|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 email@example.com. 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
1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story?
Twenty or so. It was horrific. So bad. It was mostly just an exercise when I look back at it. I put my friends in the most ridiculous situations. I knew it was bad, but it felt so good to create.
2. How many books have you written?
As of right now, the collection and one novel. Add in the thousand and some odd poems, a novella and the two books in progress and we can round it to three.
3. Anything you won’t write about?
Not really. Sometimes there is a clear path from beginning to end. But I have found once the words start to flow they can ceer sharply away. So while I may not want to write about something, I may find myself in the middle of it anyway.
4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job etc…
I am in my early forties, divorced with two awesome kids. They are pretty much my everything. Besides writing all the damn time, I am a technician (electro-mechanical) and have fixed everything from juke boxes and pinball machines to plastic injection molders and high capacity conveyors for UPS. Probably most everything in between as well
5. What’s your favorite book you have written?
Personally the Rain trilogy of short stories. But they are all my babies. For the longest time I had lost one that is included in Notches, ‘T-Rex and Babydoll’. It was a fever dream of a story and when I lost it I tried to rewrite it but never could get it right. Then one day it just showed up again. So that gets points as my white whale for a long time.
6. Who or what inspired you to write?
I used to sketch a lot. Then one day I couldn’t draw what I saw in my head. I’ve always been imaginative. One day I decided to try and draw with words. It was pretty terrible but I kept at it with the encouragement of friends.
7. What do you like to do for fun?
I like B movies and video games. And I tend to skip both and read. But nothing brings the satisfaction of writing.
8. Any traditions you do when you finish a book?
I start the next story or poem. No basking in the after glow for me. By the end of a story the next has been burning pretty fierce and clawing it’s way out.
9. Where do you write? Quiet or music?
Depends on the scene. But music is a go to. Old school punk and Japanese bop jazz do the trick. Quiet when I write in bed or if I have to try and wrangle the words back on course.
10. Anything you would change about your writing?
I would make it so I could write high fantasy. I love the stuff when it comes to reading but I am not wired for it. The hardest lesson I had to learn was to really research what I was writing. It drivesme nuts to find inconsistencies or errors that a simple search could fix.
11. What is your dream? Famous writer?
When I was fresh out of high school I met Maya Angelou. Ever since then I wanted to be a poet laureate. But I would take NY Times Best Selling author and a few awards if they were handing then out.
12. Where do you live?
Right between Dallas and Fort Worth in Grand Prairie Texas. Home of Sandy Cheeks from SpongeBob.
I’ve had my share of cats over the years but none at the moment. I want a Maine Coon or lynx. And hedgehogs are adorable but require attention I’m just not capable of alone.
14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?
The reactions of the readers. When someone says they were moved to tears. Or is angry over a turn in the story. It is satisfying to illicit a response.
15. What is coming next for you?
I have submitted my first novel. I’m really proud of it. It is the culmination of everything I have been writing. The first of four books that follows Arthur Hardly, a gambler with extraordinary luck as he tries to stop the end of the world. It combines all the things I enjoy – mythology, humor, a leprechaun with a serious drug problem, Aleister Crowley and traveling to strange and sometimes horrifying places.
16. Where do you get your ideas?
Everywhere. I am curious about everything. I do Wikipedia roulette and get lost down the rabbit hole. Combine that with my depression and there is no telling where my head is going to go.
Buy Notches. Follow my blog (odconlinedatingcondition.wordpress.com) for daily poems and the occasional short story. This is just the beginning. I have stories to tell the world whether it is ready or not.
December 5th, 2018 12:03am
400 Days Of Oppression by: Wrath James White
I read a lot. I love to read. I have favorite books. This book is an end all book. I just now finished reading it and I’m not sure how I will pick up the next one and start reading. I started this book last night after doing the pod cast that I co-host with Jesse Dedman. It was midnight and I figured I would read just a hour or two at the most. By 3am I was only 20% in the book and had already been mad as hell, cried like a fool and didn’t know if it would be possible to read more. I couldn’t put it down. It had me in its grips and it wasn’t going to let go. Truth be told, I didn’t want it to let go. I was totally amazed.
I have always had a great respect for Wrath. He is smart, talented and strong. He has a presence about him that tells you I don’t take shit. I wish I was more like that at times. He is also outspoken and stands tall for what he believes. I have said many times that if someone was bothering me at a convention and I knew he was there I would run straight to him. I have no doubt I would be safe. Now, I tell you all this to say… my opinion of Wrath has changed. Reading this book I saw a side of him I didn’t know. A side I really like. A deeply sensitive and caring side of him. It is profound. I find it hard to convey in words exactly how I feel. So, I will say that admiration would be quite appropriate.
There are two main characters in this book. A white woman who is a school teacher. She grew up in a trailer park, had a rough life. Was raped and abused as a young girl but was determined to do better. The other character is a black man. He grew up in the ghetto. His mother faked their address to send him to a good school so that he got an education. She wanted better for him. She wanted him to have a better life. He became an entrepreneur. Smart, good looking and talented. They meet at a night club. She is with a cute girlfriend of hers and is shocked that this beautiful man shows interest in her and ignores her friend. At the end of the night he asks for her phone number. She laughs but gives it to him thinking she won’t hear from him again. He calls several days later and immediately asks for her address. Not sure why or if he will show she gives it to him. He comes over and they start dating. She falls hard for him and he falls for her. He then informs her that in order for her to be with him she needs to learn what his ancestors suffered. So that she understands him and what he has faced in life. He explains what all this will involve and tells her that she will suffer the same things they did for 400 days. He provides her with a safe word. If she says it then it will end and they will be done. He will walk away. If she succeeds then he will marry her. She agrees. Now at this point I will tell you that he is involved in the BDSM lifestyle and he brings her into this. Some of it is hot some will make you cringe. If you think that this book isn’t horror you are mistaken. At one point reading a scene I yelled now this is how you write horror! The cats ran! Lol There are so many twists and turns in this book that will leave you with your mouth on the floor. I was shocked and couldn’t decide if I wanted to save her or smack her at times. You will love both characters and the ending totally threw me. I never expected it and no it isn’t a happily ever after. This is horror! In my opinion everyone should read this book. I knew a lot about what the slaves went through but I can say that I learned a lot. Some times I felt like it was me going through what she suffered through. He described this book to me as an emotional roller coaster. That is no lie!
This is an easy engrossing read. It quickly pulls you in and really twists you up. Unfortunately, I have seen first hand prejudice. It is an ugly thing to me. I will never understand it. I have always seen people. It doesn’t matter to me color, religion or sexual preference. I know that many people don’t see it that way. I also know that many people are treated bad and differently because of this and it makes me mad. There is a small town in Tennessee called Brownsville. It is racially divided. My mother side of the family was from there. I had not been there since I was 7 years old until a year after my mom died. I went back to see the house she lived in and the town that I grew up in thinking since it was now 2011 things surely had changed. I was mistaken. It is still much the same. The hotel I stayed at was a Hampton Inn. A nice hotel. Clean and the front desk staff was friendly. There was a McDonald’s in front of the hotel and I stopped there for breakfast the next morning on my way out of town. The young lady that was working the drive thru took my order. When I pulled to the window to pay she refused to look at me. She took the money and handed me the order and shut the window. I thanked her but she didn’t speak to me or ever looked up. It confused me. I didn’t get it then it hit me. I was white. She had been made to think somewhere along the lines that she wasn’t to look up. I don’t think I will ever forget how that made me feel. Much like this story it cut me to the core of my soul. How could one person think they were better than another? Damn it! It was 2011. This shouldn’t be happening. The sad fact is that it still does happen. My long winded point is expand your views, read this book it will change how you see things. That is a great and wonderful thing my friends! Thank you Wrath, for being you, for writing this book and for teaching me more about life and what other have lived through and still live through! It is an honor to know you and call you my friend!
Becky Narron-Roadie Notes
Available for pre-order now!
As the old axiom goes, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
John Savage realized that too late.
Following the biggest job of their lives, John and his small crew think they’ve got it made. But a lawyer, a junkie, a crooked cop, Savage and his girlfriend have unknowingly opened Pandora’s Box. And they won’t know it until it’s too late. As the brutally tortured bodies of their partners come to light, tensions rise all the way to the screaming, chaotic conclusion of this bloody crime thriller.
High risk brings high reward, but the safe bet is usually the smartest. Stick to the plan, or get ready for the hard goodbye.
The bus driver started laughing – a high-pitched cackle that pierced my ears – just as laughter burst through my phone. I looked toward the driver, he was leaning over, twisting back to face me, his mouth stretched open to a wide smile. His laughter grew louder for a second or two and then stopped. “Where are you going Mike?” He said, his voice coming from the phone as well. I dropped it.
He stood up, his limbs stretching and growing, popping and cracking. His head crunched against the roof as the tips of his fingers brushed the floor. I slid out of my seat, took a step back. “Tiana, get up!”
She looked up at me, blinked, then noticed the driver, a gasp catching in her throat. The bus began to slow down. She slid out of the seat and shuffled around me. The other passengers had noticed and stood up as well. I grabbed my work knife, its short blade practically useless.
We started backing away as the bus slowed to a crawl, the people in the back yelling about the door. They were trying to pry it open. The driver took a couple stuttered steps forward, his lower jaw sinking halfway down his chest, spikes of teeth littering the gaping maw.
About the Author:
Nicholas Catron is a writer of fiction and poetry. He resides in the Pacific Northwest, where he enjoys rainy weather, fog and low hanging clouds. You can find his short fiction and poetry published in multiple published anthologies. He has a wife and three kids who do their best to keep him from writing.
What readers are saying:
Just like with The Spaces Between, Nicholas Catron delivers another wonderful story here with And So It Began. The story has a dreamlike quality to it, a stylistic prose I cannot put my finger on, but it is so thoroughly enjoyable to read that I simply MUST mention it. Only here, it’s a nightmare.
At once captivating, puzzling, intriguing, and terrifying, this tale of the dawn of the apocalypse hits all the right notes. The prose is liquid, the dialogue perfect, the characters surprisingly well-developed for such a short piece, and the final scene is an absolute gut-punch. This is a powerful story, and wholly unique despite its premise. This kind of tale hasn’t been done in quite this way before, at least to my knowledge, and it drew me in with its singularity.
Anyone who enjoys horror NEEDS to get this story. You do yourself a disservice in skipping, and it’s well worth the meager price. It’s worth three or four times this, perhaps more, and I honestly can’t think of a crowd I WOULDN’T recommend this book to. Maybe blue-haired old ladies who like their books cozy and happy. But anyone else should love this one. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Wow, I just started skimming to see what I got myself into and BAM. I’m in deep and not paying attention to things around me. This author has a way of grabbing your attention very inconspicuously and before you know it you’re in a dedicated relationship with his book. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
A new and refreshing take on an old subject! This is one writer that I will definitely want to read much more from! He has a great voice in his writing that really shines. The cover is what made me want to read it and I’m so glad I picked it up. Don’t miss this. If his goal was to get me to want to read more of his work then it accomplished what he intended. I can’t say enough that you want to read this! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️