Archive for the 'Other Fiction' Category

26
Feb
14

Blake Has Written Books Part 3: Opening Night of the Dead

Opening Night of the DeadMy third novel, Opening Night of the Dead, is the second book in the world of the Curtain, although you don’t need to have read the previous book, The Beginner, in order to enjoy it. It’s almost Halloween, and at the Climax Studios campus in Hollywood, work is being done on a new zombie movie. On the other side of the property, though, at the Climax Studios Theme Park, a real zombie has stumbled into the costumed partygoers. A pair of former cops (as “former” as you can get) are sent to try to quell the violence, joining their skills with a studio stuntman and makeup artist, plus a tabloid reporter that has strayed on to the lot. In this humorous take on horror movies, it’s these five people who stand between the world and a zombie apocalypse.

This book is a bit more lighthearted than The Beginner, and in fact, establishes the tone I really want for the Curtain universe. It’s also where the term “Curtain” comes from. If you’re into weird takes on zombies, this is the Petit book for you.

And don’t forget, gang, please, tweet and share and reblog this post, and if you’ve already read the book, why not throw up a review at any of the above websites or at Goodreads.com?

25
Feb
14

Blake Has Written Books Part 2: The Beginner

The Beginner coverMy second book, The Beginner, was also given a revised second edition a couple of years ago, although the revisions to this book weren’t as extensive as those to Other People’s Heroes. Although I didn’t have a name for it yet, like OPH, this book has served as the launching pad for a continuity of related titles. But while the tales of Siegel City have been offbeat takes on the world of superheroes, the world of The Curtain draws its inspiration from the various realms of fantasy, monster movies, and horror.

In The Beginner we meet Curtis Dupré, a young filmmaker whose debut project got him enough attention that he’s got the freedom to do his second project just as he wants: casting an actress he’s admired for years and filming in his home turf in Louisiana. But things don’t go smoothly at all — people begin to vanish from the set, leaving everybody except Curtis himself unaware that they ever even existed. Desperate to prove his own sanity and save his friends from a mysterious creature with a glittering pick for a weapon, Curtis will have to find the truth about himself to stop the devastation.

The Beginner is a story for people who love a good campfire tale. It’s also the book that taught me a valuable lesson about titles: try not to be too generic. You know what you get if you do an Amazon.com search for “The Beginner“? You get ten thousand how-to books, that’s what you get.

Here, I did the search for you:

I ask again, guys, to help me spread the word about this book. Share! Tweet! Reblog! Let people know!

02
Jul
12

Where to Buy… OPENING NIGHT OF THE DEAD

Opening Night of the Dead

Combining the wit of the Siegel City stories with an offbeat look at horror stories, Opening Night of the Dead is my little twist on the zombie tale.

From the back cover:

The Climax Studios Festival of Fear is a Halloween tradition, but with monsters roaming the theme park and a monster movie filming on the adjacent film lot, what hell will break loose when a real zombie surfaces and starts biting? When you can’t tell who’s alive and who’s undead, can a stuntman, a makeup artist, a sleaze-slinging blogger and a pair of former cops stop the end of the world from sneaking off the studio lot and infecting all of California?

Available now:

20
Jun
12

Opening Night of the Dead is NOW AVAILABLE

Okay, guys, today is the day! Thanks so much for all your help and support this week. All that’s left now is to actually buy the book!

And tell your friends!

And maybe write a lil’ review!

Pretty please.

Opening Night of the Dead (Amazon Kindle Version)

Opening Night of the Dead (Smashwords.com — for all other reading devices)

Print version coming soon!

 

19
Jun
12

OPENING NIGHT hits tomorrow… read the prologue today!

As I mentioned Sunday, my all-new zombie novel Opening Night of the Dead is sittin’ high right now in the Amazon Kindle Store and the Smashwords.com bookstore, for just $2.99 in any e-reader format. The book should soon be available in the Nook store, Sony Reader store, iPad store, and in print as well. (Watch this space for those announcements as soon as they’re available.)

Also as I mentioned, I’m asking those of you who are planning to get the book to wait until Wednesday to buy it. In short, I’m hoping to so a small-scale “rush” of Amazon, getting as many people as possible to get the book in as short a period as possible, helping it gain a more favorable position on the highly-competitive horror charts and increasing its chances to be seen by more people. I’ve even started a Facebook Event for the Amazon Launch, which you are all totally invited to join if you haven’t done so already.

To give you one last little bonus before tomorrow’s big push, I thought I would give you a taste of the novel itself. So here, for the first time, is the prologue to Opening Night of the Dead. Hope you enjoy it!

OPENING NIGHT OF THE DEAD

PROLOGUE

If he knew the crap he was in for after he died, Josh Cambre would have made a more concerted effort to stay among the living.

He wandered the Halloween Festival of Fear alone, Kelly having abandoned him for a guy in a Conan the Barbarian costume (and not a square of cotton padding necessary to fill out the muscles, either). Josh was dressed as a scarecrow, and like Kelly’s new Conan, he had the physique for his costume. Josh was thin, spindly – even sickly if you looked at him from the wrong angle. To be frank, it was astonishing that a zombie would bother to bite somebody with so little meat on his bones. Then again, it was just his luck to run afoul of the only member of the undead in the world busy counting Weight Watchers points. He hadn’t encountered any real zombies yet, but after his date walked off with the guy in the loincloth, he lost most of his inclination to keep on going. He wasn’t considering suicide or anything – Josh didn’t quite have the steel for that – but if you’d told him there was a flesh-eating ghoul marching around the Climax Studios Amusement Park, he wouldn’t necessarily have made an effort to flee in terror.

Wandering the park alone, not knowing or particularly caring if Kelly would have a ride home with her Cimmerian king, he decided to force himself to have a good time. This would have been a brilliant idea, had it proven even remotely possible. The roller coaster was a bust (literally, it broke down with three people remaining in line ahead of him), and the last time he’d gone on a Tilt-a-Whirl he’d been left with three days of hugging the toilet bowl. Popping into a Haunted House, he decided, would be his safest bet. It was unlikely he’d run into Kelly; if he did he probably wouldn’t recognize her in the dark, and maybe a good scare would wipe the depressed look from his face.

Of course, that was the great thing about the scarecrow costume – the mask covered his entire head. His Coke-bottle glasses fit under there as neatly as his enormous ears, his matted-down haircut was invisible, his acne across the bridge of his too-small nose was as good as clear. No one could even see the small brown blob underneath his chin, the birthmark that his mother always tried telling him looked like a lion, but that people always said looked like he’d been eating chocolate and hadn’t wiped his face well enough.

Chocolate if he was lucky.

Christ, it was amazing that Kelly had even agreed to come here with him in the first place, wasn’t it?

An enormous fiberglass proxy of Frankenstein’s monster was grinning down at him, lightning flashing up into his face and reflecting onto the ground with a strobe effect. Shuffling around outside of the building he saw mummies, werewolves, and slashers aplenty. This was the one he wanted. There were a dozen Haunted Houses on the Climax Studios theme park property, each with its own theme or overlay – Science Gone Bad, Gateway to Hell, Crypt of the Vampires (reportedly the tamest haunt on the property, and oh, how that wounded him). After very little deliberation, Josh decided to soak his sorrows in Silver Screen Screams, a house full of dioramas plucked specifically from classic horror movies – and, no doubt, liberal use of the characters from Climax’s recent horror hit, The Beginner. In fact, he could see one of the bad guys from that movie waiting in the wings – a little bald fella wearing all black and twirling what looked like a surgical scalpel from a leather thong on his left hand. Good job making the little bastard look creepy, if nothing else. He worked with this fright factory. It was good enough for Josh to waste a little time before he dragged himself home.

He was told that actors in a Haunted House are trained to leap at the most terrified-looking person in a group, and in front of him was a giggling mob of teenage girls, each of whom seemed to make for a welcome target when someone was primed to leap out from a casket or reach a mummified arm out from behind a hidden panel in the wall. Since the actors in their monster makeup invariably blew their wads trying to terrify the girls, they were always resetting the scene when Josh walked past on his own a few seconds later. He tried not to focus on the idea that even actors paid to terrify people seemed to have no interest in him at all.

After about 20 minutes in the house, Josh wandered into an area lined with rows of authentic-looking corn stalks, with yellow lights twinkling at him in pairs – eyes watching him from behind the rows. Interesting effect, one that worked pretty well, he thought. It would be better if they tried to shape the lights a little, they were too round to accept as eyes, but he could give the Climax folks an A for Effort. He even felt appropriately dressed here in the cornfield, even though he didn’t actually feel like he fit in any better than he did anywhere else.

A nasty chill whispered across his back when the gurgling sound began, and the zombie that moved out of the cornrows reached out at him, hissing and snapping his teeth. Josh didn’t scream – didn’t even flinch. He just rolled his eyes and said, “Dude, I really think you wandered into the wrong scene. You’re supposed to be a creepy-ass kid with platinum blonde hair. Good makeup, though.”

He moved to continue after the girls on the path, but the corpse wrapped its claw-like hands around his arm. Josh turned, starting to get angry with the pushy kid in the zombie getup. “Look, man–”

Whatever threat or ultimatum would have followed was lost when the zombie’s thick, yellow teeth chomped through the burlap shirt that was part of his costume and into the admittedly thin flesh of Josh’s arm. He shouted, yanking the limb back out of instinct, but succeeding only in helping the zombie rip out a chunk of stringy flesh. Blood spurted into the air and dripped from the mouth of the hungry ghoul. Josh screamed again, but still had the presence of mind to back away, flailing, and bolt from the scene.

The arm hurt terribly, not only from the wound, but from an intense burning sensation that seemed to consume the whole area. When he placed his good hand over the wound he was stunned to feel how hot it was already, as if his arm alone could somehow contain a fever.

Oh god, he thought, what if that guy had rabies? What if he had something worse? Those videos, those Curtain guys, what if— What did he give to me?

He rushed ahead into the house, shoving aside the teenage girls (who threw some decidedly un-ladylike language at him, not that he was in any condition to get into a snit about it), and began to wander through room after room, shouting for help. In an Egyptian crypt, he nearly trampled an old woman in a walker. In Dr. Frankenstein’s lab, he actually shoved the Monster himself over into the lab table, eliciting some joyous laughter from the kids Frankie had been attempting to frighten. Finally, he stumbled through the exit door and fell right onto the pavement, rolling to the feet of a little man with a big smile.

Josh looked up at him, seeing someone dressed in all black, which wasn’t exactly unusual at this time of year. The small figure had no hair, but a wide, toothy grin spread across his face like a famished man looking down at a perfectly grilled steak. He held something in his left hand – cradled it, if one was going to be honest – but Josh wasn’t even paying attention, which was the last mistake of his life. Josh was happy to see anyone, even someone dressed like the Closer-monster from The Beginner.

“Dude! There’s someone in there… someone biting people! You gotta call the cops, you gotta–”

“Joshua Cambre.”

Josh blinked, surprised to hear his name from the lips of this stranger, startled just enough to arrest his panic. “I… yeah, that’s me, but…”

“Eighty-two years old,” the little man continued. He reached out with his right hand, grabbing the burlap mask that shielded Josh’s unseemly face from the rest of the Halloween crowd. With one fierce yank, he pulled the mask away, exposing Josh’s skin to the warm autumn air of California. Josh looked up, seeing a horrible gleam in the man’s eye, and suddenly he was far more terrified than he was when it was just the walking dead after him.

“You die,” the man said. “You die alone, from a pulmonary embolism in your sleep, after a tragically lonely and pathetically uneventful life.”

“What the hell? Dude, break character! Some asshole bit my arm, you gotta help me!”

The little man raised his hand, and something flashed. Something long and silver.

“Don’t worry,” he said. “I’m about to spare you all that.”

*   *   *

Aaaaaand, scene! There you have it, friends, the prologue to Opening Night of the Dead, and I sincerely hope you enjoyed it. Don’t forget, some time tomorrow head on over to Amazon.com if you’ve got a Kindle or Kindle App and pick it up. If you’ve got an iPad or some other reader, don’t worry. I’ve got you covered at Smashwords.com. And don’t forget, as part of the launch celebration, I’m cutting the price of my previous novel The Beginner to just 99 cents until August 1. That, too, is available at Amazon.com, as well as The Barnes & Noble Nook store, Smashwords.com, in print from Amazon.com (print version is still full price, sorry), and in your iPad bookstore.

See you all tomorrow!

17
Jun
12

Coming Wednesday to Amazon: Opening Night of the Dead!

Well my friends, after a lot of hard work, a lot of valuable help, and a little blind faith, my next novel, Opening Night of the Dead, is finally finished. I’ve declared this Wednesday, June 20, to be the official “launch day” for this new book, a zombie novel that combines my usual style of humor with the terror of wandering through an amusement park full of zombies… some of which are real, some of which may not be. Tell you what, let me let the back of the book explain it to you:

“The Climax Studios Festival of Fear is a Halloween tradition, but with monsters roaming the theme park and a monster movie filming on the adjacent film lot, what hell will break loose when a real zombie surfaces and starts biting? When you can’t tell who’s alive and who’s undead, can a stuntman, a makeup artist, a sleaze-slinging blogger and a pair of former cops stop the end of the world from sneaking off the studio lot and infecting all of California?

Blake M. Petit’s first zombie novel brings the sharp wit and genre-aware humor of his superhero favorite OTHER PEOPLE’S HEROES to the realm of horror. Fast, tense, and fun, OPENING NIGHT OF THE DEAD is a zombie tale unlike any other.”

Now, the book is going to eventually be available in all eBook formats, through the Nook and iPad and Kobo stores and even in print, but for the moment it’s only available at two sites: the Amazon Kindle store and in all other formats at Smashwords.com. In both places, the book is a mere $2.99 for a full-length novel PLUS the bonus short story, “It’s Time to Play the Music.” You can’t beat that, friends.

Now here’s the tricky part. The book is, technically, available for purchase right now. But I’m asking you, please, DON’T BUY IT YET. Wait until Wednesday?

Why?

Numbers.

Amazon ranking is influenced not only by how many books you sell, but also how fast they sell in a specific period of time. So if everybody reading this buys a book when they read this announcement, it won’t raise the book as high on the list as if everybody waits and buys it on the same day. And the higher it goes on that list, the better chances it’ll be found by people outside of my little community of friends and supporters, and that wil help this community grow, which is really my goal. So if you’re planning to buy the eBook for your Kindle or Kindle app on any device, great! I love you. But PLEASE, wait until Wednesday. In the meantime, though, help spread the word. Pass this link along to anyone you know who’s into zombies, horror, horror/comedy, or who you know enjoyed any of my previous books.

Speaking of which…

I don’t write any story in a vacuum, my friends. Like most of my work, Opening Night of the Dead has ties to another, specifically, it takes place in the same “universe” as my novel The Beginner. Now it’s not a sequel — it doesn’t share any of the same characters or pick up the story. To use a currently-popular movie metaphor, you could watch Captain America without having seen Iron Man and still get a complete story. However, just like those movies, if you HAVE read both of the books, you’ll see links and ties and begin to see a bigger picture.

And yes… just like those movies, those links and ties may ultimately be pointing towards a larger story in the future.

So, as a bonus to help people who discover my world through Opening Night, from now until August 1, I’m slashing the price of the eBook The Beginner from my usual $2.99 novel price all the way down to a mere 99 cents! Now it’s easier than ever to be introduced to this new universe of mine.

And one last thing, friends… every little bit of exposure helps. Once you read these — or any of my books, please go to Amazon (or Smashwords or Barnes & Noble or wherever) and leave a review. Reviews really are a huge help in spreading the word about a little book like mine, and it helps raise the profile on the site as well.

Thanks, everyone, who’s been asking about this book and when it was going to come out, particularly my beta readers and my sister Heather, who designed that spiffy cover. It couldn’t have happened without you.

20
Sep
11

Where to Buy: The Beginner

The Beginner

My second novel, The Beginner, is once again available in multiple formats, both print and electronic!

Filmmaker Curtis Dupré seems to have everything he could want on the set of his second film: studio backing, a professional crew, and an actress he’s admired for years in the starring role. But people begin to vanish from the set, and from the memories of everybody except Curtis. A strange visitor is eliminating those close to the young director, and there’s no telling who is next. To save his friends, to save himself, Curtis Dupré will have to look into himself and discover what it truly means to be The Beginner.

And don’t forget, my other two books are available in multiple formats as well:

23
Aug
11

The Evercast: A Practical Question

I’ve got something to talk to you folks about, something I’ve been turning over in my brain for some time now. I kicked off my Evercast podcast in 2009 with the full intention of making it a regular series where I’d release fiction projects of all sorts in audio form. And while I definitely believe in that, the last several months (which — you may notice — have gone by without an Evercast episode) have taught me that it may not necessarily practical for me to do that on any kind of a regular basis. I’ve got an enormous amount of things to work on in every other aspect of life — from my job, my theater group, my family, my duties as a “Geek Pundit” for CX… to say nothing of completing the actual writing the Evercast was supposed to feature in the first place.

As I look at other writers who podcast, I notice that few of them do it with the frequency I hoped for with the Evercast. Most of them do it in spurts, then revert to other projects (often other kinds of podcats) before returning months or even years later with the next fiction podcast. Only Scott Sigler seems able to do it week after week, 52 times a year, and he’s a bloody madman. (So is Grant Morrison, of course, which makes me wonder if the biggest obstacle to creative success is my thick, wavy head of hair. But I digress.) And even Sigler has two other shows on his feed. (Both related to his fiction, true, but still.)

I don’t want to throw out the Evercast. It’s a fun and useful way to put stuff out there on those rare occasions I’ve got something worth putting out. But it seems silly to me to continue to support a second full-time podcast feed that only gets used a few months out of the year.

So here’s my thought: why not put the Evercast episodes — when they come out — on my existing 2 in 1 Showcase feed? I’ve usually got enough extra space each month that I could fit it in easily, and for those of you who download either show directly either here or at CX Pulp or Facebook by clicking the posted link, you won’t notice any difference at all. The only people who would notice would be those people who subscribe to the shows via iTunes or another podcatcher, and I strongly suspect that the majority of the Evercast audience is already comprise of Showcase listeners (although the reverse does not necessarily hold true).

I’m not putting this up for a vote or anything — my podcast feed isn’t a democracy — but I would like your input. If a lot of people are violently opposed to this for some reason, I may reconsider. But if the strongest negative reaction is more along the lines of “whatever,” you may hear the next strains of the Evercast theme through the Showcase feed.

08
Aug
11

Back to the starting line…

As I mentioned some time ago, my current writing project has been work on The Light Man, the sequel to my young adult novel Lost in Silver. But despite working on it for a few weeks now, I’ve been unable to squeeze my way past the first chapter, and as excited as I was for the story, I found myself getting bored with what I was writing. And as any writer can tell you, that’s deadly. If I’m bored, there’s no way in hell the audience is going to be excited.

So I looked at the story, tried to figure out what was wrong. What I decided is that I was spending too much time on recap. Sure, this is a sequel, but that doesn’t mean I should go through ten pages of everything that’s happened in the six months since the first book before I get to something — y’know — interesting. Last night I scrapped everything I had written and started over, but this time I started right at the inciting incident, right where the thing that kicks off the plot actually happens. It immediately felt better to me — faster, more exciting, and more interesting.

I can’t throw away that gap. I’ll have to mention it. But it doesn’t have to be the first thing, right? If I do this properly, I’m sure you guys will wait for me.

19
Jul
11

Outlining

Writers argue frequently over whether or not you should craft an outline to work from when you’re telling a story. Some say they would never attempt a piece without an outline, others think it’s a sin to plan ahead at all, preferring instead to go wherever the muse takes them.

I suppose I fall somewhere in between. I’ve never really drawn up any detailed outline for anything that I’ve written, but I have found that I need to at least have the ending and some key plot points in mind before I sit down to write. That said, there needs to be room for flexibility in there. If your characters are any good, they may reveal elements of themselves and their world that you hadn’t thought about ahead of time, things that are worth following to their logical conclusion, and giving you a better story in the process. Two of my favorite characters from Other People’s Heroes fall into this category — Sheila and Animan. Sheila was originally just supposed to be a red herring to distract the reader from Miss Sinistah as a potential love interest. She wasn’t going to be Josh’s best friend, wasn’t going to turn up at the Battle of Simon Tower at the end. Animan was going to be the catch-all gag for all of the animal-based superheroes out there, but he turned out to be such a true and honest character (and so damn much fun to write) that he took on a much larger role. Both of them have since enjoyed greatly elevated importance in future stories of Siegel City as a result. (Without Sheila, I dare say, there would be no 14 Days of Asphalt.)

Now I’m doing something different. Lost in Silver, my young reader’s fantasy, is very deliberately the first story in a series. (Other People’s Heroes wasn’t at first, but it has become so.) The Evernauts, led by Linda Watson, have a very specific and unique character arc that will take several volumes to tell. But after spending several days immersed in the world of a far more popular author than myself, I decided it was time to step up my game.

I already knew much of the backstory of the Evernauts’ series, and again, I know their general ending and several sign posts along the way. But in a story so much bigger than what I’ve attempted before, I realize I need to plan better.

So I’ve spent the last few days not writing The Light Man (Evernauts Book 2) as I intended, but instead just outlining. Making detailed notes about everything that happened in Linda’s story before the beginning of Lost in Silver, making detailed notes about everything that’s going to happen in The Light Man, making less-detailed but still important notes about those things that will happen still further on in the game. And amazingly, I’m finding it far more difficult than usual writing, but at the same time, very rewarding.

Also, for the first time, I find myself wishing I had a tablet — an iPod, a Verizon, anything along those lines. I’m going to be going to Maine this weekend, and I’m looking at the plane ride as a perfect opportunity to get a lot of plotting done, but I hate opening up my laptop on planes. (There’s never enough damn legroom in the first place for someone of my height, and I’ve never been able to get comfortable that way.) A tablet would truly be the perfect solution here. But while I do fly a couple of times a year, that’s not nearly often enough to justify that kind of expense when that’s the only unique thing I want it for. So back to good old fashioned pen and paper.

Wish me luck!




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