Well, that was easy

Draft2Digital made it absurdly easy to get the GNW series up on iBooks, Kobo, and Tolino.

I think there’s probably some delay time before they actually go live, but they’ve been submitted, new blurbs and all, and now…we shall see.

And all before 10 a.m.! I AM A BEAST.

We have come a long, long way since I stayed up all night in October 2011, hand-coding GNW so it displayed semi-properly.

And that actually does it for most of my GNW Makeover Challenge, which I’ll post about more fully in a couple of days.

The Joys of Housekeeping

I have a terrible secret to share.

Are you ready to hear it?

Brace yourselves. It’s ugly.

I work in digital marketing.

“But Suz,” I hear you saying, “what’s ugly about that?”

It’s not that I work in digital marketing. It’s that I’ve worked in digital marketing for years and have never bothered applying anything I do at my job to my books. Keyword research? Feh. Snappier back cover copy? Whatever. Tests? I can’t be bothered.

It was partially self-defense. I do all this stuff for my day job. I don’t necessarily want to bring it home with me. But during the last few weeks, when I finally dove into stuff like series maintenance, I started to see exactly the sort of problems we usually point out to our clients. No SEO keywords (!). Back cover copy, which I thought was kind of kitschy and entertaining at the time, was. not. working.

So that’s been my project over the last couple days. I dug out the old copywritin’ skillz and redid the back cover copy on the GNW series. Did some SEO research and selected some keywords for various search engines. And now, for my next trick, I’m going to try to get some wider distribution going.

Brace yourselves. New platforms are coming.

…provided I can figure them out.

Bits and Bobs

I spent the better part of my afternoon doing some housekeeping.

I don’t mean I cleaned my entire house (although I did clean! Go me!) — I did some hardcore GNW-ing.

I added some back matter to all five (!) of the series books — along with updated acknowledgements and a brand-spanking-new About the Author page. The back matter is the cool part; it’s got my Also By list, at last, with links to the books’ respective pages on B&N and Amazon. Get Undead and Welcome to the Zomburbs also got new covers and mild title changes (namely dropping the Tales From Camp Elderwood moniker and shuffling them into the main Grave New World series).

Then, because I am a sadist, I went ahead and re-did the Books page on this very website. I’m just waiting on the B&N links for the anthology and the short story and that will be done.

Oh…and there was the small matter of redoing the back cover copy for Get Undead and Welcome to the Zomburbs. I tweaked it a bit for the three main books as well; full rewrites will probably be coming down in the next month.

Damn, I was productive today.

I am, how you say, tired.

But hey! It’s done! And to celebrate I’m setting all the zombie books at 99 cents for the next month. Those of you who wrote to me saying anything more than 99 cents was too much to pay for my work…your prayers have been answered. At least for a month. Hallelujah!


Is it a bit drafty in here?

Finished a book

This is what writing like an insane wildebeest looks like.

I meant to post this glorious little screengrab on the 4th, when I actually typed THE END (or at least slammed the laptop lid and collapsed into a blubbering heap), but…I didn’t.

Anyway, there it is. The rough draft of the creatively titled Grave New World 4, which is currently a hot mess of plot holes, questionable character decisions, and some of the weirdest zombie stuff I’ve ever written.

Needless to say it will undergo some changes in the revision…but there are a few things I can tell you about it.

1. It takes place a year or two after the end of Dead Men Don’t Skip.

2. Things have not improved all that much for Vibeke and her friends, but they haven’t gotten worse…yet.

3. Yes, Evie is still there.

I can’t really explain how I chewed through this story so fast. I started it on February 18, finished it on April 4…that’s like, what, 45 days? Somewhere around there? I can write fast when I put my mind to it — thank you, years of deadline-driven assignments — but this just fell out at insane speed. I’ve been writing Vibeke in some form or another since 2006. That’s twelve years with this character’s voice, with this gal and her friends, and I’ve still never ripped through a yarn at such a pace.

I’d say “It wrote itself!” but I tend to reserve that for stuff that pops out in close to its finished form. This…is not that. All the beats are there, the major plot points, but it is far from finished.

I’ve put it away for the time being to give myself some space before picking up the Red Pen of Revisions and slicing the thing open. In the meantime, I’m updating the blog (still transferring old entries over) and finally updating the GNW series with some much-needed front/back matter and a couple new covers for the short stories. Nothing crazy. Just minor touch-ups.

Catch y’all on the flip side!

Grave New Draft

25.7k/65k (estimated)

Not bad for a week of work.

I’m trying something new with this draft: crank it out as fast as possible and worry about the details later.

Okay, it’s not entirely new. I’ve done it before. Hell, it’s how I wrote the original GNW. But I’ve been taking on various projects over the last few years and the paid work always comes first, which means I tend to work on my own ideas in fits and starts. Some authors work well in that way; I…don’t. I want to get the entire thing out on the page and then finesse it into shape afterward. If I linger too long on anything it starts to go bad. I don’t lose interest — it’s worse than that.

I start to hate it.

I’m pretty sure most authors go through a phase where they hate what they’re working on. I will go through it myself regardless of how fast I write or how good the first draft is. But I have a unique sort of work loathing that pops up when I hang out with characters for longer than I should. Familiarity breeding contempt, I guess.

Anyway, Vibeke and the gang are trying to weasel their way out of the latest situation. I have a general outline I’m following, but leaving myself wriggle room in case exciting ideas spring up. I’ve also had a little help — this will be the second or third iteration of book three, which means I do have a lot of previous material to draw on if it’s suitable. So far, a good amount of it has managed to work. So no, that 27k isn’t entirely new verbiage.

My plan at the moment is bang through the first draft, then set it aside to percolate while I do a heavy revision on another zombie adventure (yes) in the pipeline, as well as put the final edits on a new serial coming out this summer, if all goes well. Then it’s back to Grave3 for the heavy revision, and eventually it would be nice to get the thing out this year.


We’ll see.

As we’ve seen before, I’m quite good at screwing things up. 🙂

Here and There

SUZ: The zombies are selling!
MOM: Really?
SUZ: Mother!
MOM: I mean that’s wonderful! It’s just…zombies. People go on Amazon looking for zombies?
SUZ: Yes. That is what zombie-lovers do.
MOM: So…the zombie book on my Kindle. Is that the complete version?
SUZ: Well, it’s a novella.
MOM: But it’s the same one that’s up on Amazon.
SUZ: Yes, I was testing it on your Kindle. You can delete it if you want.
MOM: No, no…the thing’s selling, I should…look at it.

She sounded extremely nervous about looking at it.

There are some things I do not force on my mother. Zombie literature is one of them (it’s also full of cussing, which she’s not fond of…cussing, violence, bad situations, deep sarcasm — all reasons I avoided hawking it to family members). But for some magical, wonderful reason, GNW is selling at a pretty decent clip (!!!!!!!), and she’s trying to be supportive.

That, or she’s trying to figure me out. Hmm.

I can’t explain the sales. I’ve been tracking the links I share with Bitly, but they aren’t generating much (although this blog sends off a fair amount of explorers, so thank you, readers!). That leaves regular readers on Amazon searching for zombies.

The Cold From Hell is pretty much the gift that keeps on giving. I feel largely cleared up, and my throat is much-improved, but now I face the dreaded post-nasal drip, which means any conversation longer than a few words leads to some very exciting-sounding coughing. I can avoid this by popping cough drops like candy…not exactly my preferred treatment method.

In other words, I’m going to attempt vlogging (v-logging? vlogging?) for NaNoWriMo…am experimenting with my little webcam as I type. Can we say awkward?

Zombie Lovers Unite

So Grave New World went live on Amazon at…I don’t know, it was late this afternoon/early evening. I am sick as a dog and doing a trillion things at once and dealing with a bunch of…offline…stuff, so I only posted an announcement on the NaNo forums, being that it’s an adaptation of a NaNoWriMo novel. I glanced at the sales for Echoes and realized GNW had already sold six copies. I don’t know how to express the way my heart fluttered.

Whoever you are, you marvelous six, and however you found it, thank you. You made my day. Hell, you made my week.


Mom: I read the first two pages of your zombie book.

Suz: ….why?

Mom: It was there. The main character was on the toilet and the world was ending.

Suz: Whoops. I thought I deleted it, sorry.

Mom: No, no, I wanted to read it. It’s…pretty good.

Suz: You don’t even like zombies.

Mom: I know!

If I could use this as a blurb…I totally would.

Grave New World appears to be live on B&N. Not sure what the Amazon holdup is. I did two run-throughs on my mother’s Kindle this time, so I know it looks decent on that platform (MOBI gave me trouble with Echoes). Nook…Nook is easy. It looks just dandy.


I haven’t wanted to admit it to myself, but…the time has come for some pretty radical reinvention. My biggest client appears to be going down the tubes (after a few months of see-sawing), and I’m scrambling to patch the leaks in my suddenly very-unsteady boat. I’ve been nursing along other eggs–namely breaking into fiction one writer at a time–but I think the time has come to dive in with both feet. To that end, I’ve set up a Facebook page for my editing business. I’m going to have to link all these sites together somehow…I can call it the Suz Network.

I’m also crossing my fingers that I see some sort of movement from the ebooks. Am working on getting the word out on them–it takes time–but every little bit helps.

…there is a bug in my coffee…

Ideally, I’d like to split my time between writing and editing. I do like editing and proofreading; it keeps my brain sharp. If I could edit half the day and write the rest of it, I’d be happy as a clam. The Kindle/Nook/e-publishing revolution has made this possible, if I can only figure out how to make it work. So if you know any self-publishers who are looking for an editor/proofreader…let me know?

Hell, ANYONE looking for an editor/proofreader. I’d like to get into the fiction market, but I’ll look at just about anything. Except math. Not very good at math.

Still trying to kick this cold. Should’ve picked up some DayQuil.

Zombies are on the Way

“You’re an EMT in a supermarket and a guy is bleeding,” I said to B the Former EMT, who is my reference for All Things Vibeke. “What do you do?”

She chewed her food thoughtfully. “EMTs don’t really like to work off-duty.”

Hmm. “There’s just been a meteor shower and you’re the only one who can help him.”

“Well, you apply pressure…and then make a bandage…is she a paramedic or an EMT? EMTs are kind of limited in what they can actually do.”

“But you always seemed to know a lot.”

“Oh, we know plenty, but legally we couldn’t do certain things. But that doesn’t mean she couldn’t rise to the occasion or something.”

Vibeke doesn’t actually do all that much EMT-type work, although her two companions don’t always make the distinction between EMTs and paramedics, and thus expect her to be more medically knowledgeable than she is. She tries to help a guy who gets bitten, only to be thwarted by the undead. She also ends up trying to describe the undead from a scientific/medical standpoint, whereas she’s all “Dudes, I just drove the rig.”

Mostly, though, I wanted V to be an EMT because B’s ability to handle a crisis situation skyrocketed once she’d had the job a few months. She was always a cool customer, but after taking on that job she just became…unflappable. Nothing could shock her. Vibeke needed a little bit of that.

Cover work’s in, edits are finished, gun questions have been answered. Tonight I shall format.

In celebration of NaNoWriMo, I’ll be pricing it (and Echoes) at 99 cents throughout November. We’ll see how that sales tactic works.

In the meantime, I’m all kinds of sick, and living off soup, water, and juice. Fun times.

Grave New World Edits Mostly Done

…with the exception of looking up a couple of things about antique firearms. Gonna try to get it formatted and ready to go by tomorrow night, so I can do a read-through on my mother’s Kindle while she’s here. The cover should be moderately easier than the one for Echoes; no zany special effects needed.

…whoa, Excedrin PM just hit me like a ton of bricks. More tomorrow!