My Big Week in Texas

Hey, that's me!
Hey, that’s me!

If you follow me on twitter, goodreads, facebook, or have checked out my “events” tab in the last month, you probably know I went to Ft Hood, TX for a book signing (Or, to be more accurate, I went to Texas for my sister’s wedding and scheduled a book signing around the same time. Congrats Melissa and Craig!). Well, for a self-published author, this was a big week.

Knowing it would be a 3-day signing event, but not knowing what to expect, I ordered 3 boxes of books (24 each) and brought the 10 I had sitting at home, just because I was feeling optimistic. So, with 82 books, I was hoping I wouldn’t have to leave too many at my parents’ house.

First stop was to our hometown newspaper, where I was interviewed. I’m still new enough to the game where little things like this are novel and exciting. If you like, you can read the article here.

Source: “Heights High School grad pens zombie book” from KDHnews.com

Next stop? I’d heard that Hastings has a “local author” section, so I decided to give it a try and see if I could leave a few copies there. Much to my surprise, not only was I accepted at Hastings in Killeen, but I was placed on the “zombie” shelf right up front as well as out in the general “horror” section. Whoa! That in itself was a huge life event–my first brick-and-mortar store.

Make Your Choice
Make Your Choice
Note to self, stop having an "S" last name.
Note to self, stop having an “S” last name.

Then there was the signing. My sister Alison had the idea to dress up like a zombie on Saturday, and my other sisters soon caved to the peer pressure. After all, I offered a free t-shirt and a professional makeup job. I’d play Friday straight, have my zombies with me on Saturday, then offer a sale on Sunday in hopes of reducing my inventory. I needed to leave some books behind for Hastings, but not too many…

IMAG0311

Friday, day 1: People were very receptive to INFECTED! In fact, I sold 21 books–almost a full box. Not bad, maybe I could sell the same on Sunday and try for a full 30 on Saturday when my zombies were with me. That would leave 10 books for Hastings. My nervous fears that I’d be ignored for three days were proving to be unfounded. I even met some very nice people who were excited for me to sign a book for either themselves or a zombie fan in their family. At lunch, my fortune cookie sagely reminded me:

Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take small steps.”

Saturday, day 2: Thanks so much to my sisters–love you guys! The book sold like hotcakes. There was often a queue at my signing table, zombie fans eager for a book and a photograph with our crazy family. I sold 47 books. I had to tell my family members not to buy any for themselves, otherwise I’d be in danger of selling out. I had already dropped off  9 at Hastings, so I was left with only 5 left for Sunday… gulp.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Don't worry, my family scares me too.
Don’t worry, my family scares me too.

Sunday, day 3: I sold out in about an hour. Boy, did I underestimate. I should’ve brought two more boxes at least. I think I could’ve hit Friday’s numbers at least, then I would’ve had some left over for Hastings after I left. Instead, I had to direct disappointed would-be customers to either this store or amazon.com. After checking with Hastings, turns out they sold out of my book as well–making it their #1 book for the week. Even beating out “50 Shades of Grey”! Granted, E.L. James wasn’t in Killeen promoting like I was, but it still felt like victory.

This was an appreciated confidence booster, and it was fun to be a minor celebrity for a weekend, but I still have lots of work to do before “Click Your Poison” is a household name. So what’s next? Of course there’s book #2 to work on, but I’ve also been invited to come back to Fort Hood any time, and I probably will. Maybe for book #2? Maybe around Halloween when the zombie craze is at its peak? In the meantime, I need to ship more books to Hastings and see about getting other stores out there to carry INFECTED. Maybe there’s a Big Week in California in my future? Who knows–but wherever life takes me, the future looks bright.

Thanks to all who attended!

I Found Your Christmas Present!

A zombie pandemic, the gift that keeps on giving:

A very special THANK YOU to Mike Beeson, the talented filmmaker who put together this trailer. Yes, INFECTED is now out in paperback. I know I said it would be out for Thanksgiving, but I wanted to make the announcement when I released this spot. The more astute of you may have noticed that the paperback has been linked to the Amazon page for a couple of days now.

Now go bring some Christmas joy to the zombie lover in your life and Get INFECTED!

This Book Could Save You!

Recently, I was paid my highest compliment as a writer to date. I was told by a reader, “Your book got me through Hurricane Sandy.”

With the paperback edition, you can take INFECTED anywhere.

Wow, huge. I’m not sure there’s any greater calling for fiction. If there are three goals for entertainment I see them as: 1) Help escape the dreary or the mundane, 2) Inspire & foster creativity, and 3) Teach us something about the world. I’m honored to have met #1 for at least one reader.

To say, “Thanks!” to all my readers, I’m hosting a giveaway before INFECTED releases in paperback this Thanksgiving. Less than 1.5 days left to enter! And in the Holiday spirit, share share share this link: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter to win at Rafflecopter or on Facebook.

Okay, maybe it won’t really save you. Unless the zombie apocalypse happens just as described. But in that case, you’re welcome.

Mind-blowing Fiction

Looking for something to blow your mind? Look no further.

Reading the new INFECTED paperback has been known to kill boredom.
Use at your own discretion.

Only 3.5 days left in the giveaway. In case you missed yesterday’s announcement: INFECTED will be out in paperback just in time for Thanksgiving, and to give “Thanks!” to all my readers, I’m hosting a giveaway. And in the Holiday spirit, share share share this link: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter to win at Rafflecopter or on Facebook.

INFECTED Paperback Giveaway!

That’s me, with the proof of the book. INFECTED will be out in paperback just in time for Thanksgiving, and to give “Thanks!” to all my readers, I’m hosting a giveaway. And in the Holiday spirit, share share share this link: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter to win at Rafflecopter or on Facebook.

INFECTED is Evolving

Happy Monday! It’s time for an important announcement. The impossible now becomes… possible–INFECTED is moving from being available only as an ebook. It’s growing up. Evolving. By the end of this month (probably right around Thanksgiving), there will be a paperback version. Just in time for Christmas shopping! Zombies… the gift that truly keeps on giving.

Granted, the ebook format lends itself to a more streamlined reading experience, and that will still be available, but there’s demand for a print edition as well. I know what some of you are thinking; it’s called Click Your Poison, what am I “clicking” in a paperback? Nothing, Captain Smartypants. The Click Your Poison brand stays, this is simply the “eAversion Version”. And as a bonus for this edition, rules for the Party Game are included along with a Reader’s Guide in the back of the book.

So stay tuned, zombie fans, because there will be a paperback giveaway for my blog followers upon release. Subscribe on the upper left and make sure you don’t miss out!

Zombies & Spirits Unite!

Welcome zombie blog walkers and internet shamblers! This post is a special one, made for the “2012 Virtual Zombie Walk” hosted by zombieseverywhere.org Undead aficionados are joining their bony, fetid hands for one day only, in celebration of all things zombie. You can see a full list of the blog walk (and follow the tour yourself) at this bottom of this page.

For my own contribution, I’d like to highlight a drinking game I created for my gamebook, INFECTED. It’s Friday, it’s zombies, lets adult this thing up and make it a zombie stumble. You can play the book by yourself, seeing if you have what it takes to survive a full-on apocalypse, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun with a group too. The full rules have a permanent home on my page, but for those just visiting, the quick and dirty version is below:

Gather ’round, friends. For this book will help you forget how to read…

1) Load INFECTED on your ipad, tablet, ereader, etc.

2) Pass the book in a circle, each person reading aloud until you reach a decision point, and decide as a group what path to take. Narrator has final say for that choice.

3) Chug every time you kill a zombie, take a shot every time you die.*

4) Try to survive.

That’s it! Enjoy. Annnnnd please be responsible.

*If you’re not of legal drinking age, chug Mountain Dew (Code Red) and take shots of hot sauce. Trust me, whoever’s parents are hosting the slumber party will love this idea.

Want to intensify your game? DRESS UP AS ZOMBIES!

If you’re into parties, this is a great way to start one. And what better season to give it a go than right before Halloween? Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the rest of the zombie walk!

PS — Not into parties? Take the high road here.

Virtual Zombie Walk 2012 list of blogs:

Zombies Everywhere

[Retro-Zombie]

Halloween Blues

The Southern Northerner

Martha’s Journey

Annie Walls

GingerRead Review

App’y Talk

Kweeny Todd

Jenny’s House of Horrors

Bubba’s Place

Fictional Candy

herding cats & burning soup

Author Sherry Soule Blog

Paranormal research Group Blog

Adult Urban Fantasy by Sherry Soule

Moonlight Publishing Blog

Candid Canine

Ghost Hunting Theories

Above the Norm

A Dust Bunny In The Wind

Faith McKay

Zombob’s Zombie News & Movie Reviews

Flesh From The Morgue

The Living Dark

Some One Else’s Cook

Stumptown Horror

Forget About TV, Grab a Book

Zombie Dating Guide

Strange State

The Paranormalist – Renae Rude

Idée Fixe

Random Game Crafts

WhiteRoseBud’s Tumblr

Gnostalgia

Book Me!

Carmen Jenner Author

Sarasota Zombie Pub Crawl

Not Now…Mommy’s Reading

Love is a Many Flavored Thing

Its On Random

Ellie Potts

Attention Earthlings!

Horror Shock LoliPOP

The Spooky Vegan

The Story In…

DarkSide Detectives Blog

Something wicKED this way comes….

Julie Jansen: science fiction and horror writer

[You are here] Author/screenwriter James Schannep

The Zombie Lab

Creepy Glowbugg

Pickleope

Sharing Links and Wisdom

Midnyte Reader

This Blog Has A.D.D.

Carol’s Creations

Jeremy Bates

Vanessa Morgan

The Paranoid Gamer reviews INFECTED

Product Spotlight: INFECTED by James Schannep
Posted October 2, 2012 by Daniel Flatt in Paranormal

If you’ve ever known the thrill of choose your own adventure books that were popular back in the 80’s and 90’s, then you’ll be familiar with the concept behind INFECTED. You are the main character and it’s up to you to put all your pre-made zombie apocalypse survival plans you made with your friends to the test. As you make your way through the story you’ll be asked to make choices at certain junctures that will change your overall plot within. The book is a more adult take on the idea though, your character will meet bloody and violent ends throughout the experience with a wrong decision. Most importantly and complimentary to the author, your choices never feel too forced with more sweeping impacts to the narrative than most choose your own adventure books.

Three unique overall storylines are presented throughout the book to mixed results. Each of them are pretty well written with the author’s previous military experience peeking through in certain points and legitimately witty references to pop culture throughout. However there are elements that just aren’t up to snuff pacing and plot wise to the rest of the book. In addition, characters often come off as one sided caricatures, which honestly in this type of book I’m not sure how much more development they could have seen with so many different balls to juggle. Both these issues add up to my one real problem with the book. Throughout the experience, in most cases, the narrative feels slightly rushed and you’ll go from in danger to saved or dead within the space of a good night’s reading. At times the swift pace is certainly appreciated and there are moments that will legitimately get your blood pumping, I just wish there was more time I could have spent with every story.

Honestly, that’s a compliment in and of itself as I just wanted to spend more time reading and making choices in this setting. The book, while perhaps not the next Lord of the Rings, is immense fun and can be enjoyed time and time again due to the variety of endings and branch offs that explore different facets of an overarching narrative. Some of the multiple narratives even weave in and out of each other and you often see hints of one story in another. Death scenes, usually a sentence or paragraph in most of these types of books, are well written and usually leave you wondering up till the last page if you’re going to meet your end. Impressively enough, even though the characters aren’t the most fleshed out, you’ll find yourself caring more about them and even more so your fate, simply because you are more invested in the story. I can proudly say that my first read through was met with unmitigated success as I survived the zombie apocalypse without dying once, and with my morals mostly intact. Maybe not so much the second time.

Even more impressive, and I never thought I’d say this with a book, is the fun you can get by adding in more people to the experience. I’ve read this aloud with friends and my wife and it’s simply a blast to play through together and make choices. There’s even a drinking game featured on his website that entails ways to turn the book into a real party experience and, though I don’t typically enjoy that sort of thing, it certainly seems like it would be lots of fun.

As a gamer I doubly appreciate the interactivity and re-playability (re-readability?) that this form of writing brings to the book. Before now I’d almost forgotten about the appeal of choose your own ending (or in this case called click your own poison), but it was back in full force with this book, and with the more mature themes, was even more impressive. It’s worth noting that the addition of using an E-Reader means you can click through the choices and go directly to the consequences of your actions instead of searching for a page; something I never would have thought of myself before this, but that makes the experience even easier to enjoy. I’ve gone through all three storylines now and comparing my stories to my brothers, who read through at the same time. Even though we saw some of the same storylines, ways we navigated them were different and we got to know more about certain characters or see more aspects of the full plot because of our choices. There’s even a website you can share zombie apocalypse survival stories with other readers if you so choose.

INFECTED is quite simply a welcome evolution to an old format that just begs to be enjoyed. The zombie apocalypse is an instantly identifiable and enjoyable setting to many, especially us gamers who have spent hours in conversations with friends about the topic. With the internet being leveraged to share stories, the e-reader bringing even more accessibility, and the more mature theme; James Schannep has truly managed to bring choose your own adventure into this generation. The future looks bright for this subset genre of books and I can’t wait to read more from this promising author, in this format or any other.

If you’d like to purchase this book you can do so at this link.

via Product Spotlight: INFECTED by James Schannep- The Paranoid Gamer.

Get INFECTED!

Whether you know it or not, this is the day you’ve been waiting for. This is the day I unveil the latest and greatest in storytelling technology. With INFECTED, the flagship book in the Click Your Poison series.

What is Click Your Poison? It’s the first gamebook series (a book in which YOU are the hero, and your choices directly influence the story’s progress) aimed directly for adults. What series like Choose-Your-Own-Adventure, Give Yourself Goosebumps, and Fighting Fantasy (UK) pioneered for children’s books in the 1980s & 90s, CYP now does for those fans who’ve grown up but still crave more.

Except now, as an ebook, you simply click your choice and the story flows forward for you. No flipping pages.

The first CYP book, INFECTED, allows you to answer the crucial question of our time–Will YOU survive the zombie apocalypse? Jump into the book right at the outbreak of a global zombie pandemic to learn how you’d fare against the walking dead. With over 50 possible endings and 3 unique storylines, you can pick up INFECTED a few minutes at a time on your smartphone, or dig deep on your tablet or PC… finally, a book with replay value.

I hope you have as much fun reading it as I’ve had writing it. The book’s PR campaign kicks off in the next couple of weeks, so this announcement is a special head’s-up for my blog’s community. Be the first of your friends to “Get INFECTED!”

Where to buy:

PS — Drop me a note, let me know how you like it!

And now, a little fun

I’ve been prepping non-stop for the release of my new book, so I figured I could use a little diversion. Somebody posted a link on facebook to I Write Like, a site where you can see what famous writer you compare most to. In their words, “Check which famous writer you write like with this statistical analysis tool, which analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them with those of the famous writers.

For me, I’m sure my style varies project to project, but I decided to give it a whirl for INFECTED, my imminent book. Choosing five different sections, I got four:

I write like
Chuck Palahniuk

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

And one:

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

Obviously, I’m flattered. And it’s tempting to agree. Palahniuk’s writing  is visceral, raw, darkly comedic, and a hell of a lot of fun to read–all qualifiers I aimed for on this project.

And DFW? Well, here’s what NPR said about him:

To read David Foster Wallace was to feel your eyelids pulled open. Some writers specialize in the away-from-home experience — they’ve safaried, eaten across Italy, covered a war. Wallace offered his alive self cutting through our sleepy aquarium — our standard TV, stores, political campaigns.

Writers who can do this, like Salinger and Fitzgerald, forge an unbreakable bond with readers. You didn’t slip into the books looking for story, information, but for a particular experience. The sensation, for a certain number of pages, of being David Foster Wallace.

Of course, it kind of feels like a horoscope reading, where everyone is fated to lead an awesome life. I mean, honestly, who’s going to balk at being compared to a pair of geniuses? Something tells me you won’t ever input your writing and see the result:

I write like
a hack

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

So, just for fun (and because I really needed a diversion), I dug up some old writing I worked on in middle and high school. Here was the result of the analyzed opening text:

I write like
James Joyce

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

Which more or less proves, in my opinion, that there’s no “bad answer” to the program. Either that, or I was a genius on the level of Joyce in grade-school. Ha.

Still, it’s a fun diversion. Give it a try, what results do you get?