Manuscripts Burn


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."

Monday, December 2, 2019

Cyber Monday is Here!

Nothing is better than shopping with no pants on!

Since there are laws in this country that frown upon that, Cyber Monday is a now thing for the holiday shopping season.

Of course, shopping from the comfort of your couch was always a thing. At least with Cyber Monday, you get the deals of Black Friday, without all the screaming and hair pulling...unless you're into that. No judgement!

This Cyber Monday (or any day, really) check out the works of Stephen Kozeniewski on Amazon.

OR, if you like to listen on the road, check out his books on Audible instead!


Friday, November 29, 2019

Small Business Saturday...It's for Authors too!


Hey everyone, Jess here. I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving and that the sewer system at your house is working well.

Now that the holiday shopping season has officially kicked off, I just wanted to remind you that tomorrow is Small Business Saturday. In case you don't know, that's an unofficial holiday a lot of folks like me and Koz like to nudge people in the direction of shopping from mom & pop shops, family owned franchises, and independent sellers; like us authors.

Authors have it tough when it comes to marketing. We have to take advantage of word of mouth and reviews to really get our books sold. So we ask this Saturday, that you consider forgoing the big book stores and Amazon, and purchasing a book or five from your favorite authors personally. Many of us have boxes of books at our house that we are more than happy to autograph and ship to you.

You can contact Koz (and me!) on Facebook or Twitter to get a copy directly. Of course, we aren't going to complain if you buy something from us on Amazon, but remember, we get far less profit out of it.

Consider shopping small for all your holiday needs, and help out your neighbors instead of the big corporations. It's very much appreciated by us little guys!

Happy holidays to you all!


Monday, November 18, 2019

THE BIG BOOK OF BLASPHEMY



The Big Book of Blasphemy by [Mitchell, Regina]

Announcing THE BIG BOOK OF BLASPHEMY, featuring Stephen Kozeniewski, credited as 'And many more', for some odd reason.

If you're religious, look no further - this is not the book for you. The Big Book of Blasphemy is just what the name says: BIG. With 30 stories from today's best extreme horror writers, no one and nothing is sacred. These stories take on everything from goddesses to paleros to priests to saints and sinners, angels, demons, devils, and even pizza. From wretched pasts to dystopian futures, these tales explore a range of topics, religions, and blasphemies. The stories in this book range from serious to humorous, loud to quiet; there's a sacrilege for everyone.

Avaliable on Amazon, so check it out now. I think this one would be an especially good ironic gift for all these religious holidays coming up. We here at 'Manuscripts Burn' are not responsible for any family fights breaking out over the gifting of this book.

Friday, November 15, 2019

How to Not Suck at Promoting

I've been a writer for many years, and I've got a little experience under my belt, but I've learned a few more things about the trade since working for Stephen. There is a lot of time-consuming, mind-numbing work involved with promoting yourself as an author, but if it's done right, the benefits are worth the hassle. Here are a few nuggets of wisdom I've accumulated over the last few months:


1.) Reviewers are finicky creatures! 

Most of my time is spent searching through list of potential reviewers for Stephen's work. Aside from some of the odd or particular requirements some have for even contacting them, a lot of them have a hefty list of 'yes' and 'no' requirements for any book they are sent. A few reviewers who have themselves listed as Horror reviewers will also reject certain genres of horror, like Splatterpunk. You have to read a lot of fine print and do a lot of overhauling on your general request letter to get their attention. Treat each reviewer like they're the only one. 


2.) Social Media is exhausting, yet crucial. 

Since I've now been given the keys to the city -- Stephen's social media page, I've realized there is a lot to keep up on. To keep people following you and gain more visitors, you have to keep it interesting. On Stephen's page we do random questions to engage the followers, and we share every instance of his existence online in the form of blogs, interviews, etc., so people know he still exists and is still releasing stuff. 


3.) Fucking Blogs! 

Oh man, that is the hardest part for me. As a writer myself, I should have no problem busting out blogs, but I do. After a while, I have a hard time coming up with subject material. This is where Stephen shines. He's able to consistently keep his blog running by sharing videos, articles, and interviews, as well as his own meandering thoughts on subjects. I have found that writers who maintain blogs in between their publishing projects can keep their audience interested longer.


4.) Public events are great even if you don't make money.

Every creator should be booking and attending as many events as possible. Whether it's a small book store signing, or a huge comic con, you should be trying to get out among the human beings whenever possible. Even if you don't make back your table fees, the connections you make with potential fans and networking with other creators can be extremely rewarding. I have countless new friends and have found out about tons of new venues over the years because I get out there as much as my schedule and wallet allow me.


5.) Write for yourself and be your own biggest fan.

This is the big one. I've always lived by the policy that if I write what I want to read, others are bound to want to read it to. You need to be your own biggest fan (and critic!) in order for anyone else to believe in you. Remember, even if you don't ever make it big, as long as one person is reading your work, you are legit. That one person can be you.



Do you have anything to add? Comment below!


Monday, November 11, 2019

50 Good Questions to Ask an Author


I borrowed this list of questions from the depths of the internet for Koz to answer. Since he's always giving me so much homework, I figured I'd turn the tables on him. You're up, Slugger.

1. What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? 

I've been to the Herman Hesse statue in Düsseldorf.  I've been to Edgar Allan Poe's apartment in Philadelphia (apparently it was a brief tenure there.) 

2. What is the first book that made you cry?

Probably MOSTLY HARMLESS.

3. What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?

Well, there are a lot.  Probably publishers not paying contracted payments and Kickstarter owners never delivering their product.  But there's also sexual and racial harrassment.  I don't know.  It's hard to say.

4. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Sometimes A, sometimes B.  It varies day to day.

5. What are common traps for aspiring writers?

I think the main thing is believing your book is your baby.  Your first book's not going to be perfect, so don't obsess over it until you think it is.  Write five or six books instead.  Similarly don't be shocked if your first book doesn't get all the attention.  Maybe it'll be your twentieth.  Just keep at it.

6. Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

It's a prerequisite to feel like your thoughts are important enough for other people to want to read.  It's only a problem if your big ego isn't accompanied by a crippling sense of self-doubt, which makes you constantly strive for perfection.  I think both elements are necessary for good writers.

7. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Almost anything.  TV, video games.  It's all so alluring.

8. Have you ever gotten reader’s block?

Oh, sure.  Sometimes I have to slug through a book for months because I keep putting it down.

9. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

Are you kidding me?  With this ridiculous name?  I assumed it would be mandatory.  Strangely enough, my first publisher talked me out of it.  She said if she were writing something she'd want it under her own name.  So I said what the fuck.

10. Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

I don't really care if the reader gets what they want.  The characters need to be well served.  If that makes work original, so be it.

11. Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

Well, I don't, if that makes a difference.  One symptom of my PTSD is a flat affect, aka I don't feel great highs and lows, just the consistently creamy middle.  So hopefully not.

12. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

My collaborators Wile E. Young, Stevie Kopas, and John Urbancik obviously all help me improve my work.  I also regularly commiserate with Mary Fan, Elizabeth Corrigan, Kimberly G. Giarratano, and a bevy of others.  I like to think of all authors as my friend.  Except that one dickhead.  He can sit and spin.

13. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I'm not trying to do a DARK TOWER kind of thing.  Basically each book is its own thing.  But I have pondered how a few small hints in each book could connect them if it ever becomes necessary.  In some cases I think it's impossible.  For instance, it would be very difficult for THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO future and the EVERY KINGDOM DIVIDED future to co-exist.

14. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Start publishing in the '90s, you yutz!  Don't wait until you're out of college and the army!  The boom times are ending!

15. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

It didn't really change my writing process, but it did significantly change my publishing process.  Once you have work out there, selling the second, third, and fourth pieces become significantly easier.  It's sort of like when you're putting together a piece of IKEA furniture with four wheels.  Wheel one is a pain in the ass.  Then by the time you've done wheel four, you're like "I'm the boss now.  Why aren't there more wheels?"

16. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Hiring my PA.

17. What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?

Oh, I dunno.  I don't usually revisit authors if they don't catch me with the first book.

18. What did you do with your first advance?

I'll let you know when I get one.

19. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

One of my favorite lines is in LIFE, THE UNIVERSE, AND EVERYTHING.  Adams says "the ship hung in the sky much the way a brick doesn't."  I often use that as an example of what novels can do that no other medium can, that sheer indulgence of language.

20. What are the most important magazines for writers to subscribe to?

Eh.  A subscription to Publisher's Weekly would probably be useful since there are markets and agents you can only read about if you havea subscription.  But most things can be found online for free with a little digging.

21. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

Well, that's a push-and-pull sort of situation because in some ways my least appreciated novels are not my best.  But I feel like EVERY KINGDOM DIVIDED never got the love it deserved.  People actually often ask me why I don't push it more in the current political climate.  My response to that is, "Why do you think I'm not pushing it?"

22. How do you balance making demands on the reader with taking care of the reader?

I don't feel any special obligation to take care of the reader.  Is that something I was supposed to be doing?

23. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

A Rigellian, of course.

24. What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?

Interesting question.  Probably the courtesy of a heads up.  But I think if you're a good writer they'll never know it was based on them.

25. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Dozens.

26. What does literary success look like to you?

Millions of dollars, movie deals, mansions, champagne, caviar.

27. What’s the best way to market your books?

Get reviews and share them on social media.  Prove that your work is woth reading because others have read it.  Awards nominations and wins are also very positive.

28. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

It varies.  I do research quite a bit before and during writing.  Probably dozens of hours for a single book.

29. Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

No, but I don't really believe in the spirit.  I guess it could be a spiritual practice if you were in to that kind of thing.

30. What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

Sex scenes apparently?  That's the only thing I've been criticized for.  But I've also been complimented for it, so I dunno.  You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both, and there you have the facts of life.

31. How long were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one?

Forever, basically.  since I was twelve.  But I wouldn't say I'm a full-time writer now.  Far from it.  Certainly a professional, but I'm not making the bulk of my money from writing or anything.

32. How many hours a day do you write?

When I'm on?  Two or three.  When I'm off?  Sometimes zero for weeks at a time.  But them's the breaks.

33. What period of your life do you find you write about most often? (child, teenager, young adult)

I don't think I write about my life very often.  In my one roman a clef it was my early to mid twenties.

34. What did you edit out of this book?

Out of SKINWRAPPER?  Eh, I overdid it with all the pee globules floating around.  There was too much dealing with urine and I think it drained (ha!) some of the tension out of the book.

35. Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

It sounds trite, but Hodgson's THE HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND always makes me excited about the possibilities of the genre every time I read it.

36. What are the ethics of writing about historical figures?

Um, none, I think, unless they're still alive.  Didn't ABRAHAM LINCOLN, FUCKLORD OF THE MOON prove that to us?

37. How do you select the names of your characters?

Laboriously.  I want my characters to have meaningful names, but not so cutesy that it slaps you in the face, like how every werewolf character is inevitably named Lupin "Mooney" Lycanthrope.  Sometimes it's as subtle as "this is a working class name."  Other times the names do very heavy philosophical lifting.  Jack Pasternak is one of my favorites.

38. If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

Well, I don't make money from writing.  I did one year, but not nearly enough for my bills.  I currently have a full-time day job and I'm co-owner of a small business.

39. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

Yeah, I read them all.  Good ones I share.  Bad ones I'm just happy to have.  If you don't have bad reviews, you're not being widely read.  I know some authors claim they don't read their reviews, but I find that difficult to believe.  I think it's something that they think is important to pretend to say.

40. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Oh, yeah.  Most people on pick up on two or three of the hundreds of Easter eggs I sprinkle throughout all of my books.  I did a comprehensive list of the Easter eggs in BRAINEATER JONES once, and there were over a hundred.

41. What was your hardest scene to write?

That's a tough question.  I'd say the toughest scenes to write are the boring, weight-bearing ones.  Getting from Point A to Point B.  If there's no zazz, no reason for it to be there except it has to be, those are difficult.

42. Do you Google yourself?

Every goddamned day.

43. What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?

This is an odd question.  Like I get to choose?  So could I just give up Brussels Sprouts or something?

44. What are your favorite literary journals?

Cemetery Dance, I guess.  I don't really read a whole lot of them.

45. What is your favorite childhood book?

THE HITCH-HIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY.

46. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Editing.  Writing is relatively fun and easy, but honing the prose to perfection is a long, difficult process.

47. Does your family support your career as a writer?

Yeah, certainly they do, my girlfriend in particular.

48. If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

Read more.  Write more.  Same as being an adult.

49. How long on average does it take you to write a book?

I can do it in six months.  I guess I've done it in a month, but the real work is in editing, which takes considerably longer.

50. Do you believe in writer’s block?

No.  You've just got to either write the words or not.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

A Halloween Bonanza!

Check out Koz's latest contribution to Across the Board, A Halloween Bonanza!
You might get something useful out of it, or not. Just read it!

Friday, October 25, 2019

Three Titles on Sale

Hey readers, Jess the PA here. I just wanted everyone to know that 3 of Koz's audio books are currently on sale on Audible.

Check out BRAINEATER JONES, BILLY AND THE CLONEASAURUS, and THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO right now.


For every copy not sold during this sale, Stephen informed me he will kill one kitten. So please, if you have a heart (or just need something spooky to read over Halloween), buy one of his books.

The kittens depend on you.


Image result for kitten begging





Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Local Horror Writers' Panel at 2nd & Charles

Join us at 2nd & Charles 
Saturday, October 26 
2 p.m.– 5 p.m. 

Authors appearing are: 

- WESLEY SOUTHARD!!!
-Brian Keene 
-Kelli Owen
-Robert Ford
-Mary SanGiovanni
-Robert Swartwood
-Stephen Kozeniewski
-John Boden




Harrisburg Mall
3501 Paxton St.
Harrisburg, PA 17111


Friday, October 11, 2019

Interview with Brian Keene







Check out Stephen's latest interview with Brian Keene, where he butchers a number of foreign accents. Also, he talks about his books and junk.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Introducing Stephen’s Virtual Gopher




You may have noticed by now, that a few of Stephen’s posts have been taken over by a secondary mind. I assure you, this isn’t the result of a symbiote merging with him and feeding on his essence. That would be cruel to the symbiote.

No, I’m his new assistant, Jessica Eppley, and I am now at one with Stephen’s virtual presence. I answer his e-mails, send out his review requests, and manage his Facebook page. I’ve recently begun tinkering with the blog too. I’ve never really managed a blog before, so it’s a learning process. I am basically a cavewoman still stuck in the early 2000’s virtually (I still use Word 2010 and my laptop is 10 years old), so forgive me for any mistakes there.

I am also a writer…or I should say I attempt to be a writer now and then. I’ve dabbled in multiple genres, but I am mostly known for my fantasy series, ‘The Book of Siavon’, which you can check out on my website. I’m always working on multiple stories as the same time, like a squirrel burying nuts all over the yard. And, just like a squirrel, I tend to get distracted and forget all about one story to work on another. When I do finally publish something, you can rest assured it took a painstaking amount of time to perfect.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a huge dork. I speak in movie quotes and am fluent in snark. I’m an amateur cosplayer and love vending at cons. I actually met Stephen at Harrisburg Comic Con, and forgot him almost immediately because I was too distracted by all the bright colors. 

I’m a bit surprised that he considered me for the position, since I spent all weekend screaming at people that I liked their T-shirts and running around covered in fake blood. He must be desperate. Or he has no friends. I’m not sure.

Well, I guess I’m not the worst choice, since I love working on menial shit. It mellows me out and silences the internal screaming for a few precious hours a day.
Anyway, that’s why you’re seeing random posts by a chick on Stephen’s page. He wasn’t hacked. He’s just too busy to bother engaging with any of you now that he’s a big shot.

Thanks for having me. I’ll try to keep this entertaining.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Harrisburg Comic and Pop Con or Bust!

Hey, everybody!  I'm very pleased to be appearing this weekend at Harrisburg Comic & Pop Con.  I'll be signing all weekend with my good friend and mentor Brian Keene.  We'll be at:

Harrisburg Mall
3501 Paxton St.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17111

This Saturday and Sunday, the 21st and 22nd of September.  If you haven't gotten your copy of SKINWRAPPER yet, this will be your first chance.  And if you want classic copies of THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO or BILLY AND THE CLONEASAURUS, this may be your last chance.

HarrisburgLogoPNG.png

Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 2, 2019

KillerCon Autopsy (Redirect)

Hey, all!

I know it's getting to be a habit of mine to only check in when I have stuff on the other blog, but, look, I just got through putting together a 70,000 word submission for a call that ended August 31, so how about you cut me a break? 

Anyway, to hear all about KillerCon 2019, and how I failed to defend my long-standing title, check out this post.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Scare That Care Autopsy (Redirect)

Hey all,

I'm always delighted to attend the Scares That Care charity convention.  This year, I did my autopsy over on the group blog, and, trust me, the day after a convention is not a good day to attempt to write anything, but if you want to hear my raw, unfiltered thoughts, well, perhaps a dedication to meeting deadlines is a good thing in this case.  I hope you'll check it out!

Friday, August 2, 2019

New Release Announcement: SKINWRAPPER

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Hey, everybody!  I'm currently at Scares That Cares hawking my wares, chief amongst which is the brand-spanking new SKINWRAPPER, a prequel novella to THE HEMATOPHAGES.  If you don't happen to be in Williamsburg, VA, you can still get in on the fun.  Pick up a copy over at Amazon, and leave your deepest thoughts and feelings about it on Goodreads.  Or, of course, if you want an autographed copy, let me know!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Scares That Care or Bust!

image25

Hey everybody!  I'm absolutely delighted, as always, to be appearing at this year's Scares That Care Charity Weekend VI.  It's a bloody good time for gore- and boozehounds of every variety.  But, more importantly than any of that, it's a really great charity that goes out to benefit victims of burning and cancer.  I hope you'll stop by to see me and all the other great celebs.  Deets below.

Dates:  Friday, Saturday, and Sunday August 2-4
Location:  Double Tree by Hilton
50 Kingsmill Road
Williamsburg, Virginia, 23185.

Panels:

Thursday 10:00 pm - Room A/B - Horror Trivia with Brian Keene and Mike Lombardo
Saturday 1:00 pm – Reading Room – Q&A with Jonathan Maberry (M)
Sunday 1:00 pm – Reading Room – Reading (with Jeff Strand)

Monday, July 15, 2019

My Appearance on Matters of Faith


Hey, everybody!  I had a delightful conversation a few weeks ago with the legendary Jay Wilburn over on his "Matters of Faith" podcast.  It was really quite enjoyable.  Check it out!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Batman vs. God (redirect)


Want to read a post that I clearly thought was going to be more clever than it turned out to be?  Well, never fret, friendos!  That's what the group blog is for.

Monday, July 1, 2019

New Release Announcement: HUNTER OF THE DEAD Limited Edition

Hey, everybody!  I'm very excited to announce the release of the limited edition of HUNTER OF THE DEAD from Thunderstorm Books, featuring a foreword from the legendary Jonathan Janz!  There are only 52 copies, so make sure to grab yours before they're all gone!


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…

Monday, June 17, 2019

New Release: ARACHNE'S WEB by Elizabeth Corrigan

Hey, all!  I'm very pleased to bring you a new release announcement for one of my best friends, Elizabeth Corrigan.  I've had the pleasure of seeing ARACHNE'S WEB grow from the single germ of an idea into a full novel now available to you all.  I hope you'll grab a copy!


Seven Strangers.

Three Students: Bliss Bhanushali feels an instant connection to her roommate Lexi and Lexi's boyfriend Will, though both girls can't help but feel Will is keeping something from them.

Two Scoundrels: Jack and Cobalt Zhao find themselves on the run after their foolproof plan to rob a space train goes inexplicably awry.

A Soldier: Gavin Ibori must fight for his very survival in a challenge designed to test the mettle of the most promising new warriors.

A Servant: Roslyn Turin wants nothing more than her freedom, but her dreams of another life send her into psychiatric care instead.

One History

By day, they are seven strangers from different moons. At night, they dream of their interconnected lives twenty years ago. Their visions send them to the mysterious moon of Arachne, where an archaeological dig turns up strange alien artifacts.

Then the dreams get darker, filled with images of glowing symbols and spattered blood.

In their last lives, they were murdered. And if they don't find out why, history is doomed to repeat itself.

Monday, June 10, 2019

How I Edit (Redirect)

Hey, everybody!  I did a rather extensive breakdown of how I edit over on the group blog today.  I took a look at the novella I'm building out of "The Thing Under the Bed."  If you're into that sort of thing, or just suffer from insomnia, I hope you'll check it out!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

New Release Announcement: SKINWRAPPER (Italian-Language Edition)


Ciao a tutti!  I was very pleased this week to release SKINWRAPPER, an Italian-language exclusive (for now) novella.  The only way to get it is to subscribe to the newsletter for my Italian publisher, Dunwich Edizioni.
Watch this space (ha!) for more on the English-language version, if that's more your thing. In the meantime, here's the back cover copy:

A single word strikes fear into the hearts of even the most experienced starship crews…

Aboard the freighter 
Blue Whale, a young girl’s day begins like any other: texting her friends while her parents bicker about breakfast. Then, with a loud, sickening pop, their domestic tranquility is shattered.

A single word goes out over the emergency warning system…

The galaxy’s shipping lanes are plagued by a gang of vicious pirates. Suffering from all manner of terminal diseases, they require zero gravity to live. They also need a constant influx of fresh blood and organs, so their victims also become their unwilling donors. The band is so ruthless, so violent, that its very name has become a synonym for terror.

A single word that chills the blood, even in the utter cold of space…

The little girl finds herself alone, lost, and trapped aboard the vessel she called home, praying it won’t also become her tomb. She is about to learn there is nothing in the universe worse than being hunted by a SKINWRAPPER.

***

This prequel novella shoves you screaming back into the world of “space horror masterpiece” (Daily Dead) THE HEMATOPHAGES.

Friday, May 31, 2019

In Memoriam: Frank Michaels Errington

Frank and I at the York Emporium, Horrible Saturday 2016
I recall vividly when Richard Nixon died.  I asked my father, "Aren't we happy about this?  Wasn't he a bad guy?"  My father told me, "No, you should never be happy that someone died."  And I've taken that to heart.  Never speak ill of the dead, they say, and I think that's important.  It's what makes us human and not ghouls.  Still, It's always struck me that there are different kinds of grief.  It's one thing when a beloved family member dies, another thing entirely when a celebrity who touched your life passes, and yet another when a childhood enemy dies.  All grief of a sort, but all different.

For the most part, when someone in the horror industry dies, I take note, but that's about the long and short of it.  When I hear that the key grip for "Friday the 13: Part II" passes away, I usually think, "Oh, that's a shame.  I'm sure his family will miss him, and the world is a bit less vivid without him."  But that's about it.  Occasionally, a titan like George Romero or Jack Ketchum passes, and I feel a different, perhaps stronger sense of grief.  These are people who have affected my life and work, even if I've never met them.

Today is something else entirely.  Today a man passed who I counted as a friend and a kindred spirit.  Frank Michaels Errington was, of course, most importantly a husband and a family man.  But to horror authors he was one of a handful of truly prolific reviewers.  I count him among the top tier of horror reviewers, alongside Christine Morgan, Sharon Stevenson, Nick Cato, and C.T. Phipps.

Frank read every single one of my books.  He certainly didn't care for them all, but I never felt, as I sometimes do, stung by his negative reviews.  Fundamentally, Frank was a decent person, and I think he understood that authors are people, and that slinging shit across the internet might be fun in a perverse way, but it doesn't help anyone improve their craft, and it doesn't do readers any good.

Frank's reviews were always excellent and, perhaps more importantly, correct, in the sense that any review can be "correct."  As I said, he never felt the need to slam an author, even if he didn't like his or her work.  He was fair and detailed and his thoughts rang true.

What I think people don't necessarily know about book reviewers is that they're generous.  Generous with their time, generous with their thoughts, and generous with their money.  But Frank was a special case.  He was a fixture in the central Pennsylvania horror community, which is quite a feat, considering he hailed from Norristown, my hometown.  I know that drive well.  That's a two hour plus drive along a toll road. 

But I can't recall ever attending a signing, film debut, convention, or event in this area without Frank appearing at some point.  And never once did I see Frank when he didn't buy one of my books.  That streak, sadly, will remain unbroken.  The last time I saw Frank, at the White Rose Comic Con, he told me he had all of my books (obviously) but was still going to buy one of my re-releases because he like to support authors.

He liked to support authors.  Perhaps that's all that needs to be said about Frank.

But there's more, of course.  Frank led a great, rich, and full life.  He was thoughtful.  And kind.  He was a gentleman, in every meaningful sense of that word.  He was warm and kind and inviting, and, as I said, he was there.  Always there.  Always supportive.  He was beloved and recognized by everyone in the community (you need only glance at your Facebook feed this morning to feel that in full force.)  And yet I always found his humility striking, if striking is the right word for someone so humble.  People always recognized him and embraced him warmly, but he always affected an "Aw, shucks" sensibility, like he was nobody very important.

But he was important.  To all of us.  One of the greats, as I said earlier, in the community of reviewers.  And one of the greats in the community of mankind.  We are diminished by his loss.  But most diminished, of course, is his family, and I wish them great strength in facing the grief ahead.  If it means anything to you, know that Frank was recognized by his adopted horror family, that we will miss him.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

BRAINEATER JONES $0.99 Sale!


Hey, everybody!  I'm very pleased, in conjunction with our good friends at BookBub, to announce that BRAINEATER JONES is on sale for only $0.99 across all platforms in the United States.  I hope you'll pick up a copy.

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
Google Play
iTunes

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Free Audiobooks!

Hey Splatter fans, I've got a free audiobook (or three) for each of you:

- THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO
- BILLY AND THE CLONEASAURUS
- BRAINEATER JONES (available in the US only)

As you may have heard, Audible promo codes are expiring in November. So if I don't get rid of them now they'll just go to waste. So e-mail me (skozeniewski at yahoo) for one, two, or, hell, all three. Hope to hear from you!

Click on the covers below to learn more!



Monday, May 13, 2019

ASOIAWTF (Redirect)

Hey, everybody!  Hope you all enjoyed the penultimate "Game of Thrones" last night.  I wrote about it a bit over on the group blog.  Check it out!

Friday, May 10, 2019

My Appearance on Necrocasticon!

Hey everybody!  I was delighted to be featured as the guest on the season premiere of Necrocasticon.  Click on the banner below to check it out!


Monday, April 15, 2019

White Rose Comic Con Autopsy (Redirect)

Hey, everybody! 

I know I promised this for last Wednesday, but I just have not been able to get my mind right lately.  Anyway, the lowdown on last month's WRCC is up now over on my group blog, Across the Board.

Oh, and regarding that first paragraph...

Monday, April 8, 2019

New Release Announcement: BRAINEATER JONES (Authors Preferred Edition)


Hey, everybody!  I'm very pleased to announce the re-release of my debut novel, BRAINEATER JONES under my personal imprint French Press!  I haven't exactly been advertising it, but some of you have no doubt noticed the novel has been unavailable for the past few weeks.  That's because rights reverted from my publisher to me and I was going through the laborious process of formatting, finding an illustrator, and publishing.  But the final result is well worth the wait, and the novel is now available in more stores than ever before.  And if you've purchased it before, I think you'll also be pleased to find some bonus content in the form of a short story.  I hope you'll check it out!

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
Google Play
iTunes

Monday, April 1, 2019

Last Chance to Own! (Three Original Novels)

Hey, all!  White Rose Comic Con was very good to me last weekend.  (More on that on Wednesday, hopefully.) 

It was so good, in fact, that I am almost out of the original versions of BRAINEATER JONES, THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO, and BILLY AND THE CLONEASAURUS.  The rights for all three of these novels have reverted to me and I have republished them all.  That means shiny new covers for the future...

...but that also means that the original covers are now collector's items.  No one can ever publish another one again, not even me.  Only about twenty of them still exist, and all in my personal collection.

So, I wanted to offer this last opportunity to you, my fans, before it goes away forever.  I suspect after Scares That Care in August these books will all be gone.  So reach out to me now, utilizing the info in this link, and I will send you your very own autographed copy of one or more of these novels.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Horror Metal Cast Interview!

Hey, everybody!  I need to take a minute to write about White Rose Comic Con soon, as well as what may be your last opportunity to purchase the original versions of BRAINEATER JONES, THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO, and BILLY AND THE CLONEASAURUS.  But, instead of unpacking either of those complicated dealios right now, I've got a special treat for you all today.  On Monday this week I had a great interview with the crew over at Horror Metal Sounds, including metal drummer Joe Moore and my good friend and co-author Stevie Kopas.  We take a deep dive on writing SLASHVIVOR!, plus breaking news on BRAINEATER JONES and an exclusive on an upcoming novella of mine.  I think you're going to love it.  Check it out!

Monday, March 18, 2019

The Post-Nigh World (redirect)

Hey, everybody.  I know I've been scarce about the blog lately.  It's mostly been custodial work and interviews.  Not a lot of fresh thoughts.  The reason for that is that I've been in an existential funk lately and I knew that my next blogpost would have to address that, or else I'd just be dodging the issue.  So I've been avoiding writing it.  But now that it's my turn over at the group blog Across the Board, I finally addressed my nagging, apocalyptic concerns.  I hope you'll check it out.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

White Rose Comic Con or Bust!

Hey all!  I'm very pleased to announce that I'll be appearing next weekend, Friday through Saturday March 22, 23, and 24 in York, Pennsylvania for the debut White Rose Comic Con I!

No photo description available.

The convention will take place at the York Fairground:

334 Carlisle Ave
York, PA 17404

I'll also be appearing alongside horror luminaries Brian Keene, Mary SanGiovanni, Kelli Owen, Bob Ford, Wesley Southard, Chris Enterline, Somer Canon and many, many more.  Hope to see you there!

Friday, March 8, 2019

New Release Announcement: THE HEMATOPHAGES (Italian Language Edition)

Ciao, amici!  I am double-plus excited to announce that as of today, my work is now bilingual.  THE HEMATOPHAGES is now available in Italian, courtesy of the redoubtable Dunwich Edizioni.  You can purchase it at Amazon Italy or Amazon US (or any Amazon store, really.)

I want to thank Alessio Linder for the stellar translation.  He's been responsible for translations for friends and horror luminaries such as Mary SanGiovanni and Bill Braddock.  (And speaking of Mary...thanks to her for pointing me toward Dunwich in the first place!)

Just for fun I ran the translated synopsis back through Google, so for a little fun you can check that out below as well.


La dottoranda Paige Ambroziak è una “coniglietta di stazione”: non ha mai messo piede fuori dall’avamposto nello spazio profondo in cui è cresciuta. Ma quando le viene offerta una piccola fortuna per unirsi a una missione di recupero clandestina, coglie l’opportunità per lasciarsi alle spalle lo spietato mondo accademico.

Paige è convinta di essere stata arruolata per trovare la leggendaria Manifest Destiny, una nave semina che è andata perduta in un’epoca antecedente al governo delle corporazioni sulla Terra e sulle colonie. Qualunque cosa stia cercando, però, riposa nei mari simili a sangue di un organismo di dimensioni planetarie chiamato mondo di carne.

I pericoli abbondano per Paige e le sue compagne di viaggio. Volare fuori dallo spazio tracciato significa che le corporazioni concorrenti possono sparare a vista piuttosto che rispettare i diritti di recupero. L’area è anche territorio di caccia delle macabre skinwrapper, corsare note per uccidere chiunque non si sottometta.

Ma la più grande minaccia per la missione di Paige sono i ripugnanti parassiti alieni che infestano il mondo di carne. Queste mostruosità simili a lamprede erano solite nuotare in un oceano di sangue e sono pronte a versarne un altro dalle vene delle straniere che hanno contaminato il loro habitat. Nel giro di poche ore, Paige scoprirà che non ci sono limiti alla depravazione e alla violenza dei grotteschi incubi noti come… ematofagi.

(and the reverse translation:)

PhD student Paige Ambroziak is a "station bunny": she never set foot outside the outpost in the deep space she grew up in. But when she is offered a small fortune to join a clandestine recovery mission, she takes the opportunity to leave behind the ruthless academic world.

Paige is convinced that she was enlisted to find the legendary Manifest Destiny , a sowing ship that was lost in an era prior to the government of corporations on Earth and the colonies. Whatever he is looking for, however, he rests in the blood-like seas of a planetary-sized organism called the world of flesh.

The dangers abound for Paige and her traveling companions. Flying out of the traced space means that competing corporations can shoot at sight rather than respect recovery rights. The area is also hunting territory of the macabre skinwrapper, corsing notes to kill anyone who does not submit.

But the greatest threat to Paige's mission is the disgusting alien parasites infesting the world of flesh. These lamprede-like monstrosities used to swim in an ocean of blood and are ready to pour another from the veins of foreigners who have contaminated their habitat. Within a few hours, Paige will discover that there are no limits to the depravity and violence of the grotesque nightmares known as...hematophagous.

Monday, March 4, 2019

New Release Spotlight: CATFISH IN THE CRADLE

I am very pleased to share with you all the good news that my dear friend and writing partner Wile E. Young has released his first novel, CATFISH IN THE CRADLE.  I sincerely hope you'll grab a copy.


Grady Pope has hit bottom; his alligator hunting business is failing and his daughter has abandoned him. Nearly giving up, his life is turned upside down when she reappears and dies giving birth to a son. Grady takes in his erstwhile grandson, vowing to raise him. He soon notices that strange events occur around the child, culminating in the revelation that he isn't entirely human. The ancient forces who dwell in the river want their kin back and Grady Pope must decide whether blood does run thicker than water.

Friday, March 1, 2019

New Release Announcement: 100 WORD HORRORS PART 2


Hey, all!  I sincerely hope you enjoyed Women in Horror Month and all the amazing guests who contributed their time and effort.

Now we're back to my (semi-)regular contributions, and I'm very pleased to kick off March with a new release announcement!

The very talented Scottish horror author Kevin J. Kennedy has compiled an impressive collection of drabbles in 100 WORD HORRORS 2.  A drabble is a microfiction piece consisting of exactly 100 words.

Being published in 100 WORD HORRORS 2 is something of a homecoming for me.  After being out of print for nearly six years, my very first published piece ever, "Clockwork Offal," is finding a new home in this collection.  With the re-release of THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO and BILLY AND THE CLONEASAURUS last year, (not to mention the upcoming re-release of BRAINEATER JONES) I feel like I'm really starting to get back to my roots.

But don't just come for me!  A whole bevy of horror luminaries will also be featured, including Sara Tantlinger, James Newman, Michael A. Arnzen, and my old battle buddy Richard Chizmar.  It's available for pre-order now and will be released on Monday.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Women in Horror Month #13: Nadia Bulkin, Shirley Jackson Award-Nominated Author of SHE SAID DESTROY


Well, folks, thanks for stopping by this month.  I'm very glad to round out 2019's Women in Horror Month interview series with someone I've had the pleasure of meeting and serving on a panel with at Stoker Con 2018.  Let's give a warm welcome to the devilishly talented Nadia Bulkin!


About Nadia Bulkin:



Nadia Bulkin writes scary stories about the scary world we live in, thirteen of which appear in her debut collection, SHE SAID DESTROY (Word Horde, 2017). Her short stories have been included in editions of THE YEAR'S BEST WEIRD FICTION, THE YEAR'S BEST HORROR, and THE YEAR'S BEST DARK FANTASY AND HORROR. She has been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award five times. She grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia, with her Javanese father and American mother, before relocating to Lincoln, Nebraska. She has a B.A. in Political Science, an M.A. in International Affairs, and lives in Washington, D.C.

You can follow her on Twitter, and her website.

Interview:


SK: How are you involved in the world of horror?

NB:  I write horror stories, mostly (my first collection of said stories, SHE SAID DESTROY, was published by Word Horde in August 2017). I also consider myself just a fan of the genre - since I was a little kid, I've watched an ungodly amount of horror movies, mostly because I enjoy the safe experimentation with danger, and also as a form of therapy. I review them on my Twitter.


SK: Who or what terrifies you?

NB:  From a strictly visual, horror media viewpoint, I'm really scared of Japanese yurei-style ghosts, especially once you introduce the broken, insectoid movement of ghosts like Kayako in "Ju-on." I think it pings some primitive nerve ending in me that says, "that is not natural, that is unpredictable, that is unsafe." I literally have to hide behind the couch if someone puts on 
"Ju-on" or "Kairo" ("Pulse"), that's how much it gets to me.

In my waking life, particularly as a woman, I'm mostly scared of physical harm being done to me by others. But I also get the heebie-jeebies when uncanny things happen that I can't explain, something that pings that same nerve of "this is not normal, this is not safe." Something that, even if it looks innocuous and just gets filed under "eerie coincidences," still hints that there are larger forces beyond our comprehension capable of messing with our reality. 


SK: Are there unique challenges to being a woman in horror or do you feel like gender is irrelevant?

NB:  The two biggest challenges for me are: how to grapple with the fact that a lot of horror rests on the destruction and demonization of women and female bodies, and the very interrelated fact that horror is considered to be the domain of male auteurs. On the one hand, horror has a lot of potential as a subversive genre (and that's why I love it); on the other, a lot of horror is actually very retrograde. Even extremely violent, shocking horror usually just enacts the same violence that's been inflicted on women and children in the name of war for millennia. It gets to be suffocating, at times, being the punching bag of every story. Personally, acknowledging that status quo and surviving within it has been a huge focus for me and for my stories. Besides, surely horror shouldn't feel so "been there, done that"? The only solution, really, is to invite more people who aren't straight men into the genre and to let them tell the stories they want to tell, instead of expecting them to play the same game as everyone else in order to be accepted.


SK: Who are your favorite female horror icons?

NB:  Katie from "Paranormal Activity." Helen from "Candyman." Eleanor from THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE (book, not miniseries).


SK: What are you working on/promoting currently? Why should folks check it out?

NB:  What I can promote right now is the anthology Ashes and Entropy, which features a ton of talented horror writers (Laird Barron, Damien Angelica Walters, John Langan, Kristi DeMeester, Jon Padgett, et al.). I have a sports-themed horror story in it ("Flesh Without Blood"). On a related note, I'm currently working on a sports-themed memoir that's outside genre confines, but is still extremely dark.


About SHE SAID DESTROY:




A dictator craves love--and horrifying sacrifice--from his subjects; a mother raised in a decaying warren fights to reclaim her stolen daughter; a ghost haunts a luxury hotel in a bloodstained land; a new babysitter uncovers a family curse; a final girl confronts a broken-winged monster...

Word Horde presents the debut collection from critically-acclaimed Weird Fiction author Nadia Bulkin. Dreamlike, poignant, and unabashedly socio-political, SHE SAID DESTROY includes three stories nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award, four included in Year's Best anthologies, and one original tale.
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