Book Publishing: An Undead Trade

14 Oct

A ghoulish face looms toward you, pale skin surrounding sunken eyes. Tattered, torn clothing reveals rotting flesh oozing with bloodied entrails. The undead staggers forward, bits of dirt and bugs falling from its matted hair.

If you’re thinking of a scene from a Halloween horror flick, think again.

From gelatin brain molds and edible eyeballs for refreshments, to intestine streamers and severed limbs for decorations, TSTC Publishing is putting a gruesome spin on its upcoming intern reception Oct. 28.

The theme? Zombies.

The staff of the small publishing firm, located in Waco, organizes the event each semester to honor student workers. Interns from Texas State Technical College Waco and Baylor University assist with book projects, including graphic design and copy editing.

“It’s an opportunity for us to get to know our interns,” said Marketing Manager Sheila Boggess. “Typically, we have a reception at the end of the semester honoring our interns. We decided to have it earlier in the semester so we can get to know a little more about them.”

Publisher Mark Long and Boggess decided to add a gory twist certain to top the previous pirate-themed reception.

Boggess and Project Manager Stacie Buterbaugh coordinated the event. “It’s going to be nice and ugly. It’s kind of different, planning an ugly reception,” Boggess said, laughing.

Costumes, decorations, movies and food will be zombie-esque in character. A pot-luck lunch will serve food fit for a zombie. The stomach-curling menu includes eyeballs, bones, brains, and limbs.

“When I first came as marketing manager, Mark put me in charge of receptions. I initially said we have to have a theme. Jokingly, Mark said he wanted pirates and zombies, so we did pirates in the summer, and now we’re doing zombies.” Boggess said.

A zombie enthusiast, Long is the brains behind the operation. His affinity for zombies stems back to horror movies from which he draws inspiration. His favorite titles include the zombie classics, Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later and Shaun of the Dead.

Not content with simple tattered costumes and fake wounds, Long encourages staff and interns to perfect their zombie personas with the zombie walk. “You can watch it on YouTube,” Long said.

Whether shifting slowly with arms extended or hunch-backed in a lurching stagger, TSTC Publishing staff, interns, and guests are urged to be as zombie-like as possible.

Students and staff eagerly anticipate the nonconventional event. “It’s probably, in my opinion, one of the greatest ideas I’ve ever heard of. It’s just fun. It’s not the norm,” said graphic design intern Michael Garrett.

A few people already have their grisly costumes ready. “It’s a head-to-toe costume,” said Buterbaugh, about her costume. “There’s exposed bones and flesh; not for the faint of heart. I’m looking forward to not having to do my hair that day.”

Between promoting the recently released Lust, Violence, Religion: Life in Historic Waco and editing titles in their TechCareers technical textbook series, the publishing staff is looking forward to the eccentric festivity.

A perfect fit for the season, zombies also will serve as the publishing department’s theme for the TSTC’s campus-wide Halloween decorating contest Oct. 29.

Donning creepy costumes and bloodied body parts, TSTC Publishing’s event-planning staff prove that business casual is not always the way to do business.

With the promise of ghouls, guts, and gore, attendees are sure to catch a thrill.


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