Summer of Zombie Bloghop 2014 – Part 2 – Interview with Christine Verstraete

•June 22, 2014 • Leave a Comment

 

 

 

 

SummerZombie Shirt Front

Earlier in the month we were lucky to host the lovely Christine Verstraete, with an except of her teen zombie novel, Girl Z. Now, we welcome her back to tell us a little more about it. Enjoy.

Summer of Zombie 2014 SPOTLIGHT ON: C.A. (Christine) Verstraete

 

 

What is your latest zombie release? GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie

girlz-my-life-as-a-teenage-zombie (2)

Quick description of it (no spoilers) Becca’s life is turned upside down the day her cousin comes home and infects her with the Z virus via an accidental scratch. Now as a part-zombie, Becca has to cope with weird quirks and things no teenage girl wants to be noticed for, while protecting her friends and family against the full Zs. She also hopes to find, something, anything, to stop this deadly transformation . . . before it is forever too late.

 

 

Something unique about it.

My main character, Becca, is not your typical 16-year-old as turning part-zombie tends to give you a lot of odd quirks and an even odder diet. And no, she doesn’t eat “that.”

But that doesn’t mean she likes zombies. She’ll do what it takes to protect herself and her family against the full Zs. This is a different kind of zombie book, readers say.

 

 

Links for people to purchase it.

Kindle and print, Amazon.com – http://tinyurl.com/mwjn6v3

Amazon.uk: http://tinyurl.com/ctyd9dz

Amazon Canada: http://tinyurl.com/d8jv9hu

Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/d889gzn

 

Your promo links.

  • Read/download Prologue and Chapter 1 –

http://www.cverstraete.com/girlz-teenage-zombie-book.html

 

Bio:

 

verstraete2C.A. (Christine) Verstraete enjoys writing fiction with a touch of horror and the macabre, along with a bit of humor. Her stories have appeared in Timeshares and other anthologies from DAW Books, and coming in Athena’s Daughters from Silence in the Library.

Her book, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie, won a 2014 Lovey Award for best paranormal, sci fi from the Love is Murder mystery conference, and was the YA winner for the 2013 Halloween Book Festival. Learn more at http://cverstraete.com and her blog, http://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com.

*   *   *   *   *

 

 

The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 33 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

 

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #SummerZombie

 

https://www.facebook.com/events/286215754875261/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular&source=1

 

AND so you don’t miss any of the posts in June, here’s the complete list, updated daily:

 

http://armandrosamilia.com/2014/06/01/summer-of-zombie-blog-tour-2014-post-links/

An Apology Re: High Moor 3

•June 21, 2014 • 7 Comments

I’ve been putting off this announcement for a few weeks now, but there is just no getting around the fact, and I figured that I should let you all know. High Moor 3: Blood Moon will NOT be meeting the release date of July. I am hoping against hope that I can get it out in September this year.

The reasons for this are several, but they boil down to the fact that the book is not ready yet. There are some issues with the story that I need to get fixed, and rather than just release a book that is not up to standard, I am going to hold it back until such point that I am happy with it.

Don’t get me wrong, I am happy with an awful lot of this book. It retains the humour, drama and flat out carnage that have made the other two books so successful. But at the moment, there are some timeline and plot problems that need to be addressed.

So again, I’m sorry for the additional delay, and I will sort this out as quickly as I can. However I hope that you would rather I took the time with this and get it right than push out a product that is not quite there yet.  I will post further updates when I have them, and as soon as the book is ready I will get it into your hands.

Graeme Reynolds

Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014 – Christine Verstraete – Girl Z: My Life as a teenage zombie

•June 2, 2014 • 3 Comments

SummerZombie Shirt Front

 

The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 33 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #SummerZombie

https://www.facebook.com/events/286215754875261/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular&source=1

 

I am proud to host Christine Verstraete on this tour. Below are two excerpts from her novel. GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie

Enjoy

girlz-my-life-as-a-teenage-zombie (2)

 

Excerpt, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie

By C.A. Verstraete

 

Prologue

A virus. A freaking virus.

I’d been sick before, you know, measles, mumps…kid stuff…but not really sick.

Never like this.

This…this couldn’t be happening.

I tuned back in to the doctor’s explanation…new diet, pills, blah-blah-blah…and let his words fade again into the background.

Gone was the golden tan I’d nurtured over the summer with tanning cream and hours sunbathing by the pool with one of my cousins. My skin had a weird grayish tone, like I’d rubbed myself with fireplace ash.

I gazed at my legs, now mottled with strange gray blotches, and my pretty pink toenails peeking out from beneath the sheet.

The machine next to me made a frantic beep-beep.

I turned and caught my reflection in the metal canister sitting on the table next to the bed. Whimpering, I rubbed a hand over my cheek, wondering at the scaly texture, while at other times I felt almost nothing.

Large, deep brown eyes under ebony bangs stared back. I saw a decent nose.

I took in the pinkish patches and my uneven skin tone, which reminded me of those old battleships on the PBS show I’d watched with my aunt.

For the first time in my sixteen-year-old life I was…ugly.

I struck the bed frame over and over, the pain barely registering. The machine’s whir-click-whir turned into a wail almost louder than mine—beep-beep-beeeeeeep.

A nurse in blue scrubs rushed in and tried to reassure me, even as she attempted to keep me immobile on this slab they called a bed.

“Relax, it’ll be fine,” she said.

“No, it won’t,” I yelled, “it won’t!”

How could looking like freaking King Tut without his wrappings ever be fine?

 

Chapter One

Funny how the most important or memorable moments of your life are bookmarked between the ordinary.

That’s how it was the day my life changed—forever.

My cousin Carm—short for Carmella Sanchez—and I, Rebecca Herrera Hayes (Becca to my friends), hoped to go shopping and get in on the last of the sales for our final summer vacation trip. I was looking forward to visiting my mom’s friend in Lake Geneva, but fate, or something else, had other plans.

Instead, my ever-thrifty Aunt Imelda, whom I’d called Tia since I was little, told us to dig through the boxes of clothes she’d brought down from the attic before she committed to buying anything new. So, rather than sort through the racks at the store, we picked through our old wardrobes at home. Bummer.

But… maybe it was a good thing since we might not have heard the news otherwise.

To my delight, I grabbed another way-too-small pair of shorts from the box (that shopping trip becoming more real by the minute) when a staccato dee-dee-dee-dee signaling a news alert cut off Lady Gaga’s wails on the radio.

The announcer’s serious tone made Carm and I stop cold and stare at each other, our job, and the clothes, forgotten.

THIS IS AN URGENT NEWS BULLETIN: WINDALE POLICE AND WINDALE COUNTY SHERIFF DEPARTMENTS REPORTED A RASH OF ATTACKS BY UNKNOWN INDIVIDUALS. THE ATTACKERS ARE DESCRIBED AS DISEASED, WITH AN OFFENDING SMELL AND LIMITED VERBAL COMMUNICATION. THE SUSPECTS DO NOT RESPOND TO COMMANDS AND EXHIBIT NO EMOTIONS OR REACTIONS UNTIL THEY ENCOUNTER THOSE NOT INFECTED. THEY ARE CONSIDERED EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND WILL ATTACK FOR NO REASON. DO NOT APPROACH.

THE NATIONAL GUARD HAS BEEN CALLED IN AND LOCAL POLICE URGE CITIZENS TO LOCK THEIR DOORS AND STAY INSIDE.

REPEAT—USE EXTREME CAUTION—

My cousin’s face went white. “Bec, what do they mean?”

“I don’t know…”

Carm made a face like she’d bit into something bad. “Maybe it’s fake, you know like that War of the Worlds broadcast Tia told us about. I can’t believe all those people listening to the radio really thought they’d been invaded by aliens!”

“I-I don’t think so. Let’s see if there’s anything on TV about it.”

Carm and I fell silent. Scenes out of some horror movie come to life flashed across the screen—people running, others fighting off hordes of horrid creatures, their mouths bloody, their diseased hands tearing and ripping at human flesh. A staccato blast of gunshots ripped through the air. High-pitched screams and terrified yells erupted from the fleeing mob. The warnings scrolling across the bottom of the TV screen made the sweat break out on my upper lip—be alert… zombies… use caution… stay indoors…

I quickly shut it off. The images made me want to puke, or freak out, or both, but I still had trouble believing it was real. I mean, here? In our little Wisconsin town? We weren’t in some nowhere place, even if it felt like it sometimes. In an hour or so, I could be in Chicago or Milwaukee, or take an even quicker drive to Lake Geneva.

“It has to be phony, it has to be,” I insisted. “It’s too weird.”

Any further discussion had to wait when Carm’s cell phone dinged, signaling she’d received a text message. She pulled the phone from her pocket, and seeing her alarmed expression, I sidled next to her. “Carm? What is it?”

She didn’t say much before turning off the phone, her face creased in worry. “It’s my mom, she’s worried. She’s going to look for Spence. He texted he was sick and needed help. Now he doesn’t answer her calls or texts. “

My eyebrows raised in question when my phone flashed and beeped like that little Star Wars movie robot. I tapped the screen and quickly read the message. “It’s my mom, she’s going with. She said to lock everything, something bad’s going on, and don’t go outside. She said they’ll be home as soon as they can.”

My fingers flew over the tiny keyboard in response, saying we’d heard the news. No way could I tell her Tia had gone to get some milk before all this happened and wasn’t back yet. I had a feeling she didn’t need more to worry about.

I gulped when the radio announcer repeated the warnings. Now martial law was being declared. Anyone caught out on the street past curfew would be detained or arrested. Looters would be shot.

It didn’t get more real than that.

Breathing deep, I prayed Tia would come back soon. I tried to smother my growing panic at my whole family being somewhere else. I had to pull myself together. The quiver of Carm’s bottom lip and the way she picked at the pile of clothes on the table concerned me. My cousin had always been kind of chicken, so I didn’t need her falling apart. There was too much to do.

Time for some other distractions. I had to keep Carm busy. “Carm, c’mon, help me. Let’s move the couch over in front of the door. Then we better check the bedroom windows upstairs. Make sure they’re locked and the shades are down. I’ll check the windows in mom’s bedroom and the bathroom.”

I crossed the room and stopped on the staircase when she didn’t answer. “Carm?”

My cousin stood in the living room and peered out the window, an odd expression on her face.

“Carm, you okay?”

No answer.

I retraced my steps, reached out and tapped her arm. “Carm? What is it?”

“I-I’m not sure,” she whispered.

A peek out the window alerted me to the problem—some guy staggering around in the distance. The way he wove back and forth made me uneasy. “I think it’s some drunk. I bet our neighbor drove his car into the ditch again.”

“Bec, I don’t think so.”

I gasped when she inched behind the loveseat, threw the lock, and opened the door. “Carm, wait! You can’t go out there! What about that stuff on the radio and TV?”

When she ignored me, I had no choice but to either hold her back or follow. Part of me wanted to tackle her, but I trailed behind her instead to the porch, my eyes still on the guy in the field. He’d come a little further, close enough that even from here, I could see his hair was black, not gray like my neighbor’s.

He staggered closer and began to wave. My alarm grew when Carm stumbled and gasped, hand on her chest.

“Carm-Carm! What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

“It’s him!” She pushed away my hand and ran down the steps.

I grabbed at her shirt and held on in an attempt to stop her.  “Carm, wait, no! You can’t go down there!”

She shook my grip loose and shoved past me. I ran in pursuit and tried to catch her, my heart pounding. “Carm, stop, please! Carm!”

I nearly ran her over when she came to a halt within a few feet of our visitor.

He stared, eyes like slits. He took another step.

As he came closer, I noticed several horrid raw sores and the sickening, pasty gray tone of his skin. I grimaced, grabbed Carm’s arm and backed up, stumbling over my feet, when he reached for me with a loud groan.

“No, no!” Carm screamed as his body crumpled and he fell into the grass in a heap. I tried to keep her from him, but she swore at me and pulled away before rushing to his side.

“No, leave me alone!” she yelled. “I have to help him!”

“Carm, no—don’t. Don’t touch him. He’s sick.”

“No, I have to help him,” she cried. “I have to.”

All I could do was stare at her, and then at him.

My cousin Spence had come home.

** Christine Verstraete likes to write slightly different stories, as with her book, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie, about a 16-year-old whose fate is worse than acne. Yeah, she turns part-zombie. Read/download the Prologue and Chapter 1 at http://www.cverstraete.com/girlz-teenage-zombie-book.html. Visit her blog http://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com.

GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie:

Kindle and print, Amazon.com – http://tinyurl.com/mwjn6v3

Amazon.uk: http://tinyurl.com/ctyd9dz

Amazon Canada: http://tinyurl.com/d8jv9hu

Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/d889gzn

******

Excerpt, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie

By C.A. Verstraete

 

(From Chapter 11 – Back to School)

 

I shook my head, feeling even worse when I saw Jimmy Churlin stagger down the hall, heading our way. Holy cow, the virus seemed to have done a number on the guys around here.

Jimmy made one ugly being, all drool, and even fewer manners than before.

Grimacing, I watched him make a rude comment to one of the girls who sashayed by, hips wiggling in an attention-getting tight skirt. I’d have thought the virus would have toned down some of his less desirable traits. Day by day, I’d noticed most of my deadened senses had returned even though they stayed at more muted levels. Like I could taste food again (sometimes), but it usually didn’t taste like it once did (or stay with me) for long.

Sure I had the wandering eye problem and tripped over my own feet, but so far, most of my problems were somewhat tolerable, considering everything. Not so for most male Zs, I saw. Carm and I exchanged horrified glances as we watched the rude, obnoxious way several of them acted, hoping it was a rare occurrence. Hardly.

The main thing on most teenage Z’s brains (the little they had left, of course) these days was food, followed by sex, a horrific combination.

The virus amplified the endless eating cycle teenage boys usually had. Even with all the protein drinks, I watched several stagger down the hall slobbering over packages of raw meat when they weren’t slobbering over girls. Ugh. I wanted to laugh, and would’ve, if it wasn’t so revolting.

“You’d think they would’ve put those guys by themselves,” I whispered to Carm.

She glanced down the hall and nodded. “I know, they’re so gross. Maybe Principal Thomas got scared he’d be sued?”

I shrugged. “There’re more parents with non-infected kids. If he’s watching, and I bet he is, once he sees what’s going on he’ll have the guys reorganized this afternoon. I don’t know how that’ll affect the few girls I’ve seen like me.”

“All right, get moving,” a security guard ordered several guy Zs. “You there, let’s go.”

Another guard moved in and hurried the other Z boys along towards the end of the hall. A teacher peeked out from behind one of the doors, grimaced, and seeing me watching, gave a hateful glare before she ducked back into her room.

Wow. Whatever plans had been developed so far to address the new school makeup weren’t working so well. Carm pointed out several colored spots. “See, there’re Z food stations marked on the map.” She paused. “Hmm, there’s one in the main hall, the rest are down the other hall.”

I’d barely had time to dwell on this development when a voice called my name. I turned and groaned as Jimmy C. shuffled in our direction. Bad enough he kept texting me ever since we’d worked on that class science project together. Ignoring him hadn’t worked.

“Hey, Becca baby, looks like you and me got somethin’ in common after all,” he yelled.

As he zigzagged towards me, I watched the students in his path jump to either side with a curse or run in the other direction. Others gagged and threw their hands over their mouths. I thought the reactions rather exaggerated until he came closer.

Even I had trouble breathing and staggered backwards at the horrid stench of rotten eggs and spoiled meat wafting my way. Several long gashes on his arms, and probably elsewhere, explained the smell.

I kept my distance and urged Carm to hurry. As Jimmy edged closer, a litany of curses and lewd comments on his crooked lips, I finally had had enough. I threw my extra papers and stuff in the locker, slammed the door and spun the lock.

“You know what, Jimmy? Bite me. Go bother somebody else.”

Oops. Too late, I realized my mistake. Jimmy gave a weird, strange leer and crept nearer. “Be glad to,” he mumbled.

**

 

verstraete2Christine Verstraete likes to write slightly different stories, as with her book, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie, about a 16-year-old whose fate is worse than acne. Yeah, she turns part-zombie. Read/download the Prologue and Chapter 1 at http://www.cverstraete.com/girlz-teenage-zombie-book.html. Visit her blog http://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com.

GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie:

Kindle and print, Amazon.com – http://tinyurl.com/mwjn6v3

Amazon.uk: http://tinyurl.com/ctyd9dz

Amazon Canada: http://tinyurl.com/d8jv9hu

Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/d889gzn

 

 

High Moor 3 Cover Art and Concepts

•May 21, 2014 • 1 Comment

So, after a few weeks of going back and forth, last night I signed off on the High Moor 3 cover.

As ever, Stu Smith from Graviton Creations and I went through quite a few different concepts before we settled on the final design.

Just a quick one – High Moor 3: Blood Moon Release Date

•March 12, 2014 • 1 Comment

I’ve noticed that there have been a few search terms on this blog lately looking for an official release date for High Moor 3. Well, I posted this on the books Facebook page a couple of weeks ago, but I can officially announce that High Moor 3: Blood Moon will be released on 16th July 2014.

As we get closer to the date I’ll start posting excepts and cover art, however the most up to date information is usually to be found on the books Facebook page.

Right, back to the writing I go.

The art of selling books.

•December 30, 2013 • 1 Comment

moneybookI think I promised to write a blog post on how to sell books way back when I first launched High Moor. So, yeah, its a bit late, but hopefully I’ve learned quite a lot more since those early days and the post will be a lot more useful.

So, lets make the assumption that your book is as good as you can possibly make it. Professionally edited. Ebook created and checked for formatting errors. Professionally made cover. Blurb that really nails the book and intrigues the reader to want more. If not, go away and do those things, then come back to me…done? Great, then lets get on with the rest of the post.

1: The Book Launch.

This is a very important part of your books lifecycle, because Amazon have a Hot New Releases list. And you really want to be on it. So, the idea is to hit the ground running with sales and reviews on day one.

How do you do this?

Advance Review Copies. You should be sending these out 4-8 weeks before you actually hit the publish button. Send them out to review blogs that cross post to Amazon. If you are doing a paperback, then if you do it through LSI with a future publication date then it will allow pre-orders through Amazon. Don’t just hit publish. Set a date, start building anticipation.

Do a giveaway of the paperback on Goodreads – 5 copies is sufficient. Do an ebook giveaway on Librarything for 100 ebooks. This will generate some initial reviews and, as I’ll explain later, reviews are crucial. It will also get your book on hundreds of peoples TBR piles on those sites. Which their friends can see. Which might mean that their friends add your book to their own TBR piles.

On your launch day, unless you already have an eager fan base waiting for you, publish it at $3.99, then immediately drop the price to $0.99. Hold a launch party on Facebook. Give copies away. Offer signed paperbacks for ebook purchases or Amazon gift cards, as long as people share their purchase on their FB and Twitter accounts. The key here is volume. You need to be shifting as many copies of your book as you can in the first few days. Why? Because you want to be ranking high on that “Hot New Release” list.

If you can get 5 good reviews sorted out prior to launch, then you can hit phase 2 at the same time as your launch party, or at least in the week immediately following it. That is a paid promotion with Bookblast. There are a lot of smaller paid promo lists like Bookblast out there, but to be honest, I think that they have almost the same subscriber list as each other and Bookblast is best value for money. With any luck, you’ll get a decent number of downloads going, and after a few days – week tops, stick the price back up to $3.99 to take advantage of your nice, high sales rank.

2: Pricing is a tool. Nothing more.

I see so many ebooks out there, dying on their collective arses because the publishers got greedy and set the price too high. A lot of people complain that by reducing the price, we are devaluing the market. Well, guess what? If everyone else is doing it, then you had better be doing it as well. Because royalties on an individual book sale are not important. What is important is volume. Would you rather sell 30 books at $10 or 300 at $3? The answer is the 300 books, because that will improve your sales rank and get more people reading your book and writing reviews, and that will then go on to generate more sales.

$3.99 seems to be the sweet spot for novels. It’s cheap enough that people will make impulse buys, and its expensive enough that a quick $0.99 fire sale will look like a bargain, as well as differentiating you from the perma $0.99 crowd and sitting you nicely in the 70% royalty bracket. I put out a charity box set earlier this year with 8 complete novels and novellas including the first High Moor book and Whisper by Michael Bray. It’s currently priced at $5.99. And it hardly sells anything. This, despite the fact that the books within it go for between $2.99 and $3.99 individually and all sell well at that price point. There is no point in complaining about devaluing the product and pricing it the same as a paperback or hardback. That is not how the ebook market works. Consumers are not prepared to pay more than $4.99 for an ebook, apart from the really big names. And even then, they begrudge doing it. Set your price point appropriately, if your sales rank nose dives then drop the price to $0.99 for 24 hours to give it a boost.

3: Free works…if you do it properly.

A few years ago, doing a free promotion with KDP Select was a goldmine, because Amazon would take a proportion of those free downloads and convert them into a paid sales rank. They don’t do that anymore, and a lot of people are saying that free is a waste of time.

Those people are generally wrong. However, just slapping your book on free and spamming your facebook friends list isn’t going to achieve much. To have an impact on a free period, you really need to get a Bookbub promotion.

Now, Bookbub are the 900lb gorilla of ebook marketing. I did one earlier this month for Whisper by Michael Bray and we gave away 43000 copies over 5 days. That is a lot of books by any reckoning. OK, so it gets the authors name out there, but we’ve just potentially given away free copies of our book to our entire reader base. Right?

Wrong.

Again, its about visibility on Amazon’s lists. Having that many downloads means that we get the book on a lot of other books “people who bought this book also bought…” lists. And that means that you get a big boost on your paid sales after the promotion ends. To date, in December, we have sold 1000 full price copies of Whisper off that back of that free promotion. And our reviews on Amazon.com have leaped from 20 to 77 in three weeks.

There is a catch, of course. Bookbub is not easy to get into. You really need 15 good reviews before they will even consider you, as well as a compelling blurb and good, eye catching cover. If any of those criteria are not met, then you have no chance of getting in. Book your listing for a month after the date you send them an email, and if you don’t get in, then wait a month and try again.

Yes, its tricky to get into. Yes, its expensive. But those sort of sales figures have been consistent every time I’ve done a promo with them, and paid sales have at least doubled for 4-6 weeks afterwards.

4: Stop trying to sell to other writers.
I see so much of this and it beggars belief. Yes, writers tend to be voracious readers, but they are not the only readers in the world. Infact they make up a very small proportion of them. Relentless spamming of your book on FB and Twitter is going to achieve one thing. It’s going to piss people off and get you blocked, or at least have you vanished from news feeds. I’ve seen interesting Facebook groups abandoned because all discussion ended and they degenerated into a list of self published authors relentlessly spamming their work (and not even bothering to read the other spam posts, incase you were wondering, let alone buy any). Use social networking to be visible and accessible to people. Post funny things. Be a person (even if its an online persona instead of the real you) . Don’t be a dick, refrain from too many extreme views, and post about your stuff no more than a couple of times a week. It’s the same with writers organisations like the HWA and the Stoker awards. Awards do not sell your books. 99% of your reader base have no interest in these awards or even know that they exist, so expending too much effort along these lines is counter-productive as you will end up getting dragged into all of the associated nastiness that goes along with these things. Concentrate your time on writing more, being entertaining via social media and selling your books to actual readers instead of other writers.

5: Keep up to date with the market.
This advice is what is currently working for me. There is no guarantee that this will work in six months or a years time. You need to keep abreast of what is going on in the digital book marketplace. And the absolute best way of doing that is to read the Writers Cafe on Kboards. There are people on there who sell tens of thousands of copies a month. Tens. Of. Thousands. You’ll pick up lots of tricks and tips, and if someone comes across a little loophole in Amazon’s algorithms that will boost your short term sales, then that is where it will end up first. It is an absolute goldmine of information. Join up, be a part of the community and learn. Your bank balance will be glad that you did.

OK, that’s all you are getting from me this year. Happy New Year to you all, and I hope that you have a brilliant 2014.

Graeme

Goodbye 2013 – You’ve been a complete bastard and I love you.

•December 30, 2013 • 2 Comments

Werewolf3

2013 has been a year of complete contrast for me.

In many respects it’s been a year that ripped my heart from my chest and stomped it into the ground. I lost not one, but two of my beloved cats (one on Valentines day and the other on my other half’s birthday) and had to spend months working away from home in a job that I hated, which really didn’t help my frame of mind.

I walked away from my reviewer job at Starbust Magazine because, well, they weren’t paying me and their attitude stank. I also quit the HWA and withdrew High Moor 2 and all of my future works from Stoker consideration because I was not prepared to put up with the bullshit that goes with being on that list. I won’t go into details about what happened there, because the person involved seems to get very upset and threaten legal action if I say things, however those wanting to read a comedic children’s story that was not remotely inspired by my falling out with the HWA should check out “Reba the Evil Chipmunk and the Gold Star” in the stories section :)

So yes, in many respects, 2013 has been hideous. However, there have been some incredibly positive things happen this year.

Firstly, High Moor 2: Moonstruck finally made its way into the hands of an eagerly awaiting public in March. And promptly sold 800 copies in the first month. The reception that this novel had has really blown me away. It made the best novels of the year list on Gingernuts of Horror, and at the time of me withdrawing it, had the second highest number of recs in the Stoker awards, just behind Joe Hill’s NOS4R2.

The success of Moonstruck allowed me to move forward with my long term plan, because all of a sudden I had money in the imprints bank account. In July I purchased the rights to Horrific Tales first third party novel, Whisper by Michael Bray. With a new cover and a pretty extensive edit by Simon Marshall Jones at Spectral Press, we relaunched the book at the end of September to what can only be described as massive success. The book really took off and has sold more than 1600 copies in the last three months. As you can imagine, this has made everyone involved really rather happy, especially Michael who will probably earn his advance back in the next week or so.

One of the more positive things that happened in 2013 was the release of Great British Horror Volume 1. Eight British Indie horror authors – Greg James, Iain Rob Wright, Ian Woodhead, Craig Saunders, Matt Shaw, Willie Meikle, Michael Bray and myself put a complete novel or novella from our back catalogue forward for a box set of books, with every last penny of the proceeds going to Centrepoint, which is a UK charity supporting homeless children. We even managed to get a foreword from New York Times bestselling author, Tim Lebbon. We launched the book at the end of August, and so far its earned close to £500 for charity. It feels great to be involved in such a worthy cause and while we were originally only going to keep the book on sale for a short time, we have collectively decided to keep it available indefinitely.

And finally, the audiobook of the original High Moor was released in October. Chris Barnes of Dynamic Ram Productions did an astonishing job with this, coming up with a proper performance that is as close to a movie version as we are likely to get for a while. Fans of the book really should check it out because he knocks it out of the ball park.

So…what lies ahead for 2014?

Well, Horrific Tales Publishing is going from strength to strength. We will be releasing our next novel, Of A Feather by Ken Goldman on 2nd January – it’s an amazing book. One of my favourite reads of the last year, and I can’t wait for you all to read it. One advance reviewer called it a cross between Carrie and The Birds, which isn’t far off the basic premise, but doesn’t come close to capturing how engaging and gripping a story it is.

Chris Barnes is returning to the recording studio on 6th January to begin work on the High Moor 2 audiobook, which I honestly can’t wait to hear. That one should be out around May.

High Moor 3 is getting there, and should be out in either March or April. It’s taking me a little longer to get this one finished than I would have liked, because there are a lot of plot threads to tidy up. Rest assured, it’s on its way and I think that fans of the original two books will love the way that the trilogy is going to finish. If you haven’t signed up to the books Facebook page yet, I recommend that you do so. It gets updated more often than this blog does and has a couple of little snippets from High Moor 3 on there to whet your appetite.

High Moor Novel FB Page
Graeme Reynolds FB Author Page
Horrific Tales Publishing FB Page

We also have the contracts signed for “Art” which is a collaborative novel between the brilliant Matt Shaw and Michael Bray. Art is a serial killer tale, with Matt writing the killer and Michael writing the detective hunting him. It has some of the most disturbing imagery that I’ve ever read in it. We are working together to iron out the structural and flow issues now before it goes off to the editor in late January. Hopefully that one will be out around the same time as High Moor 3.

Beyond that…well, Michael is working hard on the sequel to Whisper which I’m hopeful we can bring you over the summer, and there may be one or two other books out later in the year, and I’m already talking to one or two authors about tentative 2015 release slots.

So, all things considered, 2013 has been a transitory year for me. It’s been difficult, but the groundwork has been laid for bigger and better things in the years to come. 2014 is going to be busy, and its going to be stressful. But it’s shaping up to be a hell of a ride, and I hope that you’ll join me on it.

 
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