Friday, August 23, 2013

How to kill your zombies by Glyn

So, how do you want to kill your zombies? Fire? Bullets? Big assed sword? Let’s think about this for a moment. The dead are roaming your neighborhood. Your house isn’t secure. You have a backpack full of clothes, food, water, and maybe even your toothbrush. What weapons and tools do you grab on the way out?
There are a lot of factors that go into this decision. I’d have to say weight is going to be the first thing you think about. You’re already carrying something like 25 or 30 pounds on your back. What else do you want?
Do you want a gun? If so, what kind? You may want a gun. There’s pro’s and con’s to guns:
Cons- Noise. Guns are noisy. Under the right condition, a gunshot can be heard a mile away. If you shoot someone or something everyone in the neighborhood is going to know you’re there. Shoot more than once and most people can tell what roughly where you are. Do that during the zombie apocalypse, and either you move, or you’re going to have a lot of hungry new neighbors.
Guns are hungry little creatures. You have to feed a gun. If you run out of ammo you have a 5 pound block of metal and plastic. You can of course hoard ammo, and carry it with you. But, ammo is heavy. I was looking at my stash today, and realized I have about 500 rounds of several calibers, and it weighs about 30 more pounds
Training. Most people aren’t trained to use a gun effectively. Don’t forget, zombie don’t die unless you shoot them in the head (at least in my world). Most military and hunter types are taught to shoot at the largest target, the chest. Remember the movie The Patriot “aim small, miss small.?” Head shots are tough under the best of conditions. Throw in the stress of a zombie trying to eat your brains, and you have recipe for disaster.
Along with training, comes the fact that guns are dirty little creatures. If you don’t clean them regularly, they will eventually stop working. Some guns handle the dirt better than others. The AK-47 is known for it’s ability to fire after rolling in enough mud to drown a pig. The AR/M-16 types are more finicky. It has to do with the self-loading system, and the fact that the tolerances are tighter, which means less dirt=more problems
Pros- Lethality. If you hit a zombie in the right spot, it’s dead with one shot. IF.
Guns are about the only practical weapon that lets you kill a zombie, or person, from range. The best zombie is a dead zombie. The best dead zombie is a dead zombie over there.
Guns are versatile. You can use them to hunt, if it’s a rifle. You can use them to defend yourself from the terrified masses out there struggling to survive.
So, what kind of gun do you want? The question of use and training are going to be for you to answer. Some people are proponents of the.22 caliber rifle. It’s small, light, and accurate, it is relatively quiet, and the ammo is very light. My problem with the .22 is that unless you plan on living off of raccoons and rats, it’s not a good hunting gun. Plus, it is not a man stopper in a real firefight with live humans.
The AR or other 5.56 semiautomatic is not a bad choice. You can hunt descent sized game. They definitely can kill a human at very long distances, and it’s a very accurate round. You will have to sacrifice weight, and everyone will know you’re shooting one when you do. An added bonus is that you will probably be able to scavenge a large amount of ammo after the military collapses, at least in NATO countries.
AK’s are not a bad option, but it can sometimes be inaccurate, and the round is bigger, therefore heavier.
Hunting rifles are great for super long distance shooting. If you’re going to pick zombies off from 200 yards with headshots, you want a blot action hunting rifle.
For closer in defensive situations, a good pistol is a must. Just, keep in mind that most people who are trained can’t hit headshots regularly outside of 15 feet. Add stress to that, and you’re really only going to be able to headshot a zombie about 10 feet away from you. That’s really close.
What type of pistol? High capacity, high capacity, high capacity!!! I don’t care if a .45 is a man stopper and a 9mm might not be. If you hit a zombie in the head, it goes down. I say find a good reliable 9mm with a lot of bullets, and get good with it.
I’ll lump shotguns in with pistols due to the limited range. Capacity, capacity, capacity! In the apocalypse, a .410 is as good as a 12 ga. Shotgun’s are also easy to use with a relatively low level of training.
The thing to keep in mind about a shotgun is that generally they have low capacity, BUCKSHOT is a must. The pump action makes noise, and the shells are bulky and heavy. That being said, one of my main characters in APEX carries a shotgun. She’s quiet the badass with it.
So, you’ve thought about what gun you’re going to use. What else do you want? You don’t want to just go around shooting every zombie you see. You need something quiet.
There are several tools I’m a big fan of. Anyone who has ever been in a discussion with me about zombies can tell you I love a pitchfork. Here’s why: It’s long. You can keep a zombie a good 5 or 6 feet away from your face with it. It has 3 or 4 tines. This means it’s harder to miss. It’s like a short spear with the added bonus of extra sharp points. In the Middle Ages, when they called up the local peasants, they didn’t give them sword. They gave them spears. Why? All you need to know how to do is thrust.
But, most people don’t have a pitchfork. Plus, it’s pretty heavy. Again, keep in mind how much you’ll be traipsing through the woods, mountains, or desert with.
Here in America, I’m also a fan of the baseball/ softball bat. Most men in America and a fair amount of females know how to swing a bat. They’re not too heavy. I would avoid the $100 and up models though. Those tend to be very thin walled; good for sending softballs over fences, but pretty fragile. You don’t want to break your club in the middle of a fight.
Let’s take a moment to talk about sword. Some people are huge fans of the katana (Thanks Michone). But is it really a good choice? First, how many people have access to a katana? I don’t mean the sword shop, comic shop version. Those are not live blades usually. They’re show pieces; another tool that will fail you when you really need it.
How about a real katana? Do you want to grab that? Yes, if you have any idea how to use it. Different swards are made for different things. The katana is truly a slicing weapon. You don’t hack with it, but draw it rapidly and forcefully against your target, much like a kitchen knife cutting chicken.
The gladius, from Greeks and Romans, is made a stabbing weapon, not a slicing weapon. Imagine stabbing a zombie in the head, and the point doesn’t pierce the skull, but skims off to the side. Uh, oh! I’d rather carry a good hunting knife, or even a machete. They machetes on the market now are all live blades, and made to cut through woody brush.
How about a broad sword? Again, most examples out there are for show. If you do happen to find a good one, it wouldn’t be too bad. This is truly a hacking weapon. It’s meant for the weight of the sword to help it drive it’s way through armor. If you happen to hit a zombie in the head with it, you will probably cleave it’s skull and brain.
What other household items can we find to use as a weapon? What else should I consider before walking out the door?
Shovels make pretty good weapons. You can use it to crush the skull of a zombie; as well as using the sharp point to decapitate a zombie. Don’t forget the tip of a shovel is made to pierce the ground and could do that for a zombie’s neck too.
Hatchets are ok. They are made to cut deep. I’ve found that a good hard swing with a hatchet can throw you off balance, exposing you to attack from an undefended quarter. Think twice about this weapon.
Claw hammer is a must! Not only can you use it as a weapon, (claw to the brain!) but you will need a hammer at some point and time. It’s light, and doesn’t take much space.
Axe, mauls, and sledge hammers are out! They’re heavy, and you have to be able to control them. Again, imagine swinging at a zombie with a 10 lb sledge hammer, and you miss. The hammer hits the ground, your teeth rattle, and that zombie is nibbling on your shoulder. Keep the heavy weapons that you have to swing in the shed.
Screw driver. I like a good screwdriver as a tool, but not as a weapon. Plus, you can get a multi-tool and have a blade, screwdriver, and even pliers. Plus, don’t forget you’re going to need a knife for food. You don’t want to cut your food with your zombie-gut-covered hunting knife.
My personal load out is about 50 pounds. I’ll have a .45 cal pistol, semi-auto 5.56mm rifle, baseball bat, hunting knife. Plus all the survival gear and ammo I’ll have on my backpack. Hopefully I’ll have my family with me, and we can split the load a bit. Plus, I would love to have the shotgun, but I ain’t Rambo, and can’t carry three guns.
None of my characters in APEX have thought ahead, so they travel much lighter than I would. But, then again, it wouldn’t be a good book if it was all about people sitting around joking and eating peanut butter crackers.
Don’t forget to give APEX a read for more weapons ideas.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

How to survive the zombie apocalypse: Part 2 by Glyn Gardner

Hello everyone, it’s Glyn Gardner; your favorite (I hope) budding zombie author again. Today I’m going to continue talking about how to survive the zombie apocalypse. Last time I discussed whether to run, or to shelter in place. Today we are going to assume it’s time to run. For some reason the place you find yourself when you first realize the zombie apocalypse is happening will not support you or protect you for very long.
What next? Do you just run out into the streets willie-nillie? Maybe screaming and yelling for help? No! To steal a page, or the cover actually, from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: DON’T PANIC! If you’re going to survive the end of the world, you have to keep your wits about you.
OK, you’ve taken a deep breath or two, and counted to ten. Again we have to refer to Maslow. What do we need next?
Water! First and foremost, you need water. Depending on your environment, your water intake may need to exceed two gallons per day. There are a couple of ways you can acquire the water you’ll need. One, you can carry it with you. Do you have something like a Camel Back? If so, you can carry enough water on your back to last a good half day. If you don’t have a Camel Back, what do you have? Do you have bottled water? How about juice bottle or a thermos? How many can you stuff in your back pack?
The amount of water you carry is also going to depend on your fitness/ strength level. Water is heavy. A liter of water weighs about 2.2 pounds. This means that gallon of water you need will be about 9 pounds, and take up a pretty big chunk of space. This will affect your water strategy.
An alternative to carrying all of your water on your back would be to carry some way of purifying water. As I said last time, about 8 drops of household bleach will purify a gallon of clear water. This means that a quart of bleach that takes up very little space can purify several weeks’ worth of water. Your geography is also important here. If you live in the Southwest U.S., you might not come across much water in your travels. You need to carry more. I live in Louisiana. I can find all kinds of rivers, streams, creeks (called a bayou here). I can get away with a few bottles of water and my Camel Back.
So, you’ve loaded your backpack with all that you’ll need to stay hydrated. What now? Gun? Knife? Ninja stars? NO! Get some food. When we discussed food last time we talked canned food and dry food. If you’re going to be in one spot for a long time, those are the ways to go. They don’t spoil very fast. Well, they are also full of juice usually, and are heavy. In this case, I’d say ditch the canned food unless it’s meat. SPAM, deviled ham, and tuna are all excellent forms of protein. Unless you plan on wandering around hunting and fishing, protein is going to be a problem for most people. You can of course eat some of the 6 legged creatures you run across, but most people won’t, at least at first.
Now what else do you take? Dehydrated food (IK consider rice and pasta in this category, even though they aren’t technically dehydrated) is easy to transport, but you’ll have to use some of your precious water to rehydrate it. At this point you need to think weight v. calories. Look in your cupboards and find the things that are calorie dense. Peanut butter, crackers, fruits (Most will be ok out of the fridge for a couple of days.), any candy or granola bars will also be good sources of calories.
The mantra to keep in mind when it comes to food is: You have plenty of fat. You need plenty of water. NEVER EVER leave water for more food.
Now you’ve got a pack full of food and water. Everything a growing survivor needs right? Wrong. You’re just getting started. Do you plan on hiding in the Ritz Carrolton with a nice warm robe and blankets tonight? Nope, you’re most likely going to be on foot, and if you’re lucky you’ll be out of town and away from a bunch of people. That means shelter is going to be a problem. You might be able to find a nice warm bridge to sleep under, or maybe even a fairly clean trash bind to sleep in. You’ll probably be able to find a roof over your head one way or another. You may not however be able to find something warm to sleep under.
So, you’ll need to pack something to shelter you from the environment. If the ZA happens in January, and you live in Maine, you need a lot of cold weather gear, or at least a good coat, gloves, and hat. Always have a hat. It holds in heat when it’s cold, and can protect your head from the sun when it’s hot. I’d also suggest AT LEAST 1 pair of extra socks. As an old soldier, I can never have enough socks in my bug-out bag. I hate wet feet. I even have a pair of shoes in my bag, but again: I hate wet feet. Imagine walking all day, and then having to sleep up against a tree in the woods. What would you absolutely need to keep from freezing to death in your area? That’s what you need.
So, you now have water, food, and a bag full of clothes you’ll need to survive the elements. What now? Are you ready to go out into the big bad world of zombies? No, you aren’t. You need weapons and tools. Zombies are slow and stupid. What separates them from us? TOOLS! We can be slow, and can definitely be pretty stupid, but even the dumbest of us knows how to hit a nail with a hammer. So, arm yourself with the best tools you can find…NEXT TIME

Don't forget to check out APEX for more zombie!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Why I write about Zombies by Armand Rosamilia

Brian Keene is the reason. End of post.
Oh, you want more info?
I'd always been a huge fan of zombie movies, ever since being scared as a kid watching Night of the Living Dead. While everyone else was into vampires, I was the teen getting excited over zombie movies, which were hard to come by. Back in the days before the internet you had to actually go to a video store (no Blockbuster, no RedBox) down on the corner and hope that mom or pop that ran the place were fans of zombies. I remember the closest video store to me had a huge horror section, but mostly these obscure slasher flicks. I had to go a couple towns over because there was a video store that had an amazing collection of zombie movies, and I ended up renting them all.
But I'd never read any zombie books, even though I read a ton of horror. I was more into scary monster books without honing in on vampires, werewolves and zombies. Instead, demons and ghosts and serial killers were a huge part of my reading experience.
Until The Rising.
I remember being in the local Books A Million and searching for another paperback. The horror section had disappeared, leaving you to search through thousands of fiction books for that hidden gem deemed horror. Sure, King and Koontz had huge sections devoted to them, but everyone else was relegated to being lumped in with general fiction.
As if by fate, Brian Keene's book was facing out and the cover immediately caught my attention. I can still remember reading the back cover blurbs and being excited, because reading zombie fiction had never interested me before. The few short stories that I'd read were either about voodoo queens or cliché brain-eating zombies that had no real plot.
This was something quite different, and I read it in one day, amazed at the characters and how the zombies were not the whole story. In fact, I got so into the characters that, at times, you forgot it was even about zombies and just about survival.
I had never read anything from Keene, but went back to the store and bought every paperback he had available, including the other zombie books, City of The Dead and Dead Sea.
Within a few days I was heavily immersed in zombie fiction. I started surfing the internet for other zombie fiction, finding some great anthologies like The Dead That Walk and The New Dead.
I was also amazed at the amount of zombie authors putting out quality releases, and had to read them all.
Then I started writing my own zombie fiction, something I had never done before despite twenty years of writing stories. I thought there was nothing new, nothing fresh about it. I was wrong, and as I started thinking about my own ideas.
As a writer you never want to toss a few cliché ideas and worn plotlines together and get a story. But once I had an idea I thought was unique, I went with it. Suddenly there were more characters, more ideas than I had time to write. What started out as a simple flash fiction piece, "Anything But Luck" (released in Daily Bites of Flesh 2011 by Pill Hill Press), became a world of extreme zombie fiction from me. Another half dozen flash fiction zombie pieces took shape, followed by my Highway To Hell novella. Since then I've written and published a slew of zombie short stories, followed up Highway To Hell with Dying Days (now with 2 sequels and more to come).
And I owe it all to Brian Keene and that paperback book staring at me.
Armand Rosamilia 

Armand Rosamilia on 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Today I’d like to talk about the basics of surviving the zombie apocalypse By Glyn Gardner

My name is Glyn Gardner. I’ve recently published APEX, my first zombie/thriller. Today I’d like to talk about the basics of surviving the zombie apocalypse. Maslow tells us that physiological needs always take precedence over safety needs. So what, right?
What this means to us in the zombie apocalypse is this: It’s all well and good to discuss how to kill zombies and secure your house from the walking dead. But, if you can’t feed and hydrate yourself, or shelter yourself from the outside elements, then you will still die during the zombie apocalypse.
So, rule 1 of the zombie apocalypse: Have a source of food and water. You can either have it on hand, or know how to easily obtain these things quickly when the dead begin to walk the earth. One good strategy is to have a large amount of canned/ dried food in your home at all times. If the dead begin to rise, or any other disaster for that matter, move that food to the most secure location in the house.
The military estimates that a soldier in combat needs at least 2000 calories per day to stay fit to fight. If you’re hunkered down waiting on the undead to break down your door you won’t need as much. But, you do need some. Read the labels on cans. Green beans last a long time in a can, and most houses have a bunch. But, they have very few calories; great for losing weight, not so good for surviving. Crackers are always better than bread. Peanut butter has a long shelf life, and is calorie dense, as is SPAM.
Don’t forget about water. Bottled water is your best bet for long term storage. But, most people won’t have enough water for them and their families just sitting in the garage waiting for the apocalypse. So, how do you get enough water? Almost every house has a bath tub. Use it. As soon as the zombies show, or any other disaster for that matter, fill your bathtub with water. A family of four can survive for a good week on the water held in the average sized bathtub. Coolers, buckets, pots, pans all make good storage for water.
And for God’s sake don’t forget to grab the bleach from the laundry room. It takes about 8 drops of bleach to sanitize clear water. If and when you decide to run, or if you still have running water, you can ensure you have clean drinking water
Rule 2: Find Shelter. If you are in your home, you already have a roof over your head. This is the part that crosses from Maslow’s basics to the next level. While physiologically, we need to be protected from the elements, we also need to be safe. This is also your most important decision during the first few days of the zombie apocalypse. As the Clash said in their song: “Should I stay or should I go, now? If I stay there will be trouble. If I go it could be double…”
So, the moment you realize that the dead have started walking, you have to ask yourself: “Can I survive here? And, is it safe where I am, or do I need to move?” Those two questions will determine what you do next.
If you’re in, let’s say, a restaurant; then you know you have access to food and water. Yes, you can survive. But, there are huge windows in front of the restaurant and three doors into the place. The answer to your second question might be No. Time to move.
Or, you’re in your nice cozy midtown apartment on the third floor. You may only have access to enough food to last a week, and enough water for about two weeks. Well, you might have some time. I’d answer no to the first question. Unless the ZA is over in a week, then you’re faced with starvation or trying to evacuate through a city full of hungry zombies. Don’t even look at question number 2. Run! Grab the basics and run like hell. We’ll discuss the basics another time.
So, where do you draw the line? That is up to you. If I’m in the country and have enough supplies for two weeks, I may hunker down and see how things play out. If I’m in the middle of Dallas or New York, I’m on the first thing smokin’ out of the city.
Today we’ve covered the very basics of survival. Next time I will discuss weapons. That’s what everyone likes anyway. It’s not the zombies that are cool, but the opportunity to kill a few dozen of them that is so inviting.
For other ideas about surviving, check out APEX by Glyn Gardner. See how some made good decisions, and some made poor decisions in this action packed zombie horror/ thriller set in Louisiana.

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