Archive for the ‘ Books ’ Category

During the World Horror Convention in Austin earlier this year I had the chance to spend some quality time with horror authors Gord Rollo and Gene O’Neill. Both of them are established and traditionally published authors in the horror genre, that many of you may be familiar with as they’ve published a number of fascinating books.

Both had not made the transition to the digital realm yet at the time, in part because of rights issues, in part because they simply weren’t all that familiar with the process. I therefore offered my help and suggested to take one book and make it a test-balloon of sorts. I would turn the book into an e-book and publish it through my distribution channels under my Thunder Peak Publishing imprint. My hope was that I could convert Gord and Gene to digital believers so that they would get off the traditional balls-to-the-wall, no-future traditional publishing rails.

In the weeks following the convention, Gord and Gene refurbished a short story collection that had been published years. Originally titled “When the City Sleeps,” the book had been out of print for almost just as long and it made a perfect candidate to be turned into an e-book. Ever the professionals, Gord and Gene didn’t just want to put out shovelware and decided to include new material in the e-book. They sat down and wrote two completely new sort stories to be included in the book.

Mean Streets CoverThe result is “Mean Streets,” a collection of seven urban tales of terror, and I can tell you this is signature Rollo and O’Neill material! Sure, I may be biased, but when I read the stories, they really pulled me in and surprised me with interesting twists. In particular “Lord Rat,” one of the new stories, is a real showpiece of smart short story writing. It never fails to intrigue and unsettle, and it takes place in O’Neill’s favorite haunt, the San Francisco Tenderloin district.

But I also enjoyed “Breath of an Angel / Touch of the Devil” very much, which reads like a who-dunnit in a dark, seedy urban setting. Very cool stuff, I can tell you, and definitely worth the read.

“Mean Streets” is now available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Kobo and Apple’s iBookstore for only $2.99. Maybe you can do me a favor and support the effort. Show Gord and Gene some love — they definitely deserve it — and buy the book,if only to show them that the e-book market is alive and thriving. If this turns out right, both will be more than happy to release more of their work in the digital marketplace.

So, grab a copy and enjoy the urban terrors their wicked minds have thought up. I promise, you will enjoy it!

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As people tackle the subject of e-book formatting, every once in a while I receive an email with the question, what meta-data in an e-book are actually used for. Since you will have to re-upload your book description, the ISBN and the keyword tags on every distribution channel’s portal again and again, the question clearly becomes, why am I entering it in Calibre in the first place, if it isn’t being put to use?

First, let me say that it is possible to create e-books without most of the meta-data. Things such as the product description, keywords, ISBN identifier, publisher and so forth are not mandatory, so if you feel lazy, you can leave them out.

However… you knew there would be some kind of catch didn’t you? So, however, if you think they are not being used, you are mistaken. Meta-data are being put to use in a number of places, but the most important one for you as a reader is probably the device itself.

Meta Data Example

When you load your book onto your Kindle or Nook, you see a listing of titles in your library. Depending on your settings and your device, you will also see a small thumbnail of the book’s cover. Do you have any inkling, where that comes from? The meta-data you provided, naturally.

But that’s not all. Many devices allow you to sort books by author, again, using the e-books’ meta-data to dictate the sorting. If the library software on your device is a bit more sophisticated it will allow you to categorize books by genres and keywords, using the “keyword” meta-data you have provided in your e-book.

And so it goes, on and on. While I can’t think of any platform that currently makes use of it, it is also easily possible to think of software that allows you to take a quick preview of the book by printing the product description — culled from the book’s meta-data, of course.

It may feel like you are duplicating information over and over again as you prepare your e-books and upload them to distribution portals, and in fact, you are. I, for example, would love for Amazon to retrieve the necessary data from my e-book file by default, for example, saving me the time it takes to enter all that duplicate stuff, but ultimately it is of no relevance. The process is easy and fast enough as it is, so I have no real complaints here.

What is important, though, is to understand that a book’s meta-data are being put to use over and over again, silently, in the background, to make sure your readers will get the most out of the book and their e-book readers. In fact, I would not be surprised to see meta-data expanded upon in the future to include proper library categorization, author biography and cross references to other books by the same author or titles in a series. These additions may just be around the corner, as Apple is already requesting that sort of information when you upload your book to the iBookstore. Hilariously, though, it makes absolutely no use of the information at this time, it seems, as the iBookstore search engine is about as dumb as a piece of bread. But hey, you can’t have everything…

So, is it a good idea to skimp on your meta-data? Probably not, even though it may seem like redundant information.

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Every once in a while I pick up a book and as I start reading it, it turns into this revelatory, almost overwhelming, experience. Dos this happen to you, too, sometimes? You start reading and as you make your way through the book you go “How come I had never heard of this book before?” or “Why is not everyone talking about this book?” or something down the lines of “It is a shame this book is so overlooked, because it should be a best seller.”

Blockbuster coverWell, guess what? It just happened to me again and the book in question is Blockbuster by Sven Michael Davison.

The book is an incredibly witty and irreverent take on Hollywood. In essence, it is the written equivalent to something like “Die Hard” — an action story that is superbly balanced with hilarious moments, great characters, cool action and everything else that makes some of those blockbuster movies so memorable — and more.

Imagine, a group of terrorists infiltrate and take over a major Hollywood studio and take everyone hostage, from the action mega stars, the diva directors, the writers, the crew, the assistants, all of mahogany row… everyone. Can you imagine the possibilities this scenario offers? I mean, rally? Why didn’t I think of that?

What makes this book even more irresistible is the fact how it pokes fun at Hollywood, its image, lifestyle, glamor, business, the people. In every paragraph would will find a little nod at a well-known movie, actor or director, and I love the way it is always disguised a little, turning it into a fun little guessing game every time a name or movie title is being dropped.

One might suspect that I am biased when it comes to this book, because Sven and I go back some 10+ years, but I honestly do not think so. In fact, Sven and I have been working in Hollywood at the same time, and that’s how we met, because he used to be one of the head honchos creating DVDs for 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Yes, my friends, if you own any Fox DVD that was released between 1998 and 2009, you can bet your sweet bottom on it that Sven had a hand in it, if only to call up the movie’s stars and book them to record a commentary track or to film an interview featurette or documentary.

And that is just the thing. Sven knows Hollywood inside out. And it shows in his book. There is an authenticity to his story that I can fully attest to. As I said, Sven and I have worked Hollywood during the same time period and I am very familiar with the people, the biz, the lingo, the status symbols, the facade, the schmooze, and so forth.

When Sven describes the circle of assistants, each of whom is trying to get their own project off the ground, each of them using the other to serve as a front for potential investors, it reminds me of the way the game is played in Tinseltown.

When he names his assistant characters with names like “Delicious” or “Botswana,” it may sound funny at first, but interestingly enough, for some weird reason, these are exactly the kind of names you find in the front offices of movie executives.

But it goes much deeper than that in the book. The way people talk, the way they carry themselves, the self-conscious way with which they behave is all too real. Add to that the level of detail Sven puts into adding little nuances about the security guards, the layout and design of the studio lot, the made-up history of his Mogul Studios, or the love for the subject matter when his characters geek out over high-end equipment, and you get a feel for what Hollywood is really like. It may scrape off the pink dreams you may have had, but always with a wink in his eyes, Sven reminds us all that making movies is a business — nothing more and nothing less.

The thing that struck me most from the first sentence, however, was Sven’s use of language. His opening chapter describes the shoot of a blockbuster movie and like the movie itself, his vocabulary is completely over the top. It is the same popcorn-style writing. Absolutely hilarious and off the wall. Rich with adjectives and metaphors, immediately bringing to your mind images of some of the greatest action movies you’ve ever seen.

Then the style changes, as the story moves away from the set and settles into a more realistic tone that is nonetheless as energetic as a sprite, filled with pixie-dust and wonderful wordplay. I found myself relishing every sentence I read.

Anyway, before I get too carried away, as I said in opening, I was completely floored by the book. I had promised Sven to read it some time ago but it took me months to actually get around to it. Boy, do I regret that now. The book is like a fresh breeze.

Do yourself a favor, grab the reading sample on Amazon and check it out. If you are a movie buff or simply someone who enjoys movies for a little escape, you simply owe it to yourself to check Blockbuster out. I guarantee you, the first chapter will hook you completely! To me, Blockbuster was like a kick in the butt, forcing me to face the question, “Will I ever be able to write a book as cool as this?”

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As I am taking a self-imposed leave of absence from Victorian England and the supernatural encounters of a certain man named Jason Dark, I have been working no some material to branch out. No, I am not tired of writing Jason Dark mysteries — far from it — but I felt that I needed to add a little diversity to the books I am publishing. The idea is that I want to reach readers that I simply cannot entice to read horror mysteries — such as children.

Yes, you read correctly. I have written a book for children. A middle-grade adventure, to be exact. It is one of those things that happen to you when you’re a parent, I suppose. You start taking an interest in the material your own children are reading and you begin to detect that some of this is actually quite interesting or intriguing. In my case, it sparked an interest to write some stories for children myself.

Easy as pie, you might say, but don’t be fooled. Writing a book for children is a lot harder than writing a book for adults. The reason is quickly becoming obvious when you consider that you are trying to tell a story to someone who has only a fraction of the vocabulary of an adult. Word choice is one of the most critical elements — and one of the biggest challenges — when you write for children.

When we write a novel, it is easy for us to create diversity by spicing up our writing with words of different meaning, sometimes relying on very subtle nuances of these words to create atmosphere, mood or action. This is a lot hard to do when all you have is one or two words for a meaning.

Let’s say, for example, in your children’s book you want to write about a dark and foreboding room. For adults we could draw from a wide variety of words to create the right mood for this. The room could be gloomy, dark, depressing, spooky, ominous, foreboding, shadowy, malignant, pitched in darkness or even tenebrific.

When you write for middle-graders, out of that entire list only two or three words could be really be applied safely. Maybe a few more, depending on the exact age range you are writing for, but the general point I am trying to make is that your vocabulary is severely restricted. In order to be able to still paint vivid images with your words, you end up doing a lot of wordsmithing. I spent a lot of time revising my book over and over again. Not so much for content itself, like it is often the case with my stories for grown-ups, but instead to create sentences that flow easily, that have a solid rhythm. I will check sentences to make sure they are word appropriate, I will double-check sentences to make sure they do not run too long, and I will remove most of my sentence modifiers, rephrasing paragraphs to make the clear and to the point. All of this is essential for young readers to be able to follow your writing.

Much of this is actually good practice when writing for adults, also, but naturally there is a lot more leeway. Starting with the word choices, adults have a much wider knowledge base, usually, a vocabulary upon which we can draw as writers to create more colorful prose.

Naturally, in books for adults, we also want to make sure our sentence structure is not always minimalistic and overly simplistic. While it is never a good idea to get lost in your own convoluted sentences, I do believe that insertions and modifiers can vastly define the style and voice of a writer.

For me, it was an experiment really, to see how well I would do within such limitations. Since English is not my native language I am always very conscious about potential weaknesses in my writing, and creating this book was an exercise for me to really get down to the fundamentals of it all.

Some time soon, I’ll tell you more about this exciting new book. It is completed and I am only waiting for interior illustrations and the cover to be finished.

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“They just don’t make them like this any more.” Whether it refers to movies, music or books, I am sure you have heard the phrase countless times before. I know I have, and it has been the reason why the Jason Dark supernatural mysteries I’ve been writing are what they are. A throwback to, what I consider, the Golden Era of horror. A kind of story and presentation they just don’t make them like any more.

gothic imageIt seems odd in this day and age for someone to write horror mysteries drenched in gothic atmosphere. While everyone around me seems to be occupied to write modern horror stories that feature either romantic half-monster match-ups or are getting more and more gritty and urban, it appears to me that very few writers actually give a second thought to more traditional horror.

It has led to a remarkable — and very unexpected — side-effect. I deliberately chose the rather unique format for my books and the Victorian England setting to allow me to stand out among what’s currently available, but it has also created the not insignificant challenge for me to explain to people what the Jason Dark supernatural mysteries actually are. People seem to have trouble wrapping their minds around the concept and the initial impressions somehow seem to lead them to wrong conclusions about the stories.

Whenever I drop the term “horror” in a conversation or description, people instantly have preconceived notions. Most people will wave me off right away and tell me they don’t read horror. As a result I find myself explaining to them about the wide gamut that horror actually covers, ranging from something like “Frankenstein,” which many people would probably not even consider horror but an intense character drama, all the way to the ultra-violent and sadistic “Saw” fare. There is a lot in-between and the two ends of the spectrum could not be further apart. Yet, the mere mention of the word “horror” has people dismissing it.

gothic imageEven the term “gothic horror,” which is designed to narrow down the genre somewhat, is all too often misunderstood. I used the term when I released the first Jason Dark stories, because it is what they truly represent. Sadly, too many people associate the term “gothic horror” with pale, pubescent girls wearing too much eye make-up who are desperately crying for attention. Some will see it as a valid lifestyle or fashion trend, but still have only the image of too much mascara in their heads. Neither is what “Gothic horror” means, and neither of it is what my Jason Dark stories are about.

“Gothic horror” is a description for a particular style of horror, which, by tradition, emphasizes atmosphere over graphic violence. A film like the old “Dracula” featuring Bela Lugosi is “gothic,” as is “The Wolfman.” It is all about the creepy imagery and atmosphere. The fog-shrouded forest and cemeteries, castles towering over steep cliffs, things that we know are moving about, terrifyingly dangerous, but we never really see them. Flickering candles in a ghostly house, long, deep shadows and staircases covered in cobwebs. All these are elements of “gothic horror.”

Universal was the master of gothic horror with its early monster movies and the Hammer Film Studios punched it up a notch. Bringing color to the party, they were able to bathe us in deep midnight blue hues, the magnificent crimson satin on the inside of Count Dracula’s cape and the bloodshot red eyes of Christopher Lee. The Hammer horror films were masterfully shot using gothic elements but ramping up their effect over and over again. Sadly, they were often dissed because of their limited budgets, but true fans of the genre will always cherish them for their mood and atmosphere.

It is for those people who love these kinds of horror films as much as I do that I wrote the Jason Dark books. Every time I read and finished a horror novel, I walked away, telling myself, “They just don’t write them any more the way they did.” If you go to Amazon and you try to search for quality gothic horror books you will find yourself in quite a bit of a predicament. Most of them you will probably have read already because they are classics like “Dracula,” “Frankenstein,” “Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde,” Edgar Allan Poe’s work and such fare. You may be lucky and find a few, rare gems that are newer, but the majority of more modern gothic stories followed on the heels of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, and most of those were already more romanticized than gothic.

gothic imageFinding fresh gothic horror content is hard — in fact I find it virtually impossible. As a result people are no longer familiar with the term or these atmospheric settings and the wonderful creepiness these stories often have. By consequence, they also have trouble imagining what Jason Dark stories would be like.

Using atmospheric cover artwork has always been my main approach to ring across the atmosphere of the books. If you look at Dr. Prometheus, for example with its cover that show gravediggers in front of a full moon, to me the message and atmosphere of the story is immediately clear.

In the sixteen months since I have launched the first Jason Dark books, I have found that it has required my eternal attention to somehow bring across the setting and atmosphere of these stories so that they might find an audience. Maybe articles like this one will help getting people excited about these action-packed creepy mysteries.

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On some days you just feel like the world is coming to a standstill for a short moment, giving you the opportunity to relish that single moment just a little bit longer than usual. Such a moment happened to me this morning when I received another blurb about one of my books.

It is always fascinating and very reassuring when you receive little tidbits of acclaim from fellow authors, but when it comes from someone who is universally considered one of the best, it just takes your breath away.

Here is the blurb I received this morning in regards to my Jason Dark supernatural mystery, Theater of Vampires.

“This is the book I wish I had written!” — Bram Stoker, author of DRACULA

I believe, no more words are needed here…

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I will make this short today, because I’m busy with some other stuff, but I wanted to post these tidbits real quick.

Another guest blog of mine showed up around the Internet today. This time I am writing about eBooks and how There’s more to eBooks than MOBI and EPUB, over at The Creative Penn. If you are a self-published author, I think you should head over there and take a gander. Even if you disagree or think you’re settled just fine, read it, just for the perspective, perhaps.

fangoria 3030 coverIn other news, I wanted to remind everyone to pick up Fangoria issue #303. It contains the second part of my Jason Dark serial Food for the Dead, and you don’t want to miss it. You better hurry, because in about a week or two, this issue will disappear from newsstands already, to be replaced with the next one. I would hate for you to miss one installment in the serial, just because I forgot to remind you all.

Speaking of Food for the Dead I also wanted to give a quick shout-out to my writer buddy Joe Nassise, who – upon my urging – has taken it upon himself to actually edit the serial for me. If you’re not familiar with his work, make sure to check it out. He is a fabulous writer with great stories to tell. Joe did a wonderful job tightening some of my writing and making it more concise.

Writing the Fangoria piece was particularly challenging for me, because I had to write to spec. Not like a short story where they tell you, write something between 7,000 and 10,000 words. Here I had to write every single one of the five installments on spec to fit in 820 words. That is the space and guideline I was given. Fitting the entire story into that framework, making sure the cliffhangers worked while also ensuring I am picking up the story in a sensible, easy to follow way every month was quite a challenge. I spent hours brooding over paragraphs, trying to cut the word count down. What do you do when you are 20 words over budget, but every single one of your words matters? Occasionally I just went crazy and deleted an entire sentence, only to notice after it was gone that, perhaps, it wasn’t all that necessary after all.

Demon's night coverIf you enjoyed Food for the Dead so far, I would like to urge you to pick up one of the other Jason Dark mysteries. Demon’s Night is a great way to get started in the full-length stories, or if you want to check how the latest Jason Dark adventure reads like, give Curse of Kali a try. Both are still available for only 99 cents on Amazon, Barnes&Noble and Kobo Books.

But ultimately, the Jason Dark supernatural mysteries are designed so readers can pick up any one of them at any time and just get to reading. They are all stand-along mysteries and you don’t need to read them in order or anything. Just pick the subject matter that appeals the most to you – vampires, demons, ghosts, or whatnot – and give it a try.

You know, of course, that you don’t even need an eBook reader to read eBooks, right? Use Amazon’s free Kindle software and you can read all Kindle books on your laptop or desktop computer – even on your cell phone, if you wish.

So, what are you waiting for? I really can’t make it any easier for you.

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Curse of KaliThings have slowed down after World Horror Convention and I’ve been able to follow up with many of my new acquaintances from the show.

I’ve also been able to finish the first book I brought back from the show, Joe McKinney’s brand new The Red Empire. It is truly a fun little read, reminding me so much of the old-school Jack Arnold scifi monster flicks from the 50s, like Them! or Tarantula. Definitely worth a read if this is your kind of bag, as his writing is riveting and the story a fast-paced and action-packed humdinger.

As I’ve been trying to keep promoting my own recent release of Curse of Kali, I have been guest-blogging on two additional sites this week also. Over at Indie Horror I have talked about Prepared to Sell: My favorite book covers. I love cover artwork, whether it’s from books, music albums, games or movies. A great artwork inspires and fascinates me, and in this guest blog you will see some of the covers that I find truly outstanding for many reasons, so make sure to stop by and take a look.

The other guest-post I made was on Bookgasm where I wrote about Hunting monsters in Victorian England. As the title suggests, the write-up explains why I find Victorian England such an exciting setting for my Jason Dark stories, but it also goes a bit further discussing the historical and literary references I use in all of those books.

Please stop by and take a look at either of these blog posts and let me know what you think. Yes, leave comments, if you please. It always looks a bit hapless if there are lengthy blog posts but no one comments on them. I don’t know about you but it always makes me feel like a piece of forgotten cheese that has mold beginning to grow over it. So, please… let me hear your opinions and thoughts on these subjects.

Since I am still in Curse of Kali promo mode, I also thought I’d do something I haven’t done before… at least not in this way. Since you are already here, I decided to present you with a little excerpt from the book. Please, below, enjoy the opening scene from the book…

“I am not so sure I like this,” Jason Dark said, as he looked at the barren warehouse doors that loomed against the night sky in front of him.

“This is the address, right?” Siu Lin asked, allowing her gaze to rove along the unlit, square outline of the building.

It had been after dark already, when a note had been delivered to Jason Dark’s house on Sandgate Street in London’s Southwark district. Written in an unpracticed scribble, the message upon it was short, asking for a meeting in this decrepit warehouse at the dockyards at 10:00 pm. It was signed by Tom Baker, one of Dark’s frequent collaborators: a boy of 16, who had a network of streetwise urchins assembled around him, essentially acting as Jason Dark’s invisible eyes and ears in the cobbled streets of London. On a number of occasions, Dark had made use of Baker’s invaluable services. So, when the unexpected note arrived, Dark knew by instinct that the matter had to be of some import.

Jason Dark eyed a smaller, man-sized door that was set flush into the foreboding barn-size doors of the warehouse, allowing easy access for a single person. Without a word, he reached for the handle and pulled it open. For the length of a few heartbeats he stopped and simply listened. Only the soft lapping of the brackish water against the dock was audible, drowning out even the distant noise of the metropolis at large.

He turned and looked at Siu Lin. Careful, now! He could clearly read her determined face in the bright moonlight.

A thick fog rolled in from the river, its ethereal arms weaving in a sluggish dance, like ghostly wisps, eating away at the moon’s light. Dark blacked out his lantern and took a careful step forward.

The inside of the warehouse was dark, and only shadows allowed the eye to create an image of the interior. Without a word, Dark waved Siu Lin inside and closed the door, careful not to make an unnecessary sound. Together they stood in silence and listened. A foghorn blew somewhere in the distance, lonely and forlorn. Other than that, the warehouse was silent.

Almost in unison, Dark and Siu Lin opened the blackout shades of their lanterns, allowing the soft glow of the kerosene flames to illuminate the room. Thirty feet above them, the slatted ceiling covered the cavernous structure. Stairs and walkways splashed the walls with their wooden rag-tag construction. Large stacks of shipping crates and containers lined up in jumbled rows down the length of the entire warehouse, each announcing its far-away origins by stenciled-on designations. The rows disappeared into the darkness, interrupted only by smaller passages between different stacks.

Dark looked over his lantern and saw Siu Lin tilting her head as she took in the enormous structure. Time and again her dark eyes scanned the walls and walkways, before she returned his gaze and nodded. “You lead.”

As Dark took cautious steps, the sphere of light traveled with him, peeling ever new shapes and details out of the darkness. Two steps behind him, Siu Lin followed, silent as a snake on cotton balls. Walking backwards so she could see behind them, she brought up the rear, taking no chances for a surprise.

“I do not like this,” she finally whispered. “Where’s Baker?”

“Maybe he’s late.” Even as he said the words, however, Dark felt that the answer was more of an excuse, rather than any actual conviction on his part.

“Then who unlocked the door?”

“Let’s just take a look around.”

They proceeded another few yards down the main aisle into the warehouse, when Dark unexpectedly froze. Siu Lin nearly bumped into him and was ready to open her mouth, when she turned and saw what had stopped Dark dead in his tracks.

Did you like it? And that was just the beginning. The story will surprise you, I have no doubt, and take you on a roller coaster ride, so please feel free to get your copy for only 99 cents now on Amazon and Barnes&Noble. Or if you would like print versions, make sure to stop by on the official website

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Over the past weekend I was visiting the World Horror Convention 2011 in Austin, a place where horror writers from all over the country get together, share ideas, tips, experiences and lots of beer.

I was on a panel on Friday afternoon, carrying the title “Fresh Blood,” during which I had the chance to relay my story as to how I got into writing. It was a nice, lively panel with some great fellow authors, some of which had great stories to tell. I was happy to see a healthy turnout and hope that those of you who had the chance to attend enjoyed the session and got some entertainment value out of it. (I doubt we were really giving advice per se, since we mostly relayed war stories, but you never know.)

There were a couple of fine panels and sessions during the show most of them involved Brian Keene in one way or another. As a matter of fact, Brian was virtually omnipresent at the show, appearing on every other panel while also holding book readings, hanging at the parties and the mass signing, of course. In fact, when, on Thursday night, I arrived at the hotel where the conference was hosted, Keene was still having a panel at 10:30 at night. Talk about a working man here.

Peter Straub was also walking the hallways relentlessly and appeared on panels almost every day of the conference. In the times in between he was talking to other authors and signing books all the time. I had the chance to chat with him myself and enjoyed it greatly. After all, Peter Straub is not only one of the most prolific writers in the horror genre, eclipsed perhaps only by his friend and occasional collaborator Stephen King, but he is what I would call a writer’s writer. He is the example we are all striving for, not only in volume and sales, but also in quality.

But there were many other memorable moments for me, such as my meeting Gene O’Neill, whom I had talked to online a number of times but had never met in person, as well as Gord Rollo. Gord, as you may know, is a writer very much to my taste as his stories — and his interests, as I found out — are usually rooted much more in traditional horror than modern goreware.

I have made many more acquaintances and hopefully new friends during the show and I am very much looking forward to meeting them all again.

The one thing I did notice during the convention, however, was how absent digital technologies were in all the discussions. Practically all writers came from a traditional background and interestingly enough most of them view eBooks as a sideshow — something that may become interesting at some point, but is not at all at the forefront of their minds. Well, with all due respect, I think it is time to put some educational panels together for upcoming writers conferences that explain to writers that the digital revolution has not only arrived but is about to devour the few scraps they are receiving from the traditional publishing houses.

In the meanwhile things have been moving on here as well, of course. I had decided to take a 10 day Internet sabbatical and disappeared almost entirely from social networks for the time being. I also responded to email only in small time windows during the period and did almost no Internet browsing. These things, combined, are such time sinks that I felt I had to turn my back on them to get some work done just before the show. I am glad to say it did work out well and I may have to do it again, more frequently.

The thing is that I spend so much time trying to get my Jason Dark books noticed that on many days I find no time to actually write. I don’t like those days. I love writing and I feel somewhat robbed of the privilege on days where everything else is bogging me down. It is hard however, to simply sit back and ignore the fact that my book sales are small and stagnant and I constantly feel the need to be doing more to increase my books’ visibility. Ultimately, however, it becomes so frustrating when you see that not only time is fleeting away between your fingers in chunks that could choke a T-Rex, but that in many ways it is for naught. Oftentimes all the effort results in a single 99 cent sale and that is clearly a bad value proposition for the time and energy spent.

So, I have decided to fret less and instead write more, and hopefully I will be able to show some results in the not too distant future.

More guest blog posts should be coming up in the next weeks — they have been delayed by the various site operators for reasons beyond my control — but for the time being, check out this cool interview on Geeks of Doom were I had the chance to elaborate on many things regarding my books. I am sure you will find it an interesting read, and perhaps it will even inspire to pick up one of the books. Don’t forget, Curse of Kali is still available for only 99 cents on Amazon and at Barnes&Noble.

In the meanwhile, let me remind everyone also that I do offer eBook formatting as a service, so if you would like to get your manuscript turned into a proper eBook, feel free to contact me for a quote.

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Well, this was a truly busy week. With the release of Curse of Kali I truly had my hands full, trying to promote the new Jason Dark mystery.

As part of the promotion and my attempt to get the title at least into the Top 1,000 of Amazon’s Kindle bestsellers, I have also prepared a number of guest-post on various blogs around the Web.

For example, why don’t you make a quick pit stop over at Scott Nicholson’s Haunted Computer, where I created a Book Bucket List for readers. It is a short list of books that I have greatly enjoyed over the years and that have stayed with me and influenced me in one way or another. If you’ve ever wondered, what kind of stuff I’ve been reading all my life, and which of these books really became a part of me, you simply have to check out that list.

Today, Bob Freeman hosts me as a guest on his Occult Detective website. I love his website because it seems tailor-made for my interests. It is all about classic horror, old-school mysteries and everything that has to do with the thing s I love and write about in the Jason Dark stories. So, it was a natural fit for me to write about my influences on Bob’s blog. It is a post called The Sherlock Holmes Connection and Other Influences, in which I explore many of the things that made me want to write Victorian Era supernatural mysteries. You should definitely stop by and take a look.

There will be more guest posts appearing on other sites in the days to come and I’ll try to keep you posted. The best way to keep up with what I’m doing, though, is to follow me on Twitter (@GuidoHenkel) or friend me on Facebook. That way you will never miss a beat.

The launch of Curse of Kali went well, though despite its 99 cent price point, people still don’t seem to be buying it aggressively enough to really push it up the charts. It is unfortunate because I am convinced that once you hit a certain threshold, the raking becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and sales will beget more sales. Curse of Kali Is a long way from that, though, and could still use a bit more exposure.

Maybe you could help, even if you’re not interested in the book itself, even if a Victorian Era supernatural mystery is not your bag, even if you are not interested in reading how Jason Dark and Sherlock Holmes solve a case together… How? I am glad you asked. You will find a “Like” button right next to the book on Amazon’s website. By pressing this “Like” button you would indicate that you consider this to be an interesting title and hopefully help other readers to make up their minds easier. It is so easy, takes only two mouse clicks and would help me tremendously.

Of course, if you actually bought and read the book, feel free to leave a short review, even if it’s just a single line. Reviews are a tremendously powerful tool to help authors get their books discovered, as most readers will take a look at the general consensus before making a purchase.

So, thank you all, for helping me promote the launch and telling people about it, for liking, buying or reviewing it, or for simply listening to me ramble.

On my own reading end, I have just finished Robert McCammon’s The Queen of Bedlam and have to admit that I loved the book. The prose was occasionally a little to verbose for my taste but I could easily get past that because the story itself was so interesting. I found it particularly remarkable how everything in this book ties together. Even the most insignificant scene will play some kind of role later on in the story, making it a real trip as the story unravels. I will have to check out Mister Slaughter some time, the latest of McCammon’s books.

For now, however, I have started to read Scott Nicholson’s Liquid Fear and I have no doubts that this thriller will… err, thrill me.

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