Contest time — 2 Weeks to go!

SPIED has been available for two weeks.

Have YOU started your new career as a secret agent?

As part of the fun, I have two contests running right now. In case you missed the original announcements — here is your reminder!

Contest #1 — Earn a Cameo in a future book!

Passphase: “Sharing is Caring.”

This contest is running over on social media and is all about spreading the word. Want to see your name in print in a future book? Well, if you’re someone who resides in the book of faces or chirps like a bird, head over to Facebook or Twitter and join in the fun!

Contest #2 — Get an exclusive enamel pin!

Code word: “Deep-cover”

I had these beautiful lapel pins made (or backpack pins or cushion pins or…) and I want to give them to you! This month is also my birthday, and I’m giving a gift to my loyal fans. The video below illustrates how you get one of your own (while also showing off Click Your Poison book covers throughout the years), but here’s the short version:

There are secret references to each Click Your Poison book lurking within the pages of SPIED. Your mission is to discover this intel: characters, places, events referenced. If you can find any of the references (to INFECTED, MURDERED, SUPERPOWERED, PATHOGENS, or MAROONED) during the month of February — I will send you a pin as your reward.

Well? What are you waiting for?

If you haven’t gotten SPIED yet, now’s the time!

You have two weeks to complete your mission.

Operation: Get SPIED!

Today’s the big day! SPIED is currently available to purchase in all formats.

3 Unique Storylines. Over 50 Possible Endings. Just one question… Can YOU Crack the Code as a Secret Agent? #GetSPIED now: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08MYDZ37B/

SPIED is a suspense thriller unlike any other — YOU are the main character. Recruited from the lower-levels of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to become a field agent (finally!), it’s up to you to break into secure facilities, solve cryptic puzzles, expose potential moles, and suavely talk your way out of any situation before shadowy forces [REDACTED] the world!

As a special launch event, the book trailer will premier live in one hour at 12pm PST/8pm GMT. Join in and comment in real time with the author and other fans on YouTube:

Do you think you can escape the traps I’ve devised for you, agent? Can you crack the cryptic codes or read-through my riddles? I’ll be here, twirling my moustache and/or stroking my cat (or dog) while you try! Muahahahaha

PS — There are soon to be other launch events, promos, and prizes. Make sure you join up on Facebook and/or Twitter so you don’t miss out.

Are you still here? What are you waiting for, a martini? Get SPIED today!

It’s almost time…to get SPIED!

That’s right, it’s almost time… one week from today, in fact. It is time, however, right at this very moment even, for another sporadic blog update!

The SPIED subpage now exists on my website. SPIED–Click Your Poison #6–releases next week! As always, this is a standalone interactive story. If you’re unfamiliar with Click Your Poison gamebooks, now is the perfect spot to dive right in.

The book exists, and will be available for sale on 2/2/2021 (the Kindle edition is currently on pre-order). The book trailer will launch as a live premier at 12pm PST/8pm GMT. Join in the fun at this YouTube link:

There will of course be other launch events, promos, and prizes. Make sure you join up on Facebook and/or Twitter as well.

Exciting times! Do YOU have what it takes to be a spy?

MAROONED Book Trailer

MAROONED launched quite some time ago, so why a trailer now? Well, because I’m making progress on SPIED and realized I never got around to making a book trailer for my interactive seafaring adventure!

What do you think? Public domain images, creative commons sounds, VO narration performed by a friend, and edited by yours truly. Considering it was all free, do you think this book trailer was worth the price I paid for it?

Have you had a chance to get MAROONED yet?  Click here to get your copy today.


Thanks for watching! What do YOU think?  Ready to dive into the book world yourself?

Leave me a comment below, and don’t forget to share and subscribe!

Cover Changes

No, not “Cover Charges” — none of those are required to read this blog post. Do people still read blogs in 2020? I know it’s been a looooooong time since I’ve blogged regularly (sorry about that), but now that we’re under quarantine seems like a good time to start back up again.

I hope you’re all well and staying safe. I’m having a fun time juggling a one-year-old, passing her back and forth to my wife (who is also now working from home). Other than that, social distancing comes easy to a writer.

Onto the post!

Three new covers, coming right up.

#1 — PATHOGENS

The more astute of you may have noticed that PATHOGENS has a new cover.

The Old

The final Final Final Pathogens 1

The New

Kindle

The Why

First, let me say that there’s a lot I like about the original cover. The detail work is stunning. That rat is amazing. The layers in the image are rich and deep. I also enjoy the throwback to Salvador Dali.

la-persistencia-de-la-memoria-dali2

But, ultimately, I needed to change the cover for two reasons. First, I felt like the cover wasn’t closely related to INFECTED enough — and since these are “equels” (not sequels or prequels, but occur simultaneously), I wanted them better linked.

See how they’re a better fit now? And of course the original Dali photo for reference.

Additionally, PATHOGENS sales were the worst of the (at the time) four books. Since I’ve updated the cover, sales have gone up. What do you think? Which do you prefer?

#2 — MURDERED

Right now, I’m in the process of updating the cover for MURDERED.

The Old

murdered

The New

MURDERED Kindle Nuveaux

The Why

The impetus for this change was not in my control, actually. I started running Amazon Ads this year, and MURDERED was flagged for “excessive gore.” After a few back and forths with the customer service team, they clarified that the blood and (possible) corpse in the foreground was the issue — either change the cover, or lose advertising rights.

I decided to use this as an opportunity to “fix” a few issues I had with the cover. Or, I suppose, to apply lessons I’d learned over the years. First, was to get rid of the body. Okay, done. Now we have the gun atop the crate with the “pick me up” note featured at the start of the story.

Second, was to increase the size of the title. I asked the original artist to repeat the title on the police ticker tape, but in hindsight I shouldn’t have done. Additionally, the police tape was too muted — and after I added the CYP logo, didn’t fit the color scheme.

I added further police tape for my author name, adjusted the size and location of the images, and cropped out a “CYP” lamp, which was redundant given the logo.

What do you think? Which do you like better?

#3 — SPIED

A new cover for a new book.

Front SPIED

What do you think? The cover for SPIED (still a work in progress, sorry), was “leaked” in late 2019 (by me, on Facebook& Instagram).

I’m a bit behind schedule on my Click Your Poison releases, but I’ll chalk that up to:

  1. I’ve moved from the UK back to the US.
  2. I’m now a father. Babies take time; writing requires sleep.
  3. I wrote side-project. A linnear, coming-of-age novel.

I’m very proud of #3 (and #2, obviously. #1 I’m actually pretty sad about), and I’m trying to take this novel to a traditional publisher to find a bigger audience. But of course, this takes time. So, please bear with me, stay patient, and more interactive goodies will come your way soon. I’m still working on SPIED — and others!


What do YOU think?  Leave a comment below to join in the conversation.
Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to share and subscribe!

Get MAROONED!

Praise for MAROONED: 

“More thrilling than fifteen men on a dead man’s chest–more fun than a bottle of rum!”
-Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island 

“If I could only bring one book to a desert island, that book would be MAROONED.”
-Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe 

“I wish I’d thought to make mine interactive…”
-Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick 

Marooned_featured-CYP

3 Unique Storylines. Over 50 Possible Endings. Just one question… Will YOU Endure Treachery and Survival on the High Seas? 

Here’s how it works: You, Dear Reader, are the main character of this story, a youth born to prosperity in the English countryside. Now it’s up to you to sail atop the vast oceans or be swallowed into their murky depths. Each link represents a choice, and there’s no going back, so choose wisely.

Whether you’re a fan of classic books series like Horatio Hornblower and Aubrey/Maturin, or more modern films and shows like Pirates of the Caribbean or Black Sails, you can now live your own high seas adventure! Like the gamebooks popular in the 1980s-90s (Choose Your Own Adventure, Give Yourself Goosebumps, etc), this is a series where you choose how to progress through the book. Unlike any others, this is the first novel-length interactive book series for adults. And as an ebook, you simply click your choice and the story flows forward for you. No flipping pages.

Prefer a paperback? Make your choice:

You’re captive on a pirate ship, but the Royal Navy is giving chase. What do YOU do?

-Find a weapon. Time to fight off these pirates and help your liberators! Go to page 106
-Sabotage the ship. Drop the anchor and strike the sails! Go to page 259

Get MAROONED today!

Message in a Bottle (MAROONED Update!)

Wow, I haven’t blogged since November. That makes this my first blog post of 2018! Yikes! It’s almost like I’ve been stranded on a deserted island, only to finally be rescued….

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I’m sorry I’ve been silent these last months, but the silver lining is that I’ve been toiling away during this period of obscurity. For those of you who’ve been eagerly awaiting my next book, the wait is nearly finished!

That’s right, the first draft of MAROONED is complete and I’ve moved onto editing. This means I’m going to need Beta Readers! (see below).

First edit: it’s no longer going to be called “Classically MAROONED.” Why? As previously mentioned, when I originally came upon the age of sail/pirate adventure idea, I had envisioned a retelling of classics like Robinson Crusoe, Treasure Island, or Moby Dick. But as I started researching, I kept coming up with ideas on how I would have done those stories myself.

So, nothing classic here. Just my own original ideas. It’s still set in that classic age of seafaring where you can dash into the role of dashing naval officer, cut to the quick as a cutthroat pirate, or cast your lot as a castaway. No need for a modifier, just an opportunity to get MAROONED!

I’ve had a blast writing and researching this book, and the result is a (mostly) historically accurate look into this seafaring world of adventure and a realistic test of survival skills needed on a deserted isle. Interested in an early read?

A Call for Beta Readers

I need your feedback to really make this book shine. Like someone beta-testing a game, you’ll playtest this gamebook, giving it a few read-throughs and let me know your thoughts. This isn’t to make sure my grammar and spelling are publication ready (that comes later), but rather to ensure the story is as compelling as can be.

The call for Beta Readers will come exclusively through my mailing list (which I’ve also neglected of late). So…if you want in, or at least want to hear the latest, sign up now.

From here, progress should move very quickly. Once I receive notes, make another round of edits, and send the book off to be proofread and formatted, MAROONED should come to you sometime this summer! I’m hoping for July/August.


Thanks for reading! What do YOU think? 

Leave me a comment below, and don’t forget to share and subscribe!

Setting Sail (on a new book!)

Today I “started” the next title in the Click Your Poison series, a High Seas adventure called Classically MAROONED. I say “started” because I’ve been researching and plotting this book for some time now, but only now has ink been virtually spilled on a word processor.

View this post on Instagram

Excerpt from today's writing.

A post shared by James Schannep (@james.schannep) on

I know I said this book would be released in 2017, yet sadly, I must finally admit that it won’t. But, please bear with me, this is a good news post. My goal is 1000 words per day, which would put me at 100 days of writing. If you’d be so kind, let’s round that up to four months. Two more months of notes, rewrites, and editing; we could possibly have this book published in six months. That means we’re looking at Spring 2018 as a possible release.

Unfortunately, that makes this the first year since I started CYP that I won’t release a new title. Sure, I have excuses (moving halfway across the world, plenty of travel, working on a zombie screenplay with another screenwriter, as well as Rebooting the Star Wars prequels), but truth be told, I’m still very disappointed by this fact, as I imagine many of you are.

Yet the point of this post is to share excitement! Excitement that the writing (my favorite part!) has begun. I can already tell this will be a wonderful Click Your Poison volume. Classically MAROONED will share the research & realism of MURDERED, the humor & wit of INFECTED, the character development of PATHOGENS, the action & adventure of SUPERPOWERED, and of course, a special quality all its own.

To help you share in my excitement, let’s do the cover reveal first. Right now, in fact. Here it is!

MAROONED3

Living in England provides a fantastic opportunity to set a book during the Golden Age of Sail within the British Empire, but why pirates?

I’d originally thought to do an adaptation of several literary classics (hence the “Classic” in Classically MAROONED), to re-tell Moby Dick and Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe in CYP form. But as I went through these stories, my usual idea fountain kicked off and I thought, “Why are you doing this? Because you want to tell someone else’s stories? For publicity? For ease of marketing? Write your own damn story, that’s why you do this. That’s why people read your work, because it’s told in your voice! Make your own world, do what you love because you love it, and the rest will come.”

So, I’m being true to myself, and loving the process. Day one: complete. 1223 words.


Thanks for reading! What do YOU think? 

Leave me a comment below, and don’t forget to share and subscribe!

PATHOGENS Book Trailer

The PATHOGENS book launch is off to a great start, with a fantastic amount of fan support over on Facebook. The awesome contest prizes being offered over there probably don’t hurt, either! If you haven’t joined in the fun yet, it’s not too late. Click here to check it out.

Now then, as is my custom, I have created a book trailer to help spread the word on my new releases. Without further ado…

Intrigued? PATHOGENS has a special reduced price during its status as a new release. Don’t miss out! Click here to get your copy today.


Thanks for watching! What do YOU think?  Ready to dive into the book world yourself?

Leave me a comment below, and don’t forget to share and subscribe!