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

Write and publish with love and fury.

Since I can’t rock a pencil skirt: My Writing Process

I don’t look good in a pencil skirt, even the neon pink one (dammit!) However, my friend, awesome author Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar (who does look sharp in a pencil skirt), asked me about my writing process. Since my fashion sense sucks, we stuck to talking about writing.

What are you working on, Chazz?

I’m putting the finishing touches to my apocalyptic series, This Plague of Days. It’s about a boy on the autistic spectrum facing the end of the world with his family. He’s our very unlikely champion. This is the third and last book in the series, but I’m putting all three seasons into one big ebook, too. At the moment, I’ve got five other books in the editorial pipeline at various stages of production.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

I wrote it kind of like a television series. Three seasons (books) with five episodes per season. It’s not your typical shoot ’em up of a zombie story. There are three plagues and a large cast of characters so you see the crisis develop across continents. Lots of seeds and secrets were dropped along the way so the big payoffs and reveals all culminate in a story that builds and builds. It’s ambitious and really takes the reader on unexpected journeys. All the questions are answered in the end. This is my Star Wars.

Why do you write what you do?

I’m not attached to any one genre, but I do love suspense. My obsession is to take the reader on a roller coaster ride with lots of fun twists and turns, hanging off cliffs and chased by dragons and whatnot. You know…imagine the roller coaster at Hell’s amusement park. And just when you’re sure you’re safe, you aren’t.

How does your writing process work?

Typically, I write one chapter a day. That’s usually 1200 to 2500 words. I used to be more nocturnal, but now I find I’m more productive when I work earlier in the day. Since writing This Plague of Days as a serial, I’m really enjoying interacting with readers on Facebook as I write. I’ll finish a chapter and pick out a tidbit I like as a teaser or a taster and post it for some insta-reaction. That’s fun and buoys me through the parts of writing and publishing I enjoy less.

The writing process, for me, is to write myself lost. There I am in a corner. How will I find my way out? At the end of my crime novel, Higher Than Jesus, for instance, I figured a way for Jesus Diaz to kill an armed bad guy, credibly, while Diaz is bound to a chair eight feet away. That was quite a trick and one I’m proud of.

I don’t write by-the-numbers fiction. That bores me. Frequently, the only firm thing I know as I write is what the last line of the book will be. I write to discover what I think and for the joy of creativity and to surprise myself. If I can surprise myself, I’ll definitely surprise the reader.

This Plague of Days will launch in early June. Find out more about This Plague of Days at ThisPlagueOfDays.com. My author site is AllThatChazz.com.

~ Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar included me in her blog hop so a string of writers could share how they approach their writing process. She is a South Asian American who has lived in Qatar since 2005. Moving to the Arabian Desert was fortuitous in many ways since this is where she met her husband, had two sons, and became a writer.

To learn about her writing process and to check out her books, go to www.mohadoha. Follow her on Twitter @moha_doha. Click here for her Amazon author page.

You can also hear my interview with Mohana on the Cool People Podcast. She speaks of her experience in Qatar as a writer whose book has been banned. Why listen? Because she’s cool, of course.

Filed under: What about Chazz?, Writers, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

#VIDEO: Jumping into the Plague of Days serial?

This Plague of Days 2 E1 0918 AMAZONSeason Two, Episode 1 is now out for 99 cents. There are five episodes in each season, released one week apart.

Or, grab the complete Season Two for just $3.99 until November, 2013. (There’s a chapter that fills

Season 2 is the quest.

Season 2 is the quest.

you in: “Previously in Season One“.)

Season One of This Plague of Days is the siege.

Season One of This Plague of Days is the siege.

You can also get Season One of This Plague of Days here.

It’s kind of like writing for TV, but the imagination’s budget has no limit.

 ~ To learn more about This Plague of Days, check out ThisPlagueOfDays.com.

Filed under: This Plague of Days, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One to read. One to hear. One to love.

“This is the post I shouldn’t write. I shouldn’t therefore I must.”

You know that post I just wrote about being contrary? Sometimes something catches fire when you say what you aren’t supposed to say out loud. It just happened on one of my other blogs, ThisPlagueOfDays.com. It was picked up by the Passive Voice and spread hither and thither. So far I’ve received two stern talking-tos (one of which I didn’t understand), appreciative notes and emails and offers of Prozac. The piece is about writing: the frustrations, the joys and the braingasms. You’re invited to have a look at my heart under the klieg lights.

And the All That Chazz podcast is finally back.

Have a listen if you dare. It’s not safe for work. I touch on control issues, the joys of colonoscopies, and get to an overdue reading from my crime novel Higher Than Jesus.

Oh, and Season Two of This Plague of Days is going great. If you’ve read it but haven’t reviewed it yet, please do. Thanks!

October’s mandates are stacked higher than September’s to-do list, but I’m dancing as fast as I can.

“Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight? I ask that of all my prey.”

Filed under: author platform, Author profiles, ebooks, Useful writing links, Writers, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Odd and unfamiliar literary genres

My luckless hit man is a funny guy in big trouble.

My luckless hit man is a funny guy in big trouble.

People argue plenty about genres. Is Literary Fiction just another genre or The Standard? In an age of ebooks and fewer bookstores, must we be so strict about classifying genre? When is cross-genre going to get more respect? When will hardboiled come back? Why isn’t funny neo-noir bigger?

Okay, those last two are more personal to me because of my crime fiction friction (and the first question is a snob test. If you answered “The Standard”, get out.)

Let’s talk about literary genres you probably don’t think about much (yet): 

Boomer lit

Claude Nougat introduced me to Boomer Lit with A Hook in the Sky. Tailoring fiction to an age-related niche is an interesting idea. Can Zoomer Lit be far behind?

I picture further fragmentations: Debt Lit for the trials of our depressed global economy; Sandwich Lit for the generation stuck between supporting their parents and their children; Hack Lit for needful cottage-dwellers in the cottage industry of electro-self-help in an e-commute/quasi-agoraphobic Internet world without trees.

This is worth considering:

If you can identify an audience, you can create a genre. If you can create a genre, or at least put your stamp on it, you could sell more books.

Click it to get it.

Click for suspense and hilarious frivolity in Self-help for Stoners.

Case in point: Self-help for Stoners.

Zombie Erotica

Warm Bodies introduced this idea to me. Jay Wilburn discusses this genre  further on Armand Rosamilia’s blog. Creeps me out, though I guess The Corpse Bride gave it juice and Frankenstein originated it. We romanticize the dead  all the time (Marilyn Monroe, Jack Kennedy, Marty Feldman.) 

Cropped screenshot of Marilyn Monroe from the ...

Cropped screenshot of Marilyn Monroe from the trailer for the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But sexualizing zombies? Hm. Could be a tough sell to a broad audience (depending on initial hotness, location of mortal wound and room temperature). However, we don’t need a broad audience. We need an identifiable and reachable niche of fans, fanatics and possibly freaks.

New Adult

For post-adolescent readers aged 18 to 30 or 18 to 26 (depending on whom you ask), this is mostly for those readers who are finding their way to their quarter-century life crisis. (Don’t wait for a mid-life crisis! Get started young when you don’t understand how little you really have to complain about! You still have so many crises to look forward to!) Click here for a list of popular New Adult reads on Goodreads.

New Adult is a very welcoming genre in that you can stick zombies or aliens in there, too, if you want. It’s typified by its target age-range and less by its subject. A popular misconception is that New Adult is for sub-literate people who don’t like to read. That’s not how people who write New Adult describe their work, so we shouldn’t, either.

Lad lit

Not a new genre but under-appreciated and not near as popular as Chick lit. This is fiction about young men and their lives, sex lives, failures and aspirations. It would be bigger if more men read books. Nick Hornby was crowned King of Lad Lit (by someone or other) with High Fidelity. I like High Fidelity the book, but I love High Fidelity, the movie. FYI: John Cusack is a demi-god. Also, we watched the credits to find out who that awesome young unknown was. It was Jack Black. His singing at the end of the movie was so awesome, we thought he must be lip-syncing. Nope! And that’s how I became a Tenacious D fanboy.

Dystopian versus Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic:

A cross-genre flurry about  society's collapse under the crush of the Sutr Virus combined with a boy's love for odd words, Latin dictionaries and his father.

A cross-genre flurry about society’s collapse under the crush of the Sutr Virus combined with a boy’s love for odd words, Latin dictionaries and his father.

I include these three not because they are new or all that odd, but because they are often confused.

Apocalyptic is The Big Bad Thing that’s coming to kill us.

Post-Apocalyptic is how the few survivors deal with The Big Bad Thing. 

Dystopian comes after the fallout from The Big Bad Thing, when it becomes The New Normal. Like George Orwell’s 1984. Or getting felt up by the TSA.

~ The events in This Plague of Days, my coming coming-of-age Aspergers plague thriller, occur as society collapses. Things go from apocalyptic to post-apocalyptic. If the series sells enough books, we’ll get to see how the world devolves into a dystopia. I’m looking forward to finding out, assuming the real world flu pandemic doesn’t kill us all first. This Plague of Days launches at the end of May. To find out more, go to ThisPlagueofDays.com.

Filed under: author platform, book marketing, Publicity & Promotion, publishing, readers, This Plague of Days, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

You can pick this ebook up for free today at this link: http://bit.ly/TheNightMan

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

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