Finale: Armand Rosamilia #SummerofZombie

All good things must come to an end…

Another June and another #SummerofZombie in the books. I had fun and I hope you did, too…

Every year my goal is to introduce more zombie readers to new authors, or maybe they’ll learn something new about the one’s they love. 

I know, for me, it is a chance to learn about my fellow authors and forge a few new bonds for the future. There is nothing better than helping another author build their readership as well as have a good sales month because of my help. I truly believe in Karma, which is why this past month has been a blast and an amazing sales month for me. 

I’ll definitely do this again next June, and for those of you who can’t wait…

#WinterofZombie will once again be here all of November 2015. 

If you’re a zombie author who hasn’t been featured on these tours the last few years, don’t hit me up just yet… but follow this blog because around the beginning of September I will put the call out again. I always like to mix old and new authors into the tours, and November might just be the biggest yet. 

I also want to thank everyone for making Darlene Bobich: Zombie Killer a top free zombie book, as well… I’ll be keeping it for free for the next few weeks, so grab a copy now if you haven’t already. It is available on most platforms so there’s no excuse.

Darlene eBook NEW

I also want to thank everyone who has continued to read my Dying Days series, and has made the latest, Dying Days 5, a phenomenal success right out of the gate. 

Dying Days 5

Until November and #WinterofZombie… keep supporting each other!

Armand

Guest Post: Dave Lund #SummerofZombie

The Best Vehicles for the Zombie Apocalypse

DaveLund-Headshot-01

There are a few criteria that we have to establish before we can delve into the list.  There are some assumptions, things that tend to transcend many zombie novels by many different authors:

  1. Electricity and other utilities eventually fail
  2. The dead leave vehicles, places, homes and buildings semi-intact for scavenging
  3. Industrial production ceases in all cases
  4. Nature reclaims development (except for the guy who is still apparently mowing the grass in that popular TV zombie apocalypse show)

If electricity has failed a few thing obvious and not so obvious have to be accounted for.  Firstly plug in electric vehicles are an obvious no-go.  Secondly, fuel pumps at gas stations no longer work.  All manner of things are available to scavenge, except I exclude grocery stores as they are typically rushed for the possibility of a weather event, much less a full TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) event.  The lack of industry producing new goods means no new vehicles, no new parts, and no new tires, nothing (once again excluding that popular TV show where the characters get new model year vehicles each season).  Nature reclaiming the city means that roads and infrastructure will eventually fail, either through long term exposure or through catastrophe means like mudslides, earthquakes and flooding.

With those things in mind we have to consider the shelf life of modern unleaded gasoline, especially with the addition of ethanol in the fuel.  The more refined the fuel, the shorter the shelf life of the fuel.  Untreated unleaded gasoline used to be OK to store for up to a few years in an airtight environment (the red gas cans are considered open storage and fuel breaks down faster), until the addition of ethanol, which breaks down faster and also destroys fuel system components in motors if left to sit.  Unleaded fuel treated with commercially available fuel stabilizers can last longer, but with the ethanol treated fuels it only extends the shelf life to a year or two.  Diesel fuel lasts longer.  If we could have cars powered by heavy fuel oil, like what large shipping vessels use, then we could get even more of a shelf life.  To toss in more variables into this situation, the more advanced or complicated the fuel system, the higher performance the motor, the more sensitive it is to fuel that has started to go bad.

My believed 1973 SuperBeetle is a good example of this.  With the stock 1600cc motor and stock single barrel carburetor it was nearly run on urine mixed with baking soda (that’s a joke, not really), but with the high performance motor I have now, running dual Weber 2-barrel downdraft carburetors, the smallest amount of contamination will cause the motor to run poorly or not run at all.

With no spare parts being made new, we need to look for vehicles that are common enough that parts would be available in the store rooms of local parts stores or readily available in junk yards.  With all the vehicles, buildings and stores left intact after the start of the apocalypse, readily available parts from popular vehicles, or parts that are easily adaptable would be an added bonus.  That would also necessitate that the vehicle is easy enough to repair that electronic equipment isn’t needed to diagnose and repair any issues, since any vehicle regardless as to how reliable, will eventually break.

Nature reclaiming the roads, cities and infrastructure, we need a vehicle that can survive off road use, as well as unique situations, like driving on rail beds or over rubble.  On the surface that would relate to many of us as “we need a big truck” but the larger the vehicle, the more weight it has to move, the more fuel it requires, the larger the motor, the heavier duty the equipment, all of that makes for vehicles that sometimes aren’t able to survive long durations without significant maintenance.  Even the large military trucks that can nearly climb a vertical wall need significant maintenance and fail with regularity; they fail often enough that the logistical tail of a mechanized combat force is fairly long.  However, a 4-wheel drive vehicle with a reasonable amount of ground clearance, but still using tires that would be commonly found in tire stores and other vehicles would be required.  If the vehicle uses an odd tire size, that makes it hard to locate.  Hard to locate tires means your vehicle is now inoperable if you damage a tire.

For inspiration I look to two vehicle communities for inspiration:

  1.   People who make a lifestyle of driving all around the world, on the highways, dirt roads and no-roads of the world to seek adventure and new experiences.  They often drive their vehicles through the second item on this list, which overcomes many of the same issues as listed above.
  2. Developing countries.

 

When you see news reports of fighting in a developing country, what vehicle do you see the fighters driving and using?  Often fitted with some sort of large mounted weapon?  A Toyota Hilux.  What is a favorite vehicle of Overlanders and exploration expeditions?  A Toyota Land Cruiser.

  1. The Toyota Hilux.  If you live in the US you might not be familiar with the vehicle, outside of the US the truck is as ubiquitous as mosquitos, they are everywhere.  If you watch the old Top Gear show on BBC with Jeremy Clarkson, you might remember they tried to kill one once, and couldn’t.  The fifth generation Hilux is my favorite.  They were produced from 1988-1997, available in 2-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive and came with a 2.8L or 2.4L diesel motor that simply cannot be killed.  You won’t win any races, you won’t pull a 50,000lbs trailer with it, but you will be able to drive nearly anywhere, carry gear in the bed of the truck and drive a vehicle that is quite literally impossible to kill.  Diesel engine?    An abundance of common parts found in parts stores, junk yards or adaptable parts from other vehicles?  Check.  4-wheel drive?  Check.  Common tire sizes?  Check.  So within the United States this truck really isn’t the same as elsewhere due to the lack of a diesel engine, which is unfortunate.
  2. The Toyota Land Cruiser. This is a vehicle that you are probably familiar with if you live in the US.  Beginning with the J40, which started production in 1960 and continuing through the 200 series which is still in production today; diesel motors have been available and popular options, except in later years when V8 gasoline engines were much more popular.  If you live in the US you run into a problem, though.  The diesel motors weren’t options available in the US since before 1990.  Even still, the J60 series (1980-1989) are still readily found driving around on the roads of the US today.
  3. Honorable Mention for US Residents: Diesel trucks from Ford, Chevy/GM and Dodge.  All of the manufactures have had diesel motors available for their trucks for some time, as popular as the trucks have been since the 1960s parts found in parts stores and junk yards are readily available.  Parts from other models and makes are readily adaptable, like Dana axles; however, the newer diesel motors suffer from the same failings as the newer gasoline motors.  The more complicated, the more electronics, the more advanced the motor, the more sensitive it is with bad fuel.  When your life depends on the reliability of your vehicle, sensitivity to fuel quality isn’t a good thing.  Part of the problem also returns to the American need to make everything “bigger and better” so a modified lifted truck may not be the best choice, stock means stock parts.  Stock parts means easy to find replacements.

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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: Mark Tufo #SummerofZombie

mark1 copy

So recently for some strange reason Armand Rosamilia invited me back for his latest Summer of Zombie Blog Tour, of course I was thrilled, then I had the question of what was I going to write about. I thought perhaps astrophysics or cell germination with regards to mutated fungus then I figured it would be best if I let my readers decide. 🙂

Jaimie Nowell I’d like to read something about how you create your books. Outlines, creative boards, sitting down and banging it out without a plan? How do you do it?

I would absolutely LOVE to tell you guys that I sit and storyboard my stories for a couple of months and then I plop down and follow my outlines to a tee. Unfortunately in my case nothing could be further from the truth. Sure I have a general idea of the direction I want my stories to go but very rarely do they adhere to my wishes. I truly let the characters dictate the narrative. Here are but a couple of examples, in Zombie Fallout, Tommy and Eliza were never part of the original storyline, can you imagine how very different the series would be? In The Spirit Clearing, Jandilyn Hollow wasn’t even in the book, never even had a female character. There’s twists and turns throughout my books just because of the unpredictable nature of my characters, so a lot of times when you’re surprised at something that has happened, so am I because I never saw it coming.

I have author friends who plan everything down and I’ll be honest, at times, I am extremely jealous of this particular talent especially at three in the morning when I am contemplating what I am going to write about the following morning or how I am going to get out of a particular corner that I have painted myself into. This is why I always find it funny when I receive a dozen or so requests a week on some tips for writing. ‘Fuck if I know’, is generally my first thought. What I do like about my style is the ability to have fluidity within my story, I’m not anchored to a conclusion, I can meander my way along however I see fit. I’m running with the one positive!

So in a nutshell I am of the banging it out without a plan type of author. Do I recommend it? Well I suppose there’s easier ways to go about writing a book but it’s working for me and like my drill instructor used to say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fucking break it. If you’re a writer, reading this post in the hopes of gleaning some ‘secrets’ to penning a story, the best I can offer is do whatever feels right to you, there is no wrong way. If you are a reader of my books you now have a glimpse into the madness of my method, in that there really isn’t one. Flown by the seat of my pants my entire life, pretty sure I’m not going to change now. Thanks!

*   *   *   *   *

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

Down Time Blues

By Shawn Chesser

frayed cover front

 Deep cleansing breaths. Cracking of knuckles. A fist pump or three. All actions taken by me the second I hit ENTER last Wednesday and my MS of ‘Frayed: Surviving the Zomdie Apocalypse’ was off to my editor. Now, five days into my self imposed two-week vacay from the ‘puter, I’d be a liar if I said that leaving the laptop closed and unplugged has been easy. Sure, the time that simple act has freed up has been pretty easy to fill, what with summer break and my kids’ swimming lessons and all of the new movies dropping,—I can’t wait to watch the Minions in their very own vehicle—it’s just that I feel so unproductive not physically clacking away on the next project. Moreover, I’ve been unable to turn my mind off and just relax. So much so that it’s gotten to the point where I can’t stop myself from picturing scenes from the next book in my head.

I’m sure other writers go through this, so forgive me if I’m whining to the choir. So I’ll shut up now and resume counting the days until the two weeks I couldn’t wait to enjoy is over and I can get the Toshiba out and coax the scenes from my head and onto the screen.

 

Shawn Chesser, author of the best-selling ‘Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse’ series, has been a zombie fanatic for decades. He likes his creatures shambling, trudging and moaning. As for fast, agile, screaming specimens… not so much. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, two kids and three fish.

 

Unedited and spoiler free excerpt from ‘Frayed: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse’ which will be available late July.

 

Cade worked the scenario through his head. Judging by the twenty or so Zs ground into the pavement underneath the van, the occupants had probably come upon the herd up the road and then, either acting out of fear or hubris, decided not to turn back toward Huntsville and instead took a chance at bulling their way through. And once the driver had committed and the low clearance minivan became inexorably stuck, he dismounted and shot a few and then tried rocking the vehicle off the writhing pile of death with the lady behind the wheel.

However it went down, the result was crystal clear. Trapped inside, the mother did what any parent facing that many flesh eaters would do. Maybe to make it easier on all parties involved, Cade thought, she had proposed a game that required the boys to wear blindfolds before … at least that was how he hoped it had played out. But he’d never know, because, as the saying went, dead men—and women and their four kids—tell no tales.

The sound of a door opening and closing snapped him out of his funk. He looked towards the other Toyota parked a dozen feet behind the Land Cruiser and saw Taryn on the road and approaching the scene. He watched her step over the partially eaten corpse of the man who he had already pegged as the Dad. There was a bullet entry wound on the right temple and most of the left side of his face was bulged out and misshapen—like a grapefruit squeezed of all its pulpy goodness. Only there was nothing good about what Cade imagined lay under the snow and scattered on the roadway in a radius around the same side of the body the bullet had exited. Suddenly he was reminded of a bumper sticker popular with the pro-Second Amendment crowd before the fall—a group of like minded folk who he had proudly counted himself one of. You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead hands, was how it went, and that’s exactly what Taryn did. She planted her boot on the cadaver’s wrist and pried the desert-tan semi-auto free from the rigor affected fingers. She patted down the body and came out with one empty magazine, the empties, Cade figured, were somewhere near the body, but covered with snow and brains. Pocketing the mag and what looked like a handful of cereal bars; the lithe brunette picked her way through half a dozen fallen rotters and approached the high side of the mound of unmoving Zs the family’s van was high centered on.

For a second Cade contemplated letting her see what was inside the death ride and then enlisting her help in searching the contents. Instead, as she was craning and skirting the vehicle’s driver’s side, like a cop stopping traffic, Cade held his gloved hand up palm out and turned her away with a slight nod to the 4Runner.

She froze in her tracks and shook her head. Matching his gaze, she blinked first and turned a one-eighty. She made it one pace back toward the vehicles, then paused as if in thought and performed a pirouette, finishing a complete, albeit rather sloppy, three-sixty.

“When do I get to be part of the decision making process?” she asked, standing her ground and glaring back at Cade.

“You just were,” hollered Duncan, who was in the nearby Land Cruiser with his window partway down and warming his hands in the air coming out the heater vents.

“Come on then,” Cade said. “If you can handle Cobain on the road there … I’m sure you can stomach”—he gestured at the van—“what’s inside there.”

 

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