Monday, May 30, 2011

How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

I guess before we even get to surviving a zombie apocalypse, we first need to know WHEN a zombie apocalypse is happening. What are the first signs we could be in trouble? And do you think we could be headed that way now?

Well, no one knows exactly WHEN a Zombiepocalypse is going to happen, but I'd say watch the government very closely. Scientists too. They like playing God and will likely inadvertently create zombies by way of testing theories they have. For example, nanobots, as pointed out in this article, could very well bring about the Zombiepocalypse, all because some scientist wants to keep a body alive a bit longer after death for some of his crazy research. Frightening!

And yes, I totally think we're heading for this type of apocalypse. Isn't there something in the Bible about the dead walking the earth? *shrugs* I don't know. I'm not very religious. Don't sit next to me in church. You'll be going to Hell right along with me because I'll make you laugh through the entire mass.

I'd say that if someone limps toward you and tries to bite you, that's a pretty good sign the Zombiepocalypse has begun. The rotting flesh falling from them might be a clue too. Maybe a missing arm and they're walking around like it's nothing. I'm really hoping zombies can't run, though.

Also, watch/listen to the news and pay attention . . . actually, wait, Twitter is faster and more reliable than any news source. Pay attention to Twitter!

Okay, so now we know we are going to be fighting off the undying hordes, what’s the next step? Food, shelter, weapons? Or maybe none of those?

I actually have a few posts coming up on the Zombie Survival Crew website that covers this area, so I don't want to disclose too much, but I will tell you this: start gathering your weapons now because if your idea is to raid the local Army surplus store right when the Zombiepocalypse begins, get in line and be prepared for a battle because not only does everyone else in the city have the same idea as you, but who do you think runs those stores? Cletus and Earl, that's who! And those boys will defend their keep!

I have to ask, I had several suggestions on my blog to use weapons of a bygone era, spears, arrows and such as they could be used over and over. What’s your take on that?

I am all for using anything quiet, as the sound of gunfire could attract the shambling horde. I'll be covering this topic as well on the ZSC blog in the coming weeks. I have a compound bow, a .22 rifle, and a 30/30. Within the city where the horde of zombies is, I'll be using my bow, though a crossbow would be smaller and easier to handle. You can reuse the arrows, if you can retrieve them. I also suggest learning how to use a staff for close, quiet kills. I am an Amazon, after all.

Best place to hunker down when the horde hits.

If within a large metropolitan city, I don't believe there is any place to hunker down that's completely safe, so I'm planning my escape routes to get out of the city quickly with whatever I can fit in my Avalanche. Aside from that, fortified buildings are good, like prisons and such, but you won't find me there. I hate that in Dawn of the Dead they all end up in a mall. I mean, c'mon, really? Get out of the cities!

It is also my theory that pretty much everyone (characters) in a zombie movie has never seen a zombie movie.

How long before the bodies start to decay or will they? (Hard to know with the conflicting movie messages in regards to this.)

I do believe the bodies will continue to decay because they're dead. My only issue is wondering why rigor mortis hasn't set in. That's my logical brain at work, which also demands that zombies cannot run. I'm with George Romero on that one!
I live in a desert, so if the Zombiepocalypse starts right around summer, like now, those triple-digit temperatures are certainly going to make those zombies rot much faster. It's one of the few advantages I can come up with for staying in Arizona. I'd definitely stay away from the perfect climates, which sucks because, you know, it's a perfect climate. Who wants to leave that? (Perfect to me is mid-70s temps)

How do you know if someone is going to be a zombie? What are the first signs and symptoms?

If bite marks aren't in plain sight, you'll notice the person probably keeping their distance from the rest of the group so they don't get found out. They may spike a fever, get the sweats, and so on too, in which case I would demand a strip search to look for bites. Hey, someone's got to do it and I don't feel like getting attacked in the middle of the night off guard because some idiot couldn't tell the truth. It may sound brutal, but I intend to survive for as long as I can.
And not to worry, if I get bitten, I'll put a bullet in my own head to save y'all the trouble.

Other suggestions to avoid the zombie hordes have been to head for an island, head north, and one gal even suggested locking herself into a Costco? What are your thoughts on these tactics?

I would say an island would be ideal, so long as the infection hasn't made it there or it's uninhabited. I hear a lot of people saying to head north. I guess they think the cold will slow the zombies down. You'd better head to the North Pole then, because you want the horde to freeze, not slow down. Oh, I have a funny story for this . . . a friend of mine a few years back called a real estate agent one day to inquire about buying land in Antarctica. The agent paused and clarified my friend's request. When my friend repeated his words, the agent asked why he was interested in land in Antarctica (because you can't buy land in Antarctica). My friend then responded with, "Because that's where I'm going when the zombies come." The agent paused again, and then said, "Excuse me?" My friend replied, "When the zombies come, I want to be in Antarctica, so I'd like to buy some land there." The agent hung up on him.

First, it's true that you can't buy land in Antarctica. Second, that is a true story, I'm not kidding. It was at the height of the poor man's breakdown, but he's much better now. Third, I pretty much fell over laughing too when I found out.

And back to the question . . . .
I would not lock myself in a store of any kind without a way to get out in the instance the building is surrounded by zombies (*ahem* Dawn of the Dead).

Any last thoughts about things I haven’t covered? (I’m sure there’s a lot so fill in whatever you’d like.)

Oh my goodness, there's so much!

Everyone really should have a Plan in the event a Zombiepocalypse actually does happen. I mean, you have people with bomb shelters and people who have plans for any apocalypse. Planning for a Zombiepocalypse isn't much different. You'll need clean water, non-perishable food supplies, maybe some camping gear, weapons . . . survival stuff. Think Ted Nugent and you'll be right on track.

Has anyone read The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan? Oh. My. God. That's a good book! I highly recommend it.

Thanks for having me on your blog, Shannon! If your readers would like to keep updated on the Zombiepocalypse, head on over to the ZSC website at We're a crazy bunch, true, but we're a crazy bunch with a bunch of crazy actors along for the ride. And recently at Spooky Empire's Mayhem in Orlando, Florida, our fearless leader (the crazy woman who started it all) recruited Anthony Michael Hall AND Ted Raimi as First Lieutenants on the crew! We also have the Boondock Saints and several cast members from The Walking Dead.
This is big, people. Join ZSC. We'll keep you safe from the shambling hordes. Why? Because we're taking humans off the endangered species list one zombie at a time.

Jinxie G
Yellow Brigade Commander
Zombie slayer
Vampire wrangler
Sometimes author

N.L. "Jinxie" Gervasio was born on Friday the thirteenth. Her dad wanted to call her Jinx. Her mom said no. It took thirty-four years for her to discover the nickname, and she's grown quite attached to it. She lives in Tempe, Arizona with Umi (her mother) and Moon (her Alaskan malamute). She enjoys riding her beach cruiser "The Betty" around downtown Tempe, loves a good pub crawl, and has had the pleasure and the heartache of experiencing a love far greater than she could have ever imagined.
She welcomes you to her world.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Promoting Yourself and Your Book

This sounds simple, easy even on the surface. Of course, you don’t start promotions until you get a contract with a publisher or until your self-published e-book is on the shelves, right?


Any industry professional will tell you that you should be promoting yourself and your writing 2-3 YEARS before you ever hit the shelves. Which means that you need to be promoting yourself now, not when you get an agent, not when you get a contract, but before all that. It’s how buzz is built and you start to get some following now, people who when your book does hit the shelves are ready to buy it and perhaps even help spread the word.

So what can you do to promote yourself now? Blogs of course are huge in this arena as are Twitter, Facebook and numerous other social media sites. Networking is all about meeting people and how better to meet the world than on the world wide net?

Another great idea that I’ve seen is book trailers. One of my lovely gal friends that I met through Twitter, Natasha, has a book blog for her yet unpublished work. It’s an amazing trailer and she’s developing quite the following just from that, at last count she's had over 12,000 hits! There are, numerous sites that can help you build a book trailer if you aren’t savvy enough on your own. Animoto is a book trailer site that has won many awards for their work and has been recommended to me by those who have used it.

So how else can you promote yourself? Attending writer’s conferences are not only educational, and give you a chance to pitch your work, but they allow for person to person networking. It was at a conference that I met Sharon Lynn Fisher who has Robin Rue for an agent, Tor for a publisher and is a finalist of the Golden Heart Award. Not to mention that she is a fabulous lady who has been great to correspond with about my own bumps in the road. I’ve met people who’ve become part of my local writers group and people who’ve become part of my long distance writers group, all who have knowledge and experience to bring to the table. I’ve found this to be one of the most fulfilling ways to promote yourself and network and try to attend at least one a year now.

Of course, there are more ways than I can fit in a single blog on how to promote yourself, but I will leave you with two final tips.

1. Don’t just push your writing and your brand so much that you push people away from you. Make friends, even on Twitter where you only have 140 characters to write something. Reach out to others and help them promote their work, show your interest in them and it will be returned.

2. Don’t let the promotional/networking take over your writing time. This is an easy thing to have happen and when it comes right down to it, your writing is what sells you. No amount of great PR can make people love a book that isn’t well written, the characters are flat and the dialogue hum drum.

Any last thoughts? Promotional ideas that you’d like to share?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Are e-books the new Query?

Let me be VERY clear right off the bat that this is not my post. It is Anna R Allen's and I am passing it on because I feel that it is important.

Anna R Allen's Blog

Anna has written an eye opening piece that discusses the fact that with the advent of the e-book, authors are now being approached by agents instead of the other way around.

Not only that, they aren't just any agent, but MAJOR agents from HUGE publishing houses. This is a fascinating read and one that every writer no matter their spot at the moment in the industry SHOULD read.

So what are you waiting for? Get over there and READ it! :D

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Collision Course by romance author Zoe Archer

Now that I have a Kindle, I can finally catch up with all the e-books I’ve been wanting to read and couldn’t. Starting with Ms. Archer.

Zoe Archer is officially one of my new favourite romance authors! I’ve read her Blades of the Rose Series and just finished her sci-fi romance Collision Course which follows Mara Skiren, Scavenger extraordinaire and Kell Frayne, 8th Wing Commander, as they battle the PRAXIS(Not unlike the Empire in Star Wars), smugglers, drone bots, plasma rays, Liden’s Lash (a meteor belt that is on fire) and not to mention their feelings for each other. Which by the way are hot, hot, hot!

Mara is coerced into helping the 8th Wing and Kell is sent with her on a rescue mission deep into territory that only smugglers and scum traverse. Which is why Mara’s help is so crucial being a scavenger herself. Right off the bat the two protagonists lusty feelings are apparent and the sensuality builds with each page, despite the fact that they are on opposite sides of the fence.

Good things about this book- Great characters, fantastic dialogue, very Star Wars feeling without going overboard and making me say, “Oh, that’s just like Return of the Jedi”, sex scenes were HOT but not overdone and the two characters didn’t just jump into bed after meeting there was a lovely build up of tension and the ending was more than believable and, of course, as all romances go, very happy.

Minor improvements- I personally would have loved to see some more build up before the first chapter. Meaning I would have liked some more insight into Mara’s past as when you learn about it there is a desire to know just how she survived her last fifteen years coming from the beginnings she did.(Can’t say more without putting in a spoiler alert) With Kell, it’s easier to see how he became the man he is from the story of his past, but with Mara I think I could have used more background in order to really believe her history, but really, that’s only a minor complaint.

I very much enjoyed the book, it is the first Sci-fi romance and I was pleasantly surprised at the satisfaction the blend of the two genre’s brought. Action, adventure, romance and moments of humour that made for a great read and one I would highly recommend.
5 Stars

Monday, May 16, 2011

Laurell K Hamilton VS Kim Harrison

For the VS posts there will be a graded system based on Characters likeability, Violence and Gore, Storyline, Sex and the Urban Fantasy Element and an Overall rating. All will be on a 5 star rating, 1 star being of course no good, 5 being absolutely smashing. At the end of the post I will declare the winner and you can feel free to agree with me or disagree (which could make the comments section fun and interesting). The quick blurbs I give of each book/series will be just enough to give readers who aren’t familiar with the books an idea of what they are about. Think of them as a one paragraph synopsis’, they won’t be full of details so don’t expect them.

Laurell K Hamilton is the author of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series.* Anita is a necromancer and a vampire executioner though she’s been upgraded to a US Marshall. Her love interests are many and the action in the books is about half gun play and violence and the other half heavy on the sex. There is always a mystery of some sort to be solved and Anita, as a consultant for the police task force that deals with the supernatural side of the populace, is more often than not “ass deep in alligators.”

Characters Likeability- 3 (Anita can be downright annoying as can some of her men)

Violence & Gore- 4.5 (Very descriptive if you can handle it)

Storyline- 3.5 (storyline can be sucked into the next section and become secondary to the . . .)

Sex Scenes- 4.5 (Heavy on the sex-read at your own risk. Expect S&M, orgies and some man on man)

Urban Fantasy Element- 5 (Vampires, werewolves, necromancers, demons, monsters, ghosts, etc)

Overall Rating- 4 (just squeaked out a 4 from me)

Kim Harrison is the author of the Hollows series following Rachel Morgan. Rachel is an earth witch that is perpetually broke and lives with her un-dead vampire friend (would like to be more than friends) Ivy, and Jenks, a smart ass pixy. They work together taking jobs from stealing back items, tracking down people and a variety of other things that invariably lead to disaster. Rachel flits from dangerous man to dangerous man, dabbles in demon magic, leads Ivy on and generally is lucky to be alive most days.

Characters Likeability- 4 (Believable and totally get emotionally involved)

Violence & Gore-3 (There is very little true violence and gore, its hinted at more than spelled out)

Storyline- 4.5 (They are interesting and rarely go the way you think. They don’t get sidetracked by... )

Sex Scenes- 4 (Hot scenes without overdoing it and lots of sexual tension between many characters)

Urban Fantasy Element- 5 (Witches, demons, vampires, werewolves, pixies, gargoyles, elves etc.)

Overall Rating- 4.5
In this battle between two of Urban Fantasy’s big hitters, the win (IMHO) goes to

Kim Harrison. I often finish her books feeling like not only have things been solved, but that Rachel has learned something from her adventures. Not always is that the case with Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita. Often Anita takes 2 or 3 books to learn something. That’s not to say I won’t be reading the next Hamilton book, I still love the series, but when it comes down to it, Harrison has the upper wand, I mean, hand.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The process of Becoming a Writer . . the reality.

This is for fun and maybe it looks a tad cynical but I wrote it all with a smile knowing that we all get here at some point.

What a non- Writer thinks the process of getting a book published takes.

Step 1- Write a book

Step 2-Sell book to a publisher

Step 3- Roll in all the money that flows from the Heavens

What a newbie writer thinks the process of getting a book published takes.

Step 1-Write a book

Step 2-Query an agent and sign a contract

Step 3- Agent sells book to a publisher

Step 4- Roll in all the money that flows from the Heavens

What a writer who’s been in the trenches a while thinks the process of getting a book published takes.

Step 1- Write a book

Step 2- Revise said book more than once

Step 3- Query many agents, pick your favourite who requests your material

Step 4- Agent sells book to publisher

Step 5- Roll in all the money that flows from the Heavens

Then there is the reality of getting a book published.

Step 1- Write a book, this might take you three months is might take you 3 years

Step 2- Revise, revise, revise

Step 3- Hire an editor to work with you on your book, query letter and synopsis

Step 4- Attend conferences and educational seminars to network and learn about the business

Step 5- Revise again now that you’ve learned some more

Step 6- Query agents

Step 7- Receive many rejections, revise query and submit again

Step 8- Wait

Step 9- Still waiting

Step 10- Yay! An agent want to read your manuscript

Step 11- It’s not for them

Step 12- Query again

Step 13- Another agent asks for a read, this time they sign you on!

Step 14- Revise manuscript again as per agents suggestions

Step 15-Agent submits to publishers

Step 16- Wait

Step 17- Still waiting

Step 18- Publishers like it and sign you to a contract

Step 19- Money does not flow from the Heavens and you are not suddenly JK Rowling.

Step 20- You can finally say you are a published author and that alone is worth all the time, blood, sweat and tears the process pulls out of you. And for most of us, that acknowledgment needs to be enough because 20 steps might not be all it takes. It might take 30, or even 40 depending on the timing, what we write and who we pitch to.

Is there anything you can add to this list? A step I’ve missed or glossed over?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Rocking Writers Group

I have the best writers group in the world. No, really, they are all incredible!

And I want to share them with you, or at least as many of them as I can that have blogs, websites or books! We’ve got it all from non-fiction, mystery, romance, fantasy and even YA and a little bit of everything in between.

There’s Jodine Carruthers who is an incredible horse trainer with a gentle touch and a firm hand (seems contradictory but with horses it is necessary) she has one book, The Joy of the Journey: Exploring a Deeper and More Fulfilling Partnership Through the Path of Harmonious Horsemanship - on the shelf and a second in the works, both non-fiction and both applicable to not only those who have horses but our individual journeys as well.

Mr. Jim Miller is our newest debutante when it comes to being published and he has done so with Ravenrock Publishing House. His novel, Mined your Own Business is a mystery (Private Rabbi Hawkins stumbles upon a dead body, a treasure map, and a conspiracy all while trying to stay in the army doing as little work as possible.) and part of a series all with the same detective.

Sandy Hunter is a Speculative Fiction writer who can be found (when not typing away madly in her dimly lit back bedroom creating worlds the rest of us only dream of) working away on her blog, Furore Scribindi (Latin translation is The rage to write.)

Mandy Borelli is our resident Chef who dabbles in historical fiction. At the moment she is putting together a fabulous cook book and recipes will soon be found on her blog, Cooking Up a Cookbook. I will say that her food is nothing short of FABULOUS!

Golf anyone? Or perhaps into screenwriting? Clive Scarff is the man of the hour when it comes to those two topics. A golf pro who has put pen to paper and published Hit Down Dammit! amongst other golfing publications. He can also be tracked down in between the greens on his blog.

Ya Fantasy with a Narnia like twist is CJ Goslings forte. Writing for Brighter Books Publishing house, CJ’s book, The Guardian is the first in a trilogy. Hard at work on books number 2 and 3, CJ is a sweet soul who always has something good to say, whether that be in person or on her blog, Tapping the Muse.

Dr. Kathie Black is one of the founding members of our writing group and has her hands in almost every aspect of the publishing business. A non-fiction author of several books, most recently Need For Heat a book about the benefits of infrared sauna’s, she is also the owner and President of Ravenrock Publishing house. (They are currently taking submissions!)

Mimi Barbour is the queen of romance, and paranormal romance at that! Together Again is the latest in her body jumping souls series, love stories with a definite twist. Mimi can be found on her website and also eyeing up the hunks on the beach . . . but of course that is just research! ;p

Please take the time to check these folks out, they are all fabulous and worth the time. Though this isn’t everyone in my group, as more people get published, develop blogs or get websites I’ll be sure to pass it all on to you as I wouldn’t want you to miss out on them.

Monday, May 09, 2011

My husband and a Zombie Apocalypse

While fishing last weekend my husband and I had a very eye opening chat, one that involved, you guessed it, a zombie Apocalypse.

Why would we talk about this? Well, no need to get into the how of it, but what I found fun is that my hubby finally had a chance to see how my brain works, even when sitting and doing nothing.

Husband- "What's the first thing you would do if zombies over ran the world?"

Me- "Large fence with razor wire around the property, we could survive on the garden and the farm for a good long time. We could get some solar panels to pair up with the generator. Guns, we'd need lots of guns and ammo.Not to mention the fact that we have a well with perfect water, cows, chickens and food storage. We'd be good for at least the first wave of dead things.

Husband- Silence then, "You've thought a lot about this."

Me- "It's what I do when I'm not thinking about my writing. My brain has to keep busy." A pause and then, "After the initial wave, that we'd have to look into a semi that we could tank in a large portion of fuel."

Husband- "Wouldn't people see that and want to steal it? Surely there would be other survivors."

Me- "We'd bury the tank of course, have some sort of holding system. Not to mention there won't be too many survivors, I mean really, how many people actually think about things like surviving a zombie Apocalypse?"

Husband- "I can think of at least one."

It was a fun day fishing all and all and now the hubby knows that when the zombies start to over run the world, we at least will be ready for them. :)

How would you prepare for a zombie Apocalypse?

Friday, May 06, 2011

Commen Speling Mistackes

For those of us (and by that I mean me) who can write but still struggle with spelling from time to time, this post is for you. (And by you I mean me again.) I think I have come to rely so much on my spell checker that I have gotten lazy when it comes to correct spelling. It’s so easy to hit the spell check button and have the whole manuscript in perfect order in such a short time it almost seems redundant to bother doing it yourself.

But from time to time I think it’s a good idea to make sure our grammar and spelling is up to snuff. It would do us no good to have an article or blog come out riddled with mistakes. What kind of authors would that make us? (I try to fix mine I do!)

For fun and a little wake up call for us bad spellers, here’s a list of 10 words with a correct spelling and an incorrect spelling. Now no cheating and using a dictionary or your spell check, this is all on you. I’ll put the answers in the comments. Good luck and happy spelling!

accommodate or accomodate

concensus or consensus

seige or siege

exhuberant or exuberant

marshal or marshall

quandary or quandry

propeller or propellor

occassion or occasion

alotted or allotted

dispel or dispell

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Angry Writers

I think there needs to be a warning label attached to writers, especially those who get interrupted frequently. I find that it's not unlike taking the first bite of your meal at a fancy restaurant, savouring the flavour, identifying the spices to have, "How's your meal?" barked at you by the host. You choke on the piece of food, swallow it down in order to answer them in time to see them walk away. Lost is the savouring, the flavour and the spices. All you're left with is the taste of irritation on the back of your tongue.

This is no different than disturbing a writer mid flow of creativity. Except with a writer your more like to get a rather snappish response to the "What 'cha doing?" question. In fact, you might just get your head bit off.

So fair warning to those who live with, work with, love and are related to writers. If you don't want a serious melt down on your hands, think about what the writer in your life is doing before asking any questions, particularly those that could be considered obvious. It might just save your life. ;p