Ah, our old friends death and decay are slinking off into the shadows, replaced by that bright and cheery bastard, Spring. These are tough times, my Hellions. Tough times.
But I’m here to lessen our misery.
Ho ho ho, Hellions! Still recovering from a holiday with the family? Or is Uncle Bill with irritable bowel syndrome still living in your guest room?
Oh, the horror! And now that we’re on that subject, Samhain horror is about to say bye-bye forever. When the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, the dozens of great books they published over the past 5 years disappear. Poof! Some may find homes with new publishers, but a lot may never be seen again.
So, if you got some cash or gift cards this year, why not spend a few bucks on some Samhain titles before they go the way of the Dodo? Then you never need to say goodbye to books by outstanding authors like Jonathan Janz, Brian Moreland, Russell James, Catherine Cavendish, Ron Malfi, Tim Waggoner, Glenn Rolfe, David Bernstein, Alan Spencer, Frazier Lee, Megan Hart, Kristopher Rufty and so many more?
I was fortunate enough to publish 6 novels and 3 novellas with Samhain and the greatest horror editor of all time, Don D’Auria. I can tell you now that some of my titles will find new homes and new incarnations, but others may go out of print for good. I’m still talking to publishers and deciding what to do. Odds are, even the ones that will resurrect won’t be available for quite some time. I invite you to hop on over to my Amazon Author Page and take a gander and see which titles you’d like to grab before there ain’t no more to grab.
This is a great week to curl up with a good book and take a well deserved break. I hope you choose a Samhain horror book to be your post-holiday buddy.
For those who rode along with us during this 5 year journey, what were some of your favorite books and authors? I just may reward random people who post their favorites with some free Samhain ebooks. Here’s to hitting new heights in 2017!
It’s kinda sad to write that headline. *sniff *
I have 2 final appearances for the year that will also be your last chance to pick up my signed Samhain books before they go out of print. First up, I’ll be at the Hudson Horror Show on Saturday, December 3rd at the Empire Hills Theater in Poughkeepsie, NY. It’s also the first event where I’ll have copies of my latest, Loch Ness Revenge. Even better, my daughter the baker will have specialty homemade cupcakes for sale as well. Get a book and a cupcake and enjoy the movie marathon.
Then, on Friday, December 9th, I get my bad Santa on along with authors Robert Stava, Time Meyer and Matt Manochio with our Horror for the Holidays event at Yonkers Brewing in Yonkers, NY. The festivities begin at 7pm and end when Santa’s sacks are empty. Yonkers Brewing makes some of the best beer in NY and they have an excellent restaurant. Come and ho-ho-ho along with us.
It only stands to reason that if you write a book called THE JERSEY DEVIL, you need to show your face around Joisey. If you make it to my first appearance in NJ this Friday, you’ll get to partake of a bottle of Jersey Devil wine when I crack open this cryptid vintage. As of today, here are 3 of my upcoming appearances (with more to come):
10/21 – SPIN ME ROUND in Phillipsburg, NJ
11/4 – PINELANDS BREWING COMPANY in Tuckerton, NJ
12/3 – HUDSON HORROR SHOW in Poughkeepsie, NY
All of the details for each are below. Hope you can come out and have some fun with the monster man!
SPIN ME ROUND on October 21st signing books before a short film festival. Here be the deets…
7 to 8:45 PM: Meet and purchase Hunter Shea’s latest book signed!!!
8:50 to 9:35 PM: Short Films Block including: (Tentative Order)
Used Body Parts Directed by Venita Ozols-Graham
PITY Directed by John Pata
SPLIT Directed by Andy Stewart
Edgar Allen Poe’s BERENICE Directed by Jeremiah Kipp
9:35 to 11 PM: Nailbiter The Movie directed by Patrick Rea
Location: Spin Me Round in the Phillipsburg Mall at 1200 US Highway 22, Phillipsburg, NJ (Come shop for Records, DVDs, T-Shirts, Books, CDs and more…)
Next is a signing with author Tim Meyer at Pinelands Brewing on November 4th. Nothing goes better with my books than beer! By then, I should also have copies of my latest novella, LOCH NESS REVENGE!
This will be my second year in a row attending Hudson Horror Show. They have a great movie marathon and a choice selection of vendors so you can holiday shop for all the ghouls in your life. I’ll have all of my books on hand, plus my daughter the baker will be selling horror themed cupcakes! She makes killer cupcakes. This might be your last chance to grab my Samhain titles before they’re out of print.
I’ve been noticing a trend lately of people wanting to downsize (tiny houses) and get rid of all the clutter a lifetime accumulates. Even if your lifetime is only 20 years, it’s remarkable how much crap we surround ourselves with. Clutter equals mess. And when you’re wading through a mess every day, it’s very hard to get things done.
The same goes for writing. So, inspired by the bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I’ve decided to delve a little deeper and address what anyone who wants to be a writer can do to pitch the useless crapola and make the writing/creative process flow like the mighty Mississippi.
1. THE TBR PILE – I have two golden rules for writing – Read and Write. You can’t do one without the other. I know many of you have massive To Be Read piles. I looked at mine a month ago and saw that it had grown to over 4 feet! And that’s not counting the ebooks on my Kindle. Plus, I keep adding books to the pile. I realized I was never going to make my way through it and in fact, it was giving me stress. So, I sat down and went through every single book and weeded out the ones that had been there for over a year. Let’s face it, if you haven’t touched it in a year or more, you really don’t want to read it. That got me down to 2 feet of books. Then I asked myself, “If you can only bring 5 books away on a nice extended vacation, which would they be?” Believe it or not, it was very easy to just select the five. I then did the same with my Kindle, moving any unread books that I wasn’t really going to read to different folders so they weren’t staring me in the face every time I turned it on. My next step is to get a local store to let me put in a bookshelf where I can relocate my old TBR books with a sign – “Read a Book, Leave a Book”. I hate to throw books away, so this is a great way to spread my love of reading, and it gives other free access to new and used books.
2. WRITING SPACE – Now, I have a very cool corner carved out in my house for writing, but I tend to write all over the place. We’re talking the kitchen, living room, in bed, the yard, my car. I haven’t tried the bathrooom…yet. But, my special writing space is also where I keep my notes, printouts, receipts, supplies, you name it. And over the course of a year, it becomes a repository for anything without a proper home. When I look at it, I get queasy, wondering if there are any unpaid bills or parking tickets under that mess. There’s a simple solution for that. Get a 30 gallon lawn and leaf bag, set aside 2 hours one day and just dive in. Also, be ready to make folders so you can organize the things that are truly vital. And pay those tickets!
3. PODCASTS – I, like so many others, am a podcast junkie. Some I listen to for entertainment and others for inspiration or education. You’ll see me with my headphones on while I walk, clean the house, cook or do the yard work. I love them. Buuuut, I had subscribed to so many and felt obligated to listen to each new episode, they were eating into my time to write. I looked at my iPod. Holy moley, I was trying to keep up weekly with over two dozen podcasts! That’s just way too many. So like my TBR pile, I whittled it down to my 4 essentials, the ones I really look forward to each week. That would make it less than one podcast a day, which is perfect. Of course, I will allow for a 5th to be added from time to time, keeping that as a rotating slot, listening to an episode here and there if it interests me. What are my 4 essentials? It’s an interesting list – Gilbert Gotffried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast, Bloody Good Horror, Jim Harold’s Paranormal Podcast (and Plus Club) and Archaeological Fantasies. Right now, the 5th rotating slot flips between My Dad Wrote a Porno and Novel Marketing Podcast.
4. ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING PROJECTS! – Odds are, you have more than one iron in the fire when it comes to your writing. You may be working on a novel and some short stories, with plans for a novella and a cookbook down the line. After a while, your wish list of what you want to write can get a little daunting. It sure did for me. I sat back one day and realized I had 16 writing projects lined up for the next year. How the hell could I manage that? And more importantly, why did I agree to so many? I needed some way to be able to not only see them all in one place, but track their progress. As long as I was able to visually see things getting done, I might be able to cut back on the Xanax. So I went to Staples, bought the biggest cork board I could find, a stack of different colored Post It notes and some push pins. I then created strings of Post Its for each project, listing the title at the top and a Post It for each stage in the writing process. For example, with my upcoming Loch Ness Monster book, the string of Post Its went like this – LOCH NESS REVENGE – 1ST DRAFT – REVISIONS – BETA READERS – FINAL REVISIONS – SUBMIT TO SEVERED PRESS. As I got each section done, I removed the Post It note. I can’t tell you how good it feels to pull a Post It away. Kind of like finally going to the bathroom after holding in your pee for an hour. Bliss.
5. MOVIES, MOVIES, MOVIES – Most writers I know love movies, and just like books, we tend to buy a ton and hoard them. Movies are a great way to settle back and relax, inspire and recharge our brains. I could happily spend every minute of the day in my lounge chair watching movies. But damn, my shelves are now jam packed with DVDs, Blu Rays and even old VHS tapes. We’re talking hundreds and hundreds. No one needs that many movies. As a family, we’re going to go through them all and see what we can sell in a yard sale, donate or just toss (not sure why we have 3 copies of Fat Albert). And to stop ourselves from just buying more to replace them, we subscribed to Netflix and Amazon Prime. Odds are, 90% of the movies we watch we’ll only do so the one time. No sense owning a hard copy that will only collect dust.
6. CHORES – Now that you have all the things that help you write in order, you need to make sure you have the time to read, write, edit, market, etc. It’s easy to use chores as a way to avoid the business of writing. Look into hiring a maid service to clean the house. Hire the kid next door to mow the lawn. Hate food shopping? Farm it out to someone who loves wandering supermarkets, or use an online service to pick out your groceries and have them delivered. Outsource as many of the time sucking, irritating tasks as you can. Get rid of anything that aids in your procrastination!
Now go get organized and write!
I have something important to report – bucking the system and pursuing your passion does not bring the world crashing down around your head! The rewards of doing what you love are immeasurable.
Well, I’m 2 months in to this whole full time writing thing and we’re not living in a cardboard box. The one strange thing is this : despite having all day to write, I still feel like there’s not enough time! It could be because I’ve taken on a ton of projects to work on. Every day is filled with both writing new material and editing. I’m certainly not spending my time watching daytime TV. I do wish I’d caught more Jerry Springer. An hour break to revel in humanity at its worst can’t hurt, can it?
But here’s the thing – I go to bed every night feeling as if I haven’t worked at all. Because it’s not work. It’s what I want to do. The only weird part to get over was this ingrained guilt at not being in a cubicle and miserable. We’re so used to this as the status quo that it takes time to detoxify.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain
So, what have I accomplished? I finished my next novella for Severed Press, LOCH NESS REVENGE. It’s with my beta readers now and will be delivered to my publisher this month. Expect an October release. I’ve also started a new book for Severed set in a lost world packed full of cryptid madness. It’s pure nuttiness and fun.
A month back I mentioned I was working on a series of 3 novelettes for an undisclosed publisher. Well, I still can’t make the official announcement, but the first novelette is all done. I’ll start the second this month. They’re going to be set in the 70s and 80s and have something to do with comic books. That’s all I can reveal for now.
I also finished the book I started last October, WE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING. It’s with beta readers now and will also be sent to my new publisher (another announcement I’ll be able to make soon) in early September. I heard that it’s going to be out in January, 2017.
Feeling like I wanted to branch out a bit, I wrote 2 children’s picture books. They’re with my agent now. Cross your fingers.
You’ll also be seeing writing tips and advice from the Shea trenches on THE VERBS blog this month. I hope to be a continuing contributor.
Now, here’s a brand new project that I think you’ll dig. I’m going to release a series of short stories called HUNTER SHEA’S FAST FRIGHTS. I’m shooting for a new story every month, priced at just 99 cents. The first story, an alien abduction tale, will be released in September. I’m tidying things up and artist Mike Chella is tweaking the cover art. FAST FRIGHTS will be quick hits of horror, a dose of what you need the most. Stay tuned for more about them because you, the readers, will be involved in the creative process as we move along.
“The writer walks out of his workroom in a daze. He wants a drink. He needs it. It happens to be a fact that nearly every writer of fiction in the world drinks more whisky than is good for him. He does it to give himself faith hope and courage. A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul and that I am sure is why he does it.” — Roald Dahl
Other than that, I’ve spent a lot of time with my family, which has been fantastic. My oldest daughter passed her road test, so I now have someone who can save me from making every run to the supermarket! Daughter number two gets all my attention now to prepare for her road test. Oy! We’re also getting things in line so my wife can have some major surgery. She’s having double knee replacement. I expect a lot of cursing when it comes time for rehab. She asked one doctor, “Will I be able to run once it all heals?” He said, “Were you able to run before they went bad?” She shook her head. “No.” To which he replied, “Well, then, no.”
I’m working with my local Barnes & Noble and library to help new writers by offering any kind of assistance they need. Always, always give back to others. It can’t all be about you, no matter what you do. I remember what it was like when I started out with no one around to lend me a hand. I would have given both legs for a published author’s guidance.
Having time to read, really read, has been a godsend. I surpassed my GoodReads reading challenge of 70 books for the year. Some books I truly enjoyed were Island Red by Matt Serafini, Go Givers Sell More by Bob Burg and John David Mann, Robert Parker’s Kickback by Ace Atkins, Devil Red by Joe R Lansdale and A Living Grave by Robert Dunn.
As far as television and movies go, I absolutely loved Stranger Things on Netflix. I also really enjoyed Judd Apatow’s series, Love. In the movies, hands down, the best movie of the year is Hunt for the Wilderpeople. If you can find it near you, run and see it. It’s gotten a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes for good reason.
The good news is that all of this is inspiring me and giving me the room to deliver more for you than ever! Oh, and I’ve been gearing up for the release of The Jersey Devil on August 30th. You’ll be able to find the paperback in bookstores, supermarkets, Walmart and everywhere. Send me pics of where you find those devils and I’ll share them and give some shout outs!
Hey there Hellions! Are you all having fun roasting this summer? I know I am. This is what they mean by hell on earth.
I have a little something new for you this time around. I’m offering signed copies of my books that I will mail out to anyone interested in the United States (international shipping gets a tad too steep). Each book will only be $10, which includes shipping. I have a limited supply, but you can get your hands on personalized copies of THE MONTAUK MONSTER, TORTURES OF THE DAMNED, THEY RISE, THE DOVER DEMON, ISLAND OF THE FORBIDDEN, SINISTER ENTITY, FOREST OF SHADOWS, HELL HOLE and EVIL ETERNAL.
I realize that even with going to a convention and book signing here and there, I’ll never get a chance to see everyone. I also know that most horror fans prefer printed books over ebooks (as do I). So if you’d like a book or two or more, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll take it from there. The books can be made out to you or friends and family as gifts (if you don’t particularly like your friends or family). All payments will go through PayPal to keep things nice and simple. Books will be sent on a first come, first served basis until the shelves are bare.
And if you already have a book that you’d like signed, you can send the book to me and I can mail it back for just $4. Email me first at the address above and send your book to :
Hunter Shea, PO Box 232, Yonkers, NY 10710
Best way to beat the heat is to settle down with a good book by the air conditioner. Or, you could read one of mine by a fan.
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