Tag Archives: interviews

Fridays with BQB

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Hey 3.5 readers.

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

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

The good news is that I’m not dying.

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

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

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

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

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Happy Halloween weekend, 3.5 readers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out those interviews here.

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If People Kept it Real at Job Interviews

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It’s so sad that people feel they have to bite their tongue throughout life’s most tense situations.  We ask questions of each other, searching for the truth, but we hold back when it comes to our questions and our answers, fearful that saying the wrong thing might just blow whatever opportunity lies before us.

I don’t know about you, but wouldn’t it be great if people just spoke freely?

Take the average job interview, for instance.  The potential employer wants to know whether or not a candidate will be a good employee, but doesn’t want to run afoul of the myriad of laws regarding the questions that employers are and are not allowed to ask.

In contrast, the prospects wants the job and wants to make a good impression, so much so that the BS flows freely, while the real reasons why this person would be a great employee are left on the cutting room floor.

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone just kept it real?

 

QUESTION #1

EMPLOYER:  OK, listen up, fuck stick.  I was like you once, a young, dumb, bright eyed bushy tailed kid full of piss and vinegar, love and life and then you know what I happened?  I blinked and twenty years passed and now my parents are dead and all my aunts and uncles are dead and my childhood cat is dead and literally everyone I cared about is dead.  I didn’t spend much time with them though because I pulled long nights at this place and even though I have carried this sinking ship full of assholes on my back for years, they only finally got around to promoting me to this position of authority.  So I’m pissed off and ready to heap abuse on a young kid that reminds me of my former self.  It’ll make me feel better to treat a young person badly, the way I treated.  I’m going to literally blame every mistake I make on you, I’m going to scream obscenities at you all day long and I’m going to make you feel an inch small at all times.  At no time will you ever feel like you possess a modicum of job security and I reckon within three months it will take every last ounce of strength you have just to pull yourself out of bed and come here every morning.  Can you handle that or are you going to be one of those pansies that quits after the first day and then have your Mommy call and leave a voicemail message for me, saying you were dropped on your head repeatedly as a child and I should take you back and give you another chance?

EMPLOYEE ANSWER:  Yes sir.  Yes indeed.  You see, I’m down to my last twenty dollars and I estimate that by the end of the month I’ll be giving hand jobs to homeless people on the subway just to make a little walking around money.  I wish I could tell you that I took my time at college seriously and had the requisite foresight to realize that the past four years should have been spent obtaining impressively high grades, internship and volunteer experiences, undergoing intense training and obtaining valuable credentials but in reality, I spent the past four years chasing hot chicks who wanted nothing to do with me and drinking beer.  Copious amounts of beer.

But I assumed, “Hey, I have a college degree so that guarantees me a good job.”  Three years ago I would not have touched the shit job you are offering with a ten foot pole, but now that I have suffered the indignity of living with my parents for the past three years, having them micromanage every last detail of my life well into my adult life, there’s literally nothing that I would not do in order to obtain this job so that I can pay the bare minimum necessary to keep the student loan people from sending goons to break my legs.  Also, it would be great to get my career started and obtain one smidgen of quasi-respectability on my resume.  Bonus?  I can actually tell Uncle Fred and Aunt Edna that I’m working at Thanksgiving.  They graduated 500 years ago, when you couldn’t walk down the street without tripping over a job, so they don’t understand why it isn’t easy for me to get a job.  I feel like telling those miserable old bastards to watch the news and learn how the world has gone to hell in a hand basket and we’re lucky that jobs even exist and we all aren’t just running around in leather outfits and driving junker cars through the desert like “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” but they’re old and they don’t hear well.

QUESTION #2 

EMPLOYEE QUESTION:  Yeah, that’s all well and good, but honestly, I don’t like your face. You’re an ugly person and I feel like if I have to walk past you on my way to my desk everyday, it’s going to make me sad.  Would you be willing to wear a paper bag over your head with a  cartoon smiley face drawn on it just so I don’t have to feel like I’m a bad person for hating your guts because God gave you that face?

EMPLOYEE ANSWER:  I certainly would sir.  You know why?  Because late at night, when I’m not able to sleep, and FYI, it’s been six months since I’ve slept because I literally worry about my future all night, I see this image of me as a dead old man in a pine box.  No one is at my funeral because I never built up the kind of life necessary for people to care about me.  Even worse, my obituary is just one line.  “He graduated from college and then did Jack Shit for sixty years after that because no one would hire him.”

QUESTION 3

EMPLOYER QUESTION:  I don’t know.  A lot of people come in here, telling me that they’ll work hard but then they don’t and it pisses me off, so much so that sometimes I sit in my office, close the door, and weep uncontrollably at my inability to travel back in time and give my young self advice based on everything I know now that I did not know back then.

After I dry my tears, I’ll probably roll up my sleeves and do all the work I told you to do because I’ll be so exhausted by your incompetence that I’ll just say, “Screw it!  I’ll do it myself!” while you sit on your computer and masterbate over your Facebook friends’ lunch photos.

EMPLOYEE ANSWER:  Not gonna lie.  For the first month, I’m going to show up on time.  My hair will be neatly combed, I’ll be clean-shaven, and I will wear a suit and tie.  I will perform extra tasks without asking.  I will assess all of your needs ahead of time and have what you need ready before you even think about asking for it.

Then about a month it, I’ll forget all about those three years where I sat on my parents’ couch playing video games and crying into my chocolate milk because I’ll think of myself as having made it, so you’ll begin to see a gradual decline in my work and appearance.

I’ll start my not shaving.  Then I’ll lose the tie.  Then the suit.  Three months into this you’ll be lucky if I show up wearing pants.

Four months into this I’ll be late for the first time.  When you don’t notice because you’re in a meeting, I’ll do it again and again.  It’ll be one minute late, then five minutes, then a half-hour, then an hour.  Before you know it, I’ll be waking up at four p.m., writing down a couple of ideas about work on a piece of scrap paper, then going back to sleep only to try to convince you later that I was more effective because I worked from home.

QUESTION 4 

EMPLOYER QUESTION:  That bothers me because by then, I will hate your guts and literally day dream about slamming your head up against a wall repeatedly for all the turmoil you’ll be putting through, but then I’ll remember that if I fire you, I’ll just have to put in a ton of extra work to train your replacement.  Plus, since your generation is a bunch of asshats, that new person might be as worse or, God forbid, he might be even worse than you.  The thought that the next person might be worse than you will keep me from firing you long after it’s clear to everyone who actually does their job around here that you deserve to be fired.

EMPLOYEE ANSWER:  And I’ll be honest and say that yes, I will milk every bit of that and even though you’ve been here for twenty years and I just started, I would say around six months in I’ll gain an inflated sense of self esteem and convince myself that I should own this place, that it would fall apart without me and you should all kiss my ass if I even pop my head in for twenty minutes.

But right now?  I’m desperate.  I’m so desperate.  I’m twenty-five years old.  I don’t want to ask my parents for spending money anymore.  I don’t want my mother reminding me to wear a jacket when it’s cold.  I don’t need my father bitching at me for bankrupting him on the electric bill every time I don’t turn out a light at the exact second I no longer require the light anymore.

Right now, I would do anything.  There’s nothing you could ask me that I wouldn’t do.  You could ask me to suck your dick and I would do that for you, no questions asked.  I’d tell no one.  All you would need to do is stand up, unzip, pull out the old frank and beans and I would go to town on it.  I’d give lots of eye contact.  I would not forget the balls.  I might even give a little tickle around back…and then we’d never speak of it again.  It would be like it never happened.

That is how badly I want this job.  That is how deeply scared I am that in this economy, where all our business and political leaders have failed us miserably for years, that I will never become a productive person, that I will never accomplish anything to be proud about, that I will never be able to move out, or have a wife and kids of my own.  I’m so scared of never amounting to anything that you may feel free to use my face for your personal amusement.

QUESTION #5 

EMPLOYER QUESTION:  See, you say that, but you have this fancy college degree.  It means shit right now because you have zero experience but once I give you a little bit of experience and prove to other employers that you’re in it to win it, you might leave me high and dry.  You see, there was a time when employers actually cared about employees.  Employers gave their employees training.  No one felt any jealousy and people went out of their way to help each other.

That time is long gone.  Now, honestly, after the years of pain and bullshit this company put me through just to obtain one lousy promotion, I would literally feel like biting down on the business end of .45 Magnum and pulling the trigger if I were to ever learn that after I gave you a leg up with some useful on the job experience, you were able to, say, parlay that into a job that pays better than mine by the end of this year.

If that were to happen, I realize the only healthy thing to do would be to wish you well and not be resentful of the fact that life went your way while it bent me over and had its way with me, but them’s the breaks, kid.

Sure, if I weren’t keeping it real, I’d probably say something like, “You’re so overqualified with this degree from an outstanding institution of higher learning that I wonder if you would feel unstimulated and unchallenged in this working environment but really, you should read that is, “I will literally hurl myself off a cliff if you ever do better than me in less time than it took me to get where I am today.”

EMPLOYEE ANSWER:  I understand that if I weren’t keeping it real, I’d tell you how wonderful I think your company is, how I’d be a great match for it, how this job is everything I ever dreamed of but I’m desperate, so remember that offer to suck your dick?  Still on the table.  Hell, I’m so tired of picking spare change out of my parents’ couch cushions because I’m too proud to ask my father for allowance at this point in my life, that I will throw in some butt stuff with that offer.  You want butt stuff?  You’ll get butt stuff.

Do keep in mind though that everyone has been telling me how great I am my entire life. My room at home is filled with dull, dusty trophies that my school gave me for meaningless victories like “Always colored within the lines” or “Always remembered to close his mouth in class so flies wouldn’t buzz into it.”

So, while you are correct, I will show you no loyalty whatsoever and will blow this pop stand the instant a better offer comes along, for the foreseeable future, I’m so tired of seeing my parents choke back their tears and hold in their disappointment every someone asks them over the phone how I’m doing and they lie and say, “Oh, he’s just fine” when I’m clearly not fine that you can get mouth and butt stuff from me.  It’s all on the table.

QUESTION #6

EMPLOYER QUESTION:  But come on.  A degree in philosophy?  Are you kidding me?

EMPLOYEE ANSWER:  Nope.  No joke.  Four years ago I was so literally fucking stupid enough to think it was possible for me to become such a great philosopher, that I would take everything I would learn and use it write a book that would become so popular that its great insight into the human psyche would cause world peace to break out that I signed up to take over a hundred grand in debt even though everyone, literally everyone, my mother, my father, my aunt, uncle and cat all told me I should major in something more practical.

Now, after being denied gainful employment for the passed three years despite having gone on over one hundred job interviews, I realize how hard the world is and it is all I can do but curl up in my bed in the fetal position and wait to die.  I used to think I could change the world.  Now I would dance a jig if you were to give me this demeaning job where I take your abuse and fetch coffee for you all day and act as a cover for you so you can tell your boss it was my incompetence that kept you from getting your work done on time and not, because, you know, you spend your afternoons snorting coke in the bathroom of a golf course on company time.

Did I mention that my cousin who spent his high school years huffing paint can fumes and following his favorite rock band around the country became a plumber and now he’s married, has three kids, a house that you could fit three of my parents’ houses in and he’s taking his whole family to Hawaii this year?

QUESTION #7 

EMPLOYER QUESTION:  I see.  Do you have any questions for me?

EMPLOYEE ANSWER:  Right.  I’ve heard this part of the interview is important.  I really don’t think you’re going to hire me so I’d like to get home and cry into a cheesecake as soon as possible but what the hell, I’ll give it a try.  Is your break room OSHA compliant?

QUESTION #8 

Hell if I know.  This whole place could fall down on the heads of all my employees for all I care and all I would do is step over their lifeless corpses on my way to outsource their jobs to a call center in India.  By the way, do you know their are kids your age in India who would walk barefoot over a mile of hot coals just to sit on your parents’ couch for an hour?

Hey listen, I’m going to shake your hand now and tell you it was great to talk to you and thank you for coming in, but the second you walk out the door, I’m going to curse our nation’s education system for producing young people who seem like they get dumber and dumber every day.

Also, I’m going to tell you that you’ll hear back from me in 3-5 business days but if you call for a follow-up, no one here will remember who you are, myself included.  If you get a pre-printed form letter informing you that we appreciate your interest, you were such a great candidate but we had so many great candidates that the decision was difficult (don’t believe that by the way, you were so awful that if a monkey walks into this room after you leave and offers to work for bananas, I’ll hire him) and we wish you well in all your future endeavors, consider yourself lucky.

EMPLOYEE ANSWER:  Thanks!  I’m going to go home, eat an entire pie, and then humiliate myself by asking my mother to stroke my hair and sing me a lullaby in the hopes that will give me the sleep that has evaded my so long now, because I know my life will be spent on go nowhere interviews like this for the foreseeable future.  Oh and even though you saw the smallest amount in me necessary for you to even waste your time meeting me, that won’t cheer me up at all.  I will still tell everyone that you were a dick and this is all your fault and not my fault for majoring in philosophy.

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An Interview with Krampus, the World’s Most Notorious Ancient Germanic Yuletide Demon

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

So, as you know, I’m a hostage of the yeti, but he is allowing me to interview my next guest because he is such a fan of his work.

I’m not a fan per se but, you know, the blog must come first and I need the clicks.

Without further ado…Krampus.

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Krampus: Vile Ancient Yuletide Demon/Denier of the Power of Facial Scrubs

BQB: Your Evil Hornyness, welcome.

KRAMPUS: Thank you, BQB. I’d say it’s good to be here but I’ve been thrown out of places much classier than your pitiful blog.  Hell, I had way more than 3.5 followers in the olden days when computers hadn’t even been invented.

BQB:  Right.  So, can you tell my 3.5 followers who you are?  I don’t mean to be rude.  I’m just not sure that they have heard of you.

KRAMPUS: That’s cool, bitch.  First of all, I am hella old.  I date back before pre-Christian times.  Second, I’m the antithesis of everyone’s favorite fat man, that rotund wishy washy do-gooder Santa Clause, or as I call him, “Old Saint Dick.”  See what I did there?

BQB: Yes.

KRAMPUS:  Because he’s really Old Saint Nick but I called him Old Saint Dick because I think he’s a dick.

BQB: Punny.  But we all know what Santa does.  He brings toys to all the good little girls and boys of the world.  What do you do?

KRAMPUS: Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold the phone and stop the presses, Cochise.  Santa does not bring toys to good girls and boys, so let me just straighten out your bent propaganda there.

BQB: He doesn’t?

KRAMPUS:  No, he doesn’t.  Oh sure, he’s got you all hoodwinked with all the, “He sees you when you’re sleeping” and the naughty/nice list but really, honestly, truly, we all know that shit is a scam.  That fat bastard will bring a toy to a kid no matter what and he does not give a shit whether or not that kid has been naughty or nice.

BQB:  Really?

KRAMPUS:  You know it, bitch.  Look, parents love to get their misbehaving little turds to straighten up by warning them that they will get jack shit when Santa finds out all the heinous shit they’ve done, but Santa doesn’t care enough to actually cross-reference a naughty/nice list of every damn child in the entire world.  And you think the elves are going to help him do it?  Those little freaks are union.  They have like nineteen smoke breaks a day and the fat man is lucky if he can get those pointy eared butt goblins to do a half-hour’s worth of work in a day where he pays them for eight hours at a rate of fifty bucks an hour.

BQB:  Wow.

KRAMPUS: I know.  If I were that fat ass crushed red velvet suit wearing diabetes patient, the first thing I would do is send all of those Keebler cookie rejects packing and ship the entire North Pole operation to China.

BQB:  I think we’ve gotten off topic.  You still haven’t told my 3.5 readers what you do.

KRAMPUS:  Well, nothing right now, but back in ancient times, I did Santa’s job.

BQB:  Oh.  So you delivered toys to good little girls and boys?

KRAMPUS: Say what?  Bitch, please.  If a kid was good, I walked my demon ass right on by that kid’s house without giving him a reward.  You’re supposed to be good and to channel my inner Chris Rock, you’re not supposed to get a “cookie” for doing something “you’re supposed to do.”

BQB:  Oh.  And the bad kids?

KRAMPUS:  Beaten with chains.

BQB: Umm…

KRAMPUS:  Yup.  “Hey Gunter and Greta,” all the ancient Germanic parents would say.  “Be good and do your chores and clean up the cave and wipe all the moss off the rocks and don’t talk back or else Krampus will throw you in his sack, beat you with his chains, then drag you off to Hell.”

BQB:  This interview has taken a turn for the worse.

KRAMPUS: Oh please, don’t feed me that namby-pamby bleeding heart shit.  The ancient holiday season was fun.  Ancient folk would even sing songs.  “Krampus Carols” we used to call ’em.

BQB: Please don’t sing one.

KRAMPUS: “Jingle chains, jingle chains, Krampus has got his chains…”

BQB: Stop.

KRAMPUS: “Over the river and through the woods and into Krampus’ sack we go…”

BQB:  Stop.

KRAMPUS: “…it’s slung over his back and down through the cracks of the earth and into the underworld we go-ah-oh!”

BQB:  We get the picture.  So obviously, you don’t do that anymore.

KRAMPUS:  A shame really.  So many children deserve a good in-sack, chain beating.

BQB:  Wow.  OK, just for the record and not just because my lawyer is advising me to say this…I do not condone or approve of violence against children in any way, shape or form.

KRAMPUS:  Fine, fine.  We can nix the chains and the sacks and the dragging naughty children off to Hell now that we live in quote unquote modern “enlightened” times.  But at the very least, that little shit that keeps pulling his sister’s hair and treats his parents like cash machines and personal servants should not get a present from the fat man, don’t you agree?

BQB:  Eh…kids are kids.  Sometimes the worst kids grow up, realize the difference between right and wrong and live good lives despite youthful naughtiness.

KRAMPUS:  Yeah, and like I said, no more sacks, chains, and/or draggings off to the underworld, but maybe instead of a new bicycle, Tommy can pay his penance for bullying all those nerdy kids at school by being forced to watch a week’s worth of incredibly dry documentaries.  “No Tommy.  No presents for you.  No trip to Grandma’s house to play with toys and stuff your face with cookies.  You will now watch programs about how wicker furniture is made until New Year’s Eve.

BQB:  I’m not really for it but I guess it is way better than the chains and the sack and so on.

KRAMPUS:  I’m a hip demon.  I get with the times.  I can find all kinds of new age punishments that twenty-first century hipster millennial parents will be down with.  “What?  You didn’t do your homework?  No presents for you until you eat this bowl of vegan, gluten-free tofu.”

BQB:  I think I know the answer already but I have to ask.  Why aren’t you as well-known as Santa?

KRAMPUS:  Ah.  Where do I start?  Rumor has it that Hitler had me banned.  I can’t confirm or deny that because we evil demons have to stick together, but between you, me and your 3.5 readers, I was such a shit heel that even the dude who was all like, “Hey, maybe shipping off six million people to their doom isn’t such a bad idea” heard about me and was all like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa!  Krampus!  Enough with the chains and the sack beatings already!”

BQB:  So it was Hitler?

KRAMPUS:  Eh, you could say that but really it was commercialization.  The gift and card industry.  Those advertising pricks on Madison Avenue.  I mean, really, around this time of year, whose face do you want to see on your box of cookies, or on your soda-pop bottle or on your television?  Me and my jagged razor sharp teeth of Fatty McGoody-Two-Shoes, what with his chubby angelic cheeks and his professor glasses and his red suit and his warm smile and his overall aura of, “Hey, you all do your best, so here’s some free toys and shit and you know what?  I’ll even let you naughty kids fool yourselves into thinking you were nice all year long because that’s just what the Grandpa of the World does.”

BQB:  Well, when you put it like that…

KRAMPUS:  There’s just no way I can compete with that adorable walking “Before Jenny Craig” model.  I might be getting soft in my old age because there are times when even I want to let bygones and bygones and give old Fatty McManTits a big hug.

BQB: Why don’t you?

KRAMPUS:  Eh, Mrs. Claus and I used to date.  Santa is kind of a dick about it.  It’s all very awkward. I’ve said too much.

BQB:  It’s cool.  Only 3.5 people read this blog anyway.  So what do you do with all your free time now that you have hung up your sack and chains?

KRAMPUS:  Oh, let’s see.  What don’t I do?  Yoga.  Knitting.  A little bit of crocheting.  Spin class.  Pottery Barn.  I can’t even get within five feet of a Pottery Barn without destroying my credit rating, let me tell you.

BQB:  They do have some nice stuff at Pottery Barn.  Krampus, that’s all the time we have and I’d like to thank you for this interview, but I won’t, because it was truly awful and will no doubt give my 3.5 readers nightmares, which they don’t deserve because they are all nice people.  Before you go, do you have any last words?

KRAMPUS:  Don’t be good because an obese, raging pizza addict at the top of the world will give you a free video game if you do, because he will give it to you even if you’re a total asshat anyway.  Instead, be good because you’re supposed to be good.  And if you’re good for the right reason, then good things will come to you throughout your life.

BQB:  Wisdom found in a surprising place.  Thank you for reading, 3.5 readers.  Good night and Merry Christmas.

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#31ZombieAuthors Rewind – Day 27 – Jake Bible

With Your Host: Schecky Blargfeld, Zombie Comedian

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Hey there, 3.5 readers.

I hope you’re ready for a little music because I’m about to put my zombie pipes with a little birthday ditty.

“Happy Birthday to you! Whoa, uh oh, Happy Birthday, to you! Happy Birthday, Dear Jake Bible, Esteemed Inventor of the Drabble Novel! Whoa, uh oh, Happy Birthday, to yah-uh-uh-ooo!”

Yep, that’s right, 3.5. Last year BQB’s buddy Alien Jones reached out to Jake to wish him a Happy Birthday (and if you’re following the logic, it’s Jake’s Birthday again!)

AJ and JB also talked zombies and other assorted monsters.

Check out that interview here.

And don’t forget to check out Jake’s Amazon author page.

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#31ZombieAuthors Rewind – Day 3 – Stevie Kopas – The End of the World is Not Glamorous

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With Your Guest Host: Schecky Blargfeld, Zombie Comedian

You know folks, a lot of people say they’re into zombies.

In fact I just had dinner and now I have a few people inside me.

:::rimshot:::

I’m here all month, folks.

“The end of the world is not glamorous.” That’s a lesson people learn in Stevie’s Breadwinner Trilogy.

Its true.  Enjoy civilization, people, what with money and jobs and heat and plumbing and TV because an apocalypse, zombie or otherwise, would not be fun.

On the third day of his journey into zombitude, BQB talked to Stevie about her books, publishing, and even learned about her favorite beer.

Check out that interview here.

And don’t forget to check out Stevie’s new book, Never Say Die: Stories of the Zombie Apocalypseavailable on Amazon now.

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#31ZombieAuthors Rewind – Day 1 – Sarah Lyons Fleming – Packing the Perfect Bug-Out Bag

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He’s here all month, folks.

Happy October, 3.5 readers. Your old undead pal Schecky Blargfeld here.

BQB’s journey into zombie madness began on October 1, 2015 when he, his girlfriend, his best friend, and his alien buddy found themselves trapped in the East Randomtown Price Town with oodles of zombies trying to get in and feast on their brains.

Could happen to anyone, really.

Luckily, BQB, as the caretaker of a magic bookshelf, knew a plethora of professional writers who were kind enough to talk to an idiot with a blog that’s only read by 3.5 people.

The first writer he called was Sarah Lyons Fleming, author of Until the End of the World.

Sarah educated our resident nerd on how to pack the perfect bug-out bag.  That’s a bag full of all the essentials needed to survive a life on the run during a zombie apocalypse.

Check out that interview here.

And did I mention Sarah’s latest book, Mordacious, is out now?  The people have spoken and it is a brain chompingly good read.

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#31ZombieAuthors Rewind with Your Host – Schecky Blargfeld, Zombie Comedian

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Schecky Blargfeld wasn’t funny in life and is even less so in his undeath.

ANNOUNCER:

Live (er, undead) from the East Randomtown Chuckle Hut, its Schecky Blargfeld, Zombie Comedian!

SCHECKY:

Hey there, hi there, ho there 3.5 readers. Wow, let me tell you, I just trudged in all the way from LA at an incredibly slow place and boy are the arms I held out directly in front of my body the entire time tired.

Lot of stuff going on in the news these days. Lot of stuff.  You know I saw on TV you’ve got two zombies running for president?

Wait, what?  They’re not zombies? They’re just ridiculously old. My bad, although in my defense, both candidates look like they are the stuff of Rick Grimes’s nightmares.

Jeez Louise, 3.5.  Hillary or Trump? Trump or Hillary? That’s like asking a fella which one of his two nads he wants to not be removed by a nad doctor.  Both outcomes are awful so I suppose all you can do now is vote for the nad whose bullshit most corresponds to your bullshit and then hope your preferred nad won’t destroy everything by 2020.

Look kiddos, you’re the people who chose these candidates. But oh sure, I’m the dumb monster.  Right. Makes a lot of sense.

You know what? Keep your brains, people.  I’m not going to eat them. You need them more than I do. Keep your brains and use them to think about what you’ve done.

What else?

You ever date a she-zombie? Boy, let me tell you, she-zombies be shopping. Am I right? You know I’m right.

I’ve never met a she-zombie that didn’t want me to part with all my green stuff. Oh, FYI I’m not talking about my money but my supply of fresh, juicy brains…brains I lifted off of once smart people…not people who read blogs that only have 3.5 readers…I’m not talking about you people of course. You 3.5 readers are great.

Knock…knock…

AUDIENCE:

Who’s there?

SCHECKY:

Ima Zombie.

AUDIENCE:

Ima Zombie who?

SCHECKY:

Damn, bitch. How many zombies do you know? Let me in so I can eat your brains already!

Hey people, so check it out. It has been an entire year since Bookshelf Q. Battler survived the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse.

Do you remember that?

Zombies actually ate up the dude’s town but did BQB give up?

Sadly no, which is too bad, because let’s face it, this blog is taking up valuable real estate on the web.  Space that could be used for pornography, penis lengthening pills, or scams involving Nigerian princes that you never knew you were related to who want to give you money.

But I commend BQB because like Beyonce, he’s a survivor.  BQB did not give up.

No, he used a space phone given to him by his little green sidekick Alien Jones to call 31 Zombie Authors.

And those zombie authors, each an expert on the undead, gave BQB the advice he needed to pull himself out of this jam.

Did you miss the spectacle last year?  Fear not.

I will be hosting #31ZombieAuthors Rewind. That’s right.  Every day, I’ll refresh your memory on who BQB interviewed.

So grab your beers and hold onto your brains, for #31ZombieAuthors rewind starts now.

Somebody call my agent. This is the worst gig I’ve ever had.

 

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#31ZombieAuthors – Day 20 Interview – Rachel Higginson – Zombified Romance

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FIND THIS ZOMBIE AUTHOR ON:

  Amazon           Website

 Facebook         Twitter

Today’s guest is Rachel Higginson, author of the zombie apocalypse romance series, Love and Decay.  Currently in Season Three, it’s the story of Reagan, whose dreams of a happily ever after go up in smoke when she’s forced to run her zombified high school sweetheart over with her mother’s car to keep herself from becoming zombie chow.

Born and raised in Nebraska, Rachel spent her college years traveling the world, the highlights of said journey including Eastern Europe, Paris, Indian Food and the beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka.

She came home to marry her own high school sweetheart, who luckily, has yet to become zombified.  When she’s not writing, she’s either raising her four children or reading.

BQB: Rachel, thanks for taking my call.

RACHEL: Thank you! I’m so excited to chat.

NOTE:  BOLD=BQB; ITALICS=RACHEL

Q.   Love and Decay is serialized in a television-esque style.  Season Three came out in May of this year and you expect Season Four in December.  As you describe on your website, during a season, each episode comes out in the form of a novella of around 20,000 words.  When all of the novellas are out, you put them together in a seasonal omnibus.

Thanks to streaming media and the ability to watch whatever you want, whenever you want, television has drastically improved in recent years.  What inspired you to serialize your work and is there any benefit to doing so as opposed to releasing the entire season in one novel up front?

A.  It was my husband’s idea actually. He thought it would be a great way to get more content to my readers faster. 20,000 words seemed easy to him. While it’s not actually easy, it is so much fun. And the 20k setup forces me to write in a different way than I would a full length novel. These episodes are intense and action packed. The plot-building is stripped down to bare bones to allow everything that needs to happen happen in a four chapter novella. If I were to write the same story in a 100k novel, I would write it completely different. It would be the slow build to the climactic moment. And while a zombie apocalypse book can be nothing but action-packed and exciting, the build-up would still be stretched out over time and chapters. The novellas give me permission to pack a punch with each episode. The story arc is still there, but it’s less of a consistent rise. It’s more like taking a roller coaster up the side of a mountain- you’re always going up, but it’s the most exciting way to get to the top.
 
Q.  I have to admit the idea sounds interesting.  We’re all so busy these days that the idea of sitting down to read an entire novel can be daunting for me, whereas the idea of perusing 20,000 words every two weeks seems doable.  What do your readers think of this approach?

A. They love it. They also hate it! They love it because they get to stay engaged with a fictional world they adore for six entire months. I finish a novel in a few days, a week at most. And then I fall into book depression because I have to leave that story behind. With the novella setup, my readers don’t have to leave the Love and Decay World. They get to stay involved for six entire months. And with how the episodes are set up, each read is exciting, each novella propels the plot forward. There isn’t time for slow, calm, world-building chapters. Each novella has to be an adrenaline-pumping ride through the zombie apocalypse. They hate it though because they really are short reads. Some of my readers can finish them in an hour. And then they’re forced to wait for two weeks to find out what happens next. They don’t like that part- and I really don’t blame them. But I secretly think they love the anticipation. That’s half the fun! 

Q.  Reagan falls for one of the Parkers, the brothers who come to her aid.  Love is hard to find even when the world is running smoothly and the damned aren’t trying to crack open your skull just to feast on the sweet, juicy innards.  For  cynics like me, is there any way you convince us that love in the time of a zombie apocalypse is possible?

A. Oh for sure! I think it’s human nature. We’re not meant to be alone, live alone. Even at the end of the world. The greatest goal of humankind is to be known and understood. And there is no greater way to know and understand a person than by loving them. I would think even more so in a zombie apocalypse where fear and uncertainty rule the day. Sure, there’s also a lot of killing and running for their lives, but love happens in all those in between places. Even if it’s not convenient, it’s something we can’t stop. We are designed to love. But then again, I’m a romantic. 

Q.  The undead aren’t the only ones after Reagan.  Not to give too much away, but threats come in the form of a stalker and bounty hunters, just to give some examples.  What is it about a zombie apocalypse that brings out the worst in people?  Can anyone be trusted when zombies are afoot?

A. In my vision of the zombie apocalypse, men and women are ruled by fear. Sometimes that manifests in helping others survive and sometimes that manifests in grappling for control in any way that you can. In our world today, there are bad and good people. I think circumstances in a zombie outbreak would only amplify those roles. Without standards or authority, bad people are free to do as they please, free to find control anyway that they can. If they can control a situation, there is nothing to fear. That makes it nearly impossible to trust people. You can’t predict how another person will react to their fear or living with fear on a daily basis. But I can’t believe everyone would turn to their darker instincts. There will always be good people in the world or maybe just people who cope better. Trust can happen, but slowly. Or very quickly, depending on the life-threatening situation you find yourself in. 🙂 

Q.  Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today.  Before I go, do you have any last minute advice that might help my friends and I survive the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse?

A. Stick together and get creative! You’re going to need a lot of weapons, so you might have to be flexible with the definition of “weapon.” But whatever you end up using, make sure that sucker is dead before you turn around. 

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#31ZombieAuthors – Day 16 Interview – Saul Tanpepper – Zombified Video Gaming

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FIND THIS ZOMBIE AUTHOR ON:

Amazon        Website

    Twitter            Facebook

By:  Video Game Rack Fighter, Special Guest Interviewer

Today’s guest on the Bookshelf Battle Blog is Saul Tanpepper, author of the GAMELAND series, a saga set in a world where zombies outfitted with neural implants are controlled by players using video game controllers.

The carnage ensues when a group of computer hackers break into a Long Island turned wasteland and quickly learn there are consequences far beyond the average video game.

Saul, thanks for joining us.

NOTE: BOLD=VGRF; ITALICS=Saul

51TmgJ+nv1L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Q.   Zombies turned into video game avatars manipulated by wealthy video game enthusiasts.  Just when I thought the world was out of fresh spins on the zombie apocalypse genre, you come up with one.  How did you do it?

A.   I read Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games right after it was published and knew that it was going to be a blockbuster and therefore a good literary model to emulate. I’d been thinking about publishing dystopian fiction (not just horror or post-apocalyptic), and since zombies were starting to get hot, and readers were demanding series, I combined the three elements together and came up with the idea for GAMELAND. The original plan was to throw a half dozen young adults into a gaming arcade with the undead for a fight to the finish, but that seemed too much like HG. I made the gaming aspect secondary and went heavier on the post-apocalyptic theme.

Q.  I hope you don’t mind if I reveal on this blog that you are, in fact, Dr. Ken J. Howe, a PhD molecular biologist and former Army medic/trauma specialist. (Don’t worry, this site only has 3.5 readers so your secret is safe.)  Upon learning this about you, several questions come to my mind, the first being, does your experience and training come in handy as a writer and how so?

A.  It’s both helpful and harmful. As a former scientist, I tend to be overly critical about technical accuracy and probabilities, which holds me back from writing anything too outrageous. This applies to the technologies referenced in the GAMELAND series. We already have the capacity to prolong life and it won’t be long before we can reverse cell death. Scientists are also dabbling in neural implantation, so it’s not a great leap to think about implanted zombies. My medical background is a great help when it comes to writing descriptions. Having personally had my hands inside chests, smelled the effects of rotting flesh, assisted with surgeries, I try to relay the physical and emotional impact of those experiences to the reader.

Q.  Last I checked, zombies are just figments of our imagination  (I hope.)  However, as a molecular biologist/former medic, do you have any thoughts on zombie physiology that you could share?  Are there any known theories on how, hypothetically speaking, a human could be turned into a zombie or exhibit zombie-ish tendencies?

A.  There are some aspects of zombie physiology which the lore currently explains poorly. For example, how do they move and moan when they don’t breathe? Why don’t they rot faster? Why do they prefer brains? Why do they go after only the uninfected? GAMELAND attempts to explain some of these discrepancies.

As far as real-life goes, zombies aren’t that much of a leap, at least if we’re simply talking about brain-dead individuals attacking other people. The bath salt incidents of a couple years back, and any number of drug or hypnosis-induced incidents we’ve seen all resemble zombie-like behavior. If the mind can be so easily manipulated by suggestion or chemicals, it’s not hard to imagine an infectious agent producing a chemical to the same effect.

As far as reanimating the dead, that requires a bit more suspension of disbelief or more faith in the paranormal. Cells tend to break down very rapidly, so unless a person has only very recently died, it’s unlikely the body will have much function. My bets for zombies are on the near-dead or recently-deceased.

Q.  How would a real life zombie video game such as the one described in your series work?  Will video games ever evolve to the point where people can be controlled with a joystick?  (And is that necessarily something we’d want?)

A.  Technology already exists to remotely control inanimate objects in virtual reality (think drones, surgery, bomb robots), and game developers have reported early success in being able to manipulate living subjects remotely in the same way as well as with the use of neural stimulation. We are on the cusp of an explosion in VR gaming. Just beyond that horizon is remote controlled live action gaming. I don’t want to say too much about it, because it would seem to make the ideas I developed in GAMELAND appear less groundbreaking, but suffice it to say, I’d be surprised if we aren’t soon forced to ponder the very same moral questions the characters in my books failed to ask themselves when it comes to this subject.

Q.  You’re also the author of The Essential Book Blog: The Complete Bibliophile’s Toolkit for Building, Growing and Monetizing Your On-Line Book-Lover’s Community.  If you had to give Bookshelf Q. Battler one piece of advice on how to improve his blog, what would it be?  (Besides obtain more than 3.5 readers.)

A.   You’re doing all the right things — writing to a specific target audience, keeping the material fresh, engaging your readers, and leveraging other people’s fan bases — so that’s a great foundation for growing your blog. It takes time, as you already know. Having a mailing list helps, as does having something to offer your readers. For example, I offer my subscribers a free starter library and often tell them about deals and giveaways before I tell the general public. I include a lot of tips in TEBB on how you can monetize your efforts to help defray any costs and build income. Even utilizing the easiest of the techniques will quickly pay for the cost of the book.

Q.  Saul, your expertise has been greatly appreciated.  Before I go, do you have any final words of wisdom that might help my friends and I survive the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse?

A:  It’s been my pleasure. As far as surviving the Z-poc, my only suggestion is to get yourself a good sturdy toilet plunger (if you’ve read my series, you’ll understand why). That, and a comfortable pair of sneakers. You’ll be doing a lot of running.

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