Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Another Halloween Over.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASadly, another Halloween has come and gone. 364 more days until we can do this again. I must say that I am completely impressed with the ideas you all came up with for what may be haunting my house. Very creative indeed! Ghost cats, clowns, dolls and so many other creepies. It was truly difficult to choose a winner this year. I wish I could send the prize to all of you, but I can’t. That said, I have picked the winner. Of all the comments, the one that stuck with me most, caused me to open a window and do a little google-fu. was Nikki’s. I had never heard of a Domovoi before and it really intrigued me. Congratulations Nikki! You won! I will get your box o’ goodies to you ASAP. And to the rest of you… Thank you so much for participating and making the Hop a blast for me yet again. Until next year… Pleasant Dreams!

Free Shit… And A Coffin Hop!

CoffinHop2014As you can no doubt tell by the marvelous picture above (contributed to this year’s hop by the super talented Jolie DuPre), it’s that magical time of year once again, when churchyards yawn and Hell itself breathes contagion into this world… Wait. I think someone else wrote that.

Anyhow, it’s Halloween again and as is my custom, I’m just dying to give one of you lucky souls some very cool, very free shit! But, some of you new followers may be confused. It’s not Christmas, you may be saying to yourself. Is it my birthday? No, chances are it’s not your birthday, (but if it is, how cool is that?!). It is, however, time for the 3rd Annual Coffin Hop.

What is that? You ask yourself.

Well, it’s just about the most awesome thing ever. Every year a great big group of horror writers and artists band together and blog, each giving away one or more prizes during the week leading up to Samhain. With so many horror folks putting on this party, and so many contests to enter, chances are very high that you may just walk away with some very cool shit this year.

Now you’re saying to yourself, Is this shit really that cool?

Only if you like free books and Halloween swag. And if you don’t like that stuff, I’m sure you’re starting to realize you’ve wandered to the wrong blog hop. No worries, just google dwarf hamster porn and you’ll be directed where you want to go. It’s okay. Mistakes happen. We’ll close the door behind you.

Thank God. I thought that freak would never leave! Where was I? Oh yes. As you can see in the picture below, this year’s prize pack includes signed copies of AD NAUSEAM (my collection of extreme horror), GRUESOME FACES, GHASTLY PLACES (a recent collection containing stories by Adrian Ludens, Doug Murano and myself-All South Dakota horror authors) and none other than DEATH BY DRIVE-IN (the official Coffin Hop anthology, put out by the lovely and talented Mr. Axel Howerton). As if such high-brow literary delights were not incentive enough, I will also include some tokens of the holiday that I have selected with my own two, bloody, little hands.

But how do I get this cool, free shit? You cry.

No worries, I’m about to tell you.

Last year I asked you all to share your jack-o-lanterns with me and it was a great time. This year, however, I am in the middle of a move and am feeling a bit pressed for time. That’s right, as you all are having fun visiting the sites and winning the free shit, I will be boxing up my worldly (and otherworldly) possessions (did someone say possession?) and moving them into my very first, owned by me, home! No more renting for this kid! That said, my contest this year is pretty simple. I want you, in just a few sentences, to tell me what you think my new home may be harboring.

Is it haunted by Victorian ghosts? Are there petulant poltergeists in the pantry? Disturbed deities in the den? Banshees in the bedroom (YEAH there is!)? Tell me what I will find as I take up residence at the new place, and be creative. Be scary. Be funny. Knock my socks off! Leave your description in the comments and the one that I like best will take home the gold (and by gold, I mean free shit, of course)!

And that’s all it takes. Put on your thinking caps, wow me with your originality, and make sure to click the picture of the handsome fellow above. He’ll take you back to the list so you can win even more free shit! Enjoy the Hop.


*NOTE In order to protect you from a deluge of smarmy spammers or the lunatic ravings of an internet troll whose name might rhyme with Dickolaus Schmaccione, the comments on this site are set to approve only. AND due to the aforementioned move, I will be losing internet very soon. Comments posted may not be viewable until sometime late Monday. Mea Culpa.



And the Winner Is…

Dempsey's Halloween 2103 009.2And so it ends. Another October gone, the streets quiet once again, the children all scrubbed and glowing from exhaustion and sugar-rush. Across the country, teachers sigh in frustration as students gaze into nothing, their little minds and bodies wore out from the previous night’s adventures and imagining that magic time when the school bell will ring and free them to go home to a candy bag bursting at the seams. And once again, my favorite holiday is fading…

BUT! There is still a little Halloween magic left! I get to give one lucky a soul a box of goodies. Less than a dozen of you entered my contest, which should’ve made it easy, but BOY it sure wasn’t. Who knew you were all such talented bastards?! I am amazed at the level of skill in most of the jack-o-lanterns sent to me. It wasn’t an easy decision at all, the originality and thought that went into each and every one was stunning. You are all rock stars as far as I’m concerned. Of course, there can only be one winner. In the end, I had to go by technical difficulty and even then it was hard.


Brandi Slater of Michigan, for her two jack-o-lanterns pictured below. Though I loved them all, these two really stood out to me, particularly the wolf. The skill it took to carve that moon in the background is amazing. Brandi will receive the prize pack including signed copies of a few of my works, some cool Jack Skellington swag and of course, a signed copy of COFFIN HOP: DEATH BY DRVE-IN from which the proceeds go to supporting children’s literacy at: Litworld The rest of you can still pick up a copy here: and do your part to help create a world where all children know the joy of reading. Congrats Brandi and a huge THANK YOU to everyone else who competed. You are all amazing!~C.W.Winner 2Winner1

Do You Carve?

Pumpkins 2013 026Hello Boils and Ghouls! Can you believe it’s already been a year since the last Coffin Hop? Time sure flies when you’re a demon, bent on destroying the world… Erm, I mean, Having fun! This year I’ve decided to keep things short and sweet as I’m sure you have plenty of other sites to hop to. My contest will be pretty easy as well, at least for those who truly celebrate Halloween, the way our ancient alien ancestors intended. And this year, the Hop is all about YOU!

So, do you carve? Are you a painter? Do you do both? How early do you buy your pumpkin? Do you keep it until it rots, or throw it out November 1st? What’s the most important trait for a good pumpkin? These are the things I want to know about you. The information I carve, I mean CRAVE!

At my house, it varies from year to year. Last Halloween we carved, the year before we did both. But this year it was all about the paint. We’d spotted some brilliant white pumpkins at a local farm and fleet store around the end of September and just knew they were for us. Of course, as mild as the weather had been, we also knew there was no way those pumpkins would survive until All Hallow’s Eve. So we waited, we bided our time, our grubby little paws rubbing together in anticipation. And guess what? You’re right, they were all gone by the time we returned. And so we set off to the seventh level of HELL (yeah, Walmart) in search of the next best thing, orange pumpkins and white spray paint. Now my family is pretty diverse. We each have our own criteria for what makes the perfect pumpkin. I am all about the symmetry. My oldest daughter believes it is the roundest pumpkin that makes the grade, and for my son, the smoothest. My middle daughter swears it’s all about SIZE! She always picks the biggest of the bunch, regardless of whether it’s a lopsided, warty monstrosity. Lou doesn’t give a shit what pumpkin he gets, as long as he doesn’t have to come with.

I’ve included photos of this year’s pumpkins. I think they turned out pretty well. They should appease the spirits and keep the demonic forces from entering our home to raise all manners of havoc such as fire, pestilence, and that annoying toe seam on your sock that won’t lay flat.Pumpkins 2013 030

This brings me to the important part, THE CONTEST! It’s simple really. All you have to do is send me a photo of your pumpkin. Paint it, carve it, throw it in the road. It doesn’t have to be this year’s jack-o-lantern. It could be a favorite from years gone by, but be original, be creative. Feel free to include some details about what makes a perfect pumpkin in your eyes. There are only a few minor rules you must adhere to:

*Do not cheat. Only dickfaces cheat! Don’t insult my intelligence by sending me a google image. I know a professional photo from a snapshot.

*Send the photo to NO LATER than Midnight Central Time on October 31st.

*Please include your full name, email address and mailing address in the body of the email. The photo can be an attachment.

*MOST IMPORTANTLY! DO NOT, under any circumstances, include naked pictures of yourself. Seriously. I am getting so sick of all the junk in my inbox! What is it about my writing that makes you sickos think I want to see your tidbits? No really, just don’t.

And that’s it. After I have collected all the photos, I will present them to an impartial Jury made up of myself, two preteen girls, one flirty 8 year old boy, and a bulldog. We will pick our favorite and post it here on November 1st! The winner will receive all the wonderful goodies pictured below, as well as a signed copy of the Coffin Hop Charity Anthology, Death By Drive-In! So what are you waiting for? Get carving and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!~C.W.

Abbigail the Bulldog for Display Purposes Only *NOT INCLUDED!

Abbigail the Bulldog for Display Purposes Only *NOT INCLUDED!

Prize Includes: One signed copy of Ad Nauseam: 13 Tales of Extreme Horror, One signed copy of Bad Dreams New Screams (A limited edition Cemetery Dance Chapbook, only 500 in existence), One signed copy of Coffin Hop:Death By Drive-In (A Charity anthology by the Coffin Hoppers that supports literacy with all proceeds going to Litworld, One Jack Skellington Notepad, One Jack Skellington Hardbound Calendar/Planner, and a snazzy pair of Jack Skellington socks! Those who don’t win can still pick up the Charity Anthology here: Coming soon in E-Format!

Coffin Hop Death By Drive-In


 Get Back To The Hop Here:


Coffin Hop Photo


Let’s Celebrate!

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.

The Next Big Thing!

Hello my friends! We’re going to something a bit different today. I have been tagged by the very talented Benjamin Kane Ethridge in a fun little game called The Next Big Thing where I am challenged to answer a few questions about what I’m working on before directing you to other writers who will do the same. You can still read Ben’s answers at, and at the end I will direct you to next week’s blog. Okay then, that’s easy enough. Without further adieu, on to my questions!

What is the working title of your next book?  My first novel, which I am currently hard at work on, is called Calliope.

Where did the idea come from for the book?  That’s a little bit harder. This is one of many ideas that have been rattling around my head for years. I can’t really remember the origin. It’s been there for so long that I almost feel it’s been up there forever! 🙂

What genre does your book fall under?  Definitely horror. Maybe even a bit towards extreme horror.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?  Another hard one. I can certainly tell you who wouldn’t star in it. Kristin Stewart. I don’t watch nearly enough movies anymore, so I am out of touch with actresses. Maybe the gal from the remake of Fright Night for the female lead. I liked her.

What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?  Ancient evil overtakes a small town.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?  Neither. It will definitely be released by a small press. I’ve had a few inquire about seeing it when it’s finished and plan to go with one of those. Provided they like it of course.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?  I hand wrote it in about four months. The book itself is done, other than editing, but I am immersed in the painful process of trying to decipher my own handwriting and type it up. Not an easy task. I write fast and in sloppy cursive. Even I don’t know what I’m saying half the time.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  Hmmmm. I’m not sure on that one. It has an 80’s pulp feel to it and a carnival theme. I suppose there’s a few golden oldies on my shelf that it may compare to, but none of the top of my head. Though the monsters aren’t werewolves, one could say there is a resemblance to the beasts.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?  I have made no secret of the fact that I miss the old pulp feel of horror, back before the genre started to take itself too seriously. I suppose that is what really inspired me to write this book. I grew up on the fun of splatterpunk and I wanted to pay homage to my roots. I wanted to write something that would’ve fit in well with the genre during my early years when I feel in love with horror. I hope I have succeeded.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?  Did I mention it’s got a carnival theme? There have been many books written about evil carnivals that descend upon unsuspecting towns, but I chose to take this familiar trope and give it a little shake. What if the town itself was evil, and the carnies the heroes? You’ll just have to read it to find out 🙂

Well, that’s it. Now I’m supposed to tag 3-5 other writers and send you on your way. Of course, I’ve never been one for the rules, so I think I will just tag one. Okay, you got me, I came into the game late and could only find one other person who wanted to play! But he’s well worth the visit! I give you, Dan Dillard! Check out his blog while you wait and next Wednesday you can read his answers to the same questions. Happy reading my friends. Until next time~C.W. LaSart

And The Winner Is…

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

It’s Coffin Hop Time Again! Who Wants Some Free Shit?

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.”

Zeus shrugged.

“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.

“Hey, Zeus!”

“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!!! 

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 for some cool swag with all proceeds going directly to the release of that charity anthology!

My First Audio Edition, And It’s NSFW!

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!

Don’t Call Me Indie.

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”.

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