Posts Tagged ‘Kindle’

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

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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

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.

Non-Kindle owners rejoice!

The first book in the Savannah Zombie Novel series is now available for both Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Kobo’s line of eReaders!

A New Death is no longer Kindle-exclusive, so now more people can get in on the Savannah Zombie action!

Click on the Books link above or on the links below to go to your preferred eReaders site!

kindle-logoNook_logokobo_logo_FINALPMS

The rest of the series will be making its way soon! And if you can’t wait until then, don’t forget you can always buy the paperback versions!

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The next installment in the Savannah Zombie Novel is here!

Click on the cover to buy!

The wood crackled and shifted in the brick fireplace. Lexx leaned forward and placed another log into the slowly dying fire. It quickly caught flame and the fire grew. Before reclining back into his spot against the couch, he pulled a small sliver from the fire and held the burning tip to his newly found cigar. He puffed patiently, allowing the tobacco to light. A sweet smelling smoke filled the room, but no one seemed to mind. The man grinned his boyish-grin and sat back into his spot next to Tori on the carpet.

Josh lay adjacent to them in the love seat; his feet pointed towards the warmth of the fireplace. His eyes were shut, most likely resting, not sleeping. Every now and again, his toes would wiggle, almost to acknowledge he was still awake.

Jeremy found himself in the well-broken-in recliner. With his feet popped up, (also in the direction of the fire), he was doing his best to fight off the sleep which tried to overtake him, even though he needed it.

They all needed it.

Everyone was exhausted. It could be seen on each one of their faces. The events of the past few days had been physically wearing, and just as emotionally tiresome. After leaving Savannah and the trials that they faced there, the road to Josh’s family did not seem any easier. Three times already they have had to find an alternate route due to road blocks. Once, they actually found themselves on I-16 which should have been clogged with fleeing traffic, but due to a massive pile-up, was mostly empty past Effingham County.

And then there were the dead. Their numbers weren’t swollen like in the city, but the small groups that banded together out in the country could be just as frustrating. They did seem to group together. Josh was convinced that the undead didn’t “communicate” in a normal sense, but when one moaned, the others heard it and moved in that direction. He was afraid of them grouping in large numbers, like at the grocery store and the day he rescued the others.

But despite all this, despite that they were probably still a day’s journey from his family, everyone was in good spirits. The house they were currently in was a God-send. It was tucked out of the way, away from the roads and neighboring homes. And best of all, it was left almost entirely intact. Whoever lived here, left everything and split. There was the possibility that they never came home, but no one ever brought that up.

“This is a good-ass cigar,” Lexx said, breaking the peaceful silence.

Jeremy smiled.

“Ass-cigar? That sounds-”

“Haha, you are so funny,” Lexx interrupted, not amused by Jeremy’s clever word play.

Jeremy’s smile faded.

“Ben would have liked that joke.”

The room was silent again, but not so much in a restful way, but a painful one.

“I would have liked to have met him,” Josh said, eyes still closed. “From the way y’all have talked about him, he seemed like a great guy.”

“He was,” Tori said.

Jeremy tried not to think about Ben, to which he immediately felt somewhat guilty for trying to do. He did want to remember him, but it was still hard. The two men had formed a friendship against the backdrop of the end of the world. Jeremy was just glad that the Lumberjack got what he deserved for killing Ben.

It was ironic that, it was Ben who continued to vouch for LJ, and in the end, was killed by the monster the man turned into. Jeremy was not sure why LJ turned the way he did, and when they asked Josh about it, he did not have any zombie knowledge to enlighten them with.

“So, Josh,” Lexx started. “I still haven’t heard how you ended up being in the right place at the right time. I didn’t have the pleasure of riding in the cab of the truck.”

Josh’s eyes opened, staring up at the ceiling.

“Yes, I would like to know as well,” Tori added.

“I was almost asleep,” he said.

“C’mon man. Tell us and then we’ll turn in,” Lexx insisted.

Josh sat up in his seat and spun his feet around to the ground. He rubbed his face a few times, scratching at the stubble on his chin.

“Okay, but me and Jeremy get the kid’s room.”

“Deal,” Tori answered before even consulting Lexx.

“Yeah, that’s fine, I guess. Not like we’ll be sleeping much anyway,” he said, playfully elbowing Tori in her ribs. She pushed him away, but couldn’t hide the small smile on her face.

“Jeez guys, you’re gonna have to give it a rest. We’d be there already if you two weren’t always sneaking off,” Jeremy said.

“I can’t help that she finds me irresistible.”

“Oh yeah, that’s it,” Tori interjected.

Josh cleared his throat.

“So, I’m going to start telling my story now. I’m sleepy, so let’s get this over with.”

Everyone settled down. Tori and Lexx moved from the floor to the couch; Jeremy brought the seat up, but left the footrest out for optimal foot warming from the fire. Lexx reached over, grabbed the blanket sitting on the arm of the couch and then to proceeded to cover himself and Tori. She snuggled into his side.

“Please begin,” Lexx said to Josh, with his hand held out.

 

***

 

“Work sent me down to Brunswick late in the afternoon last Thursday. We were finishing a job down there, a high school, and had to get a whole bunch of our ladders and tools out of the building. It was this whole last minute “fiasco” (he uses “air-quotes”), and the stuff had to be out of the school by that night. So, I got the pleasure of driving south and picking everything up.

I left our shop- Can I just say something real quick? I think it’s crazy how the warehouse that y’all met in and spent your first night together, is the same place I work. I mean, what are those odds? That you would stay there and then later, when all hope seems lost, who shows up? Just a guy driving a truck from the same exact place! Anyways, just thought I’d say that.

So, I left the shop sometime around two, I think? Yeah, it was around two, because I remember thinking about how Brunswick is an hour away, and that meant two hours of travel time and however long it would take to load everything on the truck. And it was so hot that day. So freaking hot.

I get down to the job site around three. Everything was still normal then. A couple of the guys met me outside the school and informed me that they were still hunting down ladders within the building. Tools have a great way of disappearing on construction sites, but I digress.

It takes us an hour to track down the last five remaining ladders. The school was massive, this two-story deal, with a huge courtyard in the middle of it. Everything there was state of the art. Real top-notch kind of place. Kids would have been lucky to have gone there if they ever got the chance. But now they won’t. At least for now.

As we finished loading the last few ladders onto my truck, Johnny, one of our guys, was telling me how a few of the other workers around the school had been acting strange all day. Word was that some kind of stomach bug was going around.

Great, I thought. That’s all I need is to get sick and bring it home to my wife.

I was fixing to crank up the truck and leave, when we heard the first of the screams. They came from the front side of the building. The three of us ran towards the commotion; I left the keys dangling in the ignition. I quickly passed both of them. Both were chain-smokers and both were having trouble catching their breath. What they were about to see, would not help.

I got there first and knew instantly what was going on. When I saw the four bodies hunched over the kicking and screaming man, I knew exactly what I was looking at. There was no question in my mind.

But, even though I knew what was happening, my body wouldn’t react. I remember standing there, frozen to the ground; my brain racing to process this new information. I screamed within my skull, yelling at myself to move, to act somehow.

Johnny and Larry finally arrived next to me. Johnny was keeled over, trying to catch his breath. I seemed to snap out of my daze when they showed up. Larry’s jaw hung open. He went to move forward, to try and help the attacked man, but I held him back. There was nothing we could do for him now. I’ll spare you the details, because I’m sure you’re aware of the gore these monsters are capable of inflicting. Even if we did get him away from the feeding, there was no way the three of us blue-collar boys would know how to put everything back in him, in the right places.

The four zombies were a mixed bag of characters. One construction worker, complete with reflective vest and hardhat. One college kid from the neighboring local university across the street. A guy in business suit and one soccer mom. Of the four, she looked the most fresh, but I would still have classified them as the ‘slower’ ones.

She noticed us first. Forgetting about the meal in front of her, she slowly stood up, meat hanging from her mouth, and began shambling in our direction. I think my co-workers were still confused at the time as to what was really going on. Larry moved forward again, and for the second time, I held him back.

‘We have to help her,’ Larry said.

‘Help her? She just fuckin’ ate that guy,’ Johnny hissed.

The other zombies were beginning to notice us as well.

‘There’s nothing we can do for her now, Larry,’ I said. ‘We have to go. It’s not safe to stay here.’

He looked at me like I was insane. His shoulder jerked out of my hand as he made his way towards the dead woman. Her arms reached out to him, welcoming his approach. I motioned to Johnny for us to leave. He hesitated a moment, but nodded, and we turned to run.

We heard Larry’s screams as we got back to the truck.

‘What the fuck is going on?’ Johnny said as we both climbed into the cab of the truck.

I looked around. More corpses were wandering onto the jobsite. How there were that many, so quick, I don’t understand. It was almost like a switch was flipped and they came off an assembly line.

I remember trying to calm Johnny down and trying my best to explain what was going on. I could tell he did not want to believe me at first, but the rotting evidence walking around outside was enough to get him to listen to me.

We made the plan to go to his house first. He lived right outside of Brunswick, so it wasn’t far. I knew I had to get to my family back in Savannah, but between my brother-in-law and father-in-law, I knew they would get out of the city safely. My plan was to get Johnny set at his place and then go north from there. At the time, I didn’t know it would take me several days to get back home.

I spent that first night at Johnny’s place, helping him set up some defenses. His plan was to hunker down and ride this thing out. And for him that was a great plan. He had mountains of those military meal-ready-to-eat’s, guns galore, and a great location. His home was situated deep within the woods and far enough away from the general population. In the whole time I’ve known Johnny, I never would have known he was a doomsday prepper.

I left early that next morning. He offered for me to take some MRE’s for the road, so I took several. Those things are definitely designed for essential nutrition, not taste! (He chuckles to himself.) The military’s take on mashed potatoes was indeed questionable. I thanked him and wished him luck before I drove off.

Interstate 95 was out of the question. From the exit ramp, I could see it was completely clogged with cars and chaos. I knew I would be taking back roads, but which ones I was unsure. Normally, I would carry a map of Georgia with me. Despite my driving all over the state for my company, they seemed to think that directions scribbled down on a yellow piece of paper were far more superior to a GPS system. I got lost one time too many, so I finally broke down and bought a good old-fashioned folding map. Never got lost again.

Highway 17 would have been my next best choice of getting home as quickly as possible. And it would have been, if I didn’t keep running into roadblocks of all freaking kinds. Car wrecks were the worst. Some I was able to get by, thanks to the new brush-guard my company bought for the truck. Others on the other hand required some extensive backtracking and huge losses of time. I eventually had to stop for the night. I didn’t want to risk anything in the dark. Being out in the country, the only light I had was the moon, the stars, and the headlights of the truck.

Long story short, I found an old, abandoned barn to sleep in. I didn’t want to sleep in the truck, running the chance of getting surrounded and trapped. My cell phone didn’t have any reception, and I don’t think it was because I was in the middle of nowhere. I had the sneaky suspicion that no cell phones had reception. Anywhere.

The next morning, I woke up and made my way down to the truck. I was stopped when I saw one lone zombie wandering between the truck and myself. It was a little boy, maybe ten years old. He wore a Buzz Lightyear t-shirt and stained matching pajama pants. His skin was their trademark pale, his eyes sunken and dark. Small bits of blood gathered around his lips.

I wished Johnny would have offered me one of his guns, a pistol at least, but the only thing I had for a weapon was the steel pipe I kept on the truck. It was about a foot and a half long, with a ninety-degree elbow on the end. I kept it on the truck, just in case I ever got into any trouble and needed some physical reinforcement.

The boy saw me and began to shamble in my direction. Zombie children are not really something you see a lot of in zombie video games or movies. And I understand why now.

They’re hard to look at.

His gait was uneven as he hobbled over to me, his little jaw clamping open and shut. He held up his arms, fingers curled, reaching for me. I knew what I had to do; I just didn’t want to.

I swung the pipe, the steel elbow connecting with the boy’s temple. His skull quickly shattered and his body fell limp onto the ground in front of me, thick, red blood oozing from the gaping wound in his head. I stood there in silence for a moment, not sure what to do with myself. The boy was in between the ages of my niece and nephew. My desire to get home grew exponentially.

I would pull into the Savannah area later that night. My wife’s sister and her family lived outside of Savannah in Port Wentworth. It took some time avoiding the city, but I finally made it to their house around ten. The place was a mess when I got there. A pile of bodies in the living room, the front door broken in, everything missing from the cabinets, and a trail of blood leading away from the pantry to outside. At first, I was really worried, but quickly relaxed a little. All the food was missing. It took me a minute to realize that meant they were alive. Scavengers wouldn’t have taken everything. Pots, pans, and all the other cooking utensils were gone too. No, my family made it out alive.

I was still concerned with all the blood though. Obviously, the bodies in the living room were zombies who had broken in the front door. As I pulled them back outside, I took note of the bullet holes in each one’s forehead. No doubt, my brother-in-law’s doing. The last one I went to pull out didn’t have a bullet wound in the head, no, its face was smashed in completely.

I spent some time securing the front and back doors as best as I could, before I walked around and inspected the house. Like I said, the kitchen was empty. I guess they didn’t think I’d want a snack. Luckily, I still had one MRE left. After finishing that off, I went to check the rest of the house. The master bedroom was a mess, but to be honest, that was somewhat normal. I walked into the adjoining bathroom.”

Josh pauses for a second before continuing his story.

“There was a note written to me on the mirror. It was written by my wife informing me that they were gone to the cabin. The cabin is an old farmhouse that we restored out past Statesboro. It’s our little vacation spot. I had feeling they would be there, but knew I should check Savannah first before heading out west, just in case they didn’t make it out. But seeing her handwriting on the mirror was just further evidence that they had escaped.

She also left me the combination to the gun safe as well. I was relieved that although they didn’t leave me anything to eat, they had at least thought to leave me a weapon. Upon opening the safe, I found out that wasn’t entirely the case.

Sitting inside the safe was a single six-shot, snub-nosed revolver. And one bullet. One. A note written on a post-it, in my brother-in-law’s handwriting, read, ‘just in case.’

Just in case? It took me a second to understand what it meant. It was a way out. Not that I would use it now, but if I ever got trapped and the only way out was to become a walking corpse, this would give me an alternative. It made me smile, because they knew that I would make it to them alive. They knew there was no way I would let it come to that. And they were right.

I slept like a baby that night.

I woke up the next morning ready to get to my family. As I passed my niece and nephew’s bedrooms upstairs, I stopped and remembered the two of them and how much they meant to me and my wife. We loved those kids like our own. CJ was thirteen now and just growing into this awesome guy. He was huge for his age, as tall as me and his father, maybe even taller. The boy was solid too. He had played football since me and his aunt started dating.

But the kid had character too. He was light years ahead of his friends in maturity. He was respectful and a hard worker. While most kids his age were playing video games, he was restoring a Chevrolet Chevelle with his father so he would have a car when he was sixteen. Crazy, right? You know what I was doing at thirteen? Trying to figure out how to catch all the Pokémon!”

Everyone laughed, except for Lexx, who mouthed to Tori, ‘What’s a Pokémon?’

“Hailey,” Josh continued. “Hailey was just as much fun. She was eight going on nine and talked nonstop. She had grown into that age where everything she thought, was also broadcasted to the world. It could grow old real quick, but I would have given anything then to hear her little voice.

As I took one final look at her room, before passing on, I noticed that all her stuffed animals were still sitting on her bed. I guess Chris didn’t let her take any, to save room in the vehicles for important things. I walked into her room and grabbed the green frog I had seen her with numerous times. I smiled and went downstairs.

After retrieving the revolver from the gun safe, I had left it there the night before; I made my way to the back door. The blood leading out from the pantry began to worry me. Why would there have been a bloody something in the pantry? It was empty now, so whatever it was, was long gone. I shook it off and readied myself for what could be waiting for me outside.

I opened the back door and there were three zombies in between me and the truck. Two of them I didn’t recognize, but one I did. It was Susan Powers, whom the kids lovingly called, “Ms. P.” She was missing chunks of flesh from her right arm and neck. She was wearing a half-open bathrobe and pink house slippers. Her eyes were the same dead black just like all the others, any trace of who the woman was before long gone. The three of them smelled me and fumbled their way up the steep driveway.

I clutched the steel pipe tightly as I ran towards them. I swung the pipe connecting with the first one’s forehead, a mist of red spraying me in the face. I pulled the elbow out of its skull and swung again, bringing the pipe across the second one’s face. It too caved in, leaving me and Ms. P.

She wasn’t the least bit concerned with her fallen friends’ demises, but continued her small uncoordinated steps towards me. No remorse, no concern except to feed. I put her down quickly as well.

More dead were coming into the neighborhood, so I made haste to get into the truck and leave. I pulled out of there quick, as the mass of undead inhabitants poured in. I wasn’t sure if they smelled my fresh meat, or maybe it was the sound of the truck, but they were coming from all over.

I came around a curve on my way out and hit the brakes.”

He pauses again, tears welling up in the corners of his eyes.

“I stopped and… and there she was. She was standing there in the middle of the road, almost as if she was blocking me in. It didn’t take long for me to notice who the short, little, blonde haired, once blue eyed girl was who stood out in front of me. Except her eyes were no longer the vivid blue, but black as starless night. Near her ankle were the remains of dried blood. In the hand of her slack left arm a pink teddy bear was still grasped.

It was my niece.

I remember getting out of the still running truck and walking up to her. She let out a small moan as I neared; my hands trembling. I had left the pipe on the seat of the truck. What was I to do? The fact that she was standing there in front of me, dead, well, all the hope I had of finding my family alive vanished. Her one free arm reached out for her uncle and it took everything in me not to reach out and pull her in and whisper that everything was going to be okay.

I pulled the revolver from the back of my pants, and put my niece to rest.

 

***

 

Josh stopped for a moment; his eyes tightly closed. They finally opened and he stood up and smiled.

“I was sitting in the truck after that when your voice came on the radio. You sounded so scared and like you had no way out. I’m not sure why, but I knew I had to help you.”

“And we are so glad you did,” Tori said.

He nodded.

“We should get some sleep,” he added. “We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow. No idea how blocked the roads will be.”

The group all agreed and the four of them stood up, stretched, and went upstairs to the bedrooms after Lexx put out the fire in the fireplace. Josh and Jeremy took the children’s bedroom, each getting their own twin-sized mattress, while Lexx and Tori shared the master bedroom’s queen.

As Jeremy lay in the bed, staring up in the ceiling, his mind wandered in thought. He felt sorry for Josh and the loss of his niece. He knew what it was like to lose someone close. His mother had at least lived a full life. An eight-year-old girl on the other hand, that was a hard thing to accept.

He did his best to push the thoughts from his head and it was not long before he drifted off to sleep.

 

***

 

As the four of them slept, the last whiffs of smoke pirouetted up out of the chimney, out into the now cool night’s air. The scent of the burned wood was carried by the wind to and fro, crossing the path of anything that had the sense of smell, drawing it to the quiet house where Jeremy gave in to exhaustion.

 

So, what did you think?

 

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This next month I will be rushing to finish book two of the A New Death series. I have a lot of work ahead of me this next month, seeing that I’m two-thirds of the way through my first draft.

Don’t worry, I know you’re concerned. You’re probably like, “Joshua, what the heck have you been doing? I’ve been waiting forever for this book!”

I know, I know. I’m a slacker.

But here’s the good news:

I work my best under pressure.

Always have. (Well, except for one area, but don’t worry, that has nothing to do with my writing.)

In school, I always waited to the last minute to start reports or any other kind of projects. And for the most part, I always came through. This might turn some of you off, but I was that kid that just naturally retained information. (Except for math, that junk is hard.) I rarely studied for tests, I just remembered what I was taught.

Prodigy?

Probably not. You see, we all know that, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” uncleben

 

Well, because I retained facts so easily, I didn’t apply myself that much. In fact, I spent a lot of my spare time writing stories that no one will ever read. (We see where that got me.)

So, okay, what does this have to do with Book 2?

I’m going to bust this story out this next month. I know exactly where I’m going with it. I know where it ends. ***SPOILERS*** I’ve already hit the climax and it’s all downhill from here. (Okay, that wasn’t really spoilers, but people are weird about that kind of stuff.)

One last story before we go and I get back to my dayjob. (I’m on lunch break as I’m writing this.)

My senior year in high school: The year was 2006. A year of dreams. A year of aspirations. In my 12th grade Lit class, part of our final grade was a book report. I had a buddy, who shall remain anonymous, who, let’s say, didn’t care for reading. (I know, who doesn’t like reading?) Anyways, he decided to hire me as a ghostwriter. (That’s what I’m calling it.) The deal was, he would pay me $90 and I would do his report. Simple. Plus, the book was 1984. (No! Don’t throw me into that briar patch!) I spent the majority of the time working on and writing his report. This was the first time I was being paid for writing, so I wanted to do the best I could. (Although I did knock off $10 for a sandwich, but I digress.)sandvich

This left me with little time to work on my own crucial report.

I decided to do it on a book I had already read, so I choose Animal Farm. I knocked out my report quickly and didn’t really put that much into it. Well, when we received our papers back, I ended up scoring several points higher than his. Long story short, I work well under pressure..

Speaking of working under pressure, I have set Book 2 up for pre-order on Amazon. I have to have it finished by October 1st and it will go live on October 10th! The cover is temporary, but the name has been revealed! Pre-order A New Darkness now on Amazon!book2promo2.jpg

Okay, enough blabbering, I have a book to finish!

Josh

Okay, elephant in the room. If you read my last post, I ended it with

Tune in next week for the rest of the story!”

That was three months ago. My bad. A lot has been going on these past couple months. My computer quit on me and I had to buy a new one. I started a new job, which requires me to work early in the morning and has taken some getting used to.

Anyways, my apologies.

Last time, I wrote about some of the events in my life that lead to me writing my first book. If you haven’t read about them, you can here. But it ended like this (spoilers), I’d come to the realization that I could publish a book via Amazon’s Kindle.

Now up until this point, it had always been a dream to have my own book published. But I didn’t have the first idea on where to start. I knew I would need a publisher, but to get a publisher, you need an agent, right? How do you get an agent? These were things I pondered. And to be honest, if I found out then what the process of being published entailed, I probably wouldn’t have even attempted.

Basically, this is how it works. You write your manuscript and then you mail it off to the publishers. (Yes, the old way.) But you also have to send a query letter, which has to be formatted a certain way to even be accepted. The publisher then reads your query letter, which sums up your manuscript (you know, the one you poured hours of your life into), and based on that, they decide whether to even read your novel or not. If they don’t, you get a nice letter saying how you’re not what they’re looking for.

Do not pass go.

Do not collect $200.

You then continue this process until you find a publisher who will give your book a chance. If you don’t, well, write another book. Not saying the one you wrote isn’t good, it’s just not what the publishers are looking for.

Amazon changed all this.

Yes, there were eBooks before Amazon, but the Kindle did what iTunes did for music:

It made it instantly accessible.

And not only instantly accessible to the consumer, but accessible to the producers as well.

Authors could now directly publish to Kindle and have their written word out in the world. You no longer had to get past the gatekeepers of Publishers and Agents. You went straight to your readers.

It was like the printing press all over again.

So much to the point that right now, Amazon is having it out with Major Publishing Houses. You can read about it from guys who know tons more than I do like, David Gaughran or Hugh Howey. There’s this whole friction between Traditional Publishing and Self-Publishing, between what’s established and those who seek to find a new path.

And how does this all tie back into my story?

When I set set out to publish A New Death via Amazon, it wasn’t because I thought Self-Publishing was the way to go. To be more accurate, I stumbled into it. I thought to myself, “Hey, I can do this.”

And then I got to it. I began reading books (on my Kindle, of course) about writing fiction, publishing on Kindle, eBook formatting, selling on Amazon, and just soaked in whatever I could. But as much as I read, I just did. (There is no try, only do.) I went through the process of writing, editing, publishing, and marketing my book. I set up social media for it. I created a website and blog. I started off knowing nothing about publishing.

And look at me now.

I am by no means a famous author. I’ve been on a few bestseller lists of some slightly obscure categories, but nothing too crazy. (Yeah,Metaphysical category!)

But I’ve sold books. Books that I have written. Books that people give five-star reviews and ask, “When’s the next one coming out?”

That is awesome.

A dream come true.

So why did I choose to Self-Publish?

Because sometimes, you have to do things on your own to find out what you’re capable of.

Josh

 

So, for those of you that follow me, you may have noticed that I kind of suck at this whole blogging thing.

Yeah, I’m not gonna lie; it’s not my bag of tea.

It’s not that I don’t like writing. (I love writing. That’s why I write books.) I just have a super busy schedule. You see, I have what we, “in the biz,” like to call “a day job.” You know, the job that actually pays the bills? (Well, sorta, but I’ll save that for another blog post.)

Anyways, what I do for a living is this: I make deliveries for a Plumbing and Mechanical Company here in Savannah, Ga. A lot of times what I ship is air duct, different types of pipe and fittings, and massive commercial air units. Very glamorous stuff here. (Not complaining. It’s a great job.)

But my company has jobs all over the Southeast. From Columbus, Georgia to Charleston, South Carolina, I drive all over the place. That being said, I work some crazy hours. For example, this past week had me going to Gray, Georgia twice (3 hours from Savannah). I think I went to Charleston once. (or was that last week? It all begins to run together.) Either way, that’s a four and a half hour drive, there and back again. A lot of times I leave early in the morning (5 AM) and get back in the afternoon. And those longs drives can wear you out. (Remember going on family vacations and your dad was all grumpy after the ride there? Yeah, like that.)

I’m not trying to whine about it. I’m just letting you (hopefully my readers) into my world for a minute. When it comes down to it, my time for blogging isn’t just there. And here’s why:

I’d rather be writing more books for you to read.

There I said it. It’s out in the open. Now we all know. (That takes a load off.)

So, to wrap all this up (if that’s even possible), if you don’t see updates on anewdeath.com, it’s most likely cause I’m working on something else great for you. For example, here’s the link to my new short story set in the world of A New Death.

CJsStoryCover_Smash.jpg

That will take you to the Amazon page. (As of this writing, the price is set to $0.99, but once Amazon sees I have it free on Barnes and Noble, they’ll drop the price. Cause that’s how they roll.) I also have it up on Smashwords. (If you’re into that kind of thing.) You can get it free here.

Also, I started working on Book II in the New Death Saga this past week.

I’m really excited about some of the stuff I’m working on (so excited that even on the days I get up early, I’m up late working on “book stuff”). Can’t wait to share it all with you. I wish there was some kind of avenue for posting all the things I want to share with you… Oh, wait…

Josh

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Hey everybody! I just wanted to take some time and inform all the fans out there what’s coming up for the A New Death series.

First off, a few updates to the cover have been made, mostly just to make it slightly easier to read.

Next, I just finished the first draft of the mini-story that takes place during the events of A New Death. It’ll introduce new characters and set up background for an existing one. I’m really excited about this one. It won’t be a full-length novel, more of a short story. I don’t have a date for its release quite yet, but expect it this Spring!

Next on our list is a reminder that Friday January 31st will be the last day you can buy A New Death on the Barnes & Noble Nook. As long as you purchase it before then, you should be able to keep it on your device and read it. From now on, all digital copies of A New Death and its sequels will be exclusive to Amazon Kindle.

Now, I know not everyone owns a Kindle or a device with the Kindle app, but if you noticed in the last paragraph, I said, “all digital copies” will be exclusive to Amazon Kindle. What this means is that I am currently working on making a paperback version of A New Death! Yes, there will be a physical copy of A New Death. Right now, I am in the middle of formatting it for the paper version. I hope to have it out within the next couple of months, so Nook owners and non-eBook people, bear with me as I get things rolling!

And lastly, there is a full-fledged sequel to A New Death in the works as well. As of right now, I have an outline and a good idea of where I want to go with the story and character development. My goal is to finish up these other projects before I pour all my focus into A New Death II. But I can tell you one thing: I am so excited about what comes next! No spoilers though!

Anyways, that’s it for now and I cannot tell you how much your support as fans means to me! Being self-published means that I pretty much do everything by myself. I have a great team of people who help me with feedback, editing and cover design, but sometimes it feels like me against the world. Reviews are a great way of encouraging me so make sure to leave a review once you finish reading! It also helps everyone else know that the book is good!

Josh