Apple-Obsessed Author Fella

In Which You Interview Me, Part One

It’s high time to finally answer the 80+ questions you crazy people asked me way back when.

I may shorten some of your questions or correct your typos/spelling errors because I am an ass. Accept it.

I will answer a chunkful of these at a time.

Let us begin.

“I really liked Double Dead. Any chance of a sequel?  — A. Wallace

BOOM. It’s called Bad Blood. And it’s outtie like a belly button, yo. I probably shouldn’t ever say that last part again, should I? Hm. Anyway! The book — which is a novella, or rather, an e-novella — is available at Amazon and B&N. It will cost you a mere $3.14.

My crime genre novel ‘London’s Falling’ is going to be published (By UK based Caffeine Nights Publishing) in August this year. I have been trying to promote it on my website can you think of any ways I can really spread the word (even going viral) about the book in the time leading up to publication? — David Byerlee

Damn, David, this is supposed to be all about me! ME I TELL YOU ME *kicks over a lamp, punches a cow, throws a mug of whiskey at a passing motorcyclist, kills a mythological being and feasts on its heart in public nom nom nom*

Anyway, to answer your question:

I have seriously no idea. If you figure out a good answer, let me know. You may want to wrestle author Paul Cornell on television, though, because his novel is also London Falling.

(And it has a very lovely cover.)

About how much money do you make per book per month? I’m just curious just how little or how much money I’ll get. A bad book tends to rank in the millions, whereas an ok book (like yours) ranks in the 100,000s, and an awesome book ranks from 10,000-1. I would just like to know so I can size up my income. — M. Chapman

Aww, thanks for calling my books “ok,” M. Chapman! You really know how to tickle a guy’s heart. As to how much money I make per book per month — well, I’m not really compelled to be that transparent, business-wise. Further, each book earns differently than each other book, and that monthly total goes up and down. And I can’t speak to my traditional releases.

What is the best animation software when making sprites for video games? I have a game I’m developing (we’re currently trying to finding our team of crack game designers), called Aerwood. It’s an RPG, so there’s going to be a lot of Sprite recycling. I have Gimp, so I can create awesomely detailed sprites, but I need to find a good software to make my sprites move. Oh, and anyone who is reading this, there are still jobs in the animation and programming departments. Contact me at (that includes you, Chuck). I’m trying to pay people in %s of the total profits, that way they only get paid well if they work hard, and it eliminates BSing altogether. — M. Chapman

Hey again, Mitch. Um, you do know that I’m a writer, right? As in I don’t… animate… sprites? That sounds like something you do on really good drugs, though. DUDE I’M ANIMATING THE SHIT OUT OF SOME SPRITES UNDER THE WATERTOWER FUUUUUCK.


As a sidenote, Mitch wrote me an email recently, and I feel like reproducing it here because a) it’s contains questions and b) it’s sort of insane.

Hey Chuck I’ve seen you have broken into the gaming industry. But what the fuck do you actually make? The description of your gaming books confuses me. So what are they, guides, dress-up games, how to masterbate on a magical chain saw and live guides? What the fuck is White Wolf? They don’t seem to make actual games, so I don’t think they can call their products ‘video games’ Are they just some lame roleplaying dress-up game like Dungeons and Dragons? Please be hasty answering, as I’m about to lose interest and have much masterbating to do. Don’t judge me! — M. Chapman

Multiple answers: I write things, or, put differently, I make stories. Sometimes those stories are games, which is to say, pen-and-paper roleplaying games like D&D (which is not… a dress-up game). Sometimes I also work on video games or transmedia gameplay. None of this involves “masterbating” or… magical chainsaws? Are you high? Am I high? Also, I hate to judge, but I’m going to judge anyway because that’s just how I roll: it’s spelled “masturbating.” Not “master,” but rather like, “Hastur.” So, if you were wanking it to The Unspeakable God, you might be “Hasturbating.” Hope that helps!

Where can I find that awesome Blackbirds cover as a giant-sized poster for my wall? — Michael

I’ve hidden one in a bunker far below Wichita.

You will have to dig for it.

You may have to kill a man.

You will encounter a three-headed alpaca and each head will ask you an impossible-to-answer riddle.

Only then will you find the Blackbirds poster.

Or you could bug Angry Robot or Joey Hi-Fi about making one.

Or you could pray to Hastur!


What was the approximate timeline from your finishing your premiere novel, being taken on by an agent, selling the title, and seeing it on shelves? — J.V. Capri

Do you mean Blackbirds? Oof. That’s not going to be a fun answer, but it will be illuminating — I’ve been working on Blackbirds since 2007, I think. So, between then and now is the writing, the rewriting, the destroying-and-rewriting again, the getting an agent, the submission to publishers, the publication. Five years. Now, the sequel, I literally wrote the first draft in a month. Second draft took me a couple weeks. Finishing a final edit now which will be a few days of work, mostly very light. And it’ll be out in August. So the timeline on that book is hella tighter. But that feels right to me. That first book was my “fumbling around in the darkness trying to find my way” book. It was my Shit Or Get Off The Pot book.

How long does it take for you to write a novel – from rough draft to submitted draft? — Amber Gardner

A related question! Answer: different for every book. Blackbirds took several years. The sequel less than two months. Popcorn (book one of the Heartland Trilogy, my recently sold YA series) saw a first draft last May, and a fourth (final) submission-ready draft in… February or March of this year.

Do you, as many penmonkeys seem to do, have a bit of a stationery fetish? — Bex

I do not strop up against stationary like a randy pony, no. In fact, I don’t have much interest in stationary or pens. I appreciate them as objects of beauty and for that I exclude them from my process. They’re too nice to be mucked up with my spatters and sputum.

Did you make a deliberate decision to go balls to wall– say whatever the fuck you want in your social media and writing advice — because it works with the genres that you write, or would it have been impossible for you to rope it in and play quietly? In other words, do you think authors should attempt to match their social media style to their publishing audience or just be themselves? — Sheryl Kee

It’s a little deliberate, and it’s also a little bit who I really am. There came a point when I realized that it was just easier to go with it and accept that I am my voice and my voice is me and that sometimes includes profanity or inappropriate metaphors using unicorns or other glittery creatures of yore. I think authors should match their social media style to their This Is What I’m Like As A Human Being style. Unless that style is, “I’m a snarging douche-swab,” in which case I’d say to maybe roll up a nicer character sheet.

That, by the way, is a reference to the lame dress-up game known as D&D.

Which flash fiction story response to your challenges over the years is your favourite? — James Clark

I apologize, James, but you gotta understand something about my brain: it’s basically a rusty colander. It catches certain big things like, say, the birth of my son or what kind of pie I like to eat, but it misses a great many details, like phone numbers or the names of my thirteen ex-wives or who wrote what flash fiction here at the site. What I will say is, I am often surprised at the quality of flash fiction here. And I’ll also add that any time Dan O’Shea or Tommy Pluck write a piece of flash, I’m going to seek it out as if my eyes were Awesome-Seeking Missiles.

The zombie apocalypse is finally here. You’ve beaten your way into a blessedly full armoury. Weapon/ammunition is needed, fast. Which do you choose?

It’s probably impractical given that it uses a depletable resource, but dang I love me a good shotgun. A nice autoloader — I’ve got a Remington 1100 with a real light synthetic stock that would blow some holes through some zombie meat. Ejecting their pudding brains left and room.

CHOOM CHOOM splurch.

When you edit, do you have a checklist? I.e. something like, search fo ‘ly’, search for ‘to be’ verbs, etc? — Shawn McGee

Nope. I just feel my way along and read it out loud and if it sounds good aloud, then I believe it reads well on the page. That’s just the writing part though — story demands a far longer, harder, weirder look. But again, no checklist there, either. It’s mostly ingrained by now. I poll my intestinal flora.

Have you seen my car keys? — Alan Baxter

I have. And I’m not going to tell you where unless you give me my goat back. And that goat better be unharmed. I don’t mind if he’s covered in lipstick like last time — I can look the other way on that. Return my goat to me and we can have a discussion about where I saw the keys.

Hint: they were laying in a urinal somewhere.

And that’s a good place to end.

Part Two, coming soon.

*crash of thunder*

*dramatic musical chord*

*delighted goat squeal*