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I was ‘Lifehack’ed by Joseph Picard (zombies, diatribe & review)

We interrupt your Fourth-Wall Friday to bring you a fresh new find!

I have had one hell of a week, on top of fighting the regular ol’ flu with the upset tummy and the fever which has hovered between 101-103 for three days, launching a new release, dealing with a psychotic squirrel who just won’t stop his partying at 4 AM and the fact I am not getting to bed on Alaskan time but Australia time, I am beat. So when I woke up this morning and checked my 4K+ messages and prayed the author had gotten back to me after his *coughing* reminder and finding nothing at 5PM I was grumpy. But, oh well! It gives me an excuse to go all fan-girl all over my blog about my latest find. It is almost June, and I have not even begun to organize my Zombie Week. I may have to put that together in August instead, but it doesn’t mean I am always looking for fresh meat reads and boy did I hit the jackpot!

 Joseph Picard


rubberman skull tree flat fullres

I discovered him due to what has become the latest obsession of mine. Geoff walked by when this was up and asked me if the book was named “Tropical Skull Fucking” ? After I laughed … a lot I just could not help myself. Deborah Carney,  owner and operator of, dinged me and said “Go here, tell me if you see what I see….” The rest is history. Hey, I was not the only one who saw it, there was a total consensus in the fact that this proposed back-cover of his new book coming out (which — oh the irony– is named Rubberman’s Cage — rolling all over the cabin laughing my ass off again and snorting.. a lot) looked a lot like a metaphoric skull fucking by one mango tree (or papaya tree).

Now I am sporting a badge on my Facebook profile photo, I am thinking a new tattoo, there may even be a secret organization being formed off planet.. heck! There is a whole bunch of unrelated people discussing what has now been named….

The Dicktree

The thing is I just got all caught up in it and when I found out his books had zombies, lesbians, fishgirls.. and he was an illustrator, a full on nerd (hehe he speaks the language, that is beyond cool), and that he can take a joke, because anyone threatening to create t-shirts with this on them:


…and not lose his mind, freak out and quietly ask me to cease-and-desist, has to be pretty freaking cool right? Seriously he is a pretty amazing individual. Fun to talk to and more. But what about his book? He could be cool as all that and a bag of Girl Scouts err Girl Scout Thin Mints but his writing, even if the subject involves zombies, could stink right?

Nope! I loved it! Absolutely blew off what I was supposed to be reading and became engrossed in the story of his first book.  So just what is this about, other than Zombies…. usually that is all I have to say but since zombies are flooding the market (oh dear, flooding that could be really bad for the health).. how about mobbing the market (haha I crack myself up!) it has to have a new shtick right? Well here is the deal, he wrote it a while ago and has polished it up, in fact he wrote it and was throwing it up with images and teasers on deviantART. So what is so new about his zombies? Well his book involves a hack, a major hack. Not just of a computer system, but on a whole different and bigger scale…

Review of Lifehack



Regan is one of our protagonists, not just any protagonist but a P90 toting hot to trot hip gal with thigh highs and a city to clear, one zombie at a time… She also has a whole mess of issues. Her girlfriend is apparently a “evil slut” who has cheated on her for the last time. Her only family is her brother who is a researcher of some sort over in Autar which ends up being a pristine city glistening from the garbage to the tops of the buildings. The secret? Nanotechnology. This story was first put together in a book back in 2006 with, but its beginnings were back even earlier & now nanotechnology is here and many of what he talks about in the book is science we are working with.

The following drawings are all done by the author which he did during his recovery from a fight with a car (the car won) while cycling, which left him confined to a wheelchair. This obviously has not slowed him down, if anything his imagination has grown as is shown in these sketches. A fan said that one of the girls, who later turned into Regan, looked like a lesbian and one of our leading ladies was born

The genre? Futuristic.. umm sci-fi.. umm drama zombie romance? Hell if I know! I don’t care, it rocked my world for a few days and now I want more!


(These are my descriptions and I am sure people who have read the genius that is Picard could argue, but for me.. this is how I see it)

(All art is done by the author and can be found at  ~obsidianzero on deviantART)


Poor Regan! As I mentioned she is a mess! She ends up at her brother’s apartment and is bound and determined to get it right this time! Little did she know her brother’s company houses a mad scientist. “WHEN NERDS GO BAD” they go very very very bad! But as strong as she comes off, she is a wonderful enduring gal who I just want to let snuggle up with me and make all the bad things go away, even if it is just for a night! Considering she lives through two years by herself (well the only beating heart) trying to find the one zombie she must kill so she can leave the hell she is in, she is pretty put together. Well she did find some pretty cool toys!

Regan with the liberated Mass Impac

Regan with the liberated Mass Impac – it goes BOOM -by ~obsidianzero


“Yes, Sir.. No Sir.. OMG can I just squeeze your boob once, Sir!” 

Alisia is trained in squad based tactics. Regan? Not so much. -by obsidianzero

Leesha, as Regan calls her, rescued .. wait, ok sort of rescued her. Perhaps they rescue each other. But she did help her kill the one zombie she must kill so she can leave. She gave her a purpose and showed her more compassion than anyone since her brother. CPT Leesha (giggling.. Leeeeeeeeeeesha) is pretty kick ass and very put together. She ends up being the last surviving soldier on the “wall” (hmmm he came up with his wall long before that other guy). So in a way she & Regan have many things in common. All but one big thing that Regan really wants to change, her sexuality!

Kris sauntered up to the table, and smirked down at Alisia and Regan, half strapped down. “And here I am without a stick of butter.”

Regan rolled her eyes and looked up at Kris. “You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?”

Alisia looked over to Regan with wide eyes. “HER? What about YOU??”
Regan pondered. “Well… I’ve had worse saturday nights.”

Excerpt from the origins of LIFEHACK – AZU-1: Final Fall.


Parker is your typical gunnie. There really is not much to say about him, except he certainly knows how to aim and shoot (snickering). Seriously the kid has style! He gives a damn about his CO and he has a soft spot for Regan. When a certain harpy enters into the scene again… well let us just say that he definitely finds a spot for her, and as a gunner his aim is true!

Parker by obsidianzero

Parker by obsidianzero


Evil, evil slut! Yep! She also is a pilot, and a pretty damn good one! She broke Regan’s heart. She is the reason Regan ends up in Autar first fighting for her life and for a death. She is the antagonist in this right along with the bad guy, though in the end she ends up warming up a bit. I personally think she is just as broken as Regan, but she hides it a bit better and she has a better skill set, well she did before Regan was recognized for her awesome zombie obliteration powers!! As much as I hate Kris and want her spiked by a railgun- or ate by zombies, she ends up saving their collective asses more than once…. sigh.. even if she is an evil, evil slut.


Doctor Coll

Brilliant, amazing… insanity. What happens when you release a genius in a lab with unlimited resources and you do not keep 100% watch on him? He starts naming rats Inky and Pinky, injecting them with nanites and pushing them till they go………… dead and then what happens? They keep going.. insta-zombie rats (poor Ralph, I hid this part from him!) The possibilities of the technology are discussed in Chapter Zero, and nanites are as scary as they are incredible! And the nerd mad doctor? He doesn’t make it, well.. he does, but he doesn’t at least, not all the way. What??? Not making sense again? Well heck! Deal with it and go read the dang book 🙂 because it is great!

Is there sex? OH Yes! Did it bother me? Ah, Nope! Did I feel bad for all of them? Oh Yes! Even though I still I wanted to lock Kris up with a bunch of large leather Mamas with forearm length rubber gloves and let them have at her for punishment several times throughout the book. There were big guns, cool toys, great dialogue and a wonderful drama. Oh, and snark, and we know how Kriss feels about her snark! Picard did a great job with the whole collective thing! I only had a couple of tiny issues with it, and I mean tiny because over all, the book rocked my zombie loving socks off!

Tiny Issues

(Apparently this is not the way they are in the paperback, but I am reading it in the electronic) There are no spacers/breaks or obvious dividing images or lines between cut scenes (I did not ding for it though). The paperback and the latest version of the ebook does have them, however. I also caught on really quick. At first I was like.. “Wait, there is a guy playing with zombie rats right in front of Regan in the hallway and she doesn’t even blink? OOoohhh this is gonna be interesting!” Then I did a *facehand* and realized doh! His formatter screwed up!  The other issue I had was the jump from the first few weeks to two years later BAM and it was slightly jarring, but we meet Alisia right off the bat and there was a good smearing of bodies over the street and lots of guns (giggling) so it was quickly forgotten. I loved this book, and I have to say it is a solid 4.5 stars in my book of zombie goodness.

4 1/2 stars


Lifehack  by Joseph Picard

Lifehack by Joseph Picard

She lost her brother.

She learnt to fight a legion of the dead.

She spent two years alone, scavenging to survive

Then to make things difficult, she fell in love with a straight girl.

Regan Grier, assumed dead, faces a city of walking corpses in which she struggles to find her brother. Her hopeless efforts meet some unsolicited help after two years.

Enter Captain Alisia Terone. Intent on rescuing Regan from the city, stumbles on an unforeseen hazard: Regan’s love.

Regan’s problems intertwine with Alisia’s as they hunt the source of the technologically driven zombies, and cope with Regan’s love for the inconveniently straight Captain.


Born in 1976, he has lived all over Canada, but has called the Meadow-Ridge area of BC his home since 1992. While cycling to his job as a computer technician, he got into a fight with a car in 2001. The car won, and Joseph became a T5/6 paraplegic. This has not hampered his chances at winning the superbowl, as he’s been a self-declared nerd for as long as he can remember.

Since his injury, he has focused on his writing and a little on his art, much of which is related to his fiction and can be found at In May, 2007 he became proud father of Caitlin, followed in 2011 a son, Lachlan.

He awaits the day that stemcells or super awesome telekinetic flight powers will allow him to unfurl his black trenchcoats yet again

Oh I should add.. yes there are zombies……………… but there also is a dragon.. WHAT you say?? Oh go BUY the damn book and read it!



  1. Love this review!!! I don’t generally read books with Zombies in them but I am intrigued enough by Kriss’ review to read this one. Plus I think Joseph is pretty cool too. LOVE his art.
    Show me some love!

  2. Very interesting. I was wondering what that new badge you had was….now I know. Looks like I need to get a better tablet so I can read this book 🙂

  3. It is a great read! He has it in paperback and hardback. I love LOVE loved it, oh wait you can tell that huh Shannon?
    Show me some love!

  4. (mulls over whether to order a Dicktree Girls t-shirt)

    Nice to see you here, Joseph. Congrats on getting the Cabin Goddess treatment. 😀
    Show me some love!

  5. Looks like this is one that will need to be read in the cloud once I pick it up! Great art!
    Show me some love!

  6. Fun review, Kriss!

  7. A terrific review Kriss.

  8. Cool review. Great pics.
    Show me some love!

  9. *apologises for the Australian sleep time*
    So where can I order the T-shirts?
    Show me some love!

    • BUWAHAHAH I will let you know as soon as they are out!

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