A Tourist’s Halloween Guide to Bad Blood

g1510984England has a rich heritage and, especially in London, you’ll find it difficult to spit and not hit something centuries years old – BTW, you might get arrested for that, so do check around before letting rip with the salvia!

London is a busy city where there are too many people and far too many construction sites. Our Tube (Subway) is unnaturally warm, and our roads are naturally congested. But none of this matters in my YA horror novel, Bad Blood. It’s hard to care about temperature and traffic when you’re hip deep in snarling smelly zombies.

Bad Blood is told first person from a vampire’s point of view. Britannia is the very essence of Britain; she has protected it many times in the past, and now finds herself taking on that role again to save survivors of a fast-paced zombie outbreak that hits the UK. The first book happens mainly in London – so let’s take a tour of some Bad Blood hot spots:

The Statue of George IV, Trafalgar Square: erected in 1843, this bronze statue of King George IV astride his faithful steed looks out over the world famous Trafalgar Square. Used as higher ground by Britannia when she is sniffing out un-infected humans to feed on, this statue gives her the space and time she needs to locate her next meal.

The Natural History Museum: A beautiful, elaborately designed building established in 1881; filled with knowledge, dioramas and now zombies. Britannia has an epic struggle on her hands here, and not just with the hungry undead hordes that were given free admission!

Madame Tussauds: Originally set up by wax sculptor Marie Tussauds in 1884, there is more blank-eyed scary looking celebrities here than on any red carpet event. But Bad Blood takes you deeper into the bowels of this tourist attraction, delivering you a fast-paced confrontation in the Chambers of Horrors.

Double Decker Red Buses: The Red Double Decker bus is an iconic symbol of London and is used by the vampires and the human survivors to flee the city and also to indulge the vampire’s competitor natures!

Now you know the stops, why not jump onto the Bad Blood bus and let it take you sight-seeing through the zombie ravaged streets of London; the price of admission? Well, Britannia only asks for your blood…

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Halloween advice – surviving the zombies!

dsc00127We have a fascination with zombies, in my opinion, they are the most realistic monster lurking in the horror aisles of your local book shop. They are us. They could happen. Vampires, werewolves – well, as Disney put it ‘It’s a small world after all’ so we’d know about them already. In a time when people post what they had for breakfast on FaceBook, these creatures couldn’t hide for long. But zombies …there are more dead bodies crammed into the earth than live ones walking on it.
So how could it happen? Mostly in zombie stories the survivors rarely find out how they ended up nose to nose with re-animated flesh-munching corpses; they’re far too busy trying to stay alive than to discover the undead root of the problem. To me, the most believable way of this happening is a scientifically created disease, perhaps something similar to rabies.

Okay, so it’s happening, the dead are rising. In theory, this wouldn’t be an instant issue; it would probably take 2 or 3 days for the undead crap to hit the fan. In that time you’d see more violent news reports than usual. There would be odd hashtag threads on twitter about attacks and infection. They’d be YouTube videos popping up with alarming regularity featuring police show-downs with crazed, bullet proof psychos. It would be a slow but steady stream of bloody violence.
Now, if hunky British survivalist Bear Grylls has taught us anything, it’s that to survive in a harsh environment, we need to ensure we have three things: food, water and shelter. You need to be fed and rested to be able to keep one step ahead of the zombie hordes so, to survive, your priority would be to find a safe place to hole up, preferably which contains food and water too. We’ve all seen the potential trolley of problems with picking a shopping centre for this – it’s too big, you can’t defend it. So somewhere, perhaps like a small supermarket that’s doors could be barricaded, would work well.
The next question you have to answer is: do you buddy up, or go it alone? There are dangers with either, but I tend to think the buddy system was practicality designed for zombie attacks, so buddy up! Just be cautious and ensure your buddy is someone you can trust. You don’t want to test the theory ‘to survive – you only need to run faster than your friend, than a zombie horde in pursuit!’
So, you have a group of people you can trust; you’re holed up in a defend-able, solid building stuffed with food and drink – now what? Well, to be honest, you wait it out. When comparing a zombie outbreak to a disease of similar ilk, it would all be over after 21 days. After that time, those who were infected will have eaten their whole available food source, they’ll start to starve and, even zombies need food to keep going. After hearing the last animated corpse scratch and moan at your door, you give it another day before emerging. Then with other sensible survivors start to rebuild, and I guess figure out how it all went horribly wrong in the first place.
Just, remember the rules that horror movies have taught us over the years: Don’t open the door for anything/ anyone. Slug anyone who looks like they’re going to panic and rip out through your barricade. Ration the amount of sugary items you consume (Although I actually believe that you can never eat enough chocolate). Always carry a weapon. Check your buddies for infection. And always, always… hang on there’s a new #infection tag infesting Twitter…Right, I’m off down the local supermarket; you can join me if you like, but make sure you get there before I barricade the door!

If you like your zombie uprising with a dash of vampires, then check out Bad Blood today for your Halloween read:

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Halloween – Embracing Fear

7BLKIxiN0G0When I was a little girl, I relished gory movies, horror books and ghost stories. Something in me would just come alive – I couldn’t explain it, although it hasn’t been till now that I wanted to.

So what makes us like to be frightened? Why are horror movies and books so popular? I believe it’s down to safe scares; after all a book can’t hurt you (unless someone clocks you with one!) and horror movies show us bloody scenes that, thankfully, most of us will never experience in our real lives. This is taken further by supernatural horrors – the more fantastical the threat, the less likely it is actually to happen. Vampires, werewolves, zombies, mutant ninja turtles (come on, they had weapons, they’re scary!) the odds of any of these creatures being real are slim to none. Serial killers, on the other hand, are very real – personally, I find movies and books like The Silence of the Lambs, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of 100 Corpses, Exquisite Corpse – so much scarier. In fact in a study back in 1998, it was found the ‘seven deadliest movies’ were: The Shining, Scream, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, The Exorcist, and Poltergeist. 5 out of 7 had serial killers/ mass murderers in!

Part of the appeal of horror is that you also get the relief when it’s over – it’s the sense of ‘I made it’ which can spur you on to put yourself through such blood-curdling ordeals in the first place. When you first start dating someone new a horror movie is a popular venue choice as it also creates a bond with the person you’re with; a kind of shared semi-traumatic event which links you together.

From a biological perspective, the fight or flight response will kick in if you feel fear, but if your brain decides that there’s no physical danger then all you’re left with is an adrenaline rush – no wonder pop up Halloween attractions do so much business!

Also, I think that the era you’re in affects the notion of scariest. Here we are in the 21st century and hasn’t everything been done? Aren’t we just re-hashing and re-developing old movies and book ideas that have gone before? From the list of the 7 deadliest movies 3 of them have already been re-made, 2 have countless sequels and all of them have been spoofed in some way. When you think back to when The Exorcist came out, they were carting out faint-hearted movie-goers from the theatre straight to hospital – could you see that happening nowadays?

Part of my research for my YA urban fantasy, Bad Blood, was on people’s reactions to fear, and something bad and unexpected happening. In a world where zombies are being hacked apart by vampires, I at least wanted part of my book to be based in fact; to have human reactions in a very in-human situation. If you feel like have a safe yet horrifying adventure with a group of human survivors, led by a couple of bickering vampires all hip deep in a zombie apocalypse, then pick up a copy of Bad Blood today and feel free to drop and tell me how you would react if put in this situation; let’s survive it together.

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What I love about Halloween

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Well, the scariest time of the year is almost upon us and I thought I’d do a quick blog post to talk about we I love Halloween so much.

You get to dress up! My fav past time! I think it’s down to my fantasy-prone nature, but I just love playing dress-up. And apart from hen do’s and special birthday parties, Halloween is the one time you can really go for it.  For one night you get to be someone else, something else – it’s like being a kid again.

It has a a really cool back story. There are so many lores and myths surrounding Halloween, so many that there has to be something to it all – right? Well, I guess us fantasy-prone types can hope! A quick Wikipedia visit is all you need to delve deeper into the sinister side of history.

There’s always new things to do. England has really started to grab on to the celebration and we’ve got some amazing pop-up attractions to choose from now. So, if you enjoy being scared out of your wits, and I know you do, then have a search on your local area. If you’re in the Midlands like me, then make sure you get yourself down to Dr. Frights which is set up in Earls Barton, Northants. SDRandCo (67)

All the great decorations come out to play. Yeah, this is a bit weird, but I love macabre things, and my place is teaming with skulls, candles and dark ornaments – as a horror writer, they really help me channel a bit of darkness into my work. So every Halloween I stock up on new bric-a-brac.

Horror Movie marathon time. Okay, so I never really need a good excuse to watch a horror film, but it can help when you’re enticing those innocent friends into a popcorn and gore fest!

There’s a chill in the air. So, not really down to Halloween per-say, but with it being slap in the middle of Autumn, it always seems to happen on a sweet, but chilly night when there’s oceans of orange and brown leaves littering the ground and there’s a smell and feel to it that always tugs at my imagination.

Do you love Halloween? Share your thoughts below, oh, and tell me what your fav scary movie is…