July 27

I figured I’d respond to this comment from Hans Curtis as a full post, in regards to the new book(s) announcement:

“As a reader and not a writer or publisher, I don’t know exactly what this means for you, or how big this news is? idk Sourcebooks Young Readers or what ‘world rights’ means for you? If this is a debut, how is it different from your other young reader titles like The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever or Stranger Things Have Happened?”

Technically, books like The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever are classified as “Young Adult.” It Watches in the Dark is classified as “Middle Grade.” Honestly, my YA novels, excluding A Bad Day For Voodoo, have been on the low end of YA, and in fact the Scholastic editions of those books were part of the Middle Grade Book Club, so there’s some blurring of the lines here. But Sourcebooks called the other five novels I published with them “Young Adult” and this one is “Middle Grade,” so it’s my middle grade debut!

“World rights” just means that Sourcebooks acquired the rights to sell the book to all territories around the world. There’s a Dutch edition of A Bad Day For Voodoo!

As far as “how big” this news is…well, the deal is for my sixth and seventh books with this publisher, so it’s not MONUMENTAL HUGE GIGANTIC news. But it’s noteworthy in that these are horror novels, not comedies (I get called a “YA Horror Author” on a regular basis, but all five of those books are pure comedies), and I’ll have new stuff in bookstores for the first time in a few years. Focusing on self-publishing is what let me quit my day job, but it’s still pretty cool to see your books on the shelves!

FUN FACT: I keep calling the book It Watches At Night even though it’s called It Watches in the Dark. Hopefully I’ll get over that by the time it’s published. My title was Scarecrow Square.


July 26

I’ve been sitting on this news for a few months, but:

I’ve been waiting for the Publishers Weekly announcement for a couple of weeks, so I was thrilled to see it, and horrified to see that they used an ancient author photo. So social media is a mix of congratulations and roasting. Gahhh!!!

July 24

Technically July 25, but only by a few minutes…

Well, Necon is over. I’m seriously bummed to have missed it, but it seems like everybody had a great time even without me there to add a sense of merriment and delight to the proceedings. I’m feeling totally fine and I’m long out of the contagious stage in my COVID adventure, so I’ll be at Scares That Care this weekend.

Wrote a new story today: “Y2K” for the anthology American Cannibal. Cannibalism is not uncharted territory for me in my work, although the only actual book I’ve written on the subject is Bad Bratwurst, which was just a chapbook. Will I ever do a full-on cannibalism novel? Maybe. I pitched one to Leisure as my third novel, after Dweller, but they weren’t on board with the idea and I wrote Wolf Hunt instead.

Finishing up “Y2K” officially clears out every short story that I owe. (Well, actually, I owe three chapbooks to Death’s Head Press, but that’s more of a trio of novelettes than short stories.)

Tomorrow: screenplay rewrites.

July 22

The paperback edition of Freaky Briefs is now available. Get it HERE.

Heard back today about a story I’d sent (on request) to an anthology. They loved “Blowing Off Steam” but had a completely understandable concern about it. I say “completely understandable” because the story involves a virtual reality environment where you can beat the shit out of a certain public figure with a baseball bat, and that public figure is named throughout.

I did a quick rewrite and all is well.

Freaky Briefs Available Now!

The Kindle edition of Freaky Briefs is now available! Get it HERE.

Paperback coming soon!

July 21

Oooooh! Here’s the Freaky Briefs cover, by Lynne Hansen!

The book itself is in the final stages of formatting. Should be available very, very, very soon…

July 19

While searching to see if some book news had been announced (it hasn’t, as far as I can tell) I found this article. It’s hilariously generic (apparently generated by a bot) and factors in criteria like “durability” and “warranty,” but the overall assessment is that my novel I Have a Bad Feeling About This is the very best book that you can buy for a 13-year-old boy, so I’ll allow it.

Finished a story called “Blowing Off Steam” yesterday. It was by invite, but I’ll share the anthology when/if I get the formal acceptance. (Being invited into a project doesn’t always guarantee that they’ll use the piece.) All I’ll say for now is that the story is very unlikely to appear anywhere else…

I’m going to write a short comic book horror/comedy version of The Taming of the Shrew for the bonus comic book included with the anthology Shakespeare Unleashed. The Kickstarter campaign is fully funded several times over, but if you want the perks, check it out right HERE.

July 17

Okay, Freaky Briefs is done!

I kept wavering on “Corky & Snorky,” which was always meant to be divisive. I’d decided to cut it, much to one test reader’s dismay, but decided to move it to the end of the book, after the acknowledgments, as a bonus story. If you quit reading too soon, you’ll miss it!

And then I decided, what the hell, and threw in a second bonus story, “What’s On Second?” which I wrote for Freaky Briefs late one night and cut early the next morning.

Of course, those two don’t count in the official tally (the book’s full title is Freaky Briefs: 75 Short Absurdities) so I needed #75. The poem “Impressionable” didn’t make the final list, but I still liked the concept, so I reworked it into a short story.

I don’t have a publication date yet, but you won’t be kept waiting very long…

July 16

So, what have I been up to recently? Well, I finally caught COVID!

My symptoms overall aren’t THAT bad. I did have a fever for a couple of days, but it’s gone now. It does mean [cue primal wail] that I had to cancel Necon this year. Necon was cancelled in 2020 and 2021, so this suuuuuuuuuuucks. This was also the year I’d taken over Necon Update, so those jokes will have to wait until 2023.

Meanwhile, Freaky Briefs is almost done. It’s really just missing the foreword.

Here’s a sneak peek at the table of contents. Stories in bold are new to the collection; everything else originally appeared in my newsletter. It’s not entirely out of the question that I might still drop and replace a story or two, but I’m pretty sure this is the final lineup:

  1. The Douchebag Who Reneged on the Death Pact
  2. Fresh Fish
  3. Clicking the Heart
  4. The Wrong Dentist
  5. The Skull Within
  6. CraniumVision
  7. Headspin
  8. Oh No! Don’t Eat Me! (A Chocolate Bunny Tale)
  9. Thrill Ride
  10. The First Cannibals
  11. What’s in the Box?
  12. Jock Magnum, Manatee Hunter
  13. Bernie
  14. Beaks
  15. The Guy Who Didn’t Want to Murder Anybody With a Hammer
  16. Bummer Tarot Reading
  17. Pull My Finger
  18. Crazy’s Ralph’s Used Car Emporium
  19. Home With a Future
  20. The Tell Tale Heart II: Aftermath
  21. A Story I’m Writing While Being Devoured by a Lion
  22. Make a Wish
  23. Long Sleeves
  24. Fast Zombies Vs. Slow Zombies
  25. Scrape and Scoop
  26. How’s My Driving?
  27. Granny’s Got an Ice Pick
  28. A Story for the Dude on the Plane Who Keeps Looking at My Laptop Screen
  29. And There Was a Metal Hook
  30. Box of Chocolates
  31. The Frostbite Movie
  32. Breakthrough
  33. Ten Little Babies
  34. Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts
  35. The Night I Realized Halfway To The Pavement Below That I Was Not, In Fact, Superman
  36. Helen Gets Permanently Traumatized
  37. A Real Haunting
  38. Vegan Training
  39. Guillotine
  40. Sherlock Holmes and the Murders at Camp Crystal Lake
  41. Chick
  42. Quicksand
  43. It’s Drabble Time!
  44. The Most Entertaining Man in the Elevator
  45. Wrongful Death Payday
  46. Jigsaw Puzzle
  47. The Satisfying Crunch of Bones Beneath My Feet
  48. Laundry Day
  49. All The Cheese In The World
  50. Not Enough Coins
  51. Corky & Snorky
  52. Below Deck
  53. The Cat Who Was Super Smart For A Cat But Pretty Dumb By Human Standards
  54. The Blind Men And The Elephant: A Parable
  55. Bradley Goes Crunch
  56. Dusted
  57. Intervention
  58. Telemedicine
  59. The Soupville Stabber Practices Social Distancing
  60. Bunny Ears
  61. The Tragic Tale of Slappy McWankerville
  62. Abner Wederman, Ribald Ostrich
  63. Last One In
  64. Too Meta 2 Live
  65. Steps
  66. Santa Claus Kills 2020
  67. Yak Attack
  68. Job Reference
  69. The Man Without Nails
  70. Comeback
  71. The Last Egg
  72. Six Cents a Word
  73. Encore
  74. Making the Most of It
  75. After

July 5

My hair has been freshly shorn, so I can look all hawt when I go to Imaginarium this weekend.

I’ve added two new stories to Freaky Briefs: “The Skull Within” and “Dusted.” The latter is fan fiction that stops short of copyright infringement. I think somebody should hire me to write a full-length tie-in novel based on this premise.

Last night I wrote “What’s on Second?”, and this morning I vetoed it for the collection. Do people still know “Who’s On First?” What’s the cut-off age to be familiar with Abbott & Costello?

I have terrible luck with air conditioners, and ours broke, so the upstairs is currently 98 degrees. Fortunately, this house has one for each floor, so while the upper floor is uninhabitable, downstairs is not hell on earth. I’ll be sleeping downstairs on the couch tonight, though.

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