Tag Archives: 31zombieauthors

#31ZombieAuthors Rewind – Day 17 – Jeremy Laszlo and the E-Mail that Launched a Self-Publishing Career

With Your Guest Host: Schecky Blargfeld, Zombie Comedian

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Rejection.

It’s not something an author ever looks forward to.

But when Jeremy Laszlo submitted his fiction to the world of traditional publishing an an intern accidentally hit the wrong button whilst sending an e-mail about batch rejecting a ton of submissions, he realized it was a waste of time to pursue traditional publishing any further and instead, dove right into the self-publishing game.

Zombies!  Also, orcs!

Check out BQB’s interview with Jeremy here.

And don’t forget to check out Jeremy’s Left Alive series on Amazon.

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BREAKING NEWS: Bookshelf Q. Battler Survives the Zombie Apocalypse!

By: Kurt Manley, Network News One Anchorshutterstock_193904291 copy

Our top story tonight, Bookshelf Q. Battler, in the surprise of the century, has not only survived the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse, but also uncovered an underhanded plot by the vile and corrupt General Morganstern.

“I couldn’t have done it without the 31 zombie authors,”  Mr. Battler said.  “Each one is at the top of the zombie fiction game and the advice they provided to me was crucial.  From Sarah Lyons Fleming spelling it out to me how to pack a bug out bag to J.M. Wilde enduring my inquiries about which way the water swirls down the toilet in Australia, these fine scribes were there for me when I needed them and I urge all of my 3.5 readers to purchase their books early and often.”

Best Reporter Ever

Best Reporter Ever

Further, Mr. Battler also credited Network News One’s own Hot Ass Blond Chick for his survival.  With complete disregard for her own personal safety, the Hot Ass Blond Chick flew into a zombie war zone in order to report on an impromptu Funky Hunks concert, thus proving that BQB was alive and that Gen. Morganstern was just a smelly liar trying to use the zombie apocalypse as a cover to blow BQB’s shit up.

“A pulitzer is definitely coming the Hot Ass Blonde Chick’s way,” said Sir Isaac Pulitzer, Chairman of the Pulitzer Prize Committee.

The zombies are gone and the remaining citizens of East Randomtown face the long, arduous task of cleaning up their town.

But what of the aftermath?  Will Dr. Hugo Von Science, the culprit behind the zombie apocalypse, be brought to justice?  What of Gen. Morganstern?  Just what exactly occurred during Operation Fuhrerpunschen, the so-called mission that allegedly led to Adolf Hitler being punched in the face by an American operative?  Why did Morganstern want so desperately to cover that mission up?

And most importantly:

Bookshelf Q. Battler has made a lot of crazy claims on his blog – namely, that he has an alien friend, that a 1950’s private detective is in his employ, and even that he is the owner of a magic bookshelf.  All of these assertions have seemed like the mindless rantings of an eccentric dingus, but with the media frenzy over the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse shining some light on the Bookshelf Battle Blog…should the government make an inquiry into whether or not these oddball claims are, in fact, real?

That’s it for this hour.  Coming up in the next news block, are spiders crawling up your nose while you’re asleep and laying eggs in your brain?  Better stay up until our Hot Ass Blonde Chick provides you with the answer after sports and weather.

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

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FIND THIS ZOMBIE AUTHOR ON:

Amazon              Twitter

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

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FIND THIS ZOMBIE AUTHOR ON:

Amazon          Website

Facebook          Twitter

Wattpad

:::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 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 26 Interview – Rhiannon Frater

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By: Alien Jones, Special Guest Interviewer

Greetings 3.5 human readers.

The Esteemed Brainy One here, filling in for Bookshelf Q. Battler as he recovers from his trial by zombie combat.

Today’s guest is Rhiannon Frater, author of such zombified books as the As the World Dies Trilogy and The Last Bastion series.

A prolific author, her works also transcend the Young Adult, Vampire, and Supernatural genres.

A Texan through and through, Frater’s many accolades include a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly for As the World Dies. Further, The Last Bastion of the Living was declared the Number One Zombie Release of 2012 by Explorations Fantasy Blog and the Number One Zombie Novel of the Decade by the B&N Book Blog.

When she’s not busy writing, other past times include sci-fi and horror shows, playing video games, cooking, dyeing her hair weird colors, and shopping for Betsey Johnson purses and shoes.

Welcome Rhiannon and thanking you for agreeing to an interview conducted by an alien. P.S., if anyone asks, I’d appreciate it if you could just tell them you were interviewed by a small human disguised in hipster garb.

NOTE: BOLD=Alien Jones; ITALICS=Rhiannon 

Q.   Let’s get right to it.  Obviously, you love sci-fi, horror and the supernatural.  Lots of people do but few take that passion and turn it into a successful writing career.  What motivated you to do it?

A.   Quite honestly, since I was a little girl I knew I was going to be a professional writer. I have never felt so certain of anything in my life. I just believed that I would one day write books that people would love. I guess it was a calling. I will admit that life got in the way of my writing and for a time I gave up on the dream. Then I reached a point where I realized how miserable I was when I wasn’t writing. My husband (then my boyfriend) encouraged me to start writing again. I did, and within five years I had a literary agent, a contract with Tor, and a solid fan base.

Q.   In the Last Bastion series, you paint a picture of a futuristic world overrun by zombies known as the Inferi Scourge.  Humans hole up inside “The Bastion” and its the job of warriors like Vanguards Lindsey Rooney or Maria Martinez to protect them.  It sounds like an awesome mashup, blending the genres of apocalyptic science-fiction and zombie horror for one fun ride.  Can you tell BQB’s 3.5 readers about this world?  And how did it first pop into your mind?

A.  Well, the Bastion is literally the last city of the living. The world is dead. The Inferi Scourge have destroyed everything. They’re not flesh-eating zombies, but they are driven with the need to infect and spread the virus that created them. The book is set far in the future, so there are some high-tech weaponry, etc, but it’s a decaying world with limited resources. In the first book, the powers that be in the Bastion are attempting to reclaim the vast valley that surrounds the Bastion. There is a natural barrier – a mountain range – between the valley and the outside world and a gate once held the Scourge out. But at some point the gate failed and the Scourge swarmed into the valley, pushing the humans into the walled city. The second book is about what remains outside the valley.

As with most ideas, I dreamed this one. It was a very terrifying nightmare, but I loved the story inside the dream so much I had to write it.

Q.  As the World Dies follows survivors struggling to survive in a zombie infested Texas.  Today, we live in a modern world where food, showers, TV, computers and other luxuries are all readily accessible.  Why then, do humans fantasize about living in a world with little to no comfort, being pursued by brain chomping beasts all the while?  I assume humans must fantasize about this quite a bit as novels such as yours do so well.  Should I be concerned about the mental stability of humanity or is it all in good fun?

A.   I don’t think we are actually fantasizing about wanting to live in a post-apocalyptic world.  I think it’s a way to live out our worst fears, but in a safe way. We fear our world collapsing, yet at the same time we crave a reset. Zombies aren’t real, so we can live out our worst fears in a fantasy landscape that we know will never come to pass. We can imagine ourselves surviving and somehow rebuilding society. It’s pure escapism. There is immense relief when you can close a book and trap the monsters inside and continue on with your life.

Q.  You also have a series about a very pretty vampire.  She’s Pretty When She Dies, Pretty When She Kills and so on.  Why are people always aghast at the possibility of being turned into a vampire?  Immortal life, youth and powers that put you above the law seem like a pretty sweet deal.  Is there a down side?

A.  Well, Amaliya is murdered and buried in a forest. Not a really awesome thing to happen. When she rises, she has no idea what is going on or what she is. So she has a very hard learning curve. Once she gets the hang of it, she likes being a vampire. There are drawbacks, of course, but she likes the power she inherits from her maker. Of course, having to deal with a psychotic creator that’s talking her not very fun. Also, the more powerful she becomes (she’s a necromancer/vampire), the more other supernatural creatures are gunning for her.

Q.  You’re a gamer.  What’s the best zombie based video game out there right now and why?

A.  I honestly don’t know. Most of them are first person shooters and I can’t play those. I throw up. I play Guild Wars 2 religiously and they have zombies called the Risen. I have to admit they’re pretty scary when they swarm you.

Q.  Rhiannon, thanks for allowing me to pepper you with questions for BQB’s humble blog.  Before I disperse, do you have any advice that might help the humans and I survive the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse?

Never venture out alone! Always have a zombie killing buddy. You watch their back, and they watch yours!

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#31ZombieAuthors – Day 25 Interview – Zombie Warfare

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Today’s guest is Luke Duffy, author of The Dead Walk the Earth and When There’s No More Room in Hell series of books, which detail the journeys of soldiers as they fight undead hordes.

Have you ever read a zombie book written by a guy who’s skilled at jumping out of perfectly good airplanes? Having grown up in Northern England, Luke joined the Parachute Regiment at the age of eighteen. Further, he has worked in Iraq on the Private Security Circuit.

His first book, Running the Gauntlet: The Private War in Iraq, detailing his memoirs from his time on the circuit, was published in 2011.

Following that non-fiction work, he turned his attention to zombie lore.

Luke, thanks for taking a minute to talk with me today, and thank you for your service.

NOTE: BOLD=BQB; ITALICS=LUKE

Q.  I’m just going to say it. Look at you. Soldier. Private security. 51qtY0bYz1L._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_You’re a badass. As a layman, I’d think that having such vast military experience would inform one’s writing. Do you find that’s the case? Do you draw on your experience when writing your books?

A.  Absolutely. I read a few apocalyptic books before I decided to write my own. Some were great, others were awful. But one thing I found that the majority of them had in common was that most authors lacked any real experience in military matters. Don’t get me wrong, there were some great efforts out there, well researched and thought out, but there was always something missing. The mark was never quite hit. Only someone who has experienced being shot at, blown up, or felt those familiar sensations of dread and retrospect when preparing for a fight, can write a realistic battle scene. I’ve always tried to make the action as close to real as possible, and my own experiences have helped, a lot. I like to draw the reader into the pages, making them imagine what it is like to come under fire and wonder whether they would make it out. As a reader, it’s important to feel part of the story.

Also, most of my characters are actually based on real people that I have known over the years.

Q. You started out with non-fiction and then moved on to fiction. What drew you into the world of zombies?

A. In a few short words; Dawn of the Dead. I’m talking about the original. I watched it when I was about six or seven, and from there, I was hooked. It wasn’t so much the action and the zombies themselves, but more to do with the collapse of society and the slow death of humanity. Even as a kid the words ‘what if?’ rattled around inside my head. The end of civilisation has always fascinated me, regardless of the cause. But what could be more exciting, terrifying, and total, as the dead returning to life and hunting the living?

I like to imagine how different people, from various rungs of the social ladder, would react to a global crisis such as a zombie plague. I think true, true colours would quickly come to light, and I think the whole ‘good and bad’ thing would be turned on its head in many cases. I couldn’t imagine Bob Geldof and Bono still wanting to save the world, hugging plague victims and shaking hands with zombies. I think they would barricade themselves into their mansions and drop from the radar.

Q. Here’s a question I’ve thrown at a lot of writers this month. How do you find the time to write? I ask because I’m rather unfocused and if a good show comes on TV, there goes my writing for the day. So obviously, I respect a guy who has served in the military and in private security and yet still finds the time to write. Do you have any advice for aspiring scribes on how to balance work and writing?

A. My best piece of advice would be to create a routine. Finding the time and motivation to start writing, even if I’m half way through a book and on a roll, can be extremely hard. Sometimes I need to give myself a serious kick up the arse to get myself down behind my computer. Like you said, distractions can have a severe effect on you. So, what I do is ensure that I get myself into a routine. If I’m working away, most of my writing is done in the evening, which can be a real pain because my energy and enthusiasm is sapped by then.

When I’m home in the UK, it’s a little easier. I get up, have a coffee and a smoke, check the news, as well as the usual morning stuff that a man does. Then, come ten o’clock, I get to work and do at least four hours writing each day. After that, the world is my lobster and I don’t feel guilty, having the fact hanging over my head that I jacked on my work for the day because Susanna Reid was looking particularly hot on morning television and I became side-tracked.

Q. The description of The Dead Walk the Earth states, “Eight soldiers, accustomed to operating below the radar, carrying out the dirty work of a modern democracy, become trapped within the carnage of a new and terrifying world. Deniable and completely expendable. That is how their government considers them, and as the dead begin to walk, Stan and his men must fight to survive.”

“Deniable and expendable.” OK. So obviously, I enjoy being alive, so I’m not asking you to get into “If I tell you I have to kill you” territory (sorry, bad joke there) but generally speaking, is being “deniable and expendable” a fate that soldiers often find themselves facing?

A. Depends on the type of soldier and the operations being conducted. There’s no such thing as a clean government, and they all need someone to get their hands extremely dirty on their behalf, from time to time. I’ll not go into too much detail, but deniable operatives do exist. No, not like xXx and Mission Impossible. They’re just beyond fantasy. Deniable operators could be the man next door, or the guy driving your taxi. Shaved heads, huge muscles, and wearing Oakley sun glasses in the dark… don’t help.

I suppose that all soldiers are expendable, to a degree. Or at least they are viewed that way by the people who send them to war. No politician, no matter how sincerely they claim to have, has ever lost sleep or shed a tear over the men and women of their country being brought home in bags. Tony Blair and George Bush; they saw their military as mere pawns to be moved about on their own paths towards personal glory and gain.

Don’t get me wrong, I was part of the invasion of Iraq. I was amongst the first troops into Kosovo during the liberation in 99. I battled in Sierra Leone during their civil war, and I patrolled the streets of Northern Ireland before the peace process. I enjoyed the lot, but I never lost sight of the fact that not a single member of the government cared how many of my friends lost their lives.

Since joining the private circuit in Iraq, I’ve seen the attrition rate first-hand, and watched as countless friends were killed. Yes, we were in it for the money, but we were also doing a job on behalf of the US and UK governments, helping to rebuild the Iraqi infrastructure. But before long, the media stopped reporting the deaths and the government leaders forgot about us. All the while, the deaths of British and American private military soared. Expendable.

Q. Hypothetically, would today’s modern military be able to take on a zombie outbreak? Not that I spend a lot of time worrying about such a scenario, but I’d be interested to hear your take on it.

A. It depends on society as a whole, I suppose. In my books, the concept of the dead returning to life (zombies) has never been imagined. There are no books, movies, computer games, or folk tales about such creatures. So, when the dead begin to rise, it’s complete confusion, terror, and chaos. No one knows how to deal with the problem. On the one hand, some see the threat for what it is, and insist that immediate action be taken. However, on the other hand, there are the ‘bleeding hearts’ and ‘do-gooders’, bleating that even the dead are people and have rights.

Governments hesitate, fearing backlash should they act with what can be viewed as brutality and inhumanity towards the infected (yes, I believe that even on the brink of an apocalypse, the politicians would still worry about their image and future votes).

People struggle to come to terms with the outbreak. Families cannot imagine that the monsters staggering towards them are no longer their dad, mum, sister, brother, uncle – twice removed… etc.
Then there are the legal complications to consider. Most people out there follow the rules. They avoid confrontation and shy away from violence. Inflicting pain and suffering is not a desire that most human beings carry. Many would hesitate, because we have all been brought up to understand that killing is wrong, both in a legal and moral sense. Suddenly being told that it is perfectly okay to smash your neighbor’s head in with a hammer, isn’t going to have any great and immediate effect. Most people would simply lock their doors and hide. Even I would hesitate, and I don’t like my neighbors.

Morality and human emotions play huge parts in the downfall, and only when it is too late, do people realize the extent of the catastrophe and put down their delusions of decency and respect, but by then, it’s too late.

However, in reality, I believe that the military would soon have the outbreak under control. No doubt, they would all be rounded up and sent to work in Starbucks, maybe even become Labour Party members.

Q. Any plans for further zombie books in the future? Or perhaps other monsters? I read a post on your blog that made me think you find technology as infuriating as I do. That me think – soldiers vs. killer robots has some potential.

A. I take it that you’ve never watched Terminator?

Seriously though, yes, I find technology infuriating. In my opinion, it causes more trouble than its worth, even though I have found myself reliant upon it.

I have one more book to write in the current series, and then I intend to get a couple of kids’ books written that I have in mind. Yes, it’s a dramatic shift from people being eaten alive and copious amounts of profanities and violence, but I’ve had these stories in my head for some time, so I will be hanging up my zombie hat for a while. I may return in the future, if the demand is high enough and I have some new ideas, but for now, I need to step away from the genre.

Q. Luke, thanks for stopping by. Before I go, do you have any last minute advice that might help me survive the East Randomtown Zombie apocalypse?

A. Get away from the cities. Find a place that is remote. The dead are stupid, and lazy. Can you imagine them walking up mountains or fording rivers? High-ground, preferably open with good all round visibility, would be your best bet. Dense forests are also good, but they can be a double edged sword; they can’t see you, but you can’t see them, either. I wouldn’t like to have to bug-out from a wooded area during the dark hours, surrounded by zombies

If you’re stuck in an urban area, stock up, stay out of sight, and keep quiet. Remember, a barricade can never be too big, no matter how valuable that antique chest of drawers is. Trust no one, and lock your heart away in a sealed box. There’s no room for easy emotion and sentimentality in the zombie apocalypse world. Finally, make a note of all the people close by who have pets, because when the time comes, cats and dogs make good eating.

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BQB’s Zombie Apocalypse Survivor’s Journal – Day 25

Our hands were bound behind us as Hauser’s goons lead us into the gym.

A small card table was set up. Hauser sat in a folding chair in the middle. To his left was Mario Guzman, the settlement’s accountant. To his right was Janet Melman. As a nurse, she was the only one left in town with any medical training. Mario and Janet were Hauser’s two closest advisors.

Hauser banged an empty beer can on the table. I guess that was the closest thing he had to a gavel.

Esteemed Mayor Hauser

The Right Honorable Mayor Hauser

“Eduardo Ricardo Papageorgio Von Finklestein,” Hauser said.

“That’s Bookshelf Q. Battler to you, failed actor,” I replied.

“Fine. Bookshelf Q. Battler. You stand accused of grand larceny of community property and treason against Fort Hauser. How do you plead?”

“That this is all some bogus bullshit,” I said. “You know you framed me, Doug.”

“Oh sure, blame me for your treachery,” Doug said.

Mario intervened.

“BQB, your only options here are guilty or not-guilty.”

“Fine. Not guilty.”

Mario took over.

“Video Game Rack Fighter aka Victoria Gloria Somersby Stratenhaus. Bernard Plotz. Bland Life Settler. And uh, I’m sorry BQB, what’s your deformed kid’s name?”

I sighed.

“AJ.”

I leaned down to whisper to Alien Jones.

“Just so we’re clear, you could totally vaporize these clowns, right?”

“Yes.”

“But you’re not going to?”

“Sorry. Potentate’s orders. No vapey vaping the humans in public unless it’s absolutely necessary.”

“It’s looking pretty necessary.”

“Nah, you got this, nerd,” Alien Jones replied.

Hauser banged his beer can.

“The prisoners are ordered not to talk to each other!”

“Bernie, Blandie, and AJ, you’re accused of conspiracy and aiding and abetting BQB in a criminal enterprise. How do you plead?”

“Not guilty,” Bernie said.

“Not guilty,” Alien Jones said, turning heads with his Barry White-esque voice.

“Question,” Blandie said. “If I say whatever you want about BQB, will you let me go?”

“No,” Hauser said. “We’ve pretty much convicted all of you dirtbags in our minds already.”

“Fine, not guilty then.”

“OK, so now what?” I asked. “I get flogged? Horse whipped? Put in the stockade? Sent to bed without my supper, what?”

“This was just your arraignment, BQB,” Mario said. “Your trial is tomorrow.”

Hauser leaned in and said ominously, “A trial by… zombie combat!”

“Oh come on!” I said. “You’re going to make us fight zombies? Isn’t that a little ridiculous? All because of what?  A little alleged toilet paper theft?”

Janet shuffled a few papers and looked at me.

“Our settlement might not be much, but we’re nothing if we don’t have law and order, BQB,” the nurse said.

“But what the hell will making us fight zombies even prove?” I asked. “That’s the worst idea for a trial I’ve ever heard of!”

“What kind of a trial do you suggest?” Mario asked.

“A real one! One with facts, witnesses, evidence and rational arguments!”

“You’re losing me,” Mario replied.

“Hear me out and I will prove to you that none of us had anything to do with the supply theft…”

I pointed at Hauser.

“…and that that piece of shit set us up!”

“That’s an outrageous charge, BQB!” Janet said. “Why, without Mayor Hauser’s leadership I doubt any of us would have lasted this long.”

Hauser laid it on thick.

“Oh, Janet, that’s ok. The young man knows not what he does.”

“BQB,” Mario said. “This idea of an ‘actual trial’ you raise. That was the way of the old world. We’ve built a new society since then and the old world’s ways just don’t apply any more.”

I felt like I was in an insane asylum.

“It’s only been twenty-five days!” I said. “The apocalypse only affected this stupid town! The world still exists! We’re still in America! You can’t force us to fight zombies!”

“Not ‘us,’” Mario said. “Just one of you.”

Mario looked around.

“Who will be the champion of Fort Hauser?” he asked.

“I will,” Hauser said. “Douglas Hauser. I took thirty seconds worth of punches in the 1980’s, I can certainly take on a pathetic book nerd.”

“I’ll round house kick your face, old man!”

I leaned down to AJ.

“Still ixnay on the ape-vay?”

“Up-yay.”

“Amnit-day!”

“Will you be your group’s champion, BQB?” Mario asked.

I turned to my group.

“Don’t try to talk me out of this.”

Pause.

“No one is,” Blandie said.

I turned back.

“Yes. I will be the Champion of All Nerds, as I have been since the day I was born.”

“Then it’s settled,” Mario said. “Zombie combat at dawn!”

“Wait,” I said. “How is this zombie combat if I’m fighting Hauser?”

“You and Mayor Hauser will fight each other AND zombies,” Mario explained.

“Oh you people suck so much ass,” I said.

George and the DiStefanos had been watching us the entire time. Mario looked at them.

“Take the prisoners away.”

“With pleasure,” George said.

“It’s going to be ok,” VGRF said.

“I hope so,” I said as George prodded me in the back with the butt of his rifle. “But I’d better call a zombie author for some encouragement first.”

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#31ZombieAuthors – Day 24 Interview – W.J. Lundy – WTF

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My guest today is soldier/writer W.J. Lundy.

A veteran of the U.S. Military with service in Afghanistan, W.J. has over fourteen years of combined service with the Army and Navy in Europe, the Balkans, and Southwest Asia. W.J. is an avid athlete, backpacker and shooting enthusiast.

After being asked in jest about how it would be possible to defend against a zombie attack, W.J. began taking notes about his ideas and sure enough the Whiskey Tango Foxtrot series was born. In fact, W.J. wrote the first book of the series, Escaping the Dead in a small, spiral bound note book and later tapped it out on a keyboard once he got back home.

So it just goes to show you, 3.5 readers. You never know where or when inspiration might strike.

 NOTE: BOLD=BQB; ITALICS = WJ

61iZBK4i3+L._SX353_BO1,204,203,200_ Q. W.J., welcome. Thanks for talking to me today and thank you for your service. Obviously, I’m not a military man but I’m going to wager that “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” translates into “WTF” or in other words, a phrase I might yell if I see a zombie, correct?

A. Absolutely, it is a bit of military vernacular. There are so many common phrases like this, and when I came up with the story line WTF fit the tale best, it really punctuates that first flash message to your brain when the target refuses to go down. It also translates nicely into civilian speak.

Q. I’m just going to throw it out there. I’m envious of your multi-tasking skills. I’m always whining that I’m never able to find the time to write and yet here you are, serving in the military, fighting evil, being an all around bad ass and such, and you still find time to write and publish. Meanwhile, if I feel a little cranky, or tired, or if there’s a good movie on HBO then I call it quits on writing for the rest of the day, so my hat goes off to you, sir. How do you do it? For aspiring scribes like myself, what advice do you have to balance work and writing?

A. I have to admit I find it very difficult. When I first started writing it was to fill the voids and occupy the down time while overseas, I could pour words on the page. As I returned from Afghanistan, my downtime was replaced with family time and many, many, other things. Now that the series and demand for more books has taken off, I typically find myself writing in the midnight hours of the day. I have pushed a lot of TV viewing and pleasure reading to the back for a while.

Breaks tend to help me and motivate my writing. Recently I was out on a 12 week training stint, it pulled me completely out of my creative zone, those reboots slow down my production, but I also come back with fresh ideas and a stronger drive to tackle a project. I like opening a document back up after one of those extended breaks, it’s like seeing something from a different POV and the characters really begin to take off again.

Q. There’s an old adage that goes, “Write what you know.” Obviously, you’re doing that here. How does your military experience inform the journey of your protagonist, Staff Sergeant Brad Thompson as he and his brothers and arms fight the zombie hordes?

A.  The biggest connection to my experience is with the character development and the character interactions, I also like to take readers to different parts of the world, places the average civilian will never experience. At the heart of the story, I like to stay true to my service background, and the military’s core values. Even if it at times it makes the story line feel stiff, I will choose realism over fantasy action scenes. In a civil breakdown like in WTF, it would all fall down to discipline and small unit leadership. Most of my real world missions have all been Joint service and I like to describe the “one team-one fight” relationship that the different branches of the service have. As long as those things remain after the balloons go up, I think we have a chance. If people stop working together and the military and law enforcement fall into anarchy and chaos we are all F’d….

Q.  Divided We Fall, which is Book Six of the Whiskey Tango Foxtrot series, has currently sold 150,000 copies and has 1,000 five star reviews by Amazon customers. Admittedly, I’m no publishing expert, but I am a book nerd and in my experience, that’s pretty amazing. The average of all your customer reviews is 4.8 and to put things in perspective, George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones has a 4.5 average. I’m not putting down Game of Thrones, but it just goes to show even the likes of the great George R.R. will have the occasional crabby reviewer throw a monkey wrench in the works. Can you take my 3.5 readers and I under your wing, oh wise one, and put us on the path to greatness with a few writing tips? How are you able to acquire such a high level of customer satisfaction?

A. Honestly I am amazed at my readers and the kind reviews I have received. The best thing I can say is write in your own voice, and don’t try to paint a picture in someone else’s vision … If that makes sense. I’ve helped a few aspiring writers and some of the worst things I’ve read is when a writer is trying to mimic another work, or write in someone else’s voice. Just tell the story the way you’d tell it to a friend, describe the scenes the way you see them. And of course find a quality trusted editor that you like and enjoy talking to. If you don’t like your editor, or have a bond with them it will show in the end result.

Q. Do you have any plans to branch out and possibly have the military fight other types of monsters? Just spitballing here, but Army Dudes vs. Cthulhu would be pretty sweet.

A. The Darkness Series is an Alien\Zombie hybrid tale, I have big things in mind for that series. The tone really hardens in the second book of the series The Shadows. If you like Body Snatchers with a mix of Battle of Los Angeles I think you will dig The Darkness. It is a fast developing Science fiction horror tale with some hard hitting guerrilla warfare dropped on top. The setup has been laid down with TD and I am really letting things go wild in TS.

Q. W.J. 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 brave the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse?

A. Zombies are synonymous with any threat (hurricane, terror attack, random violence). Stay vigilant, stay alert and stay alive. Whenever possible travel in pairs, know when to fight and when to run, and when you must fight, then fight as a team. Know your terrain and most importantly, always have a plan and a place to regroup with family if you lose comms.

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