For my moolah, Norman Prentiss is one of the best writers out there in Author Land. And I don’t just mean the horror genre. He’s publishing his latest book via the Kindle Scout, a path I know plenty of people are interested in. Check out why and how it all works. And then hop over to the KS page, read his excerpt and vote!
I’ve got a new book that I’m very proud of, ODD ADVENTURES WITH YOUR OTHER FATHER, and it’s currently on view at Amazon as part of the Kindle Scout program: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/31CCF08HMHST3
Kindle Scout is unusual, because it allows readers to preview a book that’s not yet selected for publication. Authors supply a cover image, description and bio., and a 5,000 word excerpt, and then reader “nominations” help the book garner attention from Amazon. The program begins as a kind of popularity contest, measuring web traffic over a period of 30 days to gauge reader interest and a book’s marketability; however, the ultimate decision lies with Amazon (high-traffic books have been rejected; average-traffic books have gotten a contract).
Now that I’m posting a book at Kindle Scout, a few folks are asking me why I didn’t work with the horror specialty press, where I’ve had previous success (Cemetery Dance, Dark Fuse, PS Publishing, and Thunderstorm). Why go the Kindle Scout route for this one?
Well, I’ve been shopping this book around, and have gotten a lot of very positive feedback–but one of the key comments was that it fit too many categories. It’s kind of a “queer pulp roadtrip adventure,” with horror and fantasy elements. As an added wrinkle, the adult-themed adventures are surrounded by a frame tale that’s kind of YA in style: a coming-of-age story as a daughter attempts to understand her fathers’ past. On one level I think it’s my most mainstream book, likely to appeal to people outside horror because of its social themes and, ultimately, the emotional content of the book’s overall effect. At the same time, it might be, to repeat a word in the title, too ODD for mainstream. Writing it (I realize now), I was aiming for something like a “cult-movie” type of readership.
How does a book like this find its audience? One strategy, I guess, would be to publish it modestly and hope people find it eventually (maybe in a few years…or even decades, when I might not around to know it!). But if the book doesn’t fit the usual categories, then an unusual or new-fangled path to publication might be exactly the right way to go.
Another important factor in my decision is that ODD ADVENTURES WITH YOUR OTHER FATHER is different from my other stories, to the point where I briefly considered publishing it under a pseudonym. It’s maybe a little sexier, even a little more fun (pulp instead of literary in places) than my other work. The queer themes set this book apart from some of my other fiction, as well–the adventures explore homophobia in a supernatural context. Ultimately, though, the book is still ME, and I want my name on the cover. So instead of the pseudonym route, I thought a different publishing path could help distinguish this book (and the two following titles I’ve planned for the series) from things like INVISIBLE FENCES, my Dr. Sibley stories, or THE FLESHLESS MAN.
No matter what path this book follows to publication, I think my horror fans will dig ODD ADVENTURES WITH YOUR OTHER FATHER. It’s definitely got some chills and unsettling scenes, and monsters all the way through. And I’m hoping a lot of new readers find me through the Kindle Scout campaign.
In the meantime, please consider giving me a boost by checking out the excerpt from this book at Kindle Scout (https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/31CCF08HMHST3), and nominate it if you find it worthy. I’m happy with the excerpt, and can promise that the whole book has a lot more surprises in store. And if Amazon chooses to publish it, they’ll provide a free advance copy of the full eBook to folks who nominated it!
I think the best way to talk about this past Horrorfind Weekend is to roll with the random thoughts and pictures. So, here’s what’s dripping out of the old brain pan, 24 hours after we departed our little horror shangri-la.
Attendance wasn’t as, shall we say, robust as it has been in the past. However, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a lot going on. This was my first time at Horrorfind as a guest. I was at the Samhain horror table with 7 other talented authors. All of them were as nice as can be (not evil, devil worshipping sex maniacs like people think horror writers are) and it made me realize I’m in some stellar company. Big time twisted love to Brian Moreland, Ron Malfi, Mick Ridgewell, John Everson, Damien Walters Grintalis, David Bernstein and Russell James. You don’t need to be a psychic to know the future of horror is right here at Samhain.
And I can’t forget the Samhain staff, including Don (our amazing editor), Dawn and Jacob, he of the mighty kilt (though he is wearing jeans in this pic)!
As the fates would have it, my hotel room was right next to actress Meg Foster’s (the actress with the amazing crystal blue eyes of They Live fame, not to mention about 100 other movies and TV shows). We got to talking about ghosts and meditation, hugged, and even exchanged a copy of Forest of Shadows for a signed picture. She’s a fascinating, caring woman. What I wouldn’t give to go back in time and tell the teenage me that I would one day meet her and hand her my book that she said would be her plane read. Teen Hunter would have said, “Yeah right, hammer. Keep dreaming.”
I was in the bar with author Norman Prentiss and saw an old dude walk by. I said, “That guy looks like Rob Halford.” Norman corrected me. “That’s Pinhead!”
I watched Dee Wallace hold court one night, sitting with a few other celebs while a ring of onlookers gaped at them. Dee and the gang were just having some drinks, but it was like they were on a little stage. Not wanting to be part of the rubberneckers, I trained my attention on the scraggly guy singing karaoke tunes from Rocky Horror Picture Show. Disturbing.
Actress Kim Darby (Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, True Grit) was also near my room and I happily led her down to show her where the celebrity room was. She’s a kind and seemingly fragile woman. For some reason, I kept checking on her to make sure she was having a good time.
We met the cast of Pet Sematary, with the exception of Fred Gwynne, of course.
My favorite attendee was this little guy who walked around in dress pants and dress shirt, wearing a lucha libre mask and sometimes carrying a brain on a stick. Over 3 days, he never once took that mask off.
I also met a pretty cool guy who hand crafted an entire Ghost Busters costume. It was impressive to say the least.
I rode the elevtor with Count Gore De Vol and we talked about what we had for dinner the previous night. The Count had yogurt for those keeping track. Wonder if it was blood flavored?
During my slot in the author reading room, I showed a Monster Men best -of episode and talked about ghosts. That was fun and I kept people awake, which is always a good sign.
For lunch one day, I had a hot dog that looked like a cooked baby arm. Not by intention. As someone said to me, a hot dog that big had to be filled with lots of snouts and assholes.
My wife bought me a skull for my writing area. Here I am showing my appreciation.
On the last night, all of the Samhainers went out to dinner in Gettysburg. It’s amazing to see how all of the history has been put aside so they can stress the paranormal. The sidewalks were even painted with little ghosts. Ghosts sell. We did see a bunch of Civil War re-enactors having dinner outside an old tent. Keeping to tradition, they munched on McDonald’s.
I’m pretty damn good with secrets, but this particular one was killing me. Cemetery Dance Publications just announced the lineup for their newest anthology : Shocklines : Fresh Voices in Terror. My story, Cry, will be surrounded by the work some utterly fantastic writers I admire like Norman Prentiss, Rio Youers and Brian James Freeman, just to name a few. Click on the cover image (makes me think of Sinbad movies) to learn more.
You see, for me, this is no small feat. This is one of the things I had put on my bucket list back when I got the crazy idea that I wanted to become a writer. “Buy a pipe and smoking jacket” was the first goal I put on that list, but I’ve since opted for cigars and motorcycle jackets. I’ve been an enormous fan of Cemetery Dance Magazine for about twenty years now. When people ask me what it is, I tell them, “It’s only the New York Times of horror.” I mean, duh!
If you want a Who’s Who of horror, all you need to do is visit the Cemetery Dance website and you’re in the thick of things. I was just asked by another uber talented writer how I landed a spot in the antho. The key is, it came when I wasn’t looking for it. I was at the Horrorfind convention last September and started talking to a writer who informed me at one point that he was on the Cemetery Dance staff.
He asked, “Have you ever submitted to them before?”
“I sure have, and I have a folder of rejection slips to show for it,” I replied with a sense of pride. Rejection slips are like war wounds to a writer.
“Even though they’re closed to submissions, I’d be happy to take a look at your stuff .If I think it’s right, I’ll show it to the editors.”
So, a few weeks after I got home, I wrote a story and sent it off to my new friend, hoping it would at least get consideration for the magazine. I doubted it would make it, and kept my hope stick mega-limbo-low.
A couple of months later, I get the acceptance email, only it’s going to be in one of their amazingly produced anthologies! Score! The hardest part was keeping it on the DL until they had the final lineup in place. Well, I can finally open my big fat mouth about it.
Publish a story with Cemetery Dance : check.
And I get to check it off because I went to a conference, talked to as many people as I could, and happened to meet one of the nicest guys in the biz who just happened to be connected to the Vatican of horror. (On a side note, going to at least one conference a year is a must and a hell of a lot of fun) That and I had to bust my ass to write the best, tightest story I could dream up.
Now I’m reconsidering tossing the pipe idea out. Hmmm…..
Check out the book that made this possible, Forest of Shadows! You always need that first domino to fall.
This is bittersweet news. My story, Bottom of the Ninth, will be published in the next issue of Ethereal Tales at the end of the month. The sad part is, this will be the final issue. Keeping a magazine running is harder than you can imagine, and I thank Teresa Ford for allowing me to grace her magazine’s pages with a couple of my stories over the years. Finding quality horror magazines is becoming as difficult as the hunt for Bigfoot. Cemetery Dance is still the king of the prom, but lately the chasm between issues has been growing larger and larger (though I was recently assured by a staff member there that things will be picking up soon). I gues this is all part of the changing times in publishing. Anthologies are now the best place to get your horror shorts fix. But man, there’s something about magazines that I love, and miss.
So, back to Ethereal Tales, check it out and lay down a couple of pounds for a copy that will be full to bursting with new stories and great artwork.