Tag Archives: amreading

Do People Read Anymore?

I’m worried people don’t read anymore.

I wish I had some stats on how often people read.

But I feel like with all the streaming media and tons and tons of TV shows that no one can keep up with, reading is going out of style.

Naturally, as an aspiring author this worries me.

What say you, 3.5 readers? Do people read anymore?

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#31ZombieAuthors – Day 14 Interview – Kate L. Mary – Nerds vs. Hunks



Amazon          Website

Facebook         Twitter

Today’s guest is Kate L. Mary, author of the Broken World series.  Follow protagonist Vivian Thomas on the road in the midst of zombie mayhem as she and her DD’s convince a duo of redneck brothers to give her a ride to California so she can locate the daughter she gave up for adoption.

A stay-at-home mother and Air Force wife, Kate and her family have lived in Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, California and Oklahoma.

Her Amazon author page states:

“Kate prefers nerdy, non-traditional heroes who can make you laugh to hunky pieces of man-meat…”

So in other words, there’s a distinct chance I might be able to convince her to become the Bookshelf Battle Blog’s 4.5th reader.

Hello Kate.  Thanks for taking my call on the space phone.


Q.   Let’s talk about the role of trust in a zombie apocalypse.  Sometimes a disaster can bring out the best in people.  Other times, it can bring out the worst.  Unfortunately, you never know who you’re dealing with until it’s too late.  My group and I, having just located a survivor camp operated by a retired used car salesman/former television extra, are having trust issues.  I think it’s a pretty sweet set-up.  My girlfriend thinks we should run.  Naturally I thought about Vivian, who makes the tough decision to trust a pair of redneck brothers on her quest to find her daughter.  Can anyone ever be fully trusted in a zombie apocalypse?

A.   Trusting people during normal times can be tough, but when it comes to a lawless world it’s an even bigger gamble. I know a lot of people hold the belief that humans are basically good, but I wholeheartedly disagree. People are full of bad intentions, and too often the only thing keeping them from acting on those intentions are the consequences. Take away the threat of punishment, and the world will very quickly get a lot darker.

In the case of the used car salesman/former television extra, I’d have to say I’m with your girlfriend. I know the idea of a used car salesman being sleazy and underhanded is just a stereotype, but throw the role of television extra on top of that and every warning bell in my head goes off. This person spent his free time pretending to be someone else on a regular basis. What makes you think that just because the world has ended, he’s stopped pretending?

Q.   As a fan of zombie books, movies, TV shows, etc., I’ve noticed that whenever a group of people happen upon a place offering shelter and safety, it’s usually some kind of trick.  Someone inevitably ends up robbed, beaten, killed, sold into slavery, chopped up into lunch meat or what have you.  Maybe that’s why my better half is so jittery.

As a noted zombie author, can you settle a debate that’s long ranged in the world of zombie fandom?  When survivors happen upon a settlement operated by seemingly nice people, should their response be, “Feets don’t fail me now!” or “Thank you for your hospitality.  I think I will join you!”

A.   In a disaster like this, the idea that there are no good people left in the world has me thinking one thing: If that’s true, why go on? If you’re a good person just trying to survive, you have to assume there are other people out there with good intentions as well. But trusting someone shouldn’t be your first inclination or you’re liable to get robbed, beaten, killed, sold into slavery, or chopped up into lunchmeat. I think it’s important to give off a “thank you for your hospitality” vibe while keeping your eyes open for anything suspicious, much like Rick and crew did when they first arrived at Terminus at the end of season four of The Walking Dead. You have to keep hope alive or you’ll find yourself turning into the very monster you’re afraid to run into, but you need to be smart about it as well.

Q.   I’m led to believe you prefer laughable nerds over hunky pieces of man meat.  Naturally, as a poindexterish proprietor of a book blog that caters to 3.5 readers, who currently finds himself knee deep in a zombie apocalypse, I’m intrigued.  My ensuing inquiries are:

Q1)  Is that actually true or is that just something that women say before they make a beeline for the hunky man meat?

A.   It’s actually true! While hunky pieces of man meat are great to look at, that was never the type of man I dated, and it definitely won’t be who I rely on when the zombie apocalypse hits. Strength will only get you so far before a horde of zombies decides they want to feast on a meal of muscles, but intelligence will keep you going. And a sense of humor will not only keep you from losing your mind, but give you something to keep going for. While I do share the common problem of most female Walking Dead viewers—a love of Daryl Dixon—I have to admit that I’m in major awe of Glenn Rhee. I wouldn’t mind teaming up with him at the end of the world!

Q2)  Point of clarification:  Are we talking about a full blown, genuine, bonafide Star Wars toy owning geek despite being an adult type of nerd or the Hollywood version of a nerd, which is usually just a hunky piece of man meat that someone in wardrobe whipped a pair of glasses on?  (A hunk in nerd’s clothing, if you will.)

A.   I’m all about the adorable kind of nerd. Star Wars toys aren’t a must, but they also aren’t unwelcome—I own a few nerdy Walking Dead toys myself. My husband is a toy collecting nerd as well. For Father’s Day the last two years I got him Simpsons Lego sets. They are currently assembled and on display above our fireplace.

Q3)  What is it about a nerdy/non-traditional hero that intrigues you?

A.  I think it’s the unexpected. Seeing someone who didn’t think much of himself before the apocalypse rises to the challenge and becomes an important part of a group’s survival. Anyone who looks at a “hunky” guy will assume he’s going to be able to take care of himself, but it’s the people who surprise even themselves who are the most enjoyable to root for.

Q4)  Who are some of your favorite nerdy, non-traditional, non-hunky heroes?

A.   Glen Rhee of course. The evolution of his character over the last five seasons has been incredible to watch. Every now and then I like to turn on an episode from season one of The Walking Dead just to compare the characters, and seeing how much he has grown since then is mind-blowing.

I was also a huge fan of Chuck when it was on. Watching Chuck fumble his way through assignments was adorable, but seeing how much he had changed by the end of the series was even more fun.

Q.  The Broken World series is in Amazon’s top one hundred when it comes to post-apocalyptic and dystopian 511rJyBOZLL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_fiction.  What’s your secret to bringing so many readers into your world?

A.  Honestly, I think it had a lot to do with timing. I wrote the first three books a few years ago, but sat on them for a bit while agents and editors took their time considering publishing Broken World. By the time I finally got around to putting the first book out myself, The Walking Dead had reached the status of TV phenomenon, and it’s popularity really helped the series take off. The fact that it’s a great series—I never get tried of rereading these books!—and so different from a lot of zombie books out there helped even more.

Q.  What inspired you to take your ideas and turn them into books that zombie fanatics the world over can enjoy?

A.  The Walking Dead, of course. I’ve always loved post-apocalyptic stories, especially zombie stuff, but the sudden popularity of The Walking Dead helped form a story in my head that I just couldn’t get rid of. I almost didn’t write it as a zombie novel, though. If you do any kind of research on what editors/publishers are looking for, you’ll discover the sad fact that they do not want zombie fiction. They say there’s no market for it, which is just crazy—especially now! I wrote the first chapter of Broken World as a post-apocalyptic novel similar to The Stand, but without the religious undertones. But only one chapter in and I changed my mind, deciding to take a risk and write the zombie novel I’d been thinking about for months. Broken World was the result, and I’m so glad I took that leap.

Q.   Kate, thanks for stopping by, and especially for enduring my inquisition vis a vis nerds vs. hunks.  Before I hang up the space phone, do you have any last minute advice that could help my friends and I brave the zombie apocalypse?

A.   Don’t lose hope! It’s the one thing that will get you killed faster than a horde of zombies. If you don’t have some kind of hope for the future, you won’t fight as hard or run as fast. You’ll find yourself wishing that you never wake up when you lay down to sleep at night. If you don’t have any hope that you will be able to find a safe place or that the horror will one day come to an end, it won’t be long before the only end you can imagine is death.

Thanks so much for having me, and I hope you and your group find a safe place to ride out the worst of the zombie apocalypse!

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#31ZombieAuthors – Day 3 Interview – Stevie Kopas – The End of The World is Not Glamorous

“I don’t always drink beer, but when I do I drink Zombie Killer.”


Amazon     Facebook

Website     Twitter

Today’s guest is Stevie Kopas, author of The Breadwinner Trilogy. Billed with the tagline, “The End of the World is Not Glamorous,” this series portrays the struggles of various people as they fight to survive a zombifying virus that has struck the Florida panhandle.

Take ordinary folks like a criminal defense attorney, a high school track star, and a police officer and put them in a setting where they’re surrounded by murderous zombies and who knows what could happen?

When she isn’t busy fighting zombies, Stevie is the Managing Editor of the Horror Metal Sounds website, which you should totally check out if you’re into monsters, metal, rockers, or any combination of the three.  She writes for the site as well.

On top of that, she reviews books for The Bookie Monster.

Stevie’s has also written stories for the At Hell’s Gates anthologies.  Featuring work by the best zompoc authors around, profits from these collections benefit the Intrepid Fallen Heroes fund.

So you know, you could buy it and help heroes at the same time.

Thanks for taking my space phone call, Stevie.

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 Q.   “The End of the World is Not Glamorous.”  People often forget that, don’t they? There are so many post-apocalyptic movies and books in which the world has come to an end.  While it can be fun to fantasize about a make-believe world, I’m not sure people always appreciate the one we have right now. 

Can you give my 3.5 readers a glimpse of some of the things that happen in your series that show just how unglamorous the end of the world would be?

A.  I think that’s why I chose that tagline for my series, because the way I’d imagine the end of the world, it would not be a place I’d like to live, no matter how it might “seem.”  

In my book, the characters face a lot of loss and the world comes crashing down pretty quickly. You start off in the swing of things, when the virus is first spreading, and not long after that the characters are having to battle the undead at every turn. As the story progresses in books two and three, things only get worse, and it’s not just the zombies that my characters have to deal with either. They have to deal with each other.

Q.   Stressful situations can make people act in ways they wouldn’t normally.  Case in point, my usually helpful alien buddy is being kind of a jerk and my best friend from high school, who usually would never hurt a fly, is war painting his face and making zombie ear necklaces. 

Does the zombie apocalypse in your stories force your characters to do things that would be out of order in regular, polite society?

A.  Absolutely. It’s in the synopsis of The Breadwinner, “who you were does not determine who you will become.” These people are forced to do things they’d normally never do, and some of them just completely lose their minds. It’s a zombie jungle out there and nobody was prepared for the end of the world.

Q.   Sometimes I think half the reason why everyone loves a good zombie apocalypse tale isn’t necessarily about the zombies themselves but the strategy of it all.  How would a person survive if supplies were limited and no one could be trusted?

A.   I think the lesson my characters learn is that you can’t hide away and expect things to go back to normal. Even if it seems like people can’t be trusted, sometimes you have to set aside your differences and stick together.  That’s the only way you’ll be able to come out on the other side of things alive.

Q.   Would it be too much of a spoiler to ask why your series is called, “The Breadwinner?”  If not, please educate the 3.5.

A.   Well, without giving away spoilers, when you first read book one, it’s quite obvious that ‘The Breadwinner’ is Samson. But if you look a little closer, you’ll come to find out that ‘the breadwinner’ is actually a combination of the characters together. They were all the staple of their groups at one point, and they just don’t work as well by themselves anymore now that the world has ended. It’s all about family, whether it’s your real family or not, nobody wants to be alone, especially not when the zombies show up.

Q.   What motivated you to take the stories in your head and put them into a book format that can be enjoyed by everyone?

A.   I had the concept and the characters of Samson, Veronica, Moira, and Isaac for a long time. I wrote a short story and it was completely different. There were basically no good guys and it was an ‘everybody for themselves’ scenario. Once the story was fleshed out, I decided that there needed to be a nice balance, so I changed things up, and just kept writing and writing until it was done. I couldn’t stop though, so I wrote two more books.

Q.   Thanks for your help.  Before I go, do you have any other advice for my friends and I as we brave our way through the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse?

A.  Step 1: Get to the water.

Step 2: Find a boat.

Step 3: Keep heading west.

(That’s a little inside joke for people who have read the books. But hey, it can probably be applied to most escape and survival plans!)

BQB EDITORIAL NOTE:  You might be onto something.  The town next to mine is West Randomtown!  And it’s currently the safest spot around.  I’d better try to get there.

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#31ZombieAuthors – An Introduction

By:  Bookshelf Q. Battler, Blogger-in-Chief

“They’re coming to get you, 3.5 readers.”


They’re ugly.  They’re stupid.  They shout “Grr!” and “Argh!” and the only thing they ever think about is the next human they’re going to dine on.

You’d think these one trick ponies’ fifteen minutes of fame would’ve dried up by now, but forty-seven years since George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead introduced zombies into mainstream pop culture in 1968, the fan base for these vile beasts has grown stronger than ever.


AMC is in full-swing, not only with The Walking Dead but an additional spinoff series, Fear the Walking Dead. Both programs follow groups of human zompoc survivors who have given up their hopes and dreams, their only focus now being how to keep themselves from becoming zombie chow.


You’ll find zombies at the box office, and not just the ones trying to eat your brains while you’re trying to eat your popcorn. Brad Pitt, Hollywood’s top leading man, believed zombies were bankable enough that he starred in World War Z, a screen adaptation of Max Brooks’ novel about a world overrun with vile, coldblooded fiends.

No, not lawyers.  Zombies.

Even Arnold Schwarzenegger got in on the zombie action this summer with Maggie, the story of a father who wants to save his daughter who has turned into a zombie.  No, not as in the typical “spends too much time on the phone and social media” kind of teenage zombie but a “I want to bite your face off” zombie.


Resident Evil, Left 4 Dead and Dead Rising put players in situations where they have to use their ingenuity and the tools around them to survive.

Personally, I think the original Dead Rising, which put players in a zombie infested mall and asked them to escape with all the products and tools in a large shopping center at their disposal was as ingenious as it was fun and scary.


Here’s where #31ZombieAuthors come in.

It all began as a fun idea.  I’d write a story in which I, Bookshelf Q. Battler, am trapped in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, and have to contact one author per day for help.

Seemed like a cool way to promote the blog around Halloween time.

Initially, I thought that I’d contact a few authors, they’d all tell me no, then I’d give up and move on to something else.

Instead, I was blown away by how many professional, established writers were willing to donate their time to this project.


  • I contacted these folks cold.  I introduced myself just as I am – Bookshelf Q. Battler, World Renowned Poindexter and Blogger-in-Chief of the Bookshelf Battle Blog.
  • I didn’t offer my so-called “real name.”  And no one asked for it.  Not a one of them was like, “Well, I’ll do it if I know who you really are.”  I don’t know why anyone would ask me that anyway.  I really am Bookshelf Q. Battler.
  • In a way, that made me happy, that all these fine scribes were willing to trust me, a guy they don’t know, who claims to own a magic bookshelf and be the best friend of an alien.  I like to think that means I must be doing something right around here since these fine individuals deemed me worthy of their precious time.
  • I offered them nothing.  I was upfront with the fact that my blog caters to a modest audience of 3.5 readers, so it wasn’t like they could expect a surge in book sales.  They all just cared enough to want to help an aspiring writer out. Honestly, I’m probably getting more out of this than they will.  That fact alone makes them all pretty cool people.


Thirty-one (actually thirty-three as I’ll be interviewing two writing duos) came together on very short notice and helped me put together a massive undertaking within about a month.

If ever you doubt there’s a generous online community for writers, think about that.


They all come from different backgrounds and walks of life.  Our interviewees include a cop, soldiers, full time mothers, preppers, podcasters and yes, there might even be a nerd or two.  They’re from America, England, Australia, and Canada.  All different ages.

All united by a common love of undead creatures that want to munch on your brains.

More importantly, they’ve all brought their own unique experiences, style, and voice to the zombie genre.  A cop fighting his way through a zombie apocalypse.  Soldiers on a mission when zombies suddenly attack out of nowhere.  An average, nondescript office worker suddenly faces a threat the likes of which he’s never faced before in his humdrum life.

People who become zombies via the Internet.  (Insert joke here.)  Zombie-fied literary classics that will make your snooty college English professor pop a monocle.  Zombies in the past.  Zombies in the future.  There’s even a couple of zombies who defy their nature to the point where you might not mind being pals with them.


If you love zombies, this is the place to be in October.


Visit bookshelfbattle.com everyday for:

  • The latest post from Bookshelf Q. Battler’s Zombie Apocalypse Survivor’s Journal.  That’s right.  Zombies are going to attack East Randomtown and I will update you, the 3.5 readers, every step of the way as my friends and I search for safety.
  • The Zombie Author Interview of the Day – At great personal risk, I will take a break from my survival efforts once a day to “call” and interview an author of zombie fiction.  I’m not trying to make myself out as some kind of hero, 3.5 readers, but just remember what I’m putting myself through here for your entertainment when it comes Leibster Award time.  Do you think that old lady blogging about her buttermilk biscuits on the blog next door is going to fight zombies and interview zombie authors for you?  I think not.


  • Every Sunday, Schecky Blargfeld, Zombie Comedian will perform his act live from the East Randomtown Chuckle Barn. He’ll review the past week’s interviews and tell you who’s stopping by the blog in the week ahead.  This funny zombie will leave you in stitches, and that’s not a pun.
  • Zombie Trump will review the upcoming episodes of The Walking Dead.  Quote Zombie Trump, “This is going to be huuuuuge!  I’m going to bring that loser nerd Bookshelf Q. Battler the highest jump in ratings his pathetic excuse for a blog has ever seen!”


Zombie lovers, do you know anyone else who’s lined up thirty-one zombie authors?  No.

So take advantage of this and:

ON TWITTER – Tweet your questions to @bookshelfbattle.

ON FACEBOOK – Ask your questions on www.facebook.com/bookshelfqbattler

ON WATTPAD – Pose your inquiries to @bookshelfbattle and follow along as I will be posting excerpts from Bookshelf Q. Battler’s Zombie Apocalypse Survivor’s Journal over there a few days after doing so here.  You’ll still have to come here for the author interviews though.

On Google Plus – ask your questions here.

NOTE:  As you can imagine, Halloween season is the busiest time of year for a zombie author, so I don’t want to guarantee that they’ll be able to answer your questions about zombies, but in the event they can’t, I will!


If you’re having fun, please tell your friends!  The more zombie fans the merrier.  Let’s rock this blog’s stats to the point where I have to retire the 3.5 readers joke.


I couldn’t have done this without you, 3.5.  A blogger needs an audience and I couldn’t have put this together without being sure that at least 3.5 of you would show up.

Please pat yourselves on all 3.5 of your backs.

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#31ZombieAuthors starts now!

Attorney Donnelly notes that the Bookshelf Battle Blog disclaims any and all liability for anyone who is eaten by and/or turned into a zombie.  You step into a zombie apocalypse, you take your chances.

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#31Zombie Authors – The Lineup – Oct 1 – 10

By: Bookshelf Q. Battler, Blogger-in-Chief shutterstock_173570747 copy

It’s almost here, 3.5 readers!  It’s almost here!

Starting October 1, I’ll be interviewing one author of zombie fiction per day for 31 days.

And these won’t be your typical interviews.

A zombie apocalypse is going to hit East Randomtown (my home town) on October 1 (convenient, I know) and at great risk to myself, I will take a break every day from the undead carnage to call up a different author using Alien Jones’ space phone.

From Oct. 1 to 10, here are the scribes that will be coming to the aid of your humble blog host:

Links will bring you to the authors’ Amazon pages:

DAY 1 – Sarah Lyons Fleming

sarah lyons fleming

The author of the Until End of the World series is going to help me pack the perfect bug-out bag.  For you non-preppers out there, that’s a bag to keep by your door to grab in case of a zombie attack that requires you to abandon your home at a moment’s notice.

DAY 2 – Jaime Johnesee

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Most zombies are dirty brain chomping scumbags but believe it or not, there are a few good natured zombies that don’t mean any harm.  The  creator of the lovable goofball protagonist of Bob the Zombie helps me see the lighter side of the undead.

DAY 3 – Stevie Kopas 

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“The End of the World is Not Glamorous.”  So goes the tagline of Stevie Kopas’ The Breadwinner Trilogy.  Sometimes we nerds, what with our post-apocalyptic survival fantasies and all, tend to forget just how good we have it when it comes to food, running water, electricity, Internet and so on. Don’t worry as this scribe’s characters are surely reminded.

DAY 4 – Ann Christy

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Retired Naval Officer Ann Christy’s Between Life and Death series features Emily, an eighteen year old who expected her life was going to be all about dating and college only to find herself smashing heads with her favorite sledgehammer.  It just goes to show that a zombie apocalypse sure can toss a monkey wrench into the plains you laid out for your life but fear not, 3.5 readers, for Ann will help me sort things out.

DAY 5 – Perrin Briar

perrin briar

What do you get when you cross the classic tale of Swiss Family Robinson with zombies?  Why, Swiss Family RobinZOM of course.  I become so intrigued by this reimagining of one of my favorite books that I get Perrin on the line to dish, not just about this tale but his other zombie-fied works such as Z-Minus and Blood Memory as well. 

DAY 6 – S.G. Lee


The author of the Journal of the Undead series dips into his bag of tricks to help your friendly neighborhood book nerd last another day against the undead hordes.  His books even have their own official action figure developed by Mark Neto of Markneto’s Mightiest Mego Super Customs.

I thought about hiring Mark to create a Bookshelf Q. Battler action figure, but an action figure of a guy who collects action figures seems way too meta.

DAY 7 – Gillian Zane


One might think that the erotica and zompoc genres don’t jive, but Gillian explains how danger is an aphrodisiac in her NOLA Zombie novels, where survivors are either killing uglies or bumping them (that is to say each others’ and not the zombies.)   Sorry, but you have to clarify everything nowadays.

Also, Gillian is going to school me on how to become an alpha male… so all you women better get your asses over to this blog and check it out!

(Of course, I mean only if you want to, ladies.  You know, if you’re not busy and it’s not too much trouble.  I’m so sorry for being rude.  Please accept my apology.)

Poor Gillian.  She’s really got her work cut out for her with a world renowned poindexter like me.

DAY 8 – Joseph “Zombie” Zuko


Joseph Zuko is such a bonafide expert on all things undead that “Zombie” is literally his middle name.  OK, so I haven’t checked his birth certificate, but its still pretty impressive.  Joe, seen above peddling his book, The Infected, door to door, will give me an ed-u-ma-cation on everything from anti-zombie weaponry, post-apocalyptic fitness skills, and even some sweet ass Krav Maga moves.  Zombies won’t know what hit them once good ole’ Zombie Zuko gets through training me.

DAY 9 – Devan Sagliani

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I sit this one out to give Video Game Rack Fighter a chance to hone her interviewing chops.  The screenwriter of HVZ: Humans vs. Zombies, based on the popular live action role playing game, talks about his novels like Zombie Attack! as well as how his love of Los Angeles allowed him to bring the City of Angels alive in great detail in LA Undead.

DAY 10 – Armand Rosamilia


You know 3.5 readers, if a fight ever breaks out between a horde of zombies and Armand Rosamilia, my money is on Armand.  I don’t think the zombies would even bother to try anything.  Like Chuck Norris, the only thing Armand would have to do is just shake his head in a disapproving manner and the zombies would get all panicked and run in the opposite direction.

Personally, I don’t even think Chuck Norris would stand a chance.

Armand’s well-versed in horror fiction and will check in to talk about his Dying Days series.  He’s even written about Cthulhu, which I give him props for, as the legendary squid faced beast is vastly underrepresented in today’s fiction.

Armand is seen above holding a cuddly pink version of Cthulhu, only because you’d probably freak the hell out if you were to ever lay eyes upon the real legendary monster.

There’s more to come, 3.5 readers!  #31ZombieAuthors October 1 all the way through Halloween right here on the Bookshelf Battle Blog!

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#31ZombieAuthors Begins October 1!

Hey 3.5 readers,shutterstock_142239163 copy

I’ve been working harder than a zombie chasing after a truck load of brains this past month.  It’s gone by so fast and I can’t believe thirty one people all came together so quickly to help me out.

This is going to be great.

So I don’t have much for you today as I’m still working on this project.

Whatever promotional support you can provide would be awesome.  Please feel free to blog about this or share the news on your favorite social media/time wasting website.

Don’t forget, you can find me here, on bookshelfbattle.com

On Twitter – @bookshelfbattle

On Google +

On Facebook – Please drop by my Facebook page!  I’ve been putting more of an effort lately into building it up.  My fanbase there is sort of non-existent at the moment.

On Wattpad – Note I will be sharing BQB’s Survivor’s Journal on Wattpad (though entries will appear here on the blog first) but you will have to read the blog for the interviews.

What a fabulous online community of writers we have that so many people were willing to help a nerd in need.

Mark your calendars.  Tell your friends.  Pop your pop corn and hold onto your brains.

October is going to be one fun month.

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Harry Potter’s Son…

…is going to attend Hogwart’s in a new spinoff of the Harry Potter series.  What say you, 3.5?

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Pop Culture Mysteries – Case File #005 – Smeller vs. Denier – (Part 6)


“There I was, naked as the day I was born, strung up by my toes, flapping in the breeze over a pot of boiling
water.  The local primitives were restless, dancing about in a circle and preparing to boil me alive for their supper!”

Lord Alistair Blackburn was a corpulent fellow.  A charter member of Her Majesty’s Society of Royal Adventurers, he wore a khaki colored shirt and shorts and a pit helmet to top it all off.  He was a bit of a bombastic blowhard, offering up tall tales and exaggerated yarns to anyone who would listen.

I hate it when people do that.

Muffy and I smiled politely.

“How’d you escape, Al?”  I asked.

“Luckily I’d studied that particular tribe’s dialect and told them I taste terrible.  They set me free but I had to walk for an entire day in my all together until I found an outpost.”

I felt sorry for every animal who had to witness that.  Blackburn was definitely not skipping any meals.  In fact, if his story was true, then those bushmen must have had some extra strength rope.

The great game hunter was just one of the people who’d received an invitation to the Count’s dinner party that evening.

Count and Countess Rickard were famous all over Monaco for their dinner parties.  They collected people like a hobbyist might gather up rare coins.  They loved entertaining and they threw a top notch soiree.

We were all gathered in the Rickards’ sitting room, an expanse that was greater than the average person’s home.  It was fancy cigars, premium brandy, and good conversation until dinner was ready.

“Now then,”  Blackburn continued.  “Halfway through this most treacherous trek, I had the misfortune of coming face to face with a pack of unruly hyenas…”

Change that to mediocre conversation.  The Muffster and I were bored out of our gourds.  I tuned out Lord Blackburn and perked my ears toward the conversation happening on the couch opposite the one I was sitting on.

Signora Bellavenuti was whirling her brandy sifter and doing her best to ignore the ramblings of noted philosophy professor Arthur Fremont.  A fellow American, Fremont was a twitchy little fella with a mop of curly hair and a lazy eye.

“A true nihilist would argue that life has no meaning but if a lack of meaning brings meaning to a nihilist’s existence, then can there really ever be a true nihilist?”

The Signora was not as good as Muffy and I were at nodding politely in the face of less than stellar chitter chatter.

“Ugh, darling, please,”  Signora Bellavenuti said as she flapped her fingers up and down toward her palm, waving goodbye, “I have spoken to burros with more interesting things to say.  Shoo!  Shoo!  Away with you!”

Crestfallen, Fremont marched off to the back corner, where he nursed his drink.  Yakubovich was already there, still licking his wounds from the drubbing I’d given him earlier at the poker table.  The Count decided it would be sporting to invite the loser to break bread and it wasn’t mi casa so who was I to argue?

“The first seven hyenas I was able to take out with a stick I’d managed to chew to a point with my teeth, but the eighth I had to strangle with my bare hands.  And do you know it continued to laugh until its very last breath?”

The Lord’s chubby face grew grim.

“The image of my hands wrapped around that beast’s throat as it giggled like a school girl haunts my nightmares to this very day.”

“Whoa,”  I said.  “What a predicament.”

“Indeed.  Now, let me tell you about the rhino I stabbed in the face in Botswana.  It was charging at me, you see, and…”

Lord Blackburn’s rant was being drawn out by a conversation happening to my left.  Two men sat in oversized comfy chairs, wrapped up in a heated debate.

One of them was Sir Rupert Roundtree.  I considered him a friend.  The first time I met him was in North Africa during World War Two.  He was a tank commander then and saved me from a band of angry, sword swinging locals.  The second time was in Hong Kong not long after the war.  By that time, he’d been appointed as Chief of Police in the then British controlled city state, and he and his men stopped a band of thugs who wanted to slice and dice me.

Since then, Rupert had worked his way up in the world.  He’d gotten himself elected to parliament and was currently serving as the British Secretary of State.

As you can imagine, I had a lot of respect for him.  Roundtree was physically fit, an athletic type.  He had a thick handlebar mustache that took up half his face and long sideburns.

Charbonneau had a poor excuse for a toupee.  It looked like a damn chinchilla taking a nap on his head.  The coloring was off.  The hair on his sides was silver but the toupee a deep black.  You’d think someone at the rug factory could have peppered it up a little.

The man chewing Roundtree’s ear off was Patrice Charbonneau, the French Ambassador to England.

“Patrice, old boy,”  Roundtree said.  “Must we dampen the evening with talk of politics?”

“Yes monsieur.  French merchants simply cannot operate with the outrageous tariffs imposed on goods exported to your country.  Something must be done.  There is no precedent for the current rates and if you consult the treaty that was signed in 1949, you’ll see clearly that…”

Roundtree spaced out of the lecture he was getting and looked around the room only to do a double take when he spied my kisser.

“Pardon me, Patrice, I have to go see a ghost from my past.”

“But the hardliners are calling for action and I cannot hold them back any longer!”

“Yes,”  Rupert said as he stood up and patted Charbonneau on the back.  “Let’s put a pin in this conversation for later, shall we?  I swear I’ll return and listen to all your problems posthaste.”

The MP strolled over to me and I stood up to greet him.

Lord Blackburn didn’t even notice.

“That beast came close to goring me but I managed to dodge its thrust at the last minute and smash it right between the eyes with my machete.”

“Lord Blackburn!”  Rupert said.  “Might I steal Hatcher away from you for a moment?”

Copyright (c) 2015 Bookshelf Q. Battler 2015

All Rights Reserved.

Image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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Pop Culture Mysteries: Behind the Scenes – What Do You Think About Informant Zero?

Hey 3.5 Readers.

I'm looking for a better IZ pic but this will be him for now.

I’m looking for a better IZ pic but this will be him for now.

Another PCM Behind the Scenes, where I seek the advice of the 3.5 in writing Jake’s life.

So…Informant Zero.

What does everyone think of him as a character?

Here’s the lowdown of why I created him:

  • Originally, PCM was just supposed to be a fun, quick column.  I’d ask Jake, “Hey Jake, in the movie X, why did Y happen?
  • Then Jake would respond with a quick, “blah blah blah.”
  • But then imagination took over and I developed this long sweeping backstory that takes us through Jake’s past and his present with an ongoing hanging question of why did Jake fall asleep for 60 years?  (And eventually as the story progresses, why are all his past friends, enemies showing up in the present day?)
  • Therefore, Informant Zero will take on the “quick column idea.”
  • When the PCM site starts up, I’ll still give Jake “mysteries.” And he’ll go with the formula.

What’s the formula?

  • Jake’s doing something.
  • Delilah delivers him a mystery.
  • They banter.  Jake wants her.  Delilah rebuffs him.
  • Jake says “Oh this mystery reminds me of the time when….”
  • Jake recalls his adventure.
  • People who enjoy reading the adventures will hopefully have fun.  People who just wanted to know “Why X happened in Y movie” might get bored.
  • But then at the end Jake will offer his two cents as to why x happened in y movie or whatever the original PCM question was.

So basically, Informant Zero will just provide that quick Pop Culture Q and A.  A Q is asked and he gets right to the A without a big story in between.

But what do you think of him as a character?

I really enjoyed writing the parts about the “Anything Goes Club,” especially the first part where Jake and Delilah have to navigate past all sorts of debauchery.


  • I wrote the part about the “Anything Goes Club” because I just enjoyed the absurdism and found the idea of a secret club where celebrities go to do whatever they want and have wild, out of control parties was funny.
  • And then I put Informant Zero’s secret lair in the basement of that club.
  • But wait, if Informant Zero is “a shadowy information broker” who collects and trades info about celebrities, then why would the celebrities party at a club where his office is located?
  • Good question.  I realized that and tried to write my way around it.  I tried to explain it.  Let me know if the explanation makes sense.


  • Informant Zero uses his info gathering powers for good, not evil.  He’s not out to actively embarrass celebrities and/or the rich and influential, but will if he learns of some injustice afoot and needs to lean on someone with the power to change a bad situation into a good one.
  • He takes money from celebrities to use his powers to cover up their scandalous behaviors, ergo they like him and party at his club.
  • However, he’d never cover up a crime, just embarrassing scandals.

MAYBE IZ shouldn’t own the club?

All the debauchery described in part one is intended to be funny and more or less you could write it off, but then note there is a guy serving drugs at a bar, and that part was mainly added just so that there could be a joke where he rattles off a list of awful, hardcore drugs and then adds “Flintstone’s Vitamins” at the end.

Just random silliness, basically.

But then it hit me – If IZ owns the club, then he’s a drug dealer!  And we can’t have drug dealers working for BQB’s PCM spin off blog!

What would the 3.5 readers think?

So this will definitely need a rewrite.


  • IZ doesn’t own the Anything Goes club.  The celebrities just give him sanctuary there because they appreciate his coverup skills for their minor infractions.  He ignores their general debauchery, but does get involved when he learns of a crime.
  • Seperate IZ from the Anything Goes Club entirely.  IZ works somewhere else.  Think of another mystery entirely in which Jake investigates the Anything Goes Club or has to visit there in the course of an investigation, because the scenes themselves are too funny to lose.


IZ isn’t going to become that involved in the story.  His main function is to do what Jake was originally going to do, namely a quick Q and A about pop culture.  Occasionally, IZ might toss Jake a mystery or give him an assist with some info for a case he’s working on.

So it’s just a matter of coming up with an origin story.

Admittedly, a guy who collects info on celebrities with an office in a private celebrity depravity club is kind of problematic so I’ll have to figure this one out.


In PCM, BQB is already kind of the shadowy figure.

On the Bookshelf Battle Blog, BQB openly admits he’s a nerd from East Random Town, USA who by day works at Beige Corp and by night pursues his dreams of becoming a writer.

But in PCM, BQB is kind of like Charlie from Charlie’s Angels.

If you’ve never seen Charlie’s Angels, the angels were three hot 70’s women who worked for Detective Charlie.  They never actually saw Charlie.  When Charlie had a case for the angels, they’d meet with Bosley, Charlie’s assistant, and Charlie would talk to the angels through an intercom.

Mine’s different.  I, BQB, refuse to meet with Jake as I fear he’d just beat me senseless until I explain how he fell asleep in 1955 and woke up in 2014 and I’m withholding that info until he’s filed 100 PCM reports (in the hopes this will raise my readership past 3.5)

So I dispatch my attorney, Delilah, to deliver the mysteries to Jake.  Jake, in theory, could lean on Delilah to spill the beans, but he has the hots for her so doesn’t.

In other words, we have shadowy figure BQB and then we’d have a second shadowy figure, Informant Zero.

I don’t know.  Once IZ’s back story is set up he really won’t have much of a function than to write a quick, short weekly column, barely 500 words just providing quick explanations about PCM questions.

Redacted Celebrity Names

In the story, Jake’s new to the present, so he kind of recognizes the celebrities from TV, but doesn’t know them by name.  Delilah does recognize them, but when she refers to them, it comes up in the story as “Name Redacted.”

Because obviously, if Jake’s invited to a private club to conduct business, he wouldn’t blurt out the name of a celebrity he saw in his report to the 3.5 readers.

However, that cowboy with a cottage cheese problem – assuming there’s a point where I see this project is worth it to continue, I envision a season where Jake gets a job as a babysitter/security guard for a rambunctious actor.  Jake will continue to solve PCM’s but will do so out of the actor’s house where he’s staying instead of at his office above Ms. Tsang’s restaurant.  There will be a side story where Jake’s constantly bailing the actor out of trouble.  (Jake needs some kind of paying job above $5 a PCM case and can’t sponge off Ms. Tsang forever.)

So I’m thinking maybe this cowboy could become that actor (he’s not a cowboy he just likes to wear that hat while Czech dwarves…well, you can read the rest.

I’m not sure how to reconcile that.  Eventually, that celeb will have to be named.  Maybe when the time comes Jake can be like, “remember that cowboy from a previous post, well turns out I’m working for him now…”

Or forget the cowboy.  I could just invent a new, equally rambunctious actor.  There are probably a bunch of them.

What say you, 3.5?

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And Now a Message from Alien Jones


The Esteemed Brainy One enjoys the dog days of summer...pantsless.

The Esteemed Brainy One enjoys the dog days of summer…pantsless.

Alien Jones, the Esteemed Brainy one here, reminding you to “Ask the Alien” a question and get plugs for your books and blogs in my answer right here on the Bookshelf Battle Blog, bookshelfbattle.com.

Help me get Bookshelf Q. Battler’s writing career up and running so my boss, the Mighty Potentate, will release me from this mission.

“But Alien Jones,” you ask.  “What are the pros and cons of asking you, an alien, a question?”


  • You help your planet become one answer smarter.
  • You help promote self published authors and strike another blow in the Mighty Potentate’s war on reality television.  You thought reality tv was harmless, didn’t you?  But now a reality tv star is running for president.  Next thing you know it’s Secretary of State Kardashian.  Don’t say you weren’t warned, 3.5
  • You’ll get a free plug and maybe even gain a new reader or two.  I’ve helped 20 indie authors already.
  • The Mighty Potentate won’t vaporize me.


Literally, nothing.  Why are you humans so quick to look a gift alien in the mouth?  A representative of a hyper intelligent species wants to share all the mysteries of the universe with you and you’re all still like, “Well, I dunno, let me kick the tires on this one and get back to you.”

So ask me, Alien Jones, a question today.  You can ask away on twitter.  Tweet @bookshelfbattle #AskTheAlien and our resident Blogger in Chief will forward your question to my ship.

Or, just leave it in the comments here.

“But Alien Jones, where else can I, a mere human, get in touch with you?”

If you can reach BQB on his other social media, go for it.

Here he is on facebook.

Here he is on Google Plus 

And finally, here’s the World Renowned Poindexter on Wattpad.

And finally, you might ask, “Alien Jones, how long will it take for you to answer my question?”

Normally, I try to answer questions in the order they’re asked.  I used to bunch several questions into one column, but now I like to give each author a column all their own.  That doesn’t mean that repeat askers aren’t welcome.  They are.  And if you’re one of the 3.5 people out there without a book to push, feel free to ask away.  I like to help indie authors promote their works, but you don’t have to have something to promote in order to ask away.

Thank you, Earthlings.  Continue your normal functions of duck faced selfies and scratching yourselves at inopportune times.

Alien Jones, signing off.

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