Thursday, August 01, 2013

A Shameless Plug with Benefits

So many zombie apocalypse novels! What makes BLEEDING KANSAS different? 

Says one reviewer: “The main protagonist is not some highly trained and uber-prepared former military special operator or martial arts specialist; instead, he’s just an ordinary Angry White Guy who rises to extraordinary circumstances.... He’s a politically incorrect smart-ass who doesn’t have much use for most of the human race, and less use for the zombies, but he does occasionally think of them (the zombies) and describe them with surprising sensitivity.”

Says another reviewer: “Bleeding Kansas is sadistically, irreverently funny while also delivering the nail-biting action I personally love in my bedtime reading. I snorted my way through this entire story and marveled several times to anybody that would listen about how much fun it was to read.”

If only I could have a thousand more readers who get me like these two did!

That was the shameless plug. Now for the benefits.

Most novels don’t have chapter titles. I don’t know why this is, nor am I particularly interested in the reasons. It’s a fashion, and as soon as a popular novel with chapter titles breaks big, I’m sure that will become the fashion. It simply hasn’t happened yet.

For my part, I find it easier to write a chapter if the chapter has a name. When I was serializing Bleeding Kansas on this blog earlier this year, the writing, the action, everything about the book came alive if I thought of it as an old suspense/action serial from the old days when you saw them in the movie theater. 

All of the serial chapters had titles. At the end of the cliffhanger, you saw something like “NEXT: A Date with DEATH!” I didn’t take this to the full extreme (for instance, not all of my chapters had cliffhangers). But it did raise the fun and excitement of its writing to such a degree that I think the book came out much better for it. When Severed Press took Bleeding Kansas under contract, I was up to Chapter 17: Good Morning, Mr. Whitman. Mr. Whitman became Mr. Grace, the chapters were taken down, but I had eight more chapters to write. 

And every one of those had titles. There was no getting around it. Even if they were “working” titles that changed over time, they still had to have that focus. It was the only way to get them written.

So, for the benefit of those who have already purchased Bleeding Kansas, I have a blog-only bonus: the titles to the 25 chapters in the book. They are as follows:

1. Matters of Life and Death

2. Back from the Might as Well Be Dead

3. Life Takes a Sick Day

4. Other Lives, Other Deaths

5. Gone to Ground

6. Pear-Shaped World

7. In the Night Kitchen

8. Escape into Death!

9. Runway of the Damned

10. Flight

11. Awakenings

12. Tricked into Life

13. A Revelation, and Intervention, and Fates Worse Than Death

14. Up a Steep and Narrow Ladder

15. Dinner with Devils

16. How to Get Laid in the Apocalypse Without Really Trying

17. Good Morning, Mr. Grace

18. Back in the Saddle

19. The Dead People of Walmart

20. The Dead Silencer Emergent

21. The Battle of Oak Blossom Lane

22. Pre-Battle in the Barrio

23. Heavy Machinery and High Explosives

24. The Queen of Hell

25. Out of the Crazy, Into the Storm

And there you have it. You can come up with your own titles if you like. If I had that kind of commenting traffic, I’d make a contest of it. Feel free to drop me a line with your own ideas if you’re so inclined.

Meanwhile, I have chapter titles I need to come up with for Grace Among the Dead. It’s what keeps this job interesting, and the books fun, for me and you. You’re welcome!