Monthly Archives: September 2020

People Buying My Books on Purpose

Hey 3.5 readers.

Your old pal, BQB here.

I’ve noticed a trend the past couple of times I have put out free books. Last time, someone bought a book and this time around, someone bought three books.

What’s this mean? To me its a sign that someone read a free book, liked what they read, and were willing to part with some dough to read more.

Is it a lot? No. All comes down to like a buck or two. But its a sign of progress. Success in self-publishing really does seem to come down to putting out more content. Maybe next time I put out a free book, someone will buy 4 or 5 and so on.

Thus, I’ve been putting out my shorts – very quick short stories. They fluctuate between 10-20,000 words and I try to cap it off at 20. Most seem to be closer to 10,000. Easier to get out there, editing and formatting is easier and more affordable.

I do think ultimately I need to get some full length novels out there and they’ll come…eventually. Slow and steady wins the race as the turtle once famously proved.

Anyway, two of my books are FREE for the next day or two so grab your FREE copy. Thank you, 3.5 readers.

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Get My Free Prompts!

Hey 3.5 readers.

I have 2 FREE BOOKS over the next few days. The first was the is he a werewolf or isn’t he story, Quarantine, and the second is my big book of badass writing prompts.

Get your free copy below. Get inspired and get your pen scribbling.

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GET A FREE BOOK!

Hey 3.5 readers.

My book is FREE! So go on over to Amazon and get it today!

Maybe he’s a captive. Maybe he’s a werewolf. All the hero of this story knows is that he wishes this was someone else’s problem.

It’s the 1950s and down on his luck door to door salesman Chauncy Gladwell has been thrown out of his house by a wife tired of his gullible nature. The old boy has a long track record of falling for every scam in the book, to the point where his savings have been ravaged by every two bit con artist in town.

On the day when Chauncy vows to put himself over anyone with a problem, he stumbles across…a young man with a problem. While on a routine sales call to hawk a Suck-O-Matic vacuum cleaner, Chauncy meets Sam, an 18-year old lad who has been locked up in the lady of the house’s basement.

His grandmother, Ludmilla, a crusty old battle axe if there ever was one, says Sam is danger of turning into a werewolf, and thus must be kept in quarantine until the full moon passes.

Sam tells a different story, namely, that his granny is bonkers, and that she’s just trying to stop him from joining the Army and eloping with his high school sweetheart.

What a conundrum. If Chauncy releases Sam, he runs the risk of unleashing a monster upon the world. But if he does nothing and leaves, won’t it eat him up inside, to know that he saw someone being held hostage and did nothing?

Will our unlikely hero save the day? Is there a day to even be saved? Who can be trusted? And what about his pledge to his wife, that he will never again be taken in by someone with a sob story?

Gather around under the full moon and crack open the fourth installment of BQB’s Twisted Shorts. Do you like “The Twilight Zone?” Do you like “The Outer Limits?” Do you like “Black Mirror?” Well, BQB doesn’t have the budget to make shows as awesome as those, but his self-published journey toward creating an episodic anthology has begun.

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TV Review – Sherlock (2010 – 2017)

I’m a high functioning nerd, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review of the BBC series, Sherlock.

I heard good things about this over the years, but was never an early convert. It came out in 2010, right around when Hollywood made the Robert Downey Jr. movies and ABC came out with their Elementary TV show.

It just seemed like the entertainment community had gone gaga for Sherlock and had created too much Sherlock supply for not enough Sherlock demand.

But I found myself developing a Sherlock interest as of late and decided to give it a go. And you know what? It’s pretty great.

As a Yank, I had to get over a few things. It’s made by BBC and is, you know, British…and made for a British audience…not like what we’re used to i.e. something filtered down for us Americans to enjoy what with all our fast fun and guns and monster trucks and so on.

Another interesting point is that each episode is roughly an hour and a half long. Thus, there are less episode. It shifts from season to season but you’ll notice seasons that are like three or four episodes long. Each episode is basically like a full length movie, so while you get less episodes, you get stories that are told in better depth.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays Sherlock as the self-proclaimed high-functioning sociopath. His friend, roommate and assistant detective, Dr. Watson is played by Martin Freeman.

Cumberbatch and Freeman were in everything in the 2010s. Cumberbatch, most noticeably as Dr. Strange in the Avengers universe. Freeman was The Hobbit, though he also was a SHIELD agent in the Avengers.

Funny thing is as I watched this show, I realized how these two became so big over the past decade.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories are given new breath as the series is set in modern times. Watson keeps a blog on Sherlock’s adventures. Sherlock only puts on his hunting cap to mug for social media photos. Sherlock’s love interest/nemesis Irene Adler is a dominatrix with a phone full of photos of the rich and powerful in compromising positions. The Hound of the Baskervilles is a secret government experiment, and so on.

Overall, I enjoyed it. One thing with TV is I usually turn to it when I need a quick brake, whereas I usually put on a movie when I’m done for the day. You might want to leave the episodes till when you’re done for the day too, unless you don’t mind pausing and watching later.

My main criticism? The show ends rather abruptly as of the 2017 season. I don’t know why other than I assume Cumberbatch and Freeman are busy being in everything now.

My complaint is I thought they handled Sherlock’s longtime nemesis, Moriarty, well in an episode where Moriarty (SPOILER ALERT) frames Sherlock, making it look as if Sherlock is less of a genius and more of a weirdo who fakes crimes so he can solve them and garner media attention. That episode has a lot of thrills and chills and pretty much resolves the Sherlock vs. Moriarty arc.

Watson’s wife Mary comes in later with a whole SPOILER she’s a secret agent storyline and then before you know it she’s out of the picture. Moriarty comes back posthumously, sort of dangling the possibility that Old Jimbo might return from the grave at some point though the series has already used the old bringing a character back from the dead trick already so…I don’t know. Seems like they could have left Moriarty dead and moved on.

The show ends with an episode with a startling reveal that Sherlock and brother Mycroft have a long lost sister who is the world’s foremost psychopath, so evil that she can manipulate anyone, to the point where she apparently turned all the guards and staff at the prison she has been held in to her own personal slaves for years, thus trapping Sherlock and Watson and Mycroft in her own house of horrors.

It was interesting to watch them escape, but then the series just ends on a meh note. Watson finds a DVD left behind by Mary and all that happens is Mary basically says that Sherlock and Watson will keep going on solving crimes.

In other words, it was one of those holy crap we have to end the show but we didn’t have time to end it so we’ll piece it together really quick.

Perhaps there’s the rub. Each episode mainly focuses on a case, thus bits of the characters’ personal lives are worked in. The cases can’t necessarily go on forever and I suppose cases don’t always tie in together in a neat little ark.

(Except usually in Sherlockian lore, the underlying idea is that Moriarty is behind it all, so the big Sherlock vs. Moriarty showdown might have been better off left for the end.)

Overall, I enjoyed it and I’m hoping for further episodes down the line. Since the episodes are basically movies, they could always make another movie.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Movie Review – Mulan (2020)

Be a man, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review of Disney’s live action Mulan.

God, I’m old. When I was a young lad, newly minted driver’s license in hand, I took a girl to see the cartoon version of this movie and we were blown away by it, for it was ahead of its time. I think it might have been like my first actual date.

In the blink of an eye, 22 years and my hair are gone and the original film is now considered culturally insensitive because it had a talking cartoon dragon who, I’m just saying, sold the movie.

And what the hell happened to that girl anyway? I’d look her up online but I’m worried she might have lost her hair too.

Fun sidenote: She taught me how to put sauce on Taco Bell tacos after the movie. Up until then I didn’t know you were able to request a sauce packet to squirt on your taco. It blew my mind and I think of this girl whenever I squirt sauce into my taco and yes I know how that sounded and I’m sorry for poor phrasing but you’re the one with the dirty mind because I’m just meditating on a time when I was young and innocent and blown away by things that seem silly and trivial to adult eyes. And yes, I stand by the decision of taking a date to Taco Bell.

But enough about me. Mulan is back, in live action form this time. There’s a cast of martial arts movie maestros including Donnie Yen and Jet Li. Liu Yifei takes on the role of the everyone’s favorite girl who pretends to be a boy so she can save her father by taking her place when the Emperor comes looking for soldiers to fight an invading army.

Lots of dazzling special effects, stunts, swordplay, etc. It is more of a fantasy war epic. I don’t really know what the kids like nowadays but I assume they will like it. Merch opportunities are gone as there won’t be any cuddly Mushu stuffies to sell and if Disney doesn’t like that, they aren’t saying anything.

I have to say I still like the cartoon version better, because, and OK, I get it, if you cut out the un-woke parts, the part where Mulan takes out the invading army by starting an avalanche is cool and also the part at the end where it looks like its a celebration only for there to be a surprise ending where Mulan has to foil the bad guys once again….cool stuff.

Also, you can’t beat the Emperor’s line in the old one. While encouraging the captain to go after Mulan, he says, “You don’t meet a girl like that every dynasty.”

That line always stuck in my head. There was a girl I met later in my 20s who was one of those girls. I wish the Emperor had been around to remind me that you don’t meet a girl like this every dynasty, so I guess I can blame the rise of communism for missing out a great catch and the fact that now the highlights of my day are microwave dinners for one and writing on a blog that is only read by 3.5 people.

Sidenote: I actually did look this girl up and she kept her game tight so…yeah I don’t know, since I didn’t I probably did her a favor by being an oblivious dummy who decided to play the field without realizing that the field was destined to play him.

At any rate, this new Mulan is still pretty good and worth a watch. Is it worth the 30 bucks that Disney makes you pay for it via Disney Plus? Eh, that’s up to you. Theaters would have been packed for this so Disney missed out on all that revenue, so I get they have to make it back somehow.

It does make me wonder about the future of film. While people sometimes cheer the downfall of movie theaters, I think people have to remember that a lot of these special effects heavy blockbusters can’t be made unless you have that first wave of ticket sales, then the second wave of rentals and then finally whatever is left that comes from cable and streaming.

So, let’s keep hoping that COVID goes the way of the dodo, or the Mushu (sorry, Eddie) and that theaters will be at full capacity and slinging popcorn soon.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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GI Joe Livestream

Hey 3.5 readers.

Your old pal, BQB here.

Do you want to watch a show full of geopolitical intrigue, espionage, subterfuge, special agents, double agents, spies galore and international missions filled with derring-do, cold war politics, all tied up in a “America! Eff yeah!” bow, all while serving as a pseudo commercial for plastic toys?

Then have I got news for you, because GI Joe is being live-streamed on YouTube by Hasbro for free. When did this start? I don’t know. Perhaps its gone on for awhile. But I just discovered it, so it’s new to me.

I often repeat Thomas Wolfe’s old line about how you can’t go home again. Things you enjoyed in your youth don’t hold up as an adult. Things that you saw through that you saw through your young eyes, back when the world was new and the possibilities were endless, don’t hold up.

But you know what? This holds up. I mean, it’s all simplistic nonsense and yet, it’s more or less as believable as any action movie put out today.

Imagine it, 3.5 readers. A terrorist organization hellbent on conquering the world. A U.S. special forces team organized to fight them.

You know? I’m just going to say it. Kids are dumb. Cartoons today don’t have enough geopolitical intrigue and spy missions. That’s how kids got so stupid.

Watch it. Watch it now.

Movie Review – Bill and Ted Face the Music (2020)

Time for a review, 3.5 dudes.

I think it was Thomas Wolfe who said you can’t go home again and I think of that line whenever one of these movies come out to capitalize on the pop culture products of yesteryear.

Who is this movie for? I remember (sadly, almost like it was yesterday) being a little kid and thinking Bill and Ted were hilarious (still do). The plot of the original Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, if you recall, is that when they are about to flunk their history exam, the leaders of the future send Rufus (George Carlin) in a time traveling phone booth to pick the boys up and go on a tour of actual history, picking up actual historical figures to learn from (and to inadvertently trash a mall due to historical misunderstandings gone awry.)

I even remember the sequel, Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey, where they die and go on an epic quest through heaven and hell, cheating and befriending Death along the way. Heck, I saw this one in the theater. Just like it was yesterday.

Soo….I don’t know. Is this movie for today’s kids? Maybe. Rock and Roll is long dead though. Sad because the first two were heavily rock based, such that they popularized the air guitar. The valley dude bro speak that Bill and Ted engage in is pretty much a thing of the past too.  Well, maybe not in California but its seen way less in movies whereas it was all the rage in 1980s comedies.

It definitely isn’t for Keanu Reeves, though as I watched it, I decided he has a heart of gold. Bill and Ted launched his career and he has been skyrocketing ever since. Now in his middle age, he’s going stronger than strong, his John Wick movies a license to print money so he didn’t have to do this. I assume he only did it for love of Bill and Ted fans who gave him his start.  Alex Winter didn’t go on to achieve Keanu status but I doubt he needed to do this either, so the real life Bill and Ted must think us 1980s/90s era dudes, now pretty long in the tooth ourselves, must still be pretty excellent to give us this dose of nostalgia.

So maybe it is for us fans who are getting up there. Nostalgia can be fun. For me these movies remind me of a happier time. Whether the past was better is always debatable and often we think of the past as being better, not necessarily because it was better for everyone but because it was better for us. We were young. The world was new. Time was on our side and all of life’s seemingly endless doors of possibility had yet to be slammed in our faces.

It makes me wish I had a time traveling phone booth of my own to go back and talk to me after seeing the old Bill and Ted movies and warn myself of all the proverbial rakes that the universe had hidden in the grass for me – where to find them and how to avoid stepping on them.

If you want to see this one, you might want to see the others first. You’ll get the gist if you haven’t, though there are references to the others that brought up vague recollections for me.

The plot is that Bill and Ted have spent the past few decades trying to achieve the destiny they were promised in the earlier films, namely that they would one day write and perform a song so awesome that it unites the world in peace and harmony. In truth, that song is needed more than ever today, but alas, the dudes have not been able to make it happen. Their band, Wyld Stallions, have gone from early success all the way down to the 99 cent bin, leaving them to perform at community center taco nights, the stress of it all draining their marriages to the British princess babes they dragged out of the past.

Don’t get me wrong. The film has its moments. I found one scene where Bill and Ted and their wives/princess babes go to couples’ counseling to be pretty funny. Meanwhile, Bill and Ted’s daughters, basically carbon copy parodies of their younger selves, are a hoot and they do a lot of the film’s heavy lifting.

Long story short, reality is about to collapse and B and T have a new deadline to write that epic song. While middle aged Bill and Ted go on a quest to the future to shake down various old versions of themselves in search of the song, their daughters go back in time looking for the great musicians of the past, seeking their help in producing it.

All in all, I enjoyed it. I do think Bill and Ted are products of the late 80s, early 90s when Rock and Roll was still loved and appreciated. Bill and Ted are able to solve most problems with a trip through time, though in reality, if you’re like me, you’ve realized that once mistakes are made and certain paths are traveled down, they can’t be undone, as much as you might long for a magic phone booth to use to go back and warn your past self of future problems and how to fix them.

Bonus points for a brief, tasteful tribute to the late George Carlin.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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