Thursday, May 26, 2016

What's Your Favorite Vampire Novel?

In honor of today being the anniversary of Dracula by Bram Stoker being published - May 26, 1897 - I thought I would ask the question: What's your favorite vampire novel? 

For me, without question, it's 'Salem's Lot by Stephen King. Coincidentally, that was the first 'grown up' vampire novel I read, as well as my first ever Stephen King novel. To this day I can still clearly remember the experience of buying it. I was at Borders at the time and had just finished the last Dean Koontz book that was available, and needed a new author to read. Stephen King it was. Book in hand - I chose it because it featured a writer and thought that reading about a writer might help my own writing along (young writers can be goofy) - I headed to the counter and set down my purchase. "Best damn vampire book ever written," the clerk said. My jaw about dropped. An adult swearing!? That didn't happen very often in the teenage world that I occupied. Intrigued, I hurried home to start reading and was totally blown away. The book was amazing; the best damn book I had ever read. I finished it in a single weekend and then hurried back to the store to buy more Stephen King books. I've been a constant reader ever since.

When it comes to vampires, I have not been a constant reader. 'Salem's Lot was great, but it may have spoiled me when it comes to reading vampire fiction. Many of the vampire titles I found and tried to read after were pretty 'meh'.

But then came the Necroscope series by Brian Lumley. I bought the first book on a whim because I loved the skull cover and before I knew it, I had the entire series on my shelf, my mind eagerly reading one after another. Those vampire books were amazing, and up until recently, that way my all time favorite series that I have ever read.

Another set of vampire books that I really enjoyed was the Jeanne Kalogridis Family Dracula trilogy. I read them last year, the first book bought in a huge book buying splurge with my mother when we visited a Half Price Books in Bloomingdale. I remember the store had all three books, but since I wasn't sure if I would like the first one, I didn't buy all of them. Two days later, after having finished reading the first one, I was kicking myself for not buying them all because I would now have to wait until the following weekend to go back and buy them. Ironically, I started the first book in another trilogy that had been bought during the splurge as a way to hold me over until that weekend. It was The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. Needless to say, but the time I went back to Half Price Books that weekend, I had two trilogies that needed to be bought and added to my shelf.

Midnight Mass by F. Paul Wilson was another vampire novel that I loved, one that addressed a question my brother and I had often discussed on what would happen if vampires were real and eventually took over the world? Given the infective nature of their bites, it seemed logical that they would eventually take over the world, and in Midnight Mass that is exactly what has happened, the few humans that have survived having to make a choice between siding with the vampires or becoming part of the fragmented resistance against them.

There have been other vampire books that I have enjoyed, but none have compared to the ones above.

What about all of you? What are some of your favorite vampire reads?

Sunday, May 8, 2016

First World Bill Problems - Buy Now With One Click! Option on Amazon

It is official. I need to disable the one click buy option from my Amazon account because my semi-sleeping self can't be trusted with such a convince anymore. I learned this the other day when I woke up and had an email from Amazon detailing my most recent purchase from their web store. Apparently, while sleeping, I had bought the entire third season of Survivorman for my electronic video library. And not only had I bought it, I had watched the entire season while snoozing the night away thanks to the auto-play button which means my option to return the season was completely nullified. On the surface this wouldn't really be a big deal since I do love the first thee seasons of Survivorman, and often turn it on to watch while trying to fall asleep because it helps me mute my constant stream of thoughts (The X-Files and I Shouldn't Be Alive also helps me do this, don't ask me why), but I had already bought all the episodes individually a few months ago, so there was no need for me to buy the entire season again.

Fortunately, the season was only $9.99 so in reality it wasn't a big deal, but given that I sleep with my laptop every night while signed on to my Amazon video library, the potential for more purchases, some of which could be quite costly, is too much for me to risk. Simply put, I can't trust my sleeping body. It's like it has a mind of its own or something.

Actually, now that I think about it, my sleeping body might be dangerous because sometimes I have waking dreams that cause me to react oddly when I bounce back into the waking world. One time, I had a waking dream that my friend had gotten all tangled up by a lamp cord while asleep next to me and I needed to free her, and literally became fully awake with a pair of scissors in my hand and her asking me what the hell I was doing. My brother also told me that I once woke him screaming that I had cobras in my bed (I have no memory). There was also another time I wouldn't get out of bed because of a giant hole in the floor (that one I remember). And then there is all the porn on my computer. How did that get there?

It seems it may be time I invested in a padded room to spend my nights in, one that could keep me and everyone else protected from my subconscious self? Any one else out there do weird things in their sleep?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Two New Covers

Sometimes, if something isn't working, you simply have to change things up a bit. That is what I'm currently in the process of doing for some of my novels that don't seem to generate the same type of attention as my other, better-selling (sometimes bestselling) titles do. The first two novels to get this makeover are Blind Eye and Text Message. With Blind Eye, I'm simply changing the cover since everything else with the novel presentation was fantastic (I have a full team of professionals that worked on this one). With Text Message, I'm changing the cover and having the ebook edition reformatted since this was one of the novels that was released in the early days of the Amazon Kindle program, back when we were all learning what could and couldn't be done with the html code inside of Microsoft Word.

The new covers:

Carl Graves at Extended Imagery was the artist behind these and I couldn't be happier with his work. Now to see if readers feel the same way. Covers are so important when it comes to selling novels. After all, if no one clicks on the tiny icon image, then no one is going to be buying the book. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Hmm, What to Read Next . . .

These past few weeks were fantastic in terms of eBay book finds. For just under fifteen dollars, I now have nearly two dozen new (um . . . old?) hardboiled and mystery paperbacks sitting in a pile next to my desk in my office. Now the question becomes, which one do I read first? Such decisions are never easy.

All these in one box for just a couple bucks - WOW!

I've narrowed my decision down to two that were not pictured above.  Nightmare Town by Dashiell Hammet and Murder in the Wind by John D. MacDonald.  I've read quite a bit of work from both authors, yet these two titles are new to me.

Actually, now that I've given both books a look over, I have realized that Nightmare Town is actually a collection of short stories. That makes things a bit easier. Except, now I'm looking at two more titles that were not pictured above because I had set them in a different pile that I forgot about. 

Hmm . . . decisions, decisions . . .

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Seeking a Foreign Rights Agent

Given the success of my novel Jimmy in the German language market (I just received my first overseas royalty check from my German publisher Festa for the 2015 calendar year and wow!), and the interest that has been shown for my latest bestselling novel Santa Took Them (currently being read by Festa), I think the time has come for me to find myself a foreign rights agent. The reason for this is simple; up until now, I have sat back and waited for foreign publishers and editors to query me on my work, and while this process has earned me deals with respected publishers who have seen my success in the United States, I feel there are many foreign markets out there that I have yet to break into, ones that might not even be aware of my work. Such is the reality of the publishing world. Sometimes success in one marketplace will attract the attention of those in other markets, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes one has to go to them and show them what they have and why it would be in their interest to publish it. This is what I'm going to do. Following its release on November 30, Santa Took Them made it to the number two spot on the hot new horror release list, and the number four spot on the Amazon horror bestseller list, and then, in January, it did so well that I'm now scheduled to received the largest royalty check I have ever seen at the end of this month.

The time is right. My work is doing really well in the United States and in Germany, and I believe the same will be true in other European markets. However, given my inexperience with dealing with foreign publishers and their editors, and with negotiating deals for the foreign editions, I think I really should have an agent working on my behalf, thus, this weekend, I shall start the process in contacting several that I have looked at with proposals. I also will welcome inquiries from foreign rights agents if they feel they can help market my work. And of course, if a foreign publisher wants to make an inquiry into my work, they are always more than welcome to do so.  I take all queries seriously and can be messaged at

Sunday, December 27, 2015

So Many Books! Which One Do I Start With?

Books.  It's all I ever really ask for during the two major gift giving days every year, and, for the most part, it is all I ever get.  Okay, occasionally there other little things thrown in there, but books are always the main focus.  Ask and thee shall receive -- seems to work.

So, here is the Christmas haul, one that now has me stumped on what to start with.

Note: if you're wondering why no Jack Reacher, that is because my mother gave them all to me for my birthday a few months earlier.

Back to the question: which one do I start with?  Okay, I actually did already read one of the titles, a novella called Debt of Bones by Terry Goodkind.  I love the Sword of Truth series.  In fact, it is my favorite fantasy series of all time.  Next up in that series will be Faith of the Fallen, which I can't wait to read.  It was this desire to continue with the series that led me to read Debt of Bones last night -- it is a one-sitting novella.  Having just opened so many new books, I wanted to be reading something from the new pile rather than something from my shelf, however, all the Terry Goodkind books pictured are all several volumes ahead in the Sword of Truth series.  What was I to do.  Ah-ha, read the novella that is like a prequel to the series.  Perfect!  Going with such logic, I suppose I could also read the First Confessor, but I'm going to actually hold off on that one for now.  It too is a prequel, but one that was written recently and thus, I want to read all the Sword of Truth books that were written and published before it.  I don't know why this is important to me, but it is and I can't argue with it.  That's why Debt of Bones was so perfect.  The novella was actually published right before the next Sword of Truth novel that I am to read.

But now the question has arrived once again; now that I have read Debt of Bones, which title to I pick up next?  I'm leaning toward Michael Connelly since it has been quite some time since Harry Bosch and I have sat in a chair together.  That said, I do love Jo Nesbo's Harry Hole, so I might have to plunge into one of his instead.

Such indecision!  A #firstworldproblem if there ever was one.  Question: does hash tagging in this post do anything, or is that really only something for Twitter? #hashtaggingquestion (just in case).

Then there are all those fantastic science fiction novels just waiting to be explored . . .

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Finishing Touches

That's what I've been doing this past week -- mostly this past weekend.  Finishing touches.  A month ago, I 'finished' the first draft of my Linger novel episode for Braun Haus Media, but didn't send it out.  Doing so would have been a big no, no.  Instead, I put it into a drawer (metaphorically since it really just sat as an icon on my computer -- my NEW computer that my brother gave me for my birthday, boohya!) and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Now, typically, I would have had another project to work on, but this time I didn't.  This isn't to say I don't have any other ideas for novels, I have several, just that I didn't really feel like starting any of them at the moment.  I've done three of them this year (Crystal Creek, Santa Took Them and Linger), as well as the rewrites and edits for two (Blind Eye and Santa Took Them), all while working a full time job, buying a house and battling the ever-present autoimmune disease, so, I figured, it was okay to take some time off.  Well, not really since my mind never shuts down with the ideas, but I wasn't getting up at four in the morning everyday to complete ten pages before work.  Instead I was getting up at five to putz around on the computer while drinking coffee.  What can I say.

And then the time arrived.  I read the first draft of my Linger novel, tweaked some things that stood out to me and then left it alone for a week, read it again, and thought, Hmm, something isn't quite right . . . which is common for me.

My final drafts rarely look anything like my first drafts -- if I give them the proper time to mature.  Stephen King equated this with bread dough and letting it rise.  I make bread myself, so, let's go with that.  The dough that eventually rises, if the water was the right temp for the yeast and all the proper ingredients were mixed together, will never look anything like what it started out as, and then further shaping into loaves or rolls will change it again.  That's how books are.  Once you have a first draft completed, you can re-read it and see where things need to be added or removed -- especially once you know how it is going to end.  And if during the first half you had no idea who the killer was, then  this reread will allow you to see areas where you can shape things so that it all flows properly to the reveal of that killer.

Now, I think I have figured out what it was that wasn't quite right with the Linger book.  Having fixed that, it is back into the drawer for a while.  The publication date on that is still TBA, so I have time to wait and make sure everything is rising properly (bread dough analogy again).