Holiday Sign & Ship ’19

Merry December! You’ve survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but what about Author Tuesday? You know, the not-at-all made up day where you buy books! Still need something for Secret Santa? Or maybe it’s time for a little something, something for yourself.

Well, it’s time for my annual Sign & Ship™. I only do this once a year, so if you want a signed book or five, let me know! Just drop me a line on my contact page, and we’ll sort everything out.

Holiday Sign and Ship 2019
Flat rate, shipping included. If you live abroad, contact me and we can work on international shipping rates.

If you act quickly, I can get you personalized, autographed books prior to December 25th. And I’m more than happy to wish your loved ones a Happy Holiday of your choice, or even a happy birthday if you’re the gift-giving sort of prepper who plans ahead.

In keeping with the holiday spirit, it’ll only cost you $20 for a brand new book, signed and shipped. Interested? Let me know on my contact page. Merry Happy!

JS Best Books of 2018

Yesterday, I announced my annual Sign & Ship deal (including my new release, MAROONED), so today I wanted to list some other books that are worth picking up this holiday season.

This is not a critical, scholarly approach to what was released in 2018. These are my favorite reads of the last year, nothing more and nothing less. I usually read 1-2 books per month, and listen to another on audio. These titles are the ones that really stood out.

Here they are, in no particular order:

Be Prepared by by Gary Greenberg & Jeannie Hayden. Yep, big life change happening this year — I’m going to be a dad in 2019. This book uses humor and wit to help inform a father-to-be while combating thoughts of “What am I doing?! I’m not ready for this!” and replacing those fears with something that’s starting to resemble confidence.

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Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang. The paperback I found had been rechristened Arrival after the titular story was turned into a Hollywood movie, and I didn’t quite realize what I was picking up when I decided to check this short story collection out. But I’m glad I did. It’s an eclectic bit of storytelling, but each story makes you think about the world in a different way, which is the acme of storytelling, IMO.

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The Serpent’s Fang by Ryan Mullaney. Ryan is another self-published writer I discovered through online writer communities. This book is the start to a Tomb Raider-esque series about a female treasure hunter and makes for a fast-paced light read. If you like “popcorn fiction” maybe give it a go.

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Steam Highwayman by Martin Noutch. I met Martin when he was still working on his debut gamebook (Interactive Fiction is a small community), and I’ve had the pleasure of watching the start to his publishing career unfold. This book leans heavily on the “game” side when compared to my own series, but if you like rolling dice and keeping stats with pencil and paper, then I’d suggest grabbing a copy. Immersive story and expansive worldbuilding make for many, many hours of play.

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Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell, Jr. This novella is the basis for the movie The Thing and was a treat to listen to for someone who has written both prose and screenplays. I had a vision in my head from the film, which made it fun to experience in reverse as the original 1938 story. Quite visionary and ahead of its time for early 20th century sci-fi.

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That’s it! What about you? Read anything good this year? Any book recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to check out my annual Sign & Ship deal before it disappears for another year!

 

Worldwide Holiday Book Signing (2018)

Christmastime is nearly upon us! Have you been hit by Whamageddon yet? Have you bought gifts for those Secret Santas in your life? Have you bought anything for the you in your life? There’s no time like the presents (see what I did there?).

Having just completed my last in-person book signing event for 2018, it’s time for my annual Sign & Ship™. I only do this once a year, so if you want a signed book or five, let me know! Just drop me a line on my contact page, and we’ll sort everything out.

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This is your first chance to get a signed copy of MAROONED if you live in the US, but all five Click Your Poison books are available for personalized autographed goodness. If you act quickly, I can get you your books prior to 25 December if you live in the US or UK. And I’m more than happy to wish your loved ones a Happy Holiday of your choice, or even a happy birthday if you’re the gift-giving sort of prepper.

In keeping with the holiday spirit, it’ll only cost you $20 for a brand new book, signed and shipped. Interested? Let me know on my contact page. Merry Happy!

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 

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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!

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!