Please welcome the fascinating and hilarious Dana Fredsti back to Nights of Passion! Dana is also Inara LaVey and between the two of them they write horror, romance, mysteries and thrillers. Dana will be giving away an ebook, so be sure to enter the contest in the comments below. Dana’s had a fascinating life already and she’s got a lot of great stories to tell. So let’s jump right in:
When the zombie apocalypse comes, what’s going to be more important: a screwdriver or duct tape?
That’s a toughie. I mean, with a screwdriver you have a potential weapon (right through the ear, as shown in the original DAWN OF THE DEAD) and you can tighten door hinges, etc., for better security. Duct tape, however, has been proven invaluable time and again in any number of situations, including quick and dirty repairs when time is of the essence, tying someone up (zombies
aren’t the only dangers in the zombacalypse, y’know…) and is also strong enough to help put together a makeshift barrier. The McGyver in me is going for the duct tape… But I may change my mind after my next book ’cause I now intend to have Ashley and the other survivors explore
these things… AND I have a poll going on Facebook! See what you’ve done, Ms. Kempe?!
Hee hee! I like to cause trouble. How can you keep spirits up while fighting off zombies?
The cheap answer is good wine, but that’s not the best idea during a zombacalypse unless you are in a damn secure location. If you are, then an ample supply of books would definitely be on my list in order to take my mind away from the fact the world has turned into a mobile charnel house. While actually FIGHTING zombies? Erm… try to take pride in a job well done?
Okay, seriously, If you have a sense of humor, make sure you try and hold onto it. You’re going to potentially be fighting off the shambling corpses of people you once knew. You might see friends and loved ones torn apart and devoured in front of you. For me personally, if I had someone to fight for and protect, be it friends, family or my cats, I think I could hold it together, keep a sense of humor, and maintain some optimism, no matter how misguided it might be under the circumstances. Take those away from me and…
I think I’m going back to the answer of good wine. LOTS of it.
Wine is seldom a bad choice. That’s my excuse for stockpiling anyway. Why should everyone be able to wield a sword?
Aside from the fact sword-fighting is just really cool, if you have to fight your way through a swarm/herd/clutch/insert-favorite-word-for-multiple-zombies-here, odds are good you’re not gonna have time to pause and aim a firearm OR have time to reload once you shoot your wad, so to speak. Knowing how to wield a sword not only gives you an edge (sorry, sorry…) in terms of a weapon that can be used multiple times (provided you don’t get it stuck in a particularly thick zombie skull and make sure to sharpen it during your down time), but the agility required to really be good with a blade is going to work in your favor when making your way to safety. Martial arts training is also great in terms of agility, evasion, and avoiding getting close up and personal with one of the walking dead.
I know Susan should be asking you this question: Can you trust a vampire during the apocalypse?
Only if they don’t sparkle.
And I would think a smart vampire would do his/her best to keep humans alive during a zombacalypse because otherwise their food source is gonna be wiped out. I suspect some sort of symbiotic relationship would have to develop between vamps and humans. I also suspect the vamps would be in more danger of being staked than humans of being drained.
Given that you’re such a horror maven, what are your Halloween plans?
On the night itself, holing up at home with boyfriend, cats, wine and horror movies! The Thursday previous we’re going to go to the Night Life at the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. It’s zombie themed, including zombie makeovers, wandering zombies, and… well, let me just cut and paste from their website here ’cause it’s really cool:
Just days before Halloween, NightLife will be overrun with zombies! Take a crash course in zombie neuroscience with Zombie Research Society advisor Bradley Voytek, and learn how zombie-like symptoms would manifest themselves in real life. You won’t want to miss horror maven and hostess Peaches Christ and her Zombie Drag Show and Costume Contest (un-dead attire encouraged!). And dance the night away at Miss Misery’s “Zombie Prom”. Undead makeup artists will be on hand for those who want to channel their inner zombie. Plus, check out real brain specimens, hear from horror author Mira Grant, sample the latest in zombie video games, even go on a zombie apocalypse adventure through the museum. In the planetarium, catch the Life and Death of Stars at 6:30 and discover how some stars live on as “zombies” in the after-life, followed by two showings of Life: A Cosmic Story. Music by DJ Tomas Diablo. Zombie NigthLife is a Bay Area Science Festival event. It’s going to be a night to dismember!
Wow, that sound like a lot of fun! I hope it was. Now tell me if you can how many cats is too many? 😉
Oooh, this is a toughie… I would say once you have so many that you can’t give each individual feline plenty of love and attention, and maintain a clean house… you’ve got too many. This is for personal residences. I know of rescue facilities who have many feral felines who don’t necessarily want to be pet, but they thrive in a clean, safe and warm environment with regular food. For some people, more than one is too many. I say they are wusses.
That was a bit of a cheat, as I know Dana does some rescuing of cats, so her home can sometimes have a few extra kitties snuggling in. What does a jaguar’s breath smell like?
Hmmm… I have had my hands licked by jaguars, but I have not gotten my nose up close and personal with their breath. I’ve smelled other big cat breath, including tigers, and it’s kind of warm and meaty and primal.
I knew you had worked with big cats, but I couldn’t remember which ones specifically. I’d love to get that close to a tiger. Speaking of wild experiences you have had, can you tell us a little about your own experiences in the not-so-glamourous world of movie making? Best or worst experience?
If it’s not cheating (although I am willing to cheat), let me refer you to The Skeleton Wore Fishnets, an essay I wrote about my experiences on Princess Warrior. It pretty much deals with the good, the bad, the ugly, and the wet T-shirt contests.
And for a quick answer here, I really enjoyed doing sword choreography on ARMY OF DARKNESS. I was one of the Deadites and a sword captain for the choreographers, Jan Bryant and Dan Speaker (Jan gets first billing ’cause she was onset more often; Dan was working on HOOK at the time as well). Getting to choreograph my own fights and then perform before camera in the courtyard of a really cool castle film set… It just doesn’t get any better than that.
Part of why you are so awesome and why no one will mess with you come the zom-pocalypse! Why do people find Ashley irresistible? The humour or the scares or is it the romance?
I’m not really sure since I haven’t gotten a lot of feedback to this point, but the positive reviews I’ve gotten do mention the humor as a high point.
Fair enough: here’s a more fair question. What makes a man irresistible?
A sense of humor, empathy, the ability to have actual conversations, someone who thinks cats are as cute as I do, an appreciation for bad movies as well as good ones,… and who doesn’t mind being open-minded and exploratory when it comes to sex!
Word! Can there be romance without laughter?
For me, absolutely not. I don’t care how good looking a guy is; if he doesn’t have a sense of humor, his sex-appeal is immediately cut in half for me. He would have to be the world’s best kisser EVER to even start to compensate for that lack. Who would I watch bad movies with?!
LOL! So, can you recommend a good wine?
Oh jeez, that would be an entire blog post on its own! Red? White? Sparkling? Price point? What varietal? Are you gonna share or drink it all by yourself? 🙂 I can recommend all SORTS of good wines, baby!
I should have known better. I love hearing your assessments of wines on Facebook. Now the real treat: here’s an excerpt that shows off many of Dana’s skills. If you want to win a PDF copy of the book, leave a comment telling us how you’re prepared to face the zombie apocalypse and still find time for love. Dana will choose her favourite.
“Mmmm, baby, you smell so good.”
I giggled as Matt nuzzled against me, sniffing up and down my neck and shoulders. It tickled, and he sounded like a Saint Bernard with asthma. Disgusting and cute at the same time.
I thought I heard a rustling sound, and jumped. Pushing Matt away, I ignored his pout pulled my sweater back down and jeans back up, scanning for any passersby wandering the woods behind campus after dark. Not too likely, really, especially when the weather was chilly and overcast. Plus the grove of redwoods where we’d spread our blanket was pretty much private.
So I turned and shot him my sweetest smile, hoping to salve his bruised male ego.
“Pass the champagne, ‘kay?”
Matt still pouted a little, but filled a little glass flutes with some Italian bubbly.
“It’s Prosecco, not champagne, Ash,” he protested with a light air of condescension. “It’s not champagne—“
“—Unless it comes from Champagne,” I finished for him. “I know, I know.” I didn’t have the heart to tell my wine-snob-in-training that my ex had also exposed me to top quality wine back in the day. I didn’t complain, though. I got to taste some prime stuff without suffering through the cheap white zins of the world.
And right on cue, Matt decided he’d sulked long enough and shot me his winning grin.
“Enjoying the picnic, Ash?”
I nodded. How could I not? I mean, how many college guys took the time to pack full-on picnics? We’re not talking a bucket of KFC and a six-pack. Nope, roast chicken, bread, brie, and bubbly. Bread knife, cutting board, and cloth napkins. He’d even brought a small camp lantern, but had turned it off in order to be less conspicuous. My ex had never gone to this much trouble.
Yeah, all in all, I’d rather be seduced with sparkling wine than Pabst Blue Ribbon.
I wonder what Gabriel serves his dates, I mused somewhat guiltily. Soy wine?
I took another sip and used my free hand to hide a delicate little belch that bubbled out of nowhere. Bubbly burp, I thought, and I started giggling.
Whoa, tipsy much? I probably should have had more of the food before diving straight into the alcohol.
Matt didn’t mind.
“What’s so funny?” he asked, not really expecting an answer. Good thing, ’cause I couldn’t stop giggling now that I’d started.
Matt started nuzzling my neck again, making low growling noises that vibrated pleasantly against the sensitive skin, both tickling me and turning me on. One thing led to another and we were soon happily back where we had left off.
Then he added something new to the repertoire. It was a weird, low, moaning sound—not the usual “Oh, baby” and ”You’re turning me on.” No, this noise was strange enough to break through my lust and alcohol haze.
I stopped in mid-kiss.
“What was that?” I mumbled.”
“What was what?” The sound had stopped, and it was pretty obvious Matt hadn’t heard a thing. He continued stroking my hips, insinuating his hand between my thighs, stroking me through the denim. I squirmed with pleasure even as my ears strained to pick up anything out of the ordinary.
Nothing except the cracking of ancient redwood branches. The forest gave off a loamy smell tonight, causing me to wrinkle my nose a bit.
Giving a mental shrug, I turned my attention back to Matt, specifically the bulge beneath his jeans. I teased him, rubbing one hand along the outline of his erection while nibbling gently on his neck in a way I knew he liked. His free hand caressed my breasts, first one, and then the other, thumb softly flicking against the nipples, a move guaranteed to drive me wild.
We were both moaning with desire at this point, all panting with eagerness to take things to the next level … when suddenly his hand squeezed my left breast way too hard.
“Ow! That hurt!” I smacked him on the shoulder, hard.
“Huh?” Matt lifted his mouth from my earlobe. “What the hell did you do that for?”
But he squeezed again, nails digging in this time. A rattling moan sounded close to my ear. The ear not next to Matt’s mouth.
Suddenly the forest smelled rank.
“What the fuck?” I said. “Get off me!” I shoved Matt rolled away from the moaning. The hand on my breast stayed there, accompanied by a nasty tearing noise, like the sound of a drumstick being ripped off a whole chicken.
Matt grabbed the lantern and flicked it on. I looked down and gasped in grossed-out disbelief. The glow revealed a rotted hand clutching my 34-C, ragged nails digging into the flesh. Even worse, said hand was attached to an equally gross arm …
And nothing else.
“Omigod, that’s disgusting!” I suppressed the urge to hurl the contents of my stomach.
“Jeez, babe, what is your damage?” Matt sat up, sounding mortally offended.
I didn’t have time to deal with his petulance. I was too busy dislodging what looked like a cheap Halloween prop from my boob. It didn’t take much effort; the thing seemed to have lost all of its oomph.
As Matt lifted the lantern, I found out why.
The top half of what was once a young woman squirmed on the mossy ground next to our blanket. Her torso trailed off into strings of intestines and other bits of unidentifiable organs. Chunks of flesh were missing from her face and neck.
Two spooky, milky-white eyes stared at me above a bloody hole, chewed gristle sticking out where her nose used to be. Her mouth opened and closed hungrily as she used her remaining arm to pull herself onto the blanket.
I choked back a definitely hysterical laugh as I wondered if this counted as a lesbian encounter. Then my stomach twisted in serious knots, and I threw up.
“Holy shit!” Matt got a good look at our visitor as she pulled herself slowly, relentlessly towards us. “Holy shit! What the fuck is that?”
I shook my head, holding back my own “holy shits” through a sheer force of willpower.
“I don’t know,” I said, babbling more than talking. “But it’s ugly and it felt me up and I think it’s trying to eat us.” I fumbled in the picnic basket and grabbed the bread knife.
“What are you doing, Ash?” Matt’s voice rose an octave as I turned back to what had to be the grossest picnic crasher ever.
I didn’t say anything, though. I just brought the knife down as hard as I could into one of Miss Thang’s ears, shoving with all of my strength to push the serrated blade deep into whatever was left of her brain … and hoped that the movies didn’t lie.