Tag Archives: bookbloggers

BQB’s Writing Prompts Dropped to 99 Cents!

Ugh.  Look how low I’ve fallen, 3.5 readers.  The 99 cent bin already.

It was free for five days and in that time I gave away 120 free copies.  I thought that was a good start.

I think it is worth more.  It’s got a fabulous cover and some pretty funny content.  However, after two days without a sale at $2.99, I decided that it would be better for the long run to just concentrate, for now, on bringing in more fans and then the profits will come later.

So, I’ll get a whopping 35 cents per 99 cent copy I sell, which should earn me an astounding $1.23 if all 3.5 of you fine readers buy a copy.

Just don’t do it all at once.  I’m worried that extra $1.23 might move me into a higher tax bracket.

Buy my book here.

Bookshelf Q battlers for Amazon

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Hitler Freaks Out After Hearing BQB Only Has 3.5 Readers

Hey 3.5 Readers.

A highly classified  video has made its way to BQB HQ.

It’s so top secret I was going to share it, but then I remembered only 3.5 people read this blog.

Apparently I have a critic in Germany:

NOTE: Hitler needs to redo this video. Joseph Heller wrote Catch-22. Not James Heller. Stupid Hitler.

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Who Wants to Explain Authors Guild vs. Google to Me?

Hey 3.5 Readers,

Just came across this article in PC World  about a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to not hear an appeal regarding a case Author’s Guild brought against Google regarding their book scanning project.

Here’s more about that from the Author’s Guild website.

Anyone want to try to explain it to me?

Off the top of my head, the idea that a for profit company would be able to scan books not in the public domain and then make them publicly available seems troubling.  But I have no clue what is happening here other than it seems like something book nerds such as the 3.5 readers of this website would be interested.

So discuss away, book nerds, and tell me what the heck this is all about. Should I be mad as hell, mildly chagrined, or not give a crap?

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Undesiredverse: Wanted – Chapter 8

“Jonesy, I’m coming in hot!!!”

“What?”  my trusty pilot asked.

“GET YOUR ASS OVER HERE NOW!!!”

“Gadzooks, what did you do?”

I stormed into the harem.  Hanging from the ceiling by a steel rod was an ancient tapestry of the noted shai philosopher, Sufros.  I ripped it down, tore the rod off and shoved it between the door handles. 

Just in time.  The second goon wave banged on the door, shaking it furiously.  The prostitutes, er, I mean ladies, were aghast. 

“Which way out?”  I asked.

No answer.  They were all either too loyal to or too scared of their employers to say anything…except for one.  She was a lovely, turquoise skinned zeltu who either robbed a basketball store or was incredibly endowed.  A ruby was embedded in her forehead which unfortunately for her, was a symbol in her culture that she was considered to be from a low class, not a being but mere property to be bought and sold.  That meant her tongue had been cut out at birth, as she was meant to be seen, not heard.  Her thoughts and opinions were considered meaningless, which is too bad, because I bet she had a lot to say.

She pointed her tail over her shoulder toward the back left corner.

I grabbed her shoulders.  “I’d kiss you but I have no idea where you’ve been!”

I slipped a thousand credit chit.  Chump change I know but it was the least I could do.

Jones was still in my ear.  “Give me some mustard and throw a little smoodchix on that will you?”

“Are you shitting me?!”  I asked Jones. 

I introduced the door to my boot.  The reverberating pain in my foot told me the door was going to win.

 “Roman, we’ve talked about this,”  Jones replied.  “The world does not revolve around you.  You caught me while I’m ordering a snack.  As soon as I pay for it I’ll get there.  You’re not the only one with needs and right now I’m starving.”

“THEY’RE GOING TO KILL ME!!!”

Momentary silence on Jones’ end, followed by a, “Oh fine, I’ll be right there.”

Three more kicks.  It wasn’t budging.  Meanwhile, the door to the harem was made of less solid stuff.  It was buckling.  The goons would be through any minute.

I drew my hand cannon and was about to unleash hell on the lock when I felt a finger tapping me on the shoulder.  It was the mute zeltu hooker.  I stepped aside and watched as she slid open a panel, stared at it for an eye scan and…CLICK!  The door unlocked.

“Oh what the hell,”  I said as I grabbed her, dipped her, and gave her a passionate kiss.  She even pushed her bumpy tongue back into my mouth.  Of course she did.  I’m Roman Voss.

I ran up a flight of stairs.

“Jonesy!”  I shouted.

“What?!  I’m on my way!” 

“This is going to have to be a fly by,”  I said as I rounded a corner and headed up a second flight.

“Seriously?”

“They’re up my butt like fifty feet of colonoscopy cord,”  I said.  “They’ll blow you up if you land.”

“I’m putting in my application to Swanky Burger after this,”  Jones said.

BZZZZATT!  BZZZATTT!  You like my sound effects?  That’s what it sounded like when my pursuers unloaded their heaters on me.  They were horrible shots, but they were hot on my heels and laser blasts were flying over my head.

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Undesiredverse: Wanted – Chapter 2

Unfortunately, I have no other graphics to offer except various photos of Alien Jones, who is stripped of his Esteemed Brainy One powers at some point before 2999.

Unfortunately, I have no other graphics to offer except various photos of Alien Jones, who is stripped of his Esteemed Brainy One powers at some point before 2999.

Narrated by Roman Voss

Rizzle Juice goes right through me.  I was relieving myself at the trough in the unisex bathroom when the door opened and closed all by itself.

Weird.  Was that the wind?”

The door locked by itself too.  It was not the wind.

Heavy footsteps approached.  I zipped up and turned around to see a feint, flickering shimmer turn into seven foot tall killing machine.  Flawless, gleaming chrome you could see your reflection in.  Red eyes affixed in their sockets.  Stenciled across its chassis was the number, “95.”

It darted a metal hand towards me, caught my throat in its impenetrable grip, and lifted me off my feet into the air.

“Scanning,”  the robot said as it painted my face with a red laser grid.  “Identity confirmed.  Voss, Roman.”

I wasn’t feeling like much of a conversationalist.  “GAAACK!” was all I managed as tried to pry his hand open to no avail.

“Standby to connect with my master.”

Ninety-five’s eyes dimmed down.  His head dropped.  His hand opened up.  I was released…straight to the floor on my ass.

My attacker perked up again.  This time, he had a new voice.  It still had a tinge of tin because it was being projected through a robot, but the tone, inflection…it was all very sentient.  Humanish, even.

“Heard a rumor you were on world, Voss,” the voice said.  “Ninety-five found you easily.  All he had to do was scan around for a washed up degenerate huff addict and here you are.”

I clutched my throat and gasped for air.  A metal hand was offered to me.  I took it and was helped up to my feet.

“Sourcemind,”  I said.

“In the flesh,”  the voice said.  “So to speak.”

“You touched my duster!”  I shouted as I punched the metal monster’s hulking frame, only to instantly regret doing so as it did not give one iota against my knuckles.

You’ve heard of Earth, Alaquan, and Drokmire, the three worlds where humans are the indigenous species.  Omcoros had been the fourth until twenty years earlier, when the powers that be on that world made the fateful mistake of commissioning the “Sourcemind Initiative,” a level twelve artificial intelligence that was supposed to usher in a new era of peace and prosperity by automating all of the government’s systems, from defense and weapons manufacturing, all the way down to the most mundane civil operations.

Long story short, Sourcemind took control of every last machine on the planet, decimated the Omcoran population from twenty billion to twelve million, who are currently kept as slaves to serve their metal master.

The politicians of the Undesiredverse aren’t packing much what it comes to brains, but it didn’t take long for every world to ban the production of an artificial intelligence greater than ten on the Jansen scale, named of course for the leading human AI scientist who developed a classification system designed to help AI developers to determine what actions their creations are capable of and correspondingly, how dangerous they are as a result.

Ironically, it was Dr. Jansen himself who created Sourcemind, but more on that later.

“If I were a gambling higher form of existence, I’d wager you’re here for the bounty on Izok Tau’s head.”

“Maybe,”  I said.

“Let me guess,”  Sourcemind said.  “His old Shai business partners were none too pleased when he ran off with all their money, which he used to buy his way into the Cabal.”

“Has anyone ever told you that you’re like the nerd in class who drones on and on because he’s in love with the sound of his own voice?”  I asked.

Sourcemind chuckled.  “A proposal, Voss.  You want Tau.  I want something in Tau’s possession.  Let us work together.”

I thought about it.

“I am a gambling man,”  I said.

“I’m aware,”  Sourcemind said.  “You’ve been banned from many casinos.  I’m surprised the authorities even allowed you to land on this planet.”

I ignored the jab.

“I’d be willing to wager that whatever Tau has, it must be pretty important to you, seeing as how the only thing keeping the Mighty Potentate from vaporizing Omcoros was an agreement that you’d never operate off world and yet here you are, propositioning me in a dark rave club bathroom on Malostet.”

“Perhaps you haven’t sniffed all your brain cells away, Voss,”  Sourcemind said.

“And you sent Nintey-five, your most powerful underling,” I noted.  “Usually you send androids on your off world black ops missions.  They blend in with the locals a lot better than this contraption.”

Sourcemind opened up the metal doors in Ninety-five’s shoulders to produce two high caliber laser cannons.

“I don’t have all day, Voss.  Do we have an accord or do I paint the wall with your brains and send Ninety-five after Tau on his own?”

I shrugged my shoulders.

“Well, when you put it that way.”

“I knew you’d listen to reason,”  Sourcemind said.  “I’ll leave you two to it.”

Once again, the robot shut down and restarted.

“Master has instructed you on mission parameters?”  Ninety-five inquired in a sterile, monotone.

“Yup.  It’s you’re lucky day, Ninety-five.  The Cappo Di Tutti Clink Clank has talked me into watching your six.”

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Greetings Earth Losers

Hello humans.shutterstock_124337023 copy

Alien Jones, the Esteemed Brainy one here, finally back after a long hiatus spent saving Bookshelf Q. Battler’s hide from the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse.

Yes, BQB likes to make himself out as the big hero but surely we all know that nerd would be a processed and expelled zombie turd by now had it not been for yours truly.

Now that I’m back I can get back to the business of answering your questions.

Yes, you, BQB’s 3.5 readers, a reminder that you can consult my genius brain on any and all matters and I’ll answer your questions right here on the Bookshelf Battle Blog, along with a plug for your books, blogs, or whatever it is you’re promoting.

So ante up with the gray matter, poindexters, because where else can you ask an alien a question?

Leave your questions in the comments, sent them to BQB on Twitter @bookshelfbattle or while you’re at it, like BQB’s Facebook page and use it to ask me a question, will you?

Also, if you could all try to stop watching reality TV, it would really go a long way to getting the Mighty Potentate to step off my ganderflazer.

Until next time, humans,

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

By: Kurt Manley, Network News One Anchorshutterstock_193904291 copy

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

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

Best Reporter Ever

Best Reporter Ever

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

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

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

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

And most importantly:

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

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

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

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FIND THIS ZOMBIE AUTHOR ON:

Amazon              Twitter

Self Publishing Podcast

Sterling and Stone

Happy Halloween, 3.5 readers.

This month, we’ve chatted up an absurd amount of zombie fiction writers, haven’t we?

They’re all impressive in their own right, and they all bent over backwards to help me out, so it was virtually impossible to figure out who to assign the coveted Halloween spot to.

Then it hit me.  Use it to talk to one of the dudes who got me writing again.

Not to make this about me, but long ago, I gave up on my dream of becoming a writer.  Like so many before me, the path toward traditional publishing seemed like it was riddled with one insurmountable wall after another.  Spend my time writing only to end up with my work tossed on a rejection heap with countless other writers competing for a highly coveted publishing contract?

Hell, I might as well have cashed out my life savings (all 3.5 dollars of it) and spent it on lotto tickets.

So I moved on and pursued a more realistic profession, but as the years went by, I always second guessed myself.

“What if?”

What if I’d kept at it?  Would I be a writer today?”

Around late 2014 I discovered the Self Publishing Podcast, starring full time indie authors Johnny B. Truant, Sean Platt, and of course, today’s guest, David W. Wright.  Together, this trio have their own “story studio,” Sterling and Stone.

They’ve found success as multi-genre authors, with sci-fi epics like The Beam, steam punk adventures like The Dream Engine and TV style serials such as Yesterday’s Gone, just to name a few.  They’re so prolific I doubt I could rattle off all their hits in one sitting.
51yjssATf+L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Their self-publishing guide, Write. Publish. Repeat. (The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success) has become a bible of sorts for the indie community.  I picked up a copy and thus far I’ve found the information it provides to be invaluable.

I have a standing appointment with these gents every Wednesday afternoon, during which I pop on their podcast and listen to the boys talk about the craft they love on my commute home.

To be clear, they don’t deal with get rich quick schemes or gimmicks.  They’re just three guys who talk about what works and doesn’t work for them.  They regularly schedule guests on the cutting edge of self-publishing, and most importantly, they have fun.

Yes, I said fun.  You won’t be bored when you listen to SPP.  The best way I can describe it is that Johnny, Sean and Dave aren’t the stodgy, tweed coat wearing professors who drone on and on in a boring lecture guaranteed to put you to sleep.

Rather, they’re the cool TAs who stop by your dorm, crack open a beer, joke around with you, and give you the straight scoop on what you need to know.

Will I ever self-publish a book?  I have no idea, but listening to these guys helped me decide to pick up my long abandoned dream of a writing career, dust it off, and start working toward it again, and that in and of itself has made me a happier person.

Dave, as one of Sterling and Stone’s preeminent horror fiction writers, welcome to the Bookshelf Battle Blog.  I’ve heard you and your compadres say it doesn’t get any worse than your other podcast, Better Off Undead, but I’d challenge that notion since last time I checked, my site only has 3.5 readers. 

NOTE: BOLD=BQB; ITALICS=DAVE

Q.  Happy Halloween, Dave!  Do you have any plans to celebrate?  (Redact as necessary.)

A.  If by celebrate, you mean hide away from anyone who might knock on my door, then yes, I’ll be celebrating in an undisclosed location.

Q.  What’s the deal with zombies?  The past month, I’ve interviewed authors from all different backgrounds and they’ve all managed to find their own unique take on the zombie genre.  For the layman who thinks, “I don’t get it.  All they do is grunt and groan and eat brains!” please explain why fans can’t get enough of the undead.

A.  I can only speak to the appeal from my perspective. As long as I can remember, long before I ever saw a zombie movie, I dreamed of hordes of slow-moving people coming after me. Most horror movies, the hero or heroine have some chance to defeat the bad guy, monster, etc… There’s something terrifying about an unyielding, unending force of nature like a horde of zombies.

There’s a cathartic nature to most horror, and I think zombies can be representative of many fears for people, and movies and books are just one way of facing those fears in a safe manner.

I think one of the books that truly gets that fear right is The Girl With All the Gifts. Those zombies will track you down, and just wait outside wherever you’re hiding. They’ve got nothing but time, and they will eventually get you, unless you find a way to fight back.

61NWfE06WqL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Q.   Z 2134, which you co-authored with Sean, features a dystopian America of the future, one in which zombie plagues have ravaged the world, giving rise to a totalitarian government, not to mention the Darwin Games, a televised survival show in which people have to fight zombies on air.  What inspired you to write these stories?

A.   Well, I’ve always wanted to write a zombie story. Sean wasn’t as keen on the idea, as he felt like it had all been done, and there was a lot of it at the moment. However, if we could mash up other genres, he was a lot more interested. So we thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a Hunger Games type story with zombies?” At the time, I’d not even seen The Hunger Games, and had read only the first few chapters. But I knew the idea, and we thought it would be cool to blend it with zombies and add a dose of 1984.

We pitched it to 47North after they’d reached out to us because of Yesterday’s Gone’s success, and they bought the trilogy.

Funny that some of the one star reviewers say it’s a “direct ripoff” of The Hunger Games, which I have to laugh at given that the only thing we ripped off was that it was a) a game and b) how The Hunger Games did the opening part where everyone had to make a mad dash toward the loot (which is as far as I got in the series). Anything similar beyond that, if there actually is, is pure coincidence. Fortunately, enough people liked the series for what it was to make it a bestseller at Amazon.

I think that mash-up of Z 2134 was sort of a dual-edged sword, though. While it earned us a lot of new readers, I think that people who thought we merely ripped off The Hunger Games, probably didn’t go on to give our other books a chance. They probably thought we were mash-up hacks churning out derivative stuff, which is a shame, because I feel that our other books are original and genre defying in many aspects.

Sean and Johnny are currently writing the first book in a zombie series that I’m super excited about, which seems to have an original sorta twist to it. Perhaps Sean and I will write in that world, since I’m still itching to do a proper real zombie story.

Q.  One thing I’ve noticed about science fiction/zombie lore is that authors have a tendency to forecast a future of doom and gloom.  I can’t say as I blame them though, given that every day there’s a new story on the news that rattles my faith in humanity.  Do you think a book where people are actually happy and the world has come together in a peaceful, harmonious future would ever be viable (or dare I say, realistic?)

A.  As much as I’d love to believe otherwise, it all comes down to a few things that seem immutable: there are limited resources on this planet, and people are clannish by nature. Therefore, there will always be struggle.

Q.   Let’s talk SPP.  You guys do a fair amount of busting on one another, all in good fun of course.  Still, I have to say I envy the partnership you’ve formed.  I’ve worked on a number of group projects in my life and to date, I’ve never walked away from the experience without holding back the desire to strangle my partners (who probably felt the same way about me.)  Do you guys realize what you have and more importantly, when the microphone’s off, do you tell each other?  It’d make me happy if the three of you would break out in a chorus of Bette Midler’s Wind Beneath My Wings one day, in celebration of a rare collaboration that actually works.

A.  I don’t think we talk too much about it. We’re usually busy talking about the work that needs to be done to fulfill our dreams. When we met in Austin in Sept. 2014, though, it was the first time all three of us were together, and we had a long heart-to-heart-to-heart talk, and it felt good to get to know Johnny (I’d already known Sean) in person. We’re like family, except we get along more often than most families.

Q.  Dave, as mentioned on your site, “Sean is the Tigger to your (Dave’s) Eeyore.”  I’d even go so far as to say that Sean is the Professor X to your Magneto.  In other words, Sean’s an optimist while you’re a pessimist.

Is that why you two work so well together?  One of you holds out hope, the other can see problems coming at twenty paces, and together you equal each other out?

A.  Good analogy. I think we’re a good mix, though I’m sure we’d be better off if I were a bit less pessimistic and a bit more hopeful. I think pessimism can be good as a protective shield, but there are times it costs you in potential.

Q.   Not to bore you with my problems, but a maniacal alien dictator from an unnamed world despises reality television to the point where he’s demanded that I write a novel so finely crafted that it causes the public to abandon shows where cameras follow around vapid celebrities and focus their attention entirely on scripted media.

But I don’t want to bother you with that.  You’ve been in self-publishing for a long time now.  Is there one nugget of advice, something that you wish someone had told you early on when you were getting started that you could pass on to me?

A.   Work through the doubt, and write a lot. Growing up, I tended to abandon projects the moment they got a bit too intimidating. I’m still prone to self-doubt and lots of rewriting before I’m happy, and I blow deadlines, but I am still always moving forward toward a goal — something I didn’t do before I had Sean as a partner.

Q.   Self-publishers are often vocal about their fears, which is understandable. Amazon might change their terms.  Tech companies they depend on might go out of business.  Traditional publishers might find a way to flip the proverbial poker table over and take their chips back.

But lets forget all that and be positive for a moment.  Let’s be Seans and not Daves.  As an expert in the field, do you foresee any major, positive developments coming in the future that will make self-publishers jump for joy?

A.   I’m hoping for a universal e-book format which would allow people to migrate their collections across readers without having to jump through hoops. I’d love to be able to buy at any store and read on whatever reader I prefer, without having to go through proprietary apps.

While companies may be resistant to this, I think in the long run it will help the companies sell more e-books.

Q.   Dave.  Seriously.  Thank you for all that you do.  When The History of Self-Publishing is written, there should be twenty chapters dedicated to you, Sean and Johnny.  The floor is yours.  If there are any last minute words of wisdom you’d like to share with my 3.5 readers, please feel free to do so.

A.   Thank you for having me. I’m not sure if this is wisdom, but I’ll share one thing. I started putting comic strips on the web in 1999. I was clueless to how bad I was. I think a lot of artists early on come in one of two flavors — they think they’re awesome or they think they’re shit. The truth is probably somewhere in between. Had I realized how bad I was, I’m sure I would’ve quit. Instead, I thought I was better than I was, but knew I wasn’t as good as I wanted to be, so I pushed through, always trying to get better, until I had a semi-successful comic which I could be proud of. So, I’d say don’t beat yourself up early on, but don’t ignore the areas you need to improve, and just always keep creating.

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#31ZombieAuthors – Day 29 Interview – Rick Chesler and David Sakmyster – ZOMBIE DINOSAURS!!!

Rick Chesler

WHERE TO FIND RICK CHESLER:

Amazon        Website

Facebook        Twitter

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WHERE TO FIND DAVID SAKMYSTER:

Amazon       Website

Facebook       Twitter

Holy Crap, 3.5 readers.  Holy Freaking Crap.

I’m so excited I’m about to plotz.

Since the beginning of time, there have been two badass varieties of monster:

  1. Zombies who ravenously devour any humans in their way.
  2. Dinosaurs who ravenously devoured any other dinosaurs who got in their way.

Zombies, as far as I know, are fictional.  At least I think they are.  Maybe that’s just what “The Man” wants me to believe.

Dinosaurs, on the other hand, were very real.  Long ago, they walked the Earth, stomping and chomping along, ruling all they surveyed like a bunch of gruesome lizard kings.

My next two guests have taken the sheer awesomeness of zombies and the raw power of dinosaurs to create two novels about….drumroll please…ZOMBIE DINOSAURS!

Oh my God I’m so excited I’ve got to pop a Xanax.  (Kids, that’s just a joke.  Say no to drugs.)

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Rick Chesler and David Sakmyster are the co-authors of Jurassic Dead.
When a research team uncovers fully preserved dinosaur corpses buried underneath the surface of Antarctica, what begins as a major scientific discovery turns into a deadly race to save the world from zombie dinosaurs run amuck.

The zombie-saur madness continues in Jurassic Dead 2 – Z-Volution.  A maniacal villain attempts to conquer the world, starting with Washington, D.C., with an army of zombie dinosaurs!

I…I can’t even begin to describe how cool this all is.  I need to sit down.

NOTE: BOLD = BQB; ITALICS = Rick and/or David

Q.  Rick and David.  Thanks for joining me for this interview.  Can we just get right down to it?  Do you dudes realize how epically fabulous this idea is?  How did you come up with it in the first place?

A.  RICK: Thanks very much for having us! We’re glad you like the concept. I’d always been interested in dinosaurs and am a Brontosaurus-sized fan of Jurassic Park (and now Jurassic World). So decades after that book came out, when my 4-year old kid was playing with plastic dinosaurs on the floor the night after The Walking Dead was on TV, and he started having the dinos attack imaginary zombies, a little light bulb flicked on for me and I thought, “Now that would be interesting, how could that happen…”

BQB EDITORIAL NOTE:  I hope you buy that kid all the toys he wants.  Totally earned it.

Q.  Listen, I have zero pull in Hollywood, but I have to say, these books seem made for the big screen.  I would surely be in the front row on opening day stuffing my pie hole full of popcorn.  On the off chance that Steven Spielberg stops by this blog on accident, please give him a pitch as to why we need Jurassic Dead: The Movie.

A.  DAVID:  “Hey Steve, listen… You know that Jurassic Park thing you were involved with? How about this? Similar feel and style, yet instead of cloning the things, we make them zombies. Yep, they’re even hungrier, nastier and oh a heck of a lot harder to kill. What do you say?”

Q.  Without delving too far into spoilers, can you give my 3.5 readers the lowdown on the science behind how a zombie dinosaur, in theory, might be possible?

A.  RICK: The way it is presented in JURASSIC DEAD, without giving any plot spoilers, is that dinosaurs have been found frozen whole in an Antarctic underground lake (real life Lake Vostok). This means that their blood, and whatever it had been infected with before they died, is still in their veins, frozen solid. So suppose that all the dinosaurs on Earth were actually wiped out by some type of microbial infection as opposed to, say, a meteor…Well, these frozen ones would be thawed out with that infection still in their blood. In the novel it is suggested that the infectious agent could be a prion, a type of protein well-known in real life for causing mad cow disease.


51kOXrbmxsL._UY250_Q.  Zombie-saurs.  Dastardly villains.  Heroes.  Are you guys students of the action/thriller genre?  Because it seems to me that you’ve packed all the elements an action movie fan would be looking for into these books.

A.  DAVID: Of course being a fan of the genre(s), we made sure to pack this book with not only a lot of our favorite action tropes, but also tried to keep it fresh and exciting and take the action in different dimensions than what you’d expect. That carries true in the next two books as well. With a subject like this, there’s the danger of having it perceived as being too obvious and SyFy-movie-of-the-week, but we tried to elevate everything to keep readers on their toes, to shock and surprise, and make you think too in new ways about everything you thought you expected.

Q.  Rick, you hold a Bachelor of Science in marine biology and have long been interested in the ocean and the mysteries locked in its depths.  You’re even a master scuba diver.  As a scientist/ocean explorer, do you draw on any of your experience in your writing?  How did you do so with Jurassic Dead?

A.  RICK: Many of my novels are set in and around the ocean or have threats born directly from the ocean that the main characters must deal with (HOTEL MEGALODON, WIRED KINGDOM, OUTCAST Ops: The Poseidon Initiative). While JURASSIC DEAD is not an “ocean novel” or sea monster novel per se, there are definitely significant story elements involving the sea that I had a lot of fun with.

For starters, the opening Antarctic scenes and the ice-breaker ship to transport the dinosaurs. The ocean voyage through a storm and ultimate shipwreck to reach the tropical volcanic island the bad guy has set up as his mad scientist base of operations. And in JURASSIC DEAD 2: Z-volution, there are actually a few prehistoric sea monsters swimming amok in modern times, which of course is great fun while scary at the same time.

Q.  Similar question for David.  Your Morpheus Initiative series has been described as a mashup of the archaeological adventure and paranormal genres, or in other words “Indiana Jones meets the X-Files.”  On your blog, you discuss how when other kids were checking out Disney tales, your father was reading you Edgar Allen Poe’s greatest hits, and that you dreamed of becoming an author at a young age.  Can you tell my 3.5 readers and I how you drew on your interest in archaeology and the paranormal to create zombie dinosaurs?

A.  DAVID: Historical mysteries are my favorite obsession, and pairing that interest with the paranormal made for a thrilling combination with the Morpheus Initiative books. When the opportunity to write about zombie dinosaurs came along, naturally I gravitated toward speculation—what would have made them turn into zombies back then (and allow for their continued existence in the present day? That line of thinking led to some interesting alternative theories about what did the dinosaurs in back then, and allowed us to play with some really intriguing ideas.

Q.  How did you two find each other?  One or two of my 3.5 readers are aspiring authors.  Any advice for finding and working with a writing partner?

A.  RICK: David and I were (and are) both members of the same writer’s “support group,” where a small number of us discuss the business of writing from time to time. We had also both been separately published by the same small press a few years earlier, and in fact both had short stories appear in an anthology called THE GAME, which featured stories based on the classic adventure-thriller, The Most Dangerous Game, where big game hunters track humans for sport. So when I decided to seek a co-author on JURASSIC DEAD, I wanted someone with significant horror novel experience whom I also trusted to get the job done. David was enthusiastic about the book and the rest, as they say, is history.

As for working with writing partners, first ask yourself, “Why do I need a co-author on this—why can’t I just write it myself? What is the other person ideally bringing to the table?”

It can be that you would like to work on two stories at once—co-authoring can allow you to do that. Or it can be that each author brings complimentary experience to the project. It can be both of those things. It can absolutely be a learning experience for each writer, both in terms of craft, where you’re seeing how other writers approach the creation of the same material, and in terms of project workflow and business, seeing firsthand how other writers get things done. I have worked with many different co-authors now and it has taught me a lot about the writing and book creation process.

Q.  What’s next for you guys?  Are more zombie-saurs coming our way in the future?

A.  DAVID: I wouldn’t rule out anything, but for sure Jurassic Dead 3 will be out this year, where we wrap up things in a true trilogy fashion. Although as with any venture, this is such fun that it’s not one we may find easy to leave. I could see revisiting the world again—either in another novel or spin off stories (ala Fear the Jurassic Dead!?). We’ve created a fascinating and wildly open-world situation where there are any number of side stories that could be told. How about a story about extracting the dinosaurs or the behind-the-scenes madness that went into the villain’s plans? Stories of various rebel adventures or individual stories of everyday people (besides our main characters) fighting for survival.

Q.  Thanks Rick and Dave.  This was a lot of fun.  Before I go, do you have any advice that might help my friends and I survive the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse?

A.  RICK: Gear up and read a lot of zombie novels.

 

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#31ZombieAuthors – Day 23 Interview – Peter Cawdron – Outsmarting Zombies

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FIND THIS ZOMBIE AUTHOR ON:

Amazon        Website      Twitter

My guest today is Peter Cawdron, who comes from the land down under.  I don’t have to pay the Men At Work a royalty for saying that because Peter is an honest to God Australian zombie enthusiast.

Peter’s the author of the Z is for Zombie series of books which include What We Left Behind and All Our Tomorrows.  These books tell the story of teenager Hazel, who in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, searches for Steve, David, and Jane, the only people who ever understood her.

An avid fan of such classic science fiction writers as Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clarke and Michael Crichton, Peter is also a prolific science fiction author in his own right.

I wonder if there’s an extra charge to call Australia?  Aw screw it, the bill for this phone goes to Alien Jones anyway.

G’day Peter.

NOTE: BOLD=BQB; ITALICS=Peter

Q.  I just discovered that my perpetually angry uncle, who I thought never understood me, is in fact, the only person who ever understood me and what I need to make it in the world.  Unfortunately, he’s dead, though he visits me in ghost form from time to time.  Your protagonist, Hazel, feels like only three people understand her.  Is she really that confounding or is it typical teenage “no one gets me” angst?

41CT9h3vOuL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_ (1)A.  Teenage angst is cliche, and yet there is an element of personal growth we all go through where we’re learning about the world afresh. I don’t know that it stops as an adult, at least, it shouldn’t. It hasn’t for me. I’m always learning, and not just intellectually. Emotional learning is often more important than facts or figures. I think that’s one reason why coming-of-age books have such universal appeal. It’s a chance to re-learn and renew, regardless of how old we may be. 

In my novel What We Left Behind and the sequel All Our Tomorrows, we see life through the eyes of a teenager struggling toaccept the end of the world, fighting to make a change. All too often, it is the upcoming generation that is the catalyst for change. Us old farts need to respect that, listen and understand. It’s the youth of today that can change tomorrow, and that’s the message common to my novels as well as books like Hunger Games, Maze Runner, and so many others. Change is good. It’s the status quo that’s scary.  

Q.  As a zombie fan, I’ve noticed that in most zompoc tales, zombies are never referred to as “zombies.”  They’re “walkers” or “the undead” or “creepers” and so on but never zombies.  Your characters refer to them as “Zee.”  Why is that?  Is “zombie” too informal?  Will we ever crack open a novel where a writer has a character saying, “Holy crap!  It’s a zombie!”

A.  Oh, they’re called zombies in What We Left Behind as well as Zee, but Zee makes things more personal, and I think that’s important. Zombie stories are notorious for being impersonal. Survivors are often portrayed as brutal if not more brutal than the zombies themselves, whereas zombie stories are really about survivors. And what is a zombie but a survivor that fell and failed. Zee makes that more poignant, reminding the reader that zombies aren’t simply cannon fodder. To the survivors, they once were as we are, and the term Zee keeps that fresh in mind.   

Q.  How did you get into the zombie craze?

A.  My kids love The Walking Dead, and I enjoy it too, but I get frustrated with the inaccuracies. Gasoline, as an example, has a shelf life of about nine months. Diesel’s a little better, but will be pretty nasty after a couple of years. So at some point everyone’s going to be walking, or riding bicycles or horses. The SUV might look like the ultimate zombie killing machine, but it’s not sustainable, so in All Our Tomorrows, they drive around in a Tesla with the doors stripped off and the seats torn out to keep the weight down, charging the car with solar panels. For me, it’s fun to consider practical stuff like that. 

Zombies are dumb, right? So what’s the greatest weapon in the zombie apocalypse? Smarts. I’ve tried to write novels that have smart, unique solutions to the zombie apocalypse rather than relying on shotguns and machetes all the time. Shotguns might work on the zombie in front of you, but the noise is going to bring in a dozen more zombies, while a machete is just plain stupid. It’s going to get stuck every time. 

41IgGgymVqL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Q.  You’re also a sci-fi aficionado.  One work of yours that caught my eye is Little Green Men, about a crew of space travelers who set down on a frozen planet and are attacked by, sure enough, little green men.  Is a story about trustworthy, non-murderous aliens possible?  Does it say anything about us as humans that we have a tendency to think the worst about the possibility of life on other planets?

And by the way, I have a colleague named Alien Jones who is in fact, a little green man.  He’s been totally above board thus far, but do you think I should keep an eye on him?

A.  Little Green Men is brutal. It’s a homage to Philip K. Dick and has an alienesque feel to it (Alien Jones would love it), but yes, it is possible to write about trustworthy, non-murderous aliens. Anomaly is my best selling novel, having sold over 75,000 copies.  Anomaly was my debut novel and even today, a dozen stories down the road, it still outsells everything else I’ve written. If you enjoyed Carl Sagan’s Contact, you’ll love Anomaly.

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As for Alien Jones, he’s clearly hampered by a paranoid companion 🙂

Q.  On your Amazon page, you talk a bit about the difference between general and “hard” science fiction.  Could you explain it for my 3.5 readers?

A.  Hard science fiction is a misnomer. 

Science fiction shouldn’t be hard to understand or hard and inflexible. There’s merit in keeping scifi as accurate and plausible as possible. There’s always a degree of handwavium in science fiction when authors start projecting their thoughts into the future, but the limitations of concepts like the speed of light actually add to the realism of a story. 
As much as I love the Star Trek reboots, I cringe when they ignore common sense. There’s one scene in Star Trek Into Darkness where Kirk is on the Klingon home world some undisclosed number of light years away from Earth, and he calls up Scotty on his handheld communicator. Scotty is in a bar on Earth and answers Kirk’s technical question. To me, that’s a wasted opportunity. Even if Kirk was somewhere within our solar system, say on Mars, Scotty couldn’t have a realtime chat like that, he’d be waiting at least half an hour for a message to arrive. Communication between star systems would be like the letters of the 1700s taking months to years to transit the globe. Star Trek Into Darkness wasted a wonderful opportunity, as instead of taking the lazy, easy way out, the writer could have used that limitation to drive up the tension. Sure, Scotty’s got the answers. But he’s not there, so Kirk has to figure it out on his own and that’s far more rewarding for the audience than watching Kirk being given a get-out-of-jail-free card. 
Hard science isn’t difficult, it’s just plausible and believable, and it makes stories more gritty and realistic. 

Q.  Peter, thanks for taking my call.  Before I go, do you have any advice that might help my friends and I survive the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse?

A.  Think before you act. Remember,

  1. You’re smart. They’re not. 
  2. They have numbers. You don’t.  
 Keep those two facts in mind and you’ll do fine. Oh, and keep a copy of What We Left Behind handy, you might find some good tips in there. 
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