New Book Trailer! Here comes THE NIGHTMARE GIRL…

Samhain Publishing and its horror imprint Samhain Horror have been extremely good to me. The other day, they surprised me with the news that they had created their first-ever book trailer, and it happened to be for my upcoming release. I absolutely love it and hope you do too. So, courtesy of all the amazing people at Samhain, here is THE NIGHTMARE GIRL book trailer:

Coming in January

Coming in January

Wasn’t that fabulous? You can preorder THE NIGHTMARE GIRL now or wait until it drops on January 6th. Either way, I hope you check it out. I’m very, very proud of it and can’t wait for folks to read it. Oh, and if you haven’t yet, why not pick up my three 99-cent ebooks (for a limited time)? You can get EXORCIST ROAD, DUST DEVILS, and SAVAGE SPECIES for dirt cheap now!

Have a great day, friends.


I’m irrationally excited. I know I’ll make less money on $0.99 books, but truthfully, I’m more concerned about readers.

You see, I want them.

I want them all to check out these deeply discounted books because I think they’ll enjoy them. Readers have been really kind to me in their reactions to all of my stories, but these three books, particularly, have been well received. Now, SAVAGE SPECIES, DUST DEVILS, and EXORCIST ROAD can be had for less than a buck.

Pod of Horror named SAVAGE SPECIES one of the three best books of 2013. And for a limited time, it’s 99 cents.

Experience the Terror

Experience the Terror

Or DUST DEVILS? Jack Ketchum, one of the best writers in the history of living organisms, called it a “Rousing-good weird western!” And it’s 99 cents.

A Wild Vampire Western

A Wild Vampire Western

Or what about EXORCIST ROAD? About this novella Dreadful Tales says, “With Exorcist Road, Janz ushers in a new era of thrills and violence, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the old school paperback days. I would gladly stand this novella alongside lurid horror gems like Ketchum’s Off Season for its shock factor; the unbridled aggression of Laymon’s One Rainy Night; and the sexually charged nastiness of Tessier’s Rapture.” And this creepy demonic possession/mystery/serial killer story can be had for only…

Well, you know.

Folks, I hope you check these out, and just as importantly, I hope you spread the word about the sale.

Have a great night, friends!

THE NIGHTMARE GIRL Ad in Famous Monsters of Filmland

The below ad is the back cover of the new issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland:


Ain’t she beautiful?

Here’s the front cover (Issue #277, in case you want to pick one up):


I don’t have much to add except the fact that the reviews are starting to appear for THE NIGHTMARE GIRL, and they’re extremely positive.

And thank you to Samhain Horror, Don D’Auria, Christine Brashear, Kaitlyn Osborn, Amanda Smith Hicks, Mackenzie Walton, Jacob Hammer, Matthew Woolley, and the rest of the crew. You all have been amazing to me. Thanks for all your support!


So I wrote this novella called EXORCIST ROAD. It’s only been out for about three months now, but man is it on fire. Some Goodreads numbers for you

Seventeen five-star reviews.
Nine four-star reviews.
No three-star reviews.
A single two-star review.
No one-star reviews.

And I’m pretty sure the two-star rating happened when the user’s finger inadvertently twitched. I’m still waiting on confirmation from my covert operatives.

 Windy City Horror

Windy City Horror

Amazon tells a similar story about my novella, where there are eleven five-star reviews, six four-star reviews, and that’s it. Heading up into Canada or hopping the pond to the UK only yields more five-star reviews.

Now, I’m no statistical analyst here, but those numbers seem pretty good. Horror After Dark also just published a review of EXORCIST ROAD. And in case you need more persuasion, here it is…

“Riffing on the exorcism theme, newcomer Jonathan Janz delivers a novella that will propel him to the top of the horror field.” —Not Too Terrible Reviews

“With Exorcist Road, Janz ushers in a new era of thrills and violence, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the old school paperback days. I would gladly stand this novella alongside lurid horror gems like Ketchum’s Off Season for its shock factor; the unbridled aggression of Laymon’s One Rainy Night; and the sexually charged nastiness of Tessier’s Rapture.” —Dreadful Tales



“‘Exorcist Road’ is an extremely well-written novella that started with a bang and never relented through the entire story.” —Minneapolis Book Examiner

“It’s one of those books that you’ll have to stop and catch your breath while reading.  The shots from the demon are so rapid fire, and so evil, that you’ll be flying through the words and pages.” —Top of the Heap Reviews


*stops to catch breath*

Okay, folks, that’s enough for now. If you haven’t checked this one out yet, I really hope you do.

More Inspiration

More Inspiration

Back soon with some more exciting news.

Jack Ketchum Calls DUST DEVILS a “Rousing-good weird western!”

Hey, all! I hope Thanksgiving treated you well, and I hope you treated your families well. Not that I think you wouldn’t or anything, but I think we sometimes reserve our best behavior for strangers because their opinions of us are unformed. Those who’re already close to us, well, they already know the chinks in our armor, so why worry too much about our behavior around them? In a way, that’s okay. It’s nice to feel comfortable around others. On the other hand, that familiarity can lead to taking people for granted, or even worse, to not making the effort to make them feel special. Like right now. I need to get off the stinkin’ Internet and hang out with my wife.

So let’s get right to the point: Jack Ketchum is one of my favorite writers of all time. He’s one of the best authors, regardless of genre, to pick up a pen or a keyboard. He read my vampire western DUST DEVILS and then tweeted about it, calling it a “Rousing-good weird western.”

A Wild Vampire Western

A Wild Vampire Western

Just so you have some perspective on how excited this made me, here’s part of my bio (a section of my bio I wrote five years ago):

“One of Jonathan’s wishes is to someday get Stephen King, Peter Jackson, Jack Ketchum and Joe R. Lansdale together for an all-night zombie movie marathon. Of course, that can only happen if all four drop their restraining orders against him.”

The Man.

The Man

That’s all for now, friends. I hope your November ends wonderfully, and I hope your December gets off to a happy start. And I hope you buy DUST DEVILS and leave an awesome review from wherever you bought it.

Talk to you later this week…

Matt Manochio on Blurbs (and THE DARK SERVANT)

My guest tonight is Mr. Matt Manochio, whose debut novel THE DARK SERVANT is about to be published by Samhain Horror. His topic is “blurbs,” which is an area that pains me more than any other. Asking for blurbs, I mean. So maybe I’ll learn as much as you will from this post. Here we go…

Every author has to do it at some point. It’s painful and annoying, and we all know it cannot be avoided: giving blood for money to pay the power bill.

I’m kidding, sort of. But what most authors typically must do after signing a book deal is get blurbs. Ugh. This invariably means you pester an established author (in my case, New York Times bestselling and/or Bram Stoker Award-nominated -winning writers) to read a book the established author might not otherwise read. And most established authors have a bunch of projects going on leaving them little free reading time.

But we newbies must ask. And that’s what I did after inking the deal for The Dark Servant. And I had a 6% success rate in getting blurbs.

That’s right: 6%.

But let’s explore that number.

I queried 157 authors, including names you’d recognize and names you wouldn’t. But they’re all successful writers. I had a large gap of time between signing the deal and my publication date, so I cast a wide net.

Of those 157 authors, 29 expressed interest or suggested I try later. That’s an 18.4% success rate.

Of those 29 authors, 23 asked for the manuscript! That’s a whopping 79% success rate. See where I’m going?

Finally, of those 23 authors, 10 provided endorsements, and that’s a 43.5% success rate. That means almost half of the authors who had the manuscript came through. And that’s about what I expected because of varying time commitments and the author’s interest in the project (it might not be to an author’s liking—and that’s fine).

So where did that 6% come from? If my math is right—and might not be because I’m a writer—10 out of 157 means 6% of the authors queried provided a blurb.

That 6% matters! And I got those 10 blurbs by asking, knowing I would get many more nos than yeses, but those yeses were crucial.


My advice to any author going through this blurb-gathering process for the first time:

  1. Ask as many authors as you can, and this is easier than you think. Almost every established author has a website, and some famous authors post their email addresses on them. How famous? One of the first authors I queried was Anne Rice. Yup, her. Her email address was right there on her site. I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask, and I live by that: Ask. Ask. Ask. You might get what you want. It’s like dating. Guys, if you want to get a girlfriend, you’ve got to ask out women, sometimes hundreds of them. Thousands even. Not every woman’s gonna mace you and call 911. If you’ve got something good to offer and are nice about it, you might just end up eating Burger King and seeing the new Hunger Games movie. So anywho, I wrote Anne, never expecting to hear back. She replied the next day, very politely declining and giving her reason (time constraints). That blew me away. The woman who wrote Interview with a Vampire emailed me! Even though she passed, I thanked her nonetheless, explaining how surprised I was to have heard from her, and she replied nicely in kind. That motivated me. Keep asking.
  2. Be professional. Send a query—that’s the way I look at them: query letters (but by now you’re used to sending them to agents and publishers). If there’s a specific reason why you think the author would like the book, say so. Compare your work to something the author has written. Does this mean every letter must be unique? Look, your time is valuable too. It’s OK to have a somewhat generic query letter that has specifics related to you, your book’s subject, editor, and publisher. But make sure you tailor that letter to each individual author when you can. (Don’t overly ass-kiss, either. Keep your dignity!
  3. Should the author agree to look at the manuscript, don’t be a pest. State when your editor will need the blurb (there’s usually a little wiggle room) and provide the editor’s contact information. Say you’ll touch base with the author about a month before the deadline just to see where things stand. And stick to it. No update inquiries every two weeks or every month. Leave the author be.
  4. Always be polite in rejection. Never take it personally. You will get way more nos than yeses. Live with it. Send a quick note thanking the author for considering. Why bother? Perhaps the author will express interest in your next project.
  5. Although I’m sure there are writers who’ve successfully done this, I wouldn’t go to an author’s book signing and ambush him/her with a blurb request. That’s just me. Think about it, do you like it when someone asks you out of nowhere to take them to the airport or help move a body? I don’t. It puts you on the spot and you feel rushed to answer “yes” for the former and “I’ll do it for $1,000” for the latter. I want an author focusing his/her attention on my project, and that can’t happen at a busy book signing. However, if you’ve already provided your manuscript to the author, and learn the author’s doing a nearby signing, then touch base and let them know you’re gonna swing by to introduce yourself. I did this twice. One of the authors provided a blurb, the other wasn’t able to. But in each case I bought a book, got it signed, made connections and am on good terms with both. Both remain exceedingly friendly and supportive, and I can’t wait to run into them at conventions.

So there you go. That’s how I achieved a 6% success rate. And I’m damned proud of it.


And there you have it, friends! Some very thought-provoking ideas from a really cool author. I haven’t read THE DARK SERVANT yet, but I plan to. And I’ve really enjoyed interacting with Matt over the past few months.

Have a great night, friends. Some blurb news of my own on the way…

Thanksgiving/Black Friday Sale!

Hey, all. Hope you all are enjoying a feast today. We feasted, though we’re not descending into complete gluttony until tomorrow. I’ll also be hanging Christmas lights on the uppermost peak of our house, so if you hear a loud thud at some point in the midmorning, you might send a good thought my way.

To celebrate Thanksgiving and Black Friday, the Samhain Horror store has discounted every single one of its titles, which means you can get novels like THE SORROWS, DUST DEVILS, and THE DARKEST LULLABY for three bucks and change. My new novella EXORCIST ROAD is only $3.15. Even my longer books like SAVAGE SPECIES, CASTLE OF SORROWS, and HOUSE OF SKIN are marked down to $4.55. Check out the great deals here!

The Beast Returns

The Beast Returns

And have a fantastic Thanksgiving, friends!

Weekend Round-Up!

Hey, friends. Hope you’re well. I am. More importantly, my family is. Thanksgiving is coming up, which makes me happy because it’s one of the coziest holidays, and I enjoy eating, and, on a selfish note, I’m really hoping to get some extra writing time over the long weekend, and I love writing time even more than eating.

*takes deep breath*

So a few items of interest…

If you haven’t heard about Jesus Gonzalez’s passing, here are the facts: He was a great person and a great writer, and you should buy one or more of his books today.

J.F. Gonzalez and Brian Keene

J.F. Gonzalez and Brian Keene

My horror epic SAVAGE SPECIES is now available at Check it out now.

Listen to the terror...

Listen to the terror…

EXORCIST ROAD, my recent novella release, is slaying audiences. Between Goodreads, Amazon, and a few other prominent sources, it has received a grand total of thirty five-star reviews, fifteen four-star reviews, and not a single review of three stars or fewer. That’s pretty good, no? You can grab it here or anywhere else ebooks are sold. And if that doesn’t do it, my fellow (excellent) author Hunter Shea recently said, “Exorcist Road is Jonathan Janz’s most terrifying tale to date. Raw, brutal, chilling, it demands to be read in one sitting. The best fiction book on possession since The Exorcist!”

 Windy City Horror

Windy City Horror

My upcoming January release, a novel called THE NIGHTMARE GIRL, is also garnering raves. I’m extra proud of this one and can’t wait for folks to read it.

Coming in January

Coming in January

More stuff to talk about, but we’ll save that for later posts. I hope life is well with all of you, and I hope you’re enjoying and appreciating your families (and/or your friends). I can always do better, but I tend to be thankful all year. Every day I get to spend with the ones I love is a gift. Really.

Good night.

An Interview with Kristopher Rufty

Hey, friends. I apologize for the blog silence lately, but I’ve got a special treat for you this weekend. My good friend and fellow writer Kristopher Rufty agreed to answer a few of my questions, and even if my questions were inane, his answers weren’t. He’s an awesome guy and a fantastic writer, so without further preamble, check out what he has to say…

Moreland, James, Everson, Kristopher Rufty, and Me

Moreland, James, Everson, Kristopher Rufty, and Me

Some readers have compared your stuff to the stories of Richard Laymon. How do you feel about that comparison, and is there a specific Laymon story you enjoy the most?

I’m honored whenever somebody compares my writing to his. One person actually apologized when they told me PILLOWFACE reminded them of a Laymon book. I asked why they apologized. Their answer was because his stuff is so outrageous. Smiling, I told them that’s one of many reasons that I like writing. You can be outrageous and there’s no limit to what you can do.

The comparisons are rewarding, but at the same time, I don’t want anyone to think they’re deliberate. I love Laymon’s work the most, but I never wanted to copy him. I like how he’s able to tell so much by writing very little and that’s what I try to do with each story of mine. Because I was worried about the Laymon, Lee, and Ketchum comparisons, I wrote OAK HOLLOW in a completely different voice than my usual. I tried to write in an almost Joe Hill and Bentley Little sort of style. And Don D’Auria sent it back to me. He said it was a great book, but I needed to write it again in my real voice. He told me not to let the comparisons hold me back. I explained how I worried that people thought I was trying to copy those guys, and he said he used to edit them all and he’d be the first to accuse me if he thought it was true. Then he told me I reminded him of Ray Garton, so I figured I was in good hands. J

There are so many Laymon stories that I love. Even the not so popular ones. DARKNESS, TELL US is a lot of fun. I’ve read it multiple times. I also like DARK MOUNTAIN, a lot. Again, not one of his popular stories but, to me, the writing is flawless. QUAKE is as close to perfect as you can get for a truly horrifying story that makes you sweat with tension. That one wound me up so much one night that I never went to sleep. It’s very intense, steals your breath.

I love the Beast House books. THE CELLAR was my first Laymon story and I was hooked from there, but my favorite of the three (four counting FRIDAY NIGHT IN BEAST HOUSE) is probably THE MIDNIGHT TOUR.

IN THE DARK might be a close second choice for my favorite.

Hmmm…if I have to pick one, I choose THE STAKE. Great concept that’s done in such a unique way. It has everything he’s known for on its pages and is written in perfect, punchy prose. Plus, it takes its time building up to the wild climax. Larry Dunbar might also be my favorite Laymon character. For writers like us, Jonathan, this book is required reading. We get to see the life of a successful midlist writer caught in a situation that he would’ve written about in one of his own books. Could you imagine what would happen if you found yourself stuck in something you could have written? Wow!

THE TRAVELING VAMPIRE SHOW and ENDLESS NIGHT might tie for my third favorite. Aargh! So many to choose from. I love them all the best!

I’ve read a good deal of your stuff and loved it all. I haven’t read Proud Parents yet, but its cover is one of the coolest covers I’ve seen in years. How did that cover come about?

Wow, thank you, man. I’m very happy you like the cover. I believe I had the idea for the cover before the book was even finished. There’s a scene in the book where a character is flipping through Gabe’s drawings and finds many grotesque childhood memories captured in crayon. The cover is one of them and there was another one created for the back cover that features Greg (the Dad) burying a body, but it’s hidden underneath the cover copy. If you look very closely, you can somewhat see part of it.

I love the old garish paperback covers from the 70’s, 80’s, and early 90’s. Since PROUD PARENTS is also a tribute to those books, I wanted the cover to reflect that. The artist nailed it. It’s probably my favorite, next to A DARK AUTUMN.

Gorgeous Wickedness

Gorgeous Wickedness

One thing that makes your work so engaging is your characterization. Can you pick one or two of your characters that you like most of all? And why did you choose these characters?

Thank you, again. To know that you enjoy the characters is very relieving. Favorites? That’s tough. Believe it or not, I really like Wendy from THE LURKERS. People hate her, but, to me, she’s just misunderstood and very bad at expressing herself through outlets that aren’t anger. SPOILER ALERT: I received emails from readers outraged that Wendy survived in THE LURKERS and so many of the nice characters were killed. I was happy that she made it. It really showed that her love and devotion to Gary could keep her motivated during such a nightmarish ordeal. She wasn’t unscathed by any means and on the last page we know her story isn’t over. I was happy to revisit her in THE LURKING SEASON. Hopefully she will be forgiven for some of her actions in the first book when she comes back in the second one.

Joel from PILLOWFACE is another favorite. A twelve-year-old horror fan living in a world of fantasy that shields him from the horrors of the real world around him. Myself at that age. But I’d like to think that if I befriended a maniac straight from the horror movies that I adore, I wouldn’t be so quick to follow the same path as Joel. Maybe it’s his lack of guidance, but the boy makes a lot of terrible decisions and too many innocent people pay the price.

But my favorite of them all has to be Detective John Stiltson. He’s been with me since I was fourteen years old, pecking away on a typewriter in my bedroom. He’s popped up in so many stories I’ve written throughout the years that I feel like I know him best out of anybody I’ve written about. He’s in ANGEL BOARD as a main character and OAK HOLLOW in a small role. I hope to spend more time with him in the future. He was almost in THE SKIN SHOW, but I quickly decided not to have him come in and take over the book. It was about Andy Raab and if Stiltson showed up, heads would roll.

But he’ll be back soon. I want to do a book that focuses on Stiltson and his trusty partner, Giles. Kind of a crime novel, but with horror elements sprinkled throughout. I have the title and the premise in mind, but haven’t sat down to work on my notes for it.

Fast-Paced Terror

Fast-Paced Terror

What is your favorite part about being a writer? Is there a least favorite part?

Great question. Nobody’s asked me what I like least about being a writer. Maybe I should start there. Honestly, what I like the least is not getting to write more than I already do. I had a huge health scare last year that I’m still trying to recover from. It was one of those close-the-door moments at the doctor’s office when he explained my options. I thank God that it didn’t turn out as badly as the doctor prepared me for. But the future was unknown and I didn’t get to write too much for a long time afterward. My wife helped me set up in the bedroom and I wrote the majority of PROUD PARENTS and all of THE SKIN SHOW in bed. But those weeks where writing was scarce, I felt like an addict in need of a fix. I couldn’t sleep. I was moody and irritable, not a pleasant person to be around. But when I was able to get back to work on PROUD PARENTS, I noticed a quick improvement in how I felt. My attitude changed. I felt better, excited, and eager. Hungry. By the time work began on THE SKIN SHOW, I couldn’t be stopped.

So what I like least about writing are the days I don’t get to do it at all.

And what my favorite part is everything about the process. I love those moments when I can sit back and let the story flow from my brain through my fingers, the days my hands struggle to keep up with the flow. I call it a creative dump from my brain, like it’s been holding it in during a long drive and finally found the rest stop toilet. The story just plops out. Haha. Gross, I know.

I love watching the characters grow. Wendy from THE LURKERS is the perfect example of this. So is Sheriff Ben Holly from PRANK NIGHT. Greg and Sheila from PROUD PARENTS. Miles from THE SKIN SHOW. These characters start off as one type of person, then they quickly adapt into something stronger. But there’s also a flipside to that. There’re those characters that start off strong but quickly decay into something you’re not expecting. I’ve been surprised more than once when somebody I think will live to the end are quickly dispatched in a rather gruesome way.

And I love hearing from my readers and getting to meet them. Last March in Horrorhound a reader came to the table with a stack of my stuff for me to sign. Another person came with a framed DVD sleeve of Psycho Holocaust for me to sign. That was a humbling experience. I felt like, maybe for the first time, that I was finally there, you know. It still makes me feel tingly whenever somebody pops up and tells me they enjoyed one of my books. I know I can’t win them all, and I don’t, but when I do I’m very grateful.

Another Great Read

Another Great Read

What’s on the horizon for Kristopher Rufty? Can you talk about the projects you’re working on and what else you have planned?

I love talking about what’s coming next. Sinister Grin Press picked up my novel JAGGER and will be releasing it in December. They’re planning a huge promotion to coincide with the release. I think they’ve already booked podcasts, interviews, and have a lot more plans for it. It’ll be available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book. I’m really excited about this book. It’s my killer dog story, but told in a way that I think has never been done. I put characters from my independent movie, Rags, in the book and had so much fun with them.

Somewhere around that time I’ll put out the e-book and possibly the paperback of BIGFOOT BEACH. The hardcover will come next year sometime with some other surprises inside. This book was a blast to write. The idea started two years ago when I went to eat lunch with my kids at school and somehow we got on the subject about how we all have big feet. I made a comment that if somebody saw our footprints in the sand at the beach they’d think a Bigfoot was running loose. It was one of those moments where the idea exploded in my head and I couldn’t talk for a few moments as the story just assembled itself right there. My kids have been excited to see this one come out, so I can’t wait for people to read it.

Thunderstorm Books wants to put out one more new one from me before the end of the year also, but I don’t know if it’ll make it. This one might be the first of 2015, but if I can get the rewrites done in time, it just might print before Christmas. Either way, it’s going to be a beautiful book. This one is my vampire tale, set in the 50’s in a small farming town in Wisconsin. That’s about all I’m going to say for now.

I have two titles coming from Samhain in 2015. The first will be THE LURKING SEASON, a sequel to THE LURKERS, and the other I won’t name just yet. I turned it in last week, so I can talk more about it soon.

Also, Audio Realms will release the audiobooks for PILLOWFACE and OAK HOLLOW before the end of the year, plus some more next year. I’ve heard samples of these books and I’m very happy with how they turned out.

I also have to have a book turned in to DarkFuse by May. It’s my first of three for them. It’ll come out the year after, with the other two following each year after. So I’ll be busy for a while and I couldn’t be happier.

Thanks for having me on your blog, buddy. It’s always fun. Can’t wait to hang out again and talk about writing and old horror paperbacks. Congratulations on EXORCIST ROAD, such a powerfully horrifying story that I still think about. It’s one of those that’ll stay with me forever.

And that’s a wrap. See what I mean about Kristopher? Not only does he write outstanding, edge-of-your-seat books, he has impeccable taste in other writers.

So check him out now. I promise you’ll have a great time!