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Contents

1. Introduction. Wherein I welcome you to the newsletter.
2. Latest News. Wherein I encourage you to purchase my latest projects in a non-pushy manner.
3. Upcoming Appearances. Wherein I share my whereabouts to potential stalkers.
4. Stranger Things Have Happened. Wherein I share information about my brand new young adult comedy novel. 
5. Everything Has Teeth. Wherein I share vicious lies about the cover.
6. The Haunted Forest Tour. Wherein I relate the tale of how two feuding co-authors re-friended each other. 
7. Exclusive Short Story. Wherein you read the delightful story "Guillotine." 
8. Links. Wherein I share ways for me to be part of your life much more frequently than this monthly newsletter.
9. Epilogue. Final words. 

Introduction

Hi, everyone! Welcome to the seventh awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, eyeball-popping issue of the Jeff Strand Newsletter. There's lot of goofy stuff to get to, so I won't take up too much space with this introduction, except to say that you should go to StokerCon in Long Beach, California at the end of this month. It'll be my ninth (!) time as Master of Ceremonies of the Bram Stoker Awards. Do I have any jokes left? Find out by being right there in the room as my flop sweat hits the front row.

C'mon, you know you wanna go! We'll have fun!  

Latest News

Stranger Things Have Happened is out! Those of you who've been camped outside your bookstore for the past several months can finally return to your jobs and families! I truly appreciate the commitment from those of you, especially up north, who lived in sleeping bags  and survived on power bars. As it turns out, there ARE enough copies to go around, so I apologize for sharing that misinformation. I know many of you purchased flamethrowers and chainsaws to assist in getting through the crowds; I hope you kept your receipts.

My short story "Rotten Eggs" appears in the anthology Collected Easter Horror Shorts, which is available now! My story is NOT about a psycho killer Easter Bunny, and for that I apologize. 

Audiobook editions of Fangboy (read by Janine Haynes) and Cyclops Road (read by Joe Hempel) are now available! 

Everything Has Teeth, my new short story collection, was discussed last issue. But when I watched over your shoulder as you read it, I thought maybe you skimmed a bit too quickly, so I'm mentioning it again.

I'm also reminding you The Haunted Forest Tour, has been polished up with a brand new cover by Lynne Hansen and a lower Kindle price. I have to share the proceeds with my co-author, James A. Moore, so I encourage you to buy two copies.

Coming up...

An Apocalypse of Our Own. A horror/comedy novella from DarkFuse. 

Cemetery Dance Select: Jeff Strand. One for the collectors! This is a hardcover limited edition of the four-story (or is it FIVE?) digital collection. 

A ghost book.

A vampire book.

Other books.
 

Upcoming Events 

April 7, 2017TRINITY PREP AUTHOR FESTIVAL. Winter Park, Florida. YA authors! Books! Panel discussions! Fun! Free and open to the public.

April 27-30, 2017. STOKERCON IILong Beach, California. Yep, once again I'll be emceeing the Bram Stoker Awards! George R. R. Martin is a guest of honor, so few will survive.

May 6, 2017. RT BOOKLOVERS CONVENTION. Atlanta, Georgia. I'll only be there for Saturday, but still, I'll be there!

May 25, 2017. Something hella cool in Florida that I can't talk about yet. 

July 20-23, 2017. NECONPortsmouth, Rhode Island. The most fun weekend of the year, back for its 37th year. 37!

New Book Release! STRANGER THINGS HAVE HAPPENED.

 
 
A new book already??? Didn't I just have a book come out, like, just over two weeks ago? That's craaaaaazy!

Of course, despite the way some people on social media took the announcement, I did not write a novel in two weeks. Stranger Things Have Happened was turned in to my publisher Sourcebooks early last year. The last of the original stories in Everything Has Teeth was finished a couple of weeks before the book came out. An Apocalypse of Our Own (which comes out later this month) was finished in October. It's just coincidence that they're all being published so close together.

Anyway, Stranger Things Have Happened is at your favorite local bookstore right NOW! Look for the yellow cover. As always, though it's officially a young adult novel, there's enough twisted humor for immature grown-ups as well. 

It's about this kid, Marcus Millian III, who wants to be an incredible stage magician, but he suffers from intense stage fright. But his great-grandfather, Zachary the Stupendous, makes a high-stakes bet in which Marcus will invent and perform a ridiculously amazing illusion at the theater owned by Zachary's nemesis. Marcus is freaking out a bit, but he knows that with Grandpa Zachary's help he can make this happen. Then Grandpa Zachary dies in his sleep, which is problematic.

Booklist gave it a starred review and said that it "leaves readers weak with laughter." School Library Journal said "Strand maintains a taut pace with cliff-hanger endings to each chapter, even as he explores larger themes of confidence, perseverance, loyalty, peer pressure, bullying, family relationships, and the role of practice in developing skills." This makes the book sound all deep and stuff, but I assure you that it's a goofy-ass comedy.

If you don't want to venture out to a bookstore, it's available from the online retailer of your choice, such as Amazon

Still Available! EVERYTHING HAS TEETH.

 
 
That's one deranged cover by Lynne Hansen, huh? For the sake of authenticity, she wanted to use real people's teeth on the scythe, but I said no, that would be impolite. She clarified that she wasn't going to take an entire mouthful of teeth from any one person; no more than three or four, leaving them plenty of teeth to eat and smile with. I still said no. It doesn't matter how cool the cover looks, you can't just go around knocking out people's teeth.

We compromised and did some light graverobbing. Because she's a perfectionist, the first eight sets of teeth didn't quite have the right look, but the ninth, fourteenth, and twenty-second coffins had just what she needed. My arms were so sore after all of that digging that I couldn't write for a couple of days. Still, I think the end result was worth it.

NOTE: The nephew of the corpse that provided the fifth tooth from the left was pretty angry. He was all like "How dare you? How dare you?" I pointed out that we'd broken into a cemetery after midnight, so if he was there, too, he was probably up to some creepy black magic. He got kind of quiet and never really offered a valid explanation, but he claims we'll be hearing from his attorney, so I encourage you to purchase Everything Has Teeth while you still can. 

There'll be a paperback edition but not necessarily in a timely manner. In the meantime, the Kindle edition is a scant $2.99 (or the equivalent for you non-USAers) right HERE
 

HAUNTED FOREST TOUR Friendship Reborn Through Award

(Originally published on my website in 2007.)

For immediate release:

From all outward appearances, James A. Moore and Jeff Strand, co-authors of The Haunted Forest Tour, couldn’t have been happier. Behind the scenes, however, their relationship was a maelstrom of fiery rage, cruel deception, and rancid jealousy.

“By the end of it, just hearing the name ‘Jeff Strand’ made me want to vomit all over my jeans,” said Moore, chuckling at the memory. “He was simply an awful, awful human being, and collaborating with him on that novel was like having somebody ignite a chimpanzee and shove the burning monkey up one of my nostrils. Just flat-out painful, you know what I mean?”

Strand concurred. “There were challenges in our working relationship, no doubt about it. I read his first chapter and I’m all like, WTF? Because I was familiar with Jim’s previously published work, and I didn’t recall it sucking. It was like that with every chapter. An endless avalanche of suck.”

“Here’s the thing,” said Moore. “You tend to elevate the level of your work when you’re writing with a quality individual. When I wrote with Chris Golden, my stuff rocked! When you write with Jeff Strand…well, it’s important for a novel to have balance. If it’s one great chapter, one crap chapter, one great chapter, one crap chapter, and so on, the reader’s going to get motion sickness. I was just ensuring continuity.”

That said, Moore and Strand kept their mutual hatred secret for the long thirteen years it took for the project to reach fruition…to all but Paul Miller, owner of Earthling Publications.

“Oh, jeez, you wouldn’t believe what I had to go through with those two,” said Paul Miller, drinking an unidentified beverage from a double-sized flask. “Every two minutes I’m hearing ‘Jeff is doing this!’ and ‘Jim is doing that!’ and I was about ready to bash their frickin’ heads together. I had dreams about it. Sweet, sweet dreams where their heads smashed together and their gooey brains splattered out the top and I danced on their corpses and laughed and laughed and laughed.” Miller paused for another gulp of his beverage. “It was a difficult time.”

Ultimately, the book was completed. After a “light” rewrite to fix “minor areas of concern” to make the book “into something even remotely publishable,” The Haunted Forest Tour was made available by Earthling Publications to universal acclaim, if one excludes Publishers Weekly from the universe.

Horror World called it “one of the freshest and most entertaining novels in recent years,” while GoreZone magazine described it as “over two hundred pages of non-stop, in your face, gore-drenched action.” FearZone said “If you enjoyed Shaun of the Dead in the theaters, you’ll absolutely love this book,” and Horror-Web said “James A. Moore and Jeff Strand are a literary dream team. Devout readers of the genre are in for a real treat.”

Despite the kind words, Moore and Strand still pretty much hated each other’s guts.

In public, they played the role of happy co-authors, with Strand even offering up a charming and amusing contribution to the James A. Moore Roast at NECon 2007. “But if you look at the pictures, you’ll see the disgust in my eyes,” said Strand. “The audience saw Jim Moore, unwilling roast victim. I saw Jim Moore, the bastard who’d slept with my mistress not thirty minutes prior.”

“She was a very naughty girl,” said Jim Moore with a devilish grin.

But then the impossible happened. Dark Scribe Magazine announced its first annual Black Quill Awards, and The Haunted Forest Tour won the Readers’ Choice Award for Best Small Press Chill. Elated, Strand made call after call to share the news…but nobody was home. “I had to talk to somebody,” he said, “and finally I got to Jim Moore’s name and thought, what the heck?”

The two spoke for hours, offering tearful apologies, sharing fond memories of good times during their pre-collaborative days, and honoring each other’s requests on webcam.

“This award fixed our friendship,” said Moore. “Fans of the first novel can now look forward to The Haunted Forest Tour II, The Haunted Forest Tour III, The Haunted Forest Four 4, (we decided, like the Halloween series, that we didn’t want to alienate dumber readers by using IV), The Haunted Forest Tour 5, The Haunted Forest Tour: Photosynthesis, and then a reimagining of the original The Haunted Forest Tour with a younger cast.”

“Jim is awesome,” said Strand. “Just…awesome.”

You bloodthirsty fiends can get it right HERE.

Short Story

Guillotine

Copyright 2017 by Jeff Strand
 
 
"Put your head in there," said the executioner, gesturing to the guillotine.
 
The thief shook his still-attached head. "I'd really rather not."
 
"Well, you don't have a choice, now do you?"
 
"If I put my head in there, you'll chop it off!"
 
"Of course I'll chop it off! That's the whole point! Do you think I'm here to give you a soothing neck rub?"
 
"I just feel as if this could end badly for me," said the thief.
 
"Yes, decapitation is a bad end for somebody. But it's what you get for stealing that loaf of bread. You knew the punishment."
 
"I knew no such thing! I thought I'd lose a hand!"
 
The executioner frowned. "What made you think that?"
 
"My buddy Lyle stole a loaf of bread and he got his hand lopped off for it. Why would I ever imagine that I'd be led to the guillotine?"
 
"Did Lyle think it was worth it?"
 
"He said that if he'd gotten to eat the bread, it might have been. It was freshly baked and he'd stolen some butter to go with it. But they took the bread away before they chopped off his hand, which seems very unfair. Let the man enjoy the bread if you're going to mutilate him, that's what I say."
 
"Where was Lyle from?"
 
"The south part of town."
 
"That explains it. Up here in the north part of town, we chop off the heads of thieves. If you chop off somebody's hand, that leaves them with another hand left to steal something else.  Chop off their head, and they're not going to be a repeat offender."
 
"It seems excessive," said the thief.
 
"Naturally you'd think that. The hard working bakers of our town would disagree. Now put your head in the slot."
 
"Why don't you put your head in the slot?"
 
The executioner scowled at him. "Are you trying to trick me?"
 
"Not at all. I just want to see how I'll look with my head in the guillotine."
 
"I think you're trying to trick me."
 
"That's ridiculous."
 
"Can you please stop talking?" asked the second thief in line. "Some of us are stressed out and just want this over with."
 
"How dare you speak to me that way?" shouted the executioner. "Just for that, I am going to waste time sticking my own head into the guillotine, while you stand there and suffer."
 
The executioner stuck his head into the guillotine.
 
"Chop his head off!" the thief shouted. "Chop it off! Chop it off!"
 
The executioner removed his head from the guillotine. "Were you under the impression that this was voice activated?"
 
"I guess so."
 
"Put your head in there."
 
"Are you sure?"
 
"Yes."
 
"You'll feel remorse if it turns out I was falsely accused."
 
"Put your head in there."
 
"Or else what? You'll chop it off?"
 
"I'll let rats gnaw it off."
 
The thief put his head in the guillotine. "For the record, I'm doing this under protest."
 
"Noted."
 
"I'm going to do everything in my power to make my severed head say something creepy. It'll haunt you forever. I may even cackle. Are you secure enough in your sanity that you can handle a severed head cackling at you?"
 
"Severed heads cackle at me all the time. Every time I drift off to sleep I hear their mocking laughter. I haven't felt sane in twenty-six years."
 
The blade dropped, neatly severing the thief's head. It fell into the basket with the others.
 
"Execuuuuuuuutioner...I'm cooooooooming for yoooooooooouuuuuu..." said the second thief, trying to make him think it was the first thief's severed head speaking to him.
 
The executioner got a chuckle out of the prank, though he still chopped off the second thief's head. The third thief did a variation on the same joke, but received no chuckle before his decapitation.
 
The line kept moving. Thieves, murderers, liars, adulterers, blasphemers, cat-kickers, and social media post plagiarists all met their end. The executioner never thought of the first thief again, even in his moments of nightmarish madness, and ultimately it turned out to be an encounter unworthy of sharing with others. But sometimes anecdotes end up going nowhere, much to the embarrassment of the storyteller, and ultimately that is the moral of this tale. 
 

Links

If you want our relationship to be more than a once-a-month thing, here are your various options short of peeking in my windows:
 
My website, http://www.jeffstrand.com, which is also my blog.
 
You can, of course, follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JeffStrand
 
I have two Facebook pages, and I'll be honest, I haven't quite figured out how to differentiate them. In theory, one is for friends and one is for fans, but, c'mon, you're all my friends. Friend me at https://www.facebook.com/JeffStrandAuthor and "Like" me at https://www.facebook.com/JeffStrandAuthorFanPage/.
 
Yep, I'm on Goodreads! https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/207708.Jeff_Strand
 
Instagram. I'm getting better at Instagram, though I still forget about it sometimes. https://www.instagram.com/jeffstrandauthor/
 

Epilogue

Thanks again for reading every word of this newsletter and not just scrolling down to the bottom. 

--Jeff
 
THE END
Copyright © 2017 Jeff Strand, All rights reserved.


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