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….

09F5A2E1-5836-11E8-980A-22000A5BC32C

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!

PATHOGENS Cover Reveal

This is a post I’ve been sitting on for a while now. After all, there is no established, “right” time to reveal a cover for a new book and I’ve been struggling to find that perfect moment. My cover artist, Brian Silveira, has been dying in slow agony as I’ve waited to reveal his epic artwork. I wanted a moment with some gravity, and I suppose this is it.

I’ve gained feedback from multiple sources (some of you might be reading this now, I suspect), and used those notes to make the book a more compelling read. Thank you, Beta Readers, I am incredibly grateful for your time and diligence.

Now the rewrites are completed and the book is off to my professional editor. Once she’s done, it’ll go to formatting, the book will pop up as a pre-order (for about a week so I can finalize the product page) and then — BOOM — you’ll have PATHOGENS on your favorite reading device.

For now, let me knock your socks off as Brian did for me.

The final Final Final Pathogens 1
Click Me for Full Size.

Cool things you might notice:

  • This is by far my busiest book cover. Aside from the fact that Brian Silveira is a master of detail (plug: he has a graphic novel out now), this is also my busiest book. Six characters to play through, each with tiny details that relate not only to the other storylines, but also back to INFECTED and the larger Click Your Poison universe. I wanted the cover to say, “Get ready: Madness inside.”
  • The fact that the cover is actually a lab door. You see, “the company” was a major aspect to the first book, but now you’re getting a deeper look –and one that goes far beyond the lab itself.
  • The Gilgazyme inhaler on the floor, the mouse on the foreground and the mice eyes in the lab. It’s all already happened. I don’t think of this book as a sequel or prequel to INFECTED. More of a spin-off. A sister book, if you will. The events in PATHOGENS take place after INFECTED has already begun and end before that book concludes.
  • The rebar from the explosion looks a lot like clawed hands.  In my last interactive zombie tome, your primary enemy was the undead themselves. That’s still the case here, but you’ll also have to deal with a (perhaps) larger threat: the death of civilization and the evil in men.
  • The colors evoke a sunset. Yep, goodbye mankind. It’s up to you, Dear Reader, to help these characters survive another day.
  • The hospital symbol in the rear. A small detail, but many of the events circle around this location.
  • The melting clocks. The cover for INFECTED was a riff on Salvador Dali’s famous Voluptuous Death image, so I thought it only fitting to find inspiration in another Dali classic: The Persistence of Memory. Check out some comparisons:

Thanks for reading! What do you think of the cover?

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

Last-chance: PATHOGENS sneak peek

Editing COMPLETE

Last month after I finished the first draft of PATHOGENS, I sent out a call for Beta Readers.

Well, my edits are complete and the book is ready for feedback! If you already volunteered, your character is waiting for you in your inbox.

Want to get in on the action? It’s not too late! Hit me up on my contact form. All you have to do is send me your top three preferences for which character you’d like to read. You’ll find a short description of each character in PATHOGENS below.

PS — If you’re not into feedback, here’s your update: PATHOGENS should be in your hands sometime in August or September!

Sims

Technical Sergeant Robert Sims, National Guardsman and electrician in the greatest Air Force in the goddamned world. Divorced, no kids, fourteen years of service given to your nation thus far. You’re a “Prepper” (a dedicated survivalist), and you’ve been looking forward to the zombie apocalypse for as long as you can remember. Your unit was mobilized and now you find yourself at the tip of the spear.  When it comes to idioms you’re not the smartest crayon in the box, but you’re an electrical genius.

Cooper

Kaeden Cooper, known as “Kay” to your friends. Daughter of a NASCAR driver who turned to the bottle and lost his shot at stardom. You’ve since done your fair share of racing on the motorbike circuit, but it’s still very much a man’s world, and no one wanted to give you sponsorship unless you posed by the bike in a bikini. Instead, you turn wrenches for a living, working for the weekend until you can ride again. Little do you know that this shift under the hood will be your last. Soon the world will learn it’s those who know how to change their own oil that will survive.

Tyberius

Work nights at the call center, days at the bank. Sleep? Yeah, right. It’s all you can do to provide for you and Mama, who lost her own job in the recession. She still hopes you’ll find a nice girl and settle down, but you’d settle for an apartment in the better part of town. So you use any spare moment; while eating, even while shitting, to take online courses on a smartphone, angling for a promotion at the bank. But all that effort is about to be in vain when the global economy tanks in 3, 2, 1…

Rosie

Smart, cute, spunky redhead. 17-year-old high school student. Your father is a combat-veteran Marine and you work weekends at the family-owned shooting range. Sarah is your real name and truth be told, you’re more interested in boys and music than you are bug-out-bags and MREs, but you play along for dad’s sake. Ever since mom died he’s had a hard time and he’s not the type to get a pedicure so for quality time you learn about pyrotechnics. Unfortunately, Sarah’s world is about to end and you’ll have to fully embrace his training to become the “Rosie the Riveter” of the apocalyptic wasteland.

Lucas

Lucas Tesshu, middle aged man who handles crisis with the same serenity a stone handles the river. As a child of Japanese immigrants, you’ve lived much of your life as an outsider, making solitude a revered mentor and friend. As a Kendo instructor and master of swordplay, you’re more than capable of defending yourself, but as a disciple of Bushido, you are committed to helping those in need. So the question becomes: Can a man unable to leave someone for dead still survive the Zombie Apocalypse?

Hefty

Poor as dirt, good ole southern boy. Thin as a rail, and yeah, the nickname is ironic. Known to the State as inmate #: 080620-06. They say money doesn’t grow on trees, but you can cook some up in your kitchen using a few household ingredients as fertilizer. Like literal fertilizer, for one. But you’re over that now, clean, back on the straight and narrow, and ready to be a productive member of society once you get released from the Big House. Which is about to come early, courtesy of the Apocalypse.


Thanks for reading! Excited? Ready to start reading?

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

‘TESTIMONE’ hits Italy!

My second Click Your Poison novel, MURDERED, is now making a splash on the Italian shores as the translated edition, TESTIMONE.

Give Catnip Edizioni a like, check out the beautiful cover art, and if you know any Italian readers, send them this way:


Thanks for reading! Have you ever read a book that was translated from the author’s native language into your own?

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

A Call for Beta-testers/Readers

PATHOGENS is currently in editing and once I’m done I’ll need your help.

This is by far my most ambitious book, featuring six playable characters each with their own point of view and unique storyline. Which is why, for the first time ever, I’m opening a work-in-progress for early reads and feedback.

I’ve hinted at “something big” in my monthly newsletters for a while now, and this is it. The official request will come in a newsletter later this week, so if you haven’t signed up for the mailer yet, make sure you do.

nurse_icd-10
Tell me, how did being devoured by the ravenous undead make you feel?

Interested? Sign up for that mailing list! Not the feedback type but still want to follow along? Sign-the-eff-up already!

No, I’m not going to give you the whole book. Frankly, that would leave me constantly sending “Are you done yet? Did you hate it? Is that why it’s taking so long?” follow-up emails and nobody wants that.

Instead, I’m going to ask for your top-three characters, so that way I can spread the feedback love around. Here’s a sneak-peek of the book’s first choice. Who would you choose?

PATHOGENS

Unlike other Click Your Poison™ books, this is the first one where you don’t “play” as yourself. Instead, you can choose a character and see how that person survived the initial outbreak from their own perspective. Think of this page as your “character-select screen” in this gamebook.

Each of these characters first appeared in INFECTED, but you don’t need to have that book memorized (or even have read it, truth be told), to enjoy PATHOGENS. Instead, pick a persona and learn their story as only one who experienced it truly can.

But beware—since these characters appear in another book, if you take the wrong path and end up bitten, mangled, or dead, you’ll rip the very fabric of the space/time continuum and your adventure will be over. Good luck!

Sims

Technical Sergeant Robert Sims, National Guardsman and electrician in the greatest Air Force in the goddamned world. Divorced, no kids, fourteen years of service given to your nation thus far. You’re a “Prepper” (a dedicated survivalist), and you’ve been looking forward to the zombie apocalypse for as long as you can remember. Your unit was mobilized and now you find yourself at the tip of the spear.  When it comes to idioms you’re not the smartest crayon in the box, but you’re an electrical genius.
Select Sims

Cooper

Kaeden Cooper, known as “Kay” to your friends. Daughter of a NASCAR driver who turned to the bottle and lost his shot at stardom. You’ve since done your fair share of racing on the motorbike circuit, but it’s still very much a man’s world, and no one wanted to give you sponsorship unless you posed by the bike in a bikini. Instead, you turn wrenches for a living, working for the weekend until you can ride again. Little do you know that this shift under the hood will be your last. Soon the world will learn it’s those who know how to change their own oil that will survive.
Select Cooper

Tyberius

Work nights at the call center, work days at the bank. Sleep? Seems like a distant memory. All this in an effort to provide for you and Mama, who lost her own job in the recession. She still hopes you’ll find a nice girl and settle down, but you’d settle for an apartment in the better part of town. So you use any spare moment; while eating, even while shitting, to take online courses on a smartphone, angling for a promotion at the bank. But the worst part? All that effort is about to be in vain because the global economy is about to tank in 3, 2, 1…
Select Tyberius

Rosie

Smart, cute, spunky redhead. 17-year-old high school student. Your father is a combat-veteran Marine and you work weekends at the family-owned shooting range. Sarah is your real name and truth be told, you’re more interested in boys and music than you are bug-out-bags and MREs, but you play along for dad’s sake. Ever since mom died he’s had a hard time and he’s not the type to get a pedicure so for quality time you learn about pyrotechnics. Unfortunately, Sarah’s world is about to end and you’ll have to fully embrace his training to become the “Rosie the Riveter” of the apocalyptic wasteland.
Select Rosie

Lucas

Lucas Tesshu, middle aged man known for being as serene as a stone in the stream. As a child of Japanese immigrants, you’ve lived much of your life as an outsider, making solitude a revered mentor and friend. As a Kendo instructor and master of swordplay, you’re more than capable of defending yourself, but as a disciple of Bushido, you are committed to helping those in need. So the question becomes: Can a man unable to leave someone for dead still survive the Zombie Apocalypse?
Select Lucas

Hefty

Poor as dirt, good ole southern boy. Thin as a rail, and yeah, the nickname is ironic. Known to the State as inmate #: 080620-06. They say money doesn’t grow on trees, but you can cook some up in your kitchen using a few household ingredients as fertilizer. Like literal fertilizer, for one. But you’re over that now, clean, back on the straight and narrow, and ready to be a productive member of society once you get released from the Big House. Which is about to come early, courtesy of the Apocalypse.
Select Hefty


Thanks for reading! Excited? Apathetic? Fun summer plans?

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

CYP#4: Cooper Complete!

Finishing up with Cooper marks the completion of PATHOGENS. Or the first draft, anyway. It’s by far my longest book, both in terms of word count and choices. Six whole characters to choose from! Cooper eventually becomes the leader of the merry band of survivors in the city, which is how you meet her in INFECTED. But it didn’t start off that way. You get to step in her shoes and go from ordinary grease monkey to the draconian leader of a group of survivors in PATHOGENS.

m-gf-female-1
PS — Sure was hard to find a picture of a female mechanic actually working. Cooper would no doubt roll her eyes at the bimbos posing secuctivly (wearing, ahem, very little protective gear) that I had to wade through in Google images.

Up next? Editing! However, I’m thinking of reaching out for the first time to beta testers for the various characters. If you’re interested, make sure you sign up for my mailing list.


Thanks for reading! Excited? Confused? Bemused?

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