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Hear The Monster Roar – Audiobooks On The Rise

Despite early worries that e-books would force print to go the way of the woolly mammoth and Elvis, it appears the end is not nigh. In fact, in 2016, paperback sales were up over 5%, with e-books down over 20%. Independent bookstores even saw a healthy uptick in sales (and book hounds rejoiced!).

What isn’t getting all the press it deserves are the incredible gains in audiobook sales. The audiobook market is booming, with sales increasing over 30% in 2016. Business for audiobook sellers like Audible.com and iTunes is good. Damn good.

The big question is, why?

I’m going to take a stab at it. From my vantage point, everyone is plugged into some device or another like stasis pods in The Matrix. We’re going to have an entire civilization of hunchbacks from all that craning down to gaze into our phones. If someone isn’t looking down, odds are they’re sporting earplugs and listening to music or podcasts or audiobooks.

Back in the day, which really isn’t that long ago, when I went to the beach, I would look over a sea of people reading books, magazines and newspapers. The beach is a perfect place to kick back and relax, unplugging  yourself from the rat race. Now when I go, nearly everyone is locked onto their phones.

Audiobooks are a convenient way to read without having to – shudder – suffer from separation anxiety from our electronic devices. In a world where everyone likes to bemoan how busy they are, listening to a book during the commute to work or while shopping fits right in with their lifestyle.

Who has the time to sit and read anymore? In reality, everyone does, but we like to pretend our bouncing around like pinballs is so crucial to the survival of the planet, we refuse to sit still. Audiobooks are custom made for people on the go. I may read 100 books a year, but I also listen to a couple dozen audiobooks (in between the thousand podcasts I’m addicted to).

jerseydevil audio book

Production quality on audiobooks is advancing every year, with better narration and crisper recording. When GraphicAudio produced the audio for my book, The Montauk Monster, I was blown away by the end product. I didn’t know there were audiobooks like that. They call their audiobooks A Movie in Your Mind, and they are just that, with a large, talented cast, sound effects,  music and more.

GraphicAudio recently released my latest tale of monster mayhem, The Jersey Devil. I have to say, even as the man who wrote the words, hearing it acted out is creepy and downright terrifying. To be able to hear the Jersey Devil screech and its hapless victims cry out for mercy chilled my blood. It reminds me of listening to the rebroadcasts of the old radio serials with my dad when I was a kid. Productions like this are the way of the future for audiobooks, in my humble opinion. It’s impossible to get bored or have your mind wander when you’re fully immersed in the story. Go on over to GraphicAudio and listen to some of the samples and see for yourself.

How do you feel about audiobooks? What are some of your favorites? It looks like they’re here to stay, but if anyone tells you they’re going to wipe out print books, point them to last year’s e-book sales statistics.

Creature Features, Cow Carcasses and Kindle Deals

I know, Hellions, that’s one strange ass title for a blog post, but that’s exactly what it’s all about.

Thanks goes out to an old friend, Brenda B., for sharing this photo and story with me. Somehow, during my research into the Jersey Devil, I missed this! Back in the 60’s in New Jersey, a cow and a deer carcass somehow made it to the top of a telephone pole. Locals attributed it to their friendly neighborhood monster.

cow

Cryptozoologists say the Jersey Devil has kept a very low profile since the early 1900s, but if you go out and talk to the people who live there, you’ll get a completely different opinion. And here’s another shocker – I can’t believe how many folks have first hand Bigfoot encounters in the Pine Barrens. I’ve spoken to quite a few, some of them still visibly upset, even if it happened years ago.

I wonder if this was the Jersey Devil’s idea of a pinata? Maybe she just wanted to throw a party for her horrid offspring.

And speaking of horrid offspring, Pinnacle has discounted all of my books for the month of February. You can snag an ebook of The Montauk Monster for $1.99, The Jersey Devil for 99 cents or Tortures of the Damned for 99 cents. Time to load up those e-readers on the cheap!

montauk monster cover

Jersey Devil Cover

tortures

What’s the strangest thing ever found on a telephone pole? For me, we threw a Batman figure that had a parachute attached to our phone line. It stayed there for about 10 years, poor Batsy’s color fading with each year.

The Jersey Devil Hits The Road

Over the course of writing The Jersey Devil, the elusive cryptid and I have gotten pretty close. He recently told me, over a cup of what he said was mulled wine, but I suspect it was something far more disquieting, that he wanted to get out and travel the country, if not the world. After over 200 years in the Pine Barrens, it’s time to spread his wings, so to speak.

“There’s just one teensy weensy little problem,” he said to me, tapping his cloven hoof on his chin. “I’m afraid there are too many monster hunters out and about nowadays. You see them bumbling about with their night vision cameras. I fear for my safety as much as my anonymity. The last thing I want is to be featured on some reality paranormal show…or shot!” Shivering, he added, “I don’t know which would be worse.”

Point well taken. We sat against the pygmy pines in the dark of night, contemplating his dilemma. As a cloud obscured the moon and the howl of a nearby Sasquatch got our attention (“Oh, that’s just Larry,” JD said), an idea came to me.

“How would you like to live vicariously through my book?” I asked.

Old JD flicked his tail excitedly. “How so?”

Knowing he’s a big fan of Instagram and Twitter (whereas Bigfoot prefers SnapChat & the Loch Ness Monster is partial to Facebook), I told him that I and my Hellions could take the book wherever we go and post pictures on Instagram with the hashtag #JerseyDevil. That way, he could see the world while in the relative comfort of his forest preserve.

“Oooo, I like that. Can you take me to a cemetery first? I’m so tired of the ones around here. It’s so…so…dead out here in the Barrens.”

The next day, I did just that, taking the book to the oldest cemetery in my city.

jd-cemetery

He wrote me back immediately on Instagram. “Love it! So nice to see new headstones. Where to next?”

Indeed. Where to next?

That’s where you come in. Help old JD out and tote your copy of The Jersey Devil with you when you’re out and about, on vacation, even in the house puttering around. Post your pic on Instagram using #jerserydevil and @huntershea2017 or Twitter using #JerseyDevil and @huntershea1 so the beast and I can collect and enjoy this little travelogue.

We’ll pick people at random every week to receive free books from the Hunter Shea library!

It’s the holiday season. Be kind to cryptids. And have fun doing it. It will be interesting to see where The Jersey Devil ends up. Plus, it’s always a smart idea to keep a monster happy. You wouldn’t want an angry Jersey Devil tapping on  your window late at night, would you? Don’t end up the main ingredient in his ‘mulled wine’. Just saying.

Review The Jersey Devil, Get A Free Book!

Jersey Devil CoverI have a very special offer for all the Hellions out there who have dared to take the plunge into the Pine Barrens. If you go to Amazon and post a review for The Jersey Devil, send an email to huntershea1@gmail.com with a link to the review and the ebook you’d like to receive as a way of thanking you for taking the time to spread the word. In the world of writing, reviews and the buzz they create are more valuable than advances and royalties. Not to mention, after spending all that time writing alone with just the voices in my head, it’s nice to hear what you think of the book. Even if it’s just to tell me I need professional therapy (or in my case, more professional therapy)!

Sure, I write because I love it (sure isn’t about the moolah when you scribble horror), but more importantly, I write to entertain Hellions and non-Hellions alike. The world isn’t always such a nice place. Finding some time to escape, even if it’s curling up with a monster, is important just to keep our sanity.

And if you already posted a review before this offer, follow the same process and I’ll get a book out to you.

There are 4 books you can choose from : I KILL IN PEACE, SWAMP MONSTER MASSACRE, THE DOVER DEMON & THE WAITING. Happy reading!

I Kill in Peace Cover  SwampMonsterMassacre

Dover Demon Large Cover The Waiting

Show Some Jersey Devil Love and Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card

Howdy Hellions, just wanted to let you all know there’s a fun little giveaway running over at Night Owl Reviews where you can win some cold, hard Amazon cash. It’s all to spread the word about The Jersey Devil. The giveaway runs until the end of September.

If you’ve read the book, please leave a brief review on Amazon. If you want to pick up a copy of the book, please buy it through the Amazon link in my bookstore. Both help a lot and keep me writing day and night to give you nightmares or make the little monster in you giggle just a tad. And thank you to everyone who has already gone to the deep corners of the Pine Barrens with me.

Just click the image below to enter the giveaway. Good luck! Hope a Hellion wins.

night owl giveaway 1

THE JERSEY DEVIL IS HERE! Sneak Peek Time & Goodies For The Hellions

Man, it feels like I’ve been waiting forever for today to come. My latest foray into cryptid monster madness, THE JERSEY DEVIL, is finally here, available EVERYWHERE. It’s going to be a week long full court press, with lots of fun along the way. Think of it like shark week, only with a killer creature birthed in the primordial Pine Barrens 200 years ago. If you plan to purchase the book on Amazon, please do so through my store or the links on this page.

Jersey Devil Cover

First up will be an interview on the Horror Happens Radio Show with my main man, Jay Kay. This guy loves horror and is one of the biggest advocates for the genre. I’m scheduled to be on tonight at 7:30pm ET. We’ll be talking JD and other crazy stuff.

Wednesday is the big Facebook live event where I’ll be live and on camera answering your crazy questions and Lord knows what else I’ll get up to. Hellions who participate will be eiligible to win awesome new swag, free books and more! I’ll be giving the store away as we mosey along. I think we’ll need to come up with a drinking game. The party starts at 7pm ET and goes until I end up face down on the keyboard.

hellion shirt 1

hellion glass 1

Aaaaand, here’s a sneak peek at the first chapter of THE JERSEY DEVIL. Hope you dig it, join the fun and let’s get our monster on!


Jane Moreland couldn’t believe how heavy Henry was, now that he was dead weight and starting to ripen. She should have done this last night, right when it happened, but she’d needed a clearer head. Polishing off the bottle of Knob Creek and passing out on the kitchen table hadn’t helped matters much.

            Well, no sense complaining. She’d been due a little me time.

            She woke up after noon, unsure what had transpired the night before until she saw him, lying there beside the sofa, neck all twisted to one side and his face blue as a Smurf.

            At least there isn’t blood all over the place, she’d thought. Just a little at the corner of his mouth. None on the carpet. One less thing she had to worry about.

There was no way she could get him in the truck during the day without anyone seeing. To kill time, she took a long, hot bath, washed and dried a load of laundry, drank three bottles of Coors that had been tucked away in the back of the fridge, watched a Jimmy Stewart movie on TMC and chain-smoked half a pack of coffin nails. The entire time, her eyes kept flicking to the clock then the window, waiting for the sun to check out. She found some old jeans and a .38 Special concert T-shirt, put on her scuffed cowboy boots and tied her blond hair in a high pony tail.

When it was half past six, she dragged an old throw rug from the garage, laid it next to her husband and turned him into it with a whole lot of grunting and sweat. She’d thought it would be as easy as rolling up a burrito. Back when she was in high school, she’d worked at a burrito joint owned by a pair of Chinese brothers with deep Southern accents. She’d never been able to reconcile the words coming out of those faces. It was a time before Chipotle, when a burrito was a mushy thing you got at a Mexican restaurant that tasted like crap. The job, and the place, didn’t last very long. In the two months she worked there, she became an expert at making burritos so fat, they were just about to bust out of their flour straitjackets.

            A dead Henry, she learned quickly, was a hell of a lot more to handle than shredded beef, beans and rice. Once she’d gotten the rug around him and cinched off the ends with duct tape, she sat propped up against his cocooned body and laughed, wondering how many burritos it would take to equal Henry’s total mass. Logic dictated that she should have been distressed at this point, perhaps freaked out or even, daresay, remorseful.

            “You didn’t earn my remorse,” she said to the rug-encased corpse, giving it a hard slap as she stood up.

            Good old boy Henry was a righteous bastard, a redneck from some pissant town in South Carolina who’d made his way to New Jersey via a construction job when he was in his twenties. They’d met at Dingo’s Bar when she was still two years from legal drinking age. At first, she’d been entranced, as young, dumb girls will, by his sweet Southern accent. She’d heard him order a Jack and Coke over the din of meatheads and was immediately drawn to the rugged cutie with long hair and five day stubble. He couldn’t have stood out more if he had worn an alien mask and bikini.

            They dated for six months, took a trip to Vegas and became a cliché. It took a whole year before the real Henry Moreland came out. He smacked her across the face in a drunken stupor one night because she didn’t hand him the TV remote fast enough.

            The rest is the same sad story that too many women confess to at shelters or police stations. After a while, Jane didn’t know who she hated more – Henry for being an abusive asshole or herself for not having the guts to run away.

            On nights she couldn’t sleep, she’d let her mind linger on all the different ways she could make him disappear. That was her happy place. Poison his dinner, cut the brake lines in his truck, loosen the top step going down to the basement, the possibilities were endless. Thinking about it always settled her down. But that’s all they were – private thoughts. Jane knew she was too chickenshit to actually do anything. Hell, she couldn’t even bring herself to jump in the car and just drive until she hit a border crossing, north or south. It didn’t matter.

            And then he came home last night, so drunk he could barely stand. He’d parked his pickup on the front lawn, stopping just a few feet from the house. Jane had been reading in her favorite lounge chair – the one with the little head cushion- on the ground level porch. It had been a nice night and even the bugs tapping against the overhead light didn’t bother her…much. If Henry had applied the brakes just a hair later, he would have killed her. 


This is a fine example of why you read to the end of a blog post. Starting September 1st, you can enter a contest on Night Owl Reviews to win a $25 Amazon gift card. Don’t say I never gave you anything!

night owl giveaway 1

The Jersey Devil Gets The Publishers Weekly Seal of Approval

As my British friends would say, I’m always gobsmacked when I see a review of one of my books in Publishers Weekly. I mean, isn’t that the magazine that reviews real books? Not books about monsters, unless Stephen King wrote it. (and on a side note, who else is dying for King to tackle a new monster?)

My first Pinnacle book, The Montauk Monster, was called one of the best reads of the summer by PW back in 2014. Well, it’s two years and another cryptid/monster book later. Here’s what they had to say about THE JERSEY DEVIL

Shea  delivers a tense and intriguing work of escalating tension splattered with a clever, extensive cast of bystanders turned victims.

Jersey Devil Cover

Fans will appreciate the call-outs to his other work, and fans of cryptid creatures are likely to revel in this love letter to a legendary menace.

I looked over on GoodReads, where all us rabid readers loiter about, and it’s getting lots of love from the folks who have gotten an early preview of the book.

The Jersey Devil officially comes out on August 30th. If you’d like me to appear for a signing near you, contact me at huntershea1@gmail.com or via comment here and I’ll see what I can do.

And just for gits and shiggles, I’ll give away a signed copy of The Montauk Monster to a random responder to this post.

Enjoy the summer while it lasts. Because darkness is coming, and there be monsters lurking within…

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