Ferocious Paperback!

At long last (actually, it hasn’t been that long unless you’ve been frantically clicking “refresh” hoping for an update) the paperback edition of Ferocious is available. It’s actually been around for a few days, but I was a) waiting for the reviews of the Kindle edition to feed over, and I’m b) sometimes slow to update my website.

You can get your copy right HERE.

This past weekend I was at the Outer Dark Symposium On The Greater Weird, where I read my story “The Douchebag Who Reneged On The Death Pact.” It was extremely well received. I can say this because it was recorded and will appear on a future episode of the Outer Dark podcast, so you can hear it being extremely well received. (I hope. In one of the videos of me emceeing the Bram Stoker Awards, the microphone didn’t really pick up the audience, so it sounds like I’m delivering jokes to stone cold silence.)

A few months ago I wrote about how these days I really only submit short stories to anthologies if somebody says, “Yo, will you write a short story for my anthology?” But I heard about a horror/comedy one, and figured I should probably submit to something like that. I’m pleased to say that “Mr. Pistachio’s Charming Rampage” was accepted by this still-untitled project. This spared me the need to scream “DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM???

Speaking of anthologies, I finished a story called “Ivan’s Night Out” for a book that’ll be out in October. Is that the Ivan you think it is? Yes, unless you’re being a smart-ass and coming up with a different Ivan. It’s a mean and nasty story about a mean and nasty guy.

I was interviewed at More2Read right HERE. They created a graphic with 25 of my book covers and it’s a thing of beauty.

I’m up to almost 4000 followers on Twitter, which is low by Kim Kardashian standards but high by Jeff Strand standards. If you wanna help push me over the top, I’m @JeffStrand.

 

 

 

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March Newsletter & Interview

The March issue of my newsletter went out today. This issue includes a brand-new feature, “Made-Up Interviews With My Writer Friends,” where I completely fabricate conversations with Brian Kirk (Will Haunt You) and Kenzie Jennings (Reception). As always, there’s an original story. This time it’s “After,” which has a different tone than what regular readers might expect.

You can check it out right HERE.

Even better, you can subscribe to future issues right HERE

And there’s a fun, Ferocious-centric interview with me up at Horror Addicts, conducted by the lovely and talented Lionel Ray Green. Read it HERE.

 

Vaguebookin’

It’s been a crazy busy last several days. First I was at the Atlanta Writers Workshop, where I did a comedy writing workshop in the morning, a suspense writing workshop in the afternoon, and manuscript critiques in-between. I’ve never been a teacher and critiques are far from my area of expertise, so it took a lot of prep time to come up with (hopefully) helpful insight. Sadly, I didn’t make any aspiring authors rush out of the room in tears.

Then I drove down to Florida for back-to-back school visits. Not to brag or anything, but in a room full of middle school students, I am a GOD!!! At least in a school where the kids have been forced to read my books. I did Q&A’s all day, signed lots and lots and lots of books, and soaked in the adoration before returning to my life of obscurity. (Also, one kid found a typo, and another kid said that Sinister Seamus’ desire to murder our hero in Stranger Things Have Happened lacked credibility.)

THEN I was back for the Broadleaf Self-Publishing Seminar, an all-day event done as a series of panel discussions, with the same five authors on each. We got to know each other very well. Many knowledge bombs were dropped.

Ferocious has been out for almost three weeks now and sales have exceeded expectations. I don’t get to say that very often. Usually my sales are “as expected” or “Aw, crap.” Since this follows the way-below-average sales of Bang Up, and since my ability to purchase goods and services is entirely dependent on people buying my books, I’m very happy that the zombie animals are a success.

Had a very cool call with some movie people that I can’t really say anything about. In fact, there’s lots of movie stuff going on that I can’t say anything about. EIGHT different books are at some stage of being adapted for film, though seven of these can be described as “really, really early in the process.”

(The eighth is Mindy Has To Die, the half-completed movie version of Stalking You Now. The first half, which screened at the Yellow Fever Independent Film Festival in Ireland, is awesome. The second half of that version of the movie is just the lead actor reading the second half of my book to the audience. Obviously, it’s not releasable in that form–though it’ll be a fun Blu-Ray special feature–but there are plans afoot to complete the film this year.)

The latest update on one of them was pants-pooping news, but I am at liberty to say nary a word. For another, I’m actually writing the screenplay. One is a micro-budget production in the midwest. One is a big Hollywood production. No cameras have been turned on.

There’s a zero percent chance that all of these will get made, but with eight different movies in the works, you very well may get to see an adaptation someday soon. Or not soon. But someday….

 

 

The First Five Reviews

Okay, the first five Amazon readers reviews for Ferocious have been posted, so I can relax.

This is not a “Oh, God, what if everybody hates it? What if everybody hates it???” sort of thing. Forty books in, I can be reasonably confident that readers who would buy a novel with a zombie grizzly bear on the cover are–in general–going to enjoy this one. If Amazon stockpiled the first twenty or so reviews and posted them all at once, I’d be comfortable with the idea that, overall, they’d have positive things to say about all of the wild chainsaw action.

But one thing I know for certain: some people will read Ferocious and think “Wow, what a piece of rancid garbage!” I know this because EVERY book that is read by more than the author’s friends and family has somebody who hates it. One-star reviews (and no, they aren’t all by vengeful trolls) are part of the business. I’m ready for them. Hell, I frequently post them on social media.

I just don’t want them to be among the first few.

Everything Has Teeth received very good reader reviews, but the very first reaction was a one-star review suggesting that it wasn’t even worth the effort to click the button to download it. Which meant that suddenly my AVERAGE review was one-star.

Some people don’t care about reviews. Some people do. When a potential customer clicks on the Everything Has Teeth listing and sees that the average rating is one measly star out of five…well, that doesn’t necessarily destroy sales momentum, but it certainly throws a speed bump out there.

Several of my books have had the worst reaction right up front. The first trade magazine review of A Bad Day For Voodoo--my debut book with Sourcebooks–called it “profoundly stupid.” The book would go on to earn many rave reviews, but I assure you, when you’re with a new publisher and you hope to have a long relationship with them and your publicist forwards you the very first review and it says that your book suuuuucks, it’s awkward.

The first review of Mandibles was, essentially, “I don’t get it. Is this book supposed to be funny? Is it supposed to be scary? What did I just read?”

A reviewer who went absolutely nuts over my first couple of books let me know that he didn’t much enjoy Out of Whack, and offered not to post the review on his website. I said, “No, no, post your honest opinion.” I figured his review was going to call the book a disappointment in comparison to my other work, but it remains one of the most savage, vicious, brutal critical beatdowns I’ve ever received! That dude did NOT enjoy Out of Whack. 

Somebody with an advance reading copy of Stranger Things Have Happened hated the book and posted a terrible review several months before it came out. And then she kept re-posting the link to the review, tagging me on Twitter. Again and again and again. Gaaahhh.

It always ends up evening out, but I prefer the “Die, book, die!” reactions to appear a bit later in the process. I figure, once I’ve got five good Amazon reviews, a negative one can’t do as much damage to the average rating, so I visit the listing of a new book very, very, very frequently.

Ferocious made it through. Whew.

 

 

 

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