Tag Archives: Apocalypse

A Book By Its Cover

A picture being worth a thousand words, I thought I might just post this and be done for today.

A Prairie Home Apocalypse or: What the Dog Saw

It was created by John Hornor Jacobs of atomictomato.com. If any of you are looking for cover work for your selfpub ventures, I cannot recommend John highly enough. He responded to my inquiry quickly and finished the work in an extremely timely manner. Also (and this is the big one for me) his price is accessible for even a lowly Walmart associate like me.

Bottom line, I’m rather pleased with the result.

You can see more of John’s cover work here.

And don’t forget! A Prairie Home Apocalypse or: What the Dog Saw will be going on sale for Kindle (and other eBook device thingies) on Tuesday. Tell your friends. If your friends aren’t interested in reading a book about a dog facing the zombie apocalypse, then club them over the head with a brick and steal their credit cards so you can buy one for them anyway.

Zombie Tuesday: the Apocalypse Diet Plan

The zombies are there. The world is overrun by the reanimated dead, walking corpses obsessed with consuming living flesh. Civilization is in ruins.

This is widely considered to be a Bad Thing.

But hey! There’s always a bright, side right? You know that twenty or thirty pounds you’ve been trying to lose for years? You’ve done all the diets, and you’ve bought all the clothes hanging devices er…I mean exercise machines, but no luck.

Well today is your lucky day. You’re going to learn how to lose weight the zombie way. By the time we’re done you’ll be nothing more than a canvass of skin and wiry muscle stretched over harsh protruding bones. Just what you’ve always wanted!

In all seriousness though, finding food during the apocalypse is going to be an all-important endeavor. You’re going to have to struggle to scrape together the barest of essentials, all the while trying to stay one step ahead of the corpses that think you would make an excellent meal.

“No problem,” you say. “With most of the population wiped out I’ll be able to loot grocery stores for canned food for years.”

Well, yes and no. Canned food is a fine staple to start with but even canned goods won’t last forever. Most have expiration dates between three to five years in the future.

Three to five years seems like a long time, and in some ways, it is. But Zombie Tuesdays are about long term survival strategies. It’s fine to rely on canned goods to start with, but you need to have the future in mind at all times. When that food supply finally runs out you’re going to need to have a reliable source of food that will last indefinitely. There are a couple of ways you can do this.

First, hunting. Odds are good the zombies will have killed slow-moving livestock like cattle, but animals like deer listen hard and move fast. It’s unlikely that they’ll be wiped out by lumbering moaning zombies. Of course that means they’ll be hard for you to kill too.

And if you do kill them there’s the problem of preserving the meat. Drying it won’t work because you’ll have to leave it sitting in one place for a long period and the zombies will likely find it before you can get back to it. Your best option is to salt the meat. Salting draws the moisture out of the cells and helps to preserve the meat for long periods of time. In the days before refrigeration was widely available it was the only way to preserve dead meat.

But hunting alone won’t sustain you. Remember what momma said: “Eat your veggies.”

You can forage for plant life to eat. I recommend you get a book called How to Stay Alive in the Woods. It has all kinds of information about what kinds of plants are good to eat as well as tons of other useful survival information. It’s a valuable addition to any zombie survival kit.

But if you’re serious about this survival thing, you should think about growing your own food.

Gardening won’t be simple in a world overrun by zombies. You always have to remember the first principle we discussed. Keep moving. But you can stop long enough to plant some vegetables along strategic points along your migration route. The best part is you can probably find several abandoned houses with gardens already established. Start there. Keep them fertilized and watered as best you can.

And speaking of water…

Remember how you used to laugh about how ridiculous bottled water was and how stupid it was to pay so much for something you get out of the tap essentially for free? Yeah, well the shoe’s on the other foot now isn’t it?

Bottled water may be the only source of clean water the post-apocalyptic world has. Odds are good you’ll be able to scavenge plenty of it from stores and homes, and it’s not like water’s going to go bad, but if you find your supply running low remember to be cautious. Water in rivers and streams is not clean, no matter how clear it looks. It’s infested with all kinds of nasty microbes and other things that want to eat your stomach from the inside.

A few drops of bleach per gallon of water should do the trick. Or if you’re a coffee person and you have the time and means, boiling is another great way to kill all those little creepy-crawlies.

The bottom line is that survival is the name of the game, and there’s more out there to be worried about then just zombies. Keep yourself fed and hydrated. Try to stay healthy. Remember, dying from malnutrition or drinking germ infested water is still dying.

The fate of a new civilization rests on your shoulders. Don’t screw it up.

How the Other Half Dies

[This is a tiny little something I wrote after a conversation with Evelyn LaFont about the problem with most zombie plans. You can read her rather interesting take on the conversation and how it applies to publishing here.

Also, this story involves zombies. For those of you who don’t like that kind of thing (you know who you are) be forewarned.]

You didn’t survive.

Of course you didn’t, you poor sad sap.

You sat on the couch playing Xbox and drinking Mountain Dew for eight hours a day. You thought you were tough because your twitching fingers commanded the muscle-bound space marines with impossibly large guns.

You didn’t survive.

You made plans for this. You talked with your friends about where you would go, what weapons you would get, how you would avoid the hoards of the undead. And when you had had your fun you went back home to mommy’s house.

You watched all the movies and you cheered for the gritty survivors as they faced off against the legions of the undead. You groaned when they made stupid mistakes and got themselves killed for it. You knew you could do better. You’d seen it all. You had a plan.

You didn’t last five seconds.

When the first zombie crashed through the window of your bedroom you were too scared to run. You screamed like a girl. Your foot got caught in the tangle of cords by your bed. And right before the undead monster sunk his teeth into your neck, you literally wet yourself in fear.

You lay in a pool of your own blood on the floor, and you wondered how it had come to this. Other people were supposed to die. Not you. The zombie apocalypse was supposed to be fun. But this wasn’t fun. This was dying.

You cried like a baby. Your tears and your blood mingled with the stain from the time you spilled your drink and didn’t bother to clean it up because you were in the middle of a really good game.

At 6:27 pm you died. At 6:28 you came back. You got up off the floor and went down the hall to the living room where your mother was just getting home from shopping. She tried to ask you about the broken window, but before she could finish the sentence you tore her throat out.

She looked at you with eyes that didn’t understand, eyes that had never seen a zombie movie. But by that time you didn’t care anymore.

Then again…maybe you never did.

Zombie Tuesday: “We Like To Move It, Move It”

Today we’re going to throw all that writing stuff out the window and talk for a few minutes about…


Yes, zombies. What is it about zombies anyway? What is there in our cultural DNA that makes us so fascinated with the apocalypse brought on by the walking dead? Have our lives become so easy that we need to dream up horrific images of rotting corpses hunting down the few remaining living, to kick our brains out of their television saturated stupor?

Maybe. Who knows? Not me.

But they’re coming. You know they are.

You’ve seen all the movies and TV shows. You’ve played the games. Maybe you’ve even read the books.You think you’re prepared.

You’re so wrong.

You don’t have the first clue how to survive the hoards of the undead. And if you’re not careful you’ll end up in the hoard of undead moaning “Braaaiiiins” and dribbling the guts of your last victim down the front of your “Ask me about my zombie plan” t-shirt.

You think that just because you’ve seen every zombie movie ever made, you’re prepared for the apocalypse? Didn’t your mother ever tell you that you can’t believe everything you see on TV?

You’re woefully underprepared for what’s coming. That’s why I’m starting a new feature on this blog called, “Zombie Tuesdays.” It would have been alliterated, but some moron forgot to name any weekdays Zedsday, so you’re stuck with this instead.

Each week we’ll look at a different aspect of zombie survival and how to avoid being torn apart by the ravenous flesh eaters.

This week’s zombie survival tip: KEEP MOVING

It’s human nature. When trouble comes we head for home. If we can’t get home we look for a safe place to hole up in until the problem blows over.

You see this in zombie movies all the time. The survivors in the mall, in a boarded up house, in a camp somewhere out in the woods. They’ve dug themselves in, strengthened their fortifications. Maybe they’ve even built a huge fence to keep the undead at bay.

Worst. Mistake. Ever.

Why? Because when you pick a fortification against zombies that place has to last forever. The dead don’t sleep. The dead don’t get tired. And there are far more of them than there are of you.

Think you can handle it? Maybe you’ve got three months of canned goods stocked up in the pantry. Maybe you’ve got a well that brings fresh water right into your house. But the food will run out. And the zombies will still be outside moaning and clawing at the walls.

Maybe you’re thinking bigger. Maybe you’ve got a whole compound stocked with food and medicine and enough land to produce the food you’ll need all of it conveniently fenced off. But you’re still stuck there forever. Need some medicine from the ruins of the hospital in town? Too bad. Need to scavenge some parts for your generator? Not going to happen.

And what are you doing to do when the undead start piling up on top of each other outside your gates until they’ve made a ramp of desiccated flesh that leads right over your precious fortifications?

You can’t dig in.

So what do you do? You move.

Don’t leave town. That’s another rookie mistake. You get in your car to hit the interstate and you’ll be stuck in a pack of cars full of geniuses that had the exact same idea as you did. And when you run out of gas and the undead are crawling over your car and the sun is literally baking you alive inside maybe you’ll understand why leaving was a bad idea.

But you have to keep moving. On foot is fine if that’s all you’ve got. You can easily outwalk the undead, and if any of them get too close you can stop and kill them one at a time.

What if they’re running?

If they’re running then they’re not zombies. This is a zombie survival guide.

Again, you’re not going anywhere. You’re not even trying to leave town. Your main objective is to avoid creating a congregation point for the zombies.

If you’ve got a bicycle, better still. Bikes are lightweight and can usually be taken places where the roads don’t go. Also, they don’t run out of gas. This is important. If you’re going to survive this you’re going to have to forget about anything that requires any kind of fuel or charge. You’re going to have enough trouble keeping yourself fueled up without having to worry about your car.

What about sleep? Well, I would tell you that you could sleep when you’re dead, but that’s not exactly true now is it? This is a long-term plan. You’re going to need to stop from time to time for sleep and rest.

Best chance you’ve got is to find a big building with multiple exits. The undead tend not to be the brightest bulbs on the funeral home marquee. If they see you go in one door, they’ll likely begin by crowding around that door. You should have some time to catch a few winks before they call the rest of their buddies and surround the building completely. You can also use this opportunity to do a little looting.

But be careful of stores with big plate-glass windows. Zombies will rip through them like a hot chainsaw through butter.

When can you stop? You can’t. Not for a very long time anyway. As long as you want to stay alive, you have to keep going.

The day you stagnate is the day you die.

Living Dead

[This is a little something I was inspired to write after reading Discount Noir. It is based on a true story.]

Markus felt his heart racing in his chest, but he forced himself to walk and not run.

He reminded himself of the plan. They’re slow and stupid. Save your energy for the fight.

They were coming. He didn’t turn, didn’t look, but he could hear their moans and smell their rotting dead stench.

He passed a shopping cart turned on its side, its wheels still slowly spinning. Next to it, a streak of blood on the white tile floor leading down one of the aisles. He felt something catch in his throat, but he swallowed it, pushed on.

He was close now, passing the toy department, keeping an eye out for any of the things that might be lurking down the aisles. He saw one by the bike rack thrashing about with its leg caught in the frame of a tricycle some careless customer had left sitting out on the floor.

He passed the exercise equipment and rounded the corner into the camping section of Sporting Goods. Down to the middle aisle a Coleman camp ax hung from a peg, its head encased in plastic. Markus plucked the ax off the peg and fumbled with the packaging, but his fingers scrabbled uselessly against the thick plastic.

He was reaching for the box cutter in the holster on his belt but before he could get it out he heard an undead moan coming from somewhere over his shoulder.

He turned and swung the ax, plastic and all, bringing it up hard against the zombie’s head. The blow landed with a satisfying crack, and brains and blood oozed up around the sharp edges of the clamshell packaging. For a moment Markus felt lost in the thrill and the horror of the what he had just done. But then he heard another moan. He emerged from his reverie just in time to give the second zombie a thorough braining.

The zombie fell and lay still, but it was becoming clear to him that the ax was too short, required him to let the things get far too close to him. All his years of planning for something like this, and he had overlooked such a simple detail. So…another plan then.

He headed back to the baseball bats. On the way past the gun cabinet he saw some poor soul devoured by two little girls. Clearly the guy hadn’t thought out how long it would take to remove the trigger lock. Markus had scratched the gun cabinet off the list years ago.

He made it to the bat rack and picked out an old-fashioned wooden slugger that felt like it had some real weight to it. He looked down the aisle and saw the zombies were coming in greater force this time.

He looked around for the best place to fight them off from. He needed a bottleneck, but the newly widened aisles were like a conduit bringing in more and more zombies from every side.

Markus swung his bat at the nearest zombie and the thing went down in a spray of red. He hit another and another and each time the bat smashed into their brittle skulls Markus felt himself smile a little wider. All this time planning and now it was finally here.

But then there were more of the undead, and Markus thought only of swinging and surviving. The bodies were starting to stack up in the aisle, and he knew he couldn’t hold out much longer. He could hear the moans of hundreds more of the things, maybe thousands. The bat wouldn’t be enough to stop them all.

Markus looked for a way out and saw the skylight far above. He wondered if he could climb up there, somehow get up into the crossbeams that held up the roof where the zombies couldn’t follow. He happened to glance over toward Hardware and saw the ladders. The tallest of them just might reach.

But just as he was about to head in that direction her head a sound, a sound that didn’t quite fit coming from behind him. He turned with his bat at the ready, only to find a lady with a shopping cart eying him oddly.

“Excuse me,” she said again. “Do you work here?”

The sound of the zombie hoards faded away, and the blood and bodies vanished like smoke.

Markus put on his best “May I help you?” smile and said, “Yes ma’am I do. Can I help you find something?”

But while the woman related her deep abiding need for an oyster knife Markus only half listened.

In the back of his mind he was revising his zombie plan.