Second Penultimate Paragraph Contest

Today I was reminded that back in 2010 I hosted what I believe was the first (and possibly only) Penultimate Paragraph Contest. And because I haven't done much with this blog lately, I thought it might be fun to host another one.

The rules? 

They're pretty simple, actually. In the comments section simply post the penultimate paragraph of one of your short stories. The stories don't have to be published, but if they are published online, please provide a link so we can check out the rest of your story (note that if you do provide a link, my site might think it's spam and hold it for moderation, so if that does happen, don't fret, it will appear shortly).

Deadline is the end of the month, so 7/31 midnight EST, with winners announced at some point during the weekend. This giveaway/contest will have two winners: one person whose penultimate paragraph I'll pick as my favorite, and another person selected randomly.

What do the winners win? How about first place will win a copy of the Hint Fiction anthology, as well as a copy of my flash fiction collection Phantom Energy. The runner-up will win a copy of the Hint Fiction anthology. And, because I stumbled across some old issues of literary journals, a few random people will be sent back issues of journals just for participating.

Have fun!

Better Weird Is Here

Now available from Cemetery Dance:

Better weird than plastic…

For a generation of horror fans, those four words signaled a momentous occasion: the arrival of a new issue of David B. Silva's seminal publication, The Horror Show. For nine years in the 1980s, Dave and his magazine published some of the biggest names in the genre and introduced the world to countless others, nurturing dozens of careers along the road from first publication to major success. A man of limitless talent, Dave also earned a reputation as one of the field's finest writers, producing a handful of brilliant novels and a vast collection of award-winning stories.

Following Dave's untimely death in 2013, authors from around the horror world came forward to honor his memory. Those who grew up reading his immortal magazine, those who learned from his kind and careful tutelage, those who admired the editor, the writer, the man – they are all here, gathered in the pages of this special anthology: Kealan Patrick Burke, Brian Hodge, Joe R. Lansdale, Robert R. McCammon, Bentley Little, Elizabeth Massie, Brian Keene, J.F. Gonzalez, Steve Rasnic Tem, Billie Sue Mosiman, Kathryn Ptacek, Thomas F. Monteleone, Gary Raisor, Yvonne Navarro, Robert Swartwood, G. Wayne Miller, and Paul F. Olson.

With brand new tales of terror, lovingly-chosen classics, and heartfelt tributes, these writers have come to raise a chill, bring a tear, and remind you of the truth in Dave's immortal words:It's always Better Weird…

Currently available in ebook, a limited edition paper copy is forthcoming.

Newsletter Easter Eggs

Many, many years ago, when I helped edit Flesh & Blood magazine, I came up with this idea of easter egg haikus. Basically, every issue would feature a haiku by a top horror writer. The writer's name would not appear on the cover or even the table of contents. There would be no announcement that the writer had a haiku in the issue. The haiku would just be hidden among the pages waiting for readers to find it.

I forget how many haikus we ended up doing. I know we published haikus by Douglas Clegg and Ramsey Campbell. I think we also published some by Tim Lebbon and Edward Lee. There may have been a few more, but the magazine folded not too long after. 

Anyway, I always liked that idea, and recently I've been thinking what I could add to my newsletter to make it more than just me pimping a new book or story. After all, these days every writer has a newsletter, and for good reason. It's one of the best ways to communicate with readers. But with so many newsletters out there, it's difficult to set yours apart from everyone else's. Especially when the cold hard reality is that, on average, half the people who sign up for an author's newsletter almost never even open them.

And so, taking a cue from the me of many, many years ago, I decided to add easter eggs into my newsletter. 

The past week I've been telling people that I'm going to soon send out a new newsletter, and that if they're Brian Keene fans they might want to sign up. Some asked why they would want to sign up for my newsletter if they were Brian Keene fans. Well, I couldn't really tell them, could I? That would ruin the surprise. Fact is, I probably shouldn't have even said anything at all. But as this is the first time it's happening, I thought it would be a good idea to give everyone a heads up. 

The newsletter just went out and included an excerpt of a work-in-progress of Brian's called The Complex, which should be completed sometime later this year. Right now, the only place anybody can view the excerpt is in my newsletter. 

I plan on doing similar stuff in the future. I only send out a handful of newsletters every year, so I can't guarantee every newsletter will include exclusive content by another author (at the most I try to highlight books by other writers I've enjoyed), but at least once or twice a year a newsletter will feature an original short story, poem, essay, or novel excerpt from a bestselling author.

So if you missed out on this past newsletter, ask someone who already subscribes to forward you their copy. And, hey, sign up now so you don't miss out in the future.

New Free Ebook, Plus Holiday Sale

Long time, no blog. Sorry about that. Have just been really busy, you know? Also ... I've become bored with blogging, I hate to say. It's become too much like work, and I'd rather spend that time writing. Sooooooo ... To Save Her - Different Version

To Save Her is a brand new ebook that's only available to newsletter subscribers. If you're already a subscriber, you no doubt received the ebook Seeds when you signed up. Well, now that ebook is gone. Kaput. Disappeared, never to be seen again. Just like To Save Her will eventually no longer be available, once I decide to finally release a new ebook (the plan is a new ebook every year but, well, you know how things go).

Finally, for a limited time, all of my novels (except New Avalon) are currently $2.99 on Kindle and Nook. And the ebook bundles? They're 99 cents, because I've gone and lost my mind. Also 99 cents is my collection Real Illusions. Again, lost my mind! Go grab them while they're hot, and have a great holiday.