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 Appearance. Wherein I share my whereabouts to potential stalkers.
4. Interview. Wherein I argue with myself like some kind of lunatic.
5. More Q&A. Wherein I answer more questions carefully written by myself.
6. Short story. Wherein you read the non-political tale "Bernie."
7. Links. Wherein I share ways for me to be part of your life much more frequently than this monthly newsletter.
8. Epilogue. Final words.
Hi, everyone! Welcome to the fourth exciting issue of the Jeff Strand Newsletter!
It was supposed to be monthly. I guess it hasn't been monthly. But I've already written the short stories for the February and March issues (February is about chocolate, March is about bugs), so there's really no reason for me to continue to be a shameful slacker.
2016 saw the publication of three novels: The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever, Blister, and Cyclops Road. 2017 will be even crazier. Beware!
2017 is going to be jam-packed with new book releases, most of which I can't talk about quite yet. But I can talk about...
Stranger Things Have Happened. My fourth young adult comedy novel from Sourcebooks, coming to a bookstore near you on April 4th. A wacky tale of stage magic and sharks.
An Apocalypse of Our Own. A horror/comedy novella from DarkFuse. Also coming in April, though young adults shouldn't read this one.
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.
Of course, The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever, Blister, and Cyclops Road are all still available, so if you were deprived of them in 2016, you can get 2017 off to a delightful start.
And if you're into anthologies...
Into Painfreak contains my story "Coping Mechanism."
Splatterpunk's Not Dead contains my story "Beware! The! Beverage!"
Dread State, a collection of political horror stories, has an introduction by me where I don't hide my political opinions.
The Horror Zine published my story "Apocalypse of the Yard Gnome." (Okay, it was back in May 2016, but it's a free online 'zine, so check it out.)
Plus six other stories not yet published ("No Tomato," "December Birthday," "Hostile," "Giant Mutant Cockroaches in the Old West Versus Zombies," and "The Most Depressing Christmas Song," plus one where I don't even want to blab the title because it will spoil the surprise).
January 11, 2017. YBOR CITY LIT CRAWL. Tampa, Florida. A pub crawl with people reading at each spot, brought to you by Wordier Than Thou. I’ll be reading at the 6:45 PM spot (when people are still relatively sober) at Tre Amici@The Bunker. Click the link for the full schedule of locations and authors.
January 28, 2017. DREADFEST. Mount Dora, Florida. A mini horror convention at the W.T. Bland Public Library. I’ll be giving the keynote speech, and also participating in the mass signing. Free and open to the public.
February 10, 2017. RUSKIN BRANCH LIBRARY MEET N’ GREET. Ruskin, Florida. There’ll be panel discussions and the opportunity to get your books signed! Free and open to the public. 6:30 – 8:30 PM.
March 12, 2017. SAFETY HARBOR WRITERS & POETS CONFERENCE. Clearwater, Florida. I’ll be giving a talk about “The Fiendish Craft of Generating Suspense.” Register now!
March 15-16, 2017. School visits. You can’t go unless you’re a student or a teacher. Otherwise it would be creepy.
April 7, 2017. TRINITY PREP AUTHOR FESTIVAL. Winter Park, Florida. YA authors! Books! Panel discussions! Fun! Free and open to the public.
April 27-30, 2017. STOKERCON II. Long 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.
July 20-23, 2017. NECON. Portsmouth, Rhode Island. The most fun weekend of the year, back for its 37th year. 37!
Jeff Strand Interviews Himself About His Latest Book
Oooh! This looks like a winner! When does this come out?
April 4, 2017.
Whaaaat? That's three frickin' months away!
I know. Don't worry, I'll remind you.
Why are we even talking about it now? Maybe you should just re-run the Cyclops Road interview from last issue.
Nah, I already inserted the new graphic.
Okay, what's Stranger Things Have Happened about?
Nice! Trying to get a piece of that Harry Potter cash, huh?
Actually, it's an illusionist. Like Penn & Teller, not Harry Potter.
Oh. That's cool too, I guess. Are you aware that there's a popular Netflix series called Stranger Things?
The title was finalized before that came out.
I'll forward you the timestamped e-mails, punk!
Is there any official back cover copy?
Harry Houdini. Penn & Teller. David Copperfield. Marcus Millian III?
Okay, so Marcus isn’t a famous magician. He may not even be a greatmagician. But his great-grandfather, the once-legendary and long-retired Zachary the Stupendous, insists Marcus has true talent. And when Grandpa Zachary boasts that he and Marcus are working on an illusion that will shock, stun, and astonish the world, Marcus wishes he could make himself disappear.
The problem? Marcus has stage fright–in spades. It’s one thing to perform elaborate card tricks in front of his best friend Kimberly, but it’s an entirely different feat to perform in front of an audience.
Then Grandpa Zachary dies in his sleep.
To uphold his great-grandfather’s honor, the show must go on. It would take a true sorcerer to pull off the trick Marcus has planned. But maybe he’s the next best thing…
Sounds intriguing. Kids love books where old people die. Does this book reveal all of the secrets of stage magic?
That would be wrong.
Whatevs. Are you answering these questions on your back porch while your neighbor's dog barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks?
I'm frightened of bookstores. They have snakes. Can I pre-order a copy online?
You sure can! Click HERE.
Woo-hoo! I was dubious going into this interview, but you've convinced me that I can't live without my very own copy of Stranger Things Have Happened, available April 2017 from Sourcebooks.
What song are you listening to right now?
"The Darkest Side of the Night" by Metropolis from the Friday the 13th, Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan soundtrack.
What book are you currently reading?
The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker. Lovin' it.
Will you write a guest post for my blog?
Yep! E-mail me at email@example.com.
What was your favorite movie of 2016?
Hell or High Water.
Nerd? For Hell or High Water?
Am I thinking of a different movie?
You must be. This is the one with Jeff Bridges and Chris Pine.
Oh, yeah, awesome flick. I guess I automatically assumed that your choice would be nerdy. What was your least favorite movie of 2016?
They were all good in their own way.
Dude, the makers of Batman v. Superman aren't reading your newsletter!
You don't know that.
Copyright 2017 by Jeff Strand
"Do you know what I'm still mad about?" Bob asked.
I shook my head. "What?"
"Weekend at Bernie's II. Why'd they have to introduce a supernatural element into the franchise? Wasn't the dead body enough?"
"Maybe they ran out of ideas for hijinks."
"That's a bunch of crap. If they hadn't jumped the shark, they could've gotten seven, eight movies out of that concept, easy. Bernie on a plane. Bernie becomes president. See? That's two right there, and I'm not even a Hollywood executive."
"At some point, his corpse would rot too much for it to keep being funny."
"I completely disagree," said Bob. "That would take it to a whole new level. Think of all the gangrene jokes they missed. I can think of a half-dozen gangrene jokes right off the top of my head, and I'm not even a Hollywood screenwriter."
"You can't put gangrene jokes in a PG-13 mainstream studio comedy."
"I'm not saying that you would have lingering close-ups. The joke would be in the character's reaction. Just picture Andrew McCarthy's face seeing a gangrene-infected corpse foot. Hilarious, right?"
I tried to picture it. "I don't know. I think Jonathan Silverman would've done it better."
"No, you're crazy."
"Let's agree to disagree. But while we're talking about the cast, here's another advantage to the whole decay thing: If Bernie's face rotted away, you could get a different actor to play him. Terry Kiser wouldn't have the studio over a barrel if he decided to play hardball with his salary. That right there could've kept the franchise going all through the 90's and well into 2000 and beyond."
"It just sounds ghoulish," I said.
"No, no, no, it's only ghoulish if you make it ghoulish. Just turn his face into a skull but keep the eyes. It would be cartoony. I know I'd laugh."
"If his face rotted down to a skull, I don't think he'd have any eyeballs left."
Bob glared at me. "Are you seriously trying to inject legitimate science into a Weekend at Bernie's movie?"
"You were the one complaining about the supernatural element!"
"Yeah, voodoo! There's a big frickin' difference between voodoo and unrealistic eyeball decomposition! You seem to think I'm proposing a movie that makes audiences puke in the aisles and haunts their dreams, but I'm just talking about some lighthearted decay. Jeez, you're morbid."
"Well, it's a moot point. The series ended after only two installments and there's nothing we can do about it."
"You know what else I'm mad about?" asked Bob.
"That life isn't fair."
"I hear that."
"In Weekend at Bernie's, dragging around a dead body is amusing. We root for the lead characters. They're charming. I do it, and I'm labeled a deviant."
"But that was a movie, Bob. On screen, they were able to convince people that the dead guy was still alive. When you did it, nobody believed it for a second. Think of all those kids you traumatized."
"They'll be okay."
"It's been twenty-three years, and I know for a fact that several of them are not okay. I can name at least five that are in prison with you. One of them is at the next table."
"And the part you don't get is that in the movie, the body was dead when they found it. That's not how it happened with you."
Bob sighed. "What was I supposed to do? Wait until I just happened to stumble upon a corpse? That could've taken months."
"No, Bob, what you should have done is abandon the whole idea of trying to recreate Weekend at Bernie's. You know why there was never a third movie in the series? Because you generated so much bad press! This is your fault, Bob. Your fault!"
Bob lowered his eyes. He knew it was true.
"Anyway," I said, pushing back my chair, "it's a good thing your parole was denied, so they can move forward with the remake."
Bob's expression transformed to red-hot rage. "Remake? Remake?"
"Sorry, gotta go. Seeya next month!"
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 really need to do better on Instagram. It's not like I don't post dumb pictures on Facebook and Twitter all the time. https://www.instagram.com/jeffstrandauthor/
And that's it for the first newsletter for 2017. I think we've learned a lot and have perhaps grown closer, if such a thing is even possible. Seeya in February!