Guest Post: Melanie Karsak #SummerofZombie

10 Fun Things to Do During the Zombie Apocalypse

By Melanie Karsak


I hate in when people in movies act like they have never seen a movie. Everyone knows you should head out the front door rather than going up the stairs. Everyone knows to check the back seat of their car. Everyone knows you should shoot a zombie in the brain. Am I right? Why do characters in movies always act like there is no precedence for the apocalypse? In particular, I hated the scene in Zombieland when the two sisters went to the amusement park. Even if the park was “zombie free,” common sense dictates that zombies will notice lights and sounds blaring in a world otherwise devoid of lights and sounds. Drawing attention to yourself during the zombie apocalypse is just plain stupid, but there are some fun ways to amuse yourself and stay safe at the same time. The residents of Hamletville, the survivors of z-day in my novel “The Harvesting,” have a few suggestions if and when you ever need to know . . . what can I do for fun during the zombie apocalypse?

  1. Commandeer a police cruiser! First, you wire separator will protect you from anything lurking in the backseat. Second, there is probably a loaded weapon inside. Bonus. Third, it can haul ass if needed. Lastly, haven’t you always wanted to do that? Just don’t fall into a movie trap: don’t turn on the sirens.

  1. Steal stuff and things! When I say stuff and things, I mean guns and food. Keep your focus on the bare necessities, but staying alive during the apocalypse is really fun! Steal away, survivor. Your life depends on it!

  1. Set things on fire! You might not have any pyromaniac inclinations, but when you encounter a building full of zombies, strike a match! I know the movies would probably have you trying to sneak into the building for some desperately-needed supply, but try to resist.  After all, whatever it is, you can probably still find it at Walmart.

  1. Pick up a new hobby! Haven’t you always wanted to wield a machete? Didn’t you ever wonder what it would be like to shoot a machine gun? Now is your chance! Not the physical type? Try learning herb-lore or how to hot-wire vehicles. There’s nothing like the apocalypse to force you to try out some new skills!

  1. Try to figure out your “role” in the group. This will help you determine how long you’re going to live. Are you the hero? Are you the side-kick? Are you the romantic love interest? Are you the one who is going to turn to the dark side? Are you wearing a red shirt? If so, I suggest you change it immediately. Once you know your role, you can plan accordingly!

  1. Borrowing one from the 2004 Dawn of the Dead, here is a fun game: Pick a perch on a rooftop. Identify zombie movie star look-alikes and fire away! Make it a challenge. Who can take out zombie Howard Stern? Zombie Rosie O’Donnell? It’s fun, safe, and you can shoot a Justin Bieber look-alike from 100 feet away!

  1. Borrowing one from The Walking Dead. . . zombie gladiator fighting! Before everything went to hell in Woodbury, the Saturday night entertainment included coliseum-esque battles. But who needs lions when you have zombies!!

  1. Borrowing one form Night of the Comet. . . go shopping! You’re probably going to die soon, so why night take a moment to indulge that last inclination toward materialism. Go to your death wearing 10-carat diamonds!

  1. Live like you’re going to die! (Because you probably are.) She/he might be a hot mess, and they probably haven’t seen a toothbrush or a stick of deodorant in a month, but you’ll both be dead soon. Put your “zombie goggles” on and go out on a high note.

  1. When you see you ex walking around all zombified, just walk away.

About the Author:

Melanie Karsak is the best-selling author of the The Airship Racing Chronicles (Chasing the Star Garden and Chasing the Green Fairy), the award-winning horror/dark fantasy Harvesting Series, and The Saga of Lady Macbeth. She grew up in rural northwestern Pennsylvania and earned a Master’s degree in English from Gannon University. A steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and zombie whisperer, the author currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.


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The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 30+ of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser…and pick up some great swag as well!

Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them!

#SummerofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!

Guest Post: Eric A. Shelman #SummerofZombie

Zombies.  Where do we draw the line? – By Eric A. Shelman

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There are a ton of movies and television shows jumping onto the zombie gravy train, and I have mixed emotions about them.

The latest, I, Zombie, is about a girl who works in the medical examiner’s office and is kind of a zombie.  Well, scratch that … she’s a zombie, but she only drops into full zombie mode when things begin to go haywire around her, and she always manages to get out of it before killing someone.


Not a zombie.   So maybe you can explain why I still kind of like the show.  It’s a goddamned violation of all that is unholy – the shambling, flesh & brain-craving walking dead human that could no more forgo a meal of human flesh any more than a Rottweiler would pass on a juicy steak – has been made into someone more … human.   Fuck that.  We’ve seen plenty of humans who maintain themselves until they have to hurt someone – like Dexter.  The girl in I, Zombie is almost more of a Dr. Jekyll, occasionally becoming Mr. Hyde.

 Again, I still dig some of the movies, like Fido, where Billy Connolly plays a full-fledged zombie who is controlled by an electronic collar that domesticates him.  This movie has a way better premise, though – it’s set in a 1950s world, and features a lonely housewife, a neglected son and a zombie that teaches them what love and companionship really is.   One of my favorite movies.

I also dug Warm Bodies – never read the book, though.  When love can make you human again – kind of a nice sentiment.  I thought it was funny, a bit poignant, and it did have it’s tension-filled scary parts.

As for the shows and movies doing it a bit differently, it’s true that a full-blown zombie apocalypse movie or television show would require a ton of extras, like The Walking Dead.  Very high production costs, makeup costs, etc.  Sure is much easier just to goth out a couple of people and say they’re zombies, while the rest of humanity goes about their business unaware.

 I suppose I worry that you, the zombie lover, are going to begin to feel let down; maybe even grow sick of zombies because they’ve been exploited.  Remember the Sprint commercial?   I thought that was hilarious at first, but by the 120th time I saw it, I was sick of it.  That didn’t stop me from saying “I’m a zombie!” out of the blue for a few months.

Where does the variation on the zombie theme lose you?   Did I do it in Dead Hunger with my eye vapor and the red-eyes and the smarter, pregnant zombies?   The telepathic powers?  Control of the dumb, flesh-eating masses?  I tried to have fun with my Dead Hunger series and bring you something different, and I believe I did.  Most who read that first book are intrigued enough to pick up the second book.   Maybe they’re only doing it to see if I ever explain how Gem got hold of an Uzi when she first encounters Flex.

Anyway.  All that aside, I will write book #9 in the Dead Hunger series, and that will be it.   Don’t worry though.  I have a 25,000 word story that tells Tony Mallette’s history coming out in an anthology called Z Resurrected, where the authors are all instructed to write a story featuring a resurrected character from our zombie series.   The other authors included are Mark Tufo, Joe McKinney, TM Williams, Dana Fredsti and Tom Leveen.

Stories were to be submitted by May of 2015, so it should come out within a couple of months after.  I can’t wait to read the other authors’ stories.  Be sure to look for it.

Well, thanks for hanging out with us for the Summer Of Zombie Blog Tour 2015.  I think we’re all having fun.  Nothing I’d rather be doing than hangin’ with you guys.   Thanks for all the support and feedback, and keep on reviewing those books.  We count on you.

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The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 30+ of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser…and pick up some great swag as well!

Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them!

#SummerofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!

Guest Post: Shawn Chesser #SummerofZombie

My Top 5 Favorite Zombie Movies


By Shawn Chesser, author of the Best Selling Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse series.

As we all know by now zombies are hugely popular. Turn on the television and start channel surfing and you’re bound to come across a commercial using them to sell BMWs or Sprint cellular service or Doritos. Hell, even a commercial hawking the latest incarnation of Microsoft Windows features Romero type shamblers.

Currently in theaters is Maggie, a film about a dad and his zombie daughter, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. And coming in July is an offering I’m waiting with bated breath to devour—Robert Kirkman’s Fear the Walking Dead, a spin-off of his mega-successful The Walking Dead of which season six is set to start filming soon.

So as I sat in my living room and wracked my brain over what my guest piece for Armand Rosamilia’s hugely successful Summer of Zombie 2015 Blog Tour would be, my gaze was drawn to the entertainment center and the stacks of blue plastic DVD cases there, many of which housed—you guessed it—zombie flicks.

Since I’ve been writing in the genre my collection has multiplied like those little furry Tribbles of Star Trek fame. Did I buy them with the idea of writing them off as research material? Nope. I’m just a sucker for things I don’t really need that just so happen to be placed strategically at eye level behind the express checkout at the Safeway.

Suddenly sidetracked from my blog topic search, I started rifling through the sapphire cases and ended up with a short stack I aimed to get to as soon as life allowed. Then it hit me as I stared at the DVDs sitting on my coffee table … I’ll list my five favorites and then sit back and wait for the inevitable chorus of ‘They’re not zombies, they’re infected!’ or ‘That piece of celluloid dung made your top five … what are you, on crack?’ followed by ‘That remake pales in comparison to the original. Chesser … you do realize that the Zs in that work of blasphemy are fast, not slow like in the original.

So lock and load, because I do realize that as the old saying goes: Opinions are like assholes—everybody’s got one, and they all stink … even mine. Yeah, I always screw that one up.


So without further adieu, here they be.


  1. Night of the Living Dead


No surprise here, George Romero’s first low-budget zombie film tops my list. For one it was released in 1968, the year I was born. Secondly, it was the first horror movie my mom allowed me to watch at age twelve. Funny thing is, as I look back on the experience now, that it was filmed in black and white didn’t even register on my give-a-shit radar—because it transcended anything I’d seen up to that point. In fact I still remember not being able to sit still while hiding behind a pillow when the shamblers breached the old farmhouse. They’re coming to get you, Barbara … the tension neck ache I got from watching that masterpiece of horror lingered all night and the hook that was set then still holds fast today. Thank you mom!!


  1. Dawn of the Dead (2004)


This remake of Romero’s 1978 classic grabbed me from the intro when the first couple of chords of Johnny Cash’s classic The Man Comes Around began playing over a frantic video montage showing the whole world going to hell.

The fact that these zombies were not true to Romero’s second installment of the Dead series also failed to make a blip on my aforementioned give-a-shit radar. From the little neighbor girl’s introduction early on, the ravenous and speedily persistent Zs kept the tension ratcheting up throughout the flick’s entire gore splashed 101 minute run. Another thing that really stood out for me was the baby. If you have no idea what I’m speaking of, you’ve got to watch this one ASAP.


3: World War Z


Yeah, I just went there. In fact I went there (the theater) knowing full well this movie was not representative of Max Brooks’ book of the same name, which I also enjoyed.

The first time I watched the preview with the scene where Gerry Hall (played by Brad Pitt) is ordered to get back inside his Volvo by a motorcycle cop—who gets pasted a second later by an out-of-control garbage truck—I knew WWZ would be my kind of zompoc movie.

The harrowing rooftop scene where Hall and family meet the helicopter that is to take them to safety gets repeated play at my house. I must admit, Hall doing his countdown on the ledge caught me flatfooted the first time. I especially like how the helo rises up over the parapet and the Special Forces operators pile out to engage and finally stave off the zombies (infected) that are launching themselves off the rooftop at the hovering chopper.

All in all, a few plot holes be damned, the accurate portrayal of the military when coupled with the awesome makeup and CGI special effects helped earn WWZ a solid 3 in my top 5.


4: 28 Days Later


I nearly crapped in my pants a dozen times and spilled my popcorn half as many when I first watched this one in the theater. The fast Zs (infected) and total lack of firearms as a result of the UK setting had the peril meter ratcheted up to ten for me from the get-go. Throw in the rapid rate-of-turn after infection and some rogue soldiers as additional protagonists and you’ve got one hell of a zombie (infected) flick.


5: Day of the Dead


George Romero’s third zombie film was the first I had the privilege to see on the big screen. Set in Florida in an underground facility, this one has the military component I like, scientists run amok, and my favorite zombie of all time, Bub, a seemingly harmless undead specimen who remembers snippets of his past life and can perform rudimentary tasks.

Something about the thought of being trapped in an underground bunker along with a butt load of zombies has forever etched this one in my memory. I guess that’s why it made the top five.


Lastly, as I wrap this up, I hope some of you who are reading this agree with a couple of my choices. However, I know and accept that I’m going to catch flack for lumping infected in with zombies. So, as a proactive amends, I offer up my all time favorite zombie short. Please Google search ‘Cargo’ and watch all seven minutes of it. It has the human element I strive to offer in my STZA series and is a very poignant piece of filmmaking featuring real zombies. I’m certain it will not disappoint.


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The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 30+ of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser…and pick up some great swag as well!

Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them!

#SummerofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!

Guest Post: Justin Coke #SummerofZombie

The Premise versus the Story: The Creative Problems of the Zombie Apocalypse

          The zombie genre has many problems—problems that become increasingly evident as The Walking Dead heads into season six.  The writers have done a great job keeping viewers interested in the show as they navigate these issues, but they have often been unable to hide the cracks in the show’s foundation.

          The zombie genre is unique in that it is the only genre of science fiction or horror where the premise undermines the story, and the story undermines the premise.  This inevitable conflict constrains the writer, pushing them along the same well-worn paths traveled by generations of zombie writers.

          The premise is fairly straightforward: the dead have returned, and they have killed 99% of the population.  The story concerns a small group of people fighting to survive.  However, if the zombies are strong enough to kill 99% of the population, how on earth does locking yourself in a mall work?  Did nobody else think of locking him or herself inside a building?  And if locking oneself in a mall works, then how did they kill everyone?  How can Rick live on a farm for a few months?  If the country is so zombie free, why didn’t more people find a farmhouse to live in?

          The conflict arises from the inadequacy of the zombie as an apocalyptic monster.  But a zombie is simply too stupid, too slow, and too weak.  It’s only scary in larger numbers, but it can’t get those big numbers if you could just lock yourself away in a mall.  The zombie is like the Wizard of Oz, and the writer has to take a lot of measures to make sure the reader doesn’t see behind the curtain.  Theses are two of the tropes used to keep the curtain closed.

You Never Actually See the Apocalypse

          You can’t show the apocalypse because attempting to show it would expose the tension between the premise and the story, forcing one or the other to win.  Either the zombie is so weak that it’s plausible that our team of rather dim, barely armed and untrained heroes could survive—in which case everyone else is still alive, too—or they’re so deadly that you can’t drive your Hyundai back and forth to town without getting caught.  Writers have used three major strategies to deal with this: the Five Minutes to Midnight gambit, where the story starts at civilizations last gasp (Dawn of the Dead, 1978); the Zombies Love Mondays gambit, where they show up en masse on Monday morning (Dawn of the Dead, 2004); and the Convenient Coma gambit, where our point of view character is unconscious during the apocalypse.  It would be more accurate to say it’s the zombie post-apocalypse genre.  The only film that attempted to tackle the Apocalypse was World War Z, though civilization only existed to give Brad Pitt rides from one set piece to the next.

Your Hero is Stupid


          The 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake is perhaps the most egregious example of the deep stupidity of zombie heroes, and I could spend all day listing examples. I give Dawn of the Dead a lot of credit for not following the standard zombie gimmick of introducing a crazed military leader to be the foil for the heroes, but they avoided that gimmick by having deeply stupid heroes.

          Rather than go into a list of nit-picks, I’ll just put it this way: imagine MacGyver.  Now imagine that you gave him all the things in the average American mall, all the fishing line in the sporting goods stores, the tools in the hardware store, the remote control cars and planes in the toy store, the cars in the garage, the lumber in the walls, and a month of electricity.  His only goal is to deliver a sandwich to the other side of the parking lot without touching the ground.  The only question is which of a hundred methods he’d pick.

          Now go watch the remake.  You’ll see what I mean.  They had a lot of time to come up with something.  But nobody tried anything.  Instead they strapped a sandwich to a dog when he was about to starve to death.

          You could cut two seasons from The Walking Dead if Rick had just gathered everyone together and said “If we get separated, meet at the McDonald’s on 63.” Those two seasons just wouldn’t have happened, and half the cast would be alive.  One sentence would do all that.

          The point of all this is that because zombies are stupid, your heroes have to be stupid.  Because if they’re smart, they debunk the premise that zombies could kill almost everyone.

          The writer’s of TWD know how dumb their characters are, which is why they added two different sets of survivors who didn’t even know, a year in to the zombie apocalypse, that you’re supposed to shoot zombies in the head.  This would be the equivalent of writing a character that has lived in Alaska for over a year, but doesn’t know he should wear a coat when he goes outside in winter. The heroes can’t be smart, so the writers provide some impossible idiots to make Rick look smart in comparison.



          I’ve heard a lot of complaints about fast zombies over the years, and I understand the source of those complaints.  I love slow zombies, too.  But I also understand why some writers have gone with fast zombies—they help balance the tension that handicaps the story.  By making zombies faster, it strengthens the premise that they are deadly, which allows for greater latitude in storytelling.  The zombie movies that have deviated from the crazy military leader trope that is the staple of zombie fiction (TWD included) have all featured fast zombies.  Fast zombies allow for more creative, unconstrained freedom.

          I have loved zombies ever since I was digging VHS copies of Day of the Dead out of the bargain bin at Blockbuster.  But I also acknowledge the problems.  I believe that the zombie mythology in my upcoming novel, Dead Wrangler, solves the issues inherent in the Romero zombie, while adhering to the zombie archetype we all know and love.


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The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 30+ of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser…and pick up some great swag as well!

Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them!

#SummerofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!