Scares That Care Weekend

Howdy, friends and countrymen and women and out-of-countrymen, and why did women have to come third? Have I just exhibited blind adherence to an outmoded syntactical tradition or unintentionally perpetuated a symptom of patriarchal oppression? I don’t know. What I do know is I think women are awesome, and if my manner of address came off offensively, well, doggone it, I didn’t mean for it to.

*mops brow, sighs*

On a less exhausting note, I have an awesome announcement to make. You ready? Here goes…

ScaresThatCareWeekend-Logo
I will be a celebrity guest at the upcoming Scares That Care Weekend event in Williamsburg, Virginia from June 27th to June 29th.

Jack Ketchum Fanboy

Jack Ketchum Fanboy

“But Jonathan,” you say, “you’re not a celebrity.”

To which I respond, “SHHHHHH!!!! Don’t tell anyone!!!!”

The Grand Master

The Grand Master

It is surreal to look at this page and see my image (scroll down to the Authors section) under the same heading as Brian Keene, Jack Ketchum, and the other amazing authors listed there. It’s also surreal to share the page with Tony Todd (Candyman), Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th), Yaphet Kotto (Alien), William Atherton (Ghostbusters), Doug Jones (Pan’s Labyrinth), and Chris Freaking Sarandon—ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! The star of Fright Night and The Princess Bride and The Nightmare Before Christmas?!?! I’m on the same page as that guy?!?!

Childhood Nightmares

Childhood Nightmares

Okay, sorry. I got a little worked up there. But you can see why I’m excited, right?

For those book lovers out there, check out this list of authors:

Brian Keene
Jack Ketchum
Tom Monteleone
Brian Moreland
Kelli Owen
Kristopher Rufty
Mary SanGiovanni
Hunter Shea
Bryan Smith
Wrath James White
Jonathan Janz

Legend

Legend

I put myself last because, well, I went with alphabetical order, and by some strange turn of events I ended up first, and one look at my name above any of those authors—not to mention directly atop Keene and Ketchum—felt too bizarre for words. But the point remains…what an incredible lineup!

You should make your plans now to attend. Proceeds from your tickets will go directly to families who need it, so the event is for a fantastic cause. I’ll be signing all weekend, participating on a Friday panel, and doing a reading on Saturday with my good friend (and kick-bootie writer) Hunter Shea.

Todd_zpsf02e8f7b

I’ll end by saying two things. One, it’s an incredible honor to be a part of this event. I’m deeply thankful and grateful to be included. Secondly, if you’re anywhere near Williamsburg this summer, I’d love to meet you. The event is going to be amazing, and the people involved all have generous hearts. I can’t wait!

*runs off to stare fixedly at my shrine collection of Jack Ketchum books*

For My Wife on Mother’s Day 2014

Life in the trenches. That’s what it feels like sometimes with small children. Being a parent is the most amazing experience of my life, but to do it well takes more energy, patience, and time than I ever would’ve imagined. This isn’t a complaint—it’s simply a preamble about my fellow foot soldier, my wife of ten years (this April), my best friend, and my true love.

Mommy with Child #3

Mommy with Child #3

I met her in the summer of 2000 (yep, those of you who are mentally calculating have already begun to realize it took me too long to propose to her—I’ve never claimed to be an incredibly bright man) when a community theater troupe decided to put on Cinderella for its summer play. They had a Cinderella selected already—I was told she had an amazing voice and was quite pretty—but they needed a *cough cough* Prince Charming *clears throat* and for some reason decided to ask me.

Though I wondered just how desperate they were to invite me to be their male lead, I was intrigued by the opportunity. I’d been in plays before and wondered what it would be like to be someone other than Unnamed Chorus Member Whose Face You Can’t See Because He’s Standing Behind a Badly Painted Plywood Castle.

Mommy with Child #2

Mommy with Child #2

So I agreed to play the role, wondered what on earth I was thinking, lost a lot of sleep, and eventually showed up for our first practice.

Where I met my future wife.

I recall thinking they were right about what an angelic voice she had, but they were way off about her being lovely. She wasn’t lovely. She was a freaking stunner.

Mommy with Child #1

Mommy with Child #1

Even better, she had an incredible personality. She was kind, warm, genuinely funny, and a hundred other things I wanted in a girl.

We wouldn’t get married until several years later, but when we did, we expanded our family fairly rapidly. Our first child was born after fifteen months of marriage.

And for the past eight years my Cinderella has been doing battle in the trenches. Changing diapers. Staying up late at night with crying kids. Kissing hurts. Doing laundry. Cleaning the house. Cooking. Cooking some more. Making a pre-supper snack. Making a post-supper snack. Taxiing them back-and-forth to school. And a thousand other duties.

Mommy with the Tribe

Mommy with the Tribe

During that time our marriage has remained strong. We love each other, are devoted to each other, and are still best friends. I also still find her beautiful—even more so than when we first met.

So Wifey, thank you for being such a wonderful mother. Thank you for doing all the invisible but essential things you do each day to help our kids, to help me, and to keep our family strong. Thank you for your sense of humor and your love. I’m deeply thankful for you. I love you more than you’ll ever know and am proud to be your husband.

Mom of the Millennium

Mom (and Wife) of the Millennium

Happy Mother’s Day. You’re my baby!

A Review and a Thought about Animals

Review: Gef Fox takes on SAVAGE SPECIES: PART FOUR (THE ARENA) right here. I always love to hear Gef’s insights, and this is no exception.

There's no escaping...

There’s no escaping…

Thought: Two friends of mine—one a close friend I get to hang out with about once a month, the other a cyberfriend with whom I’ll get to hang out this summer at a huge event I’ll talk about next week—lost beloved pets this week. These animals were and are very important to my friends. It’s heartening to me that folks seem to be growing more aware of how awesome animals can be and how much they can bless us with their hearts and personalities. But I think we can still do a better job of understanding and being sensitive to the profound roles these animals play in our lives.

I had a two cats growing up, and those two cats meant the world to me. The death of my dog (run over when I was five) was one of the most traumatic events of my childhood. We have a new puppy in the house now, and his influence is already being demonstrated in my kids. They’re thinking outside of themselves more often. They’re considering the impact their choices have on the puppy. And that’s a very good thing.

Our Weasley

Our Weasley

 

So if you’re an animal lover, keep being one. They give us so much love…the least we can do is love them back and do our best to take care of them. And if you don’t love animals, at least be kind-hearted enough to realize that others do, and when those animals pass away, the pain their owners feel is as real as any other kind of grief.

That’s all. Have a great day.

SAVAGE SPECIES Audiobook Available NOW!

Hola. The audiobook version of SAVAGE SPECIES isn’t yet available on Audible.com, but it is available at the following link—and it’s only $9.99! The narrator (Randy Hames) really rocks the narrative, adding a textured, nuanced flavor to what I humbly consider to be an already solid tale. Here’s the cover:

Listen to the terror...

Listen to the terror…

And you can listen to a free sample right here, which is the same link I posted above, but since I wanted to make it easier for you to click the link, I included it here again. Because I’m all about my fans, you know? I don’t want you to waste your time scrolling and searching and clicking. I want you to be reading. And enjoying. And quailing. And quivering. And then hating me because I’ve rendered you unable to sleep at night. Because I’m just that type of guy. Love you!

Happy listening…

Cover Reveal for SAVAGE SPECIES: THE CHILDREN Audiobook!

Hey, all. Audio Realms Publishing is now releasing my novel SAVAGE SPECIES in two formats, the same way Samhain Horror did last summer. You’ll be able to buy the serial novel in five installments or as one big whopper of an audiobook. The narrator is amazing, but I’ll talk about him in a later post. For now, here’s the cover for Part Two: THE CHILDREN:

children

A bit creepy, no? I’m very happy with it, and I couldn’t be happier with the job Audio Realms has done with this story (with more of my books to come…*evil laughter*). I’ll have more information about how to purchase the audiobook (in either format) soon, but for now, here’s where you can buy the ebook or paperback version of the novel that Pod of Horror called one of the three best novels of 2013 (along with Stephen King’s JOYLAND and Bentley Little’s THE INFLUENCE).

Annnnddddd…if you feel like listening to a free sample of the above audio version, you can check out it and the amazing Randy Hames right here (just click the little blue speaker button).

Good night, friends.

A New Novel

Whew!

I just got done doing the final, final polishes on my January 2015 novel THE NIGHTMARE GIRL and sending it off to Don D’Auria at Samhain Horror and my agent Louise Fury. It’s a book I’m really proud of and quite different than anything I’ve done before. I’m a huge fan of Joe R. Lansdale, and for the first time I really saw his influence in my writing, which is a really good thing.

Joe R. Lansdale. I love his books.

Joe R. Lansdale. I love his books.

I’ll talk more about THE NIGHTMARE GIRL soon, but for now…

I’m getting ready to begin a brand-new novel. That’s a beautiful, exciting, terrifying feeling. Truth is, there are four projects I really want to write, and that’s not even taking into account the sequels I’d like to do for SAVAGE SPECIES and HOUSE OF SKIN. But of the four projects I’ve got percolating in my mind, I’m only going to choose one, at least for the next couple weeks. I also reserve the right to work on two at once, which I did last summer with both CASTLE OF SORROWS and BLOODSHOT: KINGDOM OF SHADOWS.

Cheesy Picture of Me

Cheesy Picture of Me

But there’s one that’s elbowing its way to the front of the line, so much so that…I might…have…to…

Yep. It’s time to write. Talk to you all soon!

Hunter Shea Prepares You for THE WAITING…

Today, I take a break from my final, final edits of my current work-in-progress to share with you some words by one of my favorite authors, a guy that also happens to be a good friend: Hunter Shea.

The Waiting cover

His new novella THE WAITING is available now, and folks, you’ll want to check this one out. I’ve not read it yet, but I’ve read everything else by Hunter, and they’ve all been five-star reads. But before you check out his new tale, here’s something spooky from Hunter to get you in mood…

Wanna hear a scary story? Yeah? Okay, but first you have to throw another couple of logs on that fire. That’s it, stir up the flames a bit. See those sparks? They’re like fireflies, aren’t they?

Now before I start, I need to take a little sip of what’s in that cup over there. You mind passing it over? Thank you. I see your nose cringing. That’s why it’s for adults like me. Warms you inside and out.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, the scary story. This one is a little bit different than the ones your camp counselors have told you. You know why? Because it’s true. Now I know they say their tales of hook-handed mental patients and bloody Marys are true, but they’re not. Plain and simple. They make them up to frighten you. This one I’m about to tell you, the folks that lived it wish it was all make believe. People that have heard it sometimes wish they hadn’t.

Campfire_Pinecone

Here’s something else to think about. I was there. I saw the ghost of that boy living in my friend’s house. He was no bigger than you, and he didn’t look like no ghost. That boy was solid, real. But you see, he wasn’t. Not really.

Did I touch him? No sir. There was something in his eyes, black as points of coal, that told you not to come close. He moved without making a sound and he didn’t care who saw him. Because, we learned later, he had a mission. A fixation, if you like. No matter what my friend did, that boy wasn’t going to leave.

What was he? A nurse that was visiting my friend’s wife called it a bhoot. It’s some kind of Hindu word for a trapped spirit.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

It all started at a wedding. The bride, she got real sick right when they were cutting the cake. We all heard her scream and watched her pass out on the floor. She almost died that night, and a lot of other nights after that. But she was a fighter.

One day, months later, she was on life support and her husband took her to their new home even though she wasn’t able to wake up. He wanted to take care of her, and hoped that being out of the hospital would change things for the better.

It wasn’t long before he started hearing strange noises. Things went missing. And then, one night, he saw the boy creeping down the hall, headed to his wife’s room.

To read the rest of this true campfire tale, download a copy of THE WAITING. Keep that fire burning bright, and be very afraid of the dark.

Fifteen Episodes into BREAKING BAD and…

…it’s even better than the hype. It’s not a pleasant viewing experience. It’s not uplifting or escapist. In fact, my jaws are clenched pretty much from beginning to end.

But it’s the best written television show I’ve ever seen. I mean, Seinfeld was brilliant in a different way, but that’s like comparing Jaws to The Big Lebowsi. The two belong in different solar systems.

Actor

Actor

Each episode my breath is stolen by something different:

–Bryan Cranston’s astonishing acting (like when he tells off an ex-girlfriend in a restaurant and packs more emotion into a famous two-word sentence than any actor ever has)

–A stunning plot twist (like when a tortoise goes meandering across the desert whilst loaded with a very atypical object and then…)

Perfect Casting

Perfect Casting

–A fascinating bit of direction (like a perfectly chosen overhead shot when an old man in a wheelchair decides to provide a surprising answer to a DEA agent’s question)

–An acrobatic feat of editing (like an excruciating cross-cutting sequence between the wonderful Dean Norris and his bloody standoff with a mad dog drug lord and the shocked/horrified reactions of Jesse and Walt)

Okay, if I’m being honest, I notice all of the above elements and more every week. Each episode is a masterclass of storytelling. I’ve learned more watching BREAKING BAD than perhaps any other television show. So while on one level I’m mesmerized by the show, I’m marveling at the writing on another.

Deserves to Have His Own Show

Deserves to Have His Own Show

Gotta get back to editing now. A deadline is looming. Have a good night, friends.

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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Book Review of Dust Devils by Jonathan Janz

Jonathan Janz:

New and very cool Samhain Horror author reviewed DUST DEVILS on his blog. Here’s what he had to say…

 

Originally posted on Scary Funny:

Courtesy: Samhain Publishing

Courtesy: Samhain Publishing

Jonathan Janz has a way with words (sometimes requiring me to grab a dictionary), but that’s okay! His story, Dust Devils, set in New Mexico in the 1880s, chronicles the journey of Cody, a vengeful young man whose wife is slaughtered by a troupe of vampires masquerading as actors.

Thank God Janz subscribes to the notion that vampires are evil creatures that torment and murder without remorse. Teenage girls looking for forlorn, pasty-skinned vampires who’ve never had a pimple and who attend high school to blend in will find no sanctuary here.

It would be simplistic and a disservice to say Dust Devils, released earlier this year by Samhain Horror, is a tale of one man seeking revenge on those who wronged him. It’s a story that touches on the definition of masculinity in a harsh world (harsh to Cody even before the vampires entered…

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