Tag Archive | Severed Press

New Shark Novel – MEGALODON IN PARADISE

You wanted a Megalodon book, you’ve got it. Even better, it drops right on shark week. I couldn’t have asked for better timing.

Hellions around the world, I present MEGALODON IN PARADISE!

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The cover should tell you, this ain’t your typical Meg adventure.

Island life can be deadly.

For Ollie Arias, owning an island in Micronesia is beyond his wildest dreams. Moving his best friends from college to share his dream…priceless. A little urban exploration of the abandoned military lab unearths strange, dark secrets. And awakens a slumbering beast that has gone decades without food. Ollie and his pals have unwittingly unleashed a deadly infection above, and a prehistoric killing machine below. The storm of the century is headed their way. Paradise has never been so close to hell.

So after you’ve watched Michael Phelps race a Great White, click here to order your copy of Megalodon in Paradise and see what a real bad ass shark is capable of. Phelps would have been chum in two seconds with the beastie in this one.

Cover Reveal – SWAMP MONSTER MASSACRE

Oh baby, do I love this cover! Severed Press nailed it. This is exactly the kind of cover I had hoped for when this nasty skunk ape novella first came out with Samhain. Word on the grapevine is the book will be available, in ebook and for the first time PRINT, in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

As for my other Samhain titles, I’m in talks with an esteemed publisher about getting them all back out in the world. Can’t wait to be able to tell you about it.

So, what do you all think?

Swamp Monster cover 2017

Squatchy Release Day – SAVAGE JUNGLE

At some point while I was watching the premier of THE VOID (meh), my latest Severed Press book, SAVAGE JUNGLE (LAIR OF THE ORANG PENDEK), came screaming into this world like a demented squatch baby.

Savage Jungle Cover

They are called the Orang Pendek, masters of the steamy Sumatran rain forest.

Henrik Kooper watched his father die at the brutal hands of the orange-haired ape men. Having barely survived helping twins Natalie and Austin McQueen discover and destroy the beasts lurking in Loch Ness, it’s now his turn for vengeance. Within the treacherous jungles of Sumatra lies the fabled lost city of Gadang Ur. Its secrets are guarded by a savage band of Orang Pendek who lord over the strange and deadly creatures of the hidden land. Utter madness is the lifeblood of Gadang Ur. Henrik’s journey into darkness will take them to the ragged edge of hell on Earth.

Some places were never meant to be discovered.


As an added bonus, here’s a sample chapter to get you in the mood for some Orang Pendek fury…

Austin handed Natalie a gun. She couldn’t remember what kind it was, but it was heavy and looked deadly. He said to Oscar, “Do we just stay here and mow them down?”

“Heavens no,” Henrik said, calmly slamming a cartridge home in his assault weapon of choice. “We’d never survive. The hope is that our guns frighten them enough to veer them away from our position.”

Natalie shrugged her shoulders. “Of course. Why didn’t I think of that?”

The ground shook as they came crashing closer. Their terrified bellows echoed throughout the jungle. Hearing them, feeling them, but not being able to see where they were coming from was absolutely terrifying.

Oscar said, “Just be ready to run. If we get split up, we meet back here.”

“Easy for you to say,” Austin said, the muscles in his neck bulging like ropes. “I have no freaking clue where here is.”

Henrik coolly added, “Just follow the path the elephants are sure to make. They’re better and faster than bulldozers.”

Natalie’s knees nearly buckled. She wasn’t sure if it was from exhaustion, fear, or the rumbling of the earth, which was making it hard to keep her footing.

Please take a detour. Please take a detour. Nothing to see here. No need to trample the Orang Pendek hunters.

She hadn’t noticed the porters taking their machetes to the brush behind them, clearing a bit of a path for their escape. At least it gave them some room to step back and see which way the elephants were going. Bambang handed his machete over to her.

“No, you keep it,” she said.

He shook his head, refusing to let her give it back to him.

“They’re definitely headed straight for us,” Oscar said, taking a blind shot with the elephant gun. The report was deafening. Henrik fired off a few rounds as well. Then Austin joined in.

“Is it doing anything?”

The look Oscar flashed didn’t ease her fears.

They all stepped back as far as they could go, until their backs were against the endless wall of vegetation. Natalie almost tripped over an exposed root as thick as her calf. Austin reached out and grabbed her by her shirt.

“I’m shitting myself. Is anyone else shitting themselves?” she asked.

“I think it’s safe to say we’re all going to need a change of pants,” her brother said, eyes locked dead ahead.

There came a great crashing of branches and trees, centuries-old oaks snapping like dry toothpicks. The jungle tableau swayed back and forth in anticipation of the runaway freight train of excited pachyderms.

Now, even Natalie joined in their desperate attempt to scare them off with firepower. The gun’s kickback smashed the stock into her ribs. She didn’t feel a thing. Abject fear had made her numb.

When the first elephant broke through, rearing its trunk with an ear-splitting roar, she could only stare with mute horror. Everyone had stopped firing their weapons.

She felt a hand at her collar, someone tugging her backwards.

Natalie couldn’t believe what she was seeing.

A second, third, fourth and so many more elephants came crashing into view, their eyes wild not with terror but unadulterated menace.

Because they weren’t alone.

Riding atop each wild elephant was a small, orange-haired being that looked like a cross between an orangutan and a man.

The Orang Pendek rode the elephant herd right at them, crying out with beastly wails that turned her bowels to water.


Want to read more? Grab a copy today by clicking here.

Cover Reveal – SAVAGE JUNGLE!

This one is for all the Hellions! In a year that will showcase King Kong and another installment of the Planet of the Apes movie, it only seems fitting that this bloody adventure should hit your eyeballs in April. Feast your eyes on this charming fellow…

Savage Jungle Cover

The original, too long title, was SAVAGE JUNGLE : LAIR OF THE ORANG PENDEKS. And now by telling you what it was, you know what’s in store for you. This little diddy picks up right where we left off in LOCH NESS REVENGE. Natalie, Austin and Henrik have spent months recovering in an opulent German spa, but now it’s time to help old Henrik face his own monstrous demons. The trio heads out to the rain forest of Sumatra, hunting down a savage race of Orang Pendeks who rule an ancient, lost city. Oh, and there just may be some dinosaurs lurking about, too.

SAVAGE JUNGLE is a pure adventure story, with enough action to make your blood pressure meds work overtime. It comes out this April through Severed Press in trade paperback and ebook. More details to come!

Lake Monster Madness – NIGHTMARE FROM WORLD’S END

Author Robert Stava and I met 5 years ago at a writer’s group I cobbled together. The group lasted about a year, but I’m glad he and I have become good friends. He’s a renaissance kind of guy – writer, artist, musician, historian, martial artist. I wouldn’t bat an eye if he told me he’d climbed Everest while balancing the US budget.

Amazingly, both of us ended up having books published by Severed Press – all this done without the other knowing we were submitted manuscripts there. Great minds, great minds…

Robert’s premier book with Severed, NIGHTMARE FROM WORLD’S END, recently came out and it’s a doozy! Here’s my 10 cent review – Move over Nessie and Champ, there’s a new kick ass lake monster in town! Nightmare from World’s End is a sharp, intelligent, witty and wild ride across the turbid waters of the Hudson River. Set in author Robert Stava’s mysterious Wyvern Falls, this is one monster tale not to be missed because you get not one, but TWO underwater leviathans duking it out. And God help the puny humans who dare not just go in the water, but even near it. The last act blew my mind. Treat yourself and grab a copy.

So, let’s get to know Robert and this awesome book a little, shall we?


Please tell my Hellions what your latest book, Nightmare from World’s End, is all about and the sheer bat crap insanity that you somehow managed to tie together.

It’s a spin on the usual sea-monster tale, in this case not one but two that turn up in the Hudson River at an inopportune time – on the eve of a major Folk Festival at the local river town of Wyvern Falls. It mainly comes down to two people, an expat British detective named Easton and an American Indian Archeologist named Sarah Ramhorne to save the day. Along the way they get tangled up with a corrupt mayor, a failing Ancient Alien TV show host and some overzealous activists. For starters.

As far as how I tied it all together: truth is I pretty much winged it. Luckily it was one of those instances that just spun itself out in the right fashion without much thought or editing. I wish every story came out that easy!

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 I love the true history that you weave into your tales. This time, we got quite the education on American Indians in New York’s Westchester County. How did you go about researching everything?

It’s a MacGyver approach: a little this, some chewing gum there, a little masking tape here, etc. I grew up with books on the Wyandot & Iroquois (and knew several) but knew next to nothing about the Hudson River Indians outside some vague misinformation. Since moving up here to Ossining however, I took a keen interest and did everything from attending lectures at Croton Point given by the NY State Archeologist Association, going through artifacts in our Historical Society collection and reaching out to the descendants of the tribes that once lived here. They’re in Oklahoma now, btw. It’s a tragic story and they had a few choice things to say. Also, I put all the American Indian history books I used into the afterword of the novel. A lot of times it just about getting out and talking to people. That bizarre scene where Easton meets the American Indian vendor talking to him about Atlantis and lost technologies? That really happened to me at an Indian Pow-Wow I attended. You can’t make this stuff up.

It’s so awesome to have you as a publishing mate at Severed Press, the land of sea monsters! What made you decide to dip your toes in these brackish waters? And how did you come up with the monstrous Ossie? Any truth in the legend?

It is awesome – I had no idea when I submitted the manuscript! I was combing through stuff at my job one day and saw they were looking for submissions, and realized I already had a completed novel right up their alley. They accepted it pretty fast, which had me a little suspicious after so many rejections from other publishers. When I got the low-down from yourself I realized I had lucked out. Call it serendipity.

‘Ossie’ came from an off-hand remark my wife made one day while we were having lunch out by the river. I saw something out there – it might have been a cormorant – that reminded me of the classic 30s ‘Nessie” pic, so I snapped a zoom photo of it. When I showed it to my wife she replied, in that matter-of-fact way she has, “Oh, that’s ‘Ossie’!”. I’m sure an evil grin stole across my face as I then said “Yes, yes…of course it is…and I bet Ossie likes people – because they taste just like chicken!” That’s how my mind rolls.

I don’t know if there’s any truth to the legend, but who can rule anything out? There’s all kinds of species in the ocean we have no idea existed. Part of the inspiration behind ‘Typhon’ was this horrifying giant ‘sea bug’ – a 30” isopod -that was discovered a few years back that came up clinging to a submersible in the Gulf of Mexico. Everyone thought it was a hoax. It wasn’t until 2013 that a giant squid was finally caught on film. I think there’s plenty of other things down there we know nothing about (shudder).

 

After this book, I don’t think you’re ever going to get a call to appear on Ancient Aliens. Which is not a bad thing. Do you watch the show? What do you think of the ancient astronaut theory?

Ha! Probably not. I loved that stuff as a kid, but it all falls apart under any kind of basic logical scrutiny. Most these guys are nuttier than a crate of pistachios. They only focus on what ‘evidence’ supports their conclusions and refuse to acknowledge any other possible explanations, which is hardly scientific. That said, I do believe alien life is out there and can testify to a UFO I witnessed as a kid. Also, while researching the non-fiction book I wrote on my uncle’s WWII experiences in the Southwest Pacific, I came across a folder of very unusual reports in the National Archives. It was a series of 5th Air Force eye-witness reports on UFO’s spotted from airplane observation posts in New Guinea in 1943-44, well before Roswell. Throughout my novel though, it’s all part of a running joke: the characters keep getting distracted by the hoaxes happening to one side while completely missing the very real phenomena occurring on the other. I suspect the truth about aliens is somewhat like that.

Stephen King has Castle Rock, you have Wyvern Falls. What the hell is up with that place? Why would anyone live there? It’s fascinating, but bad for your health.

It was originally inspired by ‘Twin Peaks’, actually! And obviously the many scenic towns up and down here along the Hudson. I was drawing up a helpful ‘50 things you should NEVER DO in Wyvern Falls’ user guide but haven’t completed to date. But there’s lots of reasons to live there – it’s a place where truly weird shit can happen, and isn’t there a part of all of us that longs for that affirmation? That there’s more to the world than 401k’s, vanishing retirement options and the dreariness of everything being logically explained by a bunch of people you dread hanging out with by the water cooler? Fear is the antidote to complacency. The supernatural is about faith in things beyond our comprehension. I’ve experienced both those things in varying amounts: Wyvern Falls is about a place where you can too.

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Okay, I’m going to pepper you with some quick hits :

  • Favorite band – The Who. Nobody attacks the drums like Keith Moon.
  • Dream spot to write – My library – what could be more inspirational?
  • Craziest celebrity encounter – I’ve had some pretty good ones over the years, especially living in NYC. One of the craziest though, was a conversation I got into with Lenny Kravitz at a party years back at the studio control room in the Edison Hotel (a famous midtown studio where Jazz greats like Charlie Parker recorded). He’d bought the place with an advertising partner. I was pretty blotto from the open bar when I ran into him and started running off about Cindy Blackman, whom I’d met a few times though my old drummer, Tedd. Kravitz was nothing at all what I’d imagined from his videos. He was like a shy, dysfunctional little kid. He stared at his toes the whole time we were talking, though he did tell me some interesting things I won’t repeat here. After about 15 minutes he awkwardly reached out, shook my hand and said “Hi. I’m Lenny!” I said, “Uh, hi, I’m Bob. Nice talking to you,” and left. I must have talked a good game though, as a few days later a marketing package showed up at my office from him and his partner, which included some of Kravitz’s demos. I still have it here somewhere.
  • Favorite horror movie – Tie between ‘American Werewolf in London’ and ‘Dead Alive’ – both had me simultaneously freaked out and laughing my ass off. But the scariest movies I’ve ever watched was ‘Session 9’ and “Jacob’s Ladder”. Do not watch either at 3 a.m. Very bad idea.
  • Beer of choice – Sapporo

Last but not least, what new delights do you have in store for your readers?

Well, the next two novels in the Wyvern Falls series are written so we’ll see where those get to. I’m currently writing a second novel for Severed Press which is due out his year – it’s a visit to classic Crichton territory titled “The Lost World of Kharamu”, there’s a new short “The Witchering”, coming out in Dark Chapter Press’s “Edge of Darkness” anthology and I’m waiting to hear on 3 novellas that were rewritten for Sinister Grin Press a few months back. At least one, “The Invasion” is slated for a 2017 release from them, last I heard. Fingers crossed, just in case!

New Book Release : LOCH NESS REVENGE (and a preview!)

My latest novella with Severed Press is now available in ebook (and trade paperback in a few days), LOCH NESS REVENGE. This one is especially near and dear to me because Nessie became one of my first monster obsessions thanks to an episode of In Search Of back in the 70s (you can watch the actual episode here). I remember checking out every book I could find in the libraries in the Bronx, wishing I could fly to Scotland and just live by the Loch, searching for proof of Nessie.

Cut to a few decades later, and I’m hunting her down in a book that blends fact with fiction. So, what’s this latest foray into cryptid terror about?

Deep in the murky waters of Loch Ness, the creature known as Nessie has returned. Twins Natalie and Austin McQueen watched in horror as their parents were devoured by the world’s most infamous lake monster. Two decades later, it’s their turn to hunt the legend. But what lurks in the Loch is not what they expected. Nessie is devouring everything in and around the Loch, and it’s not alone. Hell has come to the Scottish Highlands. In a fierce battle between man and monster, the world may never be the same.

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And here’s a little something to whet your appetite (or wet your appetite, when you’re talking lake monsters!) Read the preview of chapter one and if you like what you see, you don’t have to go all the way to Scotland to grab a copy.


Chapter One

Even the Scottish whisky can’t stop the nightmare from coming. And believe me, they have some pretty incredible shit here. The locals drink it like water, but I’m not a local.

I may have been here for five years, but they’ll never accept this American interloper. Fine by me. I realize I’m just a transient, albeit one that’s been here for a handful of years. When the time comes, I’ll be happy to leave the Highlands forever. A girl can only take so much sourdough and tartan.

Hmm, but I will miss the scenery. So pretty out here. Well, when it’s not foggy, overcast, or raining. And the Scottish men, nothing to complain about there, though I wish I could understand them a little better. I have a terrible ear for accents and sometimes I can’t believe we speak the same language. I was barely able to understand what went on in the movie Trainspotting. This is a whole new level.

I’m up and sweating and can’t catch my breath.

Again.

Is it technically a nightmare when the thing that wakes you up in the dead of night is a memory?

Not that it matters.

Nightmare…memory…either way, I can never get a full night’s sleep.

I slip my legs out from under the covers, grab the glass of tepid water I keep next to my phone charger, and gulp it down. When it comes, I sweat enough to soak through my clothes.

Years ago, my simple solution was to sleep in the nude.

It didn’t work out. Changing sheets is a hell of a lot harder than slipping on a fresh pair of panties, sleep shorts, and a T-shirt.

The spare clothes are neatly folded on the floor by my feet. I stand, stretch, get down to my birthday suit, pat myself down with a towel, and get dressed.

The radio is still on, some late, late night call-in show hosted by someone with such a thick accent, I can barely understand what the hell he’s talking about. Like I said, I’m Scottish tone deaf.

Snapping the radio off, I collapse back into bed.

The good news is, the nightmare never comes twice.

The bad news is, falling back to sleep is never a guarantee. It’s almost four in the morning.

Early to bed, early to rise.

I went to bed at midnight. Not sure that constitutes early.

I close my eyes, the remnant of the nightmare – memory – still playing like an old filmstrip as the heat from the projector bulb rapidly melts it away.

It was 1995. Shania Twain had exploded on the music scene. I couldn’t stop playing her CD. The fact that it pissed off my twin brother Austin was just a bonus. He was all grunge, all the time, back then.

We were camped right where my RV sits now. Me, Austin, Mom, and Dad.

My father had been downsized by the genetics company where he’d worked for almost twenty years. They gave him a goodbye package that left us flush with cash. No tears were shed. He was a scientist toiling away for a corporate entity. He’d felt he’d sold his soul for long enough.

So he took us out of school and we headed for Europe. He’d missed the chance to live his dream and backpack across the continent when he finished college.

“It’ll be much more fun with you guys. I knew I waited for a reason,” he’d said.

Austin and I didn’t care where he took us. We were just glad to be out of school for the rest of the year.

We alternated between camping out when the weather was agreeable and staying in nice hotels, especially when we were in cities like Florence and Berlin and Barcelona.

By the time we made it to Scotland, spring was fading into summer, and Dad wanted to sleep under the stars in the Great Glen, the glacial fissure that tore Scotland a new one 400 million years ago. The words lush and green are all you need to know to describe the Great Glen. Nature done did it right when she painted this scenery.

Smack in the middle of the glen was a series of lochs, one of them being my current home and setting of my nightmare – Loch Ness.

“We can’t go to Scotland without spending some time at Loch Ness,” my father had said. “Maybe we’ll even see the monster!”

We thought that made this place the coolest stop on our trek across Europe.

Kids are stupid.

It was dark. Austin and I were roasting marshmallows over the remains of our fire. Our parents went down to the water’s edge to clean out the pot we used for cooking chili. I was playing Shania Twain on the boom box, but had to keep it low. When Austin tried to hit the Stop button, I whacked him on the back of his hand with the hot end of my marshmallow stick.

“Jeez, that hurts you asshole!” he shrieked, cradling his hand to his chest.

“You’re such a baby. I can’t believe you came out first. Mom saved the best for last.”

He chucked a marshmallow at my head.

“You’re more like my afterbirth.”

I shrugged it off. We’d been saying the same things to each other for so long, we could recite each other’s lines.

That was as close to ‘twin speak’ as we’ve ever come. We look nothing alike, we act nothing alike, and we sure as hell don’t think alike.

It was then we heard the screams.

Two screams, to be exact.

My mother and my father.

We bolted to our feet, spilling the plastic bag of marshmallows into the fire.

There was a tremendous splash of water.

We ran to them, heedless of what we might encounter. Someone was attacking them. A deaf person could hear their struggle, the pain and terror in their cries.

We got to the shore a moment before we lost them forever.

Their heads were visible, floating atop the churning water. Something big and black and shiny, like the body of an anaconda, was wrapped around their necks. It must have given a sudden, powerful squeeze, because their voices were cut sharply.

“We have to help them!” Austin blurted, going so far as to get in the water up to his ankles.

But I held him back.

I watched my parent’s eyeballs puff up and explode from their sockets seconds before they were dragged down into the Loch’s murky depths.

And just like that, they were gone.

I watch them die every single night.

I can’t un-see their eyes, blowing up to cartoonish proportions before popping like balloons filled with mayonnaise and blood.

It’s why I fucking hate looking at people’s eyes. I can barely stand to look at my own in the mirror. I haven’t worn makeup in years just to save myself the horror.

  1. The clock says 4:15.

I’m not the least bit tired.

Early to rise it is.

Maybe today’s the day.

If it isn’t, oh well. I’ve got nowhere else to go.


Care to see what adult Natalie and Austin have up their sleeve for Nessie? Go to Amazon and pick it up today.

New Cover Reveal – LOCH NESS REVENGE!

I have a little something special to share with my Hellions. Here is the cover to my second novel with Severed Press, LOCH NESS REVENGE. Ain’t Nessie just beautiful? I love the art department at Severed. The book will be available on November 3rd.

Until then, wear some tartan, drink some whiskey and have a shortbread cookie or two.

loch-ness-revenge-cover

A Summer of Full Time Writing

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?

my office

My new office. Instead of an admin assistant, I have a squirrel that’s always in the branches above me. Hope he’s not stealing my ideas!

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!

 

What the heck are BookShots

And no, they are not inoculations to prevent you from getting the dreaded book worms. BookShots are, in fact, the brainchild of James Patterson, the man who sells more books than there are zombies playing Pokemon Go. They made their debut last month and are literally popping up everywhere.

BookShots are a very clever bit of marketing targeted to today’s dwindling attention spans. They are, in every sense of the word, novellas. You know, not quite a short story, not quite a novel. For authors who think in word counts, novellas tend to settle between the 25-50k word range. Novels, on the other hand, are typically 90k words or more. Novellas have been around forever and a day and night. What’s new with BookShots is the branding and availability.

cross kill

They’re fast reads that pack a lot of punch in a little package. It’s usually hard to find novellas in print. They’ve become the darling of the ebook world. BookShots, on the other hand, are being  published in print with wide, and I mean WIDE, distribution. They’re designed for readers on the go who want to be thrilled or romanced in one or two sittings. According to Publishers Weekly, in the first week of sales, BookShots sold over 30,000 copies. Not too shabby.

The first BookShots were written by James Patterson – CROSS KILL (an Alex Cross thriller) and ZOO 2. These will be followed up with many more by a host of different authors, all geared to get your pulse pounding. I just found out that there’s also a romance line called BookShots Flames. I happened to stumble upon a copy of The McCullagh Inn in Maine by Jen McLaughlin in a supermarket. Jen and I share an agent, so even though it’s a romance (woven within a suspense story), I had to pick it up and I’ll be damned if I didn’t read it in two sittings, just like Patterson promised. And I dug it. I also downloaded Zoo 2 on my Kindle, even though I never read Zoo or watched the TV show. I had to see what all the hubub was about. It was fast paced, campy fun. Those are two sweet spots for me.

Maine

I have to admit, I’m actually kind of excited about this. Anything that gets more people reading is a major win as far as I’m concerned. As an author, I prefer writing novellas. And I’m not alone. Most authors I talk to love novellas, both writing and reading them. There’s something about knowing there’s a limit but also having the space to explore characters deeper than you can in a short story or just go for broke and let the rollercoaster run free.

As a horror writer, I hope Patterson casts his gaze in the genre’s direction. Novellas have always been a huge part of horror. Even today there are great horror novellas being published weekly by the likes of Severed Press, Sinister Grin, Deadite and so many more. It would be nice to see them in print at the airport or supermarket or any bookstore you happen to find.Why do you think shows like Tales from the Crypt, The Twilight Zone, Tales from the Darkside and other half hour bites of terror were so successful? Because horror is best when it’s short, twisted and terrifying.

BookShots in print are a little wider than a mass market paperback. Kind of like a classic Goosebumps book. They feel so good in your hands. It’s book crack at its best.

I’m keeping a watchful eye on BookShots. Could it be a game changer? We can only hope. The success of BookShots means more readers and more good paying opportunities for writers.  Everybody’s happy, unless you’re Captain Beatty. (extra credit if you can name the book!)

And James Patterson, if you’re looking for a thriller writer who can send readers to dizzying heights within the warm confines of BookShots, give my agent a call. You already have her number.

Writing Full Time

Ever since I decided to become a writer, I’ve dreamed about what it would be like to pursue my passion full time. If I can write 2-3 books a year while juggling a day job, how much could I get done if I had all day to write?

Well, that day has come. After a divorce with the old day job a month ago, I became a full time writer, though without the full time pay. The adjustment of working for 30 years and suddenly not working took some time getting used to. So, what did I do to get through it?

I wrote. Writing has always been my private island, the perfect escape, the place where reality never gets past the bouncer. As the shock wore off, the time I devoted to writing increased. I actually looked at this as a needed break so I can devote proper attention to the slew of projects I had agreed to take on.

Now it’s time to reflect. After a month, what have I accomplished?  Well, I have 3 novellas that I was scheduled to write for an as yet unnamed publisher later this summer. Now that I had time, I set my ass down to start the first. Draft #1 was completed in two weeks. It’s now resting in my laptop. You need to give your story and yourself time to breathe before jumping in to the editing process. Or at least I do. Rewrites start in a few days.

Writing Room

At the same time, I started working on my next monster book for Severed Press. I have about 10,000 words to go before I can type THE END on draft #1 of that puppy. I figure that’ll be done around July 7th.

Then my family and I head to house-sit for a friend up in the country where I’ll finally finish the novel I started last fall, WE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING. There are literally just a couple of chapters to go, then I have to do a ton of rewrites because the story kept changing as it went along. This is a dark one. No monsters. Nothing paranormal. Just people at their strangest and worst on a Pennsylvania farm.

After that, I have a special project I’m going to write and self-publish, followed by the other two novellas I’m still contracted to write this year. And Lord only knows what else I’ll agree to along the way. Let’s just say this chapter in my life will be marked with a boom in my creative output.

I’m also catching up on my TBR pile and getting new books from the library every 3 days. I’ve decided to re-read everything Hemingway for the rest of the summer. Then there’s more time to spend with my family at independent league baseball games, movies and swimming at the pools and beaches nearby. My old day job actually gave me a gift – my first summer off since I graduated high school! I don’t plan to waste it.

 

 

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