Zombie Zero – Meet The Characters

I thought this would be a fun idea, but I didn’t want to ruin it for anyone by explaining too much too soon. When I started writing this story, folks from the world we live in started showing up. They were all heroes of mine, people that have deep thoughts and admirable work ethics. It only made sense that these folks that were working so hard in our world would be working just as hard in another world that was so much like it. I messaged a lot of people in our world to ask if I could mention them in my story about a reality much like our own.

I told these people, the ones I could get ahold of, that I wanted them in my book. Most of the mentions are first names, that might not be paired up with their last names until the next book. I wanted to get permission before I put the books in motion, though; I’m going to list them in order of appearance in the book, if you want to watch for them. Most are in the italicized first paragraph of a chapter, as are some character names, but not all of them. There will be more of nearly all of them in the next book. Continue reading “Zombie Zero – Meet The Characters”

Indie Book Review – The Wizard Killer by Adam Dreece

It’s time for another indie book review!. Read on and find out what Jay thought of The Wizard Killer, the latest book from Adam Dreece.

The Wizard Killer grabs you right away, and drags you from one scene to the next with wonderful ferocity. Adam Dreece had stepped smoothly from one style to another with this book, while continuing to build the layers of his ravaged steampunk world. This first-person moment-to-moment tale puts the reader right in the driver’s seat immediately; there is no time to pause, or go back, or set it down. The story is busy rushing forward, and one can’t help but rush forward right along with it.

Continue reading “Indie Book Review – The Wizard Killer by Adam Dreece”

#TodayIAmAWriter – A Busy Month

Things got pretty busy around here in March. The funny thing is, much of us being busy was all about getting ready for an even busier month in April. Oh, and look at that…here it is already! Happy April! I don’t think I could be much more excited about what is coming up.

Today I released the second of eighteen short stories to my newsletter subscribers, supporting content for my upcoming novel Zombie Zero: The First Zombie. Hop on over and subscribe if you want, if you’re not already: the only way to get all eighteen short stories is to sign up. I would tell you all about the benefits of being a member of The Secret Society of Deeper Meaning but…well, it’s kind of a secret. If you are already getting my weekly messages, hopefully you aren’t having any trouble decoding them; and thank you for stopping by here as well.

Crystals Cough Continue reading “#TodayIAmAWriter – A Busy Month”

Reblog: The Story Behind the Stories #003 – Reviews

I have written books and product reviews in my head as far back as I can remember. Now that the books are finally getting out there, it only stands to reason that the reviews should follow. It has only been in the last couple years that I have realized how important reviews are, and how much they can mean to an artist or creator. I always thought that any comments I left would disappear into a black hole where no one would read them, and the creator would never know of them. I had no idea that a customer review can make an artist’s day, or encourage others to follow their work; and honestly, I thought customer reviews and testimonials were always fake. Continue reading “Reblog: The Story Behind the Stories #003 – Reviews”

The Walking Between Worlds Trilogy is complete!

I am proud to announce that Sudden Insight Publishing is releasing the final book in my latest trilogy today. All three books are available in both print and ebook format, and the companion tale is available for free to anyone who signs up for my newsletter. The first few chapters to all of my books are available for free as well, another way to get a sample of my style and the story.

Thanks to everyone reading, the books and the blog and anything else I might churn out. It means a lot to have you with me on this journey, in whatever form you choose to come along. Look forward to more content next year, as Sudden Insight expands its reach into audiobooks and author interviews and…possibly a podcast? We’ll see, as the next year looms pregnant with possibilities.

Contact me at jay@jaynorry.com to let me know what you think of the books or the blog, or with nominations for which characters you think should appear in upcoming Walking Between Worlds companion tales. Happy holidays, and thanks for reading!

WBWSale

You still have time to get in on the Walking Between Worlds sale! Get Demons & Angels for 99 cents, or Rise of the Walker King for $1.99! Hurry, sale ends December 3rd.

If it were up to you to save the world…

…could you? Would you? These questions are tossed from one uncertain set of hands to the next like searing hot potatoes in the Walking Between Worlds trilogy. As the world is introduced to a noble army of immortals that use their powers to battle the demons of humanity, the newest among them must rise to power and raise the questions no one has ever asked: Where do all the demons go? What is their purpose? What is ours?

Yesterday Paul Stone was a human, an ordinary man defined by his circle of friends and his one true love. Today he has lost it all, and must rebuild his life on a foundation of shifting sands. Tomorrow he may have to lose everything once more to save us all. With the ability to heal any wound but his broken heart, Paul must muster all his resources to prevent reality from collapsing in on itself before he does.

Kris Reed was an accomplished best friend in life; in death, it has become his job. The long cold afterlife is a comfortable sanctuary for his sensitive soul, and everything he ever wanted is finally within reach. Can he befriend a three hundred year veteran of the Walker army, or the surly new Walker who must do everything differently? Can he survive the trials of love as gracefully as he bore the trials of death? After all of the evil that everyone has seen, the questions become even more poignant: If it were up to you to save the world, could you? Would you?

WBWSale

Fall of the Walker King (Walking Between Worlds, Book III) comes out tomorrow! Haven’t started the series yet? Don’t forget, Books I & II are on sale until December 3rd – get your copies now!
Demons & Angels for 99 cents
Rise of the Walker King for $1.99

Chapter Four: So . . . They’re Back?

This trilogy has been fraught with examples of the point I try to make when asked about my writing. I am the one telling the story, but my control over the whole thing ends with my wording of it. It’s not me who decides who lives or dies, or how they go about the living or the dying. I’m just here to tell the story, as best as I can, as true to the way I see it. From my perspective, all this stuff actually happened to actual people, and somehow I have a porthole to that dimension in my mind. Safe on the other side of dragon-proof glass, I can watch the story play out and do my best to record what I see. I’m like an historian with a crystal ball and no political pressure or social programming. (Give me a moment while I chuckle darkly for the thousandth time about how I supposedly write fiction and the historian supposedly records facts.)

Sometimes I wish things would go a different way for folks. In life, in movies or television series, in all the stories told and untold, there are some tales that lose my interest or never grab it to begin with. Those that do play a special role in my life, and hold a sacred place in my heart (this is all a sweet way of saying that I am a fish full of hooks that has trouble distinguishing reality from fantasy).

Writing Book I was great; every trauma fairly quickly produced some positive consequence that helped soften the initial shocking blow in the following pages. I made myself feel squeamish for the first time as I wrote some of the scenes, and it dawned on me as I told the story that the damned tale was keeping secrets from me.

This became more evident as I wrote Book II. As things got darker and the body count meter turned into a spinning blur, I wondered how I hadn’t foreseen this. All the characters I had fallen for in one way or another in the first book were dead or in a place that made death seem either inevitable or preferable or both. I looked back over my process in choosing to begin this avenue of my writing with this story, and I had some strangely familiar realizations.

Whether you are a lady or a guy, if you have had any experience in dating or relationships, you can surely relate. Do you remember the first time you realized that someone was lying to you just so they could be with you? Maybe it was a small deception, perhaps even just minor evasion, or possibly it was an elaborate web of outright lies. Maybe you’ve seen a wide range of examples, as many of us have. You might have even stepped up to the next shocking level of realization and found yourself guilty in some way or another, or fallen into the bitter trap of thinking that everyone is that way to some degree. Wherever you are with it, surely you can remember that initial flash of feeling that came with the realization that you had been betrayed.

The simple fact of the matter is that that moment is not always where the story ends. Am I right? Sometimes the moment of reveal comes when the hooks are too deep, and the reveal is just not violent enough to pull them free. At that point, the story does one of three things. Most stories get boring and formulaic here, and lose my interest in both fiction and Earth-fantasy form. The rest go one of two ways.

A lot of stories get dark here. For some people, dark is synonymous with interesting. It’s not for me. The darkness is an aspect of the light for me, the light an aspect of the dark. Asking one to exist without the other is asking the world to go back to being flat, and my philosophical foundation would be shaky indeed if I did. However, there has to be a point in exploring the darkness for me. I tend to be more interested in a story that takes the other path after the great reveal, living or reading a tale where every aspect of life changes for the better with each new level of understanding. As I reviewed the way this story had courted me in the beginning, I realized that calling it deceptive was a bit harsh.

I got to see several scenes, vividly, whenever this was the porthole that grabbed my attention. The final few moments of each book were shown, as were many other glorious clips, and the basic premise was laid out pretty clearly. In defense of the story’s perspective, it couldn’t exactly tell me the whole story until I wrote it . . . at the risk of sounding like a guy defending his girl’s decision to not reveal her sweet tooth for heroin until after the wedding.

In defense of my perspective, writing these books made my role as a writer clear as never before. Like life, my own stories will surprise me in ways that I never anticipated. These surprises will not always be pleasant or pretty, but they will always be a springboard to something better. Like life, the ability to extract the something better from every surprise commands the full attention of the one doing the living. That being said, some chapters are just hard to write.

You know, like life.

Thanks for reading!

Walking Between Worlds; Book III: Fall of the Walker King will be available in ebook and paperback formats on December 1st.
Walking Between Worlds on Amazon

Need to start at the beginning? Read Chapter One here.

Continue reading “Chapter Four: So . . . They’re Back?”

Chapter Three: Kris Pays Grim Unintentional Homage To Kevin Smith

Do you see now why I don’t name the chapters in my books? It would probably pull you right out of the mood that’s being established if I had stuck the above title at the top of Chapter Three in Fall of the Walker King. At the risk of sounding preposterous, let’s just say that one or two people exist in this world that know who I am but do not know who Kevin Smith is. I’ll explain, but quickly, since my premise is indeed a preposterous one.

Kevin Smith is a big part of the dork culture in modern America. Remember when the dorks and nerds and geeks somehow became the cool crowd? That was due in large part to Kevin Smith. Don’t believe me? Well, crawl out from under your rock on Mars and Google the dude. There’s not much he hasn’t done, and most of his accomplishments look a lot like the list most dorks would come up with if they stumbled across a wish-granting genie. If I were to recommend any of his work to someone unfamiliar with him, I would have to recommend all of it. If I had to pick a favorite, I would push the movie “Dogma” on anyone who hasn’t seen it. That really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

For this particular homage, however, we need to go back to the beginning. Kevin Smith’s first movie was of course the classic “Clerks”. Set in a convenience store, the story features a character who has come in to work on his day off. He’s a whiny little bitch, and his mantra through the entire movie is “I’m not even supposed to be here!” It’s funny, but it’s also relatable: the world is ironically overpopulated with a whole bunch of people who feel out of place, like they don’t belong. Even those of us that don’t experience this chronic state have days now and then where we wish we just hadn’t bothered showing up.

Well, suffice it to say that Kris was one of my favorite characters from the beginning (Like any good parent, I have to lie and say that no one is my very favorite, of course). He was a solid guy, smart and critical and sensitive to the needs of others. He was a good friend to Paul before all this weird Walker shit came along, and his role became an invaluable one when they were both transformed in Book I.

After Kris died, he became the picture of confidence for the first time in his life. Something clicked in him when he became a Guide, and a million questions suddenly became answers in his mind. Watching him come into his own in Demons & Angels was great fun for me, and when he and Jessica came together at the end it seemed that all was right in his world. In Book II, the romance between them blossoms and we see a whole new side of Kris. It’s a beautiful build-up to a terrible let-down, and the Guide loses everything in the last few fateful pages of Rise of the Walker King.

So here we are in Book III, with all this behind him and only bleakness ahead. Fall of the Walker King will see the Guide’s mettle tested as never before, and it remains to be seen whether or not his strength of spirit is up to the task. For now, in this chapter, you will see that Kris is clearly in a dark place. There is no humor in his unintentional homage to Kevin Smith, as he repeatedly goes back to the thought in his mind. He’s no Walker, after all, and what is a Guide without a Walker? How can he make any difference at all in the world that is falling down all around him? It seems true, as he thinks about it: he shouldn’t still be here.

Thanks for reading!

Stay tuned for Chapter Four, coming next Tuesday. Need to start at the beginning? Read Chapter One here.

Continue reading “Chapter Three: Kris Pays Grim Unintentional Homage To Kevin Smith”

Chapter Two: Cal and Sarah Pay Roche a Visit

Can a thing be unintentional and deliberate at the same time? I would have probably answered that question with a resolute “no” had I posed it to myself before writing this trilogy. Now, I’m not so sure . . .

When Dawn suggested releasing the first four chapters of Book I in a scheduled blog series, I thought it was a great idea. I was pleased that Book II worked perfectly in the same format, although the format was chosen after those chapters had long since been written. We were all caught up with all the main characters by then, and the tone of the book was pretty clearly established.

Book III needed an outline even more than Book II did, and I was more than halfway through writing it before I thought to check: would it fit the format as well as Rise of the Walker King did? I had to ask myself, as I flipped thought the pages, if I would change it if it didn’t.

“Of course not!” a voice cried in my mind, the one with the heavy French accent. “I am an artiste!”

I still wondered, though, and was relieved to find that it was a moot point as I leafed through the outline. The first four chapters were faithfully following the same pattern, and I realized why: it made sense that they would.

Writing these books has really been one long hard exercise in learning to get out of my own way. I wanted to tell this story as true to the way I saw it as I could.

That meant getting all my usual pretensions and preconceptions out of the way as much as possible. Luckily, I have tried to make a regular practice of this in one way or another my entire adult life. But some of me had to stay, and one facet that seemed important to keep was the reader in me. I had to write a story that I would enjoy reading, in a way that was entertaining in all the ways I liked and unburdened by all of the things I didn’t like.

What do I like? Well, I like a story that is in motion from page one and stays in motion until the final word. I like to get to know characters as they make their way in the world, a little at a time. I like my imagination to have some minor blanks to fill in, which is a nice way of saying I don’t like to be overwhelmed by thousands of words that take me away from the story to describe a character or a room or . . . pretty much anything. That way when an author does it a few times, I know it’s important and I should pay attention. I do it a few times. That’s because it’s important, and the reader should pay attention. Most of the characters in these books could be played effectively by a variety of actors or actresses, and they have the freedom to be pretty unique in each of our minds. (Except Brenna: she just looks like Kristen Kreuk.)

So it makes sense that nobody has to wait until the ninth chapter to find out who did and who did not survive the cliffhanger I left you with at the end of Book II. Both writing and reading Fall of the Walker King felt fast-paced and urgent, despite the time it took, to me.

I hope the story sweeps you up as completely as it did me, and that you’re rooting for someone who manages to survive the blood-stained pages to come. In my defense, I didn’t know that violence would be such a major character in this series when I began writing it. As it turns out, I get quite a bang out of describing this kind of action . . . so much so that it played a part in deciding what I would write next. I’ll write a blog about it in the next few months, to keep you posted about what I’m up to as it happens.

Right now, I want to leave you with Chapter Two of Walking Between Worlds, Book III: Fall of the Walker King. !!SPOILER ALERT!! Remember Jessica’s destructive dragon dance? The one she did before going to Hell at the end of Rise of the Walker King? The one that tore up The Devil’s Brew and set the whole place on fire? Well, Cal and Sarah stop by looking for Mason in this chapter. They talk to Roche and see what the place looks like now. Brace yourself if you only like Roche when he’s chipper, or if you were attached to the new nightclub.

Remember to sign up for the newsletter, if you haven’t already. You’ll get a free ebook copy of the first of the Walking Between Worlds companion stories. If you’d like to see the next short story feature a particular character, let me know. Send me a message at Jay@jaynorry.com telling me who you want to know more about, and why. I am often amazed at how much I know about each character, too much to write if I am to tell any other stories. I would like to know whose story is a source of curiosity to you as well.

Thanks for reading!

Stay tuned for Chapter Three, coming next Tuesday. Did you miss Chapter One? Read it here.

Continue reading “Chapter Two: Cal and Sarah Pay Roche a Visit”