My Adventures in Patreon: Year One

It hasn’t quite been a year yet but close enough.

Patronage has fluctuated a bit since starting up, but we seem to be at a happy spot.

My goal was to get up to 25 patrons, but we haven’t gotten there yet. And that’s okay. I like the gang we do have.

I wanted to supply some strong content for you guys. I hope I have. I wanted to produce a new short story each month. Out of 10 months, I managed 8 stories. Not too bad considering I had to write and finish a new novel for my new publisher within a 3 month window  (Until Summer Comes Around will land on your bookshelves this May!).

I started a serial novel (Bring Me to Life) for my $5 patrons, and I managed three chapters.  We have plenty more on the way!

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And I tried to give you some insight into the way I do my thing. I hope some of that writing advice helped you out in some way.

A number of patrons received signed print copies of the pre-Poltergeist Press edition  of Blood and Rain, and those of you that have stuck it out with me for the majority of this thing will be receiving what I hope is an annual thing, my short fiction collection Nocturnal Pursuits.  This collection is just for you guys (although some people managed to nab a copy while I had it up on Amazon for a quick minute). The book features all 8 of the stories from the Get Rolfed Patreon Short Story Series (“Hollowed”, “What’s My Again”, “Molly”, “Something in the Water”, “Orson’s Gas n ‘ Go”, “Bag Lunch”, “Everett”, “Gone Away” ) Plus, I tossed in some extras (“Master of Beyond”, “In the Basement of the Amazing Alex Cucumber”, “You Can Have it All Back”, and “Out of Range”).  The book came out pretty well. I finally learned how to properly format a print book, so that was good! And using he Amazon cover creator was a really nice experience, as well.

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For those of you NOT subscribing to my Patreon page, I am planning a wide release of the official (and bigger/better edited) edition of Nocturnal Pursuits probably sometime late 2020 or early 2021.

Overall, I feel like it was a successful first year.

For $5 a month, most of my patrons received at least one free signed paperback (Blood and Rain) and will be adding this exclusive signed paperback copy of Nocturnal Pursuits. They also receive the free short stories in eBook form with exclusive covers that I’ve created. 🙂

O yeah! and  we did a giveaway for Patrons only. One of you won a copy of the Thunderstorm Books hardcover Exclusive of  The Window !!!

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The goals for 2020 remain the same: one new story per month. No less than one new chapter of the serial novel. A new piece on writing at least every other month, and more behind the scenes (early cover reveals, early rough draft chapters of works in progress-that sort of thing).  I’d love to do a live q and A session sometime this year, but well see.

What’s on the horizon for $5 patrons in 2020:

  • Signed print edition of my next novel, Until Summer Comes Around
  • Signed print edition of the novel after that, Ascension Agenda (hopefully we get this one finished for a fall release)
  • Plus, we’ll be doing at least 2 giveaways for 1) a hardcover edition of Until Summer Comes Around and 2) another special edition hardcover  I haven’t announced yet.
  • Signed EXCLUSIVE print edition of short fiction collection #2

For those of you considering joining, here are the tiers and what they entail

Welcome Aboard!
$1 or more per month
  • Access to bi-monthly personal essays offering writing advice
  • Behind the scenes looks at works in progress
  • Early cover reveals
Join $1 Tier
Easy Access
$2 or more per month
  • One free short story per month
  • Access to bi-monthly personal essays offering writing advice
  • Behind the scenes looks at works in progress
  • Early cover reveals
Join $2 Tier
Oh, Snap!
$5 or more per month
  • For as long as you are a current Patron, you will receive free ebook copies of all new releases.
  • A free signed copy of all new paperbacks (US & CA only and excluding re-releases)
  • Access to my serial novel,  BRING ME TO LIFE
  • All the benefits of EASY ACCESS tier

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If you want to sign up go to the page: Get Rolfed Patreon 

Thanks to all of you guys that joined, thanks to all of you that are still there, and thank you to any of you considering joining.

Bring on 2020!

 

Get Rolfed Update City: Exclusive eBooks, Patreon, Limited Editions, Flame Tree, and more…

_A vital part of this generation._ - Btrian Keene

Are you ready to Get Rolfed?

I’m busy writing my first book for my new publisher (Flame Tree Press) and will spend the rest of my time this year between my new Leisure Time with Glenn Rolfe column over at Cedar Hollow Horror Reviews (covering Leisure Books Horror novels), helping launch CELESTIAL SEEPAGE by Brian Fatah Steele (Alien Agenda Publishing), continuing work on SURVIVE WITH ME (the AAP charity anthology), and finishing up the follow-ups to BOOM TOWN  and BLOOD AND RAIN.

The Flame Tree book will be out next year, and the BOOM TOWN  follow-up would be released at the end of this year, at the earliest. In the meantime, you can get some fresh work from me for super cheap on a monthly basis….How? Let me tell you.  In March, I launched my Patreon page and the Get Rolfed Short Story Series.  Every month, Patrons receive a new eBook of that month’s short story.

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March

 

 

 

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April

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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May

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOMETHING IN THE GROOVE

 

June

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to the exclusive eBooks, Patrons get behind the scenes looks at my works in progress, early cover reveals, and essays on writing/publishing.  That’s a lot of bang for a couple bucks—just  $2 a month.

$5 Patrons get all that, plus eBook and signed paperback copies of all my future releases (US and CA residents only).

www.patreon.com/getrolfed

 

There should be a new Limited Edition Hardcover copy of my last book, THE WINDOW, coming in July.   Stay tuned for that official announcement.

Thank you guys for your patience, your constant support, and your time.  Hopefully, all this 2019 work will lead to a great 2020!

Cheers!

-GR

 

A Closer Look into the World of Jackson R. Thomas

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Last summer, I kicked off the next phase of my publishing company, ALIEN AGENDA PUBLISHING.  We decided to go with a summer package featuring re-releases of novels by Mick Ridgewell (The Nightcrawler) and David Bernstein (Skinner), and introduced Jackson R. Thomas.  The “Summer of Horror” kicked off with The Beast of Brenton Woods, a fast and ferocious short novel about a legend known in the town of Coopers Mills as “The White Wolf”.

That book was a big hit for AAP, and we sold the audio rights to the fine folks at Tantor Media (with a fine vocal performance from Joe Hempel).  That audio edition is available now (To order, click HERE)

To get to know Mr. Thomas a bit better, check out the rare interview he did with House of 1000 Books

11 Questions with Jackson R. Thomas Author of Paradise, Maine

 

And that brings us to the latest offering: Paradise, Maine

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“A short, entertaining read for fans of Edward Lee and Jack Ketchum’s Dead River series.” – Jack Bantry, Splatterpunk Zine and author of The Lucky Ones Died First

“Thomas brings the goods and packs them into bite size zip-lock freezer bags, making sure to keep the horror fresh on every page! A must read.” – Kendall Reviews 

 

This one just came out last month. If you’re into splatterpunk, check it out.

Word on the street is you have two new Thomas books to keep and eye out for coming…/

RISE (the sequel to The Beast of Brenton Woods-coming late 2019 from Alien Agenda Publishing)

and IT CAME FROM THE LAKE    (TBA, 2020)

 

 

Bio:

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Jackson R. Thomas has lived in Colorado, New York, and now resides in Coopers Mills, Maine with his cat, Gizmo.

He loathes social media, and has worked as a janitor, fast-food slave, record store clerk, and night auditor at an unnamed hotel on Route 1.

He loves horror books, horror films, and the band, Ministry.

 

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Some legends never die….

The White Wolf, the Beast of Brenton Woods, a legendary creature said to walk like a man. When the full moon rises, it will feast.

Unseen for years, truth has turned to rumor, mere folklore. Until something lures the monster from exile, calling it home.
For Tyler and Ben, a firsthand encounter leads to an exploration of the forbidden depths of Brenton woods, and for Ben, the discovery of a family secret.

When Wendy and her friends hangout in the abandoned cabin is compromised, the hunt begins. The target of a creature’s desire, Wendy is hearing whispers in the night, finding footprints outside her window, and can’t shake the dreadful feeling that something is waiting for her.

Deputy Kathy Wilcox understands the disturbances, the shredded carcasses, and the growing list of missing persons in town are connected to something larger than life. Will her acceptance of the legend end in tragedy?

There’s a full moon above, the night is coming down, and blood is about to run.

 

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They needed a place to get away from it all… they’ll never be coming back.

When Darren and Vanis set out to free themselves from life’s anxieties and rekindle their relationship, a trip to the beautiful Maine coast sounds perfect.

The breathtaking views and gorgeous cabin seem like another world. One to get lost in and from which they never want to return. But something has an eye on them…

For Zebulun Ayers, a trip to connect with nature is far more than he ever saw on Man vs. Wild or any other reality TV show. This is the real wild life.

Paradise, Maine is home to a monster rarely seen and one never mentioned, even among locals. The Watcher is waiting.

(Interview) Share the Horror Prepares to Play the Dark Game with Jonathan Janz

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I set out to become a writer the same year Samhain Publishing launched. When I saw the Leisure Horror Books head acquisition man, Don D’Auria, was at the head of this new horror line, I knew good things were on the horizon. And I was right. Don, introduced us to Kristopher Rufty, Hunter Shea, Russell James, and  a guy named, Jonathan Janz.

The books from Janz came one after another–The Sorrows, The Darkest Lullaby, The House of Skin, Savage Species, Castle of Sorrows, Dust Devils, The Nightmare Girl, Wolf Land, and Exorcist Road before we all got the news that Samhain was a sinking ship.

Janz put out the excellent and much acclaimed, Children of the Dark, and also the much anticipated, Exorcist Falls with Sinister Grin Press before Don D’Auria landed with Flame Tree Press and called one of his favorite sons home. The-Siren-and-The-Specter-ISBN-9781787580053.0

Following Janz’s recent release with Flame Tree Press, THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER from this past September, we prepare for his next new release, THE DARK GAME (Catch my brief review of this awesome book after the interview).

I called on Janz to join us here at Share the Horror and he obliged.

Share the Horror: Let’s go back a few years. You were one of the first Samhain authors and had built quite a catalog in a relative short amount of time. When the news that Samhain had a) fired Don D’Auria and then shortly afterwards 2) folding up shop, what were your thoughts and emotions at hearing those two things?

Jonathan Janz: The news about Don was really a shock. He’s a great editor and a great person, so mainly I just felt really bad for him. After that, the news of the publisher going under wasn’t too shocking. I figured if they were letting Don go, they were probably hurting for money, so while it was sad for the employees—many of whom remain my friends—that second piece of news wasn’t as surprising.
As far as emotions go, in addition to feeling terrible for those more directly impacted, I did experience a lot of uncertainty about the future. Everything has worked out really well, but at the time it was a giant unknown.

STHWhat did you do in the space between Samhain and then the start up of Flame Tree Press?

JJ: This sounds simplistic, but I just wrote. Even though I didn’t know where the books I was working on would end up, I knew I needed to keep writing. Fretting about events out of my control wasn’t going to be productive, so I threw myself into my work. So in the years between Samhain and Flame Tree, I wrote THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER, NIGHTMARE WORLD, THE DARK GAME, THE DISMEMBERED, and I began CHILDREN OF THE DARK 2.

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STH: Let’s talk Children of the Dark for a second. This was a very well received book. It’s a part of your Savage Species (one of my personal favorites) world. I know your King influence bleeds through with this one, especially with Will Burgess. Whereas with Savage Species there was gore galore like a dark Ketchum novel or something from Richard Laymon, with COTD I get a lot of that THE BODY vibe. More about the characters and the heart of this kid rather than the all-out blitz style of its predecessor. Would you say that’s an accurate take? If so, was that intentional or did it just come out that way?
JJ: I’d say that’s very accurate. With SAVAGE SPECIES, I wanted a no-holds-barred, bloody, grueling epic. With CHILDREN OF THE DARK, the story was largely, as you allude to with your reference to THE BODY, about the pain of growing up and the difficulties this kid was experiencing. So like you said, even though the stories are in the same universe, they’re very different animals. I realized this when writing the sequel to COTD. My initial idea was to combine the worlds of SAVAGE SPECIES and CHILDREN OF THE DARK, but that changed as I wrote the sequel. So while there are some intersections, the story really remained a COTD story and true to the tone of the first book.81hj+mlkx0l
STH: So, Don and Flame Tree Press happens. Did he come to you, or were you guys in constant contact and it sort of just happened?
JJ: We kept in contact. Not constantly, but I’d say every couple of months we’d email, and a few times we spoke by phone. The one thing we knew was that, wherever we landed, we wanted to work on more projects together. I got the news about Flame Tree when my family and I were in Virginia for Scares That Care in 2017. We were walking from a beach on the James River to our van when I checked my email and found out about Don’s new gig. I think I emailed him within a half hour or so, and we started talking about THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER. Since that story was set in Virginia, and I’d just wrapped it up, it was fresh in my mind and a natural first project to do with Don and Flame Tree.

STH: THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER, like COTD, feels like another step forward in your writing. As someone that has read almost all your published works, I feel like your growing more and more comfortable with each release, and with that becoming even more fearless as a writer. Does it feel that way to you?
JJ: Thank you so much, Glenn! I truly appreciate that. Yes, it does feel like I’m progressing, but it’s an incredibly subtle and gradual progress. I’m fond of all my books, but I really noticed it a couple months ago when reading through HOUSE OF SKIN, which is the first novel I wrote (and the second one published). I really like the story, but I’m a very different writer now than I was then. It feels good, but I know I’m nowhere near a finished product and will never be finished in my writerly walk. I have to constantly strive to improve, to grow, and to learn. I’m too self-critical to ever be satisfied.
STHSIREN is landing on a lot of Top 10 lists right now, I know that’s gratifying. Do you let that good feeling linger and use it going  forward, or are you more the type that is focused on that next release and coming at it with the need to prove yourself again?

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JJ: Like you say, it is gratifying, and it feels wonderful to have one’s work acknowledged, but I don’t bask in that glow for too long. That need to create is too strong. And I also always want to make my next book better than my last. Hopefully, I did that with THE DARK GAME, and I hope to do it again with the titles coming in late 2019 and 2020.
STHTHE DARK GAME comes out in April. I’m reading an ARC now, and I believe this is my favorite book of yours so far. How much fun did you have crafting the antagonist in this one? Without giving anything away, what were your favorite aspects of Roderick Wells to create and play around with?
JJ: That’s so great to hear! I worked very hard on THE DARK GAME, so it’s awesome to hear you’re enjoying it. I had a lot of fun with it. The Roderick Wells character was at the center of the story, so I needed him to be all sorts of things: strong, elusive…incisive yet cryptic. He had to represent both writers and critics, both nurturing teachers and cruel taskmasters. Plus (and here, like you said, I’m trying not to give anything away), there are elements of his character that aren’t revealed until later. That means I have to play fair with the reader by hinting at those unexpressed character elements without completely revealing the character’s secrets. Walking that tightrope was a challenge, but it was a rewarding one. I think the aspect of Wells’s character I enjoyed the most was his love of power and how he reacted when that supremacy was threatened. There are some exchanges between him and a character named Sherilyn that were a blast to write.
STH: There’s a lot of writers in here. I’m imagining that there are aspects of your own strengths and self-perceived weaknesses in each of these characters. At this stage in your career, with regards to your writing skills, what do you see as your best assets and what areas are your constantly targeting to improve upon?
JJ: Wow, that’s extremely insightful! Yes, you do get some of that in the novel. Rick Forrester, for example, is a lot like me before I got anything published. He’s been rejected, told he’s not good enough, and basically dismissed. Like Rick, I once received a very chilly reaction from the head of a collegiate writing program, so that experience made its way directly into the novel.
Regarding the second part of your question, this doesn’t sound sexy, but I think my best assets as a writer are my support network, my willingness to learn, and my work ethic. My wife and kids always provide me with a bedrock, so I know that when a story isn’t going well or I face some other kind of adversity, what really matters—my family—will remain intact. I’ve been teaching for twenty-three years and teaching Creative Writing for seventeen of those, and I believe these experiences help me to remain grounded and focused on growing. Just as I’m helping my students evolve, I’m evolving too. I also never quit. Because that option is never on the table, I concentrate on ways to solve problems rather than allowing them to defeat me.
With regard to areas of improvement, I want to keep getting better at blazing new trails. Horror is a vast realm, and there are many untouched or rarely-trod areas in the genre. Therefore, I want to constantly aim to examine those and maximize their potential.

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STHOne last thing, before we go. Looking back on THE CLEARING OF TRAVIS COBLE, which has remained one of my very favorite stories you wrote, what are your thoughts and memories on that story and its release?
JJ: I’m so glad you liked that one! That story was a major moment of growth for me because it forced me to use dialogue to carry a story. Yes, there’s description; yes, there are the other essentials of storytelling. But it’s the dialogue that reveals character, that unveils plot twists, that adds mystery and depth. I had to develop my dialogue-writing skills in “The Clearing of Travis Coble,” and looking back, I view that exercise as a moment of profound growth for me. Thanks again for mentioning it! 

STH:I love it and THE DARK GAME, so I will keep praising them from the mountains! Thanks for taking the time, good sir.

JJ: Thank you, Glenn. I had a blast!

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Don’t let our smiling faces fool you…
Jonathan Janz is the author of more than a dozen novels and numerous short stories. His work has been championed by authors like Joe R. Lansdale, Brian Keene, and Jack Ketchum; he has also been lauded by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and School Library Journal.
His ghost story The Siren and the Specter was selected as a Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for Best Horror. Additionally, his novel Children of the Dark was chosen by Booklist as a Top Ten Horror Book of the Year. Jonathan’s main interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children.
You can sign up for his newsletter, and you can follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.
Flame Tree Press is re-releasing Jonathan Janz’s entire Samhain Publishing catalog.
This month sees the re-release of SAVAGE SPECIES. You can also grab his debut novel,
THE SORROWS.
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MY REVIEW of THE DARK GAME

The Dark GameThe Dark Game by Jonathan Janz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Quite possibly Janz’s best work yet. His skills continue to sharpen, and it really feels like he’s comfortable as hell behind that keyboard now. There’s a piece about fearlessness in this book, and I think it’s safe to say Janz is feeling just that-fearless. This was by far my favorite cast of characters in any of his books, and the story read like something straight out of the Leisure Books Horror Club heyday!
THE DARK GAME is a horror gem.

 

End of the Year TBR List…

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Currently reading PRACTITIONERS (Bloodshot Books) from Patrick Lacey and Matt Hayward. While I loved Lacey’s BONE SAW and really enjoyed Hayward’s THE FAITHFUL, this one maybe be the best book of the three.

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I’m going to try like hell to squeeze these last three 2018 releases into my reading schedule before making my end of the year Top 10  (or 15) list.

I’ve hear fantastic things about Sorensen’s THE NIGHTMARE ROOM and Starnd’s BRING HER BACK.  And Flower’s THE LAST HELLFIGHTER has one of the best covers (thanks to Michael Bray) of the year. And it’s only 99 cents! this very minute. Can’t pass on that.  Get a copy here: THE LAST HELLFIGHTER

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My two favorite reads of the year have definitely been RIO YOUERS- HALCYON and GWENDOLYN KISTE- THE RUST MAIDENS. It’s going to be hard for anyone to top either of those, but we’ll see.

 

Stay tuned!

Feel free to comment with what you have left to read for 2018.

 

 

(Review) THE RUST MAIDENS by Gwendolyn Kiste

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Something’s happening to the girls on Denton Street.

It’s the summer of 1980 in Cleveland, Ohio, and Phoebe Shaw and her best friend Jacqueline have just graduated high school, only to confront an ugly, uncertain future. Across the city, abandoned factories populate the skyline; meanwhile at the shore, one strong spark, and the Cuyahoga River might catch fire. But none of that compares to what’s happening in their own west side neighborhood. The girls Phoebe and Jacqueline have grown up with are changing. It starts with footprints of dark water on the sidewalk. Then, one by one, the girls’ bodies wither away, their fingernails turning to broken glass, and their bones exposed like corroded metal beneath their flesh.

As rumors spread about the grotesque transformations, soon everyone from nosy tourists to clinic doctors and government men start arriving on Denton Street, eager to catch sight of “the Rust Maidens” in metamorphosis. But even with all the onlookers, nobody can explain what’s happening or why–except perhaps the Rust Maidens themselves. Whispering in secret, they know more than they’re telling, and Phoebe realizes her former friends are quietly preparing for something that will tear their neighborhood apart.

Alternating between past and present, Phoebe struggles to unravel the mystery of the Rust Maidens–and her own unwitting role in the transformations–before she loses everything she’s held dear: her home, her best friend, and even perhaps her own body.

 

MY REVIEW:

The Rust MaidensThe Rust Maidens by Gwendolyn Kiste

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Gwendolyn Kiste isn’t new to the horror scene, but she is new to me. I’d been hearing about this book that was coming out soon, about this writer and how this was her first novel. Kiste has collections and a novella out there (which I will be hunting down), but this –THE RUST MAIDENS-is her first full-length novel. I managed to get a hold of a pre-release copy, and I must say, I was not disappointed.

Kiste’s novel is not just a good story (It’s a great story), it’s a statement to the literary world: Kiste is here and now, one of the best young writers in the fiction world. I couldn’t understand for the life of me how THE RUST MAIDENS isn’t with one of the big publishers. This book is fantastic.

The story centers around a young woman named, Phoebe, and five of the girls from her graduating class. When the girls, including Phoebe’s cousin and best friend, Jacqueline, begin to change amidst the strike at the mill, and the mothers of the block’s disparate clutch on perceptions, the street, the town, and those families involved are turned upside down. What exactly is happening to these girls? Why would they do this now of all times? When will it all return to normal?

“The flame of the mill burned bright overhead, but its warmth might as well have been a thousand miles away.”
Phoebe finds herself in a battle against loneliness, and an uncertain future. She should be riding out of town with her best friend ,ready for college and a life outside of Cleveland, but instead, she winds up on a quest for answers she may never receive in a place that just wishes she would leave things be.
“I’m a woman with half a century of life experience, who still can’t do a convincing impression of a human being.”

It does feature Phoebe now, decades later returning to the town and problems she eventually runs away from. But most of the story is of that summer of 1980.

Kiste does a wonderful job ingraining us through Phoebe to this place in time, this dying city in 1980. You feel the desperation. The need to get out. To get out before the dead end town claims you next. You feel the squeeze of lean and mean times as her father’s job at the mill is in jeopardy. You feel the fear of being stuck in a place, doomed to give away the world you received in a never ending cycle, and how even though you know this, there’s still no way to change it. The same way Phoebe knows, the girls have a fate that she cannot stand in the way of no matter how hard she tries.
Still, she tries. She refuses to accept that all hope is gone. And Kiste transfers that hope to the reader.

I took my time reading this book because I wanted to stay there and hang with these characters, to take Phoebe’s hand and stand with her against her world. And that’s the best compliment I can offer to the author. I loved this book.

Another thing I loved was the soundtrack. Kiste’s use of a few select artists does wonders in pulling the reader deeper into the experience. You get Tom Petty’s jangly guitars lifting you up and giving you just enough hope that things will be all right. You get The Carpenter’s fraudulent, soothing lullabies that everything is normal, and then you get the all too real, working class it is what it is-our lot in life- of Bob Seger. On the east Coast, we tend to tune into Springsteen for this, but Kiste being from Ohio, uses the Mid-West equivalent and it fits perfectly. Confession time: I went to bed a number of nights after reading a few chapters listening to Bob Seger’s Stranger in Town record.

Not an outright horror novel, but THE RUST MAIDENS is a book I will not soon forget.

I give THE RUST MAIDENS 5 stars! Easily the best first novel I’ve read in a long time.

 

THE RUST MAIDENS will be released Friday November 16th. You should definitely grab a copy.

pre-order yours here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GVSDYDD/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i0

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Gwendolyn Kiste is a speculative fiction writer based in Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in Nightmare, Shimmer, Interzone, Daily Science Fiction, and LampLight among others. Her debut collection, AND HER SMILE WILL UNTETHER THE UNIVERSE, was released through JournalStone in April 2017. She currently resides on an abandoned horse farm with her husband, two cats, and not nearly enough ghosts.

 

 

Check out Gwendolyn’s website: www.GwendolynKiste.com

And find her on Twitter: @GwendolynKiste

(Share the Horror Interview) CHAD LUTZKE and JOHN BODEN on Their New Release, OUT BEHIND THE BARN

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The boys crept to the window and watched as Miss Maggie carried the long bundle into the barn, the weight of it stooping her aging back. Rafter lights spilled from the barn doors, and Davey saw an arm fall from the canvas-wrapped parcel. He smiled.

“She got someone!”

Both children grinned and settled in their beds, eyes fixed to the ceiling.

This was family growth.

 

I recently caught up with authors Chad Lutzke and John Boden to talk about their excellent new book, OUT BEHIND THE BARN (See my review here).  It’s equal parts horror and dark fairy tail, and well worth your time.

 

First off, let’s talk about your starts. How did each of you get into writing and when did you sell your first piece?

Chad Lutzke:  I only read like one book (THE HOUSE WITH THE CLOCK IN ITS WALLS) until I was in my early 20s.  I hated reading and stayed clear of it unless it was Fangoria, Famous Monster of Filmland, some metal magazines or Maximum Rock & Roll––stuff with pictures and articles.  Then in my mid 20s I went to college to be a teacher, sucked at writing and decided to finally start reading.  This was in the mid-to-early 90s. Everything I learned about writing was just from reading. Not any class. I read a ton for a few years and tried my hand at writing a handful of stories that turned out pretty good, but then never wrote again (other than song lyrics) for another 2 decades. I wish I would have stuck with it. Finally, I found out about people self publishing and indie publishers and all that and decided I was going be writer. That was in 2014. I had some stories published through some “exposure only” markets and that same year I sold my first piece as well as won 1st place in a small short story contest with a cash prize. It kept me from stopping for another 20 years.

John Boden: I wrote throughout my high school days and off and on after, but I sort of gave it up completely during my twenties. I only went back to it after Ken Wood asked me on board with SHOCK TOTEM. Reading all that slush was inspiring, as much as was meeting other writers, including some I had read as a teen.  The first piece I ever sold was a story called “Peter Peter” and it went to Sideshow Press for the BLACK INK HORROR #7. It’s not a great story but I was thrilled to get it in there. Before that there were a few non-paying markets that put out stuff of mine.

 

What’s your personal favorite piece you’ve written?

Lutzke:  As far as books, probably SKULLFACE BOY.

Boden: That’s always a tough one, I personally think SPUNGUNIONIt was out briefly last year and will be seeing new life next year from John Skipp’s Fungasm imprint. Maybe folks will check it out and let me know if I’m correct in thinking it’s kinda cool.

 

What books by your co-author other really stands out?

Lutzke:  John’s JEDI SUMMER is wonderful…loved every bit of it, but he wrote a weird western called WALK THE DARKNESS DOWN that is my favorite. He found a home for it but I think that’s still a secret so I can’t say anything more.

Boden:  I’ve been reading Chad for the last, what? Almost 3 years…We read almost everything the other writes. We’re beta buddies. He’s written a lot of great stuff and he’s only getting better. So far my fave would be SKULLFACE BOY. It scratches all the itches: the coming-of-age itch, the weird characters itch. The sad/melancholy itch. It’s wonderful!

I know we talked privately about this. Your styles blend really, really well together. I was not shocked in the least that OUT BEHIND THE BARN is so good.   Will we be seeing more collaborations between you two? And if so, is there one already in the works?

Lutzke:  Thanks! We had started something a few years ago that I don’t know if we’ll ever revisit, but we have talked about writing together again…maybe even a yearly novella. The thing we did came together easily enough to entertain that idea.

 

Boden: I wouldn’t say one is in the works, but I’d definitely say you’ll see one or more in the future. Chad wants us to commit to doing a collaborative novella every year. I can’t or have trouble doing that. I’m always worried about making those kind of pacts, life, day job and things always have a way of derailing the best laid plans and I absolutely hate disappointing people. I’m pretty sure we’ll cross the streams again one day though.

 

Let’s talk about the new book.  This story came from one of John’s short stories. Chad when did you decide the story had more to it and when did you step in and start working on the project?

 

Lutzke:  As soon as I read it I thought it needed more and I tried talking John into expanding it. He said he tried but felt he was ruining it.  The story kept getting rejected so finally he’d kinda had it and handed it to me to toy with. I wrote some, tossed out some ideas about creating some new characters and scenes, but I wanted to keep the very end pretty much the way he had it.

John, how did you feel about Chad’s thoughts and ideas for this thing?

Boden:  If I’m honest, and I am, I was a bit uptight about it. Probably more so a dick. I kinda of pissed and moaned about his ideas and really didn’t want anyone meddling with my story. But Chad is nothing if not stubborn and he kept at me, and when he sent me his first portion, with his changes, I began to warm. I never really stopped being nervous until we neared the finish line though. Chad and I share a very unique bond. We get one another in an almost spousal way, it made for a very tight collaboration and a gel in voices that was amazing. I’m a good mimic, I’ve written with folks before and they’ve all gone this way, but with Chad it went a slice deeper.

Was it easy to work together in this?  I don’t think I could ever write a book with someone else, it’s such a personal private thing. Did that ever make it hard for either of you?  Did either of you hold back or feel at any time that the other was holding back?

Lutzke:  It was easy, though at first we both had different ideas on how Maggie should be.  That character was all John’s and it was important to him that she not be this evil villain but wanted the reader to have some empathy for her. Once I was able to see that character through his eyes then the rest flowed really well.  The hardest part, honestly, was trying to come up with an attractive synopsis that didn’t give anything away. We kind of hit a wall for a while on that.  As far as writing this together, John was worried at first because some parts of the original story were very personal to him and here he was handing it to me “Here, you feed this baby.” It’s one thing to enjoy another writer’s work, but it’s another thing to have them touch something you’ve created that has sentimental value. I respected that the whole way through, to the point that I even emulated John’s style in some scenes, so much so that even he had a hard time remembering if he’d written it or not. It’d be difficult for anyone reading it who is familiar with both our work to be able to tell who wrote what.  And by the time we were done, John was really proud of it.  We both were.

Boden:  I touched on this in the answer above but I’ll state again. It was difficult for me, not because I had little faith in Chad. I knew he knew what we needed to do. But I was all “Dammit, I wrote this story, these are my characters, I can’t let the leash into another’s hand that easy.  I know I pissed Chad off on more than a few occasions.

The story is fantastic. You have the two “brothers” who love to read or be read to, and the books they love are mostly darker Poe and Lovecraft type books.  I’m guessing the love for these books and authors mentioned are favorites of yours.  Reading along, I just thought it was another neat way to slip in another layer of the dark side into what reads like an almost fairy tale type story.  That’s something I really love and appreciate from each of your works that I’m familiar with, they almost transcend horror yet you manage to tether them to our genre with these neat little add -ins.  Is that intentional at all?  Or do these dark things just bleed out into the story naturally?

Lutzke:  Good question. For me, I love the horror genre, but I’ve grown tired of old tropes decades ago so I shoot for original concepts. But it’s not forced. It just comes. I think it’d be harder for me to write something completely traditional than it would be to come up with something like a kid who leaves his rotting mom at home while he attends a spelling bee. Though, coming up with those types of concepts sometimes raises an eyebrow before they get to reading.  When I told my wife the idea I had for OF FOSTER HOMES & FLIES she looked at me like I was nuts, and rightly so. The elevator pitch for that book feels like it shouldn’t work, but people seem to like it. Same goes for SKULLFACE BOY and even STIRRING THE SHEETS. But in every one of them, the darkness does dwell and I suppose that’s because it has bled out. I never really set out to write something that is “borderline” horror and then feel like I need to add some horror element just to make it horror.  My thing is when I started writing I wanted to be Joe Lansdale and Robert McCammon, authors who are adored by the horror community but who write a ton of non-horror stuff.  I mean, who else can get you to read a western or a period piece more than those guys?  You can’t put them in a box and I didn’t want to be put in one either. I will add this. John and I joke with each other about how often our stuff is full of heartache. That’s never on purpose. It just happens. But it happens so much it’s almost comical. I think we’re both empathetic people who have experienced some things that maybe we’re continually feeding on when we write and it’s therapeutic. But you could probably say that about most writers. I hope that answered your question in some roundabout way.

Boden: I grew up adoring books and horror. In almost anything I write, if there’s a kid in it, it’s little Johnny.  And in this one Maggie was a helluva a lot my Mom.  I write very personal and I think the book love, especially in this was important to show that.  It somehow makes them real and gives an instant connection…if you’re reading this in the first place, chances are you’re familiar with and at least appreciate Bradbury, Poe and the others we lace in there. So when you read that, you’re inner giddy fan gets to fidgeting.  It’s kind of like cheating for a little extra bump of love.

What are some of your favorite pieces to this story that your co-author brought in? Can you give us a specific scene or subtle touch?

Lutzke:  The very end, which for the most part is the same end as the original short. It hit me pretty hard when I read it and I think I kind of choked up a little. I eventually read it out loud to my wife and when I got to the end I had to keep my cool or my voice would have gotten a little shaky and she probably would have laughed.  She knows I’m a softy. Also, there’s a paragraph in there that’s sandwiched by the line “Summer was sliding away, like carrion from bone.” I love that.

Boden:  I wanna be careful not to spill any beans, I think Chad’s addition of the character Rose was a smart one, and a great move…and also one that I initially pitched a hissy over. Sometimes it’s good to be wrong.

I won’t ask about the ending because I don’t want to spoil that for anyone.  Is it something you guys intentionally did. Did you want the reader to fill in any of the blanks there? Or is that just the way it felt best to close the door for you guys?

Lutzke:  Personally, I hate being spoon-fed, and I love stories and films that leave me wondering, and giving me just enough to maybe come up with my own conclusion, yet still wonder if I’m right. I felt the very last line in the story was like a shovel to the face and to add anything after such a powerful line I thought would take away a moment that held such emotion. Here you finally find out exactly what is going on, and there is resolve for characters you really care about, and anything that kind of leaves you on a note like that can have a very powerful sustain, where you’re just thinking about it long after you’re done reading it. That’s what we were going for.

Boden: The ending is exactly as the short story ended, final draft that is. I had an earlier version that ended on a different beat but I cut it.  I’d love to expound more but I don’t want to spoil things for any who’ve not read it but ending it that way, was important. It put the focus where I/we wanted it to be.

Anyways, the story and characters are terrific. You guys are amazing writers.  Is there anything you want to say to people considering picking up a copy of OUT BEHIND THE BARN?

Lutzke:  Thanks for considering it. We had a lot of fun writing it. And if you’re already familiar with our stuff then I don’t think you’ll be surprised at the contents.  Also, I really appreciate these questions you created, Glenn. I’m sure you know as well as we that the best interviews are the ones that didn’t come from a template but are personalized, so thank you!

Boden:  I think the simplest and most honest thing I could say to those folks is: I hope you’ll take a chance on it and I hope you’ll like it. We’re very proud of this little book and the world we built within it.

 

Praise for OUT BEHIND THE BARN:

“Boden and Lutzke weave heartache and a backwoods tale as easily as telling a story around a campfire, delivered in an incredible voice.” ~Robert Ford, author of BORDERTOWN

“Poetic, unnerving, and heartbreaking. The partnership between Boden and Lutzke yields the kind of story that leaves you aching and unsettled. Long after finishing, I couldn’t stop thinking about Maggie, her boys, and what happens out behind the barn.” ~ Kristi DeMeester, Author of BENEATH

“Lawdy mercy. This story was amazing. There’s something magical and sad about it. I dig it a lot.”~ Michelle Garza (half of the Sisters of Slaughter) authors of MAYAN BLUE & THOSE WHO FOLLOW

OUT BEHIND THE BARN is available now!  Grab a copy HERE

 

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John Boden lives a stones throw from Three Mile Island with his wonderful wife and sons.

A baker by day, he spends his off time writing, working on Shock Totem or watching M*A*S*H re-runs.

He likes Diet Pepsi, cheeseburgers, heavy metal and sports ferocious sideburns.

He is the author of JEDI SUMMER with the MAGNIFICENT KID, SPUNGUNION, and DOMINOES, and more

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PRAISE FOR JEDI SUMMER

“Jedi Summer drops the floor right out from under you, leaves you standing in a childhood that’s been roiling around inside your chest for too long. But you’d trade anything to stay there just one more day.”
– Stephen Graham Jones, author of Mongrels 

“[I] could not put it down. It moved me more than any novel in recent memory. Highly, highly, highly recommended, and I’m almost certain it will be one of the ten best books I’ll read this year.”
– Brian Keene, award winning author of the The Rising

 

 

 

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Chad Lutzke lives in Michigan with his wife and children. For over two decades, he has been a contributor to several different outlets in the independent music and film scene, offering articles, reviews, and artwork. He has written for Famous Monsters of Filmland, Rue Morgue, Cemetery Dance, and Scream magazine. He’s had a few dozen stories published, and some of his books include: OF FOSTER HOMES & FLIES, WALLFLOWER, STIRRING THE SHEETS, SKULLFACE BOY, and OUT BEHIND THE BARN co-written with John Boden. Lutzke’s work as been praised by authors Jack Ketchum, James Newman, Stephen Graham Jones and his own mother. He can be found lurking the internet at www.chadlutzke.com.

 

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PRAISE for SKULLFACE BOY

“I was captivated by the first sentence…The pages fly by. I was utterly absorbed into the world of this transient teenager and his endearing, poignant and often hilarious take on every situation.”
~Cemetery Dance

“I’ll summarize with this: Chad Lutzke is an author to watch. With SKULLFACE BOY, he’s moving up on my favorite author’s list!” 

–Char’s Horror Corner

 

 

THE WINDOW, my birthday, and some sweet ass 99 Cent Deals!

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“Glenn Rolfe delivers a chilling tale of demonic possession that keeps you
turning pages all night long.”  -Russell James, author of Q Island

“Never gonna look in a mirror or out a window again! The Window is deep and rich…(and) will surely scare your socks off!” – The Haunted Reading Room

My new novel is out tomorrow!  I can’t believe it’s already here.

What kind of demons await you tonight?

For Richie, life’s constant cheap shots are adding up. When he finds something is watching him, he never dreamed that it would show him everything he ever wanted.

When his son, James, comes to stay for the last month of summer, the changes in his father’s behavior come to the forefront. What is his father doing staring into the window in the middle of the night?
Was the fiery spark in the dark real? Or is Jame’s imagination getting the best of him?

Summer’s almost over.
And life is about to change.
Will James be able to save his father? Or is it already too late?

The Window holds the answers…and the key.

You can snag your Kindle copy here: THE WINDOW

The print edition should be out in the second half of October.

If that isn’t enough for you, a number of my other titles will be on sale all weekend for just 99 cents!  Sunday is my birthday and I figured I’d give you guys some gifts!

Click on the cover photos below to grab you cheap copies.

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So, this weekend is a happy Release Day for THE WINDOW and for me (41 years!).

I hope you’ll help me celebrate by picking up the new book and maybe a couple of others.   All RT’s and shares are , as always, greatly appreciated.

Let’s get Rolfed!

THE WINDOW WORLD TOUR!

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I’m so excited for you all to read this novel. Can’t believe it comes out this Friday. It has been years in the making. And I’m happy to finally get to talk about it and share the journey this baby took to get here.

Stay tuned for many guest posts/articles, interviews, and reviews in the weeks and months ahead.

We started things off with Kendall Reviews and Ink Heist.

Stop 1:

Interview with KENDALL REVIEWS: http://kendallreviews.com/kendall-reviews-talks-with-glenn-rolfe-author-of-land-of-bones-becoming-and-the-forthcoming-novel-the-window/

And this guest post at INK HEIST: https://inkheist.com/2018/09/25/the-price-you-pay-by-glenn-rolfe/#more-575

Thanks to both for having me!

If you guys have any questions for me, THE WINDOW is Horror Aficionados (Author-Invite) group read for October! I’ll be checking in every day from now until we finish, so click this link and join us: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/19548778-october-2018-group-read-2-with-guest-author-glenn-rolfe  

And thanks to Ken at Horror Aficionados for letting me come back!

Pre-order your copy of THE WINDOW here: E-Book $2.99  

Stay tuned for the print edition announcement. It looks like I’ll be working with Lori Michelle and Michael Bray to get this baby nice and pretty.

Expect it sometime in October.

 

 

Antho-Palooza! The last few months have been busy.

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I got asked to contribute stories to a lot of anthologies last year.  Here are the four i chose to give something to:

VS: X  US vs. UK Extreme Horror  eBook .99   Paperback  $16.99 

SPLATTERPUNK FIGHTING BACK  eBook  .99  paperback $9.99

THE BLACK ROOM MANUSCRIPTS Volume Three  eBook (pre-order) $4.10

100 WORD HORRORS  eBook $1.49   Paperback $6.55

 

Dawn Cano has done a fantastic job raising money for animal charities with her two VS. anthologies.  I took part in both editions.  I was more than happy to write a new story for the X and I was delighted to share the roster with Jack Ketchum and Wrath James White among many others.  My contribution: “To Be Alive”

Jack Bantry and Kit Power put together a great roster with SPLATTERPUNK FIGHTING BACK, as well. The proceeds to this charity anthology are ALL going to help fight cancer. My brother passed away from his battle with this monster with no cure back in 2010. I was honored to be invited.  I also dedicated my piece to Matt Molgaard (Horror Novel Reviews). Matt was one of my earliest supporters and offered up my first review ever.  He passed away last year, leaving a major hole in the horror community.  My contribution:  “Molly”

Daniel Marc Chant  approached me for a story for this one. THE BLACK ROOM MANUSCRIPTS always delivers a star-powered cast. I didn’t hesitate in jumping aboard.  This one contains stories from Paul Tremblay, David Moody, Adam Nevill, and more. My contribution: “Orson’s Gas N’ Go”

I’ve been trying to find the time to work with Kevin Kennedy on one of his anthologies for quite a while. I’m glad we were finally able to make it happen. His horror drabbles (stories in exactly 100 words) anthology, 100 WORD HORRORS, is full of short goodies from Lisa Morton, Richard Chizmar, Gord Rollo, and many, many, many more. My contribution: “The Came for Me”

How much did I get paid for these stories? $0  Why do it?  Because I love working with this great group of editors and writers, and the ones for charities are causes I believe in and support.

Two of the covers (VS: X and 100 WORD STORIES) were created by the multi-talented Michael Bray.  Check out his website here: MichaelBray.com

My FIGHTING BACK compatriots and I were all blown away and honored to be nominated in a couple categories for the inaugural SPLATTERPUNK AWARDS taking place at this year’s KILLERCON in Texas. We’re up for Best Anthology, plus Matt Shaw, Bracken MacLeod, and myself, were each nominated in the Best Short Story category for our FIGHTING BACK contributions.

VS: X  US vs. UK EXTREME HORROR is also nominated for Best Anthology.  Congrats to Dawn and everyone else involved.

Check out the full list of categories and nominees here:  SPLATTERPUNK AWARDS NOMINATION LIST

 

You can grab all four eBooks for less than $10.  I hope you’ll consider it.

We all appreciate the support.

There is another fantastic collection I’m even more excited about on the way this June or July that we’re waiting to announce.  You guys are going to love it.

Stay tuned!