To Reboot or Not to Reboot

Posted: May 22, 2018 in Uncategorized

So, in my last post, I laid out three things in store for this year.

1. That A New Daybreak will be out this fall.

2. There will be at least two short films set in the world of The Savannah Zombie Novel series.

And

3. There may, or may not be, a soft reboot in store for the series.

Now, what’s the difference between a “soft reboot” and a “hard reboot”?

A hard reboot is like when Sony made the Amazing Spider-Man movies, rebooting the universe that Sam Raimi built. The first Amazing was well received, but the second one, not so much. This caused ol Spidey to be rebooted again, this time into the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Each time, although the basic premise was the same, the story was changed drastically. Especially for poor old Uncle Ben. At least they didn’t actually show his death in Homecoming, cause c’mon. Three times is too much.

Then look at the reboot of The Fantastic Four. (Don’t watch it though, just look at it from a safe distance. It’s a stinker.) They almost completely redid the concept of the Fantastic Four, where it really could have been it’s own movie and just took the Fantastic Four title off the project.

Hard reboots can be hard to swallow, especially when there is a dedicated fan base already attached to the franchise.

This is where the soft reboot comes into play.

Think the Star Wars sequels.

The new episodes, starting with The Force Awakens, were essentially a soft reboot in the series. They still continued the main story line set up by George Lucas, but were designed to make Star Wars accessible to new fans, by tweaking old characters, adding new characters, and rehashing old themes.

Now, maybe Star Wars isn’t the best example, because like I said before, reboots can be hard for dedicated fanbases. And Star Wars has a little bit of a dedicated fanbase. And some of them didn’t appreciate the changes made. The Force Awakens was too much like A New Hope. The Last Jedi went the complete other way and has become extremely divisive amongst fans.

Ok, maybe Star Wars wasn’t that great of an example…

Anyways, the changes I have in store for the Savannah Zombie Novel series are not quite as drastic as Disney’s vision for the Galaxy Far, Far Away.

Enough of me explaining reboots (and probably poorly) and more explaining why I feel the need to reboot.

1. When I started this whole thing, I had no idea what I was doing.

If you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard me harp on this a few times. But if this is you’re first time here, this is it in a nutshell:

The Savannah Zombie series started off as a low budget zombie movie idea a friend and I had in high school. I wrote up an outline and a few pages of script on some notebook paper. And that’s about as far as we got. We had no money, we had no equipment, and this was before you could just shoot decent video on your phone.

The story lay dormant for years, until one day I dusted off the outline and turned the first few scenes into chapters. I shared them with a new friend and he enjoyed them and told me to write more. So I did. And suddenly, there was this book beginning to take shape.

Around this same time, my wife gave me a Kindle for Christmas. And I began downloading a bunch of zombie novels. Some were good, some not so much. But I realized that some were self-published, and that was something I didn’t even realize was possible.

Don’t even get me started on print paperbacks.

So I set out self publish this little zombie novel I had been writing, and the snowball kept getting bigger and bigger until finally I had this book out there and no idea what to do next.

Well, I knew there was more story. So I wrote a short story. And then a second book. And then another short story. And I’ve been working on book three for about a 1000 years now. (Slight exaggeration.)

But along the way, I learned more about writing, about publishing, and just more in general. Stuff that would have been great to know when I start d getting his whole author journey.

But now, I find myself at this crossroads of do I keep pushing ahead with what I have; or do I stop and try to adjust some of this shaky foundation I made five years ago?

Which brings me to point number two:

2. I’ve grown as a writer.

If you’ve been with me since A New Death, then you may have noticed this. Those first few chapters of book one are okay, but even I can see the difference in my writing style between the beginning and the ending of that book. CJ’s Story and A New Darkness are the same way. With each new work, I see a tremendous growth in my writing and becoming comfortable with my voice.

And that brings me back to the reboot idea. I’d really like to go back and reset some of those “fractures” in the beginning of the series. I would go back and change a few things story wise, things I wasn’t sure I wanted to do when I started.

Now if I had an editor when I published A New Death, I probably could have avoided some of these issues. But I didn’t, and there’s not much I can do about that now.

3. Honestly, there’s just a few things I would like to change.

For starters, the story just starts. When I originally wrote it, I was coming from a movie script background and thought of the story as the zombie movie I wanted to see.

Which is great and I always recommend thinking of writing that way, but novels are different and I think I did the characters and the readers a disservice by not letting you get to know the cast a little bit more before we dove right in.

I’d like to change a few relationships and just clarify some plot lines a little better.

So, that’s it. That’s what I’m thinking. Now the question is do I do all this before finishing and publishing A New Daybreak?

I don’t know. Another post for another time.

Let me know your thoughts on reboots!

Josh Vasquez

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So, should I even do that thing where I explain I’m not that good at consistent blogging?

No? We’re all on the same page? Cool.

So the last post I made was for North Pole Zombies last November. And then silence until, what month is it now? April? Dang.

Normally how this goes is I blame the crazy hours I work for my job. (I go in to work at 3 AM and midnight on Sundays.)

Well, this will be the last week of that.

This upcoming Friday will be my last day of said crazy hours.

I’m starting a new job the following Monday, so hopefully things will level out for me creatively.  This is a much needed change of pace for me, because, not sure if you noticed, but I have sucked creatively lately, and by lately, i mean the last four years.

I mean, where the heck is A New Daybreak, the third book in the Savannah Zombie Series?!?

Oh, that’s right, I haven’t finished it yet.

Man, I hate that. I hate leaving my readers hanging and hate unfinished projects

So, I promise you, you will be reading book 3 in the Savannah Zombie Series this year. 2018. Mark my freaking words.

Also, I’ve been promising video content.

The Savannah Zombie series started off as a vision my buddy and I had in high school. We wanted to make a low budget zombie movie. I wrote up the outline and a few pages of script. But that was as far as we got. We had no money. No equipment. No experience. Oh, and we had no money. Did I mention that?

And this was before smart phones. Back then the most advanced phone was the Motorola Razr! Ha! Man, we thought we were the shiznet back then! Of course, I was still rocking the indestructible Nokia, with the killer app, Snake 2.

Man, look at that thing.

Tesla ain’t got nothing on that!

Ok, maybe they do. Whatever.

Anyways, what was I saying?

Oh right, the movie.

Well, the Savannah Zombie series has started to come back full circle and I’ve started to realize the dream I had in high school.

Yes, the first video has been made.

It’s just a teaser. Just a clip.

But it’s the start.

And oh man, has it got me excited.

So, on top of my promise of you reading A New Daybreak this year, I’m adding the promise of at LEAST two short films in the world of the Savannah Zombie Novel series.

Bold? Maybe. But it’s going to happen.

Here’s the teaser.

I’ll write another post going into the detail of how it was made. (You’ll be surprised.)

But there it is. The beginning. A genesis. A spark that will light the rebellion that will… Wait, that’s Star Wars.

Sorry, I REALLY like Star Wars. (And yes, The Last Jedi is amazing. So, there’s that.)

Ok, so this post has been everywhere, but here’s the takeaway’s:

  1. A New Daybreak will be here this year. (Probably fall.)
  2. There will be TWO short films in the Savannah Zombie universe.
  3. There may be a soft reboot of the series in store for this year too.

Oh, I didn’t go into that last one?

Hmm…

I think that deserves its own post.

So, um, bye.

Josh

Video  —  Posted: April 21, 2018 in Author Blog
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Ho, ho, ho-ley crap!

Thanksgiving and the Christmas season are upon us already!

Man, this year has flown by! It’s hard to believe that December is just a few days away.

I have been wanting to write a seasonal series of stories for a couple years now, but have never seemed to find the time.

Well, I chose to buckle down and use the spirit of NaNoWriMo this year and finally get to work!

I’ve known for a while the series title, North Pole Zombies, and the basic plot line:

Santa’s elves turn into zombies and Santa’s got to put them all down.

But in this past year, I really pinned down the story and it came to life in these past few frantic NaNoWriMo weeks.

And I got to say:

It’s freaking awesome.

It has been so much fun to write and to craft this story’s world and characters.

Oh man, the characters.

One of my favorite things about writing is when you fall in love with a character that you thought was just a supportive role, but turns out to be such an intregal part of the story.

I’m super excited about a character for Part 2 of the series, but I won’t dive too deep into him, because, you know, spoilers…

So, North Pole Zombies is being released this Black Friday. (You can pre-order it now, though.)

If I could describe it simply, it’s like a mix between DOOM, The Evil Dead, and those claymation Christmas specials that come on ABC Family, or whatever that channel is called nowadays. You know the one.

It’s funny, it’s heartwarming, it’s action-packed. 

And mostly, it’s just fun.

It was refreshing to just be kind of silly and write this outlandish short story. To take a break from the bleakness of the world and just have fun with it.

The story follows Nicholas Klaus, the Bringer of Gifts, as he prepares for the Christmas season. After visiting “down South” he returns to the North Pole to find out a mysterious sickness has overcome the elf population. What follows throws Klaus back into a life he had long put behind him…

If you need something to read while you’re standing in line this Black Friday, or just want to read something fun to start getting into the Christmas spirit, check out North Pole Zombies! 

Click the cover above and it will take you directly to the Amazon page.

Happy Holidays everyone,

Josh Vasquez

 

Alright, so I may be posting this a little late in order to promote the book signing, but the whole thing kind of just materialized out of nowhere anyways.

So, October totally snuck up on me this year.

I knew it was October. I knew Halloween was coming, because me and my daughter have been planning on being Darth Vader and Princess Leia for the longest time now. But the fact that it was October and that it’s been 4 years since I first released A New Death into the wilds of the internet, that completely slipped my mind.

4 years.

Isn’t it crazy how time just flies by?

4 years ago and I just had this silly idea of self-publishing a zombie e-book amongst a sea of zombie e-books.

Silly, silly Joshua.

Anyways, as I often do, I got somewhat reflective and nostalgic about the past 4 years. My cousin played a small part in it as well, as he is in the process of writing his first novel and asked me a few questions the other day.

Which led to the above video.

I recorded this the day before the book signing, so my apologies for not telling you sooner.

But you can still listen in on the five (now six) things I wish I knew before I published my first novel. These are completely subjective and were really the first things that came to mind when I asked myself the question of what would I have done differently.

1. I wish I would have taken it a little slower at the beginning.

I remember finishing the first draft and the sense of relief and accomplishment I felt. I also remember feeling the impending doom of “Okay, now what?” I knew there was editing, formatting for Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook, and promoting to be done, but how? When? But mostly, how? I had no idea what I was doing and just kind of kept putting one foot out in front of the other, hoping that there would be ground underneath, sighing a breath of relief whenever there was.

So, the whole publishing process went fast, maybe too fast. Looking back on it now, I wish I had slowed down and stopped to think about where I was heading with this whole author/publisher thing, but looking back on it now, I’m just reminded of a clip from Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Night:

 

2. I would have launched the books differently. (read: better)

When I first released A New Death, I launched it just as an e-book. That was the extent of what I planned on doing, as I had no idea that printing options were available. Again, see above gif. So I launched A New Death in the Amazon Kindle ecosystem and into the cold, shallow waters of the Nook. I spent more time with the Kindle, as it was A.) more user friendly and B.) the more popular of the two.

Knowing what I know now, I would have liked to publish both the e-book and the paperback at the same time, so if you’re still waiting for A New Daybreak, know that you’re going to have to wait for me to finish both now. (Sorry.)

 

3. I would have liked to finish the trilogy before I published them.

Okay, so this one is debatable. And it comes solely from the perspective of me trying to sell and market my books. (Spoilers: I like getting paid for my work.) But my thinking behind this point is this:

People are more apt to dive into a series that they know they can finish and not wait on the author to finish writing them. (Looking at you George R. R. Martin…)

Again, I’m still personally up in the air about this one, but hey, there it is.

 

4. I wouldn’t have wasted time on e-readers other than the Amazon Kindle.

Remember when I mentioned the Barnes & Noble Nook earlier?

I think I can count on both my hands how many copies I sold on that thing. (That’s less than ten for all my fellow public school kids.)

And the Kobo? Aww jeez, Rick.

Amazon is the Pickle Rick of the e-reader world.

 

5. I would have spent more time on the print books.

When I first started, print wasn’t even on the radar. I thought that was only something you could get from an actual publisher or one of those vanity publishers, which I knew to stay well clear of.

But there was Amazon, goading me onwards, deeper into the jungles of the self-publishing world.

“Hey, you’ve done e-books with us. Have you met our friend CreateSpace?”

“Why, no Amazon, I haven’t. Nice to meet you, CreateSpace.”

It was something like that, I think. It gets kinda fuzzy after a few years.

Anyways, the paperback versions of my books have been great for making small waves here in Savannah. I’ve been able to do book signings and get my books into some cool local shops, something I would never be able to do with an e-book. This all goes back to me slowing down in the beginning and actually doing some research into self-publishing outside of e-books.

 

6. I would have treated this more like a job.

There was a shift somewhere, where this stopped being “just some cool thing I could do” and turned into “Man, I would really like to do this for the rest of my life.” I’m not 100% sure when that happened; I think maybe in between CJ’s Story and A New Darkness, or maybe it was there somewhere all along.

I knew eventually though, that I should have been treating it more professionally and more like a job, but still, for some reason I just wasn’t all in. I don’t know.

But I do know now, that I’m stuck in between the rock and hard place of: having a good, well-paying, providing job that sucks the life out of me everyday, but I do it because I love my family and want to take care of them OR this author job, which grants me fulfillment and I enjoying doing, but the financial side of it is, um, questionable.

Knowing now, what I wish I had known then was, if I had slowed down, and thought about this a little bit more than just publishing some e-book, if I had thought about it as a potential career, and then treated it like one, where could I have been now?

But like they say, hindsight is always 20/20.

Can’t say that I would change anything though. It’s been a long ride, and I could have made it a little easier on myself, but to think about all I’ve learned, I think the journey was worth it.

So if you’re just starting out, take my advice, or don’t. You’ll get there eventually and I’ll be there waiting to tell you what I’ve learned in the meantime.

 

Josh Vasquez

Hey, everybody!

Remember me talking about a little thing called the Savannah Quill?

Well, it happened! (Like two weeks ago. I know, I’m a little late for building anticipation.)

It was a lot of fun meeting new readers, new authors, and just hanging out with fellow bibliophiles!

I made a video of everybody that came, so take a look, it’s in a book, a reading rainbow…

Wait, I mean, take a look and you might find a book.

Yeah, that’s what I meant…

Um, here’s the video:

Here’s some food for thought for my fellow writers, artists, and creators:

Everyone wants to be an Avenger. To be Iron Man or Captain America, or heck, even just Hawkeye for one day would be the dream for many of us. To us, our Avengers are authors like Stephen King, J. K. Rowling, or filmmakers like Spielberg, Lucas, or Christopher Nolan. Or maybe artists like Warhol, Rembrandt, or even Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. The ones who people think of when the words “author, director, artist” come to mind. We all want to be big shots in our creative fields, not because we crave fame, (although some of us do, I’m looking at you Tony Stark) but because we want to make a difference with our art.

Here’s the thing: you can make a difference.

But be a Defender, not an Avenger.

Yeah, the Avengers get all the limelight, the tent-pole movie blockbusters, and all the sweet Hasbro action figures to go with it. But the Defenders, the Defenders are fighting crime on the street-level. They’re in the trenches, getting the work done that the Avengers don’t have time to deal with, which isn’t a knock on the Avengers. They obviously have bigger issues on hand, such as fighting off alien invasions led by an Asgardian god of mischief or stopping the destruction of the world at the hands of an unruly artificial intelligence program.

Some of us may never see the big time. But what we can do is make a difference in our cities. In our own creative circles. We may never have a big blockbuster or New York Times best seller on our hands, but we’re there in the trenches, getting the work done. We’re hitting those word counts and working a full-time job. We’re uploading quality content to YouTube and interacting with our audience, all while we’re raising two year olds and wiping noses. We’re on the Twitters, doing the tweets, and tweeting the things.

It may not seem like much, but it’s what we got.

And what we got, is sometimes all the world needs.

So get out there and make a difference in your circles, in your city, or even in your neighborhood. Because you never know, sometimes even a friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man can become an Avenger.

Josh Vasquez

 

Hey.

Yep, that’s me.

Watch the above video if you want to know things like:

  1. When is book 3 in the Savannah Zombie Novel series coming out?
  2. What has Josh Vasquez been up to?
  3. And what does he have planned for the Savannah Zombie Novel universe?

All these things and more, in video format, so you don’t have to read!

Which is kind of weird when you think about, because you’re most likely here because you like to read…

Hmm… I guess I didn’t think this all the way through…

 

Anyways, enjoy the video and don’t forget to leave a comment letting me know what you think, either here or on YouTube!

 

Josh Vasquez

Video  —  Posted: June 16, 2017 in Updates
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I recently did an interview with the Savannah Quill founder, Adam Messer.

Wait.

You haven’t heard of the Savannah Quill? (Snorts pretentiously)

Oh, you really haven’t heard of it?

That’s cool, I guess…

It’s only the COOLEST THING EVER!!!

Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration on my part there, but I’m sorry, I’m just really excited.

You see, the Savannah Quill is a book conference aimed at connecting authors and readers together to promote literacy.

Sounds pretty dang awesome, huh?

You bet your Reading Rainbow socks it does.

Still not convinced? Then check out the interview and then hop on over to savannahquill.com to see what all the fuss is about. If you’re a writer, a reader, or somewhere in between, then do yourself a favor and check this out:

Here’s the first part of  A New Death: CJ’s Story, the audiobook version. You can read along with the free ebook available here.

This short story set in the Savannah Zombie Novel universe takes place at the same time as the first entry, A New Death. It focuses in on thirteen year old CJ and his family, who appear in A New Darkness. This story bridges books 1 and 2.