Through April 1st you can get all four
Zombie Apocalypse Love Story Novellas
for only $0.99
The Key to Survival
After finding her fiancé in a compromising position, Jane heads to a private island resort in Key West to clear her head. There she meets Austin, six years younger than she is and the exact opposite of her fiancé in every way, he seems like the perfect prescription to cure her heartbreak. But everything changes when the virus that had previously only been a minor nuisance morphs into a full-blown epidemic. Three miles from the mainland and surrounded by ocean, Austin and Jane believe they’re safe from what’s happening in the world, but a virus knows no borders, and it isn’t long before other guests start coming down with the illness.
Zombie isn’t a word that anyone likes to throw around, but it’s the only explanation the couple can think of when one of the other hotel guests tries to eat Austin’s face off. As things go from bad to worse and Jane leans on Austin more and more, she soon finds herself wondering if her little trip to Florida wasn’t just the key to her survival, but also the key to finding a man who will love her the way she deserves.
SURPRISE release of the next Zombie Apocalypse Love Story Novella:
Playing the Odds
When Cole breaks into a winery in the middle of Napa Valley, he’s pretty sure he’s only there to drink himself to death. After all, a virus has wiped out most of the population and turned them into zombies, and he doesn’t really feel like he has anything left to live for.
Alessa retreated to her family’s winery hoping to find comfort. Every good memory she’s ever had started there, and even though her entire family is gone now, she knows that she’ll have to hold onto the strength they’ve always given her if she’s going to survive.
After a rocky start the two find themselves trying to move forward, welcoming other survivors into the winery so they can work together to build a future. But as the chemistry between Cole and Alessa heats up, an unexpected twist is thrown their way, forcing them to fight the odds and find each other once again.
Born at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse to the head of the CDC and the leader of the new world, Jackson Star has always known that he would one day rule. Only the Stars’ plans go much deeper than simply keeping humanity alive, and the evil that sleeps inside Jackson is darker than even his father knows. Everyone in the settlement is a puppet, and everyone has a purpose in the Stars’ master plan, starting with Megan James.
But as Jackson and his father creep closer to achieving their goals at the CDC, things slowly begin to unravel. Meg isn’t cooperating the way she should be, and the presence of a new person in her life is threatening to blow their plan apart. Jackson must now decide how to deal with the girl he has spent the last nine years trying to manipulate, as well as the family she has left and the man who has taken up residence in her life. To complicate matters even more, the darkness inside Jackson has gotten increasingly persistent, making it difficult for him to control it at times and leading him to wonder if he shouldn’t just give in to his urges once and for all.
This novella is a dark and disturbing look into Jackson’s brain, and the inner-workings of the CDC. It will give readers a glimpse of the future, as well as answer questions that have plagued us from the very beginning of the Broken World series.
Whew! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I know I’m behind on LOTS of things, and updating readers is just one of them. Walker Wednesday fell by the wayside during my recent move from Oklahoma (I’m still going to get those posts up), and I had so much going on that I literally went weeks without writing a single word. It was stressful because I missed working, but also because I knew readers would be anticipating getting something new from me.
Well, I’m in Ohio now and in my new house, and I’m settling into life. I finally got back to work this week since most of my boxes have been unpacked, and I’m excited to announce that I have finished the first draft of a novella: Twisted Mind.
This story will fill in some blanks from the past, as well as give you glimpse of what to expect in the next book, Twisted Memories. Told from the perspective of Jackson Star, it’s a dark and disturbing look at the inner workings of the CDC and what they are trying to accomplish. Have you always found yourself wondering about the origins of the original virus? Well, you’ll finally have answers to some of the questions you’ve had since Broken World!
While I don’t have an official release date yet, I’m getting ready to send Twisted Mind to beta readers today and I hope to have it out to you by mid-January (holidays permitting)! Here’s the blurb so you can get a better idea of what to expect!
Born at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse to the head of the CDC and the leader of the new world, Jackson Star has always known that he would one day lead. Only the Stars’ plans go much deeper than simply keeping humanity alive, and the evil that sleeps inside Jackson is darker than even his father knows. Everyone in the settlement is a puppet, and everyone has a purpose in the Stars’ master plan, starting with Megan James.
But as Jackson and his father creep closer to achieving their goals at the CDC, things slowly begin to unravel. Meg isn’t cooperating like she should, and the presence of a new person in her life is threatening to blow their plan apart. Jackson must now decide how do deal with the girl he has spent the last nine years trying to manipulate, as well as the family she has left and the man who
has taken up residence in her life. To complicate matters even more, the dark-ness in Jackson has gotten increasingly persistent, making it difficult for him to control it at times and leading him to wonder if he shouldn’t just give into his urges once and for all.
Twisted Mind is a dark and disturbing look into Jackson’s brain, as well as the inner workings of the CDC. It will give readers a glimpse of the future, as well as answer some of the questions that have plagued readers from the beginning of the Broken World series.
The Walking Dead, Season 7, episode 4
November 13, 2016
This was a super-sized episode of The Walking Dead, and when the Saviors show up at Alexandria (early), not even a week has passed since Negan killed Glenn and Abraham. And Daryl is with them as the help. He wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone, and even when Negan gave him permission to plead his case for staying, Daryl didn’t utter a word. Different people are going to have different ideas as to why he chose to remain silent, but to me it was part protecting the group and part him feeling like he didn’t deserve to come back. He has enough guilt over Glenn and he’s been through a lot at the hands of the Saviors, then he shows up in Alexandria to find out Maggie “is dead.” I can’t even imagine how Daryl is feeling after that bomb was dropped on him, but to me it seems very possible that he’s going back with the Saviors because he feels like he deserves to be punished just a little bit more.
While the Saviors were in Alexandria, Dwight made Rosita and Spencer go fetch Daryl’s motorcycle. Dwight is a character I’ll be interested to watch develop. He’s the bad guy, but I think he’s biding his time. What the motorcycle is all about is a puzzle, though. This guy is in charge of Daryl’s torture – or indoctrination if that’s what you want to call it – but he’s doing it out of his own sense of survival. Dwight knows that if he crosses Negan, he’s not the only one who will pay. Negan may think Sherry is “super hot,” but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t slit her throat and trade her in for another woman if he thought it would teach a lesson. Dwight knows this, and he’s playing along, but I think that when the moment is right, he very well could be the group’s biggest ally and Daryl’s only chance of getting out of there alive.
Spencer made it pretty clear that he blames Rick for everything that’s happened with the Saviors. He told Rosita that the group should have made a deal with the Saviors when they had the chance. Problem with that is, things wouldn’t have turned out much different. Yes, perhaps Abraham and/or Glenn would still be alive, but someone else would have died in some other way. Negan would have thought it was necessary the moment he interacted with Rick, because Rick is a man who doesn’t go down easy and Negan is good at reading people. But Spencer is one of those characters who doesn’t learn easily. No matter what Rick does, no matter how things go or how long they live or what Rick gets them through, Spencer is always going to think he could be a better leader. He’s wrong, but that’s how it’s going to be until something major happens to kick him in the ass and change his mind.
While in Alexandria, the Saviors were nice enough to leave all the food, but they took every single gun Rick and his group had. All of them. Rick even showed he was trustworthy by retrieving the gun Michonne had stashed away, which happened to not be on the inventory. Yes, he could have left it where it was, but I think his reasons for turning it over to Negan were two-fold. One, to show he was on board, but also so he could try to get Daryl back. It didn’t work, but I think it was the right move. After all, one gun isn’t going to do them a whole lot of good at this point, so why not add it to the ones Negan already took?
The Saviors also took most of the mattresses in Alexandria. Now, I didn’t understand this at the time. For one, Negan’s group is pretty established, so I figured they probably had their own beds already. Also, it seems like it would be fairly easy to replace the mattresses. I mean, odds are not many people raided mattress stores at the end of the world, plus every house you pass is going to have a couple beds up for grabs. But it all makes sense when Michonne discovers a pile of burned mattresses at the end of the episode. It didn’t have a thing to do with the beds. It was about letting everyone in Alexandria know where they stand. Not everyone was there to see what happened to Glenn and Abraham, and to many of the people in that town, losing the guns won’t have much of an impact. A bed, though… They’ll think about that every time they lay down to go to sleep. And the Saviors left the burned mattresses close enough that someone from the town was sure to find them, kind of like a big f-you for everyone in the town. Smart. Negan continues to surprise me with his psychological mind games.
My biggest concern during this episode, though, was Judith. I have this awful feeling that she is going to be of great interest to Negan when he finds out about her. For one, he already has it in for Rick, and after Carl decided to be a badass during this episode, he probably has it in for Rick Jr. too. What better way to make sure these two do as they’re told than to take Judith? The second Negan sees how much this baby means to them, she’ll be gone.
Secondly, we know from last week’s episode that Negan is trying to get Dwight’s wife pregnant. At first I thought them throwing this into the story was just so they could emphasize how bad things are for Dwight, but now I think it might be foreshadowing things to come. Why Negan wants a baby is a mystery, but it has been established that he does. Thirdly, I found it very interesting that Judith was conveniently out of sight when the Saviors where around. You would have thought that the existence of a baby would have come up in some way when Negan’s men were searching the houses, but nope. Not a peep out of baby Judith. Finally, we got a major bomb dropped on us during this episode, something viewers have been speculating about since season two. Judith is Shane’s baby. Rick knows it, apparently he’s known it all along, but he made a special point of saying, “I know Judith isn’t mine. I know it. I love her. She’s my daughter. But she isn’t mine.” Why after all this time would they choose this particular moment to bring Shane up unless they wanted to emphasize something about Judith? They wouldn’t. Writers always have a reason.
What else happened in this episode… Michonne sneaks out to practice shooting and apparently she’s a really bad shot. After all this time during the apocalypse, you’d think she would have learned how to shoot just a little better. Was she planning to kill Negan when he showed up? Seems like it, which may be another reason Rick took the rifle. Also, why did Rick think he needed to tell Negan that Maggie died? To protect her or to cover up the fact that they are allies with the Hilltop? And is she out of the woods? Did she have surgery? Is the baby okay? Where’s Sasha? I’m not quite sure about all that yet, so I guess we’ll just have to see how it all plays out. Either way, things are going to get worse for Maggie (and the whole group) before they get better.
The Walking Dead, Season 7, episode 3
November 6, 2016
For me, episode three was almost as emotional to watch as the season premiere was. Before we’d even reached the first commercial break, I had turned to my husband and said, “I can understand why people have stopped watching.” Here’s why.
The episode starts with Dwight going about his business. He’s making a sandwich, giving us a little glimpse into how things are run.
While other people living with the Saviors have to stand in line and wait their turn, sometimes begging for a small piece of bread, Dwight jumps the line and takes an entire loaf. Then he takes pickles from someone. He takes lettuce. He takes mustard. He takes an egg. Others get nothing, while he takes what he wants.
It’s obvious Dwight is at the top of the food chain here, so you think everything must be good for him. Then he steps outside, all ready to eat his sandwich (which looked really good by the way), and he seems to lose his appetite when he looks out over a yard of zombies who are chained up and struggling to get free.
Like Dwight, I was really bothered by the yard of zombies. It might not seem like much to some people, but to me it was another example of just how little humanity lives in Negan and his top men. The zombies may have been around for over a year now, and the sight of them may have become almost normal, but they were still people at one time. They were fathers and sons and sisters and mothers, and it should bother a person to see them chained up the way they were. A person who can feel anything should be able to look at killing them as an act of mercy. I think of it the way Rick did, way back in the first season when he woke up to a crazy world that had fallen apart. After parting ways with Morgan the first time, Rick went back to find the half-eaten zombie he saw when he first left the hospital, and before he put a bullet in its head Rick said, “I’m sorry this happened to you.” To me, that’s a normal reaction.
That moment when Dwight loses his appetite is our first clue that he might not be as thrilled with his position in life as he first appeared to be. Every time we’ve run into him since he stole Daryl’s crossbow, he seemed loyal and pleased with his place at Negan’s side. He also seemed to have a personal vendetta against Daryl.
But it isn’t too long into episode three when we find out something is up with Dwight.
We run into the woman he was with before, who turns out to be his wife, and it seems they are no longer together. Even stranger, she’s with Negan now, and apparently trying to get pregnant (creepy alert). There’s even a moment when Negan tries to use her as a reward for a job well done, which he doesn’t seem to realize would only be adding insult to injury for Dwight. It’s a messed up situation where Dwight has been backed into a corner of loyalty, and it seems he isn’t the only one.
No one except a handful of Negan’s top mean looked happy to be with the Saviors. The people are there because they feel like they have no other choice, but they’re scared of Negan. They bow down when he walks into a room, which I felt was a bit ironic considering we’d just met a man the week before who actually calls himself a king, yet not a single one of his subjects bowed to him. Negan rules with fear. He thrives on it. He uses the zombies in the yard to lord his power over people. He carries Lucille with him everywhere he goes as a reminder of what can happen if you cross him.
Seeing what Daryl is going through in this episode… Wow. He’s being conditioned and tortured. Locked in a cell with nothing—not even clothes at first—and fed dog food sandwiches while overly happy music is pumped into his cell. They’re trying to break him, and as the viewer, it’s easy to think that Daryl is stronger than this. He’s been through a lot and always come out of it. He’s Daryl Dixon. He can handle it. But now he’s alone with little hope of rescue, and he’s carrying the guilt of Glenn’s death with him on top of everything else. His one attempt at escape ends up being a trap and deep down he knows he only has one choice to get out of this alive: follow Negan. Daryl says he’ll never bow to Negan, but I have to admit that I like Dwight, I found myself wondering if he would be able to keep it together. A person can only take so much before survival instincts kick in.
The standoff between Daryl and Negan at the very end of the episode was intense. First, we get the story of what happened with Dwight and his wife. She offered herself up to Negan in exchange for her husband’s life. Holy shit. Dwight has to walk around every day knowing that his wife is with a man he hates, and he has to serve that man.
Is it worth it, though? That’s the question. Watching this episode, I found myself wondering why these people were fighting to live if this was the only future they saw for themselves. I got why Gordon (the man who ran away from the Saviors) chose death over going back. There is no future in this group, not unless you’re willing to sell your soul. Dwight can see that logically, but he hasn’t reached the point where he’s ready to throw in the towel because he is focused on keeping his wife alive. Daryl gets it, though. Daryl understands Dwight now and I think that may turn the tide of how these two interact. But it’s also why Daryl refuses to give in. He knows doing it would be the easy way out. His torture would end. He could leave the room and join the Saviors and go about his day just like Dwight does, but it would be a betrayal after what happened. He inadvertently caused Glenn’s death, and giving in to Negan’s demands would be wrong in Daryl’s eyes. It would be repeating the mistake he already made, and he’d have to walk around for the rest of his life with the blood of every person Negan killed or hurt on his hands, and Daryl isn’t willing to sell his soul. It makes me love him so much more than ever before.
Book 4 in the College of Charleston Series
Some people like a little chaos. Not Sarah. Growing up in a house of humiliating filth means she has three crystal-clear goals:
Of course, studying, working, and taking care of a toddler mean Sarah has no time for fun. Until she meets Zac.
He’s sweet, he’s funny, they have compatible plans for the zombie apocalypse. But Sarah can’t let him in. It’s not just his three drooly, sloppy dogs—with him in her life, the pristine future she’s working for would be shredded before you can say Down, boy!
Sometimes falling in love is really all about letting go.
The Walking Dead, Season 7, episode 2
October 30, 2016
After the season premiere, this past week’s episode was tame and a bit boring if I’m being honest. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t have some thoughts about this turn of events, or that I didn’t welcome a break from my high blood pressure.
The episode starts with Carol recovering from her near-death experience at the hands of some of Negan’s men (The Saviors). Morgan is with her, and they find themselves in a new settlement, known as The Kingdom. Enter KING Ezekiel. Yeah, that’s right, the leader of this group goes by king and talks like he’s staring in a Medieval Times dinner theater show, not smack dab in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. Even crazier? He has a pet tiger.
My first thoughts after listening to this guy talk:
1) He’s totally insane (which makes everyone following him just as insane)
2) This group is NOT going to be helpful when it comes to defeating Negan
BUT a few details popped up during the episode that I did take notice of. First, Morgan goes with a few of the men to catch pigs and HALF of the animals are herded into a barn where a zombie is tied up and waiting. When he asks about it, Morgan is told by one of King Ezekiel’s men that they want the pig’s bellies full of rot. This is the first clue that this group is under Negan’s thumb. They also say they are only PARTLY free, so it’s no surprise when they meet a group of Saviors to make a delivery. Then Carol and King Ezekiel have a little heart to heart and we find out he isn’t quite as insane as he originally let on. That doesn’t mean I am in any way ready to put my trust in this group. To me—and it seemed like Carol has the same opinion—this group is a little too similar to how Alexandria was when Rick’s group first stumbled upon them. They’re unprepared since King Ezekiel has taken it upon himself to keep his dealings with Negan a secret. They aren’t prepared for a fight and they are totally unaware of how bad things can get. Maybe a handful of King Ezekiel’s most trusted subjects would be helpful, but the majority of this group will be totally useless when the shit hits the fan.
Even though I love Carol’s innocent and oblivious act, I wish she’d get back to badass ways, and I’m happy to see that Morgan has gotten over his annoying anti-killing attitude. I was happy for his character to return to the show last season, but I got real tired of him real fast when he wasn’t willing to do what needed to be done.
Other than that, there wasn’t a whole lot about this episode worth mentioning. Next week promises to be pretty intense, giving us a look at what Daryl is going through at the hands of Negan’s men, namely Dwight.
Hopefully there will be more to talk about.
Moonchild Book Two
After surviving the auction and a near death experience at the hands of Asher’s father, Scarlett Moon is more than ready to settle into life in Columbus. She isn’t alone, either. With each passing day her friends look more at home in the warehouse, and even with Asher ready for more than Scarlett can give, she manages to fall into a routine that almost feels like a normal life. She has her best friend back and for the first time in years, Scarlett feels like there just might be hope on the horizon.
But one distress call is all it takes to destroy the serenity the group has managed to build.
It’s been months since the night Paget stormed out of the warehouse following a fight with Asher, and for all Scarlett knew, the other woman had moved on. Only the fear in Paget’s voice when she calls the warehouse tells a different story, and even though Scarlett never liked Asher’s ex to begin with, she can’t help feeling a little bit responsible for the trouble Paget now finds herself in.
The group heads to the seediest part of the city in search of Paget, picking up clues as they piece together what might have gone wrong. The more Scarlett learns about what the other woman has been through over the last few months, the more concerned she becomes. Even worse: there’s no sign of Paget anywhere in Columbus.
With all the clues pointing in one direction, the group leaves the city and heads for the country in hopes of finding Paget hiding among her own people in Hocking Hills. Only it seems the danger may have followed them, leaving nothing but death and destruction in its wake and putting Paget in more danger than ever before. With each turn Scarlett learns more about the woman who used to hold Asher’s heart, and she suddenly finds herself unable to deny how she really feels about him. Only, with Paget in trouble, Scarlett can’t help wondering if Asher is as over his ex as he claims to be.
31 Days of Zombies
October 31, 2016
by McCallum J. Morgan
Two cousins. One on the verge of a great discovery… and excessive power, wealth, and infamy, the other on the verge of an odious marriage. Lyra will stop at nothing to achieve her father’s dream of dissolving Parliament into anatomical sludge, and to search out the farthest reaches of science and the arcane arts. That is until her own dreams begin to awaken, jolted by the electric sparkle of an artist’s eyes. Lacking a strong constitution, Alice can only run from her problems, that is until she collides into the company of a strange young man of questionable occupation and discovers her cousin’s terrible plans. The dead are about to rise, the Lords are about to fall, and things are about to get creamy. High society will never be the same again.
31 Days of Zombies
October 30, 2016
by TW Brown
Today is the day that Evan Berry’s life will change forever.
His days working construction are about to end; he is finally going to be a high school music teacher. Stephanie, his bride-to-be even has a surprise planned for him when he gets home from work that first night.
None of that matters.
For several days, the news has been hinting at reports of a strange illness that appears to be global. Unfortunately, this is no regular sickness. The dead are returning to life and attacking the living. Evan is at his new job for less than ten minutes when he gets a call from Stephanie. There is a man in their house and he is trying to attack her.
Set in the world of the DEAD series, there is a new story to tell. See the world die through the eyes of one man in DEAD: Onset.
Happy Halloween and happy 6th birthday to my little zombie!
Welcome to Zombie Blog Crawl 2016!!!
This is the third year Band of Dystopian has put together a Zombie Blog Crawl for Halloween, and the third year I’ve participated. You can see my post from 2015 HERE and my post from 2016 HERE (when I went visited the set of The Walking Dead). After you look through this post, be sure to scroll down and check out the links to all the other blogs participating in the Zombie Crawl, AND enter the giveaways! (Be sure to check out my giveaway at the end of this post.)
I keep telling my husband that being a zombie author will help me when the zombie apocalypse happens, but he thinks I’m insane. Still, I maintain that fans of the zombie genre in general would have a decided advantage. Having written thirteen zombie themed books, I’ve reached the point where I’ve taken my characters through countless scenarios—and not always successfully — and I think at this point, I have a good idea of what to do and what to avoid. On top of that, when I’m out exploring the world, I constantly myself envisioning how a person would fare in a certain area. If it would be easy to fortify. If there are supplies around. If water would be an issue. And I’ve come across some places that would be perfect for zombie apocalypse survival, as well as some not so great places. So, for this year’s zombie crawl, I’ve compiled a list of…
The 50 Best Place to Go to Survive the
(In Alphabetical Order)
Alabama – Fort Morgan
On a peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico, this 19th century military fort would be a great place to hunker down. While it’s not in great shape, it’s well fortified and secluded, and would provide enough shelter to get you through the early weeks at least.
Alaska–Alyeska Ski Resort
Alaska in general is a good place to go during the apocalypse, assuming you can survive the cold weather. The town of Alyeska is approximately 27 miles from the town of Anchorage, but let me tell you, in the winter in Alaksa, 27 miles feels a lot further. In December of 2012 I took a trip out there to visit my best friend and we went to Alyeska for the night. The resort itself it very secluded, surrounded by mountains and forests, and even though it’s the largest ski area in the state, as few as 2,000 people live in the valley year round. It was off-season when I visited, and we saw very few people. With over 300 guest rooms, there’s plenty of space for you and your fellow survivors to start over.
Arizona–Titan Missile Museum
While not the most comfortable place to live out the apocalypse, the underground bunker sure would be safe. Steel reinforced, tunnels, and blast doors are all features in this Cold War era bunker.
Arkansas–War Eagle Cave (or any of the other dozens of caves)
I’ve only been to Arkansas once, and it was more than *cough* twenty *cough* years ago, but apparently there are a lot of caves. I chose War Eagle Cave because it doesn’t have any really tight passages or stairs, a plus when trying to survive underground and not lose your mind.
California– A secluded Winery in Napa or Sonoma
This is just a personal opinion, but I think it would work. Wine country is secluded, the wineries are often far from the road and have fences around the property, plus some even have an inn or restaurant. Even better: lots of wine. Let’s face it, it’s the end of civilization, you’re going to need to curl up with a good bottle of wine at the end of the day. If it doesn’t work, at least you’ve gone out in style.
Colorado– Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park
Ancient civilizations lived here, so why couldn’t you? Let’s face it, life is going to be rough after the zombies take over, and the most important thing to find is safety. A national park will be secluded and these homes are built into the side of a mountain! You know no one is going to sneak up on you, and you’ll have the perfect vantage point if anyone tries to get at you—alive or dead.
Connecticut – Mystic Seaport
Apparently if you’re in Connecticut, the best thing you can do is grab a slice of pizza (showing my age with that joke) and head on down to the port. Being on a boat is never a bad thing, and you’ll definitely be safe from zombies. You can collect rainwater to drink and fish so you don’t starve. Just be sure to bring a lot of vitamin C so you avoid scurvy.
Delaware – Fort Delaware
Just look at this thing! A moat, solid brick walls, and plenty of room, it’s like the people who built it were thinking about zombies. Assuming you have enough food and supplies, this just might be the best place to end up. It’s better than an underground bunker because you could actually escape (not so easy when you’re underground), and it’s less limiting than an island somewhere. It actually makes me want to set a zombie novel in Delaware so I can have my survivors end up here…
Florida – Little Torch Key Hotel
I found out about this place while researching locations for books, and it blew my mind. An exclusive Florida Keys resort, Little Torch Key Hotel is so remote that it is literally only accessible by sea-plane or boat! I’m talking about living the good life during the zombie apocalypse. Private beach bungalows and beautiful landscape, all on an island that the zombies won’t be able to touch! If you’re in Florida when the apocalypse hits, throw your fishing gear in your car and head down to this resort. Heck, even if you aren’t in Florida you may want to think about heading down there. I might!
Georgia– Senoia and The Walking Dead Set
This is no brainer. If you’re in Georgia when the zombie apocalypse happens, head to Senoia and take shelter in the Walking Dead set. If you saw my page last year during the Zombie Crawl, you know that I visited Senoia personally. Real walls surround the set and the houses inside are real as well. Yes, the set is situated literally in the middle of the town of Senoia, but it’s not a huge town and it’s far enough away from Atlanta that the population isn’t that large. What better way to survive the zombie apocalypse than a town that was actually designed to survive it?
Hawaii – Dali Hale beach rental on Kauai
Brutal honesty: Hawaii is about the last place you want to be when the apocalypse hits. It’s secluded and you’re likely to run out of supplies fast. The state itself is split up into several islands, so you’re even more cut off than you would be an Island off the mainland, and Honolulu itself has been rated the worst place to be when the zombies take over. But if you do happen to find yourself there, I’d look for a luxurious beach house like the Dali Hale on Kauai. This one in particular is gated and secluded, and has plenty of space. It wouldn’t be perfect, but it might be your best bet.
Idaho – Boise Fallout Shelter
In 1961, due to the growing fear of nuclear attack, a community fallout shelter was built in Boise . It was designed to shelter about 1,000 people for several years and stock in the shelter was sold off at about $100 a share, giving wealthy members of the community a chance to save their family. Of course, those people never needed those reassurances, and the fear of nuclear attack eventually faded, leading to the sale of the shelter. It’s still standing today, but is now privately owned and has been renovated so it’s less of a living space and more of an office area, but it would be a great place to set up camp in the event of a zombie apocalypse.
Illinois – Joliet Correctional Center
We all know that a prison is a great place to set up camp when the zombies come, assuming you can clean it out. The good thing about this one? It’s already abandoned and there’s even a watch tower in the middle that allows you to see all around the prison. Not too shabby!
Indiana – Vivos Indiana
Somewhere in Indiana a cold war shelter has been renovated so 80 people can live out the apocalypse in luxury. The company, Vivos, spared no expense when they created these shelters, as you can see here, but if you want a spot in this luxury shelter it’s going to cost you. How much is hard to say since it’s not laid out on the website, but we’re most likely looking at millions of dollars here. Or you can find out the location of the shelter, pray most of the people who bought into it die early on, and hope that someone inside has enough sympathy to let you in. It’s a long shot, but if you’re stuck in Indiana, it might be worth a try.
Iowa – Independence Mental Health Institute
Sure it’s rumored to be haunted, but the building is secure and has plenty of space. While it’s hard to say what condition the majority of the hospital is in, a section of it is currently open for tours, and that part at least has been maintained. Since the hospital itself hasn’t been in use in years, the building is also empty. Meaning you won’t have to worry about clearing out the walking dead when you get there. That right there is a big plus when you’re talking about survival.
Kansas – Luxury Survival Condo
If you’re familiar with my zombie series, Broken World, you’ve heard about the Atlas missile silos being converted into luxury condos. They are real, and if you live in Kansas, there’s a good chance you aren’t far from one. While the location is secret, it might not be that hard to get an idea of where one could be. You can search for all the Atlas missile silos in existence here and see which ones are privately owned. It shouldn’t be that hard to figure out if you really want to, and it just might save you when the zombies show up! (PS…Yes, this is where I got the idea for my own underground luxury shelters.)
Kentucky – Mammoth Cave
This past summer my family took a tour through Mammoth Cave. It was late June and over 90 degrees that day, but the second we set foot in the cave we cooled off, and throughout the two hour tour, I couldn’t stop thinking about what a great place it would be to set a dystopian or post-apocalyptic book. Everywhere I looked I could imagine an underground civilization springing up slowly over decades, eventually becoming a metropolis. It was awesome, and it’s also the perfect place to set up camp when the zombies come if you’re in Kentucky.
Louisiana – Louisiana Castle
This beautiful wedding venue and inn is situated on ten acres of secluded land and has plenty of room for a large group (the site says it can accommodate 350 guests). While it may not be easy to fortify the perimeter, the castle-like structure sure would be secure!
Maine – Fort Gorges
You’re going to have to build your own shelters inside this Civil War-era monument, but it will be worth it. Accessible only by water and fortified by thick, stone walls, Fort Gorges will keep you safe from men and monsters during the end of the world.
Maryland – Fort Frederick
With walls that are more than 17 feet high and three feet thick, this is your best bet in Maryland. Leftover from the French and Indian War, the fort is now part of a state park, meaning it’s being maintained and kept in pristine condition. There are a two barracks inside the walls that will do for shelter, and plenty of space to expand as your population grows.
Massachusetts – Fort Warren
While I personally wouldn’t want to be anywhere near a city, I saw Boston listed over and over again as a good place to head. Apparently, Boston has been identified as the city most likely to survive the zombie apocalypse (followed by Salt Lake City, UT and Columbus, OH). But being in a city goes against everything I believe about surviving the zombie apocalypse, so instead I’m going to send you to Fort Warren, a 28 acre island at the entrance of the Boston Harbor. That way you’re secluded, but also close to the city that is apparently going to break all the rules and be a good place to end up.
Michigan – Belle Isle, Detroit
This 982-acre island park in the Detroit River is ideal. While there’s a lot to do on the island (aquarium, zoo, golf) no one actually lives on it since it’s a state park, and as far as I can tell, there’s only one way on or off. There’s wildlife, water, plenty of open space to grow your own food, and lots of buildings. You could literally start a new city on this island.
Minnesota – Fort Snelling
Built in the 1820s, the fort was used as recently as WWII as a language center, teaching military personnel Japanese. During that time, barracks were built to house soldiers, meaning not only is this place fortified by high walls and equipped with a watchtower, but it has places for you sleep.
Mississippi – The American Queen Steamboat
Keep a safe distance from zombies on the American Queen Steamboat! The largest steamboat to ever be built, she actually works on steam (although has a secondary diesel engine as well) and has 222 staterooms. You can coast up and down the Mississippi River, picking up supplies and passengers (if you feel inclined) as you go, or simply dock somewhere and stay a safe distance from the walking dead. Whatever floats your boat. Literally in this case.
Missouri – Bonne Terre Mine
The world’s largest man made cavern, it remains 62 degrees year round and has plenty of room for you during the zombie apocalypse. Consisting of five levels, the lower three form a seventeen mile long underground lake while the upper two levels have old mule trails that will easily guide your through the caverns. Since this is currently a tourist attraction, it’s outfitted with boats and scuba gear, as well as lighted throughout. That may not help once the electricity goes out, but where there’s a will there’s a way, and if you decide to make this your post-apocalyptic home, I’d say you have a strong will to survive!
Montana – Church of Universal Triumph Bomb Shelter
This is a rather obscure one. Apparently there is a cult called the Church of Universal Triumph and they have a bomb shelter (under their church?) in Emigrant, Montana. Not only is it stocked with supplies, it can house up to 150 people in 40 staterooms. Due to the nature of this group, there isn’t a lot of information about the bunker available, but it’s there for anyone who is interested.
Nebraska – Fort Atkinson
Built on a rocky bluff and large enough to house about 1,000 people, this fort has a pretty solid fortification. Even though it was built in 1819, it was reconstructed in the 1990s, so the walls are pretty new. While I couldn’t find any information about exactly how high the walls are, there are walls around the perimeter.
Nevada – 3970 Spencer St. in Las Vegas
Ever see the 1999 movie Blast From the Past? Well the idea for that movie was based on a real house in Las Vegas, that has a 15,000 square foot bunker built underneath it, complete with a putting green, swimming pool, hot tubs, a sauna, dance floor, and more! The original owners died in 1980s and was purchased in 2014 by a mysterious group called the Society for the Preservation of Near Extinct Species for the low price of $1.5 million. (Is that species mankind?) Get the whole scoop on what this property has here.
New Hampshire – The Fort At Number Four
Yes, another fort. Seriously, these are a gold mine and something I never even considered for the setting of a book until I started making this list. They are literally all over the country, and like this one, most are fortified and ready for a group of survivors to move in! Enclosed in a stockade and complete with a lookout tower, this fort is doubly secure with a square of interconnected houses in the center. Meaning you’ll be safe and you’ll have a roof over your head.
New Jersey – Abandoned Bunker, Cape May
Sitting on the beach in Cape May, NJ is an old WWII bunker. It’s abandoned and up for grabs when the apocalypse hits. Sure it will be a bit uncomfortable—and dirty—but it will be safe. And let’s face it, we know from watching The Walking Dead that people will get very desperate very fast when the end comes. This might look like paradise to you compared to what else is out there.
New Mexico – Gila Cliff Dwelling
New Mexico has cities literally in the side of mountains. They’d be safe, secluded, and high, and would provide a good lookout for anyone or anything headed your way. You’ll need to bring a lot of supplies in, but people have lived here for real, so it’s doable and might just be your best bet when the zombies come.
New York – Adirondack State Park Missile Silo
Located near Lake Placid, this silo home has been all over the news. Created out of one of the old missile silos from the Cold War-era, it’s a normal house above ground, but a luxury bunker underneath complete with nine levels and 12k square feet of space. It also sits on 10 acres of secluded land. You never know, if the owners are still alive when the zombies come knocking, they might be feeling generous and let you in. If they’re gone, the shelter just might be up for grabs.
North Carolina – Abandoned Underground Mall in Raleigh
Beneath the streets of Cameron Village in Raleigh sits an entire abandoned mall. While the main entrance has been sealed off, apparently other entrances into the mall can be found in the back rooms of various businesses in the area. Not only would this be a really cool place to explore, but it would provide survivors with shelter and security during the zombie apocalypse. You can get all kinds of great info about this abandoned mall and where the entrances might be hidden here.
North Dakota – Fort Union Trading Post
It has a wall, it has a house, it’s ready for you to move in. This fort was instrumental in developing the fur trade during the 1800’s and is now a historic site. While it’s only partially reconstructed and it might take a little elbow grease to make it the perfect apocalyptic town, it still looks pretty secure.
Ohio – North Bass Island
My home state and where I’m moving to in just a few short weeks, I wasn’t thrilled with the list of options available for zombie survival, but the small islands in the northern part of the state, on Lake Erie, seem to be the best bet. North Bass Island in particular since it’s the least developed of the options. Used mostly as a vineyard, there are only about a dozen inhabitants on the island itself, meaning your chance of running into the dead is minimal. And there will be some houses up for grabs.
Oklahoma – Quartz Mountain Resort
This is practically right down the road from me, and when my family and I were out there hiking a few weeks ago, I couldn’t stop from marveling at what an ideal location this would be during the zombie apocalypse. Surrounded by the Quartz Mountains and the 6,400-acre Lake Altus-Lugert, the Quartz Mountain Resort is perfectly secluded. There’s one road in, which makes it easy to fortify, and it has 118 guestrooms just waiting to be filled with apocalypse survivors. If my family and I happened to still be in the area when zombies showed up, this is where we’d go.
Oregon – Terwilliger Hot Spring
If you’ve read my zombie series, you know that I’ve used this setting before, and while the Terwilliger Hot Spring wasn’t the inspiration for my setting, it isn’t a bad option. Located in Willamette National Forest, the springs are secluded, and assuming you can fortify the area, it would be nice to have hot water when the world ends.
Pennsylvania – The Alvira Bunkers
Near Allenwood, PA sit the remains of the small town of Alvira and the Susquehanna Ordnance Depot, where the federal government made and stored war munitions during WWII. Among those remains sit 149 bunkers, just waiting for the end of the world and someone to claim them. While they’re dirty and some may not have usable doors, you should be able to find a few that would serve the purpose of keeping you safe from zombie attacks. You can more info about the bunkers here.
Rhode Island – Prudence Island
Only five and a half square miles and fewer than a hundred inhabitants, this Island would be your best bet in Rhode Island. It’s secluded, accessible by ferry only, and has homes on it already. You’d be able to make a real stand on an island like this, with less area to keep track of and the sea ready and waiting for you to fish in.
South Carolina – The Castle
Near Pickens, SC is a castle bunker built by prepper Brent Bruns and his five children. The whole thing was the subject of an eight episode show on the National Geographic Channel back in 2013, and you get all the details about the shelter and the family here. I haven’t seen the show, and there is little information online about what’s actually in the shelter (no details on size, how many people it hold, or what it’s stocked with) but it’s there! It’s up to you whether or not you want to knock on the door and ask them to let you in.
South Dakota – Vivos
Apparently, this is one of the worst states to be in when the zombie apocalypse hits. I’m not sure why given it’s much lower populated than a lot of other states that fared better, but I’d guess it has to do with the wide open spaces and the few hiding spots. The good news is that Vivos has struck again, and they’ve built 575 private bunkers on 9,000 miles of land that they are currently selling off. In the Black Hills area of SD, south of Edgemont, this former Army munitions depot has been transformed into a survival community that would make any preppers dreams come true. And you can buy your very own bunker for just $25k. Now even middle class Americans can survive the apocalypse! Of course, these bunkers come literally bare and you have to put even more money into renovating them into a workable shelter, so maybe not so much. But we all know not all of those bunkers are going to be occupied when the end comes, so if you find yourself in South Dakota, you might want to head there. Although, I’m not sure what you’d do for supplies given that the bunkers are literally in the middle of nowhere. For more details, you can read the article in Forbes or visit the Vivos website.
Tennessee – The Lost Sea
America’s longest underground lake and an extensive cave system, The Lost Sea is located in Sweetwater, TN and is the perfect place for you and your fellow survivors to set up camp. Not only is it gorgeous, but it’s hidden away and safe from zombies, with plenty of room to spread out.
Texas – Longhorn Cavern State Park
With a year round temperature of about 68 degrees, this is the perfect place to escape the heat in post-apocalyptic Texas. I couldn’t find anything that said how long the caverns are, but they sit on over 600 acres of state land, so that makes them pretty secluded. From the looks of the pictures, the ceilings aren’t low and you aren’t going to run into many tight areas.
Utah – Timpanogos Cave
The trail leading up to this cave, which is on Mount Timpanogos in the Wasatch Mountains in American Fork Canyon, is 1.5 miles long and steep, but paved and fairly wide. So, even though you’ll have to hike your way up, so will anyone who wants to get at you. There are actually three caves, Hansen Cave, Middle Cave, and Timpanogos Cave, all connected by manmade tunnels. Just be sure you have plenty of supplies because you could get snowed in once winter hits.
Vermont – Burton Island
250 acres of isolated and uninhabited land is just waiting for you on Burton Island. Accessible only by ferry or boat, the island has a dock and three cabins up for grabs, as well as numerous campsites and restrooms.
Virginia –Tangier Island
Only accessible by air or sea, with less than a thousand inhabitants and no cars at all, Tangier Island is the perfect spot to escape to. It’s nestled in the Chesapeake Bay only 12 miles from the mainland, close enough that you can go ashore for supplies if you need to, and far enough away that people passing by wouldn’t even know you’re there.
Washington – San Juan Island
There are four main islands in the San Juan Island system, none of which are accessible by anything but water or air. They’re lush with wildlife and get ample rain, but due to their location, they get less rain than the Seattle area so you wouldn’t be soaked all the time.
West Virginia – Prickett’s Fort
Built when European settlers first came to the new world, the fort is a reconstruction of what it would have been. It has walls surrounding it with a meetinghouse and fourteen small cabins inside, as well as two story blockhouses at each corner for easy lookout. It will be a tight fit, but it will keep you safe.
Wisconsin – Apostle Islands
More islands. Who knew?
The Apostle Islands are a group of 22 islands in Lake Superior that are home to lush plant life and brimming with animal life. Several of the islands have lighthouses and ranger stations, most have docks, and many are popular camping areas.
Wyoming – Carissa Mine
With some of the buildings and tracks reconstructed in recent years, and daily guided tours happening at the mine, the area is a good place to take shelter. We know that it’s secure enough to go in if the state is taking people through it, and with options both above ground and below, you won’t get as claustrophobic as some of the other options on this list.
And that’s fifty!
Before you go, I do feel like I need to point out a few places that I think you should avoid during the zombie apocalypse.
I saw a few sites list this as a good place to go, but most people who enjoy apocalyptic fiction will tell you this is not true. Especially when you’re dealing with a zombie outbreak. Where do people go when they get sick? The hospital. Now, imagine that every person who sets foot in the hospital dies and comes back as a zombie. Would you want to be there? Nope. If you’re looking for medical equipment, there are alternatives. Urgent Cares, Pharmacies, medical supply stores, and vet clinics. Don’t forget that many of the medicines used for animals are the same ones used for people. Plus, they’d have gauze, syringes, medical tape, and suture kits. That’s the first place I’m heading when I need medial treatment during the apocalypse.
I found military bases on more than a few lists, and as an Air Force spouse and someone who has spent more than a little time on and around military bases, I have to disagree. On the surface it may sound good. There are weapons and commissaries (grocery stores), and the property is fenced in. BUT the sheer size of most bases would make them impossible to fortify. Military bases are literally small towns, encompassing miles of land. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio is nearly twelve square miles. How easy do you think it would be to keep track of that many miles of fence on a daily basis? Not easy. Plus, thousands of people live and work on bases, meaning they would die on the base and be stuck inside the fences. It just doesn’t seem worth the risk or hassle if there are other places around to set up camp.
Like a hospital, churches would be overrun during the apocalypse—unless you have a preacher who locks his congregation out. When the end of the world seems to be looming, many people turn to faith, which means heading to church. Don’t be surprised to find your local church crawling with zombies!
Want an idea of where everything is in your town?
***In most cases, I tried to get photos from Wikipedia.org so they were copyright free and I have credited my sources, but a special thank you to AerialGraphics.com for giving me permission to use their picture of Bass Island, Jonathan Smith of SmithCreate.com for allowing me to use his photo of the Alvira Bunkers, and CandidSlice.com for giving me permission to use her picture of the Raleigh underground mall.
***Don’t forget to enter my giveaway! Not only can you win a DVD of Zombieland, but you’ll also get book one in my Amazon best-selling zombie series, Broken World. (Signed by me, of course.) In addition to that, you get: a Broken World keychain and pen, zombie bits candy, and a Walking Dead necklace.***
I know what you’re thinking: How do I enter!?
You can like my Facebook author page, or follow me on Twitter and Instagram, but that isn’t necessary to enter or win the prize. This giveaway is open to residents of the US & Canada, and all you have to do is click on THIS link and fill out the form. I’ll choose the winner on November 2nd and shoot you an email (I’ll also announce it here and on my FB page).
Before you leave, be sure to check out all the other posts included in the Zombie Crawl and enter all the other great giveaways!
a blog party from Band of Dystopian Authors & Fans
October 24 – 31, 2016
How it works: Each day, the scheduled authors and bloggers will post awesome zombie-tastic content for your enjoyment along with a giveaway on their site/blog/page. You can hop around to all of the participating sites and enter as many giveaways as you like! The easiest way to make sure you don’t miss a post is to join our Facebook event page, where we’ll post links each time an author or blogger participates on their scheduled day. We’ll also have several flash giveaways on the event page as well as a grand prize giveaway on BandofDystopian.com. And of course, you can use the schedule below to click through to each site. Make sure to leave comments and interact with the participating sites. Have fun, and thanks for joining the party!
OCTOBER 24 – Monday
Jeffrey Clare (publisher, group host)
Christina L. Rozelle (author)
OCTOBER 25 – Tuesday
Digital Dirty Girl Book Blog (blog)
Rissa Blakeley (author)
OCTOBER 26 – Wednesday
R.L. Blalock (author)
Bryan Way (author)
Post-Apocalyptic Playground (blog)
OCTOBER 27 – Thursday
Claire C. Riley (author)
M. Lauryl Lewis (author)
OCTOBER 28 – Friday
The Voluptuous Book Diva (18+ blog)
YA Book Divas (blog)
OCTOBER 29 – Saturday
Kate L. Mary (author)
Brea Behn (author)
OCTOBER 30 – Sunday
Cameo Renae (author)
J.W. Vohs (author)
OCTOBER 31 – Monday
Kelsey D. Garmendia (author)
Lindsey Winsemius (author)
Casey Hays (author)
Lee Ryder (author)
– – –
31 Days of Zombies
October 29, 2016
Fighting For A Future
by Kate L. Mary
Like a little steam with your zombie apocalypse? Check this out!
Kyra knows she’s screwed. Trapped in a school while zombies stumble past, just waiting for the survivors cowering inside to come out to play, she has no hope of getting out alive. She’s not the only one, either, and sexy fellow survivor Riley seems hell bent on making their last few hours alive memorable ones.
But in a twist of fate neither one could have seen coming, Kyra and Riley realize that they might not be facing the end after all. Even more, they’re hit with the realization that what had started as a distraction might just turn out to be the best thing to ever happen to them. Assuming they can find somewhere safe.
Novella 35,000 words
31 Days of Zombies
October 28, 2016
by Kate L. Mary
Twenty years ago a deadly virus swept the globe, ravaging the population. People died and came back as monsters, and through the tragedy that rocked the world survivors were born. Megan James is the product of survivors. Her parents crossed hundreds of miles of dangerous countryside to reach Atlanta, and the promise of a real future.
Now, two decades later, Meg is facing a crisis of her own. Her father has vanished and is presumed dead, and her mom is teetering on the edge of insanity, but all Meg really wants is to return to the safe world she always thought she was living in. Only Atlanta isn’t everything her parents thought it would be. The slums have grown and corruption is rampant, and despite the promise of democracy the new government has been slow to change. Through it all, the only consistency seems to be the zombies. Decayed and barely more than skeletons, there is no reason they should still be moving. But they are.
Facing the harsh world alone, Meg gets a job in the entertainment district of Atlanta where she meets convict fighter Donaghy. Angry at the world and his circumstances, all the fighter really wants is to be left alone. But when he gets swept up in Meg’s problems, he finds it impossible to turn his back on her.
When a mysterious note resurrects old rumors about what the CDC is really doing, Meg can’t help wondering if her father might have met the same fate that her uncle did twenty years earlier. With the help of Donaghy, she will search for the truth among the darkness that has settled over Atlanta, where they’ll soon discover that the mutated virus has brought forth creatures nobody could have imagined, and the evil intentions of the men in charge are much more sinister than anyone ever thought possible, making the future look harsher than ever before.
***This novel is the first book in a zombie/dystopian series, set twenty years after the final book in the Broken World series. While reading the first seven books will be helpful, it is not necessary to follow the plot of Twisted World.
31 Days of Zombies
October 27, 2016
Rise of the Dead
by Jeremy Dyson
Rise of the Dead is a zombie novel with a lot of guts that aims for the brain, blending literary fiction with post-apocalyptic thrills.
Blake was never one for taking chances. He lived in a world of formulas and equations. A statistician in a controlled society where everything had become predictably mundane. That world disappeared the day the dead got up and began attacking the living.
Now, the end is here. Blake finds himself fighting for his life in a world that is rapidly spiraling out of control. He struggles to keep himself alive and must risk everything to find his family.
Along the way, Blake finds himself thrust among other unlikely survivors. Together they must adapt to the realities of the undead world, or join the legion of zombies. The characters must overcome their conditioned human apathy and come together if they have any chance of survival.
Rise of the Dead chronicles the first moments of the zombie apocalypse. While the story is a fast-paced thrill ride through an ever-growing zombie horde, the novel aims to draw upon familiar themes as those found in the Romero classic films.
I’m going to start a new thing:
Every Wednesday I’ll post my thoughts and feelings about the previous episode of The Walking Dead, starting with this past Sunday’s episode, the long-awaited premiere of season 7. This isn’t necessarily a review of the show, but instead just my thoughts and feelings about what happened, and where I think the group will go.
***Beware of spoilers***
The Walking Dead, Season 7, Episode 1
October 23, 2016
We’ve been waiting months for the season 7 premiere, and it’s finally come and gone. Wow. The episode nearly broke the Internet, and possibly a lot of people’s brains. It was rough. We knew it was going to be, we had months to prepare, but it seems like a lot of people just couldn’t prepare themselves for what happened.
Season 6 ended with most of Rick’s group (Rick, Carl, Daryl, Glenn, Maggie, Abraham, Eugene, Rosita, Sasha, Aaron, & Michonne) lined up in front of Negan, who was about to put them in their place by brutally beating one of them to death with his bat, Lucille.
All summer long we were warned that this was going to be intense. The Walking Dead is known for its gore and special effects, and these are all characters we’ve come to love, so no matter who got chosen, we knew it was going to be rough. Sometime during the months between the end of season 6 and the beginning of season 7, I heard rumors that two people would be killed, so again I was prepared. I also knew that in the comics Glenn was the one chosen by Negan. But the show doesn’t always follow the comics, and I felt pretty certain that Abraham would be chosen this time around. He’d just traded Rosita for Sasha, and had finally reached a point where he felt like he could start over, so it made sense with how the arc of the show usually goes. In the back of my head, although I didn’t want to admit it, I also had a good feeling Glenn would be the second one. I hoped it wouldn’t be true, of course, but we all know that no one is safe on this show. Maybe Rick, but even his death wouldn’t surprise me.
No matter how prepared I was for the premiere, it was still rough. Just like I thought, Abraham was chosen by Negan, and his death was both horrifyingly brutal and devastating for the group. It was nothing compared to Glenn’s end, though. That part of the show will be forever tattooed on my mind. It was unforgettable and heartbreaking, and the fact that Maggie, who is pregnant with his baby, was right there watching the whole thing made me physically sick. Even now, two days later, I can’t think about it without feeling nauseated. Glenn’s last thoughts, his last words, were of Maggie. Letting her know how much he loved her. Saying his goodbyes despite the agony he must have been in. It was gut wrenching.
To say the premiere was gory is an understatement. Watching someone get their head smashed in with a bat will leave an impression on you, and the amazing special effects that The Walking Dead is known for weren’t missing in this case. It was made worse by the fact that the entire group had to watch, and you could see the shock and anguish on everyone’s faces, but the thing that tipped it over the edge was the utter glee expressed by Negan. I’ve read some of the comics, but not all of them because I don’t want to get too far ahead of where we are in the show, so I haven’t reached the part with Negan in it yet, but I’ve heard that he makes the governor look warm and cuddly. He is, by all definitions, a sociopath. No one can do the things he did on the premiere and not be disturbed, and despite the fact that I loathe this character so much, Jeffery Dean Morgan is brilliant casting. He’s charming, which is a common characteristic of sociopaths (Don’t believe me? Google Ted Bundy and read a little bit about his early life, he was known as a charming man.), and even though there are people out there who will try to deny it, I have literally no doubt in my mind that men like Negan would thrive in an apocalyptic scenario.
But the deaths of Abraham and Glenn weren’t the end. Rick was dragged into the RV by an axe wielding Negan, and I thought for sure (about a dozen times during the premiere) that he was about to lose his hand. If you’ve read the comics, you know that Rick loses his hand to the Governor. I’ve been waiting for it to happen on the show and I was sooo sure this was it! He doesn’t, but then Negan puts him in an almost Biblical situation: Cut your son (Carl’s) arm off or everyone dies. There’s Rick, literally sobbing, while his son is on the ground in front of him and everyone else in his group has a gun to the back of their heads. It’s an impossible but obvious choice: he has to do it. He knows it. Carl knows it. Carl tells him to do it. Negan is counting. It’s so intense and all I can think is: Rick will never recover. He will be broken forever if this happens. Thankfully, Negan stops him, thinking he has broken Rick enough. He’s wrong, of course. He’s reined Rick in for the time being, but he isn’t totally broken. Not yet. I honestly think, though, that if Negan had forced Rick to go through with it, it would have been the end for the group (or at least the end of him as a leader). He wouldn’t have been able to recover. He almost lost his mind after Lori died and he didn’t have the constant reminder of his failure right in front of him. With Carl, though, he would have been there every day, and every time Rick looked at his son, he would have seen his failure in Carl’s missing arm. It would have eaten away at him, ground him down until he was nothing inside but dust and ashes. He would have been lost for good.
So where are we now? What do I see playing out for this season? Well, Negan took Daryl, which means he’s in real danger. Even worse, Daryl was unintentionally to blame for Glenn’s death. The group was told not to move, but Daryl jumped up and punched Negan, and Glenn paid the ultimate price. Daryl will blame himself forever. He is a deeply emotional character who internalizes everything (Remember how he was after Sophia walked out of that barn?), and even though he’s come a long way, I think this may be a real setback for him. He’s a fighter, so he’ll do what it takes to survive, but I’m afraid the guilt he’s going to carry with him may be irreversible. On top of that, the group is stuck. They can’t run because it would mean leaving Daryl behind, and they now know the consequences of crossing Negan. They work for him, he owns them, and at this point, they’re all too wounded to really do anything about it. Our only hope may be the new group that Morgan and Carol find themselves with. Again, I haven’t read that far in the comics, but these people could be a real ally against Negan. Even more, they could be the only hope Rick and his group has.
My final thought about the premiere of The Walking Dead is this: Andrew Lincoln is a phenomenal actor. Amazing. That man makes me believe this show is real. He literally broke right in front of our eyes. You could see him fall to pieces. Could see his anger and rage crack and shrivel away, leaving only pieces of the man behind. I believed every second of his performance. I felt it. He made me hurt. Seriously, everyone involved in this show is awesome, but Andrew Lincoln is mind-blowing. Watching the evolution of his character over the years, I already knew he was great at what he does, but seeing the range he has squeezed into one hour of television cemented that in my mind. This show would not be what it is without him.
I’ve seen a lot of posts about the show, and some people are saying they are done with it. Not because of who died, but because the gore has reached a point where they just can’t stomach it anymore. Then there’s the other camp who is calling them names and saying they’re babies for being upset, which I personally feel is ridiculous. People are entitled to feel how they feel. End of story.
Even though I’m not ready to give up on the show (I love it too much) I get how people are feeling when it comes to the violence Negan inflicted on the group. This episode was really hard to watch. I’m on the fence about the gore and violence personally. I totally understand why people feel sick, because that’s how I felt years ago when I watched the movie Hostel. I still can’t think about it without feeling physically ill. Others are shouting things like “it’s a zombie show, it’s always been bloody” and “you’ve seen zombies rip people’s throats out, but this is where you draw the line?” There’s a difference, at least to me. The zombie violence is fake. Zombies aren’t real, and it’s easier to stomach because we know they don’t exist and even if they did, they would be mindless creatures who aren’t taking joy in what they’re doing. With Negan, it’s a whole different story. Yes, we’ve come across cannibals, but I didn’t see Bob get his leg sawed off. He woke up and it was gone. Yes, the group at Terminus was hard to stomach, but it was over quickly and less bloody, whereas we all know Negan is just getting started. For me, it isn’t so much the blood as it is the joy behind the pain he’s inflicting. People like this are real. There are people who take real delight in hurting others, and that’s where the line gets fuzzy.
The truth is, the fact that people as vicious as Negan are real is something we like to keep in the back of our minds. We know it’s true, serial killers and sociopaths do exist, but we don’t want to dwell on it. I know I don’t, and I know this episode did push me toward the line that I felt Hostel crossed. To me, the premiere of TWD wasn’t any less brutal in it’s plausibility as Hostel was, so I’m not sure why it didn’t push me over that line, but it probably has something to do with how much I love the story and characters in TWD. But I do understand if other people might be done with the show. The prospect of more bloody nights like this one may not sit well with everyone, and that is their right.
There was also some discussion on Facebook about how people feel the show has lost all hope with the current storyline, and this is something my husband and I discussed after the premiere, and something he repeated against last night. Where can the story go from here? How can it end? It’s not like the group is going to stumble across a walled city that’s totally safe. They’ve done that, and guess what? It wasn’t safe, because there is no safe place left in this world. The only possible way this series can end is with the death of everyone we love, and I think that’s another thing that has turned a lot of people off. I get it, people have a right to bow out if they feel they need to. I’m still a devoted fan and I will be until every single person (even Daryl) is dead and buried, but those of us who are sticking with it have no right to criticize the people who are unable to stomach the blood and hopelessness anymore.
All clips courtesy of Giphy.