I’m very excited to welcome Dana Fredsti to the blog today. I read and loved her zombie novel, Plague Town. It’s well worth a read, especially if you’re a horror, zombie or urban fantasy fan. I’m really looking forward to book two, Plague Nation, released 2013. So please welcome, Dana.
I was very tempted to start this post with “Raindrops on roses…and whiskers on kittens…” and wow you with a rendition of My Favorite Things from Sound of Music, but I restrained myself. Sort of. I did manage to sneak the first two lines in there. ☺
At any rate, most people have certain go to things that make them happy, whether they’re a person, place, thing or activity. Something that is pretty much guaranteed to help lift our mood when we’re feeling crappy or to make us happier when we’re already smiling. My list, in no particular order, is as follows:
1. Collecting sea glass - I love this stuff. I don’t know which part I enjoy more; the actual hunt for it on our local beach or running my fingers through it later on, like a miser with coins. I’ve jars and drawerfuls of the stuff. Friends say I have a problem. I’ve traded some to other collectors for pieces of handcrafted sea glass jewelry and given some as gifts to friends and family, but for the most part I am like a dragon with its horde of gold. What can I say besides “Shiny.”
2. Wine - Be it visiting wineries and tasting judicious amounts, having a glass or two at Vin Debut (our favorite wine bar in San Francisco), or sharing bottles with friends while watching bad movies, I love wine. Reading about it, writing about it, but especially drinking it.
3. “So Bad They’re Good” Movies - Like the one pictured below, Mega Piranha, a “so bad it’s good” movie is a thing of joy and delight to me. I mean, check out action hero Paul Logan battling CGI killer mutant piranhas by … bicycle kicking them?! Movies like this go with friends and wine in much the same way peanut butter goes with jelly and bread. The combination just works!
4. All Things Zombie - That’s right. Good, bad, indifferent, I am all about the fleshing-eating walking dead. Ever since I saw the original Dawn of the Dead on what was my first ever movie date where a guy paid for my ticket, popcorn, soda AND candy, I have been hooked. Zombies make me happy.
5. Walking on the Beach - Nothing starts my day off better than an early morning walk on the beach (which is usually Ocean Beach, which stretches the length of the Outer Sunset in San Francisco). I love the smell of the ocean and do my best thinking while splashing in the surf. Plus there are cool things like the King Phillip, a 19th Century shipwreck that emerges out of the sands once every few years. And, of course… there is beach glass.
6. Swordfighting - I’ve loved swordfighting ever since I saw Richard Lester’s The Three Musketeers. I started studying theatrical combat at age eighteen and spent many happy years performing on stage and in films (and just for the fun of it). Above is a shot of me, fellow Deadite Julianne choreographing a fight against one of Arthur’s soldiers for Army of Darkness. See how cute the Deadites were under the masks?
7. Cats - While I love dogs, I have always been a cat person. My boyfriend and I do feline rescue and have fostered a number of kittens/cats over the last seven years, finding homes for many of them. The permanent residents don’t hold with those what they consider interlopers and this picture was taken as a litter of four rambunctious kittens invaded their territory. Note that they do not look amused.
8. Big Cats - Before I moved from Southern Cal to San Francisco I volunteered weekly at the Exotic Feline Breeding Facility/Feline Conservation Center in Rosamond. Yes, this is me getting a kiss from Jasmine, a Bengal tiger who passed away a couple of years ago. Volunteering at EFBC has brought me more joy and amazing experiences than I can say… If you get a chance to visit, you will not regret it.
9. Reading - I love to read and we have books all over the house, stacks, piles, shelves, under and on top of coffee tables… I would rather read than just about anything else, but my writing keeps me busy so I’ve learned how to read and walk at the same time. Took some practice but now I rarely walk into telephone poles or into potholes! As you can see, our cats are of a literary bent as well.
10. Sharing life with someone I love - Going with the idea that a picture speaks a thousand words (and I’m already near my word count here), I don’t think I need to say anything else.
Dana Fredsti has written numerous published articles, essays, and shorts, including stories in Cat Fantastic IV, an anthology edited by Andre Norton (Daw, 1997), Danger City (Contemporary Press, 2005), Mondo Zombie (Cemetery Dance, 2006), and Hungry for Your Love (St. Martin’s Press, 2010). Her essays can be seen in Morbid Curiosity, Issues 2-7, as well as the anthology Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues (Scribner, 2009). Dana’s most recent novel, Plague Town (Titan Books, April 2012), is the first in her new Ashley Parker paranormal/zombie series and is hard at work on book two. She also writes spicy genre romance under her nom de plume Inara LaVey.