Today Amazon is featuring my first novel, Covenant on a special promotion for just 99 cents. It’s part of their Kindle Daily/Gold Box Deal of the Day campaign, featuring 40 Mysteries and Thrillers! I’m pretty excited that Covenant is getting this extra exposure — there are lots of great books on the list from L.J. Sellers, Max Allan Collins, Simon Wood, Sarah Pinborough and more!
You can get Covenant for just 99 cents here.
Or see it on the Gold Box Deal page (towards the bottom) here.
Here’s a description of the novel, which won the Bram Stoker Award for Achievement in a First Novel in 2005 after its original small press release by Delirium Books (it was later reissued in mass market paperback by Leisure Books with a new cover in 2008):
To the residents of the sleepy coastal town of Terrel, the cliffs of Terrel’s Peak are a deadly place, an evil place where terrible things happen. Like a series of mysterious teen suicides over the years, all on the same date. Or other deaths, usually reported as accidents. Could it be a coincidence? Or is there more to it? Reporter Joe Kieran is determined to find the truth. Kieran’s search will lead him deep into the town’s hidden past, a past filled with secrets and horror, and to the ruins of the old lighthouse atop the tragic cliffs. He will uncover rumors and whispered legends — including the legend of the evil entity that lives and waits in the caves below Terrel’s Peak…
Just over a month ago, right after I landed in Santiago, Chile for a week-long business trip, I received word that my sixth novel, NightWhere, had made the final ballot for this year’s Bram Stoker Awards.
What a great way to start a long trip, right? I was obviously pretty excited about the nomination — this is the first time one of my novels has been on the Bram Stoker ballot since Covenant got there in 2004/2005. And Covenant made the ballot (and won) for achievement in a “First Novel”… it didn’t appear in the broader “Superior Achievement in a Novel” category.
I posted about the nomination back when it was announced on Facebook and Twitter, but I ended up traveling for work so much in March (and dealing with a couple of big deadlines), that I never actually got around to acknowledging the honor here on my own blog or website! So I thought I’d post about this today, even though it’s old news in a sense at this point!
The Bram Stoker Awards are given out by the Horror Writers Association (HWA) every year in a number of categories, and this year’s winners will be announced at an awards banquet (which I’ll be attending) in New Orleans in June, 2013. You can see the full ballot on the HWA site. The awards are voted on by all of the Active Members of the HWA, so this really is an award from one’s peers. At this point, all the voting has been completed, but I won’t find out the results for a couple more months. Either way, I’m just really excited and honored by the nomination!
My local newspaper also did a short article about the nomination, although clearly the copyeditor there didn’t read the article very closely and isn’t familiar with the creator of Dracula – the headline erroneously said that I had “won” the Brom Stroker award! Oh well, perhaps the article convinced a couple people to check the book out anyway.
I know some people read the article because it brought me a letter of congratulations in the mail a few days ago from my State Senator Michael Connelly (an unexpected perk!)
Having NightWhere recognized like this has extra meaning to me because this is the book that I was “afraid” to write for many years. But in 2011, after the dissolution of my previous publisher, I decided to dive in go for it.
NightWhere became my first release last year from the new horror imprint of Samhain Publishing headed up by Don D’Auria, the editor for my first five novels at Leisure Books. Now that Leisure’s 40-year run as a mass market publisher has ended, Samhain has picked up the horror flag, and I’m proud to be part of this new line. (They will be releasing my seventh novel, Violet Eyes, this fall).
NightWhere is an erotic horror novel that I first envisioned over 10 years ago, before I actually finished the final draft of my first novel, Covenant. The extreme and sexual nature of the content kept me from tackling it for a long time. At one point I even considered writing it under a pseudonym. But I’m glad I didn’t — the book has ended up garnering the best reviews of any of my works. Of course, the first leading question in virtually every interview I’ve done for it over the past six months has been “how did you do your research for this…nudge-nudge, wink-wink.” Nobody ever likes to hear the mundane answer — I have a very active imagination!
There are a number of additional publications related to the novel coming over the next few months. A new press in Poland — Radical Press — has licensed the book to issue a translation there, and Festa Verlag in Germany (who will be issuing a translation of Siren as Ligeia this spring) has also licensed the novel for German translation.
Closer to home, Bad Moon Books will be issuing a collectible hardcover edition in a few weeks. I just got the cover art today, and it looks awesome – click on the thumbnail on the right to see it full size!
Bad Moon will start taking pre-orders for the limited hardcover edition in a couple weeks, so if you’re like me, and love having hardcover editions on your bookshelves… stay tuned!
If you prefer audiobooks, Audio Realms will be issuing an audiobook edition of NightWhere sometime later this summer.
I’m also about done with a short novelette related to the NightWhere world, which will likely turn up on Amazon in the near future.
So there’s a lot going on with NightWhere to keep me busy over the next few weeks… while I’m crossing my fingers and wondering what news the envelope will hold in New Orleans on June 15th!
I’ve never been to South America before, and really didn’t know what to expect. People (and the Internet) insisted that folks in Santiago would have a good smattering of English, since it’s a cosmopolitan city and they’re teaching it now in as a second language in schools. I was hopeful for that, since my second language choice in high school was (foolishly) Latin. Which qualifies me to speak to nobody who is not conversing strongly in English.
The “sure they speak English” thing turned out to be the case… well… not so much! The longest conversation I had with anybody in the city was probably with a waiter who had recently emigrated from Belgium! Even in the most tourist-y areas, trying to ascertain from the waiter whether a beer was light or dark, or a food was spicy or not, turned out to be five-minute conversations, frequently with another waiter called in to help.
The city itself was nice… but really just a semi-modern city. But walking outside and seeing the Andes all around, not to mention a small drainage river from the mountains that ran through the middle of the city, pumped up the “exotic” factor. Well, that and all the foreign words.
The Sheraton Hotel we stayed at was really nice – surrounded by views of the mountains, and featuring a gorgeous pool and bar area. Here are some shots:
We shuttled back and forth every day for six days from the hotel to a convention center about 10-15 minutes away, and midway between, was a really cool area called Patio Bellavista. The place was filled with shops and restaurants and the zoo was located near there. I spent several evenings there, having dinner and doing a little writing, and bought all my souvenirs there as well. One night, I even had the opportunity to watch a local band play:2013-02-28 23.01.25_x264
Over the course of several dinners in Patio Bellavista, my hotel and a couple places in the downtown area near my hotel, I sampled a number of Chilean beers. I must admit, I wasn’t blown away by any… but was interested to note the German influence on a couple of breweries (particularly Kuntsmann). My favorite easy-drinking amber was Mestra, but I really liked the darker richness of Austral Yagan and the heavier, vanilla tinged flavor of Kross’s anniversary brew – 5. I brought home a couple bottles of Yagan home in my suitcase. Not sure what the “special occasion” will be to open them:
One of the best parts of the trip was a brief visit to the seaside town of Valparaiso, an arts-oriented community with a beautiful, hilly setting (it reminded me in places of San Francisco). I took as many pictures there in a couple hours as I did during the entire rest of the week in Santiago!
On the first day and the last day I was in Santiago, I walked through the city streets near the hotel, and shot some pictures of the riverway park area (where they have outdoor gym equipment!) as well as the city buildings and restaurants themselves.
At the end of the week, I was definitely ready to go home, though I had learned how to mentally convert 20,000 Chilean pesos in my head to $40.
I packed my Pisco (a Chilean liquor made from grapes) into my suitcase and had my last Pisco Sour at the airport… and then after an exceptionally long plane ride (with a stop in Miami) I was finally back to home sweet home.
I really wish that she’d called me to say something else. Like ‘could you pick up some milk on your way home.’
I wasn’t Roger Ebert’s friend; I never met him (though honestly, I always wanted to). But he was more of a rock star to me than most rock stars — which is saying something given that I was a music critic for more than 20 years.
Roger Ebert has been an inspiration to me for my entire writing life. He was a critic who was creative, an intellect who was entertaining. He had a heart AND a brain… an a great sense of humor. He was more than the real deal, he was the top of the crop.
When I was an editor at my high school paper in the early ’80s, I remember following Ebert’s reviews, as well as the columns of his fellow Chicago Sun-Times writers Roger Simon, Robert Feder and Irv Kupcinet. These were the guys I wanted to be when I grew up. Journalists with creativity and passion and a voice who had a picture and a presence — and real personality — in the newspaper every day.
As a journalism student at the University of Illinois, I found that Ebert was a graduate, and, in fact, had been an editor at the same college newspaper that I eventually became a columnist and Special Sections editor for — The Daily Illini (of course, he was there over 20 years before me). When I took my first film classes at the U of I and strayed from my usual music writing to publish my first film reviews in the Daily Illini (of John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness and Prince’s Sign ‘O’ The Times), I thought of Roger Ebert.
When I graduated and became a music critic for Chicagoland’s Star Newspapers (ironically owned by the parent company of The Sun-Times) I was inspired by Ebert, at least in a small way. He was reviewing movies, I was reviewing music. I never had his depth of phrasing or intellect, but in some ways, throughout my twenty years as a music columnist and occasional movie reviewer, I always saw Ebert as one of my inspirations. A fellow Illini who had gone before, and made good. Better than good. He’d become an icon.
Roger Ebert went beyond the page too, launching At The Movies, the first successful movie review television show with the late Gene Siskel. They made Chicago a “center” for criticism; our “guys” were transmitted to the world. What will the world be now, without them both?
The icing on all this was that before he was a nationally lauded critic, Ebert actually scripted a campy film, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, for the legendary Russ Meyer. The only reason I ever watched the movie was Ebert’s credit… but if you’re in the mood for some campy, hippy-period fun, it’s worth a tub of popcorn. I’ll probably be digging that one out in the next couple weeks, as a strange, yet fitting memorial viewing. It’s not art… but it’s entertaining.
I always wanted to go to one of his annual film festivals held back down in Champaign-Urbana, IL at our alma mater, the University of Illinois, but never did. Now I really wish that I’d found time.
I didn’t always agree with him, but I always respected him. He was an icon for the world, but he was really an inspiration to us newspaper folk back here at home in Chicago.
Today is a sadder day, without his sometimes funny, sometimes warm-hearted, sometimes acerbic take on the world of cinema.
Right now, I think I’m going to go watch a movie on my big screen in the basement. And at the end, I’ll be giving it a Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down that I suppose only Roger will see.
There’s only one review you can give for his life.
Thumbs Up all the way.
I will still always “see you at the movies…”
Amazon.com had been featuring The 13th and Sacrifice at $2.99 throughout January, but I knew when those went off sale at midnight on Jan. 31… things would probably settle down.
This time though, they plugged my novel into the top promotional sale spot on the SF/F page — and priced it at $0.99. That means that all the Amazon promotional emails that went out today featured Siren‘s bookcover in them!
How awesome is THAT?
It’s been hard to take my eyes away from the Siren page on Amazon for the past 24 hours, as its sales rank gradually climbed from 60,000 to 30,000 to 15,000 to 1,000. This morning, it was in the 400s.
It’s currently the #161 Top-selling book on all of Amazon — and the #1 book in Kindle’s Horror Section!
This is a crazy, amazing thing for me. Back in 2010, Covenant got to #699 on the Amazon charts and sold a couple hundred books, thanks to a .99 cent sale, but that has been the highest I’ve ever gotten, and it was very short-lived.
I’m extra happy about this because Siren pretty much got the shaft on its paperback release. A week or two after it hit stores in August 2010, Leisure Books pulled the plug on its entire mass market line — after 40 years of monthly releases! They tried to revamp their line, and Siren was reissued the following summer in trade paperback format… but even that release was gunned down. It was heavily stocked in Borders Books… and less then a month after the “new” Siren hit shelves, Borders declared bankruptcy.
Maybe Amazon should be careful – this book might have a hex!!
But maybe, just maybe, this could finally be my Siren, Ligeia’s year. She’ll even have a translation released in Germany this spring: http://www.festa-verlag.de/ligeia.html
I’m pretty excited about it all, and hope readers will check out the book … and more importantly, enjoy the read!
Since Twilight Tales is no longer around, to celebrate the anniversary, I’ve gone back and retooled the cover, added a new introduction and six more short stories that didn’t end up in the original release and have never been collected in my other fiction collections – “Hair of the Dog,” “Tomatoes,” “Tunnel,” “The Key To Her Heart,” “Why Do You Stay With Him?” and my very first published story, “Learning to Build.”
I know a lot of my readers have copies of the original edition, but might want the new version for the extra content, so for a (very) limited time, you can get the new edition on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Apple iBooks for just $0.99!
It’s truly a “Lucky ’13″… at least so far.
Amazon has picked my 2nd and 3rd novels, Sacrifice and The 13th, to feature in their January 2013 “hot 100″ list! They’ve put both e-books on sale for just $2.99, so if you haven’t gotten these yet, I hope you’ll grab them this week while they’re on sale!
You can see them listed in the 100 Kindle Books Mysteries & Thrillers section (just scroll down a bit) or visit their book pages directly here:
If you already have the books, please visit the book pages on Amazon and click the “Like” button at the top if you enjoyed them (those “Likes” help other people find them!). And if you could share my post about this from my Facebook page — I’d really appreciate it! I’d really like to get the word out on this sale as far and wide as possible!
2012 was a strange year of dichotomy for me. I can point to parts and say it was one of the best years of my life. Conversely, I can also point to moments that made it one of the worst. It was a year of transition in many aspects … but then, isn’t every year? It’s all just a journey, right? With good and bad detours along the way. The trick is always to enjoy the good and forget the bad.
So as I look back at my own trail through 2012, I will only talk about the highlights… why focus on the lowlights?
These are the things I want to remember in years to come:
Books and Stuff:
On the writing front, 2012 was the year that my journey with Dorchester / Leisure Books was finally over. I’ll miss the people I worked with there over the past five years; they were good people caught in a horrible situation — working for a business that was crashing in slow motion, like a flaming zeppelin. In the end, after circling the drain of bankruptcy since mid-2010, Dorchester finally sold off their entire catalogue to Amazon.com’s publishing division. So, at the end of August, I officially became a 47North author (Amazon’s SF/F/H imprint). Covenant, Sacrifice, The 13th, Siren and The Pumpkin Man are all published now by 47North, and should have paperback editions available again next year.
This summer was also when NightWhere, my first post-Leisure novel came out — on Samhain Publishing, overseen by Don D’Auria, who was also my editor at Leisure. Sometimes the path winds to new places, but still feels familiar.
This summer was also when V-Wars, a collaborative shared world anthology, came out on IDW, with a limited edition through Cemetery Dance. Jonathan Maberry masterminded the project, and I wrote a 20,000 word novelette for it last year, so I was very excited to walk into Barnes & Nobles and see it on the “New in SF” shelf. And recently an audiobook edition also hit — with some big name narrators behind the stories, including Wil Wheaton.
Over the course of the spring-fall, I spent a lot of my free time writing my next novel for Samhain, Violet Eyes. And before I even finished the final draft, the publisher had created a pretty cool cover for the book. It won’t be out til Halloween, but I’m looking forward to it.
I also gave a guest lecture on writing at Columbia College in Chicago (thanks to Mort Castle!). I always kind of wanted to be a college professor, so it was pretty cool to be invited to speak to a college class.
While I was bummed that my beloved Naperville Ribfest didn’t have any acts worth seeing this year, we did take Shaun to see The Smithereens at the outdoor Naper Days (he called them his favorite band after that) and we also took him to see Sarah McLachlan at Ravinia.
And in October, Geri and I relived our youth at The Vic Theater with Psychedelic Furs. But I’m not totally retro – a week after the Furs, I finally got to see Brandi Carlile, who put on a phenomenal show at The Chicago Theatre.
This was a year of transition in travel for me. I used to run around a lot to promote and do book signings for my Leisure novels. This year, I travelled more than ever before, but almost all of it was for my dayjob.
That culminated in May/June when I actually went out of the country three times within a month — to Vancouver, Toronto and, the capper, Munich. It was my first time in Europe, and now I can’t wait to go back.
I posted a long blog and lots of pictures about that here.
In the end, the year’s itinerary took me to:
This was Shaun’s first year in Cub Scouts and we built our first Pinewood Derby car together (with an Angry Birds theme), as well as the Raingutter Regatta boat. As I write this, it’s already time to do it again — we’re designing our 2013 Pinewood Derby car this weekend. We’ve graduated from Angry Birds to Minecraft.
With some of my long-overdue Leisure royalties (paid by Amazon when they bought the catalogue this fall), I bought an air hockey table this Christmas for the family, so I’m looking forward to some good at-home tournaments in the coming weeks.
I have a new book coming in 2013, and a film option being considered for Siren. Some books will be translated, and I suppose I’ll have to get started on writing something new.
It should be a pretty exciting year.
But I’ll never forget 2012…the year that brought me here. What will lucky ’13 bring?
I’ll be summing it up, I suppose, right about his time next year. Let the journey continue!
Happy New Year!
PS. I sampled a lot of microbrews as I travelled the world this year… and took pictures when I did. Here’s a quick gallery:
I’m a Christmas junkie. Always have been.
I’m that guy who watches It’s A Wonderful Life every year on Christmas Eve, and still tears up every time!
Over the years, I’ve built up a number of personal traditions around the holiday. As many people on my mailing list know, part of my holiday tradition for many years was to write and record a new Christmas song every year for family and friends, usually with my sister-in-law at the microphone. Every season I post a link to one of my favorite tracks, “Show Me Christmas” which I recorded in a basement studio with a live band and a guest singer – probably one of the most polished productions of my holiday songs (most of the others were done on a 4-track recorder in my office). You can still listen to “Show Me Christmas” at http://www.johneverson.com/xmas.htm. That page also has a link to a Christmas Tree blog from last year, where you can see pictures of my tree.
I’ve always loved giving something creative that I made with my own hands as a Christmas gift, whether that was a song or a batch of holiday caramels. I’ve given Christmas chapbooks, and CDs of original Christmas songs to family and friends over the years. A couple years ago, I published a short collection of some of those creations — stories and lyrics — in an ebook called Christmas Tales.
This year, I’ve updated the Christmas Tales ebook with color and some graphic touches, to make it a little more festive, now that e-readers are a bit more advanced. I’ve also made the ebook available from Apple’s iBook store, the Kobo store and from Google Play.
If you’ve downloaded Christmas Tales in the past from Amazon or B&N, I hope you’ll update your version (I believe you can re-download it for free since you’ve bought it in the past.)
If you haven’t read it yet, I hope these stories and lyrics will bring some Christmas cheer to your week! Here are links to the book’s various pages:
I hope all of my friends and readers have a Merry Christmas!
There’s a blog chain going around called “The Next Big Thing.” The idea is, each writer answers some questions about their next big project… and lines up more authors to do the same, encouraging people to discover other authors’ books and blogs. My friend – and amazing werewolf-oriented thriller author W. D. Gagliani did one of these last week, and tagged me. I’ve tagged four more authors (see the bottom of this blog). So here are my answers:
Violet Eyes. And that’s also the final title, since the cover art has already been created by the publisher (see below)! The novel was contracted back in February based on an outline and a completed version of the prologue (which originally appeared as a short story in my collection Creeptych).
I literally am finishing the last edits on it and turning it in tonight, after I finish this blog.
People are really creeped out by spiders… I wanted to play with that! I outlined the novel about three years ago, but at that time, Leisure Books already had a series of “spider” books from Sarah Pinborough, so the project was put on hold for awhile. In the meantime, I turned the outlined prologue into a standalone novelette for my Creeptych “bug” short stories book.
Violet Eyes is a horror /sci-fi thriller. (My spiders have been genetically altered for a nefarious purpose…)
Every time I start a project, I try to find some photos of people who my characters might look like (so I describe them the same way throughout the story).
When I started writing Violet Eyes and was looking on the web for someone who matched the vision I had for Rachel in my head, I found this photo of Katie, and knew she was the one!
Rachel’s boyfriend, Terry, could be played by Christian Bale and her ex-, Anders, should be portrayed by someone like a young Nick Nolte.
Rachel Riordan moves to a small town near the Everglades to escape her abusive ex- and start a new life… but she soon finds there are things that can bug you even more than a bad marriage. Things that can bug you to death…
Violet Eyes will be published by Samhain Publishing in October 2013. This is my seventh novel, and my second book for Samhain, who published NightWhere, my current novel, in October 2012.
It took me about eight months to write Violet Eyes, though there were a couple months in there that I didn’t work on it. I started it in March, and finished the first draft in October. That’s been about the usual writing time for my novels — I start them, work on them a couple months, get pulled off in other directions for a few weeks, and then come back and force myself to dig in for three-four months to really drive through the rest. I’ve spent the past month editing the manuscript so I could turn it in the week of Thanksgiving.
Honestly, I don’t know – I’m sure there are lots of other books out there that deal with spiders and other creepy insects… but I haven’t read them!
When I was a kid I saw a movie called Kingdom of the Spiders starring William Shatner. There’s a scene towards the end that shows an entire town covered in spider webs. That image has been stuck in my head for over 30 years, so I figured, I should do something with it!
Plus, my wife Geri still asks me to kill spiders for her.
Violet Eyes starts out with a quartet of college kids essentially recreating The Blue Lagoon on an abandoned Key off the coast of Florida… but only one of the two couples returns from their erotic vacation, after they’re attacked by flesh-eating spiders and swarms of fiercely biting flies. It would have been all good if the creatures had continued to be quarantined on the island… but then there wouldn’t have been a novel!
Samhain finished the cover art a couple weeks ago based on a scene from the book before I actually finished writing it! Here’s what it’s gonna look like:
I hope you’ll keep an eye out next fall for Violet Eyes. In the meantime, check out the blogs of the other authors I’ve tagged as part of “The Next Big Thing.” Their blogs should go live around December 3rd:
P.S. Gifford, author of The Curious Accounts of the Imaginary Friend and Dr. Offig’s Lessons from the Dark Side: http://paperbacktheweirdcrap.blogspot.com
Cynthia Pelayo, author of the innovative macabre fiction collection Loteria, as well as editor of Burial Day Books: http://www.burialday.com/blog/
Gord Rollo, author of The Jigsaw Man and Valley of the Scarecrow: http://gordrollo.com/
Armand Rosamilia, author of Dying Days and Highway to Hell: http://armandrosamilia.com
Lucy Taylor, author of the Bram Stoker Award-winning novel The Safety of Unknown Cities and Unspeakable and Other Stories: http://www.lucytaylor.us
And my inviter:
W. D. Gagliani, author of the Bram Stoker Award finalist Wolf’s Trap and Wolf’s Edge: http://www.wdgagliani.com/blog.htm
Message for the tagged authors and interested others:
Rules of the Next Big Thing
***Use this format for your post
***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (work in progress)
***Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.
Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:
What is your working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.
Be sure to line up your five people in advance.