Monday, 5 March 2012

Day 484

Well, I don’t have much in the way of news this week. Although, I’m very happy to say that I got a new 5 star review on Goodreads for Slippery Souls:
‘Rachael has created an amazingly dark yet funny world in Slippery Souls. It starts with Libby considering changes in her life to dying to being chased by monsters with her now talking dog in tow. The book is well written, the world of Sunray Bay feels as real as anywhere when reading it. Even with the fantasy and paranormal beings and activity, there is no duex ex mechana (spelling). This novel gets down to the gritty when nescessary and even with close calls these characters have to work to escape danger. No guy falling out the sky without ever being in the book or some other blatant have-to-save-the-main-character stunt. If you survive or escape danger, there's a sensible reason for it.

This book is for sixteen and older and from firey redhead to dark skinned broody hunk to druggy villain to scheming vamp will love this book whether you're a fan of paranormal or not. The novel draws you in and even after reading it you don't want to come out. A great read for everyone and I'm anticipating the next book in the series already.

5 stars all the way. No tears, no complaints.

But other than that, things are pretty slow. Not that I expected it to be any other way - and so, I’m furiously trying everything I can to get Slippery Souls out there and noticed. It’s tough, I can tell you! And I never have a ‘relaxing’ day these days.

I did write my very first guest post this week (, when Queendsheena very kindly welcomed me to her blog. Hopefully it might be the first of many.

This week’s Writer Showcase on my website was with R K Finnell, author of Kickshaw Candies. Her book contains elements of Irish folktale and fantasy, and features a sweet shop - what’s not to like?! Check out what she had to say at the usual place -

And now, as a special treat, I have an interview with author Jason Z Christie - who tells us a little bit about himself, and his book Zombie Killa.


Book title: Zombie Killa

Book blurb: A ragtag collection of nerd rappers seek to repel a zombie invasion by any means necessary. And drug-fueled cop killings. And humor. Always the humor.

As an introduction, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Well, I'm Jason Z. Christie, forty-something, former musician turned writer. I've been bumping my head on the internet celebrity glass ceiling for about ten years now. Having achieved minor success in a number of areas that help leverage my name as a brand, I'm now swinging for the fences, as YTCracker would say.

What is your book about?

"Zombie Killa" is about a group of nerd rappers in Florida and Washington state that unite to take on a zombie queen and her minions…because they're the ones who unleashed her in the first place. It's a novella, and pretty fast-paced. People also tell me it's pretty funny.

When and why did you begin writing?

I began as a novelist when I was sitting in jail in Florida after some nerdcore festival began to go terribly wrong for me. I wrote four hundred pages of my first novel, "Pageburner", in thirty days. It would be two more years before I met my fiancee and she encouraged me to finish it. By then, I had started two more novels, "Hurricane Regina" and "Radar Love". Prior to that, I wrote short stories and did about ten years on Usenet doing Usenet Performance Art, which is sort of like trolling meets creative writing.

What genre do you prefer to write in?

I don't. It's sort of funny, but if you look at all of my books and try to classify them, the only real characteristic they share, aside from great writing, is that there is a romance element to each of them. However, none of them can really be called romance novels, except "Radar Love". I've written a thriller which is romantic and slightly supernatural, a funny sci-fi novella, a sci-fi/fantasy adventure, and the zombie novella, as well. I don't think I'll ever fall into a specific genre.

What is your biggest writing achievement to date?

That's a good question, and sort of subjective, right? I'm really proud of all of my work, of course, but I'm really pleased with my Ultimate Hustle series. The first title, "Radar Love", is already starting to get some recognition as a great romance/adventure title. The sequel is written and fairly epic. It'll probably be longer than "Pageburner", which was something like 550 pages. The next two sequels are fully mapped out, they just need to be written down. Beyond that, I merge the Ultimate Hustle and Perfect Me universes in a novel called "Star Hustle". I really hadn't planned on writing a series this early in my career, but there you have it.

On the other hand, "Pageburner" really seems to make people think, and they find the story rather gripping. I'm perpetually amazed at how people manage to read it so quickly. I think "Hurricane Regina" is the sleeper of the bunch. It has a great story and theme. I can't really pick one, honestly. My biggest writing achievement was getting these things into acceptable shape for release as ebooks, I guess.

What inspired you to write this book?

A bunch of us nerd rappers (Yes, I am one) had a big run in 2006-2007. We were in Wired, Vanity Fair, Esquire, Newsweek and other major media appendages. Divx flew us to Vegas to perform at the 30th anniversary of the Consumer Electronics Show, we were in two documentaries. So I got to do shows with a lot of other nerd rappers, and we cultivated a little scene that exists to this day.

At A Comic Shop in Orlando, I met the organizers of Z.E.D., Zombie Eradication Defense. They have monthly trips to the shooting range where they practice on zombie targets. Nerdcore MC Zealous1 put out a great track called "Zombie Killa", and everything sort of clicked into place. Using real people as characters made it really easy to write. I think it took probably three weeks, off and on.

Who is your favourite author, and what is it about their work that strikes a chord with you?

I always say Stephen King and Tom Robbins, but that's already sounding stale. Robert A. Heinlein and Philip K. Dick are equally valid as influences. Overall, I think the body of work created by those two guys are as important as anything else ever written. Three of the four could probably be considered prophetic. And Tom Robbins is a magician with words. Like my novels, I really can't pick just one.

What book are you reading now, and would you recommend it?

I'm reading something for a review exchange and I really don't care for it, so I'll spare the author the embarrassment of mentioning their name or book title.

What are your current projects?

"Reduction of Forces" is about Renee Hollander, a character from Hurricane Regina. She runs Zen Construction, and is heading up the piping project on a program to dam the Mississippi river. Someone doesn't want her to succeed, and they're killing off her employees and making it look like accidents to ruin her safety record and take her contract.

I have an unnamed fantasy title that used to be called "Princess Academy" until I realized that title had been taken. It's Terry Pratchett to "Perfect Me"'s Douglas Adams, if that makes any sense.

"Cure for Sanity" is what I'm most focused on, lately. It's a sort of a sideways sequel to "Perfect Me", and a prelude to "Star Hustle." I couldn't write that one until I finished the two novels that come before it, so I snuck this one in as an interim measure. The characters and stories are too compelling to leave alone for too long.

I also have a collection of poetry I wrote for my girlfriend. I'd like to publish that before we get married in March. The working title is "This Book Will Get You Laid".

Where and when do you do most of your writing?

I prefer to write in the mornings before anyone else is up. It's a habit from when I first wrote in jail, I guess. I like the quiet and calm. I also really enjoy writing at work, so I'm actually getting paid to write. It's sort of hard to do when you're working construction, sometimes. I hand write everything, so that creates additional problems. Now that I'm unemployed and have to actually promote my books as well, I find I'm writing less. That's something I'm trying to rectify, currently.

What would you say was the hardest part of writing your book?

Life. I was sort of floating at the time I wrote it. It was spread out over three different places I stayed at when I was writing it. The story part comes pretty easily, but trying to write around other people's schedules and lives made it difficult. And I learned that writing action scenes like fighting, car crashes and shootouts is really not as easy as it seems. People dismiss something like "Die Hard" or whatever as a film, I'm guilty of it myself, but it really isn't easy to write that sort of stuff and make it work.

Who designed your book cover – and was the cover something you deemed important?

I do all of my covers. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, and covers are far more important than most writers seem to realize. I don't think a lot of covers that are slapped together using Lulu's online tools are selling a lot of books. I like my covers, but they don't necessarily look like paperback covers. I'm studying that aspect, currently. I think a lot of first time authors are at a huge disadvantage when they try to break into the ebook market. I'm lucky in that I understand Photoshop, web design, internet marketing and networking, things like that. Gone are the days when all you have to do is string words together into a good story.

Did you try to go down the route of traditional publishing first – or did you feel that self-publishing was right for you from the beginning?

We talked about it, but the more my editor and I studied the market, the more discouraged we became. Advances are drying up, the publishers don't want to promote you. A lot of people get remaindered quickly, now, and never recoup their advances. Why bother? I think we did one email query, got a polite rejection, and just forgot about trying to pitch books to New York. When I read about Amanda Hocking, I knew it was time to publish. I only wish I had done it sooner.

On the whole, how have you found self-publishing?

I love it, really. It's really sink or swim, of course, and I'm not really making wads of cash at it, yet. But I've only been published for something like two months so far, and I"m getting really great reviews and a warm reception from the indie author scene. So far, so good.

Where can we buy the book?

You can buy it at Amazon (, but if money is an issue, it's free on Smashwords (

Do you have a website or blog where we can keep tabs on you?

I let all of my old websites lapse in the past few years as I moved on to writing. I try to blog at,

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keep at it. The best books in the world probably won't sell without lots of marketing, but you still need to write the best possible novels you can. And remember, if you don't succeed, it's probably because you gave up. You have no one else to blame, at any rate.

And, finally, do you have anything else that you’d like to say to everyone?

I do want to thank the ebook scene. Everyone is really helpful to new writers, and that makes things much more pleasant. Thank you for the interview! I look forward to hearing what you think about "Zombie Killa".

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