Thursday, October 18, 2012

Blog Party - Day Four

Welcome to day four of the blog party! I love giving things to my readers and followers. Halloween just around the corner makes it all more personal. I look forward to the knocks and screams of, "Trick-or-Treat!" that will be coming the end of this month. Candy makes us all happy (just like prizes do) and I'm glad to be able to share some 'happy' with you all.

If you missed Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, pop on back to see what great goodies were added to the giveaway and leave my lovely guests a little bit of love!

Today, I'm happy to announce my guest, Mr. Robert Chazz Chute. For the giveaway today, Mr. Chute has offered up two digital copies of Sex, Death, & Mind Control (for fun and profit) from Smashwords. Pull up a chair and get to know more about Chazz. Don't forget to enter the rafflecopter at the end of this post!

Jo: Hello, Chazz! Welcome to the blog party. I’d like to start off by thanking you for your donation to the cause and giving away two copies of your book Sex, Death, and Mind Control to a couple of lucky winners! But we can talk about that after the interview!

Instead of the usual, boring diatribe, let’s have some fun with this interview. I’m gonna start with questions about you and end with questions about your new book, Higher than Jesus.

You have two websites right now All That Chazz and Chazz Writes Do you find it difficult keeping up with both of them?
Chazz: No. I added a Tumblr account recently, too, because there was still time to sleep. Each website serves a different audience. ChazzWrites is for writers; AllThatChazz.com is my author site and the platform for my podcast; The Tumblr  is for another audience (who tend to be very creative and younger). I wouldn’t reach new audiences without spreading myself around. Add three Twitter accounts, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest and Triberr, and I’m way outside my inner circle. We have to shout outside our echo chambers. The key is time management. Some people find social media overwhelming, but I’m social (at a safe remove, anyway) and, except for ChazzWrites, I keep my posts short. You have to enjoy it for it to work and it must never cut into writing time. Write books first. Blog later.

Jo: What inspired you to do podcasts of Bigger Than Jesus and has it helped traffic or sales?

Chazz: If you’d asked me earlier this year, I would have said narcissism, director Kevin Smith, Joe Rogan and a wild goose chase got me podcasting. However, the podcast has caught on. I love podcasts! SF author Scott Sigler pioneered podcasting his books as a marketing tool and I followed that model. My numbers are trending up as more people discover the program (All That Chazz). Best of all, the podcast reaches people all over the world. I have a big following around Berkley, California for instance, and the original name of the podcast was Self-help for Stoners (named after my first book.) Way to hold up the brand, Berkley!

Jo: Have you taken a ton of flak for the name of the book?

Chazz: I thought I’d have more resistance. I had several rapier-sharp ripostes at the ready. However, most readers have a sense of humor (at least all of my audience does.) I heard some concerns, but even some hard core Christians told me they loved the title. I have a penchant for titles I have to explain (i.e. bad titles.) For the rest of my life I get to say each day to someone, “It’s pronounced Hay-soose,” and “Sex, Death & Mind Control isn’t porn, it’s suspense,” and “No, you don’t have to be a stoner to enjoy it. It’s all suspense!”

Jo: Your ninja monkeys are easily distracted by bananas; have you found that to be a deterrent in sending them on really important missions?

Chazz: Oh, great. You’ve exposed their weakness. If not for Dracula, no one would know how to slay vampires and if Superman had shut up about his origin, we’d never know kryptonite made him pee blood. Now you tipped over the banana cart on my ninja clone army. Way to go. Thanks a lot.

Jo: Oops! Is there a dream you have concerning publishing?

Chazz: Endless adulation would be good, and definitely more orgies. Mainly, I want to get to the point where my publishing success is an objective fact strangers point to. When people I don’t know take the time to tell me, “Hey, loved your book!” besides the dopamine high I get from writing? That’s the big pay off.

Jo: Do you think your journalism degree and background of being a proofreader, editor, and all around ninja monkey trainer give you tools other people could only dream of acquiring?

Chazz: There are lots of ways to acquire those skills. After I attended the Banff Publishing Workshop years ago, I read through The Chicago Manual of Style and it occurred to me that most of what I learned at the Banff School of Fine Arts was hidden in those pages. It is nice to have the context and background that working in traditional publishing gave me, if only to appreciate my independence more. I’m happier than I’ve ever been right now. Add an almond milk latte and I might pass out from sheer elation.

Jo: I see you promote your graphic designer, Kit, pretty often. What’s his secret formula for capturing your heart and soul (and patronage)?

Chazz: My readers at ChazzWrites.com need him, so, yes, I promote him as much as I can. Kit Foster (of KitFosterDesign.com) is a great graphic designer and author who creates all my covers, Quote Art, web art and even the image I use for my business cards. We exchange emails so much we have become friends and we agree on a lot of things. Step one to being declared a genius: hang out with people who agree with you. Actually, Kit is one of those great people who can objectively be declared a success. He’s a genius who’s also really nice. Who can resist a mold breaker like that?

Jo: Okay, enough about you, let’s talk about your books Higher Than Jesus and Bigger Than Jesus. I read the first in the series and I loved it. I found the 2nd person style to be engaging and different and the twists and turns that start from page one to be delightful. Is the second book written that way as well?

Chazz: You bet! The unusual POV is integral to the character and, as you’ll see in Higher Than Jesus when my hit man ends up in group therapy, we delve deeper into Jesus’ history, psychology and pathology. (Hint: hit men do not play well with others, particularly in psychotherapeutic settings. I think that’s my favorite chapter in the book and it’s referenced throughout.) I have a lot of fun exploring the dichotomy of the character. Jesus Diaz does bad things but, like all bad guys, he doesn’t see himself as evil. He’s a pragmatic, funny guy with an obsession for movies through which he idealizes the life he thinks he deserves. In many ways, he’s a sensitive liar who’s clever in a particular skill set. In Higher than Jesus, his pragmatism evolves to become a mission. All my books are twisty stories of Bad versus Evil, so Jesus fits.

Jo: What kind of adventures can we expect to live through Jesus’ eyes in the second book?

Chazz: Jesus has fled New York for Chicago and he accepts a job for the money. Then things get complicated when he has to solve a dispute in an arms deal for his employer. It’s a two dogs, one bone story, plus the object of his affection is his client’s daughter, Willow. I listened carefully to feedback, so expect a little less swearing, a little more sex and more jokes. For me, it’s all about the jokes and surprises that play out as revenge fantasies go awry.

Jo: I loved the surprises. I hate predictable. What kind of promotions are you doing or do you intend to do?

Chazz: I want to do a couple of especially creative things. For Higher Than Jesus, I ran the Six Words or Less Contest so a character got named after a reader. That was a lot of fun, so I’ll do that concurrently as I write the next in the series. Higher Than is also packed with movie references. For instance, all but the last two chapters are named after movie titles (mostly my tribute to film noir.) Once I release the book, anyone who counts the number of movie titles used throughout correctly and tells me that number at AllThatChazz.com will get a bonus ebook for free.

I’ll also be reading Higher Than Jesus on the podcast as soon as I’m done with Bigger Than. It’s a chapter by chapter, week by week sort of thing, so I’m sure quite a few people will want to jump ahead because they don’t want to wait to get past the next cliffhanger. I’m doing some guest posts, too.

My main focus is to have three books up before Christmas. Crack the Indie Author Code is next (my first non-fiction book on Amazon) and This Plague of Days, a dystopian thriller in which we follow the exodus of a boy with Aspergers Syndrome through a North America brought down by the plague we’re all expecting any minute. Mm. Maybe that’s just me. I have a pessimistic worldview but I sublimate the rage and terror with humor.

Jo: I see you have some issues subscriptions with bland Twitter posts. How many did you have to see before your eyeballs began to boil in your skull?

Chazz: We have to provide value to readers if they’re going to take a chance on us. There’s a little too much telling people to buy our books (I know, I’ve done it) and not enough showing them why they should be interested. There’s plenty of room for promotion and I’m not some tweet narc telling everyone how to behave. I do prefer to send people to my blog posts and podcasts instead of only sending them straight to Amazon, though. Too many tweets are generic and sound alike. It’s not spam that bothers me. I don’t label any promotion I don’t want to see “spam.” However, it is ineffective and we have to be funnier, more clever, sexier and attend more orgies to get anyone’s attention.

You can read more of Chazz’s taunting of the Twitterati here: ChazzWrites

Jo: To finish up, when is Higher than Jesus due to release?

Chazz: Mid-October. I’m just finalizing some things now because I want the paperback and the ebook to have launch dates that are close together. That will be more effective, so right now, it’s a soft launch date.

Jo: Where will we be able to procure a copy?

Chazz: I’ve debated publicly about how long to stay exclusive with Amazon. It’s not the advantage it once was. Since I’m launching so many books close together, I’m sticking with an Amazon-only policy for now. I expect that will change, but there are some variables that don’t depend on me, so I can’t say when I’ll make them available across all platforms, including skywriting. Eventually they’ll be everywhere, including the Oval Office. And yes, that’s a clue.

Jo: Oval Office...? Wow! Well, thanks for your time today, Chazz, it’s been fun! May your bananas be ever plentiful!

Chazz: I am bananas.

If you'd like to follow Robert Chazz Chute, you may do so via the links below.

AllThatChazz
ChazzWrites
On Twitter: @rchazzchute
On Facebook: Ex Parte Press

Enter to win below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now on to the great list of blogs for you to check out and follow today!

A great review website along with an author blog:

Stitch Says
Ghostnapped!
On Twitter: @AshleyHowland

Another few review websites:

Books and Beauty
On Twitter: @LazenBeauty

Kayla's Reads and Reviews

Now some indie must-read blogs:

The Bookshelf Muse
On Twitter: @AngelaAckerman AND @WriterThesaurus
On Facebook: Angela Ackerman

Catherine, Caffeinated
On Twitter: @catheryanhoward

Remember, tomorrow comes the super big prize pack! Come on back to enter again tomorrow!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

14 comments:

  1. I can see people not understanding the titles. I'm from California, and it's been interesting moving to the UK and hearing the difference in how certain Spanish-origin words are pronounced here.(i.e. Instead of jalapeno being pronounced hah-lah-penio, people here pronounce it jah-lah-pee-no.)

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    1. Oh my!! I think that might throw me off big time. Thanks for the comment, Becky!

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  2. Chazz, you're a lot of fun--and a lot of weird. My kind of combo! :)

    After this entertaining post I'm obsessed with reading your stories.

    A thought popped into my mind (due to the pronunciation of Chazz's Jesus--and because I'm a lot of weird.) How fun would it be to write a story phonetically?

    Possible titles:
    Hay Soos goz tu Haliwud
    Hay Soosez disleksik Nenjah munkees

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    1. This is funny, C.E. An interesting take :) You'll love the Jesus series! Thanks for leaving Chazz some comment luv!

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  3. @ Jo Thanks for the interview! I pushed the release of Higher Than Jesus back a week. Just finishing up a few last logistics.

    @moonduster Pronouncing it jan-lah-pee-no sounds like an affront to a beautiful language. Alas! Spanish with an English accent is pretty entertaining, though. Prozzak had a fun song years ago that had great Spanish guitar and a few Spanish lyrics with a Brit accent. Hilarious.

    @CE Hart I'm pretty sure writing like that would give me a headache. Chuck Palahniuk wrote Pygmy in an experimental style that is a challenge to read until you get into it. It raises the barrier to entry into the story, though, so I don't think I could manage it. And yes, I'm very weird. It's been verified scientifically by teams of doctors. Like Wally once said in Dilbert: "I'm insane, but I think it's one of the happy kinds."

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    1. You're welcome. I hope it gains you many new followers and readers.

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    2. Chazz,
      A headache indeed! Just reading the titles is difficult enough! ;)

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    1. Thanks, Heather!! It was interesting, for sure!

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  5. I enjoyed the interview, too. Chazz wins the prize, hands down, for "Most imaginative titles ever."

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    1. He does have a knack for choosing odd ones, huh? Thanks for the comment, Alana!

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  6. Once again a great interview and excellent blog party - lots of fun!!!

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    1. Thanks, Ashley! I'm glad you're enjoying the party :)

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Play nice and have fun. If you're a jerk, I won't publish your comment. My blog. My rules. Thanks for taking the time to chat at me!