Jeff Stand’s Newsletter

Posted with permission **

 

Contents

1. Introduction. Wherein I briefly welcome you to the newsletter.
2. Latest News. Wherein I encourage you to purchase my latest projects in a non-pushy manner.
3. Upcoming Appearances. Wherein I share my whereabouts with potential stalkers.
4. 10 Simple Ways To Further My Career. Wherein we investigate if you’ve really been doing all you can do to help me achieve massive success.
5. Short story. Wherein you read “Jigsaw Puzzle.”
6. Links. Wherein I share ways for me to be part of your life much more frequently than this monthly newsletter.

Introduction

This issue of the newsletter doesn’t have a new novel announcement, either. The next one probably will, so prepare yourself in whatever manner you deem most appropriate. I’m being super-secretive about it, but expect something quite a bit lighter in the wake of Sick House and Bring Her Back.

Lots of my books are on sale at this very moment, so keep scrolling to learn the details. This issue also contains the sinister tale “Jigsaw Puzzle.” My newsletter stories tend to veer toward shameless silliness, but this one is reigned in quite a bit. Is that good? Bad? I dunno. Feel free to let me know what you think.

This also contains “10 Simple Ways To Further My Career,” a helpful guide that’s been sort of buried on my website for about a decade, but I’ve dusted it off to share with a new generation.

Latest News

Sales! Sales! Sales! This week (July 12-19) a bunch of my Kindle titles are on sale for 99 cents each! (US/UK only; I explain the reason for this on my blog.)This is your chance to go click-crazy! Fill your Kindle! Fill the Kindle app on your phone! Buy them and don’t even read them because they’re just so cheap that it doesn’t matter! A dozen books for less than twelve bucks! Somebody shoot me with a tranquilizer dart before I do this again!

Everything Has Teeth

Cyclops Road

Blister 

The Haunted Forest Tour

Kumquat

Pressure

Dweller

Dead Clown Barbecue

Benjamin’s Parasite

Mandibles

Elrod McBugle on the Loose

And Gleefully Macabre Tales but that doesn’t start until the 14th.

But that’s not all! Dark Regions Press is offering a trade paperback bundle of Wolf Hunt, Wolf Hunt 2, Dweller, Dead Clown Barbecue, and Gleefully Macabre Talesfor only $45! There’s even a bonus–Christmas Horror Volume 2, which includes my story “December Birthday.” Get it right HERE.

August will bring two new anthologies with stories by me! A Sharp Stick in the Eye has my story “Bob the Necrophile” and Welcome to the Show has “Parody.” Expect full details on these in the next issue, though you can read an advance rave review of Welcome to the Show right HERE.

The Horror Aficionados group on Goodreads is currently having a Group Read of Bring Her Back. Thus far it has mostly been a Q&A, so if you’ve got any Q’s for me to A, stop on in!

Bring Her Back is, of course, available in both Kindle and paperback editions. The Thunderstorm hardcover limited edition should be announced soon (I’ve seen the awesome cover that Frank Walls did, and the signature sheets are on my desk at this very moment). I won’t be sending out a special newsletter when it goes up for pre-order, so be sure to follow me on Twitter (@JeffStrand) if you don’t already.

I wasn’t allowed to speak of it, but a chapbook of my 10,000-word story My Werewolf Neighbor was included in the very first Rue Morgue Coffin Box. It’s a bimonthly subscription box by the fine folks who do Horror Pack, featuring movies, shirts, toys, and various other horror-themed goodies. They’re unlikely to include anything else Jeff Strand-related anytime soon, but they may do other awesome chapbooks, so click the links and check it out! My Werewolf Neighbor has yet to pop up on eBay, but 750 of them went out, so I’m sure it’ll happen eventually.

My novella Cold Dead Hands finally has a publication date: December 2018. I’ll let you know when the hardcover limited edition goes up for pre-order.

Upcoming Appearances

July 19-22, 2018NECON. Bristol, Rhode Island. The most fun convention of them all! About as goofy and laid back as a horror convention gets. I’m on the Young Adult Horror panel, and also co-emcee with Nicholas Kaufmann of the infamous Necon Roast!

August 3-5, 2018SCARES THAT CAREWilliamsburg, Virginia. I attended in 2015 and it was one of the best conventions I’d attended…and then the next two years it was the same weekend at Necon, and I felt great sorrow. But now I’m BACK!!! I’m doing a reading, and also appearing on a panel discussion of the anthology Welcome to the Show.

August 24-26, 2018KILLERCON. Austin, Texas. The best barbecue I’ve ever had was in Austin. I’m not sure I’ll eat any that’s served at a horror convention in Texas, though… I’m doing a reading, moderating a panel on creating villains, and–foolishly–participating in the Hot Wing Challenge. So if you try to speak to me and I response with only hacking sounds, that’s why.

October 13, 2018MERRIMACK VALLEY HALLOWEEN FESTIVALHaverhill, Massachusetts.  An insane number of horror authors will be converging upon the Haverhill Public Library.

February 9, 2019CON-TAGIONCharlotte, North Carolina. I’ll be giving my talk “Stick With It: Sustaining Your Writing Passion in a Brutal Business” at this inaugural event.

Ten Simple Ways To Further My Career

If you’re reading this, no doubt you pre-order all of my new books in a flurry of “Oh, jeez, please don’t let it be sold out…please, please, please don’t let it be sold out…all I ask is this one small–oh, thank God!!! Woo-hoo! V for Victory! Yeeeeeee-ha!!!”

That’s cool. You have my utmost gratitude. Unfortunately, it’s been brought to my attention that many of you think that your role in the process ends with purchasing and subsequently reading the book. Well, that kind of lackluster effort puts a frowny face on my face. I thought we were in this together. I’m not saying that you should be as committed to my success as I am, but is a 65 / 35 split too much to ask?

The process should be: 1) I give you the precious gift of writing a new book. 2) You buy and read my gift to you. 3) You try to help me make it wildly successful. 4) I get paid more for giving you future gifts of writing new books. We’re good with 1) and 2), but 3) and 4) are a bit shaky. Perhaps it’s my fault. I haven’t provided enough guidance. Therefore, I’ve helpfully compiled a list of ten (10) ways that you can assist me in selling lots of books Please select three (3) tasks from the list and complete them at your earliest convenience.

1. Buy Extra Copies. This is the easiest way you can help. Order several extra copies (several = 3 to 7) and leave them in strategic points around your city, such as a bus stop or a Starbucks. This allows a stranger to discover the book, think “Here now, what’s all this then?”, read a few pages, and–BOOM!!!–I’ve just acquired a new fan. All for the rather effortless act of changing the number in your online shopping cart from “1″ to “7.” See how easy this is?

2. Spam. Spam like your frickin’ life depended on it. Look, when I spam, it’s spam, but when YOU spam, you’re merely sharing news about your very favorite author. Possible subject lines include: “OMG!!! Jeff Strand RULEZ!!!” and “STRAND HAS MAD SKILLS!!! LOL!!!”

3. Defend Me From Critics. Sometimes there’ll be a social media thread, and somebody will say “Gosh, I can’t wait until my copy of Jeff Strand’s new book arrives,” and some other cretin will say “I consider his work overrated.” Well, pardon my use of the f-word disguised with asterisks, but f*** them! Don’t allow those Whiny Walters or Negative Nellies to poison the populace against my work! When somebody posts something like that, reply back (in all caps) that you’re going to kick them right in the teeth. Include a picture of some teeth and Photoshop a picture of your foot kicking them.

4. Write Your Own Jeff Strand Fan Fiction. If it’s slash fiction, include relevant illustrations.

5. Act All Impressed And Stuff By Good Reviews. After you’ve read the review, print out 75-80 copies and post them around your hometown. Stand next to the flyer in the highest-traffic area, put on your most winning smile, and tell passing strangers that we roomed together in college.

6. Drive a Species To Extinction in My Name. This sounds ambitious, but I’m not talking about a major species, like manatees or humans. I just mean that if, maybe, you’re walking down the sidewalk and you see this weird-looking beetle, and you remember from some science documentary that only one of them remains, that you stomp on it and shout my name. No big deal.

7. Include the phrase “That’s all well and good, but what does it have to do with Jeff Strand’s fiction?” in all of your daily conversations. I think this one is self-explanatory.

8. Post videos of you gazing lovingly at my books. The key here is to figure out the tipping point where it becomes creepy, and stop recording a few seconds before that. If you can purr as you stroke the book’s spine (or your Kindle), even better. Do NOT make it look like you’re going to have intercourse with the book. That crosses the “creepy” line.

9. If You Still Use E-Mail Instead Of Texting Like These Damn Kids Today, Add Strand Promo To Your Signature Line. What does your current signature line have? A funny quote? A life-affirming statement? Promo for YOUR book? Sorry, but that me-me-me attitude isn’t going to sell more copies of Bring Her Back, now is it? Change your signature line to say something like “Buy Jeff Strand’s superb novel Bring Her Back or you suck!” Post often. Send a flurry of one-line e-mails with vapid content that won’t distract the recipient from your signature line. Bonus points if you create a flashy, obnoxious, eye-melting banner that links to my website.

10. Every Time You See a Computer, Visit My Webpage. At work? At your public library? At your local Circuit City? [Wow, I wrote the original draft of these rules so long ago that Circuit City existed.] Anyplace there are computers around, just pop the URL www.jeffstrand.com into the web browser and walk away. If they’re seated in front of the computer and try to slap your hand away, pretend to enjoy the physical contact a little too much.

Okay, everybody got it? Let’s get the Strand army into gear and RULE THE WORLD!!! March on, punks!

(Actually, just leaving a review on Amazon is fine. And maybe the occasional retweet.)

Short Story

“Jigsaw Puzzle”

Copyright 2018 by Jeff Strand.

Gabriel excitedly walked into his apartment and tossed the jigsaw puzzle box onto his kitchen table. It was Friday evening, Diane was out of town, and he was all psyched up to put in an all-nighter on this one.

He was thirty-six, and had never lost the love of puzzles he’d acquired in pre-school. Of course, back then he did six-piece Cookie Monster ones, but now he could put together anything the most devious minds could create. Puzzles that were entirely one color. 3-D puzzles. Puzzles without a straight edge. Puzzles that offered clues to a mystery story. He’d completed them all.

Gabriel wasn’t even sure what this one had to offer. The non-descript box merely called it “An Insanely Difficult Jigsaw Puzzle Experience.” Sounded like the perfect way to spend the evening.

He walked into what passed for his living room and started up his Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Blu-Ray to provide background noise. Then he returned to the kichen, sat down at the table, and opened the box.

He poured the 500 pieces onto the table and began the quick process of turning them all face-up. It wasn’t a double-sided puzzle and there seemed to be a wide variety of colors in the completed image, so he wondered what made this one so difficult. He hoped he wasn’t getting ripped off.

Gabriel sorted out the straight-edge pieces within a few minutes and found the four corners. The straight-edge pieces were mostly white with some brown, so he fit the brown pieces together first. Looked like wood. The white pieces weren’t much of a problem, and he soon had the entire frame of the puzzle completed.

He arranged the remaining pieces by colors. There were more white, the same wood-brown, some red, black, silver, and some flesh-tones and hair.

The red pieces almost looked like blood.

He decided to start with the white. This puzzle didn’t appear to be nearly as insanely difficult as the box had promised, so he might as well give himself an extra challenge.

However, it wasn’t that much of an extra challenge, because the lighting on the white made it easy to match up the pieces. He had a third of the puzzle complete before the Oompa-Loompas even had their first musical number.

He moved on to the red pieces.

It became quickly clear that it was not blood, but rather a shirt.

When he’d completed the puzzle, it depicted a smiling middle-aged man in a red shirt. While it wasn’t the easiest puzzle he’d ever put together, it was no more difficult than any other 500-piecer. What a disappointment.

His cell phone rang. A local call from a number he didn’t recognize.

“Hello?”

“Hello, Gabriel. This is the manager of Trystan’s Games. Congratulations on completing the puzzle.”

“How did you know that?”

“We were spying on you, obviously.”

“But how?”

There was a pause. “Uh, what year do you think this is? Don’t worry about it. I just wanted to call to congratulate you for finishing the first part.”

“The first part?”

“Yes, Gabriel, the first part. Check outside your door.”

Gabriel hurried over to his front door. He looked through the peekhole to see if anybody was out there, but the hallway seemed empty. He opened the door just a bit, until he saw a large cardboard box. He tried to lift it but couldn’t, so he dragged it into his living room and then closed the door.

“Got the box?” asked the man on the phone.

“Yeah,” said Gabriel.

“There’s an envelope on top. Open it.”

Gabriel tore open the manilla envelope and slid out the picture. Diane.

“Your wife is fine,” the man assured him. “That picture will be the puzzle for our next customer, but only if you fail to complete this one.”

Gabriel felt like he was going to throw up but forced himself to remain focused. “What do I have to do?”

“Treat the puzzle you just completed as the box lid for this one. That’s who you’re putting together. All five hundred flash-frozen pieces of him. You have until he thaws. Good luck.”

Share
Tweet
+1
Forward

Links

If you want our relationship to be more than a once-a-month thing, here are your various options short of peeking in my windows:

My website, http://www.jeffstrand.com, which is also my blog.

You can, of course, follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JeffStrand

I have two Facebook pages, and I’ll be honest, I haven’t quite figured out how to differentiate them. In theory, one is for friends and one is for fans, but, c’mon, you’re all my friends. Friend me at https://www.facebook.com/JeffStrandAuthor and “Like” me at https://www.facebook.com/JeffStrandAuthorFanPage/.

Yep, I’m on Goodreads! https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/207708.Jeff_Strand

And Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/jeffstrandauthor/

Copyright © 2018 Jeff Strand, All rights reserved.
At some point in your past, you made the odd decision that you wanted to subscribe to the Jeff Strand newsletter. I can’t explain it.

Our mailing address is:

Jeff Strand

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s