Category: SHU WPF

Special pre-release sale and pre-orders!

editors, genre fiction, Habeas Corpse, marketing, publishing, reading, release, SHU WPF, zombies October 23, 2013

I started to type the title of this post as BIG NEWS! HUGE NEWS! and then realized that I *might* want to retain a smidge of dignity.

I don’t know why, because I am truly excited for you to finally meet Theo!

First thing, here’s the cover in its entirety… and seriously, Mike Arnzen wrote the most awesome blurb ever.

Habeas Corpse final cover

Here’s the whole blurb:

“Dexter meets Deadite in Nikki Hopeman’s HABEAS CORPSE — and what a treat this novel is. It’s rare that a debut novel can reignite a subgenre, but Nikki Hopeman’s book just might be the most clever zombie story to hit the shelves in quite some time. Hopeman writes a book with brains, in every way:  fun and funny, gory and glorious, this witty tale of an undead ‘Riser’ who bends his unique talents toward investigating crime has single-handedly resurrected my interest in brain-sucking freaks.  Such a clever premise.  I can’t wait to read her next one… but till then I think I’ll happily just read this one again!” — Michael Arnzen, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Play Dead.

I had the privilege of working with Dr. Arnzen at Seton Hill, and he’s amazingly talented and a really wonderful teacher. I was floored by the blurb and am humbled.

So, on to business!

Habeas Corpse is available at a special pre-release price of $2.99 for the Kindle only for a few days. Get yours here. You can also preorder the paperback edition here.

This has been such an incredible journey for me. I owe a huge shout-out to RJ Cavender, who helped make the book what it is and Marc Ciccarone and Joe Spagnola of Blood Bound Books for seeing the potential in Habeas Corpse. They’ve been so great to work with.

And now it’s up to you, my lovely readers. I hope you love Theo in all his zombie dorkiness as much as I do.


reading with a purpose, SHU WPF, writing life September 10, 2012

A few reminders today about books available or upcoming!

Help fight cancer and contribute to the care of two wonderful women.

Droplets, by Scott A. Johnson is available through Amazon. 100% of the profits from the sale of every book go toward the medical costs for Tabatha Johnson.


Tabby’s a fighter. She’ll beat this, and she deserves all the support she can get.

Tabby and Scott







Also available for a good cause is Hazard Yet Forward, where you can read my short story “One Man’s Garbage.” The proceeds from Hazard Yet Forward also go toward one woman’s fight with cancer. Donna Munro is a friend and fellow Seton Hill University writer. This huge book features over 70 writers and stories in every genre. This book is available in eformat from Amazon. In case you didn’t know, you can download a Kindle app for your iPad or computer for free and read every title available for Kindle! Win!


My short story “Black Bird” is forthcoming in Dark Moon Book’s anthology Mistresses of the Macabre. More information on that as it becomes available. Have a great week!

Hazard Yet Forward

genre fiction, mixed genre, publishing, reading with a purpose, SHU WPF, Writing About Popular Fiction, writing life August 7, 2012

It’s here! Today’s the release day for Hazard Yet Forward, the anthology written and compiled by fellow Seton Hill alum, students, and friends. The proceeds from this amazing 700+ page tome will benefit my friend Donna Munro in her fight with breast cancer.

This huge volume covers all genres and everything in between. Follow this link to get your copy today! Help us make this book #1 on Amazon’s list!
If you don’t have a Kindle, never fear, there’s an app for that! Get it here.

Special announcement and cancer sucks

reading with a purpose, SHU WPF, writing life August 2, 2012

Hello intrepid readers! I’d like to ask you for another favor.

Seems like cancer has taken a prominent role in my world lately. I’ve decided without a doubt that I loathe and despise cancer. It’s a cruel disease, one that comes silently and takes too many people from me and my loved ones.

I hope you’ve purchased your copy of Scott A. Johnson’s Droplets. Every penny of the profits from Droplets goes directly to taking care of Tabby Johnson’s medical bills. This is so important. If I hadn’t been fortunate enough to work with Scott as my mentor in my graduate program, I wouldn’t be writing the way I am now. He made a difference for me. Help me make a difference for him and his family. If you haven’t made that purchase yet, please consider doing so. Follow this link to Scott’s blog and purchase from there.

Another friend, a fellow SHUer, is also undergoing cancer treatment. Donna Munro is a horror writer, an organizer of excellent writing retreats, and my friend. She’s also in for a tough fight with cancer. I’d like to ask for your help once again.

Seventy-six writers connected to the Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction program have created a multi-genre charity anthology entitled Hazard Yet Forward.  All proceeds from this project will benefit Donna Munro, a 2004 graduate of the program.  Munro, a teacher living in St. Louis, Missouri, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  An active member of the SHU WPF alumni committee, Munro helps organize the school’s annual writing conference, the In Your Write Mind Workshop.

To aid Munro and her family, faculty members, alumni, students and friends of the Writing Popular Fiction program quickly responded to compile this massive anthology.  The book features flash fiction, short stories and even a full-length novella.  In total, there are 75 works from various genres, which makes this anthology one that features something for everyone.

Genres represented in the book range from horror to romance to mystery – and everything in between.  Some of the notable writers in the anthology are World Fantasy Award winner Nalo Hopkinson, Bram Stoker winners Michael A. Arnzen and Michael Knost, Bram Stoker nominee Lawrence C. Connolly, ALA/YALSA Best Book for Young Adults winner Jessica Warman, Rita finalist Dana Marton, Spur winner Meg Mims, Asimov’s Readers’ Award winner Timons Esaias  and WV Arts and Humanities literary fellowships winner Geoffrey Cameron Fuller.

About Hazard Yet Forward, co-compiler Matt Duvall says, “It’s an unprecedented collection of stories from every genre imaginable.”  This large volume is an electronic book for the popular Kindle platform and is available for purchase through Amazon starting August 7.  It’s also reasonably priced.  The book will be on sale for $9.99.

I am a part of this anthology.  I wrote the story, “One Man’s Garbage,” about the unintended consequences of one man’s obsession with yard sales.  I took part in this anthology because I want to help Donna and also because I believe in the unspoken brotherhood of the writing community. We’re in this together.

More information about the anthology can be found at the Hazard Yet Forward blog.  To learn about the unique and exciting Writing Popular Fiction program, please visit the Seton Hill University website.

Join us to make a difference.

Genre crossing, epiphanies and inspiration

angst, genre fiction, mixed genre, SHU WPF, voices in my head, writing life July 25, 2011

I have long called myself a mystery writer. I wrote a cozy mystery for my graduate thesis project. My favorite authors include Stephanie Bond, Dorothy Gilman, Alexander McCall Smith, Diane Mott Davidson, and Dana Stabenow (to name but a few). I love the puzzle of a good mystery. Always have and always will. I knew what I wanted to work on for my thesis project before I went to my first residency and focused on mystery throughout the program.

And then I met a horror writer. He was moderating a critique session I was required to attend. I truly appreciated the kind of critique he offered– down to earth and honest, but kind. Hmmm, thought I. I might like to work with this guy. So I snooped around a little and found out that we have a few things in common, and although he didn’t write mystery, he could relate to my thesis project and give me feedback on a whole new level. Hmmmm…

So I asked him if he would agree to take me on as a mentee for my last term writing project. Sure, said he. (Mwahahhahahaa….)

And a whole new world opened up to me.

Oh, I read outside my genre. A lot. There was one summer when I worked at a state park that I read every John Saul and Stephen King book I could get my hands on. I’m a huge fantasy fan, and I read all of the George R.R. Martin books WELL before the HBO series came out. I’ve read every Piers Anthony Xanth book and named my oldest son after a character in Katherine Kerr’s Deverry series. Melanie Rawn is on my shit list for not finishing the Exiles series. I love thrillers. My current favorite author is actually the team of Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston for their Agent Pendergast novels. Lurve me some Pendergast. Right now, if I turn on my iPad, Jonathon Maberry’s The King of Plagues will pop onto the screen (I’m nearly done!). Just an aside, I’ve met Mr. Maberry and he’s enthusiastic about talking with fans and a really great speaker. I highly recommend seeking him out if you ever get the chance. Also, on the recommendation of one of my critique partners, I’ve read every book of Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series (and enjoyed them). Nicole Peeler’s Tempest series rocks my socks off.

But, aside from a short story here and there, I’ve never written outside my genre. My mentor inspired me to read outside my genre with a new perspective. Because of my immense respect for him and for his work, I read the first book of his series with a new perspective. It’s a horror, set in Pittsburgh… with elements of a really great mystery. And that’s when I had the epiphany that every good book has a mystery. There are always questions to be answered in a book; it’s what drives the plot. Every writer is a mystery writer to some degree and it’s just the elements surrounding the questions that pigeonhole a book into a genre.

I went back to one of those fantasy short stories and started playing around with it again. I started the sequel to my thesis and somehow it came out a lot… darker. The realization that I could still write my mysteries and also indulge the other half of my creativity led to a very different kind of product… and I found that I enjoyed it so much more when I allowed myself to step outside those weird walls I’d put up and cross genres.

So now I’m working on a zombie novel. It’s got some gross stuff (whee!), a little romance and a lot of a mystery. And I’m having a blast writing it. Don’t ever be afraid to step outside those genre boundaries– sometimes the product is bigger, badder and so much richer.

And my thanks to that mentor.

Agents and Editors and Angst

agents, angst, editors, SHU WPF, writing life February 9, 2011

I was mildly surprised and more than mildly delighted when I received an email from a reader asking how I handle nerves when I’m around editors or agents. When did I become an expert?

But really, I have had a small bit of experience in interacting with agents and editors and highly successful authors. Last June I sat down with David Morrell and had a conversation about ebooks. David Morrell wrote Rambo. He’s Rambo’s dad. But more important than who his character is? He’s an incredibly insightful, intelligent person and if I hadn’t looked past my jitteriness and just talked to him, I wouldn’t know that.

Same with editors and agents. My personal rules for engaging with an editor or agent:

1. Be on time. I hate it when people are late, like their time is worth than mine, so I don’t like to do it to others.
2. Be prepared. Have a pitch, know your work, bring a business card at least, even if you don’t expect to hand it out. Better to be prepared (and think positive!).
3. Say hello and ask questions. This also might fall into the “treat them like humans” category. Everyone likes to be put at ease. I asked questions of an agent once (out of nerves mostly), and learned that he coaches soccer at my sons’ rival school. That might not be a good thing for me, but it was fun to laugh with the agent.
4. Be friendly and polite, but above all, be yourself and professional. If this person chooses to represent your work you don’t want them to figure out you’ve misrepresented yourself. Hopefully you’ll have a long relationship with this person. Start it off on the right foot.
5.  Always, always say thank you and send a thank you note or email.

I had the privilege to meet Janet Reid (the Query Shark) last June as well, and she is as funny in person as you suspect.

Best wishes!

Friday Fuel and other news

Friday Fuel, SHU WPF, Uncategorized January 14, 2011

On Wednesday, January 12, 2011, I graduated from Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program with a Master of Fine Arts!


Yeah, me, a graduate.

It’s been three long years coming, but it felt good to walk across that stage and receive my diploma. I didn’t have that experience as an undergrad, so this was a special for me.

“What’s next?” you ask. A wonderful author I know has offered to recommend me to her agent, so I will begin revising my thesis in preparation for submission. It’s already been through one pretty solid revision, so it’s just fine tuning. I’ll submit it to this agent and hopefully at least get some good feedback.

I also have two critique groups I’ll be active in, with deadlines staggered every two weeks. Working with this wonderful people holds me accountable and keeps me producing. Graduation is definitely not the end for me, but rather the beginning.

Here’s today’s Friday Fuel:

1. You walk across the stage to receive your diploma, but instead of the diploma inside that pleather folder is a plea for help from an alien race.

2. You’re driving on a desert highway, no other vehicles in sight, when a red Camaro comes out of nowhere to pass you, driving erratically.

3. You’re sitting in a coffee shop, reading a newspaper and a man with a slight tic asks if he can share your table. He sits down and you realize he’s handcuffed to his briefcase.

4. You’re having a terrible day your 9-5 cubicle job. You’re tired, cranky and angry. One of your coworkers burns a bag of popcorn in the microwave.

5. You watch a man staple a sign for a lost cat to the telephone pole in front of your house and 15 minutes later watch a woman remove it.

Happy writing!

Happy New Year!

SHU WPF, voices in my head, Writing About Popular Fiction, writing and technology, writing life January 5, 2011

Happy New Year and all that jazz. We had a quiet holiday here at the casa.

Bad news… my Facebook account was hacked. If you got a chat message from me asking for money because I’d been robbed at gunpoint in London… yeah, no. That’s not me. I contacted FB immediately and my page is disabled for the foreseeable future. If you were unfriended (because they ninja’ed my friends list) please, please let me know. I can’t tell who all they deleted. Leave me a comment here and as soon as my page is back up, I’ll add you again. Stupid phishers.

I leave on Friday for my final SHU residency. Thesis defense on Monday the 10th, graduation Wednesday the 12th. If I would have graduated last year, before the advent of the F, I would have been sad to go. Now? I’m exhausted and ready to be done. Subjected to too many bureaucratic changes, oversights and general fuck-ups. I’m done, stick a fork in me.

What’s on the horizon? Major thesis revisions and then heavy submissions to get that puppy on the road to publication. I’m also actively working on the sequel to the thesis and a ghost story, with a thriller muddling around in my brain. For the next week, though, I’m all about graduation.

Book Review: Richard Matheson’s “The Funeral”

book review, SHU WPF, writing life November 29, 2010

I’ve spent today finishing up the last bits of work for my MFA program. I had an essay due for my horror reading class and the giant final project for my Writing About Popular Fiction. I sent everything out into cyber space today. All that’s left before I graduate is to attend one final residency and defend my thesis. A year ago at this time, I was sad to think I would soon be done. I got a “bonus” year out of the program when they added the “F,” and it was one year too long. I’m not sad to leave now and I can honestly say I’m disillusioned. It would have been better to go out last year.


Anyway, here’s a review I did some time ago of Richard Matheson’s short story, “The Funeral.”

Was this supposed to be horror? Because The Funeral was hysterical.

I love the tongue-in-cheek way Matheson handled Morton Silkline. Just the name… Silkline… like the silky lining in a casket, Morton himself is slick and cool. “Rising as if caught in the midst of a tete-a-tete with death’s bright angel, Morton Silkline circled the glossy desk on whispering feet and extended one flaccid-fingered hand” (p. 261). Fan-fricking-tastic. The visual of just that sentence gives me everything I need to know about Mr. Silkline.

Morton is a man in control. He’s the epitome of businessman, expressing just the right amount of tactful sympathy to his clients tempered by a professional attitude to assure the bereaved he can handle their needs with no expense spared. And then along comes Mister Asper.

Ludwig Asper tilts poor Morton’s world on end. He arranges his own funeral– post-death, naturally– and brings along a crew of mourners that Morton is utterly incapable of handling. The ragtag crew of various monsters appears unable to observe the most basic of courtesies. “The waxen-faced man” (p. 268) seems to think Morton is an appetizer, Jenny sets fire to the rug, and the Count can’t ignore her.

Poor Morton. My sympathies were with him by the end of the story.

I did have a few issues with The Funeral. First and foremost, the use of stereotypes. Of course Ygor was at the funeral. Of course the witch was the crone. Of course the Count was from Carpathia. I tried to keep in mind the fact that this story was written and published in 1955. Did these stereotypes seem fresh then? I’m not sure. While the story is still a good read today, it is definitely more funny than scary, but I can’t say for sure that this wasn’t the original intent of Matheson to begin with.

My other issue with the story was, along with the stereotypes, the sheer predictability. When Asper first came into Silkline’s office and declared that he was arranging his own funeral, I actually waited for him to say he knew when he was going to die and for the precognitive knowledge of his own death be the creep factor in the story. Kind of a pre-emptive planning (which I know some people do and I find incredibly disturbing on several levels). Once I realized that Asper was undead (I’m assuming he’s a vampire based on his request to have the mirror removed), I knew exactly where the story was going.

Those two issues aside, I enjoyed The Funeral quite a lot. The predictability and the stereotyping made an unsurprising story, but it was entertaining anyway. I did wait for something more to happen, and felt like Matheson didn’t quite squeak out all the entertainment value he could have, but it was a satisfying story. I particularly liked the ending, with the vision of Morton shaking that little bag of gold, thinking of his nephew in Mexico, a glint in his eye as he weighs the benefits of servicing the undead.

Work cited:
Matheson, Richard. I Am Legend. New York: RXR, Inc. 1995.


SHU WPF, voices in my head, Writing About Popular Fiction, writing and technology, writing life September 16, 2010

I’m currently enrolled in Seton Hill University’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction. That’s right, delicate souls, I will soon be awarded a terminal degree in writing fiction. An academic award for the voices in my head. I am giddy with delight, but not so giddy that I can’t hear my characters cheering me on. Okay, some of them are laughing, but I’m not telling which ones.

This is my last term in SHU’s WPF program and I’m taking a class called Writing About Popular Fiction. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect, and it’s both gone beyond the boundaries of my meager expectations and laid me out completely flat with what it means to be a writer in this technological age. I’ll be blogging a fair amount about the course content and what it means to me, but one of the assignments was to write my author bio. Or bios, as the case may be.

What better way to introduce myself on my blog? I write about a variety of topics, so I’ve chosen to write two separate bios.

My “general” bio:
Nikki Hopeman still has a trunk full of spiral-bound notebooks of short stories in elementary handwriting. While she’s graduated to using a computer for writing, she still finds files of mysterious information saved for future writing endeavors and she can sometimes remember why she saved them. She lives in the Pittsburgh area with her husband, two sons, two corgis and one chaotic cat. She can be reached through her website at

And one bio more specifically for my pagan writing (my thesis and its sequel novels):
A lifelong pagan and practicing Wiccan for fifteen years, Nikki Hopeman has a passion for the Celtic pantheon, tattoos and skyclad ritual. When she’s not mumbling over her cauldron or invoking her muse, she can be found in the Pittsburgh area with her husband, two sons, two corgis and one chaotic cat. She can be reached through her website at

You can find me on Facebook and Twitter, as well.