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.


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.”


“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

The DUST DEVILS Ride in One Week!

Okay, folks. Barnes and Noble has already begun shipping the paperbacks. DUST DEVILS arrived at a slew of readers’ houses yesterday, and I suspect Amazon will soon be sending out these bad boys too:

The Devils Are Coming

The Devils Are Coming

The ebook version launches on February 4th, and if you pre-order at the Samhain Horror website, you can snatch it up for only $3.85 (the paperback, which looks even more gorgeous in person, is a mere $11.20).

I know every writer gets excited about a new release, but this one really is special. This is the first time I’ve written a novel in which there is left absolutely no chance for a sequel. The heroes must live or die in this book, and the villains must kill or be killed. And I like that.

Aside from being completely self-contained, this is my first western and my first emphatic word on vampires. This is a topic I’ll cover in further detail later, but for now I’ll just say that vampires remain a largely untapped area in horror fiction.

Yes, I really said that.

Why do they have to be attractive OR ferocious OR intelligent OR seductive OR depraved OR vindictive OR (insert adjective here)? Why can’t they be all those things and more?

A Well-Rounded Vampire

A Well-Rounded Vampire

If you’re not convinced yet, check out the first two reviews of DUST DEVILS here and here.

I think you’re really gonna like this one, friends.

Stay warm.

Wag the Fox Enters the DARK ZONE

Hey, friends! We’re buckling down here for another wave of severe weather. My son is next to me on his iPad pretending I didn’t just tell him to turn it off. He figures since tomorrow has already been declared a snow day, he doesn’t really need to take my orders literally. Or that they’re soft orders. You know, suggestions. But at least the program he’s in allows him to build houses. He’s currently designing a beachfront mansion for his mother and me, complete with a lava waterfall and a towering staircase leading to a floating platform without any rails or supports. And while the safety monitor in me blanches at the innate hazards of such a construction, I do have to say…I’ve wanted my own lavafall ever since I glimpsed Syndrome’s in The Incredibles.


Gef Fox at his very cool Wag the Fox blog spot reviewed the third installment of SAVAGE SPECIES (DARK ZONE). Here’s what he had to say…

As far the action goes, it’s intense. The claustrophobic caverns come through loud and clear. The Children are just nuts. And it looks like there might be something even worse in those caverns with Jesse and the gang, and it was hard to imagine how things could get worse for them. Fortunately, that’s Jonathan Janz’s job, imagining ways for things to get worse, and he does it well.”

Subterranean Terror

Subterranean Terror

The full review is right here.

Have a great night, friends, and stay warm. Maybe with your own lavafall.

Jonathan Janz ‘Dust Devils’ Review

Jonathan Janz:

Horror Novel Reviews Takes on the DUST DEVILS…

Originally posted on Horror Novel Reviews:


Written by: Joe Hempel

From the Back: Beware when the vampires come to town.

When traveling actors recruited his wife for a plum role, Cody Wilson had no idea they would murder her. Twelve-year-old Willet Black was just as devastated the night the fiends slaughtered everyone he loved. Now Cody and Willet are bent on revenge, but neither of them suspects what they’re really up against.

For the actors are vampires. Their thirst for human blood is insatiable. Even if word of their atrocities were to spread, it would take an army to oppose them. But it is 1885 in the wilds of New Mexico, and there is no help for Cody and Willet. The two must battle the vampires—alone—or die trying.

The heartbreaking story of Cody Wilson will have you on the edge of your seat.  It’s a story about courage, it’s a story about revenge, and ultimately…

View original 521 more words

Writing Advice #3: Rejection Is…

It took me approximately eleven years to figure out how to tell a story. And though I still have a long way to go and will be improving until the day I die, I think I learned enough about rejection during those eleven years to help at least one person reading this blog receive rejection in a more productive manner.

So let me tell you some things about the R-word:

Rejection is…

1. …discouraging

If you don’t bat an eyelash when someone criticizes your work, good for you. If someone responds to your writing negatively (or if someone doesn’t respond at all) and that doesn’t bother you…that’s fantastic! You’re a superhero! The world is in awe of you! We genuflect at the altar of your imperviousness!

But for the rest of us, rejection is unpleasant. It’s normal to feel frustrated. Most of us, at one time or another, feel like we’re not good enough. And it’s not like other disappointments. It’s not like not winning the lottery (bad luck) or not getting picked for the kickball team (he only chooses his best friends anyway). No, this is something on which, presumably, we’ve spent a lot of time, an endeavor into which we’ve poured a great deal of ourselves, often going as far as sharing secret thoughts or fictionalizing childhood memories. And when we hear “No,” it makes us sad. Or angry. Or something else we don’t want to feel.

Watch SIDEWAYS; It's How Rejection Feels

Watch SIDEWAYS; It’s How Rejection Feels

Rejection is also…

2. …painful

After about eight years of getting everything I wrote rejected, I told my wife I felt like Houdini. Legend has it he used to allow people to punch him in the gut to show how firm his abdominal muscles were. Legend also has it he died that way. And though I never died from a rejection, I did begin to tense my stomach muscles every time I opened my emails. Because I didn’t see them as unopened messages any longer; I saw them as impending gut punches. If my inbox said “3 Unread Messages,” that meant I was about to receive three glancing belly blows. (Or two gut punches and one email from a Nigerian prince who promised to give me his fortune if I gave him my credit card number.)

I became skilled at timing my ab-clenching at just the right moment. Occasionally I’d receive more than a quick jab from a message; on those rare occasions when a partial or even a—gasp!—full manuscript had been requested by an agent, the rejection would feel closer to a roundhouse right to the jaw or a walloping dropkick to the throat. And I’d be lying if I claimed I never covered my privates in an unconscious gesture of terror.

Jonathan Opens His Email...

Jonathan Opens His Email…

So yes, rejection can be painful. It can make you wince, grimace, or even experience a debilitating bout of nausea.

But rejection can also be…

3. …instructive

Most rejection will come in the form of silence. We live in an ever-expanding world with a population approaching seven billion. And six billion of those people want to write novels. That means that most agents and editors will never read your work, and if they do, you’ll never hear a word about it. You will sometimes receive a form rejection, and like an expert tracker who learns to delineate between an innocuous glop of mud and the steaming spoor of a mountain lion, you too will learn to sniff out a rejection from a distance of a hundred yards. This is useful. It will prevent you from spending hours poring over each adjective and conjunction of a form rejection in the hopes of finding something indicating, you know, a human being behind the words. So most of the time, the rejections will not be personalized. This is because they can’t be. If every agent and editor took the time to personalize every rejection…well, there would be no books.

Occasionally, you’ll receive a vicious rejection. I once received one that read like this:

“No. Hell no. After reading the first page of your submission, I handed it to my co-worker, who said she’d rather spend three hours entering data into the computer than read the rest of your story.”

I’d like to say that this particular rejection didn’t bother me, but it did. A lot. I considered it a cheap shot and patently unprofessional. Perhaps I was just being thin-skinned. Probably I was just being thin-skinned. But it still hurt. So much so that I feel like posting the editor’s and publisher’s names. But I won’t. And anyway, you probably wouldn’t have heard of them. They went out of business years ago.

But in the sea of silence, auto-generated messages, and small people, you’ll also encounter some agents and editors who, for no other reason than they are kind, generous people, will offer you a piece of advice. You might not want to hear the advice because you’ve come to see every kind of rejection one way—as a monstrous, taunting, soul-destroying, blinking red Jumbotron “NO!”

But folks, this would be a grave mistake. Because—and if you haven’t learned this yet, you really, truly need to—you don’t know everything. Most of you are cocking your eyebrows and nodding your heads like I’ve just stated the most obvious fact in the world, but there might be a few of you scowling at your monitors and grumbling about conspiracies and unappreciative editors and myopic agents, and for those of you in the latter group, leave. No, seriously. Leave now. Because if you think you know everything, you’re not only not going to succeed at writing, you’re not going to succeed at anything other than annoying the living hell out of everyone you meet. So go.

Now that we’ve gotten those nabobs out of here, let’s proceed, shall we?

As I was saying, some editors and agents really will take the time to help you. And when they do, for the love of all that’s holy, please listen. No, I’m not suggesting they’re infallible. In fact, I can find something to disagree with on many agent and editor websites. Some of the advice I’ve gotten from agents and editors isn’t worth the lint between my toes. But some of it is worth the lint between my toes. Some of it is so valuable, it just might signal a turning point in your writing career. And that doesn’t just go for agents and editors, either. There are many writers who are even more generous with their advice. And though there are writers who haven’t a clue what they’re talking about, there are indeed those to whom you need to listen. Joe R. Lansdale, for instance. And Stephen King. And too many others to mention.

Louise Fury, My Agent

Louise Fury, My Agent

Which brings me to my last point. You can listen to those who are mean-spirited (though you shouldn’t). You can listen to those who are trying to help (and you should). But regardless how “No” is stated, it’s still “No.” So what do you do with that?

You turn it into fuel.

Because rejection, more than anything, is…

4. …motivation

Do you want to be a writer? Because if the answer is anything but an emphatic “Yes,” you don’t have a prayer. But if you do care enough to write, if you do possess the self-discipline to produce, if you do find that delicate mixture of humility and confidence, if you do learn how to learn about writing, and if you do resolve to fight through every single negative thing that stands in your way—if you can master all those areas, you’ll find that being rejected is one of the most liberating and productive experiences of your life.

It should make you want to get better.

Are you stubborn? I am. And I’ve learned to siphon that stubbornness away from the areas of my writing where the trait might do damage; conversely, I’ve learned to channel that stubbornness toward the facets of my writing that will transform the trait into a blessing. Whenever I get a bad review, I read it, think about it, and deal with it accordingly. Is it meritless vitriol? Throw it out with the used bacon fat and the coffee grounds. Is it, perhaps, an observation that can make me better? Then I absorb it, let it help me, and trudge forward with even grimmer resolve.

Success and failure both make me work harder.

And if any of the above doesn’t help you, just remember this: rejection is. Which is to say that it is a part of writing. If you can’t deal with that—in whatever way works for you—you can’t be a writer. I’m not meaning to sound harsh, nor am I attempting to injure your inner child. But to think you’re going to be that one person in six billion who succeeds in the writing industry without struggle is simply not realistic.

I believe in going into situations with my eyes wide open. This is because I’ve been guilty of entering into situations with my eyes squeezed shut. Of thinking I was somehow special, of believing my success was preordained, or even worse, that I deserved success.

And I was a moron. Now, I might still be a moron, but I’m less of a moron now than I was then. And I’d call that progress. If you, also, can steadily reduce your level of moronity, your chances of succeeding will increase exponentially.

The Beauty of Stubbornness

The Beauty of Stubbornness

I have to go now. I have a novella to edit and a novel to write. Both are under contract. That doesn’t make me amazing or rich or unique. It simply makes me a guy who didn’t give up.

Happy writing. And remember all the wonderful things that rejection can do for you.

New Giveaway of SAVAGE SPECIES at Ravenous Reads

Howdy! Kids are in the bath. Gotta type fast. Don’t worry—they’re not in any danger. Unless pruning is a major health risk.

I actually have three quick things to share with you:

1. The main point of the post is to bring to your attention a new giveaway of a signed paperback version of SAVAGE SPECIES going on right now at Ravenous Reads (courtesy of the awesome Nikki Howard). Enter today to win a free book!

Experience the Terror (for free!)

Experience the Terror (for free!)

2. I got my copies of DUST DEVILS today. They look amazing. The cover kicks booty to begin with, but when you see that cover art in person…man, it’s fantastic. Angela Waters is a glorious beast of cover design. 

3. Speaking of my new novel, DUST DEVILS (my vampire western) releases in two weeks. As I said here yesterday, the first review of DUST DEVILS was a rave, and I’m really excited to see how others respond to this one.

The Devils Are Coming (in Fourteen Days!)

The Devils Are Coming (in Fourteen Days!)

Okay. Time to go. The kids aren’t pruned, but the bathroom looks like a fire hydrant exploded. I don’t know how my kids manage to finish with more water out of the tub than it it, but it’s a skill at which they excel.

Have a good night, friends!

My bathroom post-bath

My bathroom post-bath

“Janz lets fly with both barrels blazing”: Dreadful Tales Raves DUST DEVILS!

Hey, friends. It has been a fun day at the Janz Ranch. Sledding. Snowman building. Charades playing. Pizza eating. Harry Potter reading. And, of course, editing my current work-in-progress, which I’m dying to tell you about but can’t yet because the contracts haven’t been signed…

But alas.

What I can talk about tonight before cozying up with William Peter Blatty’s terrifying LEGION is the fact that my upcoming vampire western DUST DEVILS received its first review today—and it’s a rave! Mark Brown from Dreadful Tales had the following things to say about the novel:

Dust Devils is a tense and riveting tale which reaches a ferocious and breathtaking crescendo in the town’s saloon where all hell breaks loose.”

The Devils Are Coming (in Fourteen Days!)

The Devils Are Coming (in Fourteen Days!)

And this: “As with Janz’s other novels this fantastic story is grounded by wonderfully drawn characters and it is almost a shame to see even some of the evil ones ripped to bloody shreds.”

And just for good measure, this: “First and foremost a traditional Western Dust Devils is also a gripping horror story suffused with terror and no holds barred bloody action. With this novel Jonathan Janz lets fly with both barrels blazing.”

Check out the whole glorious review right here, as well as a pretty candid interview with me:

Home of Dark Mark, Meli, and Other Twisted-but-Cool Folks

Dreadful Tales: Home of Dark Mark, Meli, and Other Twisted-but-Cool Folks

And you can pre-order DUST DEVILS (which releases in only two weeks) here, here, here, or anywhere else books are sold.

Gotta go now. Thank you to Mark Brown and Dreadful Tales for giving DUST DEVILS such a fabulous start. I hope you all take the journey too. I suspect you’ll find it worth your while.

Wag the Fox Takes on SAVAGE SPECIES, Part Two: THE CHILDREN

Taking a quick break from hide-and-seek with my kids to let you know that Gef Fox has just posted a new review of the second installment of SAVAGE SPECIES (available both in five installments or as one complete novel) at his excellent Wag the Fox book blog. Here it is…



And now I return to our high stakes game of duplicity and subterfuge. Wish me luck.

New Interview with Me at Ravenous Reads

Howdy, friends! It’s snowing here—like, seriously snowing. The wife and I had a date planned, but I’m not sure how that will play out yet. Our kids are ready to get us out of the house, but I don’t particularly enjoy the weightless feeling I get when my car skates over ice. We’ll see.

Yesterday, writer Chris Kosarich was kind enough to interview me at the excellent Ravenous Reads blog. To check it out, click right here. If you do, you’ll be able to hear about the first book I ever wrote (back when I was eighteen), what’s coming out soon from me, and a slew of other fascinating topics.

The Devils Are Coming (in SEVENTEEN DAYS!)

The Devils Are Coming (in SEVENTEEN DAYS!)

Thanks, all. Gotta run!

SAVAGE SPECIES Named One of the Year’s Top Three Horror Novels!

If you’ve spent any time around the horror genre, you’ve heard of Mark Justice. Author, reviewer, and mastermind of the wonderful Pod of Horror podcast, Mark is an integral member of the horror community and a man whose opinion I value highly.


So it was with great joy that I read today his list of the three best horror novels of 2013. His top choice was Stephen King’s JOYLAND, a book that’s been included on too many top ten lists to name. Coming in at number two was none other than Bentley Little, whose Cemetery Dance novel THE INFLUENCE has also garnered a great deal of praise. And Mark’s number three?


Experience the Terror

Experience the Terror

Of my fourth Samhain novel, which was originally serialized back in June, Mark writes, “With Savage Species, we have Janz’s best novel to date. This time out, Janz seems to be channeling horror master Richard Laymon, both in Laymon’s penchant for creating monsters that exist just beyond the borders of our safe suburban lives and in the confident way Laymon frequently layered in a good dose of humor. Janz’s characters are fully realized in a way that the population of most horror novels are not, and by establishing their personalities, complete with flaws, Janz allows us to know them and to care for them. Thus, when bad things happen, we are fully invested in the fate of his characters.” He goes on to say, “Of all the up-and-coming horror writers out there, Jonathan Janz is the one to keep an eye on.”

Which, considering how many awesome new writers are emerging in our about-to-explode genre, is high praise indeed. You can read the entire wonderful, humbling article right here. Incidentally, Mark states that if his list went to five, his fourth-best novel of 2013 would be Stephen King’s DOCTOR SLEEP, and his number five pick would be Joe Hill’s NOS4A2.

You can purchase your ebook or paperback copy of SAVAGE SPECIES here, here, here, or anywhere else books are sold. And within the week, the entire audiobook version will be available as well.

The Master

The Master

My kids and I are about to have a dance party now. Apologies if my post sounded self-congratulatory. I’m just excited, that’s all. And if you want to see something really scary…you should see what an awful dancer I am. Currently, my kids are too young to realize how dorkily their daddy dances. Someday, however, they’ll know. And they’ll shudder at the horror of my dance moves.

*Cue Kenny Loggins’s “Footloose”*

"Everybody cut, EVERYBODY CUT!"

“Everybody cut, EVERYBODY CUT!”