In this edition of the All That Chazz podcast: Oscar fallout; scary health scares; great big kid love; Higher Than Jesus wins a cover design award; Six Seconds is released and I do a challenging (some dicks would say embarrassing) reading of chapter 7, “The Unknown Man”, from my crime novel. When I wrote the character of Chillie Gillie, I gave him a lisp. It reads well, but I had no idea how hard he would be to read aloud. You can be entertained by the story or laugh at my unintentional humour as i struggle through Chill’s dialogue.
This podcast is sponsored by Kit Foster of KitFosterDesign.com. In case you didn’t love Kit Foster’s work enough already, you should know that it was his work on Higher Than Jesus that earned Venture Galleries’ Cover Design Award for Hardboiled Mystery! Thanks again, Kit! Check out Kit’s portfolio. He does web banners, too, so everyone can benefit from his services.
The big announcement this week is that my quick guide to using Vine is launched! The book is Six Seconds, The Unauthorized Guide to How to Build Your Business with the Vine App. Vine is the Apple app to make short videos. I write about how to make stories, art and humour to promote your services or products in a fun way without feeling spammy. It will be available on more platforms than Apple soon, I’m sure. Think of Vine as video Twitter and get in early to make the most of it. Vines are so much fun to make, it’s an end in itself. However, I think the app has great potential for business. Finally, a fun way to promote your work and enliven your Twitter stream with easy to make video! Six Seconds is 18,000 words, brief and funny for just $1.99. Get it here. If you love it, please review it. Thank you.
Enjoy all the awkward lisping and thanks for listening!
I’ve been stymied. I hate that. I’ve been working on the new novel in the Hit Man Series, Hollywood Jesus. Several chapters went well, but there was something missing and I just figured out why it wasn’t firing on all cylinders. I was holding back. I wasn’t being reckless enough.
What makes Bigger Than Jesus such a great read is that it has the pace of a long chase scene with lots of twists and cliffhangers and no chance for anyone to catch their breath. I wrote Bigger Than in a certain way that was braver and less calculated than what I have been doing. As I wrote Bigger Than, each night I finished a chapter I often had no real idea how I’d get Jesus Diaz out of the corner I’d written him into. The next morning the answer came. (Sometimes it didn’t and I had to think longer, but when you ask the right question, the answer always appears.)
CUTTING & REWRITING…
The first stab at Hollywood Jesus wasn’t all bad. The chase scene with the cops and the scary way Jesus gets out of it? I’m keeping that. The meeting in the office? I’ll lose that. It’s too static and talky. I’m also keeping the big ending I’d planned, but the plots and plans and surprises go deeper and I’ll introduce new motivations.
The first two books started out with a murder. This time? It’s different, but no less scary and creepy. The key to making the character work for the reader is that he was terribly abused as a child and my funny hit man identifies with innocent victims. Jesus has a code and he always tries to make sure no civilians are hurt on his missions. Now that I see how this plot is going to unfold, it’s a much bigger, more sweeping story that has roots all the way back to the heart of book one of the series.
Jesus Diaz was in deep trouble with my first attempt at this book. I understand now how I can shove him down so deep, Hollywood Jesus will have a deeper emotional impact as well as more action with a pace that matches Bigger Than Jesus. Maybe even faster.
THE BIG PICTURE…
Bigger Than Jesus
New York; Opens with fast, perilous action; it’s a quest for money, love and escape with the alluring Lily Vasquez.
Theme: A man stands up to the Machine. He is not a cog.
Higher Than Jesus
Chicago; Opens with increasing tension, battling drug addiction while fighting two opposing forces over an arms deal and trying to save the body and soul of the sexy glamazon, Willow Clemont.
Theme: To become who you are meant to be, you have to conquer your failings.
L.A.; Opens with a rescue; opens old wounds in a war with multiple, powerful enemies, a slavery ring that hits Jesus very close to his heart and two beautiful women. Expect betrayal. Even so, you’ll be surprised from whence it strikes.
Theme: Sacrifice for the greater good…sucks.
I got my groove back, Stella! (That’s a dated book and movie reference, but it made somebody reading this smile briefly.)
New resolutions mean nothing without fresh resolve, every day. Here comes 2013, so happy new year, have a listen and buckle up!
Here are my commitments:
1. RE: My writing career: I’m using fellow author, Zombie God Armand Rosamilia, as my pacer. The goal is 10,000 words a week for me, too.
2. RE: My health. As a writer, I am sedentary. That will kill me if I don’t get off my ass. On my current trajectory, my first heart attack will hit in less than seven years and I’ll be dead in less than ten. That would be tragic because, aside from the fact that the universe collapses without The Magic That is Me, I’m way too young and pretty to die. I have a lot of books to write and not enough time to get them done on that shortened timeline. Therefore: I choose a new reality and daily exercise. I got a Fitbit and a juicer for Christmas.* Tally-freakin’-ho.
3. RE: Tasks to complete. I plan at least four more books in 2013. This is doable. It is a simple goal. It is not an easy goal. That’s okay. Mama didn’t make no wimps and I’m a genius, so what’s the problem besides acting unconsciously (i.e. sometimes acting pretty stupid)?
For more on the benefits of juicing and a healthier lifestyle, watch Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. For even more on juicing, go toJoin the Reboot. Want even more than that to get on track?Vegucated andHungry for Change are good movies to consider on Netflix (and those links will take you to their respective websites.) I’m not ready to go full Vegan — I’m keeping my egg whites — but for the next few months, I’m juicing to correct my weight and pre-hypertension so it doesn’t climb to full hypertension. (In Vegucated, you’ll note that participants dropped 20 points or more off their blood pressure after just six weeks as vegans.)
A key component I’m using for my particular approach to weight loss is incorporating bio-hacks from The Bulletproof Executive. Read, review and talk to your doctor if necessary. Not all hacks are appropriate for all individuals, depending on varied medical conditions. Given my condition, I’m taking a radical approach that may not be for you. However, I’m on stage this summer and I have to look awesome. (Oh, yeah…and there’s that little thing about wanting to live longer.)
Take in the information. Think about what’s right for you. Design a plan. Write it out. Report to somebody to keep you honest. Stick to it even when you don’t feel like it. This can apply to getting things done, balancing your check book or organizing your office. Whatever you’re challenge, you have choices to make. And let’s not kid ourselves: We’re conscious adults. Mostly, we already know what the right choices are. Find the tools that will help you with your goals and make those choices.
If it’s diet you’re changing, think more about all you can add in. That will displace what you’re subtracting from your lifestyle. For instance, you can have all the vegetables, homemade vegetable soup and vegetable juices you want and you’ll fill up with low calories, high nutritional content. The more green leafy and cruciferous stuff, the better.
We can change. If you get some energy from the podcast, come back to it and remember why you made this commitment to improve your life. Seek support from your circle of friends and fellow travellers. This is the Internet. Whatever your challenge, there’s someone out there who shares it. For instance, if you don’t have support locally, allies can be found everywhere. Consider Weight Watchers or start with podcasts, like Dave Jackson’s Logical Weight Loss. I’ll be checking in, too. Subscribe to my newsletter and I’ll let you know my progress in coming months.
Pop Goes the Weasel Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
MTA Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Mistake the Getaway #2 Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Clips on today’s show were from The Matrix, FDR, President Obama singing Al Green, Bush the Junior, Joe Rogan, Wikileaks recording “Collateral Murder”, Robocop, Sly Stallone’s speech to his son in Rocky Balboa (2006), Chevy Chase in Caddyshack, Howard Beal’s speech in Network, Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, MLK (x2), Pat Morita as Mr. Miyago to Ralph Macchio as Daniel-san in The Karate Kid. Obama pops up again, too.
To help with the bandwidth for the show, hit the tip jar/donate button to the right, buy some books or say hello via the Speakpipe prompt at the top right. Thanks for listening!
Today, in the early morning of my 48th birthday, I dreamt of Christopher Hitchens again. Instead of writing “again”, Hitch would have written “as I sometimes do.” Read and listen to him enough and you start to write and speak in his patterns, as one violin resonates with another. He spoke in complete sentences with a professorial British accent. You could hear every comma, semicolon and period.
I disagreed with him intensely over the idiocy of the Iraq invasion. (Christopher — never Chris — would have said “wisdom”, not idiocy.) For someone so against religion, his unwavering faith in that war still baffles me. His books were researched deeply and well-written. He shone brightest in debate and was always erudite and witty. I miss him. We met again today in a good, safe place.
In the dream, I’m some sort of documentarian but I’m helping him mow a massive lawn. He rides a huge mower and cuts a massive swath with wide blades. I have the same small red lawnmower from Canadian Tire I had when I was a kid. The metaphor for that didn’t strike me until after I awoke. (“I must caution you,” as Hitch would say, that’s a writing metaphor, not a penis metaphor. Hitch was a titan. I write amusing little stories for a tiny audience.)
The setting was a summer cottage, though here, it is always summer. Hitch confessed he enjoyed mowing the expanse on the big tractor so much he often mowed neighbours’ lawns, as well. That’s a joy difficult to imagine for him in real life. That was my first clue I might be dreaming.
He was friendly enough, but he was still Christopher Hitchens — before the cancer took him — so I was cautious with my words and mostly listened for fear of wearing out my welcome. (Hitch would have said, “…for fear of growing stale in his company.”)
He showed me his sanctuary where things were most quiet. I expected a large office with walls of books. Instead, we tiptoed past his sleeping wife so he could show me an incredibly white and clean bathroom off his master bedroom. In one of those Felliniesque details that makes you wonder about the gnashing teeth in the spinning gears of the subconscious, the toilet appeared to be filled with milk. I didn’t say so, but I thought he must have thrown up in that toilet a lot because of the chemotherapy. Reading my mind, he said that chemo and all pain was behind him now.
We sat outside in Adirondack chairs on the freshly cut, green grass and sipped lemonade under a warm sun. Wanting to appear game, I mentioned it was my birthday and told him how strange it was and how little I’d changed. “What’s the evolutionary advantage in not adapting? I haven’t changed much at all. In university, I studied the history of philosophy and the philosophy of history. Seeing so many civilizations rise and fall, it’s impossible for me not to be fatalistic about the fate of our own. Writing books is the closest immortality.”
“How have you changed, really?” he asked. “You must have, some.”
At 24, I was immersed and obsessed with violence and at 48, I’m a crime novelist. In sublimating my rage with humour, I’m creating art instead of bloody noses. I’m happier now. I laugh more and make others laugh. I was afraid all the time then, though I still can’t afford new glasses.
I became lucid then and I knew I was having a conversation with myself, not Christopher Hitchens. Disappointing. Though neither of us believe in heaven, the melting illusion saddened me more because Hitch after death was more placid than he ever was in life.
“Is fear of mortality what this dream is all about?” he asked.
“I’m still young enough that I fear failure more than death, though the two are inextricably linked.”
“‘Inextricably’, hm? Even though you know I’m not here, you’re still trying to impress me.” He didn’t say it unkindly.
“I’m not awake yet,” I said, though I could feel the real world pulling me away. I fought it, but once begun, that process can’t be stopped.
“I think I just answered my question,” I said. “The adaptive advantage of our minds changing so little and thinking like a young person is that I can still focus on achieving things in the future instead of worrying I’m going to drop dead any minute.”
“Try to stay young until the end. It goes easier that way.”
But that’s me talking to myself and I’m almost back in my bed with weak, gray light filling a cold horizon of snow and ice.
“You should write more,” he said, and toasted me with his glass of pink lemonade.
“I know. Thanks.”
I awoke thinking, time’s running out. I got up right away and wrote this.
Get a free ebook to help you publish and persevere: Write Your Book: Aspire to Inspire. It’s free to download from Amazon from Tuesday to Saturday! See all the book links at AllThatChazz.com.
On the podcast: Brian MacKenzie of unicycleglidecam.com. A former combat diver, Brian patrols the streets on a unicycle in a Scouttrooper uniform. We also find out what an Arctic turnip is, and it’s awful. I found out unicycling is surprisingly cool. I also learned that when you have a helmet that obscures your face and someone takes your picture, you still smile for the camera. Fun chat.
Help a disabled hero, Trevor Greene, become bionic at http://bit.ly/UMHXeD.
Check out the Kit Foster’s portfolio at KitFosterDesign.com for Amazing book covers, Quote Art, web banners and more.
Jesus versus Salvador Dali and the FBI! These are the last two chapters of Bigger Than Jesus by Robert Chazz Chute: The Man You Are Not and The Man You Are. Enjoy!
Next episode: I interview Scout Trooper, master unicyclist and videographer/marketing genius Brian MacKenzie. Then we start a new reading: Higher Than Jesus. Expect explosions, jokes, sex and violence and funny surprises. Bad guys will burn! Um…I’m talking about my next crime novel, not the Brian MacKenzie interview. It will all be fun.
Check out our sponsor, Kit Foster of KitFosterDesign.com, for excellent web banners, Quote Art, book covers and more!
Another free ebook! Has Chazz gone mad? Plus, in this chapter of Bigger Than Jesus, our luckless hit man is captured by Vincent and in the sights of a SPAS-12.
Higher Than Jesus is free for you to download until Nov. 23! It’s hardboiled sex and violence with lots of funny dialogue. Jesus is in Chicago killing a bad guy on Christmas Day, brokering an arms deal and failing miserably at group therapy. Grab the ebook as it races up the hardboiled and suspense lists.
A shout out this week goes to new newsletter subscriber PC Zick of pczick.com and author of Live from the Road. Want a mention in the podcast for your website, business or book? Subscribe to the AllThatChazz.com newsletter.
This is podcast is sponsored by the amazing graphic artist Kit Foster of KitFosterDesign.com. He can do amazing work for you, too!
This podcast is sponsored by Kit Foster of KitFosterDesign.com. Check out his portfolio and use his services for book covers, web banners, Quote Art, book trailers, promotional videos and all your graphics needs. He’s the best!