CLICK THE PICTURE FOR MY LITTLE SLIDESHOW OF DOOM.
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CLICK THE PICTURE FOR MY LITTLE SLIDESHOW OF DOOM.
Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app
As I work on This Plague of Days, I’m very aware that many readers are waiting (mostly patiently) for me to hurry up and finish the third and final season.
You’ve been generous with your reviews and, gosh darn it, everybody’s so nice! If you’ve read Season One and Two, you know this trip has evolved from Kansas City, Missouri to big weirdness across continents and scary strangeness through the mindscape.
There’s plenty of violence and suspense in this war for the future, plus Latin proverbs. (I know! Crazy and crazed!) My zombie apocalypse continues to evolve. Yes, we’ve had forays into fearful dreams, but the battles to come happen in the our world. I promise plenty of surprises, twists and, best of all, more of Jaimie Spencer’s view of the world.
You can find out on Wattpad now. (Wattpad is a free fiction sharing platform where you can read all sorts of interesting stuff. Please do check it out.)
If you’re looking for more free me, I have even more good news. As I write this, you can grab a complimentary download of Murders Among Dead Trees. This creepy short story collection of psychological horror, reeking of “intense violence and bizarre themes” is free to download on March 6 and March 7, 2014 (today and tomorrow, guys!)
Please download Murders Among Dead Trees. If you like it, love it or maybe want to fondle it, don’t hold back on leaving a review. Enjoy! Thank you!
I think if I write a chapter a day for two weeks straight, this revision of This Plague of Days will be done with a new ending. There will be tweaks and another run-through or two, of course, but we’re definitely getting there. Work continues apace.
Oh, and plaguers will be glad to know a romance blooms, old friends return from the tent city and, weirdly, there are a lot of fish in Season 3. (Don’t worry. It works. It’s creepy and disturbing and teetering on the precipice of disgusting, but it works.) We also find out precisely what The Way of Things is.
If I had to characterize the conclusion of TPOD, I’d say it’s blood lust versus altruism. I do not promise a Happily Ever After. I promise a satisfying ending. You were patient, so it doesn’t end with a cliffhanger…not exactly. 🙂
The secret hidden away in TPOD is…still safe.
I’m sick again and yes, I had my flu shot. Is it Sutr? I don’t feel like I’m about to drop, eat brains or sink my teeth into anyone’s neck. At least, not until they wash that neck. No, not Sutr. Yet.
Since I’m not feeling well, I’ll keep this short and to the point. I’m waiting for confirmation from CreateSpace, but within the next day or so…
Some readers have asked, with an eye to Christmas shopping, about the print version. I think I made it just under the wire for those Christmas orders. I’ll update you here as soon as it’s confirmed by CreateSpace. In the meantime, witness the beauty of my graphic artist’s cover for Season Two below. If you got the whole autistic boy versus the zombies show by episodes, you’ll recognize the front cover as a little something from the Episode Five cover. (That’s the one I also submitted to the Ebook Cover Design Awards. Kit Foster’s a genius.)
Kit does all my covers, that’s no secret. If you need a book cover or a new web banner for your website or an ad done right, go to KitFosterDesign.com to check out his portfolio and use his services. His prices are very reasonable and he’s not satisfied until you are. He’s helped me a lot and he can help you, too. Spruce up your website or something. Whatever your graphics needs, the nice Scottish guy is the man!
Also, on his portfolio page, astute readers will find a book of mine that is (still? STILL!) not yet published. The cover will be the same although the title has changed. That unpublished book is the first cover Kit did for me but I won’t get to publish it until the summer of 2014. With a few minor alterations, that will be the cover for the book that comes after This Plague of Days, Season 3.
I’m looking forward to feeling well enough to write more. Until then, I’m reading Stephen King’s 11/22/63 by the wood stove. The plot is taking a while to get where it’s going, but it’s about the journey, not merely the destination. That’s appropriate for a deep time travel story, too. I’m really enjoying it, sitting here by the fire with the wind blowing snow around out there in temperatures of -10.
Mr King is demanding a lot of self-control from me. I really want to jump to the last page of this one to discover the time travel results. I’m about 75% through and I suspect I’ll be reading slower as I go, to make the deliciousness last.
The happy ones make my day. When someone is unhappy, it drains creative energy a bit. Yeah, that’s right. I said it. I’m human. (God, the shame of that statement!)
Sometimes unhappy reviews and low ratings are a result of a misunderstanding. I’m finding that’s certainly true of This Plague of Days. Some readers love it despite it being a serial. For a few readers, I’ve found that people have mistaken Episode 2 for Season 2. Then they’re mad at me. That sucks. I want the impossible. I want everyone to be happy.
I usually tell them in a review comment (unless they sound crazy), as gently as I can, that if they’ve bought any book in error, they can return it to Amazon for a refund and all’s well. Mistakes happen but I’ll never know if the bruised reader ever read my helpful comment and went, “Oh, okay.”
That’s one of the reasons I won’t be serializing the third season of This Plague of Days. Despite the reader’s mistaken click, I’m still stuck with a one-star review. We’ve labelled the books and I’ve made a point of warning people to click wisely in the sales description, but there is still confusion. It doesn’t happen often, but I truly am sorry when anyone gets confused or disappointed in their purchase. I’m not out to rip anyone off and the stakes are rather low to try that in this business. That would be like going to the trouble of counterfeiting dimes.
Still, I wish there were an easier delivery system for serials because I love writing in this format. Well…
With Amazon serials, readers pay one low price once and episodes are delivered automatically. Personally, I’d worry that your kindle would update automatically and you wouldn’t be aware of the new arrival, but that question is moot. You see, before I launched This Plague of Days, I contacted Amazon’s serialization department, somewhere in the bowels of the beast.
I made my pitch for This Plague of Days. I wanted them to handle it because I knew they could spread the good word far and wide and make it easier on me. I pressed send and promptly…never heard a thing from them. This isn’t nyaa-nyaa-na-nyaa-nyaa. Sales are brisk with TPOD, but being part of Amazon serials would have been a better reader experience.
I must admit, the guy who hated Season One and then read and reviewed Season Two anyway? Flummoxes me. He hated Season Two almost as much, but that second read…wasn’t that a self-inflicted wound? And the people who declare they hate serials but bought a serial anyway? Gobsmacked me. I guess it’s the downside of the quick one-click buy. To their credit, some people who hate serials put that aside, gave the story a chance and ended up writing nice reviews anyway. That’s actually pretty cool of them.
Most reviews have been awesome and, each day, I get a boost from the vast majority of reviewers who are so encouraging. They dig my word-jazz and want me to keep going. This isn’t an easy thing and if you’ve been reading along in this space, you know why. I appreciate the kind words. I’m a sucker for “Atta-boy! Atta-boy! Go get the ball!”
Anyone who has read any of my books will not be surprised to find I’m conditioned to expect the worst in any situation. Tonight, I got a request to list TPOD Season Two on Nook. For the foreseeable future, I’m sticking with Amazon because that’s where my books sell. (Though Season One is in paperback and Season Two should be in print, too, just in time for Christmas.)
It’s a measure of the depth of my pessimistic worldview that I expected to be be chided for not being on all sales platforms. Instead, the reader kindly replied that she understood, no hard feelings and she’d read Season Two on her computer. You know how it is when you expect Mom to slap you and you get a hug instead? It felt like that. (I’m assuming. All I remember about my childhood was getting chased with a wooden spoon. And Mom smiled when she had me running into a dead end.)
So, in honor of the vocal minority, you win, I’m sorry, I suck, you’re good. Season Three will be one book. No episodes. No 99 cents weekly. Just, bam! Here’s your story. No serialization of Season Three. Hope you love it. By the time most people are reading the third season, that’s a pretty clear signal they’re all in by now, anyway.
The reason I don’t regret the first serialization is, This Plague of Days would never have taken off if I hadn’t serialized it. Obviously Amazon Serials didn’t have much hope for me as an investment, but it worked out. Those readers who loved Season One but got annoyed (or downright pissed off) because they mistakenly thought the episodes were seasons? They probably wouldn’t have discovered the story they liked (or as cheaply) if I hadn’t launched the book as a serial. They simply would not have seen my signal flare.
Yes, serialization is more expensive to the author and more demanding of the reader. Yes, it’s damned clumsy. But it can also work as a tool of discovery. That’s crucial to get a book noticed in a sea of offerings. Readers think it’s hard to find a book to enjoy? Wow, is it ever hard to write and publish a book and get anyone to give it a chance.
Anyway, I hope you understand the choice. And now, in keeping with my worldview, I shall sit back and await the outraged emails. It’s true, you’ll get a lot less of Kit Foster’s awesome cover art this way.* It’s a no-win sitch, ain’t it?
*Oh, and just wait until you see the cover of Episode 5 next week! It’s so creepy! Kit’s a genius!)
Now I’ll now type something that you see in print sometimes but you never hear it in person: “Huzzah!” (Well, maybe Mr. Burns, once.)
One of the fun things in happy reviews is the number of readers anxious to find out what happens in Season Three. Me, too! However, today was a low energy day. I get these sometimes. Too much gluten, not enough sleep, mood swings and headaches and the rising urge to strangle people with sheep guts.
We all have those murder by haggis days, right? I slept. I puttered. I met She Who Must Be Obeyed for lunch to review our strategies for taking down the Establishment. Then…
808 words, so far. It’s the final scene. I had general ideas about what it would look like. I knew what would happen to Shiva, Adam Wiggins AKA Misericordia, Jaimie Spencer and his family. I’m about 35,000 words into the beginning and this scene gives me a place to navigate toward.
No spoilers, but I’ll say this: The climax is heroic and unexpected and operatic. Questions are answered and answers are questioned. It leaves on a note that’s equal parts hope and despair, victory and defeat. At the last word, the reader will be called upon to make a decision for themselves.
I’m very happy with who survives. I’m less happy about who does not. I tell lies to tell the truth, but I promise, I’ll stick to the honesty in the subtext. I’m tracking the story and I’ll follow where it leads and I will not allow anyone to finish this book with a dry eye. You may even be inspired.
That’s a lot of smack I’m talking for a zombie book, so I better write a book worthy of Jaimie, which also lives up to my aspirations.
Since there’s lots of daylight left, maybe I can salvage this day and make it more productive. I have to attend to a suicide in Queens. A young man named Romeo Basilon is in big, Shakespearian trouble. But don’t worry about him too much. He’s in another book I’m working on right now.
I should also mention that if you’re into dark, prose poetry with a cynical flair, you could try this short read. It’s 99 cents. It’s weird, but there’s some fun to be had in there.
Hi everyone! A few quick things to let you in on!
Season One of This Plague of Days just got its 50th review and I want to thank everyone who took the time to purchase, read and review TPOD! I appreciate every review. Well, let’s be real. I appreciate almost every review. 🙂 Here, I’m talking to the club. You’re probably only reading this if you get my flavor of chocolate neuro-fudge. There are always a few who don’t get it. That’s okay. I wish them well finding something they do enjoy, assuming they have the capacity for joy. (Ooh! That was uncalled for.)
Fifty reviews! Wow! That’s by far the most reviews I’ve had on any of my books. Also, to be real, I got a lump in my throat this morning. To write books that stirs something in people is the most any writer could hope for and I’m sincerely grateful I’ve dug the screwdriver into the pleasure center at the right angle this time.
A friend asked if i was okay with that, given that I closed my practice two years ago so I could write full time. I said yes, I’m okay with that, but only because of of you and the success of This Plague of Days. Without my readers, I’d be going back feeling like a failure. Instead, I’m optimistic. I’m finding my audience and my audience is finding me. If that takes more time, it’s worth the wait.
It’s corny, I know, but you are helping me fulfill the dreams I had when I was six years old. Sincerely, thank you so much for reading my books and digging my sour worldview for entertainment purposes.
If you’re reading Season 2 as a serial, the cover below is what the latest episode looks like.
I know most people get the difference between episodes and seasons and I’ve been careful to explicate. Still, I know there is some confusion about serialization. If anyone clicks the wrong episode, Amazon is great about returns and refunds. The great thing is, I now notice more readers are letting go of reading episodes and are just clicking on the full seasons.
However you want to eat the chocolate neuro-fudge, it’s warm as blood and waiting. Thanks!
I’ve had quite a few requests from folks who want to read This Plague of Days in paperback. I appreciate that and thank you for your patience. I’ve had a bit of a sticky wicket and a bad road in getting the book formatted correctly. However, I think I got past the last road of wickets Sunday morning. I’m waiting for approval from the printer for the paperback of Season One. It’s not available yet, but soon! While you wait, here’s what Season One‘s paperback cover looks like:
Kit’s work doesn’t stop with great book covers. He also supplied me with great artwork for my new business. I’m starting November 4 and just getting things pulled together and sorted out. If you ever wonder why I don’t already have the paperbacks lined up and out there, there’s a distinct lack of interns and staff around here and my family refuses to wear the Oompa Loompa outfits.
This Plague of Days Seasons One and Two are bestsellers, but no, I’m absolutely not in the plus column yet. I took two years off work to set up Ex Parte Press and I need to supplement my income to take the firm to the next level. I’m not quitting writing. I’m adding enterprises so I can fund book promotion efforts and let the kids have lunches and suppers again. I based this economical measure knowing that, since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, we’d save a lot of cash nixing the other two meals. I’m also playing the lottery wicked hard and I assume that ploy always works out, right?
Here’s my new website and practice, if you’re curious.
(Unless you live in Other London, it won’t do you a damn bit of good unless I contact you psychically.)
If you liked TPOD, try Murders Among Dead Trees, for instance.
To buy more books by me, check the right sidebar for affiliate links at AllThatChazz.com. Thanks again!
As I write this, I’m torn between feeling entitled to a bit of cake and getting on with the next project. I’ve just pushed the button on This Plague of Days, Season Two. It’s not up on Amazon quite yet, but it’ll probably publish officially by midnight. (They say 24 to 48 hours, but it’s usually faster. If you’re a reader from outside North America, it might take a little longer for the digital flying squirrels to get it to you.)
So, what’s next?
1. Wait for reviews. Bite nails.
2. Start up one or two more websites and update existing websites.
3. Start a new, unrelated business. (Long story.)
4. Send out a newsletter once the release is officially available. (Sign up for updates at http://www.AllThatChazz.com.)
5. Record a new podcast of All That Chazz.
6. Let my next guest on the Cool People Podcast I haven’t forgotten about them.
7. Organize getting print covers going for Murders Among Dead Trees, This Plague of Days S1 and S2, revamping Self-help for Stoners and reformatting Write Your Book: Aspire to Inspire and Higher Than Jesus so they’re both 6″ x 9″.
8. Locate a local printer. Shipping and customs costs are killing me.
9. Locate a t-shirt place that can deliver at a reasonable price.
10. Prepare for new business launch Nov. 1.
11. Contact book review sites.
12. Write Season 3 of This Plague of Days by spring (and two or three other books by the end of next year.)
13. Wait for reviews. Bite nails.
14. Make another kale shake.
15. Reread some Neil Gaiman.
I’ll start with the kale shake and Gaiman. It seems the most doable thing just now.
Want a hint at what happens next? Okay.
The Sutr virus is still evolving.
This isn’t a complete list of influences, but when I think of who and what influences the development of This Plague of Days, here’s what pops to mind:
1. After reading Blake Crouch’s Run, I wrote two fast-paced crime novels (Bigger Than Jesus and Higher Than Jesus.) Season One was a slower build and burn. Season Two is closer to that pell mell pacing.
2. William Goldman (Marathon Man, the Princess Bride et al) influences all my writing. He’s the master of the surprise reversal. I’m telling you there will be plenty of surprises in Season Two of This Plague of Days. Knowing in advance won’t help.
3. Neil Gaiman. When you read it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. In the realm you’re about to enter, that which is named is manifested.
4. Your reviews. I won’t lie. I’m exhausted. Typical days run sixteen hours at least, especially in the last month as I prepare the new season. On those busy days, the work continues even into sleep with lucid dreaming. Those happy reviews kept me excited to keep going and push through to make my deadline. Thank you!
5. My Chemical Romance. The Black Parade is on a continuous loop. If you don’t know their scream-o music, how I envy you. “Mama” is especially appropriate. (I listen to Everlast while writing crime novels.)
6. Podcasts and Kurt Vonnegut’s nerve. I listen to The Young Turks, The Best of the Left and dozens of other podcasts. So, yeah, I believe the military-industrial (and corporate) complex is the devil President Eisenhower warned us about. Do I get preachy about it? I don’t think so. Vonnegut let his worldview slip into his books. I believe I cram it in sideways without being too intrusive on the story. Heck, it’s part of the story and many viewpoints are expressed. The world as it is informs the plot. Kurt Vonnegut was a disappointed humanist. He believed in human potential and noticed when the world fell short of those ideals. Put that label on me, too.
7. Comedians. I love them. Even amid the horror, perhaps especially in horror, there’s room for jokes.
8. Movies. I have an eidetic memory for movie quotes and if you’ve read my crime novels, you’ll spot the obsession. I grew up working in a video store and I’ve seen more movies than the average bear. In the character of Aadi, it pops into TPOD. Also, the visuals in This Plague of Days are very cinematic. Yes, I’m considering a screenplay.
9. Kale shakes. I think clearer on kale shakes.
10. Mom. My mother is dead now, but I inherited her obsession with words early on. My mother had hidden talents. Besides brilliant stock analysis, she was a code breaker. Every day we’d crack the newspaper’s cryto-quote together. She was unnaturally fast at pattern recognition. Also, the house was full of books. That’s where I got my love of reading, through her osmotic obsession. I still read dictionaries for fun and can lose myself in them for hours at a time. My quirky hero in This Plague of Days understand each other.
11. Pathology. I studied it. It comes up a lot in details. When I studied human anatomy, I was in awe of the organic machine. When I studied pathology, I got freaked out about all that can go wrong with our bodies. That’s how I studied my way into becoming a hypochondriac.
Season Two launches October 1. The complete season will be available then (at a discounted price) For those who prefer to take it in week by week, it will be available as a serial starting October 7.
If you aren’t already on board the crazy train, check out the sample of Season One of This Plague of Days at the link.