I’m working on the last draft of the next instalment of the Hit Man Series, Deader Than Jesus. My luckless Cuban assassin has big plans for tonight. Here’s an excerpt from today’s revisions…
Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, the character of the clever hit man will be played by Jesus Diaz. The actor’s motivation will be supplied by his lost childhood and tortured fool’s soul.
Take a deep breath. Step closer to the mirror. Look into your eyes and try to find the man behind the scary luchadore mask. What happens tonight shouldn’t be narrated by Morgan Freeman. Tough guy voice over work for tonight’s adventure should be supplied by the cowboy in the Big Lebowksi, Sam Elliot. Or maybe Dennis Leary could put a funny, edgy spin on what’s about to unfold, like he does for those truck commercials.
Somebody really badass should play you. If John Leguizamo isn’t available, can Jason Statham play a short Cuban?
I think the book will be out in a month (or less.) Stay tuned, and be sure to read Bigger Than Jesus and Higher Than Jesus. You can jump in anywhere, but you’ll get the full flavor if you start at the beginning. Enjoy.
If you ever wondered about some behind-the-scenes stuff about writing a massive apocalyptic saga, check out my fun interview on Armand Rosamilia’s Arm Cast: Dead Sexy Horror Podcast.
We have a good talk. The interview begins at about 9 minutes. (It’s Episode 2 of the podcast as listed on iTunes.)
Fresh year. Clean slate. New attitudes. New you. How about it?
I’ve been away a while. Had some health problems. Had some issues. However, I didn’t (couldn’t) wait until the New Year to start making major changes. It turns out, the key to change was deciding to.
When that failed, I decided to again. That choice isn’t made once each New Year’s Eve. It has to be made each morning, each hour and each minute.
Come with me if you want to live.
Here’s what’s up:
I’m powering through the last bits of This Plague of Days, Season Two. (Read this post at ThisPlagueOfDays.com to find out more about the exciting stuff coming in Season Two.)
As the summer winds down and I toil on the manuscript, things have gotten a little crazy. Okay. Maybe the crazy is just me, but the point is, I’m overwhelmed with work. Solution? Oddly, the solution is: Add more work.
In order to pay bills and get life on track, I’m starting another business in addition to Ex Parte Press. My daughter asked me today about my plans for the fall.
“Daddy is setting up another business, sweetie. That’s what daddy does because regular jobs give daddy a rash.” It’s true. I have control issues, meaning I have to be in control to function in the world. If someone tries to control me, I alternate between depression and anxiety. There’s also a little bit of Jesus Diaz in me that gets activated. (If you don’t get that, you need to get this and this!)
Still…another business? Again?
It’s not despair I feel…I don’t think. It shouldn’t be despair. I admit that I do wish I could make Ex Parte Press work faster so all I had to do was write. (Hell, while we’re at it, why not hot and cold running interns, a latte fountain and a lottery win?)
However, I get excited about doing creative things. Starting up businesses is creative, too. It gives me anxiety, but also nervous energy that I can pour into all my endeavours. I crave constant stimulation. Whether it’s writing or helping people solve problems, business ventures and new books are on the same artful continuum.
But why another business now?
My publishing company isn’t making enough money to afford a vanilla bean latte fountain…yet.
I must emphasize: YET. Here’s why I’m optimistic:
This Plague of Days and Bigger Than Jesus have some big publicity coming their way soon. I’m revamping Crack the Indie Author Code for print and getting back marketing control of Self-help for Stoners. I have big plans for the third book (and a bunch written already) in the Hit Man Series. I’m already 25,000 words into This Plague of Days, Season Three. In November, I’ll speak at the London Central Library for an evening of readings and publishing Q&A. I’m juggling a lot of balls, but with heavy demand, I’m a high-functioning cyborg from outer space.
I’m activating marketing plans for more of my books while writing more books. There aren’t enough hours in the day for all I want to create. Sometimes the headaches and insomnia hit when it’s all too much. Sometimes I work on stories and plans in my sleep. (No, really. That’s true.) In the past two years, since starting Ex Parte Press, I’ve published ten books. Despite my other business start-up, I do not anticipate my publishing pace will slow.
I’ve got big plans on several fronts. There’s much reason to be optimistic.
This Plague of Days is beginning to get traction. It’s a time of uproar as I fight to get another income stream started and my kids begin to attend two different schools. Our busy schedules are more complicated just as I launch more books and prep for the fall and Christmas book season. Plus, my podcasts and many blogs will continue. I am your friendly neighbourhood writing machine and together, we will overcome. I am Resolve.
Because of Season Two of TPOD, the All That Chazz podcast has necessarily been on hiatus for August. (The family wanted family time for a change and we had a nice and necessary break before diving back in.)
This is not a struggle. This is Nemo: Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming!
A new episode of the All That Chazz podcast returns next week!
taking up residence in Nowhere’s Middle.
I think how comfortable you are.
I want to make you uncomfortable but
you’ll forgive me. Probably.
Discomfort is the trip explorers pay for.
I want to drag you into the darkness
and shine a light
on the secrets you keep from yourself.
My stories are about your secrets.
I probe your doubts with my tongue.
I prick your fears with a million little needles
disguised as words.
My mission is to crawl inside your mind
to rearrange the furniture
to peer in cupboards
to reach into the rear of the junk drawer.
I dig behind bedroom walls.
I pry out dirty little truths
with sweet lies.
I write on your nerves.
You read on the edge of your seat.
Not everyone who deserves to die
will be killed.
We’ll explore the cobwebbed basement together.
Brace yourself. There’s no armour over your heart where we’re going.
Once you think you’re ready,
see the world as I spin it.
Let’s take a trip into the Deceptive Familiar
at the sharp Edge of Nowhere
where heroes and villains
trade black and white hats
for fun and profit and meaning.
We’ll find dreams and treasures
amid the foundation’s ruins
and Ruin’s foundation.
What I’m about to tell you is not a spoiler to the story of This Plague of Days.
What I’m about to tell you is a little extra that no traditional publisher would have allowed me to do. First off, let me say this is an odd book about the coming world flu pandemic. Then a variant on the Sutr-X virus transforms the infected into rabid cannibals.
It’s two books that come together as one.
It’s an international thriller in the style of World War Z. There’s a villain, a conspiracy and an intrepid group of underdogs trying to foil the evil plot.
There’s also a midwestern family caught in the first wave of the plague who have no idea the cannibals are coming. They are forced to deal with ordinary humans who have become looters, murderers and fools amid the chaos and fall of civilization.
Then there’s Jaimie Spencer. He is on the autism spectrum and a selective mute who rarely gives anyone a clue to what he sees. He is obsessed with words and their meanings. His constant companion is a book of Latin phrases. Yes, he’s the most unlikely hero you’ll ever meet. And you’ll love him.
So, aside from giving zombies an A-level literary treatment, what else did I do that a traditional publisher would hate (especially for this genre)?
The Table of Contents
Episode by episode, you get the story a bit at a time. Buy all of Season One and you discover…wait for it…the Table of Contents is one long poem. It’s a dark and fun poem. It says something about all of us. It speaks to grim forces, plot points, fun with language. It’s about mortality.
When I told author Jessica McHugh my plan, she made a surprised (WTF?!) face. Then she said it was a cool idea. Maybe she was just being polite, but I do think it’s cool. Why be an independent author unless you can play, defy convention and do something different that some readers will appreciate? Not all. I get that. However, when you tell me I can’t do something, I’m the sort of raging child that has to do the opposite. That attitude doesn’t usually serve me well, but this might be one of those times where people will think contrariness will help. It’s the only way I know to create something unique and interesting.
Whether you’re curious about the story or the poem, I encourage you to please buy, read, love and review Season One of This Plague of Days now. Thank you.
One week to the stunning conclusion in Episode Five!
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!