Book Signing…and 5k?!

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Huzzah! I’m actually making my central Texas signing event come to fruition.

I’d feared this wouldn’t happen after learning that Hastings is going out of business, but I’ve since found the perfect event.

I’m going to sponsor a local race, and do a signing after.

The best part? You can dress up like a zombie or survivor, run/walk a 5k race, get a race shirt with my CYP logo on it, then join me for a signing afterwards.

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Or just show up for the signing, that’s fine too. 

Hurry, there’s not much time to register!

RACE INFO
When: Sat, Oct 29th
Where: Belton, TX
Website: https://runsignup.com/Race/TX/Belton/NewTechZombieRun
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/527092587501978/permalink/529625203915383/?hc_location=ufi


 

Thanks for reading! What do YOU think? Are you able to make it?

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My B

I pay a professional editor and scour my manuscripts before publishing, and still I make mistakes. Who doesn’t? But that’s part of why I love writing — mistakes can always be edited — even in a book that’s been published for years.

A few months back I had a reader write in and tell me about a “turn to page xyz” paperback error, where Z was one number off.

How many people had seen that and ignored it? Letting me know means I can fix it. And for that, I’m always grateful.

Which leads to my most recent mistake.

I found out via a 1-star review of MURDERED. Read for yourself:

beww

No writer likes a bad review, but I’m glad I got this one. It gave me the chance to fix it. Yet, I still haven’t heard back from that reader, and so I still haven’t been able to fix things with that reader. (If you’re reading this, please contact me.)

And if YOU find a mistake in one of my books, please don’t ignore it. I want to know! I might even make it worth your while…

In fact, I certainly will. That’s “My B” — An open bounty on errors! Find a mistake, let me know, and you shall be rewarded.


Thanks for reading! What do YOU think? How do you react when you find an error in a book? Have you ever found an error in one of mine?

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Under the Hood: Decision Loops & Funnels

Time for a behind the scenes look at gamebook mechanics. I’m going to reveal some of the methods to my madness and perhaps answer a question or two. Follow me, if you will, under the hood.

Decision Loops

Q: I found a decision loop!
A: Good for you. Also, that’s not a question. But seriously? I give you the power to explore the multiverse, to leap across parallel universes during the zombie apocalypse, and you use it to replay two decisions back-to-back on an endless loop? Real cool…

The above is taken from the INFECTED FAQs and represents a complaint I hear each time I release a new Click Your Poison book. Someone thinks they found an “error” because you can walk into the same room and have the same exact conversation multiple times.

Problem is…this isn’t a problem. It’s a necessary evil. At least if you enjoy a certain level of autonomy in your gamebooks.

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“What gives? She keeps saying the same response each time I click the talk button! I found an error!”

Game designers have run into this since the very beginning. When Mario goes down a pipe, the room inside looks the same whether it’s his first or fiftieth journey. Those of us who grew up with SNES RPGs just accepted this as a limitation of the system, and really it’s no different in an interactive book.

It can seem odd, for sure, but it’s the only way to not have my page counts approach infinity while still giving you freedom of movement.

I would rather give you the option to, say, explore a hotel in whatever order you choose, knowing that in these separate rooms you might learn something new, but not something that would change the outcome of the conversation you’ll have the next room over. Once you’ve finished your conversations, you’re free to move on.

It ends up looking something like this in my flowcharts:

decision loop
Theoretically, you could make this your personal Hotel California and spend the rest of your life here. But why would you?

Funnels

All roads lead to Rome, especially when you’re reading interactive fiction about Roman conquests. The point here, is that these books are still stories, and though they have 50-100 ways of ending, you have to get there somehow.

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“Wait…you’re telling me I can’t just barge into the castle before I catch up to the game’s intended storyline? That’s bull$#!%”

That’s where funnels come in.

Funnels are where disparate storylines rejoin, giving you multiple ways to get from point A to point B. This was especially important in PATHOGENS, where the characters needed to end up just like you meet them in INFECTED. Sims has to meet Cooper. How that happens can occur multiple ways, but the outcome must be the same.

Here’s what it looks like in my flowcharts:

funnel
Huh. So it really does roll downhill…

I get that this can seem like you don’t have much choice in the story. So I try to make things unique where I can. A certain character needs to die? Fine. But let’s make the ways in which it can happen fun and interesting.

All roads might lead to Rome, but those roads can be yellow-brick, a winding maze, or fraught with thieving brigands. You pick which path to take.


Thanks for reading! What do YOU think? Fun to see under the hood? Let down after seeing the man behind the curtain? Or just disgusted by my constant use of mixed metaphors?

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Hazmat Team Inbound!

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Please excuse the mess! PATHOGENS will be published later this month, and in the meantime you’ll see me building the relevant pages on this website to coincide with launch.

Speaking of which, if you don’t want to miss out on the exact moment the book is available (along with some details on how to get the book for FREE), I highly recommend you sign up for my mailing list, which you may do here.

Other than that…move along. Nothing to see here, people. Just a routine posting. Nothing nefarious.


Thanks for reading! Now do us all a favor and scream with giddy excitement.

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Hastings — The End of an Era

Hastings, the book, movie, music, and kitsch store is no longer accepting books from local authors. Nor will they support local author signings.

This news hits me especially hard.

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Hastings in Killeen, TX (my high school hometown) was very good to me as an author; not only stocking my Click Your Poison e-aversion versions (paperbacks), but often giving me prime shelf real-estate and hosting me for an annual signing event.

Alas, due to corporate restructuring and chapter 11 bankruptcy, this is to be no more.

I’ll look back fondly at the memories. Like after my first book signing when INFECTED was the #1 bestseller in the store that week (“Bigger than Twilight!” as the book manager put it). Not to mention the repeat fans who would bring a dog-eared copy of my newest release each year for an autograph.

I’m sure we’ll find a new spot, but the irony isn’t lost on me that as an author who primarily sells ebooks is now lamenting the death of the brick-and-mortar venue.

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Sums up my feelings with painful accuracy.

So I suppose we’ll just have to move on. Find somewhere new. Or, with a bit of wishful thinking, perhaps I’ll be stocked on the “general” shelves if Hastings survives into the future.

I know I’ll be there. Creating more books.

Thanks for the memories.


Thanks for reading! What do YOU think? Did we ever meet in person?

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‘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?

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Happy Star Wars Day!

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It’s Star Wars day! A day when fans celebrate the greatest film trilogy ever made and fanatics do so slightly more than on any other day.

For me, I wanted to say that my Reboot The Prequels project is still alive and well.

Since last year, we were introduced to a new Star Wars film that I quite enjoyed, but wasn’t without its detractors. People complained (somewhat validly) that The Force Awakens was just a soft reboot of the Original Trilogy. A Star Wars “Greatest Hits” if you will.

I can definitely see where this criticism comes from; I just don’t see it as a bad thing.

As an audience member, I was extremely skeptical of a new Star Wars movie. I’m sure many of us were. So, giving us something that “felt” like Star Wars was a big step towards regaining that audience trust. Now I’m incredibly excited for the next installments in the saga.

But for my reboot? It’s a great thing! The Prequel Trilogy was all but written off in the new film, leaving a wide berth for the Reboot Trilogy to fit within the confines of the saga overall.

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I know it’s been a while since I announced my intent to rewrite these movies, but here’s a solid commitment: After I finish my next Click Your Poison book (this summer), I’m going to dive into these Star Wars scripts full time.

So…it’s coming. I just need to buckle down and remember, “Do or do not, there is no try.”

PS — I also had my fist taste of a “reboot hater” on the internet this year. I get that you might think I’m wasting my time, or hell, you might even like the prequels. But if you don’t think rebooting the prequels is a good idea, let’s just each go our own way on this issue, okay? Especially on Star Wars day, I think we can agree to disagree.

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What do YOU think? Still waiting patiently? Don’t care and hope I don’t take too long of a sabbatical between books? 

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Walking Dead Tomato Heads

Now that everyone’s gotten over the giant tease re: The Finale*, it’s time to dust off my biggest gripe with The Walking Dead.

*SPOILER (highlight this paragraph): I think the cliff-hanger might’ve been more effective (and less cheesy) if they would have just ended the show when Negan shows up, grins, and looks to his bat. Save his monologue for the cold open next season. It would work great to remind us of the situation (seeing everyone’s face, etc).

There’s a lot to love in the show, and there’s a lot to hate. It’s polarizing. I have friends that can’t get enough, and friends who quit after the first couple seasons. I started off marketing INFECTED with the slogan, “Love The Walking Dead but hate the group’s stupid decisions? Decide for yourself and get INFECTED!

But, I suppose that’s a horror convention. Somebody’s gotta go in the house. What I can’t forgive, however, is the ease with which the zombies are dispatched. It’s as if the virus has suddenly melted away bone and replaced the ghouls’ craniums with tomatoes. I get that they’re rotting and slow, but a skull takes a while to rot away and has evolved to be pretty good at its job (protecting the brain).

It’s just physics:

  • If you hit somebody in the head with a blunt object, their head will bounce away. Even a very sharp knife. They’d have to be braced for penetration.
  • You can crack a skull with a wild swing, but then you’ll need a second or third blow.

Now for the fun part. The evidence:

Oh man, my head fell off!

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I don’t care how much of a bad ass you are, you can’t punch a zombie to (2nd) death.

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Gushers anyone?

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I’ll just give you the benefit of the doubt here and assume it got back up again.

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Two swings and…hey, where’s all the candy?

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What’s next? Push a bullet through their head?

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Not just through the skull, *all* the way through. Who is sharpening these crowbars ?

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Doesn’t get much blunter than a pipe, annnnnnd that’s not how you’re supposed to use it.

Don’t even get me started on knife kills. There was a time when they used to make an effort. Someone would hold the zombie’s head while stabbing it (so it wouldn’t bounce around), or they’d go through the eye, or up the chin (using gravity to keep the walker in place). Now it’s just like pushing your finger through jell-o.

Instead, I’ll rest my case with the best (worst) of the bunch:

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Am I being nit-picky? Maybe, but I don’t think so. I get that the show’s theme is “the living are more dangerous than the dead,” but I just wish I was on the edge of my seat more when a zombie is on-screen and rolling my eyes less when it’s dispatched. They’re just soooo easy to “kill” that it seems strange when someone gets bitten or eaten. How come their teeth don’t just turn to mush instead.

Either way, just don’t expect to get off this easy in INFECTED or PATHOGENS.


What do YOU think? Notice the same thing? Don’t care? Have an explanation for me?

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Brick-n-Mortar

Let’s face it, the easiest way to get books from an indie author is on Amazon. I’m no different. The Kindle is an incredible reading tool and my books are specifically designed for ease of use on an e-reader. But, despite “click” being in the very title of my series, I realize that sometimes it’s nice to have a physical book too.

What’s more, it can be nice to check out a book before you buy it. My books might not be in bookstores nationwide, but I’m working on it.

“The impact of a book” by Julio Ramos. Best not to try with a Kindle.

Many of you might not know that you can go into any bookstore, be it a Barnes n’ Noble, locally owned used & new shop, or travel through time to a Borders, and request a self-published book on order. You can. They’ll bring it right to you.

However, a few stores have taken to stocking Click Your Poison books at my request. They are:

The Tattered Cover bookstores with three locations in Denver, Colorado.

 

McWha Books in Belton, Texas.

With more coming very, very slowly. But check this out: if you run a game shop or bookstore, let me know if you’re interested in stocking Click Your Poison books. If you do, not only will your customers love you, but I will do my very best to make an appearance.


What do you think? Ever seen one of my books in the wild?

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