Manuscripts Burn


"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Making the Sausage: Release Day Edition

After the (somewhat surprising) success of my last super-in-the-weeds bullshit industry post, which was about how I can afford to ship personalized, autographed books to fans, I thought I might try a new, possibly recurring segment about the deep, dark recesses of the publishing industry, Making the Sausage.

So, on Monday I mentioned how much I've been sucking at blogging lately.  A solid ten days of that was lost due to the HUNTER OF THE DEAD release day blitz, which, yes, is nearly two weeks of work for me.

Don't believe me?  I thought I'd make a list of what I do for every release.  Now, bear in mind, I have no idea which if any of these add to sales.  So I may be completely wasting my time.  I don't think so, though, and I've been honing this process over the five book launches I've now completed, and HUNTER OF THE DEAD was my biggest launch yet, so I must be doing something vaguely right.  At a minimum, you can chime in down in the comments and tell me what I'm doing wrong and right.

- crafting a release day blog post

- crafting a "Quintessential" blog post (the difference between the two is a release day post is just for release, but a "Quintessential" post goes up a few days or possibly weeks later, when there have been some reviews and mentions, and then is added to my "Info on My Published Work" and updated constantly as a repository for all reviews and mentions of my work on the internet)

- updating the "Info on My Published Work" page so that the new work is included on it, first with just an Amazon link, then with a link to the "Quintessential" post when that goes live

- crafting the perfect post for my group blog

- responding to any blog comments (across all three posts) with a personalized thank you

- updating your e-mail signature line with the new book, before sending out e-mails to the mailing list

- crafting the perfect e-mail for the mailing list

- on release day, sending two separate e-mails, one for the people you know are real on the mailing list, and the other to the people you suspect are scammers

- clearing the confirmed scammers out of your mailing list when their e-mails bounce

- answering congratulatory e-mails from your mailing list

- creating the perfect Goodreads event well in advance of release day, making the duration of the event at least one day for each thousand friends you have on GR

- inviting all of your Goodreads friends to the event in blocks of a thousand, a hundred at a time, because Goodreads won't let you invite more than a thousand people to an event in a 24-hour period

- responding to each "yes" and "maybe" on your GR event with a personalized thank you, and to some of the "nos" if they've given some kind of justification with an offer of some sort or possibly just a condolence

- mention your release on any pertinent and apropos GR groups

- crafting the perfect Facebook post for the business page and scheduling it for release day

- liking (or loving) and crafting a personalized thank you comment to each person who shares your FB post

- after determining interest has waned on your business FB post, share it to your personal FB

- also like (or love) and craft a personalized thank you for everyone who shares your personal FB post

- mention your release on any pertinent and apropos FB groups

- crafting the perfect Tweet

- take advantage of Tweet sharing groups, etc., to get more eyes on your tweet

- craft a personalized thank you for everyone who shares your tweet

- monitor Twitter for mentions of your release that you haven't been tagged on and gradually retweet them and send personalized thank yous

- monitoring Amazon rankings, sometimes all night, in order to capture screenshots of your possible bestselling statuses, across every individual national Amazon store

- after determining your highest bestseller statuses, posting screen caps, along with a thank you to your fans, on FB and Twitter

- mention your release on any pertinent and apropos message boards you may belong to/participate in

That's everything I can think of that's release "day" specific.  What do you think?  How much of this is wasting my time and how much is actually driving sales?  What do you do?

Monday, August 29, 2016

I Suck

Hey, kids!

I know I've been scarce around here.  Which I said at the beginning of the year I was going to do, that is, not feel obliged to robotically post three times a week like I usually do.

Here's the thing: once you give yourself a little leeway to drop the ball, you can give yourself a lot of leeway.  Like when you tell your kids they can stay up a few minutes late if they're good turns into them being up all night and fighting over the definition of "a few" and "good."

So, I ended up busting my deadline for the upcoming THE HEMATOPHAGES, which was due August 1, but I didn't get it turned in until August 7.  And then a week after that HUNTER OF THE DEAD dropped, and release day is actually about a solid seven to ten days of straight marketing.  (More on that on Wednesday.)

Which meant the next novel that I was supposed to get started on, SLASHVIVOR!, I didn't even want to look at until about three days ago.  Not to mention I can't drop the ball on my group blog, oh yeah, I have a day job which has gone straight to hell (where I usually write all of my blogposts, BTW) not to mention all the usual day-to-day trials and travails.

So, since I said I wouldn't let myself be beholden to the blog this year, I've let it drop for almost a month now.  And I really don't like being that guy.  I really don't.  You guys probably have no idea how many blogs I follow.  It's in the hundreds.  And I can't tell you how many of those are nothing more than the writer popping in every six months to say, "I know I've been terrible about updating the blog, and I swear that stops now" and then never posting again.  And this post, this one I'm writing right now, it sounds exactly like one of those posts.  But I swear to God I don't want to be that guy.

So I have to readjust.  I don't want to be beholden to the blog, but I don't want it to turn into a wasteland either.  I'm proud to say this blog has been around for almost eight years and it's never been silent longer than a few weeks.  In fact, this latest period of spotty updates may be the worst in Manuscripts Burn history.  To be honest, I don't really feel like skimming back through eight years and 1190 posts to be sure.  But it's probably the worst.

So I'm going to adjust fire.  I'm going to make sure that if you've gone to the trouble to make Mansucripts Burn one of your destinations on the internet, there will be something fresh here for you to read.  But I'm also not going to let myself get burnt out on it.  So what does that new paradigm look like?  I don't know.  And I don't want to make any promises either.  I'm just going to resolve to suck less.  And I already have one in the can for you on Wednesday, so, in the short run at least, problem solved.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Quintessential HUNTER OF THE DEAD Post

Thunderstorm Books Limited Edition

Wide release edition

HUNTER OF THE DEAD is now available in e-book and paperback formats through the following fine booksellers:

Barnes and Noble
It's also got pages on Goodreads and BookLikes.
It's also (briefly) available as a Limited Edition from Thunderstorm Books

Here are the other places around the net where you can find HoTD:

Cover Reveal on the Sinister Grin Press blog
An excerpt on THe GaL iN THe BLue MaSK
An interview on Beavis the Bookhead
A review on The Most Sublime
A spotlight on Cinema Bluster
A review on Literary Litter
A release announcement on Across the Board
A review on Beavis the Bookhead
An guest post on Beavis the Bookhead
A review on Countess Drusilla Steele
A review on Cemetery Dance
A review on John Quick's blog
A review on Cellar Door Lit Rants and Reviews
A mention on Lipsyy Lost and Found
A review on The All Night Library
A review on Frank Michaels Errington's Blog
A mention on Lipsyy Lost and Found
A contest on Totally Addicted to Books
A guest post on Totally Addicted to Books
A mention on Lipsyy Lost and Found
A mention on Awesome Gang
A review on Horror Maiden
A mention on Lipsyy Lost and Found
An interview on Armcast Podcast
A character interview with Cicatrice on THe GaL iN THe BLue MaSK
A review on THe GaL iN THe BLue MaSK
A mention on The Next Best Book Blog
A mention on Lipsyy Lost and Found
A review on the United Federation of Charles
A review on Lipsyy Lost and Found
A review on Books, Books, Books, and Coffee
A review on Tome Tender
Named the #1 E-Book of 2016 on Books, Books, Books, and Coffee
Named one of the 20 Best Novels of 2016 on Beavis the Bookhead
Named the #2 Novel of 2016 by Horror Maiden
A review on Hybrid Nation (scroll or search)
A review on Ex Libris
Named the 13th best novel of 2016 by The Horror Bookshelf
A review on Charnel House Reviews
A review on Patrick D'Orazio's blog
A review on The Horror Fiction Review
A review on Reading from Asteroid B612
Merchandise on Red Bubble
A mention on Reddit
A review on Showcasing Books
Unboxing video of the Thunderstorm Limited Edition on Brian Keene's website (around 8:46 mark)
Mentioned by Jay Wilburn as one of the Top 20 Recommended Books of 2019

A review on Erik Smith's YouTube Channel:

A reading and interview on Panic Room Radio:

Brian Keene unboxes the Thunderstorm Limited Edition

Monday, August 15, 2016

Release Announcement: HUNTER OF THE DEAD

Hey, everybody, I'm very happy to announce the release of my fifth novel, HUNTER OF THE DEAD, by Sinister Grin Press.  It's now available for purchase in paperback and Kindle e-book formats.

Just a quick reminder: authors live or die by word-of-mouth.  If you'd be so kind as to share or tweet my release on social media, or even just tell your friends about it in person, I'd be very grateful.

Thanks so much to all my friends, family, and fans for making this release and my entire writing career possible!

Monday, August 8, 2016

How the Sausage is Made

On Friday I posted that I'm opening up to mailing out autographed copies of my novels.  I was never really "closed" to it, per se, but I thought I should make the announcement public so all of my fans are aware of the same opportunity.

As I was drafting that blogpost, I started to go into the details of how and why I can afford to do this in terms of time, financial investment, etc.  But then I realized that it was turning a tiny little announcement post into a lengthy trip down writecraft lane.  So I truncated it where it was.  Buuuuuuuut, since some of my readers are genuinely interested in the hows, whys, wherefores, and specifics of how a writer makes money, I thought this might make a good subject for a separate post.

So if all you need to know is how to get a book from me, check out Friday's post.  If you want to know more, read on.

At present BRAINEATER JONES is $12.99 on Amazon, EVERY KINGDOM DIVIDED is $17.59, THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO is $13.50, and BILLY AND THE CLONEASAURUS is $9.99. So how can I afford to sell the books for only $10 at signings or in this mailing offer? Because I order at an author's discount. 

What is an author's discount?  The easiest way to explain it is to consider who is dividing up the money you spend on a book.  Most of the money goes to Amazon, and in the case of paperbacks, most of that money is the actual cost of production.  But don't worry, Amazon's getting paid no matter what.  What's left is divided (the percentage depending on the contract between them) between the publisher and the author.

When an author orders using his discount, he's basically getting the book less what he would be paid.  So Amazon and the publisher still get paid, but the author's "payment" for that book is getting the book for cheap.  Then I can pass on the love to my fans or not, as I see fit.  I'm at the point in my career where I still do, because I'm still trying to build an audience, so selling books for cheaper is more beneficial to me at this point.  If I was a famous author and people were clamoring for my books, I could afford to charge slightly more.  At one of my signings, price might be a reason someone doesn't buy a book, and I can't afford to lose potential fans because of my price point.  Stephen King, for instance, has already put in the hard work of building an audience, so he can charge essentially whatever he wants and the line will still be around the block.

That's why it's always going to be your benefit to purchase paperbacks from me at a signing or by mail because I pass on the author's discount to you. And, yes, the price for BILLY is about the same, but the small profit I make on BILLY sales helps me underwrite the other three.

So, for instance, with my author's discount I spend about $7 per copy of BRAINEATER, taking into account shipping.  So every copy of BRAINEATER I sell for $10 is a $3 profit.  That's about average.  I make a little more on BILLY, and quite a bit less on GHOUL.  GHOUL costs me very close to $10.  If my BILLY sales didn't make up for it, I wouldn't be able to sell GHOUL for the same price as the others. 

So why don't I just price all of my books so that I make the same amount of profit on each?  Primarily it's because at events I'm not just selling my books.  I'm also selling Mary Fan's books, who is my usual convention partner, as well as Elizabeth Corrigan's, Melissa MacVicar's, Collin Tobin's, and a number of others.  If we priced every book individually it would be a nightmare to sell anything to anyone.  So we all agreed on a price of $12 apiece, or $10 apiece if you buy two or more.  With the mailing offer I'm making it even easier on you, and just starting out at $10 apiece.

But what about shipping?  Why do I charge a flat rate for shipping when shipping varies.

Well, yes, shipping varies, but so far I haven't shipped a package that cost more than $5, and for one book it's still around $2.75 for the Media rate.  I expect if I ever sell all four books in a single pop the shipping cost would be slightly over $5, but I'm not sure.  So I'm calling it $5 for all packages.  First of all, I want payment up front, and while I could make an educated guess as to the cost for shipping each package, it's better to just give you a rate that I know is not exorbitant.  Will I profit slightly from shipping on some package?  Yes.  I may make a net total of $1.75 when shipping a single book at the Media rate.  And that will help to offset when I sell all four books at $5.75 or so.   It also means that I won't have Jimmy in Sacramento complaining that I charged him $3.75 but I only charged Kitty in Philadelphia $2.75.

Now, bear in mind, all of this discussion assumes you're within the continental U.S. If you're outside the contiguous 48, we can discuss it, but most shipping charges are prohibitively expensive. I've done this before with reviewer copies.  I've sent single books to the UK for a whopping $26 in shipping. It's cheaper for me to order a copy through Amazon UK without my author discount and have it sent directly to the reviewer than to pay shipping and send it from here.

So why can't I do anthologies?  Well, it all boils down to the same financial concerns. All of my anthologies are either for charity or else I do not get an author's discount. So, yes, I guess I could send you a signed anthology, but I'd have to order it, have it shipped to me, sign it, ship it to you, and then pass on that full price to you, and since I don't make royalties on anthologies, it would be for zero profit. So, for instance, if you wanted AT HELL'S GATES, which is $12.59 on Amazon, assuming $5 for shipping both ways, I'd have to charge you around $22.59 just to break even.  If you really want a signed anthology, I guess we can discuss it, but it's to both of our benefits if you purchase it yourself and bring it to a signing.

Like I said, I know this post was a bit in the weeds, but that's why I didn't want all this information cluttering up the initial post.  And, hey, some people like to crawl around in the weeds, so for those of you out there, enjoy.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Do You Want an Autograph?

Hello, friends!  A brief word on autographs.

First of all, if you've bought an e-copy of any of my books, you can always request an inscription and an e-autograph through Authorgraph.  You knew that just from reading the header on the blog.

However, lots of people also prefer actual autographs on physical books.  As you've probably been able to tell, I've been hitting the convention circuit hard lately.  A number of readers either missed a signing or bought a book at one event and decided they wanted more.  As a result, I've had several people approach me in the last few weeks on FB and Twitter wondering if they can get signed paperbacks.

At the moment the answer is yes.  I know there are some authors who are far too busy to answer every such request, but I am by no means that famous and/or busy right now.  (With luck, this blogpost will open up the floodgates and make me eat those words, so have at it.) 

I always have paperbacks of my novels on hand for signing, and I'm happy to ship them out to you.  Unfortunately, I do not keep any of the anthologies in stock.

Feel free to reach out to me by whatever means you prefer: e-mail, FB messenger, even Twitter DM.  Here's what I'll need from you:

- Your shipping address
- Whether you want to dictate you own inscription, have me make up a personalized inscription, or flat sign it (as in, just the autograph, you know, so you can flip it on eBay or whatever)
- $10 per novel and $5 total for shipping (I prefer PayPal, but we can discuss.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Creating the HUNTER OF THE DEAD Cover (Guest Post by Zach McCain, Professional Artist)

Hey kids!  Today you're in for a treat.  Some of you have already witnessed over on the group blog the trials and travails of letting someone like me describe a cover I want.  These poor illustrators deserve sainthood for dealing with me.  Take a look, for instance, at the "concept art" I sent to my longsuffering publishers Sinister Grin for my upcoming thing about vampires, HUNTER OF THE DEAD:

This time, though, rather than merely guess at how the poor fellow behind the easel took my clip art of Sauron (yes, I know it's actually Morgoth, thanks) and turned it into an actual book cover, you good people get to hear it from the horse's mouth!  So without any further ado, let's introduce today's guest and then get straight to the good stuff.

About Zach McCain:

Zach McCain is an internationally published artist who is primarily known for his illustration and cover artwork in the horror and science fiction genres. He has worked on hundreds of books for numerous publishers. His work ranges from book and magazine illustration to graphic design, album art, DVD and poster work for films, and RPG games. Mediums often used are oils as well as pencil, ink, and digital. 

As a fan of Stephen King Zach started out doing graphics and web work for "The Dark Tower Compendium," a Stephen King fan website. He continued to do Stephen King fan artwork in his spare time and eventually got work with small horror publishers and "Cemetery Dance Magazine." A couple of pieces of his fan artwork were featured in KNOWING DARKNESS: THE ART OF STEPHEN KING published by Centipede Press. He continues to do artwork for Stephen King projects including books and film as well as private commissions for fans. 

He is also the graphic designer for dark fiction publisher DarkFuse and he is currently working on his own comic book series in his spare time. 

If you are a publisher, or an author looking to self publish your book, and are in need of cover art and/or design work feel free to contact Zach at:

You can find out more about Zach at his website and on Twitter.

Guest Post:

When it comes to cover art I have various ways of getting the job done depending on what the publisher or author wants and what the cover idea is. Digital photo manipulation, oil paintings, colored pencil on acrylic, and pencil drawings colored in Photoshop are all techniques I use. In the case of HUNTER OF THE DEAD I went the pencil drawing/Photoshop route. 

Here's how it was done:

Step 1

After the sketch is approved I start out by doing a pencil drawing on a comic book art board.

Step 2

When the pencil drawing is completed I scan it in sections and put it back together in Photoshop.

Step 3

Next I begin a slow and tedious process of tracing around every element with the lasso tool in Photoshop and filling it with a color. Everything is separated on it's own layer. This step takes the most time out of the entire process.

Step 4

As soon as I have everything traced and separated I begin coloring each part of the illustration one by one.

Step 5

Once every part of the image is filled in with color I will then go in and add details. In this case I added highlights on the armor and horse using the lasso tool and blood using the paintbrush tool. I will add textures if needed and adjust brightness and contrast as well as the overall color. This final step is the second longest in the entire process.

Step 6

Once everything looks good I will add the text.

And that's how I did HUNTER OF THE DEAD.


Someone has begun targeting vampires.

Vampire leaders of the thirteen Houses attribute the string of recent losses to over-zealous vampire hunters.  Only Cicatrice, the most ancient and powerful vampire in the world, suspects that the semi-legendary Hunter of the Dead may be the real culprit. 

Carter Price ,a vampire hunter who despises the way his profession is becoming centralized and corporatized, begins to suspect the Hunter of the Dead is back, too - and no longer distinguishing between vampires and mortals.  Against his better judgment, Price agrees to work with Cicatrice.

The uneasy allies attempt to uncover the truth about the Hunter, while a vampire civil war brews in the background.  But perhaps most difficult of all, they must contend with their new apprentices, who seem to be falling in love with each other against every rule of man and monster...

HUNTER OF THE DEAD will be released in paperback and Kindle on August 15, 2016.  It is available now for pre-order at Amazon.

About Stephen Kozeniewski:

Stephen Kozeniewski (pronounced "causin' ooze key") lives in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the modern zombie. During his time as a Field Artillery officer, he served for three years in Oklahoma and one in Iraq, where due to what he assumes was a clerical error, he was awarded the Bronze Star. He is also a classically trained linguist, which sounds more impressive than saying his bachelor's degree is in German.

You can follow Stephen on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Goodreads, his blog, or even join his mailing list.

Monday, August 1, 2016

KJA and I

Here's a true story about jealousy.

I wrote BRAINEATER JONES in 2009.  Due to the vagaries of fate and the industry, it wasn't published until 2013.  I remember being very excited because I was going to burst onto the scene, the first person who had ever thought of combining the eminently combinable concepts of zombies and noir.  I was going to be a smash success, and more importantly, the first person to the trough with that concept.

Shortly after I had accepted my contract, I went to the bookstore and nearly had a heart attack.  There, sitting on the shelf, was a copy of the first book in Kevin J. Anderson's DAN SHAMBLE series, DEATH WARMED OVER.  It was clear as day: on the cover was a zombie in a trenchcoat holding a Midnight Special.

When my heart stopped palpitating I said to myself, "Okay, well, all is not lost, he probably didn't write it in first person, so I'm still good."  I opened up the first page and found it littered with "I's" and "me's."  Of course KJA had written his noir detective novel in the first person.  How else would one write such a thing?

I wandered off in a daze.  Son of a bitch!  I had struck while the iron was cold, ice cold.  If I had just pushed harder, gotten BRAINEATER on the shelves a little bit sooner, KJA wouldn't have beaten me to the punch.

For the next few months I was lurching through life like a coked-out idiot at the end of a Scorsese film.  I thought I had struck on an idea so brilliant, so original, that it would revamp the industry and make me a star.  Of course I did.  Everybody who's ever written a book thinks that.  And I began to curse the name of Kevin J. Anderson, despite the fact that he was one of my childhood idols and I had read all of his Star Wars books in middle school until the covers bent and split.  Who the hell did Kevin J. Anderson think he was, poaching my story idea?

I let it ruminate in me.  I let myself hate KJA.  I didn't mention Dan Shamble to anyone.  I didn't want to invite the comparison.  I wanted to pretend, if anyone ever brought it up, that I had come up with the idea first.  I had notes from 2009 proving it, didn't I?  So, whatever.  Let KJA's legbreakers and lawyers come after me.  What were they going to do?  Morally, I was correct.  Plus, I was the better writer.  Yeah, that's the ticket.  Maybe KJA had fans and money, but he couldn't write his way out of a paper bag.

In 2014 I attended Zenkaikon in Lancaster, PA and I met Jonathan Maberry.  And I gave Maberry a copy of BRAINEATER JONES.  He looked at me and he said, "You know who would like this?  Do you know Kevin J. Anderson?"

And I froze.  Yes.  Of course I did.  I had been seething with jealousy at Kevin J. Anderson for the better part of a year now.

"Oh, yeah," I said hollowly, "He wrote Dan Shamble, didn't he?"

Maberry nodded. 

"Yeah.  You should send him a copy.  I think he'd like it."

I felt about an inch tall.  That was when I realized KJA hadn't done anything to me.  Most likely he didn't know I even existed.  He had just published a book.  And I had published a book superficially similar to it.  They were different, after all.  Mine took place in the '30s and his featured mummies.  But the point was...of course we probably had more in common than different.  We had both thought that the idea of a zombie detective would be really cool.  We were probably really similar people, in fact.

So I went to my computer and I did the hardest thing I had ever had to do.  I swallowed my pride.  I tweeted KJA and I said that Jonathan Maberry thought he might like my book, and I'd love to send him a signed copy.  A part of me, that nasty green-eyed part, was even at that point still saying, "Well, see, I'll be the better man then when he says no!"

But you know what?  He didn't say, "No."  He said, "Oh, neat, that sounds cool, here's my PO box number."  And I sent him a copy of BRAINEATER JONES.

That alone would probably be a nice ending to the story.  I had learned my lesson about not being a stupid jerkoff to other authors, even if only in my head.  But there's a little more that bumps it up into morality tale territory. 

At the World Horror Convention in 2016, KJA was one of the guests of honor.  I hadn't forgotten about my year of being a seething asshole, but I had long since put it behind me and begun thinking of KJA as that guy I admired in middle school again.  So after the opening ceremonies I went up to introduce myself to him.

"Hi, Mr. Anderson, my name is Steve Kozeniewski..."

He stopped me, pointed at me, waggled his finger in my face.  He was trying to remember something.

"Oh, yeah, the long last name.  You really helped me out during a tough time in my life."

I must have blinked.  I hope I didn't do a double take.  I did what?

I asked him to explain.  He went on to say that he had, in the last few years, started a publishing company.  So in addition to writing, he was also reviewing what's called "slush" or unsolicited submissions for publication.  He had, during that time period, read and rejected a story about a skeleton private eye.  Then, after the DAN SHAMBLE series came out, the writer who had submitted the skeleton story had started kicking up a fuss, threatening to sue KJA and just generally hassling the poor man.

I must have blushed red as a tomato.  You know, in an alternate timeline, one where I'm a little more hotheaded and one where I hadn't met Jonathan Maberry at Zenkaikon, that weird raving lunatic would have been me.

You see, what I didn't know as a brand new author, and what this author from the slush pile apparently still doesn't know, is that you can't copyright or trademark ideas, and certainly not general concepts.  Otherwise I could've written "schoolboy wizard" on a napkin in 1998 and sued the piss out of J.K. Rowling.  Hell, the estate of Shakespeare could've sued Leonard Bernstein or Jesus could've come out of the clouds and sued Kazantzakis.

This slush author was making the argument that KJA had stolen the concept of an undead detective from him.  Which is ridiculous, because off the top of my head I can think of "Forever Knight" and "Angel" getting to the well before him.  And I had a moment of utter clarity.  They had gotten to the well before me, too.  Of course I hadn't come up with the damn idea.  I had just been caught up in the same zeitgeist as KJA, and we had both independently had the same thought.

But he went on.

"When I received your book in the mail it made me feel really good.  Because we had both had the same idea at the same time, but you weren't a jerk about it.  And I could say to that guy, 'Well, if you're going to sue me, you have to sue Kozeniewski, too.'"

There's a moral in here.  Maybe it's just "don't be jealous."  Maybe it's to remember that a rising tide lifts all boats, and authors hating on other authors is never a good thing.  Whatever the moral is, I'm glad I learned it early on in my career, so I don't become a crusty, bitter old jerk.  Besides, if anybody stole anything from anybody it was Brian Keene stealing the title of Jeff Strand's novel PRESSURE.
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