Flop sweat. That’s a phrase I’d never heard before last week. Then I read a blog post by Jack Ketchum promoting I’m Not Sam in which the phrase “flop sweat” was used to describe the fear a writer has of having a book bomb, do badly, crash and burn, you get the picture. First of all, the fact that Jack Ketchum would ever worry about a book not doing well was heartening for me—it made me feel like I wasn’t such a cowering, quivering bundle of meekness masquerading as a confident writer. It also opened up a whole new realm of possibilities. If Ketchum gets flop sweat, I reasoned, that means that he must also eat, go to the bathroom, trim his eyebrow hairs, and generally do all the things I do. And while you might have known all these things already, I’m a notoriously slow learner and therefore never knew that a writing rock star/god/stud/master like Jack Ketchum had eyebrow hair. Or a bathroom.
So what does this have to do with me?
It’s because I breathed a giant sigh of relief this weekend. On Friday night, after getting the whipper snappers tucked in their beds and crib, I saw that The Horror Fiction Review had published a slew of March reviews. One of those was by Colleen Wanglund, and it put under the microscope my upcoming April release The Darkest Lullaby. Here are some highlights:
“This is a well-written novel with many grim twists and turns.”
“Character development is excellent.”
“Do yourself a favor and pick up this creepy and chilling book.”
So like I said…*Whew!*
This doesn’t mean, of course, that every reader will like it. Like every book I’ll ever write, some will react to it and some won’t. I will say that my next several books will all be very different. The Darkest Lullaby is probably the darkest one I’ve ever written (fitting, huh?); it’s also, in some ways, the quietest. I want it to sneak up on the reader (unlike The Sorrows, which comes at you straight on, takes out an iron crowbar, and bashes you over the head). I want it to have a cumulative effect on the reader. I want it to be like a slow-moving indoor haunted house ride as opposed to a looping, thrashing roller coaster (again, see The Sorrows). The Darkest Lullaby is closer to House of Skin than The Sorrows, but it’s different than House of Skin as well. I’ll talk more about that later.
Soon after that, you’ll get Savage Species, which makes all of the above books look tame by comparison. Following that one, you’ll have Dust Devils, a vampire western that takes place in 1885 New Mexico. More on those two books soon…
So I’ll leave you now with this thought: The Horror Fiction Review has been around for ten years now, and I think that says a lot about the people involved with it. Back in 2006 or so, a writer/reviewer named Nick Cato reviewed my very first novella Witching Hour Theatre. He responded positively to it, and that gave me a much-needed boost of confidence.
Thank you to Colleen and Nick for reading and writing about my work. Thank you to The Horror Fiction Review for sticking around for so long and for providing the genre with some stability. There’s something very edifying about seeing a place survive, which is one of the many reasons I love the Horror Drive-In and its awesome proprietor Mark Sieber. But that’s another post for another day.
Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to trim my eyebrows. I do that once every few years.