Month: October 2016

Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter by C. A. Verstraete

lbzh-front-cover-4-sm2I can’t think of a better way to get in the Halloween mood than reading something eerie and spooky!I


Today, I’m welcoming C.A. (Christine) Verstraete, author of Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter. Also be sure to stop by her Girl Zombie Authors blog, to see what my character from Infection, A Pandemic Survival Novel has to say! Double the scariness!


About Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter


Every family has its secrets…


One hot August morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden picked up an axe and murdered her father and stepmother. Newspapers claim she did it for the oldest of reasons: family conflicts, jealousy and greed. But what if her parents were already dead? What if Lizzie slaughtered them because they’d become… zombies?


Who is Lizzie Borden?lizzie-blood3


If you don’t know, you surely have heard the rope skipping rhyme:


Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.
According to the autopsy reports, the number is actually 10 and 18 hits … but did Lizzie do it?


Let her tell you:

I cringed every time I heard that awful rhyme. It was so cruel… and untrue.
I had to do it, you see. When Mrs. Borden came after me that August 4th morning, what else could I do? As incredulous as it seemed, she was as cold as death. And yet, she kept coming at me.
How did you get involved in your recent situation?
I never expected my life to change so drastically and dramatically. I never expected to find my mother acting so strangely, either. And then, when Father came home, that was only the beginning. It was horrible, simply horrible. He tried to bite me! How is this so? How can this happen?


The Author’s Turn: What inspired this book/story?


The author, C.A. Verstraete says one look at the autopsy records and photos hints as to why the victims were so viciously attacked and hit in the head. Why else would that be necessary but that they had become zombies?


Do you think this kind of scenario – the dead coming back to life – could happen in real life? Why or why not?


There are certainly all kinds of odd things occurring that could make such a thing somewhat feasible—synthetic drugs, viruses, even scientists saying that bodies can possibly be brought back to life in certain circumstances, under certain conditions, of course.


But drugs and psychotic episodes aside, that leaves the question of what about the soul? I lean more towards it being too “out there” to ever really happen. Dead is dead, or at least dead won’t be undead… For now.


About the Author:


Christine (C.A.) Verstraete enjoys putting a bit of a “scare” in her writing. He stories have appeared in various anthologies and publications including Mystery Weekly, Happy Homicides 3: Summertime Crime, Siren’s Call and more. She is the author of GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie and her latest, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter. Learn more at her website,  and her blog, GirlZombieAuthors and see my book, Infection, over there for a special Halloween blog post.


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Chapter One


Q. You saw his face covered with blood?
A. Yes sir.
Q. Did you see his eyeball hanging out?
A. No sir.
Q. Did you see the gashes where his face was laid open?
A. No sir.
—Lizzie Borden at inquest, August 9-11, 1892, Fall River Courtroom


August 4, 1892
Lizzie Borden drained the rest of her tea, set down her cup, and listened to the sound of furniture moving upstairs. My, my, for only ten o’clock in the morning my stepmother is certainly energetic. Housecleaning, already?
For a moment, Lizzie forgot her plans to go shopping downtown. THUMP. There it went again. It sounded like her stepmother was rearranging the whole room. She paused at the bottom stair, her concern growing, when she heard another thump and then, the oddest of sounds—a moan. Uh-oh. What was that? Did she hurt herself?


“Mrs. Borden?” Lizzie called. “Are you all right?”


No answer.


She wondered if her stepmother had taken ill, yet the shuffling, moving, and other unusual noises continued. Lizzie hurried up the stairs and paused outside the partially opened door. The strange moans coming from the room sent a shiver up her back.
Lizzie pushed the door open wider and stared. Mrs. Abby Durfee Borden stood in front of the bureau mirror, clawing at her reflected image. And what a horrid image it was. The sixty-seven-year-old woman’s hair looked like it had never been combed and stuck out like porcupine quills. Her usually spotless housedress appeared wrinkled and torn. Yet, that wasn’t the worst. Dark red spots—Blood, Lizzie’s mind whispered—dotted the floor and streaked the sides of the older woman’s dress and sleeves.


Lizzie gazed about the room in alarm. The tips of Father’s slippers peeking out from beneath the bed also glistened with the same viscous red liquid. All that blood! What happened here? What happened?


She gasped, which got the attention of Mrs. Borden, who jerked her head and growled. Lizzie choked back a cry of alarm. Abby’s square, plain face now appeared twisted and ashen gray. Her eyes, once bright with interest, stared from under a milky covering as if she had cataracts. She resembled a female version of The Portrait of Dorian Gray. Another growl and a moan, and the older woman lunged, arms rigid, her stubby hands held out like claws.


“Mrs. Borden, Abby!” Lizzie yelled and stumbled backward as fast as she could. “Abby, do you hear me?”


Her stepmother shuffled forward, her steps slow but steady. She showed no emotion or sense of recognition. The only utterances she made were those strange low moans.


Lizzie moved back even further, trying to keep some distance between her and Mrs. Borden’s grasping fingers. Then her foot hit something. Lizzie quickly glanced down at the silver hairbrush that had fallen to the floor. Too late, she realized her error.


“No!” Lizzie cried out at the strange feeling of her stepmother’s clammy, cold hand around her wrist. “Abby, what happened? What’s wrong with you?”
Mrs. Borden said nothing and moved in closer. Her mouth opened and closed, revealing bloodstained teeth.


“No! Stay away!” Lizzie yelled. “Stop!”


She didn’t. Instead, Mrs. Borden scratched and clawed at her. Lizzie leaned back, barely escaping the snap of the madwoman’s teeth at her neck.


Infection is FREE!


 Get  Infection: Book One FREE 10/25  


What started as a “flu” outbreak on a military base proves deadlier than Ebola and more contagious than the Spanish Flu. Sympatico Syndrome is unlike anything the world has ever seen. Victims’ behavior is changing to accommodate the rapid spread of the virus.

Former Navy epidemiologist Cole Evans is well aware of the rare, infectious diseases the military studies. He also knows, first-hand, the government’s stance on sharing information with the public, so if the media has already learned about the disease, then it’s far too late to contain the outbreak.

Faced with an extinction event, Cole’s only chance to save his family is to establish a safe haven. Isolated, hard to reach, and with enough space for his brother’s family as well, he has the perfect location–if only they can all reach it before they’re infected…

Introduce yourself. What are you best known for?

I’m Cole Evans and I knows about viruses and understand how the military works. As an epidemiologist with the Navy for almost twenty years, I’ve seen what Ebola can do and studied the Spanish Flu. This new virus is deadly and more contagious than either and it scares the daylights out of me—and I don’t scare easily. I volunteered to go to West Africa during the Ebola outbreak and didn’t bat an eye.

I warned the Navy about the virus just before I retired from the Navy to spend more time with my son.  Apparently, they didn’t listen to me. I almost wish I hadn’t retired, but as a widower, I’ve been raising Hunter alone since he was six. He’s a good kid, but he was in high school at the time and needed me around more. Now, he’s in college and I have to figure out how to get him home safely because if this virus is out in the wild, then it’s far too late to contain it.  I have a safe place for everyone, including my brother, Sean’s family, but can we all get to it before we catch the virus?

In the Navy, my job was to save the world from a pandemic. Now, I can only save my family—if I’m lucky.

What inspired this story?

 A love of apocalyptic stories and a chance read in a science news story led to an idea about a virus that at first makes the victim feel social and euphoric instead of ill. It does that so victims will gather in groups—which allows the virus to spread much more quickly than most illnesses. The name of the virus is Sympatico Syndrome.

Do you think this kind of scenario could happen in real life? Why or why not?

This particular virus, no, but I wouldn’t doubt that someday there will be an engineered virus that could be spread rapidly. As far as seeking a refuge, yes. There are many people who have prepared a ‘bug-out’ shelter for scenarios similar to the one in Infection.


Cole turned onto his street and slammed on the brakes.

Yellow barricades like police used when trying to hold back mobs of demonstrators blocked off the street. Three men with guns manned the roadblock. Cole tensed as one of the men approached his vehicle.
Sean was right behind him with the truck and Jenna and the kids following Sean. He hoped his brother wouldn’t jump out and start waving his handgun around. He was grateful for Sean’s forethought to bring the weapon, but it was three against one, and now Jenna and the kids were around.

Cole rolled his window down a crack, squinting at the man who was backlit by the sun and wearing a baseball cap pulled low. “What’s going on? I live on this street and need to get home.”

“Do you have proof of residence?”

Cole glared. “Since when do I need proof that I live in my house? My key is proof, now get those barricades out of the street and let me through.” He had his license, of course, but that wasn’t the point. He jabbed his thumb over his shoulder. “The two vehicles behind me are family. Let them in, too.”

“Cole, is that you?”

He blinked up at the face. “Who wants to know?”

The man pulled off his cap. “It’s me. Jerry Keeling.”

“Doctor Keeling? The dentist?” He’d taken Hunter to the guy a few times after their regular dentist had retired. He’d also spoken to him at the annual block party, but he’d never had the impression the man would become militant in a situation like this.

“Yeah. We’ve had outsiders trying to seek shelter in the neighborhood. They think because we’re upscale here, that we’re safe.”

Cole bit back a retort. Their neighborhood, while nice enough, was hardly upscale. “Look, Jerry, I just need to get home. It’s only going to be for a few hours, then we’re leaving.” Crap. He probably shouldn’t have said that.

Jerry scratched his cheek, his gaze wandering to the other two men as if seeking permission. “Okay, I guess I can let you pass, but the truck and the other car will have to stay out. Only residents allowed.” He smiled as if he was doing Cole a favor.

Cole fixed Jerry with a hard stare. “Listen, Jerry, that’s my brother in the truck and his family in the red Ford. Now, unless you’re going to shoot me, they’re coming, too.”

“Who the hell are you to tell us what to do?” One of the men circled the barricade. He was taller and heavier than the short, slim dentist, and he shouldered Jerry out of the way. “We say who comes and who goes.”

Cole narrowed his eyes and straightened his shoulders. “As it happens, I know a thing or two about diseases since I’m an epidemiologist. I worked with the CDC for many years and even went to Africa to help manage the Ebola outbreak. Do you have better credentials?”

Get Infection: Book One, FREE 10/25