Tuesday, September 30, 2014

YA Dystopian Review: Perception by Lee Strauss

Perception (The Perception Trilogy, #1)Perception by Lee Strauss
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A near future dystopian.

Perception is about a girl who discovers that there is much more to the world than her limited, yet privileged existence has revealed. Zoe might have lived an incredibly long and happy existence, but one day her brother Liam disappears. Instead of accepting his disappearance, she decides to investigate it. In the process, she teams up with her maid's son and his group of naturals from beyond the gates. What she learns challenges everything she has known about her way of living and herself.

I thought this was well-written, overall, though it started off as more of a cozy mystery, not a YA dystopian, which I think it was meant to be. Zoe clunks her way through the discovery process, hiring Brody and his people to do what she can't. As things become more dangerous, she and Brody become close and a romance ensues. This creates a lopsided love triangle between her, Brody and her current boyfriend Jackson.

In addition to this, Zoe isn't exactly endearing. She's self-absorbed and has grown up in an environment that has left her feeling vastly superior to those who reside outside the gates, the naturals. She tries to become a better person, and as the title implies, her perceptions begin to change. I still liked her, but I could see how she could get old. Brody starts off kind of dangerous and rebellious but as the story progresses he becomes kind of lackluster, revealing that he really wasn't all that invested in his cause.

Overall, this is a good book and well edited. I enjoyed it. It's kind of a mix between a cozy mystery and a dystopian YA. I thought it was interesting having such a fledgling dystopian society. The main character is the granddaughter of the man who invents the tech that has created the dysfunction.

Recommended for folks who enjoy dystopian YA. Not recommended if you don't tend to relate well with a snobby main character. She tries not to be, but she is.


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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Epic Fantasy Review: Aranya by Marc Seccia

Aranya (Shapeshifter Dragons, #1)Aranya by Marc Secchia
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Magic, technology and lots of humor.

Aranya is the story of a young princess who must face a terrible fate. In the Island-World, one country has been systematically taking over island countries, and now it is Aranya of Immadia's turn. Her father wisely decides to surrender rather than face the sure slaughter of his entire kingdom, but Aranya must pay the price. She becomes yet another hostage of the Sylakian Empire. Her entire life to be locked away in a tower with other royal hostages, like herself. Then again, there is the magic and dreams of a black dragon.

There are so many things I love about this story. It was easy to fall into this world, to be engrossed and absorbed by it. I loved the dirigibles, the cloudscape that separates the islands, the technology (and lack thereof), and, of course, the magic. Everything comes together so well and so naturally, even in such a large body of work.

I am a big fan of the epic fantasy genre, and I definitely feel this one counts, but unlike some in that category, this one doesn't plod on or focus too much on details. Yes, there are details and there are elements of history and political intrigue, like in any good epic fantasy, but they are sprinkled in only when needed and in efficient packages that don't detract from the action. And, yes, there is quite a lot of action. I found it incredibly difficult to put this book down, though it's size made that necessary.

I also loved the witty banter between the characters and the way relationships developed. Then again, some of the banter lost me. There were at times too many comebacks, and I didn't always realize immediately why the characters thought them funny. Most of this abated by the end of the book. I think upon another reading, I'd probably get more of the jokes. Still, what I got, I loved. I also liked the nicknames. I won't go into those for fear of spoilers.

Overall, this is epic fantasy at its finest. I think that even folks who are intimidated by long stories might find this one manageable because of its quick pace, action focus, and compelling plot line. As the first book in the series, it ends with more story left to tell, but not in a cliffhanger. I do want to read the next, but I feel like I can wait for it. I highly recommend this to those who enjoy fantasy, particularly of the epic variety. This is definitely one of my favorites this year.

I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest non-reciprocal review.


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Friday, September 19, 2014

Cover Reveal: I Heart Robot by Suzanne van Rooyen and Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals

M9B-Friday-Reveal
Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

I Heart Robot by Suzanne van Rooyen

presented by Month9Books!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
I HEART ROBOT Cover Art from Suzanne van Rooyen
I'm not the most artistically inclined. While I do love art and have been known to bust out the pencils and paints myself, it's not an area where I'd consider myself particularly talented. In short, I knew that cover design was something best left to the professional and I had every confidence in Month9Books.
I am so grateful to Georgia McBride for allowing me to have the amount of input I did when it came to cover creation for I Heart Robot. This is a novel that is as much about a civil rights struggle in a futuristic, post-war city as it is about romance, and we wanted a cover that reflected both elements. Finding the right balance between romance and science fiction was a tall order, but Month9Books delivered in spades by presenting me with two stylistically different covers. I loved elements of both, and by working closely with the cover artist and with Georgia we managed to combine all the best parts of both original covers into what we have today: a cover that reflects the gritty world my characters live in while emphasizing the fact that this is above all, a love story.
I Heart Robot
Sixteen-year-old Tyri wants to be a musician and wants to be with someone who won't belittle her musical aspirations.
Q-I-99 aka 'Quinn' lives in a scrap metal sanctuary with other rogue droids. While some use violence to make their voices heard, demanding equal rights for AI enhanced robots, Quinn just wants a moment on stage with his violin to show the humans that androids like him have more to offer than their processing power.
Tyri and Quinn's worlds collide when they're accepted by the Baldur Junior Philharmonic Orchestra. As the rift between robots and humans deepens, Tyri and Quinn's love of music brings them closer together, making Tyri question where her loyalties lie and Quinn question his place in the world. With the city on the brink of civil war, Tyri and Quinn make a shocking discovery that turns their world inside out. Will their passion for music be enough to hold them together while everything else crumbles down around them, or will the truth of who they are tear them apart?
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Title: I Heart Robot
Publication date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Suzanne van Rooyen
Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author
SV
Suzanne is a tattooed storyteller from South Africa. She currently lives in Finland and finds the cold, dark forests nothing if not inspiring. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When not writing, she teaches dance and music to middle schoolers and entertains her shiba inu, Lego. Suzanne is represented by Jordy Albert of the Booker Albert Agency.
Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
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(Winners will receive their book on release day)

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Zompoc 101-Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

Now that we've explored some of the theories on how the zombie outbreak could occur and some ways to prepare, it's time to talk about survival after the zombies have taken over. Specifically, fitness and social interactions. If you're going to survive, you might as well have fun doing it.

Fitness

Fitness is key in a post-apocalyptic zombie scenario. Some fitness traits I think would be vital include endurance, strength, and agility.

Endurance

Why endurance? Simple. If you're going to fight off (or even run away from) the zombie hoards, you're going to want to keep that up until your safe. That may take a while.

Consider your surroundings. If you're holed up in a smaller shelter or have limited space, leverage stationary activities, like jumping jacks or jumping rope, high knee running in place, or martial arts (just punches and kicks).

If you have more room, consider running or jogging, dance or even step aerobics. If you do practice martial arts and you have the room, practice your forms or even your weapons techniques.

Wear your armor and practice with your bladed and blunt weapons. (see Zompoc 101-Prepping your Weapons Cache). Not only will you build your skill, but you'll have the endurance to apply it.

Strength

As with any fitness regimen, balance is important. Don't neglect your strength training in favor of more entertaining pursuits. You want to be strong enough to load that crossbow, swing that bat or slash that zombie with the broadsword you bought at Comic Con. But that's not the only reason to buff up.

Remember, it's all you after the zombies take out civilization. You want a new wall? You're building it. You want a cart? Same. Gardening isn't just planting flowers, you'll need strength to manage your compost heap, till, turn your soil, aerate and, of course, harvest.  If you have animals, you'll need to be strong enough to handle them.

Agility

Finally, agility. You won't win many fights if you're slow or unable to switch directions. You need to build your agility and speed. This also takes practice. Spar with your companions, practice martial arts (several forms are designed to build agility), play tag.  You can also do things like the tire run they do in football or build yourself a gauntlet, if you're really frisky.

Social Interactions

Don't feel like you have to go it alone to survie the zombie apocalypse. Human beings are social creatures. We need companions and social order. Without them, we risk losing who we are. We also risk going insane.

Zompoc Buddies

Start a club (or three) and get some friends involved. Maybe you can hone your gardening skills or take up quilting. Build those skills with your friends, so that when the end comes, you won't be the only one who can knit a sweater in three hours flat, plus you'll build some quality friendships with folks who can pull their weight.

Celebrations

Just because the zombies are clawing at the doors doesn't mean you can't have fun. Celebrate birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries. Make up new holidays as you go. These things remind us of the people we love, the feats we admire, our history, and our future. Don't just survive, live.

Government

Well, maybe that's the wrong word for it, but you will want some sort of social structure or heirarchy in place to encourage and enforce behaviors that will ensure you and yours will survive. The group's dynamics can make or break your survival efforts.

Enrichment

Embrace those things that make us human. Paint, sculpt, play music, dance, and teach. Learn a new hobby. Start a book club. You get the picture.

The Difference between Surviving and Living

Basically, take care of shelter, food and water, basic things like that. Then move on to your higher order needs, like companionship, sense of belonging and enrichment. After all, if it truly is the end of civilization as we know it, it's up to those who survive to rebuild, to love, and to keep the human race going.

Don't just survive, live.


Do you have any zombie survival tips? Share them in the comments.




This is Zompoc 101 #4 of 4.  I think the idea of zombies is an intriguing and, of course, scary one, particularly because of the ramifications it would have on how we live, love, and deal with loss. I spent a month in November 2012 imagining myself in just such a survival situation. Would I follow, or would I lead? Would there be a place for friends, room for love? Would I still be able to enjoy the finer things in life, like reading, celebrating holidays, or even having children? And of course, the big question, would I survive?  

These four Zompoc 101 posts summarize some of the theories I formed and ideals I imagined during that time. I would like to believe I would handle myself as well as my heroine, at least eventually. Or maybe I'd be more like one of those who joined her small band. 

I hope you've enjoyed this detour into the world of life after zombies. I certainly have. While I don't think we really have much to worry about in this regard, it never hurts to think through the possibilities and perhaps even come away with some ideas that could be applied to a regular, non-zombie infested world.

******

Fearless

A survivor's account of the zombie apocalypse


After a vaccine meant to protect against a biological weapon backfires and turns those who are inoculated with it into zombies, a young woman, having survived the initial outbreak, now runs with a group of others who stick together for safety, not that it does them much good. When she picks up a notebook in a grocery store her group is looting, she decides to begin a journal for future generations (if there are any). (NaNoWriMo 2012)

Fearless is currently available for Kindle, only. Remember, you can download the Kindle app on other devices. Coming soon in paperback!


Fearless on Amazon.com

UK  CA  AU
 




Friday, September 12, 2014

Cozy Mystery Review: Innocent in Las Vegas by A.R. Winters

Innocent in Las Vegas by A.R. Winters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Entertaining, fun and a little dangerous.

Innocent in Las Vegas is a book I came across while scanning for freebees on Amazon a while back. The version I have features a cupcake on the cover, just the sort of quirky thing to catch my eye, and having now read the story, a pretty good match to it.

Alright, I'll start off with the basics. Although I haven't read many in this genre, I would have to classify this as a cozy mystery. Tiffany Black is a novice Private Investigator who hopes to one day ditch her job at the casino for a permanent job as PI. The only problem is she doesn't have her license, she's inexperienced, and she has no clue what to do when her first high profile case (one that no one else would take) gets dangerous.

Just like the cover on my edition, this story is quirky, which is a good thing in my opinion. The main character loves pastries, and that works its way into the plot a few times. She's also single, and her parents and grandma are constantly trying to fix her up. This leads to some amusing misunderstandings and drama, but I won't go into details for fear of spoilers. I think these things make Tiffany interesting and somewhat believable.

As for the mystery, I was surprised by the ending, which is a good thing. If I'm able to figure something out before the sleuth, it's not as fun. Now, that's not to say it couldn't be figured out. The clues are there, the suspects are well-portrayed, and Tiffany works the case pretty well for a novice, pastry distractions and all. Still many of her interviews and follow ups read a little dry and down to business, and she has a tendency to drop an interview as soon as the target realizes she's a PI and says they're done, perhaps a side effect of her inexperience.

I like stories featuring tenacious investigators like Colombo or even Psych (yeah TV shows), who dig in and drive their suspects to confession by popping up in annoying and amusing ways. There is a little of that in this story, but just a little. She's mostly winging it and gets lucky here or there with a new lead or surprising bit of gossip that relates to the case.

The general approach and character archetypes are similar to those few other cozy mysteries that I have read. Inexperienced female sleuth, strong-willed and kooky grandmother, parents trying to set her up with a boyfriend, random love interest, and x-factor (in this case cupcake addiction).

Overall, I liked this story, mostly because it made me laugh. Also, the resolution was a surprise, but not out of nowhere. Fans of cozy mysteries may like this story, but it's similar in some ways to other offerings in the genre.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Zompoc 101: Prepping your Weapons Cache

In previous Zompoc 101 posts, I proposed a few outbreak theories as well as a few tips to prepare yourself a stronghold for the zombie apocalypse. In this installment, I'll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various weapons and armor you might want to include in your weapons cache.

Weapons

First, let's talk about some of the weapons you might want to stock, specifically for fighting off zombies.  Unless you want to take them down using your mad karate skills, you'll probably need a weapon (or several weapons).

Projectile Weapons

Drawing on popular zombie lore, let's just say you want to go for the head shot, but that doesn't mean you're limited to guns and rifles. Projectile weapons are good, but consider the ammo. How much do you need? Can you make more? Can you reuse it? I like the idea of using crossbows. You can still take something down at a distance, you can retrieve the bolts should you need to (and I recommend that you do unless you want to make them), and yes, you probably could make more.

And, the crossbow is good for a number of other reasons. One, it doesn't take much skill to operate one. When crossbows were first invented and put into use on the battlefield, they changed the nature of war. No longer were armies limited to a few skilled archers. Instead, anyone could be given the crossbow and taught to load, point and shoot it with reasonable accuracy.

Another benefit is that crossbows are relatively silent. If you're shooting off guns and rifles, you're going to draw attention, whether friend, foe or zombie. Wouldn't you rather go unnoticed?

Regular bows might also be a good option, but only if you're already a fair shot with them or have the time to practice and get good while you have other means of defense in place.

And yes, if you prefer, guns and rifles are a viable option. I'd much rather take down a zombie from a few hundred paces away than try to fight it off in close quarters.

Blunt Weapons

Although it's great to have a good supply of projectile weapons, it's important to plan for the possiblity that some of the zombies might get a little too close for those to be practical.  That's where the blunt weapons come into play.

The good thing about blunt weapons is that they are readily available, even those things that aren't typically considered weapons (though a nice mace or battle hammer wouldn't hurt, if you happen to have one lying around). These include things like bats, golf clubs, and staffs. Even a hefty branch from a tree or a fence post could do the trick.

Now, there are a few things to consider when using blunt weapons. One, you've got to have a good measure of strength behind your blows. Remember, mass and momentum make up the force of your strike. If your weapon is hefty, you won't need as much momentum to do damage (but you'll need to be able to handle it for a while). If your weapon is light, you'll need to be able to swing it fast to get enough momentum to do the trick.

Two, you'd need practice. Swinging away isn't enough. You need to know just how close you need to be to reach your target, how hard you need to hit it, and how hard you can hit it without damaging your weapon. The practice can also serve to build up your strength and endurance, a must if you plan to battle zombies in hand-to-hand combat.

Bladed Weapons

Bladed weapons are another alternative when fighting off the zombie hordes. Like with blunt weapons, using a blade requires some measure of skill and strength. If you're lacking one or the other, not only will you have trouble taking down a zombie, you might also lose an arm or leg in the process. Practice makes perfect.

Besides that, I'd caution you to consider the traits of your foe. If you're fighting off undead zombies (like in the movies), the bladed weapon isn't going to do much good, at least not without a lot of work. Chopping off an arm or a leg is only gong to slow that thing down. And even if you chop off the head, that's no guarantee. It'll probably still try to bite you.

Still, if you choose a blade and know how to use it, I recommend slashing over stabbing for your typical undead zombie.  Bleeding out won't be a problem. If they're already dead, their blood will have congealed. Stab them all you want, they're still going to get you.

But what if you're fighting off a viral-outbreak zombie? In that case, I probably wouldn't recommend using bladed weapons if you had other choices. Most viral zombie scenarios involve transmission of the virus by being bitten or scratched, but I imagine that if you take one out with bladework and get the infected blood on you, you're more likely to join the shuffling masses. Cuts, scrapes, and even acne could could prove your downfall.

So, the moral of this story is, make sure you're skin is 100% intact before you attempt to fight off some zombies with a sword.

Armor

With a few weapons in hand, some practice and a bit of courage, you're ready to fight off those zombies, right? Wrong.

Before you run off with guns firing, blades singing and bats smashing, you might want to consider putting on some armor. Armor can come in many forms, and I'm not talking a full-sized, metal suit of armor. I hear those can be a bit clunky, incredibly heavy, and stiflingly hot. Instead, consider these options.

Leather Armor

Leather is a decent option for protection against zombies. It's tough, easy to maintain and clean, and most importantly, light weight. You don't really have to worry about projectiles or blades from zombies, just teeth and nails.

A good set of leather armor could also help protect you from contact with infected blood. Even a leather outfit designed for riding a motorcycle would likely give you an edge when dealing with zombies. Plus, you'd look awesome.

Still, keeping things practical, you could make your own leather armor. Focus on gloves, bracers (for the lower and upper arms), shoulders (in case one sneaks up and tries to take a bite out of you), shin guards and maybe a chest guard.  A helmet or such might help as well.

Cloth Armor

Don't have any leather lying around? Try cloth instead. You can use layering to make many of the same types of armor you'd make with leather. In fact, you'll probably want to use a combination of cloth padding and leather for the best effect.

Quilted clothing, like winter coats or even snow suits, can be worn as is or adapted, though they might be rough in the summer months. Go for sturdy fibers, padding, and breathability. You'll want your armor to be comfortable as well as functional.

Metal Armor

Again, I'm not talking about a suit of armor. However, you could use metal to stud your leather armor or reinforce particularly vulnerable parts of your body, like your forearms. Put some thought into it, and don't disregard the weight.

Weapons and Armor Together

As a final word of advice, you may want to practice with your weapons while wearing your armor. The extra layers will help prevent exposure from zombie bites and scratches, but they'll also change how you move. And, if you choose heavier or stiffer armor, you'll need a good bit of endurance to be able to fight for long in them.

So, choose your weapons, craft (or purchase) your armor and build a weapons cache that will keep you and yours well-protected after the zombie apocalypse strikes, but don't forget the most important thing.

Practice makes perfect.


Do you have any zombie survival tips? Share them in the comments.



This is Zompoc 101 #3 of 4. In the next Zompoc 101 post, I'll propose some ways to make life worth living after the zombies strike. Click here to read on.

******

Fearless

A survivor's account of the zombie apocalypse


After a vaccine meant to protect against a biological weapon backfires and turns those who are inoculated with it into zombies, a young woman, having survived the initial outbreak, now runs with a group of others who stick together for safety, not that it does them much good. When she picks up a notebook in a grocery store her group is looting, she decides to begin a journal for future generations (if there are any). (NaNoWriMo 2012)

Fearless is currently available for Kindle, only. Remember, you can download the Kindle app on other devices. Coming soon in paperback!


Fearless on Amazon.com

UK  CA  AU
 




Friday, September 5, 2014

Time Travel Adventure Review: Children of the Morning by Shanna Lauffey

Children of the MorningChildren of the Morning by Shanna Lauffey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fantastic sequel, lot's of action.

I read the first in this series, Time Shifters, a while back and said I'd love to find out what happens next. Imagine my surprise when the author sent me a copy of Children of the Morning on the day it was released. That was a few weeks ago, but I finally got a chance to read it. Let me tell you, it was just as good as the first.

Here's what I liked. First, this installment is true to the story set up in book one. Sometimes sequels get a little sidetracked, but not this one. I think it's a sign that the author has taken the time to plan out her story ahead of time. She's also come up with a plausible set of constraints for Akayla's abilities and sticks to them. Second, action, action and more action. This story is wrought with near misses, sinister plots and danger, even more so as those targeting the main character's people become wise to her strategies. I also think it was a good move to push Akayla's ability to its limit and to put other constraints in place. Time and space are her playground, or at least they were, but as the story progresses, the playground is shrinking. Ok, third, nostalgia. As in the first story, Akayla spends a good deal of time in the past, namely Sacramento and L.A. California. As someone who has been there, I recognized many of the locations and thought their descriptions were spot on (and there are pictures!). Some of it saddened me, time passing and beautiful things lost to all but memory, but in a good way. Last, the romance. It's still a work in progress, which makes sense for a ten-part story. With eight books left, it would take some of the fun out of it if the love interest was resolved so early.

Now for the things I didn't like. Well, that's difficult, because my overall impression was very positive. I guess all I really have is there were just a few typos. Very few. Maybe five or six, tops. On the whole, though, Children of the Morning is a well-polished tale and I feel like I'm grasping at straws to find something I don't like about it.

I loved this book. It's a fantastic time travel adventure with a lot less down time than in the first book and a good deal more danger, and the romance is just right for this stage in the story. I think those who enjoy modern historical adventures, like the twists that time travel introduces, and enjoy a little clean romance will enjoy this story. Those who have lived in or visited the places described may find that adds a certain element of nostalgia. I highly recommend this book.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Zompoc 101-Prepping your Stronghold

In my last Zompoc 101 post, I talked about some of the ways a zombie outbreak might come about. This week's post is all about preparing for the coming apocalypse. There are several things to consider when preparing for the end of the world via zombies.

The first step is to establish a base of operations, perhaps more than one. A good location could be the difference between fighting off the zombie hordes and joining them. Once you have that you'll want to plan how you'll get water and food (the location will affect your approach). And finally, you'll need to work out fortifications and storage caches.

Location

Somewhere out of the thick of things would be good, particularly if a virus causes the outbreak. If I were preparing a zombie-proof hold out, I'd want it out in the countryside, or maybe in the suburbs. Why not in a city? Well, viruses and other contagions tend to spread quicker in urban environments, and if the victims then go on to spread it some more, the city would quickly be overrun. There are other benefits to having the stronghold in either a suburban or rural location.

The Suburbs

If you choose a suburb, you're far enough from the thick of things to be able to scout your surroundings and not be trapped in a sort of post-zombie house arrest. Yet, you'd still be near civilization. There would be abandoned homes, gardens, and even stores. You could find and use items that others have left behind to supplement your own preparations and perhaps find other survivors to boost your numbers and your chance of survival.

The Rural Scene

If you choose a rural setting, the benefits and approach to survival will shift a bit. Instead of relying on scavenging and strength in numbers, you'd likely need to take a more agricultural approach. Important factors to consider include fortifications, a healthy seed bank, a nearby water source that can be used for irrigation, and prolific animals (bunnies and chickens are good bets, and goats are great for dairy).  You might even consider creating a fish farm.  Being in a more remote location, you probably won't face many zombie hordes, but you'll want sturdy fences and early warning systems that will let you know if something or someone has entered your perimeter.

Water

This is a tough one. Again location is key. When choosing your storage and stronghold sites, consider nearby waterways and lakes. If you settle near one, see if you can divert some of the water into your building or into your fenced-off holdings, that is ideal. Wells are a good option, so consider getting one dug at your site before the outbreak. You might find it hard to find a contractor afterwards. This is where planning ahead can save you a ton of back-breaking work.

Now, if you have the perfect spot, but you can't get the water in, you'll need to consider alternatives. You'll want something to contain and store the water, such as milk jugs or buckets. And you'll need something to transport them: a wagon, wheel barrow, or a cart. Keep in mind the terrain between you and the water and apply that to whatever type of conveyance you select, particularly the wheels and suspension.  I also wouldn't rely on gas-powered vehicles for this purpose or any other, unless you're manufacturing your own ethanol or fuel alternative.

Fortifications

No matter where you decide to make your stand, you'll want to fortify it.  I like the idea of something easily defensible, not only against zombies, but also other survivors.

Barriers to Entry

A large building, strong doors, maybe no windows on the first floor or windows secured with bars or strong shutters. If you can get bars on the doors, too, that's good. If you have fences, they need to be designed so they cannot be easily scaled. I always imagine that zombies cannot climb, they're too far gone to manage something like that, but other survivors might not be as prepared as you are.

Higher Ground

Or, in more practical terms, an elevated deck or a roof, accessible from the inside, but not from the outside. This would give you somewhere to pick off those zombies from afar if they do manage to get too close. Or you can use it as a look out post. And, if you do happen to get unwanted visitors of the human, non-infected variety, you could probably converse with, threaten, or perhaps even barter with them from there, without ever having to come into direct contact.

And, considering that roof, if it is large enough and flat, you might be able to plant a garden up there. This could be particularly helpful if you choose a suburban location, or take over a large building, like a library, jail or office building. You'll want a source of food that you can get to and maintain without having to go out, just in case things get a little dicey on the streets. And don't forget the chickens and bunnies, I'm sure you could keep a few cages up there, too.

Storage

There will be times after the zombie apocalypse where your best bet will be to stay put, and that's where storage comes into play. You'll want sufficient space to store not only food and water, but also clothing, weapons and ammo, cooking oil and goods for barter.

If you can't fit enough inside your main building, you could fortify some alternate locations. You might even want to prepare a few extra supply drops just for the sake of redundancy. At a minimum, you'll want to be able to lock them up tightly with sturdy locks and shutters. Also consider camouflage. If it doesn't look like a good place to shelter or a good place to find food, perhaps no one will think to investigate it.

Fortification and camouflage will only go so far if you don't post guards, so you'll want to put things in place that will tell you if someone has been there and either accessed your cache or tried to do so. If some one's finds the cache and is watching it, they could follow you back to your stronghold. And, even if they move on, you'll want to know if another group of survivors is in your territory.

So, just to make it clear, I'm not a fan of booby traps, particularly fatal ones, but if you want them, I'd recommend those that would scare someone off or simply give you an idea that some one's found your cache.

The Stronghold, Final Thoughts

So, in summary, you'll want to find (or build) a stronghold in a good location, fortify it, and stock it as much as reasonably possible before the zombies run amok. In choosing your location, consider your water sources and how you'll get that water into your stronghold. And don't underestimate the importance of redundant storage locations.

The last thing you want to do is find yourself on the road and exposed with no idea where you'll find your next meal or safe place. Plan, prepare, and survive.

The zombie apocalypse is coming. Are you ready for it?


Do you have any zombie survival tips? Share them in the comments.

This is Zompoc 101 #2 of 4. In the next Zompoc 101 post, I'll discuss a few weapon and armor options that might come in handy in the zombie apocalypse. Click here to read on.

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Fearless

A survivor's account of the zombie apocalypse


After a vaccine meant to protect against a biological weapon backfires and turns those who are inoculated with it into zombies, a young woman, having survived the initial outbreak, now runs with a group of others who stick together for safety, not that it does them much good. When she picks up a notebook in a grocery store her group is looting, she decides to begin a journal for future generations (if there are any). (NaNoWriMo 2012)

Fearless is currently available for Kindle, only. Remember, you can download the Kindle app on other devices. Coming soon in paperback!


Fearless on Amazon.com

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