13 Things You Didn’t Know About J.H. Moncrieff

We were both sworn to secrecy, but J.H. Moncrieff and I first met while we both had books at the same publisher. We belonged to a top secret support group. Yes. We all suffered from PTSD (Publishing Traumatic Stress Disorder) and needed the support of one another. Deep friendships were made, and we all looked out for each other. Except for one person. She vanished, although one of her woolen gloves was found just outside a Books A Million in Detroit with a half-chewed bit of hamburger and a few pennies.

From there, we hooked up this past year’s StokerCon on the Queen Mary,  partnering up for a well-attended joint reading. Of course, reading her work was most impressive. This is someone who won Harlequin’s Gillian Flynn award this past year, and her expertise in suspense is terrific. She’s launching a new batch of books The Ghostwriter Series, with the first two having just been released. Please do check them out.

It’s always fun to break out of the usual interview format, and I always love doing these ’13 things…’ posts. Here, J.H. does not disappoint, and there are some truly fun and interesting facts. So here’s . . .

13 Things You Didn’t Know About J.H. Moncrieff

  1. I think The Sound of Silence is the most beautiful song ever written. It’s the song I want played at my funeral.
  2. Even though I’ve wanted to be a novelist since I was five years old, I also desperately wanted to be a forensic psychologist. Sadly, I let a high school teacher talk me out of it. It’s still the road not taken.
  3. If you see me shaking, it’s not because I’m nervous. I have an inherited condition called essential tremors. It usually doesn’t bother me, but in times of heightened emotion or fatigue, it can be really noticeable. It’s a pain whenever I have to do a reading, because people assume it’s nerves when I’m actually just pumped and excited.
  4. The accomplishments I’m proudest of happened not through fiction but through journalism. Articles I wrote connected a blind man to a surgeon who restored his vision, and resulted in a grandmother keeping custody of her ailing granddaughter.
  5. During childhood, I had a lot of accurate premonitions, to the point kids teased me about it. But I wasn’t above bullshitting—I once claimed X-ray eyes were how I knew what was in a teacher’s locked cabinet. (I didn’t have a clue what was in it, but since the cupboard was locked, my “knowledge” was never put to the test.)
  6. After I started blogging about unsolved mysteries, the families of missing people began contacting me for help. This has made me feel both honored and sad, because I wish I could do more.
  7. I have several bizarre phobias, including worms and going down escalators. I’ve mostly overcome the worm one in order to garden. I can go down an escalator, but it feels like I’m having a heart attack every time. It’s a great incentive to take the stairs.
  8. My best friend came to visit me after she died.
  9. Even though I’ve been to Shanghai twice, my general rule is I can’t visit a place more than once until I’ve seen every country on my bucket list. Five more trips to go!
  10. In spite of my love of dark fiction, I’ve read way more literary novels than horror, and I’ve read much more non-fiction than fiction. I read about 80 full-length books a year.
  11. I once inadvertently pissed off Kiefer Sutherland. I hated interviewing celebrities because it was difficult to get them off script. I always challenged myself to ask a question that would make them pause and think. With Sutherland, I asked him why he was often cast as the villain (this was before 24). For some reason, this got under his skin. He was quite snarky with me.
  12. My first published fiction story ran in my hometown newspaper when I was in grade four. It featured a bunch of vampires devouring everyone.
  13. I used to work in a haunted museum. I was showing some reporters around late at night when we heard (and felt) someone coming up behind us. No one was there. That’s about as frightened as I’ve ever been in my life.

J.H. Moncrieff’s work has been described by reviewers as early Gillian Flynn with a little Ray Bradbury and Stephen King thrown in for good measure.

She won Harlequin’s search for the next Gillian Flynn in 2016. Her first published novella, The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave, was featured in Samhain’s Childhood Fears collection and stayed on its horror bestsellers list for over a year. Monsters in Our Wake, a sea monster tale with a twist, was an Amazon horror bestseller.

The first two books in her new GhostWriters series, City of Ghosts and The Girl Who Talks to Ghosts, were released in May 2017.

When not writing, J.H. loves visiting the world’s most haunted places, advocating for animal rights, and summoning her inner ninja in muay thai class.

To get free ebooks and a new spooky story each week, check out her Hidden Library.

Connect with J.H.: Website | Twitter | Facebook

 

 

Book Review: All that Withers by John Palisano

A.E. Siraki brings a comprehensive and very positive review of ALL THAT WITHERS this morning. I’m so grateful!

A.E. Siraki, Writer

All that Withers short story collection john palisano

All That Withers
by John Palisano
Cycatrix Press
December 2016 (paperback)
292 pages
View the Book Trailer
*** Review disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. *** 

The first John Palisano novel I read was one released a few years ago, Nerves, which I reviewed for Hellnotes. Since then, he has had numerous subsequent releases and his latest is a short story collection called All That Withers.

We start things off with a story called Happy Joe’s Rest Stop. As the title suggests, the main character, Greg, is at a place called Happy Joe’s, which is indeed a rest stop where people that are in transit from place to place drop in to get some food and freshen up before the next leg of their journey. It seems to have more of a buffet atmosphere and…

View original post 1,232 more words

APEX magazine Revive the Drive!


I hear you love science fiction. Well, me, too. Have you read Apex? I know, right? The covers are absolutely stunning. Agreed. The stories are always top notch. Have you heard about the promotion? It’s super cheap to subscribe and there’s some great stuff to be had now and in the future . . . so check out their Revive the Drive campaign.

I had an opportunity to speak with Managing Editor Lesley Conner about some interesting stories from the past, what they’re up to in the present and some exciting news about the near future.

 

What is the most memorable submission you’ve received, good or bad?

I don’t actually remember the story, but one time an author was incredibly insulting in their cover letter. The gist of it was that if we didn’t accept their story it was because we were discriminating against them and were too stupid to understand the genius of the story. According to them they had experienced everything in the story and had written it based off those experiences so clearly it was the best story ever. Somehow I feel this logic is flawed. We did not accept the story—1. Because it in fact was NOT the best story ever, and 2. Insulting the editors before they even have the chance to read your story doesn’t exactly make them clamor to work with you.

I’ve received lots of insulting letters after rejecting stories (even had someone threaten to sue me once), but this was the first time it happened prior to rejection.

What kinds of stories are you looking for that you don’t see enough of?

I’d love to see more dark SF. We get a lot of fantasy, magical realism, and straight up horror submissions, but the slush pile can be a little light on dark science fiction.

Do you think reader taste changes? Or are there certain stories they never seem to tire of?

I think it goes in cycles. For a while one type or style of story will be really, really popular and then at some point you hit a market saturation—readers can’t absorb one more zombie story or fairy tale retelling or whatever—so those types of stories fall away and something else moves up to take its place. Eventually those stories will come back around and readers will be ready for them again.

What was the day like when you first knew APEX was going to be your full time gig?

There wasn’t one day in particular where suddenly Apex was my full time gig. It was a gradual thing. I started by volunteering 5-10 hours a week, working on marketing and social media. As I learned more about editing and publishing, and as Jason Sizemore and I built a working relationship, I began taking on more and more responsibilities. Then in October of 2014 the opportunity came up for me to step into the managing editor role. Jason Sizemore had moved back into the editor-in-chief position and we already knew that we worked really well together, so it seemed like the next natural step. Best decision I’ve ever made.

What’s upcoming with APEX that you can’t wait to share with readers? Any teasers?

The slush pile has been especially amazing lately and we’ve snatched up some gems for futures issues. Stories by E. Catherine Tobler, Lavie Tidhar, and Rich Larson to name a few.

In addition to the fiction Jason Sizemore and I are lining up, Dr. Amy H. Sturgis is guest editing the August issue, focusing on Native American and First Nation authors. I’m really excited to see what she brings to Apex Magazine.

With the Revive the Drive campaign we are running right now, we’ve lined up amazing things for the January 2018 issue—original fiction by Tade Thompson, Delilah S. Dawson, Cherie Priest, and Jacqueline Carey, more nonfiction,  and poetry! Pretty exciting stuff! Hopefully we reach all of our goals and unlock everything. If we do, the January 2018 issue will be epic!


Apex Magazine is a monthly science fiction, fantasy, and horror magazine featuring original, mind-bending short fiction from many of the top pros of the field. New issues are released the first Tuesday of every month.

http://www.apex-magazine.com

Details about the Apex magazine Revive the Drive campaign

http://www.apex-magazine.com/revive-the-drive-2017/

Apex Magazine is an online prose and poetry magazine of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mash-ups of all three. Works full of marrow and passion, stories that are twisted, strange, and beautiful. Creations where secret places and dreams are put on display.

Each month we bring you a mix of originals and reprints, interspersed with interviews and nonfiction. We have published many of the top short form writers working today: Mary Robinette Kowal, Saladin Ahmed, Genevieve Valentine, Amal El-Mohtar, Forrest Aguirre, Nick Mamatas, Theodora Goss, Nalo Hopkinson, Lucy A. Snyder, Cat Rambo, Jeff VanderMeer, Seanan McGuire, and Jennifer Pelland. And we’ve also presented the first professional work of amazing new writers such as Indrapramit Das, T.J. Weyler, Alex Livingston, Ursula Vernon, Kathryn Weaver, Kelly Barnhill, Douglas F. Warrick, and Jeremy R. Butler.

Apex Magazine received a Best Semiprozine Hugo nomination in 2012,2013, and 2014. We placed two stories in the 2010 Nebula Award category of Best Short Story, and our stories won the category in 2014 (“If You Were a Dinosaur My Love” by Rachel Swirsky) and again in 2015 (“Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon).

Each new issue is posted piecemeal throughout the month and placed on sale the first Tuesday of every month. Content can be read for free via the website. Alternatively, annual subscriptions are available and all our issues can be purchased in single issue formats (ePub/mobi/PDF or from the Kindle and Nook stores–these versions contain exclusive content such as classic reprints and novel excerpts).


We are reviving the subscription drive that was cut short in November. The new revived drive will run from March 27 to April 17th with a goal to raise $10,000!

Tier levels we will have to unlock during the drive will be:

  • $500 – Polls will open for readers to vote for the cutest/best Apex animal mascot: Pumpkin versus Oz! (Expect loads of adorable pics on social media as our editors try to sway you to vote for their pet!) Also, Jason and Lesley will make personal donations to the Humane Society
  • $1,000 – Apex will donate two short story critiques (one each from Jason and Lesley) to the ConOrBust auction, as well a membership to Imaginarium this October
  • $1,500 – Jason and Lesley’s It Follows debate goes live! Join our editors as they watch It Follows and live tweet the entire experience. If you’ve been following their conversations about the movie on Twitter, then you do not want to miss this!
  • $2,000 – an original short story by Tade Thompson in the January 2018 issue
  • $2,500 – add a poem to the January 2018 issue
  • $3,000 – add a reprint to the January 2018 issue
  • $3,500 – Andrea Johnson will conduct a video interview with Jason Sizemore, asking him questions submitted by our readers
  • $4,000 – add a a nonfiction essay to the January 2018 issue
  • $4,500 – add a second poem to the January 2018 issue
  • $5,000 – an original short story by Delilah S. Dawson in the January 2018 issue
  • $5,500 – podcast a second original story in the January 2018 issue
  • $6,000 – Apex donates a membership to ConFusion to ConOrBust
  • $6,500 – raise cover artist rates to $75
  • $7,000 – original artwork for all original fiction unlocked during the drive for the January 2018 issue
  • $7,500 – an original short story by Cherie Priest in the January 2018 issue
  • $8,000 – behind the scenes video with Jason
  • $8,500 – original artwork for all six stories in the January 2018 issue
  • $9,000 – a new print issue of Apex Magazine: SFFH #1
  • $9,500 – raise author rates to 7 cents per word
  • $10,000 – an original short story by Jacqueline Carey in the January 2018 issue
  • STRETCH GOAL!!! $15,000 – raise author rates to 8 cents per word and artist rates to $100!

Amazing, right!?! If we unlock everything for the double issue in January 2018, it is going to be phenomenal!!!

We are also collecting donated items from awesome people that you’ll be able to purchase during the drive to help us reach our goal.

Some of these donated items include:

  • story critiques from Jason Sizemore and Lesley Conner
  • flash fiction critiques from Anna Yeatts, editor at Flash Fiction Online
  • a query letter critique by literary agents Laura Zats and Eric Hane of Print Run podcast
  • signed prints of cover art from issues 80, 83, and 86
  • signed books by John Scalzi
  • signed books by Brian Keene
  • signed copy of The Crow God’s Girl by Patrice Sarath
  • signed copy of The Buried Life by Carrie Patel
  • signed copy of Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger
  • a handwritten poem by Brandy Schwan
  • cool collectors pieces by Justin Stewart
  • hats crocheted by Janet Harriett
  • coffee from Nate’s Coffee
  • Gamut/Apex Magazine subscription bundles
  • Shimmer/Apex Magazine subscription bundles
  • Flash Fiction Online/Apex Magazine subscription bundles
  • Personalized postcards from Lesley Conner for everyone who donates at least $5

HOW DO YOU FIND TIME TO WRITE?

HOW DO YOU FIND TIME TO WRITE?

We all live busy lives. Every single one of us. With the amount of distraction out there, it seems there’s even less time than ever to devote to a craft you love. People have classes, families, work, and every bit of life commitment towering above their time to write.

Last night, at a Halloween party, me and a few friends were discussing this very issue. My ten-year-old son was running around jump-scaring people. My eyes and ears were tuned to him, even as our group chatted. That’s testament to how much information processes through my head at any moment. And my situation is less extreme than many other people.

“How do you find the time to write all those stories and novels?” That’s a question I get often, as I’m seen as rather prolific.

The very first thing to realize is that you have to want to tell your story or stories. If you’re not passionate about them, no one else will be, either.

Which leads into my own method. It’s been years since I’ve had the luxury of prolonged writing sessions. I’m lucky to get an hour occasionally.

But . . . don’t writers live by the ocean in a big house, overlooking the sea, and sit behind big wooden desks with their only worry being their brilliant creations?

If only. Very few authors get to that level. That’s some sort of myth that’s somehow crept into the collective consciousness. The other big myth that’s out there is that one day: “. . . I’m going to finally get time to retire and become a writer, and all the money and acclaim will come to me when the world reads my stuff.”

Well, like the man sings: “ . . . if dreams came true, wouldn’t that be nice!”

Back to reality. Or at least my reality.

I’ve figured out my best, most fruitful time is the morning, right after I wake up. Your brain may work differently. But this works for me.

Before I get out of bed, before I do a damn thing, I write. I grab my iPhone and open Google Docs, which is free. Very often I’m transcribing a dream. If it’s not a dream, then it may be a song I heard in my head, and sometimes even story fragments. If none of those have manifested, then I will continue on a writing project I’ve already started. It could be a short story, or a novel, or what have you.

The important thing is to get words down. I don’t worry much about punctuation. I can fix that when I’m exhausted. Same with formatting. Although the thing I love about Google Docs on the iPhone is the way it scales the text to the screen size. It actually looks good. There are other programs, but none of them look as elegant to me. Again, the choice is yours. I like that it syncs right then and there. I don’t have to worry about data loss. I can pick up later on my iMac or my Chromebook and it’s all there.

ASIDE: I always, always check my stuff in MS Word on a real computer before sending it out. I’ve been burned when simply exporting to a DOC from every other word processing program and not at least doing a check. The most common thing that happens to me is that when track changes gets used, all the deleted stuff ends up back in the document, making it quite a mess.

Here’s the important part. I use my built-in timer. Within about ten minutes or so nature calls. That seems kind of gross writing it out here, but it’s a signal that the day is about to begin. Everything switches. People hear you’re up. Your pets know you’re up. The business of living begins and pulls you out of that comfortable zone of creation.

And if nothing else, you’ve gotten something down that day. That’s how I always feel. If the day starts, and there’s fire after fire to put out, I’ve gotten something done that advances my writing.

And it can sure add up fast. In novel writing mode, I can get out 500 words or so in ten minutes. That’s a chapter every two and a half days. An entire draft in two months. Not bad. It’s amazing how much you look forward to your time once you start. While you’re busy during the day, your thoughts are working. The story unfolds. You even sometimes write in your head before you can even get back to putting it down. Then it goes quicker, and you’re very productive.

This method can also spill into other times. Say you take 15 minutes of your hour long lunch break and do the same. Or 15 minutes at the end of the night. Whatever works out, works out.

It’s my hope this helps some folks find the inspiration to follow their hearts and find even the smallest bit of time to write their stories. Happy writing. If you use this, please comment here and let me know. I’d love to hear the story about how you wrote your story!

‘All That Withers’ short fiction collection now available

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In 2016 Bram Stoker Award® winner John Palisano’s first collection, All That Withers, the stories range from Lovecraftian musings to terrifying explorations of the inhuman condition, with Palisano creating vivid images of desperate people engaged in ordeals which could happen to many of us . . . how they respond is the difference between their survival and oblivion.

Including several Bram Stoker Award®-nominated tales, as well as the 2016 Bram Stoker winner for Excellence in Short Fiction, “Happy Joe’s Rest Stop.”

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY MULTIPLE AWARD-WINNER AND HORROR WRITER’S ASSOCIATION (HWA) PRESIDENT LISA MORTON (TRICK OR TREAT: A HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN), AND AN AFTERWORD BY MULTIPLE BRAM STOKER WINNER GENE O’NEILL (CAL WILD CHRONICLES).

‘All That Withers’ is available now for pre-order at the Jasunni Press Store!

Direct Link: http://www.jasunnistore.com/all-that-withers-fiction-collection-by-john-palisano/

Halloween Collection ‘Starlight Drive’ now available!

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Four Halloween short stories from Bram Stoker winning author John Palisano, including the brand new tale, “Starlight Drive”.

STARLIGHT DRIVE 
‘John Palisano is exactly the type of writer horror needs right now: bold, brave, imaginative and unflinching.” –Bentley Little

STARLIGHT DRIVE
Four Tales of Halloween
‘This one’s for all those creatures for whom Halloween is the most wonderful time of the year . . . .’

From Bram Stoker Award-winning author John Palisano comes a collection of four tales from Halloween and Dios De La Muertos.

In “Starlight Drive” two boys find allies through unexpected friends who help them confront a neighbor from hell.

In “Outlaws of Hill County” a small town finds itself terrorized by a creature that only comes out on Halloween.

In “Samhainophobia” a group of college kids still find Halloween terrifying, although for a very different reason than they did while growing up.

In “Fantasma” a young boy searches for his lost cousin during a chilling Dios de la Muertos celebration.

View on Amazon.com

From the Author
With Starlight Drive, I wanted to collect a few of my Halloween stories that have appeared over the years, while also including a new short story exclusive to the collection.

Outlaws of Hill County has been reprinted in several places and languages since its premiere many years ago in the Harvest Hill anthology. It’s still one of my favorites, and includes the debut of the Long Fellow, a creature who can fold into the branches of trees and disappear, and who comes out on Halloween in order to suck the life out from kids, fingertip to fingertip. When I first wrote the story, I thought it was a little too insane to catch on, and figured it’d vanish. I’m delighted it has connected with readers around the world.
Starlight Drive is a story I’ve wanted to share for a long time and was based on a fantasy I had as a kid growing up. We had a really obnoxious neighbor. As kids, we had all sorts of myths about this guy. As an adult, I’m sure I’d have a very different perspective. But growing up, he served as the neighborhood bogeyman. It is exclusive to this mini-collection. 
Samhainophobia was an experiment in trying to make Halloween scary for college age kids. As we grow up, the monsters no longer scare us, and the holiday becomes more an excuse for sexy costume balls and drinking. I wanted to visit Boston and its suburbs again, which was wonderful. For those thinking it: this is NOT based on the publisher of two of my novels. It was written and published a few years prior. The coincidence in name is pretty comical, though.
Fantasma was a flash fiction piece I wrote for Terry West’s site. We are just seeing Dios de la Muertos crossing over into the mainstream. However, in Los Angeles, it’s something that plays a big part in the season and is an experience not to be missed.
I hope everyone who reads this mini-collection finds something to their liking. I appreciate the reads and am always delighted to hear from my readers. Thank you.

New Halloween mini-Collection, “Starlight Drive” now available

Starlight-Drive-Halloween-Tales
Just released a mini-collection for Halloween, “Starlight Drive”—
 
4 stories for those who believe Halloween is the most wonderful time of the year! It includes a brand new, exclusive story, “Starlight Drive” and gathers some of my other Halloween stories.
 
It’s only $5.99 for the print book and $2.99 eBook.
 
Thanks! Please remember: leaving reviews, no matter how short, help independent artists tremendously! 
 

New Releases!

It’s been an awfully long time since I’ve updated my Bibliography, and with several new releases just out or coming soon, I thought it high time to do so.

 

Scales & Tales front cover

Scales and Tales: Finding Forever Homes
I was very honored to have spent the last year editing the charity anthology Scales & Tales: Finding Forever Homes. This book benefits three local animal adoption programs, and was released as a limited edition of 500 print copies at Comic Con in San Diego. There will be a signing at Dark Delicacies in Burbank on August 28th, so please stop by and purchase a copy (or two!) and meet some of the terrific authors.

Los Angeles, CA William Wu Books 2016. First edition, limited to 500 numbered copies. Contains new stories by Tim Powers, Marv Wolfman, Lisa Morton, Jason V Brock, Sunni K Brock, William F. Nolan and more, including Clive Barker and Ray Bradbury. All proceeds benefit 3 adoption programs in Los Angeles: Southwestern Herpetologist Society, Kitt Crusaders, and Star Paws Rescue.

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“Eternal Valley”
In Cemetery Riots

In my short story, “Eternal Valley” a family relocates away from the city in order to help their sick son have a fighting chance. When he falls ill again, his father must make a journey to summon a doctor. On his way, he meets a mysterious woman who tells him of an entity in a lake that just might be able to help. Here’s the rest of the table of contents.

Imagine yourself in a cemetery. Void of all light at the base of a tree. But it’s no ordinary tree. This tree abounds with the dead. Now envision that each tree limb is a short story with its own vision, its own length of words, and its own insanity.With that said, beware of the widow makers and the strange foreboding dwelling beneath. Remember, nothing’s heavenly in Cemetery Riots. Cemetery Riots is a new collection of dark cautionary tales edited by T. C. Bennett and Tracy L. Carbone. With great pride, we introduce you to our stories and their authors… THE WAITING DEAD by Ray Garton, ABUSED by Richard Christian Matheson, CHILDREN’S HOUR by Hal Bodner, CARMICHAEL MOTEL by Kathryn E. McGee, THAT STILL, BLEEDING OBJECT OF DESIRE by Chet Williamson, LUNCH AT MOM’S by Tracy L. Carbone, FATHER AND SON by Jack Ketchum, THE DEMON OF SPITALFIELDS by Karen and Roxanne E. Dent, ERASURE by Lisa Morton, THE WINDOWS by T. C. Bennett, CERTAIN SIGHTS OF AN AFFLICATED WOMAN by Eric J. Guignard, THE MAN WHO KNEW WHAT TIME IT WAS by Dennis Etchison, THE RE-POSSESSED by James Dorr, CLOWN ON BLACK VELVET by Michael Sebastian, THE CELLAR by Kelly Kurtzhals, ETERNAL VALLEY by John Palisano, BLOOD by Taylor Grant, AMONG THE TIGERS by William F. Nolan, ALL OUR HEARTS ARE GHOSTS by Peter Atkins, THE ITCH by Michael D. Nye, and DRIVING HER HOME by John Everson.

Beauty of Death cover
“Mulholland Moonshine”
In The Beauty of Death

It’s the turn of the century in old Hollywood. It’s a time when being gay was even more dangerous than it is today. Falling in love has always been dangerous, and transformative, so when the object of your affection invites you up into the hills for a camping trip, and leads you to a mysterious body of water, you drink, and to hell with the consequences!

The Beauty of Death Anthology, edited by Bram Stoker Award® Winning Author Alessandro Manzetti.

Over 40 stories and novellas by both contemporary masters of horror and exciting newcomers. Stories by: Peter Straub, Ramsey Campbell, Edward Lee, John Skipp, Poppy Z. Brite, Nick Mamatas, Shane McKenzie,Tim Waggoner, Lisa Morton, Gene O’Neill, Linda Addison, Maria Alexander, Monica O’Rourke, John Palisano, Bruce Boston, Alessandro Manzetti, Rena Mason, Kevin Lucia, Daniel Braum, Colleen Anderson,Thersa Matsuura, John F.D. Taff, James Dorr, Marge Simon, Stefano Fantelli, John Claude Smith, K. Trap Jones, Del Howison, Paolo Di Orazio, Ron Breznay, Mike Lester, Annie Neugebauer, Nicola Lombardi, JG Faherty, Kevin David Anderson, Erinn Kemper, Adrian Ludens, Luigi Musolino, Alexander Zelenyj, Daniele Bonfanti, Kathryn Ptacek, Simonetta Santamaria.
Cover Art by George Cotronis


COMING SOON! 
13346551_10201892623753141_8788014962900180884_n“Paso Robles”
In The Junk Merchants: A Literary Tribute to William S. Burroughs
(Coming Soon)

“The Space Between”
In My Peculiar Family
(Coming Soon)

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VOICES OF THE DEAD preview at Shades & Shadows

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Last July, I was one of the featured readers at Los Angeles reading series Shades & Shadows. We had a full house, and it was wonderful to premier the first chapter of VOICES OF THE DEAD, the sequel to DUST OF THE DEAD. Many readers have asked me what happened after the events of DUST OF THE DEAD, and here’s the first taste.

While you’re there, I urge you to check out the other podcasts. The readings are short . . . around seven minutes each . . . so you can get a good taste of a new author without too much time. They’ve all been pretty damn good, if you ask me.

Podcast Episode 5!

 

Kindle Scout – A New Avenue for Writers?

This is an amazing new program, and Greg has always delivered some great books. All it takes is a click to support his book. THE CHANGELING looks great! Check out this story:

Changeling girl 2.jpg
Kindle Scout – A New Avenue for Writers?
By Greg Faherty

Being a writer is a tough business. You have to deal with rejection, long hours sitting in front of a computer, more rejection, editing, more rejection. Even after a book is accepted for publication, there’s still more editing to do, and then marketing, getting reviews… it’s no wonder so many of us enjoy the occasional cocktail. Six or eight times a day!

And today’s publishing environment doesn’t make things any easier. Traditional publishing? Self publishing? Small press? Big publishers? Submit to agents?

Hold on, I need a drink.

Ever since I started writing, I’ve been published 90% traditionally. The only exceptions were when I got the rights back to some books, and I placed them on Amazon myself. So when I finished my latest novel, a YA sci-fi thriller titled The Changeling, I was ready to begin that familiar submission process. Pick the top 10 publishers looking for that type of book, and send it out. One at a time. Realistically, if you throw in a few rejections (to which I’m no stranger; nobody in this business is, unless you already have a publisher or your name happens to be King, Rowling, Martin, etc.) you’re looking at 1-3 years before you get that publishing contract.

A rather daunting process.

But before I had a chance to begin, a couple of writer friends suggested I give Kindle Scout a try.

For those of you who don’t know, Kindle Scout is a relatively new program run by Amazon. Basically, the reading public serves as the slush pile team. The writer uploads a completed manuscript, synopsis, cover art, and some other info. Readers read an excerpt, and then they have the option to vote for the book if they think it’s interesting enough to finish. Get enough votes, attract the attention of the Amazon editing staff, and you have a chance to earn a publishing contract with Amazon. The benefit to the reader? Each book you vote for, you win a free copy of the ebook if it gets published. The benefit to the writer is an advance, royalties, and Amazon’s marketing machine.

Not too shabby.

But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Let’s take a look at the process:

The first step is getting the book ready for publication. This process is similar to self-publishing through Kindle. Your manuscript must be polished and ready; professional editing is a must. You need a good synopsis, a 2-line, catchy description, and a short, 1-paragraph summary. You also need a professional book cover; that means either investing some money or doing it yourself, if you have the skills. Amazon is very tough when it comes to covers. Shoddy art almost guarantees you won’t even get accepted to run a campaign.

No one seems to really know what the Scout team bases its acceptance decisions on, but if you make it past this first phase, you’ll get an email in a few days informing you your campaign is a go.

Once you stop celebrating, the second step begins. And this is the hard part.

Each campaign runs for 30 days. Amazon will tell you the launch and end dates. Usually, you have 2-3 days to prepare for the launch. You’ll need it! It’s best to prepare your social media posts, emails, and any other promotional strategies during this time, so you can be ready to go the moment the campaign goes live.

In my case, I lost a few vital hours because my campaign started at midnight. Bad Amazon, bad! So it wasn’t until 6am that I got started sending out the news.

Now, here is a key tip. You need to find a balance between over-promoting and under-promoting. Too little, and no one goes to your page. Too much, and everyone who follows you on social media will get sick of you. Remember, people can remove their votes, so you don’t want to annoy anyone! There are also paid services you can use that will blast your campaign link out all over the place, but beware. Amazon tracks where your page views originate from, and if it’s all paid promotion, they will take that into consideration, because it means people might be voting without actually reading the excerpt.

As I write this, I’m in day 12 of my 30 days, and the statistics on my Scout page show a trend already. When I post in social media (twitter, my own FB page, various reader and writer FB pages), I get 2-3 times the number of views as on days that I don’t. Even so, I’m careful to only post 1x per week on my page, and 1x per week on the various promotional FB pages. I’m saving the daily posts for the final week.

All in all, it’s a rather stressful process, especially if you hate waiting. I liken it to submitting traditionally, but you can see the editor reading your book and you’re trying to gauge their reaction.

There is one advantage, though. Within a week or so after your 30-day campaign ends, you learn if you’ll be offered a contract or not. Unlike traditional publishing, where a book can sit for up to 12 months before the editor even sees it.

The best thing is to practice patience and pour another drink!

For those of you who might be interested in taking a look at my book, here’s a little bit about it.

Struck by lightning, developing new superpowers, and pursued by a power-hungry secret military group that wants to use her as a weapon of mass destruction…it’s so not the 18th birthday that high school senior Chloe Olivetti was hoping for.

This is the summary to THE CHANGELING. If you have a minute, please register for Kindle Scout (it’s free!), read the excerpt, and if you like it, give it a vote. The benefit to you? If it wins, you get a free copy of the book for your Kindle and the book gets published. Plus, you’ll have my ever-lasting gratitude for your support (and maybe another free gift as well!). Here’s the link:

http://tinyurl.com/Changeling-scout

Thanks again!

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