Thrill Ride

Hey, it’s National Roller Coaster Day! Since I’m a big fan of arbitrary fake holidays, here’s my story “Thrill Ride,” which originally appeared in my newsletter.

“Thrill Ride”

This theme park near my house has the greatest ride in the world.

For the most part, it’s a pretty standard roller coaster, though each cart only seats one person. The first hill is about a hundred and eighty feet, which is a good drop but certainly not a record setter. Three loop-de-loops. Several sharp turns. One corkscrew turn. One part where it kind of looks like a tunnel is going to knock your head off, even though it’s higher than it looks and even freakishly tall people are in no danger.

What makes the RiskTaker 3000 so special is what happens once a day. Maybe it’s the first ride, maybe it’s the last ride, or maybe it’s one of the thousands of rides in between—you never know. But every day, during one ride, the cart flies off the track and into a pool filled with hungry sharks.

Is that amazing or what?

The odds are overwhelmingly against you being on the cart that goes into the shark pool. Less than a tenth of one percent. And from there, at least half of the people are able to swim to safety without so much as a bite. (It’s not a very big pool.) Those who do get attacked are pretty evenly divided between those who survive, perhaps with one fewer appendage, and those who die a horrible death in the bloody water.

So, yeah, when you ride the RiskTaker 3000 you will almost certainly be totally fine.

But I’ve got to tell you, that miniscule chance that you’re going to suffer a gruesome fate makes the ride infinitely more exciting. Your heart races like never before. You never knew you could scream so loud. Enough adrenaline pumps through your veins that you could probably lift an automobile to save a trapped child after you get off the ride.

It makes every other roller coaster in the world look tame. The GateKeeper at Cedar Point? El Toro at Six Flags? Kumba at Busch Gardens? Baby coasters. If you’re a serious roller coaster enthusiast, you know that RiskTaker 3000 is the best choice. The only choice.

Do the people who lose an arm regret the experience? Sure, probably. But it’s very, very, very unlikely that you’d be one of them. Everybody else staggers off the ride in a state of euphoria. Hell, some of them get right back in line!

[Disclaimer: Providers will not honor your life insurance policy if you die on the ride. It’s right there in the fine print under the wait time. I suppose that’s fair. Even though you’ll almost definitely survive the experience, you shouldn’t ride if your family can’t afford to bury you. Enjoy the thrill but be responsible.]

How many times have I ridden it? Well, let’s see. It’s been open for about two years. I’ve got annual passes, and I come about three or four times a week, and I ride it about three or four times a visit, so that’s, what? Fifty-two weeks times two is a hundred and four, times three-point-five is…hold on, let me check my calculator app. Okay, it’s one thousand, two hundred and seventy-four times, give or take.

No, wait, I’m overestimating. Though they keep running the ride on days where the coaster jumps the track early, I don’t bother to ride after that. Don’t get me wrong; it’s still a fun ride, but there’s a reason the wait time drops from three hours to about ten minutes. It’s just not the same. If we count early shark death days, I’d estimate that I’ve been on it about a thousand times.

Does it get boring after a thousand rides? Not at all! I mean, yeah, I guess it loses a bit of its power to terrify. Once you start getting up into the triple digits, you get a little jaded. You stop thinking “What if my cart goes into the pool of sharks?” and start thinking “I’m sure my cart won’t go into the pool of sharks.”

Sometimes—and I’m only speaking for those like myself who’ve ridden it a thousand times—you need to spice it up.

When I rocket down that first hill, there’s only a one in six chance I’ll actually blow my brains out. Five in six chance that it’ll just be a click that I probably won’t even be able to hear over the roller coaster. Those are good odds. You’d bet a lot of money on those odds.

But that moment of excitement will be unparalleled.

Advertisements

Welcome to Gleefully Macabre!

BringHerBackFrontCoverWelcome to my website! Whether you were brought here by interest in my work or a Google search gone terribly wrong, I encourage you to hang around and start clicking away!

My latest novel, Bring Her Back, is now available in a Kindle and paperback edition.

My new YA comedy, How You Ruined My Lifeis available at your local bookstore or from the online retailer of your choice!

Sick House is available in Kindle and paperback editions.

(P.S.: People who leave reviews on Amazon deserve great big hugs!)

Friend me on Facebook!

Follow me on Twitter!

Like my Facebook Fan Page!

Friend me on Goodreads!

Subscribe to my newsletter at MailChimp!

follow-on-bookbub-1

 

Eye Poke & Secret Origins

The anthology A Sharp Stick In The Eye (And Other Funny Stories) is now available! It’s published by Books and Boos Press and it contains my delightfully heartwarming tale “Clyde the Necrophile.” Get your copy right HERE.

A Sharp Stick in the Eye—Front Cover

I was interviewed on Episode #4 of The Claw’s Corner podcast. Its sort of a Secret Origins episode that mostly covers my early years. Listen for free right HERE.

Scares That Care was an absolute blast and I’ll try to write up some thoughts in the next couple of days. Next up: KillerCon. Be there.

 

Suspense Magazine

Suspense-Magazine-May-June-July-2018-Cover-Online-791x1024

Oooh! There’s an unsavory element lurking within the pages of the Summer 2018 issue of Suspense Magazine!

I was interviewed by Weldon Burge for this issue, and you can read the digital edition for free right HERE. (Despite what the introduction says, I’m addicted to neither video games nor Spider-Man comics. I don’t play video games at all, minus Words With Friends on my phone, because if I did you’d never get another book.)

Publishers Weekly gave a great review to Hark! The Herald Angels Scream. They didn’t mention my story, but that’s okay, I’m not feeling left out or heartbroken or anything. Check it out right HERE.

Con Season Continues

I’m back from Necon! Actually, I’ve been back from Necon for a week; I just haven’t posted any blog entries since then, what with me being a slacker and all.

Necon was amazing as always. It’s got a “family” vibe that’s unlike any other convention I’ve attended. Of course, it’s a family that will devote the prime Saturday night spot to saying horrible things about one of their own. Once again I was co-emcee of the Infamous Necon Roast, where poor Matt Bechtel was the surprise victim. He finally stopped crying after he went comatose.

Up next, very quickly, is Scares That Care, which in many ways is the complete opposite of Necon, except that they’re both awesome. I’ll be much more in “author” mode there, spending most of the convention selling books and meeting readers. Unlike many other conventions that have a strong movie/TV component, Scares That Care attendees actually like books! That weekend will see the launch of Welcome to the Show, an anthology of stories all set at the same music venue, containing my story “Parody.”

After a two week break, I’ll be off to KillerCon. I’ve never been to this one (which has been on hiatus for a few years) but I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews.

In October, I’ll be at the Merrimack Valley Halloween Festival, which has a jaw-dropping lineup of horror authors. More than sixty of ’em!

I will, of course, keep writing books during that time. Expect a new one soon….

Gigantor Kindle Sale!

Holy cow! From July 12-19, a bunch of my Kindle titles are on sale for 99 cents. (US/UK only; for the explanation, scroll down a couple of blog posts.) This is your chance to go click-crazy! Fill your Kindle! Fill the Kindle app on your phone! Buy them and don’t even read them because they’re just so cheap that it doesn’t matter!

Everything Has Teeth

Cyclops Road

Blister 

The Haunted Forest Tour

Kumquat

Pressure

Dweller

Dead Clown Barbecue

Benjamin’s Parasite

Mandibles

Elrod McBugle on the Loose

Also Gleefully Macabre Tales but that doesn’t start until the 14th.

 

 

Fun With Formatting!

Since a bunch of my Kindle titles are going on sale this week, yesterday I decided it was time for a project that I’ve been dreading.

The back of each book has an Other Books By Jeff Strand page with titles and very brief descriptions, so that you think, “Gosh, Mandibles was such a jolly good romp that I can’t help but wonder if the author has written anything else? Why, here’s a convenient list right at the end of the book!”

However, each book was only current as of that book. So if you read Bring Her Back you’d get a complete list of titles, but the end of Wolf Hunt was missing everything I’d published since 2010. I also wanted to add hyperlinks. The less work people have to do to acquire more books, the better.

Sure, the hyperlinks took a while (I used the site BookLinker, which gives you a magical link that takes the link-clicker to the Amazon store of their own country), but it wasn’t THAT big of a project. That part that filled me with fear was revisiting the older titles that were a formatting nightmare.

In 2018, it takes very little work for me to format a Kindle book, and it’s almost always right on the first pass. Several years ago, that wasn’t the case. Some books I never could format correctly except by uploading an HTML version. Well, I didn’t want to use HTML versions anymore…which meant revisiting the horrors of trying to format the early novels.

It took most of yesterday and most of today. It sucked. But it’s done. Now if you purchase one of my e-books (except for the ones published by Sourcebooks) you’ll find a handy list of links to help you purchase more of them.

Okay, I also didn’t put the links in Elrod McBugle on the Loose. When I revisited the file, I thought, “Wow, I completely forgot to include the Other Books By Jeff Strand section!” Then I remembered that I’d decided that maybe I shouldn’t be pushing stuff like Benjamin’s Parasite on the 10-year-olds who just read Elrod. I stand by that decision.

Next up: I have a fairly long interview to do for the Dark Regions Press newsletter, and I still need to write a short story for my own July newsletter.

%d bloggers like this: