10 things you’ll need to survive the apocalypse

It’s been a month since my debut post-apocalyptic horror novel, The Darkening, hit the electronic and physical shelves (you can check it out here and here), and I’ve been looking into things that one should do to survive an apocalyptic event. Now, a few months back, I wrote a list with the 10 post apocalyptic scenarios most possible to happen. Inspired from these, I thought I should come up with a list of things one should do to be prepared for such an event.

Please note, though I have written a post apocalyptic novel, that does not mean I am a prepper, or that I have done or tried any of the following things. So don’t take my word for any of these. You see, I’m more like this:

Keep in mind that everything depends on the type of the apocalypse you’ll be dealing with, however, there are a few things that will prove helpful no matter what the scenario is. With the following list, I tried to take into account as many different scenarios as possible.

1. A satchel or backpack

Imagine this: something catastrophic happened a couple of days ago on the other side of the planet. The effects spread rapidly and are not too far away from where you live. Others have seen it too and are acting accordingly.

The local infrastructure is already ruined because… panic, and from whatever the effects of the apocalypse may be. You’re going to have to leave, but you should take some items with you. No, grocery store bags are not ideal for something like this. You need something to carry your gear, and it had better be something that will last you a long time. Bug out bags, as they’re often called, are lightweight and can carry provisions and items that you will need for the first couple of days. Some of them come pre-stocked with items like water purification tablets and other useful items. Make sure you keep it somewhere handy, and that its provisions have not expired.

2. Knife

This one should be pretty self-explanatory. Skin your food, hunt, or defend yourself out there. In an apocalyptic scenario, you’re not going to be the only survivor (hopefully). However, usually, when things get really ugly and resources necessary for survival become too scarce, people tend to look after themselves. Survival instincts and desperation kicks in. What you have and I don’t, I can try taking it from you. So make sure you keep your knife sharp.

3. Stormproof matches

I don’t know about you, but I suck at lighting fires. And I don’t mean trying to light a fire out there in the wilderness (Chris and the wild don’t mix together, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post). I’m talking about trying to get a fire going in a fireplace. If you’re like me, and for some reason you have yet to master evolutionary basics, like getting a fire going in a warm, summer day for a barbecue, imagine how much harder it will be to light a fire when it’s raining outside your shelter, you’re miserable, cold, and drenched to the bone from hunting the foul beast of Caerbannog in the rain.

Your hands are shaking. You strike the match, and just as it lights up, a gust of wind puts it out. Meanwhile, you’re still freezing, and you’re also one match shorter than before. Still no fire. Bet now you wish you had bought stormproof matches, huh?

4. Flint and steel

Eventually your stormproof matches will run out. Then what? Well, time to go old school. Flint and steel. I’ll leave the pros do the talking for this one, so watch the videos and mimic them.

If you want to know more about how to start a fire, you can check this site out. Please don’t do it in the middle of forests or in your homes, m’kay? This knowledge should only be used in case of emergency.

5. Flashlight

We take electricity for granted nowadays. Just over a century and a half ago, in some places, the streets at night were dark, and unless the sky was clear and the moon big enough to shine, you couldn’t see where you were going. Modern power grid requires constant monitoring and maintenance, so if an apocalyptic situation occurs and civilisation collapses around you, the power will be one of the first things to go. And if the scenario forces you to leave the city (assuming you live in one), you’re going to have to see where you’re going in order to avoid falling and breaking a bone. Make sure you have plenty of batteries with you, but bear in mind that they won’t last you forever. For that you may want to consider a solar-powered flashlight.

6. A compass

– Does it need batteries?
– No.
– Good. Will it save my life?
– Yes.
– Approved!

Seriously, if you have to travel and you’re miles away from any roads, or even if you find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere, a compass will save your life, provided you know the relative location of wherever it is you wish to go to with respect to your current general location (in other words, “I’m in Pennsylvania and I want to go to Florida. Florida is south of where I am now”). The only chance a compass will fail you, is if you fail yourself and mistake north for south, or if something happens to the Earth’s magnetic poles. Of course in the case of the Earth’s magnetic poles disappearing, going in the wrong direction would be the least of your worries…

7. First aid kit

Regardless of the apocalyptic scenario, if you’re one of the survivors, your primary objective is to keep yourself safe. Yes, our bodies can cope with a lot of things, but would you be willing to test your limits during an apocalypse? Potentially, even a scrape from a rusty piece of metal can be fatal, so do make sure you have a handy first aid kit with you. And keep it safe. Even if you’re Superman in disguise and viruses and diseases run away from you in terror, you can always use it to barter for something you don’t have. Not that I advise you to trade away your medical supplies.

8. Hard Currency

Speaking of bartering, remember the time when banks and politicians created money out of nothing and gave us all thin plastic cards that supposedly represented equal value to hard currency, like gold? Now let’s imagine a situation where the world’s banking system has collapsed. Power and telecommunications are also no more, so no internet or electricity. And you need food and water. Lucky you, there’s a store across the street with a couple of walking mountains-for-guards keeping an eye on things, that still has some food. Of course prices will be inflated, but who cares? You have your mighty plastic card! Gold or platinum coloured!

When was the last time you tried trading plastic strips (with fancy colours) for food or water or anything valuable? Mine was in kindergarten or maybe early elementary years. So, do consider grabbing and holding onto some hard currency. Gold, silver, jewels. Things you can actually barter with. Depending on the crisis at hand, food, water, or antibiotics may be even more precious than gold and silver. While we’re looking at alternative forms of currency, and if the apocalypse allows it, consider seeds from plants that bear fruits. Preferably not from genetically modified plants, since seeds from most of these cannot grow after a couple of harvests.

9. Warm and sturdy clothes

Imagine surviving whatever apocalypse befell the world, only to succumb to a cold or hypothermia. That would really suck. So, the next time you go to a shopping spree to buy the latest awesome and fashionable clothes, you may want to consider adding something less fashionable but more durable and warm.

 

Honourable mention

10. Guns

Yeah, that also goes without saying, however, how long will it be practical for? Assuming the apocalypse at hand is here to stay for the foreseeable future, how many bullets will you be able to carry around? And how much weight will that add to your backpack? What will you do with the gun once you have no more bullets? Throw it at the enemy? Maybe, if it’s heavy and reliable.

And there you have it, folks. Now, I tried my best to take something grim that potentially could scare a lot of people, and turn it into an enjoyable read. A lot of people take the end of the world seriously. Even if the end never comes during our lifetime, it’s always best to be prepared, right?

The Darkening is here!

When I was a kid at school (way back, around the age of six, when I still had hair on my head), I realised I was a little bit different from the other kids. I had an edge in English classes.Thanks to my father and his side of the family, I could speak the language before the teachers taught us anything about it. During most of my academic years, I was an average student, mostly because I found everything boring or the teachers didn’t make the classes interesting enough. But that was not the case with English classes.

The way my life unfolded before me, led me into a path that eventually, a few decades later, brought me to the point of authoring a novel with two more on the way, and a dozen or so short stories published on various markets. In a language other than my native: English. Who would have thought?

It’s amazing how little and seemingly unrelated things can end up defining a person and their careers. A few years back, I would have laughed at the idea of me becoming a writer. Five years ago, my friend Panos, said to me, “Well, why don’t you write a book? Are the others who do it better than you?”

That last question is something that can only be answered when my career in writing has come to an end and only in retrospect. It also involves a lot of subjectivity.

Fast forward to today: I published a full novel! And I’m thankful for it to all those people who unbeknownst to them nudged me a little further down the path I’m currently on. Nudges that were caused by events completely unrelated to each other.

And look at that! Even though the book has just been released, it’s already getting positive reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.

And this one

This writer is pleased he has made his readers happy 🙂

As an extra bonus, you can get your electronic copy of The Darkening at a discount for only $2.99 (or €2.99 if you’re in Europe) until Thursdsay, November 1. After that, the ebook goes back up to its standard price of 4.49, so hurry up and get your copy before the offer expires!

Amazon

All other retailers

Don’t fear the dark. Fear the light.
 
The end came when light changed. It decimated humanity, leaving scattered bands of survivors stumbling in the dark.
 
Faced with saving himself or his family during the apocalypse, John Piscus made the wrong choice, and has been living with the guilt ever since.
 
When a glowing girl shows up at John’s shelter begging for help, his instincts tell him to kill her. After all, light kills.
 
But when masked troopers tasked with capturing survivors come after them, it’s up to John to protect himself and the girl. Not only may she hold the key to reversing the lethal effects of light, she could also be the one who can save his soul.
 
If you love dark settings and characters faced with tough choices that result in horrific and sinister outcomes, don’t miss this post-apocalyptic horror read.
 
Discover the dangers in the world of The Darkening today.

The Darkening is a post-apocalyptic horror novel and is available as an ebook and paperback from all major retailers.

Amazon

All other retailers

The hour of The Darkening is approaching

You’ve been following this blog for a while, and in a way it’s almost as if we’ve known each other for as long. And yet, most of you have never heard the sound of my voice. Or my accent. Ever. Hmm…

It also occurred to me that I haven’t shared the cover of my novel with you either, have I? A few weeks ago, I made a quick video where I was unboxing the proof copy of The Darkening.

There’s a video on Youtube where you can find out what I sound like AND get a glimpse of the cover for my post-apocalyptic horror novel, The Darkening. That’s two birds with one stone, right?

Enjoy!

Surviving the apocalypse – a cooking stove

It’s amazing what a writer can discover while researching for a book. Writing a post-apocalyptic story for the past few years made me look into the whole survival thing. Now, I’m not much of a survivalist myself. In fact, I’m such a city slicker, that I feel I’m in an alien and hostile environment even if I’m left in a park. You know, one of those big parks, with lots of trees and flying critters buzzing all around me. Chances are, after a couple of minutes there, you’ll probably see me running half crazy, arms flailing, and screaming in utter panic.

True story, by the way, on more than one occasion, but let’s not get into that right now, shall we? Moving on…

Even though I’m not too fond of nature (I think the right word is incompatible), I couldn’t help but timidly start researching things about survival in the wilderness (like a park). After all, you never know when an apocalyptic event will occur with you as one of the survivors. And yes, this includes a zombie apocalypse. You’ll still need to eat during a zombie apocalypse, wouldn’t you?

One of the first things I came across was a video that showed how to create a stove to cook food. Of course, that implies you already know how to capture your food, how to overcome any mental barriers you may have about killing your food (preferably before your food kills you – always a good idea to do things in that order), how to prepare your food for cooking, and other various important things for survival.

Now obviously I haven’t tried this at home, so in the case of an apocalypse, I can’t guarantee it won’t turn the world’s or humanity’s leftovers into cinders,

but it may be something that could help you survive. And yes, why not, have a party with your friends in the middle of a zombie apocalypse (word of advice: your plus one should NOT be muttering “brains” all the time and should NOT be part of the mindless horde. Nobody likes a party pooper). If you do want to try this, be mindful of any harmful and/or toxic substances that may or may not migrate to your food from the makeshift stove. On the other hand, if a zombie apocalypse occurs or fiery mushrooms of doom burn the atmosphere, toxic substances from your makeshift stove may be the least of your worries.

If only John Piscus, the main character in my debut novel, The Darkening, knew this… man, oh man!

ARC readers needed

For a little over a month now, I’ve been trying to build an ARC team for my debut novel, The Darkening. If you’re unfamiliar with the term ARC, it’s an acronym that stands for Advanced Review/Reader Copy. What this means is that an interested party receives a copy of the book (in this case, a digital copy) in the hopes that he/she will be willing to review the book when it launches, regardless of the review being positive or negative.

It’s not easy. I’m going about it the hard way. That is, I scour the internet for book bloggers and reviewers, looking for those who would be willing to consider my book for a review. For those who enjoy reading horror and post apocalypse. When done like this, it’s incredibly time consuming. But when someone starts out and doesn’t have a strong fan base, I think it’s unavoidable.

In order for a book and its author to compete with the big names of traditional and self publishing, authors with thousands of fans who hit the bestseller lists almost on day one, it’s crucial for the book to come out with as many reviews as possible on release day.

Though I haven’t checked my browser’s history, I know that each day since I started building the ARC team, I visit more than a hundred book bloggers’ sites. There were a few days where I found a list of two hundred of them, and I went through it in one day.

Cartoon of man with messy hair, bags below bloodshot eyes, and stubble on face and chin

Yeah, that’s me after all the searching is done, minus the hair, plus the exhaustion from the heat (go away summer, I’ve had enough of you).

So this post is a call for ARC readers. Does any of you enjoy reading post apocalypse and horror? Here are the book’s details.

 

Title: The Darkening (standalone book)
Genre: Post-apocalyptic horror
Available format: epub, mobi (pdf upon request)
Release date: Sunday, 28 October 2018
Trigger Warning: mention of dead animals and humans. Moderate violence.
Audience: Adult
Similar books (in terms of mood): The Road (Cormac McCarthy), Children Of Men (P. D. James).
Excerpt: Available upon request.

Description: Don’t fear the dark. Fear the light.

The end came when light changed. It decimated humanity, leaving scattered bands of survivors stumbling in the dark.

Faced with saving himself or his family during the apocalypse, John Piscus made the wrong choice, and has been living with the guilt ever since.

When a glowing girl shows up at John’s shelter begging for help, his instincts tell him to kill her. After all, light kills.

But when masked troopers tasked with capturing survivors come after them, it’s up to John to protect himself and the girl. Not only may she hold the key to reversing the lethal effects of light, she could also be the one who can save his soul.

———————

The book’s launch is scheduled for the 28th of October. I can only hope that, should you decide to join my ARC team, there will be enough time for you to read it before that date. When I started building the team, I thought it would take me a month, perhaps a little more than that, to assemble a group of about fifty (brave) readers. Alas, this newbie was wrong.

If any of you wants to receive an ARC, please use the site’s contact form, or post a reply here with your email, or tweet me (@c_sarantopoulos), or message me on Facebook. I welcome all reviews, both positive and negative.

Thank you!