The Dark Cases You Won’t Forget

Watching the Detectives Available Now.

9 dark mysteries for just $2.99!
Watching The Detectives

I’m proud to announce a new 9-volume boxset bundle featuring yours truly, Kevin J. Anderson, Bonnie Elizabeth, Robert Jeschonek, Merita King, Russ Crossley, J.D. Brink and Dean Wesley Smith, exploring the darker side of mystery. Grab your French roast or your Merlot and snuggle in for a wild ride of mystery, magic and science fiction noir. Available here.

What is Scary?

This is a huge issue. The answer to this seems rather elusive.

I’m going to say what is scary are things that are both real and unreal; there and not there. And then I’m just going to distill it down into: things that are ambivalent.

Let’s see if we can’t break this down a little:

Always the dark is scary and aliens are pretty darn scary. If you don’t think so, just see how you feel the next time you are going into a dark place you have never been before. The thing about it is that darkness covers up what may or may not be there.

Bad smells are scary because we don’t know if we are in danger or not. Go into a pitch black dark room that stinks like sulfur and you will (or should) get plenty scared.

Alien things are scary because we don’t know where they came from and it is a connection to something unknown and possibly dangerous. Alien beings are scary because of their inhumanity. Though, most of us have never actually seen aliens, which, I dare say, makes them scarier.

Ghosts are scary because ghosts are either real or so possible they might as well be real, but also they are not there, or not wholly there, as in not in a solid body. Once I bought this book. It was about the size of the Encarta with the same size font and it was chockablock full of “real” ghost stories. I had this idea that I would read a little every night before bedtime. Three days later, I wasn’t reading from that book anymore. I was so spooked after a few of those when I was lying there in the dark, I could not sleep, or stay entirely sane.

What is scary? I think the idea of things is far more scary than the thing itself. The tension really holds up when you think someone or something is there, but can’t see them, which goes back to the “both there and not there” proposition. Then again, that is a form of darkness isn’t it? You can’t see…the monster. It’s also a kind of ghost: not there, but there. Real and not real. Interesting to think that maybe things that we can’t decide on are scary. That would include “fear of the unknown.”

Apprehension is scary. That moves it over into the “going to happen, not going to happen” category. I grew up in the 80’s and while that wasn’t the most war torn time to grow up, in fact, most of it was peaceful, we had the last vestige of the cold war. I remember being terrified of the atom bomb. And I really was scared of Russians invading, like I would just be going along, doing my thing, and bam, a Russian would appear in the backyard out by the clothesline or something. That was fear of many things: aliens, alien things, apprehension, and ghosts (in this case, we can say phantoms.)

So, we can boil it down to a list of things that are all there and not there; seen and not seen; real and not real; going to happen, not going to happen:

Darkness

Aliens

Alien things: objects, powers, energies

Bad smells

Invisible things: radiation, ghosts, entities, devils, insanity

Really small things like diseases.

Interesting to note that serial killers are sort of insane aliens; we know they have human bodies, but we suspect they are not the same kind of beings as we are and so we see them, but we don’t see them.

How about when we talk about dreams? they happened, but they didn’t. That can get pretty freaky.

God, now I’m starting to think there’s a lot of scary stuff out there. Or is there?

 

 

 

How to Make a Facebook Ad for Books

Sometimes I can’t take it. You know what I mean? You just need one piece of specific information to do one thing and all you can find are posts that tell you to review all options and make the best choice, or some such wording, and all you can say is: just tell me what the best choice is!

Here is how to do it:

Go to facebook ads manager page: just google facebook ads manager.

Select Create Ad; it should then load your content. If that doesn’t happen then you probably have to create a facebook page, like an author page in order to get an account.

Select campaign objective: choose Send people to your website. Hit Continue.

Choose an audience: put in All English if that’s your language and select a daily budget, start with the minimum of 5 per day.

Scroll to where you see “INCLUDE people who match at least ONE of the following” and go to the field where it says “demographics.” Then choose all the things that relate to your book, like Anne Rice, Horror fiction, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Stephen King Fans, etc. It’s okay to be broad on the meter up top. Hit continue.

Now you’re on the format page, do a single image. At this point if you haven’t designed your ad, go do so. In photo shop make a new file. Set it at 1200 pixels wide and 627 pixels tall. Stick your book cover on there and then some come-on buttons that you think will make people buy or look or read.

facebook-ad-the-hidden

If you don’t know photo shop you have to learn it. Best way to learn it is to trick someone into sending you an original photo shop file (a book cover) which you can then open in photo shop and see how it was put together.

Then you enter data into the other fields and what not. If you want to link to Amazon: go to your book page on Amazon and copy the url link and then go to Bitly.com and shorten and customize the link. Like this: http://bit.ly/JACKS_DISEASE (or whatever your book title is, obviously.)

And that’s it. Wait for approval from facebook droids.

 

Why Horror

There is a lot to be said for horror. As a genre it is one of the only ones that allows you to explore so many diverse concepts. The supernatural is a built in trope, and that leads you into all kinds of fantasy and science fiction. In the old days, they used to think they wouldn’t be able to sell straight sf flicks, so they made sf horror and gave us Alien, The Thing, Predator, The Fly (albeit that was a remake, but a damn good one.) Horror is also a unique genre in that cheap B renditions seem to be preferred. Horror, for many is a starting ground. I was speaking with a friend a few years ago and she had mention writing one of the Halloween books and, with bright eyes and a big wide smile, she said, “Yeah, you only get killed if you have sex.”

I hadn’t really twigged on the moral lessons inherent in horror before that, but sure enough in all those 80’s slasher flicks, teenage sex is resoundingly frowned upon.

My love affair with horror began when I was a child, a scared child. I remember being so paranoid about Jason coming to get me that I once, after school in the latchkey-kid hours before my dad came home, left my house putting my stuffed animal in charge and equipping him with a pet rock that he was instructed to throw at Jason should that SOB’s hockey mask wearing face show up, looking for me.

My brother was an ardent hockey player.

So, superstition played a big part in my romance with horror. Little did I know just how thoroughly horror would claim me. I once made a cheap high school movie about a guy who was claimed by the darkness, and who resisted it, until the end when he embraced it. I guess I was portraying myself.

To me horror is multifaceted. I most enjoy a good Gothic romance set against the backdrop of impending doom, or a well crafted ghost story with lots of atmospheric gloom and apprehension. Blood n’ guts or splatterpunk is one kind of horror, which, when you want it all in your face–a sort of social rebellion–works wonders.

I often hear people say that there is enough horror in the modern world or that they have enough horror in their life so they don’t want to read about it. I understand this, but at the same time, feel it’s terribly misguided, since horror, just like other fiction, is escapism. But it is escapism which seeks to show us how to survive the worst thing. Once you survive the worst thing, let’s just say death, the other problems in life seem rather small by comparison. So it is with horror.

I don’t discount the horror of the modern world, we are, after all, now more than ever, surrounded by it, but my point is that horror as a genre is seeking to help us deal with it. Whether it is effective or not, is up to the reader or viewer and his or her personal experience to decide.

The gross out is one kind of horror, and does work, but is easily overdone.

Horror also seems to like to be dressed up in its Sunday best with lush purple style prose, much like a aged vampire will want to wear a fine suit when he goes out to kill. Horror, has many lessons to teach, but also wants you to learn them on your own, so horror likes to tell us the cautionary tale where the inventor is killed by his or her creation, or the how the best laid, but ill conceived, plans can and do backfire, often in the most terrible of ways.

Horror wants to lure us into its embrace and then scare the shit out of us. You know, that’s not unlike some people I know.

 

 

Writer’s Curse

As I get older, I feel like ranting and raving more and more. I was talking with someone the other day who told me he had no patience anymore, and then he said that he must be getting old. I guess that’s the curse of wisdom.

These days I have had other duties than my writing and my great library of published works. It wears on me after about four days and I start getting itchy about putting more stuff up, editing and writing. I have so many of these dark tales swirling around in my head (always have) and they need egress and when I find myself sitting there talking to someone over an email chat about webhosting and nameservers, I get impatient. Well, why not? I need to get back to the land of make believe and spin more dark tales.

(What a nut job!)

This week I was also obsessively checking my book sales stats and as they say, :”this way leads to madness.” I think I am only checking them because I have been stuck on other duties rather than writing the next episode and the next and the next and the next. The problem with checking your book sales stats is this: they are always bad. It’s like trying to diagnose your health over the internet. Have you ever noticed that no matter what you look up, an itch, a pimple, an ache, it all leads to death. It’s just amazing how that is online.

Book stats though, they are never enough. One takes it way too personally. One title goes up and you sit back and say, what about all the other ones! Then the other one goes up and you say, yeah, but what about the last one! And on and on down the rabbit hole we go.

Speaking of rabbit holes, I have been binge watching 11.22.63 on Hulu, the new Stephen King time travel JFK series. I liked it so much I bought the audio book, and you know a funny thing happened: I think the mini series is better than the book. I really do and that doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it throws me a little. I found the same with Twilight, I liked the movie, was bored with the book.

Anyway, it’s not that I am in a rush to publish, I am in a rush to write because these stories want out. They want to be told, they brim over the edge of my brain pan and they don’t shut off. They really don’t. I don’t look at it as a curse, though. It’s great fun. I love it.

The curse is everything that gets in the way of the telling of the vision. Except for the new puppy. She’s just so sweet, there’s no curse there.

Anyway, that’s my rant.

Episode 5 of The Hidden is done and published. It’s called The Hidden: Play the Game. It is the final episode of season 1.

The Hidden Episode 5 Cover

 

And I have episode 1 of season 2 about 90% done. But I have got to sink some time into season 2 (The Uncounted) in order to get that really coming along, because this other thing showed up in the middle of listening to my HP Lovecraft’s greatest hits book. It was, well, stunning is not the right word, but it was stunning. I was spirited away as they say, sent into the future to witness the coming invasion. I feel morally responsible to write about in a weird way, too.

 

 

The Hidden Episode 4 “Among The Hidden”

The Hidden Episode 4 Cover copy

Jerry is on the loose, hiding somewhere in Jack’s vicinity, waiting to strike again. The FBI, however, has a plan, one in which Jack is their star player. But another agency, Hellfire Club Ltd, has a better idea. And a more sinister plot. The only question left is: how far is Jack willing to go in the name of revenge?

Finally! It’s here. It took me longer than I wanted it to, that was for sure, but we have it, the next installment of Jack and Jerry.

This episode is probably the most important one of the story and I am proud to present it to the world. It was a fun journey, dark and twisted, but, oh, so enjoyable. I hope you enjoy it, too. And if you haven’t yet begun to “play the game” as Jerry likes to put it, then you really ought to. We won’t disappoint. But don’t take my word at face value. The first episode is permanently free!

In other news…

Epsiode 5 is finished, and by the way, Episode 5 is the final episode, and I promise all strings will be tied up with a few new ones added just for kicks. Now that 4 is done, I will be getting onto the Ep. 5 edits and rewrites and whatnot. Believe me, I want to get this one pub’ed and available just as fast as I can, because I want to get back to my other project: the next Hidden book, The Uncounted.

Yup, that’s begun and I am itching to get right back to it and delve in deep. General research has gone into some very interesting directions for future books. Crime and horror and police procedure. Things are getting interesting.

I’m reading tons and loving it. Dean Koontz, if you’re reading this, I love you. 😉 and James Herbert you’re my hero, wherever you are. Jo Nesbo: good deal, buddy. Also, my hat goes off to Vincent Bugliosi and his true crime sensation of the century, Helter Skelter, The True Story of the Manson Murders. (Now that is some scary shit.) Oh, and thank you Audible for existing!! Anyway, enjoy your date with Jerry.

Available on Kindle


					

Finishing Things is Good For You

Tonight I’m happy.

I’m happy because I just finished a book. It’s times like these that make me wish I still smoked. I will always remember that scene (from the movie, because–I know I am liable to catch hell for this–I have not read the book, but Kathy Bates does such a damn good job!) from Stephen King’s “Misery” where when Paul Sheldon is finished with a novel, he lights up a cigarette, the only time he does anymore.

I couldn’t get away with it. My wife would give me a hard time, but I know how it works. One cigarette leads to another cigarette which, in turn, leads to another cigarette and that leads to another…you get the idea.

So, I have a different ritual, which is taking a shot of hard liquor, but tonight I have one of those weird non-existent headaches that might be there and might not be there and I fear that if I take a shot of Brandy, the only hard liquor in my house, I am liable to get a real headache, besides I had a pretty large spiked hot chocolate last night during Eldritch Horror, a wonderful board game, I might add. And yes, it is exactly what it sound like.

Anyway, I finished The Hidden. The whole book. Episode 5 was the final episode and I put that baby to bed about an hour ago. Feels good to have it done. Sure, there will be editing and rewrites and read-throughs and all that, but the hardest part is done: turning the blank page into a full page, page after page, until the words “The End.”

I’m happy to have it done because it means that a book I have been working on for the last year and three months is done. It means that I will be able to share it with fans, and it means that I will be able to start something else now.

My mind is ablaze with all these dark wonders that I have swirling around for my next tale. It is a joyful thing indeed when the visions come and show you the way of the adventure. In my mind, the dark stories are the brightest. They nearly glow with vibrancy and I see them so clearly in my mind’s eye, I can all but live inside them.

The trick, of course, is to take that grand vision handed down by the gods through their most able and beautiful servants, the Muses, and do it the justice  it deserves.

In case anyone wants to know, my next project is Thomas Hunter Book 4. I was having such a problem trying to decide what to do next after The Hidden. It was so bad that I was going a little crazy, I admit. As soon as I would decide on one direction, I would switch and say, “Yeah, but maybe this one is the way to go” and I would slide down the rabbit hole all over again. I finally decided to do a draw out of a hat. I used a purple fedora and I put the top 5 books I wanted to work on in there. Then I pulled out a name and unceremoniously declared it in my living room, despite making my wife wince at how dorky I was being. But, I needed a little ceremonial magic to jar things loose, or rather, firm them up.

But even after that, I had this sneaky idea that I should just skip the hat trick and pretend I had never done it. After all, who’s to say not to? But, alas, reason did find me, and I declared, this time silently and resolutely, that the one from the hat is the one to be done. That is the rule, after all.

And so, Sirius Evil was..not born, but conceived. It won’t be born for probably another nine months. Yes, these books really are my babies.

news of the world

As we depart summer and enter into fall I sigh a great breath of relief. I am not a summer lover. I don’t like the hot sun on my neck, am not a huge fan of sweating.

I am, however, a fall lover or fallophilliac. Hot coffee, pumpkins, scarves (I have a full 17′ Dr. Who one styled with the same color pattern as my favorite doctor, Tom Baker), sweaters and jeans, all the fall colors. In an ideal world, there is only one season: autumn.

It is also a wonderful time to read. I most recently snuggled up with Clive Barker’s Damnation Game and was very happy I did so. The ancient struggle of good versus evil is embodied in these two enemies and their quest to outdo, outlast, and out best one another. Similar in that regard to The Great and Secret Show, also by Clive Barker, where essentially the same arch rivals do the same thing. I didn’t mind the repetition of theme and ideas. I was once told that as you write, your message comes through, again and again, and eventually it reaches. I find this in my own work all the time. Marvel Comics does a great job with this. Retelling the same story over and over again in different ways and at different depths. I take comfort in this because it means we really do have a point to what we are writing about or creating.  It’s not just all random, but coming from a deeper, more profound part of us that, in my view, is the truer part. It also means we can’t go wrong with choice of subject matter that we use to create. It’s all valid.

dg

I have a reading pile that I am buried in at  the moment that consists of nothing but thick books. I find that, for the most part, this kind of book is the kind I like to read. There are many exceptions, of course, but the Thick Book seems to afford the level of dept necessary to keep me engaged. I am torn however because many times I want it to end sooner, because there are so many pages i,e. its so thick. Often times I listen to books at 2 or 3 x the speed, to get over the thickness factor. I basically consume books in all mediums: print, ebook and audio. I watch them too, when they are made into movies.

So, being that the Thick Book is my kind of book, I am working on one of my own entitled The Hidden, which, for all intents and purposes is over half way done, but only 2/5’s released.

The (New) Hidden

Click here for adventure

Episode three is scheduled to go up in a month, give or take 4 weeks. This tale revolves around Jack Fuller who finds that he is one of the few people in the world today who has the capacity for producing what the ancient world called The Gemini, a highly intelligent and evolved doppelganger. There is only one thing that this doppelganger wants from Jack: everything.

I have also been engaged in some revising and renewing. My second Thomas Hunter book is now re-released and better for it. And the third installment is well on its way and will be published inside of one month, give or take twenty days.

TH 2 Front CoverSECONDROUNDFLATTENED-1aug cropped for EBOOK

Here for magic and mayhem

Thomas Hunter has to solve a paranormal mind f*@k in this installment without losing his own paranormal mind. Its got occult magick, monsters, shapeshifters, alternate realities, some naughty parts and a whole lot of paranormal sleuthing.

In other news, in the quest to keep my own paranormal mind, I have recently listened to The War of Art, by Steven Pressfeild. This little book, part instruction manual, part metaphysical guidebook, part memoir is a must read for artists– particularly writers–do-gooders and in short anyone trying to do something amazing and/or help the world and the people in it. It really is an incredible book. Very short, but very powerful.  I listened to it twice.

war of arrt

Speaking of amazing, yesterday I asked a young person how he was doing, and he said, and I quote: “I am doing amazing sauces.”

I had to pause. Where do these youngsters learn their vernacular?

All right, I now go off into the land of make believe and buckwheat pancakes, where I never gain any weight and I always rank high on the charts.