Tag Archives: zombie apocalypse

This Plague of Days: Influences on Season Two (and me!)

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.


This Plague of Days: Explaining Serialization to Readers

Somebody thought I was trying to rip them off. That upsets me greatly, so, before we get into the heady release of Season 2, a post to clear things up. If anyone else wants to know about serialization, here it is:

There are all kinds of reasons to serialize which I’ve explained on my blog for writers. This post is for readers who don’t care about that behind-the-scenes stuff. Serialization is an old thing (i.e. Dickens et al) that’s new again. Some readers will inevitably become confused as to what’s going on. They’re used to buying one book, or books in a series, so serial’s look weird at first. (Too bad Amazon Serials didn’t go for This Plague of Days, though I’m told this same landmine pops up for them, too.)

Season One of This Plague of Days is the complete first book.

This is the beginning of a large story arc. It was sold weekly, as episodes, through the summer of 2013. There were five episodes in Season One. It’s a lot of fun to write this way. It’s much like writing for television (hence “seasons” and “episodes”.) People had the option of buying Season One at once, one episode each week and some even bought both.

I was surprised how many people preferred to read it episodically.

The episodes cost 99 cents and at that price people were getting a novella. I kept the price at $3.99 so readers could read a big chunk of the beginning (Episode One) and decide whether they wanted to give the next episode a chance, bail, or just go get the whole thing at a discount.

After Season One ended, I did a huge giveaway (close to 14,000 free copies) and then raised the price to $4.99. At 106,000 words and years in the making, I think that’s very fair for many hours of entertainment. You know…if you dig it. If you don’t dig it, no price is fair and I hope you didn’t pick it up. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. I know my flavor won’t be for everyone, but judging from the happy feedback, I’m very grateful that I’ve finally written something so many people enjoy. I’ve written nine other books I love, but this is the one that seems to have potential to be the biggest hit.

The criticism I received was based on a misapprehension. That’s okay. We’re all human here, right? No zombies in the room? Good.

As I write this on September 25, the episodes you see listed make up Season One. Season Two does not release until October 1, 2013.

We kept the same theme through the covers and labelled the covers Episodes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (versus Season One) to try to avoid any confusion with Season Two. My cover artist, Kit Foster of KitFosterDesign.com, created a Season Two cover that has a very different look to distinguish it from Season One. All the covers are labelled (we hope clearly) so no one clicks too quickly and gets something they don’t want (i.e. If you bought Season One, you’ve got all the available episodes already.)

Sorry if you missed it. If you’ve purchased any book in error, please return it to Amazon for an easy refund.  I never want anyone to feel ripped off. EV-ER. I’m in the brain tickle business to avoid anyone feeling ripped off.

Wait. It’s September 25!

I better get back to the final polishes of Season Two. There’s wood to pile, I’ve got to drive a kid to the orthodontist, we have a house guest tonight and SEASON TWO‘S RELEASE IS JUST DAYS AWAY! 

Oh, dear. I need interns. I need more coffee. I need somebody else to stack a cord of wood.

Crap.

Anyway, I hope that clears things up and no hard feelings.


Cover reveal: This Plague Of Days, Season 2

This Plague of Days Season 2

Season Two hits in two weeks. Click the cover to go grab Season One.

Cover by Kit Foster of KitFosterDesign.com.


Things get paranormal. Or do they? Sentient trees and This Plague of Days

After a great cover design conference with my graphic designer, Kit Foster of KitFosterDesign.com, I was inspired to tweak a passage from Season Two of This Plague of Days.

There’s a major shift in the story and I wanted to deliver the news in a clever way. In the earlier drafts, the shift was stated a bit too baldly and too “on the nose”. Fortunately, my editor and beta readers suggested I rethink the realization to come. The answer popped into my head this afternoon when I was conspiring with Kit about the cover. What follows is a small slice from a larger hunk of beef, but I was so happy with it, I wanted to share just a little taste of  a sneak peek from This Plague of Days, Season Two:

Jaimie sat up. He awoke in the forest again. Though he’d come to this place many times, this was his first arrival at night. A cold, full moon cast shadows among white birch trunks. In stark beauty, the trees stood out in the darkness, glowing like columns of white marble.

He looked up. In sunlight, a boil of hawks always soared above the forest in slow funnels, circling, watching, waiting. Past the reaching trees, he saw nothing but indifferent stars and the infinite unknown of the chasms amongst their pale fires.

“What has changed?” he called out to the forest.

“Chiroptera.”

By the rules of the Nexus, that which is named becomes real, and so a cloud of shrieking bats crossed the lamp of the moon. Leathery wings beat the air as the colony shattered the moonlight into white strobes. The bats were so large, they cast chaotic shadows on the boy’s upturned face. Jaimie’s mirror eyes reflected scalpel claws and gleaming, tearing teeth.

~ If you aren’t on board already, check out Season One here. Season Two strikes at the end of the month. Buy This Plague of Days, Season 2 for $3.99 in the first week before it rises to $4.99. The story will be released as a series of five episodes at 99 cents each on October 9.

 


This Plague of Days, Season 2: Expect more action

TPOD season 1 ecoverI completed the original manuscript for This Plague of Days a few years ago. Every day I headed over to the local Starbucks and typed on a little pad called a Neo. (Yes, I’m aware of the Starbucks/writing cliché and, no, I don’t care.) I finished that iteration of the manuscript at around a quarter of a million words. It’s a sprawling story with a big cast. The Stand is one of my favorite books and I guess that shows through. However, I wasn’t content with publishing models as they existed at that time. Now, between ebook distribution and the benefits of serialization, I have a book that’s gaining traction. (Check out the great reviews here, for instance.)

What’s up next for Jaimie Spencer?

Season One had a lot of character development as we delved into Jaimie Spencer’s handicaps and his powers. Everyone loves Jaimie, but we haven’t seen all he can do yet. He’s a selective mute on the autism spectrum, so it’s always significant when he chooses to speak. In Season Two, it’s still significant, but under special circumstances, he’s going to be a bit more talkative. I love writing this character!

What’s up for Shiva?

Ah, the devil in the red dress has yet to deliver her baby and she’s finding some changes in her body that aren’t explainable by pregnancy. She and Jaimie meet for the first time.

Has the British invasion finally started?

Yes. The infected invade the United States on two fronts! I’m telling you there are big surprises coming. That warning won’t help you.

What about the survivors from London?

The Brit refugees, led by Dr. Craig Sinjin-Smythe, are getting some military assistance but they’re having trouble catching up with Shiva. New cast members are added and others are lost to a bad case of Zombie Surprise. 

Who are the new characters?

There’s a small assortment of military personnel, an Irish policeman I like named Desmond Walsh and a busker/street preacher named Gus. Expect a touch of romance and meet a new villain to add to the mounting dangers to the Spencers. Also, a villain from Season One reappears.

How is Season Two going to be different from Season One?

Someone on my beta reader team noticed that the pacing in Season Two has amped up. We know these characters so now there’s lots of room for more high-stakes action with people we care about. The Latin phrases and fascination with words isn’t going away, but the fallout from Sutr-X and Sutr-Z is really hitting home now. Your home. 

The expected publication date for Season Two of This Plague of Days is the end of September. If you’d like a heads up when it comes out, or chances to win prizes and see advanced reading copies, click here to go to my author site  for details.

Sign up for the free newsletter and you also get a shout out on the next All That Chazz podcast.

The All That Chazz podcast returns next week!

 


Why Zombies? For the brains.

TPOD season 1 ecoverA couple of people have contacted me to say, “What’s with the zombies? I don’t get the attraction!” That looks like a delicious can of worms. Let’s eat that.

I replied with something diplomatic like, “Well, you know, not everything’s for everybody and that’s cool but by the way, I make it fresh!”

But really, first off, how weird is that?

Is there any other profession where someone who doesn’t use your product or service goes out of their way to say, “I hate that”? I don’t like the smell of the acrylic nail salon at the mall, but I don’t rush in there to tell them “I don’t get it. Why would you do that?” Likewise, hard core military fiction? Not for me. Unicorns? Not for me. However, I don’t contact the authors looking for…well, I’m not sure what they were looking for exactly. Justification? An apology?

Second, my zombie apocalypse isn’t about zombies. 

Good science fiction doesn’t teach you how to build a warp engine. I’ve tried to read some amateurish stuff that goes deep in the weeds of world-building and it has all the allure of a technical manual. (Which is a snarky way of saying it’s not for me, I guess, but at least I’m not chasing down those writers on Twitter and Facebook to say, “I don’t get it. Why would you do that?”) 

My rule is Follow the Art. I wrote a story with zombies because that’s where Art took me.

Horror isn’t about the monsters.

Horror is about how we react to the monsters. In This Plague of Days, I take a family from the heartland of America and put them in peril. First it’s a plague (no zombies) because I wanted to show what a lot of dystopian books don’t show. I wanted to show how things fall apart instead of starting the story after the fall. As the conflicts escalate (especially in Season Two) faithful readers will come to understand why things happened the way they did in Season One. This is a big story with long arcs, secrets  and big payoffs down the road. If I wanted to write a short story, the action would come in a smaller box. This is a big gift box.

Much of the horror doesn’t come from the infected.

Throughout This Plague of Days, everyone’s scared. Scared people, even heroes, make bad choices. As the zombie action evolves in Britain (and hits American shores in Season Two), that midwestern family in suburbia faces danger not just from the world flu pandemic, but from other survivors. In short, people are shitty to each other. They’re selfish. And sometimes they surprise us by being decent. There is room for nuance and, by the way, no villain thinks he’s a villain. Even when I daydream of drowning haters in an acid bath, I think I’m righteous, for instance.

People are more interesting than monsters.

Monsters don’t have choices. They’re following their needs, instincts and natures. But when people do bad things? They’re choosing evil. Family dynamics under pressure in the Centrifuge of Death and Global Disaster is much more interesting than drooling, shuffling dead lunkheads. 

My zombies aren’t “true” rise-from-the-grave zombies.

My zombies are really people infected with a virus of the 28 Days Later variety. They’re fast and they’re getting smarter and more organized. I even make jokes about  zombie movies where the tropes don’t bear examination. I’m telling a tale of Good versus Evil where most people are conflicted about the battle. Don’t assume it’s dumb because the z-word is attached.

Some people make rise-from-the-grave stuff work great, too. I’ve read plenty of smart horror. If you haven’t, maybe you need to read more, not less.

It didn’t even have to be zombies.

To me, the place of zombies in This Plague of Days, is as a force of nature. A world flu pandemic is a force of nature and the family deals with that first. The Brits in Season One run from the infected cannibals in the same way we’d run from packs of rabid dogs. If you’ve ever seen the movie The Ghost and the Darkness (two real life rogue lions who got a taste for humans and went on a killing spree) that’s my take on zombies. 

Ultimately, Zombies R US.

When the story is done, themes and larger metaphors emerge. Amid rising action, hard choices and people you care about in trouble, This Plague of Days raises questions about the natures of God, Mankind, sacrifice and whether we’re worth sacrifice. Everyone reads a book through their own lens and will take away what they will. I think this is fiction that is very rich soil to till. It’s no coincidence that Jaimie Spencer’s on the autistic spectrum and his special interest is words and their meanings. This Plague of Days is about our meaning.

So, if you have any doubts about the value of zombies in particular or horror writing in general, there’s my justification.

The defence rests. No damn apologies.

Now, let’s eat another can of worms and follow the links to a discussion about the place of religion in horror.

 


#Free #ebook: An #autistic hero faces the end of the world

As of 2:30 pm, here’s the Amazon ranking #23 in Dystopian and #29 Post-Apocalyptic!

Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 2.47.32 PM

 

UPDATE: 

3:30 PM: #1 in Post-Apocalyptic and #2 in Dystopian!

Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 3.20.53 PM

Push it higher on Amazon’s main list with a happy click and get Episode One free now. You’re going to love it!

This Plague of Days, Episode One

is free on Amazon until midnight tomorrow night.

Do you enjoy reading:

  • a book that allows you to see the world in a new way?
  • apocalyptic scenaria where the fate of God and humankind are debated?
  • Latin phrases and wordplay?
  • international thrillers with weird and scary terrorists?
  • zombies unlike what you’ve come to expect?
  • tension that crawls up your spine and into your brain?
  • about a sweet, innocent autistic boy who rarely speaks but has hidden talents that might save the world?

If any of that appeals to you as a horror reader, click the cover below and get on board the braingasm train.

Still not sure you want that first crunchy, salty potato chip? Then get more details here.

The Zombie Apocalypse serial is here. Get 5 episodes at 99 cents each or the whole Season for $3.99. Season Two hits the world at the end of September.

The Zombie Apocalypse serial is here. Get 5 episodes at 99 cents each or the whole Season for $3.99. Season Two hits the world at the end of September.

~ Robert Chazz Chute is a novelist, podcaster and former newspaper and magazine journalist. This Plague of Days is his ninth book. See all his books here.


Season One of the World’s First Autistic Zombie Apocalypse Novel is Complete!

Just 99 vents for each of five episodes or grab the discount and get all of Season One for $3.99.

Just 99 vents for each of five episodes or grab the discount and get all of Season One for $3.99.

Season Two arrives in September. Grab Season One now.

NEW REVIEWS!

5.0 out of 5 stars A high-brow zombie serial Max Brooks could be proud of…, July 15, 2013
This review is from: This Plague of Days Season One (The Zombie Apocalypse Serial) (Kindle Edition)

I think this storyline is brilliant. It’s not your cliched, run-of-the-mill zombie apocalypse story. It’s character driven. It’s cerebral. It’s awesome. The first episode of This Plague of Days is the perfect balance of back story, anecdotes, and the events of the present crisis. Jaime, the main character, is fantastically written and surprisingly well thought out. His diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum (formerly known as Aspergers), combined with his synthesesia (seeing emotions as color-auras) is a fresh aspect to an otherwise well-known genre. Reading on, I admit I was nervous that the remaining episodes wouldn’t pack the same punch. I was wrong, they did.

Jaime is an infuriating character to withstand during such a terrifying predicament-which is why he’s awesome. You find yourself screaming at the page for him to speak up, to warn others to what he sees. And that’s when you realize just how invested in the characters you are. And his isn’t the only well-developed character. Chute often provides glimpses into the pasts of some of the others and it’s so well-written, you forget for a moment that the world is in turmoil…but just for a moment before you’re clobbered over the head again with suspense, tension, and terror.

In the end, all the immediate conflicts were resolved in a satisfying way, not rushed, not unrealistic. There’s plenty of ground to cover next season, and the last few lines will leave you guessing and impatiently waiting for Season Two of This Plague of Days.

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, July 15, 2013
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: This Plague of Days Season One (The Zombie Apocalypse Serial) (Kindle Edition)

This Plague of Days scares me to death! I just can’t put it down; I have to see what happens next. Bring on Season Two!

 

 

 


This Plague of Days: The action rises. London falls.

See the end of the world through the eyes of an autistic boy. You’ll begin to see everything differently.

Please click the cover to learn more.

TPOD Episode 3

 


Episode Two of This Plague of Days: Everything breaks

Read This Plague of Days. (And please, wash your hands frequently.)

This Plague of Days, Episode One (99 cents)

This Plague of Days, Episode Two (99 cents)

or

just grab

This Plague of Days, Season One

at a discount for only $3.99.

TPOD Episode 2


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