How will you survive when aliens attack? Or vampires? Or werewolves? Or vampire werewolves? Geek Survival Guide seeks to point you to the best information to keep you and your loved ones alive during the inevitable zombie apocalypse. Good luck!

Friday, December 31, 2010

GSG Episode - Finales, Goodbyes, etc.

Yup, this is it. The last official episode of GSG. It's been a good time, but it's time to put the show officially to bed. Feel free to check out future things that will happen at Mad Poet Files. Also, check out FlagShip, where I'm currently the Managing Editor.

Referenced in this episode of GSG -
Blade Runner
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
The Count of Monte Cristo
The Fellowship of the Ring
Recent Press Conferences

For those of you who have patiently listened, thank you. I hope you enjoy this episode, and the many things I'll be doing in the future.

Enjoy everything!
Download GSGFinal.mp3

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Aftermath

Dec 1 - The first day of the rest of your life.

Now what?

Brought to you by FlagShip - available at Amazon, BN, and


Download GSG NaNo Aftermath

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 30 - The Final Countdown

Day 30 - 50,010 Words

It's time to make the donuts, people. Let's get in there and do it.


Brought to you by FlagShip - available at Amazon, BN, and


Download Day 30

Monday, November 29, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 29 - Problems Problems Problems

Day 29 - 48,349 words.

Problems Problems Problems all day long. We'll recap Aaron Allston's problems today. There are


Brought to you by FlagShip - available at Amazon, BN, and

Download Day 29

Sunday, November 28, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 28 - The Joe Esposito Tribute Episode

Day 28 - 46,676 words.

There's no montages here. Just the work. Plant your keister in a chair, and get to it. Just because it's work doesn't mean it can't be fun. Mary Poppins was a crafty lady. Add something to it that makes it fun for you. Maybe that's romance. Maybe it's more action scenes. Maybe it's ghost bears.

Here's that ISBW on writing: Ep 169, Dudes!


Download Day 28

Saturday, November 27, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 27 - Yes, You Can! Be a Jerk to Your Characters!

Day 27 - 45,009 words.

Counting today, you've got four days left. You're in striking distance. But maybe you're a little stuck. Now's the time to release the final Aaron Allston problem.

You're not being enough of a jerk to your characters.

Mentioned in this podcast -
Lolth, Demon Queen of Spiders.
The ending of most romantic comedies.
Nick Lowe (youtube link)
And Telegraph Connect


Download Day 27

Friday, November 26, 2010


Woke up this morning, and this was what was running through my head.

Day 26, 43,342 Words.

It's the Lolly Lolly Lolly get your adverbs here episode of GSG.

Referenced in this episode:
Robin Hood Daffy, Crush, Crumble, and Chomp, The Brobdingagian Bards, Double Rainbows, Beyonce Knowles, DuckTales, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Star Wars, Domino's Pizza Franchises, and Hairnets.

If you enjoyed this episode, GSG has a new PayPal donate button. I'm just sayin'.


Download Day 26

Thursday, November 25, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 25 - An Environment of Gratitude

I'm a bit rambly today - lack of oxygen due to congested sinuses.

Promo -'s Primogeniture Anthology


Download Day 25

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 24 - Pickling the Red Herring

Day 24. 40,008 words.

Writing problem 1 - You've followed your own red herring. Don't do that. If you've already done it, backtrack and fix. But don't toss what you've written. Remember that story file we talked about? The one you stick interesting things into? Consider this an interesting diversion of however many words it is, cut it, and stick it in that file. Pickle that herring, because you never know when it might fit perfectly into something else you're writing down the road.


Download Day 24.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 23 - Quality is job 2.

Day 23. 38,341 words.

You are allowed to write a first draft that sucks. You're allowed to write disappointing dialogue, crummy characterization, and plodding plotlines. It doesn't have to sing. Yet.

Mentioned (again) in this podcast - The Way of Kings.


Download Day 23

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day 22 - You don't have to be brilliant

Day 22. 36,674 words.

You don't have to be brilliant. If you have promised brilliance, remember - it's just methodology. Every methodology has holes. Find the holes, and SNAP. You can simulate brilliance.

Find that trojan horse, or spanish prisoner, or whatever.


Download Day 22

Sunday, November 21, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 21 - Find a Way

Day 21. 35,007 words.

Figure out what will work - if you want to ado this (or any other dream), you can, if you put your mind to it.

Also, Aaron Allston plotting problem 3 - unnecessary scenes. If this scene isn't fulfilling a purpose, stop writing it, and get to one that is.

Mentioned today - Apple Bluetooth Keyboard, Scrivener, Simplenote, and iPhone, though an iPod touch would work for this also.


Download Day 21

Saturday, November 20, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 20 - 2/3's there

I'm becoming more and more convinced that it's not about the 50,000 words. It's about the 30 days. It's about getting in there and doing the thing you always wanted to do. So go do it!

Mentioned this ep: The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, and The Freelancer's Survival Guide.


Download Day 20

Thursday, November 18, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 19 - Lose the Cruft

Cruft is like barnacles. They slow everything down. Maybe you're doing that on purpose, but a lot of the time it's just happening. Go easy on it.

And that's it.


Dowload Day 19

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 18 - Be Good To Yourself

Day 18. 30,006 words.

In the Words of Those Sages of Old, known collectively as Journey, make sure you are taking care of yourself. Drink water, get rest, get exercise. Sharpen your saw.


Download Day 18

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 17 - Stickying Things Up

Day 17. 28,339 words.

I ran out of time to talk about this yesterday.

Complicate things! Make it a little sticky for our heroes. Aaron Allston suggests adding a character whose goals are tangenial to, but not aligned with, those of either the protagonist or the antagonist.

See Sherlock Holmes for an example. Or pretty much any Final Fantasy Game Ever Made (I prefer Final Fantasy 6 OR Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift). (In all seriousness, Sherlock Holmes will only take a couple of hours. You don't have time to slog through FF6 or FFTA2:GotR. It's NaNoWriMo, for Pete's sake.)


Download Day 17

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 16 - Sticking With It, and Stickying Things Up

Day 16. 26,672 words.

According to Tobias Buckell (, author of Crystal Rain, Sly Mongoose, The Executioness, etc), about 22% of those who begin NaNoWriMo finish the month with 50,000 words. The rest of them sort of fade away.

And I'm sure the percentage of those folks who do finish, and then keep writing, is probably at or lower than 22% or that 22%. But if this is something you're plugging away at, don't get discouraged. Don't get disappointed. If you're not making it, but you still want to write, you don't have to wait for November 2011 to do that. Start a blog. Start a podcast. Write some non-fiction. But do keep at it if it's something you enjoy.

How are you enjoying that FlagShip? Good stuff, eh?

Download Day 16.

Monday, November 15, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 15 -

Day 15. 25,005 words.

You are halfway there. You are allowed a cookie at this point if you have kept up. If not, you may be allowed a condolence cookie of somewhat smaller size.

What's Your Character Arc? How is your character changing, growing, etc?

Also, lightsabers are kewl.

Have you gotten your issue of FlagShip yet? I thought so.

Download Day 15

Sunday, November 14, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 14 - Slow Down and Get to Know your Characters

Brought to you by FlagShip #3 - available now at,, and

Day 14. 23,338 words.

Today's advice is to slow down. We're busy people, and NaNo just adds to it. If it's at all possible, try to find a way to slow down, and allow your story to marinate a little bit. It's like making a stew - your characters, setting, scenes, conflicts, etc., all need to have a chance to blend their flavors a bit.

Today's problem - Characterization problem 2 - You don't know your character. Take your kick-butt action hero, and put him in a situation where he's totally out of water. For example, changing a diaper.


Download Day 14

Saturday, November 13, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 13 - Will You Respect Your Character in the Morning?

Day 13. 21,671 words. Holy cow.

Sometimes you need a particular character to act in a particular way. So you make them do something. The problem is, that's not the way the character would really act. And the part of your brain that is telling you this story goes... "that's wrong". And shuts down.

If you need a character to do something, fine. Go back and make the character the kind of person who would do that. Give them a reason to do it. Don't just come out of left field on that.

Also, you should be reading, and listening to I'm just sayin'.


Download Day 13

Friday, November 12, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 12 - You're Missing Something...

If your story is still floundering, maybe you're missing something vital - like yeast in bread. Can you identify your story's...
Character Motivations?
If not, try going back and adding that back in.

Brought to you by FlagShip - Issue 3 available at and coming soon to's Kindle store and's Nook store.


Download Day 12.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 11 - What Are The Rules?

No Spill Blood! I mean... know the rules. You Are The God Of Your Literary Universe. And as such, you should know how your world works. How do those space whales move around? If there's magic, how does that work? Also, everyone second guesses themselves. Here's your invitation to stop doing that.


Brought to you by FlagShip - available at
Download Day 11.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 10 - Resistance and Conceits

Today, we discuss...
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Resistance. And Conceits, courtesy of Aaron Allston.

This episode brought to you by FlagShip issue 3, available right now at, and soon elsewhere.


Download Day 10.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 9 - Save! And Problem #1

Had a chance to hear Aaron Allston the other night here in Austin, talking about problems that might come up in writing, and thought I'd pass on what he said. If you ever get a chance to attend one of his workshops (He does them with Michael Stackpole occasionally), I'd recommend it.

Also, I am reminded that You Need To Save Your Work. Often. Or use Scrivener, which does it for you.


Download Day 9!

Monday, November 08, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 8 - One Week Down

Here's hoping that you are kicking much butt in your writing.
Speaking of which, if you've got a problem, fix it in post. Leave yourself a note by writing "TK: NOTE TO SELF TO FIX THAT THING." Why TK? Because they never appear next to each other in the English language. Well, mostly never.


Download Day 8.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 7 - Pomodoro + Write or Die = Mucho Writing

At least it did for me yesterday. Find what works for you, but if you haven't found it yet, you might want to give this potent combo a try.

Pomodoro Technique =
1. Pick a task (in this case, writing)
2. Set a timer for 25 minutes.
3. Focus on that task until bell rings.
4. When bell rings, STOP.
5. Five minute break.
6. That's one Pomodoro. Repeat. Every fourth one, take a longer break.


Download Day 7

Saturday, November 06, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 6 - Turn Off the Inner Editor and Write or Die

You can find Write or Die at If you're struggling to keep up with the word count, this tool can help a LOT.


Download Day 6

Friday, November 05, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 5 - Take The Pressure Off, but Be Interesting

Well, you do need SOME pressure. But the daily grind can and will test your resolve, your energy, and your TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS to the max. So...

Here's today's episode.


Download Day 5.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 4 - Theme and Passion

To stay motivated, you need to have some passion, and to have (and keep) that passion, you should know why you're writing this. Why THIS story? What do you have to say?


Download Day 4.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

GSG NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 3 - Setting, Changes, and Kicking Off (For Real)

Because the story starts when things change. Doesn't have to be big. But a change.


Download Day 3.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Day 2 - You Are A Writer Dag Nab It. And Antagonists.

Day 2, you still have the flush of newness in front of you. You've got a day under your belt, and you're feeling great! 

Last time I was talking about protagonists and viewpoint characters. Pay attention to your conflict, and decide who your protagonist is and who your antagonist is. What's your conflict? Because you need a conflict.

Download Day 2.

Monday, November 01, 2010

GSG NaNowriMo 2010 Day 1 - The Blank Slate and Your Protagonist

Day 1. You're starting on your journey, and I talk a little about what I want to see in a story.

Quick and dirty, peeps. That's how we're rolling in the 1-0.


Download 01_Day_1_-_The_Blank_Slate_and_Your_Protagonist.mp3

Sunday, October 31, 2010

GSG NaNowriMo 2010 Kickoff

So, where have I been for the last... um... not quite a year?

Tune in and find out, folks!

(Zod's Garage Punk Band Music graciously provided by Kickstart via


Download na-no-wri-mo-2010-kickoff-mp3

Sunday, July 04, 2010

What I've been up to since you last heard from me...

Is this: a science fiction magazine, in both e-text and audio forms. I'm throwing in an audio copy of one of the stories in the first issue, and if you're interested, you might mosey on over to I'm just sayin'.

And here's a sample ePub too - it lists all the stories, and includes the text of this promo audio story as well. It should work with iBooks, Stanza for iPod/iPhone/iPad, Nook, recent Sony readers, the Kobo reader, and anything else that will take ePub.


Download FlagShipPromo1
(and a new episode is coming)

Friday, February 05, 2010

Promotion, Promotion, Promotion!

Someone on Twitter said something last night about some podcasts needing new promos. So then I looked at my last promo for GSG... and realized I had put it together in May of last year.


So, here's a new promo, starring my adorable daughter, Queso, and her Aunt.


Download GSGPromo0210.mp3

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

GSG 2010.2 - Percy Jackson!

Kind of building off the Alien Hybrid episode, today we talk about surviving being a demigod of some sort. I mean, sure you've got at least one divine parent, but it's not like they're hanging out to read you bedtime stories. And they're always sending you on errands. Deadly errands! Today's ep talks about The Lightning Thief, a pretty good yarn. There are also shoutouts to Clash of the Titans, the Odyssey, and Jason and the Argonauts.

Next week, we talk Dragons! Specifically, His Majesty's Dragon, by Naomi Novik. Until then, hey, do a little reading, why doncha?

UPDATE: I got word pretty quickly that the audio levels weren't right. I've re-mixed and reloaded the file, but it may take a little while for Libsyn to reflect the changes. If you can't hear me over the music, first, I totally apologize. And second, give it about an hour, and libsyn should have a corrected file.

Thanks! and Enjoy!

Download GSG2_002.mp3

Sunday, January 17, 2010

GSG 2010.1 - Zeppelins!

Because they're pretty much the defining characteristic of steampunk - well, that, gears, and a certain flair for fashion, and because I did this performance at Balticon last year, and as far as I know it was never released, here's the fabled Lost Steampunky Episode of GSG.

Oh - for those of you who were curious - Ben Sherwood. The statistics are (mostly) accurate when applied to airlines, and were pulled from his research.

And for the next episode in two weeks, Percy Jackson and the Mythological Survival Techniques! Or just the Lightning Thief. Either way.


Download GSG2_01.mp3

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mad Poet Files is live!

Ayup, as I said in the last podcast, the first short story from me is now live at

If you'd like to subscribe to that feed, it's at I'll update this with itunes and other information as it comes in, and I'll update this with a central "Zach's Big Hairy Feed" when that's live.

UPDATE: iTunes Link is right here.

Hope you enjoy the new podcast!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Next Topic: Steampunk, and the Avatar Bad Movie Bingo sheet

Had a couple of great e-mails and twitters today, with some good ideas.

First, someone suggested that if I'm going to be reading books in the future, I might consider putting an Amazon affiliate link to them here on the site. With two weeks between episodes, if I put a follow up on the site the next day, it should be plenty of time for someone who wanted to follow along / support the cast / etc. to order and get the book I'd be talking about. Of course, doing that is totally up to you. If you don't order with an affiliate link, or if you support your local Bricks & Mortar Bookseller, or even your Local Library, I'm totally okay with that. Heck, how will I know?

So, with that in mind, the next episode will be on surviving particular Steampunk scenarios. Good resources for that include Girl Genius, (available at the affiliate link, or to read for free at Phil and Kaja Foglio's site -, I read the whole thing over the last couple of months, and Queso is reading it now - really enjoying it). Also, a book I just finished - Cherie Priest's Boneshaker (a fun adventure novel, including rebellious teenagers, struggling mothers, dirigibles, mad science, and - of course - zombies).

And once I get down with what I'm currently reading, (hey, maybe you'll want to follow me on Goodreads) I'll probably see if I can get my hands on and get through Scott Westerfield's Leviathan before that ep drops.

And because there was a request for it, here's the PDF of the Avatar Bad Movie Bingo sheet I put together.

GSG Special Episode: 2010 Kickoff!

Big plans. Big plans. Maybe a big head on me. Yikes.

Anyway, this isn't comedy - it's another of those "meta" episodes that turns up from time to time here, where we step out from behind the curtain and discuss where I see us headed over the next little bit. That bit being between now and April. Anyway, not everyone will enjoy this. If this isn't your bag, maybe you wanna try Phil Rossi's Eden?

Anyway, enjoy my rambling, self-absorbed, pretentious twaddle, if you care to try! Oh, and the cover art is the Bad Movie Bingo Sheet for Avatar. I think that'd be a bit harder to pull for Sherlock Holmes... but I could probably do it.

Download GSGSpecial2010Kickoff.mp3