Coming later in June…
But not my next release…
Details to follow, next week.
yours in storytelling,
Coming later in June…
But not my next release…
Details to follow, next week.
yours in storytelling,
Sometimes you just need to prioritize.
Say you’re a hero in an action movie.
Okay, so hypothetically.
You’re a hero and you’re supposed to save the day. You need to run down to the airport and single-handedly bodyslam an attack bomber that is targeted upon your favorite girlfriend’s beauty salon.
I made it a girlfriend because it’s important that a good story should have some “personal motivation”. I mean, let’s face it – if Bruce Willis was to come up against a skyscraper full of bad guys, odds are he would just dial 911 and then walk down the street out of pistol range and maybe get himself a bacon double cheese burger.
I don’t know, but Bruce Willis just seems to me to be a sort of a bacon double cheese kind of dude. Not in the first place, you understand. When he was doing Moonlighting he was more of a crab dip and olive spread kind of fellow – but he’s evolved over the years – which is how us old guys say that “He got old.”
But then he finds out his wife is being held hostage by those bad guys and all of a sudden he’s got himself a case of deeply seated personal diehard motivation. There is just no way that he is going to let old Hans and his boogey-boys get away with that kind of foolishment.
So let’s say that it is your favorite girlfriend’s beauty salon that is in jeapordy – and no, I’m not talking Alex Trebek – I’m not talking deep-fried danger. To make matters worse you had an appointment with her for a body perm – no, scratch that – way too metrosexual for an action hero – let’s say she was going to hew you high and tight like the god of all marine attack squads. Only, if that bomber drops it’s payload on the salon you are probably going to have to fall back on some sort of cheap barber – on account of action heroics just don’t pay like they used to – and he’ll mess up the haircut on account of he’s holding his mouth wrong when he wields his barber shears – on account of you probably punched him in the mouth after he good morning-ed you on account of your favourite girlfriend just got attack bombed to death.
Call it a mood swing.
So there you are – racing to save the day – and you’re running down the freeway towards the landing strip where the attack bomber is about to take off and then – out of the corner of your eye – you see a brand new reconditioned mint class Pac Man machine with one game already paid for.
You just have to stop and play that one game. I mean, this is Pac Man we’re talking about. You always rocked at Pac Man. Nobody could beat you. You were the freaking Pac Man King.
So you stop and you play that game and you get in that ghost-gobbling groove, acing up level after level, rolling and smoking that Pac Man machine like it has never tasted tobacco in its life.
And while you’re doing that the attack bomber takes off and drops its payload which brings you right back to that cheap barbershop where you are probably going to get yourself arrested for assaulting that poor hapless barber who just happened to good morning you at the wrong time of existence.
Next thing you know you’ve got a jail sentence and some three hundred pound bald one-eyed three-toothed dude named Bubba Chumsicle Gruntlebee is bringing you posies and smiling at you hopefully.
All because you let yourself get distracted.
Focus on what you are doing.
If you are trying to finish a story or a novel or a limerick about a three legged man named O’Reilly – then don’t stop in the middle of it and run off and write yourself a ninja opus.
Won’t be no Bubba Chumsicle Gruntlebee.
yours in storytelling,
I’ve got something cooking, writing wise. Actually, it has been cooking for a while – but it is finally coming to a boil. I recieved word last night. I’ll be able to let you all in on it early in June – but for now I have to remain tight-lipped.
It has necessitated a lot of concentrated work on my part. Nailing one project. Building up another. Getting up a decent momentum. It is definitely time to get to work.
And yet I spent a fair bit of this afternoon planting a bed of raspberries. Yesterday I dug the trench. Last night I bought some fresh dirt and some good manure. Today I planted them deep in the dirt and soaked the ground. Also did a whack of weeding and I need to mow the lawn in a day or so. Throw in some housework along the way and it really soaks up the time.
So why do I do it? Why don’t I say – “To heck with the yardwork, I need to write.”
Because every kite needs a string.
My yardwork helps ground me – no pun intended. It brings me to earth. It gets me in touch with what really counts – namely, life. No matter how busy any artist gets – they need to leave a little room for life to leak in – or else their creative wells will run dry.
Creativity is a work of the spirit – and if you cloister yourself off from life you will find your writing – or what ever your artistic endeavor may be – will wither like an unwatered plant.
As the summer begins to unfold, leave a little time in your busy schedule for a little day to day reality.
And – while I’m at it – let me add a photograph of my raspberry patch.
yours in storytelling,
Preacher Abraham Fell stared down at Thessaly Cross, breathing like he’d run for a good long stretch. He leaned over, bending at the knees to lay another slab of fieldstone upon her chest.
“We beat you with hickory and we beat you with iron,” he said, “and you withstood every blow.”
He stooped down and picked up another rock, never taking his eyes off her, as if she were some kind of dangerous viper who might strike at any moment.
He set the next rock on top of her, directly beside the others.
“We shot you and the musket balls swerved in midair like they were afraid of sinking into the taint of your flesh.”
He scooped up another rock, grunting as he scooped. He just wasn’t as young a man as he used to be – and no wonder…
Sights like this one aged you faster than years ought to run.
“We hung you in a noose woven from a widow’s gray hair, a noose soaked in children’s tears and you kicked and cackled like a hell-kite in the wind.”
He laid the next rock down, sank to his knees and scooped up another stone. He was building a kind of rhythm that made the labor just a little easier.
“We burned you but even fired failed us.”
It was true. She had witched a storm from a cloudless sky and drowned the blaze cold. Seth Hamilton, the town smith who had been the only man to dare kindle her pyre had been cindered black.
“Let the stones crush you and the dirt eat you,” Fell said, laying another rock – which made thirteen stones in all. These were all good-sized stones, hand-picked, at least the weight of child’s corpse. She ought to have been crushed by the weight upon her, yet she carried the load as if it were nothing but sticks and straw.
“Where did you hide the broom, witch?” Fell asked.
“Maybe it’s up your bunghole,” Thessaly taunted.
The broom was her power and Fell feared it – although he knew that he shouldn’t have. It was just a thing of woven willow. His grand-nanny swept the pine boards of her cabin daily with just such a broom and she certainly wasn’t a witch.
He bent for another stone.
Thessaly spat in his face. “Bury that, God kisser.”
He dropped the fourteenth stone upon her. It made a hard sound, like she had stared too long at the Gorgon. He grunted at the effort and she laughed at his strain – which stung his pride hard.
“You must pay for your crimes against God and this community,” Fell said.
Thessaly snorted. It wasn’t any kind of human sound. Her snort sounded like a boar in rut.
“What I pay for is refusing to give you my land,” she pointed out, as the wind rattled the grass. “What I pay for is witching your field in return for your greed. I pay for your cattle that ate the gray grass. Happiest of all, I pay for your daughter, Fell.”
Fell could still taste the smell of the dead meat festering in the back of his sinuses. He’d put down the last tainted beast this morning. He’d beat it square in the skull with his best chopping axe. The metal of the blade had chewed into the bone and stuck hard. He’d had to put his left boot against the cow’s forehead and lean back to work the axe loose. The unholy cattle hadn’t moved, not one of them, even after he’d cut the first two down. They just stood there in his field, the wind making slow soft harp sounds blowing through their gray rattled guts.
He had put his daughter Eliza down before he had started with the cattle. Then he burned what was left of her and buried her ashes in the field.
The husk that he had burned and buried wouldn’t have nourished a worm.
“Was the milk tasty, Fell?” Thessaly taunted him. “Did young Eliza find it sweet?”
“Witch!” Fell hissed.
He snatched up a skull-sized rock, scraping his hand against the rough granite and marking it with his own blood. He would match his stone and his blood against hers, he fiercely swore.
But first he had to know.
“Where did you hide the broom?”
“Closer than you imagine.”
She spat again. The phlegm spattered the grass. The wind blew a little harder as Fell flung the stone. The granite chipped and sparked upon her flesh.
The farmer in Fell’s soul feared a run of wildfire. A spark could easily rise up in dry times like this and tear through an entire countryside.
“I’ll curse you, Fell. I’ll curse you and all those who stand with you.” The old woman began to chant. “Merry through the prickle bush, the gore bush, the hump; careful round the holly fall, she’ll catch your shadow hold…”
The onlookers stiffened like a pack of wintered-over scarecrows. Fear, or something darker, rooted their feet to the earth. Fell stumbled back from the pit. The wind stiffened and gusted as Thessaly laughed all the harder.
“Our father,” Fell began to pray. “Protect us from this harridan’s evil spells.”
Thessaly continued to laugh.
“It is no spell, you fool. It is nothing more than a children’s rhyme, Fell. It was only a nursery rhyme. Maybe I wasn’t witching your field. Maybe I was merely waving my broom at a thieving crow.”
Did she speak the truth?
Fell smothered his doubt.
Thessaly Cross had killed Eliza and Abraham Fell would not rest until he saw the witch finally dead.
He knelt down and caught hold of the next stone.
Only she wouldn’t stay quiet.
“Witches don’t curse, Fell. Only men curse,” Thessaly ranted. “They curse themselves and their pitiful lot.”
“You lie,” Fell said, working the stone free
“Truth! I tell truth. Witches dance in easy circles. We follow the rhythms of time and tide and the wind that washes the earth’s bones dry.”
The wind howled. A tangled snare of root rammed through the dirt. Fell stepped back too late. The root twisted like a snake. It snared Fell’s wrists and held him fast.
“Witches plant what men water with tears,” Thessaly shrieked. “Witches sow the sorrow men must reap. Know this, Fell. When you harm a witch, you plant a grudge as old as regret.”
Fell tugged against the root. From the corner of his eye he saw the rest of the townsfolk, snared like screaming rabbits.
“I have you, Fell. I have you all. Now you will see what a witched field really is.”
Thessaly set the field to work.
She stirred dead grass into unholy life. The strands and stalks whirred like a wind of teeth, slicing through men and women who tried too late to run away.
The first man died in mid-scream, as a gust of grass harrowed the meat from his bones. A root, flung like a dirty javelin, impaled a second man. A third went down beneath an airborne avalanche of fieldstone.
The wind grew gray with dust, straw and flesh. The earth opened in great cratered, swallowing mouths. The townsfolk all died screaming.
Only Fell remained.
He stared at the carnage, as helpless as a snared rabbit.
“Witches sow, Fell. Witches sow and men must reap.”
She raised her hands.
He saw gray dirt imbedded beneath her fingernails.
“Shall I tell you where I have hid my broom, Fell? Have you guessed? Do you really want to know? I buried it in your very own field.”
The broom rose straight up from the earth’s dirty womb, not more than an arm’s reach from Fell.
“I and my broom will wait for you, Fell. We will wait for you like a seed waits for rain. Live with this. I have taken everyone you know, but I let you live to breed. I let you live with the knowledge that one day I will return to visit your descendants.”
Fell braced his feet in the dirt. He prayed for the strength of Samson. He fought against the root.
“Now I will show you how to bury a witch,” she crowed.
She hugged herself as if hugging an unseen lover. The earth moved in reply as a thousand rocks flew from the flesh of the field and hovered above her homemade grave. Fell tore his wrists from the shackle of root.
He felt the skin rip from his bones.
“No descendants! No curse! Today we die together,” he howled.
He uprooted the broom with his freshly skinned hands. He threw himself upon her. His momentum drove the broom handle straight through her heart. A gout of stinking blood splashed his face.
The willow-twig head of the broom stood out in all directions like an angry star. Fell saw the flash of tiny unimaginable teeth grinning from the end of each writhing twig.
Then the broom took him.
It ate at his face like his skin was nothing more than apple rind. He felt the white-hot twig-worms gnaw his features. He felt them tear and burn through the bowl of his skull. They crawled into the jelly of his brain and nibbled at his thoughts.
He had time for one last scream.
The broom ate that as well. It swallowed each morsel of Abraham Fell’s pain and terror as it dragged him deeper down into the hole with the witch. The rocks poised above them like a pair of hands, ready to applaud. Thessaly pushed him from her. She nearly pushed him from the grave.
“Live, Fell. Let the meat grow back upon your opened skull. Crawl back from the brink of death. My curse shall stand. This earth grows too cold for me. I will wait for you and your descendants in the belly of hell.”
“No!” Fell pushed back down upon her. “The curse ends here.”
He shoved forward. He felt the broom slide and suck through the cage of his ribs. He pushed himself closer, impaling himself on the broom handle. The willow wood splintered inside him. It nailed him to Thessaly’s twisting frame. He felt her bones wiggling beneath her meat like worms in the dirt.
She nearly slipped free.
He bit her lip, tearing grayish meat. The pain racked her concentration. She let her spell and the rocks above them drop. The grave, the broom, the witch and Fell were sealed inside completely.
For a long time, nothing moved.
The moon rose like a slow ghost, lanterning down upon the butcher field.
A small gray form pushed from the rocky grave. The gray hairless skin glistened beneath the cool wash of moonlight, like the hide of a stillborn rat.
It crawled away into the darkness that surrounded the field.
A lone owl hooted remorselessly
Did you like that?
That’s the first chapter.
If you want to read more you’ll have to spend a little money – namely $3.99.
Yes, I know, it always comes down to money.
You can order it directly from the publisher http://store.crossroadpress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1_243_244&products_id=412
You can order it from Amazon http://www.amazon.com/TATTERDEMON-ebook/dp/B0081UEXPE/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_3
You can order it at Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tatterdemon-steve-vernon/1110694364?ean=2940014405942
You can order it at Amazon.co.uk http://www.amazon.co.uk/TATTERDEMON-ebook/dp/B0081UEXPE/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1337247755&sr=1-1
You can order it at Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/160392
You can call me Ray, you can call me Ray-Jay, you can even call me Raymond…
yours in storytelling,
In honor of National Flash Fiction Day I’m keeping this short.
Here’s a flash fiction story of mine.
I call it BEAT WELL.
Read it and let me know what you think!
Happy National Flash Fiction Day!
Yours in storytelling,
It’s always difficult to spread the word about your writing. You have to be so careful to walk that very fine line between “Oh here comes Steve, he writes – doesn’t he?” and “DUCK AND COVER – HERE COMES STEVE – THE HUMAN SPAM MACHINE – MAN, I JUST KNOW HE’S GOING TO TELL ME TO BUY HIS BOOKS!”
I try to stay in the middle, mostly.
Guest appearances are a great way to help raise your writerly profile.
So when the folks at VAMPCHIX & BITE CLUB asked me to be a guest blogger at their page I jumped at it.
You can jump at it too, if you’d like.
I call it THE TULIPS OF A VAMPIRE.
I love gardening. There is nothing quite so unearthly grounding as the feeling of slamming your spade into a heap of dirt.
I’m punning aren’t I?
I promised the doctor I’d stop doing that.
“Keep up your serial killing,” he told me. “It’s healthier than punning.”
I’ll do it.
This time I will stick to it.
No more puns.
I am turning over a new leaf.
Well, I’m turning dirt over, anyway. Let me show you a patch in my garden.
Last year those tulips weren’t there. What was there was a patch of lilies. The lilies had been infested with lily beetles – little nasty red eating machines – that would strip the lilies down faster than a bucket load of Agent Orange.
So last year I yanked the lilies and planted an assortment of tulips. They’ll only be pretty for a week or two. I might put some gladioli in there to come up later in the summer. When the mood strikes me.
This weekend I also did some gardening. I plunked some big pumpkin orange gladioli in the tulip bed out front – so that I’ll have some flowers come the end of summer. I also cleaned out a bed of nonproductive random blooming nothings – which is a polite of describing a patch of garden that had gone to weed – and I replaced them with a pack of seeds for perennial sweet peas. I’d been saving those seeds from the old house where I had a huge perennial sweet pea that nearly swallowed the whole front wall.
I don’t know if the seeds will grow. I planted them and will just have to wait and see. The first time I planted the sweet pea it took about two years before it really came up.
That’s my style of gardening. I like to put down perennials by the heaping handful and then just wait and be surprised year after year.
That’s why I like e-books. They are out there and they will keep selling long after I’ve moved on to write something else.
See, you knew I was going to get around to comparing flowers to writing, sooner or later.
Here’s another picture of those tulips. The thicket they are standing in surrounds our front lawn. It gives the whole yard a kind of unkempt, uncombed English cottage kind of feel to it – which I like.
That stretch in front is the rose hedge that I put in two years ago. It goes right around the house and by the end of the summer it should have thickened in nicely.
Life – like gardens – are a work in progress.
But we were talking about getting the word out.
Sometimes that will happen all by itself.
Like this morning when I recieved an e-mail from a reviewer who had reviewed SINKING DEEPER a while ago.
He e-mailed me to let me know that he had just put up a blog entry that mentioned my novel SINKING DEEPER in amongst a list of ten under-appreciated YA novels.
I appreciated that.
SINKING DEEPER is a really good read that just seems to have sunk below the radar a little bit. Here’s hoping this blog entry pulls it back up a bit.
You’ll definitely want to take a look at some of those other books as well.
Yours in storytelling,
I don’t know why but the phrase “breaking news” always leaves me with an urge to check my skivvies.
However, since I haven’t been eating any beans lately I figure I ought to just mention a couple of recent sales.
I’ve just recieved word that the official contract for my story “Three Thousand Miles of Cold Iron Tears” – a tale involving Bigfoot, the ghost of Sam Steele and a billion spectral navvies has been finalized. This story will be a part of TESSERACTS 16 – Parnassus Unbound (Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing). The book should be out in bookstores this fall.
I love the cover.
There’s a really great Table of Contents including noted Canadian scifi writer Robert Sawyer. You can find out more details just by clicking that cover photo.
I’m also pleased to announce that my squid-romance “Wetside Story”, which originally appeared in my e-book BAD VALENTINES has been accepted for WILD STORIES 2012 – THE YEAR’S BEST GAY SPECULATIVE FICTION – which is due out sometime in the fall from Lethe Press. I am really pleased that this yarn made the cut for this anthology. Writing it was a bit of a gamble on my part. I thought I’d treated the subject with sensitivity – but it is an awfully hard trick for a straight old fart like me to write about gay squids.
And another fantastic cover.
IMPORTANT CORRECTION – ACTUALLY, I’VE JUST REALIZED – (which is a fancy of saying the editor knuckle-rapped me on the side of the head) – THAT MY STORY WILL BE INCLUDED IN WILDE STORIES 2013!!!
I’m going to leave the post as it is – because that still looks like a great collection and that is an awesome looking cover. Besides, postage stamps with errors are highly collectable – so why not blogs with inner goofs?
My apologies to all those involved. Sometimes stupid just gets in my eyes!
A lot of you folks will be pleased to hear that both of these volumes will be available in traditional paperback format.
Even though I am still boldly forging into the digital world I am always happy to see another quality book on my bookshelf. This will be three books due out this fall – counting my Nimbus release, MARITIME MURDER – and I may have a fourth release yet as I am currently working on another submission for an upcoming anthology that I was invited to contribute to.
And – those digitally minded folks should not worry. Both of these volumes will be eventually available in Kindle format.
yours in storytelling,
This is my one hundredth blog entry and I still do not know exactly what I am doing.
Let’s get that out of the way right off the bat.
I am just making this up as I go along – something that writers are supposed to be good at.
Theoretically, we get paid to lie proficiently.
I can do that.
This has been a very abundant month for anniversaries and accomplishments. Earlier this week marked the release of TATTERDEMON, my ninth e-book release from Crossroads Press.
That’s the ninth book in a little over a year.
You can check out my e-books just by clicking some of those covers that are lined up on the right hand side of this blog.
Saleswise – it hasn’t exactly been spectacular. I move about fifty e-books a month or about six hundred in a year. My bestseller – Devil Tree – moves about twenty-five copies a month.
How does that compare to my traditionally published books?
Well, having just recieved my six month royalty statement from my traditional publisher I can tell you that I moved about nine hundred copies of my traditionally published books in half a year.
I don’t have my other royalty statement handy and I don’t intend to root for it – but I can assure you with a great deal of conviction that the October statement is usually a fair bit better than the April statement.
Numbers wise – my bestselling book this statement was THE LUNENBURG WEREWOLF – which sold about 550 copies in the last half a year. Second place belongs to HALIFAX HAUNTS – which sold about 200 copies in the last half a year. So those two books alone sold more copies in a half a year than my nine e-books sold in an entire year.
So – why do I continue to concentrate on e-book releases?
That’s a good question.
I believe that digital publishing definitely represents the best new direction for an author to follow. This is not the time to dally and linger in the past. So I will continue to forge ahead and attempt to raise my profile in the e-book market.
That doesn’t mean that I am giving up on traditional publishing. As I’ve said I’ll be launching a brand new 216 page Nimbus collection – MARITIME MURDER - this fall. It should be released in time for the Word on the Street, here in Halifax – one of my favorite times of the year in which I get to hang all day long with folks who are definitely interested in reading and writing.
However, at the same time I am pushing forward on the e-book front. I have two YA novels – one paranormal involving a Bigfoot, a Coyote, a Raven and a Winnibago; and one illustated YA novel involving a teenage “Fight Club” – that I am at the point of completing for release in e-book format. I have got two other YA novels that are roughed out and should be ready later this summer. In addition to those four novels I have several short stories and a couple of short YA historicals that will likewise be released as part of a new Kobo publishing push. This summer will mark a whole new direction for the Steve Vernon writing machine.
Eventually these other works will be available in other formats but the first release will be strictly through Kobo.
That’s all the news that I can tell you right now.
I will definitely keep you posted on further developments.
In addition to this being my one hundredth blog entry I also recieved word through the WordPress system that I have recieved my one hundredth “like” – which is likewise cool.
Since I first launched this blog I have managed to attract several new followers every month. I’m sure there is a way to figure out how many followers I’ve got – but I again refer you to that earlier comment about how I have absolutely no idea as to what exactly I am doing on this blog.
Nevertheless I was pleased and honored to recieve the VERSATILE BLOGGER award this week.
This is a great award on account of I really admire it’s pretty Hulk-like green color. However – with great awards come great responsibility – and I now have a whole new set of rules that I am required to follow, following this nomination.
Fortunately, I am versatile – or didn’t you read that green award two paragraphs past?
Rule Number One – I have to thank the person who nominated me – namely, Lauren Waters, a writer who has been a great fan of this blog from early days. You can find more about Lauren Waters at her blog – http://laurenwaters.net/ - and if you had any degree of “classitude” you would likewise FOLLOW Lauren Waters blogsite. So, thank you Lauren Waters – and I hope my stern commandments to the folks who are reading this blog bring you an entire new classitude stratum of followers…
(you see, if you have break out your thesaurus while you are writing a blog entry folks will be impressed at your abundant vocabulary and the mulititude of high-syllabic-word-structures that surface in your blog entry – which you file under B – as in Baffle them with Bullshit!!!
Rule Number Two – I have to share seven things about myself.
#1 – Like Lauren, I can also read palms. I did so professionally for about fifteen years and still show up at certain events and festivals throughout the year.
#2 – I am a gardener – and later this afternoon I will be planting a bed of orange gladioli and a bed of giant perrenial sweetpeas.
#3 – I frequently like to pretend that I am dumber than I actually am.
#4 – I am a monogomous old coot who really enjoys being married to the best bellydancer in the universe – namely my wife Belinda.
#5 – I am actually a passable cook – and I intend to release a cookbook with my wife Belinda later in the summer – again through Kobo.
#6 – I have a deep crush on Jamie Lee Curtis.
#7 – I have absolutely no idea what I am doing – (see #3)
Rule Number 3 – I must nominate SEVEN other Versatile Bloggers. This one rubbed a little bit the wrong way because I have long held a deeps-seated grudge against chain letters and those horrible Facebook entries that ask you to “Join up on Farmville and send me some help” or “Repost this entry if someone in your life recently died of the bubonic plague.” Never-the-less, I will attempt to nominate SEVEN other Versatile Bloggers.
Nominee Number One – Gef Fox – WAG THE FOX http://waggingthefox.blogspot.ca/
Nominee Number Two – Jim of THE GINGER NUTS OF HORROR http://thegingernutcase.blogspot.ca/
Nominee Number Three – Dave of LIFE AFTER UNDEATH http://www.lifeafterundeath.com/
Nominee Number Four – Kent Allard of DEAD IN THE SOUTH http://deadinthesouth.blogspot.ca/
Nominee Number Five – Mark Justice of THE POD OF HORROR http://www.horrorworld.org/poh.htm
Nominee Number Six – Colum of DREADFUL TALES http://dreadfultales.com/
Nominee Number Seven – Slade Grayson of BOOKGASM http://www.bookgasm.com/reviews/horror/sudden-death-overtime/
We deal in lead, friend!
So I’ll send out the nominations to the appropriate recipients and I’ll try and live up to that whole “VERSATILE BLOGGER” title.
But for now I have got to get back to my writing.
That new e-book isn’t going to write itself.
yours in storytelling,
I’ll have to sit down and right a proper blog entry tomorrow for my 100th blog entry – but today I’ll soon need to head off to a shift at the dayjob – so for now I’ll just let you know that there’s a brand new review of SUDDEN DEATH OVERTIME at Life After Undeath.
Check it out.
yours in storytelling,
There is something about a scarecrow blowing in the field that both intrigues and terrifies me. The grim implacable nature of the sight of a man-like figure, impaled upon a cross of timber or driftwood. Clad in tattered hand-me-downs, ofttimes reeking of mold and despair.
I believe this fascination with these homemade idols began when I first watched Walt Disney’s THE SCARECROW OF ROMNEY MARSH.
Now that was a cool and scary dude.
I spotted it once on dvd. I should have bought it but my wallet was empty at the time. I came up a couple of weeks later and it was out-of-stock. Turns out that Disney had only made it available for about a month. Now, if I want to own a copy I have to pay a billion dollars to some dude on Amazon who is holding out for top dollar prices.
I’m sorry – but Walt, that truly sucks mule leg.
So I set out some time ago to write my own scarecrow novel.
How long ago?
Well, at the time I was writing it with Leisure Horror in mind. Thankfully, that deal never came through. The book sat unsold on a shelf for a very long time. There were only so many publishers out there that I felt would do justice to such a project.
You have to understand that TATTERDEMON is the largest and longest book I have ever written – about 100000 words in total. And, at the time, it needed an awful lot of cleaning up. I let it sit for a good long while and then whittled it down to a solid 90000 words.
Then last spring I started looking into publishing e-books. I approached a couple of companies and Tatterdemon was picked by one company – directly before I got involved with the good folks at Crossroad Press. A year after signing the other e-book company hadn’t been able to get TATTERDEMON out there – so I asked them kindly if they wouldn’t mind if I took it back. They completely understood. I took it back and brought it to Crossroad Press. We hammered on it some. The Crossroad editing team spotted a few thousand goofs that I had made.
Meanwhile I found myself a good cover artist – namely Neil Jackson. We took a look at a couple of different cover designs. First, we toyed with the notion of using the Nuckalavee, a centaur-like fairy-beast that figures into the storyline.
Then we decided to keep it simple with an eerie sort of scarecrow figure, standing alone in a darkened field. I mean, the Nuckalavee is cool and all – but this is a book about scarecrows.
And my golly, do I throw an awful lot of scarecrows your way. If you don’t dream of hay and sticks and faded denim than I guarantee your imagination-muscle is seriously on the fritz.
So, if you are looking for a big fat fun and frightening read this month – why not pick up a copy of TATTERDEMON?
You can buy it directly from the publisher, if you like. That always gives me the best cut of royalties – and offers you a choice between Mobi (Kindle), ePub (Sony / Nook / iPad / Kobo), PDF (Adobe), or PRC (Mobipocket). http://store.crossroadpress.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=1_243_244
Or you can buy it at Smashwords – which is a great little company for folks who are into indie self-publishing. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/160392
Or you can buy it at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/TATTERDEMON-ebook/dp/B0081UEXPE
Whatever you do – go out and buy it. This may be the last big fat novel I write. When I put together TATTERDEMON I was still writing for the commercial paperback market. At that time you were expected to turn in a manuscript that was AT LEAST 80,000 words or longer. These days I tend towards leaner work – maybe 40,000 to 60,000 words. In e-book that works just fine. I’ve always preferred the novella format and I used to love reading Doc Savage and the like – lean hard-hitting skinny little pulp novels that you shot through your eyeballs and into your brain like a dose of hot gamma rays.
Still – I will say this. I’ve always told people that the book that made me think to myself – “Gee, I want to write horror.” – was Stephen King’s SALEMS LOT. I absolutely loved the way that King captured that whole small town meets the booga-booga feeling. I loved the way he wove those small town characters into the fabric of his yarn. I tried to insert a little bit of that small town magic in SUDDEN DEATH OVERTIME – (which is still free on Amazon today – plug, plug, plug) – but it is in TATTERDEMON that I get to rock on that particularly riff full out.
So – if you dig SALEMS LOT – then I’m pretty sure you are going to dig TATTERDEMON.
yours in storytelling,