A few weeks ago, I came across a Twitter feed for a website called GEEKING COOL that reviews books, movies, comics, etc. They seem new, but their production looks great, so I sent them a complimentary copy of CORRUPTS? for review. They’re almost done reviewing each story in detail, one every few days or so.
Nice to Matter, the secret origin of a superhero cop’s prostitute sidekick, was originally written for inclusion in CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY? I’m not against editors including their own work in their anthologies, but I didn’t want to cut a great story from another author in order to make room, either. It was a giveaway for a month or so in advance of CORRUPTS’ publication and later, a standalone story for sale on Amazon. I could definitely see myself writing a comic about the Black Streak and her world in the future, a sentiment echoed by several of my readers.
You can get it for free today on Amazon, and for .99 anytime thereafter. Here’s a little taste:
James was more excited than I’d ever seen him. “This will put us on the map,” he said. “Get us national attention. Superheroes who’ve actually taken down a supervillain are a very exclusive group.” I was eager for the fight myself, to be completely honest. Putting Dom away had been the highlight of my career to date, and even that accomplishment was tempered by keeping my identity a secret. Dom didn’t know it was me, and Natasha Fox’s real victory belonged to the Black Streak. I threw myself into every task Top Cop assigned me. We studied the floor plan of the bank and the surrounding infrastructure for two straight nights. Another two were spent roaming the streets trying to uncover the Badger’s hiding place.
On the third night of the search, I found it. I’d seen a pattern in the locations of the Badger’s past crimes, and had been tracing and retracing particular beats each night, dressed in civilian clothes. Around midnight, I found him, smoking a cigar in a parking lot outside an abandoned warehouse. While I lurked in the shadows and watched from across the street, a large armored truck pulled up. A guy got out and talked to Farrell for a few minutes, then got back in and drove off. The Badger stubbed out his smoke and went back inside. I remember how cold I felt inside when it hit me what was going on. The heist was happening tonight! I crept into the parking lot, pulled my phone out of my purse and turned away from the building. James didn’t answer. I tried two more times without any response. He was handling something else. I was on my own. I’d no sooner realized that, than I felt movement behind me.
“Who the hell are you?” the Badger asked.
Here’s a few quick notes to start off the scariest month of the year:
- I’ve unleashed a fourth .99 short story on the world. TRADITION is the story of a widow and four of her late husband’s friends enjoying a wee post-apocalyptic winter hunting trip. It is a zombie story, but there’s hardly a walker in sight–I feel the best apocalyptic fiction is about the living, rather than the dead, and modelled my piece accordingly. Let me know if I got it right.
- My good pal Tim Marquitz unleashed some madness of his own a couple days ago–a pair of novellas, PREY and ANATHEMA, published together by Genius Publishing and listed on Amazon under the name PREY. While I’ve yet to read the titular novella, ANATHEMA was originally destined for inclusion in FOUR IN THE MORNING. I had initially drawn the old-age story for the collection, and Tim, the middle-aged. When he asked me if he could pull it and pair it with PREY as a submission to Genius, he inadvertently saved my ass. I was stuck like chuck on a good speculative story about an old dude. So we swapped. Tim wrote another novella in what was probably record time (CENOTAPH) and I churned out QUEEN. So, definitely pick up PREY. You won’t be sorry.
- Genre fans may have heard the news about Tom Piccirilli’s brain cancer surgery. The operation was last night; the medical bills will take a bit longer to work on. Crossroads Press, which publishes much of Tom’s work in digital format, is giving their share of any sales of Tom’s books to Tom, at least until the end of the year. That’s 100% of your money going to an entertaining author who’s really gonna need the dough.
- HWA Halloween Haunts is a month of bloggery and book giveaways from Horror Writers’ Association member authors. There’ll be new content every day for the entire month–more than one posting, some days. Here’s a copy of the complete schedule–I’ll be making my appearance on October 16th, and giving away a digital copy of FOUR IN THE MORNING in the bargain.
- Finally, the paperback version of CORRUPTS? is on sale at Amazon for under ten bucks. Since it comes with a twenty dollar cover price, this is a hell of a bargain that’ll go away soon once people start snapping them up–Amazon will notice the increased demand and act accordingly, ya dig?
It’s the weekend. Finally. I’ll be filling the next couple of days with the honey-do list and some college work, but hopefully a couple thousand words of the good stuff, as well. While I prepare to dive into all that and my wife and daughter watch Magic Mike (le sigh), here’s a few things pinging my radar:
- If you’re the praying sort, keep author Tom Piccirilli and his family in your thoughts. He just found out that he has brain cancer, and will be undergoing an operation soon. Since I’ve never heard of a guy with a big medical bill passing up a check, here’s a link to his Amazon page. I haven’t read as much of Pic’s work as I could, but I’ve never read anything from him I didn’t like.
- CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY? is on the Bram Stoker Award ™ recommended reading list. It’s cool, it really is, and a lot of good books, authors and editors are keeping my pride and joy company, but please–don’t confuse this with being on the Awards ballot. There’s a couple of ways for the book to hit the list, and I’ve introduced the book to both of those channels, but it really is just up to people reading the book and deciding they want to recommend it for the Award.
- Jeff Conner, editor of IDW Publishing’s prose line, recently gave an interview to Cemetery Dance’s Brian James Freeman regarding the limited edition slipcased hardcover of Zombies Vs. Robots: This Means War! This anthology is, of course, one of my crowning achievements for the year, also containing fiction by Nick Kaufmann, Norman Prentiss, Nancy Collins, Sean Taylor, Jim Moore, Joe McKinney, Steve Rasnic Tem, Jesse Bullington, Brea Grant, and Rachel Swirsky. The trade paperback version is a work of art, so I can only imagine the majesty of the limited–and it’s only SIXTY YANKEE DOLLARS. For a limited-edition, slipcased book signed by THIRTEEN AUTHORS. Of course, I’d be a fool not to mention that you can sample the book, in the form of my story, in digital format for a measly ninety-nine cents. It’s a heartwarming tale of a scientist going back in time to prevent the zombie apocalypse and save his wife from a nasty demise. I’m sure you’ll love it.
- Finally, speaking of time-travel, i09 had an interesting article on the different types of time-travel stories that might be good reading for the sort of people who enjoy my stories. Basically, the writer boils time-travel stories down to four basic types: you can go back, but not change anything; you can go back, but your actions create a new timeline; you can go back in time, but it was predestined that you’d do it; you can change the past, but will immediately feel the alterations. So far, I’ve written stories of the third and fourth types. The only one of the four that makes no sense to me is the first–why on Earth wouldn’t your gun fire just because you’re trying to kill Hitler before he took over Germany? That seems too much like magic–and time-travel’s supposed to be pseudo-science.
I won’t hold it against you if you haven’t at least heard of CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY? in passing at least once since it dropped in March–but if you’re a fan of genre fiction, I’d be damned surprised if that was the case. You can pick it up in a variety of digital formats (Kindle, for example) at a price that’s nice, but in addition, Amazon’s dropped the paperback price to a mere
$11.87 $9.73. That’s around .46/story for some great dark superhero fiction. How great? you might be wondering. How about I give you five reasons to check this joker out:
1. Award-winning/nominated authors. Have you ever read superhero fiction from Bram Stoker Award ™ winners Weston Ochse and Joe McKinney? How about Stoker-nominee Jeff Strand or Endeavor Award finalist Cat Rambo? Well, Cat’s written a few, but near as I can tell, these are the only superhero tales to date from those first three gentlemen. And all four of ‘em are hot commodities. The film rights to Weston’s most recent novel have been optioned (and the book doesn’t even drop until November), Joe’s just dropped the last of his Dead City zombie novels, Cat has a couple short story collections on the block, and I swear to sweet baby Jesus Jeff releases something new every month or two.
2. Discover some new voices.The stories from the previously-mentioned authors certainly command their share of respect in reviews of the anthology, but to be honest with you–I knew the big guns were gonna come through. I was as excited about reading their stories for the first time as I hope you are, but it’s an altogether different sort of beast to crack into the slushpile and read something you didn’t solicit, from an author you’ve never heard of before or haven’t read in a while. And let me tell you, Anthony Laffan, Trisha Wooldridge, Ariyana Spencer and Wayne Helge, among others, will knock you on your backside with their stories as surely as the more-recognized names in the book. And that’s coming from unsolicited public reviews, not just Ye Olde Biased Editor. And somewhere in between the fresh new voices and the critically-acclaimed, there are several pieces by folks like Tim Marquitz, Ed Erdelac, Karina Fabian and William Todd Rose, who are just beginning to receive their due.
3. Theory and execution. Another thing reviewers almost unanimously agree on is that I accomplished the mission I set for myself when I wrote the submission guidelines for the anthology a year and a half ago. I wanted superhero fiction rooted as firmly in reality as a book about mutants, gals in armored suits and super-psychics could get. I wanted to give my readers stories that seemed plausible, representations of what real people would do if they had powers. And I did that. I wanted a good mix of heroes and heroines, of male and female authors, characters of varying degrees of morality and a good mix of powers. I haven’t read a single review yet saying I failed in that–and most hero-loving reviewers find the book to be a breath of fresh air.
4. WEEKS of review site love. At least two review sites devoted a week (or more) worth of their time and programming to spreading the word about CORRUPTS? Dreadful Tales covered every story in the book over the course of five Monday segments in May and June, and Gef Fox devoted a week in August to CORRUPTS-related interviews and reviewing.
5. Bonus material. I wrote a story of my own to include in CORRUPTS? and cut it at the last minute, to make room for another story from an author who had to earn their spot the hard way instead of by being the editor–not that I think an editor contributing to his own antho is automatically wrong, mind you. But in this case I decided to offer the story–the secret origin of a superhero cop’s prostitute sidekick–as a .99 short story, via Amazon. People seem to like it. In fact, since the ‘Zon’s dropped the price of CORRUPTS? paperbacks, I’ll shoot a free digital copy of the short to anyone who sends me proof of purchase for the CORRUPTS? paperback between now and Friday the 28th. Can’t beat that with a stick.