High Noon with the Dust Devils – An Interview With Jonathan Janz

Jonathan Janz:

My very good friend Hunter Shea (who also happens to be one of the best writers in and out of the horror genre working today), interviewed me on his blog. Here’s what happened…

Originally posted on Hunter Shea:

Jonathan Janz is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. If you’ve never read his books, you might assume the mind behind the man is as unassuming as a Norman Rockwell painting. Thankfully, you’d be wrong. Dead wrong. This is a man who knows how to spin a twisted, pulse-pounding yarn. He’s been one busy dude since making his Samhain Horror debut a couple of years ago.

I’m both thrilled and honored to interview the man who conjures some of the finest books in the genre. His latest, Dust Devils, is a terrifying tale of Vampires in the old west. Grab a stake, crucifix and some garlic and read on, my children of the night….

Speaking as a fellow author who was writing his own western horror the same time as you, what made you decide to set Dust Devils in the old, wild west?

I think—at least at this point in…

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The Weekly Janz Dance Party

Love This Song

Love This Song

We’re dancers, my family. Oh, I don’t have any skill at it. In fact, were one to drive by our big picture windows during one of our dance sessions, one would think I was being attacked by a swarm of Japanese hornets. Or suffering from demonic possession.

We jump, shake, twist, and perform our own patented move—a gravity-defying maneuver called the Spin Jump. And my kids (8, 6, and 3) don’t care (yet) that their dad is a complete dork, which helps a great deal. So here, without further preamble, was tonight’s mix:

The Lizard King

The Lizard King

The Black Crowes: “Hard to Handle”
Modern English: “I Melt with You”
Dexy’s Midnight Runners: “Come on Eileen”
The Charlie Daniels Band: “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”
The Doobie Brothers: “Listen to the Music”
Tim McGraw: “For a Little While”
The Doors: “Light My Fire”
The Beatles: “Ticket to Ride”
John Mellencamp: “Hurts So Good”
The Emotions: “Best of My Love”
AC/DC: “Back in Black”
Elvis Presley: “Big Hunk O’Love”
Prince: “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man”

Fellow Hoosier

Fellow Hoosier

So there you have it. Our dance mix for the week. If you drive by some night, don’t worry. I’m perfectly healthy. Or reasonably so.

I just can’t dance a lick.

My kids though? They absolutely kill it.

Artist

Artist

HorrorHound Cincinnati: Bruce Campbell, The Walking Dead, and Me

Ready to play the rapid-fire lightning round blog post game?

Scott Wilson--He and I Will Be Chilling This Weekend

Scott Wilson–He and I Will Be Chilling This Weekend

1. Deadline looming, stress rising, blog posts suffering. It’s okay though. It’s the kind of stress I want.

2. Heading to HorrorHound Cincinnati tomorrow night. I’ll be signing copies of my new vampire western DUST DEVILS as well as other novels at the Samhain Horror booth from 7-to-10 Friday and from 10 (AM)-to-1 on Saturday.

3. If I’m not reason enough to come, you should still stop by to see Tim Waggoner, Hunter Shea, Mick Ridgewell, David Searls, Russell James, and Kristopher Rufty.

4. If you’re still not sold, how about Bruce Campbell and about half the cast of The Walking Dead?

Bruce Campbell

Bruce Campbell

5. I got some fantastic news today about an upcoming event. I’ll be sharing this with you next week.

6. I’ll be bringing my family to Cincy for HorrorHound. Are my three children (8, 6, and 3) ready? Is my wife? Stay tuned…

Writing Advice #4: The Sydney Pollack Test

*The following article was originally published on the excellent THe GaL iN THe BLue MaSK blog.

Writing Advice #4: The Sydney Pollack Test

The following thoughts represent the fourth installment of an ongoing series of articles featuring writing advice from a man who knows far less than others do about writing and publishing. I’m not claiming to be an expert, but I do like to be helpful, and if I help one aspiring writer with my ramblings, it will have been worth it. Since I can’t go back and speak to my younger self, I guess helping others learn lessons I had to learn later on is the next best thing.

Let me tell you about one of my favorite movies.

Tootsie clocks in at #2 on the American Film Institute list of best comedies. It stars Dustin Hoffman and Jessica Lange, and was directed by the brilliant Sydney Pollack, who hails from a town only five minutes away from where I now live. So there’s that.

Classic

Classic

Anyway, Pollack is not only the director of Tootsie, he’s a supporting player. Hoffman plays Michael Dorsey, who is perhaps the most difficult actor on the planet. Pollack plays George Fields, Michael’s agent. In an early scene, Michael and George have an exchange that is more than merely funny; for me, the clashing dialogue signaled a transformative moment in my writing career (exchange courtesy of the Internet Movie Database):

George Fields: Where do you come off sending me your roommate’s play for you to star in? I’m your agent, not your mother! I’m not supposed to find plays for you to star in – I’m supposed to field offers! And that’s what I do!

Michael Dorsey: ‘Field offers?’ Who told you that, the Agent Fairy? That was a significant piece of work – I could’ve been terrific in that part.

George Fields: Michael, nobody’s gonna do that play.

Michael Dorsey: Why?

George Fields: Because it’s a downer, that’s why. Because nobody wants to produce a play about a couple that moved back to Love Canal.

Michael Dorsey: But that actually happened!

George Fields: WHO GIVES A SHIT? Nobody wants to pay twenty dollars to watch people living next to chemical waste! They can see that in New Jersey!

Okay, my apologies for the profanity, and from here on out I’ll write $&#% instead of the aforementioned curse, but I included the bad word for a reason. Essentially, George Fields’s bellowed “WHO GIVES A $&#%?” runs through my mind every day I edit one of my stories.

Sydney Pollack

Sydney Pollack

Here’s a fact: You aren’t objective about your own writing.

Sure, you might be more objective than other writers are about their stuff, but even so, do you really believe you can dispassionately look at your work and judge its quality better than, say, an expert editor can? I say no, but as I mentioned above, I’ve been wrong before.

Moving forward, though, where does this leave you? I think it leaves you with a need to become as ruthless as you can be with your own work. My own editing process involves (at minimum) eighteen slow and laser-specific passes through a manuscript, each time examining a different facet of the story.

But there are certain global, ubiquitous guidelines that I carry with me during each one of my eighteen rounds. One of them is the Sydney Pollack Test. In other words, I’m always ready to pounce on my own work with the bellowed question “WHO GIVES A $&#%?”

Dustin Hoffman

Dustin Hoffman

See, I don’t believe in rules for writing—I believe in guidelines. Because every single “rule” can be broken if it’s broken the right way by the right writer at the right moment in the right story. One size never fits all. But one guideline I try to adhere to is to make every one of my scenes (and I’m FREQUENTLY examining specific scenes and treating them as separate entities) either a) reveal character, b) advance the plot, or c) both (this is preferable).

What this approach helps me to do is to isolate scenes, paragraphs, lines, or even words that are there for some other reason than the aforementioned a, b, or c. Maybe a dialogue exchange was really snappy. Perhaps I like a specific sensory detail. Often it was just a matter of falling in love with my own use of language (I’m engaged in a passionate, lifelong affair with words, and that sometimes leads me to cozy up to a turn of phrase when that turn of phrase doesn’t really belong in the story).

But honestly, poetic passages are pretty pointless if they bog down the plot. Or if they create an aura of stasis around your protagonist. I’ve read books in which the author’s philosophies about cars, about politics, about yak husbandry in Tibet pop up for no other reason than that the author loves to ramble on about them. But if those ramblings have nothing to do with the characters, then those ramblings have nothing to do with the story. And anything that isn’t the story needs to go.

Or, to be less artful about it, “WHO GIVES A $&#%?”

No one cares (except you) that the 1967 Corvette was the best Corvette ever, so if you include a two-page dissertation on the 1967 Corvette, it better darn well be advancing your plot or revealing a fundamental truth about one of your characters. No one cares that a particular adjective is lovely if the adjective sticks out like a sore thumb. “But I’m really proud of that adjective,” you say. “It has a poetic ring!”

WHO GIVES A $&#%? your inner Sydney Pollack needs to shout. Cut the darned thing out before your reader nods off! 

And even fewer people care about the mating habits of Tibetan yaks. Unless they’re Tibetan yak owners. Or possessed of some weird yak kink.

Tootsie-HoffmanAndPollack

George Meets Dorothy

I remember watching the extras on the Extended Edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring DVD and hearing Peter Jackson talk about the agonizing process of turning what was a couple hundred hours of footage into a three-hour movie. There were beautiful scenes in Rivendell, powerful character moments with Gandalf, heartfelt and tender moments between Aragorn and Arwen.

Each cut was excruciating for Peter Jackson and his editor.

Until they experienced an epiphany. The story, at least in the first film, is really about Frodo. And don’t try to tell this hardcore Ringer about Aragorn’s destiny and Gandalf’s backstory and all the other aspects of the LOTR mythos because I know about them, and I geek out about every bit of that stuff. But despite my love for the other characters and their journeys, I have to admit that the tale really does depend on Frodo. Once Jackson and company realized this, their cuts became much easier. Anything that was not Frodo’s story became expendable, no matter how great the performance, no matter how fantastic the writing.

The Headliner

The Ring-Bearer and Story-Bearer

So when you edit, you must find the story, and everything that is not the story must go. One of the methods by which I determine this is the Sydney Pollack Test.

Lest you think I’m just spouting off here instead of speaking from experience, earlier today I opened a file called “DUST DEVILS Cuts.” For those of you unfamiliar with this title, DUST DEVILS is my brand-new vampire western. It is a story of which I’m extremely proud, and one that has garnered stunning reviews in its first few weeks on shelves. The “DUST DEVILS Cuts” folder is over eighteen thousand words long, while the novel itself runs about eighty thousand words. So, in essence, I excised about a fifth of the story I had written in my first draft over the course of my many edits. I also changed or altered the majority of what remained. And through it all, Sydney Pollack was perched on my shoulder, bespectacled eyes aglitter, always eager to bellow “WHO GIVES A $&#%?” to prevent me from intruding on my story, to curtail my desire to hotrod around showing off my vocabulary.

Most of all, to save me from myself.

So remember to be ruthless. Remember to be sure that someone other than you will care about a scene, a paragraph, a sentence, or a word. Remember to be like Sydney Pollack.

And if any of you are in the mood to watch the glorious exchange on which this blog post is based, it’s right here. If you haven’t read DUST DEVILS yet, you can check it out here or anywhere else books are sold.

Octane Loaded Second Review of Jonathan Janz’s Vampire Western, Dust Devils! Plus an Interview (Squeal All You’d Like)!

One of the coolest things for a writer is waking up to a great review. Well, here’s a WONDERFUL review from my good friend Erin Al-Mehairi at her awesome Oh, for the Hook of a Book blog. If you haven’t “followed” it yet, you need to. There’s consistently great quality there, and Erin examines a diverse array of genres. Anyway, here’s the review, as well as an interview with me:

Octane Loaded Second Review of Jonathan Janz’s Vampire Western, Dust Devils! Plus an Interview (Squeal All You’d Like)!.

2014 Appearances: Part One

Hey, friends! Can’t you tell how happy I am to see you? Didn’t the exclamation point at the end of the salutation fill you with a sense of warmth and adoration? If not…what do you want from me? A hash tag? An umlaut? A SCHWA? Well I don’t just hand out schwas to anyone who shows up at my blog, darn it, you have to EARN a schwa from me!

Anywho.

One of my unstated (until now) goals is to attend more and more conventions each year. In 2012 (my first year as a published novelist), I attended two. Last year I attended…well, two. But I meant to attend three, and that counts for something doesn’t it? Or are you still mad about the schwa thing?

So this year, to both accomplish my goal and to compensate for last year’s plateau, I’m planning on going to at least FOUR conventions. *puffs out chest and struts like Borat…”King in the castle, King in the castle, I have a chair”…*

boratI can’t talk about two of them yet because they’re not confirmed. The first, however, will be on Thursday, March 13th at the Public Library Association Conference in Indianapolis. I’ll be signing books from 2:00 until whenever they forcibly eject me from my chair.

pla-2014

The second will be eight days later at HorrorHound Cincinnati. I’ll be signing books and hanging out with fans from 7-to-10 on Friday night and from 10-until-1 on Saturday morning/early afternoon. There’ll also be some no-names there like Bruce Campbell and the cast of The Walking Dead, so once you’ve met me, you can grab some of their autographs.

horrorhound-weekend-
I’ll post more updates as I get them, including something fun that’ll happen this summer. But for now, I better go. My next deadline is the end of April, and I’ve got some big scenes to write. This one’s gonna be fun…

Jonathan Janz Is Now a Fan of Jonathan Janz

Here’s an embarrassing recurring accident:

I pull out my iPhone, choose the Goodreads ap, and wait to see what pops up. I belong to several groups there, my favorite of which is called Horror Aficionados, and I sometimes like to check out what’s happening with my fellow twisted horror fans. But then, somehow, inexplicably, I click the button on my profile that says “You are now a fan of Jonathan Janz.”

My Favorite Author. For Twelve Minutes.

My Favorite Author. For Twelve Minutes.

After staring at my phone for a split second in utter horror, I scramble to find a way to stop being a fan of myself, but really, the damage is already done. The way it works is that my Goodreads friends receive updates about me (my reviews, my hopes and dreams), and they’ve already seen that I’ve become a fan of myself. Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with authors being fans of their own work, but I go with my gut on stuff like this, and my gut tells me I look like a self-aggrandizing, socially unaware, attention-seeking dipwad at whom people are laughing incredulously and rolling their eyes: “My, my, my. Someone is full of himself today, isn’t he?” *pompous sniff*

Now, folks might not be thinking any of the above, but I’m thinking they’re thinking it, and that’s enough for me. Oh, sure, eventually I’m able to get on my laptop and de-fan myself, but what message am I sending then? That I don’t like my own work? That for twelve minutes I thought that Janz guy was cool but then decided he’s a no-talent hack?

And this, my friends, has happened three times now. The insane part of it is when I go back to my Goodreads iPhone ap, I can’t even find what button to click to become a fan of myself. Which leads me to believe it’s invisible and has actually been placed there by the NSA to strike back at a horror author whose July release (CASTLE OF SORROWS)  includes the deaths of several fictional FBI employees. And that means the NSA has somehow gotten hold of my manuscript, which means they’ve hacked either my computer, the PC of Don D’Auria (my editor at Samhain), or the home of my agent Louise Fury. And if they can get to Louise, who on earth is safe?! I WANT MY RIGHTS!!!

How People Imagine Me after I "Fan" Myself

How People Imagine Me after I “Fan” Myself

Okay. Rant over. If you need me, I’ll be huddling in the corner of my underground bunker with my survivalist friends. And if you decide to drop in, we’ll be the ones in the tinfoil hats.

The password is dipwad.

Introducing the Sixth Member of Our Family: Weasley the Puppy

If you’ve had your cuteness ration for the week, you might want to escape now. I’m not saying that if you don’t find our new puppy extremely sweet and loveable, you’re a heartless Grinch, but, well, you are.

Ladies and Gentlemen (and Heartless Grinches), I present to you…

Weasley

photo 1

I don’t know much about dogs, but I do know that in only two short weeks Weasley has had an impact on our lives. And by the way, I’ve been dealing with some guilt over the fact that we got him from a breeder (please don’t douse me with a bucket of pig blood) because every single pet I’ve owned up until now has been a stray. But enough about me and my callousness…

Weasley’s breed, my wife tells me, is often used as a therapy dog. I can see why. One of my biggest challenges as a human being is to relax. I have to continually remind myself to relax because it’s not at all a natural state of existence for me. But when I’m holding Weasley on my chest or in my lap, I feel a great deal more at ease. He seems to like me too, for whatever obscure canine reason.

More importantly, my wife loves him and has essentially accessorized him over the past fortnight. Wherever she goes, he goes. When she teaches piano or voice lessons, there he is, chin on paws, reposing in her lap. When she cooks dinner, he sits faithfully at her heels, blissfully unaware of the boiling water percolating on the stove (notice how my safety monitor OCD has already extended to our dog?). When she climbs into the shower…actually, Weasley hates baths, so he doesn’t follow her in there. But I’m sure he waits anxiously for her to finish up so he can resume his curly-headed vigil.

photo 2

Just as important as his relationship with my wife is the manner in which he interacts with my kids. My youngest—we’ll call her Peach—is constantly trying to snatch him up and tote him around. This concerns me, as she clearly hasn’t learned the meaning of finesse yet (at three, I suspect this trait will take some time to cultivate). But Peach loves him and clamors for equality in the Weasley Holding Wars of 2014.

Speaking of the WHW, my middle child (I call her, among other things, Scoopy, a nickname I suspect my wife detests…I mean, another nickname for her is Sparkle, but the Cloying Quotient of this post has already reached terminal mass, and I fear a repeated utterance of Sparkle will move the needle all the way into nauseating territory—What? We’re there already? FINE! Grinch). Anywho, Scoopy is absolutely addicted to the puppy and will protest violently when one of us dares hold the puppy in her presence. Weasley is her dog, and I do have to say, she has been extremely faithful and cheerful about taking care of him. I don’t think many six-year-olds would eagerly take the puppy outside to use the restroom in zero-degree weather, do you?

So yeah, I’m pretty proud of Scoopy. And proud of Peach for not dropping Weasley on his head yet.

As for my third child, my oldest, my son…well, my wife calls him my Mini-Me, and though I hear that term used a lot for kids and parents, in this case it really is true. While there are of course differences between me and my son—at age eight his legs are already more muscular than mine are now, he’s better at math, and he can draw without it looking like he’s afflicted with a caffeine-induced palsy—we are eerily alike in many ways. So Bubba (one of his many nicknames) has as much trouble relaxing as I do. But from the moment he first held Weasley, I could see a softness pervade Bubba’s features, a subtle euphoria that would only be apparent to someone who knows him really well. Bubba loves to play with Weasley; he sees it as his personal duty to tire the puppy out so Weasley will sleep well enough to give my wife and me some rest too.

photo 3

Bubba also enjoys the feel of the puppy, which is a good reminder to me that he’s a very tactile young boy. I love to hug Bubba and kiss his head, and watching him do the same to Weasley reminds me that this probably isn’t just a stage in Bubba’s development—he truly craves and enjoys giving that physical affection. And no, don’t worry. I’m not going to kiss Bubba’s forehead in front of his high school friends someday. Unless Bubba wants me to, in which case I’ll kiss that forehead so much it’ll prune, his friends’ opinions be damned.

I better wrap this up now. In case you’re wondering, Weasley is named after the ginger-haired family in Harry Potter. My wife chose the name and now wants to change it to Louie Lambykins. I’m against the name change on principle, not only due to my love of the Harry Potter books but because I can’t imagine opening up our backdoor and bellowing “LAMBYKINS!!!!” I mean, I’m secure in my manly macho toughness and all, but something tells me I’d be biologically incapable of shouting that word without feeling in some way diminished. Is that silly? Yes. Am I absurd for feeling that way? Absolutely. But at least I can admit it, right? At least I’m unafraid to overshare with complete strangers about irrational aversions. Doesn’t that count for something?

So have a great Saturday, friends, and remember to support Harry Potter Canine Naming. It’s easy, it promotes great literature.

It’s the right thing to do.

J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Here’s the thing about the Harry Potter books…

They’re awesome.

Deep, huh? Well, deep or shallow, it’s the truth. I waited a long time to read the Harry Potter books because I wanted to experience them with my own children. My son (8) and I just finished the sixth book, my first daughter (6) and I are working on the first, and my youngest child (3) is content to commandeer her siblings’ wands and run around shrieking, “I have a Harry Potter stick!”

In other words, we all enjoy it.

Cover-HalfBlood

I could write a great deal about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but it’s a tough book to write about without giving things away. And though I loved this novel for many reasons, I find it quite difficult to separate it from the other tales. This, I think, speaks to J.K. Rowling’s ability to connect the stories in a such a way that they each have their own identity while still continuing to trace a gigantic glowing arc through the sky along which the reader is able to ride from the first book to the seventh.

So before I tell you a few things I loved about the novel, please know that there might be spoilers below. Not huge spoilers, mind you, but I’m always afraid of letting something slip. So…be forewarned. Don’t read on if you haven’t read this book yet. And if you haven’t read the book, why are you reading a review of it by a writer whose skills don’t yet approach J.K. Rowling’s? Seriously. Get off the danged Internet and read this amazing series!

Some delights and terrors and sorrows…

fenrir greyback

1. Fenrir Greyback: Bet that surprised you a little. I know that this character played a relatively minor role, but on the page he was a scene-stealer, a flesh-chewer, and a perfect foil for one of my favorite characters, Remus Lupin.

An aside: About a year before I began reading the series, my Creative Writing class was discussing characterization. The kids began talking about the Harry Potter books. One remarked that the supporting characters were as interesting as the leads, which led another student to bring up Remus Lupin. She was halfway through her cataloging of his merits as a character when she stopped and looked up at me, as if seeing me anew. She then said, “Mr. (Insert real name here). You sort of remind me of Lupin.” When I later found out he was a werewolf, I was a little bit shocked (and secretly pleased). But when I really got to know the character, I found the remark incredibly gratifying.

Back to Fenrir Greyback (with whom I hope I have nothing in common)…

What made Greyback so incredibly interesting to me was not only the sheer ferocity of his behavior, but the diabolical simplicity of his motives. If the Harry Potter books were likened to Lord of the Flies and Voldemort’s ambition were compared with Jack’s (the leader of the hunters), then Greyback would be Roger, the sadist. This powderkeg of a character lives only to rend flesh and to guzzle the steaming lifeblood of his victims. Greyback doesn’t want to rule the world; he simply wants to terrorize it. I don’t know what kind of a role he plays in the seventh book (if any), but his unreasoning brutality added just the right note of menace to a book that largely—and sensitively—focused on the romantic relationships of its teenagers.

Fleur-delacour

2. Fleur’s Surprising Reaction: I admit to falling prey to a stupid prejudice here, and I feel awful about it. But I wrongly assumed Fleur Delacour was a pretty face without a soul. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire she was the object of many male desires (Ron’s particularly), and though she was skilled at wizardry, she wasn’t an especially affecting character. She did seem affected, however, and when she showed up again in Book Six, I, like Mrs. Weasley, rolled my eyes and dismissed her as a fluttery, vapid future supermodel.

How wrong I was.

One mark of a great writer, I think, is the ability to surprise the reader without cheating. That’s J.K. Rowling. When something terrible befell Fleur’s fiance, I was all set to mentally berate her for her superficiality. But rather than making a caricature out of Fleur—as I fear I unknowingly did—Rowling transformed her and made her deeply endearing with a couple elegant lines of dialogue.

And I loved that. So here’s to continual reminders to not judge people by appearances or even their seeming personalities. People can still surprise us, and we need to give them the opportunity to do so.

*takes a deep breath*

And lastly…

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

3. Dumbledore: If you’ve read this far, you’ve only been assailed by minor spoilers. I don’t want to spoil this plot twist, but I don’t know how to talk about it without spoiling it. And the fact is, I don’t want to talk about it.

Rarely has a fictional character so resonated with me the way Albus Dumbledore has. In the first book he was wise, eccentric, and a constant source of comfort. As the series has developed, he has persisted in exhibiting those traits, but he has also grown more than most might think. He has revealed a penchant for trusting others too much. He has admitted how fallible he is, how prone to mistakes. He has been injured, accused of wrongdoing, and generally fed through a physical and emotional woodchipper.

And he has come through it all with an open, caring heart and an enormous capacity for love. One passage in particular, I think, summarizes this amazing character for me. In a scene that chronicles how Tom Riddle became Lord Voldemort, Dumbledore attempts to gird Harry’s resolve and confidence in the inevitable battle with his nemesis:

“Yes, you have,” said Dumbledore firmly. “You have a power that Voldemort has never had. You can—”

“I know!” said Harry impatiently. “I can love!” It was only with difficult that he stopped himself adding, “Big deal!”

“Yes, Harry, you can love,” said Dumbledore, who looked as though he knew perfectly well what Harry had just refrained from saying. “Which, given everything that has happened to you, is a great and remarkable thing. You are still too young to understand how unusual you are, Harry.”

“So, when the prophecy says that I’ll have ‘power the Dark Lord knows not,’ it just means—love?” asked Harry, feeling a little let down.

“Yes—just love,” said Dumbledore.

The above passage will strike some as too direct, too naive, or worst of all, too emotional.

It struck me as incredibly beautiful. There are all sorts of belief systems in the world, and no two people are exactly alike in their beliefs. But what Dumbledore says here is something that, were it adopted by more people, would alter our world for the better. Harry, for all his flaws, usually acts with good intentions. He befriends Luna Lovegood (another one of my favorite characters in all of fiction), gives of himself to others, and is willing to suffer so that others won’t have to experience the same pain. In other words, Harry loves.

And so can Dumbledore. Which is why this book was so memorable, wonderful, and painful to me.

I’m going to go now. My wife is making a delicious supper. My son and first daughter are ready to wrestle. And my three-year-old is racing around the house casting spells on the furniture with her Harry Potter stick.

And for that, J.K. Rowling, I thank you.

Shattered Ravings on DUST DEVILS: “This showcases Janz’s talent as a master storyteller”

Howdy, pardners! Good of y’all to stop by the Janz Cyber-Ranch for some whiskey and—ah, I can’t do it. I know a gimmick is tired when I annoy myself with it. And while I typed the above opening, I very nearly walked away from the keyboard.

*shivers*

So I’m blogging tonight for two reasons. One, I want you to know that my next novel hits shelves (both virtual and physical) in six days. It’s a vampire western called DUST DEVILS, hence the nauseating western salutation above. I’m still shivering about that one, by the way.

Vampire Terror

Vampire Terror

My second purpose, however, is to direct you to this review, courtesy of Matthew Scott Baker and his super Shattered Ravings review blog. By my count this is the third official review of DUST DEVILS, and like the first two (from Dreadful Tales and Horror Novel Reviews), this one is glowing. A couple highlights:

“Just when I thought vampires were no longer scary, Samhain Publishing and author Jonathan Janz decide to prove me wrong! That’s right…you heard me. Janz’s latest novel, DUST DEVILS, reignites the terror-fueled horror sub-genre that for many decades held readers and movie-goers in the grip of fear.”

And…

“This showcases Janz’s talent as a master storyteller, and it also gives us a glimpse at how diverse his ideas can be.”

So if you haven’t preordered DUST DEVILS yet, what are you waiting for? Maybe you want to purchase the book on its release date, February 4th. Or maybe you’re still so disenchanted with vampires that you’re waffling about whether you should purchase the book or not. To which I’d ask, “Is it my fault that sparkly, angsty vampires have become so prevalent over the past couple decades?” I’d also remind the jaded disillusioned former vampire fan to remember George R.R. Martin’s fabulous Fevre Dream, Ray Garton’s electrifying Live Girls, Richard Matheson’s terrifying I Am Legend, and Stephen King’s classic ‘Salem’s Lot. I could go on and on about all the great vampire books out there, but I’ll save those thoughts for later blog posts. After all, we’ll have the rest of winter and spring to talk about DUST DEVILS, won’t we? WON’T WE?

Have a great night’s sleep, folks. I hope I can give you a nightmare or two next week.

A Vampire Gem

A Vampire Gem