Could It Be? A New Podcast Episode? Whoa!

Yes, Episode VI of Dread Media Presents: Gleefully Macabre is now available for your listening ecstasy. This one clocks in at a whopping 13 minutes and 18 seconds, and unlike previous episodes, where I pretty much just babble about random stuff, this time I read you a short story! Yes, it’s basically an audiobook of “The Loneliest Jackalope,” a demented little tale from Unnatural Tales of the Jackalope, edited by John Palisano.

Listen to it RIGHT HERE. Or search for “Dread Media” on iTunes and subscribe!

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One Sentence…

The progress of one sentence from my work-in-progress. A kid is riding in the backseat as they drive down a dirt road.

“The car made a THUB THUB THUB sound as if the wheels were going to pop off at any second.”

 I like THUB THUB THUB, as would anybody, but the wheels popping off isn’t funny.

The car made a THUB THUB THUB sound that sounded like important mechanical parts were being left behind.”

Can’t have “sound” and “sounded” so close together. Duh. And “important mechanical parts” still doesn’t work for me.

The car made a THUB THUB THUB sound, and Henry kept glancing out the rear window to make sure that essential automobile components weren’t being left behind.”

It’s better to have the thought come from Henry instead of the omniscient narrator, but this sentence is still not quite there. It’s often funny to use a bigger word than necessary, like “components,” but “essential” is not the right word. Should I go back to “important?” That’s better. Or…

The car made a THUB THUB THUB sound, and Henry kept glancing out the rear window to make sure that useful pieces weren’t being left behind.” 

“Useful” works! Hooray! (I actually had it as “useful pieces of the automobile” and then, as I wrote this blog post, I realized that “of the automobile” was unnecessary.)

One sentence done!

 

EDIT: “The progress of one sentence from my work-in-progress?” What kind of sentence is that? It should be “The evolution of one sentence from my work-in-progress.”

School Library Journal Interview!

Dodie Ownes of School Library Journal recently conducted an insightful, revealing, and candid interview with me, featuring questions about gummi bears.

Check it out HERE.

Publishers Weekly on Voodoo!

“Sam Raimi fans should eat it up.” — Publishers Weekly on A Bad Day For Voodoo.

They say a lot more than that, but that pretty much covers what you need to know, right?

Check out the full review RIGHT HERE.

An Interview With Nick Cato!

My buddy Nick Cato, editor of The Horror Fiction Review, owner of Novello Publishers, author of books like Don of the Dead, and host of the show Lair of the Yak, recently sat down at his computer several states away and exchanged a few e-mails with me, which we have magically transformed into the following interview:

JEFF STRAND: Hi, Nick! Thanks for talking with me today. My assistant tells me that you have this new book out called THE APOCALYPSE OF PETER. How much did you get paid for it?

NICK CATO: I’ll still have to work the day job, but should be able to order a large pie sometime this October.  How did your publisher treat you with your latest release, A BAD DAY FOR VOODOO?

JS: I asked to be paid in the blood of a thousand squirrels. They said “Sure, no problem,” but I have yet to get my barrel of blood. I’ve got it written down on my to-do list to start brainstorming ways to seek vengeance. Anyway, this Peter apocalypse book…if I wanted to know what it’s about, what would you tell me?

NC: I’d tell you it’s about a young seminary student, his senior citizen buddy, and a 4-piece all girl rock group and their adventures at the beginning of the end of the world.  It’s told in three parts, with the third being the strangest thing I’ve written yet.

JS: Wow. That sounds way better than my book.

NC: Well aren’t you just TOO kind.  What’s the scoop on A BAD DAY FOR VOODOO, and is this your first shot at reaching a younger audience?

JS: It’s my second. Way back in 2001 I published ELROD McBUGLE ON THE LOOSE, about the wacky, zany, and/or crazy mishaps of a 7th grader. It was written for a younger audience than A BAD…FOR VOODOO and there’s no gore, but it’s got a lot of the same self-referential stuff, and there’s a quiz at the end of each chapter. A.B.D.F.V. is at your local bookstore or your local Internet right now from Sourcebooks, and it’s about…actually, this answer is running a bit long. Could you ask me what the voodoo book is about again so it doesn’t seem like I’m too long-winded?

NC:  Sure!  What’s the scoop on A BAD DAY FOR VOODOO?

JS: It’s about this one kid, and he’s all like “My teacher’s all like, you get an F on this test!” and his friend is all like “You should get a voodoo doll of him!” and the kid is all like “Nah” and then the book ends. I believe the editors hired some ghostwriters to pad it out a bit, so that he does get a doll and an entire book’s worth of very bad things happen, but I didn’t read it.

NC: You don’t take me for an author who doesn’t read his own works…but then again Ed Wood didn’t exactly watch his own movies.  Any plans to read this in schools or over-crowded shopping malls?

JS: Yes and no, respectively. So, we’ve known each other since 2004. Maybe it was 2003, but I think it was 2004. In what ways has this friendship increased or decreased the quality of your life?

NC: Well, on one hand, to this day I can’t enter a bookstore without at least one person coming over for an autograph and asking “Hey, aren’t you the guy who co-wrote that testicle-themed chapbook with Jeff Strand?”, and on the other I can’t leave a bookstore without a mob of people waiting outside, trying to kick my ass for co-writing that testicle-themed chapbook with Jeff Strand.  So I guess my life has become much more interesting since co-writing that testicle-themed chapbook with you.

JS: You know that “I say po-TAY-toe, you say po-TAH-toe” thing? Well, I know that “Cato” is pronounced like “po-TAH-toe,” but before I heard you say it out loud I always thought it was like “po-TAY-toe,” and even though I know it’s wrong, I still say “CAY-toe.” I can’t stop myself. You’ll always be Nick CAY-toe to me. I’m so sorry. Do I suck?

NC:  Nah–everyone calls me “po-TAY-toe” anyway so I’m used to it.  As long as they don’t call me Shirley I’m fine.  So I hear you’re going to be a Guest of Honor at NECon this summer (for those who don’t know, NECon is a writer’s convention in Rhode Island that’s 10% writer’s convention and 90% liver-damaging drinking party).  Congrats…and will you be doing anything special for those in attendance?

JS: I’ll be offering creepy lingering hugs to all NECon attendees upon request. And if they bring the materials and a sewing machine, I will make them a hat. (Fine Print: I do not know how to make a hat or use a sewing machine.) So you’re a publisher AND an author, but it seems like you’re more of an author these days. Do you prefer one over the other?

NC: I like both, but lately my writing has been taking off a bit more so I’ve been spending much more time with it.  My press, NOVELLO PUBLISHERS, is on the verge of expanding and possibly doing 3-5 titles per year beginning in 2013.  We may also be releasing our first full length novel this winter.  There’s a lot of work involved with a press but I’m a workaholic so I find it fun.  (BTW: I may be bringing some hate material with me…)

JS: Hate material? What does that mean? Do I need to be fearful about NECon now? Who hates whom? What kind of terrifying tease is that?!?

NC: DOH!  I meant HAT material!  I don’t hate anyone…well, except for the yuppies who’ve invaded the neighborhood I work in, but otherwise I’m quite the happy fellow.  And speaking of sarcastic anti-yuppies, any plans for a 5th Andrew Mayhem novel, even though you finally shut us all up with the long-awaited 4th installment?

JS: I guess we could fix your typo, but then I’d look kind of silly asking whether I need to be fearful about NECon. I’d guess that there will eventually be a fifth Andrew Mayhem novel, though not in the near future. Right now I’m more inclined to bring back George and Lou from WOLF HUNT, but there will be at least three original novels before I do any sequels.

NC: Well, you can do a 5th Mayhem novel AND keep it original, thus killing two gerbils with one toilet paper roll.  But either way more Strand in any form is always good news.  I’ve never blog-toured before.  Do you find it as mentally tiring as a regular book tour…and if you haven’t had a regular book tour, pretend you have for the sake of this question.

JS: A blog-tour is about .00000000016% as tiring as a regular book tour. I’m sitting here on a comfy recliner writing this, and if nobody shows up to the website to read it, at least I don’t have to sit there feeling awkward and self-conscious. Do you think this interview has gone on long enough, or do you want me to ask you one more question?

NC: Perhaps one more and then we’ll both go grab a couple of Yoo-Hoos.

JS: Yoo-Hoos are gross. Why don’t you have a manly beverage, like a Dr. Pepper or something?

NC: OKAY folks I believe this stop on the blog tour has concluded!  Can you tell us the best place to get a copy of A BAD DAY FOR VOODOO?

JS: It should be in the Teen Fiction section of your local bookstore, or you can get it from the online bookseller of your choice. What about THE APOCALYPSE OF PETER?

NC: The usual online booksellers (amazon, B&N) and at cooler horror conventions up and down the east coast this summer and fall! I wish you success with your new YA venture!

JS: Thanks, dude. Same to you!

If you want to read this exact same interview on Nick’s blog, head on over to Antibacterial Pope! But it’s also loaded with all kinds of other stuff, so you should head over there even if you felt that reading this interview once was more than sufficient.

Bites

It’s a good thing I haven’t done any posts in the past few days, because they would have consisted entirely of “Must not scratch the bug bites. Must not scratch the bug bites. Must not must not must not MUSTNOTMUSTNOTMUSTNOT AAARRRGHHH THEY ITCH THEY ITCH I’VE GOTTA SCRATCH ARGH ARGH ARGH!!!”

But, for the most part, I did not scratch them (deerfly bites, to be specific) and they have faded from grotesque wounds that would make you literally regurgitate to ugly blotches that would merely make you shriek in revulsion. My hope is that by Necon my legs will be suitable for public viewing, not that I plan to show them off.

I’ve got a few new A Bad Day For Voodoo reviews to link to over the next week or so, but for now check out this Dread Central review of A Feast of Frights, which says “‘The Story of My First Kiss’ by Jeff Strand is my absolute favorite tale in the book. It’s delightfully twisted, wickedly funny, and completely warped.”

And, hey, I finally recorded a new episode of my Gleefully Macabre podcast! Dread Media uploads them pretty quickly, so it should be up in the next couple/few days. 

TOMORROW: An interview with the lovely and talented Nick Cato!

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