I sat down the other day and built a little picture of how my “Underdogs of the Apocalypse” cycle fits together. Laying it all out makes it even more daunting, but, having published one of the books and nearing completion on two more, I can say with some assurance that it will be done someday.
The universe these books share is a poorly contained apocalypse. In April, 2009, terrorists release a zombie virus on the East Coast of the United States. Over the next two years, the rest of the world responds with increasingly desperate efforts to contain the virus to the Eastern United States. Within that area, conditions range from absolute devastation in the urban areas to relative stability in rural pockets that have successfully quarantined themselves inside the plague zone.
Everything I Know About Zombies, I Learned in Kindergarten is the first published novel in the sequence, beginning the story of Letitia Johnson, a nine-year-old that attempts to save her little sister’s kindergarten class. On their own in the Bronx, the children learn the lessons they need to survive in a world that is earnestly trying to kill them. Despite the youthful cast, this book is not for children, and won a 2014 IndieFab Award for Multicultural Adult Fiction.
Rosarita’s Redemption picks up in April 2010, where Everything I Know … left off, following a group of surviving children as they flee south, hoping to find refuge in Florida. It also introduces Betty and Norah, two women from Georgia, running north, fleeing the increasing menace of Jeb Bush’s New Florida Republic.
Bronx Apocalypse, told primarily from the perspective of a pregnant black newlywed, is set roughly one mile away from Everything I Know …, starting 45 minutes earlier and ending six months earlier. In Everything I Know …, we learned about the people of Hunts Point, who decided that the apocalypse was actually a white plot to destroy the blacks and Hispanics. Fortunate enough to be sitting on the largest food depository in the world, they wall themselves in and fight back.
Along the Borderline covers September 2009 to April 2011, and is the story of a British regiment deployed in Louisiana, part of a world containment force trying to seal the western border of the zombie area, both from refugees attempting to escape and from smugglers and adventurers willing to risk the plague zone to salvage abandoned wealth.
Crossing the Border begins in April 2011, following Rosarita, Betty, and Norah as they run west, trying to make it across the river, and serves as a sequel to both Along the Borderline and Rosarita’s Redemption.
Baltimore Blues begins in September 2009 and continues through March 2010, and deals with what to do if the apocalypse comes and the only thing of value you have is a shipping container full of uncut heroin.
In Everything I Know … , two groups of people head east into Long Island, trying to flee the devastation of New York City and make a new life for themselves. Arnie Takes Long Island is their story.