Category Archives: Miscellaneous Thinking

My New Website: (FREE and Heavily Discounted eBooks)

On Tuesday, I came up with an idea for a new website and spent the last couple of nights getting it ready to launch. I was inspired to create this site because some helpful posters on the Cemetery Dance Forums pointed out some HUGELY discounted horror eBooks on Amazon that I definitely would have missed without their help. These were all classic or bestselling titles that I had read before but ordered for my e-reader for future re-reads because the price was unbeatable. As I was placing my orders, I realized it would be great if someone gathered future deals in one place for horror readers. Then I set out to do just that.

Here’s my basic pitch to promote the website:

eHorrorBargains.comWould you like to have bought the eBook editions of I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, Swan Song by Robert McCammon, Horns by Joe Hill, and Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill for just $1.99 each?

Or how about The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty or The Boys from Brazil by Ira Levin for just $2.99 each?

Those were the first six featured deals on my new “eHorror Bargains” website and there are many more bargains to come! If you sign-up for my FREE updates on the site, you’ll automatically be notified the moment I post about a new heavily discounted or free horror eBook!

Read more or sign-up for FREE notifications here:

You can also follow my FREE updates on these social networking websites:

(In fact, Heart-Shaped Box and Horns are still just $1.99, and The Exorcist and The Boys from Brazil are still just $2.99, so follow this link for more information if you’re interested!)

Thanks, as always, for your continuing support!

A Surprising Fact About Modern Day Cruise Ships: Still Not Enough Lifeboats

titanic 33 cents US STAMPThis one definitely falls under my Miscellaneous Thinking category and has nothing to do with the publishing business, but I was genuinely surprised to read this fact in the article “Lack of Backup Power Puts Cruise Passengers at the Ocean’s Mercy” in The New York Times today:

Massive new vessels like the Oasis of the Seas, operated by Royal Caribbean, can carry up to 5,400 passengers and 2,160 crew members… Experts say that evacuating any vessel is a dangerous, last-ditch procedure. And the prospect of doing so on a ship like the Oasis of the Seas is daunting. It carries enough lifeboats for 6,500 people; or 1,000 seats fewer than its maximum capacity.

I’ve read that section three times because I keep thinking I must be reading it wrong. Am I? Or is anyone else surprised to learn cruise ships aren’t required to have enough lifeboats for all of the passengers and crew? For some reason, I thought this issue had already been addressed after a terrible tragedy…

Thank You For 50,000 Page Views

man celebratingI just realized this blog is at 49,983 page views, so by the time you read this, it’ll probably be past 50,000. That seems like a pretty cool achievement since I still have no idea what I’m doing with a blog.

To those of you who’ve been reading my work, I just wanted to say thank you for your support. There should be a lot more to come in 2013. In the meantime, here are my five “most-read” posts on this blog if you want to kill a few minutes:

“Publishers Clearing House Predicts Murder Six Months In Advance!”

Publishers Clearing House $5000 A Week For LifeMaybe only my mind works this way, but have you seen the Publishers Clearing House “$5,000 A Week ‘Forever’ Prize” ads on TV?

Basically, the winner will get $5,000 a week for the rest of his or her life, and then when he or she dies, another person that the winner has selected will start getting $5,000 per week for the rest of his or her life.

Does anyone else see how this story is going to end? Maybe with a headline along these lines:

“Publishers Clearing House Winner Dies In Mysterious Accident!”

So, if you’re the winner of the “Publishers Clearing House $5,000 A Week ‘Forever’ Prize,” I’d say you should enjoy the $5,000 a week for the rest of your life… however long or short it might be!

In A World Without eMail, What Would We Do With All of Our Free Time?

I had a bunch of boring titles for this post, but upon a final re-read, I realized I needed something a little sillier so people would be alerted to the fact that my very subtle sense of humor is at play in this post and there’s actually little reason to read it. I apologize to everyone who does not share my sense of humor. Also, I say hi to the two other people in the world who do. Anyway, here is the post that will leave you wondering why you stopped by this blog today: Continue reading In A World Without eMail, What Would We Do With All of Our Free Time?

A Student Needs Help With A Term Paper

We receive emails at work just about every week from students who need information for term papers, articles, and research reports.  I love that they’re writing about horror, or publishing, or the authors we publish.  I hate that they think we’re idiots and will write their paper for them.

I started this post back in November because one student’s email really made me laugh, but then I decided to wait to post it until after the semester was over, just in case this somehow got back to her professor.  Who knows with the Internet, right?  Here is the email that inspired this miscellaneous thought:

Date: Thu, 10 Nov 2011 11:52:15 -0500
To: “‘'” <>
Conversation: XXXXXXXX


Dear Sir or Madam:

Hi!  My name is XXXXXX, and I am a fan of Stephen King.  I

am doing an analytical review of Blockade Billy for my English Composition

class.  I was wondering does your publishing company have any book critics

that have reviewed Blockade Billy and have published their review on the

Internet.  Could you tell me where to find these reviews?  Where do I find

these reviews on the Internet?  Could you cite these reviews in MLA format

with the author of the review, name of article, publishing source, and date

of publication or date of when the review was written?  Where would I go on

the Internet to find more reviews on Blockade Billy?  How was Blockade Billy

originally released by your publishing company, and how and when did

Scribner originally publish Blockade Billy?  Please e-mail me with the

answers to my questions and send me any other information about the novella,

Blockade Billy.  I need the information by next Friday.  Thank-you. My

e-mail is XXXXXXX.




There’s so much in here that I love! The way she asks three times where she can find reviews of Blockade Billy on the Internet, for example.  And there’s something about “Could you tell me where to find these reviews?  Where do I find these reviews on the Internet?” that sounds almost musical to me.

But the best part, of course, is where she asks: “Could you cite these reviews in MLA format with the author of the review, name of article, publishing source, and date of publication or date of when the review was written?”

Well, yes, I can… because I actually paid attention during my college classes and wrote my own papers.  The better question is… can you?  🙂

Another Perspective: On Discovering Night Shift by Stephen King

In the spirit of My Mother’s Secret Stash of Stephen King, I thought I’d post another essay I wrote about that summer when I was 12 years old.  I mostly want to post this because the essay was written a few years after “My Mother’s Secret…” and it’s completely different.  One of the things I’m very curious about is how our memories work.  Not sure what that means in this context, but here’s what I wrote:

Like most life changing events, this one came out of nowhere:

One summer when I was very young, I stood in the basement of my family’s house staring up at the bookcase by the pool table.  This was where I had discovered my mother’s collection of Stephen King hardcovers a few months earlier.

On this particular day I saw a blue paperback jutting off the edge of a shelf high above my head.  I reached up and grabbed the paperback.  I turned it over in my hands.

There were eyes peeking out through holes cut in the front cover.  The eyes were part of a bigger piece of artwork under the cover: a hand wrapped in bandages with eyes growing in the flesh!  How horrible!  How awesome!

I sat on the basement floor next to the bookcase and read the introduction by John D. McDonald.  He wrote something there I’ve returned to many times over the years.  “If you want to write, you write.”  (It really is that simple, isn’t it?)

Next I read Stephen King’s “Foreword” and was instantly hooked.  I realized this was the author himself inviting me to join him on a journey.  He was talking about fear and the scary things in the dark closet, and yes, I totally understood what he was saying.  It was as if he knew me and my secret fears.

I skipped “Jerusalem’s Lot” because I didn’t understand the epistolary tale yet (why are these characters writing letters to each other?  where’s the story?), but I started the second piece, “Graveyard Shift,” and was sucked right in.  There was a basement full of ruined junk!  And big rats!  What’s not to love?

And I was off to the races, reading story after story.  I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.  This continued for the better part of the afternoon while my father was at work and my mother slept.  (She worked the night shift at the local hospital.)  The sun crossed the sky and the day slipped away and I just couldn’t get enough of those short stories.

My favorite in the bunch was “The Last Rung on the Ladder.”  Oddly enough, after all of the killer trucks and toy soldier assassins and scary boogeymen and a very bizarre lawn guy, this story was nothing like the rest and yet it easily affected me the most.  (Spoilers to follow.)

Instead of another scare fest, this was the story of two farm kids–a boy and his little sister–playing a game in their family’s barn when something goes terribly wrong.  The sister was climbing a ladder to the top of the barn when the rungs splintered, leaving her hanging high above the floor, her hands barely holding on.  Her brother frantically built a pile of hay to break her inevitable fall.  The ladder was going to give way, but he kept telling her to hold on… and then, right before the ladder finished breaking, he told her to let go… and she did… and she landed in the hay with a sickening thud… but she lived!  She had let go without looking because she knew her big brother was going to do something to save her.  What a happy ending!

But then the story went on.  And the two farm kids grew up.  And in the end, the reader was left with a man dealing with his sister’s suicide and his regrets about the distance that grew between them as adults while he was busy chasing the brass ring in life — and the fear that, had he been a better bigger brother after they left the farm, he might have been able to break his sister’s fall one more time and she wouldn’t be dead.

Powerful stuff.  Emotional stuff.  And what the heck was it doing in a book of horror stories?  Some readers might have been turned off by this heart-wrenching tale of loss if they were just expecting more gore and scares, but I loved it.  I had never experienced a story quite like it before.  I read “The Last Rung on the Ladder” a second time that day and I’ve read it a dozen times since then.

Night Shift was marketed as “excursions into horror” and it was my first taste of grown-up short stories.  Soon after, I discovered a huge anthology called Dark Forces, and soon after that I dedicated myself to writing and selling my own little stories.  I had dabbled with writing since the second grade, but now I had a concrete goal: my stories needed to appear in an anthology like Dark Forces or a collection like Night Shift.

Since then, my short stories have been published in many anthologies, including Borderlands 5, which featured Stephen King and a lot of other great authors I was humbled to be published with; my first collections of stories will see print next year if all goes well, although I harbor no illusions that they’re anywhere near as good as the tales in Night Shift; and a few years back Lonely Road Books published a brand new edition of Dark Forces.

When I think about it, I realize just about everything I do today is because I happened upon Night Shift one summer afternoon when I was a kid.

If you ask me, there isn’t a better foundation for a lifetime of reading than the short story.  Short stories will take you to worlds you never imagined and help you examine your own world through new eyes.

What better way is there to spend a summer afternoon… or an entire life?