>Everyone please welcome Deadtown’s Tina and her creator Nancy Holzner to Paperback Dolls! After Tina tells us about her new book, Nancy has a special treat for our followers, but for now, take it away Tina!
Waking Up Dead
by Tina Terror
So I’m writing my memoirs. The book is all about how I became a zombie, and what it was like being a teenage zombie in the early days of Deadtown and everything, and then how I became Vicky’s apprentice and started learning demon fighting. It’s called Tina Terror: The Zombie Who Saved Boston, Broke Some Hearts, and Almost Went on the Road. Awesome title, huh? I’d so pick that up in a bookstore.
If they had any bookstores in Deadtown. I guess they don’t think zombies can read.
So anyway, here’s the part about how I got zombified. I was fifteen when the plague hit. Nobody know where it came from or why it hit only downtown Boston or why it mutated so fast that it was totally harmless after, like, fifteen minutes. Not that any of that stuff mattered to me. All that mattered was that one minute I was a normal teenager skipping school to go shopping, and the next minute I woke up dead in a makeshift morgue. That’s what it felt like, anyway.
See, there was this dance coming up at my high school. I had a wicked crush on Joey Tomasino, and three days before the dance he asked me if I was going. He didn’t actually ask me to go with him or anything, but I figured it was almost the same thing, so I wanted to look, you know, hot. My best friend Jenna came over to help me pick what to wear, and after trying on every dress in my closet (some of them twice) we decided we had to do an emergency shopping trip. So the next day we skipped school and took the train into Boston to go shopping.
Putting us in the wrong place at, like, the wrongest time ever.
By late morning we were at Downtown Crossing, headed toward this store that had really cute clothes. The streets were crowded. Then there was . . . it was like a change in the air. Like it got thicker somehow, and colder. I coughed. My lungs felt like they were clogging up with ice. Then this guy in front of me, some businessman, keeled over like a bowling pin. One arm went out to his side, holding his briefcase. I remember thinking, “Don’t trip over the briefcase,” but it didn’t matter. My legs got all wobbly, and then everything went black.
Three days went by, but of course I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that all hell had broken loose in Boston, either. ’Cause, you know, I was dead and everything. I found out later that everyone—all the humans, anyway—in Downtown Crossing that morning had been killed by the virus. For blocks in each direction. Paranormals like Vicky were immune, so they helped set up a quarantine zone. The authorities called it the Disease Enclosure District, and spray-painted DED on the plywood fences that surrounded the area. That’s where “Deadtown” came from: DED-town equals Deadtown. Get it? Of course, the nickname also came from the fact that me and Jenna and a couple thousand other corpses were lying in its streets.
We didn’t stay in the streets, though. Kane—that’s Vicky’s boyfriend (at least, I think he is)—anyway, he’s a werewolf and a lawyer and stuff, so he’s used to telling people what to do. He organized the paranormals who were stuck inside the quarantine zone, and they set up morgues and stuff and started trying to identify the dead.
Like I said, I didn’t know any of this then. I don’t remember those three days. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I didn’t see or hear anything when I was dead. There wasn’t any white light. Nobody was waiting to welcome me to the other side—not my gramma who died when I was ten, not my puppy that got run over by a car. Maybe that means I wasn’t dead—that’s what some scientists think, that us zombies were in a deathlike state but really still alive. I don’t know. Maybe that explanation is best. I get kinda scared sometimes thinking maybe I would’ve gotten in trouble with God for dying when I was skipping school.
But that’s not what I was thinking about when I woke up. To tell the truth, when I woke up naked, lying on my back under a sheet, my first thought was Joey Tomasino. Like, I thought that maybe somehow he and I had like, you know, gotten together. And I didn’t even remember it. But then, two feet away from me, I saw this face. It wasn’t Joey’s. It was dead. There was no way that lady was still alive. Her skin was greenish-gray and all gross and spongy and stretched too tight over her face. I screamed and sat up. And that’s when I saw I was in a morgue. The room was full of tables, each one holding a body covered by a sheet. Just like the table I sat on. I screamed again and ran down the aisle. I don’t know where I thought I was going. I just knew I had to get away from all those dead people.
I didn’t get far. I stopped—stopped dead (haha)—when I saw my reflection in a full-length mirror, and realized it was me. The morgue was set up in a former clothing store, the same one where I’d been going to look for a dress. Except right then, when I saw myself, I didn’t think I’d ever care about dresses again. I was . . . a monster. I had the same skin as that dead woman. My eyes were a bloody red. My lips were peeled back in an ugly snarl. I couldn’t get them to close right, even when I pressed them together with my fingers. I thought I was going to cry, but my eyes stayed dry. Zombies can’t make tears. It was the first thing I learned about being one.
I heard a noise behind me and turned around. Another person was sitting up on their table. Then another. And another. We were waking up. And we were all zombies.
Over the weeks and months that followed, I learned a lot more about being a zombie. Like we couldn’t go out in the sun without getting a zombie sunburn—it makes your skin orange and full of craters. And we don’t heal (even from sunburn), but we’re almost impossible to kill. At first, lots of zombies tried to commit suicide, but it didn’t work. And it was so stupid to blow a hole through your head or jump off some building and break all your bones and be, like, stuck that way forever. On the plus side, I can pig out on pizza and ice cream and cake all day long—I’m always hungry—and not gain an ounce. They say that zombies go into, like, this frenzy of hunger for living flesh if they get a whiff of human blood. But I’ve never smelled human blood, so I don’t know if I believe it. In the meantime, I’ll stick with junk food.
Maybe the hardest thing to learn was that the norms would rather wall us up in Deadtown than admit we exist. My parents used to get a permit to take me home on Sunday afternoons, but that didn’t last long. They just stopped coming. I think they wish I’d died—I mean really died—in the plague. I used to wish that, too. Then I figured what the hell? I’m here, and I’m not going to hide in the shadows. Me and Jenna (she’s a zombie too), we found where they’d stashed all the clothes from that clothing store, and I took the dress I would’ve worn to the dance. I do look hot in it, too. For a zombie. I mean, my skin isn’t too spongy, and nothing’s rotting, and I haven’t had any parts fall off.
Oh, by the way, my name isn’t really Tina Terror. The “Terror” part is my pen name. Cool, huh? Plus I haven’t exactly broken any hearts yet (like it says in my title), but I haven’t finished the book yet. And I’m still young. Give me time.
A Little Something About Nancy…
Nancy Holzner grew up in western Massachusetts with her nose stuck in a book. This meant that she tended to walk into things, wore glasses before she was out of elementary school, and forced her parents to institute a “no reading at the dinner table” rule. It was probably inevitable that she majored in English in college and then, because there were still a lot of books she wanted to read, continued her studies long enough to earn a masters degree and a PhD.
She began her career as a medievalist, then jumped off the tenure track to try some other things. Besides teaching English and philosophy, she’s worked as a technical writer, freelance editor and instructional designer, college admissions counselor, and corporate trainer. Most of her nonfiction books are published under the name Nancy Conner.
Nancy lives in upstate New York with her husband Steve, where they both work from home without getting on each other’s nerves. She enjoys visiting local wineries and listening obsessively to opera. There are still a lot of books she wants to read.
DEADTOWN [Victory Vaughn 1]
hey call it Deadtown: the city’s quarantined section for its inhuman and undead residents. Most humans stay far from its borders — but Victory Vaughn, Boston’s only professional demon slayer, isn’t exactly human…
Vicky’s demanding job keeping the city safe from all manner of monsters is one reason her relationship with workaholic lawyer (and werewolf) Alexander Kane is in constant limbo. Throw in a foolhardy zombie apprentice, a mysterious demon-plagued client, and a suspicious research facility that’s taken an unwelcome interest in her family, and Vicky’s love life has as much of a pulse as Deadtown’s citizens.
But now Vicky’s got bigger things to worry about. The Hellion who murdered her father ten years ago has somehow broken through Boston’s magical protections. The Hellion is a ruthless force of destruction with a personal grudge against Vicky, and she’s the only one who can stop the demon before it destroys the city and everyone in it.
HELLFORGED [Victory Vaughn 2] Due for release December 28, 2010.
A demon is stalking Vicky’s dreams-just as several of Deadtown’s zombies are viciously attacked and become really dead. And when Vicky realizes she is the only connection between the victims, she suspects that the demon is somehow working through her dreams to become Deadtown’s living nightmare.
Paperback Dolls would love to thank Nancy and Tina for participating in our Zombie Week! If you you’d like to read a review of Nancy’s DEADTOWN, you can find it on Paperback Dolls HERE. If your looking for Nancy:
*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!*
I’m giving away a signed copy of either Deadtown or Hellforged (winner’s choice, although I won’t have my copies of Hellforged until mid-December) PLUS a handmade Zombie Girl Sex Kitten necklace. To enter: Leave a comment describing a time when you had a rude awakening.
This giveaway is US/CANADA ONLY and will have ONE winner. Leave your comment on this post to enter. This giveaway will close on November 13th and the winner will be announced with the help of Random.org on the 14th. We ask the winners to post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out. Also, we will try to contact the winners, but we ask that you check back to see if you’ve won.