5 Nice Things to Do for Mom During the Zombie Apocalypse

Oh crap. Somewhere between the end of the world and the start of summer, you completely forgot it was Mother’s Day. If you’re lucky enough to have your mom along on this misadventure — and she’s still keeping an eye on the calendar — here are five simple things you can do to make sure her post-apocalyptic day is a special one.

Double up on watches so she can sleep in or take a nap. Studies conducted by yours truly indicate naps greatly missed by 99.9% of adults in the modern world. Imagine how much more you’ll miss them when the dead rise.

Make her a cocktail. It’s actually fine to drink during the zombie apocalypse — just don’t overdo it! If you can’t raid a supermarket or liquor store, try brewing some moonshine in the nearest bathtub. She’ll appreciate your industriousness.

Pick her some flowers. Unless you’re living in a supernatural and/or sci-fi version of earth, where the actual planet is in tatters, you’ll probably find tons of flowers springing up in overgrown gardens, by roadsides, or in meadows. Just make sure there isn’t something hiding under the foliage waiting for a tasty snack.

Get her some fancy dishware. I’ll bet you ten bucks that when humanity starts raiding the malls and box stores for survival gear, they’re going to straight up ignore the fine china. If your mother was a fan of this in the old world, get her a set. She will probably never use it and have to abandon it as soon as your latest hiding spot is overrun, but it’s the thought that counts.

Take care of the cleaning/laundry/whatever. I assume that at some point you guys tend to your post-apocalyptic abode, and let’s face it, it’s usually the mothers (and women) who get stuck with this gig. Turn on the generator, let Mom watch some DVDs and take your best shot at tidying up. And for heaven’s sake, stop swearing at the fitted sheet.

My zombie-fighting soundtrack

Zombie Awareness Month Tip: You can’t fight zombies without a kickass soundtrack. You just can’t. It is physically impossible to defeat the undead without some fist-pumping tunes going in the background…so here are some Vibeke-approved songs for you to put on next time zombies break into your apartment.

END OF ALL HOPE by Nightwish – if this song doesn’t make you take out a dozen zombies in one go, you probably aren’t actually alive anymore.

EPIC LYRIC: “Angels, they fell first but I’m still here / Alone as they are drawing near … ”


SMOKING SNAKES by Sabaton – this song is actually about some badass Brazilians that fought Nazis in World War II, but it is also proven to make you faster, stronger, and more prone to striking epic poses during a zombie battle.

EPIC LYRIC: “Rise from the blood of your heroes / You were the ones who refused to surrender.”

HARD ROCK HALLELUJAH by Lordi – Yes, you can fight the undead to this…or maybe they’ll be so inspired by your killer dance moves that they’ll just make you their leader. This song makes for an excellent zombie-fighting montage. Fun fact: It came out in 2006 and yes, I wrote the earliest version of GNW with it playing in the background.

EPIC LYRIC: “On the day of Rockening, it’s who dares wins! / You will see the jokers soon will be the new kings.”

I was going to stop at three, but to celebrate figuring out how to embed videos in this thing, let’s go to five!

STAND UP AND FIGHT by Turisas. This is the sort of song you put on when the apocalypse has been going on for a while, and you’re tired of wearing leather and weird face paint all the time, but dammit, you’re gonna keep fightin’ the good fight.

EPIC LYRIC: “But would I run today just to die another day? / Give up now and every fight has been in vain.”

FULL MOON by Sonata Arctica – 90% sure this is actually about a werewolf who eats his lover, but really, this song has great advice for anyone dealing with supernatural danger – including running the heck away.

EPIC LYRIC: “Full moon is oversky and he’s not a man anymore!”

And there you have it. Five ass-kicking songs to crank up next time you’ve got a duel with the undead.

(Extra bonus: They can also be used to terrify family members into silence during long road trips.)

Stay breathing, gang!

Zombie Awareness Month is here!

Guys. Guys. I didn’t realize it was Zombie Awareness Month. I hereby apologize for this terrible blunder.

I’d like to point out that it’s incredibly important to be aware of Zombie Awareness Month. If this snuck up on me, no doubt a zombie could do exactly the same.

Always keep a sharp eye out. Watch your surroundings. I like to think most shamblers wouldn’t actually be able to sneak up on us, but there’s nothing like a stealth ghoul to ruin your day.

In celebration of this, er, momentous occasion, I’m leaving the GNW series at 99 cents for the month of May. Because dammit, Vibeke would want it that way.


Bits and Bobs

I spent the better part of my afternoon doing some housekeeping.

I don’t mean I cleaned my entire house (although I did clean! Go me!) — I did some hardcore GNW-ing.

I added some back matter to all five (!) of the series books — along with updated acknowledgements and a brand-spanking-new About the Author page. The back matter is the cool part; it’s got my Also By list, at last, with links to the books’ respective pages on B&N and Amazon. Get Undead and Welcome to the Zomburbs also got new covers and mild title changes (namely dropping the Tales From Camp Elderwood moniker and shuffling them into the main Grave New World series).

Then, because I am a sadist, I went ahead and re-did the Books page on this very website. I’m just waiting on the B&N links for the anthology and the short story and that will be done.

Oh…and there was the small matter of redoing the back cover copy for Get Undead and Welcome to the Zomburbs. I tweaked it a bit for the three main books as well; full rewrites will probably be coming down in the next month.

Damn, I was productive today.

I am, how you say, tired.

But hey! It’s done! And to celebrate I’m setting all the zombie books at 99 cents for the next month. Those of you who wrote to me saying anything more than 99 cents was too much to pay for my work…your prayers have been answered. At least for a month. Hallelujah!


On Formatting

Most characters in post-apocalyptic movies have some kind of sidekick. Sometimes it’s a dog (I Am Legend); sometimes it’s an irritating child (The Road); sometimes it’s a gaggle of hangers-on (Dawn of the Dead), and sometimes it’s a midget/man-child (Beyond Thunderdome).

I am pretty sure my post-apocalyptic sidekick will be a cockatiel, which is at least different.

On the plus side, she can whistle the Imperial March when we sweep into a room, so I don’t have to carry a boom box around with me. With that said, I’m not sure how intimidating I’m going to be when I’m making threatening speeches and she keeps cutting in with “Hey bird!” and making kissing noises.

Or maybe that will make people more fearful. “I hear it’s the bird running the show. They speak to each other in code.”

“I wonder about that bird,” Mother mused yesterday, when I told her about Juno’s penchant for hurling things at me to get my attention. “Is this typical cockatiel intelligence being displayed in a bird that’s a sole pet? Or is she really, really smart?”

Vocally, Juno is more like a budgie than a cockatiel. My family has had talking cockatiels (male and female) over the years, and yes, they can be very loud…but Juno literally goes all day. Babbling, talking, singing. People are floored. “Doesn’t it have an off switch?” is a popular question. She was utterly silent in the first two months I had her–active, yes, but very quiet, chirping only when she wanted to know where I was, or if a friend and I were talking and she wanted to be included. I seriously think she developed this vocal habit because she knows that’s how people communicate, and she’s around people all the time. We are loud, so she is loud.

My uncle suggests she is preparing an uprising a la Planet of the Apes. “Remember Arab Summer?” he asked on Facebook. “This is Bird Winter.”

To which I had to say, “Well, winter is coming.”

Post-apocalyptic merriment is well underway in that zombie story. In the original novel, there was quite a long wait between “the first end of the world” (meteor impacts) and “the second end of the world” (the dead rising). That was part of my plot…the slow unraveling of society. By making it a dedicated zombie novella, I’ve had to push up the arrival of the undead, which is…it’s proving a little more difficult to work all of that in. Timing is everything.

I’m planning on finishing up a couple of the articles I’ve had sitting on my desk, and then…doing a dry run in ebook formatting. Once I figured out that it’s basically converting the Word document to a type of HTML (or maybe it’s XHTML…I don’t know…it’s something), I found approaching it far less daunting. It probably still won’t be a ton of fun, but what can you do.

There are two schools of thought regarding ebook formatting. One is this: Writers write. If you can farm it out, do so. The other is that you might as well do it on your own if you can.

I subscribe to the second school of thought. Granted, if I can’t figure this out after a couple of tries, I will pony up the cash and hire someone to do it. But it never hurts to learn a new skill, particularly in this economy.

Off I go! Wish me luck.

Zombie Movie Night

Read a few chapters of DWD. Picked up Petticoat Whalers to do some last-minute research for secondary project. Made myself an iced soy chai as a reward. Juno was sitting on the armrest when I took a big gulp. Too big, apparently, as I promptly spilled some on myself.

The bird looked up at me and tilted her head. It wasn’t too hard to see she was thinking “Good going, dumbass.” She’s a very expressive little creature.

I watched Severed: Forest of the Dead on Netflix streaming. As far as zombie movies go, it’s pretty clever and inventive…aside from the fact that the “heroine” (or female protagonist; I can’t call her the heroine) is a shrill, clingy, obnoxious piece of work who starts out as the worst kind of treehugger–the violent kind–and devolves into the…I guess she just becomes the standard female lead in a horror movie, shrieking and weeping and serving as eye candy for the males. She kind of wrecks it.

Aside from her, I liked it. It’s very different from the zombie fare Hollywood is pumping out these days.

Am attempting to sit through The Dead Hate the Living. Juno refuses to go to sleep and prefers to sit on my shoulder screeching while staring up at the ceiling. Wonder what she sees up there…