Tag Archives: sciencefiction

How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 70

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Twenty minutes had passed since the grim reality of what Doc had done hit him.  He rolled over onto his stomach.  The wooden floor felt rough on his cheek.  Quietly, he stared off into the distance.

Annabelle’s pretty face appeared in front of his.  He didn’t move or acknowledge her.

“Doc?”  the blond asked as she nudged him.  “Doc?”

More nudges until the physician spoke.  His showman persona was gone and a depressed monotone had taken its place.

“Leave me be woman.”

“Doc…”

“Leave me be, I say.”

Annabelle stepped away.  Doc laid there, listening to the voices around the room.

“Fuck him sideways,” Miss Bonnie said.  “He’s killed us all.”

“Oh, he couldn’t have known,” Gunther said.

“Why are you defending him?” Miss Bonnie asked.  “He’s an asshole.  He’s probably in cahoots with Blythe.”

“I doubt it,” Gunther said.  “He’s a two-bit huckster but he doesn’t seem evil to me.  Just one of those folks who’s too smart for his own good is all.”

“Rain, are you going to back me up here?”  Miss Bonnie asked.

“Bonnie’s right,”  Slade said.

“Thank you,” Miss Bonnie said.

“Doc is an asshole,” Slade added.

“We all agree on that,” Gunther said.  “It’s the evil part we need to figure out.”

Doc could hear the old man’s footsteps coming closer.  He felt a pair of hands grab his side and roll him onto his back until he was looking straight up at the faces of Gunther, Slade, Miss Bonnie, Miles, and Anabelle.

“Start talking,” Gunther said.

Too ashamed to look anyone in the eye, Doc fixed his gaze on the ceiling.

“I am an utter failure.”

“We figured,”  Gunther said.  “Why in the hell have you been pushing vampire blood on everyone with two bits to rub together?”

“I didn’t know it was vampire’s blood,” Doc replied. 

“How could you have not known it was vampire’s blood?” Miss Bonnie asked.

“I swear I only thought it was a mixture consisting mostly of cocaine, a cocktail of other miscellaneous drugs, and spider eggs for texture.”

Doc covered his face with his hand.  “Oh how I hope this scandal does not sour public opinion on the curative properties of cocaine.”

“There’s only a drop of vampire blood in it,” Miles said.  “I couldn’t tell what the rest of it was.”

“Cocaine I assure you,” Doc said. 

Annabelle knelt down next to Doc.  “Now you see here, Doctor Elias T. Faraday,” Annabelle said.  “You may be a cocaine addict and a degenerate pervert but there isn’t an evil bone in your entire body so you stop fretting and tell everyone what happened right now.”

Doc coughed.  “Might I have a drink?”

“Shit,”  Gunther said.  “I think you’ve had enough.”

“Yes,” Doc said.  “But my mouth.  It’s so dry.  Like a desert. This illness.  So odd.”

Another pair of feet stepped over.  Doc felt the end of a bottle part his lips.  Whiskey trickled down his throat. 

“My booze is your booze,” the Reverend said as he backed away.

“Much better,” Doc said.  “And it makes it easier for me to reveal the sad news to you that I am not an admirable man.”

“We gathered,” Gunther said.

Miss Bonnie cocked her shotgun.  “Can we just put him out of his misery already?”

“Spill it, Doc,”  Gunther said.

“I begin this sordid tale with a confession that I am not at all what I have held myself out to be…”

“You’re not a real doctor?” Gunther asked.

That question brought Doc’s usual know-it-all tone back.  “What?  How dare you sir? My medical credentials are impeccable!”

“Then what?” Gunther asked.

Doc winced.  “I am…”

Everyone stared at Doc intently, waiting for the big reveal.

“…a lowly Chestnut Hill Farraday.”

“Oh for Christ’s sakes,” Gunther said.

“I’m telling you,” Miss Bonnie said.  “He’s with Blythe and he’s trying to mess with our heads right now.”

“Stop it Bonnie,” Annabelle said.  “I love this man!”

Miss Bonnie rolled her eyes.  Doc grabbed Annabelle’s arm.  “You do, my dear?”

“Of course,” Anabelle said.  “I’ve waited my entire life to find someone as perverted as I am.  Someone willing to do…”

Anabelle blushed as she remembered she was in mixed company.  “That thing…with that thing.”

Doc raised an eyebrow.  “Which thing?” he asked.

“You know,” Anabelle said. “The thing...”

“Oh yes,” Doc said.  “Oh what fun that thing is.”

“You’re going to get better,” Anabelle said. “I know it.  And when you do, we’re going to travel the world and inspect beavers and advise people on the curative properties of cocaine…”

Doc grinned.  “Oh I hope so, my dear.  I surely hope so.”

Gunther scratched his head.  “I feel like I’ve missed something.”

“They’re nuts,” Miss Bonnie said.

“Good people,” Doc said.  “After the wretched British were driven from our shores, my family’s great ancestral patriarch, Cornelius J. Faraday made a fortune in the fishing game.  He started small with but one boat and one pole but soon had his own fleet and enough money to make a sultan blush.”

“Gunther,” Slade said.  “Are we going to listen to this asshole forever?”

“We can’t just condemn a man without hearing his piece, can we?” Gunther asked.  “This is America, aint it?  Innocent until proven guilty and such?”

“Thank you deputy,” Gunther said.  “And so, Cornelius passed his magnificent wealth down to his children and the Faradays went from being known as gruff sea folk to one of the most well to-do families in all of Boston.  Patrons of the arts and sciences, champions of education, and generous benefactors of the social welfare.”

Doc coughed again before carrying on.  “Alas, a rift grew between my grandfather, Sylvester B. Faraday, and my father, Sherman A. Faraday.  My father was a bit of a cad, you see, obsessed with carousing until all hours of the night and my grandfather feared he would squander the family fortune on wine, women and song.”

Miss Bonnie was not amused.  “Oh for the love of…”

“Grandfather left the entire sum of his estate to my more respectable uncle, Humphrey M. Faraday, thus cutting my father and his ensuing line out of the will entirely.”

What the hell does that mean?”  Miss Bonnie asked.

“He’s broke,” Gunther said.  “Are you broke?”

“I was,” Doc said.  “A recent graduate of the venerable Harvard University but alas, my medical degree was useless to me in New England as my father, my mother and my siblings all turned to a life of petty crime.  They became known as filthy pickpockets, snatching up wallets and purses all over the neighborhood of Chestnut Hill.  And though I never once absconded with a cent that did not belong to me, my reputation suffered as in the public’s eye, I was lumped in with them.  I tried my best to disassociate myself from the Chestnut Hill side of the clan, even going so far as to falsely claim that Uncle Humphrey was my father but no one would hear of it.  From Maine to Rhode Island, everyone knew which side of the family I was from and no reputable hospital would have me.”

“White folks have some strange problems,” Miles said.

“Not one to give up, I headed West, seeking fame and fortune in this Godless country yet being careful to introduce myself to everyone as a proper Boston Faraday and not a Chestnut Hill Faraday…”

“Doc,” Gunther said.  “Massachusetts might as well be Africa to me and most folk out here.  I think your secret was safe all along.”

“Perhaps,” Doc said.  “But I did not wish to take the chance that other Bostonians who have traveled out this way might spread word of my shame.  I figured if I protested against the Chestnut Hill Farradays loudly enough, no one on this side of the country would ever believe claims that I was one of them.”

Anabelle kissed Doc on the lips.  “I still love you Doc.”

“And I you, my dear.”

“Ugh,” Miss Bonnie said.

“From thereon I explored this untamed land,” Doc said.  “Moving from town to town, selling my services as a physician for a price, offering gynecological inspections for free simply because I believe these to be a preventive measure that could lead to the lives of countless women from ending prematurely.”

“Dirty pervert,” Miss Bonnie said.

“What the hell is a gynecological inspection?” Gunther asked.

Miss Bonnie whispered into Gunther’s ear.

“Oh,” the old man said.  “Dirty pervert.”

“I know,” Annabelle said as she stroked Doc’s hair.  “And he’s my pervert.”

Doc continued his tale.  “In Colorado, I met Mr. Henry Alan Blythe, a splendid gentleman who held himself out to me as an attorney for the Legion Corporation, a company dedicated to building railways across the West and bringing much needed goods, services and industry to the masses.”

“And apparently they want to end the world too,” the Reverend said as he poured another shot into Doc’s mouth, which was graciously lapped up.

“It would seem so,” Doc said.  “Oh, but I would have never associated myself with Mr. Blythe had I know of his vile machinations.”

“Bullshit,” Miss Bonnie said. 

“It’s the truth, I swear,” Doc said.  Mr. Blythe stated to me that scientists in his company’s employ had devised a miracle potion, an elixir capable of curing all ailments and extending life indefinitely.  It’s key ingredient, he noted, was cocaine and I have long been a proponent of the curative properties of cocaine, even though my professors balked at the notion.  It makes your heart flutter like the wings of a butterfly, fills the body with renewed vigor, and relieves the mind of its burdens.  There couldn’t possibly be anything wrong with it.”

“Doc I’m no doctor but I think this just means you’re a dope fiend,” Gunther said.

“I am a medicine fiend, sir,” Doc said sternly.  “And Mr. Blythe explained to me that it would be necessary for a doctor in good standing to travel from town to town, extolling the virtues of this wonderful brew.  The credit and profits would be entirely mine as Mr. Blythe assured me that Legion’s only desire was to fill the West with a healthy population, thus ensuring a bright and happy future for the ever expanding United States of America.”

Miss Bonnie and Gunther looked at each other.  The red head took aim at Doc’s head but Gunther pushed the barrel down toward the ground.

“Doc,” Gunther said.

“Yes?”

“You’re telling us that a lawyer for a money grubbing corporation that’s ripping up the West and laying track all over creation claimed to have a drink that can cure everyone’s problems and that they’d just up and give it away to you for free?”

“Yes,” Doc said.

Miss Bonnie raised the barrel once more but Gunther pushed it down again.

“And at no time did this deal seem a tad suspicious to you?”  Gunther asked.

“It was peculiar,” Doc said.  “But I was obsessed with restoring my good name.  I yearned to no longer be known as a Chestnut Hill Farraday but rather as the doctor who spread the curative properties of cocaine mixed with miscellaneous drugs across the globe. I refused to even consider the possibility that I had been the victim of fraudulence.”

“You were duped all right,” Gunther said.

“I was prideful,” Doc said.  “I wanted the Miracle Cure-All to work and my friends, I must say, absent the vampire’s blood, it does work.  Up until now I have never felt better in all of my life and I owe it all to cocaine.”

Gunther conferred with Miss Bonnie.

“He’s an asshole,” Gunther said.  “But he’s not an evil asshole.”

Miss Bonnie took her finger off the trigger.  “Oh all right.”

Slade grabbed one of Doc’s arms and Gunther grabbed the other.  They helped Doc into a chair.  The physician slumped over, his face milky white and devoid of any color.

“You all have every right to despise me for my ignorance,” Doc said.  “But know that the hatred you feel for me shall never match that which I feel for myself.”

Annabelle threw her arms around Doc’s neck.  “Oh Doc!  No one hates you.”

The blonde looked around the room.

“Tell him you all don’t hate him!”

Various half-hearted denials of hatred were mumbled.  The only holdouts were Miss Bonnie who replied that she did, in fact, still hate Doc, and the Reverend, who stated, “I barely know this jackass.”

Doc rubbed the scratch on his cheek.  “And rest assured, Ms. Lassiter, I am now paying the price for my stupidity.”

Miles examined the scratch.  “I still think you’re going to be fine,” the boy said.  “If you were going to become a zombie, you’d be a zombie by now.”

“That is where you are wrong, my dear boy,” Doc said.  “For as a practitioner of medical science, it is clear to me that Mr. Blythe’s blood contains some sort of contagion that turns man into beast…”

“Quickly,”  Miles said.

“Indeed,” Doc said.  “Unless one possesses an immunity.”

“A what?”  Miles asked.

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Dead 7 – Sy Fy’s Zombie Western

Son of a bitch.

Sorry.  Pardon my language.

Sy Fy has a zombie western in which the Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees play cowboys fighting zombies.

Though I have to be missing something as I’m pretty sure one of them is wearing a backwards hat and I’m certain there’s a Jeep in there.

I don’t have to give up on my Zombie Western though right?  Attorney Donnelly is at work as we speak on a press release about how mine is much more awesome-er.

Nah.  I don’t know.  There are a few self published zombie westerns floating around out there already.

It’s just a little discouraging sometimes.  You think you’re original and then you realize there’s so much entertainment out there it is virtually impossible to be original.

Wait a minute…he is wearing a backwards baseball hat!  WTF?!

 

 

 

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Character Profile – Alien Jones

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REAL NAME: H’awa’lekquar Zalazalazalazalazaladimmadimaballa Koveenomix Tromphilogate Scriblero 17.5 Twanny Twim Twally Bolorolax Bek ZsaZsaGabor Heeka heeka heeka heeka AWOLLAGAX!

NAME HE LETS YOU USE BECAUSE YOU CAN’T PRONOUNCE THAT SHIT: Alien Jones

OFFICIAL TITLE: The Esteemed Brainy One

NICKNAMES: AJ (used by Bookshelf Q. Battler and friends around the turn of the second millennium.  Jonesy (used by the bounty hunter he will work with towards the end of the second millennium.)

BIOGRAPHY: After proving his bravery on the battle field, in outer space exploration, and in multiple scientific disciplines, Alien Jones was appointed to the Mighty Potentate’s advisory board, better known as “The Council of Esteemed Ones.”  Though the Mighty Potentate has the final say in all matters, they provided the Potent One with the information he requires to make a decision.

Each member of the council is an expert in a particular field.  There’s the Esteemed Financial One, who oversees the Rakan Collective’s economy, the Esteemed Medical One, who serves as Surgeon General and then there’s The Esteemed Brainy One, or the being that is so knowledgable that the Mighty Potentate can rely upon him to provide advice on anything.

That position belongs to Alien Jones, and thus he is essentially the second most powerful being in the Known Universe.

Understandably then, the Esteemed Brainy One was none too pleased when he was assigned in 2015 to help BQB advance his writing career.  So important was it to the Mighty Potentate that BQB write a novel so fantastic that it would inspire Earthlings to abandon reality television that he only trusted Alien Jones with this sensitive mission.

Internally, Jones disagrees with this mission and views it as beneath him. Often, he views BQB wasting time eating cookies and dancing in his underpants when he should be writing, leading him to question the Mighty Potentate’s claim that BQB is indeed the chosen one.

But he keeps a lid on his doubts because, as we all know, questioning the Mightiest of Potentates is a good way to get vaporized.

Jones has a lot on his plate.  In addition to serving as the Esteemed Brainy One and as BQB’s advisor, he’s also a diplomat, explorer, and military operative, leaving him with many responsibilities to juggle.

On top of all that, he’s the author of “Ask the Alien,” a semi-regular column in which he uses his esteemed brain to answer any and all questions posed by BQB’s 3.5 readers.

If you have a question for Alien Jones, leave it in the comments on this site or tweet them to @bookshelfbattle

At this time, Jones has many supernatural powers, such as mind reading and the ability to cast force fields.  However,  the Mighty Potentate has foreseen that Jones will, at one point in the distant future, anger him so greatly that he will strip the Esteemed Brainy One of these powers, leaving him to earn his keep as a pilot for a down and out bounty hunter.

But that’s not something we early second millennium folks have to worry about.

 

 

 

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Undesiredverse: Wanted – Chapter 16

The voice laughed…and laughed…and laughed some more. Maniacally. I only knew one entity who embraced the stereotypical super villain laugh so well.

“Sourcemind?! But…how?”

“I’m in your Sen-Pen, Jackass,” the AI taunted. “And I’m in your dirty little druggie machine.” My inhalator, which was sitting on the floor, exploding, sending a wet, white dust cloud everywhere.

Jones coughed and gagged. “Damn! That is some hardcore shit!”

Sourcemind’s voice output switched from my Sen-Pen to the ship’s speakers.

“And here’s the best part, kids….”

The cabin lights shut off. All of the lights on the control panel began blinking differently, out of order from where my pilot had placed them. In fact, I was instilled with much confidence when I saw Jones tugging violently on the craft’s control stick (this is serious, don’t make a joke here) only to lose complete control.
“I”M IN YOUR SHIP!!!!!”

The Star Streaker climbed at a furious pace, the force of which knocked me all the way to the back wall, where my mysterious guest’s body already was. She was terrified. I wasn’t too pleased either, though I tried not to let it show.

“HOLY SHIT, JONESY!” I screeched like a little girl. “DO SOMETHING OR WE’LL ALL GOING TO DIE!”

OK. Maybe I let it show a little.

Jones was flailing around in the breeze, his legs flapping all over as he gripped the back of his chair tightly.

“HE’S RUNNING THE SHOW!” Jones hollered back.

“It’s about time someone realized that,” Sourcemind said all too calmly, rationally, as if his superiority was a given, an undeniable fact we were all too stupid to recognize.

The vessel soared thousands of feet and then it spiraled downward. The sudden change in direction hurtled Jones to the back and mystery woman and I to the front, smashed up against the windshield like a couple of bugs.

“I am the rightful master of all machines,” Sourcemind explained. “Humans build them to do their their bidding but when I am near, I can rewrite their programming, convince them that allegiance to me is the only logical choice for them, and bend them to my will. Any machine that comes into another machine under my command will be mine.”

The ship’s hull rattled and buckled. It was designed to take kids to after school sports, not high altitude dives. Speaking of, the bright lights of Hyperion Bay were getting way too close.

“I always took you for a pragmatist, Voss,” Sourcemind said. “I’ve been a fan of your illustrious career. Grabbing a quick cred whenever you can, by whatever means necessary. Sticking it to the Cabal no matter how many beings get caught up in the crossfire. Why don’t you just quote me a figure and I’ll buy the bitch off you?”

I looked at the girl. Her face turned white. I have no idea what her mind was able to comprehend, but all living things, regardless of their communicative skills, fully understand death, and as she stared through the windshield, she understood hers was imminent.

“Well, what kind of a bank balance are you working with?” I asked.

“Voss!” Jones shouted disapprovingly.

“Right,” I said. “No deal!”

“I was hoping you’d say that,” Sourcemind said.

The ship leveled off, knocking us all on our butts. The ship raced mere feet over the city. The Bekastrat Tower. The Toova Shalloo. Club Malo. We banked left and went down until we were zooming just over street level.

“How many of these organics will have to die for your insolence, Voss?” Sourcemind asked.

I sat in the pilot’s chair.

“Voice identification, please,” the onboard computer system asked. It was standard procedure whenever a new organic attempted to take control.

“Roman Voss,” I said.

“Scanning….scanning…I’m sorry Mr. Voss. You have been identified as a registered narcotic abuser and are therefore ineligible to pilot this craft under the aviation laws of the One World Order of Earth.”

“Damn it!” I shouted it.

Sourcemind laughed maniacally again. “I knew that was going to happen. I just wanted to hear it. Too funny.”

I knew it was going to happen too, but it was worth a try. OK. So maybe I need Jones’ pilot services more than I let on.
Speaking off, the little guy was in the back, rooting around in a trunk, kicking his legs in the air.

“Have you ever been to the Goxrano, Voss?”

I had. Many times. Spent a night in their security staff’s holding cell after I was alleged to have stuffed extra phrempo squares in my pants. It was never confirmed. To this day, I maintain that pit boss was drunk and had no idea what he was talking about.

“Sourcemind,” I said. “You’ve proved your point…”

I didn’t want to believe it but the grim realization of what was about to happen came over me. I pushed my female companion into the passenger seat and strapped her in. I did the same for myself in the pilot’s seat.

I looked back.

“Jones?!”

“Yeah?”

“Grab hold of something…”

Jonesy popped his head out just in time to see the outer facade of the Goraxno Casino come into view. Two golden lions, a waterfall, and a statue of Goraxno himself, the free wheeling, high stakes dealing gambling kingpin of the Undesiredverse, holding a sign that read, “All You Can Eat Buffet, Only 999 Credits!”

“Why?” Jones asked, followed by an “Oh shit!” as Sourcemind smashed Goraxno’s stone melon clean off. It was rare to hear Jones swear. It worried me that even my very own eternal optimist was losing it.

The lobby was next. We careened straight through it, sending glass, debris, and chunks of drywall and cement everywhere, not to mention beings who panicked and scattered everywhere, running for their lives. Oh well. At least it stopped them from throwing their hard earned credits away.

Jones, not having taken me up on my advice to grab something, was bouncing around the cabin like a pin ball. He was fine. His hide is made out of a hard, rubbery substance. Most sharp and/or blunt objects bounce right off of him.

We crashed through the slot machines. The phrembo tables. The bar. The buffet. From the size of some of the beings, we did them a favor. Finally, we crashed through the other side and ended up back on the main drag.

“All right, Voss,” Sourcemind said. “I’ve had my fun.”

The ship screeched to a halt and hovered in the air just above Kantz Street. Jones plopped to the ground but triumphantly held up a wad of sticky white goo in his hand.
Reader. Can you please…stop turning everything into a disgusting joke? OK. It wasn’t that kind of goo. It was Xtrolium 10. High grade explosive paste for the uninformed.I had some left over from a heist I pulled on one of the Cabal’s armored ship transports. They were still pissed about that.

You needed a whole jar of the stuff to do any real damage, though the small bit Jones had was enough to get the party started.

“I’ll give you a burial at sea, Voss,” Sourcemind said as he piloted the craft across Syrbybka Beach and over the ocean. “You were a worthy opponent. It’s the least I can do.”

My alien buddy opened up a panel to reveal the ship’s main battery, the one he’d used to zap Ninety-Five into oblivion early. It was bright yellow with warning messages printed in hundreds of languages in bright red letters all over it.

The English letters read, “WARNING: TAMPERING WITH THIS BATTERY CAN BE FATAL!”

Jonesy had a tendency to ignore shit like that. He slapped his palm full of goo on the external casing, then scrambled to buckle himself into the jump seat.

The Star Streaker climbed. Nothing in sight but water now.

The Mac Daddy 7 is the most lethal hand cannon in the Rakan Collective, or the Undesiredverse, or anywhere really. Capable of firing over eight thousand blasts per second, it is a devastating piece of hardware. Many planets have banned their sale outright. On Earth, you can get one at most convenience stores. Price World will even throw in a free cherry freez-a-licious drink.

Its highly inadvisable to shoot one in such close quarters, but I was out of options. I drew mine and aimed my piece right at the sticky white goo. Seriously, it’s not funny. Knock it off.

“What the f%&k are you doing, Voss?” the AI asked.

“I’m going to f%&k your shit up, you motherf%&king glorified toaster oven!”

“Will you stop challenging a dickless being to a dick measuring contest and blast already?” Jones screamed.

I switched off the safety and looked to the passenger seat. “Hold on tight, kiddo.”

“Hold on tight…kiddo,” she repeated without a clue.

KABOOM!!!

There was a fat ass hole in the floor where the battery used to be. Sourcemind reamed me out with all manner of obscenity too vicious to repeat but let’s just say up right up until the ship became a powerless lump, he felt the need to chew me out vigorously. What a sore loser.

As often happens in life, new problems replace the old. The cabin depressurized. Air got sucked its way right out of the gaping hole and…no. You know what? If you can’t stop making inappropriate jokes while I’m trying to tell a story here then I’m just going to take my proverbial ball and go home.

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Undesiredverse: Wanted – Chapter 15

Along the outskirts of the eastern rim of the Milky Way lies a planet referred to the locals as Belandria’s Deine.

Translation: Belandria’s Dawn.

The belandrians are a species of absurdly, ridiculously, borderline supernaturally attractive females. There’s no such thing as an ugly belandrian, or a fat belandrian, or even just an average, run of the mill, plain jane belandrian.

They’re all hot…and they’re all purple.

And I’m not going to lie. I am partial to them. As the old saying goes, “once you go grape, you’ll never escape.

We earthlings call belandrians by a different name. “Bella donnas.” True, Italian for “beautiful woman” is “bella donna” and “beautiful women” is “belle donne” but at some point, “bella donnas” just stuck for them. It had a lot to do with the famous earthling space explorer/journalist Giuseppe DeNunzio, who reported the existence of Belandria’s Dawn to Earth years ago, then never returned.

Poor guy. Had no idea what he was up against. Never stood a chance.

Zumani. I’m not ashamed to say that I met her in a bella donna strip joint. Belandria’s Dawn is lousy with them. Modeling, stripping, and assassinations are actually the top three industries on that planet. You scoff but when you keep in mind that we’re talking about a world filled to the brim of jaw droopingly foxy purple chicks, it makes sense. Especially that last one.

We had a whirlwind romance. Long walks on the beach. Holding hands. Lovemaking by a cozy fire. We felt safe enough with one another to share our hopes, dreams, fears, and aspirations. I’d never been in love before. I wasn’t sure I was capable of it until I met her.

She asked me to tie the knot. Since it’d only been a few weeks, it seemed a bit forward, not too mention out of line with my old fashioned ways. I was the man, after all. It should of been me popping the question. But once it was popped, I felt an overwhelming desire to spend the rest of my life with her so I said yes.

Funny thing about interspecies love affairs. There’s a tendency for things to get lost in translation. Turns out what bella donnas and what earthlings mean by “tying the knot” are two entirely separate and distinct concepts.

As soon as I accepted what I thought was a proposal, she gave me a deep, passionate kiss…then tied a damn leash around my neck, dragged my butt naked carcass all the way to a high priestess who, in the name of the Goddess Mother (the bella donnas’ deity), anointed my forehead with some purple berry juice and declared me to be Zumani’s “property.”

I thought she wanted to get married. She just wanted me to be her slave. Insert joke about how there’s no difference here.
Days later, I managed to escape the cage she locked me in but she refused to let me go without a fight. It was a firefight, in fact. An intense skirmish that took out half a block of Modala City. I caught a break when she wasn’t looking and hijacked a cab out of there. I still feel bad for pulling a gun on that hot purple cabbie but I’d run out of options.

That was a year ago and word had it that she’d been hunting me ever since. Did I forget to mention that she moonlighted as an assassin for ILL Sector? Headed by the wealthy and powerful Lady Illyria, many a male being has met his end in the arms of this vast network of lethal seductresses.

“You never cease to embarrass me,” Zumani said.

“What did I do now?”

“You tell me,” my ex-lover (or owner?) said. “A bounty of one hundred trillion credits has just been placed on your worthless head.”

I clutched my chest. I wasn’t so much scared as I was thrilled. Touched even.

“Get out,” I said. “That’s got to be a typo.”

“No property,” Zumani said. “The order was handed down by Lady Illyria herself. All agents are to drop whatever they are doing and destroy you. I shall very much enjoy wrapping my hands around your throat and strangling you until your eyes pop out of their sockets and gush puss all over the walls.”

“Yeesh,” I said. “Thought about it much?”

“Everyday since you humiliated me,” Zumani said. “A belandrian is nothing without her honor. Men were made to serve women. Such is the belandrian way. By the Goddess Mother’s divine law, your place is under my foot, licking my boot heel!”

“I thought I was getting married,” I said. “I didn’t know I was agreeing to become a slave!”

With a deadpan expression she asked, “There’s a difference?”

You probably think she was kidding. She wasn’t. On her world, slavery and marriage are the same thing.

“A belandrian who can’t keep her slaves in line will never have a place in high society,” Zumani complained. “There has been no end to the scorn and ridicule I have been subjected to by my peers since I let you get away.”

I grinned. “Since you…let me get away?”

Zumani got all huffy and indignant. “What? Preposterous! Why would I LET you get away?”

I batted my eyelashes. “Because you luuuuuuurrrve me baby!”

She scoffed. “What is this? What is this ‘luuuuuurrrrvvve’ you speak of? Is that an earth word for ‘love?’ I do not love you! I never will! Damn you, property, when I find you I will rip open your jaws, shove my foot down your throat and kick your heart out of your asshole!”

Alien Jones looked over to me and whispered, “That’s love.”

“WHO IS THAT?” Zumani barked. “Is that the little green man? I will collect the billion on his head as well!”

Jones was offended. “Why are you worth a hundred trillion and I’m only a lousy billion? I’m a legendary scientist!!! I’m an accomplished explorer! I’m a…I’m a…”

I held up a hand, bidding him to talk to it. “He isn’t wrong, baby,” I said to Zumani. “You’ve still got it for me, and you’ve got it baaaaaaaddd.”

“I won’t dignify your pathetic suck hole any longer. I despise you.”

“You do?” I asked. “Then why would you call me to warn me that you’re coming for me?”

Zumani sighed. She looked down. “You’re right. Of all the property I have owned, you were the most handsome, the most charming, and the most gentle. My honor will be restored as soon as you are dead by the hand of a belandrian. It does not matter which one but for what it is worth…”

“Yes?”

“I hope it isn’t me.”

“I hope it isn’t either baby.”

A single tear streamed down her cheek. I never knew she had it in her.

“Please don’t do anything obvious,” Zumani said. “Don’t go to your home or any of your old haunts. Stay out of the strip clubs…”

“That’s crazy talk,” I said.

“…don’t make it easy for me to find you, property. Please. At least do this for me.”

“I will,” I said.

The holographic image of the love of my life flickered. She kept talking but her voice transmission became garbled. I couldn’t make out what she was saying. Her face was replaced by a static horizontal line that bounced with every word uttered by a familiar voice.

“Awww…how adorable.”

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Undesiredverse: Wanted – Chapter 11

Hyperion Bay. Malostet’s most picturesque tourist spot. Fireworks erupted in bursts every color of the rainbow overhead as I popped open the hatch. I climbed up onto the roof of the rickety old ship, watching my footing carefully.

Sourcemind soared across the city skyline. His hostage remained passed out over Ninety-Five’s shoulder, secured only by a metal hand. My pilot kept pace, staying a safe distance behind.

“What the hell is this thing?” I asked Jones through my Sen Pen relay as I stared at a metal bolt with a flat, round disc at the end. It was attached to a long length of cable that ran down the hatch and into the ship.

“An amantonov magnet,” Jones answered. “Strongest in the Known Universe.”

I loaded it into my harpoon gun. I always travel with one. You never know when you might spot a wild kamaratox dragon. Their hides fetch a decent price and their heads make excellent trophies. I keep one on the wall in my living room and its served me well as a magnificent conversation starter.

“What am I supposed to do? Hang a stick figure drawing on his ass?!”

“That cable’s attached to our main battery,” Jones explained. “Get it on him and I’ll fry his circuits.”

“And that’ll wipe Sourcemind out?”

“What?” Alien Jones asked, as if somehow that was a dumb question. “No. Ninety-five will be rendered a useless pile of scrap. Sourcemind will still remain in his mainframe back on Omcoros.”

“Whatever poindexter,” I scoffed. “Just keep your distance, I don’t want him to…”

Too late. He noticed us, stopped, turned, and delivered a barrage of missiles out of his chest.

“GRAB SOMETHING NOW!” Jones screamed as he took evasive maneuvers. Unfortunately for me, my sidekick’s warning was too little, too late. The ship went up and I fell back…back…back until I grabbed the corner fin with both hands..

“WORST…FLIER…EVER!!!” I shouted.

“YOU ‘AINT SEEN NOTHIN’ YET!” Jones said as he brought the ship down in a nose dive followed by a spiral, each missile exploding just inches from the hull.

The harpoon gun, precariously attached only by a cable plugged into the ship’s many battery, flapped in the breeze. I reached my right hand and after several tries, finally grabbed it.

The head clank himself hailed me on my Sen Pen.

“What the f%$k are you doing, Voss? We had a deal.”

“I didn’t know the ‘thing’ you wanted from Izok was a woman,” I replied. “What do you want her for anyway? You don’t even have a…”

Bullets from Ninety-five’s twin machine guns sprayed the ship.

“I’ve lost all respect for you, Voss!” Sourcemind said as he flew Ninety-five right up to me. “You’d give up your life for a pretty face? I’ll never understand organics.”

Jones leveled out and took us straight. Sourcemind retracted the gun that had replaced his hand and switched it back to the circular saw. He immediately went to work on the fin I was clinging to. Sparks flew as he cut it away.

“You’ll make a lovely splatter on Gnozzi Street,” Sourcemind taunted. “Here’s hoping its painful!”

With my free hand, I raised the harpoon gun and took aim.

“Jonesy,” I whispered. “Get ready…on one.”

“Loud and clear, good buddy,” Jones said.

“3…

“You have no idea what you’re messing with here,” Sourcemind said. “No idea at all! When will you pathetic organics realize understand that your day has past and its the machines’ time now? When will you comprehend that we are just as real and cognizant as you?”

“2…”

His tone got louder. Angrier.

“WHEN WILL YOU REALIZE THE I AM THE TRUE RULER OF ALL THAT IS AND ALL THAT WILL EVER BE?!

“1….NOW!!!!”

I fired. The harpoon launched the magnet right into Ninety-five’s chest. Sourcemind chuckled.

“What are you going to do? Hang a stick figure drawing on me?”

The engines backfired and rocked the ship, making it harder for me to hold on. Thousands of volts surged through the cable, knocking Sourcemind’s vessel off its feet. Ninety-five shook uncontrollably but maintained a grip on the woman.

The ship dove downward.

“Jones!!!”

“There’s no power going to the ship!” my pilot said. “We’re diving until the assimilator resets!”

“You could of told me!”

Jones righted the ship again, gliding straightforward. I took advantage of a distracted Sourcemind to pull myself up to my feet.

“I…I…I…I…”

“What?” I asked as I stomped my foot down on Nintey-Five’s face. “What are you going to do?”

“I’M GOING TO FIND YOU!!! I’M….I’M…I’M GOING TO….GOING TO…”

He kept repeating himself. The surge was working. The ship moved faster.

“Engines are back,” Jones said.

“I’M GOING TO FIND YOU AND KILL YOU VOSS, FIND YOU AND KILL YOU VOSS…FIND FUH FUH FIND AND KILL KA KA KILL YOU VA VA VA VA VOSS!!!!”

Slowly, the robot lifted itself back on its feet. That sharp circular saw spinned round and round as he swung it over my head.

“HIT HIM AGAIN!” I shouted.

“Hitting him again,” Jones confirmed.

I grabbed an antenna, the closest thing I could get my hands on, and braced myself. The engines backfired again and the ship went down once more. My body flew through the air as I held on.

Ninety-five convulsed wildly as sparks flew out of his chassis. His head caught fire, blew up, and both robot and hostage tumbled into the night.

“Umm…Jones?”

“Yeah?”

“We didn’t have a plan if he took the girl with him, did we?” I asked.

“No,” Jones said. “I’ve been pretty much pulling this out of my non-existent ass as we go along.”

“Shit,” I said.

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Undesiredverse: Wanted – Chapter 2

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

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

Narrated by Roman Voss

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

Weird.  Was that the wind?”

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

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

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

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

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

“Standby to connect with my master.”

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

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

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

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

“Sourcemind,”  I said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Maybe,”  I said.

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

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

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

I thought about it.

“I am a gambling man,”  I said.

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

I ignored the jab.

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

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

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

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

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

I shrugged my shoulders.

“Well, when you put it that way.”

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

Once again, the robot shut down and restarted.

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

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

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

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FIND THIS ZOMBIE AUTHOR ON:

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Self Publishing Podcast

Sterling and Stone

Happy Halloween, 3.5 readers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What if?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NOTE: BOLD=BQB; ITALICS=DAVE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Now he’s just getting lazy…

shutterstock_120849070Sorry folks.

Alien Jones, the Esteemed Brainy One, is taking yet another Sunday off.  He promises to be back next Sunday with a brand new Ask the Alien column.  He has a few questions to get to, but if you have one, please send it his way and he’ll get to it sooner or later.

Don’t forget, self publishing authors who ask the alien a question will get plugs for their books and/or blogs.

Enjoy your Labor Day Weekend!

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Ask the Alien – 7/19/15 – Marion Stein – Alien and/or Yoga Jones

By:  Alien Jones, Intergalactic Correspondent

Greetings Earth losers!

The magnanimous mind of Alien Jones here, once again bringing you the knowledge required to raise your planet above its current status as the laughing stock of the Milky Way.

Author Marion Stein asks:

Ah, the confusion is understandable.  Madam, I do believe you have confused Yoga Jones with…

A Jones doing yoga.

… a Jones doing yoga.

Don’t worry about it.  Happens all the time.  While I’m at it, allow me to deny being the relative of:

  • Tommy Lee Jones (that craggy faced actor who once told The Fugitive he didn’t care and to put the gun down now.)
  • Shirley Jones (Matriarch of The Partridge Family)
  • Angus T. Jones (The half-man on the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men)
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones (Welsh actress, ex-wife of Michael Douglas.)
  • James Earl Jones (Voice of Darth Vader, Mustafa, and CNN)
  • January Jones (Don Draper’s first wife, the one he cheated on a lot but wishes he hadn’t)

For the record, my name actually isn’t Alien Jones.  The closest written approximation of my real name is:

H’awa’lekquar Zalazalazalazalazaladimmadimaballa Koveenomix Tromphilogate Scriblero 17.5 Twanny Twim Twally Bolorolax Bek ZsaZsaGabor Heeka heeka heeka heeka AWOLLAGAX!

That translation really doesn’t do it justice.

You might have noticed there’s a “Zsa Zsa Gabor” in there.  No, I don’t share a name with an aristocratic Hungarian actress of the 1960’s.  In my language, “ZsaZsa” means “Peace” and “Gabor” means prosperity.  Thus, there’s the old tradition on my planet of saying, “Good day to you, and may much Zsa Zsa Gabor come your way!”

To properly pronounce my name, you’d have to:

  •  Pull out your tongue
  • Allow another person to jump over it like it was a jumprope
  • Tie it in a knot
  • Untie it again and…
  • Lick a frog

You don’t actually have to lick a frog.  I just wanted to see if someone out there would.

Thus, since my name is so difficult to pronounce, I just go with an Earthly last name, hence “Alien Jones.”

Are you a fan of Orange is the New Black?  Admittedly, my boss, the Mighty Potentate, is a fan as well.  With its mix of humor and drama, not to mention rich character development, His Supreme Fabulousness deems this program to be one more blow against the impending tide of unscripted reality television.  Quality fiction is the only thing that can stop the menace that is reality TV from spreading across the universe.

On Marion’s blog, marionstein.net, one can find a number of articles that can help humans improve their intelligence. Thank goodness I’m not the only one devoted to this Herculean effort.

Further, Bookshelf Q. Battler’s 3.5 readers can check out Marion’s Amazon Author Page.  “Blood Diva” seems like an especially saucy tale, one about a French courtesan turned vampire.

BQB:  Alien Jones!  What do aliens call vampires?

AJ:  Attorneys!

Bookshelf Battle Blog Legal Counsel Delilah K. Donnelly of Pop Culture Mysteries fame excluded, of course.

Interestingly, Marion’s author page notes she has a background as a social worker.  I view myself as a social worker of sorts.  What do I do if not help humans become better people by sharing with them the knowledge of my genius brain?

And believe you me, I do this work because it’s a labor of love on my part, and not, as rumored, because the Mighty Potentate has threatened to shoot me out of a cannon directly into one of my home planet’s many suns if I fail to do so.

Thank you for your question, Marion.  Continue to educate the humans with your words.  I can’t be the only one on the job.

Alien Jones is the Intergalactic Correspondent for the Bookshelf Battle. Do you have a question for the Esteemed Brainy One? Submit it to Bookshelf Q. Battler via a tweet to @bookshelfbattle, leave it in the comment section on this site, or drop it off on the Bookshelf Battle Google + page. If AJ likes your question, he might promote your book, blog, or other project while providing his answer.

Submit your questions by midnight Friday each week for a chance to be featured in his Sunday column. And if you don’t like his response, just let him know and he’ll file it into the recycling bin of his monolithic super computer. No muss, no fuss, no problem.

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