Happy Halloween everyone! As promised, I have a nice little gift for you today: Click on the link below to download my FREE novella titled Halloween: Crimson Nightmares in PDF format.
This novella is my love letter to the "Halloween" movie series. Since I don't have the rights to it, this will be an unofficial entry in the series, a piece of "fan fiction" as they say. The concept is that Michael Myers comes to my fictitious city of Bitternest, Louisiana. The protagonist is Lindsey Wallace, the little girl the Jamie Lee Curtis character babysat in the first "Halloween" film. My story takes place in present day, thirty-three years after the events of the second "Halloween" film from 1981. I've also created my own bogeyman for the occasion to join in the fun and madness; a killer clown by the name of Sid Barlowe dubbed "The Harbinger of Sorrow". The novella is 136 pages long and I believe it may just be the best story I've written yet. So enjoy and have a safe Halloween!
Just a reminder that I will be at Con*Cept, a Sci-Fi/Fantasy convention in Montreal this coming weekend from Friday, October 14th at 6 PM until Sunday, October 16th at 6 PM. The convention will take place at Espresso Hotel located at 1005 Guy Street. I will be signing books and also have my very own panel (a first for me) on Sunday morning from 10 AM to 10:30 AM and I will be doing a reading of a couple of chapters from my latest novel, Fractured Time. For more info on Con*Cept, visit their website.
The Montreal 2011 Comiccon has come and gone. This blog entry will provide an account of my experience (a first for me as a writer) at the Comiccon. Was it a resounding success? No. But it was pretty damn good and overall I had a great time during the weekend. I reached my goal in terms of sales and I did a lot of networking, plus I had a lot of good conversations and discussions. I'd brought three books to the convention; my latest novel, Fractured Time, my first novel, Bitternest, and my short story/novella collection, The Bitternest Chronicles. When all was said and done, it was a positive experience. Both days were jam-packed with fans from all over Canada and even from the US. This was the biggest Comiccon in Montreal's history.
Day one was probably the more successful of the two for me. I shared a six foot table with writer/illustrator Aaron Lenk from Toronto. Apparently we were the only authors there apart from celebrity authors like Neal Adams. And I was the only novelist at the Con. A little surprising if you ask me. It shows the state of books in the modern age; do people still read books? Comic books were very popular at the Con but you can get them anytime at a comic book store. In my opinion, a book signed and personally inscribed by the author isn't something you can get every day. I would've believed it would've had more appeal, not to mention that you're supporting local artists by purchasing their work. As far as illustrators and painters and other artists of the kind go, there were plenty of them and their tables attracted many convention-goers.
While there might not have been too many people that were into horror attending the convention, the ones that did showed their support and picked up copies of my books. At the end of the first day, The Bitternest Chronicles had sold out. The old adage "don't judge a book by its cover" proven false as it is definitely the most eye-catching and popular cover of all my books (and the best book cover of all of them in my opinion) and readers were always quick to pick it up. Since Fractured Time is my newest book and an Urban Fantasy, it was the book I was pushing the most. I also figured it might be a little more accessible to people at a comic book convention than my other books since it wasn't strictly a horror book.
Another thing that was fun was to look at everyone who wore a costume; from Star Wars and Star Trek to super heroes and all kinds of crazy outfits, it was a real delight to watch folks walk around dressed up as their favorite characters. What especially caught my eye were the countless women who wore some of the sexiest outfits this side of PG-13. Catwoman, Black Cat, Phoenix, Poison Ivy, Elektra and many others graced the alleys of the Con; they came out in droves. There's something about a woman wearing a skin-tight costume that is just so damn hot!
What I've noticed over the years both online and face to face is that men aren't as receptive as women when it comes to books. And this was proven true in spades this weekend. Most men looked at my books and flipped through them, seemingly thinking "Where are the pictures?" Women on the other hand can appreciate a good novel. My target audience from past experience seems to be women over 30 and that too was confirmed at the con. By the second day, I seldom pitched my books to men; I only went after my target audience. One thing I noticed from the younger crowd was the abundance of requests for my books in Kindle and Kobo format. Duly noted. I think it's safe to say that electronic books are here to stay. I'm glad that Fractured Time is available in all e-formats. A lot of people told me they'd check it out. The only bump in the road Saturday was that the ATM machine in the exhibition hall ran out of funds at the end of the afternoon. I know I lost a handful of sales due to that; people were broke and relied on their debit/credit cards for further purchases and there was no way to make that happen. For us small press guys, every sale counts so it was a bit of a bummer to end the day on that note.
Day two might not have been as good sales-wise but it was a very successful day in terms of networking. From interview requests to offers to review my latest book on genre websites, to even writing an article about me, it put a big grin on my face. I also got an opportunity to sell copies in consignment at a comic book store and that's always cool.
The crowd seemed younger on Sunday and not as receptive to my pitch about my first novel, a vampire book and my second one, a time travel story. Folks seemed to be in a rush and were using artist alley just to get someplace else. There was a two-hour stretch where I lost all hope at one point during the afternoon and where I thought I wouldn't sell a single more book for the rest of the day. I wasn't getting any sales, people were indifferent to my sales pitch, and the customers at the illustrator's table next to mine were overlapping so much on my table that people couldn't even see me anymore, much less hear my pitch. I took off for ten minutes before I lost my cool, and came back to a nice sale. The Universe works in mysterious ways sometimes, doesn't it? Shortly after, my table cleared up of those lingering customers from the other table and I sold the last copy of Bitternest and some more Fractured Time copies so my hope returned for more good business. One of the highlights of the day was a guy that bought one of my books on Saturday that returned to my table and asked me to sign his Comiccon T-shirt on Sunday. That was really cool!
I had a great time with Aaron Lenk and pal David Chan with whom I shared a table. If you're looking for something original and out of the box, check out Aaron's black and white graphic novel series; Dave's Wurld. I hope you guys had a safe trip back to Toronto; drop me a line when you come back to Montreal someday.
A big heartfelt thank you to all those of you who purchased my books; it means a lot that you're willing to part with your hard-earned cash to take a chance on an author you don't know. In retrospect, the only real regrets I have about this con is that I was too busy at my table to even get a glimpse of Stan Lee, Adam West, and Sid Haig. I would've loved to have ten seconds with Stan Lee to shake his hand and tell him, "I grew up reading your comic books. They played a major role in my youth and are partially responsible for getting me into writing; thank you for creating all of them."
Below, I'm posting links to where you can get my books in Canada and in Kindle format on Amazon.com. Some sites often suggest that you can still get copies of Sinister Landscapes (a gothic anthology I edited) or Creeping Shadows (a collection of three novellas in which I have a Jack the Ripper novella) in a couple weeks but they are both out of print since earlier this year so don't order them.
I'll be at the Sci-Fi/Fantasy convention Con*Cept from October 14th to 16th next. Stay tuned for more updates on that. Also, I will be distributing a FREE PDF of the top secret novella I've been working on these past two months on Halloween day so be sure to come back to my blog for that. It'll give you a chance to sample my writing.
Hey folks, just a quick reminder that I will be at the 2011 Montreal Comiccon at Place Bonaventure during the weekend of September 17 and 18 to sign and sell copies of Fractured Time, my latest novel. Tickets at the door are $25.00 and doors will open from 11:00 AM till 7:30 PM on Saturday and 10:30 AM till 6:30 PM on Sunday. For those with VIP tickets, doors will open at 10:00 AM both days. Guests include Stan Lee, Adam West and Burt Ward, James Marsters, Doug Bradley, Sid Haig, David Prowse, Jeremy Bulloch, Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis, Neal Adams and many others. The DeLorean from the Back to the Future series and the Batmobile from the 1960s Batman TV show will also be there. You can visit the official site here. See you there!!
Short story collections are tricky things. For the most part, only about half of the stories included in anthologies and collections are ever any good. Or maybe it’s just that I favor novellas and novels over short stories. I’m a picky reader when it comes to short story books. I’ll pick up a collection only if it falls under one of the three following categories: 1) The stories are all gathered under a specific theme (ghost stories, werewolves, witches, etc) 2) The stories are all linked together by an element or a character or a locale 3) The stories are from an author I enjoy reading.
Brandon Ford falls in the third category. Having thoroughly enjoyed his three novels and everything else I’ve read from him, I figured it was a safe bet to assume that his short story collection would be a good read as well. I’m here to tell you that he delivers the goods once more.
The only real misfire of the book is the opening story, in my opinion, and out of the eighteen all previously unpublished stories (a rare thing these days), only a handful of them don’t quite hit the mark. The thing is, Ford has such an engaging writing style that even in the case of an average story, it’s still a good read because of the sharp dialogue and easy flow of the tales. None of the stories in this book drag at any time. The longest runs 22 pages long and the shortest at about 6 pages. As with most of Ford’s stories and novels, he prefers to focus on non-supernatural horror, exploring instead the scariest monster of all: Man. There are however two stories containing a certain unnatural element.
My favorite of the bunch has to be “A Walk in the Park” about the dangers of sleepwalking. The longest of the book, I would’ve wanted it to keep going. Apart from this one, highlights for me were “Trippity-Do-Da”, a story about an acid trip that would’ve been right at home in the cult classic “Heavy Metal” movie from 1981; “Cat Call” about a day in the life of a policeman; “Bookends” about a writer’s number one fan; and last but not least, the closing story, “Famous Last Words” about a man who says everything he really thinks (don’t we all wish we could have a day like that).
In a nutshell, Brandon Ford’s first collection is a strong one that will make you smile, laugh, look over your shoulder on the street, fear strange noises at night, but most of all, it will entertain you. Decayed Etchings is a quick read that anyone who enjoys suspense and horror will delight in reading.
The novella collection titled Creeping Shadows featuring Brandon Ford, Jessica Lynne Gardner and yours truly will be disappearing from the shelves on August 1st, 2011 so hurry up and grab a copy while you still can. My novella in this book titled Vengeance is Mine was a retelling of the Jack the Ripper killings of the late 1800s wih the twist that he is haunted by one of the prostitutes he murdered. The book is still available everywhere online; for some quick reader reviews and a link to buy, head over to Amazon.com
Fractured Time is now available at most online book retailers. Here's a rundown of the biggest stores that carry it by country. The book cover, synopsis and other pertinent info were made available in the previous blog post. It is currently on sale for less than $10.00 at Barnes & Noble for a limited time so get your copy today!
Without further ado, I give you the cover and the synopsis for my second novel, Fractured Time, which will be available the first week of July everywhere online from Black Bed Sheet Books. I will provide all the details such as pricing as soon as they become available.
Donovan Vicar is a “feeler”—a man who feels the vibrations of people around him. One October evening on his way home, he bumps into a man that he senses to be particularly evil. The man is heading to Dallas, Texas. Donovan embarks on a late bus ride to seek him out. As the empty bus leaves the station in foggy Bitternest, Louisiana, Donovan falls asleep. When he wakes up, he is disoriented by what he sees—he is still in Bitternest, only his surroundings seem more primitive and unfamiliar. He is shocked to realize that he has traveled back in time to the year 1957 and that the city is plagued by the mysterious disappearances of numerous young women.
Everything points to Timothy Crane, a man alleged to have many shady associations and rumored to be dabbling in black magic. Aided by Ritchie Campbell, a young man with his share of dark secrets, and his old friend Edgar Ward, Donovan finds himself caught up with the events unfurling in Bitternest. He is slowly coming to terms with his gifts as a “feeler” and only begins to get a glimpse of all the power brewing inside him.
The stakes are raised and everything culminates into one fateful night leaving them less than a week to figure out what Crane is really up to and how to stop him. It might also be Donovan’s only chance to ever get back home...
This is probably the question I'm asked the most often. I've answered it a few times in the past but I think it's time to expand on it a bit. Nowadays, when I say I'm a writer, people light up and ask, "Oh! You're a writer! What do you write?" And when I reply, "Horror," their enthusiasm vanishes and they look at me like I'm some kind of psycho or as if there were something wrong with me. I've had that reaction so many times over the last five years that I lost count. Ask any horror writer, they'll tell you they've had the same response time and time again. Why? Because people fear what they don't know. It's a natural thing and a normal response.
Plus the Horror genre gets no respect (it's nothing new as it never did). It doesn't help that what the general public views as horror these days is what Hollywood dishes out; movies like the Saw franchise, The Last House on the Left and I Spit on Your Grave remakes; all excessively violent and gory movies. That's not what I write. That's not what I read, watch or love about horror. To understand why I fell in love with this genre, you have to go back to simpler times. My main inspiration comes from movies, especially the ones I grew up on. Gothic horror from Roger Corman adapting Edgar Allan Poe stories starring Vincent Price. The good old Hammer Horror classics with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Slasher flicks from the golden age of Horror in the '70s and '80s from Halloween to the Friday the 13th franchise.
I'm into the supernatural aspect of it. I'm a big fan of witches and werewolves and ghosts and goblins. From a literary standpoint, H.P. Lovecraft and his Cthulhu mythos are my biggest influence and you will find it in everything I write in small doses. Montague Rhodes James's ghost stories, Richard Laymon's entire catalog, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, vintage Stephen King from the '70s and '80s, Dean Koontz's horror books, and the classic EC Horror Comics like Tales From the Crypt and Vault of Horror.
That's what got me into horror and that's why I still write it. But most of all, it's the atmosphere of a horror story I love the most. The foggy surroundings, the monsters lurking, imminent danger, a protagonist in harm's way, a sexy damsel in distress, and the threat of a creepy evil antagonist.
So the next time you hear a writer say he writes horror, before you let your preconceived notions take over, hear what he has to say and pick up something he's written; you might just surprise yourself and really enjoy the stories they have weaved! Stay tuned; in my next blog I will be talking about my upcoming novel and the mini book tour I will embark on this summer. Till then, stay scared!!!
I'd like to confirm the rumors that Sinister Landscapes, the gothic anthology I edited back in 2008, is going out of print in the days to come. We were considering putting Creeping Shadows out of print as well, but since all three of us authors featured in that collection (Brandon Ford, Jessica Lynne Gardner and myself) will each have a book released this summer through Black Bed Sheet Books, we decided to keep the book in print for at least another year.
So hurry up and pick up a copy of Sinister Landscapes before it disappears forever. The book was a number one Amazon bestseller in the summer of 2008 and received glowing reviews. You can get a copy here: Sinister Landscapes
And if you're curious about checking out Creeping Shadows, the novella collection about monsters the three of us were in, you can get a copy here: Creeping Shadows
With this new year and its first month coming to an end, I am reborn from the ashes. The past two years have been extremely rough on me and left me with very little inspiration to write due to a lot of bad things going on in my personal life. When 2011 came around, I was determined to start fresh. I began work on a brand new novella and submitted my second novel to Black Bed Sheet Books.
It is with great pleasure that I can now announce that it has been accepted and will be published sometime in the summer of 2011. It is titled Fractured Time and is a Horror/Urban Fantasy time travel story set in 1957 which takes place in Bitternest, Louisiana. That's all I'll say for now but I'll divulge more details in the weeks to come as the publishing date approaches.
Stay tuned to my blog for news and info about my upcoming and ongoing projects.