Daily Archives: March 10, 2016

How the West Was Zombed – The Plot

I have to admit – I wasn’t entirely sure of the plot in the beginning and looking back, it shows.

After thinking of various plots, the one I went with:

  • Henry Alan Blythe is lead counsel for the Legion Corporation, secretly run by a board of dastardly vampires.
  • Zombies can be created when a person a) drinks vampire blood and then b)dies.  The vampire who supplied the blood can control the zombies (Blythe, here.  Also, when he doesn’t control them, they’re just free range zombies who trudge around and bite at will)
  • Doc Farraday has unwittingly sold an elixir that contains, among other things, vampire’s blood across the West.
  • From Colorado onward, zombies have destroyed everything, and werwolves (allies to vampires) are herding them East…
  • …to get on a train so they can be transported across the Mississippi and unloaded in the East, so they can cut a line of destruction and mayhem all the way to Washington, D.C.
  • Slade, who never backs down and his deputy, Gunther, who makes a strong case for backing down, must stop this from happening…
  • …and they’ll find out about it when the Buchanan Boys, fans of Doc’s elixir, get shot in a duel and become zombies
  • And when Miss Bonnie’s saloon is blown up, creating more zombies.
  • Blythe is an adept mastermind and the board should really sit back and enjoy his work.
  • But Slade is resistant to glamour (vampire hypnosis).  Vampires can look into most humans’ eyes, find out what they want and deliver a mental promise they’ll have it if they just do whatever the vampire wants them to do.  But Slade has such little belief in “hope” that he can’t be exploited that way.
  • Thus, the board thinks Slade has darkness in him and could be turned into an ally.
  • Which is basically my way of explaining why Blythe doesn’t just shoot Gunther and Slade in the back of their heads and then take a nap 20 minutes into the story to begin with.  He does want to, but he’s a good employee.
  • A boy werewolf, who recently learned how to be a werewolf so he isn’t very good at it, will teach Slade and co all about vampires, werwolves, and zombies.
  • SPOILER ALERT – Blythe has evil shenanigans planned vis a vis Slade’s two women, something evil in an attempt to make Slade so upset and angry he turns evil.
  • SPOILER ALERT – And he has to stop the zombie train.  While riding on Miles the Amateur Werewolf’s back as his furry steed so I can put it on the book cover.
  • SPOILER ALERT  – The West ends up “zombed” or full of zombie, thus giving me the chance to write more ridiculous sequels and maybe sell enough copies to treat myself to a night out at Applebees.

QUESTION – This is pretty much the dumbest thing ever written, right?  Is any of this coming across to you as you read?

Should I just give up? 


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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 20

Joe and Miles really know what the telegrams are about. Explanation as to why they don’t tell anyone, because who would believe them?

I believe I will change this to Joe knowing an organized zombie invasion is on the way, perhaps it is something Blythe has long planned and he knew about from his days as a henchman

Bookshelf Battle


Midnight.  The criminals snored and shifted in their seats.  Smelly Jack was having a difficult time drifting off seeing as how he was chained to two of his brother-cousins.  Slade and Gunther were outside on the porch.  The oldest Knox was fast asleep.  The two younger Knoxes were locked in a heated debate about whether or not Jesse James was an outlaw or a hero.

Joe walked to the pulpit, which Miles was using as a desk to draw his latest masterpiece.

“Are we leaving?” the boy asked.

Joe answered his son’s question with a question. “I’m that obvious?”

“I can smell your fear,” Miles replied without looking up.  This time he was working on a pirate ship, complete with sails, masts, cannons, and little pirates on deck.

“You don’t smell so brave either,” Joe said.  “I don’t know anyone who could at a time like this.”

“Should we go now…

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 19

Resolving the telegram issue…and Slade learns too late that Bonnie wanted him after all.

It’s like that Chris Rock routine about how no women want him when he’s single but when he’s with a woman, every woman is after him.

Bookshelf Battle


Back at the church, Slade walked in on a gentleman’s game of pinochle.  No money was at stake. It was just a means of passing the time.

“One of you suckers is cheating,” Knox declared.

“You say that every time,” Gunther replied.

“That’s because there’s always a sucker who’s cheating,” Knox said.

Joe smirked and studied his hand.

The younger Knoxes weren’t playing.  They were more interested in the magnificent hawk Miles was sketching with a pencil on a piece of paper he scrounged up.

“Looks so real,” George said. “Who taught you how to do that?”

“My Mama,” Miles said.

Slade took a load off.  Gunther slid the blueberry muffin tin across the table.

“A gift from Miss Bonnie.  I had to rescue them out of the dirt after she discarded them upon the sight of you canoodling with your new paramour.”

Only one muffin left.  Slade, a frequent…

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 18

A lot of things happening here.

1) I wanted to show that Highwater is near the Mississippi River. And near a railroad bridge that crosses it. And that Legion is a railroad company that sends trains over the bridge.

(SPOILER – have you figured it out yet that Blythe is in town to oversee a zombie shipment across the Mississippi on its way to attack the East?)

2) I’m going to take out the part where they dump red liquid into the water. I was basically going to later go into a whole thing where they poison the water supply so everyone becomes a zombie but it seemed like it’d just be a new direction.

3) Slade proposes. Too early? Yes. But I don’t think people dicked around back then like they do now. I’m a man. You’re a woman. We like each other, let’s get married. You didn’t have to do this whole song and dance routine where you have to pretend to be a platonic friend for a million years before you can ask her out for a chili cheeseburger or some shit and even then it’s at least 500 dates before you can ask her anything more personal than what she thinks about the weather.

4) The bedsheet thing. I don’t know about you – I thought it was funny.

Look, just throwing it out there, you could make an argument that Slade should just tell Bonnie to get lost. She’s a prostitute and she rejected him and Sarah’s a nice, wholesome woman who didn’t hesitate to go after him.

But, she’s interpreted the bible to mean all her uh various lady parts still belong to her dead husband, thus only sex through a hole in a bedsheet is allowed.

I said pillowcase up here. I have to change that to bedsheet.

Sure, make fun, but that’s how the Amish do it. Or is it the Orthodox Jewish people? I don’t know.

It’s one of those things that you know – a thing that upsets you that seems like a deal breaker that you find out AFTER you’ve agreed to be with the person.

That’s why I say every first date should be like a job interview where everyone just lays their shit out on the table to see if it stinks.

And I even leave room for the possibility this isn’t that terrible. Hell sex through a bedsheet is better than none at all, right?

But yes – long story short, remember how I said the challenge was Bonnie and Sarah both have their good qualities and it’ll be hard for Slade to choose?

This will be Slade’s sticking point. Poor Slade.

Bookshelf Battle


After lunch, Slade and Sarah took a constitutional along the banks of the Mississippi River, which flowed just outside Highwater, hence the town’s name.

They arrived just in time to catch “The Belle of the Ball,” a massive red and white steamboat, make its way down river. Happy passengers toured the deck, men in suits, ladies in full length dresses carrying parasols.

“I would love to take a journey on one of those one day,” Sarah said.

Most quick witted men would have seen that statement as an “in” to slip in an offer to take Sarah on a boat ride. Slade, on the other hand, just grunted.

Sarah took Slade’s arm and rested her head on her shoulder. “At the risk of sounding like a ninny I must say I’ve enjoyed the past few days with you, Rain.”

“Mmm hmm,” Slade replied.

“Have you as well?”

“Mmm hmm.”


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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 17

I had a good time writing this chapter.

So here we learn that Miss Bonnie has changed her mind, she is about to tell Slade she wants to be with him and is on her way to apologize to him with some muffins as a peace offering.

Then she spots him having lunch with Sarah and flips her lid.

She has a rapport with Gunther. He teases her that she’s dressed…well nicely instead of like a call girl as usual.

By the way, later in the story I never explain whether she sticks with this outfit or returns to prostitute wear. I decided to let the reader decide.

It made me laugh that various townsfolk walk by, say hello, and refer to Miss Bonnie as “Whore.” Like – “Hello Gunther. Hello Whore.”

She’s so used to it she doesn’t care.

The way it always goes, isn’t it? That person you like doesn’t like you until you like someone else.

Bookshelf Battle


No makeup. No fancy hairdo. Not even a garter or lingerie or a frilly dress. Miss Bonnie strolled out of the Bonnie Lass wearing a simple white blouse and a blue prairie dress, her hair tied back in a pony tail with the help of a pink ribbon.

She carried a tin of blueberry muffins, purchased from Anderson’s General Store, of course. It was the thought that counted.

Rain,” she mumbled to herself under her breath. “I’m sorry. I’m very sorry? No. I’m sorry’s good enough. Hell, what do I have to be ‘very’ sorry for?

As one might expect, the local brothel keeper turned a few heads as she walked by. No one had ever seen her dressed in a respectable manner before.

For the first time since her divorce courtesy of Smith and Wesson, Miss Bonnie felt ready to give her heart to another man…

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How the West Was ZOMBED – Chapter 16

This chapter is basically because it is unlikely Slade would have kept this info to himself.

Bookshelf Battle

The next day, Slade, Gunther, the Knoxes and Joe sat in the back of the church, pondering their next move.

“Shot him even though he was dead?” Gunther asked.

Slade nodded in confirmation. “Three times…in the head.”

“Makes no sense,” Gunther replied.

Knox had a low baritone voice, ominous with a touch of authority. “Army life doesn’t make much sense. Serve long enough and you see things. Things that would turn a Sunday preacher loco. Sounds like you ran into a couple of nutters.”

“But the telegram about Colorado being overrun by monsters,” Gunther said. “These fellas saying their regiment’s gone. I sent telegrams to Denver and Washington and haven’t heard a peep back yet. I’ll check again this afternoon.”

“New gang?” Knox asked. “Scum buckets throwing their wait around. Trying to make a name for themselves.”

“A gang that could overtake Colorado?” Gunther asked.

“Uxley always was full of…

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How the West Was ZOMBED – Chapter 15

Another chapter that’s basically me throwing you a bone.

“Please bear with me and I promise there will be many zombies…here’s a little bit to wet your whistle.”

So obviously, the soldiers coming from the west have met zombies. And you, the reader, know about zombies. Slade doesn’t so it is confusing to him.

The guy dies, but then the officer shoots him anyway…obviously because they’ve learned through experience this is the safest thing to do in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.

In the rewrite I’m going to add a line that there was a bottle of Doc’s cure all in the wagon, maybe a passing statement that they bought it from some big mouth traveling doctor.

In this world, you only become a zombie if you drink vampire blood then die. I’m trying to generate the impression that Doc has been unwillingly peddling the zombie apocalypse across the west, obliviously leaving a trail of destruction in his wake.

I hope that’s coming across. Let me know if it isn’t.

Bookshelf Battle


And so it went the next few days. The Marshal would arrive bright and early, put in a long day’s work on the formerly Olmsted now Farquhar property, and listen as Sarah talked away about her life, her hopes and dreams, with the occasional bible verse thrown in. Sarah was no slouch herself, working as hard as her delicate constitution allowed.

Together, they cleared and seeded the land, got Olmsted’s old water pump working, and shined the cabin up prettier than a new penny. Sarah dipped into her inheritance to purchase supplies and provisions, which Slade hauled back from Anderson’s General Store.

A lesser deputy might have questioned his boss’ loyalty to his job, but Gunther was proud of his match making skills and demanded full reports whenever Slade checked in on the Buchanan Boys.

Slade always felt bad for leaving Sarah all alone so far from civilization, but Sarah insisted…

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How the West Was ZOMBED – Chapter 14

The romance blooms.

Slade is too “macho manly” to leave a woman on her own to tend an unkempt farm.

We learn Sarah’s ex-husband was 74. And her father basically set up an arranged marriage between her and an old coot so he could get a loan.

Shit like that probably happened all the time back then. I assume anyway.

She’s also worried no one will like “old maid of 26.” Unlike today where everyone just dates until the end of time.

A little fun made of romance novels at the end, where Slade is shirtless working on the farm. Women always want their men shirtless in romance novels.

Bookshelf Battle


To say that the Olmsted property was a dump would be an insult to dumps. Without old Frederick looking after it, the log cabin had gone into disrepair and the few acres became overrun with weeds and tall grass.

“Oh my,” Sarah said. “I knew enough to be skeptical when the advertisement described it as ‘luxurious’ but this isn’t how I pictured it at all.”

Sarah and Slade walked into the cabin where they found cobwebs, dirty dishes, and dust, dust, and more dust.

“I have my work cut out for me,” Sarah said. “So be it. As the good book says, ‘idle hands are the devil’s handiwork.’”

Slade nodded.

“Thank you, Marshal.  I don’t want to keep you from your duties any longer.”

Slade tipped his hat then headed for his horse, only to stop abruptly. He had something to say, and without Gunther around, it was going to be…

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Happy 200th Self-Publishing Podcast

Hey 3.5 Readers,

BQB here.  Just wishing Johnny, Sean and Dave of the Self-Publishing Podcast a Happy 200th Episode.

I discovered these dudes around Christmastime 2014 and have listened to their show every week ever since.

The best description I can give is it is like having three very funny self-publishing professors teaching you a weekly lesson.

I knew very little about self-publishing before I began listening to them.  I’ve yet to start my own self-publishing business but I don’t think I would have ever had an inkling about how or where to begin without these three.

They’ve inspired a lot of people and I think if there is ever a “How Did Self Publishing Become So Popular?” documentary, there will have to be at least an hour on this trio.

Keep up the good work guys!

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

Hey 3.5 readers.

I enjoyed this interview with J.M. Wilde, Australia’s preeminent zombie book writer.

She’s an unabashed nerd (we like loud and proud nerds here at BQB HQ) and was a good sport, putting up with my dumb jokes about Australia and everything. (I still want to know which way the water spins in the toilets down there!)

Speaking of Australia, her books follow a group of survivors as they make their way through a zombified land down under! Neat idea, isn’t it? Australia is one big island, right? Sounds like a place where zombies could wreak a lot of havoc.

She’s got a lot of great advice in this video about how to get readers on Wattpad. Why aren’t you using Wattpad yet?

Bookshelf Battle



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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…

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