombies. And there’s a good reason for it: it doesn’t work.

I was willing to give these two book the benefit of a doubt, since it’s almost Halloween and we should be as kind to all the ghosts and ghouls we encounter along our way, but these two stories pushed the boundaries of that. The plot is a joke, and not a very funny one at that, so it was hard to keep my mind from wandering as I read. There is no focus to the story, it feels like a group of scenes joined together. Many plot points are not developed or resolved in any way, providing for an uneven reading experience as well as a mediocre one.

The characters are even more ridiculous than the storyline. The main character, the one who is supposed to be a zombie never shows any characteristics that might display the fact that she is dead, and while the vampires are alright, if a little extra snooty than needed, they fail to make an impact of any sort. I gather that these books were written tongue-in-cheek and yet they never reach the point where the reader can relax and enjoy the nonsense. It all feels like too much of a car wreck.

I can’t, in all honesty, recommend this series of books.

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