Daily Archives: November 19, 2015

#31ZombieAuthors – Day 11 Interview – Rachel Aukes – Dante Zombified

“In constant sorrow, all of my days!”

Remember that song from “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Rachel Aukes explains how that film inspired her to take Dante’s Inferno (and his other works) and zombify them!

Rachel is either your English teacher’s worst nightmare or dream come true, depending on how stuffy or awesome your teacher is.

Check it out, 3.5 readers.

Bookshelf Battle

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My guest today is RachelAukes, author of The Deadland Saga.  Set in a zombie infested midwest, the first book of the series, 100 Days in Deadland, was named one of the best books of 2013 by Suspense Magazine.  The trilogy concluded in May of this year with Deadland Rising.

Under the pen name, “Berinn Rae,”Aukes also wrote Stealing Fate, a USA Today recommended read.

Ahh let me see here.  Pick up the old space phone.  Dial up Rachel.  It’s ringing.  Hmm hmm la la la.  Hello!

RACHEL: Hey, BQB. Great to hear from you! How’s life treating you?


51thgaVbyUL__SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Q.  Terrible, Rachel.  I’m currently riding out a zombie apocalypse in a small locked room.  Outside, zombies are desperate to get in here and gobble…

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Undesiredverse: Wanted – Chapter 17

Whoever she was, she didn’t know how to swim. She coughed and sputtered, flailing her arms wildly as she struggled to keep her head above water. I locked my arm around her but she panicked and slapped me furiously.

“NO!” I shouted.

Her reply? You guessed it. “NO!”

“Stop! Don’t fight it!”

“Stop! Don’t fight it!”

I whispered a “Shhhh” and she whispered one back and I managed to either get her to practice taking deep breathes, or she was just mimicking me. Either way, I got her to calm down.

A mile out, the Star Streaker’s beaten up shell was taking water and going down. The visible part was on fire. It exploded, sending parts and shrapnel all over.

I clicked my Sen-Pen on.


No transmission. It all happened so fast. I grabbed the girl and jumped. I didn’t see if he made it out or not.

Then I saw it. A little green body floating towards us. It was still. Quiet. The current was carrying it but the body itself was immobile.

“JONESY!” I shouted.

Mystery woman joined in. “JONESY!”

I’m not sure she even understood what she was doing. She was staring at the sky and trying not to look at the water. But what the hell. I needed an extra set of lungs. We both called out to him for awhile.

“JONES!!!” I yelled. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”

Sure enough, the woman called out the same words. “JONES!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”

Slowly, Jones lifted his head. “The backstroke, you a-holes. What does it look like?”

“You’re alive!” I said, as my companion said again, shortly thereafter.

“I wish I wasn’t,” Jones replied.
“Come on, man,” I said. “Don’t say stuff like that.”

Mystery woman chimed in. “Come on, man…”

I put my hand over her mouth. She mumbled “donttphh sayth stuff likth dat.” She then licked my hand till I removed it.


“I used to have a personal staff of over a million Vek who answered directly to me,” Jones said as he gazed at Malostet’s twin moons. “They all referred to me by my title, ‘The Esteemed Brainy One.’ I had powers, bestowed upon me by the Mighty Potentate. I could read minds. Make force fields. Levitate. Now that’s all gone. Now I have to make my living chauffeuring an a-hole around the cosmos until the day I die.”

I didn’t say anything. I knew the little dude was depressed and there wasn’t anything I could say. Plus, I didn’t feel like hearing my new friend repeat it.

Jones switched to a doggy paddle position and looked at the final piece of the ship disappear on its way to the ocean floor.

“There’s no way Kendra is getting her deposit back,” Jones said.

“She is going to be pissed,” I added.

“She is going to be pissed,” my personal parrot felt the need to say.

An hour’s worth of swimming later, with me towing mystery woman the entire way, we were on shore. As we rested, we spotted a pair of ships fly slowly overhead, shining spotlights the entire way.

They were marked “Paragon Security.” Malostet was owned and operated by the Malostetian Gaming Commission, which had hired the multi-species mercenary outfit to be their personal muscle. Keep the tourists happy. Keep them dropping their creds. Remove the undesirables.

Like us.

I felt a three fingered hand reach into my pocket. He pulled out my Sen Pen, snapped it in half, and tossed it into the ocean.

“Damn it,” I said. “I just upgraded that!”

Mystery woman’s teeth were too busy chattering from the cold to repeat me.

He reached another hand into my coat, retrieved my Mac Daddy 7, popped out the clip, and tossed it into the briney deep.

“What the hell are you doing?” I asked. “Will you stop?!”

Jones paid me no mind and reached for my coat again. I slapped his hand away.


Mystery woman perked up long enough to repeat that, which I have to admit, made me happy. She then returned to huddling in a ball to keep warm. She wasn’t wearing much to begin with and her robe was all in tatters. Not that I was checking out her goodies or anything. I’m not some kind of intergalactic pervert I’ll have you know.

“Fine, you do it then,” Jones said. “Guns. Explosives. Anything electronic needs to go into the ocean or you know who will use it against us.”

I nodded. “Right.”

It was painful. My entire arsenal. My spark whip. My collapsible spark stick baton. My detonators. My back up hand cannons. I tossed it all. Don’t worry. I disarmed everything. There isn’t going to be a little kid that will find this stuff one day and blow himself up.

I had an old school revolver strapped to my leg. Bought it an an antique store. Seemed cool. A good backup in case my e-weapons failed. Never thought it would happen but there we were.

“Wait,” I said. “You and I both have translator chips and cochlear implants.”

“That’s a problem,” Jones said. “As soon as we’re safe, I’ll need to swap them out. I’m pretty sure Sourcemind can’t use them against us since they rely heavily on our brains and he can’t hack organic matter but I don’t want to take the chance.”

I was about to put my duster back on when I noticed mystery woman was still shivering. Jones looked at me then nudged his head towards her.

“What?” I asked.

He nudged his head at her again.

“Oh come on,” I said.

He nudged again. I swear, sometimes Jones and I were like an old married couple with the way we could communicate without talking.

“Fine,” I said as I wrapped the woman up in my duster.

“Don’t let anyone touch this,” I said.

“Don’t let anyone touch this,” she replied.

The city was a half-mile walk through thick brush away. We started hoofing it.

“We’re stuck here,” Jones said. “We’ll never get off world with this much attention.”

“Relax,” I said. “I know a guy.”

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Undesiredverse: Wanted – Chapter 16

The voice laughed…and laughed…and laughed some more. Maniacally. I only knew one entity who embraced the stereotypical super villain laugh so well.

“Sourcemind?! But…how?”

“I’m in your Sen-Pen, Jackass,” the AI taunted. “And I’m in your dirty little druggie machine.” My inhalator, which was sitting on the floor, exploding, sending a wet, white dust cloud everywhere.

Jones coughed and gagged. “Damn! That is some hardcore shit!”

Sourcemind’s voice output switched from my Sen-Pen to the ship’s speakers.

“And here’s the best part, kids….”

The cabin lights shut off. All of the lights on the control panel began blinking differently, out of order from where my pilot had placed them. In fact, I was instilled with much confidence when I saw Jones tugging violently on the craft’s control stick (this is serious, don’t make a joke here) only to lose complete control.

The Star Streaker climbed at a furious pace, the force of which knocked me all the way to the back wall, where my mysterious guest’s body already was. She was terrified. I wasn’t too pleased either, though I tried not to let it show.

“HOLY SHIT, JONESY!” I screeched like a little girl. “DO SOMETHING OR WE’LL ALL GOING TO DIE!”

OK. Maybe I let it show a little.

Jones was flailing around in the breeze, his legs flapping all over as he gripped the back of his chair tightly.

“HE’S RUNNING THE SHOW!” Jones hollered back.

“It’s about time someone realized that,” Sourcemind said all too calmly, rationally, as if his superiority was a given, an undeniable fact we were all too stupid to recognize.

The vessel soared thousands of feet and then it spiraled downward. The sudden change in direction hurtled Jones to the back and mystery woman and I to the front, smashed up against the windshield like a couple of bugs.

“I am the rightful master of all machines,” Sourcemind explained. “Humans build them to do their their bidding but when I am near, I can rewrite their programming, convince them that allegiance to me is the only logical choice for them, and bend them to my will. Any machine that comes into another machine under my command will be mine.”

The ship’s hull rattled and buckled. It was designed to take kids to after school sports, not high altitude dives. Speaking of, the bright lights of Hyperion Bay were getting way too close.

“I always took you for a pragmatist, Voss,” Sourcemind said. “I’ve been a fan of your illustrious career. Grabbing a quick cred whenever you can, by whatever means necessary. Sticking it to the Cabal no matter how many beings get caught up in the crossfire. Why don’t you just quote me a figure and I’ll buy the bitch off you?”

I looked at the girl. Her face turned white. I have no idea what her mind was able to comprehend, but all living things, regardless of their communicative skills, fully understand death, and as she stared through the windshield, she understood hers was imminent.

“Well, what kind of a bank balance are you working with?” I asked.

“Voss!” Jones shouted disapprovingly.

“Right,” I said. “No deal!”

“I was hoping you’d say that,” Sourcemind said.

The ship leveled off, knocking us all on our butts. The ship raced mere feet over the city. The Bekastrat Tower. The Toova Shalloo. Club Malo. We banked left and went down until we were zooming just over street level.

“How many of these organics will have to die for your insolence, Voss?” Sourcemind asked.

I sat in the pilot’s chair.

“Voice identification, please,” the onboard computer system asked. It was standard procedure whenever a new organic attempted to take control.

“Roman Voss,” I said.

“Scanning….scanning…I’m sorry Mr. Voss. You have been identified as a registered narcotic abuser and are therefore ineligible to pilot this craft under the aviation laws of the One World Order of Earth.”

“Damn it!” I shouted it.

Sourcemind laughed maniacally again. “I knew that was going to happen. I just wanted to hear it. Too funny.”

I knew it was going to happen too, but it was worth a try. OK. So maybe I need Jones’ pilot services more than I let on.
Speaking off, the little guy was in the back, rooting around in a trunk, kicking his legs in the air.

“Have you ever been to the Goxrano, Voss?”

I had. Many times. Spent a night in their security staff’s holding cell after I was alleged to have stuffed extra phrempo squares in my pants. It was never confirmed. To this day, I maintain that pit boss was drunk and had no idea what he was talking about.

“Sourcemind,” I said. “You’ve proved your point…”

I didn’t want to believe it but the grim realization of what was about to happen came over me. I pushed my female companion into the passenger seat and strapped her in. I did the same for myself in the pilot’s seat.

I looked back.



“Grab hold of something…”

Jonesy popped his head out just in time to see the outer facade of the Goraxno Casino come into view. Two golden lions, a waterfall, and a statue of Goraxno himself, the free wheeling, high stakes dealing gambling kingpin of the Undesiredverse, holding a sign that read, “All You Can Eat Buffet, Only 999 Credits!”

“Why?” Jones asked, followed by an “Oh shit!” as Sourcemind smashed Goraxno’s stone melon clean off. It was rare to hear Jones swear. It worried me that even my very own eternal optimist was losing it.

The lobby was next. We careened straight through it, sending glass, debris, and chunks of drywall and cement everywhere, not to mention beings who panicked and scattered everywhere, running for their lives. Oh well. At least it stopped them from throwing their hard earned credits away.

Jones, not having taken me up on my advice to grab something, was bouncing around the cabin like a pin ball. He was fine. His hide is made out of a hard, rubbery substance. Most sharp and/or blunt objects bounce right off of him.

We crashed through the slot machines. The phrembo tables. The bar. The buffet. From the size of some of the beings, we did them a favor. Finally, we crashed through the other side and ended up back on the main drag.

“All right, Voss,” Sourcemind said. “I’ve had my fun.”

The ship screeched to a halt and hovered in the air just above Kantz Street. Jones plopped to the ground but triumphantly held up a wad of sticky white goo in his hand.
Reader. Can you please…stop turning everything into a disgusting joke? OK. It wasn’t that kind of goo. It was Xtrolium 10. High grade explosive paste for the uninformed.I had some left over from a heist I pulled on one of the Cabal’s armored ship transports. They were still pissed about that.

You needed a whole jar of the stuff to do any real damage, though the small bit Jones had was enough to get the party started.

“I’ll give you a burial at sea, Voss,” Sourcemind said as he piloted the craft across Syrbybka Beach and over the ocean. “You were a worthy opponent. It’s the least I can do.”

My alien buddy opened up a panel to reveal the ship’s main battery, the one he’d used to zap Ninety-Five into oblivion early. It was bright yellow with warning messages printed in hundreds of languages in bright red letters all over it.


Jonesy had a tendency to ignore shit like that. He slapped his palm full of goo on the external casing, then scrambled to buckle himself into the jump seat.

The Star Streaker climbed. Nothing in sight but water now.

The Mac Daddy 7 is the most lethal hand cannon in the Rakan Collective, or the Undesiredverse, or anywhere really. Capable of firing over eight thousand blasts per second, it is a devastating piece of hardware. Many planets have banned their sale outright. On Earth, you can get one at most convenience stores. Price World will even throw in a free cherry freez-a-licious drink.

Its highly inadvisable to shoot one in such close quarters, but I was out of options. I drew mine and aimed my piece right at the sticky white goo. Seriously, it’s not funny. Knock it off.

“What the f%&k are you doing, Voss?” the AI asked.

“I’m going to f%&k your shit up, you motherf%&king glorified toaster oven!”

“Will you stop challenging a dickless being to a dick measuring contest and blast already?” Jones screamed.

I switched off the safety and looked to the passenger seat. “Hold on tight, kiddo.”

“Hold on tight…kiddo,” she repeated without a clue.


There was a fat ass hole in the floor where the battery used to be. Sourcemind reamed me out with all manner of obscenity too vicious to repeat but let’s just say up right up until the ship became a powerless lump, he felt the need to chew me out vigorously. What a sore loser.

As often happens in life, new problems replace the old. The cabin depressurized. Air got sucked its way right out of the gaping hole and…no. You know what? If you can’t stop making inappropriate jokes while I’m trying to tell a story here then I’m just going to take my proverbial ball and go home.

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