Surprise! THE CON SEASON is available NOW!

First the good news: you can click here, right now, and secure yerself a copy of The Con Season: A Novel of Survival Horror. That’s the ebook link, but paperback will be out in a month or two if you’re an absolute tree-hating physical media diehard.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Horror movie starlet Clarissa Lee is beautiful, internationally known, and…completely broke.

To cap off years of questionable financial and personal decisions, Clarissa accepts an invitation to participate in a “fully immersive” fan convention. She arrives at an off-season summer camp and finds what was supposed to be a quick buck has become a real-life slasher movie.

Deep in the woods of Kentucky with a supporting cast of B-level celebrities, Clarissa must fight to survive the deadly game that the con’s organizers have rigged against her.

A demented, funny, bloody, and strangely-poignant horror novel from the acclaimed author of Tribesmen, Zero Lives Remaining, and Mercy House.

Go ahead and buy the book before scrolling any further.

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I’ll wait.

Now the not-so-good news: if you nominated the book, probably already you know that Kindle Scout has decided to pass on publishing The Con Season.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say it’s a bit of a bummer. I feel like our numbers game was strong, but I also understand where the editors are coming from.

This book—an inside-baseball horror fandom satire with moments of blackly comedic ultraviolence—probably doesn’t scream “marketable!” It also doesn’t help that their cover guidelines suggest “no weapons or blood” and I was trying to sneak in a book featuring a blood-smeared woman holding a rifle…

Or all of that could be me trying to justify them simply not liking the book. I’m big enough to admit that.

But enough about the past! Let’s talk about the future. More specifically, let’s talk about Black T-Shirt Books!

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Boom! We got a logo and everything. Huge thanks to Chris Enterline for getting that done.

I wasn’t messing around in last month’s post where I claimed to have “contingency plans” in place for The Con Season. As touched as I am at all the messages of condolence that I’ve received for being passed by Scout: really, it’s cool, nobody died!

I entered into this campaign knowing that having the book rejected was a very real possibility. I had to hand KS a completely edited manuscript and final cover art: so I was always viewing the program as an experiment in self-publishing.

And now that experiment is live and YOU get to decide if it keeps going or not.

Will Black T-Shirt books be releasing more titles? Yeah, if you and a few friends buy, review, and share this one.

I know I harp on the need for reviews (seriously, not just my books, if you read ANY book and like it: please review that ish on Amazon, you’ll be helping make quality writing more visible). But this time, since Black T-Shirt books is me doing this all by myself without the backing of a publisher, reviews are doubly important. As is word of mouth, shares on Facebook and Twitter, and updates to your Goodreads.

And if the Black T-Shirt Books experiment doesn’t succeed? Well, then it’s back to the drawing board, because we all know I’ve got schemes and machinations and secret-books for miles.🙂

Thanks so much for everything, guys and gals, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the support.

With love,

Adam Cesare
CEO and Master of Shirts at Black T-Shirt Books

P.S. New episodes of the YouTube show are up:

An early review of Evil Dead remake director Fede Alvarez’s Don’t Breathe:

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And a less-SEO friendly review of 1984’s The Mutilator, recently reissued by Arrow Video: 

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The End

Okay. Wow. It’s been a month.

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Those of you who follow me elsewhere on the internet (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) have had to put up with a lot of pimping of The Con Season during its run on Kindle Scout.

But tonight at midnight it’ll all be over but the crying. If you’re reading this before the crying is taking place: now’s your last chance to maybe get a free copy.

So I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who’s checked out the KS page and cast a nomination for the book. We won’t know the results from the Kindle Press editors for at least a couple of days (probably upwards of a week), but even if they come back  with a NO!, I feel confident that I’ve run the best race that I could.

The genre and subject matter of The Con Season could be a little bit of a hard sell for the program (I mean, I read it as a straight thriller with horror elements, but their opinions may differ), but one thing’s undeniable: y’all have made the book difficult to ignore. And that’s touched me, because it means I have such supportive friends and readers.

Some stats: as of writing, The Con Season is currently listed in the Kindle Scout site’s “Hot and Trending” category, and during the campaign it’s been there for a whopping 510 hours (that’s way more than half the total hours of the 30 days). By the time things wrap up, the page itself will have been viewed nearly 3,000 times. And over a third of those views didn’t come from direct links, which means that they’re likely people who are hearing my name/checking out my work for the first time. Which is dope.

Every. Single. Person who’s nominated the book deserves a special shout-out, but unfortunately Amazon doesn’t share all your personal information with me (probably for the best). But there are a few folks who went above-and-beyond in their aide:

Armand Rosamilia—who was a Scout winner with his book Dirty Deeds—was an absolute powerhouse of help during and before this process, I really can’t thank him enough and you all should check out his books and podcast(s) if you haven’t already. Matt Serafini—my All-Night Terror co-writer—got me the hookup with some Dread Central press. Michelle Garza (one half of the Sisters of Slaughter, new book here) shared nearly every annoying Facebook post I put up, along with filmmakers Jimmy George, Chris LaMartina and Mike Lombardo. My long-suffering Cemetery Dance Online editor Blu Gilliand, who was gracious enough to feature me in a new interview (you’ll be getting a new column from me soon! I promise!). And finally, the good folks at Modern Horrors, who not only had me as a guest on their wonderful podcast (you should be subscribing on iTunes, you won’t regret it), but also allowed me to ramble about Stranger Things and Stephen King in a guest editorial. Also everyone who let me pitch them in-person at Scares That Care Weekend (Jeez, that’s a blog post in itself, so much fun).

There are at least 50 more people I could name for their shares and retweets (like Brian Keene, who totally encouraged me milking my The Horror Show podcast appearance!) and reblogging, but I’m terrified I’ll leave someone out.

As I said a month ago: no matter the outcome of the campaign, The Con Season will be released. I’m just not sure of the exact specifics.

But the first people to find out about how it’ll be coming out will be those who’ve voted (if it’s a yes) and those who are signed up for my newsletter (either way). So if you’re now invested in this ongoing drama, I encourage you to give me your email addy.

Thanks so much for all the support!

 

P.S.

There are new episodes of Project: Black T-Shirt up on YouTube. The newest of which has me reviewing Fede Alvarez’s new film Don’t Breathe ahead of its August 23rd release.

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The week before that was a special comic book episode featuring Eibon Press, Harrow County, and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Views, comments, likes and subscribes are always appreciated, if you like hearing me ramble in these videos.

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The Year’s Best Hardcore Horror & Other Superlatives

Hey all,

Just a quick update to share the link for this anthology I’m in. The Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Volume 1 is available now in ebook and paperback. Edited by Randy Chandler and Cheryl Mullenax, I’m hoping this annual collection continues for a long time.

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Not only does the book include great writers like David James Keaton, Adam Howe, MP Johnson, and Tony Knighton, but there’s also some of me in these pages.

My entry is “Readings Off the Charts” and it’s a bit of a rarity, even among my readers. This this marks the first time the story will be available digitally, originally published in a long sold out issue of Splatterpunk, a British mail order-only ‘zine. Huge thanks to Randy and Cheryl for giving the story new life and introducing my work to a new audience. Please consider picking up the collection and then leaving a quick review.

If you haven’t been to the blog in a couple of weeks, then you probably are noticing the new header image. That was drawn by artist Chris Enterline to promote my YouTube channel, Project: Black T-Shirt. A huge thanks to Chris, a guy you can find more about (and commission for yourself) at his website here.

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Chris also did a couple of title treatments for the show that you can see above, or can see every week by watching my videos. This week’s episode features my “top five” horror novels that have not yet been adapted to film. I really love doing these, and you can ensure that they continue by watching them, sharing them, and clicking here to subscribe.

 

 

 

Black T-Shirts and Paper Cuts

I don’t have anything to sell you in this post. But I do have some links to provide.

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Since we last spoke, the latest installment of Paper Cuts, my column on Cemetery Dance Online, went live. This month, I talk to Stephen Graham Jones about werewolves, his new novel, and teaching horror at a college level. It’s a fascinating talk and you can check it out right here.

If discussion of SGJ’s new book piques your interest, I also did a video review of Mongrels as part of Project: Black T-Shirt. You can head over to YouTube to check that out. Subscribes, shares, likes, and comments are totally appreciated as I try to claw my way to YouTube stardom.

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And while you’re there you should probably catch up on last week’s episode, a 14 minute discussion of Ben Wheatley’s new film, High-Rise. It stars Tom Hiddleston, Sienna Miller, Elisabeth Moss, and you can decide whether or not you want to give it a rent after I tell you how much I like it.

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That’s it. Told you I didn’t have anything to sell you.

The Spirits of the Island, Whispering in your Ears: TRIBESMEN in Audiobook

Hey all,

Hope things are good with you. It’s been a busy couple of weeks for me.  Busy but good.

For starters, my novella Tribesmen has been released as an audiobook narrated by Joe Hempel. This was my first book released and to this day it’s the one people talk to me about the most. I’m very proud to have it introduced to a new audience. You can pick that up here (at a discounted rate if you already have the Kindle version, I think) or on Audible or iTunes.

Check out the new cover by Dyer Wilk:

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As with any of my stuff: if you want to support my work: the absolute best way of doing it is leaving an Amazon or Goodreads review and/or telling your friends about this dope book you read. Much appreciated!

Moving on…

Last week also saw the debut of the newest Cemetery Dance Online column. In this one I talk about why I believe modern indie publishing has picked up a lot of its tricks from the B-movie hucksters from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. You can read that right here. I’m pretty happy with it.

Finally, but not final..ist? is a new episode of my (supposed to be) weekly YouTube show. I discuss Arrow Video’s American Horror Project Vol. 1, which means I review 3 movies and end with a book recommendation.

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If you like this show, tell me about why in the comments. Then subscribe so you don’t miss an episode. If you did miss an episode, you can click this playlist right here and watch all of them in a row. Because what’s healthier than that?

Have a good one!

Headed Downstream (or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Trends)

I don’t write to trends. And this is probably why “period Euro-horror possession story” isn’t its own Amazon sub-category yet. I don’t consider this a virtue or a failing. It just is.

But sometimes trends bump into my interests, which is the case with the two aquatic horror novellas that I’ve co-written with Cameron Pierce.

(My regular crowd is now asking: “wait. ‘two aquatic horror novellas? Where’s the other one?” To which I now answer: “Surprise! We just had a new book drop called Crawling Darkness and you can buy it now in ebook or paperback!)

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Our publisher on these, Severed Press, has found success exploiting certain niches on Amazon. It’s not the way I read, I’m much more prone to follow specific authors than story-types, but being the same way with my movie watching: I understand the impulse (put a satanic cult in your movie and you see if I don’t watch it). But there is no denying the evidence that a lot of folks get a hankering for Kaiju stories, or zombie stories, or giant shark stories, and we authors should be more than willing to help fill that demand. It’s our job–especially in the genres–to entertain.

Which brings me back to that “I don’t write to trends” statement. I don’t pass judgement on people who do write to trends, writing while always keeping one finger on the pulse of the market. Hell, most days I wish I could do that. But I know that I’m not really able to. My “process”(oh no, he’s using words like process… what’s next? Gonna start tweeting about his word counts and instagraming pictures of himself in coffee shops with the hashtag #writerslife or #amwriting… I don’t think I could take that level of self-involvement), such as it is, can only gain momentum when I’m into the book I’m working on. If I’m doing something that feels wrong… boy does a project take forever to crank out. And that’s if I can manage to dislodge it at all.

I can only speak for myself  in these matters (and kinda for Cameron, since I get a front-row seat to his process when we write together), but there’s not a drop of cynicism in choosing to write in a proven, or “hot”, sub-genre. We’re doing this because there’s an overlap with the kinds of stories we like to write and the kind of story more-people-than-usual seem to want to read. We’ve got a story to tell and it’s a story that our eccentricities, obsessions, and interests make us  uniquely suited to tell.

For better or for worse (and believe me, some readers would lean on the ‘worse’ there, take a look at the amazon reviewer who thinks we were on drugs when we wrote it, or the ones who think the idea of a giant catfish is flat-out stupid) Bottom Feeders is a book that only we could’ve written: a combination of my penchant for rural/southern noir, a third act demonstrating Cameron’s affinity for weirdo cosmic horror, and the whole damn thing struck-through with our mutual affinity for Jaws. It’s a book that has sold well, either in whole or in part because it’s an aquatic horror story, but it’s in no way us “selling out”or compromising just because there’s a little water and a fish in it.

It’s the same with our new book, Crawling Darkness. I’ve been living in Philly for three years now and I’ve been itching to tell a story set in my adoptive home. This is it! The book opens with a character going on a run through a park… that’s the park I run in! I mean, I’ve never seen any killer eels in that park, but you never know.

And as much of a debt that it owes to the animals attack novels of the past (Guy N. Smith) and carries shades of an X-files-like conspiracy, we made sure that it also has a helping the “lots of smaller creatures run amok” sub-genre that we love (Critters, Gremlins, etc.).

For what Cameron’s bringing to the table in this one: I think the characters here shine and they are almost uniformly folks that I would identify as Pierce-ian. And there’s fishing discussion, which has become Cameron’s bread and butter in recent years, he’s even edited a forthcoming anthology of fishing non-fiction for a major publisher (which I’m in, coincidentally… thanks, bud).

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So whatever, not sure how to end this blog other than with a declaration:

Yeah, I write to trends now, I guess. I’ll write whatever I damn well feel like! Wanna fight about it?*

*I don’t actually want to fight you. I’d lose, I’ve got spindly little writer’s arms. But what I do want is for you to buy, read, review, talk, share, tweet, facebook, Goodreads the hell out of our new book. That would make me very happy and appreciative.

That Big News…

If you’re at all into horror fiction, by now this news has probably blown up your various social media timelines:

The Gruesome Tensome: A Short Story Tribute to the Films of Herschell Gordon Lewis is now on sale! You can order the paperback right here.

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I’m beyond pleased to be in this book. I share the table of contents with both friends and writers of which I count myself a fan. Plus, this is the fourth Matthew Revert cover I’ve been happy to be sharing.

I think my entry here is one of the best short stories I’ve written, if not The best. A big part of why I enjoy this story, “The Missing Years”, is because it’s a very personal piece of fiction.

Yes. My entry in the book about blood ‘n guts maestro HGL, director of Blood Feast and 2,000 Maniacs, is capital-P Personal. And maybe even a touch mushy.

A little context: the publishing world can sometimes move slowly.This is not news. Nor is it really context.

Editor Nick Cato has been working on this book for close to three years, and I was the last of the authors brought on board (I was a zero hour addition after another author had to drop out and they didn’t want to rename the book The Gruesome Ninesome). Maybe two or three weeks after I was invited to be a part of the anthology came the sad news that Something Weird Video’s Mike Vraney had passed away (Shock Till You Drop has a great oral history of the company from Frank Hennenlotter). There are many people (myself included) who would likely be ignorant of HGL’s films if it weren’t for Vraney. Or at the very least we may not have had access to them.

For our short stories, the authors were instructed to choose a period of HGL’s filmography and allow it to inspire our fiction. The man has worked in a lot of different genres outside of splatter (starting out in nudie cuties and even experimenting with children’s movies with a gonzo Mother Goose adaptation), so there was a good amount of inspiration up for grabs. Around the same time as the anthology was coming together, Vinegar Syndrome released three “lost” films from the director. All three are semi-softcore oddities that Lewis (I think) has still never officially claimed and these “lost” films were the period I gravitated towards for my story.

With all of this going on around late-2012 early-2013, I allowed the idea of film preservation and cult film distribution to influence my story as much as any one period of Lewis’s filmography. And because of that I think “The Missing Years” is stronger for it.

What I’m trying to say is: if you’re someone who reads me but you only like “the wet stuff” then you should still buy this book, most of the other authors are going to have you covered, but when you get to my story please don’t be disappointed. I’ve written a quieter horror story here, maybe even something a touch cosmic around the edges. What resulted is not only a tribute to one of the men who’s shaped most of our aesthetics, those of us in the horror business, but also a tribute to the folks working to preserve these odd films for a new generation.

Now time to change subjects and get heavy:

This blog’s headline was deliberately misleading. The news that everyone’s really talking about is last Friday’s announcement from Samhain Publishing that they would be closing their doors. I haven’t been an “active” author with the company for a little while, but they, under then-horror-editor Don D’Auria, released my first three full-length novels.

I don’t have much to add to the conversation about this still-developing situation other than to share my immediate reaction: sadness.

Sadness that the members of the marketing, editorial, and sales staff that I’ve gotten to know pretty well would be losing their jobs. I’ve gone to two HorrorHound Conventions and both were greatly improved by getting to hang out with Samhain’s intelligent and friendly staffers. I hope all are okay and all are beginning the process of landing on their feet.

My heart also goes out to authors who suddenly have books without homes and backlists that are in the process of becoming unavailable.

My best to all undergoing this process and I’m hoping all legalities get sorted out sooner (rather than later) so these books can continue to scare the hell out of readers.

And… because I was taught by a friend to always deliver bad news couched inside of two pieces of good news: my newest column is now up on Cemetery Dance Online and details 4 non-fiction film texts that all horror fans should read.

Peace!

 

 

Auditory Hallucinations (Plus a new surprise book!)

It’s been a big couple of weeks. And a big couple of weeks means that I have a lot of stuff to share with you. And having a lot of stuff to share with you means that I want you to be able to easily digest all this awesomeness.

There’s only one way to deliver all this big news…

A Bulleted List!

  • If you’re a plugged-in horror fan than you probably have already seen this, but if not here’s the link to the podcast interview I did for The Horror Show with Brian Keene. Both Brian and Dave were gracious and patient interviewers and I think I was able to fumble through my nerves and fannish-ness to make some salient points. Inside there’s discussion of my superhero origin story (it involves a Stephen King clothes-hanger mobile and The Drive-In by Joe Landale), Zero Lives Remaining (Mr. Keene says some very nice things about the hardcover, of which there are only a couple left), The Con Season (which will be coming out sometime soon…probably), and we discuss the current collaboration I’ve got cooking with British badass Adam Howe. It was a real honor.
  • While you’ve got your earbuds in, you might as well click over to Audible, Amazon, or iTunes and pick up the audiobook edition of Zero Lives Remaining. The book was produced and narrated by Joe Hempel and I gotta say that he did an amazing job. The book’s a novella, which makes the audiobook a little under three hours, if you listen to it in one sitting it makes a pretty cool audioplay. Turn out the lights and grab a tea for this one. As a bonus: I think it’s a couple bucks cheaper if you’ve already bought the Kindle or paperback edition from Amazon.
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Dyer Wilk’s cover for the Audiobook

  • If you’ve been paying attention to my Facebook and/or twitter feed you’ve probably heard that the once out-of-print Bone Meal Broth has returned in a revised and expanded edition. But I haven’t mentioned it on the blog, so I’m doing so now. It’s 11 stories that run the gamut of the genre and also run the gamut of my career, as it begins with one of my first semi-pro published stories and now ends with the critically-acclaimed “So Bad”, a story that originally appeared in Splatterpunk. Bone Meal Broth is only 99 cents and is a must for completionists. If you’ve read it, I’d really appreciate a quick, honest review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.
  • Lastly, but not leastly, I’ve had a free book available for  a few weeks now but I also haven’t told anyone about it. It’s been hiding on the front page of the website, and I’ve already had a bunch of downloads so…good job to you eagle-eyed stalkers! For the rest of you, I’m putting together a mailing list and if you sign up for it you get the ebook of The Blackest Eyes for free! This ebook contains two never-before-published short stories and the first two chapters of The Con Season. If you’d rather toss me 35 cents or would rather not give me your email (I understand, I wouldn’t give me my email either) you can also buy The Blackest Eyes for 99 cents on Amazon. Of special interest to fans of The First One You Expect, the second story in The Blackest Eyes is actually a semi-sequel to that novella. This is technically the first time I’ve connected any of my fictional worlds (clearly I’m not establishing some kind of far reaching mythos with all my work, because I’ve ended books with the destruction of the world like 2-and-a-half times at this point).
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Click the cover to buy it or “Free Short Read” on the navigation bar to get it for free.

 

ZERO LIVES REMAINING is Live!

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Hey all,

Just a quick announcement that the ebook and paperback editions of my novella Zero Lives Remaining are out now! So if you’ve been waiting for a way to read the book Fangoria‘s Shawn Macomber called one of 2015’s best reads: now’s your chance to do so cheaply.

Just an FYI: if you purchase the paperback through Amazon, you can download the Kindle version for free through their Matchbook program.

And if you’re in the market for something a little more substantial (and expensive) there are still a handful of the hardcovers left to buy direct from Shock Totem Publications.

Huge thanks to anyone who buys, reads, reviews, or shares the links to the book. That stuff helps so much.

 

In unrelated news: if you were jonesing for another episode of Project: Black T-Shirt, I’ve put the second episode live a little early this week. In this one I discuss Severin Film’s recent blu-ray release of Axe and Kidnapped Coed.

Black T-Shirt Begins

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I’ve been a busy bee lately. I’ll have a couple of project announcements coming up soon, but with all this stuff I’ve been working on (and my Cemetery Dance Online column taking up a lot of my “film writing juices”) I haven’t had much time to compose some straight-up movie reviews for the blog.

My solution to this delinquent blogging schedule involves a lot of uses of the word “ummm” and some questionable eye contact. That’s right: I’m doing a weekly YouTube show!

Each episode of Project: Black T-Shirt I’ll be talking about a movie (new release disc, archival title, the new VOD hotness) and then pairing it with a book recommendation.

The first episode is here (the subject is William Friedkin’s The Guardian). Watch it below and be sure to click over to the YouTube channel and hit the “Subscribe” button and let me know what you think (good or bad) with a comment.