Some people think that all writers craft stories, write them specifically as told to, or as circumstances dictate them to. And there are writers who do that. I don’t. I write what comes through to me. What stories I see when I sit down and begin to write. It is that simple for me. Most times I am along for the ride. If that makes me a lesser writer, or a pawn, so be it. I have always suspected there is more to writing than we know there is. Maybe we who write are only conduits to some other place.
This group of stories about people surviving a catastrophic world changing event and rebuilding their society has been with me since my early teens when I first wrote about it. Many things have come along in my life, changed me, the circumstances of my life and even the way I live it, but the story has always been there: A constant for me.
In 2009, I began to rewrite the book I had started at 16 and lost. 20 notebooks, and 4 years later I had dozens of stories and full length novels locked up in handwritten notebooks and a second chance at life. Since then, I have been transferring the stories from the notebooks to my word processing software. The seven books here represent just three of those notebooks and are probably as far as I will get due to health issues beyond my control.
All the books are now retired from all the major booksellers and are only available here at this website. If I find a way to publish the balance I will do that, but for now, here are the seven, which tell a fairly complete story of the beginning of the end. Dell Sweet.
The original book I began at sixteen and then lost (It came back to me in a strange twist of fate more than thirty years later and I published it). When I began rewriting it I hoped I might get the original books back: I ended up with a whole series of stories instead: Zero Zero
Other Books still in print: Author Dell Sweet (iTunes)
All the Earth’s Survivors books:
MAJOR CHARACTER BIBLIOGRAPHY
Annie came to the others after being rescued from Sin and Murder, two gang members, in a gun battle that left two people dead (Book One). Annie’s rescue is what set off the battle between the North side and the Public Square crews, and that ultimately dragged Mike, Candace and the others into the fight.
Annie was in school before the world went crazy, that’s the way she thinks of it, the world went crazy. As the series matures Annie becomes one of the major characters. Even early on, in the first book, you can see her willingness to speak out, to be involved, and you can see her loyalty. Annie is still a child, sixteen, when the series starts.
Although it isn’t expressly written it seems clear that it was Annie who kept Brian and Janelle safe in the midst of the violence and chaos they were forced to live in…
Bear is the leader of the Outrunners just as Mike is the current leader of the Nation. Bear will lead the Outrunners through all the coming books. He, Beth, Billy and Pearl are the heart of the team. As the books progress, Mike Collins himself will take a turn as an Outrunner.
Bear came from New York where he lived with Donita before the plagues began. He is loyal. He is a loner and prefers to be. He and Donita were a couple, although she no longer remembers that life and he does not know what has become of her. He and Beth have formed a relationship that they will need to depend on.
In later books the Outrunners will have their own place in the Nation society. They will live somewhat apart from the others, and an air of awe and mystery surrounds them. Bear does his best in the future to reinforce that.
It is Bear and the Outrunners that will become the bridge between The Nation and its biggest rival, The Fold. It is also the Outrunners who will eventually unravel the mystery of how the Zombie Apocalypse became to be. They will protect The Nation, search out weapons and stock piled foodstuffs, and they will fight the Zombie Plagues. Bear is the key to all of it. The one man who lives on the edge and likes the view there. With Beth he is the major force behind the Outrunners, who keep the Nation safe and allow the society there to live in relative peace in the valley.
Beth is quite often Bear’s voice of reason. She is not the sort of woman who feels a need to be helped, or told what to do. She is a leader. She has strong opinions. She doesn’t consider the loss of her arm to be a disability.
In many ways she is very much like Candace, Strong, Independent, and Secure in her abilities. She is an important part of the Outrunners, not just a figurehead. And she will become an important part of The Nation. She is a singer, lyricist and that will bring her into closer contact and friendship with Candace who enjoys the same things. She misses L.A. Sometimes, but she loves Bear and the life they have, along with the security The Nation provides its peoples.
For the time being, Billy will remain wherever Bear is. He is very loyal to him, The Nation, and the Outrunners. In the novel Billy Jingo we learn much more about him before the plagues, where he came from, what his life was before the apocalypse.
Once Billy met Pearl his goals, plans, and future outlook began to change. He realized he finally had someone that he needed, not just wanted. And he realized that need was returned to him from her.
In the future books the two of them will have their own goals and plans that may eventually take them away from the Nation.
Bob doesn’t say much about Bob. What we know comes from Janet, or observed behaviors and talents that are related to us from other characters.
We know it is Bob who has the dream to start the Nation. His dream is not a new dream he has had it for years, believed in it for years. I wonder if Bob was thought of as fanatical back in the old world. He probably was.
Bob has knowledge of farming, living off the land, herbs, food that can be harvested from nature and how to do it. Bob has that knowledge because he took the time to learn it from his Native American brothers. He has taught a great deal to Janet, but it will be Bob that everyone depends on to know what to do in almost every situation: Farming; Living off the land; Herbal medicines; preserving meat; making leather. The list goes on.
Bob is trained as a mechanic, but he is one of those people who know how to do almost anything they put their mind to. If Mike is the leader, Bob and his knowledge are the backbone.
Bob is very laid back. He is uncomfortable with praise. He is against violence, but when it came down to it in the standoff that ended in Annie, Janelle and Brian being freed, Bob didn’t hesitate to kill the gang member Murder. Tom was still thinking about the situation. Bob sized it up and reacted. That speaks to Bob’s character, consistency. It can be seen in almost everything he does.
Candace Loi would have started her new career as a dancer on the 11th of March had the world stayed the same. She had been working at a club on the north side of the city of Watertown New York run by organized crime. She had danced a few times, but had been relegated to tending bar because the club manager did not want her to throw her life away on dancing.
Her Grandmother Pan (Deceased) had lived in Watertown for years. Candace had lived in Syracuse where she hoped to follow her father into Law Enforcement. She couldn’t afford the college courses so she moved to Watertown where she believed she could dance, save the money for college, and no one would be the wiser.
She is nineteen at the beginning of the series. She is strong willed, knows what she wants, and goes for it. She is an excellent shot, but on more than one occasion she showed restraint, didn’t shoot when she could have. The few times she has killed someone she had no choice. Even so she didn’t hesitate.
Her confidant early on is Jan. Jan took her under her wing. But once Patty comes into the picture she and Candace begin a relationship that grows in unexpected ways.
The most commented thing about her is her tattoo that begins on the back of her left hand, flows up her arm, across her breasts and then down across her stomach and beyond.
The second most commented upon thing about her are her looks influenced by her father who was African American and her Mother who was Japanese.
She wants to be pregnant, she can see herself as a mother, and she sees salvation for the world in children. She is a musician, singer/songwriter. She was told more than once that she could have made it as a musician. She, once they are somewhat settled down, but even as they travel, begins once more to write music and lyrics.
She and Mike Collins are the two main characters in the novels.
In the Novel Billy Jingo Candace has a small part as a cashier in a grocery store.
In the Novel Alone she also has a small part as a cashier in that same store.
In the novel Kat and Pat she has a small part as a dancer that reveals a little more about her first few months in the club than chapter one of the first book shows us.
Jessie Stone brings a real doctor to the nation. She is level headed, pragmatic, and straight forward when it comes to her needs and her beliefs, but she also has a humorous side.
Jessie was serious when she told Mike that she wanted him. And, although Mike turned her down she did not change her mind. The feelings she had did not go away, in fact they grew stronger as she came to understand the leader of the Nation as he guided them back to the valley.
She set out from Washington State to form a haven like the Nation. She and her followers called that place The Fold.
The months ahead will determine Jessie’s place in the Nation, and quite possibly change several relationships in the process.
Mike Collins is the leader of the people and remains the leader through nearly all the novels.
We know Mike used to do Web Design work, that he had a great deal of money in the old world, but that he was unhappy (He says so in retrospect). He had no girlfriend and was pretty much wrapped up in making money that he didn’t need. He just socked it into a bank account and left it there, when he explains this towards the end of book one he gives the impression that knowing that money was there (He talks about a few million dollars) was a big deal to him, as though it may have ruled his life.
Mike didn’t set out to be the leader. It was the dynamic formed by the relationship with Candace that pushed him into that role. As though the relationship bought the responsibility with it. Later in the series the role is a bigger responsibility than he wants to handle. The people he’s responsible for number in the thousands, and continue to grow.
Mike is mixed race, Native American, White, and African American. He spent some time on the streets as a kid. Candace is his first real love.
Later in the series Mike will go through many changes, first trying to find himself, then trying to find his place in life. His search may take him away from Candace.
In the novel Alone Mike has a small part finishing up some computer work for one the main characters.
Patty comes into the series in the first book and becomes Candace’s best friend immediately. She admits in her diary writings that she has never had a friend like Candace.
She doesn’t tell us much about her life in the old world. Married, divorced and married again and that was on the verge of failure too.
She talks about Ronnie in some of her writings as if he is all she ever wanted, but in some of her writings she’s not so sure. In a few of her writings she seems to be hinting at some sort of realization she has come to too late. That may become clearer in the later books.
In any case she is completely devoted and loyal to Candace, and she plays an important part in the lives of all the characters right to the end of the series.
Patty plays one of the Title Roles in the novel Kat and Pat. In that book she reveals a great deal about herself in her previous life.
Pearl comes to us from England. She doesn’t say how she happened to be in the United States when the apocalypse started.
She made her way to The Nation with another group of people and met Billy shortly after. It is only after she is there for some time that she reveals information that she has about the apocalypse.
Pearl likes her life with Billy, but she longs for England, and wonders what has become of her home. For now she is content to be a part of the Outrunners.
Ronnie came to us in the first book already involved with Patty and seemingly happy with his situation. There are references to conversations between him and Mike that cemented their relationship, but no actual written record of those conversations.
Ronnie is Mike’s right hand man. Mike says he is a completion of himself and he depends on him and seeks his advice. Mike discuses nearly everything with him. Several times he and Candace are the only ones that Mike takes into his confidence or seems to trust with the really big things.
We know Ronnie came from Pritchard Alabama. Pritchard is a small city on the outskirts of Mobile Alabama. He came to Watertown to build houses for the Army base expansion and stayed.
He is a carpenter by trade. Quiet, solid, loyal are apt descriptive words for him. His relationship with Patty probably would not have happened had the world not changed drastically. Patty was waiting for something else she didn’t even know she was waiting for at the time. Ronnie saw her regularly, they lived in the same apartment house, Ronnie lived in 2C, and Patty lived one floor below in 1B. They both shopped at the same supermarket on StateS, Ronnie didn’t like to shop at all. But as often as he saw her in passing he never asked her out, although he admits he had thought about it a few times.
Tim is Patty’s brother, or at least that is the way she presents him and he doesn’t correct that perception. A little more on that down the road…
Tim is really not much more than a kid when we meet him in the first book. When Annie comes along he is immediately attracted to her. They are both about the same age.
Tim looks up to Ronnie. He views Ronnie as the man who came along and saved himself and Patty. Most likely that is exactly what happened as they were on the North Side and would have been picked up by the North Side gangs before long. Traveling with Ronnie probably stopped that from happening. Tim looks at him as an older brother he never had. Stability in a bad situation.
Tim also looks up to Mike and Mike is fond of Tim. That is evidenced in the things Mike trusts him with.
Tom Evans comes into the first novel as a man who really doesn’t know himself. He goes from a position of leadership to last in line for responsibility once Mike Collins is leading.
He felt cheated at first when Candace went with Mike. His belief was that if things could have stayed the same she would have ended up with him, not Mike. He doesn’t want to leave Watertown at first but eventually he comes around to the realization that he can’t stay. Still, he remains in Joel’s shadow.
He is a skilled Mechanic. He shows that he has a little more depth than he normally shows in his journal entries, especially after Lydia is killed.
The Nation is situated between the former states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and extends to the East and West as well as it grows.
That settlement is the heart of The Nation, but The Nation is not the only group of survivors vying for control of the former United States. The Fold is another group that will eventually come into conflict with The Nation, but there are others they will have to deal with as they grow and begin to take new territories.
Although The Nation will always remain headquartered in the valley, not all the main characters will. As they grow they will spread out across what is left of the North American Continent, and that is when the real problems with other survivors will come.
The fold is peopled by the survivors from the Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth Books. They initially start their settlements on what remains of the west coast, but soon move away from the coast and the continuing earthquakes.
They resettle at an oasis in the desert and become The Nation’s greatest rival, even enemies.
The two groups will finally face off against each other in all out war in the later books.
Joel and Haley remain the leaders of Alabama Island for quite some time, but eventually their leadership is relinquished in the wars. Alabama Island is peopled and run by important characters from The Nation, it rivals Rapid City as a Nation City. For a time it rises above all the other societies.
Rapid City was established by people other than The Nation. At one time a Zombie stronghold, it was wiped out each time it was reestablished. Eventually The Nation will gain a stronghold there and Rapid City will become a gateway into the south, and Alabama Island beyond.
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