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"Imagine if George Romero and Hammer Films decided to rewrite Strunk and White's beloved guide The Elements of Style. Well, I think Write of the Living Dead is pretty close to what they would come up with. This book is not only good fun for the horror set, but a great resource for any writer, no matter he or she is writing. This book deserves a place on any writer's desk."

Joe McKinney (Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Flesh Eaters & Dead City)


“I will wager you have never seen a book like this–one part humor, one part homage to the horror genre, and it is all layered over a solid foundation of serious instruction . . . an instant classic.”

Rocky Wood (HWA President and Bram Stoker Award-winning author)


As a long-time teacher of composition, I have tried textbook after textbook - at community colleges, private liberal arts colleges, and public universities - few with significant differences. And for the past decade, I have included Stephen King’s On Writing, which my students love and the authors of Write of the Living Dead reference up front. Thus I was intrigued. As I read this new text, I found several significant differences, not least of which is humor. Another difference is the range of genres and purposes, from the basics to fiction, nonfiction to business, and more, including a chapter on publishing. In particular, Chapter 8 of 13 (a wicked resonance that echoes throughout the text) “Academic Writing” includes the necessary information on critical thinking, seeking credible sources, and research, as well as sample MLA and APA papers – but with clear, brief explanations. While I did find some of the horror digressions a bit cumbersome, I am reminded of a time when I was a grad student taking a grammar course, reading The Transitive Vampire and giggling, an other-worldly experience I would not mind sharing with students. Write of the Living Dead is fun, yet it has a vocabulary no less serious than the most boring, serious, credible textbooks I have required in the past. While the authors shy away from social issues, which I find refreshing, at the same time, because I teach at an historically black university, I was aware of the lack of diversity in the photographs. Identity and relevance are considered, which can allow for taking the text in any direction I might find necessary.

Kathi R. Griffin, Ph.D. (Jackson State University)


As a now veteran English teacher as well as writer of my own writing guide, I’ve encountered countless writing guides in my day. MLA has one. So does APA. Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style sits on many writers’ bookshelves (including my own), reminding them of language’s purpose and power. Lynn Truss complains (convincingly) about bad grammar in her Eats, Shoots, and Leaves. Stephen King combines compelling memoir with style and publication advice in his On Writing. Karen Elizabeth Gordon gothically pulls apart and puts back together the English language in her Transitive Vampire grammar books. Diana Hacker provides examples of strong style and formatting in her much-used-in-schools The Bedford Handbook. The list goes on and on. Well, now we have a scary-good addition to this esteemed list. Matthews, Lee, and Swanson’s Write of the Living Dead borrows Gordon’s dark outlook and then pulls off an impressive feat, combining elements from other successful writing guides to create a comprehensive manual that covers everything from writing process to style to mechanics to format to genre (story, poem, essay, e-mail, resume , and more!) to publication, all in dark, bloody good fun. The setup: Each chapter is narrated by a different undead character dealing with a zombie apocalypse. Teachers of writers in high school, college, and beyond will find one helpful, engaging example and explanation after another. (My favorite chapter title? The sixth: “Persuasive Writing or Please Can I Eat Your Brain: A Zombie’s Guide to Writing Persuasively.”) In the first chapter, Reginald Spittoon (an author hurrying to write his chapter before his zombie bite becomes an urge and new identity that overtake him) provides an example of an effective opening to an essay—a challenge, more specifically: “The hunting and slaying of vampires is inhuman and should be outlawed. According to existing laws, there is nothing wrong with taking a sharp wooden stake and pounding it cruelly through the heart of creatures that, in many cases, possess more intelligence than their living brethren” (21). You’ll find full model essays in there, too. Write of the Living Dead’s engaging points of view and sense of humor make each chapter’s teaching all the more approachable and exciting. I’m excited to share this fresh (or rotting, decaying, and rancid?) new voice with my students. (ADDENDUM: I'm going to recommend your textbook to our high school teachers. It does just about everything our traditional Hacker books do and much more engagingly. Honestly, as much as I enjoyed the dark outlook and sense of humor (I love lots of the examples), perhaps what's most impressive is just how functional and professional this all is. It's a true writing guide, not gimmicky at all. Well done.)

Andy Hueller

Middle and Upper School English Teacher, St. Paul Academy and Summit School

Author of the YA novel and text for writers How I Got Rich Writing C Papers


Filled with practical best practices, sage advice, strong techniques, humorous anecdotes, and an unforgettable cast of characters, "Write of the Living Dead" is a must have for any aspiring horror writer, regardless of skill level or publication history. I highly, highly recommend this book to anyone seeking to transform that nebulous horror idea swirling around in their head into a quality publication credit.

Ryan Neil Falcone (Editor, Dark Moon Digest magazine)