Zombie Awareness Month Roundtable: Tantor Audio Authors and Giveaway!

30 05 2013


Can humanity survive the rising of the undead? What skills will be most important when trying to survive in the time of cannibalistic undead? Today I ask my panel of experts to chime in on all things Zombie Survival. Today’s guest all share one thing in common beyond being awesome undead bards, they have all had their books produced by the wonderful people at Tantor Audio!

So along with today’s answers, we will be having a Giveaway. Two people will receive a Zombie Audiobook pack including titles from each of the participants in today’s roundtable. To enter, just leave a comment answering the following question:

What one skill do you have that could be your saving grace in a Zombie Apocalypse?

Please make sure you include a way for me to contact you if you

The Giveaway is for the Continental US, and ends Thursday June 6th at 11:59PM. 

Jesse Petersen author of The Living With the Dead series.


Scott Kenemore, author of Zombie, Ohio and The Zen of Zombie

Mark Tufo, author of The Zombie Fallout Series, and The Book of Riley

Wayne Simmons, author of Flu and Fever

When discussing training for Zombie Survival, many people focus on the obvious, weapons training, martial arts, wilderness survival skills and the like. What is one often neglected skill that seems useless today but may be essential in surviving the coming Zombie Apocalypse?

Jesse Petersen: I think most people would be stuck on basic survival skills. You’d figure out weapons pretty fast and hopefully it wouldn’t come to martial arts very often with zombies, but when it comes to getting potable water, making a fire, finding food once things go bad, I think a lot of people won’t have those skills. Hopefully they’ll be able to figure out libraries. LOL A good argument for making sure we fund those. ALOT.

Scott Kenemore: I’m not of the opinion that a true zombie apocalypse would be survivable in the truest sense.  Therefore, I think it’d be important to focus on having as much fun as you possibly could.  I think taking a bunch of Molotov cocktails up to a roof and then throwing them down on the zombies would be a pretty fun way to go out swinging.

Mark Tufo: CARDIO! – I think most folks over-estimate the level of their physical fitness. Now I’ll use myself as a prime example. In High School and College I was what many folks considered a jock, I played baseball, football and ran track. Even played hockey on the side. Then I joined the Marine Corps where they honed that conditioning into a fine tuned machine, which I summarily dismantled with 15 plus years sitting behind a desk. So my head says ATHLETE, my body says not so much. My only chance when the zombies come is thatthe person next to me ate an extra burrito for lunch! Man I have got to clean my treadmill off. 

Wayne Simmons: Running. Seriously, a good pair of trainers and the common sense to uproot and fly at the first sign of trouble will up your survival chances no end. We all love the have-a-go-heroes in zombie books and movies, but were the z-poc to happen for real, those guys would be the first to go. The runners and the hiders: they’re the guys who’ll last longest.

You’re on a long business trip, 1,000 miles away from home when the Zombie Outbreak begins. What do you do? Find a place to hole up and wait out the wave of undead or grab your gear and attempt the classic cross country Zombie Apocalypse Road Trip?

Jesse Petersen: Road Trip! Seriously, I wouldn’t be able to keep myself from trying to get to my husband and family. So I’d be road tripping it and I’m sure I’d pick up some crazy sidekicks (one of whom I’m sure I’d have to kill at some point).

Scott Kenemore: I think a lot would depend on the terrain.  Flat, desert areas would be the biggest challenge.  There would be nowhere to hide.  I think you want variations in terrain when fighting and hiding from zombies.

Mark Tufo: First off, that I’m a thousand miles away is bad news, my separation anxiety would be kicking into high gear by now. So yup I’m going to be that guy that treks across the country against all odds.

Wayne Simmons: The smart thing to do would be to hole up. But I’m something of a migrating man by nature so would probably go on the road trip. It’s curiosity, too. I’d want to watch the world around me going to hell rather than hide away in the arse end of nowhere, waiting for the zeds to wait for me. It would be the death of me, of course, but hell…

Stop what you are doing right now, and look around the place you currently are. What are the positive and negative aspects of your current location if undead hordes where heading your way right now?

Jesse Petersen: Well, I face a window, which is positive since I can see them coming, negative in that they can see me and if they break it, I’m screwed. I don’t really have access to weaponry here except for heavy things on my desk, but I have a few of those so I might be able to Shaun of the Dead a zombie (like they do with the records) and get to a gun if I needed to. It’s not the worst place, for sure, but it’s no bunker.

Scott Kenemore: I’m in a pretty tall building, so I think I’d be okay for a while.  Also, it has elevators.  Are zombies smart enough to operate elevators?  I’m thinking no.  Therefore, our first step is to barricade the stairwell…

Mark Tufo: My home has some decent positives in the fact that I live out in the sticks. Less people means less zombies. Defensive wise I have some holes but nothing a strategically placed Claymore mine wouldn’t take care of.

Wayne Simmons: Positive: I’m at home. I live in a ground floor apartment, situated at the back of the block. The garden’s secure and surrounded by a high wall.

Negative: We haven’t got much food in the cupboards. Almost no tinned stuff. Bugger…


In all the books and movies about Zombies that you have read, what one Zombie scenario do you feel is the least survivable?

Jesse Petersen: The faster the outbreak moves and the larger the population that is transformed at once, the worse it is. If it moves to animals, that’s it. We’re an extinct species and our planet goes back to the trees, I guess.

Scott Kenemore: Zombies on a sumbarine or airplane would be pretty terrifying.

Mark Tufo: Well with all the zombie movies and books I’ve devoured doesn’t seem to be any of them where folks do particularly well. Least survivable? I’d have to go with the countries that have banned or limited access to firearms. Sure you can kill zombies a hundred different ways, me personally, I don’t want to be swinging a hammer.

Wayne Simmons: The police station hole-up. Sure, you’ve got all the guns and ammo you need. But those doughnuts are gonna go stale real soon

What is the one quality that the characters of your books seem to share that has helped them to avoid joining the Zombie Smorgasbord?

Jesse Petersen: I think Dave and Sarah and everyone who works closely with them all share the quality of hope. They continue to TRY whether it’s try to get to a certain place, try to make life livable or try to get a cure. They don’t give up because they cling to the hope that things could be okay again. If you don’t keep that, you lie down and die.

Scott Kenemore: I think you have to be innately curious about zombies.  It’s not enough just to be terrified and run in the other direction.  People survive when they take a moment to figure out what they’re up against.  This means studying the undead and figuring out– to whatever extent this is possible– what makes them tick.  What do they want?  How do they try to get it?  Understanding these things is the first step to longer-term survival.

Mark Tufo: The main characters in my books seem to share strong bonds of family and friendship. The want and drive to protect everyone else even at the expense of themselves, I think that above all other reasons is why at least some of them have survived.

Wayne Simmons: They wear GREAT trainers…

Thanks to these great authors for their answers. Make sure to click the audio images above for my reviews of their books.

Audiobook Review: Flip This Zombie by Jesse Petersen

7 05 2013



2013 Zombie Awareness Month

Flip This Zombie by Jesse Petersen (Living With the Dead, Bk. 2)

Read by Cassandra Campbell

Tantor Audio

Length: 7 Hrs 29 Min

Genre: Zombie Apocalypse

Quick Thoughts: . Jesse Petersen’s Living With the Dead series may honestly be the most fun you can find in the Zombie Apocalypse. Petersen combines a whimsical tongue in cheek storytelling style that perfectly balances her intense action and gore filled zombie mayhem. She has created two characters that readers simply cannot avoid becoming invested in.

Grade: B+

If there is one thing that I feel my blog has truly done to help better society is to offer various rules and tips for Surviving in a post apocalyptic world. Now, I am no survivalist, hell I don‘t even like camping. I have no martial arts or weapons training. I can’t tell you which barks can cure herpes, or how to build a fire using old Field and Stream Magazines and your sister’s glasses, but I am an avid reader of apocalyptic fiction, and I have learned plenty of common sense lessons along the way. For instance, if you find yourself in a world without power, perhaps due to Alien Space Bats or superplague, eventually food will be at a premium. Yet, if you meet a strange old man cooking stew and he offers you a taste, always determine exactly what kind of meat he is offering you. You see, simple. No body wants to become the accidental cannibal that all your friends at you post apocalyptic parties will make fun of. I mean, I have a friend who once accidentally smoked crack and we never let him hear the end of it. He didn’t realize it was crack, and had no reason to suspect when his new friend handed him a pipe that it wasn’t some herbal clove blend. Each new book offers new insight, new twist on old themes, yet in general, these types of tips remain true. So, today’s tip comes from FLIP THIS ZOMBIE! Of you ever stumble across a scientist, living alone in a underground bunker/secret government lab where all his associates are gone or dead, offering you a potential cure to the zombies plaguing your land and he has no problems acting all firstly with you right in front of your chosen mate, and when his motives are questioned he quickly pulls a weapon, well, it’s probably not too unreasonable to perhaps be somewhat skeptical of his motives. Sure, hope for a cure is good, but verify, on your terms. Skepticism may keep you alive and not some creepy weirdo’s scientific plaything. I think we can all agree on two things. First, that becoming some creeps scientific play thing is not a good career path, and second, accidentally smoking crack is ridiculous. I mean, really.

The Zombie Apocalypse has seemed to change everything for Sarah and David. Before the dead began to rise, Sarah was stuck in a dead end office job and David was an unemployed and unmotivated gamer. Now their marriage is invigorated and they have seemed to found their calling in Zombie extermination. Yet, all that could change when a strange note leads them to a brilliant scientist who may have discovered the key to ending the zombie apocalypse. Jesse Petersen’s Living With the Dead series may honestly be the most fun you can find in the Zombie Apocalypse. Petersen combines a whimsical tongue in cheek storytelling style that perfectly balances her intense action and gore filled zombie mayhem. She has created two characters that readers simply cannot avoid becoming invested in. Yet, the strength of this series, the love of these two odd yet wonderful characters may also be its weakness. Because Sarah really pissed me off in this book. I was so fist tightening, blood pressure skyrocketing upset with how Sarah acted in this book, that it became almost distracting to me. Let’s face it, Sarah is pretty badass. She’s funny, charming and unlike almost any character you see slaughtering the undead these days. In the first book, it was David who often came off as a petulant whiner and provoked a guttural annoyed reaction from me. I understand why she was acting the way she was, the potential for hope. For a cure. Yet, I think if she handled it any other way maybe they could have dealt the situation so much better. First off, she blames all Dave’s reactions on jealousy. Let’s see, she meets an attractive young scientist who ignores Dave, who reaches out and strokes her bicep, whose touch makes her feel all warm, who revels in the discomfort he is causing her marriage, who even she realized may have an ulterior motive in causing strife between the couple, yet Dave’s jealousy is totally a irrational response manifested in his distrust of a scientist in an underground lab whose coworker seemed to have all disappeared or died. She derides Dave for making decisions that affect both of them without consulting her, than does the exact same thing, Now, Dave annoyed me at times to. His petulance was at times caustic but Sarah was the perspective character and her self deception was so apparent in her inner monologue it drove me crazy. Luckily, the story was a lot of fun, and when some of these issues were resolved, I breathed easier and just went with it. I think my visceral reaction to Sarah and the jeopardy she (and Dave as well) put their relationship in highlights how utterly bought into this series I am. This is one of the few series where I actually like the romantic elements because it’s a grown up, quirky and relatable type of romance within a fully realized Zombie apocalyptic setting. Petersen ended the novel in a way that set up Sarah and Dave’s next adventure so well, I want it now. So, someone give it to me. Now I say!

Cassandra Campbell brings these characters alive in a way that is almost scary, hell perhaps scarier than a bionic zombie attempting to munch on your innards. Being a first person POV her main job is capturing the essence of Sarah, and she does this in spades. She delivers each line with such assuredness in who Sarah is that she accentuated the humor, putting your right in the head of the character. It’s so much fun to listen to. Yet, to make matters better, she handles all the other characters with equal panache. She throws herself right into them delivering the perfect voices for bratty kids, apocalyptic camp survivors and, of course, mad scientists and grumpy husbands. Cassandra Campbell manages the humor wonderfully. It’s not an easy task to balance the dark apocalyptic scenario of a zombie apocalypse with the cheeky humor of Sarah and make if feel genuine, but she really pulls it off. While much of the novel is typical apocalyptic fare, the truly special thing about this series is its unique voice which is captured perfectly by both the author and narrator.

Note: Thanks to Tanor Audio for providing me with a copy of this title for review.

Audiobook Review: Married With Zombies by Jesse Petersen

16 05 2012


Married With Zombies by Jesse Petersen (Living With the Dead, Bk. 1)

Read by Cassandra Campbell

Dreamscape Audio

Length: 6 Hrs 39 Min

Genre: Zombie Apocalypse

Quick Thoughts:  Married With Zombies may not be the most original novel in the zombie subgenre, but with it’s likable characters, laugh out loud humor and realistic romance it’s one I liked a lot more that I expected to.

Grade: B

I know many of you ladies out there may be shocked to learn this, but I am not married. I know, I know… In fact, I’ve always been a bit oblivious about women and romance. More than once, one of my female friends will reveal to me that someone was interested in me romantically, long after it would do me any good to know this fact. This is one of the reasons I think I have never really taken to the romance subgenre, and often find romantic subplots an annoying distraction to the overall story arch of a novel. Often the budding relationships will start with these moments of undeniable chemistry, where the two are instantly and irrevocably drawn to each other, and this is just something I never experienced. Romance and dating for me, takes effort. This week, as part of my month long celebration of Zombie Awareness Month, I decided to take on some zombie titles that I wasn’t instantly drawn to, or had an offbeat or unusual theme. One of the series I had seen at various places on the old internet was Jesse Petersen’s Living With the Dead series. I had sort of written this off as a Zombie Romance, with a comedic tilt. Now, I try to keep an open mind to various genres, but, all too often I look at Romance titles as a bit of fluff. So, based on the title of the book, Married With Zombies, I expected a cute and funny, but sort of fluffy love story between a husband and wife with some awkward martial bickering thrown in for flavor.

Married with Zombies was nothing like I expected, and neither was my reaction to it. Jesse Petersen’s Zombie outbreak novel was a fun, fast paced undead thriller full of lots of action and gore. On some levels its plot was full of standard zombie situations. You had the initial outbreak, scavenging for guns and supplies, a road trip hampered by clogged roadways, head shots, beheadings, tragic decisions, and crazy cultists. None of the situations of this novel were particularly unique. Yet, what made this novel unique for me was its likable, funny and interesting first person voice. I was instantly taken with Sarah, the main character, as she escorted us through her apocalypse with dark humor. In fact, her description of her and her husband David’s squabble with their undead marriage counselor, made me realize I was in for something a bit different.  While I have read a lot of accounts of struggles with a zombie, never had the tale’s narrator pointed out to me the colors of the zombie’s nails, or the type of heels it was wearing. Most of the zombie novels I have read, even the ones told from a female perspective would find these sort of detail superfluous, yet, I though having a truly normal everyday female perspective actually enhanced the feel of the novel. Also, I actually found the romantic aspects of the novel added to the story. This wasn’t some sort of puppy dog, instant sexual tension sort of love, but a romance that took work. The concept that being forced to work together to survive a Zombie Apocalypse allowed this couple to put aside some of their pettiness, and figure out what really mattered actually worked for me. Married With Zombies may not be the most original novel in the zombie subgenre, but with its likable characters, laugh out loud humor and realistic romance it’s one I liked a lot more that I expected to.

As narrator, I though Cassandra Campbell was the perfect choice for the voice of Sarah. She reads the story with a wry, understated wit and competent sexiness that suited the character just right. She brought a blend of maturity and whimsy that allowed the humor of the novel to stand out organically, never forcing a joke. She delivers the action is an evenly paced manner that allowed us to experience the grueling, vicious zombie slaying as if we were right there with Sarah and David. Campbell other characterizations work as well, delivering the male voices in a believable tone, and giving each character their own little twist.  I think Campbell is especially well suited to first person narration and I look forward to seeing what she does with the rest of the series.