Monthly Archives: October 2015

#31ZombieAuthors – Day 31 – HALLOWEEN INTERVIEW – David W. Wright of the Self-Publishing Podcast

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Self Publishing Podcast

Sterling and Stone

Happy Halloween, 3.5 readers.

This month, we’ve chatted up an absurd amount of zombie fiction writers, haven’t we?

They’re all impressive in their own right, and they all bent over backwards to help me out, so it was virtually impossible to figure out who to assign the coveted Halloween spot to.

Then it hit me.  Use it to talk to one of the dudes who got me writing again.

Not to make this about me, but long ago, I gave up on my dream of becoming a writer.  Like so many before me, the path toward traditional publishing seemed like it was riddled with one insurmountable wall after another.  Spend my time writing only to end up with my work tossed on a rejection heap with countless other writers competing for a highly coveted publishing contract?

Hell, I might as well have cashed out my life savings (all 3.5 dollars of it) and spent it on lotto tickets.

So I moved on and pursued a more realistic profession, but as the years went by, I always second guessed myself.

“What if?”

What if I’d kept at it?  Would I be a writer today?”

Around late 2014 I discovered the Self Publishing Podcast, starring full time indie authors Johnny B. Truant, Sean Platt, and of course, today’s guest, David W. Wright.  Together, this trio have their own “story studio,” Sterling and Stone.

They’ve found success as multi-genre authors, with sci-fi epics like The Beam, steam punk adventures like The Dream Engine and TV style serials such as Yesterday’s Gone, just to name a few.  They’re so prolific I doubt I could rattle off all their hits in one sitting.
51yjssATf+L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Their self-publishing guide, Write. Publish. Repeat. (The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success) has become a bible of sorts for the indie community.  I picked up a copy and thus far I’ve found the information it provides to be invaluable.

I have a standing appointment with these gents every Wednesday afternoon, during which I pop on their podcast and listen to the boys talk about the craft they love on my commute home.

To be clear, they don’t deal with get rich quick schemes or gimmicks.  They’re just three guys who talk about what works and doesn’t work for them.  They regularly schedule guests on the cutting edge of self-publishing, and most importantly, they have fun.

Yes, I said fun.  You won’t be bored when you listen to SPP.  The best way I can describe it is that Johnny, Sean and Dave aren’t the stodgy, tweed coat wearing professors who drone on and on in a boring lecture guaranteed to put you to sleep.

Rather, they’re the cool TAs who stop by your dorm, crack open a beer, joke around with you, and give you the straight scoop on what you need to know.

Will I ever self-publish a book?  I have no idea, but listening to these guys helped me decide to pick up my long abandoned dream of a writing career, dust it off, and start working toward it again, and that in and of itself has made me a happier person.

Dave, as one of Sterling and Stone’s preeminent horror fiction writers, welcome to the Bookshelf Battle Blog.  I’ve heard you and your compadres say it doesn’t get any worse than your other podcast, Better Off Undead, but I’d challenge that notion since last time I checked, my site only has 3.5 readers. 

NOTE: BOLD=BQB; ITALICS=DAVE

Q.  Happy Halloween, Dave!  Do you have any plans to celebrate?  (Redact as necessary.)

A.  If by celebrate, you mean hide away from anyone who might knock on my door, then yes, I’ll be celebrating in an undisclosed location.

Q.  What’s the deal with zombies?  The past month, I’ve interviewed authors from all different backgrounds and they’ve all managed to find their own unique take on the zombie genre.  For the layman who thinks, “I don’t get it.  All they do is grunt and groan and eat brains!” please explain why fans can’t get enough of the undead.

A.  I can only speak to the appeal from my perspective. As long as I can remember, long before I ever saw a zombie movie, I dreamed of hordes of slow-moving people coming after me. Most horror movies, the hero or heroine have some chance to defeat the bad guy, monster, etc… There’s something terrifying about an unyielding, unending force of nature like a horde of zombies.

There’s a cathartic nature to most horror, and I think zombies can be representative of many fears for people, and movies and books are just one way of facing those fears in a safe manner.

I think one of the books that truly gets that fear right is The Girl With All the Gifts. Those zombies will track you down, and just wait outside wherever you’re hiding. They’ve got nothing but time, and they will eventually get you, unless you find a way to fight back.

61NWfE06WqL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Q.   Z 2134, which you co-authored with Sean, features a dystopian America of the future, one in which zombie plagues have ravaged the world, giving rise to a totalitarian government, not to mention the Darwin Games, a televised survival show in which people have to fight zombies on air.  What inspired you to write these stories?

A.   Well, I’ve always wanted to write a zombie story. Sean wasn’t as keen on the idea, as he felt like it had all been done, and there was a lot of it at the moment. However, if we could mash up other genres, he was a lot more interested. So we thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a Hunger Games type story with zombies?” At the time, I’d not even seen The Hunger Games, and had read only the first few chapters. But I knew the idea, and we thought it would be cool to blend it with zombies and add a dose of 1984.

We pitched it to 47North after they’d reached out to us because of Yesterday’s Gone’s success, and they bought the trilogy.

Funny that some of the one star reviewers say it’s a “direct ripoff” of The Hunger Games, which I have to laugh at given that the only thing we ripped off was that it was a) a game and b) how The Hunger Games did the opening part where everyone had to make a mad dash toward the loot (which is as far as I got in the series). Anything similar beyond that, if there actually is, is pure coincidence. Fortunately, enough people liked the series for what it was to make it a bestseller at Amazon.

I think that mash-up of Z 2134 was sort of a dual-edged sword, though. While it earned us a lot of new readers, I think that people who thought we merely ripped off The Hunger Games, probably didn’t go on to give our other books a chance. They probably thought we were mash-up hacks churning out derivative stuff, which is a shame, because I feel that our other books are original and genre defying in many aspects.

Sean and Johnny are currently writing the first book in a zombie series that I’m super excited about, which seems to have an original sorta twist to it. Perhaps Sean and I will write in that world, since I’m still itching to do a proper real zombie story.

Q.  One thing I’ve noticed about science fiction/zombie lore is that authors have a tendency to forecast a future of doom and gloom.  I can’t say as I blame them though, given that every day there’s a new story on the news that rattles my faith in humanity.  Do you think a book where people are actually happy and the world has come together in a peaceful, harmonious future would ever be viable (or dare I say, realistic?)

A.  As much as I’d love to believe otherwise, it all comes down to a few things that seem immutable: there are limited resources on this planet, and people are clannish by nature. Therefore, there will always be struggle.

Q.   Let’s talk SPP.  You guys do a fair amount of busting on one another, all in good fun of course.  Still, I have to say I envy the partnership you’ve formed.  I’ve worked on a number of group projects in my life and to date, I’ve never walked away from the experience without holding back the desire to strangle my partners (who probably felt the same way about me.)  Do you guys realize what you have and more importantly, when the microphone’s off, do you tell each other?  It’d make me happy if the three of you would break out in a chorus of Bette Midler’s Wind Beneath My Wings one day, in celebration of a rare collaboration that actually works.

A.  I don’t think we talk too much about it. We’re usually busy talking about the work that needs to be done to fulfill our dreams. When we met in Austin in Sept. 2014, though, it was the first time all three of us were together, and we had a long heart-to-heart-to-heart talk, and it felt good to get to know Johnny (I’d already known Sean) in person. We’re like family, except we get along more often than most families.

Q.  Dave, as mentioned on your site, “Sean is the Tigger to your (Dave’s) Eeyore.”  I’d even go so far as to say that Sean is the Professor X to your Magneto.  In other words, Sean’s an optimist while you’re a pessimist.

Is that why you two work so well together?  One of you holds out hope, the other can see problems coming at twenty paces, and together you equal each other out?

A.  Good analogy. I think we’re a good mix, though I’m sure we’d be better off if I were a bit less pessimistic and a bit more hopeful. I think pessimism can be good as a protective shield, but there are times it costs you in potential.

Q.   Not to bore you with my problems, but a maniacal alien dictator from an unnamed world despises reality television to the point where he’s demanded that I write a novel so finely crafted that it causes the public to abandon shows where cameras follow around vapid celebrities and focus their attention entirely on scripted media.

But I don’t want to bother you with that.  You’ve been in self-publishing for a long time now.  Is there one nugget of advice, something that you wish someone had told you early on when you were getting started that you could pass on to me?

A.   Work through the doubt, and write a lot. Growing up, I tended to abandon projects the moment they got a bit too intimidating. I’m still prone to self-doubt and lots of rewriting before I’m happy, and I blow deadlines, but I am still always moving forward toward a goal — something I didn’t do before I had Sean as a partner.

Q.   Self-publishers are often vocal about their fears, which is understandable. Amazon might change their terms.  Tech companies they depend on might go out of business.  Traditional publishers might find a way to flip the proverbial poker table over and take their chips back.

But lets forget all that and be positive for a moment.  Let’s be Seans and not Daves.  As an expert in the field, do you foresee any major, positive developments coming in the future that will make self-publishers jump for joy?

A.   I’m hoping for a universal e-book format which would allow people to migrate their collections across readers without having to jump through hoops. I’d love to be able to buy at any store and read on whatever reader I prefer, without having to go through proprietary apps.

While companies may be resistant to this, I think in the long run it will help the companies sell more e-books.

Q.   Dave.  Seriously.  Thank you for all that you do.  When The History of Self-Publishing is written, there should be twenty chapters dedicated to you, Sean and Johnny.  The floor is yours.  If there are any last minute words of wisdom you’d like to share with my 3.5 readers, please feel free to do so.

A.   Thank you for having me. I’m not sure if this is wisdom, but I’ll share one thing. I started putting comic strips on the web in 1999. I was clueless to how bad I was. I think a lot of artists early on come in one of two flavors — they think they’re awesome or they think they’re shit. The truth is probably somewhere in between. Had I realized how bad I was, I’m sure I would’ve quit. Instead, I thought I was better than I was, but knew I wasn’t as good as I wanted to be, so I pushed through, always trying to get better, until I had a semi-successful comic which I could be proud of. So, I’d say don’t beat yourself up early on, but don’t ignore the areas you need to improve, and just always keep creating.

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BQB’s Zombie Apocalypse Survivor’s Journal – Day 31 – (Part 3)

It was late.

I sat in my office, the magic bookshelf behind me, the tiny characters who inhabited it fast asleep.

NN1 was on my TV, various commentators weighing in on all the consequences that General Morganstern was in for.

On my computer, I typed the following words:

Johnny Gunhands:  A Farewell to Hands

Draft #2

VGRF came in.

“You foiled a corrupt general’s plot, saved us all from being blown up, and destroyed the zombie menace,”  she said.  “Don’t you think you’ve earned some sleep?”

“I can’t,”  I replied.  “I’m too wired.  Besides, you know with the Mighty Potentate up my ass the world will never be safe from alien invasion until I finish this book.”

I opened up iTunes and turned on my favorite show, The Self Publishing Podcast.

Notorious indie authors Johnny B. Truant, Sean Platt, and David W. Wright were discussing the latest news in the world of do it yourself publishing.

“I hate you all,” grumbled Dave.

VGRF picked up the space phone and handed it to me.

“What?”  I asked.

“Go on,”  she said.

“Oh please.  The world has already given me too many miracles tonight.  I doubt an interview with one of these illustrious scribes is in the cards.”

“The worst that can happen is they say no,”  VGRF said.

I let out a loud, obnoxious sigh.

“Fine.  Here goes nothing.”

I looked up the number for Sterling and Stone, the SPP trio’s publishing company.

I dialed it.  The phone rang.

“Hello?  Yes. Bookshelf Q. Battler here.  I’m doing a zombie author interview series and I’d like to talk to Dave about Z2134….uh huh….uh huh….uh huh…Dave’s at Target?  Uh huh….sure I can hold…”

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BQB’s Zombie Apocalypse Survivor’s Journal – Day 31 – (Part 2)

“All the lights and sounds drove every zombie in town here,”  Alien Jones said.

“Great,”  I said.  “We’re safe from being blown up but now we’re going to be ripped apart by the undead.”

“Not quite,”  Alien Jones said as he punched a button on his space phone.  The pilots’ voices were back.

“God I hope there’s some hot chicks at the ‘Cool As Shit Fighter Pilot Bar’ tonight,” Buzzkill said.

Alien Jones handed me the phone.

“You can communicate with them now.  Human signals are notoriously easy to hack.”

“They are?”  I asked.

“Of course.  How do you think the Mighty Potentate has been getting free cable all these years?”

“Umm,”  I said into the space phone.  “Come in, good buddy?”

“Who is this?”  Buzzkill asked.

“This is Bookshelf Q. Battler,”  I said.

“This is a secure channel.  How did you hack into it?”

“Umm…there’s an app for that?  Hey listen, Cool As Shit Fighter Pilots, I need you to come back and waste some zombies.”

“10-4,”  Buzzkill said.

Alien Jones leaned over me and punched a button.  A non-lethal red laser shot out of it.

“What the hell is that?”  I asked.

“A laser target designator,”  Alien Jones explained.  “Point it at the zombies and the Cool As Shit Fighter Pilots will do the rest.”

“Damn it,”  I said.  “This thing has everything.  Where can I get my own space phone?”

“Eh,”  Alien Jones said.  “They’re fun at first but then they become a pain in your back quarter.  Every year they tweak it a tiny bit and expect you to buy a whole new one.”

I pointed the laser at a house down the road.

“Wait,”  I said.  “We should let the zombies get closer.”

“Why would you want them to get closer?”  VGRF asked.

“Because they’re right by…the house…”

VGRF glared at me.

“You know, the one that sorority rented and they all just lie around on the roof and sunbathe topless all day?”

VGRF slapped me for the fourth time this month.

“So I’ve heard!  Ahh, screw it, those babes are probably all zombies by now.”

I pointed the laser at the sorority house.  The zombies were tearing it apart, looking for survivors.

“Buzzkill, I’m painting the target now.”

“How does a civilian have a laser target designator?”  Buzzkill asked.

“I uh…bought it on eBay?”

“Shit,”  Buzzkill said.  “Probably some disgruntled Russian sold it.”

The F-15s did another flyby.

“Locking on…”

BOOM!

The sorority house went up in a fiery blaze, taking the majority of the town’s zombies with it.

The F-15s flew off.

“Pleasure doing business with you, Bookshelf Q. Battler.  Stop by the Cool as Shit Fighter Pilot bar sometime.  First round’s on me.”

Alien Jones launched his space phone into the air again and dropped a funky, smooth beat.  It was reminiscent of one of Barry White’s soulful 1970’s love jams.

3.5 readers, you might remember from the beginning of this tale that Alien Jones sounds exactly like Barry White.

“What are you doing?”  I asked.

“Now it’s time to celebrate,”  the Esteemed Brainy One replied.

The alien levitated himself in the air.  Still in his hipster garb, he broke out into song.

FUNK YOU, BABY

By:  Alien Jones, The Esteemed Brainy One

Aww baby…don’t you know you make me feel…fresh.

BQB/BERNIE:  CHORUS

Fresh!

ALIEN JONES

Aww baby, don’t you know you make me feel…frisky!

CHORUS

Frisky!

ALIEN JONES

Aw baby, don’t you know you make me feel…FUNKY!

I’m gonna funk you up woman, funk you up and down.

Funk you all over the place, all over this funkin town.

Funk you up in the mornin’

Funk you up at night!

Goddamn baby don’t you know our funky love

Will be one funky ass sight!

Funky love baby!

Funk you all night long!

CHORUS:

Funk you all night long!

ALIEN JONES:

Funk you the funkin hell up while I’m singing this funky ass song!

I don’t know how I’ll do it, because I got no junk!

CHORUS

He’s got nothin’!

ALIEN JONES

But you know my ass will find a way because I’m one funkin funky ass hunk!

The space phone dropped into Alien Jones’ hands.

“That was unlike you,”  I said.

“Sometimes an alien just has to funk.”

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BQB’s Zombie Apocalypse Survivor’s Journal – Day 31 – (Part 1)

High atop the south wall of Bookshelf Battle Headquarters, I dialed the number for Network News One.

“Hello?” a lackadaisical operator answered.  “Network News One.  How may I direct your call?”

“I need to speak to the Hot Ass Blonde Chick With Big Titties!”

“Ugh, the hundredth time tonight,”  the operator said.  “Sir, I’m going to tell you what I told all the other perverts. Yes, we realize that the Hot Ass Blonde Chick is quite fetching but she’s a serious journalist and doesn’t have time for…”

I cut her off.

“My name is Bookshelf Q. Battler,”  I said.  “She’s been working an angle on the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse, trying to prove my fellow Funky Hunk Bernie Plotznick and I and a bunch of survivors are still within the East Randomtown limits!  Get her on the phone before I’m blown the hell up!”

“One minute sir.”

Some muzak played.

“La, la, la…muskrat love,” I sang to myself.

The voice of a hot chick picked up.

“Bookshelf Q. Battler?” the blonde reporter asked.

“Yes.  Is the Hot Ass Blonde Chick With Big Titties?”

“It is.  My God, you really ARE alive!”

“I sure am and Bernie Plotznick, my girlfriend, my deformed kid, and over a thousand survivors are at my house!”

“I knew General Morganstern was up to something,”  the blonde reporter said.

“Do you have a chopper?”  I asked.

“Sure.  The NN1 Sky Copter is parked at the West Randomtown Shop N’ Slop.”

“I need you to get in that helicopter and get to the address I’m sending you,”  I said.

“You’ll come outside so we can catch you on film?”  the blonde reporter asked.

“Better,”  I replied.  “My associate and I are going to put on the greatest concert East Randomtown has ever seen!”

“I’m on my way.”

I handed the space phone to Alien Jones.  He released it and it floated into the air.

“Can it work as a microphone?”  I asked.

“Yes,”  Alien Jones replied.  “I’m syncing it to pick up your voices now.”

“How the hell…CAN IT DO THAT?”  I asked, noticing my voice was being broadcast all over the compound.  “Whoa!”

Three F-15s ripped across the sky.

Alien Jones snapped his fingers and the pilots’ transmissions were played over the space phone.

“Overlord, come in overlord.  This is Buzzkill.  On my six are ShockinAwesome and Limpwrist.  Over.”

“Guys,”  Limpwrist said.  “I thought we talked about this.  My call sign is ‘Hellfire.’”

“Screw you, Limpwrist,” Buzzkill said.  “You show up late for ‘Cool Ass Fighter Pilot Call Name Assignment Day,’ you end up as Limpwrist.  Suck it up.”

Below, I could see the townspeople standing around my yard, listening intently.

“I read you, Buzzkill.”

I recognized that voice.  Morganstern was Overlord.

“Overlord we’re over the target now.  Ready to turn East Randomtown into a crater and fry those zombie freaks.  Over.”

The survivors gasped and started to panic.

“Copy,”  Morganstern said.

“Overlord, you’re sure there’s no one alive down there?”  Buzzkill asked.

The F-15s made another pass over BQB HQ.

“Affirmative,”  Morganstern replied.  “Jesus Christ, are you one of those hippies who whines about blowing up a whole town?  Light that shit up already!”

“Preparing to light it up, sir…”

Alien Jones snapped his fingers and his space phone produced a dazzling strobe light effect.  It also cast two spotlights on Bernie and I.

“Ready?”  I asked Bernie.

“Shit son, you know my ass was born ready!  FUNKY HUNKS IN THE HIZ-OUSE!”

Alien Jones wiggled his fingers again and the space phone shot up dazzling holograms of fireworks straight up into the sky.  They were fake but to the untrained eye, they looked like the real thing.

“What the hell was that?”  Buzzkill asked.

“What?”  Morganstern asked.  “What’s going on?”

“Come on all you East Randomtown survivors!”  Bernie shouted, his voice amplified through the magic of alien technology.  “Put your hands together and make some noise like your lives depend on it!”

It’d been years since my days as a Funky Hunk, but seeing Bernie in his element brought it all back.

“Because it does, yo!”  I shouted.  “Yo, yo, yo I’m Read N’ Plenty!”

“And I’m MC Plotz,”  Bernie added.

Together, we said in unison, “AND WE ARE THE FUNKY HUNKS!”

The F-15s made another pass.

“Overlord, there appears to be some kind of nerd show going on down there,”  Buzzkill said.  “Over.”

“Bullshit,”  Morganstern said.  “You’re seeing things.  Blow it all up!  Now!”

“Are you nerds ready?”  Alien Jones asked.

“Ready as I’ll ever be,” I said.

VGRF kissed me.

“For luck.”

“Thanks baby,” I said. “But Read N’ Plenty don’t need no luck because he got mad ass skills!  Hit it!”

Alien Jones snapped his fingers and the space phone laid down a hip hop beat.

In the distance, I saw a light and heard helicopter blades whirring.  The NN1 SkyCopter drew closer, coming to a hover over BQB HQ.

“Aww shit,”  Bernie said.  “The Funky Hunks reunion show broadcasted live.”

Suddenly, it was like we were both in our early twenties again.  We were jumping, running around, performing sick dance moves, all the while debuting Bernie’s latest jam:

STRAIGHT UP FLOSSIN’

Yo.  2015.  Funky Hunks back on the scene.

Check it!

You’re out on a date with a fly ass honey.

But damn that girl be lookin’ at yo ass hella funny.

I wonder what the hell does she see?

Awwwww shit!  It’s a rogue chick pea!

Time for the chorus:

Straight up flossin!  Straight up flossin!

Now here’s some advice that yo ass better not be tossin!”

Alien Jones twirled his finger again and the space phone displayed the Network News One feed on a holographic monitor large enough for the whole crowd to see.

Kurt Manley was in studio.

“Sources say that the Congressman located his pants and issued a contrite apology to his constituents.  In other news…”

Kurt pressed his finger down on his earpiece.

“Hold on.  Ladies and gentlemen, we’re going live to the NN1 SkyCopter where the Hot Ass Blonde Chick With Big Titties is covering a breaking story.  Hot Ass Blonde Chick With Big Titties, are you there?”

The F-15s swooped overhead once more.  Bernie and I kept jamming, keeping an eye on the coverage.

The crowd didn’t care for us at all, though some of the forty something moms in denim stretch pants in attendance did sing along.  The faux fireworks continued to brighten up the night sky.

Wearing a pair of headphones, the blonde reporter, sitting in the back of the helicopter, appeared on screen.

“Yes I am, Kurt,”  the reporter said.  “I’m reporting live over the home of East Randomtown resident, Bookshelf Q. Battler.  As you recall, General Morganstern told me earlier this evening that there are no survivors remaining in town, thus clearing the way for an aerial strike, yet as you can clearly see below…”

The camera man zoomed in on BQB HQ.  We could see ourselves on the screen.  Bernie and I waved.

“…the poorly reviewed late 90’s/early 2000’s rap duo known as ‘The Funky Hunks’ are performing an impromptu performance of their wholesome hip hop to a large group of survivors.”

Bernie and I kept rapping.

When you hang up yo toothbrush yo job aint done.

Get that floss on that bicuspid, son!

There’s all kinds of shit behind your incisor.

Cavities between teeth can be a real surpriser!

“Damn,”  Kurt said.  “That is the worse music I have ever seen.”

“Agreed,”  the blonde reporter said.  “But these nerds have blown the lid off a vast conspiracy tonight.”

Morganstern’s voice came over the space phone.  Alien Jones amplified it loud enough that the blonde reporter’s mic was able to pick it up way up in her helicopter.

“Buzzkill, blow that bitch out of the sky.”

The F-15’s tore up the sky once more.

“Overlord, have you lost your mind?”

“She has entered a restricted area!  Do it!”

“ShockinAwesome.  Limpwrist.  Let’s head back to base.”

“I HAVE GIVEN YOU A DIRECT ORDER!”  Morganstern hollered.

“Court martial me if you want, General,”  Buzzkill said.  “But I’m not about to murder a bunch of civilians, especially the Hot Ass Blonde Chick With Big Titties.  She’s a national treasure.”

Bernie and I wrapped up our song and I looked at the holo-screen.

“Kurt, did you get all that?”

“We sure did, Hot Ass Blonde Chick With Big Titties.  General Morganstern has a lot of explaining to do.  We’re going to stay with this story as it develops.  Meanwhile, is your cat trying to sit on your face and suffocate you while you sleep?  A prominent veterinarian will weigh in after this commercial break…”

The NN1 SkyCopter banked right and took off.

The crowd cheered and celebrated.  Alien Jones cut our mics off and caught the space phone as it landed in his hands.

“Um, nerds?”  the Esteemed Brainy One said as he pointed his finger towards the neighborhood.

AJ pressed an app that turned his phone into a powerful pair of binoculars.  I looked at the screen to see a legion of hungry zombies marching down the road.

“It’s not time to party yet,”  AJ said.

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#31ZombieAuthors – Day 30 Interview – J.M. Wilde – Australia Zombified

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FIND THIS ZOMBIE AUTHOR ON:

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:::Looks in the mirror.  Slaps myself.:::

OK, BQB.  Get a grip.  You’ve got a half-hour left until East Randomtown is blown up.  You need to complete this interview, then go save the day.

Time is of the essence and you’re about to talk to a professional.  Sure, J.M. Wilde is one of today’s top Australian zombie fiction authors, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk and ask her about Australian stuff.  She doesn’t want to talk about kangaroos, koala bears, or dingos.  She doesn’t want to compare knife sizes a la Paul Hogan in Crocodile Dundee.  Don’t ask her about vegemite sandwiches or if the Men Without Hats’ mandate to ostracize friends of your friends who don’t dance is still in effect over there.

Just take all of your pre-conceived Aussie stereotypes and throw them out the window.  The fans of the highly popular Eva series deserve no less.

OK.  The space phone is ringing.

NOTE: BOLD=BQB; ITALICS=J.M.

Q.  Hello J.M.  I’m trapped in a zombie apocalypse and my hometown is about to be blown to smithereens as part of an elaborate conspiracy, but I’ve dropped everything to use a highly sophisticated alien communication device to place a call clear across the world in order to ask a question of utmost importance:

Clockwise or counterclockwise:  which way does the water swirl down the drain in the land down under?  Please.  Go flush your toilet, take copious notes, then come back with a full report.  I swear that’s all I’ll need to get all the curiosity about Australia out of my system.

A. I actually have no idea. I’ve never really noticed, I guess counterclockwise? Flushing the toilet isn’t any help because most toilets here don’t swirl, they just flush down. I didn’t even know that myth existed until that one episode of The Simpsons when they came to Australia.

Q.  By the way, since its already October 31 in Australia, Happy Halloween!  I realize this is an American holiday that began in the pre-colonial days of the U.S. in which colonists believed it was necessary to ward off evil spirits by running around in costumes, because if it’s one thing that a hell beast fears most, it’s a puritan in a bed sheet.  Fast forward to today, where once a year we all openly encourage children to disobey all the rules we impose on them throughout the rest of the year by encouraging them to “go ahead and knock on that stranger’s door and demand free food stuffs!”

Long story short – Halloween in Australia.  Does anyone over there do anything to celebrate or is it just another day?  Don’t worry if the answer is the latter.  With all the goofballs running around in costumes and all the weight I gain from eating fun size candy bars, there are times I wish it was November 1 already too.

A.  This is an interesting one. Halloween is also connected to Samhain, which takes place in Autumn. Here in Australia, Samhain takes place on May 1st, so technically that’s our Halloween. But thanks to commercialization and the many American TV shows and movies we watch, Halloween has made its way here over the last few years and is celebrated more and more on October 31st. It wasn’t celebrated here at all when I was a kid, but I would have loved to have gone trick or treating just like all my favorite characters on TV. Now, I see more and more kids and teens knocking at my door in costumes, and more Halloween decorations being sold in stores. Halloween parties are becoming a thing, too, which is awesome as I love a good costume party!

51b3SGDcMfL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Q.  Let’s talk about The Eva Series. In this three-book collection, you’ve turned Australia into one great big zombie infested death island.  Readers follow the journey of Eva as she and her friends make their way through the madness in search of safety. I have to admit, this is a pretty unique turn for the zompoc genre.  How did you come up with Eva’s story and what inspired you to tell her tale?

A. It really started because of my husband. I’d never written fiction before and wanted to try it, and at the time I thought my husband would be the only one who would ever read it. He loves zombies, so I decided to write a zombie story. And seeing as we live in Australia, I figured it would be cool to write about what might happen if a zombie virus broke out here. And voila! As They Rise, the first in the series, was born.

Q.  As I told a pair of writers the other day, I don’t have much pull in Hollywood.  Sure, Taye Diggs follows me on Twitter but I’m pretty sure he hit the follow button by accident.  That being said, “Zombies in Australia” seems like a concept ripe for a movie. On the off chance that J.J. Abrahams visits my blog by accident, give him your pitch as to why we need an Eva movie.

A. Taye Diggs follows me too! Okay, here’s my pitch. Hey J.J (or other equally awesome Hollywood person), enough already with zombies in the U.S of A! It’s been done to death (Ha! Puns.) Let’s move the fun down under where the stakes are higher and the production is cheaper. I’ve got the story, you’ve got the skills and the connections. Let’s make movie magic.

Q.  OK, I don’t want to brag, but I have been known to attract as many as 3.5 readers to my blog.  I thought that was pretty impressive until I learned that The Eva Series has racked up over 3 million reads online.  How did you get so many eyeballs on your work and for any aspiring writers out there, what can they do to attract more readers?

A. It’s all thanks to Wattpad. I don’t really know how it happened, but once I started uploading chapters to Wattpad a few years ago, it skyrocketed. I wouldn’t have ever considered being a pro writer without all the support from those early readers who kept begging me for more Eva. Aside from writing a good story and having a cool cover, I’ve found that being persistent and consistent is key when it comes to writing on Wattpad and attracting readers.

Q.  You’re a Wattpad star.  For people who aren’t as hip as we are, Wattpad is an online site that allows users to post their works and receive feedback from other users.  What about this site have you found useful and would you recommend it to other authors?

A. I adore the hell out of Wattpad, and I definitely recommend it to other authors. I think my favorite aspect about it is the interaction with readers. I’ve made friends and get to talk to my readers regularly, gain feedback on my work and just have so much fun with them.

J.M. Wilde on How to Get More Readers on Wattpad

Q.  So what’s next for you?  Any other book ideas in the works?  Could the zombies attack your neighbors?  Just going to throw it out there.  I feel like “TaZmania” or “New Z-Land” are rife with potential.

A. Haha! I love the New Z-Land idea. I’ve started working on a spin-off about one of the characters from book three, and I’ve been thinking about a potential fourth book in the series. But right now I’ve got a few other projects in the works; a couple of geeky YA contemporaries and a fanfic of The 5th Wave commissioned by Sony that’s being posted to Wattpad.

Q.  You’re a self-described fan girl.  On your website, you talk about how you want to be Iron Man and have pictures of yourself in Marty MacFly’s “future wear” from Back to the Future II, in which you’re meeting Christopher Lloyd, the actor who played Doc Brown.  I tip my hat to you, madam.  You’ve dethroned me as the Internet’s most renowned poindexter.  A lot of great superhero/comic bookish movies are coming out next year.  Which one or ones are you looking forward to most?

A.  Meeting Doc Brown was definitely one of the best moments of my life. BTTF is my fave movie so it was surreal. He’s such a nice dude. To answer your question … All of them! Deadpool. Captain America: Civil War. X-Men: Apocalypse. Suicide Squad. The list goes on!

Q.  J.M., thanks for taking a moment to talk with me.  Before I go, do you have any last minute advice that might help my friends and I survive the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse?

A. As Eva learned the hard way, fire doesn’t work against zombies, it just turns them into undead fireballs. Running is always the best choice. If you can’t run like hell, fight like hell. And always follow Rule #2 of Zombieland: double tap.

BQB EDITORIAL NOTE: J.M.’s running a Halloween sale!  Get all three books of the Eva series for .99 cents!

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BQB’s Zombie Apocalypse Survivor’s Journal – Day 30 – (Part 3)

“Bookshelf?”

Attorney Donnelly was all about proper etiquette.  As long as I’d known her, she never referred to me as anything other than”Mr. Battler” without fail.

Somehow, the announcement of an impending air strike designed wipe out my entire home town didn’t cause the gravity of my situation to sink in the way hearing my lawyer, the dependable, unshakeable rock I’d grown accustomed to leaning on in times of crisis, call me by my first name did.

“I take it you saw the news?”  I asked.

“Indeed.”

“You sent a copy of Jake’s manuscript to Morganstern?”  I asked.

“I did,”  Delilah said.  “He didn’t budge.”

“Damn,”  I said.

“Never fear, Bookshelf,”  Delilah said.  “I have full confidence that your brilliant mind will devise a way out of this conundrum.”

“You really think so?”  I asked.

“Of course.”

“Thanks Delilah,”  I said.  “I have to go save East Randomtown now  Goodbye..”

“Godspeed sir.”

I kept listening as Delilah fumbled with the phone.  Just before she hanged up on her end, I distinctly heard her say, “Mr. Hatcher, I do believe we’ll be in need of a new client soon.”

Thanks a lot, D.

The space phone rang.

“Battler, you moldy sack of tarantula crap.”

“Morganstern,”  I replied.

“You really thought you could blackmail me with a threat to disperse the details of Operation Fuhrerpunschen to the world?”

“It crossed my mind,”  I said.  “I thought the man you answered to wanted to keep that info hush hush.”

“He does,”  Morganstern said.  “But he also realizes that even if that strumpet ambulance chaser of yours does release Hatcher’s manuscript, you’ll just be written off as some dopey, hair-brained conspiracy theorist.  Hatcher.  That alien.  Uncle Hardass.  No one believes any of the so-called ‘writers’ on your blog are real.  Everyone just assumes you’re some dumb ass who pretends to be others just to drag traffic to a blog that will never, EVER attract more than 3.5 readers.”

“So why kill me at all?”

“Because if you keep going, you might attract a large enough audience that people might start listening,”  Morganstern said.  “And the man I answer to can’t have that.”

“He shouldn’t worry,”  I said.  “There are backroads in the Mojave Desert that get more traffic than my site ever will.”

“That’s what I told him but it’s too late,”  Morganstern said.  “You messed with the bull.  Now it’s time to get the horns…up your ass.”

Click.

Late to the party as usual, Bernie and Blandie walked in.  Bernie zipped up his fly while Blandie attempted to brush her hair straight with her hands.

“Aw sweet!”  Bernie cried.  “Seven layer dip!”

“Not now, Bern,”  I said.  “I’m stuck with a problem I can’t solve.  Everyone’s going to die and I couldn’t feel worse about it.”

“Shit dawg,”  Bernie said as he dipped a chip.  “Whenever I feel bad I just kick a funky beat.”

I jumped up.

“That’s it!”

I ran to my bedroom, which was stuffed full of East Randomtown residents, and opened my closet.  There in the back in a plastic dry cleaning bag was an obnoxiously bright yellow track suit I hadn’t worn since the early 2000’s.

It was my Funky Hear wear.  Bernie didn’t need any.  He never stopped dressing like a Funky Hunk.

VGRF walked in.

“What are you doing?”  she asked.

“I’m going to save our asses,”  I said. “Bernie, think of the funkiest rhyme you can while I call a zombie author.”

“No,”  VGRF said.  “That’s ridiculous.  Stop interviewing zombie authors.  We’re all about to be blown sky high.”

“I made a promise to my 3.5 readers, woman!”  I said.  “I swore I’d interview one zombie author a day for 31 days and I’ll be damned if a corrupt general is going to stop me!”

“It’s too late!”  VGRF said.  “You’ve blown the 31 Zombie Authors Challenge!  All the zombie authors are fast asleep!  It’s 11:50 p.m.!”

“Maybe here,”  I said.  “But it’s already tomorrow in Australia.”

VGRF slapped me across the face for the third time this month.

“Damn it, you magnificent bastard!  Stop being so brilliant!”

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BQB’s Zombie Apocalypse Survivor’s Journal – Day 30 – (Part 2)

Kurt Manley, perfect as always, was behind the Network News One Anchor Desk.

“Tonight’s top story…East Randomtown to be leveled!”

We all let out a collective, “WHAAAAAT?!!”

“A Hot Ass Blonde Chick With Big Titties is on the scene at the Army’s base of operations in West Randomtown.  Hot Ass Blonde Chick With Big Titties, are you there?”

A blonde reporter meeting the aforementioned description (NN1 really doesn’t even try to hide it anymore) appeared on screen, microphone in hand.

“Yes I am, Kurt.”

The camera pulled out to reveal that corrupt jackass General Morganstern standing next to her.

“General, the President has just given you the go ahead to carpet bomb the ever loving shit out of East Randomtown.  Is such a drastic move really necessary?”

“It certainly is, Hot Ass Blonde Chick With Big Titties,”  the General said.  “We’ve looked at this situation every possible way and lighting this crap hole burg up is the only option available that will keep the zombie menace from spreading to the rest of the nation.”

Cut to the studio.

“Hot Ass Blonde Chick With Big Titties?”

Split-screen between Kurt and the reporter.

“Yes Kurt?”

“What about the reports we’ve been looking to, that a resident of East Randomtown named Bookshelf Q. Battler is alive and well in town, as are a substantial number of survivors under his care?”

Back to the base.  The reporter held the mic up to the military man.

“What about it, General?”

“Utter malarkey, Hot Ass Blonde Chick With Big Titties,”  the General replied.

“But we’ve received reports that Bookshelf Q. Battler has been blogging from within East Randomtown every day for the past month,”  the reporter said.

“Poppycock,”  the General said.  “My team of experts reviewed that so-called blog.  We found it to be nothing more than a pile of hot, steamy unintelligible crap.  Bullshit about a nerd who think’s he’s an alien dictator’s chosen one, the best friend of another alien, that he has a Yeti living in his basement and so on.”

“He’s got me there,”  I said.

“I can think of a few ladies who disagree with you, General,”  the reporter said.

Cut to a park in West Randomtown, where several hundred forty something year old ladies in blue denim pants where holding a candlelight vigil.  They sang hymns and carried homemade signs.  Some of the more clever slogans included:

Funky Hunks 4-Eva!

The Funky Hunks LIVE!

Marry Me, MC Plotz!

Recyclin’ Be Dope!

I’m Bookshelf Q. Battler’s .5th reader!

Mary Flundersen, the President of the North Dakota Funky Hunks Fan Club, was standing next to a beautiful red headed reporter.

“Hot Ass Red Headed Chick With Big Titties?”

“Yes, Hot Ass Blonde Chick With Big Titties?”

“Tell us what’s going on behind you.”

“Hot Ass Blonde Chick With Big Titties,”  the red headed reporter said.  “I’m reporting from West Randomtown Park, where fans of the Funky Hunks have gathered to protest any and all military action against East Randomtown until it is confirmed that Bookshelf Q. Battler and Bernard Plotz are escorted to safety.  Ma’am, tell us how your demonstration is going.”

Mary started in with her North Midwestern “Fargo-esque” accent.

“Oh, Hot Ass Red Headed Chick With Big Titties,”  Mary said.  “It’s going well so far.  I put the call out and Funky Hunk Fans all over America and as far away as Bangladesh have flocked here to tell the world that what the General is doing is wrong.  I’m one of Bookshelf Q. Battler’s 3.5 readers, dontcha know, and I’m telling you our beloved Funky Hunks are alive and if one hair is harmed on their precious heads…”

Mary’s eyes, expression, and tone of voice all took a dark turn.

“…WE’RE GOING TO TEAR THIS MOTHER APART!!!”

All the protesters shouted “YEAH!” in the background, followed by, “NO FUNKY HUNKS, NO PEACE!”

“Back to you, Hot Ass Blonde Chick With Big Titties,”  the red headed reporter said.

“Thank you, Hot Ass Red Head Chick With Big Titties.”

The blonde reporter and Morganstern were back on screen.

“General, our own independent NN1 investigation revealed the follow facts.  One.  Though it was not very popular, a rap duo known as the Funky Hunks did exist during the late 1990’s/early 2000s.  This duo included Bookshelf Q. Battler and Bernard Plotz, who rapped under the stage names of ‘Read N. Plenty’ and ‘MC Plotz.’  They found a niche audience with forty something soccer moms in blue denim stretch pants, due to the wholesome rhymes featured on their debut album, ‘Non-Threatening White Boys.’”

“All speculation and conjecture,”  the General interrupted.

The blonde reported carried on.

“Two,” she said.  “That Bookshelf Q. Battler’s and Bernard Plotznick’s last known addresses were in East Randomtown.”

“That means nothing,”  Morganstern said.

“Three,”  the blonde reporter said.  “Despite its incredibly low readership of 3.5 individuals, a blog known as ‘The Bookshelf Battle Blog’ does exist, and for the past month, an individual claiming to be Bookshelf Q. Battler himself has been making daily posts.  In those posts, he’s alleged that at least a thousand survivors are alive and well in East Randomtown.  Shouldn’t you hold off on destroying this town until it’s known for sure whether or not Mr. Battler’s claims are accurate?”

“Now you listen here, Hot Ass Blonde Chick With Big Titties,” General Morganstern said.  “I am telling you that every last person in East Randomtown is either deader than disco or has been turned into a ruthless brain sucking bastard!  Your information is false and surely a veteran journalist such as yourself should know better than to worry about what dumb asses say on the blogosphere.  No credentials whatsoever are required to start up a website these days.  Any asshole on his living room couch can tap a few keys and be online in an instant, spouting off whatever insane conspiracy theories come to his mind!”

“Thank God,”  I said as I looked at the screen of the laptop in my lap.  It read “Bookshelf Battle.”

“I realize this is a drastic measure but I want to assure the American people that bombing East Randomtown to smithereens is the only way to keep the zombie menace from spreading.  So put on your shades and grab some hot dogs because there’s going to be one helluva weenie roast soon!”

“But General,”  the reporter said.

The General walked off.

“No more questions!”

The blonde reporter turned to the camera.

“You heard it here, first, viewers,”  the reporter said.  “An American town is about to be blown up by our own military amidst allegations that survivors remain alive within the town limits.  Back to you, Kurt.”

Cut to Kurt behind the anchor desk.

“A shocking report indeed, Hot Ass Blonde Chick With Big Titties.  Stay tuned, as we’ll be following this story as it develops. Also, is there a brand of laundry detergent that could give you the Ebola virus?  We’ll tell you whether or not its your brand after these messages, plus the weather…”

A graphic blasted onto the screen:

NETWORK NEWS ONE

The hottest chicks.  The biggest titties.

Oh yeah, and sometimes we report the news and shit.

VGRF turned to me.

“What now, fearless leader?”

“I need to make a call,”  I said.

“Now really isn’t the time to be calling a zombie author,”  VGRF said.

“Not an author,”  I said.  “My lawyer.”

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BQB’s Zombie Apocalypse Survivor’s Journal – Day 30 – (Part 1)

October 30, 2015

11:00 p.m.

Bookshelf Battle Headquarters.

It all began years ago as a modest three bedroom, one and a half bath house owned by my Aunt Gertie and Uncle Hardass.

After Uncle Hardass died from a massive sandwich related heart attack, Aunt Gertie packed it in and moved to Decrepit Oaks, leaving me the home.

Lame that I never found my own place, I know, but you try getting by on the meager salary Beige Corp pays its assistant to the assistant of the vice president for corporate assistance.

Particularly noteworthy was the fact that Uncle Hardass expressly stated in his last will and testament that Aunt Gertie “should, under no circumstances, leave the house I worked my ass off for in the salt mines to Bookshelf Q. Battler, my lousy excuse for a nephew, so he can sit around and chase his hippy dream of becoming a writer.”

Gertie cared enough to take the matter before a Judge, who struck that particular provision down.  I wonder if that’s why Uncle Hardass’ ghost continues to haunt the house to this very day?  Can ghosts exert a supernatural claim to property?

Oh well.

Anyway, using the powers of my magic bookshelf (I’ll explain how later) I constructed a forty foot wall around the perimeter of my Aunt and Uncle’s former house.  The result was a monstrosity of a fortress I dubbed, “Bookshelf Battle Headquarters” or alternatively, “The Bookshelf Battle Compound.”

I prefer “BQB HQ.”  Sounds less culty.

Inside the walls, the thousand remaining residents of East Randomtown were camped out, using tents, sleeping bags, and blankets.

After checking on everyone, I entered my house, where I was able to squeeze in twenty of the town’s most frail and infirm citizens.  My chairs, bed, floor, there were few spots left in the joint that weren’t occupied by an old person.

Thanks to the magic bookshelf, we had plenty of electricity, water, phone service, cable, and so on.  Crap.  I probably should have brought the gang back to BQB HQ sooner.  Oh well.  The past month would not have been as entertaining for you 3.5 readers if I had.

“I’ve never liked those walls,”  Aunt Gertie protested from the couch.  “Don’t you think they’re a manifestation of your jaded, closed-off inner psyche?”

“No,”  I said.  “I just don’t like the idea of neighbors peaking through the windows when I walk around naked.”

“Ugh,”  Aunt Gertie said.  “You don’t really do that, do you?”

“All the time,”  VGRF said as she walked into the living room holding a bowl of tortilla chips.  “It’s disgusting.”

“Who wants seven layer dip?”  Alien Jones asked, carrying in a bowl of his own.  “The best thing about being stuck in that zombie apocalypse is there’s now a backlog of Scandal on the DVR to watch.”

FYI – Thursday nights are Scandal night at BQB HQ.  Alien Jones makes the dip.  It’s out of this world.  That’s not even a pun.

Thanks to “watch what you want, when you want it” technology, we were watching Scandal on a Friday night.

“FILTHY HUMANS NEED TO SHUT THEIR STUPID FACES WHEN DRAMATIC STYLINGS OF KERRY WASHINGTON ARE ON!”

Another FYI – “The Yeti,” an international fuzzy war criminal who happens to be my arch nemesis, has been held captive in my basement ever since he broke into my house in March and held me hostage for a month.

The Yeti believes the world should be as boring as his home, the frozen wasteland of Siberia, and has been on a mission to bring my blog down as he believes it may one day grow beyond 3.5 readers and stimulate the world into new levels of awesomeness.

So he’s like the Mighty Potentate in that he also believes in me, but unlike the MP, he wants me to fail.

Hate to say it but so far things are coming up Yeti.

“I wonder what scandal Kerry will bury this week!”  VGRF said as she dipped a chip.

“DO NOT BOGART SEVEN LAYER DIP!”  the Yeti shouted.

The Yeti, who by the way, is ten feet tall and thousand pounds, yells everything with a guttural snarl.

It may seem odd that I give my fuzzy prisoner a reprieve to watch Scandal, but like the rest of the world, he loves Kerry Washington, and he loves his dip.  Just seemed cruel to not let the big lug in on the fun.

Besides, I’d gotten the impression that though the Yeti complains a big game about being held at BQB HQ, he’d secretly begun to enjoy it.

I mean, I just let him up to watch TV.  I don’t shackle him or anything and he doesn’t run off or try to kill me.  And you know, he is huge so, there’s a part of him that’s settled in.

The episode ended.

“Wow,”  Alien Jones said.  “What a scandal!”

“PUT ON THE NEXT ONE, GREEN WEIRDO!”  the Yeti commanded.

“Hold on,” VGRF said as she grabbed the remote.  “Let’s see what’s on the news.”

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#31ZombieAuthors – Day 29 Interview – Rick Chesler and David Sakmyster – ZOMBIE DINOSAURS!!!

Rick Chesler

WHERE TO FIND RICK CHESLER:

Amazon        Website

Facebook        Twitter

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WHERE TO FIND DAVID SAKMYSTER:

Amazon       Website

Facebook       Twitter

Holy Crap, 3.5 readers.  Holy Freaking Crap.

I’m so excited I’m about to plotz.

Since the beginning of time, there have been two badass varieties of monster:

  1. Zombies who ravenously devour any humans in their way.
  2. Dinosaurs who ravenously devoured any other dinosaurs who got in their way.

Zombies, as far as I know, are fictional.  At least I think they are.  Maybe that’s just what “The Man” wants me to believe.

Dinosaurs, on the other hand, were very real.  Long ago, they walked the Earth, stomping and chomping along, ruling all they surveyed like a bunch of gruesome lizard kings.

My next two guests have taken the sheer awesomeness of zombies and the raw power of dinosaurs to create two novels about….drumroll please…ZOMBIE DINOSAURS!

Oh my God I’m so excited I’ve got to pop a Xanax.  (Kids, that’s just a joke.  Say no to drugs.)

Unknown

Rick Chesler and David Sakmyster are the co-authors of Jurassic Dead.
When a research team uncovers fully preserved dinosaur corpses buried underneath the surface of Antarctica, what begins as a major scientific discovery turns into a deadly race to save the world from zombie dinosaurs run amuck.

The zombie-saur madness continues in Jurassic Dead 2 – Z-Volution.  A maniacal villain attempts to conquer the world, starting with Washington, D.C., with an army of zombie dinosaurs!

I…I can’t even begin to describe how cool this all is.  I need to sit down.

NOTE: BOLD = BQB; ITALICS = Rick and/or David

Q.  Rick and David.  Thanks for joining me for this interview.  Can we just get right down to it?  Do you dudes realize how epically fabulous this idea is?  How did you come up with it in the first place?

A.  RICK: Thanks very much for having us! We’re glad you like the concept. I’d always been interested in dinosaurs and am a Brontosaurus-sized fan of Jurassic Park (and now Jurassic World). So decades after that book came out, when my 4-year old kid was playing with plastic dinosaurs on the floor the night after The Walking Dead was on TV, and he started having the dinos attack imaginary zombies, a little light bulb flicked on for me and I thought, “Now that would be interesting, how could that happen…”

BQB EDITORIAL NOTE:  I hope you buy that kid all the toys he wants.  Totally earned it.

Q.  Listen, I have zero pull in Hollywood, but I have to say, these books seem made for the big screen.  I would surely be in the front row on opening day stuffing my pie hole full of popcorn.  On the off chance that Steven Spielberg stops by this blog on accident, please give him a pitch as to why we need Jurassic Dead: The Movie.

A.  DAVID:  “Hey Steve, listen… You know that Jurassic Park thing you were involved with? How about this? Similar feel and style, yet instead of cloning the things, we make them zombies. Yep, they’re even hungrier, nastier and oh a heck of a lot harder to kill. What do you say?”

Q.  Without delving too far into spoilers, can you give my 3.5 readers the lowdown on the science behind how a zombie dinosaur, in theory, might be possible?

A.  RICK: The way it is presented in JURASSIC DEAD, without giving any plot spoilers, is that dinosaurs have been found frozen whole in an Antarctic underground lake (real life Lake Vostok). This means that their blood, and whatever it had been infected with before they died, is still in their veins, frozen solid. So suppose that all the dinosaurs on Earth were actually wiped out by some type of microbial infection as opposed to, say, a meteor…Well, these frozen ones would be thawed out with that infection still in their blood. In the novel it is suggested that the infectious agent could be a prion, a type of protein well-known in real life for causing mad cow disease.


51kOXrbmxsL._UY250_Q.  Zombie-saurs.  Dastardly villains.  Heroes.  Are you guys students of the action/thriller genre?  Because it seems to me that you’ve packed all the elements an action movie fan would be looking for into these books.

A.  DAVID: Of course being a fan of the genre(s), we made sure to pack this book with not only a lot of our favorite action tropes, but also tried to keep it fresh and exciting and take the action in different dimensions than what you’d expect. That carries true in the next two books as well. With a subject like this, there’s the danger of having it perceived as being too obvious and SyFy-movie-of-the-week, but we tried to elevate everything to keep readers on their toes, to shock and surprise, and make you think too in new ways about everything you thought you expected.

Q.  Rick, you hold a Bachelor of Science in marine biology and have long been interested in the ocean and the mysteries locked in its depths.  You’re even a master scuba diver.  As a scientist/ocean explorer, do you draw on any of your experience in your writing?  How did you do so with Jurassic Dead?

A.  RICK: Many of my novels are set in and around the ocean or have threats born directly from the ocean that the main characters must deal with (HOTEL MEGALODON, WIRED KINGDOM, OUTCAST Ops: The Poseidon Initiative). While JURASSIC DEAD is not an “ocean novel” or sea monster novel per se, there are definitely significant story elements involving the sea that I had a lot of fun with.

For starters, the opening Antarctic scenes and the ice-breaker ship to transport the dinosaurs. The ocean voyage through a storm and ultimate shipwreck to reach the tropical volcanic island the bad guy has set up as his mad scientist base of operations. And in JURASSIC DEAD 2: Z-volution, there are actually a few prehistoric sea monsters swimming amok in modern times, which of course is great fun while scary at the same time.

Q.  Similar question for David.  Your Morpheus Initiative series has been described as a mashup of the archaeological adventure and paranormal genres, or in other words “Indiana Jones meets the X-Files.”  On your blog, you discuss how when other kids were checking out Disney tales, your father was reading you Edgar Allen Poe’s greatest hits, and that you dreamed of becoming an author at a young age.  Can you tell my 3.5 readers and I how you drew on your interest in archaeology and the paranormal to create zombie dinosaurs?

A.  DAVID: Historical mysteries are my favorite obsession, and pairing that interest with the paranormal made for a thrilling combination with the Morpheus Initiative books. When the opportunity to write about zombie dinosaurs came along, naturally I gravitated toward speculation—what would have made them turn into zombies back then (and allow for their continued existence in the present day? That line of thinking led to some interesting alternative theories about what did the dinosaurs in back then, and allowed us to play with some really intriguing ideas.

Q.  How did you two find each other?  One or two of my 3.5 readers are aspiring authors.  Any advice for finding and working with a writing partner?

A.  RICK: David and I were (and are) both members of the same writer’s “support group,” where a small number of us discuss the business of writing from time to time. We had also both been separately published by the same small press a few years earlier, and in fact both had short stories appear in an anthology called THE GAME, which featured stories based on the classic adventure-thriller, The Most Dangerous Game, where big game hunters track humans for sport. So when I decided to seek a co-author on JURASSIC DEAD, I wanted someone with significant horror novel experience whom I also trusted to get the job done. David was enthusiastic about the book and the rest, as they say, is history.

As for working with writing partners, first ask yourself, “Why do I need a co-author on this—why can’t I just write it myself? What is the other person ideally bringing to the table?”

It can be that you would like to work on two stories at once—co-authoring can allow you to do that. Or it can be that each author brings complimentary experience to the project. It can be both of those things. It can absolutely be a learning experience for each writer, both in terms of craft, where you’re seeing how other writers approach the creation of the same material, and in terms of project workflow and business, seeing firsthand how other writers get things done. I have worked with many different co-authors now and it has taught me a lot about the writing and book creation process.

Q.  What’s next for you guys?  Are more zombie-saurs coming our way in the future?

A.  DAVID: I wouldn’t rule out anything, but for sure Jurassic Dead 3 will be out this year, where we wrap up things in a true trilogy fashion. Although as with any venture, this is such fun that it’s not one we may find easy to leave. I could see revisiting the world again—either in another novel or spin off stories (ala Fear the Jurassic Dead!?). We’ve created a fascinating and wildly open-world situation where there are any number of side stories that could be told. How about a story about extracting the dinosaurs or the behind-the-scenes madness that went into the villain’s plans? Stories of various rebel adventures or individual stories of everyday people (besides our main characters) fighting for survival.

Q.  Thanks Rick and Dave.  This was a lot of fun.  Before I go, do you have any advice that might help my friends and I survive the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse?

A.  RICK: Gear up and read a lot of zombie novels.

 

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BQB’s Zombie Apocalypse Survivor’s Journal – Day 29

All eyes were on me as I walked to the center of the gym to address the survivors.

“People of East Randomtown,” I said. “First, thank you for voting for me to be your Mayor. Just want to say it’s a job I don’t want at all and as soon as the zombie apocalypse is over, I look forward to not being in charge of a town full of inbred dummies who nominate their leaders based on what TV show they appeared in for thirty seconds in the 1980s, or whether or not they have a blog with an audience of 3.5 readers.”

A random citizen shouted from the crowd, “Don’t forget the man who met James Van Der Beek! Leo McKoy will ALWAYS be better than you, BQB!”

“Damn,” I said. “This town is really divided. Anyway, I’d like to propose that we all pack up everything, take all the cars left in the parking lot, and travel by convoy to my home, the Bookshelf Battle Compound, where the forty foot high walls of my home base will keep us safe. There, we’ll ride out the zompoc together. What do you say?”

“You’ll never be as good as Doug Hauser!” a woman yelled. “I’ll never trust a leader who wasn’t in a 1980’s cop show for thirty seconds!”

I wasn’t without my defenders.

“Silence, all of you!” cried Father O’Neil, the parish priest at Our Lady of Random Suffering, East Randomtown’s Catholic Church. “Let he who is without 3.5 readers cast the first stone!”

“Thank you father,” I said. “So listen. Talk amongst yourselves, survivors. Hash it out, then take a vote.”

The survivors talked to each other. The conversations were loud, wild, and full of inappropriate hand gestures.

“BQB,” VGRF said. “What about Morganstern? Won’t he blow us all up if we leave the rec center with you?”

“He’d never kill all these people just to get to me,” I said. “Would he, AJ?”

“He totally would,” AJ said. “However, the zombie hordes outside the rec center fence grow larger and nastier every day. It’s only a matter of time before they crash through our defenses and gobble everyone up. Your plan to reconvene to BQB HQ is risky, but it is our only hope.”

A few minutes later, Mario called out from the crowd.

“Mayor Battler, we’ve reached a decision.”

“And?” I asked.

“The results are as follows,” Mario said, reading off a piece of notebook paper. “Suck It, Nerd. 499 votes. What the Hell, Let’s Go to the Geek’s House? 501 votes.”

“Wow,” I said. “Not exactly a mandate but it’s a majority. Thank you ladies and gentlemen. Take the rest of today and all day tomorrow to pack your things. Grab all the food and supplies. Don’t leave anything important behind. We’ll leave tomorrow night as soon as it gets dark.”

“Good idea, BQB,” Alien Jones said. “A night move will make it harder for Morganstern’s drones to spot you.”

“Are you going to call another zombie author?” VGRF asked.

“No,” I replied. “You know, I’ve been thinking. This zombie author interview series has been irresponsible on my part. Here I am, responsible for the whole town’s safety, and I’ve been wasting time promoting my blog with zombie author interviews. Sorry, but I can’t even spend one more second on zombie authors.”

Alien Jones forked over the space phone and pointed to a book with a massive, red eyed zombie dinosaur with a mouth full of enormous, razor sharp teeth.

“Holy Crap, that’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen,” I said. “Screw the town. Let’s get these dudes on the space phone immediately.”

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