Hey! It’s my birthday next week and to celebrate, I’m giving away a FREE copy of Ad Nauseam on Goodreads. Just follow the link to enter. http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/42910-ad-nauseam
Hello my friends! Today I have the great honor of announcing that the preliminary ballot has been released for the 2012 Bram Stoker Awards®, and Ad Nauseam: 13 Tales of Extreme Horror is included. Congratulations to all the authors, editors and publishers who made the list. I am humbled to be considered in such fine company!
* NOTE: This is only the preliminary ballot and works included are not to be considered NOMINATED.*
NOTE: For those appearing on this ballot – your work is NOT a “nominee” at this point (that only occurs if you appear on the Final Ballot).
Bodner, Hal – The Trouble with Hairy
Clines, Peter – 14
Ethridge, Benjamin Kane – Bottled Abyss
Everson, John – NightWhere
Faherty, JG – Cemetery Club
Jordan, Lee F. – Coronation
Kiernan, Caitlin R. – The Drowning Girl
Little, Bentley – The Haunted
McKinney, Joe – Inheritance
Boccacino, Michael – Charlotte Markham and the House of Darklings
Coates, Deborah – Wide Open
Day, Charles – The Legend of the Pumpkin Thief
Dudar, Peter – A Requiem for Dead Flies
Gropp, Richard – Bad Glass
Hatchell, Dane – Resurrection X: Zombie Evolution
Holm, Chris – Dead Harvest
Jones, K. Trap – The Sinner
Soares, L.L. – Life Rage
Sterbakov, Hugh – City Under the Moon
Bickle, Laura – The Hallowed Ones
Bray, Libba – The Diviners
Burt, Steve – FreeK Show
Collings, Michaelbrent – Hooked: A True Faerie Tale
Lyga, Barry – I Hunt Killers
Maberry, Jonathan – Flesh & Bone
McCarty, Michael – I Kissed A Ghoul
Stiefvater, Maggie – The Raven Boys
Strand, Jeff – A Bad Day for Voodoo
Waters, Daniel – Break My Heart 1,000 Times
Wilson, Connie Corcoran – The Color of Evil
Burke, Kealan Patrick – Thirty Miles South of Dry County
Faherty, JG – The Cold Spot
Giglio, Peter – Sunfall Manor
Ketchum, Jack, and Lucky McGee – I’m Not Sam
Malfi, Ronald – The Mourning House
McKinney, Joe, and Michael McCarty – Lost Girl of the Lake
Miskowski, S.P. – Delphine Dodd
O’Neill, Gene – The Blue Heron
Prentiss, Norman – The Fleshless Man
Thompson, Lee – When We Join Jesus in Hell
Bailey, Michael – Bootstrap
Boston, Bruce – Surrounded by the Mutant Rain Forest
Breaux, Kevin James – The Journal of USS Indianapolis Survivor: Stefanos
Cushing, Nicole – A Catechism for Aspiring Amnesiacs
Lake, Jay – The Cancer Catechism
McKinney, Joe – Bury My Heart at Marvin Gardens
Ochse, Weston – Righteous
Palisano, John – Available Light
Snyder, Lucy – Magdala Amygdala
Hill, Susan, and Goldman, Jane – The Woman in Black
Kim, San Kyu – The Walking Dead, “Killer Within”
Minear, Tim – American Horror Story: Asylum, “Dark Cousin”
Olynyk, Signe – Below Zero
Ross, Gary, Suzanne Collins, and Billy Ray – The Hunger Games
Sanchez, Eduardo, and Jaime Nash – Lovely Molly
Whedon, Joss, and Drew Goddard – The Cabin in the Woods
Beebe, Eric – Fear the Abyss
Castle, Mort, and Sam Weller – Shadow Show
Gallows Press – Tales from the Yellow Rose Diner and Fill Station
Guignard, Eric J. – Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations
Miller, Eric – Hell Comes to Hollywood
Salter, Richard – World’s Collider
Scalisi, Patrick – The Ghost Is the Machine
Scioneaux, Mark C., R.J. Cavender, and Robert S. Wilson – Horror for Good: A
Swanson, Stan – Slices of Flesh
Cain, Kenneth W. – These Old Tales: The Complete Collection
Carroll, Jonathan – Woman Who Married a Cloud: Collected Stories
Castle, Mort – New Moon on the Water
De Winter, Corrine – Valentines for the Dead
Hand, Elizabeth – Errantry: Strange Stories
Hirshberg, Glen – The Janus Tree
Lane, Joel – Where Furnaces Burn
LaSart, C.W. – Ad Nauseam
Oates, Joyce Carol – Black Dahlia and White Roses
Onspaugh, Mark – Christmas Ghost Stories
Yardley, Mercedes M. – Beautiful Sorrows
Aisenberg, Joe – Carrie: Studies in the Horror Film
Amazing Kreskin, The, and Michael McCarty – Conversations with Kreskin
Collings, Michael – Writing Darkness
Klinger, Les – The Annotated Sandman, Volume 1
Matthews, Araminta Star, Rachel Lee, and Stan Swanson – Write of the Living Dead
Morton, Lisa – Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween
Paffenroth, Kim, and John W. Morehead – The Undead and Theology
Perry, Dennis R., and Carl H. Sederholm – Adapting Poe: Re-Imaginings in Popular Culture
Phillips, Kendall R. – Dark Directions: Romero, Craven, Carpenter, and the Modern Horror Film
Addison, Linda, and Stephen M. Wilson – Dark Duet
Boston, Bruce, and Gary William Crawford – Notes from the Shadow City
Collings, Michael – A Verse to Horrors
Dietrich, Bryan D. – The Monstrance
Ong Muslim, Kristina – Grim Series
Simon, Marge, and Sandy DeLuca – Vampires, Zombies & Wanton Souls
Turzillo, Mary A. – Lovers & Killers
The following will not appear on the Preliminary Ballot. As there are only
five works, these will proceed directly to the Final Ballot.
Bunn, Cullen – The Sixth Gun Volume 3: Bound
Moore, Terry – Rachel Rising Vol. 1: The Shadow of Death
Thornton, Ravi – The Tale of Brin and Bent and Minno Marylebone
Wacks, Peter J., and Guy Anthony De Marco – Behind These Eyes
Wood, Rocky, and Lisa Morton – Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times
2012 is just about over, and 2013 is knocking on the door. What this new year will bring is anyone’s guess. I wanted to take a moment to reflect on 2012 and what it has meant to me. This year has been one of the best of my life. It brought me the publication of my first collection, many story sales, my first horror convention and new friends in the publishing industry. It has been a banner year for me as a writer and I hope to see even more progress in 2013. I could go on and give you a list of all the accomplishments and joys I have felt, but they seem trivial at the moment. You see, despite the many wonderful things that 2012 has blessed me with, it ends on an extremely sorrowful note for myself and my family. We lost someone very precious on December 20th. My beloved Aunt Susie left us much too soon and the void in the family is not one that will soon be filled. If ever.
I want to take this moment to thank you all for being a part of my journey, my life, and my family. I pray that 2013 will bring you all many good tidings, but mostly I pray it will bring love, friendship and healing to all of us in need. Be good to one another. We aren’t promised tomorrow, so my resolution is to never take one bit of it for granted. Much love and Happy New Year~C.W. LaSart
Halloween has come and gone again. 364 more days until we get to do it again. It’s a bittersweet thing for me, I’m sad to see it go, but it means I get to announce the winner of my Coffin Hop drawing! Before I do though, I want to send out a heartfelt thanks to all of you who stopped by. You are the reason we do this hop and you are all rockstars in my book! Okay, without further adieu… The winner of the 2012 Coffin Hop Prize pack is… Robin Rodwell! Congratulations Robin and I hope to see the rest of you next year!~C.W. LaSart
Those of you who are familiar with my blog are used to my snarky and hopefully amusing posts, but I think I will take a break from that for this most hallowed of holidays. No worries, there’s sure to be plenty of sarcasm in the future, but how about we make this easy today. Let’s just give some free shit away, shall we? I thought you might like that. All I ask you to do is sign up for the blog and leave a comment below telling me you did it. Yep, that’s it. For those who are already following the blog, just leave a comment stating as such. When the week is over and the ghastly ghouls are walking the streets in search of candy, I will chose one lucky winner out of a hat (high tech as always) to receive my lovely Coffin Hop Grand Prize including: A signed copy of my premiere collection Ad Nauseam, a signed copy of a limited edition chapbook (ONLY 500 IN EXISTENCE) published by none other than Cemetery Dance, one copy of the Exclusive Coffin Hop Teaser for next year’s much anticipated Death By Drive-In anthology in the e-format of your choice, one sweetly spooky Halloween sock monkey, a collection of classic horror movies, and many more spectacular goodies! For the rest of you who don’t win, as There Can Only Be One, here’s a special treat, something I very rarely do… A free short story. I’m adamantly against posting free stories on blogs but what can I say, I guess I just got caught up in the spirit of my favorite holiday! So without further adieu, here for your reading entertainment, I give you RETIRED GODS. I hope you enjoy it. And don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and comment for a chance to win all the goodies. HAPPY HALLOWEEN MY FRIENDS.
The old gods were bored. They gathered in the soft sunlight that filtered through the frosted glass windows of the common room in Windy Brooks Rest Home, as they did every day. Some played cards and some watched television, while others stared off into space, lost in their own minds with little hope of return. Like any group of seniors, they spoke of the old days, reminisced about a time when the world was much younger and simpler. This was where they chose to pass the time while they waited. Endless days of waiting; for lunch, then dinner, to watch their shows, to take their meds. Mostly, they waited to die.
Zeus sat at a square table in the corner, his gnarled fingers laboring as he slowly shuffled a deck of cards. Palsy was starting to get the better of him, but as long as he could manage, there would be a game. Hera sat to his left, still beautiful to him after all these years. She smiled and nodded, occasionally reaching out to pat his hand when he spoke, showing her affection. He paid her demeanor little heed, aware that she nodded not out of agreement with anything he said, but because of dementia. Hera was forever trapped in a time before mighty Olympus had fallen, destruction brought about by the Heaven that was a promise made by the Nazarene. Sometimes Zeus envied his wife.
Poseidon sat directly to Zeus’ right, a chair pulled away from the table to accommodate his wheelchair. He sat slumped and mostly lifeless, except for his eyes. Though he had ceased speaking months before, Poseidon still watched the game, his faded blue eyes tracking their hands as the hours passed. Zeus finished his painful shuffle and laid the deck carefully on the table.
“Cut the cards, Hades.”
Hades sat directly across from Zeus, his gaze never leaving the arthritic hands as they worked the cards. He still doesn’t trust me. Zeus was amused. After all these years, he still expects me to cheat him. Hades cut the cards and the game began.
Young nurses in bright scrubs adorned with cartoon characters drifted in and out of the room, silently performing their tasks with bland expressions. Windy Brooks was not a rest home strictly for the gods, and they paid no more attention to the conversations of this particular group than any other. The young have a way of tuning out the old, dismissing all their conversation as ramblings of senility. Still, they were cared for competently.
Hades stopped arranging his hand and cocked his head to the side, his bulbous nose turned up to sniff the air.
“Do you smell that?”
“I believe Poseidon has shit himself again.” Zeus replied dryly.
“Not that.” Hades waved a hand dismissively. “The other smell. How can you not smell it? It’s death! I smell death! The old man in Room 207 has died.”
“What a bastard he was during his life. He was a thief and a cheat. How I long to collect that soul and drag it across the River Styx to serve me in the underworld!” Hades eyes were bright with wistful excitement. Deaths around the rest home were frequent, sometimes several a week, and they never failed to send Hades into a fit of longing. The knowledge that he no longer ruled the Underworld was painful.
With a triumphant cry, Aphrodite rushed the table, flinging her gown wide and gyrating like an ancient showgirl. Only Hermes took notice, reaching a gnarled hand over to squeeze her pendulous breast, earning a rebuke from Zeus.
“Hermes! Leave your sister alone. Incest has been out of fashion for centuries now.” Chided, but not ashamed, Hermes slunk off to the couch where he pouted in front of the television set. Aphrodite continued to bounce and flop her deflated boobs at the card players for a moment, and then she ran off, cackling like the toothless hag that she was. An orderly disappeared down the hall in pursuit, his gentle voice fading as he coaxed her into abandoning her naked revelry.
Zeus sighed and returned his attention to his cards. Sometimes he wondered if he and Hades were the only ones with any of their faculties. He laid a card and waited for his brother to counter. The daylight was fading and soon it would be dinnertime. He hoped they would have Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes tonight. It was his favorite.
Dionysus raised his frail voice in argument with one of the staff. She was trying to walk away, but he gripped her elbow. This altercation was another daily occurrence, one of the ways they passed the time at Windy Brooks. Dionysus wanted a bottle of wine. Dionysus always wanted wine.
“Just get me my wine!” He insisted, his face flushed with anger.
The nurse shook her head and pried at his fingers. “The doctors’ orders state that you may have one glass of wine every evening, and not until after dinner.”
“Don’t you know who I am?” The old man whined, clearly near tears.
“Of course I know who you are, Mr. Jones.” She turned on her heal and swiftly left the common room. This same scene took place every night. You could almost set your watch by it. Giving up on his wine, Dionysus turned his attention toward Zeus for yet another predictable conversation.
“Yes, Dionysus.” Zeus replied calmly.
“Why don’t we go find the Old Norse Gods? Or the Egyptians? That Ra was one powerful guy. Maybe if we all banded together, we could pool what’s left of our powers…” he trailed off as Zeus shook his head sadly.
“They’re gone, Dion. All gone.” Zeus reigned in his frustration with sheer will and not a small amount of pity. “I have told you many times. They are all dead now. There is no help for us anymore.”
Dionysus looked deflated for a moment, then his face brightened and he held up one crooked finger triumphantly, his mouth opened to speak.
“No Dion,” Zeus cut him off, “The Hindu Gods won’t help us. They are still very powerful, but we have tried contacting them. They don’t wish to trifle with relics such as us. I suppose that they too will weaken as time goes by and they become forgotten. It’s the way of the world, my son.”
Zeus patted Dionysus on the back, but he just stared out the window, his lined face stricken with misery. This also happened every evening.
The glorious days of Olympus were long gone, but the gods hadn’t gone quietly into submission. They had been vain and powerful at first, enjoying centuries of play on Earth and in the Heavens, watching and meddling in the existence of mortals at will, often ruining lives for little more than sport. So feared were they that their powers fed on the emotions of their subjects, both adoration and terror, growing stronger every time a mortal turned his gaze to Olympus in prayer. It was a good time for the old gods, and they had foolishly believed it would be such until the end of time. Many wars were fought to preserve their territory and way of life, battles often sparked by jealousy and vanity. In the end, they were defeated by something that had never occurred to them. Love.
A Jewish man from Nazareth quietly walked the lands, encouraging all the people of the Earth, both before and after his death, to abandon their old gods and embrace his own. His message was powerful. He promised love and redemption, something that people desperately wanted after dealing for so long with the fickle gods of old. Their subjects responded, pulled by the power of a compassionate God, never petty or spiteful like the ones they worshipped. No matter how hard Zeus and the others tried, however much they spread punishments to the mortals under their rule, the people slowly slipped away from them.
Other gods met their destruction by Muhammad’s message, and some were simply pushed aside in favor of science. Men would continue to kill in the name of a God, but not their names. Not anymore. They became stories, myths, and their strength slowly dwindled over the centuries, rendering them little more than mortals. With their powers went immortality and they eventually aged, becoming the shells of gods that now sat in the common room of the home, playing cards and losing their minds. The only magic they had left came from scores of middle school students who studied them briefly in class and for a moment found them cool. This was no life for a former deity.
“Zeus?” Hades soft voice intruded on his reverie, bringing him back to the present. He found his mind wandering more often lately and it scared him more than he cared to admit. Zeus could handle the infirmities of the flesh that plagued him daily, but was terrified of losing his mind. Whatever else awaited him, he wanted to meet it with his wit and intelligence intact. “ZEUS!”
Hades pointed to the right where Poseidon slumped, his head back and eyes unblinking, jaw slack. He had quit breathing again and the rest of the gods formed a semicircle of concern around their fallen comrade. All eyes fell to Zeus, pleading silently for him to fix the situation. He closed his own eyes for a moment and dug deep in his being, harnessing whatever pool of strength and power he still possessed, before he laid his hand gently on Poseidon’s unmoving chest. With a grunt of exertion, Zeus felt the hairs on his arm crackle as a subdued bolt of blue lightning passed through his hand and into the heart below it. Poseidon’s body bucked lightly and everyone gasped, watching in wide-eyed anticipation of whether or not it would work this time.
After several agonizing seconds, during which Zeus was sure he had failed to revive his brother, Poseidon drew a harsh breath and coughed, his eyes bleary and unfocused. As the fit passed, he looked around at the concerned faces that hovered around him. With a scowl, his eyes darted to Zeus, and to everyone’s amusement, his shaky hand raised and shot Zeus the world’s most pathetic bird. Zeus smiled and shuffled the cards, happy Poseidon had come back from the brink, but not certain that he would have it in him next time.
The mood in the room inevitably turned from amused to somber, as the gods considered the enormity of what would have happened if Zeus had failed. Soon the questions began.
“What’s going to happen to us?”
“Where will we go when we die?”
“What do we do?”
Questions barraged Zeus from every side. Only silently nodding Hera and the mute Poseidon refused to join in the verbal assault. They had relied on Zeus for the entirety of their long existence and still looked to him for answers to questions that both confused and terrified them. Answers he did not have. Frustrated by his impotence in the matter, Zeus threw up his hands, scattering cards about the table. His thunderous scowl, a part of his former glory, caused them all to cringe away, fearful of the mighty lightning bolt he no longer possessed. “I DON’T KNOW!”
Zeus’s shout earned him a reproachful look from a passing nurse, as he painfully gathered his deck of cards together. The other gods huddled in the corner, causing Zeus to regret his outburst. He didn’t mean to scare them, but DAMNIT! He didn’t know everything. His days of omnipotence were long gone, and he knew no better than the rest of them what fate awaited the gods on the other side of death. How could any man know such a thing? All men went to their deaths, unknowing and alone. It was the fear of all the elderly, so close to their time but unsure of the outcome. Zeus was no longer a god, just an old man, fearfully waiting for his end.
Zeus laid the deck in the middle of the table. They had time for just one more game before dinner. “Cut the cards, Hades.”
Hades cut the cards and the game began.
Now Back to the Hop With You!!! http://coffinhop.wordpress.com/
And if you’re really enjoying the Hop and want to help support the 2013 release of Death By Drive-In, featuring 22 of our very own Coffin Hoppers, visit http://www.cafepress.com/coffinhop for some cool swag with all proceeds going directly to the release of that charity anthology!
Yesterday I stumbled upon my first ever audio edition of one of my stories! I was so excited and couldn’t wait to listen to the Amazon sample of it, but due to the nature of my work, I had to wait until the kids were in bed. Good thing I did. I called Lou upstairs and pressed play. My smile must’ve been a mile wide. Within seconds we were both laughing our asses off, clutching our stomachs and poking at one another. You see, the only story of mine to be recorded in audio to date is my erotic horror tale, The Somnambulist, recently released by Eirelander Publishing. It’s not a funny story. Not in the slightest, yet we both laughed like loons.
A little backstory on this one, The Somnambulist was originally written to be included in my collection, Ad Nauseam, but the publisher felt it was pushing the erotica envelope a bit too much and cut it. A friend in the HWA put out a call for erotic horror and I figured What the hell? The people at Eirelander were awesome to deal with and they liked it quite a bit, having only one request, Could I add a little more erotica? Maybe to the beginning? I readily agreed and the added scene is what you get when you click that sample button.
It’s hard to relate the mixture of pride, excitement and utter embarrassment I felt to hear that story read aloud. It’s so… erotic! The whole experience was a bit surreal. Anyway, here it is and I hope you will give the sample a listen. If it tickles your, um, fancy… feel free to download, or go for the kindle or nook editions. Without further ado, I give you my first forray into erotica!
I’m not one to post every good review I get all over the place. I read them. ALL of them. And I certainly appreciate them all, but I doubt you want to read reviews every damned day. So here’s some highlights of my recent reviews, what others have thought of Ad Nauseam:“This is C.W. LaSart’s debut book, and let me just say that it is one hell of a debut. Having followed her other short stories published in previous anthologies, I was beyond excited to dig into a collection consisting entirely of her own work. And I was not let down. LaSart is quite new to the scene, but she certainly doesn’t write like it–I will not be surprised if I soon see her name on a Bestseller’s list.” Max on Amazon “If you want a great collection of short horror, look no further. LaSart is the real deal. The highlights for me are the amazing opener ‘Simple Pleasures’; both hilarious and gruesome,’The Hand that Feeds’, which has one of the roughest, most intense sequences I’ve read in recent years, and ‘Widow’ which expertly mixes Cronenberg body horror with John Waters style suburban satire. I haven’t been this satisfied reading a horror collection by one author since Joe Hill’s ’20th Century Ghosts’. Pick it up. ” Escoe Allen on Amazon “I can’t wait for C.W. to write another short story collection or novel. This book just wasn’t enough. ” Witchreader on Amazon “C.W. LaSart uses evocative prose with mind-numbingly gruesome description. Every story in this book is worth reading. There is not a one that I did not like. I highly recommend Ad Nauseam. Warning: not for the weak at heart. This is one disgusting read. ” Abby from Hobbes End Reviews “I highly recommend this one for fans of Clive Barker and AMC’s American Horror Story. So, don’t be afraid… you know you want it. ” Jack Babalon author of High Midnight “Each tale is superbly written. Each has a wonderful flow from the opening paragraph to the last sentence. My personal favorites in the collection were Micah’s Muse, Bone Phone, Carnality and Angel Lust. All three evoked a different response from my psyche – which is exactly what a story should do.If you like your horror more on the extreme side, you cannot go wrong with this collection. I predict that C. W. LaSart will be a name that in the not so distant future will be compared to both Richard Laymon and Ramsey Campbell. ” Kat Yares from Amazon “From the very first story I read in her collection, I was hooked on this author’s unique style. “Simple Pleasures” was engaging, fun, and downright creepy. “Widow” had me itching until the very end. Both were my favorites, and both were genuinely scary and yes, extreme!I look forward to reading more from C. W., and trust me, once you start reading some of her work, you’re sure as &*^%$# going to come back for more as well!Two bony thumbs up, and a special evil grin from the jester for this fine, fine collection. Love it!!
–Charles Day, Author of THE LEGEND OF THE PUMPKIN THIEF, THE PLAN, and BURN “One of the exciting new voices in horror, C.W. LaSart is most definitely “the stuff”. Dark, gory, horrifying stories like Clive Barker and Big Steve used to write. Some of these stories are like H.P. Lovecraft on bath salts. Some of them are like King in full-on IT mode. Brilliantly encapsulated, finely wrought and completely unforgettable. If you like your horror gruesome, disturbing and full of sex and death, C.W. LaSart has your medicine. Drink it down, baby!” Axel Howerton author of Hot Sinatra “I picked up a copy of Ms. LaSart’s Ad Nauseum via the Horror Writer’s Association Bram Stoker Award® 2012 recommendation sheet. I read some of her work prior to reading this collection, so I knew what to expect. She has a vivid writing style that holds your attention. These stories did not disappoint, engaging and wrapping me up in their horror. She has the unique ability of combining the sick with the sicker, making for gruesome yet enjoyable tales. While not every story worked for me, the vast majority of them were outstanding, and I would highly recommend this collection to anyone who enjoys the genre.” Ken Cain author of These Old Tales “Simply put, if you’re a horror fan you absolutely can’t afford to pass by this wonderful collection. It’s rare to come across such a great new talent in the horror field, but CW Lasart is poised to make waves and break through big time. Her writing style and skill are well beyond most of her peers and her imagination seems wired to conjure up some really great things. I can’t recommend this one highly enough.” Bryan Hall author of The Vagrant “Best single-author collection I’ve read in 2012. I look forward to reading more of this author’s work. ” A. Ludens from Amazon “the imagination of the author is vast and obviously very active creating for interesting reads about things that I don’t see normally in stories.” Jessica Tate from Goodreads. “Sister Alice’s Suitor grossed me out beyond belief! It wasn’t even the necrophilia that grossed me out so much. It was her delivery. I truly thought I was going to throw up. Some really gross stories in this book!” Lea from Goodreads
This is not a self-pub bashing post. It’s not a post bitching about spam, or poor editing, or even responding negatively to reviewers. It’s not about the myriad of shitty books being pushed out, half-finished and cluttering our amazon page every time we go looking for a good read. Those topics have been covered about five millions times~today alone. No, this post is definitely a rant, but not about what you might think. I would say that this post is just for the writers out there, but come to think of it, it’s for readers as well. Let’s face it, the shit going down in the “indie” scene these days has just as much impact on you, the fan, reader, purchaser of our work, as it does the writers themselves.
Few things irritate me as much as being referred to as an “indie writer”. I am not an indie writer. I publish through small press. Ten years ago, I would’ve been considered an indie writer, but these days that term refers to the self publishing set, of which I am not a member. Many of my friends are self-pubbers and I belong to a ton of facebook groups that are full of them. I have nothing against self publishing. Do what you want. I don’t judge. So though I do intend for this post to rile people, I hope that it will be for the right reasons. There are some shitty practices afoot in the indie publishing scene and it’s high time someone answered for them.
We’ll start with the “liking and tagging” parties. These aren’t really a big deal and are pretty harmless. I have had a peek at the process and find it tedious and without benefit, but hey, whatever floats your boat. I highly doubt that anyone has ever purchased a book based on the number of “likes” it has, but if you have the extra time, knock yourself out buttercup. Just don’t expect me to join in.
BUT, it has recently been brought to my attention that there are authors out there that actually pay companies for 5 star reviews. Are you fucking kidding me? Seriously? What kind of dishonest bastard does that? Forget how unscrupulous it is for a company to offer such a service, but how desperate are you to use it? If your work is so unpopular that you need to hire people to leave fake 5 star reviews, it’s time to hang it up. You are not a writer. You are a hack. You should be ashamed of yourself and your desperation.
Wait, it gets better. I recently found a writer’s group on facebook that made my blood boil. Alongside the usual “liking and tagging” functions (like I said, harmless) they also get together to give each other reviews. This alone is not uncommon, indies have been trading reviews for many years now (something I don’t agree with unless the reviews are honest), but let me share with you their mission statement:
NOTE: To take part in the REVIEW EXCHANGE, upload a preview of your book the files section of the group. Be sure to post the URL to your books amazon page as the first comment after you upload your file. THEN, start reading other authors previews and do reviews for them. If you can’t do a 5 star review, don’t do one. We want 5 good reviews for each author to help add credibility to their book.
WHAT?! Once again, are you fucking kidding ME? A five star review off of 3 freaking chapters? Seriously, how can you possibly judge a book after only 3 chapters? And only 5 star reviews? Let me pick out the line that actually made me choke. “We want 5 good reviews for each author to help add credibility to their book.” Oh my Lord. Credibility? Add CREDIBILITY? You people are doing just the opposite. Not only does this practice rob that book of ANY credibility, it also undermines the whole damned system. How dare you? Who do you think you are? This practice is so slimy and underhanded, not to mention it violates all the rules of reviews and Amazon. Thank God none of my friends are part of this group or use this practice. I think I would block them just on principle.
Something else I see among a large portion of the indie scene is this strange attitude that by supporting other indies, ALL indies, you are helping yourself. Well let me tell you this, you most certainly are not. The need to only read indie books is fine, it’s your prerogative. But the people who give each other inflated reviews, thinking it will somehow help them? You couldn’t be more wrong. Not only are you contributing to the death of anything meaningful or trustworthy about the review system, you are also harming yourself. If you post a bogus review and I buy that book only to discover it’s the worst pile of shit ever published, not only do I doubt your credibility, I also doubt your own ability to write. You have just ensured that I will never buy one of your books. I mean, really! If you thought that pile of offal was worthy of 5 stars, your own skills probably aren’t that great. I will admit that some of the reviews on my book are from friends. Sure. They are entitled. But I have just as many 3 and 4 stars from people I know as 5. And those people were not paid nor even asked to review it. So stop giving false reviews to help your friends. You want to help? Be honest. Tell them it sucked. They will never improve if no one tells them what is wrong. Too cowardly to tell them? Then don’t do a review at all.
Come on indies. Let get this crap straight. By being each other’s bestfriends, you are being your own worst enemy. Don’t pay for reviews, EVER. Stay away from those silly little reindeer games that require tit for tat. And for the love of God, if you can’t give an honest, critical review? Don’t do one at all. I think most of us want this indie revolution to live up to its potential. So stop sabotaging it already and taking away whatever hard-earned respect it may have gotten. This is why I won’t identify with the term “indie”. This behavior makes everyone look bad.
I almost didn’t write this post for fear of offending my many proud “indie” friends, but I figured that the good ones would know it wasn’t directed at them and the ones who participate in these practices deserve it. There’s also the chance of this causing an indie outcry against me, but I really don’t care about that. Call me a bitch. Call me a bitter person. Call me an elitist. Call me whatever you want, but until people start behaving like the professionals they aspire to be, just don’t call me “INDIE”.
Hey Friends! Just a quick post today to remind you that I did a live reading of The Hand That Feeds at the World Horror Convention in March. It’s in two parts and takes roughly half an hour to listen to. Enjoy! Part One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4yV4hLNXGY&feature=g-upl Part Two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZYzv_s0WaU&feature=relmfu
Good morning friends! I hope that life is treating you well. Things are great on my end. I want to thank all of you who have bought Ad Nauseam 13 Tales of Extreme Horror. Sales have been very good and I have all of you to thank for that. An extra special thanks to those who’ve taken the time to rate and review it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Goodreads. And a super-duper-extra-sloppy-kissy thanks to those who have shared it on websites, blogs, twitter, facebook pages and the myriad of other social networking sites that are out there. You my friends, fans, and sometimes, kind strangers, are all rockstars to me.
Speaking of social networking sites, they have been on my mind a great deal lately. Promotion used to be something done by the publisher, allowing the writer the time necessary to just create, but unless you are Stephen King or Bentley Little, those days are gone. Your presence on social media, or lack thereof, can make or break a publishing deal. The big guys want you out there, building a fan-base and conversing with your readers. From what I’ve seen, most writers are really rising to the occasion. Unfortunately, a lot of new writers are going too far though. They don’t realize that how they present themselves is every bit as important as just being out there in the first place.
I have met some really great people through my adventures as a new writer on facebook and twitter. Some people that I count as true friends, as well as colleagues. I have also met some extremely strange and unstable individuals. Usually I am very good at picking the weirdos out of the line-up right away, but every once in awhile, one slips through. Now, I’m not going to rant at you about how you should behave on the internet. Common sense and simple manners say you already know, but I will tell you how your behavior is affecting you. If you are one of those sensationalist people who think that stirring up trouble and yelling from the mountaintops is the best way to sell your book? I will block you. If you post the same promo 5 times a day, every day? I will block you. If you regularly post about politics and religion? I will hide you. If you are a small press that doesn’t present yourself in a professional manner, engages in regular flame-wars, or is overly condescending? I will never submit to you.
And now you say C.W. why should I give a shit about your opinion? Why are you so important? Well, I’m a reader. And a fan. And writer you may want to work with in the future. Did I mention I’m a READER? I used to deal with all of this shit because I thought it was a part of the social networking experience that just had to be dealt with. Not anymore. The majority of you are a true pleasure in my life, but the braggarts, crazies and promo-whores exhaust me. I won’t deal with it any more. As some unfortunate individuals have recently found out, I will simply block all contact and go on with my life. I am in this business to tell a story and hopefully entertain some of you. If you are a writer who thinks your novel is so great it will Change The World As We Know It, then you are probably a bit touched in the head and I don’t want to network with you. I’m tired. I have plenty of drama in my life and a full schedule. I don’t have time to become your biggest fan and spread the word of your revolution. Don’t bother.
Everything you do and say is being watched by potential readers and fans of your work. My advice? Scale back the promotion. Engage your friends as a FRIEND. Don’t pick fights with other writers and readers. Don’t act like an arrogant prick or a manic lunatic. Think before you type. I can pretty much sum this up in a few simple words for you…don’t be a dickhead.