|March 2019 Newsletter!The main storyYou lucky folks are privy to my inaugural OFFICIAL (because that makes it sound even cooler) Newsletter! All four of you should feel exceedingly special. I’ve never done one of these before, so bear with me while I figure all of this out.|
So, first of all, here’s what’s going on:
My second novel, THE HARD GOODBYE, was released about a month and a half ago. It’s picking up some great reviews so far, hopefully we’ll get some more coming pretty soon. This novel is a special little gem to me. There are lots of reasons why this one holds such a special place in my heart, but among them are two that really stand out. First, RAY GARTON, the author who penned masterpieces of horror fiction such as LIVE GIRLS, RAVENOUS, THE NEW NEIGHBOR, and dozens more actually gave the book a little shout out! It’s right there on the cover—what we call a “blurb” in the biz (I say donning flashy Ray Bans)—and I couldn’t be more proud of that praise. He’s a favorite author of mine and is a literal legend in the horror fiction world. In fact, he’s also the recipient of the Grand Master of Horror, and that’s impressive! I could go on and begin (begin?) gushing like a schoolgirl over his words about my book ON my book, but I’m determined to maintain some semblance of dignity and self-respect here, so I shan’t. Suffice it to say, that’s AWESOME!
*giggles and squeaks*
The second reason this is such a special book to me is that it is the first novel of mine to be picked up by a press and isn’t self-published. It’s true, I’ve been published in a few anthologies by other presses, and my novella TRESPASS (available here) was published last year by Deadman’s Tome, but this is the first NOVEL. It may only be just BARELY considered a novel (I use the HWA standard of novels being 40,000 words and up), but it’s a novel. So that’s cool. And a side note on word counts for novels…wtf is with the near total absence of a hard and fast standard on this? The HWA says it’s 40K words, while elsewhere I’ve seen pontifications that it must be 50K at a minimum, and elsewhere yet I’ve seen both 60K and 65K declared the bare minimum before receiving the moniker of novel. Same goes with novellas, because of the floating number for the bottom end of novels, the top end of novellas drifts as well. Oh well, it really doesn’t matter and I’m rambling like a drug-fueled demonic monkey on a junkie’s back (if you got that reference, I appreciate you helping me keep the lights on). The HWA says 40K, I’m going with them.
*harrumphs and kicks a rock, which smarts*
So there’s that. THE HARD GOODBYE is out and ready to be placed in your trembling hands as you gasp with bated breath at the awesomeness of the event. You can get it here. The audiobook is in production now and should be out next month, and the narrator is doing a fantastic job. I hope you’ll check it out. But I didn’t hang up my hat with that one, so here’s what’s coming next. Actually, some backstory is required first, so I’ll start with that and then get to the “what’s next” part. So, (cracks knuckles) here we go.
Way back in August of 2016, I finally sat down to write a new novel. I was still working on my first novel, A MURDER OF SAINTS (available here), doing revisions, but it would still be more than a year before I published it. But I had this idea, and it was boring a hole in my head, demanding to be released. The idea came to me as I was watching the first season of Stranger Things on Netflix, while at the same time doing a re-read of Stephen King’s IT. I loved the retro setting, the nostalgia, the coming of age, the multiple timelines, the parallel universe thing…all super cool. But I had an entirely different setting in mind, radically different characters and situations, and my villains were neither clowns nor demogorgons (I have no idea how to spell that correctly). I had something much different in mind. It was going to be set in 1990 and 2016, same main characters and locale, just as kids and then as adults. But that’s where the similarities with IT would end. So I got to work. Best, period, writing, period, I’ve ever done, PERIOD! I was super proud of what I was churning out and kept thinking I was seeing the ending come together in the not so distant future. Then it would move out just a little more. Then a little more still. I decided to stop trying to guesstimate where it would end and just let it flow naturally like a finely cultured piss.
By the time I finished the first draft, it was 230,000 words long. That’s a long friggin’ book if that’s not obvious from the word count. Stephen King churns out some doorstop novels, but he’s King and people will buy his stuff no matter what and no matter the price. Nobody knows who I am yet, and parting with the stack of cash a publisher would have to charge to cover printing costs on a book that big is just not something folks are going to do for an unknown (though they should *another harrumph and smarting rock kick*). And there was one other problem: the two timelines were actually, though I wrote them back and forth in each chapter as I went along, two completely finished, independent novels. One was a sequel, to be sure, but they both stood on their own. So, I separated them and decided to give them very similar, but different names. I fixed the formatting, polished up the first book, had it thoroughly edited and proofread, and handed it over to my agent. THE DAMNED PLACE is out for submissions as I write these words, and we’re hoping to start hearing back some yays or nays in the next few weeks.
Once the first book was finished, I wrote an insanely funny and utterly disgusting short story for a bizarro anthology coming up, then I dove into the second book. I’m about 2/3s through my revisions on it, then it too will be edited and (hopefully) sent to whichever publisher picks up the first one. THE DAMNED ONES is, I believe, the very best kind of sequel, and I can’t wait for everyone to read it.
I have an idea for a third novel in the same series, and I have a title and everything, it’s just waiting to be written. I’ll be getting to that one soon, probably this fall. Between now and then, I’m going to finish THE DAMNED ONES and get it ready for submissions, then hammer out a couple short stories just to keep that pencil razor sharp (plus I’ve got a terrific idea for a terrifying sci/fi horror story) and move on to a special project that will stand alone from, but also tie directly into, The Damned Series. I’m holding the details to this one close to the chest, but what I will say is this: It is set in 1879, yet it takes place BETWEEN the events of THE DAMNED ONES (set in 2016) and the events of the third book in the series (set in 2021 or 2022). So that’s going to be fun to play around with and watch folks scratch their heads over.
And there’s much more on the horizon, but I’ve spilled so much here, I gotta hang onto a few things to keep this newsletter alive! Needless to say, I’m in the midst of some exciting times in my writing career. I’m walking the tightrope of becoming a noted author, working a day job, and being and good father and husband to my kids and my wife, which is the most important job a man will ever have. So bear with me, I’m going to do my best to make this a monthly way of updating my friends and followers, as well as a place to make big reveals. I appreciate each and every one of you and hope you’ll consider becoming a Patron on my Patreon page here. Every tiny bit helps out, and it gives me greater opportunities to write more often and gets us closer to our mutual goal: more awesome horror books!
Well, looks like we made it through the first newsletter! There were some cuts and scrapes along the way, and my toe hates me for using it to golf rocks, but these wounds will heal. We’ll forge ahead and figure this thing out as we go along. God bless you all, and until next time, stay rad!
If you’d like to read the prologue to my new novel THE DAMNED PLACE now before it’s published, visit the blog on my website. As of this writing, it’s the top post on that page. Find it here: authorchrismiller.com/blog. If you’ve read any of my work and want to shoot me some feedback—or if you just want to chat about the weather and the migration habits of diseased European swallows (no subject is off-limits)—send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Patreon to keep up with all my digital shenanigans.
Thanks again, guys!
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Chris Miller · 707 Melissa Ln · Winnsboro, TX 75494-3042 · USA