What fresh literary hell have I for you?

We’re heading into the busy Con season for Yours Truly. The huge Con season is actually during the summer, but I was off in the wilds of Oregon (well, a small town) getting the big mofo novel for hire written and also enjoying highs of 78 while Las Vegas was, apparently, on fire at 116 degrees in the shade.

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Pictured: Vegas shade.

I went to the Tampa Bay Comic Con with Brutha of Anutha Mutha Sean Conner, an excellent Con pal who understands my need for frequent naps. He also understands that I bring earplugs for him to make it through the night of my toilet-flush-gurgle-from-hell snoring. His snoring is more jackhammer-like, even and so something one is able to get used to. Mine, on the other hand, “isn’t even rhythmic! You can’t get used to it!” These are his actual words from a Con in New Orleans. My wife has not stopped laughing since I told her.

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“Ha ha! Ha! HA HA! HA HA HA HA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” Continue reading

That Moment When You Feel Legit

Hey there, guys and dolls! Sorry I’ve been so quiet lately, but I’m getting TWO — no, wait, THREE — book projects ready, so I haven’t had time to blog. I put a lot into writing these, OKAY?

Anyway:

  1. Cthulhu Attacks! Book 1: The Fear is coming along very nicely for Severed Press and should be ready to turn into them in the next few weeks.
  2. Zombie School Confidential, my nonfiction book on zombie lore and our cultural obsession with them, has a brilliant cover by Putnam Finch and brilliant editing by one Mrs. Ann Hoade. (Who is a professional editor, so 😛 on you.)
  3. My novel The Act needs only to be polished and this project, originally written 22 years ago, will be ready to go to press.

All of that is well and good, BUT what this blog entry is really about is this: I have gotten my own “Special Guest” graphic on the Salt Lake Comic Con website!

sean at slcc copy

What with my sponsorship from my wonderful Patreon supporters; running two writing workshops, which are going great; and my association with Matt Wiseman and Shoggoth.net, I’m feeling almost partially legit these days!

Still living hand-to-mouth, but legit!

Zombies DON’T just wanna have fun, Part Two: No more Mr. Nice Anyone Ever Again

Caution: This post is about the realities of what a zombie apocalypse would entail, and how someone like me represents those realities in his fiction. This subject was inspired by a negative review of Reviva Las Vegas!, but it is only tangentially related to that review. 

Read Part One

Both of my blog followers may recall that yesterday I came to the conclusion that a bad review—as well as some mitigating comments in some good reviews—of my new novel, Reviva Las Vegas!, may have been caused by the extremely dark view of mankind (not to mention zombiekind) in the face of a true zombie apocalypse.

Continue reading

DEPRESSING POST WARNING: Zombies DON’T just wanna have fun, Part One

Caution: This post is about the realities of what a zombie apocalypse would entail, and how someone like me represents those realities in his fiction. This subject was inspired by a negative review of Reviva Las Vegas!, but it is only tangentially related to that review. It will be in two parts, first Part One and then following that will be Part Two.

Gentle Reader, I have received my first really negative review. It was from another writer, and someone I respect, and it was shared in the most thoughtful and anonymous way possible. This reviewer is NOT a hater; please don’t harass him. It was mentioned briefly in his (very entertaining) roundup of CthulhuCon PDX:

Continue reading

Publicity! or How Ima Get Everybody To Know My Name

Gentle Readers, I must apologize. it has been inexcusably long since I have sattened down and written a true “Sean the Writer” blog entry. Actually, I do have a good excuse, one that many of you writers out there may be familiar with: I had come down with a serious case of employment. It lasted for eight months and three days, but I underwent a sudden remission on March 31st, when my boss cured me of this particular strain.

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“Good news, sir. We have removed every trace of that dastardly ‘affluenza.’ “

Now, while this has had a somewhat negative effect on my immediate financial situation (on a totally unrelated note, did you know that a LOT of people at McDonald’s don’t finish all their fries?), I have been free since the end of March to do the following:

  1. Cry into my booze.
  2. Finish getting the books that were supposed to be published by a certain press actually out there into the world.

The Perdition of Self-Publication

Fortunately the former took up only a couple of days, and I’ve been concentrating on the latter since then. So now I have five—count ’em, FIVE—self-published books out there in the libraverse. Self-publishing is kind of like hanging out outside the gates of Hell, you know? You refuse to abandon all hope and enter, but it doesn’t look like you’ll be experiencing Heaven any time soon, either.

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Kinda like this, only while you were in there the doctor retired and the building was condemned.

You are probably nauseatingly familiar with these books, but what the hell, get a bucket while I provide a bit of background on the shocking story behind the self-pubbing of each of them:

  1. Ain’t That America. I first put this out in 2000, before the current craze of everybody who has an email address writing and publishing a book-like entity. It did all right, but I was never really satisfied with how it looked and felt. So in 2014, I changed everything up and published a second edition with CreateSpace. This edition is beautiful and also $14.99 instead of iUniverse’s (the former publisher) kind of extortionate $19.95. It is my most exciting book–find out why by reading the first 150 pages free on my website. Then you will SO want to buy it.
  2. Darwin’s Dreams. Too experimental for mainstream publication, too historical and pensive for genre publication, my tale of Darwin and his Beagle captain came out in 2008 and I still think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written. I did this with CreateSpace as well, which gives the author complete control over all aspects of the book’s presentation. (I stayed with CreateSpace for the next three as well.) Take a look at the first half. I believe it will leave you spellbound and wanting to read the rest.
  3. Inappropriate Behavior. My weird collection of stories from pornographic to literary. It came out in 2011 to no fanfare, but those who have bought it seem to have enjoyed it. Want to read a story from the collection? It’s perfect to buy if you’re tasteful and eclectic and generally cool.

Sean dancing at SLCCC

Like me.

  1. Deadtown Abbey. Okay, this is where Permuted Press’s utter anal abuse of its authors comes into play. They contracted with me for this and for 9 other books, but then pulled their shit and I canceled the contract. However, before that happened, I had “published” the advance reading copy of this to sell at Cons and use for reviews and such once the actual book was close to coming out. Now that it will never be coming out from those jerks, I have a new jacket design, have made a few corrections to the copy, and republished it just this past week. It is a riot but also has good horror elements too. Judith O’Dea (“Barbra” from Night of the Living Dead) read it and called it “hilarious.” (I love Judith O’Dea.) You can read the first 100 pages of it for free (and then buy it if you like it) right here.

Me and Judith O'DeaDid I mention I’m a fan?

  1. Reviva Las Vegas! Okay, as much as I despise that joke of a publishing outfit now, I must admit that this book probably wouldn’t exist without the impetus of their (now I know) phony contract. I don’t know if people really get the gag of the title, so I will explain it here: It’s a story about Las Vegas after the zombie apocalypse. Zombies are “revived” corpses. A famous saying (and song) is “Viva Las Vegas!” So I put them together and made it RE-viva Las Vegas! Semi-interesting factoid: This is technically subtitled Book 1: Dead Man’s Hand. That’s because it was originally going to be the first book in a trilogy. That isn’t the case any longer, but Amazon won’t let me officially change the title. Ah, well. I self-published an advance reading copy with a cover I just threw together, but once the contract fell apart, I redid it and made it right as rain. Now it’s available with a real cover, correctly formatted interior, and truly magical words inside. Want to read the first half? Then I bet you’ll want to buy it—you’ll love it.

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You, after reading the samples. I can totally shut up and work with you on the money thing.

Next time: The actual publicity what is happening!

Did you know that Autographed novels make excellent Christmas gifts?

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The cape in this metaphor is my books. “Fly” stands for “achieve full self-actualization.”
Also, you will have more sex.

BLACK FRIDAY OR WHATEVER SALE!!!

Any of my fantastic books below are just 1 for $15 and 2 for $25,
inscribed to the person of your choice!

Also, if you buy 2 you get all 5 in eBook format!

SO MANY EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!

Won’t you help keep me, Sean the Nice Guy, from having a blue Christmas? All proceeds go to the “Bring Sean’s Middle Daughter To Vegas Because He Hasn’t Seen Her In Two Years” fund, a worthy cause! Also, the books are fucking AWESOME.

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Zombies in Vegas!

Lovecraft at Downton! Wickedness
in Winnebagos!

Eight years after the Zombie Apocalypse, a vagabond former poker champion gets a chance to compete in a tournament to stay in Vegas, the last zom-free city in America. If he wins, he’s safe. But if he loses …

Read the first chapter here.

Funny and scary, this book doesn’t require that you know anything about the BBC show Downton Abbey. Just think vampires, werewolves, and eldritch Old Ones invading an Edwardian English manor house.

Read the first chapter here.

In the tradition of Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen, this is the story of an embezzling RV salesman running off with his girlfriend after rubbing out his wife. A thriller for the cynical, the bitter, and the doomed.

Read the first chapter here.

Buy Signed
Reviva Las Vegas!
(3 remaining)

Buy Signed
Deadtown Abbey

(3 remaining)

Buy Signed
Ain’t That America

(3 remaining)

DDcover IBcover books for xmas
Literary-Historical Fantasy! Stupefying Stories! Easy to buy!
Easy to read! 

Charles Darwin and Captain Robert Fitzroy of the Beagle were lifelong friends and rivals, ultimately evolving into enemies.

Read the first chapter here.

My notorious 2011 book of short stories. Hooker vs. retard, Man in love with giant cyst, Jesus visits, and lots more!

Read the first story,
“Tough Love,” here.

These books, oh, the joy they shall bring you. Just let me know how would like it inscribed and it will be rushed—rushed, I tell you—to your or your beloved’s door.

Buy Signed
Darwin’s Dreams

(3 remaining)

Buy Signed
Inappropriate Behavior

(3 remaining)

These are the last of these editions—publishers have snapped them up and will end this here stock!

♫ Back near the saddle again ♫

I have regaled both of my regular readers with the sad tale of the Press that will henceforth be known as the Publisher That Sucks Dick, or PTSD for short. My fellow authors of that soon-to-be-former e-book factory will agree that this is a fitting acronym. Anyway, I have promised myself and others never to refer to that place by name again, so PTSD it is.

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“What was that? A c-c-contract? OH GOD, IT’S HAPPENING AGAIN!!!”

Moving on … or trying to

Frank Sinatra once crooned that after being shat upon by the bird of paradise, one should pick oneself up, dust oneself off, and start all over again. Never one to flout the instructions of Ol’ Blue Eyes, that’s just what I’m doing after the PTSD debacle. How? Oh, let us count the ways.

Firstly, I have worked to find new publishing homes for the books I’ve already written.

Deadtown Abbey

You may recall that the fantastical Deadtown Abbey was the book that landed me the contract—emphasis on the “con”—with PTSD and inspired them to “buy” that and my next 9 books. So I said to myself, “Self,” I said, “what should we do with Deadtown Abbey now?” And I sat on a stump in the yard (disclaimer: I did not literally do that) and went down the list of what makes that book awesome and more specialer than a kid running with his pants on backwards winning a gold medal:

1. It is Lovecraftian. It’s got your Yog-Sothoth and your Cthulhu the Great Old One, not to mention a thoughtful (seriously!) meditation on what religious faith means in a time of monsters and a serious imbalance of money and power.

Republican leaders Senator Mitch McConnell and John Boehner speak after a bipartisan meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington

Not that anything like that could ever happen in real life.

2. It is funny. It plays with expectations both readers of eldritch horrors and viewers of the BBC show Downton Abbey, with references and Easter eggs galore for horror and zombie aficionados. That said, you don’t have to “get” any of the references to enjoy the book on its own as a horror tale. But it’s still pretty amusing.

3. It has vampires, werewolves, zombies, witches, imps, and possessed people shitting themselves. It takes each concept and turns it on its head in the service of this apocalyptic story.

4. But most of all, it’s Lovecraftian.

It was this final point that told me I must send it to the new Lovecraft eZine Press imprint helmed by the indomitable Mike Davis. He had already read it and recommended it on his 175,000-follower-strong Web page, so I thought it would be perfect for his new Press. I bought the first release in print from his publishing arm, The Sea of Ash, and was impressed both by the content and by the perfection of its design and presentation.

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A box stuffed full of my former publisher’s beautiful print offerings.

I haven’t heard back from Mike yet—he’s a bit busy with his duties both on and off the computer-based Lovecraftosphere—but if Deadtown isn’t brought on board there, I will send it out to other dark presses, of which there are many in the land. Still, Lovecraft eZine Press would be my number one choice.

Reviva Las Vegas! and the Cthulhu trilogy

This marvelous addition to the pantheon of landmark zombie fiction was sent out after PTSD’s implosion to Severed Press, an excellent horror publisher that gives its readers what they really want and has been quite successful, receiving rave reviews from both those readers and its authors alike.

But sad face! Reviva was praised by the editors, but they had to pass on it because it was a more character-based zombie tale than the good ol’ visceral chomp-a-thon that many zombie fans want in their genre fiction. Think of what they wanted as the parts of Jaws with the shark eating people and boats, and what I wrote as more the scene where Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw are sitting drinking in the boat and talking about their scars while waiting for Bruce to attack again.

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“And this one’s from when Spielberg cut me for leaving Seaquest!

However, happy face! Because Severed did like my (one-third finished) Cthulhu: Book 1 and contracted with me for the whole Cthulhu trilogy plus a sea monster book—Severed Press readers love their sea monsters and kaiju—to be written later. Severed stepped up to the plate and, um, swung for the bleachers? Wait, am I the pitcher? Oh, metaphors, you tricky devils!

Ain’t That America

Friends and neighbors, the first edition of Ain’t That America was self-pubbed by Yours Truly back in 2000, with a revised “second edition” being self-pubbed in 2013. It’s a comic thriller along the lines of Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen—suspenseful, yes, but also very fun to read for the despicable characters and how they interact (read: fuck each other over). The whole PTSD experience sent me seeking out other (legitimate) publishers, and so I have sent out Ain’t as well, to the extremely exciting crime fiction publisher 280 Steps.

It’s a great book—why not send it out and make an honest author out of myself? Self-publishing is great, don’t get me wrong, but I’m aging like a time-lapse of a rotting tomato. I want to go legit before I drop dead. I haven’t heard back from the folks at 280 Steps yet, but I know some genre publisher will ultimately take it on and love it like a child who’s going to make them pots of money.

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“I’d kill you all if I could! Tee hee!”

Darwin’s Dreams

By far the most literary and worthy book I’ve ever written, Darwin’s Dreams is the only non-“genre” book in my lineup, and thus the hardest to figure out where to place it. I self-pubbed it in 2008, and it has made a sizeable impression on everyone who has read it. It’s history, philosophy, drama, all in one 45,000-word package. The only place I can think to send it, the only alma mater for this book, is Prometheus Books. If, however, they pass on it, my head will be unbowed. I’ll keep searching.

Inappropriate Behavior

A collection of short stories ranging from erotica to Buddhist meditation to hookers rubbing the eye sockets of retards in motel rooms, Inappropriate Behavior was self-pubbed in 2011 and will probably never, ever be sent to a legitimate publisher. It’s on Amazon, so peeps can buy it. But it’s so horrifyingly outré I doubt it’s legal to even submit by email in some localities.

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“WHY DID I OPEN THAT ATTACHMENT? WHY? WHY?!?

The other books

Some of the books that PTSD contracted for were “sequels” to Reviva Las Vegas! and even Deadtown Abbey. They really weren’t meant to be anything other than standalone novels, but I may just write a prequel to Reviva called Pawn of the Dead, the story of how the zombie apocalypse started … right here in Vegas, of course. And I had sold PTSD on another sorta-kinda pop culture and Lovecraft mashup called Grim Acres, the story of a staid lawyer and his eastern European bride moving to the sticks and encountering the community of Innsmouth, Massachusetts.

The other two books, How to Train Your Dagon and an unnamed (and unnecessary) second sequel to Reviva, are just going to fade into the aether. Like much of what happened with PTSD, they really never had any reason to happen.

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Pictured: A reason for them to happen.

So what, if anything, have we learned?

Remarkably little. No, I kid—we have learned that there’s got to be a morning after, if we can make it through the night. (If you get that reference, make sure the orderly at your nursing home mashes your canned beets the way you like them.) As disheartening as the whole PTSD experience was, I’m a wiser author. I’m the same writer I always was—FUCKING BRILLIANT—but as an author trying to get his babies out into the world where they can be sold for money, I’m much wiser.

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Look at those faces! They couldn’t be happier if they were in color!

 Coming soon: A death obsession is different from a death wish.