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

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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.

Huh?

What’s this?

A preview of A New Daybreak‘s  prologue?

 

SAY WHAT?!?

Okay, enough joshing around, (See what I did there?) here it is:

 

Prologue

I am walking down a dark road.
It is nighttime and there is blood on my hands.
Not figuratively.
I look down and my hands are slick with blood.
whose blood
I… I cannot remember.
It is fresh, warm. It smells of rot and there is a metallic taste in my mouth.
Like the taste of a copper penny.
Something dribbles from the corner of my mouth, but I do not care.
I am dead.

But I am not at the same time.

I look down again and I see that my legs are moving. My feet shuffle awkwardly, as if asleep.
wake up feet wake up
I giggle at this, but the air escapes my mouth in an arid gasp.
A moan follows it. A groaning I feel escape from deep within my gut.
I am hungry.
so fucking hungry
I remember eating recently. Something tough shifts between my dry gums. I work my jaw in an effort to free whatever is in my mouth. It touches my cracked tongue.
meat
The feeling of the HUNGER surges throughout my body. It fills every ounce of me, my very essence one of desire and bloodlust. I must feed.
Soon.
I beg my feet to pick up their pace. They are resistant at first, but the HUNGER reaches them as well and they soon stumble into a light jog.
I feel every snapping tendon. Every dry grinding joint. For some reason, I think I should be feeling something, but again, I cannot remember. Some kind of bodily warning that I am harming myself, some indicator of distress.
what is the word what is the word what is the word
I hear a snap.
My hip wobbles and I tumble forward, the ground rushing up to stop my face. My left arm flies up to slow my fall, but I hear another crack.
My wrist breaks and my face slams into the concrete. The fall would have broken my nose.
If I had one.
It is missing. It was taken from me by… I cannot remember.
The HUNGER ripples throughout my veins. It rides on the coagulated sludge that once was my blood.
I slowly push my way up using the stump of arm where my hand dangles freely. A strand of rubbery flesh tethers it to my wrist, swinging back and forth, back and forth.
I giggle again and again it comes forth as a moan.
must feed must feed must feed
The HUNGER does not take long to remind me of the emptiness in my stomach. As if I forgot. I look down and notice a gaping hole in my abdomen. Something long and slippery sways from the opening. It reminds me of
meat meat meat
Minutes pass, but the HUNGER makes them feel like hours. Every creaking of bone a ticking of the second hand.
tick tick tick eat eat eat
I black out.
I come to. I am still walking. My hand has fallen off somewhere. I do not care.
While I was out, my body had been busy marching towards the smell of food. A breeze carried the scent of burnt wood and warm flesh.
I am getting close.
I pass through trees and come into a small clearing. The pale orb in the sky lights the grove.
A triangular shape sits in the middle of the grove and smoke rises from a smoldering pile of ash.
The HUNGER aches within me as I make my way towards the tent.
I tremble with joy as I look inside and see a man asleep.
He has not heard me.
He is dressed in orange. Black markings across his back.
I cannot read them. I do not remember how.
I fall forward onto him. He wakes, but his struggle is futile as my jagged teeth tear into his cheek.
I feel pure glee as his hot blood fills my mouth.
He is screaming, but I do not care. My teeth open for another bite, but then stop.
not right not right not right
Something is wrong.
He tastes different.
Not like the others.
oh no oh no oh no
In my hesitation, the man shoves me back and I fall through the opening. I hit the ground hard, laying there for a minute looking up at the twinkling lights above me.
“What have you done?!” The man bellows.
He is now standing over me, his massive frame towering over me.
“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!”
I roll to my side in an attempt to escape, but something hits me hard in the back and I begin to tumble across the ground. As I circle around, I see the bottom of the man’s foot where my back was.
I have attacked other men before this one. Normally they came at me with sharp metal objects, or in some cases, their hands held a tool that made the sound of thunder.
That’s it.
That was why I have the hole in my stomach.
This man held nothing.
His hands were bare just like mine.
just like you just like you
“I’m not like the others you’ve eaten…”
He holds his hand up to the bite wound I left on his face.
He smiles.
“They did something to us. Something… wrong.”
I try to get up and leave again, but quickly he is on top of me. His fists begin to pummel my face. I hear the skull fragmenting inside my head. Bone splinters, my already piss-poor vision becoming blurrier.
He stops and backs off, clutching at his side. He yells in pain and his muscles begin to bulge through his orange jumpsuit. The fabric begins to tear as his flesh contorts. His eyes blaze red.
Something is inside me. I look down to see the man’s hands deep into my belly, pulling the opening wider and allowing for more of my guts to spill onto the ground.
oh well
The man yanks out the remains of my insides and steps back again, this time admiring his handiwork. The muscles in his neck continue to grow, his skin splitting and cracking at the pressure.
“You see deadhead,” the man continues, his voice now deeper and coarser. “I was already dead before you entered the tent.”
And with that, he slammed his fist into my head and my skull finally gave way.
I welcomed the darkness.

 

 

 

So, what did you think? Let me know in the comments! Now to go finish the rest of the book!

 

Josh

A few years ago, I talked my nephew and niece into making a zombie movie.

They were like, “Heck yeah!”

So, we set out to make one.

Oh, but I forgot to mention: They had never seen a zombie movie.

This is what we got:

Riveting, I know.

Obviously, they have no acting training and I gave them little direction, just to see what they would do. My niece, Hailey, came up with the stiff-leg walk. Why? I don’t know, but it freaking works. I think it really represents the way we somber through life and the choices we make that lead up to the catalysts of life-change and…

Um…

Ok, I just thought it was funny.

Anyways, this movie isn’t Savannah Zombie Novel related, just something fun I thought I’d share with y’all. Let me know what you think and share with your friends!

Prologue to A New Daybreak coming soon!

DoSavannah article

 

That’s me in our local paper’s DoSavannah section, which features local music and happenings each week.

No big deal.

Haha, jk. It’s weird though, because this is the first time I’ve really put my work out there locally. My books have been in several local bookstores, but unless someone just walked in there, they would have no idea my books exist.

Sad, I know.

But now, “real” people know about my books, not just “internet” people. (No offense.)

Anyways, this was a really cool start to the new year and as I get back on track with A New Daybreak, this really gives me motivation to press forward. I just shared the Prologue with my email list (which you should join by the way and get a free ebook) and will continue to share sneak peeks with them until release day.

You can read the article here and you should probably share it on social media, because it’s 2016 people and that means it’s the future.

The future people.

Alright, now back to writing.

 

Josh