Tag Archives: Fiction

FREE BQB BOOKS!

I’m Crazy BQB and my prices are insane!

My prices are so low I should be put in a straight jacket and shipped off to the funny farm but I don’t care because I’m passing the savings on to you!!!

For the next 5 days you can get my 2 self-published books for absolutely free!  That’s zero dollars!  That’s no money!  Nada! Zilch!

3.5 READERS: OK, BQB, we’ll get your free books.  It’s the least we can do.

Well, the most you could have done was to have bought my books at full price to thank me for the many years I have been entertaining you with this fine blog for free but that’s ok, I love you, 3.5 readers.

But if you could go on over to Amazon and grab my free books, that would be awesome.  If you could leave a review, that would be great.  If you could share news of my free books on your preferred time wasting social media website, that would be perfect.

FRIENDS OF MY 3.5 READERS: Oh great, the 3.5 readers are going to share yet another boring lunch photo and what?!  They’re posting links to BQB’s awesome free books instead?  Hooray!  The 3.5 readers are the best!

So, what will you find for free from BQB?

First, The Last Driver – Episode 1 just dropped like it’s hot (that’s so 2000’s) on Amazon.  Someone bought a copy within the first hour and thank you to that person.  The rest of you need to get your priorities straight.

Next up, you can also get BQB’s Big Book of Badass Writing Prompts, for FREE as well:

Now, 3.5 readers, I don’t know what time it is in your neck of the woods, but this sale is scheduled to start tomorrow.  What time that actually kicks in I don’t know.  I’m going to assume midnight.  Obviously, if you go on over before October 26, you’ll have to pay full price, and if you want to do that, I’d appreciate it, because damn it, keeping the lights on at BQB HQ is no easy task, let me tell you.  By the way, do you have any idea how much yetis eat?

But if you are cheap-o skinflint, I totally understand as the Baby Boomers have been selling us all down the river for years and don’t even get me started on the post-2000 economy.  I understand.  You can’t go around spending your cash on every book offered to you by a magic bookshelf caretaker.  Ergo, you can wait until the sale starts on the 26th and get both books for FREE!

Thank you for your support, 3.5 readers.

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#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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Bookshelf Battle Cast Episode 002 – The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe – Analysis and Discussion

A good glass of wine is supposed to be relaxing, unless you’re sharing a bottle with a Montressor.  Damn, that family of dicks won’t let anything good.

But there’s a lesson in this dickishness, 3.5 listeners, for if you act like a dick, you never know how badly your dickish ways have upset someone – so much, in fact that this person might lay in wait, plotting an intricate, fiendish plan of revenge against you…muah ha ha!

And you’d never know it because if you’re as obtuse as Fortunato, you’d probably think whatever dumbass thing you said to your pal Montressor is all water under the bridge by now.

We’re never told what the slight was that turned Montressor into a homicidal mad man.  Then again, it’s doubtful that Fortunato could have done anything that merited being walled off in a tomb and left to suffer and rot while still alive.

Is there a method to Poe’s madness?  Montressor avenges his family against Fortunato’s slight.  Worse, the evil narrator accomplishes his goals – a) he Fortunato, but makes Fortunato suffer and makes him aware that he, Montressor did him in b) Montressor is not caught c) fifty years later, Montressor, as an old man, has lived a full life and now he can make the world aware of his supposed genius, how he masterfully killed Fortunato without getting caught.  One assumes the narrator is so old now that jail would matter little to him.  He’s lived most of his life as a free man so now he can boast of the evil deed he is most proud of to the world.

We see a lot of foreshadowing and ways in which Montressor plays on Fortunato’s ignorance and pride.  Montressor gets Fortunato liquored up, lulls his victim into assuming safety by asking him to leave the dumb under feigned fears of the old man’s health and insults Fortunate’s pride by suggesting Luchesi, Fortunato’s rival in the world of wine tasting, be the one who give the thumbs up or down to the amontillado.

Was there even a cask of amontillado to begin with?  Oh Monty, you devious prick.

Is it better to seek revenge, or as Jesus would advise, to turn the other cheek?  Alas, Montressor doesn’t seem to suffer for his revenge, though he might suffer in reputation as you, the reader, end up fearing and hopefully looking down at him, right?  Honestly, if you walked away from this story think Montressor is a good role model to emulate, you might need some counseling my friend.

Keep in mind that Fortunato isn’t just dressed as a fool, he is one.  He’s prideful and into himself and easily manipulated by appeals to his narcissism.  The idea that his rival wine taster might be consulted him makes him lose his senses.

Sometimes people are dicks…and sometimes these dicks will insult you.  They act like fools when they do, they have already damaged their reputations by being rude to you.  Often, when a person insults you, it is less about you and more about them, about their need to prop themselves up by dragging you down, feeling better by giving you a verbal kick to the ribs.

Montressor would tell you to get revenge but I mean, yeah we aren’t in Montessor’s day so you’ll totally get caught and even if you don’t get caught, you’ll be torn apart inside over the horror you committed and if you are like Montressor and don’t feel bad about it then yeah, again, seeking counseling for your screws are loose.

What say you, 3.5 listeners?

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The Illiad Rebooted – Chapter 2

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Tyndareus, King of Sparta, sat sullenly upon his throne, ensconced in a crippling bout of depression so severe that even his three most ample slave girls were unable to break him out of it.

“More grapes, your majesty?” the first slave girl asked.

The king did not respond.

“Perhaps some wine?” the second slave girl inquired.

Tyndareus continued to wallow in his perpetual woe.

The third slave girl started to untie the string that held the top of her gown up when she was rudely interrupted by a pair of clapping hands.

“Begone, wenches,” commanded the most lovely and regal Queen Leda as she strutted through the chamber. “The king is in a state that only a queen can fix.”

The slave girls departed and Leda sat down upon Tyndareus’s lap. She ran her hand over her husband’s face, tickling his beard.

“Why do you suffer so, my king?” the queen asked.

“’Tis Helen,” Tyndareus answered. “Kidnapped once again under my watch and no doubt being forced to touch the super old wrinkly balls of Theseus and Peirithous as we speak.”

“Ugh,” Leda said. “Damn those crusty old fucks.”

“Tell me about it,” Tyndareus said.

“You need not concern yourself,” Leda said. “Castor and Pollux have never failed you.”

“Indeed they have not,” Tyndareus said. “Never has a father been blessed with a pair of twin sons as daring and brave as the Dioscuri. But I fear we ask too much of them, wife.”

“How so?”

“This week its the crusty old fucks,” Tyndarecus said. “Last week it was the Kraken. The week before that it was the minotaur. Leda, Helen is getting ridiculously hotter everyday and accordingly, no man or beast in all of Greece with a penis can control himself in her presence. If we continue to importune Castor and Pollux to save their sister every time she is kidnapped by a filthy degenerate pervert, they will never have lives of their own. They’ll never find wives. They’ll never have children. They will simply spend all of their time fighting perverts.”

Leda sighed. “I admit I never thought about it that way.”

“That’s because you never think of anyone but yourself,” Tyndareus said.

The queen stood up. “How dare you?!”

“How dare I?” Tyndareus asked.

“My betrayal was so long ago, dear husband!” Leda shouted. “Surely by now I have earned your forgiveness!”

Tyndareus took his wife’s hand. “So many nights I have laid awake begging myself to forgive you but alas…I don’t know if I will ever be able to.”

Leda stomped her foot on the marble floor. “It was Zeus! Fucking Zeus!”

The king stood up. He gritted his teeth and his face turned red. “In the form of a swan! How did you fuck a swan?”

“I don’t know!” Leda said. “I just did!”

“The logistics alone boggle my mind!” Tyndareus cried.

“Why must you insist on dredging up the past?” Leda asked.

“How did you even find yourself attracted to a damn swan?” Tyndarecus asked.

“Because it was Zeus in the form of a swan!” Leda said. “My darling, shouldn’t a woman be allowed a pass if she is seduced into adultery through the allure of a god?”

“Absolutely not,” Tyndareus said.

Leda folded her arms. “You’re going to stand there and tell me that if Aphrodite swooped down from Mount Olympus and begged you to go to town on her lady bits, you’d refuse?”

The king shook his head. “If we’re talking about Aphrodite in all her super hot goddess glory with her ginormous goddess titties, then yes, I’d most certainly lose control. But if we’re talking Aphrodite in the form of a duck, then no dearest, I would abstain. I love you enough to avoid fucking a duck. Alas, you did not afford me the same loyalty when it came to a swan. Call me crazy, but I believe we owe it to each other to avoid dalliances with water fowl.”

“It was still Zeus!” Leda protested.

“Ahhh, fi on thee woman,” Tyndarecus said. “I shall hear no more excuses for your swan fuckery.”

The king eased his weary bones back into his throne and let out an “oof!” upon landing.

“Besides,” Tyndareus said. “Your sordid infatuation with swan penis…”

“It was an infatuation with the greatest of all the gods!” Leda snapped.

“It does not matter,” Tyndareus said. “All that matters now is that is that I have failed our children and failed them miserably.”

Leda returned to the king’s lap and gently stroked her hand through her husband’s hair. “Oh my love, you are not a failure. How could Castor and Pollux have become such gallant fighters were it not for the training you provided them?”

“A fine point,” the king said.

“And who kept Helen safe for so many years until your advanced age forced you to turn the burden over to the Dioscuri?” Leda asked.

“I did,” the Tyndareus said. “But that is the point, my queen. Sooner or later, we all find ourselves dragged into the underworld. I can burden our sons no longer and yet, who will ensure our beloved Helen is safe when I die?”

Leda held Tyndareus in her arms. “A most vexing question, but one you will surely answer. You are a noble man, Tyndareus. Few men in your position would have found it in their hearts to raise Helen as their own.”

“She must never know that I am not her father,” Tyndarecus said. “You must never tell her.”

“I would never do such a thing,” Leda said. “And as far as I am concerned, you are her father, for that sleaze bag Zeus never once called, or wrote me a letter, or even offered to pick up a bill or two.”

“Fucking gods,” Tyndareus said.

“Alas,” Leda said. “I fear the more Helen learns about science, the more likely it will be that she will do the math in her head and reach the conclusion that her astounding beauty could only be the result of an illicit union between a woman and the greatest of all gods in the form of a swan. That’s just science.”

Tyndareus slammed his fist down on the arm rest of his throne. “Blasted science!”

“You can’t argue with science,” Leda said.

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Happy Mother’s Day – Who is your favorite fictional mother?

Happy Mother’s Day 3.5 readers.

Who is your favorite fictional mother?

For me I’d say it’s a tie between Mrs. Gump, who took one for the team so that Forrest could go to school and Shaft, the baddest mother around.

Who are your favorite fictional mothers, 3.5 readers?

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How the West Was Zombed – Part 7 – Doc’s Secret Shame

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After Miles gives the survivors a crash course regarding the Legion Corporation’s evil plans, Doc must acknowledge his tarnished past in order to come to grips with a terrible mistake he’s made in the present.

Chapter 66     Chapter 67     Chapter 68

Chapter 69     Chapter 70     Chapter 71 

Chapter 72

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 80

shutterstock_320226569Gunther walked into the the church to find Doc and the Reverend chatting away, thick as thieves.  The old man noticed the broken chair parts and rope pieces all over the floor.

“Shit,” the deputy said.  “He try to eat you, Rev?”

“No,” the preacher replied.

“Hell with it then,” Gunther said as he took a seat at the table.  “Pour me one of those.”

Miles, a human once more, came in, all wrapped up in his blanket.  It was a bit singed but extra toasty from the fire.   He sat down next to Gunther, who in turn, took the Reverend’s bottle and poured the boy a shot.

The kid stared at it.  “Am I old enough?”

“You killed more zombies today than I did,” Gunther said.  “You’re a man.”

The boy took a sip and instantly sprayed it out of his mouth.  “What the?”

The adults laughed.  “I didn’t say it was tasty,” Gunther said.  “It’ll put hair on your chest all right.”

Gunther pondered that statement then upon remembering that Miles was a werewolf, added, “Not that you need anymore.”

Sarah entered in a daze.  She sat down at the table, making a point to stay far, far away from Doc.  His eyes remained a ghastly sight.

“Miss Sarah,” Gunther said as he poured another shot and slid it towards the bride. “Not that I want to turn you into an alcoholic but if ever there was a time to turn to the booze to help get you through, this might be it.”

“No,” Sarah said as she slid the drink back. “I’ll be seeking penance for the rest of my days for imbibing earlier and I cannot allow myself to sin any further.”

“Suit yourself,” the Reverend said as he helped himself to Sarah’s drink.

“While we are on this subject, Reverend, I must say your behavior throughout this entire ordeal has been less than holy,” the bride said.

The Reverend sighed. “Miss Sarah.  Despite my internal doubts, I have lived a pure life,  a penchant for liquor being my only weakness, one which I have done my best to atone for.  I have helped my fellow man, put many lost souls on the right path and yet here I am, trapped in a zombie infested nightmare.”

Sarah scowled. “I have yet to lose my faith.”

“Are you sure?” the Reverend asked. “Cowering in the corner isn’t exactly a sign of a person who is sure the lord is going to swoop in and save her at any moment.”

Sarah stood up.  “Well, I never!”

“Perhaps you should,” the Reverend said.  “A life of faith has gotten you the same place it has gotten me…nowhere.”

Sarah stomped her foot and stormed off, only to stop abruptly.  “All of my prayers have brought me Rainier Slade,” the bride said.  “The bravest, toughest man in the entire West.  He will see me through this.  I’m sure of it.”

The bride found a pew to sulk in silence in.  The Reverend reached for the bottle only to find Gunther’s hand on his.

“We all got a part to play in this, Rev,” Gunther said. “And a preacher that can’t lift people’s spirits aint of much use to anyone.”

The Reverend’s face flushed with embarrassment.  He put the cork in the bottle. “Duly noted.”

The good doctor felt a hand on his shoulder as the scent of a familiar perfume wafted through his nostrils.

Annabelle had just entered the room and was surprised to see her companion not tied to a chair.

“You’re free and you haven’t bitten anyone,” Annabelle said. 

Doc kissed Annabelle’s hand. “I wouldn’t count yourself safe though, my dear.  You look so ravishing that I should very much like to consume you for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Every one at the table let out a collective groan.

“A word?” Doc asked Annabelle. She consented and together they walked toward the open door frame, finding a spot to speak in private.

“Dearest, I must present you with a difficult choice,” Doc said.

Annabelle’s bright eyes were fixated on Doc, waiting for what he had to say next.

“The safest option for you would be to accompany Miss Lassiter and seek refuge with the Indians,” Doc said.  “I haven’t the slightest clue of what my condition will bring and the possibility that I may lose control and attack you is quite real.”

“I’ll take the chance,” Annabelle said. “I won’t leave you.”

“Selfishly, I hoped you would say that,” Doc said. “As I am not welcome in Miss Lassiter’s party due to my condition, I intend to press on eastward.  My Miracle Cure-All may be a failure, but I will still pursue my dream of spreading news of the curative properties of cocaine to the world.  If you come with me, I shall protect you with my dying breath and if we make it to Boston, we will catch a vessel to Britain and begin our new lives together, free of this zombie infested continent once and for all.”

Annabelle’s eyes welled up as she wrapped her arm’s around the doctor.  “Oh Doc.  You had me at cocaine.”

To her surprise, Doc pushed her away.  “But my dear, you must promise one thing.”

“Anything.”

“If I am overcome by my condition and become a wretched beast, you must save yourself and put a bullet directly into my brain.”

Annabelle frowned.  “I couldn’t possibly.”

Doc stepped back.  “Quite understandable.  Very well, my dear.  Then with regret I must insist that we end our courtship at this time…”

“OK!”  Annabelle cried.

“I must hear you promise my dear,” Doc said.

“Fine,” Annabelle said. “I promise to shoot you if you become a zombie.”

“Lovelier words have never been spoken,” Doc said.  “If you’ll excuse me now, I must have a word with the Marshall.”

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 79

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Standing Eagle and a dozen of his warriors galloped their horses to the top of a hill overlooking the valley that contained Highwater below.  Wandering Snake trained his spy glass on the smoke signals as they rose into the air.

The tribe’s shaman translated the signals out loud.  “Attention…Injuns…”

The Chief slapped his forehead.  “Oh spirits give me strength.  They’re even racist in code.”

“White men…in heap big trouble…”

“There,” Standing Eagle said. “Right there.  That is a vicious stereotype.  None of us use the word ‘heap’ to describe anything.”

Screeching Owl, one of the tribe’s younger warriors, rode his steed up to the group and peered at the puffs of smoke rising above the town.

“Sorry I am late,” Owl said. “Wow.  That’s a heap many smoke clouds.”

Eagle looked to Snake, who shrugged his shoulders.  “Oh fine. So one of us uses the word ‘heap’ in place of ‘many’ or ‘very’ and to the white man that means we all do it.  I swear the white man judges every other group based solely on its dumbest member.  Owl!”

Owl turned his gaze to the Chief.  “Chief?”

“Stop saying ‘heap!’”

Owl nodded. “I’m heap sorr…I’m very sorry.”

Snake continued the translation.  “Monsters have…overrun…town.  Soon will…take over…country.  Please…send help…so we can defeat…leader of monsters.”

“Give me that,” Eagle said as he grabbed Snake’s spy glass and trained it about the town.  Wherever he looked, he saw buildings on fire, half-eaten bodies in the streets, and dead men traipsing about.

“What in the…Snake!”

“Chief?”

“What’s going on down there?” Eagle asked.

The shaman lit up a stick that was doused with sweet smelling incense, the aroma of which he believed would ward off evil.

“The spirits are angry.”

Eagle kept using the spy glass to take in different views of the carnage until he spotted old man Knox and his boys standing on the back of a flipped over cart, shooting every last bullet they had at a throng of zombies until they were torn apart, severed limbs being tossed everywhere.

“The white men need help,” Eagle said as he handed the spy glass back to the shaman.

Like his namesake, Charging Bobcat was lean and wiry.  His hair was styled in a mohawk, with tattoos inked along the shorn sides of his head.  A feather dangled from his ear.

“Let the white men die, Eagle,” Bobcat said.  “This is likely their doing.  Some sort of experiment they did to ‘improve’ over Mother Nature’s wishes coming back to bite them…literally.”

“Right,” Eagle said.  “Start a fire and send them my response.  ‘Dear White Men.  So sorry that another group just showed up one day and started taking all of your shit even though you all had clearly been there for awhile.  We have no idea what that’s like…”

Snake shook his head.

“What?” Eagle asked.  “Too much sarcasm?”

The shaman peered once more at the town through his telescope.  “Spirits would say that the evil of others is no excuse for you to commit evil.  Those in need must be helped by those who can.”

“Damn it, Snake,” Eagle said.

“Eagle!!!”

The Chief turned his attention to his scout, Crafty Fox, who was quickly galloping in from the south side of the mountain, flanked on either side by two more scouts.

There was a look of terror on Fox’s face.

“Come quickly!”

Eagle and his braves followed the scouts to the South side of the mountain.  Though they were all battle tested fighters, the warriors’ mouths gaped in awe at the sight that unfolded before their eyes.

Lines of werewolves marched in formation from the West, snapping whips across the backs of the zombies ahead of them, herding them toward Highwater.  It was a massive army, thousands in total.

Eagle was calm and resolute in his orders.  “All of you.  Return to the village.  Gather the women, children and the elderly and seek refuge with our friends in the south.”

“And what of you?”  Bobcat asked.

“I will do what I always do,” the Chief said.  “I will stand.”

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BQB Breaks the 60,000 Word Mark on How the West Was Zombed

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Zombie BQB

Hey 3.5 readers,

BQB here.  I have a small milestone to celebrate.

With Chapter 77 of How the West Was Zombed, I have, for the first time ever, written 60,000 words of a novel.

Yup, all it took was a snippet about a lesbian vampire getting assaulted by a goblin pervert on her way to see a Chairman who may or may not be Satan to put me over the top.

Aunt Gertie would be so proud if she still read this crap.

Further, there are writing experts who will differ on what the key parts of a novel are, but for example, if you figure that the main three have to be:

  1.  The Set-Up – Who is everyone, where are they, drop some seeds of what’s in store for your 3.5 readers.
  2. The Conflict – What will happen to trouble your characters?
  3. The Resolution – How is that conflict resolved?

I have written two out of three of those.

1)  The Set-up – Cowboys vs. an Evil (Literally Evil) Railroad Corporation.

2)  The Conflict – Evil Corporate Lawyer/Vampire (Redundant) wants to conquer America with the help of werewolf henchmen and an army of zombies.

Those parts are done!  And now I must write:

3) Resolution – How will the cowboys stop the zombies?  (Or will they? Muah ha ha!)

If the standard novel length is around 100,000 words or so, then I am beyond the point of no return and closer to being finished than starting.

Is there more to go?  Yes.  It still needs a major rewrite.  Then various pros to give it the ole look see.  Then all the formatting.  And honestly, I might just write the first three just to make sure they all go together continuity wise.

So…time…so much time.  But it is starting to look like persisting in writing a little bit now and then does build up and eventually puts you in the right direction.

So thank you, 3.5 readers, for your support and your 7 eyes.  For the first time ever, I actually believe a BQB has a good chance of being published.  And with sales to my 3.5 readers, minus Jeff Bezos’ cut, that mozzarella cheese stick basket at Applebee’s is calling my name.

Mmmm…mmm…that’s good eating!

 

 

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 77

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Lady Blackwood stood in the deep, dark void in the middle of the circle of fire, surrounded by the flames that went on forever and waited…and waited…and waited.

Such was the chairman’s style.  He was much too important to see anyone on time.

The fire dissipated and the lady found herself in a finely decorated reception area.  Polished wooden floors, magnificent artwork on the walls, the only thing that threw off the room’s atmosphere was the drooling bug-eyed goblin perched on top of the desk.

Fabrizio had no use for chairs, preferring to squat on his haunches like a frog and allow his arms to dangle in front of him.  He may have been a scrawny, pointy-eared, snaggletoothed little freak, but as the chairman’s personal secretary, he guarded his boss’ interests zealously.

“Does ye have an appointment?” Fabrizio squeaked.

“I don’t need one, fool,” the Lady replied haughtily. “I’m the vice-chairwoman.”

Fabrizio closed his left eye and leaned in to study the lady’s face with his right. “Be ye really the vice-chairwoman or be ye an assassin in her guise?”

I’m a mental construct, worm,” the lady said. “My body isn’t even here.”

“Yes, yes, but one can never be too careful with the chairman’s well-being,” the goblin said.  “Disrobe for a cavity search, please.”

Unamused, Lady Blackwood backhanded the twerp’s face, launching him across the room until he smacked into a wall.  She opened up a door behind Fabrizio’s desk and proceeded to strut down a lengthy hallway.  Suits of armor from various cultures and time periods were lined up against the walls.

“Wait!” the goblin cried as he scurried after her.  He wrapped his arms and legs around the lady’s left leg but his insignificant frame wasn’t enough to slow her down.  She kept walking with the puny mongrel still attached.

“Before the chairman you can see you must answer my riddles three!”

“Unhand me, lecher!”

The lady kicked her leg until the goblin fell off and skittered across the marble floor.

The goblin threw himself before the lady’s feat and groveled in a most unpleasant and pathetic manner.

“Please!  You must let me announce ye or the chairman will have my hide!”

The lady rolled her eyes.  “Very well.”

The goblin and the vampire reached the large iron doors leading into the Chairman’s chamber.  Fabrizio leaped into the air, grabbed the door handle with his claws, planted his feet against the door and struggled wildly until it budged.

The little beast entered.  Lady Blackwood listened to the goblin’s muffled announcement.

“The vice-chairman here to see you, oh illustrious one!”

The chairman’s reply was a booming, guttural bellow, so loud that the wind produced knocked both doors open and caused the lady’s hair to flap in the breeze.

The goblin walked out tipsily, looking like he’d just lost a three round prizefight.

“Is he in a good mood?” the Lady asked.

“Better than usual,” the goblin replied.

Lady Blackwood entered the chamber.  The doors slammed shut behind her.

Surrounded by bookshelves filled with copious volumes of forgotten lore, the chairman sat behind a glorious oak desk in a leather bound chair.  From the lady’s point of view, all that was visible were the large, curled ram’s horns poking out from above the top of the chair, and a red right hand clutching a cigar.

The chairman’s voice was a low baritone.  “Our name is legion…”

The lady curtseyed and gave the expected response, “For we are many.”

“Why do you disturb me?” the Chairman inquired.

On Earth, Lady Blackwood feared no one but here in the underworld, it was hard even for a wealthy aristocratic bloodsucker to not be nervous in the chairman’s presence.

She chose her words carefully.  “Henry is poised to conquer America in your name but the board’s incompetence stands in the way.”

The cigar disappeared.  Smoke rings raised high above the leather chair.  The red hand dropped down again.

“Did I appoint intelligent agents capable of acting in my stead, or squabbling children unable to resolve their disputes without crying to daddy?”

“I do not cry,” the lady said.  “I merely beseech your intervention.”

What would you have me do?” the Chairman asked.

“Nullify the board’s demands that Henry toy with Slade,” the lady said. “Allow Henry to remove Slade from the equation without delay.”

The chairman shifted his cigar to his left hand and drummed his long fingernails on the desk with his right.

“I have been imprisoned in the realm of the damned since time immemorial,” the chairman said. “Waiting for a being such as Henry with the ambition to plot an invasion of this magnitude and the cunning to see it through to execution.”

Lady Blackwood was pleased to hear those words.  “Then I implore you to…”

The red hand raised in a sign for the lady to be silent.  She obliged.

“I have also waited since time immemorial for someone with Henry’s ingenuity with cruelty.  Our esteemed counselor is an artist who paints with human suffering the way others do with watercolors.”

“I’m sure he would be pleased to hear you speak so highly of him,” the lady said.

“I have waited here for millennia and can do so for countless more if need be,” the Chairman said. “If the invasion fails, I can wait for another.  But I do not know when another being with Henry’s acumen for turning honest men into heartless slaves will come again.  If there is even a slight chance that Slade could be the one that allows me to feel sunlight on my skin and dirt under my feet, then I will take it.”

“But..”

“I will take it,” the Chairman repeated.  Lady Blackwood knew it wasn’t a good idea to argue the point further.

“Very well,” she said.

“While we are on the subject of the board’s incompetence,” the Chairman said. “Let us discuss yours.”

“Mine?” the Lady asked, incredulously.

“Even with the greatest gunslinger who ever lived as your personal puppet, you still have not been able to best a drunk bitch and her dandified partner,” the Chairman said.

“Miss Canary has proven to be an unfortunate challenge,” the Lady said.

“Her contemporaries have been writing off her warnings about our operation as little more than the ravings of a mad alcoholic,” the Chairman said.  “But win or lose, the result of Henry’s invasion will be that people will listen to her.  She knows your name.  She knows the board of directors’ names.  She will share them…with men who will hunt all of you down and leave you no peace.”

“She will be stopped,” the Lady said.

“Will she?” the chairman asked. “An observation, Vice-Chairwoman. Your ineptitude put the safety of the entire board in jeopardy…”

“A traitor put them in jeopardy.”

“A traitor in your employ,” the Chairman noted.  “And yet at no time did any of the board members come to see me with complaints about you.”

The lady hanged her head low, something she never did to any man or beast on Earth.

“Loyalty, Vice-Chair,” the Chairman said. “It has a place, even amongst us.  That will be all.”

Lady Blackwood knew enough about the Chairman to realize that would, indeed be all and it would be hazardous to her health to discuss the issue further.

“Good day, chairman,” the lady said.

“Vice-chairwoman,” the Chairman replied.

The room disappeared.  The lady was in the black void again.  She closed her eyes and awoke frozen stiff with blood red eyes, stark naked in the middle of a brothel. 

She regained movement and her eyes returned to normal.  Two naked prostitutes who rivaled her beauty laid in bed, waiting for her return.  They both took turns smoking opium from a hookah, and had been doing so for so long they hadn’t even noticed their client’s previously immobile state.

“Come back to bed,” one of the girls said as she patted the mattress.

The lady pulled her robe from a hook and put it on.

“No,” she said.  “I have work to do.”

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