I read a really cool article from Sci-Fi & Scary. It was about small presses and self-publishing here in our indie writing world.
Here’s the link if you missed it: Let’s Talk About It: Small Press Publishing
Having worked in both arenas, I just wanted to share some of my own experiences.
In 2013, I broke into the publishing world with a serial novel I, for lack of knowing any better, self-published in e-Book on Amazon. I did all the editing and formatting, and had a good friend doing the art. Launching off on my own, it could have been a complete disaster. It could have ruined my writing career before it even got started. Luckily, my stories and characters, combined with Jason Lynch’s fantastic cover art, garnered me enough positive attention to make a safe landing.
One of the scariest things I did while creating this serial was reaching out to review sites and asking them to check out my work. Part of that fear was the everyday creatives insecurity. The other part was knowing that I needed an editor. I was lucky not to be slaughtered by sites like Matt Malgaard’s HORROR NOVEL REVIEWS, and to Joe Hempel’s TOP OF THE HEAP REVIEWS.
It was also in this initial toe-stepping into the self-publishing world/ review site reach-out that I met Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi. OH, FOR THE HOOK OF A BOOK reviewed my serial and gave me one of my first interviews. Our shared love of Ronald Malfi really bolstered our instant friendship. Erin’s been editing or helping with book publicity ever since.
Having Matt (R.I.P.), Joe, and Erin in my corner early on was invaluable. This trio saw something in my work that gave me the confidence I needed to keep going and to work harder.
After my 2013 self-publishing experience, I learned that I needed to push harder to get published traditionally. I set my sights on cool indie publishers like Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing and Nightscape Press with an ultimate goal of landing a book with Don D’Auria and Samhain Publishing.
At the time, PMMP was doing these monthly novelette/Novella releases in a series called, One Night Stands. They were down to their last spot of the year, and I had just finished writing a ghost story/small town mystery novella called, ABRAM’S BRIDGE. I sent it to PMMP and got word it was strongly being considered along with seven other stories for the last spot in the One Night Stands series. It did not get the final spot, but I couldn’t have felt any better. Knowing that I had written something good. Really good. That it had made it past the slush pile and into the ring with the big boys, I was elated. I sent the editor a response to the rejection letter that probably surprised him as much as anything. It was 100% positive and probably the most enthusiastic thank you on a rejection they ever received.
Armed with a story I now had validation was good, I decided to take my chances sending it to Don D’Auria and Samhain Publishing.
That was in December of 2013. In April of 2014, Don sent me an email letting me know that he loved ABRAM’S BRIDGE and that he’d love to send me contract if I was interested.
I ended up signing three novellas and two novels with Don. I got to sit at the Samhain table at the Bram Stoker Awards with a bunch of real writers and got to sell books at the Samhain table at two Horrorhound conventions. By 2016, I had achieved all my writing goals.
In 2016, Samhain announced that they were going under. Samhain’s demise was followed by a number of other small presses closing shop, most notably, Dark Fuse.
I managed to land a fourth novella (CHASING GHOSTS) with Sinister Grin Press, but by mid-2016, I decided I was going to try my hand at self-publishing again.
In my experiences, I’ve learned a few things. If you are going to self-publish, you must have a good editor. One that will tell you if something doesn’t work, or that you can do better. You must have professional looking cover art. And you have to actively seek reviews and readers. You are in charge of getting your book out there. It is a ton of work. And it will try to break you. But in my experience, the rewards can be well worth it.
For example, the year I’ve made the most money from writing? Had to be with Samhain, right? No. It was actually this year. A year when I’ve almost exclusively self-published. To be fair, the success I’ve had this year would not have been possible were it not for the small platform I made as an author on the Samhain roster.
As Joe Mynhardt, head of Crystal Lake Publishing, suggests in the Sci-Fi & Scary article, it is wise for authors to dabble in both traditional indie publishing and self-publishing simultaneously. Plus, working with and having a book contracted by a respected editor or company like a Crystal Lake Publishing legitimizes you and gives you a little extra street cred in the self-pub world. It let’s readers and reviewers know that you’ve been vetted.
As a writer, it is way easier to have a publisher in charge of editing, cover design, and helping to put together a publicity tour. They’ll also submit your book to reviewers and the Bram Stoker Awards jury. That’s a load off a writer’s shoulders. As Joe said, the publisher needs to earn that royalty cut.
I have continued to work with indie’s like CROSSROAD PRESS (they have ABRAM’S BRIDGE and THINGS WE FEAR-which Joe Hempel did a fantastic job on the audio book performance) and SINISTER GRIN PRESS.
Personally, I enjoy the madness that comes with being in charge of all that goes into creating, releasing, and promoting a book. I have a great team to work with Erin and Jason being my top picks for editing and covers.
That said, I am looking forward to a break soon. As with all goals in life, once you’ve achieved all the ones on your list, you create a new list.
In 2019, while still releasing my own work, I will begin my pursuit of this new batch of goals.
I hope you guys enjoyed this unofficial companion piece, and hope you’ll consider checking out one of my works.
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?
Somer Canon is one of the fresh crop of authors who was set to make a big splash with Samhain Publishing over the next year and a half. She had a number of pieces contracted and scheduled for release and was on cloud nine gearing up for her dream come true.
2016, however, had other plans. Samhain announced that it was closing its doors and all of these contracts were evaporating. Overnight, the Somer’s sunshine was murdered by a cold, hard rain.
In the bleakness, Samhain did deliver on at least one of those contracts. Somer’s debut, a novella titled, Vicki Beautiful, managed to make it in line for the companies final releases.
For this rabid horror fan, seeing at least one of her babies hit the eBook scene was better than nothing. The novella about an interesting dinner party (I’ll say no more) among a group of close friends (you can read my full review HERE) has been getting positive reviews and doing its part in sharing the promise of an up and coming talent in the horror world.
I got to chat with Ms. Canon about Vicki Beautiful, her influences, and the world of a girl that smiles while she dabbles in blood and mayhem..
Glenn Rolfe: Hey, Somer! First off, congratulations on getting Vicki Beautiful published! I really enjoyed it. I don’t want to give anything away, but damn, after the first quarter of the book, it totally becomes this dread-filled read. What in the world happened to you to make you write a piece like this? Somer Canon: Thanks a bunch, Glenn! I’m still sort of stunned that I got this crazy little story published. This story came about because of this really messed up dream that I had about a fancy dinner party (you can guess what was on the menu). It sort of stuck in my head and I finally started trying to come up with how in the world a dinner party like that would happen. I sat down and wrote Vicki’s letter, her final letter, and the rest of the story filled out around that. I wanted to mess around with who actually gets victimized in this story and it’s not the umm…honored person, but rather the guests.
GR: I could easily see this being made into an interesting movie. Any thoughts of trying to bring it to that medium? SC: I’m actually hearing this a lot. I can see it. I’d love to see it made into a movie as long as the visuals are done in detail. Intricate detail. I have no idea how to go about getting it done, in all honesty. I’m just riding this roller coaster and trying to enjoy myself. It’s obviously so fleeting.
GR: Who are your early horror influences, and who are the authors who push you now? SC: My mom and my grandma are big horror fans and I was never kept away from watching or reading horror as a kid. In today’s society they would be deemed horrible at child rearing, but I really got exposed to a lot of different things. My family were very low income and I had to rely on libraries and yard sale books to get my reading. I read a lot of horror paperbacks by so many authors, but really, Stephen King stuck with me not only because I loved his stories but he was also so available that it was impossible NOT to run into his stuff. I read a lot of Dean Koontz stuff as well, but I read a lot of books by authors I never ran into again and I really got a sense of different styles and tempo from that. Who pushes me now? I love Charlaine Harris and Kim Harrison because they have really written characters that stick with me. I fucking love their heroines for their flaws and self-doubt as well as the worlds that they build. Also, Damien Angelica Walters and Jonathan Janz are killing it right now. I find myself hoping that I never actually meet those two because I would dork out to such embarrassing depths that I’d never show my face in public again!
GR: My wife is afraid to read my stuff. She doesn’t want to see that far into my mind. Does your husband read your work? SC: My husband does read my stuff, but he will sort of silently hand the manuscript back to me and not say anything for a while. He’s not the huge horror fan that I am, but he is still a fan. I think I just freak him out every now and then.
GR: You guys live in Pennsylvania. A lot of my horror friends seem to be lurking around there. Obviously, you have Brian Keene, but also guys like Todd Keisling, T.Fox Dunham, and Adam Cesare. That’s some great company. What’s going on there? Any great back road stories you want to share? SC: First of all, I’m a hermit! I literally go weeks without leaving my house. I’d love to meet up with some of these people and talk shop! I go in to Philly a couple of times a year and I always secretly hope I’ll spot Adam around, and then I could be a creep and approach him, but it hasn’t happened for me yet. I actually might track down Keene on his book tour this summer, he’s swinging right by me. But really, I’m not native to this state. I’m West Virginian and although I haven’t lived there in about a decade and I have no desire to ever move back, I will always be a West Virginian. That, my friend, is a state that is deserving of a mythical horror reputation. It’s actually the setting of most of my writing.
GR: Unfortunately, you and I are guests on the Samhain Titanic. I know you had two more pieces signed with them. Have you received any word on those? Have you gotten your rights back yet? And has it affected your writing? I know some writers are pretty down, while others with us (like Mr. Patrick Lacey) seem to be on fire with new work. Where do you sit with all of it? SC: I had a solid two week period of moping after we got the bad news of the publisher closing. 2015 was such a fantastic year for me because I had three book contracts signed and 2016 was full of the promise of a great start to a writing career. *cue sad trombone music* Not so much now. I got the rights back to my two unpublished contracted works and I’m tentatively asking around about getting them a new home. I’d say my writing has been negatively impacted by this. Before, when there was more promise, I was much more motivated to sit and get the words out. Now, with all of the waiting required of us in the submission process, I have my days where I’m a little defeated. I try to fight it and carry on and I AM still writing, I’m just slower at it right now.
GR: I just bought my wife two new Jamie Oliver cook books for Mother’s Day. We both love his stuff. It seems appropriate, so I have to ask….do you cook? If so, what’s one of your favorite meals to make? SC: I do cook! I actually used to have a food blog where I would share recipes and my new creations. This is hilarious to me now, considering this novella of mine. I love risotto and I roast a couple of chickens every month. I love to eat, so I had to learn to cook so that we could eat well while money was tight. I have a pretty sizable collection of cookbooks and recipes and I love trying new things as well as comforting myself with the good old standbys like my mom’s lasagna.
GR: Mother of two boys? How the hell do you potty train these guys? I have two daughters and they seemed eager to want to use the potty. My son is a completely different story. Any tips? SC: With my boys, I waited until they were three years-old before I started really training them. I know the books and super achievers say to start earlier, but I waited until they could hold a small but real conversation with me before I could expect them to understand what potty training entails. It’s messy, oh God it’s messy, but you’ll get there. And try not to blush too much when you have to show him how to do the shake-shake!
GR: Lastly, let’s do some rapid fire:
Beer or Wine?Beer Movie Night: Jaws or The ThingJaws
Better Music: ‘80’s or ‘90’sThat’s terrible to ask me to choose!
Better King adaptation: Christine or Misery?Misery!
Somer’s Favorites: Rock song:The House of the Rising Sun Love song:The Very Thought of You Rom-Com: I love Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks pairings. Horror (you can list three on this one): House, Fright Night, and Friday the 13th. Movie you love that no one in your house wants to watch: Alien: Resurrection. I’ve had actualfights over this movie, but I can’t help it. I love me some cheese.
GR: Thanks for taking the time to do this. Best of luck with Vicki Beautiful and the future! SC: Thank you so much, Glenn!
Follow along this tour with the hashtags: #VickiBeautiful #WhatsYourLastWish #OneLastTaste
What would you do for a friend? Check out Somer Canon’s debut work! Follow along the tour!
Vicki Beautiful, Synopsis
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
One last taste of perfection…
Sasha and Brynn descend upon the showplace home of their girlhood friend, Vicki, planning to celebrate her surviving cancer to reach her fortieth birthday. As they gather around Vicki’s perfectly set dinner table, though, her husband shares devastating news. The cancer is back, and she doesn’t have long to live.
Her life is cut even shorter than Sasha and Brynn expect—the next morning, their friend is found dead, her flawless skin slit at the wrists. But a tub full of blood is only the beginning. Before the weekend is through, they are forced to question how far they’re willing to go to fulfill Vicki’s last wish.
A very specific, very detailed recipe that only the truest of friends could stomach…
Somer Canon is a minivan revving suburban mother who avoids her neighbors for fear of
being found out as a weirdo. When she’s not peering out of her windows, she’s consuming books, movies, and video games that sate her need for blood, gore, and things that disturb her mother.
“ I read this at one gripping session and I shall read more by this author. Excellent, original and worth every one of my five stars.” –Catherine Cavendish, Author of The Devil’s Serenade
“At times it reminded me of the cult classic “Eating Raoul” and others “The Big Chill”. Suffice to say, Canon has created an intriguing tale that will not only have you caring about characters put into an awkward, unsettling situation but also wondering how they’ll react to it every step of the way. I highly recommend this unique and entertaining story.”
–Matthew Franks, Author The Monster Underneath
“This is not the normal type of book that I would read, but the cover sold it to me, and I like reading new authors and genres. This book is beautifully written, the writing flows and you feel you really understand what the character’s are feeling…” Rebecca, GoodReads Reviewer
“The ending of this story was truly horrific. I am an old school horror fan, and have been indulging in the genre since I was old enough to hold a book. I also adore and enjoy the sub-genre splatterpunk, I read Jack Ketchum as a bedside book all the time. It takes a lot to phase me, but even I was turning my head in repulsion at the end. What a wonderful debut story for Somer Canon.”
–Badseedgirl, GoodReads Reviewer
“A simple story, but all the more powerful for its simplicity. Four stars. The author has guts and skill.” –Outlaw Poet
Zachary Walters takes on THINGS WE FEAR and recounts his vibes from ABRAM’S BRIDGE and BOOM TOWN for WHERE NIGHTMARES BEGIN giving the collection a 4.5 out of 5 stars.
” He brings the mayhem, he brings the chills, but most importantly he brings an old-school style the resonates with me. It’s a vibe that reminds me of how I felt when I was getting into horror. The first time I delved into a King title, the first Simmons & McCammon reads, I feel the same kind of energy when I crack the digital spine of a Rolfe joint.”
The Eyes of Madness presents “Simple reviews from a simple reader…”
Zakk reviews Things We Fear, part of the collection Where Nightmares Begin, by Glenn Rolfe. TWF 98 pages, WNB 219 pages, published by Samhain Publishing LTD (Samhain Horror).
Things We Fear-
“He’d been too clumsy, too out of his element with the Orono girl, and, admittedly, too cocky and aggressive last night with the bartender from Patrick’s, but he would be more focused with this one. Emily Young would be his Everest. There would be no need for alibis and secret graves.”
Summer has just begun, and fear is in season.
School’s out, and the faculty at Fairington Elementary School are free for the summer. Emily Young can’t deny her attraction to Aaron Jackson, the Ed Tech from her classroom, but she’s afraid of being hurt again. Meanwhile, Aaron is determined not to let his phobia of drowning…
Arrrooooooo!!!! It’s a full moon tonight and Samhain Horror has a great deal for you eBook lovers. Get the “Wolf Pack” bundle at a 30% discount. Jonathan Janz Wolf Land and my Blood and Rain made a bunch of Horror Top Ten Lists and W.D. Gagliani has been at the head of the pack since the Leisure Books days! Get all three of our latest Wolf Man books for one great price! Limited time offer and available exclusively from the Samhain Horror store. I feel a real howling coming on!
Click the picture below, click on Bundle and get ready to get beastly!
This week, Samhain Horror has put together this “bundle” of eBooks featuring three great titles from the Horror line. For under $10 you get Jonathan Janz’s HOUSE OF SKIN, Hunter Shea’s THE WAITING, and my novella, ABRAM’S BRIDGE.
Don’t miss out on this terrific deal!
I’ve read each of these and would recommend them to any ghost lover/ suspense reader out there! The bundle is available exclusively at the Samhain Horror Store. Click the picture above, or go to SAMHAIN HORROR. Make sure you select “Bundle” and get ready to download your haunted package!
I read an interesting blog post this morning about the horrors and uselessness of self-promotion on social media. While it brought up some valid points, such as Facebook BUY MY BOOK posts are annoying and next to fruitless, I couldn’t get on board with all of what the writer had to say.
Look, I know as writers going on about ourselves can rub people the wrong way and have the opposite of our posts desired effect. I say this: There is such thing as overkill, but in my experience, using what tools we have in the social media realm does work fairly well if you’re smart about it.
You do need to put in the footwork, you need to make real connections, you need to take chances, and you need to be considerate rather than assumptive. I primarily use GoodReads and Facebook. I look at my fellow horror authors and their pages, their friends, their more successful posts. I study what seems to work for them and do my best to add their best plays into my game plan. It is scary to reach out to someone who has no idea who the hell you are. That’s why you must go into it with respect and humility. I introduce myself, Glenn-horror writer, mention how I found them- saw you enjoyed my friend Hunter’s book, just wanted to see if you’d be interested in receiving a free copy of my title, Book X? I make sure to follow that up with If not, that’s totally, cool. Thank you for your time. If you are interested, let me know. I’ll send out a few of these messages a month. Then I go back to reading or writing. I don’t expect an answer from these strangers. After all, who the hell am I? But you’d be surprised to find how many conversations these messages start. And like the blog post I referenced earlier points out-conversations lead to relationships, which maybe leads to sales.
Don’t forget, I’m not selling my books, I’m offering them. I’m the lucky one if they reply. Even if they say, “wow, that is so nice of you.” In my world, it is the reader or reviewer who is the rock star, not me.
Now, I’m still a fairly new writer. I got my first story published in 2013 and my first bigger piece published last year. I’m not with a major publisher, so there’s maybe more self-promotional duties on my plate. I’m okay with that. I understand being shy and timid, and not wanting to ruffle the feather’s of strangers or friends. You’re friends will understand and they can always “unfollow” you if they don’t want to see what your promoting. Besides, they probably have your number and can still hold regular conversations about day-today stuff anyway.
That brings me to how much promotion you should do on Facebook. Yeah, it is pretty freaking hard to get anyone to really see your posts on Facebook. Regardless, I still have writer and reader friends who like to see what I have coming up or what I’ve recently read and enjoyed. For me, reading is still #1. I write, but I definitely read more than I write. After the release of my first novella with Samhain Publishing I did so much talking about the book and the road to getting published, and what inspires me and what terrifies me and me, me, me… you get the picture. Anyways, I made two changes after that first book: 1) I cut my self promotional Facebook posts in half and 2) I started promoting my friends and heroes. This made me feel a little better when I did blab about my new release, and made me and my fellow writers feel good whenever I shared a review of their latest book or interview or podcast appearance. I decided to start a page called, “Share the Horror.”
I read, I review (some writers opt-out of reviewing, because of relationships and hurt feelings-I’m not one of them), I promote myself and the pieces I enjoy. I also promote authors and books based off what my friends have to say about them. If Kristin Dearborn says a book or writer is good, I’m sharing the news. I try to be cognizant of the fact that “Hey, my new book is out, you know what that means? It’s hammer-time!” is not the best way to go about things. Use common sense. It won’t pay to flood your page every hour of every day in an effort to convince anyone to purchase your book. As with approaching readers who don’t know you, leave the hammer at home- promote with respect and humility.
Not sure if you wanna try any of my methods, but I was inspired to share them. Nobody likes self-promoting….but it is a part of the publishing world, especially the indie publishing world.
“Kristopher Rufty is the demented reincarnation of Richard Laymon!” –Jeff Strand, author of Pressure and Dweller
If you’ve been following the literary world of horror for the past few years, you no doubt know his name. With about one billion books published since 2011 (I might be exaggerating there, slightly), Kristopher Rufty has carved out an impressive and loyal fan base. The Rufty Army includes readers, editors,reviewers, and publishers alike.
2015 alone saw the release of 4 major titles — The Lurking Season, Jagger, Bigfoot Beach, and The Vampire of Plainfield. All well received and all full-on Rufty.
He’s been compared to (and rightfully so) the great and dearly departed Richard Laymon. His no-holds-barred style mirrors that of Laymon without feeling like a cheap clone. With his 2013 novella, A Dark Autumn, he also proved, like Laymon, that he could bring in real thought and emotion and dance effortlessly through a complex story and character with the best of them.
In this interview, we touch on his prolific catalog, where he finds the time, what family life of a writer is like, and of course, dip into a number of his works including his next offering, Desolation.
Glenn Rolfe: First off, looking at your bibliography…. holy crap. I mean, you put out Angel Board in October of 2011 with Samhain, you were one of the originals. Now going into your fifth year of being a published author you have a lot of titles.
I have to ask, do you still have a day job, write full-time or what? How do you pump out so many works?
Kristopher Rufty: Thanks, man. It was an honor to be part of the original launch of the Samhain Horror line. I still can’t believe it happened, even after a few years have gone by.
I still have a regular job, but I’m self-employed, so that helps and hurts me. Because I drive a lot for my work, I don’t get to pump out the words quite like I used to. Now we have a baby, and my writing time has become very limited. There are days that my wife will take our three kids with her somewhere, so I can I have the house to myself to play catch-up. On those days, I start writing the moment they leave and don’t stop until they get back.
I think why I was able to write so many books for that stretch was because I used to do I.T. for a hospital. I had a small office, a computer, and Microsoft Word. In between work orders, I would write. I ate lunch at my desk a lot, and would write. When I ate in the cafeteria, I took my notebook with me and wrote longhand at the lunch table. I cranked out a lot of words during the day, then would still write at night before bedtime. I think back then I was doing anywhere from 4,000-6,000 words a day.
GR: Out of all of your published works, do you have a couple that are really special to you and if so, what make them standout to you?
KR: Well, I love them all, but I do have a couple that just seem to linger with me, or make me smile when I think back to them. ANGEL BOARD and THE LURKERS were the first two novels I wrote, so they hold a special place in my heart. THE SKIN SHOW and PROUD PARENTS were written while I was in bed due to medical issues. They helped me through a lot of pain and worry, so I feel I owe them a lot.
I wrote JAGGER in six, fun-filled weeks. That book poured out of me, and I worked on it before dawn most of the time, while the kids were out of school. I really liked doing that.
OAK HOLLOW will always stay with me because I wrote it multiple times in a six-month period. One version was turned into Don at Samhain and he said he wanted to publish it, but he just had one request: “Rewrite it in your voice.” I had experimented with the King style of writing the book like an outside observer. I loved it, but Don thought that I would turn off my core readers by switching to such a diverse voice like that. I think he was probably right.
So I sat down to rewrite it…from scratch. This time, I was sick with pneumonia during a huge chunk of it and I dreamed up some of the scenes during a fever-induced sleep, then wrote them the next day. Some of the wilder crap that happens in that book was written while I felt like I was dying.
Recently I wrapped up a novel for DarkFuse called SOMETHING VIOLENT. That one was a lot of fun to write because it was so different, and I experimented with rotating first-person POVs.
GR: I loved A Dark Autumn. Can you talk about that one a bit?
KR: Thank you! I’m glad you liked it. Well, it’s a novella about Ricky—a writer—who has rented a cabin to work on his new book. Life has been overly hard for him; he’s recovering from alcohol abuse and a rocky relationship the only way he knows how: by writing. At the same time, a group of women have also decided to go to the mountains for a reunion of sorts and are staying across the lake from Ricky. When their paths cross, a lot of bad things happen to Ricky, and the reunited friends will suffer for what they’ve done.
A DARK AUTUMN is a novella I’m very proud of. I felt it was the first time I nailed what I was going for. I wrote it in less than two weeks and my editor changed nothing. He said it was perfect as far as tone and emotion. But it’s also a novella that took me to places I’d rather not go again, if I can help it.
Because of the subject matter, I feared I’d lose all of my female readers. But I didn’t. I even received more positive letters about this one than anything I’ve ever written. Some women even said it was “hot”. That was not my intention. I guess each person takes something different from it.
GR: I think novellas are really fun. They’ve sort of replaced short stories for me. I used to read short stories between novels, now I try to seek out novellas for that quick breath. What are your feelings toward them?
KR: I enjoy them, and I enjoy writing them as well. Probably more so now than ever before. Don D’Auria encouraged me to right more novellas. So long as they’re written well and don’t seem cramped, I think they can be perfect. I hope to write even more novellas over the next year or so.
GR: Between you, David Bernstein, and Hunter Shea, there’s this pressure on us newer writers to try and keep up. Do you feel any pressure to keep at your current pace?
KR: It’s hard to keep up with Dave and Hunter. Another very prolific author is Heather Graham. She puts out a new book every month sometimes. I used to obsess with the idea of keeping up, but I’ve already accepted that this year it’s just not going to happen. Maybe even the next few years. We have a baby now at home and I just won’t be able to produce words like I have the last two years. But I am already scheduled for two-to-three books a year for the next three years, so I’ve got plenty coming up.
At one time, my goal was to be like the pulp guys, putting out a book every couple months. I managed to do that in 2015, but it kind of hurt me, doing it like that. Not only did it wear me out, but some of the books were neglected because there were just so many out at once. I think a few months between each title is better than excessively putting a new novel out every two months or less.
GR: You’ve self-published a number of stories, too. Are these stories that have been passed on, or are you just compelled to get these ones out there?
KR: Well, that began as an experiment. I had this idea for a novel called PILLOWFACE. It featured characters from a low-budget horror movie I wrote/directed. My idea was to put it out with the distribution company’s help right around the release of the movie. We were going to work on it together. They changed their mind and I had this novel I’d been promoting for several months. So I didn’t know what to do. After a conversation with Blake Crouch and I decided to put it out myself.
Nobody bought it. I think I sold four eBooks in the first month of its release. Then Thunderstorm Books came along and signed me to a book deal. PILLOWFACE was one of the titles they wanted to do a limited edition hardcover of. When that deal was announced, PILLOWFACE saw a nice rise in sales.
LAST ONE ALIVE had a very similar story. It was supposed to be the novelization of a low-budget movie that I wrote the script for. The movie was never made and I had this book that I had planned to self-pub to help promote the movie. I put the book out there and to my surprise, it sold like fire. If every book I wrote sold like that one did, I could write full-time and never look back.
Since then, I’ve held onto some eBook rights of my titles that have been released in limited hardcover editions. Those have all done very well.
PRANK NIGHT had offers from a couple different publishers, but it would have been almost two years before it could be released and none of the publishers could have had it out around the Halloween season because of scheduling issues. Since the story took place on Halloween night, I opted not to sign it over and decided to put it out on my own and see what happened. It did really well for almost a year. It was something different for me in style, tone, and pacing, so it was a good book to experiment with a full-fledged self-publishing venture.
GR: Just this year, you dropped Jagger, Bigfoot Beach, and The Vampire of Plainfield. They’ve all been well received.
KR: THE LURKING SEASON was also released between those others. As I mentioned earlier, some books became overlooked when so many were released so close together. TLS was that book. It was the sequel to one of my bestselling books and it hardly made a ripple in the publishing ocean.
GR: I just finished The Vampire of Plainfield. I loved it. Such an interesting take on Ed Gein. Where the hell did that one come from?
KR: I wish I knew. I’ve had that idea for years. I was suffering a bout of insomnia a few years ago. One night while lying in bed and staring at the ceiling a scene popped in my head of somebody digging up a grave. Then my mind started wandering toward Ed Gein and how he robbed graves, then the concept popped in my head.
GR: The descriptive style of it reminded me a lot of an author we both admire-Ronald Malfi. I’m sensing his work is a big influence on you. Would that be accurate?
KR: For sure. Malfi is my best friend in the world and I’ve always tried to avoid emulating his style in any way, just because of that reason. But as I sat down to write VAMPIRE, I knew I had to approach it differently than my other books. I’d tried to write this thing many times since 2009 and it just wasn’t working. This time, I kept in mind what Malfi had done with THE NARROWS. How he’d written about an entire town through the eyes of only a few crucial I liked how Malfi handled those situations and tried to treat my story in a similar way. It really helped. I was finally able to finish the book after many years of failed attempts.
GR: Can you give me a few books that influenced you at different stages of your writing career. Maybe early you on, when you started, and now?
KR: Early on I was heavily influenced by King and Koontz, as were many of us. But two other authors really influenced my writing back then—Saul and Little. I read books by all of these all through my teenage years, plus picking up random paperbacks from TOR and Zebra well into my 20s.
Then a friend suggested I check out Jack Ketchum.
I had surgery and was going to be down for a long time, so I bought a stack of paperbacks to read, one of them was OFF SEASON. I couldn’t believe I was reading a book that was similar to the kind of stuff I secretly wrote. When I told my friend that, he said he knew I’d like Ketchum for that reason. Then he told me a list of others to check out that included Edward Lee.
He was with me in a bookstore one day and grabbed Richard Laymon’s THE CELLAR off the shelf and put it in my hand. He told me I’d like Laymon because we have similar tastes and both use the word “rump” when describing a female’s backside. He was right. Reading Laymon put me on the path that led me to here.
Recently, I’ve been very influenced by a lot of old paperbacks I’ve been picking up at used bookstores. King’s MISERY heavily influenced my writing with my new book DESOLATION. And I’ve read a lot of pulpy crime fiction this year that has played into my writing lately.
Newer stuff? GOBLINS by David Bernstein was a great read. TORTURES OF THE DAMNED by Hunter Shea. LITTLE GIRLS by Ronald Malfi. THE NIGHTMARE GIRL by Jonathan Janz. So many good ones.
GR: I met you and your wife at Horror Hound in Cincinnati this past March. You were both super cool. You guys were expecting baby # 3. Boy or girl? How has that third addition been? Any change in dynamics or writing schedule?
KR: Yeah, that was a good time. It was great to finally meet you after knowing you online for a little while.
Our third child, second boy, has been a blessing. A lot of adjusting, but a blessing all the way. My writing schedule has completely changed. Now I write when I can. My wife will handle things so I can take the computer into the bedroom and write on the bed, and I’ve also gotten back into doing longhand while lying in bed at night. I might actually write my next novel longhand. I’ve already written quite a few chapters with my pencil.
GR: Desolation is your next piece with Samhain. Can you tell us a bit about that one?
KR: It might be the darkest thing I’ve ever written. Probably because there are no supernatural elements that exist in the story. The only demons in this one are human.
Grant, a husband and father, tricks his crumbling family into going to their cabin in the mountains for Christmas, in hopes of rekindling things he’d ruined with his alcoholism. A demon from his past shows up, invades the vacation home, and forces Grant to take responsibility for his actions while also unleashing what he views to be “similar punishment”. This book was hard to write. Many scenes left me feeling drained and depressed when I was finished. I don’t look forward to traveling down a similar road anytime soon.
GR: Will it be your last for Samhain?
KR: Hmmm…hard to tell. As of this interview, I don’t have anything slated with Samhain. After the ruckus back in early November cleared, I expected to hear from them, but I haven’t. Maybe they’ll reach out, maybe not. I have enjoyed my time with Samhain, though. I have nothing but kind things to say about the company. When our baby was born, the Samhain staff sent a card to congratulate us. That meant a lot to my wife and me.
I guess we’ll have to see how things play out in the future for all of us.
GR: What’s the rest of 2016 hold for the Rufty Universe?
KR: DESOLATION releases on January 5th.
I have a sequel to one of my reader-favorite novels coming out this year. It’s a surprise that I haven’t announced yet.
SOMETHING VIOLENT releases in September through DarkFuse.
JAGGER will release in Germany, and I have a short story in an anthology in Germany that’s being edited by a very popular Extreme Horror writer. I can’t wait to announce it.
Plus, I might have something through Thunderstorm Books.
I also have deadlines to meet that I can’t talk about yet.
GR: Thanks for taking the time, man. I think I’ll see you at a con or two this year. Good luck with everything and have a great holiday.
KR: Thank you, Glenn. I really appreciate it. I hope we bump into each other many times this year. I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas and brought in the new year with smiles and laughs.
Can’t wait to read your next book.
You guys and gals can follow the rest of Rufty’s Publicity Tour by clicking on the banner below:
Hook of a Book Media and Publicity—Erin Al-Mehairi Contact: email@example.com
There’s no escaping your past. Especially when it wants revenge.
Grant Marlowe hoped taking his family to their mountain cabin for Christmas would reunite them after his alcoholic past had torn them apart, but it only puts them into a life and death struggle. On Christmas Eve, a stranger from Grant’s past invades the vacation home and takes his wife and children hostage. His agenda is simple—make Grant suffer the same torment that Grant’s drunken antics have caused him. Now Grant must confront his demons head on and fight for his family’s lives. Because this man has nothing left to lose. The only thing keeping him alive is misery—Grant’s misery.
Biography, Kristopher Rufty
Kristopher Rufty lives in North Carolina with his wife, three children, and the zoo they call their pets. He’s written various books, including The Vampire of Plainfield, Jagger, The Lurkers, The Lurking Season, The Skin Show, Pillowface, Proud Parents, and more, plus a slew of horror screenplays. He has also written and directed the independent horror films Psycho Holocaust, Rags, and Wicked Wood. If he goes more than two days without writing, he becomes very irritable and hard to be around, which is why he’s sent to his desk without supper often.
Praise for Kristopher Rufty
“Kristopher Rufty is the demented reincarnation of Richard Laymon!” –Jeff Strand
“A DarkAutumn is a wild gender role reversal of ‘I Spit On Your Grave,’ with gonzo nods to Norman Bates and ‘Friday The 13th’ thrown in for good measure. Kristopher Rufty delivers the goods yet again.” –Bryan Smith, author of Kayla Undead and The Late Night Horror Show
“A creepy, gripping tale of horror. And it’s got one of the best death scenes I’ve read in a long time!” –Jeff Strand, author of Pressure and Dweller
“A powerhouse debut novel. Rufty’s prose will suck you in and hold you prisoner!” –Ronald Malfi, author of Floating Staircase and Snow
“An occult thriller with a new twist. Rufty juggles captivating characters, breakneck suspense, and insidious horror in a macabre story that will leave you feeling possessed by the end of it. Next time you think about taking that old Ouija board out…forget it!” –Edward Lee, author of Lucifer’s Lottery and City Infernal
We have a lot of books to giveaway from Krist! We have two audio books, Oak Hollow and Pillowface in one link. In the second link we have a signed print copy of The Lurking Season and two e-books, Vampire of Plainfield and Bigfoot Beach. Winners are chosen random via rafflecopter and are given choice of prize of order pulled. Any questions on raffle, please e-mail Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at firstname.lastname@example.org
“THINGS WE FEAR is a compulsively readable tale of obsession and dark suspense, with one of the creepiest villains I’ve encountered in recent years.” — Tim Waggoner, author of THE WAY OF ALL FLESH
THINGS WE FEAR will be part of my Samhain Horror Print novella collection, WHERE NIGHTMARES BEGIN. Both the eBook and the Print collection come out in March.
Tim Waggoner is one of many gifted authors out there today. His works have been published by way too many publishers to list, which speaks volumes of his talent. I am honored that he would make time in his busy teaching and writing schedule to fit in an early read of one of my stories.
Thank you, Tim.
Tim Waggoner writes fantasy and horror for both adults and young readers. He also teaches creative writing at Sinclair Community College and in Seton Hill University’s MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program.
Tim tackles so many different areas with his writing. From young adult to fan fiction (Grimm and Supernatural) to out-right scary as hell horror.
Click on the covers below to check out just a few of his works.
Find out all you need to know about Mr. Waggoner and his fiction at:
Samhain Horror author, Matt Manochio, author of Sentinels, and last year’s winter treat, The Dark Servant, returns to the world of Krampus!
Twelfth Krampus Night is a fun, bloody, and captivating novella that proves to be Manochio’s most horrific offering yet.
Krampus and an old evil lady with an affinity for knives (Frau Perchta) descend upon a Bavarian castle and its two young Lords, Karl and Wilhelm. A peasant couple from the nearby village find themselves caught up in a battle of deliverance. Chaos ensues!
I found myself caught up in all of Manochio’s main characters. I wanted to punch all the bad guys in the face and hoped for the best for the innocent lives along the way. The story grabbed me right from the start and was a pretty quick read. And even though Krampus gets his name in the title, the title of “Most Terrifying” goes to Frau Perchta. Get ready to have your entrails wrapped around a tree! That’s all I’m saying. Some great, descriptive scenes involving the old hag and her knives.
The action gets a little to crazy in a few spots, but its just too fun of a ride to get derailed.
I give Twelfth Krampus Night 4 Stars. A fun novella for your Christmas (or just after Christmas) reading.
Medieval maiden Beate, who’s grieving over the mysterious evisceration of her best friend, Gisela, must escape a Bavarian castle under siege by sadistic creatures.
Standing in her way—beyond towering walls and crossbow-toting guards—are Saint Nicholas’s demonic helper, Krampus, and Frau Perchta, a belly-slitting hag who prowls the countryside during First Night festivities to punish naughty teens.
Beate wants out. Krampus and Frau Perchta want in, determined to breach the castle to snag their prey. Beate has no idea why these monsters want her, but she must use her wits to save herself from horrors both human and inhuman—lest she wind up like Gisela.
Matt Manochio, Biography~
Matt Manochio was born in 1975 in New Jersey and graduated from The University of Delaware in 1997 with a history/journalism degree. He spent the majority of his 13-year newspaper career at the Daily Record in Morris County, New Jersey, where he won multiple New Jersey Press Association Awards for his reporting.
He wrote about one of his passions, rock ‘n’ roll giants AC/DC, for USA Today and considers that the highlight of his journalism career. He left newspapers in 2011 for safer employment.
His debut novel, The Dark Servant, was published with Samhain Horror in November of 2014. His second novel, Sentinels, was release November 2015, just prior to Twelfth Krampus Night in December 2015.
He currently lives in New Jersey with his son.
Praise for Matt Manochio~
“This is a macabre, dark tale with a timeless quality about it. An atmospheric landscape, complete with Bavarian castle; characters that could have stepped out from your worst nightmares. It kept me thoroughly and enjoyably entertained in a dark, scary way. Full marks!” –Cat Cavendish, Author of The Dark Avenging Angel
“The Dark Servant is everything a thriller should be–eerie, original and utterly engrossing!” — Wendy Corsi Staub, New York Times bestselling author
“Beautifully crafted and expertly plotted, Matt Manochio’s The Dark Servant has taken an esoteric fairy tale from before Christ and sets it in the modern world of media-saturated teenagers–creating a clockwork mechanism of terror that blends Freddy Krueger with the Brothers Grimm!” — Jay Bonansinga, New York Times bestselling author
“Matt Manochio is a writer who’ll be thrilling us for many books to come.” — Jim DeFelice, New York Times bestselling author
“Matt Manochio has taken a very rare fairytale and turned it into a real page-turner. Matt has constructed a very real and believable force in Krampus and has given it a real journalistic twist, and he has gained a fan in me!” — David L. Golemon, New York Times bestselling author
“In The Dark Servant, Matt Manochio has taken the tantalizing roots of Middle Europe’s folklore and crafted a completely genuine modern American horror story. … I fell for this story right away. Matt Manochio is a natural born storyteller.” — Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author
“Could there be a dark side to Santa? And if so, what would he do to those kids who were naughty? Matt Manochio provides the nail-biting answer with The Dark Servant.” — John Everson, Bram Stoker Award-winning author
“If you want some pure escapism on a quiet afternoon and you don’t mind a little–okay, maybe a lot–of blood, SENTINELS is exactly what you’re looking for. Manochio is a talented author with a bright future and someone who’s work I will follow with great interest.” –Shotgun Logic
Test your luck and enter to see if you’ll win a $50 Amazon Gift Card and a print copy of The Dark Servant (Matt’s Krampus book from 2014). Anyone can enter and you can enter multiple times per day in various ways.
Also, if you review Twelfth Krampus NIght and send the link to Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, at email@example.com, and click you’ve done this on the Rafflecopter section for it, you will get 5 extra entries!! Any questions, defer them to Erin as well. Click on the Rafflecopter daily to enter!