Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, everybody! I hope that as you go on your trick-or-treating journey tonight, you visit several homes at the exact moment that the owners decide they’ve bought way too much candy this year, and they know they lack the self-control to have that much candy in the house, so they dump most of it in your bag just to get rid of it.

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Candy Thoughts

Best Candy: Haribo Gummi Bears and Red Vines.

Best Candy Bar: Cadbury Fruit & Nut Bar and Twix.

Worst Candy: Whoppers. I assume that the strawberry milkshake ones are even worse but I’ve never tried them. Also Brachs Milk Chocolate Stars.

Best Candy That I Can’t Get Anymore: Sour Starburst and Chewy Tart-n-Tinys.

Candy That My Sister Told Incorrectly People I Only Said Was One Of My Favorites Because Nobody Else Liked It And That Way I Didn’t Have To Share: Raisinets.

Candies That I Only Like In Their Gourmet Forms: Gummi bears and jelly jeans. These are not inherently good. They’re only good if they’re Haribo or Jelly Bellies.

Beloved Candies From My Childhood That They Ruined: Tangy Taffy and Good n’ Fruity. Why did they need to add sprinkles to Tangy Taffy? And why did they have to turn Good n’ Fruity into jelly beans?

Candy That I Soooooooo Looked Forward To Because Of Its Ad Campaign But It Turned Out To Not Be All That Great: Bonkers.

Candy That I Used To Love, Haven’t Had In Decades, And Would Probably Be Underwhelmed By Today: Chuckles.

Candy That Was Part of a Christmas Collection That I Got Every Year And Never Liked: Butter Rum Life Savers. 

Candy That I Didn’t Like As A Kid But Like As An Adult: Almond Joy.

Candy That Somehow Continues To Exist Beyond All Common Decency: Chocolate covered pretzels.

Most Overrated Candy: M&Ms. They’re fine, but c’mon.

Candy That I No Longer Eat Because It Would Yank Out My Fillings: Bit-o-Honey.

Best Flavor Addition: Blue raspberry Sweet Tarts.

Candy Whose Eating Process Has Never Been Entirely Clear: Those wax soda bottles. Do you chew on them and spit out the wax? Do you bite off the tip and drink the liquid inside?

Favorite Piece of Candy Trivia: Three Musketeers bars used to actually come with three bars: strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate.

How Many Licks Does It Take To Get To The Center of a Tootsie Pop? It depends on the length and intensity of the licks.

McRib

So I finally tried a McRib.

I’m no fast food snob. I was as giddy for the Doritos Locos taco as anybody, and I still enjoy them, even if we can all agree that they’re just a taco with cheese powder on the shell, not an actual Dorito. But I have limits. I’ve never tried a KFC Famous Bowl, or that sandwich that’s made out of two pieces of fried chicken with cheese between them. And I’d never tried a McRib.

With Chicken McNuggets (delicious Chicken McNuggets!) you can at least pretend that you’re eating choice cuts from a piece of chicken. You know perfectly well that you’re not, but if you dunk it in sauce and don’t inspect the inside after you bite into it, the possibility exists to sort of delude yourself.

The McRib doesn’t offer this possibility because, as you know, the meat is in the shape of bones! That was always the deal-breaker for me: that this rib sandwich had the meat in the shape of a rack of ribs that included the bones. We know we’re not eating an actual rack of ribs, but is it necessary to be that artificial?

But this week, I went into McDonald’s with the intention of getting a Jalapeno Double Burger. At the last second, I thought, “I’m gonna try a McRib! It’ll make a good Facebook post!” (This is why I make most of my life decisions.)

Here’s what I thought would happen: The McRib would be wonderful, and I’d write about the conflict of Shame vs. Deliciousness. “I tried to eat it ironically,” I’d write, “but I just couldn’t do it! #McRibYou’veCapturedMyHeart.” (Of course, I wouldn’t really put a hashtag in a Facebook post. This is purely hypothetical.)

Instead, I discovered that the legendary McDonald’s McRib sandwich is, in fact, quite gross. I’m not judging you if you fantasize about the McRib when it’s not available, but…seriously, it’s gross, right?

Readers, what do YOU think of the McRib?

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Random Bits of News And Stuff

First of all, I will indeed be writing another young adult comedy novel. I THINK I will be able to blab about it next week. I don’t know that for sure, so don’t glare at me and give me a thumbs-down sign if by next week it’s still not quite official enough yet.  It won’t be out until 2016, so though I can’t stop you from clicking refresh-refresh-refresh-refresh-refresh in anticipation of the ordering link, there are better ways you could spend your time.

A couple of cool pieces of news about I Have A Bad Feeling About This. First, it’s been licensed by Scholastic for their Middle Grade Book Club. Yes, Scholastic! When I was a kid, the day the Scholastic catalogs arrived was a day of celebration, and I’m thrilled to be part of it, even if the idea of my work infiltrating the school system may be alarming to some, including me.

And it’s been nominated for the 2015 YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association–part of the American Library Association) Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers list! Whoa!

“Gave Up The Ghost” has two upcoming film festival screenings: Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival (November 7-13) and the Tampa Bay Underground Film Festival (December 4-7). I’ll be attending both events.

This isn’t NEW news, but of course you can still pre-order the hardcover of Wolf Hunt 2, or the e-book of Facial, or regular order the Blu-Ray of Creepers.

Halloween Horror Picture Show!

Last night, Gave Up The Ghost played at the Eerie Horror Film Fest. I wasn’t there [insert bellow of primal anguish here] because it was up in Pennsylvania and I’m down here in Florida, but director Gregory Lamberson reported that it got a great response.

Tomorrow Gave Up The Ghost is playing at the Halloween Horror Picture Show, which I have attended as a fan every year since its inception in 2003. It’s at the Tampa Pitcher Show in Tampa, Florida from noon until 5:00 PM, and consists of a block of twelve shorts, followed by the feature Die Die Delta Pi. Admission is a mere $8.

It’s also the WORLD PREMIERE of Lynne Hansen’s Chomp. Can any more awesomeness be packed into a single day’s movie viewing? I think not.

Check out the official website at http://www.thehalloweenhorrorpictureshow.com/

WOLF HUNT 2 Available For Pre-Order!

Yes, the hardcover limited edition of Wolf Hunt 2 is now available for pre-order from Dark Regions Press! That edition is schedule to ship in February 2015, but if you pre-order, a free advance copy of the trade paperback edition will be on its way to you within three business days, so you still get to read it before everyone else! Interior illustrations by Frank Walls! A 10,000 word bonus story, “My Werewolf Neighbor,” that you won’t see anywhere else before 2018! Hurry, hurry, hurry! Click, click, click!

http://www.darkregions.com/books/wolf-hunt-2-by-jeff-strand

Wolf Hunt 2 Cover

Chomp, Chomp!

I’m an Associate Producer on the short film “Chomp.” This important-sounding credit (unless you’re actually in the film biz) covered such prestigious tasks as:

  • Doing the clapboard
  • Keeping track of the sound takes (mostly accurately)
  • Making delicious cookies for the cast and crew when they came over to do some makeup tests, although they were just those Tollhouse pre-made blocks of dough that you put into the oven
  • Carrying lots and lots of boxes and other assorted items from one place to another, and then back
  • Driving downtown to pick up one of the actors and drive him to the set
  • Buying stuff for the craft services table, and making even more delicious cookies
  • Contributing to the joint bank account that funded “Chomp”
  • Wiping up fake blood from the garage floor so that nobody would slip on it and generate real blood
  • Set design, in the form of writing funny/insane stuff on the maps that lined the walls
  • And the font used in the credits and on the promotional material comes from my handwriting

“Chomp” will have its world premiere on Sunday, October 19th, at the Halloween Horror Picture Show. Leading up to that, writer/producer/director Lynne Hansen is posting interviews with all of the cast and crew members.

Read my interview RIGHT HERE.

Read  my

Update on Writing Stuff (October 11 Edition)

What better way to share the unspeakably exciting life of a writer than by updating my website at 10:53 PM local time on a Saturday night?

Not a lot of variety in this week’s writing projects. I’m deep into the second chapter of my stand-up comedian novel, which may be called Flop Sweat or it may be called Riding the Light or it may be called something completely different. It’s pretty filthy, and for that I apologize even before I’ve finished the second chapter. I will probably wuss out on the first couple of paragraphs at some point, but for now, they stand as written.

And today I wrote the first 1000 words (of 4000) of Alien Face, a short story that will be a chapbook for the awesome White Noise Press. A few years ago they published Funny Stories of Scary Sex, which continues to get me the most website hits, and it’s guaranteed to be one snazzy looking product. The story isn’t due until the end of November, so the fact that I’ve even opened a Microsoft Word document for it is insane.

Meanwhile, I got a “So, how’re things going on _______?” message, so I’d better get back to work on that…

Four Chances To See “Gave Up The Ghost”

Creepers, the horror anthology film that contains “Gave Up The Ghost,” is available as a limited edition Blu-Ray right now, but if you want to see it on the big screen, here are four film festival opportunities:

October 19: Halloween Horror Picture Show. Tampa, Florida.

October 19-21: Eerie Horror Film Festival. Erie, Pennsylvania. 

November 7-14: Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival. Buffalo, New York.

December 4-7: Tampa Bay Underground Film Festival. Tampa, Florida. 

What To Order When!

Almost all at once, Creepers, Wolf Hunt 2, and Facial are all available or up for pre-order. Here’s the deal on all three.

Creepers is the horror anthology film with segments based on stories by Joe Lansdale, Edgar Allan Poe, Lacfacio Hearn, and me. My segment, “Gave Up The Ghost,” was directed by Gregory “Slime City” Lamberson. The individual segments will be playing at various film festivals, but the full film is currently available in a 200-copy limited edition Blu-Ray. Once those are sold out, you won’t be able to buy Creepers until it gets official distribution. If it never does, you can sell that Blu-Ray for a fortune on the secondary market.

You can order it directly through the official website, or they’re set up as a third-party vendor through Amazon.

Wolf Hunt 2: This novel will be available as a 300-copy numbered hardcover edition, a 26-copy lettered super-deluxe hardcover edition, a trade paperback, and an e-book.

Both hardcover editions will be available for pre-order on Tuesday, October 14th, from Dark Regions Press. These editions will actually ship around February 2015. HOWEVER, if you pre-order the hardcover, you’ll be sent a free copy of the paperback within three business days of your order, so you still get to read it first.

Both hardcover editions will contain the bonus 10,000 word story “My Werewolf Neighbor,” which won’t be published anywhere else until 2018! Some people will be dead by then.

If you only want the trade paperback, that’ll be available in mid-November.

The e-book edition will be available sometime in December.

If you’ll scream in rage and shake your fist at the heavens if the hardcover sells out before you order your copy, be sure to follow the Facebook event.

Facial: The hardcover edition is a DarkFuse Book Club exclusive, so this one is more straightforward. The digital edition is available for pre-order now, and will be delivered to your reading device on December 16th. You don’t have to worry about the digital edition selling out, obviously, but if you pre-order you can save 50 cents and get it for $2.99. Order it HERE.

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