Bloggy Updates – Updated 4/12

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April 12, 2018

I’m not sure why, but the past three months felt like a dead lull as far as events and happenings go. I suppose we can blame it on winter and the weather, but I’m sure ready for some cool things, aren’t you?

And then, the floodgates opened!

The first weekend in May ushers in spring proper as Duncan Manor (right outside of Bloomington’s city limits) hosts their Spring Open House (May 5 and 6). I’ll be one of the vendors, hawking my wares, but there will be plenty of other things going on – tours of Duncan Manor (an AMAZING house), music, food trucks, and more.

The first weekend in June will be my first venture into the Steampunk realm – Cogs & Corsets. What’s kind of neat is that there are a TON of horror/suspense writers from that time period (mid 1800’s to early 1900’s) – so, I feel that I’m “representing” our genre! 🙂 I’ll be posting more about it in the Events section of the blog, so keep an eyeball peeled over there.

Then there’s Printer’s Row on June 9 and 10. (I’ll be there on the 9th). That’s always been a great experience. If you are in Chicago and like to read, you can’t go wrong spending time here.

And finally (so far!), I am co-organizing Normal’s First Writing Workshop through Books 2 Benefit. It will be a four week (one hour each Saturday from June 30 – July 21) class that touches on a different aspect of writing each week. Taught by four published authors from various backgrounds and experiences, participants will learn AND take away information specific to that week’s topic. I’ll post more about this the closer it gets.

Did I mention opening floodgates?

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April 5, 2018

Was in Chicago yesterday to see a concert – Dead Meadow. It’s not exactly music that I would seek out, but I found the show pretty enjoyable. If I had to explain their style, I would say early 70’s psychedelic rock – the kind where you can’t understand anything that they’re saying and each song is like, 15 minutes long. It was fine though and the light show accompanying the hour and a half set was Very Cool.

Prior to D.M. coming on, there were two other bands who I DID NOT find amusing in the slightest. Now, let me preface this by saying that I tend to gravitate to music that leans toward the melodic. I know there’s many who prefer the harsher tones of bands, but I don’t count myself as among those ranks.

As I stood through the screeching abrasiveness that basically defined the first two groups, I jotted down these tidbits:

Listening to the first band was like looking square on into the screaming, sweating face of an eclipse. I have never been so glad to have ear plugs in all my life.

When the slightly doughy and exceedingly sweaty drummer took his shirt off during the second band’s first song, I knew we were in for a deliriously disturbing 30 minutes.

These two bands were…what? Thrash metal? Doom sludge hardcore? I might not have the terms down, but they were NOT my bag. They weren’t even in the neighborhood of my bag.

And yet, to each their own. As the hosts of Stuff You Should Know say, “I won’t yuck on someone’s else’s yum.”

But I was glad to have ear plugs.

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March 26, 2018

Update on the third novel…

Just finished Chapter 14 (I write short chapters for those who are unfamiliar with my writing style). I really like what’s going on…and I am definitely seeing a resemblance to the Badfish feel. What’s cool about writing THIS particular book is that the first draft came out pretty well (back during Nano 2017). When you have a decent first draft, it really makes revisions and updates much easier. It wasn’t the case with Track 9 (which I pretty much wrote in a flu-drugged stupor). Rewrote literally 95% of that one.

Probably in another week, I’ll be far enough along to pull a small segment from the manuscript and post it here. So, keep an eyeball peeled for that.

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March 21, 2018

So, we had to get a radon issue at the house taken care of. Beside being rather costly and time consuming, three guys had to spend the day under the house putting down some sort of cover and drill holes in the garage to fit tubing for a fan system.

I came home from work around noon (they had arrived at 8am) and the main guy met me in the driveway, looking rather anxious to tell me something. I had no idea what to expect when he told me that they “found something” underneath the house.

Was this going to cost more money? Was the foundation crumbling? Was the house built on an old Indian burial ground?

Hesitantly, he said that they found a (live) bat under the house and it had been fluttering around the workers. It was fine, but…”you have a bat, ma’am.”

When I told him that I found bats to be pretty adorable, he looked surprised. According to the Bat Sanctuary (linky here), bats are very cool, do lots of good things, and aren’t interested in hurting anyone, except bugs.

All in all, I’d say we came out ahead – radon fan installed and fellow bat chilling underneath the house. 🙂

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March 14, 2018

The NEW novel (#3) which I am calling “Buried” (that might change…I don’t know yet!) is well underway. You might recall that I wrote the “first draft” during last year’s NaNo in November. Well, now is the time for all good authors to come to the aid of their manuscript.

I am going chapter by chapter, rewriting, revising, adding, subtracting – doing all the writerly things that need to happen to come up with a decent second draft. Like my other two novels, the chapters are short, but I do that on purpose – I believe it helps to move the story along.

I’m also getting to know my characters again. It’s different when you slow down and really listen to what they are saying, and more importantly, WHY they are saying it. Their motivations and backstory are beginning to come into play – and like I mentioned before, I’m seeing Buried as being similar to Badfish (as opposed to Track 9). Not similar in plot or specific characters, but rather feel and mood. Track 9 was dark. Badfish was quirky and weird and creepy.

So, stay tuned! I’ll probably post a little excerpt from the new book soon. Just remember, it’s still in draft form! 🙂

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March 9, 2018

Sometimes, everything happens all at the same time. Or so it feels. Between projects at work, revising the new novel, keeping up with the blog, doing normal “life” stuff, and now – helping to create a Brand New Writing Workshop (taking place in Bloomington/Normal later this year!), days (and nights) can feel pretty overwhelming. Not that any of this stuff is BAD or SCARY or UNWANTED. Heck, I brought most of it on myself!

But, during these moments, I find myself spinning – my mind whirling – where do I focus and what do I give my time to? Which “thing” takes priority over the other? What has the most pressing deadlines? If I have to depend on others before I can continue with MY part, do I wait? Cajole? Pester? And if so, how much is TOO much?

None of these “problems” are new. None of these issues are devastating. But during the course of the day, a list out to HERE can feel daunting and exhausting.

It’s a good thing we’ll be losing an hour this weekend. Who needs all that extra time?

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March 2, 2018 (addendum)

We have a winner!

#70 – Lilyn G.!

Thank You! I’ll be contacting you soon! 🙂

March 2, 2018

Just wanted to send a “shout out” welcome to some of the new folks that have joined recently – in one case, all the way from Australia! Wow! Welcome! Glad to have to join 🙂

We are now at 69 followers, which is AWESOME. I truly appreciate each and every one of you – REALLY. Thank you for reading, for leaving comments, for passing along anything you find interesting/worthy/funny. It means a lot.

So – it’s time for another FREE GIVEAWAY!

Whoever becomes follower #70 will win (for free!), a copy of one of my books!

Who will it be?

Good Luck!

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February 26, 2018

So, today I went to a funeral home.

Parts of my new, upcoming novel (#3) take place in an older funeral home and since I’d never been in the “back of the house”, so to speak, I needed to do some research. I called one of the local homes here in Normal and set up a meeting with one of the Funeral Directors.

We spent the next hour – him answering my questions, me listening to what he had to say, both of us talking about aspects that might be helpful in the book. And then I took the tour.

For a few moments, I was allowed to go in to the procedural room, the place where the embalming/dressing happens. There was also a body (covered) in the room.

Now, I’ve been through EMT-B classes. I have a Masters in Kinesiology and Recreation. I’ve seen quite a number of horror movies and work in a library which owns books that cover every aspect of the human body and then some, including crime photography.

Regardless of all that, nothing quite prepares you for standing in an old room at the top of the stairs of a funeral home (that was originally a house/doctor’s office WAY back in the day) and seeing a body under a sheet.

The room was 50 degrees. The walls looked ancient. The equipment (of course, up to today’s standards), still gave this civilian’s impression of an antiquated horror movie. The implements, the odd lighting, the temperature, the smell…

Yes. The smell. He said he was immune to it after all these years in the business, and I suppose that makes sense. But as soon as I got home after our meeting, every piece of clothing I had on went right into the laundry – I could have sworn that the scent embedded itself into the fibers of my being. Even as I type this, I am aware of the lingering odor clinging to my skin.

He was generous with his time (the funeral director), and I assured him a signed copy of my book when I finish it. I appreciated his time and everything that we were able to cover in the span of 60 minutes. For that, I am grateful.

I will use what I learned from today’s visit and weave the bits of my newly acquired knowledge into novel #3.

Yet, I left with more than just my notes. The images, the sensations, and the stillness of that body will be with me for a long time to come – certainly long after the book is finished.

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February 24, 2018

Hey there!

I’ve had a couple of reviews and posts pop up lately. If you want to check them out, swing on over to the Events/Promotions section.

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February 16, 2018

Ah, another rejection email for my flash fiction piece. A lovely way to begin a glorious Friday and head toward the weekend.

Oh, I know. Rejection abounds everywhere, in everything, and weaves itself into every situation from relationships to indie authors trying to get their work in front of the viewing public. It’s still a stinging slap in the face regardless of how nicely the email is worded.

Anyway, you didn’t come here to read about me complaining…or did you??

The most recent news is that I’ve contacted a local funeral home in preparation for research on novel #3. I have left word and have been told that I should call them next week. I’ll keep you apprised on how that goes…

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February 9, 2018

So, I recently received the first two rejections of my flash fiction piece. *sigh* It’s always difficult and annoying, but fortunately, there are many other places where I can send it. I do hope it finds a home soon. And I haven’t heard anything (good or bad) about the other story  I’ve submitted. Waiting. And Seeing.

I’ve started thinking about working on novel #3 (the first draft of last year’s Nano). Right now isn’t the best time (too much other stuff going on – like getting the Radon levels in the house taken care of), but the time is coming. It’s both exciting and scary – every writer wants their “next book” to be the best it can be, so when they start revising, anything can happen.

Because a significant portion takes place in a funeral home, I’m hoping to visit one and be able to ask some rather in-depth/graphic questions. Hopefully, after I explain to them that I am a writer doing research and not a scary troll looking for a thrill, they’ll be more forthcoming. Again, we shall see.

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February 1, 2018

Image result for Holland Lop

Traditions…

When I was in 7th grade, one of my teachers told us to say “Rabbit, rabbit” on the first day of the month (preferably before our feet hit the floor when getting out of bed). It is supposed to bring good luck. And if there is something we ALL could use a little more of…

So, welcome to February. AND, in honor of WIHM (Women in Horror Month), WIHM, I will send my newest book, In a Corner, Darkly: Volume 2, to the FIRST PERSON who sends me an email (srovens@yahoo.com) with the subject line “Rabbit, rabbit”. You have to be a follower, so, there’s that. BUT, you will be getting my book FOR FREE! (this offer stands for today only, so get to typing!)

Good luck!

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January 23, 2018

My hands are actually numb as I type this – Jack Ketchum has passed away at 71.

Link

I, like most of you, probably discovered the news on FB (I was alerted by my friend, Pete Altieri – another horror author), social media, or the news. To me this is doubly devastating and I am almost at a loss for words.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have interviewed him just last month. I am thankful that he gave his time and talent, and will hold on to our brief correspondences (emails) which helped the Meet and Greet interview come to fruition. I hope that I am a better writer because of what HIS writing taught me.

In honor and memory of Mr. Dallas Mayr (Jack Ketchum), I am posting the Meet & Greet Interview in its entirety here.

Thank you for your words. Thank you for sharing your talents. Thank you for allowing us into your world.

Jack Ketchum

 Name: Dallas Mayr

Pseudonym (if you use one): Jack Ketchum

Genre(s) of your work: Horror and Suspense (and the occasional Black Comedy.)

 Titles/Year of Published Work(s):  Writing professionally since 1970, first fiction 1976, first novel, OFF SEASON, 1981.

 Bio: see my website http://www.jackketchum.net/and add to that, Most Recent Novel, THE SECRET LIFE OF SOULS, written with Lucky McKee and Most Recent Collection, GORILLA IN MY ROOM.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?  

I grew up loving fantasy, and horror is the dark side of fantasy.

How has writing changed/altered your life? The usual perks of self-employment — no punching the time clock, no damn bosses hovering over your desk.  But in addition to that, writing mandates continual periods of self-examination.  You don’t easily get away with lying to yourself on the page.  It requires you to scour your history and your present for your deepest faults and pleasures, to reveal and revel in them, to find the strengths in your life and work from there, reaching outward.

 Who are your favorite authors and why?

Far too many to list here.  I read all over the place and consequently my favorite writers come from all genres and backgrounds, from Henry Miller to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, from Raymond Chandler, Elmore Leonard and John D. MacDonald to Thomas Hardy, Philip Roth, Michael Chabon, Joyce Carol Oates, Peter Straub and Stephen King.  Why?  Because they’re smart, empathic, courageous.  Because they’re good!

 What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I wish we had a lot more mom-and-pop, brick-and-mortar bookstores.  I seriously miss browsing.

 What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

The need for empathy and tenderness in the world, that the souls of beasts and humans matter.  And a few hours of just plain fun.

 How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Depends on the piece.  Some, like THE GIRL NEXT DOOR and RED, are highly personal, others…?  I don’t know where the hell they came from!

 How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?  

Finishing a piece is almost always easy.  It’s getting started that’s hard.  Getting all your ducks in a row and then having the balls and suspension of disbelief  to say to yourself, this is really going to work.

 What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

I give books a first paragraph test.  If it passes, then a first chapter test.  If it passes that, I’ll almost always finish the book — I can tell from there that I’m going to want to.   If it fails I scuttle it immediately.  Very occasionally, too much repetition will make me dump it.  I don’t want to waste reading-time.  Too much good stuff out there.

 Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

Nothing should ever be censored.  Everything is worth discussing.  How long a discussion is another matter entirely.

 Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

 Life’s short.  I don’t bother with peeves.  If I’m bored, I just close the book.

Where can people find you and your work?

Website, see above. I have a list of published works there.   Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/jackketchumofficial/ Twitter, https://twitter.com/jackketchum Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Ketchum

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January 21, 2018

Did you know that there are approximately 400,000 new books that come out every year? That, of course, is a rough estimate, but still – what an incredible number. When you take that and multiply it by even a mere five years, that’s 2 MILLION books that are hitting shelves, websites, blogs, indie bookstores… all vying for your attention and dollars.

It can make a writer a little nervous sometimes…perhaps downright frustrated at times. Without a marketing team and hundreds of thousands of dollars behind you, how in the world are you going to attract the attention of the masses when there is so much competition? There are only so many hours in a day, so, where do you focus your time? On writing? Marketing? Sending emails? Trying to get reviews for what’s already out there?

It’s a delicate balance – especially if you add in a regular job and/or family obligations. Not everyone can hit every angle of social media either – between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, personal websites/blogs, and the countless other avenues – how do you pick which one (or two or three) will drive the most traffic to what YOU are doing/working on?

These are the types of things that keep writers up at night (or might cause writers block). On average, the “unknown” author can consider themselves fortunate if they sell 100 books…and pretty darn good if they can break 1,000. Of course, there are a number of sites that throw out these kinds of numbers and tell you how to MARKET YOUR BOOK to make millions, if you’ll only buy THEIR book which tells you “secrets”.

There is no secret. It’s hard. It’s demanding. It’s challenging. Audiences can be fickle. The best advice I’ve found?

Keep writing. Keep improving. Keep putting the word out there – interviews, blog posts, social media, emails – as often as you can without hitting people too hard with your message.

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January 17, 2018

Just a quick note –

Finished two short stories (one is a flash fiction – meaning under 1,000 words) and submitted them to various places. Sometimes, the turnaround (answer) can be as quick as a day and sometimes, the wait can be months long. So, we’ll see.

I would like to write one or two more new ones before heading into revisions of novel #3 (the Nano draft). THAT will be quite an undertaking, so I want a clear mind before giving that manuscript an initial eyeball.

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January 8, 2018

It’s only eight days into the new year and there’s a LOT going on.

I received my Brand New Books! I have copies of In a Corner, Darkly: Volume 2 (the NEW edition) in my possession as I type. I can’t tell you how happy I am about finishing it and being able to hold the completed project in my hands. It’s now available on Kindle as well (a whopping $1.99 – of which I make something like 44 cents or so off of each one sold). So, if you like short stories of suspense and apocalyptic weirdness, you should enjoy this collection.

I’ve also got a couple of (MY) interviews on blogs that are coming out pretty soon. I’ll link to them in the Events section of the blog. Please check those out!

I am currently in the process of writing two short stories. I’m going to take a shot and try to “sell them” to magazines. It’s a tough thing to do since there are probably thousands of others vying for a few spaces available in these publications. Rejection stinks, plain and simple. But, this is one of my personal goals for this year, so I’m creating some new work and putting it out there. Hopefully, somebody will bite. Keep an eyeball peeled on how  THAT process will turn out.

Posted a couple of NEW interviews for 2018 already! If you haven’t seen them, wander over to the Meet and Greet and check those out! 🙂  Something a little different – I hope to post a new Meet & Greet interview ONCE a week. Now that there are plenty of interviews to read, I don’t want to rush through posting. I would like to have the featured interview stay in “first place”, so to speak, for about a week. As always, things could change for a variety of reasons, but to start with for 2018, this is how I’m hoping to do it. I’ve also cut back on my “end comments” for each interview. I want the featured author’s words to stand for themselves – my personal commentary isn’t really necessary. Again, that might change back, but I’m going to roll with this ‘new way’ for a while.

And, just a note to anyone who has read MY books (or anyone else’s)… Please leave a review – on Amazon, Goodreads, other social media. It is SO important. Think of it as a work evaluation – how does an author know how they are doing unless the reader lets them know? Please – and thanks.

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December 26, 2017

Hope everyone had a very Groovy holiday/Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanzaa/Solstice. Going to take a couple days reprieve to chill out and not do more than necessary. Will be posting and updating things again in just a few days.

In the meantime – if you haven’t checked out the 45 fantastic author interviews, now is a great time to get caught up. Same with my review section – the movies, shows, etc… Plus, if you haven’t already, please consider a Kindle or paperback purchase of any (or all!) of my books. You can find them down below or in the My Books section.

Exciting new things in the coming year! I’ll post before the big ball drop on New Years, but keep following for special things to come (including a few give aways!)

Thanks!

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December 23, 2017

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!

Paperback is $12.00

Kindle Version is $1.99

KINDLE VERSION HERE!

15 Short Tales of Suspense, Horror, Apocalyptic Terror, and yes…more.

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December 18, 2017

What a week.

If you haven’t yet read it, bop on over to the Meet & Greet section and take a look at the newest interview. Jack Ketchum, a horror/suspense writer with a profound backlog of stories (as well as new things in the works), shares a few moments with me (us!) to answer some questions. Very, very cool.

I’ve also been on the phone with Create Space. Apparently, the Amazon page that features In a Corner, Darkly: Volume 2 is only partially correct. There is still some information for the OLD version on it. *sigh* – So, I’m currently trying to amend those issues. It IS available, however. It’s just the AMAZON page that’s screwy.

Plus, the Kindle version should be available in a few days – that’s what they are telling me. Stay tuned for updates on that. I’ll, of course, post the link when it’s live.

I’ve been putting some feelers out (ew, creepy) for early 2018 book/author events that are somewhat close to where I live, but I haven’t been able to find anything yet. That’s part of the problem with living in central Illinois…but keep an eyeball peeled because I hope to set something up within the first three months of the year.

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December 11, 2017

It’s official! In a Corner, Darkly: Volume 2

has been approved to be published (the proof looks great!)

UPDATE: IT’S AVAILABLE NOW!

ON AMAZON!

Volume 2 of In a Corner, Darkly, elevates the suspense and adds a swath of horror throughout. Meet Mark DeSoto who scores a new job in a cool record store, only to find out he is surrounded by merchandise of death; follow Gully into an apocalyptic nightmare as he tries to escape the men with the ice-picks; join a small group of friends as they discover the truth behind getting lost in a jungle.

These fifteen tightly spun tales will keep you in… SUSPENSE!

ORDER HERE NOW!

(PERSONAL NOTE: IGNORE THE THREE STAR REVIEWS – THOSE WERE DIRECTED TO THE OLD BOOK – THIS ONE IS ALL NEW!)

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December 10, 2017

There’s a “new” review (that I just noticed) on Amazon! It’s for Badfish, my first novel. They liked it! 🙂  

It is interesting, though. I initially plugged Badfish as a horror story, but you know, people tell me afterwards (like this review mentioned), that it’s not what they “expected” as a horror novel. More odd. More quirky. Weird. Strange. Not necessarily horror.

That’s the quandary, though, isn’t it? To me, it’s kind of a horror story, although it’s not what I would consider, say, a Stephen King or Jack Ketchum horror. It’s more suspense than scary. It’s more character-driven than gore-filled. It relies on the plot to move things along; not just kills or deaths.

So, is horror the right place for it? It’s a tough call. It’s one that I made in 2015, back when Badfish first came out, but, you know, I may rethink that label going forward. To me, Track 9 does fit comfortably in the psychological horror realm. Badfish? Perhaps not.

Like anything, there usually isn’t a clear line in which something belongs. Sure, some things might fit comfortably into say, history or fantasy. But most fiction (and movies and music) can ride a number of lines at once. Where it falls could depend on who is reading (or watching or listening to) it, or at least how they perceive it.

Badfish. Horror? Maybe to some. Suspense? Perhaps to others. A bizarre yet interesting story? Yes, say some reviewers.

As long as people are enjoying and being entertained by it, they can label my writing any way they want.

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December 6, 2017

One piece of Vague-Booking – Cleared!

I just “okayed” the FINAL edition of Volume 2! They are sending me the FINAL proof – should be with the new cover and everything. After I look at it (making certain that, yes, it IS the corrected cover with the  changes on the back) – then IT GOES LIVE!

I need to double-check with them that this will include the Kindle version as well. I “ordered” that option to happen as well.

We are THISCLOSE now!

🙂

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December 4, 2017

There is a term that has been shuffled around Facebook for some time now – vague-booking. If you’re not familiar,  vague-booking is posting something on Facebook that is so cryptic (thus, vague), that 99% of people have NO IDEA what you’re talking about.

Usually, it’s pretty annoying. I mean, can’t “that person” and whoever they are trying to have a discussion with just talk about it privately?

Why mention this? Because I’m about to “vague-book” – right here, right now. But, I promise, it will NOT be annoying, because when I am able to share what’s going on “behind the scenes”, it’s going to be Very Cool.

Very.

So, here’s to vague-booking:

  1. I am working with someone for a Meet and Greet interview, hopefully to be out in December of this year. It’s going to be amazing.

  2. I should have a special announcement about Volume 2. Very soon. Like, in the next 24 hours.

  3. If you aren’t following me/this blog, now would be a good time to do so. You won’t want to miss some groovy things that are coming up!

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December 1, 2017

Just a quick FYI! I am in the process of moving the Archives: Meet and Greet Authors! Watch for changes and check out the front page!

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November 30, 2017

It’s DONE! NaNoWriMo is finished for another year and I was fortunate enough to make the goal! (50,000+ words in 30 days). There really were times that I thought “I don’t want to do this” but my perseverance won out and I finished last night (on the 29th) with 50,167 – according to the Nanowrimo website which verifies the total number of words.

So, I have a VERY rough first draft of my third novel, Buried. It’s more like Badfish than Track 9, meaning that it is heavy on psychological suspense rather than straight up horror. To me, Track 9 was dark — good, but definitely more dark than Badfish. Buried finds itself a little somewhere in between, but leans a little more toward the weird/strange/quirky/bizarre like Badfish did.

What will most likely happen is…I’ll put it away until early next year (re: February or even March). I need time away. Time to think about it. Time to NOT think about it. I’ve found that when I’m deep within the writing for too long, the quality suffers. So…setting it aside works best for me.

In the meantime, I’m going back to work after being off (for the foot surgery) 8 weeks! That alone will be an adjustment. Foot is doing pretty good, but it certainly does let me know when it’s “had enough” and would like a bit of ice.

I’m also going to focus on putting up more reviews (of various things I’ve seen/heard) on the blog as well as check in with some authors out there who might wish to be part of the Meet & Greet. I also hope to work on a few short stories later in December. I’m also awaiting the FINAL revised PROOF of In a Corner, Darkly: Volume 2. I received an email from CreateSpace saying that my “proof has shipped”…so, it could be here by Saturday. There were only 9 mistakes that needed to be corrected, so I just have to see if they were fixed (I don’t see why they wouldn’t have been), and then it’s GO TIME! 🙂

And of course, I need to remind everybody that I do have my books for sale. If you read below (the blurb from November 25th), it will tell you which books you might find to be a good fit for you (or someone on your list). They are ALL available in paperback AND Kindle. Please consider supporting an indie author this season (or any season!) 🙂

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Our new ‘baby’ girl – Monkey (6 months old!)

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November 25, 2017

My Books on Amazon

Why, yes. This IS a shameless plug for my books. ‘Tis the holiday season and that means that it’s time to get stuff for people. People you love, people you like, people you don’t like all that much but are obligated to buy for…

Anyway, you probably have a gift list — and here is where I can help. ALL of my books come in paperback AND Kindle versions.

If you have someone (yourself included) who is over the age of 14/16 and they enjoy:

  1. Weird stuff

  2. Suspense

  3. Thriller

  4. Books that make you go “What???!!!” in a good way

They would like “Badfish”

If you have someone (yourself included) who is over the age of 14/16 and they enjoy:

  1. Short Stories

  2. Old school tales

  3. Twilight Zone/Rod Serling

  4. Has a shorter attention span!

  5. Likes creepy but not SCARY

They would like “In a Corner, Darkly: Volume 1” (Volume 2 will be available later in December)

If you have someone (yourself included) who is over the age of 14/16 and they enjoy:

  1. “Out of the box” stories

  2. Stories that deal with ‘the tough issues’

  3. Very character-driven suspense

  4. Psychological suspense/horror as opposed to gore/random killings

They would like “Track 9”

Please consider purchasing a book from an indie author. I stand behind ALL of my work and made it the best I could (at the time that I wrote it). I have a few reviews on Amazon, so if that’s something important, check those out. My NEW collection of short stories should be ready next month. As soon as it’s available, I’m sure I’ll be all over social media with the news 🙂

71883097_High Resolution Front Cover_4387037-1 (NEW COVER for Volume 2 – the Revised edition)

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November 21, 2017

Just a few quick notes!

  1. I’m at 34,000 words in Nano as of this moment. It’s going well, but becoming a real “push” and challenge. The pressure to get to 50,000 words before midnight on November 30th becomes very real when there are 10 days left (and a holiday stuck right in the middle)
  2. I am also previewing In a Corner, Darkly: Volume 2. I have received the proof and am going through the actual “book” (paperback format). If I find it to be “ready”, which I most likely will at this point, I give CreateSpace the go-ahead to “make it so”! After that, it will be available to the masses through CreateSpace as well as Amazon. I plan to make it available as a Kindle too. I will be ordering a bunch to sell ($12) and for those who bought it 4 years ago, you’ll be getting a FREE copy! (it’s so much better… 🙂  )
  3. Probably next month, I will be “separating” the Archive Meet and Greet Authors into two or three groups (alphabetically). This should make it easier to find an author or friend that you are looking for without having to scroll endlessly. I’ll post a bunch of reminders and notes about this as I get closer to doing it. I CAN tell you that it will not be happening before the end of Nano! 🙂
  4. I plan to post one more interview/Meet and Greet before Thanksgiving, so check back soon.

Thanks 🙂

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November 15, 2017

Okay. I think we are back on track as far as computer glitches go. I put up a new interview  in the Meet and Greet section and hope to put up another movie review over in the Review segment later tonight. If anyone is having problems seeing anything or getting “into” a section, let me know! I have “people on it” now, so we should be good.

Thanks for being patient.

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November 13, 2017

20,000 words. Actually, 20,005. I just hit that milestone in Nano last night. I am right on schedule (after completing another 1,667 words later today), and hope to continue the trend throughout the month. It’s really shocking how quickly the word count sneaks up on you. If you write 1,667 words per day, you should be able to hit the goal of 50,000 by midnight on November 30th. And it certainly can be done.

But, if you miss a day (or two or three), the amount builds and all of a sudden, you might need to write 8-10 thousand words in order to catch up.

For me (and every single person doing Nano does it differently), if I don’t stay pretty much on track or close to it, the momentum can stall. And, again, in my case, if that happens, it’s tough to generate it back up again. The other times I’ve done Nano, I needed to “finish” that first draft in the month of November, not just to “win” (because you really don’t ‘win’ anything, per se), but to complete what I set out to do. I know myself well enough that if I don’t finish by November 30th, the process of continuing into December will slow to an ugly crawl with the very real possibility of the manuscript dying a pathetic, lackluster death in the files of the computer.

And nobody wants that.

However, as promised, here is a tiny excerpt (completely unedited!!!) from book #3, working title “Buried”:

A grey little mouse scuttled behind a stack of mildewed newspapers and hurried around the corner leg of the blue painted dresser. It had taken a chance, coming out during the daylight hours, looking for new morsels that had been carelessly dropped during the latest attempt at making a meal. Not that it was hungry – far from it. The floor was an invariable smorgasbord; like the carnival scene right out of Charlotte’s Web.

            And just like Templeton, the rat who feasted well on that hot summer night from the book written in 1952 by E.B. White, this furry rodent had his pick of the litter, so to speak, when it came to degustation, all thanks given to Priscilla Wyatt, homeowner.

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November 7, 2017

If you are a follower of the blog, you’re in for a delicious treat! You get to see the NEW COVER for In a Corner, Darkly: Volume 2 before anyone else (on social media). I tried to do the copy and paste thing, but of course, that didn’t work out, SO below is a link to what it will look like.

71282664_Cover_Proof_4387037Volume2

How cool is that? It’s really SO SO much better than when it first came out in 2013. I’m excited for folks to read it! It will be 15 short suspense/horror stories, the same number as Volume 1,  but the stories are tighter and edgier.

And, while you’re here…

This is the Press Release that went out regarding the next event… (I’ll cross post this in the Events Section).

Books to Benefit Veteran’s Day Event,

Featuring Area Authors

On Saturday, November 11, from 1-3 p.m. learn how published authors and an illustrator broke into the publishing business during the Books to Benefit Writers Event at 360 Wylie Drive, Suite 700 in Normal. The event is open and free to the public.

 “I recently read that a writer who doesn’t read can never be an author,” shared Books to Benefit Board President Jackie Langhoff. “Good writers read. They study the language of the genre they are trying to master. Many of our patrons are aspiring authors so we asked area authors to participate in a Books to Benefit Writer’s Event to share their insights as another way to support literacy in our community.”

 On Veteran’s Day, Books to Benefit will host a panel of area authors representing different genres, including: Army Veteran and horror/suspense writer Pete Altieri, inspirational author Dewhitt Bingham, romance novelist M. Piper, published illustrator Amy Orwig and suspense/horror novelist and blogger Sue Rovens. All of the panelists are avid readers and understand the importance of literacy in their own lives. The public is invited to bring their questions, purchase books and collect autographs.

 During the event Books to Benefit offers patrons one final chance to stock up on winter reading at the $5 Used Book Lovers Bag Sale. Patrons purchase a paper bag from Books to Benefit, which they may fill with used books. Additional bags are available at $5 each. Author books, Special Collections and bundled books are excluded from the sale. Major credit cards are accepted. A convenience fee applies. Proceeds from the bag sale benefit STAR Adult Literacy and YouthBuild McLean County’s literacy programs. For more information visit http://www.books2benefit.com/special-event/, www.facebook.com/books2benefitBloomington/ or phone (309) 531-8320.

 

Books to Benefit is a local 501(C)3 nonprofit organization passionately working to support literacy. The proceeds of its semiannual book sales benefit STAR Adult Literacy and YouthBuild McLean County’s literacy programs, provide financial support for the Books to Benefit Community Service Scholarship Award at Heartland Community College, encourage volunteerism through community service, and assure that works of scholarly importance and/or unusual publication history or content find appropriate homes offering ready access to these works.

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November 2, 2017

It’s happening! NaNoWriMo is all around us. If you don’t know what that is, THIS LINK will tell you everything you need to know and more. Anyone can participate – you don’t have to be an author and you certainly don’t have to be famous. As long as you can type, write, or put down words in some fashion, you can participate. (it’s free!)

As you might already be aware, my two novels, Badfish and Track 9, both started as NaNo projects. It’s where the first draft was created. After that, I set it aside for a number of months, usually coming back to it after the new year. That’s when the first of many revisions took place.

Well, it’s happening again. I am at the very beginning of my third novel. The working title is Buried, but to be honest, I don’t know if I’m going to keep that or not. Too early to tell at this point. The goal of NaNo is to write 50,000, and as a guide, they say to write 1,667 words a day to stay on track. I’m currently at 2,909 and day 2 has just ended, so, I’m certainly pretty much in the running. Some days I write more, some less. I hope to “win”, but more importantly, I hope to complete the first draft of #3.

Will you join me? Go to the NaNo page. Give it a whirl. Even if you don’t finish, it’s a cool thing to do and promotes writing of all kinds. As I get further into it, I’ll probably post small snippets of what I’m working on. It will be unedited, of course, so read it with a big chunk of salt! 🙂

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October 29, 2017

Horror / Suspense writer Sue Rovens is featured on In Print Radio Monday morning at 7:00 (wbom.playtheradio.com).

I have to say, the interview took place in July (I think, it might have been June) of this year. I have not heard it yet as of this typing — so, we will listen to it together! 🙂

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October 26, 2017

THIS IS SO EXCITING! I JUST got off the phone with Create Space — literally! In a Corner, Darkly: Volume 2 is finished. The mistake-laden first edition is gone and the NEW and IMPROVED volume is going to take its place.

So, so , so much work and revising went into this. I am sure that any othe writer out there understands the labor and time that is involved to end up with such a manuscript. But, after weeks of toil, weary eyes, and late nights, I can finally say that it is complete!

So, what happens now? Well, I just sent all the changes to CreateSpace. I changed the back cover’s wording and asked them to re-do the color of the book as well. They will be sending me a printed-proof, my guess, in about a 1.5 – 2 weeks time. Maybe earlier.

Once I get that, I will look it over, make sure it’s in good shape (on a number of levels), and then, Bam! It will be available! I order a bunch of copies and then, it’s a go!

I will post the NEW colored-cover and be spreading the word about some special opportunities for purchase deals 🙂  (and to those that bought the original – you’ll be invited to receive a free copy — yes, I know who you are!)

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October 23, 2017

As an indie author, we have to think “out of the box” sometimes in order to get the word out about our work and writerly selves. Along those lines, I’m participating in something (new to me!) called AMA or Ask Me Anything. And yes, it’s free.

Check out the link HERE!

And while you’re there, AMA!  🙂

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October 21, 2017

Aaaaand, that’s a wrap, folks! I just finished the main revision to In a Corner, Darkly: Volume 2. It’s good. It’s a solid piece of work and I am happy with this version. It’s uber exciting and I’ll tell you why!

What’s left to do before it sees the light of day? Well, believe it or not, I comb through it one more time (much quicker than the previous re-do), looking for wayward punctuation, correcting any other errors, and updating “about the author” and “preface” pages. Step two is to send it off to Create Space. Once THAT happens, it shouldn’t take long. Again, it is on track to be completed before the end of this year…maybe even by Thanksgiving.

After finishing the final comb-through, I won’t be “writing” anything (besides for the blog) until November 1st – NaNoWriMo! At that point, it will be work, work, work until hitting that 50,000 word goal!

Hey…here’s something that YOU can do for me. If you’ve read any of my books, would you please consider posting a review on amazon? It doesn’t have to be lengthy or brilliant – just a few sentences will do. It would sure mean a lot and help all the “numbers on the back end of things”. Thanks.

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October 18, 2017

It’s been a very rough couple of days. Monday night, we had to take our beautiful Bella (11 year old kitty) to the emergency vet…and horrified to say, she didn’t come home. It was a gut-wrenching decision, but there was nothing else to do ( in the scope of being humane).

I’m sure a number of my readers, if not all, have experienced something similar. I am left with an empty and numb feeling which makes it almost impossible to focus on anything else at the moment. However, I am dealing with it and having another kitty (Noodle) is very helpful at a time like this. No one will EVER replace Bella, but being able to cuddle another animal makes the sadness a little more palatable.

I have only three stories left in the revisions of Volume 2. I will probably start up again tomorrow. I also had the stitches taken out of my foot today (everything, I am told, is looking well) and had a dressing change (back in the boot for another two weeks).

So, yes, things are still moving forward. A little slower and a little sadder, but onward.

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October 15, 2017

The revisions to In a Corner, Darkly: Volume 2 are coming fast and furious. Well, not too fast, mind you. That’s what got me in trouble the first time around. So far, I’ve finished 9 of the 15 short stories. It’s really amazing, though. As much as my editor and I have gone over them, I am still dumbfounded that I am still catching the occasional mistake.

I’ll tell you one thing that has really helped in the process. When I am going through the pages, I have the font kicked up to 140% and am reading everything out loud. I’ve caught more things doing it that way than any other way. There’s something about reading each actual word that is typed on the page as opposed to silently reading it off of a piece of paper like you would from a paperback.

And, if you’re doing the math, I’m on Day 12 from foot surgery. Doing pretty good. Stitches are supposed to come out this Wednesday. Wow. These are long days and even longer nights. Anyone who has dealt with this before? Shoot me a comment. How did things work out for you? Any hints on walking around in a boot? Getting comfortable?

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October 10, 2017

It’s almost time to get back to work on the revisions to Volume 2 (In a Corner, Darkly). I had to put all that on pause because of the surgery, but my brain is coming around again. Personal note – Painkillers? Blech. Everyone is different, but for me, I’d rather deal with the twinges and aches than the side effects of those nasty things. Hmm. there might be a short story in there somewhere 🙂

So, yes. In the next few days, I’ll be ramping up the revisions again. My plan is to have Volume 2 ready for the public by the end of 2017. And, as a reminder, anyone who purchased Volume 2 back in 2013 when it was first released will be getting one “gratis”. I owe them that! Yikes!

Plus – it’s getting close to NaNo Time! NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is coming around again and I just signed up. For those of you not familiar, here is the official website: Linky

It’s kind of a big deal because people from all over the WORLD are able to participate (for free). It’s a personal attempt to “write a novel – 50,000 words” in 30 days. Kids do it. Adults do it. Professionals do it. It’s fun, exciting, and nerve-wracking all at the same time. It’s where Badfish and Track 9 got their start (the first drafts were typed during past NaNo’s).

And, THIS year, it’s where my THIRD novel, Buried, will take its first breath. Yes, another suspense/horror story. Twenty-two days away before the first word hits the page. 🙂

Check back soon. I’ll post updates on Volume 2, some upcoming events, NaNo ideas, and maybe even how my foot is doing (no driving for at least 4 weeks…sigh…) 😉

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October 8, 2017

Back to business! Came through foot surgery pretty well this past Tuesday, October 3rd. Now that those nasty drugs are wearing off, it’s time to get busy. Over the next few days, I’ll be posting some movie reviews and sharing some info about the next event that’s planned for November 5th. Keep an eyeball peeled!

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October 2, 2017

Yay! It’s October! I love this time of year. Still waiting for the cooler weather, though. Illinois is having temperatures in the 80s (which I find personally unacceptable!). I just can’t put hay bales and pumpkins on my stoop when I’m wearing shorts and short sleeves.

There will be lots of exciting things happening this month, so please do check back often.

Another Meet & Greet interview went up today (first one in October).

AND, I was interviewed by Teri Polen! To find MY interview, follow this link here: Interview!

More very soon!

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September 26, 2017

It’s Banned Book Week – Linky

Read ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that interests you.

No censorship on THIS blog.

“Our right to read.”

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September 24, 2017

Something popped into my email this afternoon – A New Review of Track 9. This one comes from HorrorNews.Net.

Track 9 Review Here!

And keep an eyeball peeled (in the events section) for how Princeton Public Library’s Author Fest went. I’ll put up a couple photos as well! 🙂

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September 16, 2017

I am SO EXCITED. I’ve just finished revisions on story #11 (out of 15) on In a Corner, Darkly, Volume 2. I’m over two-thirds of the way there. It has really been quite the educational experience. Not only am I correcting punctuation and poor spelling, but I am finding better ways to say things. Smoother transitions. Cutting out the mundane.

If you like suspense, you are going to like this. And remember – everyone who purchased the ORIGINAL Volume 2 back in 2013 (I have a pretty good idea of who you are 🙂  ), you will be getting a NEW one when they are ready. Free of charge. You deserve it for putting up with that mess!

For those of you who “weren’t around” back in 2013, I’ll be doing some special promotions at that time as well. I don’t have an exact timeline, but my hope is to have the entire thing ready for the world before 2018.

And hey! Next Saturday, September 23, from 10am to 2pm, I’ll be at the Princeton Public Library for the author fair! (you can find all the info in the Events segment of this blog). Come on by and say hi! And maybe even pick up a book or two. 🙂

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September 12, 2017

Hey there. Just want to take a moment to give a SHOUT OUT to all my followers on the blog. I really appreciate your support given that this is a relatively new blog and some of you folks don’t really “know” me.

Thanks for sticking with me so far. I plan to continue to make this a cool place to visit, an interesting web-stop, and provide amazing author interviews.

Not to mention updates and opportunities to check out my own writing. (Yeah, I guess I mentioned it 🙂   )

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September 9, 2017

Calling on Everyone!

Do you have a scary experience, disturbing dream, or frightening real life tale you wish to share?

I am looking for ANYONE who is willing to share a REAL LIFE (dreams count since you actually “experience” a dream) fear-inducing experience for my blog for the month of October.

1. It has to be from a real life situation.
2. Try to keep it under 700 words. It can be as short as a few sentences. You do NOT have to be an “author” to participate in this. It’s for fun – for the Horror/Suspense part of the blog.
3. Anyone is welcome to participate – any age/gender/etc.
4. If you don’t wish to use your real name, that’s fine.
5. It can be a story from any time period in your life.

Any other questions? Just ask!

EMAIL ME: srovens@yahoo.com

The story will be put on the blog (suerovens.com) during the month of October for my

Scare-sperience: Halloween Edition.

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September 3, 2017

I was looking back at some of my earlier posts, comparing where the blog started to where it is now. It hasn’t been all that long in the life of a professional/personal website. A little over two months – that’s it. But what a tremendous change. And, I’ll let you in on a little secret – there’s more to come.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have 19 authors sign up for my Meet and Greet, and there are a number still in the queue! (I’m always accepting more). Writers from all genres, from romance to YA Fantasy, Sci-Fi Thriller to Memoirs; it’s all here. The authors come from all over – Chicago, New York, Florida – just to name a few.

I’ve also made progress in my own writing. I am currently revising my second book of short horror/suspense stories (In a Corner, Darkly: Volume 2). Today, I was able to complete the first of  the fifteen stories, meaning that it is ready for publication. It has been re-written, revised, and edited. I hope to complete a few more stories this coming week.

Also, Princeton Author Festival is only three weeks away. Since I “moved” to this new blog/website, I found myself with a bunch of swag that featured my OLD website. So, I’ve ordered new stuff – just in time for the upcoming event. 🙂 

There’s just never a dull moment as an indie author.

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August 30, 2017

Badfishpotentialcover

This is a little “behind the scenes” stuff. This mock-up was originally going to be used as the cover of Badfish, my first novel. While it has some similar themes as the actual one (the syringe, the title, the author’s name), the entire feel is very different.

I decided against this one because, while I think it’s kind of cool, it didn’t really POP. And since orange also plays a big part in the story, I wanted to feature that color more than it’s shown here.

I also discarded the subtitle (a tale of suspense) because it felt a bit too…dramatic. Badfish, as a stand-alone title, doesn’t need an explanation. As long as people can read the blurb on the back, everyone would know that Badfish is the name of the town.

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August 27, 2017

Well, this is exciting. I JUST finished revising the stories that will be included in volume 2 of In a Corner, Darkly. They are, hands down, so much better than what was initially published.

What happens now? I am going to go through each one, fine tuning, making sure the spelling, word choices, phrasing, etc., is the best I can make it. Considering they are, indeed, SHORT stories, this process shouldn’t take months to complete (as the revisions did).

I have also removed three of the originals – Midway, Deal Breaker, and Black Thursday. They just didn’t work. There might be a time in the future where I take another look at them to see what I can do, but for now, I’m “retiring” them to the proverbial “bottom of the dresser drawer”. If you happen to own a copy of Volume 2 (the original), take care. They could be worth a fortune someday 😉

Meanwhile, I’ll have a special offer for those who had purchased the original Volume 2. Luckily (in some ironic way), there weren’t many and I have a rough idea of who has them (thanks, friends and family who supported me!).

For everyone else, Volume 2 is going to be GOOD. I’ll have it available in paperback and Kindle, just like all my other books (and at the same price). And, just to get things rolling, I’ll probably do a couple “give aways” right here, from the blog. So, if you’re not yet a follower, do it now!

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And, on a sad note, we (the horror community) lost another one yesterday at the age of 74: Tobe Hooper.

Film

Tobe Hooper
Massacre à la tronçonneuse 40eme anniversaire Grand Rex 23 septembre 2014 - 25 (cropped).jpg

Hooper in 2014
RIP, Good Sir.

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August 24, 2017

This is the FIRST CHAPTER from my first novel, Badfish (2015). It’s the story of what happens to the people of a small town (Badfish) when a horrific drug is introduced by a man full of hate and greed.

Two men, Donald Bickley and Karl Demetris, battle for control of the town, the people, and the sanity of Badfish. It’s the ultimate good vs. evil story, but with more strippers.

Chapter 1: Bickley

            Donald Bickley had a reputation of being a mean son-of-a-bitch just like his dad, Roger. When Donald and his brothers were growing up on the farm, Roger liked to sneak up from behind and kick them right smack between their legs. He’d let out a hardy belly laugh as he watched the young Bickleys fall to their knees and grab their groins in agony. When he was feeling particularly devilish, he would stand next to the electric fence that kept the cows in and call Donald over to help him with something. When his youngest son would run over to see what was needed, Roger would simultaneously grab the fence and Donald at the same time. That little trick sent the two older brothers into fits of laughter while Roger just smirked. Then he would scold Donald, telling him not to be so damn gullible and womanlike’.

Roger Bickley’s family owned the farm free and clear since before the start of World War I. They raised cattle, corn, and chickens before Donald and his brothers came along. By the time Roger’s wife was pregnant for the third time, farm life had become too daunting for her. The stress of raising two wild boys while trying to survive an abusive marriage on top of everything else led to her untimely demise. Seven months later, Roger Bickley’s wife passed on in childbirth, a little factoid that Donald’s dad never seemed to let him forget, as if it were his fault.

As early as Donald could remember, the farm always came first, a strong fear of God came second, and if there was enough time in the day, family came a distant third. Keeping food on the table and a roof over head were the primary reasons to get up in the morning and get your ass out into the fields. Fortunately for Donald, being the youngest Bickley also meant having the easiest work load.

He was put in charge of the chickens which meant early mornings of gathering eggs, spreading feed, and general cleaning. Since his dad and brothers were usually busy with more labor-intensive farm work, he could sneak away and spend hours among the rows of laying hens, confiding in them his thoughts, his fears and his darkest secrets. As the years passed, Donald had plenty of dark secrets that burdened him.

Eventually, his brothers got married and bought farms of their own, leaving only Donald and his dad to live in the main house. Two men alone couldn’t run the large working farm, so Roger hired some local hands to help with the demanding fieldwork. Donald continued to look after the chickens and also took over the household duties like cooking, cleaning, and laundry. It wasn’t ideal, but there was always food on the table and clean beds to sleep in at the end of the day.

Fortunately for Donald, there was always a great deal of work to do. Most days, he could find enough chores to keep busy until Roger went up to bed. But on occasion, he would find himself sitting across from his father at the dining room table. Those evenings filled him with dread; swimming in a pool of awkwardness and loathing that made him wish he had the guts to move out. On those particular evenings after supper was served, eaten, and put away, Roger would pull at his earlobe and Donald returned the gesture with the smallest of head nods.

It was during those very specific moments that his stomach would turn. His gut filled with acid that crept up into his throat and burned every inch of his intestinal lining. He hated that gesture. He hated the meaning behind it. He hated his father and his brothers every time they did it. But instead of fighting or cussing or dismissing it, Donald would lower his head and solemnly climb the two flights of stairs in the center of the old farm house. He would enter the small bedroom and open the closet door where his eyes would rest on the yellow flowered dress that had been his mother’s favorite church outfit. He would take it off the hanger, throw it on the bed, and remove his overalls and plaid shirt.

He would hear Roger’s labored breathing as his father ascended the wooden staircase, pausing for a moment on the second floor landing. As tough as Roger was, the years had started to take a toll on him by this point. Hard manual labor helped keep him in shape, but the body can only stand so much for so long. He had started to feel every pain and twinge these days when he went from the corn crib to the shed. Normal routines were taking a little longer with each passing season. But he would be damned to hell before he buckled under and saw Doc Norton for little aches and pains. He just told himself that he wasn’t working hard enough, that he was getting lazy. ‘Hard work is a cure-all for anything,’ Roger’s father used to say. And if it was good enough for his dad, it was good enough for him and his sons.

Donald would squeeze himself into the dress and sit on the bed facing away from the door. Repulsion would flood his body as he listened for the familiar creak of the wooden floor and the heavy foot falls that echoed off the walls. Without looking, he knew the exact sequence of events that were taking place right behind his back. The flickering of the light switch, the removal of Roger’s clothes, the placement of his shirt and pants on the chair next to the dresser. The next few minutes were the worst; worse than the sex act itself.

Roger would stand behind him and rub his shoulders, easing his way down Donald’s arms to his thighs and finally to his crotch. Physiologically, Donald couldn’t help but become hard from the stroking and rubbing, even though it disgusted him to his core. Roger would bend down and kiss his neck while unbuttoning the front of the dress until he could run his hands over Donald’s naked flesh. Without a word, Donald would turn and lie on his stomach while Roger lifted the long yellow skirt up far enough to expose his buttocks. A quick handful of lube from the square green container of Bag Balm, which was conveniently placed on the night stand next to the bed, made Roger’s entry into the tormented chasm of Donald’s impenetrable anus a little less problematic.

By this time, Donald’s thoughts were far away. After years of being the surrogate female for his father and brothers, he was able to imagine himself somewhere, anywhere other than where he actually was at that moment. While it had crossed his mind over the years to leave the family farm, there had always been an impending sense of loyalty and responsibility that was too overwhelming to fight against. That, and the fact that he could never leave his chickens.

When Roger finally passed away in the 1970s, Donald sold the farm and made enough money to get his own house, open the only strip joint in Badfish, and have a very sizable nest egg in the bank. By severing all contact with his brothers, Donald Bickley was confident that no one ever knew, save some chickens, what really took place during those years in the white farm house on Springfield Lane, ten miles outside of Badfish.

If you like what you’ve read and want to see what happens to Donald, his brothers, and the rest of Badfish, you can purchase the book in paperback or Kindle format right here.

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August 22, 2017

I posted a BRAND NEW AD! It’s a first for me, so I guess I’m celebrating? But if you want to see it in its full glory, look at the right side of the page and scroll down 🙂

(It IS a horror website, so if you REALLY don’t want to see that kind of thing, take this as a heads up)

Linky!

AND if THAT wasn’t enough, I’ve been interviewed by Fiona McVie!

Check it out Here.

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August 21, 2017

Yay! The blog has hit 20 followers! Because of that monumental achievement, I will be choosing, at random, ONE follower to receive ONE of my books, for free. I will draw the email/name after work today.

Congratulations to Susan Bass Marcus! She is the winner of a signed copy of my first novel, Badfish!

I want to thank ALL my followers for their continued support and readership.

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August 18, 2017

Yay! Track 9 (my latest book) FINALLY has a review on Amazon! Linky Here!

That’s HUGE. And, if there are any other authors out there reading this, I think you understand. Reviews, whether they are positive OR negative, are really important. Not only do they help other readers make decisions, but statistically, they do effect placement on the internet. As long as the review is HONEST and not just a “this sucks” commentary, reviews are ALWAYS welcome.

So, if you read a book, it’s a Big Deal to leave a review. It doesn’t have to be long and it doesn’t have to be “professional”. Just be honest. Thanks!

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August 8, 2017

A really nice review just popped up for Track 9! Thanks to Rebecca Knaur and Smile Politely out of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois!

Link for SmilePolitely Review

If you are local and would like an autographed copy for you (or a gift) – contact me 🙂

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August 7, 2017

I’ve now gone through 12 short stories for Volume 2 – the revised edition. It’s getting kind of exciting. Going back and reworking stories that were once just “okay” and making them better is sort of gratifying. I still plan to incorporate three more into the book, so it will be like Volume 1 and have 15 total.

I like keeping things “even” like that 🙂

In other news, school is starting back up here in Normal, Illinois in a couple of weeks. If you’ve ever worked at a university, you know that can only mean three things:

  1. Traffic is going to get INSANE (as are wait times for restaurants).
  2. 20,000 more people are going to be shopping at the same stores you do. Good luck finding parking.
  3. Going to bed at 11:30pm is no longer an option. I’m nothing if I don’t get at least 7.5 hours of sleep.

On another note, if ANYONE knows of any writers who would like to be a part of my Author Meet and Greet, send them my way!

(Photo from 2014 – The covers of In a Corner, Darkly: Volume 1 & 2 are shown. I plan on keeping the cover to Volume 2)

DSC00844

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August 2, 2017

Every since I pulled In A Corner, Darkly: Volume 2 from being available (I am revising it…making it better, adding some new stories, taking out ones that really never worked), I’ve noticed that the price of it went to $500 on Amazon.

I find that kind of hilarious.

MY book? $500? Even for an “out of print” copy? Yeah, I don’t think anyone will be clamoring for it.

However – I am working hard on the revised edition. I’ve got 10 of the short stories in much better shape and removed two of the old ones.

Oh, if you are dying to have an old Volume #2 for your very own – the one with all the mistakes and poor writing – the one going for $500? I’ll cut you a deal. I’ll let you have a copy for a mere $300.

I’ll even sign it. 😉

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July 31, 2017

If you haven’t noticed, the NEW Meet & Greet section of the blog is up and running! Hop on over to my main page and click on the Q & A: Meet and Greet link. There, you will find the FIRST indie author interview!

My current plan is to keep a few interviews up on that page and move the “older” ones to a link right next to it (like a Meet & Greet: Archive Page). If anyone has any other ideas as to how to “catalog” them, I’m all ears! Either way, ALL the interviews I put up will stay on this blog indefinitely, so you will always be able to find your friends, family members, or yourself 🙂

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July 28, 2017

Sometimes, when I run, it gives me a chance to roll some writing ideas around in my head. I might think of different things to do on the blog, such as doing a regularly scheduled feature of a Q and A with others writers, or installing another completely unrelated category (like my running antics – and believe me, they ARE antics).

I’ve had real breakthroughs during these runs. One I recall in particular was when I was trying to figure out what to do with Mike, a character from Track 9. For the life of me, I couldn’t see “his path”. Originally, the ending I wrote bears no resemblance to how it stands now. The Mike character (and what ultimately happens to him) ended up being so unrecognizable from that first draft, you would think I was writing about two completely different people.

But one afternoon, as I was trudging around what we call Goose Poop Lake (yeah, there’s a reason…), it came to me. I had it. I knew where Mike was going and it filled in the plot holes perfectly. I couldn’t wait to get home and put the ideas down on paper.

The whole process, from being stuck by a character’s arc to seeing exactly where it should go, took probably close to three weeks or so. I couldn’t force it; it just had to come naturally. And I think it works, not only in connection with the other characters, but with the whole feel and sense of the book.

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July 23, 2017

The interview with In Print Radio (WBOM) went swimmingly! 🙂  Took the day before to check out the area, stop in some local bookstores and record stores (shout out to Toad Hall Records – an amazing place full of magic and thousands of records, books, comics, and more), and talk to some friendly locals.

I was told that the interview should be out in late September of this year, so, when I hear more, I’ll let you know and post a link. Thanks SO much to Bob Francis and Isabell McAren for the opportunity to speak with you. It was a lot of fun and great to meet with you.

For those keeping track, the NEXT event that I am hoping to be a part of is the Bloomington Public Library Local Author gathering on November 5th. Nothing is set in stone for that yet, at least on my end, but keep an eyeball peeled for more/new info as it comes in.

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July 19, 2017

So, I’m thinking about inviting other indie authors to participate in my own version of a type of Q & A. I’m not sure if I should focus on ALL indies or just writers of suspense and horror.

I’m sort of leaning toward the suspense/horror line, since it would fit in nicely to what I am already doing here. But, what say you? Any opinions? Thoughts on the matter? Let me know. Leave a comment. Write to me (srovens@yahoo.com).

Thanks!

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July 17, 2017

Kelly Fumiko Weiss, a member of the Chicago Writers Association, writes and blogs about the writing experience. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to participate in a “quick 5” Q&A recently.

WritersQuick5Interview – Link Here!

Here is Kelly’s link to her own blog if you wish to follow her – Kelly’s Link

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July 12, 2017

So, I’m going through each story from In a Corner, Darkly: Volume 2. I have to say I am amazed at the changes that need to be made. Without compromising the plot lines, I am really making an effort to tighten up the stories and have the overall flow work better. Right now, I’ve “finished” five stories and JUST started working on number 6. It’s a work in progress to be sure.

In other news, I’ve been considering inviting other suspense/horror indie writers to do a “Q & A” type of segment here on the blog. Nothing has been finalized, but I’ve seen a number of other folks do it and, if done right, it could be a great connecting point for other like-minded readers/authors/horror enthusiasts. So, keep an eyeball peeled for more news on that.

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July 7, 2017

I am currently reworking most of the stories from In A Corner, Darkly: Volume 2. I’ll be taking a few out and adding a few new ones in. The reasons for this are plentiful. Here’s the honest truth of the matter:

  1. I believe I put it out “too fast”. It originally came out in 2013. I pushed to have it done before Halloween for that year. My first book came out in 2012, so at that time, I was under the (false) mindset that I needed to get my next one out there within a year. I was wrong. Naive and wrong.
  2. In hurrying, there were too many mistakes throughout the manuscript. Totally unacceptable. Because of this, if you are a follower of this blog and have purchased Volume 2, STAY TUNED. You’ve got a deal coming your way…
  3. I have grown as a writer. I’ve learned some things over the past four years. I’m making the stories better in every way I can. Plus, I’m planning on adding a couple new stories that have not been published before.
  4. I believe my readers deserve better. I’m not an overly prolific writer, so the things I do publish need to be of high quality. In that sense, Volume 2 needed to be better than Volume 1 because I learned from past mistakes and became a better writer over time. Now, it will be.
  5. I am leaving Volume 1 as it is – it was my first effort and that means something. It represents who I was in a moment in time – 2012. I put everything I had into it and hopefully, I can look back and see how much I’ve grown. It’s still a solid book and I stand behind every story.

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July 5, 2017

Big News!

My second publication, In a Corner, Darkly: Volume 2 is being revised and updated! Currently, I am in the process of making it “unavailable” – but not to worry. After the revisions are made (with the possibility of adding NEW short stories!), Volume 2 will once again be made public and Better Than Before.

Stay tuned for more information.

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