Thursday, October 27, 2016


New Orleans will be crazy this weekend.  Not only is it leading up to Halloween, but we have VOODOO FEST, a home SAINTS game, and several conventions in town.  Mischief or Devil's Night is also the new moon; many covens celebrate Samhain, one of the four Greater Sabbats, on October's dark moon.  All these factors enhance the energy flowing about the city.  I've already seen witches, skeletons, and ghosts roaming the streets, both dress-up and real.

We've updated the kickstarter with some new images and story clips.  If you want to see AFTER THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER in hardcover, make sure you click here and pre-order your copies before the event ends.  We're trying to pay our contributors a little more, so give us a hand and pledge.


I keep wrestling with the CAMPING TRIP prologue in BROTHERS IN SOLITUDE.  It serves a purpose, giving a glimpse to the family before the end of the world, but it also can't be too long.  Just a few brushstrokes to establish themes, tones, and set up future devices lurking in the story.  Today I'll start trying it out.  Let's see if I can get the images across in less than a few thousand words.

I am taking BIS's original document and mining it for sections, pasting the pieces that make the cut into a new doc that will serve as the final manuscript. 

There are some problems with this approach.

It creates invisible monsters, hidden code that messes up the interior when you go to publish.  Often there are keystrokes and formatting that you cannot see unless you activate the show/hide function on your word processor.  Before I understood this, I had proofs come back where the interior design looked worse than any cut and paste zine that deliberately seeks this aesthetic.  Though fitting for an underground music rag, it looks terrible in a professional book.

There are solutions to wiping out the unseen glitches.  One approach—the nuclear option—is dropping the entire document into notepad and then bringing it back into Word.  This resets everything, but you have to go back and reformat each line.  It allows total control, but it is not at all fast.  I use this method when formatting anthologies because each story comes from a different computer with different settings.  Wiping out the hidden characters simplifies pagination for physical and e-books.

Enough shop talk for today, let's get to the giveaway!

Nobody answered yesterday's question, so I assume you not only believe in aliens but were actually abducted and were unable to play along.  Scary.  That means that the ALIENS blueray rolls over and is included with today's prize: a paperback copy of CASTAWAYS by Brian Keene.

They came to the deserted island to compete on a popular reality television show. Each one hoped to be the last to leave. Now they're just hoping to stay alive, because the island isn't deserted after all.

Contestants are disappearing, but they aren't being eliminated by the game. They're being taken by the monstrous, half-human creatures that live deep in the jungle. The men will be slaughtered. The women will be kept alive as captives. Night is falling, the creatures are coming, and rescue is so far away . . . 

CASTAWAYS is Brian Keene's tribute to the late, great Richard Laymon!

Keene is one of my favorite authors.  His handle on horror is phenomenal.  He writes cinematically—imagining the book on the big screen is effortless.  He's not afraid to take readers into dark and gory places, while at the same time there are gentle moments peering from behind the nightmare creatures.  I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Keene this summer at Tubby and Coo's Mid-City Bookshop during his extensive book tour.  Amazing moment.

CASTAWAYS is a violent and savage book, perfect for this time of year.  This particular copy comes from my private collection, so there is some spine wear and light cover damage.  I've offered it up for this contest because I believe that if you love horror literature, this author is a must read.
To enter, let me know what horror authors you like to read and recommend some of their books in the comments of this blog or on facebook.

Thanks for reading, and I hope that you are #closingcircles of your own.


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