C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

The publishing revolution already happened.

The first solution to your resolution: Dump MPR

This week you’ll see lots of reports across the Interpocalypse, complete with stats, about how your new year’s resolutions are doomed. Whatever your hopes and dreams, they seem to say, you won’t change so just lie back and take it. You can’t write 10,000 words a week. You can’t lose 50 or more pounds. Give up and never try. Sounds like an excuse-laden, self-fulfilling prophecy to me. Dump MPR loser talk. Never heard of MPR? That’s okay. I just made it up. MPR means Most People’s Reality and now is a great time to step out of it.

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Sure, take on your problems with your eyes open, but stay positive and optimistic whatever your challenge. Pay too much attention to the herd and you’re arguing for failure. You can’t be the extraordinary exception when you sap your energy with MPR. MPR is for people in a ditch who have not achieved the critical mass it takes to get out of that ditch. MPR is not a writer’s mindset. MPR kills creativity, originality and alleviates your responsibility to respond.

Look at it this way: If you’re a cancer patient, how does it help you to know that 75% of patients with your kind of cancer die within a year? It’s an interesting statistic you’re probably going to want to know out of pure curiosity, but that fact doesn’t really help you much and might even hurt. You don’t know whether you’re in the 25% Survivor group or the 75% Gonna Die Soon Group, so it’s a statistic dressed up as useful information. Just do what you have to do.

Yes, you’ve probably made many resolutions in the past. You want to write a book (or write more books), lose weight, get rich or die trying. You won’t have a chance at being exceptional if you sap your energy by focussing on failure. Emulate successes instead. For instance, check out the video under my post Whatever your challenge, there’s a way.

"You will laugh your ass off!" ~ Author of Cybrgrrl, Maxwell Cynn

“You will laugh your ass off!” ~ Author of Cybrgrrl, Maxwell Cynn

More strongly suggested reading:

Step 1 on my weight loss journey: Welcome poop freaks!

~ Robert Chazz Chute is a suspense  and crime novelist working his way back to sexy. Watch his progress and hear his weekly podcast at AllThatChazz.com. As he reports to you, you become part of his healthy lifestyle solution. Thanks for that.

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Author Blog Challenge 11: How I became God

Click the pic for more.

I cried for an old friend today. My daughter asked me about how I proposed to She Who Must Be Obeyed and that meandered back to Johnny, the minister who married us. He died of colon cancer. The tears took me by surprise — again, they always do — and I turned my head and my voice almost broke. I covered up my sorrow as I told my daughter about Johnny. My stomach twisted to think about the loss of this fine man with a young family. Johnny’s presence brought us joy. His untimely, horrible death brought chaos. Johnny wouldn’t approve, but when cancer wrung his life from him, my faith died, too. I found my way back to writing for therapy. Then I cast God aside to become Him. I have more compassion and kindness.

After I dropped my daughter off at school, the headaches and the trapped feeling roared back. I am a small god in a tiny realm. I climbed into my bed to retreat into unconsciousness for a little while. Maybe that’s why there’s so much suffering in the real world. God became bitter and He went back to bed, too.

As deep as the blade went with Johnny’s death, I know I will use this. Everything that happens to you as a writer gets sorted and recycled. That moment where I looked away to cover my tears and my voice cracked just a little? That will show up in one of my books, I’m sure.

Then, tonight at my son’s soccer game, I sat beside Gillian. Our kids hold the same trophies, getting taller together in each year’s team photo. Years ago, on the school playground, she mentioned a grisly moment from her history as a personal support worker. She’d forgotten the anecdote, but I used an aspect of it in a short story, Sidewalkers, that appears in one of my collections, Sex, Death & Mind Control (for fun and profit). I won’t spoil it for you, but maggots are involved. Through fiction I transformed an awful factoid into a larger narrative, the sort of secret we file under “Not Understood” in real life.

Every challenge, met and lost, every story told to me and suffered personally…everything…everything is fodder. I cannibalize my life, my family, my enemies — especially my enemies. Fiction is a mind trick that plays with our human capacity for empathy. Through stories, we experience drama, pain and mistakes without suffering the dreary, fatal consequences. But I write not just in the service of self-expression and the market for fiction. I write to correct reality. Fiction is more neat and clean. Happy endings can happen. I can pick where to stop telling my stories so the good man doesn’t have to die, the happy seeker doesn’t become an atheist and the ugly story about maggots becomes a clever anecdote that serves a purpose. In my realm, I am a conscious god. I have more compassion than the mysterious stranger whose ways no one can know. I rewrite the world so it makes more sense.

The tears can be just as real either way. Tears that rain from Art can keep you up all night, compelled to stay awake and reading. Tears from Life send you to bed with a splitting headache and a bitterness that demands escape into softer dreams.

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Thought, Word & Deed: To win, we have to reach

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This is how I felt when I found out a college friend is dead. 

This is what I said about it.

Here’s something we can do to punch back at cancer.

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I can’t come to the phone right now. I’m dead.

A man speaking on a mobile telephone

A man speaking on a mobile telephone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Usually I laugh at the weird stuff that pops up in my spam filter. However, this morning I seem to be inundated with crap and the spam filter isn’t catching it for some reason. It’s not that it isn’t easy to spot: Yoda-like syntax and the fourth or fifth word is always twisted around.

But this one annoyed me very much:

“You are an excellent wrietr even if I have thought your writing seems sad sometimes! I am so glad you are honest! The truth will set you free, is true! I love you and I am so blessed to be your Mom!”

Thanks for the shitty surprise reminder, spambot! My mom’s dead. Lung cancer. When I call my dad and he doesn’t answer, the voice mail kicks in. The recorded voice is my mother, saying just two words: my father’s name. After she died (and a long and terrible decline, it was) I wrote some fairly bad and very dark poetry. I mulled mortality’s cruelty and our shared helplessness. I was crying after the funeral when my wife came into my childhood bedroom. I pretended to be asleep on the bed and when she covered me with a blanket, I pretended it was my mom, covering me one last time. Later, I called to hear my mother’s voice again and again and again.

Maybe I should leave a new voice mail message: “I’m sorry I’m not here. I’m elsewhere, or maybe I’m not, but if I could get back to you, I would. If I can’t, know that I tried. I really wish I could talk to you right now. But whatever we talked about, it would all come down to the same thing: I love you.”

PS I reject helplessness to the end. Go here if you reject helplessness, too. And spread the word for Indies Unite for Joshua.

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VIDEO: Yes, you could be Batman Jesus!

This week I posted about how the Internet rose up in indignation and, with one voice, condemned a small press publisher for his treatment of a writer and her work. The Internet has so much power for good when an idea goes viral. It’s not all about harsh German porn. Okay, a lot of it is, but we could do something really amazing here. You, sitting at your keyboard right now, could do something amazing. Joshua is a young man with leukaemia and he is suffering. I’m asking all of my loyal followers, casual readers and cranky haters to please harness that same fire we used for righteous condemnation to rise up and help ease the financial burdens on Joshua and his family during this terribly trying time. You know cancer sucks. Let’s punch it back in its smug face.

Please spread the word to help the son of author Max Cyn.

Raise the cause and raise the money and raise up this family.

If someone were drowning, you’d throw them a rope. If someone yelled for help, dangling from a cliff, you’d help. You don’t have to be Batman. It’s just tossing a little rope, but that still makes you a hero. This IndieGoGo campaign is about tossing this family a rope. Working together, we can help pull them up and out.

Please donate if you can and if you can’t, then just spread the word. Tweet (Twitter tag: #indiesunite4joshua), share, reblog, tell your boss, tell the woman beside you on the bus, whisper about it to whomever’s in the next bathroom stall. Spreading the word can help  immensely. Even small donations pile up. We’re very close to meeting this worthy charity’s goal, but there’s only 13 days left in this campaign so please help out Joshua today! Thanks for this. When you help this young man with leukaemia, not only will you get perks from awesome indie authors, you will feel a little like Batman. Or Jesus. Or both. ~ Chazz

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Queen Elizabeth (Hogsbottom) decrees “The Golden Rule and all that!”

Life is not fair, but we are supposed to try to make it that way.

In the course of Joshua’s treatment, this young man’s heart has stopped, his kidneys have failed and his hair has fallen out. These are the days of the cancer patient: Lost work, lost time, lost energy, countless appointments, waiting in fear, pain and panic and even more waiting, underdressed in cold rooms. There are long nights waiting for the dawn and wondering. Cancer patients have to face too many stare-in-the-eyes, earnest talks from well-meaning people and are sometimes ignored by others who don’t want to look their way. Exhausted, cancer patients put on brave faces through the day and cry secret, lonely, midnight tears. With cancer treatment, bad things happen to you beyond your control and worry gnaws constantly. In short, cancer sucks. You know this.

But there is also hope. Hope is bigger than all the evil in the world. Health professionals dedicated to delivering the very best care surround Joshua, a phalanx of white-coated centurions. When you join this fight with a donation (and no donation is too small), you’re joining an army in the most important fight there is. This is the war that affects all of us. Communities rally around the casualties because (and this is not a metaphor) we are all cancer’s casualties. Who doesn’t know someone who has or has had cancer?

The IndieGoGo campaign has a modest goal. We are indie authors from around the world trying to help Joshua and his family with the bills. Is $10,000 enough? Not nearly. Please help how you can and you’ll get some sweet perks. For your generosity, there are plenty of great books and useful services to choose from, but the best perk of all is the feeling you’ll get when you help.

That’s why I donate time, money and perks.

That’s why I put my hand up an old British queen’s dress: for the warm fuzzies!

Please click the IndieGoGo donate button at Indies Unite for Joshua. 


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Avengers Assemble! Joshua needs help!

Some time ago, author Eden Baylee sent out a distress call. Indie authors from around the world answered her SOS. Joshua, the son of author Max Cyn has leukaemia. The medical bills are high. Joshua’s hold on life is threatened. We can ease the stress and help make this one a win. Eden organized an IndieGoGo campaign so we could all contribute perks to donors and help this family in the fight. Please, join us. The rewards are awesome and the cause is just. None of us is untouched. (My mom died of lung cancer and never smoked a day in her life.)

Click here to get your warm fuzzy feeling. Thanks for your generosity.

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Please support Indies Unite for Joshua

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Indie authors unite to help a young man with leukaemia

Click the image to go to IndieGoGo and learn more.

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We tell our stories. It’s not supposed to be about fame. Or is it?

Illustration depicting thought.

Image via Wikipedia

You’re at your computer. You’re in a coffee shop. You’re in your bed. You’re at your desk. You’re thinking of me reaching out to you through these words.

I’m here at my keyboard, typing these words, thinking of you and how isolated we are from each other.

I’m thinking about how isolation allows things to happen that shouldn’t. For instance, last week one of my pages was attacked in a creepy cyber way (and it still isn’t fixed completely. Costly tech support arrives today on a white horse, carrying new modems.) If the hacker knew me, he probably wouldn’t have done what he did. We’d kick back and have coffee instead. Our mutual isolation makes me a number. To him, I’m just another IP address, not a human being.

And yet, there is such potential for the electronic web that stretches out among us to pull into a tighter weave.

The Internet has such power and possibility if we can only figure out how to harness it.

For instance, this week on Kevin Smith’s podcast Plus One, Smith and his wife talked about how Mitch Albom hit him up for some help with a charity to feed a village of starving children. Albom needed $80,000 a year. Kevin generously got the charity ball rolling. Sure, if you’re rich, you can give. But if you’re rich and famous, you can give and alert others to the opportunity to give.

The Tiny Science of Your Fragile Humanity

Yes, a chance to donate is an opportunity. It’s your chance to provide aid. It feels good to give if you have something to give. It feels good because we are wired to be sympathetic. Our brains have mirror neurons that allow us to empathize so much we cry when we see an actor in emotional pain on a movie screen, even though we know it’s fiction.

Mirror neurons are that bit of biological microscopy and brain chemistry that make us human instead of irredeemable monsters bent only on survival by domination and murder. Boot camp, by the way, doesn’t turn off your mirror neurons, by the way. The discipline and brutality uses tribalism so your sympathy and courage is directed only to the benefit of your fellow soldiers.

That’s how you make good people do awful things.

To be creative and find an audience for your creativity is not just about making money. In fact, many artists would work for free (and many do) just for the love of art. Expression is often an inexplicable compulsion. If money comes, it is a side benefit. You hope to be paid for the fruits of your imagination, but wealth is something to be hoped for, not expected.

Seeing how privileged people use their influence to make the planet a better place, I see that I was wrong about fame. I undervalued it. I thought it had the potential to be a big pain in the ass, but that’s not fame’s only aspect. Now I see how it can be used beyond art. Fame can be a tool to help starving kids, for instance.

So many artists of all genres and stripes are poor. I wish you success (and much of the content here is aimed at helping you achieve it.) Success is important, but not just for you. Famous artists have bigger audiences. Famous artists make enough money so they can help others. There’s no nobility in a starving artist’s hovel. When you’re hungry, it’s very difficult to produce art.

 Getting paid is good. 

If you want to help the poor:

Don’t be one of them.

Recently, on The Biggest Loser, one of the contestants, Frado, found a way to use his good fortune to “pay it forward.” He had a clever idea. Frado won a session with chef Curtis Stone. Instead of just getting the expected tutorial for his family alone, Frado asked Stone to hook his name to a charity event. Stone cooked up some healthy food and Frado hosted five charities to raise more than $25,000. The hit and run tutorial would have come and gone. Frado found a way to use his newfound fame, and the celebrity’s chef’s notoriety, to make an impact on people’s lives.

It made me wonder, how can we harness social media, our fans and our followers, to help people in need? I think of the clients I know who have breast cancer or have had breast cancer. I think of my cousin and my neighbour, both hit with prostate cancer. My mother died of lung cancer though she never once smoked. These causes need research dollars. There are so many causes that need voices raised for them. There are so many everyday injustices and our silence is taken for complacency. I suppose, to my shame, that is what it is. 

I have undervalued fame. I didn’t think I should value it because that would make me shallow. Then I saw how fortunate people are using their fame in constructive ways. Now I have a larger goal beyond simple publication, teaching and the petty propagation of my little entertainments. I’m working on my books.  One day they will sell and I may achieve a little bit of recognition in some circles.

If we can get flash mobs together, how about flash protests and flash fundraisers? We try to make book trailers go viral. How about YouTube videos that show the needs that must be met. How about using our narrative powers to activate those mirror neurons so people are moved to help each other?

What then?

Better: What now?

Everyone dreams about what they’ll do if money comes their way.

What dreams can we light, as one flame fires another, with bright fame?  

What can I do in the meantime, in these mean times?

What can we achieve, working together?

We have the most power tools of connection and interactivity

that have ever existed. Now.

Please let me know your ideas.

There are too many hungry. There are too many sick. We will all be sick.

There are too few who are reaching out to draw the whole together.

We have to find the way. We can start small, but we must start.

You and I could make the change that others will not.

Let’s become WE. 

 

Filed under: DIY, grammar, Horror, Publicity & Promotion, publishing, Rant, Social Media, , , , , , , ,

Launched today!

Available now!

Fast-paced terror, new threats, more twists.

An autistic boy versus our world in free fall

Suspense to melt your face and play with your brain.

Action like a Guy Ritchie film. Funny like Woody Allen when he was funny.

Jesus: Sexier and even more addicted to love.

"You will laugh your ass off!" ~ Maxwell Cynn, author of Cybergrrl

Write to live

Publish, conquer your fears, inspire others

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For my author site and the Chazz network, click the blood spatter below.

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