Those of you who know me, know I just don't do Facebook. Drives my wife nuts. I just have never been able to get into it, and have so many other addictions that the last thing I need is one more thing to keep up with.

Add in the security issues (ask my boss, how many viruses I've had to clean off her machine that were probably caught on Facebook, and yes for us, spending time on Facebook is work related) and it tends to give me the screaming heebies.

The other issue, however, is that like most journalists I'm a frustrated novelist.

I say that, I haven't actually written a novel -- yet.

But over the last couple of years I've been fortunate enough to become friends with several accomplished novelists and they've encouraged me -- some might say bludgeoned -- to quit writing and rewriting the same chapter over and over again (and over, and over I wrote that same blasted chapter -- the first -- for 10 years before I just gave up) and just bloody write the thing.

Fair enough.

So then, as happens sometimes I'm told, the idea for what I thought was just going to be a short story hit me between the eyes.

Now I'd kind of been thinking about writing a short for a few months, figured it was a little less daunting to try to come up with 40,000 words rather than 160,000. So I'm talking to a friend and I wonder -- what if there really was a zombie outbreak?

And what if the zombies were really reanimated by nanotech? What if they were all part of some alien artificial intelligence?

Yes, yes, I am a geek, why do you ask? Yes I'm also insane. It's standard for writers of any stripe, none of us are exactly normal.

But this particular idea came streaming out of the blue and hit me between the eyes and wouldn't go away.

I had dreams about it. I had characters running through my head while trying to cover a county commission meeting (you caught the part about being insane right?). It wouldn't leave me alone.

So, in what I'm told is true writer fashion, I sat down to write it just to make it leave me alone. I knew a couple of people putting together anthologies (collections of short stories) and figured if it was any good I'd see if they'd buy it, but either way at least it would be out of my head (granted there's now about four or five OTHER books in there and it's getting crowded -- shut up you) and I could go on with normal life.

What has this to do with Facebook you ask? Well, more baby steps for me into the realm of Facebooking (is it called that? I dunno) One of my writer type friends invited me to a Sooper Sekret writer's group (well, lassoed me and drug me in really) on Facebook to try and get past my new roadblock on the road to published fiction authordom -- getting past Dreaded Chapter Three.

I still don't like Facebook, but I'm probably going to have to bite the bullet and spend more time there -- it'll make my wife happy and from a career standpoint, whether journalism or fiction writing -- and believe me with the state of the publishing industry, actually worse than the newspaper business, I have no illusions about making a living writing books -- I need to know how to use social media. Besides, I miss too many cute photos of my granddaughters.

But it still gives me the screaming heebies.

All IMHO, of course.

(Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the CCNA. He can be emailed at