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To Protect and Sever
Zombie Response Team
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Interview: Zombie Author Shana Festa, RN

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For those of you who don’t already know the charmingly witty, oft-times snarky, and always entertaining, Shana Festa; please, allow me to introduce you. Shana is a Registered Nurse with a dark secret…. She is also the author of a chilling Zombie Apocalypse book titled, Time of Death: Induction. But wait! There’s more. Shana also has a hidden identity as The Bookie Monsters; book reviewer extraordinaire with a passion for books that “bite” (zombie bites, that is)

I had the pleasure of reading her debut novel and I am already chomping at the bit for next novel in her series. You can find Time of Death: Induction at:

I managed to pull her away from writing her TOD sequel and posting book reviews at http://bookie-monster.com/ to answer a few questions for us. Let’s give a big ZRT welcome to Shana Festa! *cue the applause track*

S.G. Lee: So, you write a blog reviewing, primarily, zombie books and now you’ve published your own zombie apocalypse novel. When did you first get hooked on zombies?

Shana Festa: The bug really hit me back in 2004, but at that time it was only in the form of movies. The reading bug for the genre really hit in 2011. My preferences up to that point were mostly urban fantasy and contemporary chick lit (comedic only). I’m not ashamed to admit that I had Twilight fever and it caused a waterfall effect.

SGL: How many zombie-themed books have your read for The Bookie-Monster?

SF: Oh gosh, I think the last count is over 100 zombie titles. But bear in mind, that’s only taking into account the titles I’ve posted reviews on in the past year. Not the estimated 300 books read prior to becoming a reviewer.

SGL: When did you first decide to take the leap from reading and reviewing to penning your own novel?

SF: It was one of those random whims. I was having a conversation with fellow zombie author, Jackie Druga, and she asked if I was participating in ‘Nano’ last year. It was the end of October. I remember asking her ‘ooh, what’s Nano?’, and three days later I started a book. I didn’t even know I had a story in me until I sat down and it spewed onto the pages.

***Side Note*** Nano is November is NAtional NOvel WRiting Month at Nanowrimo.org.

SGL: You’re also a Registered Nurse. Do you feel your medical training gave you an added edge in Time of Death: Induction?

SF: Yes and no. One of the challenges we face in healthcare is taking our education and technically terms and grinding it through a filter before speaking with people. If I asked you if you’re experiencing any pruritus, you’d likely look at me like I had three heads. So I know to word that and replace the technical term with the layman term…itching. Sometimes people forget that the average education level of a patient is fifth grade! That’s right, sick isn’t it? So I struggled with maintaining authenticity but creating scenes people would understand. I am off the mindset that one shouldn’t need to pause and check a dictionary while reading. On the flip side, I can tell you that my experience in nursing school was the best years of my life. Nevermind my love for the content, it was fun with a capital F! If you’ve read my book, you get to share in some of my escapades, the good and bad. But I know those are some of the more successful bits of the book because I was able to write what I knew and loved.

SGL: I know your debut novel is just the first in a series. Do you have a set number of sequels planned or are you going to play it by ear?

SF: At this point, I’m totally playing it by ear. Originally, Permuted Press asked for six books in the series. My stomach churned and I nearly had a panic attack at the thought of committing to so much. I hadn’t thought much past the second book, or even decided if I was going to write anything else. I convinced them to go with three books, with an option to increase if the story and characters took me there. One thing I stand firm on is never writing more just for the sake of it. If my characters can’t organically continue, I won’t force it. At this point, I’m certain it will run at least those three books, and judging how this next one pans out, I may need to split it into two books. I’m already at almost 60,000 words and have a lot more to tell. My first novel was 70k, I’m aiming for 80k on future works.

SGL: Your dog Daphne also makes an appearance in Time of Death: Induction. How is she handling her new-found fame?

SF: Ah, Daphne…she’s as ornery as ever! Though she hasn’t left me a poo-present in a bit, so she must be happy with her fame. Even though her name is Daphne, I call her ‘The Duck’. Somehow my odd brain made the connection of Daphne --> Daffy --> Duck. She actually answers to it. Opinions seem to be pretty polarized with her involvement in the book. Some love her, others just don’t think it is realistic to maintain such a connection to an animal in that situation. I love my dogs (yes I have two, I just couldn’t write them both in) more than real people some days. They’ve got real personalities and if it weren’t nuts, I’d say they definitely understand me when I talk. It’s not a far stretch, by any means, to assume I would act just like Emma in the apocalypse.

SGL: If and when the undead rise up, do you have an ideal survival team on standby?

SF: There’s a few other zombie authors in a thirty minute radius of where I live, we joke about meeting up. But realistically, I have no misconceptions that I’ll be joining the horde of undead pretty quickly. I’ve come to terms with it.

SGL: What was your favorite part about writing Time of Death: Induction?

SF: I loved being able to inject my personality into the main character. I’m snarky, and I really do laugh in the face of serious moments…I was brought up to always try to find the humor in bad situations. So, my main character is highly inappropriate at times, and cracks jokes at the worst possible moments. It was super fun to be able to write something that scares readers in one moment, and has them laughing in the next.

SGL: If you could give one piece of advice to your main character, Emma Rossi, what would it be?

SF: Pay attention to where you’re walking! She is astoundingly clumsy. Though I doubt she’ll pay any heed to the advice…I’m 37 and people have been telling me that for years. I’ve yet to listen.

SGL: Finally, if you were in Emma’s place, what modern convenience would you miss the most?

SF: Air conditioning! It is H-O-T in Florida. If she lived through the winter, it’s going to be a sweltering hell for her if there’s still no electricity.

Thank you, Shana Festa, for taking time out from your very busy schedule. Friends, be sure to check out Time of Death: Induction and follow Shana at any and/or all of the following links:
  • Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8153237.Shana_Festa
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What Survival Gear Can You Get From The Dollar Store?

We buy a good majority of items that are needed for our bug out bags or for our home from the dollar store. The best part about the items is, that they work!

Whenever people think about the dollar store, they always think of CHEAP items. And while this is true for a lot of the items they sell, it's not true for everything.

Or at the very least, you can start out with items from the dollar store and then upgrade when you get some extra cash to throw around at higher quality items.

So let's start it out:

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Candles: The dollar store is FILLED with candles and more importantly, they have a whole box of candles for just $1. We each have a box of these in our bug out bags, plus we have a box in the kitchen drawer in our home.

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Lighters: They have a whole pack of lighters for just $1. They actually work, too!

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First aid items: We get a ton of our first aid items from the dollar store. Don't let the price fool you, every first aid items works really well. We use them on a regular basis.

Zip ties: Not all dollar stores will have zip ties, but some of them do and they work just fine.

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Toilet paper: It's not the softest, but it's good for emergency purposes.

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Sewing kit: Almost every dollar store has one of these little sewing kits.

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Poncho: I haven't seen ponchos at all dollar stores, but you can find them at some.

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Glow sticks: They're big, but glow sticks of any size come in handy. And you can't beat the $1 price tag.

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Travel size toiletries: Not all dollar stores have the travel size toiletries, but most do.

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Microfiber cloths: Dollar stores just recently started carrying these microfiber cloths. They work perfectly for backup sources of absorption.

Matches: You can buy whole boxes of matches for just $1.

Dog toys: They sell dog toys and although they don't usually last very long, they're only a buck, so it's not a terrible deal. They also sell dog treats, but we don't trust the dog treats from the dollar store, buy your pet treats from a reputable pet store.

Gardening stuff: Around spring time, they have some great gardening stuff, including some solar powered outside lights (which can be used as lights for inside when electricity goes out). So during spring, it can be a good idea to stock up on some gardening supplies.

The only things we won't get from the dollar store, is food items. Whether nonperishable or perishable. The thing is, they do have $1 cans of veggies, but at our local grocery stores, I can get that same thing for .88 cents, so it doesn't make sense to spend more for it.

There are a ton of other great deals at the dollar store, but these items are just what we tend to go back for on a regular basis. If you're on a strict budget, you can also find flashlights and other such items there as well. It just depends on what you need and what your budget is. The dollar store isn't great for everything and there are certain things that you simply won't find there, but it's great for a good chunk of things that can be carried on a regular basis or for bug out purposes or for bugging in purposes.

What are some other items that you can buy from the dollar store to help you stay prepared?

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Happy 4th of July from Zombie Response Team

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Can Dry Soap Really Relieve the Itch from a Mosquito Bite?

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MYTH OR FACT?

The image above states that you can get rid of an itchy mosquito bite by simply rubbing a dry bar of soap on it for instant relief.

Well, I was outside the other day and got bit the f*ck up by mosquitos.

I decided to try this method out and, suffice to say...it failed. It did not relieve any itching, in fact, it made the itching much worse. I tried a variety of dry soap bars, too. One with scent, one without and one that said it had aloe in it and it did NOT work.

Now...that doesn't mean that it won't work at all on anyone. But for me, it simply didn't work. Maybe this works on people who don't get as irritated with mosquito bites.

What does work?

Don't touch it. I know it's easier said than done, but if you simply forget that it's there, it doesn't itch.

Also, Bactine. It took the itch away IMMEDIATELY. I swear by Bactine.

Those anti-itch creams do work, as well.

So, try it out for yourself and tell us your result.

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