Tag Archives: writers

Do You Want to Write a BQB Writing Prompt?

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.


I’m in the home stretch of BQB’s 101 Writing Prompts book.

In the book, I invite readers to write stories based on the prompts and publish them on their blogs and Tweet me the links.

If anyone is interested, I’d love it if anyone wants to choose a prompt and blog their response.  Maybe the first week the book is out I could put your prompt based writings right here on this fine blog.

Anyone who wants to partake of my prompts, let me know.

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BQB Writing Prompts Book Progress

Well, 3.5 readers.  It finally happened.

I got a draft of a book finished that I felt was worthy enough to print out:c2oksetxuaatafk

I know.  Very exciting.  But this is big.  I believe it will get done and sooner rather than later.

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Writing Prompts – Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow


BQB EDITORIAL NOTE – this is my heartfelt plea to get my book readers to come look at this fine website.  Let me know what you think, 3.5.

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

             Are you a baby boomer like my grumpy Uncle Hardass? If so, I thank you for being a far out, groovy, outta sight reader and wish you well with your writing goals. You’re never too old to write. Never let a young whippersnapper tell you otherwise.  Don’t worry.  I hear tie-dye shirts and eight tracks are making a comeback.

Perhaps you are like me, a member of the often ignored Generation X. Sure, that flannel lumberjack shirt in your closet is getting dusty and there just aren’t enough clinically depressed, long haired Seattle based alternative rockers on the radio anymore, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of time left for you to pen your masterpiece and share it with the world.

Before I go, I’d like to share some wisdom with my millennial readers. (Don’t worry baby boomers and Gen Xers, it’s a free country, so you can read this next part too).

I have heard rumors that at least one of my three point five blog readers was born after 1990, but I have yet to confirm it. Occasionally, I post about things like rotary telephones and dial up modems just to figure out who was born during the Reagan or Clinton administrations. At any rate, if you are a millennial, you have no idea how lucky you have it.

I know. Every up and coming generation hears that. Uncle Hardass said it to me. Uncle Hardass’ uncle said it to him. The wheel of intergenerational complaints never stops spinning.

I’m not saying you have it lucky in life. Hell, I’ve seen the news. You’re probably going to be riding your mother’s basement couch until the next ice age (the cataclysmic event, not the children’s movie, although my condolences because you’ll probably be watching that with your parents too).

I’m saying you have it lucky as a creative person. Consider this thought: There has never been a time in history than the present moment in which creative people have had it so good. 

The good news is that thanks to technology, the so-called traditional publishing gatekeepers have been bypassed. The gate to creative fame is open and the self-publishing “barbarians” (i.e. unvetted folks with work they want to share with the world) are rushing head first toward the promised land of fame and fortune at a lightning pace.

The bad news is there are so many barbarians to contend with that it is easy for an individual barbarian’s voice to be drowned out. I’m sorry. I’ll drop the analogy. Creative people don’t like being called barbarians. Well, I know one guy in East Randomtown who doesn’t mind it so much but that’s a longer story for another time.

Where was I? Oh right. Lecturing the millennials. Millennials, when I was your age, if a creative person wanted to get anywhere, he had to kiss the butt of the assistant to the director of the creative department’s associate vice-president’s cousin’s boyfriend’s dog walker’s taxidermist’s mother-in-law’s pharmacist’s sister’s podiatrist’s acquaintance’s best friend’s support group counselor’s husband’s doctor’s niece’s nephew’s bird trainer in the hopes of getting some sort of introduction into the world of creative prosperity.

Put another way, the gates that held an artist back from living the life of a happy, healthy, financially successful person were sealed shut, locked tight, fortified, and guarded by armed soldiers, laser wielding robots, apache attack helicopters loaded with nuclear missiles and hungry, man eating pit bulls.

In short, way back when, you’d spend a year or two trying to find your “in,” hoping that if you straddle the scene of the publishing industry long enough, a friend’s friend of a friend might sneak you through the gate and help you bypass all of the attack helicopters and pit bulls and so on.

You, the millennial reader, have technology that just didn’t exist when I was twenty. You should still be polite, but you no longer have to kiss butts. You no longer have to completely rely on an introduction from a friend of a friend of a friend. You can take your blog and your social media accounts, post your very best work, and put it all together to form a hypothetical javelin that you can use to leap across that gate and land in the world of creative success. (Note: do keep trying to network. Seek those connections and introductions. Kiss those butts. You might find a butt attached to a person who can help you build your javelin faster or better yet, alleviate your need for a javelin and just open the damn gate for you).

I don’t make promises or guarantees. People who do are, more often than not, charlatans. Maybe you sing like an angel but no one is listening to the track you posted.   Your artwork might be worthy of a museum, but for whatever reason, your online gallery isn’t being bombarded with clicks. Perhaps you have written a book that makes Hemingway’s collective works look like a pile of puke, but readers aren’t finding it. It is possible to work your ass off in the indie game and still loose.

But, millennial reader, what you get courtesy of technology that past generations didn’t have, is a chance. That’s right. A chance. Building an online following takes years. Sure, there’s the occasional overnight success story where someone posts something in the morning and is on the news by suppertime, but for the most part, creative notoriety is a multi-year enterprise.

When I was twenty, the only avenue I had available to me to break into the world of professional writing was to start kissing butts and pray that one day I’d kiss the right combination of butts to make my dream come true. To me, it just seemed like way too many butts. Ultimately, I pursued a path that took me away from my love of the written word because I did the math and I was just not able to afford enough breath mints to compliment all of the the required butt kissing.

Now, with a laptop and a few affordable purchases from your friendly neighborhood electronics store, a whole world opens up to you – a world I never dreamed would ever exist when I was twenty.

Think about it. If you’re a writer today, you can:

  • Write your book.
  • Find an editor to polish it up.
  • Find a designer to provide you with an eye-popping book cover.
  • Inform the world of your masterpiece via social media.
  • Start a blog and use it to promote your work. Turn it into a place where people who are interested in your stories can find you.
  • Record a podcast. Interview other authors. Shoot the breeze about books.
  • Host your own web show. I prefer not to because I have a face for print, but you should turn on your web cam and start talking about your love of writing until the cows come home.

There’s a vibrant online community of self-publishers who will gladly lend you their advice. There’s also a budding industry of what I call “self-publishing support providers,” i.e. editors, cover designers, promoters and so on. (Although, let the buyer beware as some of these folks may be more helpful than others. Shop around, do your due diligence and talk to other customers before you shell out a bunch of money you can’t afford to lose).

In the end, you might invest a lot of time, money, and effort into a self-publishing endeavor only to fall flat on your face. But, and this is a big but (not to be confused with the big butts that Sir Mix-a-Lot wasn’t able to lie about), you get a chance.

Back when I was twenty, in nineteen hundred and whatever, up your nose with a rubber hose, you don’t need to know the exact year, I would have bare knuckled boxed a thousand meth addicted hobos, sailed across every ocean in the world, climbed the tallest mountain, and fought off a pack of angry wolves just to get a chance to make my dreams of becoming a professional writer come true.

If you’re a twenty year old, don’t blow your chance. Start your blog.   Launch your podcast. Throw caution to the wind and host your own web show. Be cautiously optimistic. Remember, the Internet is forever so don’t do something online that will make you unemployed and unemployable, but at the same time, revel in the fact that you have a chance. A career as a writer that isn’t built on a long line of kissed butts is theoretically possible, and hypothetically within your reach.

Baby boomers and Gen Xers, you should still embrace this technology, but millenials, you are in the best position to do so. Start a blog when you are twenty and you may just find yourself lousy with an astronomical amount of readers by the time you hit thirty. (You’ll need them to help you adjust to the new normal of what it is like to be thirty).

Then again, what do I know? I just run a blog with a mere three point five readers. At any rate, I hope you enjoyed this book. Take these prompts. Use them as clay to build the bricks of your own stories. Don’t forget to post your prompt inspired works on your blogs and share them with me. My favorite time wasting social media sites are Twitter, where I am @bookshelfbattle and that Zuckerbergian monstrosity known as Facebook, where I am @bookshelfqbattler.

Better yet, bookshelfbattle.com is my online haven. Do stop by. My three point five readers are very lonely. Just don’t feed the Yeti. He’s fat enough as it is. Also, he eats people.

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Glengarry Glen Ross: Self-Publishing Edition (Or, Always Be Self-Publishing)

BQB’s EDITORIAL NOTE:  3.5 readers, I heard a rumor you guys are struggling with your self-publishing ventures lately, so I invited a special guest speaker to come in and motivate you.  Please welcome a young Alec Baldwin in his prime.


Let me have your attention for a moment!  So you’re talking about what?  You’re talking about…(puts out his cigarette)…bitching about that book launch you shot, some son of a bitch reader that doesn’t want to read your book, somebody that doesn’t want to read what you’re writing, some broad you’re trying to screw but she won’t screw you because writers never get laid and so forth.  Let’s talk about something important.  Are they all here?


All but one.


Well, I’m going anyway.  Let’s talk about something important.  (To Levene) Put that coffee down!  Coffee’s for self-publishers only.  (Levene scoffs).  Do you think I’m fucking with you?  I am not fucking with you.  I’m here from downtown.  I’m here from a primo e-book sales site.  I’m here on a mission of mercy.  Your name’s Levene?




You call yourself a self-publisher, you son of a bitch?


I don’t have to listen to this shit.


You certainly don’t, pal.  ‘Cause the good news is you’re fired from my platform.  The bad news is you’ve got, all you got, just one week to regain your jobs as self-publishers, starting tonight.  Starting with tonight’s word count session.  Oh, have I got your attention now?  Good.  ‘Cause we’re adding a little something to this month’s self-publishing contest.  As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac El Dorado.  Anyone want to see second prize?  Second prize is a box of steak knives.  (Holds up box of knives).

Third prize is you’re fired.  You get the picture.  You laughing now?  You’ve got words.  That fuck who wrote the dictionary went to a lot of trouble to get you those words.  Think about the right word combinations and write them!

You can’t finish writing a book with the words you’ve been given then you can’t write for shit.  You ARE shit, so hit the bricks pal and beat it because you are going out!


The words are weak.


‘The words are weak.’  The fucking words are weak?  You’re weak. I’ve been in the self-publishing business for fifteen years.  That’s right.  I went back in time and told myself to start self-publishing before any of this shit was even invented.


What’s your name?


Fuck you!  That’s my name.  You know why, Mister?  Because you wrote your novel tonight on a bargain basement, second hand Dell and I wrote my novel on a state of the art, top of the line Mac Book Pro.  That’s my name!

(To Levene) – And your name is “you’re wanting to self-publish but you’re too chicken shit to get off your ass and do it.”  You can’t play in a man’s game.  You can’t close out a book.

(To Everyone) – Because only one thing counts in this life!  Get readers to read your books!  Do you hear me, you fucking losers?

(Blake points to a blackboard.  Two sets of letters are written on it:  “ABS” and “ADIY.”)


A-B-C.  A-always, B-be, S-self-publishing.  Always be self-publishing!  Always be self-publishing.

A-D-I-Y.  Always Do It Yourself.  Stop waiting for those traditional publishing pricks to give you the keys to the golden kingdom because it’s never going to happen.  Are you going to do it yourself?  I know you are because it’s fuck or walk.  You self-publish or you hit the bricks!

Do it yourself!  Who else are you going to do it for?  Christ?  Take action.  Get out there!

You’ve got the readers coming in.  You think they came in to get out of the rain?  The guy doesn’t come to your online book sales page unless he wants to read.  He is sitting out there waiting to give you his money!

Are you gonna take it?  Are you man enough to take it?  (to Moss) What’s the problem pal?  You!  Moss!


You’re such a hero.  You’re so rich.  Why are you coming down here just to waste your time on a bunch of bums?

(Blake takes off his gold watch and shows it to Moss).


You see this watch?  You see this watch?




This watch costs more than your car.  I made $970,000 on self-publishing last year, mostly on one book that had a really descriptive scene about a giant pair of titties.  How much did you make?  You see, pal, that’s who I am.  And you’re nothing.  Nice guy?  I don’t give a shit.  Good father?  Fuck you.  Go home and play with your kids.

(To everyone) – You want to self-publish here?  Finish writing a book!  You think this is abuse?  You think this is abuse, you cocksuckers?  You can’t take this, how are you going to take it when your book gets a one star review?

You don’t like it?  Leave.  I can go out there tonight with the words you’ve got and write myself fifteen thousand books.  Tonight!  In two hours!  Can you?  Can you?  Go and do likewise!

A-D-I-Y!  Get mad!  Get mad, you sons of bitches!  You know what it takes to sell books?

(Blake pulls a set of brass balls out of his brief case and dangles it in front of his crotch).


It takes a set of brass balls to sell books.

Go and do likewise, gents.  The money’s out there.  You pick it up?  It’s yours.  You don’t?  I have no sympathy for you.  You wanna go out on those word count sessions tonight and rack up big counts then those words are yours.  If not, you’re going to be shining my shoes.

Bunch of losers sitting around in a bar.  (Speaks in a sad tone).  “Oh yeah, I used to be a self-publisher.  It’s a tough racket.”

(Blake takes a stack of index cards out of his briefcase).

These are the new words.  These are the Glengarry words.  And to you, they’re gold.  And you don’t get them.  Why?  Because to give these words to you would be to just throw them away.

These words are for self-publishers.  I’d wish you good luck but you wouldn’t know what to do with it if you got it.

(To Moss) – And to answer your question, pal.  Why am I here?  I came here because the book sales site asked me to.  They asked me for a favor.  I said, ‘The real favor?  Follow my advice and fire your fucking ass because a loser is a loser.’

(Blake heads into interior office).

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Writing Prompts – Misc Prompts


The prompts that were left on the cutting room floor…

Mean Candy Streets

Imagine a buddy cop drama filled with intensity and high stakes.  The cops are stressed.  The criminals are vile.  The catch?  Everything is made out of candy.  The streets are paved with taffy.  Guns are made out of bubble gum and shoot gum drops instead of bullets.  Handcuffs are just two licorice ropes tied together.

Stuck on a scenario?  What if a gang of hoodlums rob the First National Bank and speed away with a big haul of chocolate coins?

Chicken Rampage

Gassy’s Fast Eats, the world’s number one provider of waistline expanding fast food, dispatches a team of scientists to breed super fat chickens.  Alas, the experiment works too well.  A fifty foot tall chicken, dubbed “Chickzilla” by the press, gets loose and starts destroying the city.  How can this porky poultry be stopped?

Where Everyone Knows What You Are Thinking

Everyone in the world wakes up with the ability to read each other’s minds.  Boon because now no one has to guess at how to make their friends and family happy or bust because some thoughts are better left unexpressed?

Bicycle Wars

A massive electromagnetic pulse explosion renders all electronic devices.  Scientists estimate it will be at least a hundred years before any gadgets can be used again.  Will people find a new way to ignore one another or will they (gasp) start talking to each other?

Social Media Chaos

Burt Schmamadoo of Dubuque, MN is eating lunch in his car one day when a thought pops into his head that he finds humorous.  Thinking it to be little more than a casual musing, he posts it on his favorite time wasting social media site.  Hours late, war breaks out.  Burt’s post went viral within a matter of seconds and worldwide factions have turned violent over a raging debate as to whether or not Burt’s post was astute or off the mark.

What did Burt say in his post?  What can he post to bring about peace?

Fish Bowl

Fish are humans and walk on their fins.  They breathe air and go to work and everything.  Meanwhile, humans are fish.  They are small and are forced to live in little bowls of water that they swim around and poop in all day.


Tennis Pro

Margaret sells her soul to the devil in order to achieve her dream of becoming a nationally recognized tennis player.  Satan, not without a sense of humor, arranges for Margaret to be framed and convicted on gruesome murder charges.  The case is so high profile that the it is frequently brought up on the nightly news.  In other words, Margaret has become a “nationally recognized tennis player,” albeit she is nationally recognized as a murderer instead of as a tennis pro.

Jot down what happens next.  Will she burn in hell forever or will she figure out a loophole that wins her soul back?

Sidenote:  Never sell your soul to the devil, kids.  He’s got a twisted sense of humor and will find all sorts of technicalities to screw you over with.

New and Improved Pies

Apple?  Schmapple.  Strawberry?  More like Scrapberry.  Blueberry?  Bleh-berry.

Custard.  Lemon meringue.  Key lime.  Forget every kind of pie you know and love.

Dream up three new flavors of pie that you think would be delicious.  Heck, bake them if you want.  Don’t forget to save me a slice.

Writer’s Block

Jeff is an aspiring writer.  Sadly, he experiences a dry spell, going for weeks without writing a single world.

One day, this noble scribe opens up his closet and sees something that makes his heart swell and his mind race.  Better yet, he becomes so inspired that he writes a bestseller.

What did Jeff see?  Why did it get his brain gears turning?

The Future is Now

Select three products that exist that you never dreamed about when you are kid.  What makes these items so special?

Write a letter to your younger self.  Describe these three items, keeping in mind that you have to use terms your younger self will understand.


Eggs.  Eggs are everywhere!

Xavier arrives home at his usually spotless mansion only to find eggs sitting on every surface in the entire joint.

Eggs on the sofa.  Eggs on the TV.  Eggs in the sink.  Eggs on the table.  Eggs in all of the drawers, in the medicine cabinet and even in the crawlspace.

Bewildered by this development, Xavier sits down on his couch.  He ponders what to do next until…kaboom!  All of the eggs explode at the same time, leaving this young man with egg on his face.

Weave the strange tale of how all those eggs got there.

Love in a Sewer

Becky and Dan are just a couple of wacky kids who meet…in a sewer.  Yes, a sewer.  Love can happen anywhere, right?

Come up with a story about how these two lovebirds, against all of the odds, as well as against all of the rats, foul smells, and flushed alligators find love.

Yummy Moon

You’ve crash landed your spaceship on the moon.  You didn’t bring any food with you.  Luckily, the moon really is made out of cheese, and that cheese is delicious.  Oddly enough, a previous space traveler has left a big box of crackers behind.

You eat, and eat, and eat until there’s just one tiny patch of moon left for you to sit on.  You barely fit on it.  Suddenly, your tummy rumbles.  You are hungry again.

Do you eat your seat or do you have some willpower in order to avoid drifting off into the cosmos?

Mango Chutney

Annie, Nelson’s wife of thirty years, starts screaming the words, “Mango Chutney!” over and over again.  At first, he thinks she’s just suffering some sort of temporary mental breakdown, but when it gets to the point where he can’t take his beloved out in public anymore, he seeks professional help.

Pretend you are that professional.  Tell us why Annie can’t stop screaming, “Mango Chutney!”


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Writing Prompts – Bonus Section #1 – How Did You Get There?


Imagine you fall asleep, only to wake up in one of the following scenes.  How did you get there?  What will you do next?

  • A bank vault.  You’ve never so much as stolen an extra cookie from the cookie jar in your entire life, but now you’re in a secure room.  Only a few bills remain on shelves that were once lined with crisp, green currency.  All of the safety deposit boxes have been pried open and looted.  The police are about to open up the vault.  They’ll want answers and you don’t have any.
  • A cat amusement park.  All of the carnies are cats.  All of the guests are cats.  Rides include “Chase the Mouse,” “Bat Around the Ball of String,” and “Freak Out Over the Laser Pointer.”  The twist?  You are the only dog.
  • A hipster bar.  There’s a mandatory fedora rule.  All guests must wear fedoras.  You prefer a good trilby.  Awkward.
  • A baseball dugout.  You’ve never played the game in your entire life.  You don’t even play sports.  Yet, it’s the bottom of the ninth in the seventh game of the World Series.  Your team has won three games.  The opposing team has already won three games.  The bases are loaded and your team is expecting you to knock out a grand slam.  Do you try or do you cave under the pressure and puke?
  • A spaceship.  You have been abducted by little green men who want to experiment on your nether regions forever.  However, you were homeless before so in theory, this situation is a step up over the cardboard box you used to live in.  Escape or just got with it?
  • The jungle.  Mama gorilla is desperately searching for her baby.  In your arms?  Gorilla baby.  #mindblown
  • The Oval Office.  Everyone is calling you “Mister” or “Madame” President as the case may be.  You don’t even remember running.
  • A farm full of hungry, man eating bunnies.  For some strange reason, you’ve been doused in carrot juice.
  • An assassin’s lair.  The assassins are discussing their next target.  The photo they are all staring at is…you!  #nowmymindisreallyblown
  • The Lost City of Atlantis during the time period in which it was thriving.  When you wake up, you are sitting next to a set of gears that have been brought to a halt by a monkey wrench.  As it turns out, the city was a giant boat and without a working water pump, it begins to sink into the sea.  The Atlantians blame you.  Did you do it or were you framed?
  • A meeting of the Illuminati.  You speak their strange, secret language.  You’re wearing the official Illuminati cloak.
  • You’re on the red carpet, about to head into the premiere of your new feature film.  You’re ecstatic to learn that you are a famous thespian.  Alas, when the projector starts rolling, you quickly learn your film is the worst film in the history of film.  As you do your best to ignore all of the boos coming from the audience, you wonder what   the future will bring.  Will your new career be short-lived or will you stage a comeback?
  • The sky.  You are hurtling towards the earth at a rapid pace.  Your parachute will not open.  However, a giant, mutant duck offers to give you a lift if you promise to grant three wishes to said duck at times of his choosing.  The duck will not tell you what the wishes will be in advance.  All of the wishes will be in your power to grant.  Get your mind out of the gutter.  Or get it in the gutter if you prefer to write “that” kind of story, you freaky weirdo.
  • The moon.  It really is made out of cheese, and good thing, because you have nothing left to eat.  Further, you have an unlimited supply of crackers.  Will you eat the whole thing or save some to, you know, live on?
  • A superhero’s secret lair.  As it turns out, your favorite superhero is just a boring dentist in real life.  Even worse, he wants to give you a root canal.
  • A werewolf convention during a full moon.  You’ve been hired to heard all of the humans into their cages before they turn into werewolves.  As you can imagine, some of them are total jerks about it.
  • A spa.  You’re soaking in a vat of gooey brown liquid.  It’s not mud.  (It’s chilled hot fudge.  Seriously.  Get your mind out of the gutter).
  • The home of your ex-wife, ex-husband and/or in-laws.  Really, your choice of whoever you find the most annoying.  Your lips have been sewn shut so you can’t speak up for yourself.  However, this person has consumed an energy drink and is now able to chew you out and point out all of your personal failings all day long.  Also, you have to burp.
  • In front of your least favorite class in high school.  This is a cliche to be sure, but, you aren’t wearing any pants.  The twist?  You are giving your presentation behind the teacher’s desk and you begin to wonder whether or not it would be possible for you to strategically place yourself (while no one is looking) behind a series of large objects throughout the day and get away with your pants-less faux pas with no one being the wiser.
  • A cell block.  You’ve been convicted of a crime you didn’t commit.  Also, the crime is the most embarrassing crime you can possibly think of.  I don’t want to give it away but it involves a stick of dynamite and a tuna noodle casserole.
  • In the balcony where a Broadway play is about to start.  You think this isn’t such a bad thing to wake up to until you look at the program in your hand.  It reads, How Chad Failed Us in So Many Ways.  The cast?  “All of Chad’s Ex-Girlfriends.”  FYI, you are Chad.
  • A park bench between a nun and an accordion player.  You are wearing a construction worker’s hat and a pink tutu.
  • Heaven.  You are dead.  Saint Peter is reviewing your file and says it looks good but for one incident in which you blamed an errant cheek squeak on the family dog.  You thought it wasn’t a big deal but your parents were so offended that they had the dog put to sleep.  Give your best argument for why this black mark on your record should be overlooked.
  • A disco.  It’s the 1970s.  You are wearing a leisure suit and a gold medallion.  Three hours into this dance party, you realize you can’t stop.  Six hours later, you can’t stop.  Three weeks pass and you are still dancing.  Will this be fun forever or will it eventually get boring and tiresome?
  • The office of your favorite writer.  He or she will give you a primo piece of advice if you rub his or her super disgusting bunions.  Worth it?
  • A scrapyard.  You are a robot who has been thrown away.  Fix yourself and run away or give up and await the crusher?
  • A room filled with the greatest philosophers of all time.  Plato.  Aristotle.  Descartes.  Sartre.  Nietzsche.  You wait for one of them to say something important but instead, they all just keep asking you to, “pull my finger.”
  • A train filled with supermodels, but you are required to wear a blindfold.
  • The manger where Jesus was born.  As it turns out, you know about an available room at an inn owned by a nice person who is totally not super judgmental.  Will you tell Mary and Joseph or zip your lips so as to avoid altering history?
  • A monster truck rally.  You are the only monster truck fan in attendance.  Every other member of the audience is a monocle wearing aristocrat.
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Zom Fu Book Cover

Behold, 3.5 readers, the book cover for Zom Fu in all of its brain yanking glory.

Now I just need to finish writing the book.

What say you, 3.5 readers?


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Daily Discussion with BQB – Is Self-Publishing an Insult to the Written Word?

Ugh.  Publishing elitism.

Laurie Gough recently wrote in the Huffington Post:

“To get a book published in the traditional way, and for people to actually respect it and want to read it — you have to go through the gatekeepers of agents, publishers, editors, national and international reviewers. These gatekeepers are assessing whether or not your work is any good. Readers expect books to have passed through all the gates, to be vetted by professionals. This system doesn’t always work out perfectly, but it’s the best system we have.”

-Laurie Gough, “Self-Publishing: An Insult To the Written Word.” The Huffington Post.  December 29, 2016

I’ll let you read the article yourself but to sum it up, after claiming that she would rather “share a cabin on a Disney cruise with Donald Trump than self-publish” she goes on to explain that good writing takes years of rejection, that it is a self-imposed apprenticeship, that only by going through the gatekeepers is good writing achieved.

Ugh.  OK, on one hand she is correct.  Writing, like any other skill, takes time to develop.  The more you work on it, the better you’ll get.

However, let’s not pretend that “the gatekeepers” are really doing anything to actually help you get better at writing.  Ninety-nine percent of the time, when you submit a manuscript to an agent or a publisher, you’ll get a form letter stating something to the effect of, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

You won’t get a marked up manuscript showing all the mistakes you made so you can improve.

You won’t get a nice letter saying, “You got moxie, kid.  Just do this and this and that and you’re going places!”

You won’t get anyone offering to sit down with you and go over what you need to do to improve.

You’ll get a form rejection letter and that’s only if your submission doesn’t get lost in the zillions of other submissions the agents and publishers receive on a daily basis.

She’s not without a point.  If you do get into the traditional publishing system, there will editors, agents and pros that will help you improve yourself.

But that’s if you get into it.  And as I’ve always said, giving up on self-publishing in the hopes that a lucrative self-publishing contract is on the horizon is a lot like giving up a kiss from a woman that likes you because maybe, just maybe one day Scarlett Johansson might want to kiss you.

She’s correct about how good writing requires a lot of time and hard work.  And if traditional publishing is something you desire, then you should give it a try.

However, who has ten years to wait?  And let’s not pretend that they are a bevy of “gatekeepers” waiting in the wings to guide you.

The writing world sucks.  If you get into it at a young age, there are a handful of success stories where people hit it big early but for the rest, it’s a long, hard slog uphill where you make crap pay and work crap hours in the hopes that maybe, just maybe one of those gatekeepers will hook you up.

Self-publishing lets you make things happen on your own.

Yes, many people are lousy writers who have no filter or ability to comprehend they are crap writers.  They hit the publish button on a pile of crap and then drag down the whole self-publishing industry.

You can’t just whip something out in an afternoon, draw a cover with crayon, then slap it up there and expect to get anywhere.

It just seems like many critics of self-publishing, this author is painting all self-publishers with a broad brush.

And finally, can we just be honest and say that regardless of your personal politics, it would be fun to share a cabin with Donald Trump on a Disney cruise?  The man would probably buy you drinks and cigars and shit.  He’d fill the cabin with hot chicks.  It’d be a party every night.  Order whatever you want and the bill is on him.  He’d bring the family and Melania would wear a different supermodel outfit everyday and Ivanka would give you free fashion advice.  He’d write wacky tweets about Mickey Mouse.  You would surely walk away from the experience with some interesting stories to tell.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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Ask the Alien -12/31/16 – Bookshelf Q. Battler’s End of Year Stats for 2016 (A Report to the Mighty Potentate)


Dear Mighty Potentate,

It’s been roughly two years since you have me to look after Bookshelf Q. Battler, the human author you believe possesses so much talent that he will one day write a novel so perfect that it inspires the masses to abandon reality television.

Not gonna lie, I still don’t see that side of him but hey, you’re the Mighty Potentate.

At any rate, I do believe that his blog, despite being only read by 3.5 readers, has convinced humans that reality television must be rejected.  After all, it’s not like America, the greatest of all Earth nations, has elected a reality television star as their ruler or something.  I firmly stand by that statement and also, please don’t watch any Earth television.

Bookshelf Q. Battlers End of 2016 Stats are as follows:


TOTAL 2016 VISITORS: 16,389 (I cannot confirm nor deny that most of these were BQB’s Aunt Gertie).

TOTAL 2016 LIKES: 7,502

TOTAL 2016 VIEWS: 27,524 (Most were people who came here looking for directions on how to get away from here).

TWITTER FOLLOWERS: 8,184 (Follow BQB @bookshelfbattle)

FACEBOOK FOLLOWERS: 287 (Though BQB is considering scraping up some cash to use as a bribe to Earth Techno-Lord Zuckerberg to allow him more Facebook friends.  Like BQB on Facebook – @bookshelfqbattler)

Moreover, oh Potent One, BQB continues to seek new ways to bring traffic to his most pathetic blog.  Search engine optimization appears to be BQB’s forte as he has brought in 11,576 visitors this year alone through search engine hits (though again, most were people who came here looking for directions on how to get away from here).

Based on these stats, Mightiest of Potentates, I recommend holding back your invasion of Earth for another year in order to allow BQB to continue working on his writing career.  He’s building a platform, he continues to try, and though he has the attention span of amoeba, I believe 2017 will be the year when he publishes a novel.

As always, it has been a pleasure serving you, oh splendid Potent One, and though there have been rumors to the effect that I feel this job is far, far, far below my capabilities, I gladly accept any and all orders you have with a smile.

But seriously…please don’t vaporize me.

Your humble servent,

Alien Jones, the Esteemed Brainy One

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State of the Bookshelf – 12/8/16

Hey 3.5 readers.

Time for a State of the Bookshelf address.

First, check out the 3D cover of my upcoming book:


You know 3.5, I have to say it.  This book cover is a small victory for me.

Maybe one day I’ll share my trials and tribulations but suffice to say, I’ve been through some shit.  I’m ambitious.  I try hard.  I work hard.  Yet inevitably, for as long as I can remember, I always end up landing flat on my face.

Life has always been like Lucy holding that football.  There have been many times where I, in a Charlie Brown-like manner, would assume I was about to make it (i.e. kick that football) only to have life (or Lucy) take the football away leaving me (just like Charlie) flat on my ass.

I wonder if Charles Schultz ever realized how he captured a brilliant metaphor to explain how people can only try and fail so many times before they give up.  Maybe that’s why Charlie is so lovable.  He kept trying to kick that football even though defeat was certain.

I often wonder why I don’t give up, why I keep Charlie Brown-ing it.  But lately, I think I’m Langston Hughes-ing it:

Dreams – Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

Yeah, there are many more practical things I could be doing than blogging and writing, especially when my many attempts at kicking life’s football have left me shouting, “Uggh!” before rolling over and over again through the air then landing on my butt.

Yet, what’s the alternative?  I’ve got to hold onto the dream because Langston is right.  Without dreams, life is a field of barren snow.

So I must keep giving Lucy the chance to pull that football away to avoid a snowy life, if that makes any sense.

All this is a very longwinded way of saying that I don’t feel like the football was pulled away from me in this respect.  I got off my butt, I did something, I set up a design contest, I talked to some designers and I got a pretty sweet cover.

I started out a pessimist.  I thought it wouldn’t work out.  But it did.  Lucy let my toe briefly tap the ball and that’s a step in the right direction.

3.5 readers, I hate to set an arbitrary date but I really need you all to become 3.5 million readers by 2020.  That’s more or less the last year where I could conceivably use my prospective book writing moolah to throw a wild, lavish party ala that party scene in the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton.

Yeah.  I know.  That’s a lot of pressure to put on myself.  I’m not sure people could get excited enough about books to support an NWA style party in the name of books.  (You have to see the party scene in that movie to know what I’m talking about).

But at any rate, that’s my gauge for success.  Malibu mansion to throw NWA style party in to celebrate my writing career by 2020.  If it happens in 2021, that’ll be too late.  The millions coming in 2022 or 2023 won’t matter.  Give me millions in 2025 and I’ll just smile and nod and then donate it to charity or some shit because by then I will have lost my ability to care.

Malibu NWA style party to celebrate my book career by 2020 or bust!  And you all 3.5 of you are invited.

Hey, by the way, before I go back to yeti captivity, you nerds have put me over 2000 followers.

Thanks for listening, 3.5.  The state of the bookshelf is strong.


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