Thursday, June 18, 2015

Cocktails and Characters

Authors often like to figure out as much about their characters as possible before launching a book out into the world. One way to do that is to figure out what a character drinks--even if he or she never lifts a glass in the book, knowing a character's favorite cocktail can give some insight into that character.

So welcome to Paranormal Love's first installment of:

Cocktails and Characters

By Melanie Karsak for “The Harvesting”

Layla, Ian, and Jaime. In “The Harvesting,” one finds a real and complex (and I hope, not annoying) semi love triangle. “The Harvesting” is a novel that begins with a pandemic sweeping the globe. My protagonist, Layla, soon finds herself dealing with the undead, supernatural creatures, and her past. It is on her past, rather than the newly zombified world, on which we will focus today. Here is the low-down. Layla and Ian were high school sweethearts. They fought. He cheated. The cheat-ee got pregnant. Ian married the cheat-ee. Layla thought she left her past behind. As luck would have it, Ian survives the apocalypse (he guns down his zombie wife) and tries to rekindle the spark with recently-returned Layla. Now older and wiser, Layla is not sure how she feels about Ian while also noticing a little spark between herself and Jamie, Ian’s older brother. Now it is up to Layla to decide what is best for her. While there are so many other problems at play in “The Harvesting,” I want to take a moment to consider my little triangle and the beverages they might turn to in order to sort out some answers:

Layla Petrovich’s Cocktail: Vodka

Layla is Russian descended. As such, she knows that when it is time to drink, you drink like you mean it. Now that the undead are lurking everywhere, there is only one spirit of choice: vodka, straight up. No twist. No rocks. No olive. Just vodka and a clean glass.


Top-shelf vodka
How to make this drink?
Pour top-shelf vodka into a small, shot-sized glass.
Smell deeply.
Drink, swirling a bit to capture the flavor.

Before z-day, however, Layla liked her vodka with a little flair. How about a Winter Wonderland?


1.5 oz. spice-infused (infuse with 1 chai tea bag) vodka

1/2 oz. premium white crème de menthe

2 1/2 oz. pear nectar

1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice

5 sage leaves

1/2 oz. black currant syrup

Crush leaves then mix all ingredients. Shake hard for 10 seconds. Pour currant syrup into the middle of the drink. Garnish.

Ian Campbell’s Cocktail of Choice: Capital (Hunch) Punch

Ian is a country boy. He knows his guns, has done hard physical labor, and can live off the land. Every country boy knows how to drink, and many know how to get creative with beer. Ian knows how to liven up a crowd. From time to time, he likes his brew with a fruity twist. For Ian, it’s Capital (Hunch) Punch:


4 frozen limeades

4 frozen Lemonades

 1 fifth of vodka

1 case of beer

1 gallon of fruit punch (or enough grenadine syrup to make it red!)

Ice/sliced fruit

It’s easy! All your ingredients can be mixed right in a clean cooler. It should be served, naturally, in a red Solo cup.

Jaime Campbell’s Cocktail of Choice: The Old Fashioned

Some men just exude chivalry. There is something comforting about their strength, stability, and intelligence. Modern men have canned all the chauvinism—going about saving damsels in distress who can save their own damned selves, thank you—that used to be part of the chivalric package, yet still maintain classic charm. Jaime Campbell is one of those rare gems. He deserves a classic drink. For Jaime, it’s an Old Fashioned:


 1 sugar cube or sugar syrup (grind sugar cubes down with water)

3 dashes Angostura bitters

2 ounces bourbon

Marishino cherry and orange slice (muddled)


Splash water/club soda

Here is a link for a YouTube video on how to put it together:

"The world, it seemed, had gone silent. It was something we knew but did not talk about. We were alone."

While Layla Petrovich returns home to rural Hamletville after a desperate call from her psychic grandmother, she never could have anticipated the horror of what Grandma Petrovich has foreseen. The residents of Hamletville will need Layla's cool head, fast blade and itchy trigger finger to survive the undead apocalypse that's upon them. But even that may not be enough. With mankind silenced, it soon becomes apparent that we were never alone. As the beings living on the fringe seek power, Layla must find a way to protect the ones she loves or all humanity may be lost.

Join Layla as she fights for survival in the first book of this unique zombie apocalypse tale. It's all fun and games until someone ends up undead!


Melanie Karsak is the author of the Amazon best-selling steampunk series The Airship Racing Chronicles (Chasing the Star Garden and Chasing the Green Fairy) and the award-winning horror/dark fantasy Harvesting Series. She grew up in rural northwestern Pennsylvania and earned a Master's degree in English from Gannon University. A steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and zombie whisperer, the author currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.
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