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:

 

The Living and the Dead

I was asked by my friend and fellow author, Todd Travis, to write the foreword to his new anthology of short horror/thriller stories. I’m honored to have done so and I think I even managed to say something halfway poignant, so it’s my pleasure to share that foreword with you now:

TLATD FOREWORD
by James Schannep

The short horror story is one of the oldest human traditions. Indeed, one could theorize that we evolved into creatures with language just to be able to tell such tales. Prehistoric man’s first thriller—for which he was rewarded with a warm fire, roast strips of mammoth venison, and ample grunts of approval—was called “The Terror at Black Rock” and told of a brave warrior’s near-death experience with a saber-toothed tiger. You see, these stories and their monsters were real, and by hearing them we could learn to avoid Black Rock, especially alone and after dark. The short horror story kept us alive.

These tales are still important in the modern world; whether it’s still being told around a campfire for the benefit of your fellow hikers or if you’re reading this book in bed, ready to plunge down an emotional rollercoaster before safely drifting off to sleep in the comfort of your own home. But what about the monsters—are they still real?

I’m not telling you that Bigfoot is out there (constantly looking over his shoulder and walking with extra long arm-swings, such as the Alaskan scientists in the story In Season hope to find) but certainly the potential exists. The threat of the unknown is real. There are, without a doubt, things in this world we don’t fully understand that are dangerous, and out to get us.

Recent events have proven that monsters are real. I don’t understand the kind of person who would bomb a marathon any more than I do the kind who would shoot up a school or a movie theater, but I do understand exactly what motivates zombies and werewolves. Ultimately, that’s why we love a good horror story, because all the terrible things that we live with, all the hidden facets of society, become tangible and comprehensible. Whether it’s a simple ghost story or something more complexly metaphysical like in The Living and the Dead, we get to break down and analyze the dangers of evil through the reading of stories. We experience something new and terrifying without needing to go down to Black Rock ourselves.

The true genius in Mr. Travis’s collected shorts is that he manages to do both: delight us with thrilling tales of monsters while showing us that true terror lives in the people and world around us. So sit up, don’t relax, and prepare to be terrified, because if you pay attention—these short horror stories might keep you alive. Just make sure you blame Todd Travis (and not me) if you can’t look at the people around you the same way when you’re done.

Happy reading and sweet dreams.

16 April 2013
Orcutt, California

TLaTLCheck out The Living and the Dead, available now!

For fans of STEPHEN KING and DEAN KOONTZ … author TODD TRAVIS (Creatures of Appetite) has gathered a haunting collection of suspense stories exploring the monsters, both living and dead, roaming our world.

– A brilliant biophysicist on the verge of proving there is no life after death discovers, to his horror, that the dead are determined to stop him …

– An abused small town boy finds a special friend in the woods next to his trailer, but his friend isn’t like other children and cannot leave the woods, not ever …

– A group of determined graduate students seek Bigfoot on a remote Alaskan range seek but discover a monster far more deadly than they ever imagined …

– An elderly store manager, disturbed by a stranger eying the armored truck deliveries to his store, decides to take matters into his own hands …

– A beautiful young woman walks the streets of Manhattan at night seeking men, but for her own dark purposes, because for her, night is for hunting …

– A mysterious little girl somehow “invites” herself along on an abduction, leading her captors to wonder who really is in charge …

Five stories of suspense and terror and a short novel exploring the darkness everyone eventually faces when it’s their time to die, THE LIVING AND THE DEAD is a collection one may want to read with all the lights in the house on …

Fresh Ink Spilled

I’ve officially begun “Click Your Poison #2” and the subject is (drum roll, please)…

Mystery Books

A mystery! And I don’t mean, “I’m not telling you, it’s a mystery.” I mean a literal murder mystery novel–a solve-your-own mystery, in fact. Which, I believe, is the first of its kind. I don’t think anyone has ever tried a literary puzzle of this scale, letting you (the reader) attempt to piece together the clues yourself. As part of my preparation, I read “The Elements of Mystery Fiction” by William G. Tapply (which is written more for a novice writer than it is for someone who has studied writing but is new to mystery fiction) and in it he says:

Avoid the second-person point of view… I know of no mystery novel that’s done it successfully–or of any serious writers who’ll admit that they’ve even tried.”

Well, Mr. Tapply, rules are made to be broken. In CYP #2, YOU will have to crack the case or the killer will get away with murder. I’m also sticking with the “3 Unique Storylines” convention that I started with INFECTED, but I can’t promise “50 endings.” I’m going to let them occur organically, like I did with CYP #1. Maybe there will be less, maybe more; we’ll see.

BUT! I’m excited. I know the plot and I’ve buried it under layer upon layer of subterfuge, red-herrings, and what-could’ve-happeneds.

Like onions (and ogres), mysteries have layers.

I know the characters, locale, and major turning points, and now it’s time to jump in and let the possible decision points guide the path of the book. It’ll probably be around 8-10 months before I can publish this book, but I’m too excited not to share. Don’t worry, I’ll post various updates (and samples) in the months to come, so if you haven’t already subscribed now is a great time to do so.

In the meantime, I’ve got work to do.

Get ready for danger.
Get ready for danger.