Tag Archives: england

Undead Man’s Hand – Part 6 – Mumsie


Our story takes a sojourn to Elizabethan England, where Queen Elizabeth herself is aghast to learn of the existence of zombies, vampires, and werewolves.

Her trusted advisors aid her in sorting the mess out, while an old flame keeps Lady Beatrice from being burned.

Jericho, however, does get burned, but the lady takes him on as her son.

Alas, as the story returns to 1876, it is learned that a mother’s love can only do so much to protect a son from the consequences of his actions.

Chapter 31       Chapter 32       Chapter 33

Chapter 34       Chapter 35       Chapter 36

Chapter 37       Chapter 38

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Undead Man’s Hand – Chapter 34


Gears clanked and the drawbridge fell across a moat that separated the Queen’s palace from the tower where the realm’s undesirables were left to rot away.

The moon was full and its rays glowed down upon the knights as they flanked the prisoner. Sir Walter marched just ahead of them.

“Perhaps a deal can be made?” Lady Beatrice asked.

“Shut your gob, lass,” Sir Walter said. “I’ll have none of your tricks.”

“Whoa…no no no!”

Sir Walter turned just in time to watch in shock as one knight pushed the other knight off the bridge.

“What treachery is this?” Sir Walter asked as he drew his sword.

The remaining knight pulled off his helmet to reveal the visage of a man who was more beautiful than handsome. Lady Beatrice immediately recognized the long black hair and piercing blue eyes.


“Hello my love,” Marcellus said as he drew his sword.

Clang…clang…clang. Sir Walter and Marcellus locked swords, striking and blocking each other’s blows in perfect rhythm.

“Blythe, you traitorous dog!” Sir Walter shouted as he ran Marcellus through. It was a hit that would have rendered any man instantly dead, but Sir Walter watched as Marcellus gripped his iron gauntlet around the end of the sword that was lodged in his chest and pull it out as if it were but a mere annoying splinter.

“Is that your worst, Sir Walter?” Marcellus asked as his fangs popped out.

“Vampire!” Sir Walter shouted. “Christ, Sir Francis was right. You lot are everywhere.”

“Right under your unsuspecting nose for years,” Marcellus replied.

The opponents clashed their swords together with such force that sparks flew. Slowly, Marcellus inched his way towards the edge of the bridge. Sir Walter had no choice but to keep backing away to avoid being struck.

“Gahh!” Sir Walter cried as his muscles strained to block Marcellus’ sword with his own. “I taught you everything you know!”

Marcellus laughed. “You thought you did.”

The vampire relented. Just before Sir Walter could strike, his face was bashed with a head butt that sent him hurtling over the side of the bridge.

Marcellus’ face was covered with the blood of his enemy. He rubbed some of it off of his face then licked his hand.

“I thought you were dead,” Lady Beatrice said.

“Nay Antonia,” Marcellus replied. “’Twas merely what I needed Caesar to think.”

Marcellus’ gauntlets protected his hands as he removed the silver chains from his lover’s body.

He went in for a kiss, only to get a slap.

“Sixteen hundred years and not so much as a single letter!”

“Schemes take time,” Marcellus said. “And for us, a millennium might as well be a fortnight.”

The vampires embraced and kissed. As they lost themselves in each other, their bodies levitated off the bridge.

Once they were about a hundred feet in the air, Marcellus stopped. “I preferred ‘Antonia.’”

“It wasn’t a suitable name for England,” Lady Beatrice replied. “And I take it you’re Henry now?”

“Henry Alan Blythe,” the vampire said.

“Uggh,” Lady Beatrice said. “So common. Where, pre tell, shall we go now?”

“The New World, my lady,” Henry said. “It’s nice there. Quiet. Peaceful. Plenty of savages and colonists to feast on. It will give us the respite we need to plot our next moves as Phillip carries out father’s wishes.”

“Sounds delightful,” Lady Beatrice said.

The vampires pointed themselves West and took off across the night sky. Little did they know that a single hand was still holding onto the bridge below.

Sir Walter struggled until his other hand was on the bridge. His face was bloody and broken but he managed to pull himself up to safety.

“Bloody vampires.”

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Undead Man’s Hand – Chapter 33


“Kill it,” the Queen said.

“My Queen, if I may…”

“You may not, Sir Francis,” the Queen said. “The thought that I ever considered this…this…’thing’ a friend fills me with dread. I won’t have it alive so that it can continue to plot and scheme against the realm.”

“Your Majesty,” Sir Francis said. “I implore you to consider how rare it is to have a vampire in captivity. Allow me a fortnight to question her. Who knows how many vampires have infiltrated the highest levels of society? Why, any member of the trusted aristocracy could in secret, be a vile bloodsucker.”

“Well, that’s nothing new, is it?” Sir Walter asked.

The Queen sighed heavily. “I’m loathe to ask this but Sir Walter, do you have counsel on this matter?”

“I do,” Sir Walter said as he held up Lady Beatrice’s medallion. “Give her back her trinket tomorrow morning then haul her ass outside for the whole world to see. When everyone’s watching, rip her bauble off and let her cook. The vampires will know we’re onto them and run scared.”

“I must protest,” Sir Francis said. “To do as Sir Walter advises would be to lose our advantage. The Legion does not know we have one of their own and thus we’ll be able to use the information we receive from our prisoner to strike when they least suspect it.”

“Bah,” Sir Walter scoffed. “The wench will give you nothing.”

The Queen tapped her chin as she considered the dueling opinions. Finally, she sought a tie breaker.

“Archbishop. What say you?”

The holy man looked at the prisoner. Her head was hung low, her face covered by her hair.

“Sir Francis and Sir Walter are both very wise,” the archbishop said. “However, there is so much evil in this creature. To allow it to live much longer is to court disaster.”

The Queen stood up. By reflex, all three advisors bowed.

“The matter is settled. Get this abomination out of my sight. Sir Francis, you shall have the rest of the evening to question her. If she hasn’t provided any useful information by sunrise, Sir Walter shall carry out his plan.”

Sir Francis frowned. “As you command, Your Majesty.”

The Queen stepped across the room until she reached the vampire. The knights tightened their grips on her.

“Beatrice,” the Queen said.

The lady lifted her head.

“Was there ever a time when you were truly my friend?”

The lady snickered. “I’d sooner befriend a lowly human than I would a dog, Elizabeth.”

Elizabeth turned so as to avoid looking at the lady any further. “Take her away.”

Lady Beatrice refused to stand, so the knights gripped the lady under her arms and dragged her away. The Queen’s three advisors followed.

“God save the Queen!” Lady Beatrice shouted. “Because father is coming for her!”

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Undead Man’s Hand – Chapter 32


“What is she?” the Queen asked.

“A vampire,” Sir Francis said. “A dead being who has lost its soul and survives by feasting on the blood of the living.”

“And not just any vampire, Your Highness,” the archbishop said as he closed his bible and joined the queen and her advisors. “An agent of the Legion.”

“‘The Legion?’” the Queen inquired.

“A confederation of foul spirits and supernatural creatures who have sworn allegiance to the devil,” the archbishop said.

Queen Elizabeth furrowed her brow. “The…devil?”

“Father,” Lady Beatrice mumbled.

“Vampires have long been Satan’s chief emissaries,” Sir Francis said.

The Queen took a long, deep breathe. She closed her eyes, took all the information in, then looked toward the spymaster.

“Why is it that I get the impression that you and the archbishop have known of this for quite some time?” the Queen asked.

Sir Francis coughed into his fist. “Because we have, Your Majesty.”

The Queen turned to Sir Walter. “And you?”

“First I’m hearing of this,” was the rogue’s reply.

“This…” The Queen struggled for words. “This is most unacceptable. Lady Beatrice has been a friend to the crown for years.”

“Vampires walk among us, my Queen,” Sir Francis explained. “They keep their true nature hidden all the while acquiring wealth, status and power – assets to fuel their ambition to conquer the world in the name of their master.”

The Queen raised her voice. “And at no time did you ever think this was information that I should know?!”

Sir Francis lowered his head. “I am sorry. The archbishop and I, we have long found ourselves in an unenviable position.”

“Your most regal father swore us to secrecy,” the archbishop said.

The Queen’s eyes widened. “My father knew of this?!”

“Intimately,” the archbishop said. “For you see…”

Sir Francis cut the holy man off. “Three out of your father’s six wives were vampires.”

The Queen almost fell off her throne. “Shut your mouth. This is certain?”

“Most assuredly so,” Sir Francis said. “Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr. All bloody vampires.”

Sir Walter picked up a stein of ale and sipped. “This is hilarious.”

“So embarrassed was your father that he’d been fooled thrice by the Legion that he swore us all to secrecy,” Sir Francis said.

“Wait a moment,” the Queen said. “Was my mother a vampire?”

“Nay,” Sir Francis said.

“Then why did father chop off her head?” the Queen asked.

The archbishop and the spymaster traded shamed looks. Sir Francis grimaced. “It was most unsavory business, Your Majesty. You see, Jane Seymour did this thing with her thumb and your father’s backside that he found to be most enjoyable and…”

The Queen threw up her hands. “I’ve heard enough!”

“I haven’t,” Sir Walter said. “Details, man. Details.”

The Queen slapped Sir Walter’s shoulder. “You are utterly useless, Sir Walter.”

The rogue quaffed some more ale. “That’s not what you said last night.”

Queen Elizabeth shook her head. “It’s what I say today. Don’t flatter yourself.”

Sir Francis produced two parchments. “Your Majesty, at your leisure I shall gladly answer any and all inquiries you may have vis a vis the Legion but at present, I feel it would be expedient to question the lady as to the plot on your life.”

“As you wish,” the Queen said.

The spymaster approached Lady Beatrice. The guards still held her down on her knees. Her eyes had returned to normal. Her fangs had retracted.

Sir Francis held the first parchment in front of the lady’s face. “A letter in the hand of Mary, Queen of Scotts, addressed to you and secreted out of her place of imprisonment.”

Lady Beatrice grinned.

“In this letter, the Queen Mary bids you to assassinate our Queen Elizabeth and promises you great riches once she is in control of England,” Sir Francis said.

The lady kept her mouth shut.

“Is Queen Mary a vampire?” Sir Francis asked. “Or is she merely in league with the Legion?”


“How does she intend to usurp Queen Elizabeth?” Sir Francis asked.

“You’ll just have to kill me,” Lady Beatrice said. “I’ll never talk.”

“We shall see about that,” Sir Francis said as he reached underneath the top of the lady’s dress.

“Right,” Sir Walter said as he stepped forward. “Now we’re talking.”

Sir Francis fished out a golden medallion that the lady had been wearing around her neck. Lady Beatrice was highly displeased. Her fangs popped out again.

“Do your part and guard this, Sir Walter,” the spymaster said as he handed the piece of jewelry over to the rogue.

“Lacking in taste,” Sir Walter said as he examined the medallion. It was decorated with a pentagram. “I’ve nicked better pieces off of Orientals.”

“’Tis not the style but the substance,” Sir Francis said as he turned his attention to the Queen. “Vampires are so untrustworthy that even Satan himself keeps them in line. Only the members of his inner circle are allowed to walk outside during the day without being set ablaze by the sun’s warmth. For vampires, this medallion serve’s as the devil’s permission to bask in sunlight.”

“She is doomed to darkness without it then?” Queen Elizabeth asked.

“Quite,” Sir Francis said. He returned his focus to Lady Beatrice. “And she will not get it back until she tells us what we need to know.”

“Do your worst,” the lady said.

“I assure you that the worst is coming if you continue to withhold your cooperation,” Sir Francis said. “How did Queen Mary come to believe that she would obtain dominion over England?”

Lady Beatrice retracted her fangs and stared up at the spymaster blankly.

“You conspire with the Catholic Church, do you not?” Sir Francis asked.

“The Catholic Church?” the Queen interrupted.

“Replete with vampires, Your Highness,” the archbishop said.

“Surely you jest,” the Queen said.

“Alas, no,” the archbishop replied. “Your father was happy to allow the masses to snicker that he adopted Anglicanism as a means to avoid his marital promises but in truth, there are many vampires lurking about in that faith.”

“The Pope himself is a vampire,” Sir Francis added.

Queen Elizabeth shot Sir Francis an angry glare. “I was going to tell you.”

The spymaster addressed the prisoner again. “My sources inform me that as we speak, King Phillip of Spain has drained his treasury to build a vast armada of ships. For what purpose?”

Lady Beatrice said nothing.

“I have further learned that King Phillip and the Vicar of Rome have had several meetings,” Sir Francis said. “To what end?”

No response.

Sir Francis returned to the throne. “I shall deign to assemble the puzzle before us, Your Majesty. King Phillip, no doubt in league with the Legion, has publicly proclaimed Catholicism as the one true faith. He has sought the blessing of the Pope to invade our country. In truth, he does so to add one more nation to the Legion’s holdings. He will install Mary, herself a Catholic, to the throne.”

“To the world it will look like the product of a religious war,” the archbishop said.

“And many people will be fooled into rising up against you in the name of said religious war,” Sir Francis said. “Completely unaware that they have been turned into unwitting agents of the Legion.”

“This cannot be so,” the Queen said.

Sir Francis walked back to the prisoner. “I fear it is. And I have but one more question.”

The spymaster looked down on the lady. “How many zombies and werewolves will King Phillip bring with him?”

That question startled the lady. She suddenly became very talkative. “What? How do you know of zombies and werewolves?”

Sir Francis smiled and stretched out his arms. “Spymaster.”

“Zombies and werewolves?” the Queen asked.

“Zombies are dead men who continue to walk,” Sir Francis explained. “Mindless monsters created through the ingestion of vampiric blood. On their own they are wild beasts who destroy anything in their path as they search for the brains that they crave for sustenance. However, when controlled by the vampire whose blood they drank, they can be turned into formidable soldiers.”

The Queen rested her head in hear hands. “I feel ill.”

“Werewolves, on the other hand,” Sir Francis said. “Are men and women tormented by an inner rage that transforms them into large, hairy dog-like monsters.”

Queen Elizabeth put her hands up. “I…can’t…this is all so far fetched it’s as if that hack Shakespeare wrote it.”

The spymaster looked at the lady. “Phillip is a vampire. Is he not?”

Lady Beatrice shook her head.

“Phillip has conspired with the Catholic faith to force thousands of Spaniards to drink his sacramental wine laced with his blood,” Sir Francis said. “Has he not?!”

The lady looked away.

“He plans to invade our shores with scores of werewolf mercenaries and an army of the undead that obeys only him,” Sir Francis said. “Does he not?”

Lady Beatrice chuckled. It started off slow. “Ha…ha ha ha…”

And then it reached a maddening crescendo. “Ha ha ha!!! Yes! It’s only a matter of time before all of your entrails are ripped from your bodies, your blood drained, your brains feasted upon, your lands and your riches ours!!!”

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Undead Man’s Hand – Chapter 31


February 1, 1587

The prisoner was on her knees, bound in chains of silver. She was tall yet pale. Blonde and beautiful, in a simple white dress.

At a casual glance, she did not appear to be a threat that merited the presence of two armor clad knights. Even so, they stood watch over the woman as Edmund Grindal, the Archbishop of Canterbury, carried out his interrogation.

“Speak your name, creature,” the archbishop commanded.

The woman lifted her head, timidly. “But you know me, my lord.”

“I will have your true name,” the archbishop said.

“Lady Beatrice,” the woman said. “The house of Rutledge has been a friend to the church, vicar. Why you do this is beyond me.”

From her throne, Queen Elizabeth observed the spectacle. The monarch’s face had been painted milk white, sans for her red lips, which matched her towering red hair. She wore an elaborate dress of gold, replete with ruffles and frills.

Queen Elizabeth’s most trusted advisors watched with her. To her right stood the scholarly Sir Francis Walsingham, the queen’s principal secretary and master of espionage. His face was very grim, matching the severity of the occasion.

Famed explorer Sir Walter Raleigh, on the other hand, breezed through life with reckless abandon. He fidgeted with the earring in his ear as he observed from the queen’s left.

“This is most improper treatment for a noble woman,” the Queen said.

“Indeed,” Sir Francis replied. “Yet I assure you, Your Majesty, the Lady Beatrice is no mere mortal woman.”

The archbishop reached into his pocket and retrieved a vial of water.

“Do you know what this is, creature?” the archbishop asked.

“Now that you mention it, I am rather parched,” Lady Beatrice said.

“Hold her,” the archbishop commanded.

The guards obeyed. One grabbed her shoulders. The other put his iron clad mitt underneath her chin and held her face up.

“I do not care for this shameful display, Sir Francis,” the Queen said.

“Hold fast, Your Majesty,” Sir Francis said.

“Do we ever get to see this bitch’s tits?” Sir Walter inquired.

The archbishop held the vial over Lady Beatrice’s forehead and slowly tipped it.

“Speak your true name,” the archbishop said.

The prisoner remained silent. The archbishop allowed a single drop of water to fall on the lady’s forehead. When it landed, it immediately burned its way through her skin, causing her to cry out in pain.

“How is this possible?” the Queen asked.

The archbishop turned to the monarch. “Holy water, Your Highness. Blessed and sanctified this morn.”

The wound quickly healed, but the archbishop flicked another drop, causing the prisoner even more pain.

“This stops when you reveal your true name,” the archbishop said.

Lady Beatrice winced. “I don’t know what you’re insinuating but…”

She was interrupted with another drop, this one on her cheek. “Arrrgh!”

The holy man opened his bible.

“A reading from the Book of Mark,” the archbishop said as he cleared his throat. “‘And so, they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces.”

The Queen whispered to Sir Francis. “She’s clearly bound by chains.”

“Silver chains,” the spymaster replied. “The difference is palpable.”

“My boredom is immeasurable,” Sir Walter added. “Make with her tits already.”

The archbishop carried on. “No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him.”

The archbishop stopped the reading and dripped another drop onto the lady’s face, once again resulting in a scream and a quickly healed burn.

“Reveal your name,” the archbishop said.

Lady Beatrice had grown annoyed. “The Faerie Princess of Dunshire.”

The archbishop was not amused. Drip. Burn. Scream.

“‘And crying out with a loud voice, he said, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me. For he was saying to him, ‘Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!’ And Jesus asked him, ‘What his your name?’”

The archbishop splashed a whole streak of water across the prisoner’s face this time. She cried out in agony.

“What is your name?!” the archbishop cried.

He flicked the holy water into the lady’s face again. “What is your name?!”

The third flick did it. The lady’s eyes turned blank and blood red. She opened her mouth and a pair of sharp fangs popped out.

She looked up at the archbishop, cocked her head to one side and said, ever so sweetly, “My name is Legion…for we are…many.”

The Queen looked on in disbelief. “Holy fucking shit.”

“Holy fucking shit indeed,” Sir Francis said.

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 96


“Fuck those werewolves,” Blythe said. “Once we take D.C. I ought to have the whole lot of them shot.”

Blythe sat on a red velvet couch in a small, cozy cabin. Devoid of any windows, the only light came from a few lit candles sitting on a table.

Sounds of lip smacking filled the room.

“Without humans to contend with, those hairy bastards will no doubt start strutting about in their werewolf forms all day long,” Blythe said. “And before you know it, they’ll be challenging us.”

Blythe waited for a response.  Upon hearing none, he kept talking.

“I’ll be damned if everything I’ve worked for is going to be lost to a bunch of smelly dog men,” Blythe said.

The lip smacking continued.

“I say we as soon as we don’t need them anymore we line them up and shoot the whole lot of them in their ugly heads,” Blythe said. “Silver bullets all around.”

Blythe patiently waited for a response. Hearing none, he continued. “Oh, but I suppose the board will get their knickers in a twist over that idea too. They’ll tell me we need to make nicey-nice with our furry compatriots.”

The room grew quiet…and then…more lip smacking.

“Lamont?” Blythe asked. “Lamont, are you evening listening to me?”

From the other side of the couch, a response came in the form of a male with a cockney British accent.

“Sorry Guvnah,” the voice said. “A bit indisposed I is.”

The lifeless body of young woman dropped to the floor. Blythe took a candle and inspected her face. Pale. Drained of all color. Two holes in her neck.

Blythe looked to his right to see Lamar wiping his blood drenched lips on his shirt sleeve.

Lamont was big and brooding. Broad shouldered and muscular, with little more than black stubble covering his head.

“I didn’t offer you no gravy,” Lamar said as he retracted his fangs. “Was that wicked?”

“A trifle rude but I’m not hungry,” Blythe replied. “Did you hear a word I said?”
“Bob’s your Uncle, I did, I did,” Lamont replied. “Bit of a sticky wicket that business. A fluffy dog be a vamp’s best mate today but it could bite the hand wot feed it tomorrow, yeah? ‘Aint not use for a bollocks dodger but you might  bide your ticks till it do the biting err right’s on your side, wot wot?”

“I have no idea what you’re saying half the time, Lamont,” Blythe replied. “But no matter. I need you to do a job for me.”

“A bit o’ the cat o’ nine tails, is it?” Lamont asked. “Flog your gullivah? Get down to brass tacks and make some brown bread, ay? Butcher’s hook for the ducks and geese. Might make me a bit knackered I nose but who is I to Barnaby Rudge?”

Blythe’s eyes widened with confusion. “Will you just grab your tool kit already?”

“Right-o,” Lamont said as he opened a closet. He removed a large tin box, set it up on the table and opened it.

Knives of all different shapes and sizes. Corkscrews. Surgical tools.

“Blood bags it is?” Lamont inquired.

That question, Blythe understood. “Blood bags it is,” he replied.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – What is your favorite Shakespeare Play?

Good morning 3.5 readers.

Did you know that this year marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death?

Too soon, Bill. Too soon.

As you avid 3.5 readers may be aware, the Shakes-meister is a friend to the Bookshelf Battle Blog.

When I died on the toilet after eating a lightning infused toaster pastry, I met him in the afterlife. He was assigned to be my spiritual guide.

But enough of my bragging.  The next time I talk to Billy Shakes (he still calls me from time to time, it’s a little creepy) which one of his plays should I tell him is your favorite?

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Literary Classics with Professor Nannerpants – When I Was Fair and Young – The Poetry of Queen Elizabeth I


Professor Horatio J. Nannerpants – Esteemed Literary Scholar/Poop Flinger

Good Day, 3.5 Readers.

Class is in session so take out your notebooks and start flinging your poop.

In my very first lecture, I should like very much to discuss one author of the Elizabethan era – Queen Elizabeth I herself.

When she wasn’t busy running an empire, she was quite a wordsmith I’ll have you know.

Take a gander at one of her finest poems:

When I Was Fair and Young

By: Queen Elizabeth I

When I was fair and young, then favor graced me.
Of many was I sought their mistress for to be.
But I did scorn them all and answered them therefore:
Go, go, go, seek some other where; importune me no more.

How many weeping eyes I made to pine in woe,
How many sighing hearts I have not skill to show,
But I the prouder grew and still this spake therefore:
Go, go, go, seek some other where, importune me no more.

Then spake fair Venus’ son, that proud victorious boy,
Saying: You dainty dame, for that you be so coy,
I will so pluck your plumes as you shall say no more:
Go, go, go, seek some other where, importune me no more.

As soon as he had said, such change grew in my breast
That neither night nor day I could take any rest.
Wherefore I did repent that I had said before:
Go, go, go, seek some other where, importune me no more.

:::Sniff Sniff:::

:::Blows my nose in a hanky:::

Oh Elizabeth.  I know your pain, girlfriend.

When we’re young and beautiful, the world feels like it belongs to us and we’re convinced this feeling will last forever.

For the young, there is always plenty of time.

Plenty of time to tell a potential mate to take a hike in the hopes that a better mate is on the horizon.

Even your humble professor is guilty of this. I once told Miss Tiddlywinks, a fellow lab chimp who had the hots for me, to hit the bricks.

Sure, she had a luxurious coat and was eager to please but I convinced myself that I could find a woman capable of throwing larger piles of poop.

Alas, in my middle age, as I cry myself to sleep with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s in one paw, the remote in the other while watching old reruns of Gilmore Girls and wondering where the time went, I wish Miss Tiddlywinks would burst threw the door and throw her small, pathetic piles of poop at my head.

You never know what you have until it’s gone.

Yes, students.  That is a sentiment felt not just by the lowly masses but even by people as high and mighty as Queen Elizabeth I.

Of course, who can blame her?  Her father, Henry VIII chopped off so many of his wives’ heads in search of a son to be his heir and in the end, Elizabeth was left to the job of keeping the throne in the Tudor family.

Like anyone, she surely desired love and romance but she knew that marriage would have led to a man coming in, taking over, becoming the King, and acting like he owns the entire country she’d inherited just because of his insipid penis.

Oh penile domination, how many countries will you tear asunder until your demonic hunger for power is satiated?

Close your eyes, 3.5 students.

Picture a young, hot Queen Elizabeth.

She’s in one of those gigantic dresses rigged up with a series of iron bars, ropes and pulleys to make her ass look scrumptiously fat.

Her hair is done up so high it touches the ceiling.

Her face is coated with a thick slathering of milky white, lead based paint.

She’s hip.  She’s cool.  She makes all the hearts of men at court go pitter patter.

But she sends them packing.  She bides her time. She’s not going to give up that royal booty to just anyone.  She’s waiting for a true love she can trust not to take her throne from away from her.

It was the late 1500’s people.  Men just weren’t as cool with working women as they are today.

Alas, time moved on for Queenie.  She got old.  “Her plumes were plucked.”  She lost her looks.

Men are such visual beasts so ruler or not, few men were willing to get busy with an old broad with plucked plumes.

And so, Queen Lizzy poured her heart out into this poem, lamenting the loss of men she’d told to get lost back in the days when all the men of the realm wanted to get their grubby mitts all over her royal badonka donk.

Moral of the story, 3.5 students?

If you’ve got it, flaunt it…then use your bait to hook a tasty fish before they start swimming out to sea.

Because you never know when your bait will shrivel up, dry out and leave you with an empty hook.

Class dismissed. Throw your poop at will.

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#31ZombieAuthors – Day 5 Interview – Perrin Briar – Three Zombie Series and Counting

perrin briar


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My guest today is Perrin Briar, the prolific British author behind a number of zombified book series, including:


Blood Memory – Jordan, who’s suffering from a six year gap in his memory, leaving him with no recollection of how a zombie outbreak started, joins the crew of the ship, Haven, but a shipwreck complicates matters.  The crew will have to leave the safety of the sea and step out onto land, where zombies aren’t the only monsters they’ll have to face.


Z-Minus – Infected by a zombifying virus, a father decides to use his last hours of life to get his daughter to safety.


Swiss Family RobinZOM –  A send-up of the 1812 classic novel authored by Johann David Wyss, now with zombies!

Previously, Perrin has written for BBC radio, and worked in the production and development departments of the BBC, ITV and Channel 4.

I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with me, Perrin.


Q.   I love Swiss Family Robinson so much that when I saw you’d written a zombified adaptation, I had to get in touch. What motivated you to take this classic and throw hideous undead creatures into the mix?

A.   I really wanted to write a story about people surviving on an island. But there were already lots of books with that concept, so I wanted to add a unique spin to it. I was going through a list of books and films about surviving on an island, when I came across the classic Swiss Family Robinson stories. I like the idea of taking something we’re all familiar with and putting a twist on it in (hopefully!) a full and exciting way. I read the original books and watched the film and TV adaptations to get ideas, get a feeling for the characters, the tone etc, and took what I thought were the most interesting parts, and then developed them into a series of novellas. There’s a lot in my books you won’t find in the original (zombies being the obvious one!) and things in the original you won’t find in mine (the originals were morality tales to teach the author’s kids about the value of religion in their lives). I wanted each book to feature a different perspective of survival, and so far the response has been great. There will be a total of 11 or so books by the end.

Q. Have fans of the original Swiss Family Robinson book received it well?

A. Yes, the response has been really great. I was at first concerned the readers wouldn’t like what I did to the classic, so I only wrote one novella to test the waters. If the response was good, I would write the rest. Thankfully, people liked it and started asking about more in the series.

Q. Let’s talk about Z-Minus. Chris Smith hasn’t been much of a father. When he’s infected with a virus, he has eight hours to live before he turns into a zombie. He’s left with a hope that he’ll be able to spend the last bit of life he has left getting his daughter Maisie to safety. As a plot device, does it raise the stakes for the reader when time is of the essence and not a single minute can be wasted?

A. Yes, I think so. There are lots of TV shows and films that use the same device and it always ramps up the tension – mostly because the reader knows that at the end, the character will turn into a monster, but they’re willing to sit through the action until that moment happens. They know it’s coming, but not how it will happen. I originally had the idea for Z-Minus while thinking about how to create a new twist on an old idea. Usually zombies Turn within a few seconds or minutes of being bitten, so I thought it would be fun to play with that and extend it to eight hours, and see the gradual change coming over the characters.

Q. Also in Z-Minus, Chris has to race to get Maisie to a rumored zombie cure. In most zombie books/flicks, if you get bitten by a zombie or get a whiff of a zombie virus then boom. That’s it. You’re a zombie. Sorry. Thanks for playing. I think it’s creative that you went against the grain here and provided your protagonist with the hope of a cure. Does that add to the suspense, knowing there’s a chance at survival?

A. Book II of the Z-Minus trilogy was actually the original idea I had for the whole series. I felt it upped the ante. After all, if you only have a few seconds after being bitten to be Turned, there’s nothing you can do to save yourself. Whereas if you have 8-hours, anyone would do anything to get their hands on the cure, assuming it exists. The closer you get to the cure, the closer you are to turning into a zombie, and the weaker you are.

This concept is weaved throughout the Z-Minus trilogy. You’ve described Book I and II above, Book III raises the tension even more when Chris has eight hours to get Maisie to a science research vessel off the coast of Brighton so they can harness the cure in her blood before it disappears for good. But the cure has endowed her with other unforeseen powers too.

Keeping-Mum-Ebook-Updated-SmallQ.   Can we talk about Keeping Mum? The premise is that Peter and Kate Loveridge have to convince the tax-man that their mother, Hetty, is alive for one more week, lest they lose their entire inheritance. So Peter dresses and acts like his mother and then a variety of hi jinx ensue, namely his mother’s old flame comes into the picture. Sounds hilarious. Where did you dream up the idea for this one?

A.   It’s actually based on a real concept. We have a ridiculous law in the UK which is that if parents give money, property etc. to their children, then if the parents survive for seven years after the date of giving the money, the kids don’t have to pay inheritance tax on it. I knew there was a story there somewhere, but at the time I couldn’t figure out what it was. Then, a couple of years later I read a news article about a brother and sister in the US who were dressing up as their mother to draw her pension money every week even after she had died. It’s hard to have sympathy for characters who do this kind of thing, and for relatively little money, but what if it was for a large amount, and their anti-government parents actually wanted their kids to do it? That was interesting to me, so I married the two ideas into one.

Q. Some of your books, like Z-Minus show a serious side while books like Keeping Mum are funny. How do you balance the serious and the humorous when many authors usually choose to go in just one direction or the other?

A.  I feel every book exists on a kind of slide rule of various attributes. One slide rule is serious vs. humorous. Some are super serious without any humor, others hilarious and ridiculous. I think the best stories have elements of both. Where a story is on the slide rule depends on their genre, tone, pace etc. Keeping Mum is a comedy, but it’s dark – these guys have stuck their mother in a deep freezer for their own purposes, after all! Whereas Z-Minus and Blood Memory are dark, but with some lighthearted moments. Swiss Family RobinZOM is somewhere in the middle. I mostly balance them by the tone, how it feels, and how I want the reader to feel while reading my books. I often delete entire scenes or sequences if I feel they don’t fit the tone.

And listening to the right kind of music helps a lot!

Q. Perrin, thank you for your help. Before I go, do you have any advice for my friends and I on how to survive the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse?

A. Yes. Get into space! (Another idea I’m currently toying with!)

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Pop Culture Mysteries – Smeller vs. Denier (Part 7)


Part 1


“Certainly, Sir Rupert.”

Lord Blackburn, barely distracted by my exit, continued to bore my wife with his chest puffery.

“Now my dear, have you ever wrestled a boa constrictor?”

God,”  I thought to myself.  “I hope he’s still talking about the jungle.”

As my old friend and I made a swift exit, I was bumped into by Signora Bellavenuti, who was just returning from the bar where shutterstock_239019775one of Count Rickard’s numerous servants had just poured her a robust red wine.

It was now all over the left breast side of my white tux.

“Merda!”  the Signora shouted.  “Scusi!  Oh, Signor Hatcher, mea culpa.”

She brushed her red nailed hands over my chest, trying to remove the stain, but it just made it worse.

It’d been the fanciest set of threads I’d ever treated myself to, but Ma Hatcher raised a deferential gentleman.

“Think nothing of it, Signora.”

Not one for personal space, Bellavenuti opened up my jacket, took one peak at the label, and emitted a disgusted, “Ugh!”

“I have done you a favor!  This is so last year!”

Rupert and I excused ourselves and headed down a hallway.

“I believe this is the third time I’ve saved your life, Hatcher,”  Rupert said.

“What?”  I asked.  “Bellavenuti’s a clutz but I don’t think she was trying to kill me.”

“Not her, you daft blighter.  Lord Blackburn.  Had he chewed your ear off any longer you’d of blown your bloody brains out.”

Rupert pushed a door open and led me into one of Rickard’s many bathrooms.  It was the most spacious crapper I’d ever seen.  A man could really stretch out whilst doing his business in there.

“Has he really explored Africa?”  I asked.

“That lecherous liar hasn’t even explored Liverpool,”  Rupert answered.  “He just wears that foolish safari costume so he can pretend to be interesting.”

Rupert locked the door.

“Rupert,”  I said.  “I’m flattered but I don’t swing that way.”

“This is not the time for jokes, Hatcher.  Are you aware that MI6 has issued a standing order that you’re to be arrested as soon as you step off American soil?”

“Uh…no.  Would have been nice if someone had warned me about that.  Too bad I don’t have an old war buddy who’s a high ranking member of the British government.”

“Oh.  Right.”

Rupert put a hand on my shoulder and made the face that people usually reserve when they’re about to deliver bad news.

“Hatcher, I’m afraid that MI6 has issued a standing order that you’re to be arrested as soon as you step off American soil.”

“Damn it,”  I said.  “And I just spent the whole night making a spectacle of myself at the poker table.  What do I do now?”

I removed my jacket and ran the faucet.  I sprinkled some water on the stain and rubbed away with my hand.

“I don’t know,”  Rupert said.  “Legally, I should arrest you myself right now.”

“You can try.”

“I did a spot of boxing myself, Jersey Jabber.”

“I don’t follow Queensbury rules, limey.”

“Be reasonable, man.” Rupert said.  “You must tell me where the phage is  God knows what you’ve done with it.”

“Nothin’ doin.”

I rubbed harder and harder.  The stain.  Not Rupert.  Just making sure you 3.5 readers understand that, since this scene took place with two men in a bathroom after all.

“You doubt my integrity?”

“I doubt your country’s.  Any country’s when it comes to this.  If some big shot finds out you know, they’ll torture you until you talk.”

The Brit closed the toilet lid and took a seat.

“At least tell me it’s safe then.”

“It’s safe.”

“The case AND the key?”  Rupert asked.

“Both of them,”  I replied.

“Surely you’ve had the good sense to store them far apart from one another?”

I stopped scrubbing and turned to face Rupert.

“You think I’m that stupid?”

Rupert shot back a “you don’t want me to answer that” look.

I poured some more water on the stain and gave it my all.  Rupert, consummate neat freak that he was, got up, grabbed my jacket and a towel off the rack, and took the entire cleaning operation over.

“Oh, sod off!  You’re just making it bigger!  Give it to me!”

Again.  The stain.  Clarity is everything here, 3.5

It dawned on me that all that washing could be destroying my check, but then I breathed a sigh of relief when I remembered Bellavenuti had bumped into the side without the pocket where I kept my prescription for moolah.

“You should destroy it.”

“You know who will destroy me as soon as I do.”

Gently, the Brit dabbed away at the mess with the towel, carefully lifting up a bit more red with each motion.

“This is bigger than you, you twat.  It’s bigger than all of us.”

My impromptu helper grabbed a second towel off the rack, dried the water up, and handed the jacket back.  There was still a slight trace, but I had to hand it to Rupert.

“You’ll make someone a fine wife one day, RR,”  I said as I put my evening wear back on.

“Shut up,” Rupert said.  “Is this some kind of game to you?”


“Because it’s the fate of the world to me.”

“And for me.”

A lock of black hair had fallen down over Rupert’s forehead.  He pushed it up.

“Any other man I’d have in cuffs beating the snot out of him right now.”

“I know.”

My pal stared at his face in the mirror for awhile, waiting as if the reflection was going to advise him what to do.

“Cut your holiday short and head home on the first flight you can board tomorrow.”


“Yes.  Tomorrow morning, I’ll feed them a tip you were spotted in the casino of the Hotel Rondileau and were overheard telling various barflies that you had immediate plans to jet set off to Istanbul.  Our men monitoring the area won’t bother to keep an eye on the airport as they’ll believe you’re already gone.”

“You could get in a lot of trouble.”

“I’m aware.”

“Especially since we’ve been hanging out at the same dinner party all evening.”

“I never saw you, Hatcher,”  Rupert said.  “And if anyone ever says otherwise, I was too blind, stinking drunk to recognize anyone tonight.”

“But you’re sober.”

“And it’s time to change that immediately.”

We left the bathroom and walked back to the sitting room.

“Congratulations on the election, by the way,”  I said.

“Worst decision I ever made.  Never get into politics Hatcher.”

“Why’s that?”

“It makes me yearn for the war, back when at least it was easy to spot the enemy.”

“You’re a good man, Double-R.  England’s lucky to have you.”

“Yes, now go sit somewhere far away from me, will you, Yankee imbecile I’ve never met before?”

“Oh.  Right.”

Image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

Copyright Bookshelf Q. Battler.  All rights reserved.

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