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…”