Tag Archives: dinosaurs

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

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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.

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It would be awesome to own a pet t-rex!

Do you really need a list of reasons why?

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Top Ten Reasons Why It Would Be Awesome to Have a Pet T-Rex

Ahh, the T-Rex.  The Thunder Lizard.  The King of All Dinosaurs.

Wouldn’t it be awesome to have one as a pet?

Sure would be.

From BQB HQ in East Randomtown, it’s the Top Ten Reasons Why it Would Be Awesome to Have a Tyrannosaurus Rex as a Pet:

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#10 – You Can Feed Your Enemies to Him

Generally, I recommend that you don’t have enemies.  If you consider someone an enemy, just stay away from this person or if possible, make up.

However, if this person comes at you, then I see no reason why he can’t become a T-Rex treat.

Remember the law though.  You can only feed someone to your T-Rex in self-defense.  You can’t just go feeding people to your T-Rex willy nilly.

#9 – He Can Drop Giant T-Rex Poops On Your Enemies’ Lawns

This would be a more acceptable form of revenge though you might be helping your enemies to fertilize their lawns.

#8 – You Can Ride Him Like a Giant Pony

I’d recommend bonding with the T-Rex first though.  Otherwise, he might eat you.  Honestly, he might eat you anyway.  T-Rexes are notorious butt holes like that.

#7 – Solve All Your Rodent Problems

You think a rat is going to come on your property with a T-Rex watchdog?

#6 – Perfect Home Security System

Similar to #7, do you think a burglar is going to come on your property with a T-Rex watchdog?

#4 – Scare Away Bill Collectors, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Salesmen, Solicitors and Unwanted Relatives

See #6 and #7.

#3 – You Can Call Him Rexy

Best name for a pet ever.

#2 – Best Alarm Clock Ever

You’ll never sleep through a 6 AM wake up roar.  Never be late to work again!

#1 – Everyone Will Be Totally Jealous

See reasons #2-10

HONORABLE MENTION:

  • They have tiny arms!
  • They eat lawyers on toilets!
  • They have bad eyesight, so you can flip them off when they are naughty, but just don’t make any sudden movements as they can see movement.  I’m an expert because I saw Jurassic Park.
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Daily Discussion with BQB – Life…uh…Finds a way

Life…uh…finds a way, 3.5 readers, and it has been reported that Jeff Goldblum has…uh…found a way into the Jurassic World sequel.

Is this a good development?  Bring an original cast member into the project?  Is it silly?  Should the folks behind the new film bring us new characters and not recycle old ones?

Also…does life really…uh…find a way?

Will life…uh…ever find me with more than 3.5 readers?

Discuss, 3.5 readers.

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#31ZombieAuthors Rewind – Day 29 – Zombie Dinosaurs!

With Your Host: Schecky Blargfeld, Zombie Comedian

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Roar, 3.5 readers.

Roar indeed.

Dinsoaurs.  Zombies? DINOSAUR ZOMBIES!

That’s right. Last year BQB interviewed Rick Chesler and David Sakmyster, co-auhtors of Jurassic Dead, the totally badass book series that combines prehistoric lizards and the undead.

BQB was blown away by this awesome concept and one year later, he maintains it is a travesty of justice that this book has not been made into a movie yet.

“Who the hell greenlit all that Zach Galifinakis horse manure when there’s a perfectly good book series about zombasaurs aching to be made?” BQB was heard to say.

Check out BQB’s interview with the dino-tastic duo here.

And don’t forget to check out Jurassic Dead, now available on Amazon.

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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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Pop Culture Mysteries – Fan Dime Drops – For the 3.5 (Part 2)

PREVIOUSLY ON POP CULTURE MYSTERIES…

Part 1

AND NOW THE POP CULTURE MYSTERIES CONTINUE…

In a cramped study room, we sat across a table from one another, sizing each other up, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Delilah was a gorgeous specimen of a lady, everything perfect, not a single hair out of place.  My inner animal wanted to gobble her up, but we weren’t there for hanky panky.

We were there to bargain.

Never cross a lady lawyer.

Never cross a lady lawyer.

She clacked open her briefcase and handed me a dossier.  Inside?

Printouts from the Bookshelf Battle Blog.

“Your reports have pleased Mr. Battler.  Sometimes his readership spikes to a grand total of 17.5 readers when there’s a Pop Culture Mysteries post.”

“Good for him,”  I replied.  “He might as well start packing his bags for LaLa Land.  He can have it.”

“Mr. Battler’s readers have enjoyed your files to the point where they have mysteries of their own.”

“As much as I’d like to stare at your lovely face all day, Ms. Donnelly, I’ve got a beep boop machine class to get back to, so let’s grab a pair of scissors and cut to the chase, shall we?”

“Very well.  Three readers have stepped forward with entertainment related questions that deserve an answer and as Mr. Battler’s resident detective, that task falls on your shoulders.”

“How much?”

“Nothing,”  Delilah said.  “You’ve already agreed to do it gratis.”

The conniving counselor handed me the contract I signed the night I first met her, as well as a magnifying glass.  I scrutinized the document and low and behold, she wasn’t just whistling dixie:

Mr. Hatcher agrees to solve any Pop Culture Mysteries posed to him by Mr. Battler’s 3.5 readers.

Take a note.  When you’re dealing with a foxy broad, always check the fine print.

“What in the name of J. Edgar Hoover’s evening gown are you trying to pull here, sister?!”

I took another peak through the magnifying glass.

“What’s this about selling my kidneys?!”

Delilah snatched the paper back.

“Best we focus on the matter at hand, Mr. Hatcher.  You should be delighted.  Mr. Battler’s renewing your tales for a second season.”

“I don’t care about any of that, doll.  I just want to go home.  Your client is a real snake in the grass for holding out on me.”

Our client, Mr. Hatcher.  Now then, Mr. Battler does not expect a thorough investigation for these questions.  He has simply asked me to relay his 3.5 inquiries and to obtain your reaction.  Certainly, these shorter mysteries will be no match for a investigator of your skill.”

I doubt she meant it, if there was any way to win over the shattered pieces of my heart, a compliment from a good looking lady was it.

I’m sure she knew that and used it to her advantage.

DELILAH:  Mr. Hatcher, Michael Gunter of “Michael Gunter’s Tales of Today and Yesterday” contacted Mr. Battler with this concern:

Here’s one for ya, Hatcher!

The mark’s name is Nedry. Dennis Nedry. He ticked off the wrong people (don’t mess with mega-corporations) and got eaten by a dinosaur. But that’s not your problem. What we want to know is why the idiot shut down ALL the security systems. If he programmed the whole system, why didn’t he just set it up so he could shut down specific systems, instead of letting every dinosaur in the park loose? I’d make a joke about buggy code, but he got eaten, didn’t he? Joke practically wrote itself.

I lit up my cigar and had a puff.  The carcinogens danced to and fro in my lungs as I mulled over my answer.

“Gunter,”  I said.  “Another one of these Mickey Spillane types with a blog-a-ma-call-it?”

“Indeed,”  Delilah said.  “I’ve heard he can even be followed on twitter @GunterWriting.”

I turned away and exhaled my exhaust.  I’d no sooner coat Ms. Donnelly’s visage with fumes than I would the Mona Lisa.

“I’m the last cat you want to be asking questions about beep boop machines,”  I said.  “After all, I am a student in an introductory computer course taught by an old broad who can beep boop laps around me.  Why was this Nedry character on the lam?”

“Corporate espionage,”  Ms. Donnelly answered.  “Mr. Nedry was secretly paid for a rival company that wanted Jurassic Park’s dinosaur genetic material.”

“Yeesh,”  I said.  “The stuff that passes for cinema now.  Well, like I said, computers go over my head higher than a Boeing, but I’ve caught a lot of crooks and I’d wager Nedry did it just to screw with the employer he was already screwing.  Maybe he thought it’d be harder to track him down if his co-workers were busy wrangling dinosaurs.  Or, and I know this is probably an unsatisfactory answer, but maybe he just did it because it wouldn’t have been much of a flick if all the dinosaurs remained in their cages in a safe and secure manner.”

“An astute answer,”  Delilah said.  “I shall have Mr. Battler contact Mr. Gunter with the details shortly.”

“Who else wants a piece of the Jersey Jabber?”

Do you have a Pop Culture Mystery?  Drop a dime!  Tweet your entertainment questions to @bookshelfbattle or leave them in the comments below.  

Copyright (c) 2015 Bookshelf Q. Battler.  All Rights Reserved.

Image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license. 

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Romantic Quotes – The Notebook

“I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who’s ever lived: I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough.”

– Nicolas Sparks, The Notebook

I already commented on poor Nicolas Sparks’ divorce so I won’t go into it again.  For those 3.5 regular readers who are paying attention – no, I never was able to confirm whether or not Michael Crichton actually made a real, live dinosaur.  I’m pretty sure he didn’t, but I just don’t have any hard evidence one way or the other.  I didn’t see him make a dinosaur.  But I didn’t NOT see him make a dinosaur either.

But anyway – going along with the theme from yesterday (the quote from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables) – here is another man opining that love is the best experience of life.

Is it?

I will say this – the year was 2004 and the Bookshelf Battler was in a movie theater packed to the gills with women pulling out tissues and sniffing up a storm.  No joke.  No exaggeration.  Sparks’ sappiness made a theater full of women ball their eyes out, and I suppose that’s why he makes the big bucks.  That’s real talent.

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