Happy Halloween everybody! Here’s a look at this year’s jack-o-lantern at the Huguenin house. Emily took the first photo (the better one), mine is the blurry dark one.
Don’t forget I’m going to be in Huntington, WV tomorrow from 6pm to 10pm with a table at the Haunted Majestic, a super-rad haunted house floating on the Ohio River. Admission is $17 for a really awesome event.
Tonight, I won’t be there, but if you want to go on actual Halloween night, graphic novel artist/writer Jason Pell will be there. He has some really cool stuff. Check out his work at Bug House Comics!
That’s all. Enjoy the holiday. See you tomorrow night (or Saturday).
The leaves have been fantastic around here the last few weeks. We’ve had some beautiful blue-sky days lately, though they have been a bit warmer for my tastes. Even though I’ve been going through some really hard stuff lately, I’m doing my best to get out and enjoy the greatest season in West Virginia. I even got me a brand new set of overalls. Autumn is probably my favorite time of year, especially here, though I do not think it would be so special if it were fall all year round (a guy’s gotta ski sometime). The last two years, we’ve had some biblical-scale infestations of those pseudo-lady bugs. This year I have a plan to keep them out, and, so far, the lady bug problem has been subdued. Crossing fingers. Other than that, the only negative I can think of regarding Octobers is being reminded that there are still people in this world who think it’s OK to say/write/think to one’s self, “Happy Fall, Y’all!”. (If you’re that person, please note: it is never OK). Otherwise, it is pretty much the perfect month. Here are some pictures from my walk to my writing spot a couple days ago, though my old smart phone needs to be replaced. It is not capable of really capturing the brilliance and beauty. I wish I had some pictures from a bike ride I took up on Burner Mountain, but I suppose I’ll have to be satisfied with memories, like a healthy human being.
#AmWriting Weird Fiction
I finished a very strange Augustus Valley novella recently. I started it in February, planning for it to be a 3k-5k word short story for Hinnom Magazine (before the editor there had some kind of personal emergency and kind of disappeared from the internet—come back, C.P.! We miss you. Seriously, hope you’re OK).
At first, I had trouble with it, getting in words in fits and starts. Slowly, it grew—and kept growing (much like something in the story that… well, isn’t generally supposed to). Next thing I knew, it was past 10k words, then 15k… and this September I buckled down and knocked out the last of it, coming out to around 21,300 words after some editing. I guess I might dare say the story is a touch Aickman-ey. I hesitate to make that comparison, because I would not presume to lift myself to his level. It’s super weird, though.
I’m not great at pitches and summaries for even my more traditional stuff; I really don’t know how to pitch this one. A kid goes to work cleaning a mansion for a very strange man, who tries to mentor him in his off-the-wall philosophies on science and religion. Then crazy stuff happens. You will be amazed! Disturbed! Confounded! Horrified! Anyone interested yet? I hope my trouble to summarize it in a compelling way does not mean that it is actually a dud. I was afraid it would be, after all the trouble I had finishing it, but when I went back over it, I found myself quite happy with it. Hopefully readers will also be pleased. I do not know when it will be available for you to read, but if you sign up for my emails, I will notify you as soon as possible.
After that, I got back to work on the Bigfoot novel at last. Once again, I find it unlikely that I will finish it this year. However, I’m actually starting to make some progress on it, which I could not say until this season. Sometimes it feels like writing this book is more difficult than tracking Old Sassy over Cheat Mountain.
Other notes and news
The West Virginia Book Festival was a whole lot of fun, as always. Big thanks to my buddy Stephen Golden for lending me his couch and food. Thank you, all who made it out to support me, and hello to any new readers who might be visiting my blog for the first time. Thanks to you guys, I sold out of all the copies I brought of Little One, the first time I’ve ever done that. Next time I’ll try to plan a little better.
On November 1st and 2nd (aka Halloween Weekend, despite it being November), I’ll be signing books at the Haunted Majestic in Huntington, a floating haunted house on the river. I am psyched to go and meet more people and check out this awesome event.
If you haven’t picked up the latest Black Static (#71), I highly recommend grabbing a copy. I found Stephen Hargadon’s “Dixon Parade” quite enjoyable. Shades of Thomas Ligotti and Ramsey Campbell. I have not finished the rest of the magazine, but I was very pleased to discover a new author and seek out more of his work.
It’s already getting very cool in the Allegheny mountains. Autumn is coming.
As the summer wraps up, I’m going to be doing a 99 cent sale on the Kindle versions of my novels (sale price will apply to the US and UK amazon markets only). When the Watcher Shakes will go on sale first for a week, followed by Little One for another week. Stay tuned.
Email list subscribers will be notified first.
It’s time for a little update to my first book, When the Watcher Shakes. Behold this gorgeous cover from none other than Ben Baldwin, who also designed my covers for Little One and Antique Bed, and whose art has appeared in publications like Black Static, Stephen King & Richard Chizmar’s Gwendy’s Button Box, and too many others of note to name here.
Please note that this is not a sequel. This is a new edition with some superficial changes to the text. Nothing has changed in regard to plot or characters, and no scenes have been added or removed. So if you already own a copy of the first edition, congrats! You don’t need to get the new one, unless you are, like me, a sucker for awesome artwork and need to have a copy just for the new cover. But now may be a good time to think if you have any friends that need a copy. 🙂
Click here to buy When the Watcher Shakes on Amazon!
“Kelsea is forced to face a little girl’s ghost from her past and the devastation she brings—as well as other, even more unexpected threats. The heart-racing mystery will keep readers wondering who to trust and how the story will end.” — Publishers Weekly
Well this was kind of a surprise—as I submitted Little Onefor review through BookLife back in… June 2017! After a few months, I had just assumed that it was not selected for review and then forgot about it. Another weird thing about the review is it refers to the book as my “chilling horror debut” when it is actually my second book. Maybe they didn’t consider my first one as horror? To be fair, when I was getting ready to publish When the Watcher Shakes, I was wishy-washy and insecure about what genre it really fell into. At one point I was calling it “dark suspense.”
So, almost two years after publication, and calls my second book “a strong debut”—but you know what? I’ll take it. It’s Publishers Weekly. I can work with that! All the other stuff it says is really good, and I’m very happy about that. Read the full review here: https://www.publishersweekly.com/9780997147438
I started working on a Bigfoot novel either early last year, or perhaps even in later 2017—can’t remember for sure. So far, my word count is somewhere around the 5k mark. Which is terrible, considering I’m pretty sure I wrote the first draft of Little One in less than three months. In January, I reviewed my goals and again committed to finishing this novel before the end of the year—not a lofty goal!
You know how much I’ve written on it since then? Zero. No, actually I do think I went back and changed a couple sentences. Switched a barred owl call to a screech owl, or something like that. What’s the deal, man? Am I still suffering from chronic writer’s block?
Well, not exactly. For one thing, I have been working at a specialty coffee shop in Elkins (TipTop, come check us out!), so I haven’t had as much time to write. Though I don’t work very long shifts (about six or seven hours in a day), the commute ads another two to three hours onto that. Since I’m not good at little spurts of writing without larger blocks of unstructured time, that means I almost never am able to come up with anything during the days I work at TipTop. Occasionally I’ll get a bit done before work, but it has never been more than three hundred words, and it usually is nothing at all.
However, I have not been as blocked up as I was last year. Though I have not made significant progress on the novel this year, I have been writing. In January I decided to start off by writing a short story to submit to Hinnom Magazine, very cool horror mag that is taking great strides in a good direction. (They have published my work twice before, see here and here.) I was aiming to finish the short story before their submission window closed at the end of February. A reasonable goal, you might think, despite the new job. I still get free days, and it shouldn’t take me a month and a half to finish a three to five thousand word story.
Well, turns out this “short” story doesn’t want to end just yet. It’s currently weighing in at over twelve thousand words, and doesn’t look to be finishing up extremely soon. Of course, I will try to cut much of the fat off of it when I finish, but now it is hungry, now I can only feed it until it is full. (I ended up sending a different, already finished story to Hinnom). So while I really wish I had more done on the novel, I am pleased to have broken out of that horrible funk I was in since at least the second half of 2018, when I struggled even to come up with 150 words in a day. I’m anxious to see where this novelette goes (will it become a novella?)—and I hope that it turns out good enough that those 12k+ words weren’t just a big waste!
I’m putting my eBooks on sale. Why now, you ask? Well, because that’s when BookBub said to, that’s why! Unwilling to brave the Black FridayThursday Thanksgiving Week horde? I have the perfect thing. Pay only 99 cents for either of my books, Little One and When the Watcher Shakes, and never leave your house. That’s right, it’s a #BuckSeason Sale — hunt ebooks for under a buck! This deal is limited, so act now. This will be good in the US and UK Amazon stores*, until November 26th. (Clicking on the images below will the US product display pages on Amazon.com).
*This deal is also good in Amazon AU and Amazon CA, but for Little One only!
I kind of already said this, but HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Here is the jack-o-lantern Emily and I carved this season:
October is the best month for a variety of reasons. You got beautiful fall colors, crisp, cool weather, and yeah, Halloween (see above). I got in some good mountain biking, had tons of fun at the annual West Virginia Book Festival, and got to meet up for coffee with an old friend at Taylor Books, which is a pretty great coffee shop/book store in downtown Charleston that I recommend.
Also, this month I released a new Kindle horror novelette, Antique Bed, which you can get on Amazon for only $0.99.
And just in time for Halloween, Horror Tales Podcast released their fourth episode, which is my story “The Unknown Thing”, previously published in Beneath the Waves: Tales from the Deep. Click below to listen (it’s free): ***EDIT: I was just notified that my story has been listened to over one thousand times already, in just a few days! Cool!
One experience I had that was not enjoyable this month was the Witch’s Brew drink at Starbucks. This purple monstrosity was so awful looking that I just had to try it. There is zero coffee in this drink (not that anyone expected it), and I could only take a few sips before tossing it in the trash.
As I don’t live in a town where there is trick-or-treating (or a town of any kind, for that matter), sadly, my house is not stocked full of candy (also, I guess they don’t always do trick-or-treating on actual Halloween anymore?). However, Emily and I have some pretty fun plans involving our traditional viewing of Halloween is Grinch Night and some caramel apples that are sure to ruin our teeth but be wildly tasty (ironically enough, last night I had a dream in which two of my teeth fell out for no reason).
So go enjoy the holiday, however you do that—consuming tons of sugar, watching movies, listening to Horror Tales Podcast, or reading one of my books (I guess somebody else’s book is fine, too). Remember that tomorrow candy will be dirt cheap.