Sunday, February 3, 2013

Guest blog with Brett Davis

Real-Life Zombies

My latest novel, “Mama Lona's Man,” attempts a new spin on the lore of zombies. The titular character is a zombie, it's true, but he's not the flesh-chomping type that have become popular since “Night of the Living Dead.” Instead, he's a hybrid of voodoo lore and some stuff I made up. The end result: a zombie who not only isn't rotting but who is attractive enough to win the love of a brainy young college student visiting the Caribbean with her father.

I thought it would be fun to investigate some other creatures who could be considered non-traditional zombies. They can die, or almost, but they're not completely dead and, like my title hero, they're very tough.

1)     Water bears. These tiny creatures are bears only in that they sort of resemble bears if you squint a bit (which you'll have to do through a microscope to see them at all). Technically known as tardigrades, these little beasties can take a licking and keep on ticking. They can be frozen, dried out, pressurized, irradiated, no problem. Tardigrades are also the only animal known to have survived the vacuum of space. A European experiment in 2007 showed that the critters could handle space just fine, although a full blast of solar radiation was harder on them — but some of them survived that, too, once they were revived.
2)     Resurrection plants. Like the little water bears, there are some types of plants that can be dried out to a level that would mean death for any other growing thing, but rehydrate them and they come right back. They're a type of bush called lycopods and scientists are studying their ability to do without water to see if the drought tolerance of other plants (such as ones we might like to eat).
3)     Abell 30. This is the catchy name for a star located some 5,500 light years away. Astronomers thought it had breathed its last more than 12,000 years ago, but further use of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory showed that it had actually flared back to life 800 years ago and commenced tossing off spurts of helium. And then it died again. But while it lived, it burned.

Now, I will admit that my zombie character has more fun in his undead life than water bears, or resurrection plants, or reborn stars. None of those get to walk on a warm beach and fall in love with a beautiful woman who saves him from his zombieness and gives him new life. But they serve as an example of how life isn't always an easy thing to pin down. Thank you, Wenona, for this opportunity to talk about these strange critters!

Mama Lona's Man
The Straw Man Series Book One
Brett O'Neal Davis

Genre: Paranormal Romance

ISBN: 9781301347049

Number of pages: 219
Word Count: 74,000

Cover Artist: Cate Meyers

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Book Description:

Mama Lona’s Man combines a Caribbean love story with a zombie thriller. It’s a bit James Bond, a bit "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" and a dash of "Night of the Living Dead.

The leading man is a ex-Navy SEAL controlled by a witch doctor. When he meets an American girl caught up in island intrigue, they fall in love even though he's been dead longer than she's been alive.

About the Author

Brett O’Neal Davis is a native of Florence, Ala., and attended the same high school as Sam Phillips, who discovered Elvis Presley. He studied journalism at the University of North Alabama and the University of Missouri, writing about music whenever possible. He also briefly “fronted” the one-man punk band Screwhead. Despite clearing $1.50 in profit on consignment sales of the band’s lone album at Salt of the Earth Records in Columbia, Mo., he turned to the slightly more stable world of aerospace and defense journalism, working today in the field of unmanned systems and robotics in Washington, D.C.

He is the author of four science fiction and fantasy novels, all published by Baen Books. The first, The Faery Convention, was listed among the best fantasy novels for 1995 by Science Fiction Chronicle, and Two Tiny Claws was named to the 2000 Books for the Teen Age List by the New York Public Library. An occasional panelist at area science fiction conventions, he also has discussed fiction writing at National Press Club events and at literary festivals, including the annual T.S. Stribling celebration at the University of North Alabama. Mama Lona’s Man is his first foray into paranormal romance, but it won’t be the last.

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