by Jessie Potts)
The Walking Dead returns Sunday … are you ready? Here are recaps for each season for those of you catching up (in poem form for fun!) and what some romance authors have planned for the zombie apocalypse:
In a world where zombies are (sort of) alive
Rick the sheriff must learn to survive
He finds a man alone in his house with a son
Teaches him about Walkers and gives him a gun
Soon he meets up with Lori and Carl
Wonders why his BFF Shane often snarls
They must all work together or die
There's worse around the corner where other dangers lie
After the CDC exploded (season one final show)
Sophia flees Walkers instead of staying low
Rick and Daryl lead a search for the little girl lost
Shane wonders how much time this will cost
They find a farm, a peaceful little plot
They have to hurry when Carl gets shot
Daryl still looks for the missing young one
Rick worries there might be death for his son
Last season's finale was a Walker free-for-all
The group is on the run, just how many will fall?
We meet my favorite, sword-wielding Michonne
But now Andrea and she must forge on alone
Rick's group find a prison (but is it empty or full?)
The two women meet The Governor, who runs a tight ship
He's got Daryl's brother, who now never gives lip
The town seems perfect, The Governor must be right
Back in the prisons Lori goes into labor and loses the fight
SEASON FOUR (the first half)
After the craziness involving The Governor's lies
Season three was crazy, so many characters die
We get to see more in the Gov'n head
He is twisted and dark and really wants Michonne dead
The prison is turning into one giant cesspool
Infection runs rampant, they're Mother Nature's fool
The Gov'n is trying to attack the prison and kill
Hershel's head went flying, everyone's chances are nil
What will the next half of the season bring?
Life and joy, or Walkers dragging intestines and things?
Will Michonne get back her really sharp knife?
Just who will win in this epic battle and strife?
We asked some of our favorite authors to share their thoughts on the zombie apocalypse …
Jessie: Which book character would you like to have in the zombie apocalypse with you?
Mary Janice Davidson (author of Undead and Unsure): Probably Shiro Jones from my FBI trilogy (Me, Myself & Why?; Yours, Mine & Ours; You and I, Me and You). Shiro has a pile of black belts, keeps firearms in her kitchen as a matter of course (but really, who doesn't?), and has no problem killing in defense of herself or others. Plus, she shares a body with a diagnosed psychotic. So if it gets too much for her, she can let the crazy redhead drive.
Kelley Armstrong (author of Brazen): Robinson Crusoe from Daniel Defoe's book of the same name. I could go for a top-notch killer here, but I'm going to pick someone with serious survival skills.
Shelly Laurenston (author of Big Bad Beast): If trapped in a zombie apocalypse, I'd want to have Felix and Gotrek from the Warhammer series by my side. I mean, you really can't get any better protection than a warrior dwarf and his handsome human sidekick who he's trapped into writing his eventual death. Now, you might be thinking that choosing a dwarf who's committed to searching out an honorable death for himself to atone for something he once did long ago may not be the best choice. But Gotrek can't just stand around TRYING to die. And he's such an amazing fighter that there are few who have not fallen to his mighty warhammer. So who else could I possibly want by my side, helping me battle an army of the undead? Plus ... his sidekick, Felix Jaeger, is a total Hottie McHottison!
Jill Shalvis (author of Once in a Lifetime): I'd like to have Ben McDaniel from Once in a Lifetime at my side in a zombie apocalypse because he's pretty bad-ass and afraid of absolutely nothing. Well, he's a little bit afraid of Aubrey, but that's another story. Literally. :)
Jessie: Which of your characters would be the first bitten? The last?
Mary Janice Davidson: Betsy the Vampire Queen, of course, from my Undead And ... series. It's happened to her before, which is why she's a vampire. She's literally proved she sucks at NOT being bitten! Now, she's a vampire so I don't know that the zombies could easily destroy her, but yeah, she'd definitely be the first one to be chomped. And she'd complain about that constantly ("It's like they don't even care who I am as a person!"), probably until anyone with her wishes she HAD been devoured.
Character last bitten ... hmm. That'd be Marc, also from the Undead books, because Marc is already a zombie. But he's not all rotting and squicky, and he's an Emergency Room doctor, and he's kept his head (or his brain, at least) so he doesn't shuffle around moaning, "Braaaaains," unless he's watched too many BBC Sherlock reruns. Not only would he be last bitten, he'd be really handy to keep around, not least for his extensive pop-culture knowledge.
Kelley Armstrong: I'll do Omens, first in my Cainsville series. Character most likely to get bitten? My paranormal romance author, Patrick, who would probably let himself be bitten, just to see what would happen. Last? My defense attorney, Gabriel. He grew up on the streets and does whatever it takes to survive.
Shelly Laurenston: As the writer of shifters (both dragon shifters who shift to human and humans who shift to animals), there are not a lot of my characters who can't sniff out trouble and make a mad dash for the hills before trouble gets them. But there is one I would be worried about ... Blayne Thorpe from Beast Behaving Badly. I love my wild dog-wolf hybrid dearly, but she's one of the most loving, caring, and helpful heroines I've written. And she'd be so busy trying to help people around her that she wouldn't realize the danger until teeth were dug into her neck. What may save her at the last minute, though, is her healthy dose of ADHD. She can't sit still for long, she's super fast when startled, and can dig her way out of trapped situations (literally) faster than most. So I would hold out hope that she'd survive the apocalypse. Although if she didn't, I have another heroine, Dee-Ann Smith from Big Bad Beast, who'd happily shoot Blayne in the head when she turned, which answers who of my characters would be the last standing.
Jill Shavis: I actually think Aubrey from Once in a Lifetime might be the first to be bitten, because she's ... well, a bit feisty. And also a bit of a pain in the ass.
Jessie: Favorite zombie apocalypse weapon?
Mary Janice Davidson: A semiauto 12-gauge shotgun loaded with Frag-123 rounds (basically shotgun grenades). High explosive blast, fragmentation all over the place, and you can use them in any 12-gauge. The military is actually testing this right now! I'd also have my dad, a former gunsmith, modify the shotgun so it can take more than three shells at a time. Right now it's against the law to do that but hey ... zombie apocalypse! A perfect time to flout gun laws.
Kelley Armstrong: The Walking Dead has convinced me that a bow would be the best weapon. It's quiet and deadly, and the ammo is reusable. It would take a lot longer to master than a gun, but it'd be worth it.
Shelly Laurenston: I'm a pretty good shot, so I'd probably go with a gun. But I think a good battle ax would also be effective, too. I do like battle axes.
Jill Shalvis: My favorite weapon would be my Kindle. Have you ever dropped a Kindle on someone's head (um, this happens to me a lot, when I read in bed). It HURTS.
Jessie: Which book would you read as a break from the zombie reality?
Mary Janice Davidson: Gone With the Wind. Sure, Scarlett's enduring poverty, a broken heart, and the Civil War, but at least the dead soldiers aren't getting up and going after her for her delectable, high math brain. (Remember the scene in the movie when all the wounded soldiers are being cared for in Atlanta, and Scarlett's surrounded by hundreds of dying men? Imagine if they'd all died and then got up to go after her! So stressful.) Once a man in blue (or gray, for that matter) goes down in that book, he stays down. It's civilized! Except for all the racism. I'd think GWtW would be relaxing reading, relatively speaking.
Kelley Armstrong: Stephen King's The Stand. The unabridged version. It's long, so it'd last. It's a great story that I'd happily reread. And it might give me some tips for life in a post-apocalyptic world.
Shelly Laurenston: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I read it for the first time when I was about 11, then I read it again a few years ago, and was shocked at how well it had held up. Usually you read or watch stuff as a kid and then again as an adult and you can't believe you enjoyed it in the first place (I still don't know what I enjoyed about The Banana Splits other than the theme song). A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is NOT one of those books. I now keep it on my bookshelf for reading whenever I need to be completely removed from what I'm doing and utterly absorbed into another time. Which is especially important when you need a break from all the yelling, gunshots, and cries for help by those being chewed upon by the undead.
The season premiere of The Walking Dead airs at 9 p.m. ET Sunday on AMC. Find out more at the AMC website.
Jessie Potts, also known as Book Taster, adores books in all forms. She also does reviews for Bitten by Books and RT Book Reviews and is an intern at Entangled Publishing. You can follow her on Twitter (@BookTaster).