Up, up, and away! SUPERPOWERED release!

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SUPERPOWERED has been live in both Kindle edition and paperback for four days now, and I just realized that in all my social media blitzing and marketing, I somehow forgot to mention it on my blog!

My bad. But I’ll redeem myself by saying, “It’s only $0.99 during the special release period!” so that should help, right?

So, grab a copy, tell a friend, and please leave a review. Many promo sites have a minimum number before a feature, so it would really help me out to keep the momentum going.

And look! It’s doing great so far!

Not sure how I'll ever compete with the lady-porn titles, but being the only actual superhero book in the top 5 ain't half bad!
[Click to expand] Not sure how I’ll ever compete with the lady-porn titles, but being the only actual superhero book in the top 5 superhero books ain’t half bad! 
That’s it for now. I’m working on the next book in the series, but more about that later. Make sure you sign up for my new release mailing list so you don’t miss out.

PS — MURDERED is on sale for $0.99 right now as well, so if you haven’t tried to solve the mystery, I suggest that you….

Murdered (0-00-34-20)


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Book Trailer Easter Egg

The official book trailer for SUPERPOWERED launched last week. It’s an interactive trailer, where you choose your viewing experience. I’ve also added a sample decision-point for the book on its sub-pages.

And I’ve hidden an Easter egg.

If you’ve read any of my Click Your Poison titles, you know I love hiding things in my books. Well, I did the same thing for my new trailer. Through some ninja-like coding, the team at PixelTwister Studios has made the trailer more interactive. You can watch both the Hero and Villain perspectives simultaneously with something we’ve called DoubleTube.

Be a hero, be a villain, or be both?
Be a hero, be a villain, or be both?

Click the picture above, or the hyperlink here, to watch the video. Then, choose either Hero or Villain. Once the stream starts playing, you can press the V key on your desktop keyboard to cycle from the Hero video into the Villain stream, or press H while watching the Villain video to peek over at Hero side. This will only work through this Easter egg link, and will not work on the regular YouTube site.

I hope you enjoy this hidden gem as much as we did creating it! And don’t forget, SUPERPOWERED is still on pre-order for only $0.99. It’ll be here in a month!


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Excelsior! 1st Draft of SUPERPOWERED: Complete.

So, I broke the news on Twitter last week, but now I’m making it official.

Cover? Check.

First draft? CHECK.

It took a year, literally. The document creation time-stamp shows 16 January 2014. Almost poetic if I hadn’t originally planned on finishing last summer, but this book has taken on a life of its own. I’ve lived in Mercury City for a year! And I can’t wait to share that place with you.

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Here’s the setup: You’re in an experiment with two other volunteers, and you get one of three superpowers. That means the three paths are the powers (you “play” each one). You can be a hero or you can be villain, and you can win each way with each power. That means SUPERPOWERED will be the first Click Your Poison book to have six “Good Endings” (in quotes because half of those are, you know, Evil Endings).

What’s next? Editing. The first draft came in at 138,000 words, and I’d like to trim that down to under 120k. Sheesh. Drinking before noon is rarely acceptable, but when you’re editing, it’s required! Kidding. Mostly.

After that, it’ll go off to my trusted Beta Readers (other writers and friends well-versed in story). Then my professional editor, my formatting team, and finally on sale. I’m also working on a book trailer.

Plenty to keep me busy, but the end is in sight! After beta, I’ll have a release date. Stay tuned!


So, what do YOU think? About damn time?

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Reigning in Parallel Worlds

This post was originally published on author J.P. Choquette’s blog after she contacted me and asked if I’d go a bit into the process of writing interactive fiction. I liked the essay so much, I wanted to make sure my subscribers got to check it out, so you’ll find the full piece below. You should also check out J.P.’s website, she brings a great many different voices together and it’s worth a perusal.

Reigning in Parallel Worlds

by James Schannep

The main characters in INFECTED choose to wait out the zombie apocalypse inside their home, boarded up and barricaded, with enough supplies to wait out doomsday. They also leave the city in search of fellow survivors and greener pastures. Oh, and they also become zombies themselves.

No, my characters are not schizophrenic (and neither am I!), they just exist in parallel worlds.

What do I mean? Click Your Poison books are gamebooks—wherein you, the reader, choose how the story progresses. Each CYP title has three unique storylines and over fifty possible endings. Because of this “many possibilities” quality to interactive fiction, different readers will experience different outcomes and have a rather different reading experience from one another. It’s my job, as the author, to keep all these parallel worlds straight.

The problem is, every decision expands the storylines; sometimes familiar to one another, but other times they become drastically altered. Their worlds grow too large to exist solely within the confines of my head! I literally can’t keep them all straight; not by memory alone. So how do I do it? Just like in the real world—I use maps. Almost on a daily basis I’m forced to pause, stop writing, and think, “Wait, is this person dead here? And does this other character currently hate you or love you?” That’s when I check the maps.

Level one is my world map: the outline. In any novel, you need a beginning, middle, and end, with a logical pathway through the three. At the most basic level, the outline keeps the overarching plot on track towards the eventual destination(s).

Level two, interstates and roadside attractions: the chronology. Here I’ll keep a chart in Excel. Important plot points form the x-axis (time) and major storylines/characters form the y-axis (events). This helps me know which events happen at what time.

Level three, city streets, dark alleys, slums and shortcuts: the flowchart. This is my bread and butter. Without the flowchart, none of the other maps matter. The flowchart tells me, if you make decision A (attempt to play dead to avoid zombies), it will lead to outcome B (get eaten!). Often times the path will change slightly and I’ll have to go back, edit the story, and change outcomes. Without the flowchart, that would be impossible. Below, you can see a rough scrap from my latest CYP book as an example.

Nathaniel Hawthorne said, “Easy reading is damned hard writing.” If my process sounds excruciatingly difficult, good. My job (in addition to keeping the parallel worlds straight), is to make it look effortless inside the story. Your experience making decisions as reader should be smooth and clean, despite the complexity and ambiguity of the actual decisions themselves.

The real test of all this behind-the-scenes planning is your experience. So go ahead, dive into INFECTED and see if you have what it takes to survive the zombie apocalypse!

 


 

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MURDERED Cover Reveal

I just sent off the edited, final manuscript off for formatting. That means we’re almost there. And that means the next announcement will be a release date!

Drum roll, please…. Check out this gorgeous cover by artist Nikki Jansen (who also did the INFECTED cover):

Could YOU Solve a Murder?
Could YOU Solve a Murder?

MURDERED is the next in the Click Your Poison series, a thrilling murder mystery where YOU must solve the case. Interrogate suspects, follow clues, and get into (or avoid) gunfights, all in an effort to catch the killer. Think you’re up for the task?

100k words and counting

I hit 100,000 words on my next Click Your Poison book the other day. I figure as long as I’m celebrating base-10 accomplishments, from 1k to 10k, I think I should toast myself for hitting 100k words on MURDERED. That’s long for a novel (which typically runs 60-90k words), and I’m not even done yet. Chalk it up to the three storyline schtick. Hopefully it’ll result in a more immersing experience for you, the reader. That’s the plan anyway. Now if I could just finish the first draft! Although, I did celebrate this today as well:

 

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.