Zombie Survival Guide – Plan B

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The enemy.

Everyone has a plan for surviving the zombie apocalypse.  The only sensible one is to make for water, hijack a boat and spend the rest of your life on a small island in either the Bahamas or French Polynesia.   But, what if the unthinkable happens and your plan FAILS?  What if you’re the token guy who gets eaten mainly to show how plucky and heroic the real heroes are?  Or, if you’ve been the type who likes to go all paramilitary and start establishing a new world order with nothing but your shotgun and a pair of steel balls, the type who gets eaten to reinforce that, hey, it’s a bad situation, but there’s no need to go all crazy, and gets his just comeuppance.

How can you make sure that your life… well, death… as a zombie is successful, productive, and most importantly, long?  Here are two very important points for gearing up for the apocalypse when, you know, failure is a pretty big possibility.

1. Attempt to retain as much cognitive ability as possible.  There’s slow zombies, fast zombies – but they’re almost all dumb as bricks. Every now and then you’ll see zombies retain some mental acuity, however.  Day of the Dead.  Land of the Dead.  Warm Bodies.  There’s evidence there that smart zombies, while rare, do exist.  And you can be one of them. Here’s how:

Fuck brain training.  20 straight hours playing sudoku isn’t going to do a thing for you when your synapses are firing at like two electrons per second.  The best you can do is try to approximate the conditions you will be working under.  Drink.  A Lot.  Don’t get cute with Absinthe or drugs that will give you hallucinations or anything like that.  Drink cheap beer and maybe smoke some weed.  Watch ten hours of reality television.  If by hour seven, you can still remember where you put your car keys, you’re doing well.  Then try to accomplish simple tasks that, as a zombie, you might need.  Practice catching small dogs.  Forget cats, they’re too quick for you and dogs are dumb enough probably to let you wrap your dead, stinking arms around them before realizing that sometimes unquestioning loyalty is not a good survival trait.  Oh, and open doors.  A ton of them.  Nothing worse than spending eternity locked in the small closet you barricaded yourself in once you were bitten because you don’t have the mental ability to realize that the only thing between you and a glorious life as an extra on the Walking Dead is a stupid doorknob.

2. Train your muscles.  This is a bit of a gray area… if you’re a strong person alive, does that make you a strong person dead?  For reference, I turn to Peter Clines’s Ex-Heroes, where superheroes bitten retain their powers, including superstrength.  That sets a strong enough precedent that doing a few exercises to prepare for life as a Walker might not be time wasted.  But, you can’t just go Arnold Schwarzenegger on this.  Being that size requires too many calories to maintain and after a few months of slim pickings you’re likely to be worse off that that guy you’re shuffling next to who spent his last days watching Lost reruns on the couch with a bag of Doritos nd a Mountain Dew.

So, what do I mean?  For one, your jaw muscles.   You’re going to need to be able to bite through living sinew and tissue and do it in such a way that even if your victim squirms and hits you on the head with, say, a cricket bat, you’ll have the mandibular fortitude to hang on to that fucker.  Remember, he only becomes a zombie if he gets away.  Otherwise, he just becomes lunch and you live (live?) to bite another day.

Here’s what you do.  Should be obvious.  Jerky.  Old, stale beef jerky.  You should live off that shit for like, a good two months.  Then, once the diarrhea stops, start up again.  Probably a month in between sessions.   Once you can bite the tongue off a brand new boot without flinching, you’re ready.

Another tip – try breaking through doors without punching or kicking.   All you have is shoulder pushes and desperate scratching.  Might be a good idea to get a few reps in there.

 

If you do those two things, I’m confident you’ll have a head start on (un)life, but I think there’s more to this.  Stay tuned for more Plan B tips!  Or maybe you have some tips of your own?  Share them in the comments!

The GoodReads giveaway is over!

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Congrats to the three winners, Kara, Monica and Amber!  Two from the states, and one from Great Britain!  The giveaway was a blast and I’ll be sending out the copies as soon as the snow stops here in Boston!

The Cages GoodReads giveaway is almost over!

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At over 1000 people signed up and more than 500 people adding the book as to-read, I feel really good about how it turned out.  You’ve got about 4 hours if you want to get in on this!

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Cages by Chris Pasley

Cages

by Chris Pasley

Giveaway ends February 23, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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Gold Rush? Unacceptable!

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Unacceptable!

So, I’m a long time Gold Rush fan.  There’s nothing like watching people take a shot at something they have absolutely no business doing, and since Season One I’ve been hooked.  Everyone featured on the show gradually got better, despite Discovery’s ham-handed way of inserting Christo Doyle (the Executive Producer) into the show as much as possible, who often picked fights and very transparently tried to create conflict and drama.

So when this season Discovery announced in their pre-season advertising that this season “Someone hits the Motherlode!” I got excited.  Finally, one of these three teams makes it – the notoriously inept Hoffmans, the irascible Dakota Boys or the young Parker, hoping to live up to his grandpa’s legacy.  This was going to be the season that ends with one of these teams realizing the dream that Gold Rushes have always promised – to strike it rich beyond your wildest dreams.

It was a good season.  Lots of interesting things happened.  Todd Hoffman was his usual risk-loving, often inept self and nearly ruined his whole season.  Parker rode waves of success and failure.  The Dakotas constantly edged nearer and nearer what they called “leprechaun gold”.  Riveting!

So then, the final tally – which would be held not as a reveal as it happens on-site with all the jubilation and heartbreak that was the emotional payoff of following these miners, but in an awkward 2-hour “live reveal” show – was ready to be announced.

[SPOILERS]

Yay!  Parker met his goal!  Ok, great.  Not the motherlode, but good for him.

Yay! The Dakotas met their goal!  Fantastic!  That just leaves who must be the real winners here…

The Hoffmans fell 200 oz short!  Yay…. what?

That’s right.  Everyone either barely squeaked by or failed to reach their goals.  But what was the motherlode?

“You may not have hit 1000 ounces,” quipped Christo Doyle.  ”But you got 800, and that’s the motherlode to me!”

WHAT NOW?

I feel incredibly lied to.  It was false advertising.  No one hit the motherlode.  You can’t call failing by 20% “hitting the motherlode!”  I don’t often get offended by the sleazy things TV shows do, but I’m kind of invested in this show, and it was an incredible let-down.  Imagine the parallels:

This season, one baseball player will beat Barry Bonds’ record!  Result: well, he was ten runs under!

This season, the final five Cylons will be revealed!  Result: Ok, we revealed two!  Yay!

It’s just wrong.  I hope someone at Discovery gets their act together on that – I won’t lie, I’ll watch the next season.  But I will be a lot less excited, and I will never believe anything Discovery tells me.  Screw you, Christo Doyle.

 

 

I Survived Nemo! With A Few Hiccups!

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I Could Have Used You, Mr. Plow

My first real winter in New England decided to smack me in the face this weekend with the worst blizzard in years.  Being most recently from LA, I was really not ready for this.  My wife and I thought we’d covered all the contingencies.  We bought water and food early, in case power went out and the roads were closed.  We charged up all our devices beforehand.  I bought a heftier broom/scraper stick to clear off our cars (a lesson learned from a previous snowfall not nearly as heavy).  With these preparations in mind, we sat back to watch the blizzard.

It was very impressive.  Wind scattered snow around in sheets.  You could watch the sidewalk disappear if you stood there for more than ten minutes.  We kept track of the snowfall by the rising wall of snow on our patio door, which thankfully was on the wrong side of the building to get the full brunt of the storm.  Morning came with some residual wind and three feet of snow in places.  Saturday I decided that I should be proactive and clear off our cars before the snow melted and froze into ice sheets.

Why would I need a snow shovel, I had thought.  I live in an apartment that does a remarkably good job keeping the road and the parking lots scraped (even during the height of the night of the blizzard there were still folks out with snowblowers and shovels clearing the sidewalks).  Surely with my scraper/broom it’d be a cinch.

There was a wall of snow almost five feet high and three feet deep behind my car, and it stretched what must have been a hundred yards down the parking lot.  I hadn’t realized that when the bulldozers and scraper trucks clear the road, the snow has to go somewhere.  My car was buried.

So, with no other recourse, I set out on foot this morning to Home Depot to acquire a snow shovel.  It wasn’t a long walk, but terrain was slushy and I was sweating under my heavy coat.  An old man in a beret passed me while crossing Providence Highway.  I stepped in a few uncomfortable puddles.  But finally, I got safely to Home Depot.

They were out of shovels.  D’oh!

So, I thought.  What can I do now?  I bought a 5 gallon paint bucket, with the idea that I could just scoop the snow away.  So I walked back to the apartment, bucket in hand.  Temporarily (and only mildly) snow-blind, I rested a bit at home, then went out again to tackle the snowbank.

I cleared the snow in front of my car with no problem and managed to free my windshield and hood from the snow, but as I started in on the snowbank I gave up.  I was barely making a dent.

In the end I paid a group of three guys $30 (the sign on the complex door said “WILL Clean Cars off and shovel out for $30 a peice. [sic]“) and they finished the job in 10 minutes.

I think the best lesson I can take from all this is that I am not really fit to live in New England.

Free Days a Success!

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Hi everyone!

I’m happy to report that thanks to your help, the free promotion for Cages was a success.  I had literally thousands of downloads and nabbed two more reviews:

This puts a totally different spin on the Zombie story! I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get into it, but I actually enjoyed the difference!! I am looking forward to reading more from this author!! A fun, intelligent read!!!

and

I recommend this book for any one who is willing to be sucked into a beast-filled prison. Truthfully I didn’t expect the zombie twist that Chris paisley gave us to truly pay off. But wow. Lots of potential for the series!

Overlooking the misspelling of my last name (believe me, I’m used to it), these were great!  Both five star reviews, which brings my total to 11 US, and 4 in the UK!

Also, I started getting a relatively large number of downloaded after the promotion was over, which put me at the highest at a bit over #11,000 in the Kindle store.  Awesome!  That number has started to decline, but I’ll take even a temporary burst of excitement over the book.

So again, thanks for the support!  Also, don’t forget the Goodreads giveaway is still going strong!  I could use a few more reviews over there too, if anyone’s interested.

So, what’s up with Cages 2?

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I’m slowly working on Cages 2 (as of yet untitled) and it’s going pretty well.   I thought this might be a good opportunity to share a few paragraphs  from the first chapter for those itching for just a little more Sam Crafty.  Let me know what you think!  Spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read Book 1.

At the time it was hard to know if this was providence or tragedy.  As I looked at the body of the man to whom I was handcuffed, it seemed fitting to consider the category of circumstance, as it might very well be the last circumstance in which I ever found myself.  The answer to the question, I decided, hinged on how the next few hours went.

There were a number of scenarios.  I could catch whatever sickness caused Truant Officer Richard Bailey (I called him Dick, out of affection) to puke blood for the last ten miles and finally slump over against a tree and into a shin-high mound of fire ants.  It was their relentless attacks on his face that convinced me he was dead.  Those little assholes hurt like hell, and Dick refused to even twitch.  I had dragged him a few feet out of the ants once a dozen or so started to make their way up his arm towards the handcuffs.  Fire ants were the last thing I needed chewing on my flesh… well, next to last, maybe.

On the other hand, I could be devoured by the ravenous undead or their enormous parasite-infecting Beast creators while I waited for these metal bracelets to magically vaporize.  A year ago that would have been a bad joke.  Twenty three years after the Outbreak had wiped out the entire Midwest and turned half the world into shuffling zombie Bitten – and its teenagers into super-powerful Beasts – we had all thought it was over.  That we had kept it contained, every teenager under nineteen locked away in SuperMax Quarantines, to be instantly slaughtered if they showed the slightest sign of the change.  Then… well, it looked as if the parasite had gotten tired of being caged.  Before, I had seen one whole Bitten my whole life.  Now I had seen dozens.

Scenario Three: I turn Beast myself.  No way the handcuffs would hold.  So… call that a win?  Not really.  I had seen too many transformations to relish watching the sharp spines push through my skin, cracking my bones, nails sharpening in to ten killing spikes.  Would my vision go red?  I had spent too much time thinking about that possibility these last nine months, sleeping under the stars and hiding in tool sheds.  Wondering if I would know it was happening.

The meat on Dick’s hand was raw and torn from where I tried to strip the cuff off, but I just didn’t have the power.  At my best I was a buck twenty wet, but the last few months had wicked what fat I had off and then went to work on the muscle.  I felt like I couldn’t break a candy bar, much less the dead cop’s wrist bones.   Though to be honest, I might actually try harder for the candy.

I tried to avoid thinking about chewing his hand off.  I had no doubt I would do it, but I didn’t like to consider taking another human being’s flesh in my mouth.  And would I be able to not swallow?

OMG!  How will Sam get out of this mess?  Stay tuned for more scenes from When Teenagers Attack!