2020: It Wasn’t All Bad

I was grateful to have a number of releases this year, a strange time to put out books, but things turned out all right. My small publishing company (Alien Agenda Publishing) also managed to come through the pandemic with some of our best works yet.

Without further ado….

Early on, Alien Agenda Publishing released the latest Jackson R. Thomas novel: RISE

In May, my first book with Flame Tree Press, UNTIL SUMMER COMES AROUND, finally landed.

In November, Alien Agenda Publishing released its first charity anthology, SURVIVE WITH ME. All the proceeds will be donated to the American Indian College Fund.

November also saw the release of my latest audio book. Signing on with Fireside Horror was a no brainer and the outstanding performances by an all-out phenomenal cast of vocal talent made my short story collection, LAND OF BONES, come to life like a movie.

And December delivered the ALIEN AGENDA PUBLISHING 2020 SAMPLER.

2021 promises much more, including my next Flame Tree Press book (AUGUST’S EYES), my first with Splatterpunk Books (ASCENSION AGENDA), and my third short story collection, this one with Silver Shamrock Publishing (NOCTURNAL PURSUITS). There may also be a few surprises along the way.

From Alien Agenda Publishing… I’m hopeful we’ll see new works from Brian Fatah Steele and Jackson R. Thomas (no contracts signed yet, so stay tuned).

To all my publishers-thank you. To all my editors–thank you. To all the writers that supplied the stories for the anthologies–thank you. To all my readers–thank you. to all the artists working on the covers or behind the scenes–thank you. To all the reviewers who gave my works the time of day when they did not have to do so, whether they loved it or hated it–thank you. To all my friends–thank you.

I hope you guys stay safe and well. Let’s make 2021 the best thing ever.

#Staypositive #staysafe

SURVIVE WITH ME: 5 Questions with Heather Herrman

SURVIVE WITH ME features sixteen of my favorite writer buds. Each of them gave these stories to me for this charity anthology. ALL proceeds go to the American Indian College Fund. You can order your eBook or paperback copy HERE Or discover more about this wonderful cause here: AMERICAN INDIAN COLLEGE FUND

Tonight, we welcome in Heather Herrman. I met Heather online after reading her excellent Bentley Little-esque novel, CONSUMPTION. We’ve kept in touch ever since and she has some pretty big things on the horizon. I’m so happy to have her and her wonderful story in this special anthology.

Heather Herrman

What inspired your story in SWM, “Hold Still”?

I am so interested in the idea of secret places. When I was a kid, I’d constantly be on the lookout for secret doors (who am I kidding, I still am). This story was a “what if” you accidentally found one of those pathways to another world and took it? Beyond that, it’s always fun to turn gender tropes on their heads.

What causes would you like see get more attention?

Adult literacy. I used to work for two fabulous organizations that supported this and would love to see both of them get more attention. The Minnesota Literacy Council and The Loft Literary Center, both located in Minnesota. All adults deserve and need access to the opportunities literacy brings, both on the professional and personal levels. Beyond that art/literature should be a right, not a privilege.

I loved your novel, Consumption. Will we see a paperback edition released?

Thanks so much! I’d love to see Consumption out in paperback, and fingers crossed someday that will happen. Right now my publisher is keeping it strictly in ebook format, but who knows what the future holds? 

2021 promises to be a good one for new releases. What can we look forward to from you?

 I’m so excited to announce that my Young Adult debut, The Corpse Queen, will be out from Putnam in Fall 2021. It’s a macabre murder-mystery featuring a serial killer loose in 1850’s Philadelphia and a young grave-robber, Molly Green, who must become an anatomist in a male-dominate industry to stop him. I love the characters so much and can’t wait to introduce them to the world! 

Give me three aromas that lift your spirit. 

Creosote after a desert rain

Burning piñon

Coffee. Always coffee.

You can read Heather’s story, “Hold Still,” in SURVIVE WITH ME.

For more, check out her website: HeatherHerrman.com

SURVIVE WITH ME: 5 Questions with Kristin Dearborn

SURVIVE WITH ME features sixteen of my favorite writer buds. Each of them gave these stories to me for this charity anthology. ALL proceeds go to the American Indian College Fund. You can order your eBook or paperback copy HERE Or discover more about this wonderful cause here: AMERICAN INDIAN COLLEGE FUND

Tonight, we welcome someone from my neck of the woods, Kristin Dearborn. Kristin and I attended the same school together back in them 90s. She has been published by Dark Fuse, Raw Dog Screaming Press, Crossroad Press, and more. Her short fiction has appeared all over the place, and I’m proud to have her with us in SURVIVE WITH ME.

Kristin Dearborn

What inspired your story in SWM, “Mrs. Cleaver”?

“Mrs. Cleaver” was inspired in part by all the true crime podcasts that tell us about missing women, but in particular the podcast COLD, which details Susan Powell’s disappearance. Her story–or rather the story of her husband Josh (we know his end; Susan’s remains a mystery but I can’t imagine it’s good) is one of manipulation and a descent into a hellish marriage with a controlling partner. 

 What causes would you like to see get more attention?

An average of 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a single year. As horror fans, we consume these stories as entertainment, but I think we have a responsibility to be aware of the reality behind the fiction. I love horror, and enjoy true crime, but would love to live in a world where it was all in the past or fiction. Intimate partner violence is one of the scariest things I can imagine: it’s a theme that reappears in my work, and I like to shed light on the reality behind it when I can.

 It’s been a bit since we’ve gotten a KD novel or novella. What’s coming from you in 2021-2022?

With Covid, the release schedule has gotten a little snarled up, but the next project coming from me is a rip-roaring creature feature about an airboat ride in the swamp gone terribly wrong called “The Amazing Alligator Girl.” This novella will be out from Bloodshot Books sometime next year and involves a lot of chemically enraged alligators.

 Your book, Woman in White, is awesome. What’s another legend you’d love to write about?

As for legends, I’m a sucker for cryptids. I’m working on shopping a novel featuring the Skunk Ape AKA Florida bigfoot. I dream of someday writing a yeti book set in the Himalayas, but the right story hasn’t come to me yet. Did you know Aleister Crowley attempted to summit K2 in 1902? There’s gotta be a yeti story in there somewhere!

 What are three things that warmed your heart in 2020?

Three things that warmed my heart in 2020:

Getting to spend more time with my favorite dog friend Tali as I spent more time at home.

Helping clients at my day job (I’m a financial advisor) weather the ups and downs of the 2020 stock market.

Watching my in-person community shift to a virtual one with very little loss of impact. It’s not impacted my monthly book club, has enhanced my weekly Dungeons and Dragons game, and helped my weekly business networking meeting!

Discover more about Kristin at her website: HERE