Tag Archives: authors

#FridaysWithBQB Taking a Week Off

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.  We just had 4 interviews, one a week for the past month, all self-publishing authors.  I’m a bit tied up lately but this fine interview series will return.

In the meantime, feel free to peruse the past interviews.  And if you want to be interviewed, let me know.

Advertisements
Tagged , ,

#FridayswithBQB – Interview #4 – Amy Engle – Future Technology in Fiction (Or, When Are the Robots Coming for Us?)

up-at-5

Author Website

When I search the deep recesses of my mind to access the proverbial “Hall of Famous Amies,” i.e. women named Amy I can remember, two come to mind. First, there was that woman who was in all the Kevin Smith movies in the 1990s who played “Chasing Amy.” She sounded like Jennifer Tilly and looked like Renee Zellweger and I’m not about to look up her name now because for the past twenty years I have referred to her as “that actress who sounds like Jennifer Tilly and looks like Renee Zellweger” and by God, I’m not about to stop now. OK, fine, she’s Joey Lauren Adams. Where were you in the 90s, IMDB?

The second famous Amy that pops into my mind is the one from “Gone Girl” who (SPOILER ALERT – LOOK AWAY IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE OR READ THE BOOK) totally fakes her own death just to get revenge on Ben Affleck. Since seeing that movie, I have avoided all relationships as I mean, holy crap, you just never know when a woman is going to get a little uppity over something and fake her own death and send you to jail. “What? You want me to pass the salt? That’s it! I’m faking my own death!” Thanks Hollywood. Thanks a lot.

Now, there’s a new Amy, author Amy Engle, and I don’t believe she would fake her own death (without a good reason) and I remember her name because she’s always in my Twitter feed, promoting her latest masterpiece.

As I am one of the Internet’s foremost nerds, she’s piqued my interest because she writes social science fiction which examines up and coming technologies and how they will affect mankind. Alteration of humans to make them more powerful and time travel are just some of the topics she explores.

Forget time travel. Just give me an edit button on my Twitter posts and I’ll be a happy camper. Anyway, 3.5 readers, please put all seven your hands together to welcome Amy Engle to this exceptional blog.

BQB=BOLD; AMY=ITALICS

QUESTION #1 – Amy, welcome to my blog. I hope you only have to stay here until a \kindhearted motorist sees your thumb sticking out and gives you a ride to a better interview. Until then, let’s talk about the future of technology. One concern that I have is that I’m going to be dead. I mean, I’m adding a lot of fiber to my diet to put that inevitability off for as long as possible, but if what happened to my cat, goldfish and grandma are any indication, I’m not going to get out of life alive.

So, to get to the point, my concern is that there will be a lot of awesome technologies that will be invented in the future. Cures for diseases that have long plagued humanity, devices that turn difficult chores into a quick and easy task. Solutions to poverty and war and all of society’s ills. And honestly, I fear it’s all going to happen in a way that will spite me. Like one minute before I die, someone’s going to come up to me and tell me, “Hey BQB, they just patented a drug that will cure what’s killing you and also, they just invented robot women!” Just my luck.

Enough from me. What’s the future look like? Will technology turn the world into the utopia I just described or will it make the world worse? While cures and solved problems are nice to think about, I suppose it is also entirely possible that technological advances could lead to more efficient war machines, more ways to pollute the environment and let’s just face it, we’re all going to be bowing down to our robot masters someday, aren’t we?

All the rambling above distilled into a simpler question – technology! Will it make the future better or worse?

ANSWER #1—Technology brings both the helpful as well as some kind of nasty side-effect. Diseases might all be eradicated someday, but then the resulting population boost will consume all the remaining resources at a swifter rate than normal. We might invent robots that do every little thing for us, letting us have easier lives and yet leaving us incapable of surviving on our own. (All I see in my mind now is the helpless, fat people in the floating chairs in “WALL-E.”) The frightening list goes on and on. Although I love technology, I also have a healthy level of fear. I’ve recently gotten into Netflix’s “Black Mirror” series. Although I’m relieved to know that there are other people whose brains think similar to mine, I’m also left absolutely frightened at the future implications of burgeoning tech. Now that I’ve revealed to the internet one of my deepest fears, I’ll just caution that we need to be aware that it can be used for immoral purposes as well as positive. But I really do hope  to see more and more advancements before I die as well.

QUESTION #2 – What’s a specific piece of technology coming down the road that you think will benefit humanity? In contrast, what tech will make life worse? Alternatively, is there technology that might have positive and negative ramifications?

ANSWER #2—I love seeing videos of people in third-world countries finding simple solutions to deal with a big problem. As someone who writes speculative science fiction, I’m always interested in how a technology affects society. I hope there will be newer forms of social media that could further spread knowledge and awareness of moral injustices and allow the human race to unite as a positive force. With that said, I have absolutely no idea what kind of technology that would be.

QUESTION #3 – Your book, “Undoing Life” is about Sal Chancellor, a man who obtains a time travelling watch he uses in the hopes of turning his lousy life around for the better, but as it turns out, he’s being observed by people from four hundred years in the future. You describe it as “The Truman Show” meets “The Butterfly Effect” meets “Groundhog Day.”

The description alone speaks to me. I’d love to have Sal’s watch and change my past. Ex-girlfriends I messed things up with. Opportunities I wish I’d taken. Hell, even if I could talk my past self into working out more and hitting the drive-thru less.

When it comes to time travel, there seems to be two schools of thought. The most popular is that we should never change the slightest thing about the past because we never know how it will change the future. So for example, I could turn my past self into a model boyfriend and keep that girl I lost but you never know, maybe we were supposed to break up because our son would have become the next Hitler.

Alternatively, when we’re young we’re handed a myriad of important choices to make. We have little life experience so we make the best choice we can with the limited knowledge we have at the time. When we’re older, we get all the spoilers, i.e. we figure out how our past decisions turn out. Would it be that bad to whisper a few tidbits of advice to our former selves?

Tinker with the past or leave it alone. Which course of action do you think is best and why?

ANSWER #3—Ha! You have touched on a number of things I explore in “Undoing Life.” Sal uses his time-travel watch to fix a romantic relationship and undo several life-mistakes. However, it corrupts and mangles his mind as the power consumes him. And I believe that this would happen to anyone who tried to play God and alter time. There are just too many unknown variables to really say for certain if time-travel would be a “good” thing. And it certainly wouldn’t be advisable to let the masses all manipulate time at once. It would need to remain in the hands of a couple over-seers. But my short answer would have to be to leave time alone and just let it do its thing.

QUESTION #4 – Perhaps one sign of progress is that every generation envies the technology that the new generation has full access to. My grandma marveled at my Nintendo games as if they were dropped off by a space alien. Conversely, I’m a little miffed that today’s 20-year olds can start their own YouTube shows, start their own blogs, write their own e-books and have years ahead of them to build a following on social media.

Personally, I would have loved to have had all of this self-publishing technology when I was 20 and able to stay up all night and write for three days straight fueled on nothing but Cheetos, energy drinks and unearned confidence, but at my age, I think about self-publishing a lot but then I just take a nap.

In my own twisted way, that leads me to ask if self-publishing is worth it. Consider all the time and effort you put in. Are you getting satisfactory results? If my 3.5 readers ask you if they should start self-publishing, would you advise them to get into it or to run away, kicking and screaming?

ANSWER #4—It’s a little too early to say for sure if self-publishing is “worth it.” This is technically my second attempt at self-publishing. I was exclusively on Kindle for almost two years and made approximately $60 in that time-span. I’m now publishing through Ingram Spark, which means that my stories will supposedly be available in every other format except for Kindle. (I can’t publish through them for at least a year after I am no longer exclusively with them.)

Yes, I’m putting a lot of effort and money into getting all my stories self-published, I’m still in the hopeful stage that this will all be worth it someday. I’ve got quite a few books I need to sell to break-even, but I’m learning enough about marketing to allow me to keep expanding my influence and find new readers to buy my books.

I would like to pass on one little tip: do your research! Google is full of information about both indie-publishing as well as traditional publishing. Don’t be afraid to take risks and make mistakes—as long as you learn from them and try again if/when you fail for the first time.

QUESTION #5 – Your book, “Iris” talks about alteration of humans. Should humans be altered? I mean, I’d love to be altered so that I could run really fast, lift cars, and fly, but I’d settle for more hair and the ability to eat fast food burgers without going up a pant size. Human altering – will it save mankind or ruin us all?

ANSWER #5—Oh, Bookshelf Q. Battler! You keep asking me questions with only two options. I’m not a “black-and-white” sort of person. I don’t think things are either one way or another. There are so many different variables to consider and evaluate. I think human alterations are inevitable. And yet, I don’t think it will happen quite in our lifetimes. It very well might solve a handful of problems while also adding a new set we hadn’t anticipated. In “Iris,” many of these Alterations died due to the radical changes that were forced upon their bodies. Several of those who survived are now hiding from their creators, hoping not to live the rest of their lives as weapons.

QUESTION #6 – “Reps and Royals” features space colonization. Just gonna throw it out there. Does alien life exist? If so, should we try to contact the aliens to see if they have any solutions for our toughest problems, or will that just let them know we are here so they can send their ships to conquer us all?

ANSWER #6— I grew up on “Star Wars,” so I love the thought of meeting aliens someday. I hope we can learn from them and maybe pass along some wisdom as well. I don’t think they will solve all our problems. And of course, there’s the possibility that they might try to enslave us. Sadly, though, there aren’t any aliens in “Reps and Royals”—just humans living on a different planet. I haven’t finished my “alien” story quite yet!

QUESTION #7 – You’re a middle school English teacher and a drama club director. Please put on a production of “Chicago” immediately. “They had it coming! They had it coming! They only had themselves to blame!” Sorry. I digress. I love showtunes.

My 3.5 readers and I talk a big game about self-publishing. We’ll list out all the goals we want to achieve, but then we just sit around and eat cookies and watch Netflix. You seem to be hitting all your marks even while teaching and drama directing. Are there any time management techniques you could share?

ANSWER #7—I’m guilty of wasting hours binge-watching Netflix after a long day of teaching and directing. But I’ve realized that life-style makes me even more tired than when I’m writing all night long. I’ve only recently been able to chip away at my movie addiction. It’s been a few years that I’ve been trying to be more disciplined with my writing time. I just keep telling myself that I’ll never be able to write full-time if I don’t WRITE. So I set aside about an hour every night to revise, with a couple hours on weekends and holidays. I don’t write EVERYDAY, but I fit a good 10+ hours in every week. As far as actual management techniques, I don’t have any great trick that helps me. You’ve got to figure out what works for you and your schedule. Prioritize and figure out what you can really do without in order to find time to work on what matters the most to you.

QUESTION #8 – As a self-publisher, what’s one lesson you learned the hard way? Can you share it with my 3.5 readers to help them avoid the trouble?

ANSWER #8—I learned that writing takes time. I remember being in college and thinking that I was going to squeeze out a best-seller in a few months and that would cover the cost of tuition and living expenses. When that didn’t work out, I still misjudged the amount of time it took to fix up a decent manuscript. I’ve been writing for about ten years now, and I’m still struggling to “make it” in this business; it will likely also take me a few more years as well. Don’t get discouraged when things don’t go according to your plan. That wastes precious time. Instead, set another goal when the previous plan fails. Repeat that direction as much as needed until you figure it out. Remember: no two authors have the same journey to publication!

QUESTION #9 – If time travel ever is invented, what is one time period you’d like to visit, even if it’s just as a casual observer who doesn’t interfere?

ANSWER #9—As a woman, traveling far back into time doesn’t appeal to me. I like living in a period where females have rights and can do about anything they set their minds to. But I think I’d like to visit the early 1900’s during the Women’s Suffrage Movement. I’d want to give the ladies encouragement in their endeavor to allow women to vote.

QUESTION #10 – You are a student of karate and as far as I know, because I know very little about Arizona, you may very well be one of the greatest karate masters in all of Arizona, punching tumbleweeds and cacti with reckless abandon and showing them who’s boss.

First sub-question, is it possible to kill a man with your pinky finger and if so, can you share that information with my 3.5 readers, who I assume are all good people and would not use that knowledge for evil?

Second sub-question, do those karate skills come in handy as a writer? Maybe they help you relax and focus. Maybe you know how to write better fight scenes?

ANSWER #10—I can’t help but be humble and explain that there are many who have trained a lot harder than I have and could easily take me on. Although, I do have my fair-share of strengths to overcome my many weaknesses. I’ve been studying American Kenpo on and off for a dozen years now; however, I only have about six and half years on cumulative training.

As far as the pinky goes, I don’t know how to kill someone with it. There very likely is a way to do it, but I know dozens of other ways that would be more effective and less-likely to break that finger. And yet as I’m writing this, I’m having a flashback to an old lesson when my instructor barely touched his pinky into a pressure point in my foot. I’ll just say that it was exceedingly painful and left a vivid memory that I can still recall years later. And, yes, I will definitely agree that my martial art training comes in handy. Not only is it an outlet for my stress, it has also allowed me to write some pretty awesome fight scenes.

QUESTION #11 – Time travel has been invented! You meant to travel to the 1980s to party with Menudo, but alas, the dial on your machine got stuck and you end up in the Jurassic age. When you step out of your machine, you find yourself surrounded by vicious, hungry raptors, you know, the really smart dinosaurs who are so intelligent they can break off into teams and chase little kids around a kitchen if Stephen Spielberg’s beliefs about dinosaurs are accurate.

As luck would have it, a technician at the time travel lab left his briefcase inside the time machine. You open it in the hopes there will be a weapon, but alas, you only find a rubber band ball, a rotten tomato, and a box set of bubblegum cards featuring the 1972 lineup of the Oakland Athletics, with the bubblegum stick still intact, though whether or not it is still chewable is beyond my grasp of medical science. I probably wouldn’t chew it myself.

How would you use these items to avoid becoming raptor lunch?

ANSWER #11—This touches on so many themes of one of my WIPs (Works in Progress). But I’ll gloss over that, as well as the fact that I don’t know who Menudo is.  So I only have a rubber band ball, a rotten tomato, and a box set of bubblegum cards with bubblegum? Oh, and I have the briefcase, too! I don’t have much of a chance, do I?

Sadly, engineering isn’t one of my strong suits—unless it’s LEGOS. Using my teacher experiences, I’ll keep calm so as not to rile up the raptors. I’ll then have to rely on my martial art training to dodge their teeth while using the briefcase as a shield. See, this is hard to hypothesize over since I have no idea how many dinosaurs there are. I’ll plan on three then. I will expertly shoot the rotten tomato into the eyes of one of the raptors, using a slingshot I made out of the rubber bands. As the other two move in, I’ll toss some gum into the open maw of one. While he is confused by its sweetness, I’ll confront the last raptor. Making Wolverine claws with the bubblegum cards, I’ll slice at the dinosaur. At this point, hopefully he realizes I won’t be an easy meal, so he goes on his way to find a less troublesome breakfast.

BQB EDITORIAL NOTE: My supercomputer at BQB HQ calculates this response to have a 94.7 percent chance of working in an actual author vs. raptor combat scenario.  Bravo!  Also, Menudo was the latino version of “New Kids on the Block.”  Either that, or NKOTB was the white version of Menudo.  Sigh.  Time to get that retirement home brochure.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

#Fridays with BQB – Interview #3 – Historic Fiction with T.A. Henry

91WB0UE+cNL._UX250_

Author Website

Amazon Author Page

T.A. Henry. The Hankster. Hank-o-rama. I first virtually met T.A. in 2016, when I was writing the first draft of my upcoming (and when I say upcoming, I mean, “sometime between now and when I croak”) novel, “How the West Was Zombed.” Cowboys + zombies = Zombie Western.

T.A. had a lot to say in the comment section of my fine blog, and was a stickler for historic accuracy. I mean, yeah, she gave me an allowance for zombies, but she urged me to try to be as historically accurate as possible, to pay attention to whether people from the 1800s would say a certain thing, act a certain way, wear a particular piece of clothing, use a type of invention. In short, she made it clear that what I thought was going be a pretty easy novel to write would require a whole lot of research.

She kept commenting and I kept writing and I’ll be honest, she didn’t give me the glowing, flowery praise we all secretly want, but rather, the swift kick to the back of the pants criticism that I needed. Everyone needs a persnickety commenter like T.A. If you can make her happy, then you’ll probably do OK with the reviewers on Amazon, who live on a steady diet of writer tears.

History is T.A.’s bag. On her Amazon page, you can find two novels, “Scripting the Truth” and “Ostrich Mentality,” both of which take place in the Twentieth Century, which doesn’t seem to me like a long time ago but apparently it is. It really is.

BOLD = BQB; ITALICS= T.A.

QUESTION 1 – T.A., welcome. I could be wrong, but you seem like a serious person, so I thank you for lowering yourself enough to be interviewed on a blog run by a man who swears he talks to aliens. I’m telling you, hang on a year or two and you’ll be interviewed by Jimmy Fallon, who only acts like he is a space alien.

History. You might have told me but I don’t remember because I’m not a good historian, but I’m wondering how you got into writing historic fiction. Give the history of your historic obsession to my 3.5 readers, or to my 2.5 readers, since you are a reader.

ANSWER: One day the window got left window open and I crawled out on to the ledge. Uncle Bob tried to chase me back in but I was scared, who wouldn’t be? Uncle Bob is creepy, and so I jumped up on the roof. Bob kept coming though. He got out this weird metal contraption and bam it slammed into the edge of the roof. So I ran to the other side. But the shingles were loose and as I tried to jump to the nearby oak I slipped. And fell. 3 stories. Into the road. Amazon was making a Prime delivery and wouldn’t you know it, I got hit by a load of….wait what was the question?

Oh, how I came to be a historical writer, yeah. I fell into it. What else do you do with a degree in history and no chance to teach because your hubs got transferred and you have no connections in the local community college scene.? LOL.

QUESTION 2 – When it comes to historic fiction, I think the average writer understands the basics. In other words, if your story takes place in 1776, you don’t want a scene where George Washington watches the latest news on the American Revolution on a big screen TV.

For me, it seems like the old cliché is true. The devil is in the details – the littlest details. What would a person from a certain time period say or do? How would they act? What would they wear?

Hollywood types can call up a renowned history professor and pepper him/her with questions for days. Alas, unknown self-publishers like myself don’t have that kind of pull. For us peons, what resources are available? What advice do you have if we have a question about whether or not a little snippet of our fiction jives with the historical record?

ANSWER: Research. But it doesn’t have to be all difficult. You’d be amazed what you can find online. Google really is your friend.

I have the advantage of a huge base knowledge of the time period I write in, which means I am only looking up tiny little specifics. But you could can do that with anything. What did the average sheriff in a small western town get paid circa 1870? You will get answers.

QUESTION 3 – Seriously, I don’t mean to state the obvious, but setting your story in the past is difficult. As I wrote my Zombie Western, I found myself with all sorts of questions. For example, a character eats a candy and I start to wonder if that candy would have been present in the Old West.  Is all that tedium worth it?

ANSWER: Probably not. It seems to me like most people don’t care about the reality of situations. They want a good story, big explosions, better special effects. Of course if you’re trying to write for an intelligent audience, they will catch you. And they will huck the book across the room and give you the dreaded one star review.

QUESTION 4 – Your new book, “Ostrich Mentality” takes place in 1990 and involves a small pox plot. Take it from there. Tell the other 2.5 readers you read my blog with what this tale is all about. The title seems cool but I’m wondering what’s the significance? I know I always prefer to stick my head in the sand and hope all problems disappear rather than face them. That usually works, right?

ANSWER: Ostrich Mentality started out as a little question that I couldn’t shake while I was reading an interview with a Russian scientist who defected in the 90s. He claimed that not only did Russia have weaponized small pox but it was missile dispersible and….they lost 20 tons of it during the break up of the USSR. FUCK!

This book is my take on what might have happened after that. How three spies and a know it all analyst save the world. LOL.

“With your head in the sand and your ass in the air, you’re ripe to get screwed.”

QUESTION 5 – By the way, why are you trying to make me want to jump of a bridge by setting a book in 1990, like that’s some long ago, ancient time? God, I was just a little kid then. Oh well, I suppose time flies. What do you think historians of the future will say about the time period we live in right now?

ANSWER: Are you trying to make me feel ancient? Little kid in the 90s. Pffftt. I was in flipping high school. Ass. I don’t talk current events. Wink. Wink. Nudge. Nudge.

QUESTION 6 – Your first novel, “Scripting the Truth” takes place after World War II, where a writer tries to scheme her way into a movie studio to reconnect with the soldier she once loved who has since become an actor. Tell the other 2.5 readers more about this. What inspired you to pen such a romantic story?

ANSWER:  Laughing…um…”Scripting” actually started as a dream – a rather naughty dream about a girl finding work in the porn industry. Laughing…but I wasn’t going to write that.

The rest just evolved. It’s not really a romance. It’s more about a woman challenging the ideas her family has saddled her with. Challenging what the world would have her be. Figuring out who she is and how to make that work. Yes, there’s a guy, because there’s always a guy, but he’s not really the important part.

QUESTION 7 – “Scripting the Truth” is an interesting title. Is it possible for people to script their own truth? Perhaps “truth,” or an understanding of who people are and how they got there can be malleable? Maybe the wise person tells his/her life’s story in the best possible light?

ANSWER: I think we script our own truths every day. We all tell ourselves little stories to get through the day. We tell ourselves and each other little lies to grease the wheels of society.  In “Scripting,” Molly tell herself a lot of lies. She discovers everyone is lying about something. And then she makes the best of that.

QUESTION 8 – My addiction to buying covers for books I have yet to publish remains unabated. Honestly, it has come to the point where I might start engaging in unsavory activities in back alleys just to score some dough so I can run out and buy another unnecessary book cover. I’m sure you’ll find me on the street one day, clinking my tin cup, shouting out, “Brother, can you spare a cover?”

I don’t know why I do it. I jump from one story idea to the next, like a bumble bee with ADD, moving all willy nilly from one flower to the next, never focusing on just one flower until he’s sucked all the nectar out of it.

Oh right. I should work a question in here somewhere. I remember you talking about working on a spy novel at least a year ago, maybe even two. Now, all this time later, your spy novel is real and people can buy it on Amazon. You stuck to one idea and saw it through and you’re reaping the reward. What advice do you have for people like me who jump from one idea to another without staying put and seeing one idea through to the end?

ANSWER: Bwahahahaha. No really.  Bwahahahahahha.  I started writing “Ostrich” 5 years ago. FIVE. In between I wrote and published “Scripting.” I wrote a murder mystery. Abandoned said mystery. Wrote for and was published in an anthology. I dropped “Ostrich Mentality” at least half a dozen times. It had a rough ride through beta. It was pulled apart, redesigned, thrown in the garbage masher on the detention level more times than I can count. Not to mention the struggle, see below….

I don’t know that I have generic advice. Ok maybe I do. I think people jump around so they never have to publish and face the heinous truth that it is brutal out there. You can pour your heart and soul into a book and it can be Pulitzer level material or “Saturday Night Live” level material and then you sell 12 copies, and it feels like someone stabbed you in the heart. You’ll gladly climb into a grave and stay there, licking your wounds. It takes so much more guts to climb out of that space and publish for the second time. I’m talking here to Mars and back again exponential guts. By jumping around you get the morally superior ground of being so prolific you can’t stay focused. Your flaw becomes a virtue. Script that truth my friend.,

QUESTION 9 – Will you ever write a novel that doesn’t take place in the past? If so, would you set it in the present or in the future? Fun fact: if you wait too long to write a novel that’s set in the present, it will become a novel that is set in the past.

ANSWER: I am in the middle of writing a cozy procedural trilogy which I will publish later this year. It is set in present time in the PNW, where I live.

Tell you more you say? Well, ok. The three books track a serial killer bumping off middle aged successful white men and cutting off their dicks. (Smiles. )

Laughing. Come on, it’s funny. “The Dismember Killer” is what the media calls him. LOL
Book one solves a copy cat. Book two takes place in the cold case squad where they solve a couple of unrelated murders and find a case that might have bearing on the serial killer. In book three they catch him.

It’s been interesting writing it because the detectives all text each other – all the time. Something that never happened in my previous books. It ups the immediacy and forces me to get more creative.

BQB EDITORIAL NOTE: I’m investing in lockable metal underpants.

QUESTION 10 – You wake up to find yourself stuck in a log cabin in the middle of a secluded forest. You have no idea how you got there other than a vague recollection that accepting a drink mixed by Bill Cosby was a bad idea.

You look out the window and hundreds of brain chomping zombies are closing in, ready to feast on your gray matter. Furiously, you search the cabin for any items that might help, but you only find three things: a squeaky, rubber duck, a sealed bag of Cool Ranch Doritos marked “Best used by March 1, 1997” and an oversized, novelty foam finger.

How will you use these items to save your brains?

ANSWER: Are my brains really worth saving? I mean really? What have I done that’s so extraordinary that I should be saved by extreme measures? And if I was dumb enough to accept a drink from Bill (Cosby or Clinton) I deserve what I get.

Are these fast zombies or slow zombies? Are we talking “Night of the Living Dead”(original) or like “I-Zombie?”

Spread the Doritos on the floor so I hear when they are in the cabin. Use the foam finger to block the chimney behind me, so no soot falls down, as I frog climb up to exit out the top like some reverse Santa Clause. Make a run for it as soon as they are inside.
Find you and stick the rubber duck up your ass for proposing this little question. LOL.

BQB EDITORIAL NOTE: That’s the twelfth time this month my backside has been threatened with the introduction of a rubber duck.  It isn’t easy being mediocre Internet celebrity.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Fridays with BQB – Interview #2 – Bloodsucking Fun with Rick Gualtieri

rk5erflp8gt2a83s8oggp9cono._UX250_

Author Website

Amazon Author Page

Fortune. Hot groupies. Hair. Rick Gualtieri has none of these things, but what he does have is the highly beloved “Tome of Bill” series, which gives a shot of nerdy humor straight into the arm of the ever-so-played vampire genre.

I first heard of Rick when he was a guest on the Self-Publishing Podcast and he seemed like a nerd’s nerd, a geek’s geek, and a poindexter’s poindexter. I could be wrong, but he reminds me a little of myself, i.e. a nerd who is proud of his nerd-dom.

After all, the man maintains a priceless collection of vintage Transformers so he can’t be all that bad.

BQB = BOLD; RICK = ITALICS

QUESTION 1 – Rickster, let’s cut to the chase. Self-publishing. Writing advice. We’ll get to all that in due time but first, my 3.5 readers and I are dying to know…what’s the best piece in your vintage Transformers collection? Mine is a 1980s era Soundwave complete with one of those little cassette tapes that turns into a killer bird. Can you top that? Damnit, I know you probably can.

ANSWER:  Color me jealous. I never did manage to add Soundwave to my collection. So it’s probably a good idea if you don’t turn your back on me down any dark alleys. Accidents happen and all that … just saying. As far as my own collection goes, my prized possessions are all five of the original Dinobots. Thirty or so years later, they still kick all sorts of ass.

BQB NOTE TO SELF – Please remember to make an addition to my Last Will and Testament, naming Rick as inheritor of my vintage Soundwave, provided that he promises to rub the toy with fine scented lotions for three hours a day, including all Federal holidays, and allows an inspector to be named by me to make monthly observations of this ritual to ensure that it is done.

QUESTION 2 – Are geeks born or are they made? Suppose my 3.5 readers are geeks who are just trying to figure out how to make it in a world full of people who scoff at their glasses and nerdyness and obsessions with 1980s action figures. What advice do you have for them?

ANSWER: Be you. The most liberating thing in the world is not giving a single crap what people think about you or what you like. Worry about making yourself happy, not the rest of the world. The rest of the world is mostly stupid. Don’t listen to them!

QUESTION 3 – “Tome of Bill.” Let’s get to it. What’s it all about? What does a newb to this series need to know before diving right in?

ANSWER: Tome of Bill is basically an epic-sized mockery of more serious vampire stories. It’s the story of a gamer / geek who gets bitten – due to his own lack of foresight in realizing that some women are out of his league. And when he wakes up, he’s still him. Despite all the weird and wonderful powers of the undead, he’s still a dork and happy with that fact. Pity that the rest of the vampires aren’t nearly as pleased with him.

There’s tons of snark, action, blood, bad jokes, cursing, more snark, and eventually a plot that revolves around Maple syrup. I like to think it’s got it all.

QUESTION 4 – Do your readers appreciate the humor/vampire combo? I dabble in humorous horror myself, but sometimes I fear that horror fans just come for the blood spatter and don’t want to laugh, and comedy fans come for the yuks but don’t want their mellows harshed with blood and guts. How do you keep both camps happy?

ANSWER: I think it’s all in the expectations. When you go into, say, Army of Darkness, you kind of know you’re getting a mix of gore and jokes. That’s why it works. Conversely, if you turn on the Exorcist and suddenly Max von Sydow’s character starts cracking one-liners, it’s going to be a bit of a WTF moment. I think horror comedy works best when you give people a hint up front as to what they’re getting into that way you don’t tick off the hardcore splatter crowd.

QUESTION 5 – As an author of vampiric fiction, I’m going to say you’re qualified to opine on all vampiric matters, so let me ask you a question that has plagued me for years.

Whenever you watch a serious vampire movie, why the hell are all the victims so scared of becoming a vampire? Seriously. You stay young forever. You never die. Sure, you have to murder people and drink their blood to survive which could get tedious but you don’t have a conscience anymore so really, it all comes out in the wash. You live forever so you can study and learn a lot. Travel the world. Learn all the different languages. Glamour hot chicks into being your love slaves (which my lawyer advises me to say in this highly sensitive climate we live in that this would be wrong, totally wrong!) Plus, if you live forever, you can save forever so really, become a Wal-Mart stock-boy for 100 years and by the end of the century you’ll be loaded.

Am I missing something? Is there a downside to becoming a vampire? I’m thinking about just lying around a cemetery with some hot sauce on my neck in the hopes I’ll become a vamp victim.  Can you talk me out of it?

ANSWER: I personally think it’s more the fear of dying … and what happens if the process either doesn’t work or the vampire has no real intention of turning you. It’s like “Hey, congrats, sucker. Now you’re really dead.”

I mean, heck, otherwise it would be no different than going to the hospital for some minor surgery and waking up with superpowers (and maybe a sun allergy). There’s probably more that plays into it. Fear of never seeing a sunrise again maybe (not a big deal for those of us who avoid beach days), or possibly fear of losing our minds and slaughtering everyone we know. That last one is pretty much the only issue that kind of bugs Bill after he gets turned.

But heck yeah. Aside from that, sign me up for a couple hundred years of compounded interest.

QUESTION 6 – Vampires. Zombies. What’s the next horror monster craze? I’m betting chupacabras. Lots of angsty teen dramas about goth kids who give their teachers plenty of guff by day and sneak onto a farmer’s ranch by night to eat all of his goats.

ANSWER: Personally, I’m all about killer sasquatches myself. But those have limited terror appeal in a city setting. Whatever it is, I want to be at the crest of that wave. Maybe a story about C.H.U.D.s … our hero wakes up one night with an insane urge to live in the sewers and dine on human flesh. Hilarity ensues.

Hmm, let me go write that one down now, while it’s fresh in my head.

BQB EDITORIAL NOTE: And here I thought I was the only one talking about C.H.U.D.s.

QUESTION 7 – The self-publishing game. Is it worth it? I know for me, there are times when it feels like its just one giant hamster wheel and I’m a furry little rodent just waiting for a piece of cheese that will never come. Are there times when you just want to say “screw it” and go take a nap and/or eat cookies and/or watch TV? If you never feel like that, what keeps you going strong? If there are times when you feel like that, what helps you get past it?

ANSWER: I won’t lie. The self-publishing game is only going to get tougher because we’re in a maturing market. The boom days are ending. There’s a lot of people making short term bank right now via a variety of ways (ie. churning out books faster than a puppy mill), but I try to view it from the long term. My goal has been and continues to be writing (hopefully) good stories that people will want to read today, tomorrow, or years from now. Even then, it’s a tough business to be in.

There are always going to be times when I get discouraged, want to walk away, don’t want to do something et cetera. But realistically that’s not any different than any other job I’ve had. What keeps me going is that I really love doing this. It just feels right.

And even if somewhere down the road I have to hang up my hat and move on, I can do so with my head held high. I’ve done far more than I ever thought possible. Nobody can take that away from me.

QUESTION 8 – You’ll never believe this. One of my 3.5 readers just told me she wants to begin a journey towards a self-publishing career TOMORROW! Note that I said this person is a she because #2018 and I’m trying my best to stop being a knuckle driving caveman but it’s really hard sometime because I was alive during the 1980s. What advice do you have for this person? What is the very first thing this person should do?

ANSWER: Despite all the advice on building a platform, creating a marketing machine, or owning social media, she has to have a good product first. Make sure that book is the very best she can make it. Seek advice and honest opinions. Polish it up. And while she’s doing that, take some time and study the market. Explore the covers, blurbs, et cetera of those who are selling well. Then try to do what they do, but better.

QUESTION 9 – Bram Stroker comes back to life tomorrow. Is he surprised to see what the vampire genre he invented has become? Is he happy about it? Sad? Are vampires as cool as they used to be?

First I laugh, because you called him, “Bram Stroker.” That is definitely my new porn name. After that, I stake the bastard before he can suck my blood! Okay, fine. I’m not that tasty.

Seriously, I’d like to hope he’d be flattered in some ways, although, I wouldn’t blame him at being a little horrified either. We’re sort of coming down from a bit of a high in the vampire craze. He’d probably wish he’d come back when Buffy was still on the air. I know I would.

BQB EDITORIAL NOTE:  That’s the last time I hire a chimpanzee to proofread my questions. 

QUESTION 10 – A maniacal supervillain has locked you in his secret lair. You are surrounded by hideous, bloodsucking vampires. Like seriously, not the hot “True Blood” kind but the ugly kind, the ones that have gone all pointy eared and feral.
There are three and only three items in the room. A lasso. An album autographed by 1990s hip hop group Bell Biv Devoe and a taco seasoning packet.
How will you use these items to save your neck?

ANSWER: This one is easy. I pull out the album and fling it at one vamp like it’s a ninja star … then watch in horror as I completely miss and it shatters against the wall. But at least I’ve spared myself from listening to it.

So then … I hook one of the vampires with the lasso, drag him in, and then pour the taco seasoning in his ear in the hope of totally frying his brain. In the chaos, I whisper to him that he’s actually a horse and together we ride off into the sunset, or at least as far as I can get in the sunset before he dissolves into goo.

It’s that or I die horribly, realizing that I should have watched a lot more MacGyver growing up. Damn you, Richard Dean Anderson!!!!

BQB EDITORIAL NOTE:  Everyone should watch more “MacGyver.”  The old one, not the reboot.  I’ve run it past my advisors and they all remarked this escape plan sounds valid, though they note that while Bell Biv Devoe may not be for everyone, everyone can always benefit from the key piece of advice these noble philosopher poets offered to the world, namely, to “never trust a big butt and a smile.”

Wise words indeed.  Thank you, Rick.  May your All-Spark never dim.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Fridays with BQB

interview-2071228__480

Hey 3.5 readers.

So, you’ve heard of “Tuesdays with Morrie?”

Well, the bad news is that I’m not a feisty old man with a zest for life and a lot of wisdom to impart.

The good news is that I’m not dying.

Wait, you all think that’s BAD news?  Why, with 3.5 friends like you, who needs 3.5 enemies?

Anyway, I need to promote more, to get this fine blog out into the Inter Webs more and to be more social, so I’m going to start a new feature.  Every Friday, there will be an interview, usually with a self-publisher but I’m sure I’ll branch out to bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, any creative person who is doing it on his/her own.

Anyone interested in participating?  Anyone know of a good candidate?

Tagged , , , , , ,

Bookshelf Battle Log #1 – 10/28/17 – Zom-bo-ween

shutterstock_241054705 copy

Happy Halloween weekend, 3.5 readers.

Oh what a holiday.  Started by Puritans to ward off evil spirits and now grown ass adults use it as an excuse to have as much cheap, meaningless sex as possible.  How times have changed.

Alas, I won’t be at BQB HQ this ‘Ween to pass out treats but fear not for there will be no tricks.  My trusty security chief, Bookshelf Q. Battle Dog, will be left behind to dispense treats and his own brand of canine philosophy to any little miscreants who happen to stop by.

What could get me out of my compound on my favorite holiday?  Zombies.  Yes!  Zombies.  It seems there has been a zombie invasion in Pittsburgh so the good people of this fair city got together and asked yours truly to save them.  Gotta say that is literally the one and only reason I’d ever actually visit Pittsburgh because, let me tell you, this place is the pits.

While I’m away, why don’t you read some of the fabulous interviews I conducted of zombie authors in October of 2015?  Yes, people with actual successful writing careers were willing to talk to me.  31 zombie authors to be exact, one a day for 31 days. Plus, you’ll find the journal I kept while East Randomtown was being ransacked by hideous brain chompers.

Remember, 3.5 readers, wear your helmets because this zombie hunter can’t be everywhere.  Protect your gray matter because without it, you won’t be able to think and more importantly, you won’t be able to read my blog or my book and, well, come to think of it, critics have called my work pretty brainless so…sure, I guess if you want to give up your brains to a hungry zombie, be my guest.  Who am I to stand in your way?  I just don’t advise it from a medical standpoint.  I mean, I’m no doctor but I just can’t help that physically losing your brains would be good for you.

I don’t do.  Don’t take my word for it.  Don’t take a zombie’s word for it easier because, you know, they’re biased.  Also, the only word they can say is, “BRAINS!”  Just do your research.

Check out those interviews here.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Someone in England Bought My Book

Do I have to fill out twenty forms to be able to accept the 29 British cents or is that Amazon’s problem and I’m accepting money from Amazon, an American company?

I dunno.  I don’t want to be accused of being a British spy for accepting 29 British cents just because some guy in Liverpool wanted to check out my writing prompts. Lord knows I have always vowed to report redcoats wherever I see them and I have never allowed the King to quarter troops in my domicile.  Also, I never drink tea and have urged all of my neighbors to throw their tea into the nearest harbor.  I even burned all my Beatles albums…except for Hey Jude because if you can listen to that song and not cry you are a heartless bastard.

Surely, someone out there has had your book bought by a British person…what do you do?

(Also, thank British person for buying my book.  If anyone else wants to buy it, they can do so here.)

Bookshelf Q battlers for Amazon

Tagged , , , , , , ,

BQB’s Big Book of Badass Writing Prompts – Free June 8 – June 12

That’s right, 3.5 readers.  You can save all 3.5 of your dollars, for my debut book, Bookshelf Q. Battler’s Big Book of Badass Writing Prompts is going to be free starting today, Thursday, June 8 all the way through Monday, June 12.

Save your money, or spend it on comic books, candy and whoopie cushions.  All I want is for all 3.5 of you to mosey on over to Amazon, download my book for free and if you like it, perhaps you’d be so kind as to leave a nice review.

If you don’t like it, did you know the Internet is full of cat videos?

Better yet, this book contains 101 Badass Writing Prompts plus a number of bonus sections.  If you’re stuck for your next topic to blog about, why not write a short story based on one of these fine prompts and share it with your 3.5 readers?

FREE people!  Absolutely free!  I’m Crazy BQB and my prices are so low I’m practically giving these e-books away!

Don’t forget I’m enrolled in Amazon KDP so if you have access to the Kindle lending library, then you’ll be able to get this fabulous book for free long after this promotion ends but seriously, why wait?  I’d tell you no one likes a procrastinator, but I’m just going to put that off and tell you tomorrow instead.

Bookshelf Q battlers for Amazon

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My Book is Live!

Huzzah, 3.5 readers!

After all this time, my very first e-book is up on Amazon and available for purchase for the low, low price of $2.99.  How exciting.

Have you ever been the first person to do something?  No?  Well now is your chance to be one of the first people to buy this incredible book.  Go on.  Be one of the first people to download this bad boy and feel like Neil Armstrong must have felt when he walked on the moon for the first time.

Screen Shot 2017-06-07 at 6.27.42 AM

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Sixteen Weeks of Toilet Gator Sundays

Sixteen weeks.  Wow.  Time goes by so quickly.

I suppose “Toilet Gator Sundays” is a misnomer at this point.  At first, I pledged that I would only work on Toilet Gator on Sundays in order to give me enough time to finish Zom Fu.

At some point, I began cracking myself up that I just keep speeding through Toilet Gator.  Zom Fu is mostly done.  It just needs an ending.

My plan at this point is to finish the Toilet Gator first draft, then finish the Zom Fu first draft.  Then rewrite both books, get them off to an editor.  I’d like to say they will both be out by the end of this year but if it goes into next year, then so be it.

I have come to accept that writing is a long game.  I don’t like it, but I accept it.

toilet-gator-book-1

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements