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

Write and publish with love and fury.

The writer, depression and getting the word music to play again

By the way, Crack the Indie Author Code 2nd Edition is out in paperback at $9.99. Smaller format, with jokes.

By the way, Crack the Indie Author Code 2nd Edition is out in paperback at $9.99. Smaller format, with jokes.

A fellow writer meant well when she told me that if you can allow anyone to discourage you from writing, you shouldn’t be a writer. That sounds tough-minded and strong, doesn’t it? It would be good advice to take, but unfortunately, I’m still human. Darn the luck, my skin is no thicker or thinner than it ever was. It will surprise no one, given the sort of dark stuff I often write, that I obsess over the negative. I do not remember sunny days. That’s who I am. Maybe I could fix it with some talk therapy, gene manipulation and a personality transplant.

So, yes, rude email hurt can me and my productivity. A bad review can ruin the morning and robs me of a night’s rest. I’m prone to depression and yes, I’m feeling it now. Due to several factors, I haven’t faced the blank screen bravely in days. I’ve been ill and trying to keep up with the demands of my new day job and, not to whine, but the depletion started with one condescending, presumptuous email. 

I’m letting a terrorist win. The worry treadmill is running. I’ve written ten books, but the negative cyclotron has kicked in. “How can I be a writer? I can’t even type properly.”

When I observe the disparity between Goodreads ratings and Amazon ratings (work is often valued one star less on GR even if the review sounds equally positive), I have an urge to reevaluate my life choices. If I’d gone to that Second City audition or to film school instead…but that way madness lies. At least until I fix the time machine. But enough about me.

Murders+Among+Dead+Trees+1121-1

What to do when you’re feeling down and not writing*:

1. Call a friend. Do not talk about your problem. Talk about what your friend wants to talk about.

To shore up your ego defences, you’ve already read and reread your happy reviews. Your friend isn’t going to tell you anything new and you’ve already got your “Atta-boy!”

The point of this phone call is to break the obsessive cycle of repetitive arguments, cutting retorts and vengeful homicide plots running through your head. This is a time for jokes. Ask about your friend’s life. 

2. Okay, so, being human, naturally you want another “Atta-boy!” Engage a fan who can’t wait for the next book. A little positive pressure may be all you need to get back to writing the next book in the series.

3. Write a blog post to vent, but only if you must and your friends aren’t answering their phones. (Ooh! Meta!)

4. Remind yourself that this is the firstiest of First World Problems and set the oven timer. How much more wallowing do you plan to allow yourself? More than one more pathetic hour and you’ll burn your life.

The three most powerful words are “I love you.”

The two most powerful? “Begin again.”

~ from Crack the Indie Author Code

5. Read the negative reviews of your favorite books. Choose the classics that you think everyone simply must adore. Realize some people will not be pleased.

Now in paperback!

Now in paperback!

Ev-er.

Or they’re trolls feeding an emotional need that has nothing to do with literary criticism. Or they’re too stupid to get you. I used to think that all readers, because they can read, must be smarter than average. Read some one-star reviews, especially the ones that bring down an author’s rating because Amazon didn’t deliver the book fast enough or they don’t like reading on a kindle and would have preferred paper. Clearly, my supposition about all readers being intelligent was not true.

6. Help somebody else with something. Shovel the walk and bring in the wood and be productive. Productiveness is a habit. This tip works better is you don’t do it for yourself. Do it for the old neighbor with the bum ticker and the broken leg.

7. Read something good that inspires you. Remember this feeling of transcending the great, dirty world? This delicious escape is why you are a writer. 

8. Realize that nothing will be perfect and the critics might have a point about something. Correct errors and move on.

9. But if they’re too harsh and stop you from writing at all, you’ve allowed a rude outlier to rob you, and most readers, of joy. It’s too easy for trolls to throw bombs. You write books, not a few, nasty paragraphs. We’re not allowed to critique reviewers so they’re safe from what you’re feeling now. Don’t let bullies win. Not letting bullies win is another reason you’re a writer.

10. Bing! The oven timer went off.

Start writing again. Anything. Just start. Within five minutes, you’ll be sucked into the other world again. Just get through that first five minutes and write. You aren’t facing a whole book. You don’t have to worry about word count or bad reviews or bruised egos or where to find a Luger, thick rope and kerosene at three in the morning. All you have to do is start writing and get through the first five minutes. Maybe less.

You can gut out five minutes. You don’t even have to act tough to start. Just start. An appreciative audience is out in the future, waiting and hoping you’ll get through the next five minutes. Maybe less.You will fall back into the groove and the word music will begin to play. And a one, and a two and a three…

If none of these suggestions work, call a doctor. Maybe it’s exercise, kale shakes and an anti-depressant you need to elude the mean reds.

 

Filed under: book reviews, publishing, web reviews, Writers, writing tips, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This Plague of Days: Season One arrives in paperback! (Plus stuff for you)

Special thanks to Kit Foster of KitFosterDesign.com for his kick-ass cover skills! 

If you’re looking to get a cover, I always recommend Kit! Plus, he’s Scottish!

Have a look at the beauty below (i.e. buy it) and be sure to check out his portfolio.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00004]

This Plague of Days, Season One teaches Latin proverbs and brings you into the mind of a very unlikely hero on the autistic spectrum. Zombies attack and royal Corgis are in big trouble. Maybe the Queen, too. (That’s my motto: Give the people what they want.)

This book makes a great Halloween gift, Christmas present or something to scare the bejeebers out of friends, family and enemies. If you’ve been waiting for the paperback, here you go. Working on getting Season Two out in print next. 

Serialization pros and cons

Not into my books but want more about publishing in savvy ways?

Season 2 is the quest. Expect big trouble in Ireland and Iceland because I think countries beginning with I are narcissistic and need to be taken down a peg or two by bloodthirsty zombies.

Season 2 is the quest. Expect big trouble in Ireland and Iceland because I think countries beginning with I are narcissistic and need to be taken down a peg or two by bloodthirsty zombies.

Okay, if you came for the pithy stuff about the downside of serialization and why I collapsed to the haters and won’t serialize Season Three of This Plague of Days, you’ll want to check out this post: 

Why I won’t do this again

The contest that challenges you to find a secret hidden in plain sight

Yes, there’s also an intriguing contest going on and your immortality is at stake.

Find the secret, win a life everlasting in book and audio form.

I love a mystery wrapped in an enigma concealed in a burrito, don’t you?

~ Robert Chazz Chute is…writing in the third person again. Get your NaNoWriMo inspiration and hope for the publishing future by reading Crack the Indie Author Code in paperback and ebook. Just kidding about the Ireland being narcissistic thing. You know I love the land of my ancestors. But Iceland? Well, you’re on notice for realsies, Icepops!

Filed under: Amazon, Publicity & Promotion, publishing, self-publishing, This Plague of Days, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Publishing: New strategies, plots & plans

I have four books up for sale so far. In less than three months, I plan to release four more. This is the critical, make or break, time for me that requires a little experimentation as we swing into the high season of book sales. Here are my goals and rationales:

1. A friend asked if I planned to put my two short story collections, The Dangerous Kind & Other Stories and Sex, Death & Mind Control into print. I began to say they are a little short for paper. Then an inspiration came. Here’s the experiment: I’ll combine the two, add seven stories that I’ve banked plus a chapter that’s a sneak peek from a coming novel. I’ll also add a little introductory commentary at the top of each story. I will make this collection available only in print.

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

2. Within a week or two, Higher Than Jesus will be released. This is the follow-up to Bigger Than Jesus and the second in The Hit Man Series. I listened carefully to the reception Bigger Than Jesus got. Higher Than Jesus will be lighter on the swearing and mix in a little more sex. Add in skip tracer techniques, an assassination conspiracy, an arms deal and a lot more jokes and it’s a winner. Lots of pre-publication buzz on this one from the First Readers Club.

3. Crack the Indie Author Code: Aspire to Inspire is next. I just got the manuscript back from the editor and I’m working through revisions. Anyone who reads this blog will enjoy this, the first non-fiction book that has my name on it. (Ghost writing doesn’t count.) It’s inspiration for writers, but it’s got a lot of useful information and jokes, too.

Paranormal persuasion and scary stories (including two award winners.)

4. This Plague of Days is the story of a boy who is a selective mute on the autistic spectrum. He travels with his family through North America as society collapses. A killer flu has killed more than a third of the population and chaos descends. We see the world through his odd perspective. I wrote this book over the course of a year and I just have to plunge into revisions. It’s a huge book, my longest and most ambitious. 

Small-town terrors and psychological mayhem in Maine.

These are high goals over a short time, but I have worked toward these books for a long time. Everything is written. It’s all revisions and editorial pipe now. It’s time to go big. I’m powered by kale shakes and naïve optimism. I can do this.

Intern! Brew me another kale espresso, less pulp this time! It’s go time!

Filed under: publishing, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

And the winner of the Six Words or Less Contest is…

Liberty Montano!

Thanks to all who entered the Six Words or Less Contest. We had some solid entries, but there can only be three in the top three, if my understanding of math is correct.

Liberty’s happened to be the very first entry and the votes skewed toward a religious bent. (I have mentioned

Click to get Bigger Than Jesus here

my Cuban hit man’s name is pronounced “Hay-soose” a ton already, right?)

Liberty’s entry won first prize with:

“Ezekiel 25:17”

Cloakey Notes came in second with

“Revelation 6:17”

Who would have thought I would have so many readers so familiar with Bible text?

Tony Collett came in third with a reference from The Fisher King:

“Moral Traffic Light”.

All three will get mentions on my podcast and, when Higher Than Jesus comes out, they’ll receive a free ebook. Congratulations to each of the winners.

Liberty’s name will appear in Higher Than Jesus and her quote will be woven into the story. Hey, that’s a good character name! Not too many people named “Liberty” out there. She’ll be getting the paperback, too.

As the publication date for Higher Than Jesus approaches, I will contact the winners with details.

Thanks again to everyone who participated.

Filed under: publishing, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

BOOM, baby! Bigger Than Jesus has arrived in handy, dead tree form!

The paperback has arrived. For $9.99. Did you hear that? Distant thunder of the Book Gods mumbling to each other. Oooh, shivers!

 

The witty “wickedly real and violently funny” foundation book of The Hit Man Series has arrived. So happy.

Next up: Higher Than Jesus

 

Filed under: publishing, , , , , , , , , , ,

UBC #15: What’s missing from this thriller’s back matter?

Something is missing from the following back matter from Bigger Than Jesus.

Pop quiz, hotshot! What’s missing?

About the Author

After several years working in the publishing industry, I took a long hiatus and then founded Ex Parte Press. I was a journalist and magazine columnist and now write in a lead-lined bunker full-time. I’m happily chained to my writing desk by an intravenous line feeding me espresso. My desk chair is a toilet and I’m writing as fast and as well as I can.

Thank you so much for reading Bigger Than Jesus. If you liked it, it will help Jesus Diaz and me immensely if you could please leave a happy review on Goodreads or Amazon or wherever you bought this book. Watch for the next instalment in this series: Higher Than Jesus, coming soon. Five books are planned for this series so far. If you’d like to get a glimpse of Jesus as a mature, more professional, hit man, you can find the story that started his character in my collection of short stories, Self-help for Stoners. You’ll find he’s more polished, but things still go awry. All the latest updates about my books can be found at AllThatChazz.com.

After this note I have a list of my other titles and notes on how to contact me through my websites, email, media inquiries and a note about my podcast and Twitter.

Steady…ready…go!

Here’s my answer about what’s missing:

In its current incarnation, I haven’t loaded up the first chapter of the follow-up book in The Hit Man Series.

Click to get Bigger Than Jesus

It’s written and I should include it. People like a sneak peek and, after spending so much time with my clever, funny and scarred protagonist, they will probably want to get a hint at where Jesus Diaz goes next. I think I really need to include a chapter from Higher Than Jesus. His story continues in unexpected ways, means and places in a plot that includes Neo-nazis, a street gang, drugs, arms, a very tall blonde and a plot to assassinate the President of the United States.

Fortunately, since I can upload at any time, it’s never too late for an afterthought, an improvement or a tweak.

Next question:

What else do you want to see in the back matter of a book you’ve enjoyed?

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Filed under: publishing, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Winner of Writer's Digest's 2014 Honorable Mention in Self-published Ebook Awards in Genre

The first 81 lessons to get your Buffy on

More lessons to help you survive Armageddon

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

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.

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

See my books, blogs, links and podcasts.

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