It started with a dream.

A dream within a dream, where architects weave mazes into your thoughts and mercenary minded men find ways to slip through the edges of your subconscious.

Er, sorry. Wrong plot.

But it did all begin with a dream.

Like Mary Shelley, whose nightmare fostered the creation of Frankenstein’s monster, and Stephenie Meyer, who – love it or hate it – conjured up the Twilight Saga after an enthralling night’s sleep, I too was inspired by a dream.

In March of 2010, while teaching English at a high school in Texas, I had a vivid nightmare that remains branded in my thoughts to this day. The dream began at the high school. (Because even in my dreams I can’t seem to escape from work, ha!) Except in this case, I’d been relegated to the role of student rather than teacher. After a jarring event threw the school into a bumbling mass of pandemonium, everything started to break down.

The rest of the dream played out in a whirlwind of apocalyptic chaos, espionage, and high action adventure. Several times throughout the night I woke abruptly – heart pounding wildly, thoughts spinning erratically – but it seemed my subconscious was determined to follow the story to the end. Every time I sank back into restless slumber, I was once again trapped in the fascinating and frightening world my mind had created.

The next morning my brain was fraught with the images from the nightmare. But even though the bulk of the dream had been downright terrifying, I couldn’t help thinking, “Man, this would make an awesome story!”

I hashed out the details of the dream to my husband, whose dispassionate response was, “Cool. You should write it down.”

Though he seemed nonchalant at best – didn’t he know this was a life transforming dream? – he doggedly hounded me through the next four years to complete the story. I would come home from work, exhausted and overwhelmed with hundreds of essays in my to grade pile, and he would ask, “So, are you going to get an hour of writing in tonight?” A lot of times the answer was heck no, I’m going to sit on the couch, watch mindless reality TV, and eat my weight in ice cream. Maybe if I’d been as dedicated to the cause as he was, it wouldn’t have taken four frickin’ years to write.

Well, after countless nights of marathon typing, I finally finished the first rough draft of the novel. I’ve created this blog to share short stories that take place in the world of my dream as I continue to edit and revise the full-length novel.

A few notes:

• Full disclosure – Prior to this dream, I wouldn’t have exactly called myself a zombie aficionado. Sure, I was intrigued by 28 Days Later, thought Zombieland to be humorous and clever, enjoyed I Am Legend… But that was the extent of my experience with the genre (until my students roped me into The Walking Dead, that is.)

• I’m attempting to keep my short stories in chronological order in relation to the timeline of the novel. However, as my brain eschews working in a linear, orderly fashion, there may be some overlap or flashbacks. Sorry.

• And lastly, I realize there’s some controversy to the term zombie. Some people – okay, a lot of people – will argue that a person can’t be considered a true zombie unless he/she is a reanimated corpse that was legitimately dead prior to zombiefication. So… yeah. My story might not meet those rigid qualifications, but if you’re interested in zombies/pseudo zombies/apocalyptic events/conspiracy theories/romance/road trips/energy drinks/then hopefully this will pique your interest.

Happy reading, my friends!