Daily Archives: October 20, 2015

BQB on the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer (The Final Trailer)

Hey 3.5 readers.

Bookshelf Q. Battler here, still riding out the zombie apocalypse, but luckily I have Alien Jones’ space phone to stream stuff on, like the latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer:

My thoughts, in no particular order (and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong because many of these are predictions i.e. me just spitballing:

  1. So we have two new heroes, a young male and a young female lead.  The girl I believe is some kind of junk scavenger and I’m guessing the structure she is searching through is that big crashed Star Destroyer from the previous trailer.  I’m assuming it is, in fact, the Star Destroyer where Luke had his final battle with the Emperor in Return of the Jedi.  Could be wrong but I thought I read somewhere that the girl find’s Luke’s lightsaber or something.  (Again, I’m just throwing stuff out there, I really have no idea.)  Meanwhile, the male lead is a stormtrooper and apparently something happens that makes him renounce his stormtroopery ways.
  2. We see/hear the female lead ask Han if the stories are true and he explains that yes, they are.  Therefore, apparently much time has passed, the tales from the older films have become less real and more like legends to the people of the Star Wars universe, and assumably, Han, Luke, and Leia as old-timers will guide a new generation of heroes in taking on a new threat.
  3. That threat comes in the form of some bad masked dude who’s checking out Darth Vader’s crushed mask, pledging to finish what Vader started.  Didn’t he get the memo that Vader recanted his evil ways while he was dying and finally ended up being a nice ghost who chilled with Ghost Obi Wan and Ghost Yoda at the end of Return of the Jedi?
  4. We see Leia – she looks sad, she appears to be hugging Han.  I don’t know why she’s sad.  Presumably because evil deeds or transpiring, or maybe she missed Han.  Han said “Chewie, we’re home” in the other trailer, so assumably Han and Chewie went somewhere for a long time.  Here’s hoping there will be some joke where Leia calls Han a scruffy nerf herder or something.
  5. I’m sad to hear about all the “Boycott Star Wars” nonsense, i.e. claims that the movie is “anti-white” but on the other hand, if you check out the hashtag, it’s mostly people complaining that the hashtag was ever created.  Food for thought – I get people are mad and want to vent but sometimes where the Internet is concerned, ignoring a dumb idea makes it go away faster whereas talking about it helps it gain steam, which, yeah, why am I talking about it then?
  6. Ticket sales are breaking records as well as websites.  People buying pre-sale tickets for a movie that’s 2 months away.  I’ve never really cared about a movie before enough to buy tickets in advance but I might just for this one.
  7. So we see Han, and Leia, where’s Luke? We only see his hand in the first trailer.  I mean, Mark Hammil hasn’t had it easy when it comes to aging (but then again who does?)  He was in a car wreck when he was younger and he wasn’t the best looking dude starting out (Kids there was once a time when Hollywood allowed people who didn’t look completely like Gods and Goddesses to be the leads in films, I know, amazing!) so I wonder if that’s it – but he was in the The Kingsman earlier this year and he looked fine.  I hope they’re not going to do some Hollywood thing and cover him up with a cloak or something for half the film.   I dunno.  That’s all pure speculation.

OK.  My two cents over.  Again, don’t quote me because I’m just talking out of my butt.  I look forward to seeing this movie.  What do you nerds think?

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#31ZombieAuthors – Day 20 Interview – Rachel Higginson – Zombified Romance

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Today’s guest is Rachel Higginson, author of the zombie apocalypse romance series, Love and Decay.  Currently in Season Three, it’s the story of Reagan, whose dreams of a happily ever after go up in smoke when she’s forced to run her zombified high school sweetheart over with her mother’s car to keep herself from becoming zombie chow.

Born and raised in Nebraska, Rachel spent her college years traveling the world, the highlights of said journey including Eastern Europe, Paris, Indian Food and the beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka.

She came home to marry her own high school sweetheart, who luckily, has yet to become zombified.  When she’s not writing, she’s either raising her four children or reading.

BQB: Rachel, thanks for taking my call.

RACHEL: Thank you! I’m so excited to chat.

NOTE:  BOLD=BQB; ITALICS=RACHEL

Q.   Love and Decay is serialized in a television-esque style.  Season Three came out in May of this year and you expect Season Four in December.  As you describe on your website, during a season, each episode comes out in the form of a novella of around 20,000 words.  When all of the novellas are out, you put them together in a seasonal omnibus.

Thanks to streaming media and the ability to watch whatever you want, whenever you want, television has drastically improved in recent years.  What inspired you to serialize your work and is there any benefit to doing so as opposed to releasing the entire season in one novel up front?

A.  It was my husband’s idea actually. He thought it would be a great way to get more content to my readers faster. 20,000 words seemed easy to him. While it’s not actually easy, it is so much fun. And the 20k setup forces me to write in a different way than I would a full length novel. These episodes are intense and action packed. The plot-building is stripped down to bare bones to allow everything that needs to happen happen in a four chapter novella. If I were to write the same story in a 100k novel, I would write it completely different. It would be the slow build to the climactic moment. And while a zombie apocalypse book can be nothing but action-packed and exciting, the build-up would still be stretched out over time and chapters. The novellas give me permission to pack a punch with each episode. The story arc is still there, but it’s less of a consistent rise. It’s more like taking a roller coaster up the side of a mountain- you’re always going up, but it’s the most exciting way to get to the top.
 
Q.  I have to admit the idea sounds interesting.  We’re all so busy these days that the idea of sitting down to read an entire novel can be daunting for me, whereas the idea of perusing 20,000 words every two weeks seems doable.  What do your readers think of this approach?

A. They love it. They also hate it! They love it because they get to stay engaged with a fictional world they adore for six entire months. I finish a novel in a few days, a week at most. And then I fall into book depression because I have to leave that story behind. With the novella setup, my readers don’t have to leave the Love and Decay World. They get to stay involved for six entire months. And with how the episodes are set up, each read is exciting, each novella propels the plot forward. There isn’t time for slow, calm, world-building chapters. Each novella has to be an adrenaline-pumping ride through the zombie apocalypse. They hate it though because they really are short reads. Some of my readers can finish them in an hour. And then they’re forced to wait for two weeks to find out what happens next. They don’t like that part- and I really don’t blame them. But I secretly think they love the anticipation. That’s half the fun! 

Q.  Reagan falls for one of the Parkers, the brothers who come to her aid.  Love is hard to find even when the world is running smoothly and the damned aren’t trying to crack open your skull just to feast on the sweet, juicy innards.  For  cynics like me, is there any way you convince us that love in the time of a zombie apocalypse is possible?

A. Oh for sure! I think it’s human nature. We’re not meant to be alone, live alone. Even at the end of the world. The greatest goal of humankind is to be known and understood. And there is no greater way to know and understand a person than by loving them. I would think even more so in a zombie apocalypse where fear and uncertainty rule the day. Sure, there’s also a lot of killing and running for their lives, but love happens in all those in between places. Even if it’s not convenient, it’s something we can’t stop. We are designed to love. But then again, I’m a romantic. 

Q.  The undead aren’t the only ones after Reagan.  Not to give too much away, but threats come in the form of a stalker and bounty hunters, just to give some examples.  What is it about a zombie apocalypse that brings out the worst in people?  Can anyone be trusted when zombies are afoot?

A. In my vision of the zombie apocalypse, men and women are ruled by fear. Sometimes that manifests in helping others survive and sometimes that manifests in grappling for control in any way that you can. In our world today, there are bad and good people. I think circumstances in a zombie outbreak would only amplify those roles. Without standards or authority, bad people are free to do as they please, free to find control anyway that they can. If they can control a situation, there is nothing to fear. That makes it nearly impossible to trust people. You can’t predict how another person will react to their fear or living with fear on a daily basis. But I can’t believe everyone would turn to their darker instincts. There will always be good people in the world or maybe just people who cope better. Trust can happen, but slowly. Or very quickly, depending on the life-threatening situation you find yourself in. 🙂 

Q.  Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today.  Before I go, do you have any last minute advice that might help my friends and I survive the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse?

A. Stick together and get creative! You’re going to need a lot of weapons, so you might have to be flexible with the definition of “weapon.” But whatever you end up using, make sure that sucker is dead before you turn around. 

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BQB’s Zombie Apocalypse Journal – Day 20

10:00 a.m.

Delilah K. Donnelly, BQB's Attorney

Delilah K. Donnelly, BQB’s Attorney

For the first time in twenty days, I felt comfortable enough to sleep in.  VGRF was snuggled in close to me, her mouth wide open as she snored and blew a strand of her red hair up and down with each exhale and inhale.

There was someone I needed to check in with.  I was way overdue.

I punched a number into the space phone and a few moments later, I found myself staring at a video feed of a blonde woman. She was all class and elegance.  Her hair was such that it looked like she visited a salon daily.  Her dress was one of the finest that the Beverly Hills boutiques had to offer.

She spoke with style and grace with an undertone of Old Hollywood glamour.

“Mr. Battler?”

“Hello Ms. Donnelly.”

It was my attorney, Delilah K. Donnelly, Official Lead Counsel for the Bookshelf Battle Blog and my chief advisor on all legal matters.

“Are you quite alright?”  Delilah asked.  “I must say I haven’t heard from you in quite some time and after viewing the news reports regarding the tragedy in your hometown, I’ve grown dreadfully concerned.”

“I’m good for now,”  I said.  “But listen, I need your help.”

“Of course.”

“I’m being targeted by a crooked general, one Thomas Morganstern,”  I explained.  “He’s none too pleased that Jake spilled the beans about Operation Fuhrerpunschen and intends to use the zombie apocalypse as a cover to blow me up, thus shutting the Bookshelf Battle Blog down for good.”

“Good heavens,”  Delilah said.  “The 3.5 readers would be lost without you, sir.  What ever shall we do?”

“Tell Jake he needs to write down a rough draft of everything he can remember about the mission he went on to punch Adolf Hitler in the face,”  I said.  “Then get it to a secure location.  Let Morganstern know that if anything ever happens to me, no, to any of us, that the manuscript will be self-published.”

“Shall we price it at ninety-nine cents on Amazon?”  Delilah asked.

“Jesus Christ, Delilah,”  I said.  “What am I, a teenage girl hocking her love poems?  We’re talking about the scoop on a top secret government operation to punch history’s greatest monster in the face.  Surely we can get at least 2.99 for it.”

“Of course.  I shall recruit Detective Hatcher’s assistance immediately,”  Delilah said.  “I must say it won’t be easy, Mr. Battler.  He remains invariably displeased that you continue to withhold the secret of his sixty year nap from him.”

“You sound like you have something to say,”  I said.

Delilah lit up one of her long filtered cigarettes and took a puff.  I could tell she was stalling.

“Do you think its fair?”  she asked.

“That I string Jake along like a circus monkey, making him dance for the info he wants to know?”  I asked. “No, not at all.”

“He views you as some type of absurd villain,”  Delilah said.  “Toying with him just to drive your site’s readership higher than 3.5.”

“Then let him think that,”  I said.  “I don’t know what else to do.”

Delilah flicked some ash into a ceramic tray on her desk.

“Tell him the truth?”

“What?”  I asked.  “That a maniacal alien despot is threatening to conquer Earth unless my writing career takes off and that running a website featuring regular posts from a hard boiled noir style detective full of stories of his exploits might just be the one thing that puts me over the top?”

“I suppose it does sound foolish when you put it that way.”

“You’ve got a bigger heart than you’re given credit for Delilah,”  I said.  “But you know for the Pop Culture Mysteries posts to work, we need to insulate Jake from aliens, the Yeti, Dr. Hugo, really all the ridiculous nonsense that happens in the Bookshelf Battle world.”

“Very well, Mr. Battler,”  Delilah said.  “I must say I fear that Detective Hatcher may be in for quite a letdown when he discovers how he ended up here.”

VGRF stirred, stretched and yawned.

“Did you feel letdown when I told you how you ended up here?”  I asked.

Delilah’s large eyes looked down.

“At first, yes.  And for quite some time thereafter.”

“And now?”  I asked.

She looked up.

“I feel eternally grateful for the gift you’ve given me.”

“Jake will eventually share that feeling.”

Delilah scoffed.

“I doubt that indubitably.  Detective Hatcher is hardly as open minded as I am.”

“Hi Delilah,”  VGRF said.

“Good morning, Ms. Fighter,”  my attorney said.  “Did you sleep well?”

“I did.”

“I’m ever so glad to hear it,”  Delilah said.  “Will there be anything else, Mr. Battler?”

“Yes,”  I replied.  “Halloween is coming.  Can you see if Jake will find out why the hero in a horror movie just clubs the bad guy one time and assumes victory, only to find that the baddie has just discovered his second wind and is ready to fight again?  I’ll send you the details.  Tell Jake there’s a cool fiver in it for him.”

“Ever the big spender,”  Delilah said.  “I’ll deliver your requests to Detective Hatcher right away.  Good day Mr. Battler.  Ms. Fighter.”

“Good day,”  I replied.

I hanged up the phone.

“You’re lucky to have her,”  VGRF said.

“The top lawyer in Hollywood representing a guy with a blog that caters to a mere 3.5 readers?”  I asked. “Uh…yeah, I think so.”

“She’s very loyal,”  VGRF said.

“True,”  I said.  “And if there’s one quality you can’t get enough of in the zombie apocalypse, it’s loyalty.”

I dialed another number on the space phone.

“That reminds me.  Time to call another zombie author.”

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