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,