Writing For A Cause: Pets For Vets and TAILS OF THE APOCALYPSE

“There are a number of unique aspects of this anthology, but the thing I’m most proud of is our partnership with Pets for Vets.”

Tails coverThat’s how author-editor Chris Pourteau talks about his latest project, Tails of the Apocalypse. Described as The Walking Dead meets The Incredible Journey, the collection includes short stories written by 14 of today’s most innovative independent authors. Tails of the Apocalypse examines world-ending scenarios—from nuclear war to natural disasters to planetary pandemics—featuring animals as main characters.

The idea came to Pourteau last spring after publishing his own short story, “Unconditional” about a dog searching for his boy, lost to the zombie apocalypse. The overwhelmingly positive response from readers made him think that maybe he’d hit a cultural nerve. And the idea for Tails of the Apocalypse was born.

Over the next six months, he recruited his writers–including four USA Today bestselling authors–edited their stories, developed cover art, and produced an anthology that R. J. Pineiro, author of The Fall calls: “one of the most original and captivating collections of end-of-the-world ‘tails,’ shown through the eyes of an amazing cast of unforgettable furry and feathered characters.”

Giving Tails a Purpose

Even as the anthology took shape, Pourteau felt like he was missing something. The point of these wonderful stories about animals caught up in dystopian situations was about giving voice to those without the ability to speak for themselves. He decided he wanted to donate some of the profits from his self-funded project to an organization that helped animals.

It was one of his authors, David Bruns, also a US Navy vet, who suggested Pets for Vets. From the beginning, it was great fit. The name and the mission of the non-profit immediately resonated with Pourteau. And as Bruns and Pourteau have worked to drum up awareness of their project, they’ve found that the cause resonates with others as well.

Founded by animal trainer Clarissa Black, Pets for Vets matches shelter dogs with military veterans. Personnel train the animals as special companions for veterans suffering from emotional trauma, like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“Three to four million dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters each year,” says Ann Black, president of Pets for Vets. “And it’s estimated that 20 percent of returning vets suffer from PTSD. Bringing them together provides a loving home for the pet and a caring companion for the vet. It’s a win-win.”

The Big Idea

Pourteau plans to donate $1.00 to Pets for Vets from every copy of Tails of the Apocalypse sold through the end of the calendar year, regardless of format—e-book, paperback, or audiobook. “I’m honored that Pets for Vets allowed us to adopt them as a cause,” Pourteau says. “My goal now is to write them a big check on January 1st.”

Want to Lend a Hand?

We’re calling our project Tails for Vets. If you’d like to be part of the Tails for Vets movement, here’s how you can help:

  1. Join the Tails for Vets Street Team — Get email updates and shareable content by joining the Tails Street Team. Facebook banners, a “badge” you can post online to show your support, and chances to win paperback and audiobook copies of Tails of the Apocalypse are all available to the Tails Street Team.
  2. Buy the BookTails of the Apocalypse launches on November 20th, but you can preorder on Amazon now. Remember: $1 from every purchase goes to Pets for Vets.

The Dragon Rises – Apocalypse Weird Gets it Done!

the dragon will rise

When George Lucas pitched his Star Wars script to the studio, they reluctantly accepted and green lit a very low budget for a space opera that, in their minds, would hopefully make the money back and most likely not have an impact on anything. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall the moment George asked the studio to keep the merchandise rights. They chuckled and gave it to him. Well…

Not that long ago and in this very same galaxy, a small group of authors approached Amazon to pitch the idea of publishing books by multiple authors writing stories in the same world. Amazon liked the idea. They loved the idea. They said it would be impossible to implement as they would have to build a completely new and separate department for it. They declined. Maybe they chuckled. We won’t know.

A week ago, I looked at the publishing schedule for Apocalypse Weird. We are well into 2016, with 2 books per month and no end in sight. Didn’t we just start this whole thing? New authors are coming on board and all of the books that are out right now, have been green lit for their respective sequels. HOW COOL IS THAT???

Because new stories were developed and approved while I was still writing, the sequel to The White Dragon – Genesis won’t be out until May, 2016. That’s a year from now. That’s a long time to wait if someone liked the book and I felt that I wanted to compensate readers for their patience. And here’s the cool thing about working with fellow indie authors. They get it. They get when something sounds right and benefits the reader, and they act on it.

I asked Nick to consider allowing me to write two books before March, 2016 (the deadline for handing in the manuscript to Ellen Campbell, our editor in charge). He said yes. So, here’s what will happen: The White Dragon – Crucible will come out in May 2016. One month later, in June, the conclusion of the series, The White Dragon – Alchemy will be published. I’m thrilled to have a deadline. It somehow gets the creative juices flowing.

Thanks to everyone who has read the first book. Thanks to you, I can do what I love and keep writing Kasey’s story.

Please read all the other books in the Apocalypse Weird universe. It’s a rich reading experience that will just get richer as new books become available.

Cheers,

Stefan

Apocalypse Weird: "A Renegade Band of Authors"

 

bluestonepressSo, the Blue Stone Press, a local newspaper for the area I live and work in, has done an article about Apocalypse Weird and my involvment with it. I am now officially a member of a “renegade band of authors who are out to revolutionize publishing.” I’ll take that description any day. The writer of the article, Anne Pyburn Craig, totally got it. She got what AW is about and what we are trying to do.

20150506_152426

This article is one of many small ripples in the large pond of publishing. Each author does what he or she can to get the word out, to get people excited about the project. This work on the ground level is necessary to collect a base of readers and fans who stand behind the project and who, through their enthusiasm for the stories, spread the word even further. That in itself is revolutionary. Here is the article, hopefully readable. The online version will be available in about 2 weeks.

20150506_152106

20150506_152141

 

Until next time,

Cheers and keep reading!

Stefan Bolz

 

The White Dragon Rises

 

When I first set out to write my Apocalypse Weird book: The White Dragon – Genesis, I only had an initial image that I had found online somewhere of how Kasey Byrne, the story’s heroine could look like. Everything else came from there, including the pendant. Her hair is a bit lighter but otherwise this is pretty close to what I had envisioned.

 
Kasey Byrne
 

I realized half way through the story that the picture doesn’t show Kasey in the beginning of Book I (Genesis) but rather at the beginning of Book III (Alchemy) when she comes back from her journey to join the others and finish what they had started in Book I. If you’ve read Genesis, you’re in for a real treat in Book 2, AW: The White Dragon – Crucible. I don’t have the green light yet but I’m working on it anyway just because I can’t stop :-).

Here is the short blurb for Genesis, in case you don’t know about it:

Apocalypse Weird: The White Dragon – Genesis is the story of the very beginning of an apocalyptic event as seen through the eyes of an eighteen-year-old girl. Nothing could have prepared her for what is about to happen and she has to face some seriously tough stuff before the end. During the thirty-six hours of terror that turn Kasey Byrne’s life upside down and strip her of everything dear to her, something inside her awakens. It is gift and curse alike for it can destroy her or turn her into the most powerful weapon against the evil that has reached the shores of our world.

Up until the  very moment I’m writing this, we have 25 reviews on Amazon and the launch is in progress. Here are the links to the book, in case you want to buy one:

http://bit.ly/gen-kindle
http://bit.ly/gen-nook
http://bit.ly/gen-kobo
http://bit.ly/gen-ibooks

reviewsred

 

Nothing happens without readers, and early reviewers are the backbone of any launch. I am very grateful to everyone who has reviewed the book so far. Thanks so much for your support.

The party is happening here (from 5 to 11pm EST)

https://www.facebook.com/events/1591971234379024/

Cheers,

Stefan

Get Genesis!

[book size=”150″ slug=”apocalypse-weird-genesis” desc=”0″ purchase=”0″ notereviews=”0″ excerpt=”0″]

[author_books type=”newest” name=”Stefanbolz”]

The Apocalypse Just Got Personal

 

I don’t like small talk. I can hang in there for a while during a party but anything beyond that is hard for me. You can only say so much before there is nothing else to talk about for the moment, unless its meaningful to some extent. (Disclaimer: small talk does not include discussing geeky stuff. That is exempt and not considered small talk. Please feel free to discuss the latest Daredevil episodes with me at your pleasure and convenience ;-).

I feel the same way with my books. You won’t find small talk in them. Maybe a little, as comic relief or to foreshadow something further down the road. I’d rather say what needs to be said and stop there. Here is one reaction someone hopefully displays after reading AW: The White Dragon – Genesis:

 

 

When I sat down to write the Genesis, I wanted to make it personal. An up close account of the first thirty six hours of a terrifying apocalyptic event through the eyes of an eighteen-year-old girl who, up until that moment, had been just that — a teenager, with all the hopes and dreams, heartbreaks and tribulations that come with it. Her level of preparedness was equal to zero. Other than a baseball bat — her dad had insisted for her to keep one in her car when he gave her the car for her birthday that very morning — she had neither weapons nor a flashlight or even a pocket knife. She wasn’t even wearing flip-flops.

Kasey

As I have experienced throughout my own life, any growth on my part was usally accompanied by an unsettling feeling that ranged from basic anxiety to and beyond straight-out fear. Sometimes it was hidden, expressed in ways that didn’t look like it at all. At other times, it was plain terror. I’d come out on the other side stronger, sometimes wiser but always just a bit further up the path. Not sure why I’m mentioning this other than that most of my characters go through hell and back to search for what they are looking for, just like me.

But for Kasey, the apocalyptic event is only the trigger for something larger than herself. The apocalypse, as heart wrenching as it is for her, is solely the spark that ignites something in her that she had no idea existed. Sometimes the situation at hand isn’t about the situation at hand. There’s more at stake. There’s meaning behind the small talk and for Kasey, the first part of her story, Genesis, is exactly that: a beginning. The beginning of something bigger than herself, something she’s afraid of, something she fights and doesn’t want to accept. The refusal of the call to adventure is what Joseph Campbell called it. It is when life tells you that there’s more here than the eye can see. That there is more to you than what you know at this very moment. That you are born for things that are greater than you can possibly imagine.

“Use the force, Luke! Trust me!” That line has been beaten to death. However, the meaning behind it is still intact, bruised maybe but still there, dusting itself off. Kasey has kept a diary throughout her life but had never seen the patterns, the signs, that indicated that she was not just a happy little teenage girl but that there was more. Much more.

As I’m writing this, I’m waiting for the final e-file for the Advance Reader Copies. It’s been a great ride. I very much hope that you enjoy the book. I loved writing it and the story has stayed with me until today, has bugged me to explore the continuation of it and accompany my characters all the way to the end.

Good luck!

Stefan

Get Genesis Now!

[book size=”150″ slug=”apocalypse-weird-genesis” desc=”0″ purchase=”0″ notereviews=”0″ excerpt=”0″]

[gravityform id=”1″ title=”false” description=”false”]

On Dragons Uncommon and Writing the Weird

Genesis_FT_FINALAbout five minutes after I had read the first few lines in Nick Cole’s description of what Apocalypse Weird would be, the beginnings of a story formed in my imagination. I told Nick, “You had me at Black Dragon.” Those were the third and fourth words in his description, starting with Imagine a…

I wanted to write an action novel, a supernatural episode of 24, in real time, with Jack Bauer being eighteen-year-old Kasey Byrne, my main gal in the story. But I didn’t want only action. I wanted an overriding philosophy, a greater story arc spanning different worlds and times and ancient training grounds and a revelation for my main character at the end that would turn the tables and set the stage for the next book. The underlying mythology crept up piece by piece and mid-way through the story, I knew I had at least two more books in my head. At the end, there was material for four, plus this one.

Kasey Byrne is a girl who loves to surf, who just had her last day of high school and who celebrates her eighteenth birthday on the beach, on the eve of summer solstice. She thinks she is just a regular teenager with all the hopes and dreams and disappointments that come with it. Her parents are divorced and she’s navigating her way through life just as any teenager would. She has no idea who and what she is and what she could become. Like so many of us, she doesn’t know her own potential. During the storm of terror and the thirty six hours we spend with her in book one, something inside her begins to awaken – something she has dreamed of and written pages upon pages in her diary about without knowing what it is.

When I started writing, I had a very specific goal: I wanted the book(s) to be epic and reach beyond a linear, two-dimensional story to a different place entirely. To write a book about a dragon is tricky. It has been done so many times and even though dragons are amazing and extraordinary creatures, stories about them can become cliched very easily. I didn’t want a cliche. I wanted to take the cliche and turn it on its head and inside out and make it into something completely new and exciting. I hope I succeeded. The time is almost here. On April 21, 2015, it will be up to you, the reader, to decide if it worked.

Until then, until the day the White Dragon takes flight, I remain very truly yours,

Stefan

P.S. This is Kasey’s car. Let’s just say this is a “before” picture ;-). In the story it’s light blue instead of green. She got it on the day of her 18th birthday. Unfortunately, this was also the day when the apocalypse reached the shores of Long Island.

Jeep

3 . 2 . 1 . LAUNCH!!!

In an unprecedented publishing event, on February 23rd, 2015, five (5!) new Apocalypse Weird novels will be launched simultaneously.

They include:

Texocalypse Now by Michael Bunker and Nick Cole

Texocalypse

 

The Dark Knight by Nick Cole

TheDarkKnight_FT_FINAL

 

Reversal by Jennifer Ellis

Reversal

 

The Serenity Strain by Chris Pourteau

Serenity

 

 

Immunity by E.E. Giorgi.

(cover to follow)

 

Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of Reversal, The Dark Knight, The Serenity Strain, and Immunity will be coming available starting in early February and leading up to the launch. ARC readers and reviewers will be eligible for some great prizes before and at the Facebook Launch Party on February 23rd from 2:00 to 8:00 Pacific Time.

 Prizes for ARC readers and reviewers will include:

  • Five signed paperback copies of Nick Cole’s Soda Pop Soldier for the review voted most helpful on Amazon by midnight on February 23. There will be one prize per launch book.
  • Three paperback copies of Texocalypse Now signed by Nick Cole and Michael Bunker. To be eligible, ARC readers must post their favorite excerpt from one of the launch novels on Facebook and/or Twitter and tag the author in the week leading up to the Launch Party.
  • A signed copy of pirated print copy of Osage Two Diamonds, by Michael Bunker, which officially does not exist in print. This prize will go to the best review of one of the launch novels on Amazon as voted by the launch authors by 6:00 PT the day of the launch.

 

The *grand prize* is a tier two contract for the Apocalypse Weird world of novels.

This prize will go to the best pitch for a novel set in the Apocalypse Weird world, as chosen by five launch authors at 4:00 PT on February 23rd. Purchasing and reading at least one of the launch books and demonstrating your author platform through sharing of information regarding the Apocalypse Weird launch books will be an essential part of developing a pitch.

Interested ARC prizewinners will also be put in a draw to receive book trailers developed by Apocalypse Weird authors Hank Garner and Kim Wells, as well as a podcast slot with Hank Garner on his popular Author Stories podcast series.

Readers will be notified of ARC availability via the Apocalypse Weird mailing list. Make sure you are signed up and don’t miss a single ARC.

 

www.apocalypseweird.com <http://www.apocalypseweird.com>

You can also sign up to receive updates by each of the individual launch authors on their websites:

http://www.nickcolebooks.com/

http://www.michaelbunker.com/

http://www.jenniferellis.ca>

http://chrispourteau.thirdscribe.com/

http://chimerasthebooks.blogspot.ca/

Don’t forget to join the Facebook Party hosted by the launch authors and many of the other Apocalypse Weird authors. There will be some great giveaways and lots of apocalyptic fun to be had.

The link for the Facebook Party is:

https://www.facebook.com/events/399694080198751/

Get the Books!

[books_custom amount=”6″ size=”150″ type=”newest” custom_sort=”publisher” custom_sort_value=”Wonderment Media Incorporated”]
 

Apocalypse Weird – A Revolution in Publishing

 

You may have heard and seen me talk about it here and there – this strange new thing I’m involved in. Apocalypse Weird is its name. It doesn’t sound like much at first glance. Just another thing. I’d like to take a moment and tell you why I think Apocalypse Weird will revolutionize the publishing industry. Never in the history of main stream and indie publishing have you had a group of authors band together to create something that is larger than themselves – a world so vast and exciting, so unique and filled with stories of loss and survival, of life and death, of the brotherhood of human kind and of the apocalypse that might destroy it all.

Think for a moment about all the stories you have read as a child – the heroes and villains you’ve encountered; the worlds you have travelled; the dangers you had to walk through in order to reach the other side. Now think if this world would be dreamed up, made vast and dangerous, epic, and filled with those heroes and villains and stories, but imagine it not being done by one single author but by twenty – twenty of the most visionary indie and main stream writers out there.

As an example, let’s say you’re on your third Apocalypse Weird book and you suddenly realize that there is a connection between that story and a previous one. It’s subtle and you have to think about it a bit but after a while you figure it out and you get it, get that one of the characters in one story is there because of his or her involvment in another.

If you’ve ever watched the TV show LOST, you know it was filled to the rim with those interconnected stories. You’d see Hurley, after winning the Lottery, sitting at home at his mom’s house, trying to figure out why everyone in his life now has bad luck. “It’s the numbers! You have to get away from the numbers!” Loenard Sims screamed at him when Hurley visited his old friend in the mental institution. The lottery numbers of one episode connect to several other stories and story lines throughout the show.

The same thing, but much more interactive, is going to happen with Apocalypse Weird. Because it’s all on e-readers and kindles, and there are links hidden in the text, the readers can access secret sites, gather information about characters, connections, and such.

Twenty authors, together with a team of marketers, an incredible cover artitst, editor, formatter, all work together to create something that has never been done before. Ever.

4 of 5 covers

 

On February 23rd, five books will be published. You can see the covers of four of them above. Those five books will hit Amazon and all the other major outlets at once that day.

Here’s where you come in: We can’t do this alone. We need your help. Besides getting the books and writing reviews on Amazon, if you know someone at the New York Times, USA today, NBC, ABC, a radio host, TV host, or someone in the industry who knows someone who wants to interview one of us or write a blog post about us or invite us on his or her show, anyone, let me know. We’ve got three weeks and the launch will be epic. As epic as the stories. And you can help pull it off.

Never in the history of publishing had the reader such influence on the success of a project than with this one. You can be there with us. If you know of anyone who could help us, please send me an email. Here is my email address:

stefanbolzauthor@gmail.com

Thanks so much!

Stefan

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑