Tag Archives: fiction

Book Launch Bargain: #Videos, Secrets and This Plague of Days Deals

 

The official launch of This Plague of Days, Season Three and the TPOD Omnibus is Father’s Day, but here you are so, scroll down see the clickable covers (linked to Amazon.com.) Have a look and pick up a book, but, before you go…

The big book launch deal

If you’re new to my autistic zombie apocalypse, Season One is marked down to 99 cents! Season Two is marked down to $2.99!

But there are more ways to save you cash below, and get an extra book!

If you haven’t read any of This Plague of Days or if you prefer to read it all in one huge ebook, you’ll save a couple of bucks with your purchase of the This Plague of Days, Omnibus Edition (which delivers all three seasons back to back to back.) So, you’ve got several options, all designed to save you some bucks and finally find out what happens to Jaimie, the Spencer family, the European refugees, Shiva, Misericordia and…well…all of us, actually. The end of the world gets weird and scary and…well, you see.

There’s a bonus offer, exclusive to those who purchase the TPOD Omnibus Edition: another free thriller!

A secret is buried in This Plague of Days, from Season One all the way to Season Three. That secret will finally be revealed. (Please, no spoilers in the reviews! Thanks!)

Here’s the kicker for you:

For those who purchase the Omnibus Edition, there’s a private link to a video. I chat a little about the journey, but I also have a question for you.

Answer that question in the comments thread of the video and I’ll send you my next thriller (coming this summer) for FREE, my gift to readers.

So, for six bucks, you’re actually going to get four books and save even more dough if you get the This Plague of Days Omnibus Edition.

I’m so grateful to TPOD readers for their support and enthusiasm for the saga. Sincerely, thank you for digging  This Plague of Days. It’s been quite a ride and I’m very happy with how the finale has turned out. I think you’re going to like it, too. TPOD3 goes big and wide.

~ Chazz

UPDATE: Since Season One is now just 99 cents for the entire thing (which includes all five episodes), the individual episodes for Season One are disappearing from the Amazon store. This is an effort to avoid people paying for each episodes when they can get all of Season One for one incredibly low price. Yep! 99 cents! Pick up the first book in the series here. 

 

This Plague of Days S3 (2)

 

 

TPOD OMNIBUS 3D

 

 

 

 


This Plague of Days: Houston, start the countdown…

In case you’ve been wondering, no, I haven’t forgotten about you.

As I write this, Kid #1’s sleepover party is wrapping up. Kid #2 is sleeping off an all-night relay for a charity against cancer. (Isn’t it strange that when you ask what the charity is for, often people say they’re running “for cancer”? Call me crazy, but I support charities against cancer.) Oh yeah, and This Plague of Days 3 (the grand finale) and TPOD The Complete Series is coming out in about a week. I’ve spent years with these characters, so it’s something of a big deal. Everybody loves Jaimie, but my personal favorite is Desi Walsh. I hear his Irish lilt in my head when I write him.

I’m finishing up some tweaks to TPOD2. Some typos snuck in with a production problem so we’re reformatting the paperbacks and reloading everything. In the coming week I’m going through the last of the beta suggestions for final tweaks. The only thing that might be a snag is my graphic designer has been sick so we don’t have a finalized cover yet. I’ll talk to him tomorrow and let you know if there will be any delays. However, I’m optimistic we’ll go on time. Kit, of KitFosterDesign.com, is the best, but alas, he’s human and I wish my great friend a quick recovery (from illness, not from being human.)

It’s been a lot of long days and sleepless nights and I’m not complaining. I’ll be very interested to see how readers respond to the finale. The beta readers who got a sneak peek are happy.

The secret I’ve frequently alluded to will soon be revealed.

In your reviews, please no spoilers for those who don’t read as fast as you do. Thanks! The story started off a little slow in Season One but builds and builds to a fast pace through Season 2. And things get weird. Very weird.

What’s next for Ex Parte Press?

TPOD took years to write through its various stages. The next book is an odd thriller and it could release as early as the end of July or early August. Why? Because publishing each book is stressful and I suffer a touch of postpartum depression with each book. I wrote a fast-paced thriller in about four weeks, just to clear out the cobwebs. If you’re a fan of my crime novel Bigger Than Jesus, you’ll love the next one. More on that later this month. For now, all the focus is on This Plague of Days.

In TPOD3, sorry about what I did in Wilmington, Vermont. Apologies about killing off the characters you loved. And all the tricks and smoke and mirrors?

Nope. I don’t apologize for that at all. See you in a week with the grand announcement. Barring sickness and the unforeseen, we’re still aiming for the launch to proceed on Father’s Day, June 15, as I add to my list of children.

 

 

 


One Big Sneak Peek of the Prelude: This Plague of Days, Season 3

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. 

How weird and scary is the Apocalypse on the Autistic Spectrum?

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.)

At this link, you can read the opening to

Season 3, Episode 1, The Prelude.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S EVEN MORE!

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!


This Plague of Days and The Big Bang Theory and Autism

It’s past time I write something about autism as it’s presented in This Plague of Days. I’ve heard from happy readers who are related to people with autism or who have developmental issues. They all love the protagonist, Jaimie Spencer, because he’s on the autism spectrum. Later on in the story, Jaimie makes some very normal and logical yet scary choices. I hope readers will still love him when they see some of the things he’ll ultimately be responsible for.

Deep down, This Plague of Days is a little like all my books. Good versus evil doesn’t interest me. The choices are too stark. But Bad versus Evil? Complex motivations where the good isn’t all good and the bad isn’t all bad…or at least well-intentioned and understandable? Yes, that interests me very much. So far, readers agree and thank you very much if you’ve bought, dug and left a happy review for This Plague of Days.

As I write and revise Season 3, the world is getting darker. Season 3 answers the questions posed all the way back from Season One. One of the mysteries of the series* is Jamie Spencer. He’s a selective mute on the autistic spectrum. That surely makes him an unlikely champion in the apocalypse and unique in the genre. However, he’d be unique if this were a simple family drama.

My beloved wife, Dr. She Who Must Be Obeyed, is a school psychologist. She said the sentence that spurred this post:

The key thing to know about anyone on the spectrum is this:

When you’ve met one autistic person, you’ve met one autistic person.

Everyone is different and autism affects each person differently. Some are extremely visual thinkers. Many are very high-functioning people and the list of well-known people on the spectrum might astonish you (click here for that). There’s much speculation that some of the greatest thinkers and inventors in history were autistic. Though never diagnosed, Tesla, certainly, comes to mind. (Love Tesla and you’ll learn why if you click this link, but I digress.)

When asked, I tell readers that Jaimie has Aspergers with some interesting variations, like selective mutism and synaesthesia. He’s unique, as all people are.

The term “Aspergers” has fallen out of favor in professional circles. That may be a great thing. I’m not sure. Mere labels can’t help the individual, but sometimes they help others understand people on the autistic spectrum. Generally, many people would recognize stereotypical Aspergers traits in someone like Dr. Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory. The show’s producers have stated on many occasions they are not holding the comical character up as the poster boy for autism and he doesn’t represent any group.

I don’t want anyone to think Jaimie represents such a vast and varied community, either. He’s a fictional character who’s delving into deep matters of religion, mortality and immortality while dealing with people infected with three varieties of a deadly plague. His family unit and their problems relating to each other provides a realistic context and special challenges at the end of the world as we know it. He’s a wonderful character to write and he adds layers and depth to what otherwise be a pretty silly story. Jaimie’s point of view makes humans versus zombies versus vampires work.

Why make the protagonist a person on the autistic spectrum?

I could catalogue the artistic reasons to do so, but the short answer is, why the hell not? He’s a person first. The way his brain works is peculiar, but secondary. Despite how different he is, I (and many readers) connect with Jaimie Spencer emotionally, not as a mere intellectual curiosity. Jaimie’s a genius, but he’s no freak.

How does autism play into This Plague of Days?

At one end of the spectrum, autistics don’t develop language skills. With his special interest in words and their origins, especially in Latin, Jaimie does not lack language skills. In fact, selective mutism has nothing to do with autism. Fans of The Big Bang Theory will recognize the problem as an anxiety disorder (which, until recently, afflicted the character of Raj on the show.)

However, on a couple of occasions, I admit that I do indeed tackle issues around autism. It would be weird if I didn’t address those natural consequences, wouldn’t it? It’s tricky, in that autism is another obstacle in the family’s struggles at the end of civilization, but the story is not all about autism.

I came at the issue sideways, in character development.

We learn about Jaimie through his actions and we see how he sees the world. Anna Spencer relates to Jaimie in a very natural way. She’s protective of him when outsiders are involved, but within the family, it’s all sibling rivalry and older sister irritation at a little brother. There’s friction there as there is in many families. I purposely avoided Anna being too precious with him. Of all the people in Jamie’s world, Anna is the one who most treats him as if he’s not unusual.

Before the plague struck, Jaimie’s mother, Jacqueline (Jack) Spencer, struggled with the school and medical systems to get help for her son. She often wishes Jaimie was not on the spectrum. Meanwhile, Theo Spencer, Jaimie’s father, almost seems in denial. While Jack wishes her son were different, Theo accepts Jaimie as he is rather than fixating on changing him. The parents aren’t on the same page and one’s a complex atheist while the other’s faith is hard to hold on to in the face of so much horror. More fun family dynamics to mine there.

As we progress through This Plague of Days, you’ll find that Jaimie is changing. He’s getting wiser and, to survive, he has to learn how to lie. He’s discovering the new world’s secrets. In Season 3, Jaimie is much different from when we first met him. Travelling the road in the apocalypse will do that to anyone, but I don’t find he’s any less likeable. He’s just more complex and less sure of himself. The challenges ahead are too difficult for him to resist transformation.

In the final scene, readers will have a choice.

Some people reading This Plague of Days will also be transformed.

 

*A note to fans of Seasons 1 and 2 of This Plague of Days

In the third season, this officially becomes a series, not a serial. This Plague of Days will be sold as a trilogy in one complete book (This Plague of Days, The Complete Trilogy) assuming CreateSpace can handle printing a book that big. It will also be sold as Season 3 in paper so, if you got 1 and 2 in paperback, you’ll have a third to round out the collection on your shelf. Finally, of course, I’ll put it out as an ebook this spring. After that, I’ll be peddling it to Hollywood for a movie, I suppose. Or make it a graphic novel. Or get it on HBO with Alexander Skarsgard as Misericordia. Who knows?

However, unlike Seasons 1 and 2, there won’t be any releases of weekly episodes for Season 3. Despite my best efforts, there are still some readers who get confused about serialization, so I’m letting that go. The Law of Diminishing Returns had kicked in, anyway, so onward to a very dramatic conclusion. A lot of people you love will die in unexpected ways. Some will live to receive surprising, wonderful rewards. I’m going to be a little sad to finish the journey with Jaimie, but it’s going to be a wild ride right to the end. 

 


This Plague of Days: More monsters are coming in 2014

Some of the monsters are still human. Some are zombies. Some are vampires. And a couple become something even more terrifying. This spring, brace yourself for the conclusion of This Plague of Days.

(You might even feel like a monster, too.)

~ The band is Skillet. The song is “Monster”. I recommend it. Makes me want to pump iron and destroy another world. Buy it on iTunes so you can go faster and longer on the treadmill and crush your enemies.


You’ve read it. It’s right before your eyes. Guess it and you’re in my next book.

It’s time for The Spoilers/No Spoilers Contest. 

There is a secret in This Plague of Days. It’s not buried that deep.

No one has guessed it, but it’s right before your eyes.

If you suspect you know, DM me on Facebook or DM on Twitter (and keep the secret).

Wild speculation will be entertained, but can neither be confirmed nor denied. No spoilers to the rest of the guessers.

Prizes? Sure.

First prize: A nice, fat, juicy paperback of Season One of This Plague of Days. (Signed with a personal note of praise and adulation. Probably signed by me.)

For the first three winners, I’ll use your names for characters in my next book. The secret will be revealed in Season 3.

Praise and adulation will be heaped upon all those who guess correctly on the All That Chazz podcast. 

Have at it!

Also, even if you’re way off, I still may incorporate your wild speculation into Season 3. I got an idea from a reader recently that I shall mold into…well, that would be be telling.

This’ll be fun, but it’s also serious. A chance at immortality hangs in the balance.

 


This Plague of Days Q & A (Part 6): Why do we have to wait so long?

There are few things more pleasing for a writer than having people anxiously await your next book. It’s very cool and I do appreciate it. As someone rightly pointed out, “Hey! This Plague of Days is taking off and you’re writing another book that’s unrelated? Wouldn’t it be smarter to get to Season 3 faster, before you’re forgotten? Get Season 3 done now and write the other thing later.”

To paraphrase Alanis Morrisette, “That’s good advice I just can’t take.” 

The new book is pretty much written. I’m combing through it now. It’s funny and touching and quirky and, well, sort of like everything else I write, I suppose. The hero is another 17-year-old boy. (I don’t know why. I just type what the voices tell me.) It’s not horror. This one is another big book, but it’s my coming-of-age thriller. There is almost-sex, drugs and a kid trying to become a movie star in New York.

It’s pretty ambitious and it’s about ambition. It’s about learning how to be free in a world that’s quick to stomp on that impulse. It’s about love of family and how that can hurt you. I love the protagonist, Romeo Basilon. He doesn’t have much going for him. He’s smart, but poor. His mother’s an alcoholic. He gets suspended from school a lot. He’s a hick kid who finds himself in New York and he wants to be like his hero, actor John Leguizamo.

It’s dark and fun and I’m doing a few things with this you’ve probably never seen before. And yeah, there’s a Shakespearian component to this journey to love and self-discovery. I do strange.

And I needed a break from This Plague of Days to do something very different.

I had to air out the house and put fresh oil and gas in the storytelling engine. The work on TPOD made for a very intense summer. As I start up another business and juggle all the things I have to do, I had to put the Spencers on the back burner for just a little bit. There’s no intern here helping me out with the formatting, reformatting, printers, and oh-my-god-I’m-sorry-I-started-thinking-about-this-at-MIDNIGHT!

But rest assured, I already have 35,000 words of Season 3 written. I know what’s coming. We’ve been building to several big showdowns for the first two seasons. It will be fun to get back on the autistic zombie ride, reveal a big secret and do the to-do.

Season One was The Siege. Season Two was The Quest. Season Three will be The War. Some characters we love will die. Others will transform and transcend. Season Three will be filled with great moments, so join me as I put out something a little lighter and fun. I’m anxious to tell you more, but I better go finish it first.

Oh! And a question for you!

Huge thanks to all who have taken the time to review! We’re up to 43 reviews on Season One and already at 10 reviews on Season Two! TPOD S2 is still cruising a couple of bestseller lists (post-apocalyptic and dystopian.)

If the popularity keeps going, I might not release Season Three as a serial and I’ll just put it out there. (The reasoning is, by now, more people will just buy the complete season. Anybody got any thoughts on that? I’m open to readers’ opinions. You are the boss of me.

Much love,

Chazz


This Plague of Days: How long does it take to destroy the world? (Q & A Part 5)

If you’re out to destroy the world, it starts with trying to save it. Right now, frozen in the refrigerated vaults, are enough nerve toxins, viruses and bacilli to kill us all and make way for the rise of the insects. We keep this stuff around for research purposes, or in some cases, nefarious purposes. We hope they (whoever “they” are) have that stuff locked down, just like the brainiacs and experts were so sure Fukishima would be safe forever.

But we know concrete doesn’t hold forever. If it did, nuclear waste disposal wouldn’t be such a worry. Terrorists are mostly idiots, but with the explosion of earth’s population, we slowly get more geniuses and a few will be evil geniuses. Even if you trust your government, do you trust the construction specs on a biological weapons vault in Pakistan, India, Russia or insert your choice of any nation here?

Mistakes happen. Back up systems fail, as they did in Three Mile Island, Fukishima and Chernobyl and 9/11. Involve a human, and eventually something will mess up. Entropy is a law and it is certain. The Way of Things always wins.

Not scared yet? If you aren’t concerned, my friends and fiends, I don’t understand why not.

How long did it take you to destroy the world, Chazz?

A few seconds of a few mistakes lined up in a row and viruses will eat us from the inside, rotting out. But writing it? Writing takes longer.

I wrote the first incarnation of This Plague of Days working three or four hours a day over ten or eleven months, falling mostly in 2010. The second draft took another four months and getting Season One and Two prepped for publication added another three months or so. It started out as such a contemplative novel. When I decided that could never sell, I made it less Canadian.

I had planned to write another crime novel instead of This Plague of Days. Deeper Than Jesus will be my third novel about my luckless Cuban hit man, Jesus Diaz. However, when I realized I was writing a funny, dark, kick-ass story in a low-demand genre, I went back to killer viruses and confronting mortality. Running out of time and money before I had to return to my old job, I was determined to write something somebody would really care about. The people who love Jesus (Diaz) love him a lot, but there aren’t enough of them yet.

I love writing full-time. I’ve had a very productive two years devoted exclusively to writing and podcasts.

My new business should still allow me writing time. I’m determined to make my new schedule work. In a few weeks, I’ll be back working in the same office I worked in fourteen years ago. In some ways, it feels like moving backwards, but I’ve got kids. We do what we must and, though physically taxing, it’s not a bad job (more on that another time). 

This Plague of Days is really taking off and I’ve sold more books in the last ten days than I’ve sold in two years. (Thank you, Plague lovers!) That sounds great, but I have to make up for two years of not working at all and never getting ahead. I’m not complaining, but I am being real. I have many more books to write. To do that, I have to keep the lights on. Most writers have day jobs and I’m thankful for my opportunities. Without the specific skill sets I have, I don’t know what I’d do for a living. I’m otherwise unemployable, chronically underemployed and I’ve got way too much sass in me to endure a boss (or for them to tolerate me.) I pretty much have to work for myself. While the control freak in me insists on excellence and piece work, the real world keeps sending me bills for the Internet connection.

This next evolution is going to be an interesting experiment. 

Just like what I did with my Cuban hit man and with zombies, I’m taking a familiar model and doing something new and different with it. It’s exciting and stressful and draining and energizing, depending on the time of day and what I’m thinking about.

We do what we have to do, but whatever you do, please keep the creativity in.

Find ways to make it interesting and fun. If you work on the line, sing. If you’re on the drive-through window wearing a hairnet, be funny and entertain co-workers and customers alike. If you can’t lose the job but your boss insists you be a drone, act the part. Play the role. The boss will never know you’re giving him respect ironically. Be the robot on the outside. Inside your skull no one owns you. Inside, we are all free.

We are sharks. We move forward or we die. Don’t die. I need the readers.

~ I am Robert Chazz Chute. Check out my podcasts and buy the books at AllThatChazz.com. Episode 2 of Season 2 drops Monday, or just get Season One and Two and bang, you’re watching the end of the world through an autistic boy’s eyes.


Season Two, Episode One: The Spencers Flee East

The complete first and second seasons are up. Season 2 Episode 1 launches Monday. Click carefully so you get the right ones. Cheers!

The complete first and second seasons are up. Season 2 Episode 1 launches Monday. Click carefully so you get the right ones. Cheers! Or just click this cover to get Episode One if you want the serialization.

 

About the bathtub scene from Season 2, Episode 1: 

There’s something about that scene which reminds me of American Werewolf in London, or maybe some of Stephen King’s work. 

In all post-apocalyptic fiction, the hope for the future must be greater than the horror, no matter how bad things get. I love The Walking Dead, but to be honest, I’m not sure what they’re fighting for. I even said this in Season One and I mean it honestly. We need more than the hope of taking one more breath to sustain us. Sometimes the reason to live doesn’t come from us, but from our children or spouse.

That’s ultimately what the bathtub scene is about. It sets the stakes. As long as her family is alive, Jack knows what she’s fighting for. As Season Two continues, it seems her grasp on hope is tenuous. The lure of the quiet death is something all survivors must consider. When confronted with continuous horrors without hope, suicide is a reasonable choice. At the bathtub, choices are made that give gas to the narrative engine of This Plague Of Days.

I hope you enjoy it.

~ Chazz

 


Q & A #3: Time Management and when will TPOD be available in paper?

Wow. That was timely.

Somebody asked when they can get a print copy of This Plague of Days

and someone else asked how I manage my schedule.

The short answer is, I hope to have Season One and Season Two ready by mid-November. It might take longer after what I went through tonight.

The long answer

I was just whining on Facebook that it took me four hours to reformat Season One for a 6 x 9″ paperback. (At 300+ pages, it’ll be thick.) I say reformat because I farmed out the job to someone and it looks like they didn’t look at it twice after they ran it through whatever ringer they put it through. (Disappointing because they did a great job on another book they formatted for me.) 

There are other variables with the print delivery, like finding a local printer for selling straight to readers. Amazon’s Createspace can be slow to get books to me (though this week they delivered faster than ever.) I also have to fit into my good friend Kit’s schedule. Kit Foster of KitFosterDesign.com does my covers and I’ll need to get a new  (back) cover for the print editions. 

Getting interior book design right in paper can be surprisingly tough, even with awesome tech. Tonight I stripped out the deep indents and extra tabs and deleted blank pages between chapters. Then I had to redo all the numbers in the Table of Contents. I would rather have used those four hours to work on two new books I’ve got planned.

Time management is a constant challenge.

To master my use of time, I track time and word counts with my calendar and I even use the  stopwatch on my computer. I drink smoothies because it’s healthier, but also faster, with less clean up. When I exercise, I go for fast and intense so I’m not losing time in the gym that could be productive otherwise.

I’m ruthless and committed so I get the time to do all the things I need to do to get stuff done. Some people like socializing and the great outdoors. I can sit at my desk for many hours without ever getting bored and I’m afraid to go outside. I frequently skip sleep so I can pound my head against the brick wall to get everything done. I did have a nap this afternoon, but I dreamt lucidly and came up with three battle scenes for Season Three. That’s good because skipped sleep isn’t a good idea. However, when the demon ideas bombard me as I suffer insomnia, it’s not really a choice but I may as well go with it and get something out of it.

This month I have to:

Launch another website and information materials for a new business;  prep for that launch while writing and revising two books; revamp another book and plan promotions. I must move into a new office, buy a printer, office furniture, supplies, surveillance cameras, new finance hardware, new software and put together a new mailing campaign for the new biz.

Sadly, I probably need to learn how to format the print books myself or find someone else to do it.

One of the big keys to turn the lock on getting stuff done is to do first what needs to be done most. Therefore, I try to get into writing as early in the day as possible. Also, choose to do things that have a solid ship date. I have a huge writing project and a much smaller, easier writing project. I’ll get the smaller one off the table first. 

This strategy not only maintains my will to live, it makes me look more productive because more stuff is flying out the the door faster. When I choose my project, I focus on the one I can complete within the shorter time frame first. Otherwise, I’d be juggling several projects but never bringing anything in for a landing.

Tonight’s unexpected reformatting fiasco sure didn’t fit with the plan I had for today. Sometimes, the time management thing just doesn’t work. Man plans. God giggles.


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