Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

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

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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:

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

Hey everybody!

A little update before I take my Sunday afternoon nap before work tonight. (I work Sunday nights 9 to whenever we finish at my “real” job.)

First off, check out the new cover for CJ’s Story:

CJStory_NewCover.jpg

It now matches the cover for the new Lexx’s Story that drops the end of this week. I felt like it needed some updating, plus now it matches. I like the way it looks. The text is big, it’s simple, and it features the “Savannah Zombie” tagline, connecting better to the rest of the series. Amazon is in the process of updating it now. What do you think?

Second, I will be running a free promo on A New Death this week.

Yes, I said free.

So if you’ve read book one in the Savannah Zombie series, now’s a good time to tell your friends to check it out! Or if you haven’t read it, now’s a great time for you to check it out! My reasons for giving my work away for free is twofold:

1. To get my work out there and find new readers. Being self published, I feel like this is a great way to introduce my writing to new people.

2. I’m really hoping for some new reviews. If you download it during the promo, (or if you have already read it) please consider leaving a review. Reviews really help other readers decide whether or not a book is worth checking out. In a nutshell: the more reviews, the more a book gets noticed.

Well, that’s it for now. Time to go get some sleep before tonight shift!

Josh

Every good zombie movie has a killer soundtrack.

Whether it’s a hard rock, metal-palooza, where the only thing that seems more percussive than the shotgun blasts is the bass drum thumping out its beat-o-carnage. Or maybe it’s just an epic instrumental track that sets the mood like a low rolling fog on a full moon night. It slowly crescendos, until it erupts, and all hell breaks loose.

A New Death and its sequels are no different.

While some people cannot listen to music while they write, (because maybe they are purists and they cannot even fathom some other art form tainting their muse, or they simply can’t concentrate on the words they are penning in front of them while listening to someone else sing), I need music to write.

Writing in silence is weird. There’s this strange balance I need in order to write (well) and while complete silence drives me cuckoo for cocoa puffs, needless background noise (TV, I’m looking at you) is just as unhelpful.

I’ve always had a love for music and the fact that music and writing are so intertwined in my creative being, well, I’m no psychologist, but it just makes sense. I’m extremely cerebral (read: head in the clouds), so when I write, the music seeps in and marinates what I’m writing.

Which brings me back to zombies.

There are certain types of music that have influenced A New Death, some of which I make direct mention of in the book, while others, you can see similar themes.

Below are a list of songs/albums that are most likely playing when I’m writing about the zombie apocalypse found in A New Death. They appear in no particular order (Hello, shuffle!), and while I could go on and on about each individual song, I will not, but I have picked a few of my favorites to expound on. Enjoy.

Death of Me – Red

Fight Inside – Red

The Walking Dead Soundtrack: Sinking Man by Of Monsters and Men especially

Muse: Absolution was my first album by Muse and I cannot tell you how many times I have listened to it. From Apocalypse Please to Ruled by Secrecy, this album is a must for a post-apocalyptic soundtrack. I keep all of their albums on my mp3 player at all times.

Weak and Powerless – A Perfect Circle

The Deftones

The Pretender – The Foo Fighters

Korn: I mostly stick to the greatest hits album, but I did enjoy Get Up from The Path of Totality. Call me crazy, but I felt that Korn and Dubstep were made for each other.

Some Kind of Zombie – Audio Adrenaline

Sail – AWOLNATION

Zombie – The Cranberries: If there were a slow bluegrass version of this song, it would be perfect for A New Death. Someone make this happen!

The Man Who Sold the World – Nirvana

Sabotage – The Beastie Boys: If you’ve read the book, you know what’s up.

Video Game Music – This can be anything from the Tank music in Left 4 Dead to fan versions of the music from Doom. Special shout out to the instrumental piece in the trailer for Dead Island. If you have not seen that, do yourself a favor and do it right now. Easily better than 75% of the zombie movies out there.

Flagpole Sitta – Harvey Danger: Ok, when I picture the A New Death movie, this is the song the movie opens in and intros Jeremy at the grocery store. Hollywood, take notes.

The Man Comes Around – Johnny Cash (Thanks Zach Snyder.)

Liar – The Henry Rollins Band

Sweet Dreams – Marilyn Manson: This song is used excellently in the movie Gamer during Cable’s escape.

Panic Switch – Silversun Pickups

Kill Everybody – Skrillex

Radiohead: Okay, Okay, I’m late to the Radiohead game, but man, where has this band been all my life? If the only song you’ve heard by this band is Creep, please go download Ok Computer right now. Wow, just wow.

Wait and Bleed – Slipknot: Also the song I imagine when Jeremy experiences the Rage for the first time.

Nine Inch Nails

Tool

The Widow – The Mars Volta

Joker and the Thief – Wolfmother

This isn’t everything I listen to, but there’s a good chance one of these songs/bands are playing when I do! If you want the full A New Death experience, go and download these songs, let ‘em marinate, and re-read.

Enjoy.

Josh

What songs would make your zombie apocalypse soundtrack?

Hey everybody, just wanted to give a quick update and let you know what I’m up to.

First, A New Darkness releases on Kindle this Saturday! You can still pre-order it and save 33% on this weekend’s price and 66% on list price. If you haven’t yet, go and get it here.

Maybe you’re like, “I still haven’t read A New Death yet.” Well, good for you, A New Death is on sale until Saturday! Get it for $1.99 here!

Or maybe you like paper. (Who doesn’t? Books smell amazing.) Well, good news for you, I’ve made some updates to the paperback version of A New Death and started work on the A New Darkness paperback this week. So both of those will be live in the next couple of weeks.

And lastly, I don’t normally do too much promotion leading up to book launch (one of my weak points) but this time around, I’m trying something new.

It’s called Thunderclap. Thunderclap works like this: You go and hook up your social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr) to my Thunderclap promotion. Then on Saturday at noon, Thunderclap will blast out a message featuring my book and link through all of our social media accounts. Pretty cool, right? The only catch is I have to get full support or else the message won’t go out.

As of right now, I’m at 14 out of 100 supporters. With only 14 people signed on, it already has a reach of 4313 people. Can you imagine if we get all 100?

I’ve done this before and have never received any junk mail from it, or any emails afterwards. It’s an extremely easy way to help support me. All you have to do is give up one tweet or status update on Saturday.

100 people is an easily reached number. We can do this. Sign up here.

Thank you so much for the support and I look forward to hearing what you have to say about A New Darkness!

Josh

savannahzombienovelcom.jpg

It may be hard for you to believe this, but I enjoy other things besides zombies.

Crazy, I know.

Anyways, one of those many things is Marvel’s superhero movies. Iron Man, Captain America (my favorite) and the other Avengers, all of them are movies I don’t mind watching over and over again. (Even you, Edward Norton version of The Incredible Hulk.)Norton-Hulk-1

So, low and behold, when I saw that Marvel has movies planned through 2019, I was more excited than Thor with a cup of coffee. (That’s pretty excited.)

That’s five more years of guaranteed awesomeness.

Now of course, they’ve only revealed a small part of this schedule, but the idea of being that far ahead in planning got me thinking:

How far ahead do I have things planned?

I knew in my head what all projects I wanted to tackle, but I’d never really articulated them out loud. So, while I was driving a fork lift in the early Monday morning hours, I thought it all out and planned on writing it out as well. While it may not be as extensive as Marvel’s plan, here’s what I got:

October 2014 – A New Death 2 (Tentative Title)

November 2014 – Participate in NaNoWriMo

December 2014 – A “Seasonal”-themed short story (I’m giddy about the idea I have for this one.)

Spring 2015 – Publish 1 or 2 A New Death short stories. Begin work on A New Death 3. (Again, tentative title, although the numbering does give it a campy, horror-kinda feel…)

Fall 2015 – Publish A New Death 3 (I say fall, but know I mean October. Trying to be consistent.)

November 2015 – NaNoWriMo

December 2015 – Seasonal short story

And there you have it folks, that what I’ve got in the works so far. Of course, things could always change and life could happen, but as much control I have over it, this is what you can expect out of me through the next year.

Sometimes I wish I could just focus on writing, but with a full time “day job”, it’s just not possible yet. But maybe one day (if you buy a crap-ton of my books) I’ll be able to be a full-time writer. And then, well, maybe I’ll match Marvel’s five year plan.

Josh