The world has gone nuts. There’s no denying it. We at the ZSC pride ourselves on being equipped for any dangers, from natural disasters, to zombies, to whatever unfolds as a result of the bow string tight tension in the political sphere. Shamefully, despite years spent preparing, we may have overlooked something deadly lurking in the shadows.
Hear me out, folks. Yes, vampire myths are ancient and diverse, with just about every culture out there developing their own version of the undead menace since who knows when. Vampires have been in and out of vogue in popular culture so often, the concept itself is vampiric, resting for years like Anne Rice’s Lestat, only to rise again years later with a renewed sense of purpose, stalking television and film screens.
Several vampire inspired or vampire-centric shows bid farewell in recent years, signaling the end of one undead cycle—True Blood, Hemlock Grove, Penny Dreadful, and the most recent departures The Strain and The Vampire Diaries. TVD’s spin-off series, The Originals will also end after its fifth season next year, that’s the left hook in CW’s current plan to scrap vamp-centered shows from their schedule. It won’t last for long. Vampires have been ever-present in media across the Pacific. Here in the US, they go through phases. Just when the bloodsuckers crawl back in their coffins, a few rethink the retreat and new shows haunt pilot season, waiting for some unsuspecting network to invite them inside.
There are a handful of vampire shows still on-air or currently in deep pre-production—Van Helsing, Castlevania, Preacher, Let the Right One In, The Passage, Vampire Chronicles, and Midnight, Texas. On top of those, there’s another Supernatural spin-off in the works. The original show had several vampire-heavy episodes before, so it’s not hard to imagine them pulling a known predator from the hat sometime during the show . . . assuming this new spin-off makes it further than the last attempt. There have also been rumors of a TVD/Originals spin-off in the works. The big news, though, is Rice’s Vampire Chronicles series, which will focus on Lestat de Lioncourt. With the film rights back in the creator’s hands, she’s opted to take the vampires many grew to love on the page and put them on the small screen—after two questionable films, it’s refreshing to know the master leads her creatures down their new path with a tight leash. But there’s already rumors that the series, which is in early pre-production, may develop spin-offs to focus on the other ancient vampires who may not get a lot of love on the show.
Basically, vampires are everywhere and won’t stop coming back no matter how hard anyone tries or how many shows they cancel. Several cultures still hold rituals to protect villages from the undead, ranging from as simple as planting a certain flower around the suspected vamp’s grave, to the disturbing act of disentombing a corpse to remove vital organs before roasting them and feeding the remnants to those affected by the vampire via nightmares and/or mysterious illness.
We’re not recommending cannibalism, rest easy. However, there are certain methods to taking care of vampires which differ from zombie-slaying techniques. The easiest method would be, honestly, to find the vampire’s lair, wait until sunrise, and whoops, one wall in their bedroom wall just happens to get a hole in it. Sun-fried vampire is the least hands-on you can get, assuming they’re not holed up underground or in a casket. Decapitation works with vampires, unlike their zombie counterparts who tend to remain animated and bitey even when their head is in the dirt. There’s also the classic stake through the heart technique. Problem is, it takes quite a bit of effort to drive a large, mostly blunt object through the chest muscles, ribs, and finally the heart itself. You aren’t Buffy. Staking a vamp isn’t the wisest choice for non-Chosen Ones. I’d suggest reevaluating your weapon of choice and repacking your go bags with tools which would take care of not only our zombie foes, but also this ancient threat making another round across our television screens.
Jenna should be having the time of her life at college. Instead, her only desire is survival. She lives in a world gone insane after a virus kills most of the population. Being alive after the apocalypse is bad, but when the undead return, hungry for humans, times turn darker. For Jenna and a small group of survivors, the goal is to reach the High Point Inn. At the inn, Jenna develops feelings for Caleb, who, while exotic and intoxicating, is not quite human. Will this new utopia last?
Interview with Lisa Acerbo
When did you first begin writing, and what inspired you to write your first book?
I majored in English during college, thinking that I wanted to become a journalist, but instead became an English teacher at the high school level. While a full time teacher now, I have also continued to write and publish. Before turning to fiction, my articles appeared in the Connecticut Post, Trumbull Patch and Hollywood Scriptwriter. Writing a novel was on my bucket list, so now that I have completed the goal, I am changing my bucket list entry to writing a series of books.
What books and authors have most influenced your life?
I am a huge fan of Shakespeare. Reading Macbeth in high school is the reason I decided to major in English and literature in college. Lady Macbeth is so misunderstood and pure evil! I also love Stephen King and recently completed two of his new books – Joyland and Doctor Sleep. These stories remind me why I enjoy teaching others about literature and practicing the craft myself. Even though I could never come close to King’s level of mastery, reading great stories makes me want to become a better writer.
Tell us a little about Jenna and how she developed for you as a character.
Jenna, the main character, lives in this crazy, deadly post-apocalyptic world overrun with stalkers, another name for zombies. I love Jenna, the hero of the story. She is tough, smart and sassy and has this innate ability to stay alive in the craziest situations. What more could you want? I’m not sure if she is all that likable; a zombie apocalypse can cause some people to be on edge and grumpy, but she is fiercely loyal to her friends, and that counts for a whole lot when you fight the evil undead.
Faced with a world infested with flesh-eating biters, what would be your go-to method of defense and why?
I have been reading The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks, and he provides many great tips. Since I can ride a horse, I’d use one for faster transportation once gas became scarce. I can’t aim well. Instead of a gun, I think an axe would work to hold off the scavenging zombies, at least for a while. I hate that they have to get close, but I could do some serious damage with an axe. Of course, the assumption is that I don’t trip over my own two feet and end up a quick meal for the undead.
In this ever-changing world, it behooves us to be prepared for disaster to happen at any moment. The Zombie Survival Crew members have a “go-bag” filled with items essential for their survival should disaster strike and they must flee to survive. What are the most essential items for your go-bag and why?
Can my daughter fit in the bag? Other than the family members I would attempt to save, I would have a “go-bag” with basic medical supplies, water bottles, and food such as rice and granola bars. Some granola bars last for a year (I cannot imagine what is in the product, but if they keep me alive, I’ll eat them). Tools would include a Swiss Army knife, flashlight, matches, and a small, easily concealed weapon to use on zombies or evil humans who come my way.
How did you come up with the premise for Apocalipstick? And what do you feel makes your book stand out in the zombie lit world?
I love zombie movies and vampire books such as the Chicagoland vampire series. Reading some of the recent book releases in the genre and watching movies like Shaun of the Dead and World War Z sparked the desire to try my hand at writing my own zombie novel. I kept wondering what would happen if vampires had to fight zombies? The answer is in Apocalipstick.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in writing for a horror audience?
I want to make sure to scare the audience and keep readers in suspense. That is hard to do and I find it challenging when writing fight scenes. The scene should not only be about zombie gore, but needs to make the reader worry about the main characters and what will happen to them next.
Tell us a little bit about Jenna’s love interest, Caleb. Are there any other special characters we’ll meet within the pages of Apocalipstick?
At first, Jenna lives only survive a life full of zombies, death, and chaos, but after she helps a small group of survivors reach the safe haven of the High Point Inn, she gets the chance to relax. At the inn, Jenna develops feelings for two men: Quentin, who reminds her of the past and Caleb, who, while exotic and intoxicating, is not quite human.
Quentin is the boy you can be friends with and fall in love with. He is cute and has been able to retain a sense of humor even with all the chaos and death that surrounds the group. Caleb, on the other hand is his polar opposite. Caleb is brooding and dark, but with a good soul deep down. Jenna has to decide on if Caleb is worth the effort or not.
What are you working on now? Can you tell us your latest news?
Apocalipstick was my first book, but book two in the series is coming together. Jenna and Caleb undergo a challenging quest. They leave the safety of the inn and their travels resemble the traditional journey of the mythological heroes brought to light by Joseph Campbell. There are also many unexpected twists for the characters and someone rises from the dead, but not as a zombie. I was working on my first book and already planning the next book in my head, thinking about the changes and developments that would happen to Jenna and Caleb, the main characters.
Is there anything you would like to say to your readers?
Thanks to all my readers for their support and opinions. I love having a chance to meet and talk with people about Apocalipstick and books in general. I appreciate any and all comments. Without readers and writers, the world would be a boring place.
About the Author:
Lisa Acerbo is a high school teacher and adjunct faculty at the University of Phoenix. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, daughters, three cats, and two horses. When not writing, she mountain bikes, hikes, and tries to pursue some type of further education–she’s working towards an EdD.
Yellow Brigade Commander Jinxie G has a new eBook out and it’s loaded with vampyres, werewolves, and the gods.
This paranormal romance opens in the past with a woman running for her life, then pulls you back to the modern world to find out what really happened and who’s to blame. In the midst of it all, love blossoms and a war is about to begin between the vampyres.
How much time do we really have before we die, and does immortality truly exist?
The Dracove Kylie O’Rourke has unwittingly walked into the path of two vampyres—one who wants to use her as a sacrifice, and one who only wishes to win her heart. As she is pulled into their clandestine world, she learns more about her history and the reason behind her horrible nightmares.
Master vampyre Cianán searches for the one woman who could take his immortality to the next level—godhood. But, when he finds his Chosen One, his progeny Grantlund stumbles onto the Master’s plan . . . again. As if losing his first sacrifice to the bastard wasn’t enough, the Fates were to torment him with a second time.
If you’re in the mood for a vampire fix of the non-sparkly variety (Jinxie’s words), dive into this eBook. We don’t even need to do a contest for this one because Just Ink Press has a special promotion going on right now for the book, and if you get it directly from Amazon between January 1st and January 3rd, it’s FREE! Just click on the link or book cover image above.
Now, we do warn that this book is not appropriate for children under the age of 16, as it does contain adult content.
No spotlight is needed for this week’s Commander Monday focus. First Lieutenant Kristin Bauer van Straten is a beam of shining light herself, and also the only female First Lieutenant in the Zombie Survival Crew. She recently rose to rank in the ZSC alongside fellow First Lieutenants and True Blood co-stars Sam Trammell and Jim Parrack. Collectively, the True Blood trio are a force to be reckoned with during those times when vampires make noise. But being the girl in what so far seems very much an all-boys’ club, Kristin faces no disadvantages. She is fierce, powerful, compassionate, and has a sense of determination matched only by her tenacious work aimed at improving the treatment of our beloved four-legged friends.
Kristin hails from Racine, Wisconsin. She learned to ride horseback and became adept at handling firearms before moving on to study fine arts in Saint Louis, Boston and New York City. Soon after she shifted gears again and decided to focus on acting. In 1995 she landed her first recurring role in the television series The Crew. From there, the number of television appearances grew so numerous they cannot all be listed here. LA Law, Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond, Dark Angel, Two and a Half Men, Star Trek: Enterprise, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Desperate Housewives, Crossing Jordan,Justified, and Once Upon a Time have all featured Kristin in guest roles. In 2009, she became a series regular on HBO’s True Blood, playing the sultry and deadly vampire Pamela Swynford De Beaufort. Watch for Kristin in the upcoming filmThe Story of Luke, scheduled for release later in 2012, and of course her ongoing role as Pam in the continuing saga of True Blood.
I have a theory that’s the game here on Earth: “CHECK IT OUT AND PICK A TEAM.” Then at the end of our lives, we know we lived our own life and not a life by default because we didn’t stop and look.
In direct contrast to her True Blood character, the beautiful Ms. Bauer van Straten is a vegetarian and dedicated animal lover. She dislikes “meanness, the circus, littering, testing on animals, starving, pesticides, fur, most zoos, slavery, intolerance, and genetically modified food.” She strives to live as nature intended and takes inspiration from life on all forms. In 2011, devoted fans and fellow animal lovers launched a Birthday Charity Project in her name. She is an avid supporter of The Amanda Foundation and stands before us as inspiring reminder to all that our world does not belong to humans alone.
Kristin has also recently joined ranks with the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), adding her considerable passions to help free Tony, the Siberian-Bengal tiger at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana.
______________________________________________________________ Be sure to check out the other ZSC commanders!