Update on Writing Stuff (August 28th edition)

Still working on my novel Kumquat, which is 99% certain not to be called Kumquat when I send it to my agent. I’d hoped to have it done by the end of August, but it won’t be, which is no big deal because HA!!! I don’t have a deadline! I can finish it whenever I want! (But it’ll be done soon.) 

Thus far the only foreign language my books have been translated into is German. That’s not changing yet. But I WILL have my short story “Eight-Legged Vengeance” translated into French for an anthology next year. 

I reviewed the edits for my short story “The Fierce Stabbing and Subsequent Post-Death Vengeance of Scooter Brown” for the anthology Piercing the Darkness and answered a question from the editor about a shameful continuity error.

And I continue to update my list of ideas for that wolfy sequel…



Yep, I was forced to look up the word “twerking” today. I hope you’re happy, Internet. I hope you’re happy. (Screw you.)

To me, Miley Cyrus will always be that little girl in that one show I’ve never seen.

And, yes, I am posting this just to see if I can boost my website hits with the keywords “twerking” and “Miley Cyrus.” If it works, I look forward to commenting on Duck Dynasty, Honey Boo Boo, the Kardashians, and Lindsay Lohan. 

Pubbin’ It








So before the awesome triple feature of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End, I went with Lynne Hansen, Kenzie Jennings, and William Tucker to Cricketers, a British pub with fantastic fish and chips.

I don’t drink at all, because I hate the taste of alcohol, but this seemed like an occasion where it was mandatory to get a pint. And though many helpful people on Facebook suggested that I get cider, I felt morally obligated to get a beer. 

And so I did. It was called a “bumblebee.” Above is a picture of me holding it. I drank about an inch of it before deciding that all I really wanted was the photo op. 

We also had a deep-fried Mars bar. We split it four ways, so it was only a quarter of the shame.


Death to WobbleCam!

So last night I saw You’re Next. Loved it. Could have been my favorite movie of the year so far (okay, except for This Is The End)…but it uses that frickin’ shaky camerawork!

Does anybody actually like this style of filmmaking? I can understand the advantage to the film makers, in that if an actor trips or a picture falls off the wall while shooting the scene it won’t matter, because you can’t tell what’s happening anyway (Ed Wood would have loved shaky-cam), but from a purely aesthetic point of view…WHY???

The only other explanation is that the cameraman was having a seizure throughout the filming, in which case somebody really should have provided medical assistance.

You’re Next is a cleverly written, suspenseful, funny, inventive horror flick that totally botches some of the biggest scenes because of visual incoherence.

At the risk of sounding like a crabby old man…STOP IT! JUST STOP IT! HOLD THE DAMN CAMERA STEADY!!!

Thank you.

Fun, Fun, Work, Work, Work

Tonight: An advance screening of You’re Next!

Tomorrow: A triple feature of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End, preceded by a visit to a British pub to get in the proper mindset. (I don’t drink, but I pretty much HAVE to get a pint, right?)

And then: writing, writing, writing, writing, writing, writing, and writing. 


Update On Writing Stuff (August 21st Edition)

Not much variety to report this week, either. The only project I worked on was my novel Kumquatwhich is far enough along that I really need to seriously consider a new title besides Kumquat. (That was originally just a joke placeholder title, then I decided that I really liked it, and though it IS relevant, I think a title like that could create an immediate marketing hurdle.)

I’m still planning to have the book done by the end of August, though I might be a sweetie and give myself until September 1st.

Meanwhile, I got an e-mail from a filmmaker expressing interest in doing a short film based on one of my stories, featuring a character that many of you know and love. More updates as I’ve got ’em…

KUTTER: Solo Edition!

So I wrote this novella called Kutter. It’s one of my favorites of my books, and the closest I’ve ever come to the story in my head matching the story on the page. It’s about a ghastly serial killer whose perspective on life changes when he finds a lost Boston terrier, and if you’re into heartwarming tales about sociopaths, I think you’ll enjoy this one.

Kutter was originally published as a hardcover limited edition. Even by the standards of the collector’s edition market, it was one expensive book, and the print run was looooow. It was an ultra-snazzy looking book, with several interior illustrations by Tom Moran that are forever exclusive to that edition, but obviously there was always going to be a version of the book aimed at readers.

When it came time to get a new edition of the book out to the masses, Michael McBride and I discussed the idea of combining Kutter with his novella Remains in a single book. The books themselves aren’t connected, but there’s a lot of crossover in our respective fan bases. The advantages were clear:

1. More value for the reader. This turned it into a novel-length book. 

2. Cross-marketing. A reader might buy the book specifically for my story or Mike’s, read the other one, and then become a devoted, passionate, lifelong, stalkerish fan.

But there was also a possible stumbling block. Readers might say “Gosh, I sure do enjoy the masterful tales of author Michael McBride, but that Jeff Strand loser can suck it. As much as I’d like to read Remains, I’m not going to pay for half a book. That would be the actions of a crazy person, and I’m not crazy, damn you! Damn all of you who say that I am!!!

Would we be doubling our audience…or halving it?

Ultimately we decided to go with the double-novella idea. And thus The Mad And The Macabre was unleashed upon the world. 

And……………I won’t say that the book tanked, but sales were significantly lower than our solo projects.

In the end, we realized that readers probably weren’t saying “Ooh! Ooh! I was going to buy Kutter anyway, so Remains is just an extra bonus!” For the most part, if people weren’t interested in BOTH novellas, they didn’t buy the collection. 

Therefore, we now present, Kutter and Remains, the solo editions!

A scant $1.99 each. Buy one or buy them both. We’ll love you either way.

ImageClick HERE for Kutter.

ImageClick HERE for Remains.


Update On Writing Stuff (August 14th Edition)

Not a lot of variety to report this week. I’ve crossed the 250-page mark on Kumquat, and it’s still on track to be finished by the end of the month. Which means that I’m getting pretty close to the point where I have to decide if I’m really going to call the novel Kumquat

Did some research for the project I mentioned last time that I can’t talk about. But now you know that it involves research! Whoa! Spoiler!

Sunday night, I came up with a cool idea for the opening of a story, so I wrote 2 1/2 pages of that. And now it’s being put aside, because I can’t get distracted with other stuff right now. But this may end up being my next novella for DarkFuse. 


Horror World Reviews DEAD CLOWN BARBECUE!

The digital edition of Kutter was supposed to be up today, but it’s gotten stuck in the Amazon review process, and probably won’t be available before my bedtime tonight. Watch for it tomorrow. 

Meanwhile, though, Horror World has posted a review of Dead Clown Barbecue. What did they say? Were they nice? Did they praise it…or eviscerate it? Would I actually share a link to a horrible review here? I might, if it were entertaining enough. Is this an entertainingly horrible review, or does it say sweet, lovey-dovey things? Click the link below and find out for yourself…


Update On Writing Stuff (August 7th Edition)

Okay, time for my latest sort-of weekly update on writing-related stuff. I did finish the introduction for the New England Horror Writers anthology Wicked Seasonsand editor Stacey Longo Harris said that she loved it, which is much better than her saying “WTF is this crap?!? You’ve ruined us! Ruined us!”

I reviewed the proofreader’s comments on I Have a Bad Feeling About This. We’re now at the point where I can only change things that are actual errors (as opposed to “This joke would be funnier if he said ‘whack-job’ instead of ‘whack-nut'”), which is usually when every flaw in the book screams “Look at me! Look at me!“, but the process of going through this book yet again wasn’t too painful. The book has Wilderness Survival Facts sprinkled throughout, none of them useful, and though I had written them as separate pages between chapters, they’re going to be sidebars–an awesome idea.

I got my feedback on the Pressure screenplay. It’s not like “Okay, change this one name and you’re DONE!!!” but the second draft won’t be nearly as brutal as I might have expected.

This week I’ll be getting a contract for a short but very cool new project. A form of writing I’ve never done before. Rampant speculation is welcome, though I’m not gonna confirm or deny a damn thing.

A new digital edition of Kutter will be out on Monday. It’s the same novella that appeared in The Mad & The Macabre, but Michael McBride and I have decided to try selling our individual books separately. I’ll be posting an essay here about the reasoning for that and “perceived value” when it comes out.

And I’m back into Kumquat. I’ve passed the 200-page mark, and if this were one of my usual really short novels, I’d be shouting “I can almost see the finish line!” But this one will be longer, so I’m closer to the middle than the end, but I’m hoping to finish it up before the end of August. Stay tuned here for updates on whether I succeed or shamefully fail.

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