November 10

Coming very, very soon…

Cold Dead Hands Teaser

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November 9

I’ve been a slacker with the updates, and I’d offer profuse apologies if anybody actually read these.

Anyway, I’m 25,000 words into Ferocious, but I’ve decided that the scope needs to be expanded, which means that it’s going to be one of my longer books.

I turned in my novella Cold Dead Hands nearly three years ago. Cemetery Dance has given me permission to publish the e-book edition ahead of their hardcover edition, so you can probably expect it…next week!!! Whoa!!! New book already!!!

I thought I was going to get to share some cool news, but it turns out that I’m not allowed to be a squealer yet. In fact, I may be gagged for quite a while. Meanwhile, I’ve got other similarly cool news, and I can’t talk about that, either. Let’s just say that there’s stuff happening behind the scenes. Cool stuff.

November 2

Happy November!

We celebrated Halloween with…sushi. Conveyer belt sushi, where the selections travel around the restaurant and you grab small plates as something catches your eye. You can also order from the digital menu and a second conveyer belt will transport it right to your table. We had a place like this in Tampa, but there was no variety on the belt and, it seemed, little turnover. (You could order off the menu and have a server bring it to you, primitive-style, but that sort of defeated the purpose.) The Atlanta one has a large variety of stuff traveling on the conveyer belt and the sushi is quite good.

Halloween continued November 1st with the launch party for the Atlanta branch of the Horror Writers Association. We’ve had a few monthly meetings, but this was an event designed to attract potential new members. I was on a panel about Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing, though as a hybrid author I don’t have an obnoxious stance for either side.

Today I wrote my story for the next newsletter, “Corky & Sporky.” I’m proud to say that it is one of the dumbest things you will ever read.

October 30

1000 words on Ferocious today, though some of them may not survive the next edit. It may be too much of a lull in the action; I’ll review for that after I finish the chapter.

Not to brag or make you jealous, but today was…laundry day! Since we don’t have a washer or dryer, I get to go to the Laundromat, where all of your dreams come true. I’m fortunate enough to be able to set my own schedule, so I don’t have to fight people for a machine, but if my ego ever gets out of control, this is a regular method of squashing it.

The TV there is often playing Matlock. I don’t watch it, but I can hear it, and I’m amused every single time by the way the goofy exit-to-commercial music is completely at odds with whatever dramatic revelation has just happened. Admittedly, the mood will be spoiled anyway when the catheter commercial comes on, but why not a dramatic musical sting to give us a couple more seconds in Matlock’s world of danger and intrigue? The show ended in 1995, so I guess my suggestion won’t be incorporated, but I just figured I’d throw it out there anyway.

 

October 29

Put Ferocious aside for today to finish up the short story that’s due on Halloween. And, 3000+ words later, “The Last Thing You Want To Be” is done. (What’s the last thing you want to be? You don’t want to know.)

And I voted. It was an electronic touch screen, so voting was like a video game with real-life high stakes consequences.

Waiting on paperwork for something pretty cool (though in the very, very, very early stages). Not sure how much I’ll be able to blab about it, but I’ll blab as much as I am able.

October 28

2000 words on Ferocious yesterday and 1000 words today, bringing the total to 21,000. Wondering how long I can stretch out this particular sequence; really, I’d like it to be almost the length of a novella, but it depends how much I can wring out of a fairly simple setup. I know the big turning points of this book but not the details, so we’ll see what happens.

My essay for the StokerCon 2019 souvenir book got extremely good feedback. This wasn’t unexpected. Sometimes I send off a piece and wonder if the editor is going to respond with “WTF were you thinking, Strand???” and sometimes I know I sent them exactly what they wanted. This was the latter.

Dread Central has reviewed Hark! The Herald Angels Scream and had this to say: “Jeff Strand’s ‘Good Deeds’ is a terrific, blackly comic take on the “giving” spirit of the holiday season, the kind that makes you suicidal — in the most hilarious of ways.”

Last night’s Scary Fireside Stories for Halloween event was an unqualified success. We had a nice big crowd, the weather cooperated, and many s’mores were consumed, even though by my observation about 97% of the marshmallows burst into flame. (I ended up going with “Jigsaw Puzzle” as my story.) The audience was into all of the stories–it’s often hard to gauge the success of a non-funny piece, but there were shudders throughout the evening. As a super-special surprise bonus, the legendary Seed & Feed Marching Abominable showed up to play a couple of songs, causing many to almost wet themselves with glee.

This will definitely be an annual event. Thanks to Brian Kirk for organizing it, and thanks to me for doing an exquisite job of carrying stuff beforehand AND afterward. If you were in awe of how well the folding chairs had been transported from one location to another, I’m the one to praise.

October 27

No work on Ferocious yesterday. I wasn’t being a lazy slacker–I had an essay to write for the StokerCon 2017 Souvenir Book. But I got that done, and also started a short story that’s due on Halloween. (And I got up early this morning and did 1000 words on Ferocious, with the plan to do another 1000 before I have to leave, so you need not worry about the zombie animals being neglected.)

Today is Scary Fireside Stories For Halloween, a local Atlanta event organized by Brian Kirk, though I’ll be getting there early to help set everything up. It’s free (including the s’mores!) and involves ten authors reading very short spooky stories of five minutes or less.

Since every issue of my newsletter has a flash fiction piece, I have a lot of choose from. I was originally going to read “Jigsaw Puzzle,” one of my most popular newsletter stories, but the whole story is a build-up to the final reveal, so I think I’m going to swap it out for “A Real Haunting.” If the audience boos at the end, I’ll know I made the wrong choice.

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