ANCIENT ENEMY BOOKS NOW A BOX SET

Just wanted to let everyone know that my Ancient Enemy series is now available in a box set – all four books in one place to either buy or borrow on Kindle Unlimited.

Ancient Enemy boxed set cover

You can find the box set here: www.amazon.com/dp/B084TSK32N

If you haven’t read the Ancient Enemy series, here’s your chance to buy all four at a lower bulk price or borrow all four books together at one time.

I’ve loved writing this series, and I was sad to see it come to an end. But I’ve been working on a lot of other things, including the third book in my Exorcist’s Apprentice series, and the next two books in my Dark Days series. I hope to get those two series into box sets in the near future.

Feel free to spread the word and share this post. Thank you!

YEAR-END WRAP UP FOR 2019 AND GOALS FOR 2020

Well, it’s here again – the end of the year. 2019 seemed to both fly by and drag on for me, but it’s definitely been my most productive year as far as publishing. I was able to publish 8 books this year. And they were:

Possession: The Exorcist’s Apprentice 2, published in February.

TheExorcist'sApprentice2Cover#1

Collapse: Dark Days Book 1, published in May

Dark Days 1 (a)

Chaos: Dark Days Book 2, published in July

Dark Days 2 (a)

Exposure: Dark Days Book 3, also published in July

Dark Days 3 (a)

Refuge: Dark Days Book 4, also published in July

Dark Days 4 (a)

Sleep Disorders, published in September

Sleep Disorders Cover 2

Aftermath: Dark Days Book 5, published in November

Dark Days 5 cover (a) big

And Survivors: Dark Days Book 6, also published in November.

Dark Days 6 cover (a) big

If you haven’t read some of these books, you can find them listed on my Amazon page.

I’m really happy with my Dark Days series so far, and I’m working on Books 7 and 8 right now (which are possibly the last books in the series). It’s sad to see this series end (but the series may carry on in a different direction – I’ll have to wait and see), but I’ve got plenty of other projects I want to work on: the next book in the Exorcist’s Apprentice series, a suspense/thriller series about an FBI consultant, and some standalone horror and thriller novels.

I don’t know if I’ll publish as many books in 2020 as I did in 2019, but I’ll give it a try.

I’ve slowed down on my to-be-read list, but I did get around to reading some good books this year. Some that come to mind are:

  1. The Remaining by D.J. Molles
  2. 999 an anthology edited by Al Sarrantonio
  3. Hell House by Richard Matheson
  4. Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons
  5. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
  6. The 4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris
  7. Hell on Earth by Tony Urban
  8. Crawl by Mike Duke
  9. One Second After by William R. Forstchen
  10. Where Sleeping Dogs Lie by Luc Vors
  11. Books by Larry McMurtry
  12. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
  13. Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite
  14. Where the Gods Sleep by Mike Duke
  15. The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

There were probably a few others that I’ll think of later. I’m still finishing up Koko by Peter Straub, The Dark Half by Stephen King, and Mystery Walk by Robert McCammon.

I’m not going to list specific goals this New Year’s Eve like I did last year, I’m just going to try to work as hard next year as I did this year.

Being an author is a dream come true for me, but it can’t happen without readers like you. I’m so grateful, and I just wanted to say THANK YOU!!

I hope everyone has a great New Year! I’d love to hear any comments you have.

Until next timeĀ  . . .

DARK DAYS 5 AND 6 NOW AVAILABLE

After some delays (like my computer completely crashing), Books 5 and 6 in my Dark Days post-apocalyptic series are finally available on Amazon.

You can click on the links below to find them on Amazon:

Dark Days 5 cover (a) big

The fifth book in the series. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0821PWVH5

Dark Days 6 cover (a) big

The sixth book in the series. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0821QWTGB

I’m hard at work on the next two books (and most likely the last two) in the series, and I hope to have them out in early 2020.

Thanks so much – and please feel free to share this blog and help spread the word.

HALLOWEEN HORROR BLOG: TOP HORROR FILM DIRECTORS

THE TOP 15 HORROR DIRECTORS OF ALL TIME

For this Halloween blog, I’ve put together a list of the greatest horror directors of all time. As I’ve done with other lists, I scoured the internet and compiled lists of the best horror directors from websites like Ranker, IMDB, Pop Matters, and others. After I got all the data together, I counted how many times each director was mentioned on each of the best-of lists. Two directors, the top two, were ranked somewhere on every list, so they were the clear-cut winners, and I would call it a tie for the best of all time, even though I have a clear winner and a favorite in my mind. I’ll include a list of my top ten favorites at the end of this post, which will be different from the top ten I listed from my research.

Just a quick note before we begin: I didn’t want to include any directors who had only directed one horror movie, and that excluded some of the greatest film directors like Stanley Kubrick, William Friedkin, and Steven Spielberg – and it would also be excluding some of the scariest and best horror films like: The Shining, The Exorcist, and Jaws. Spielberg was tough to exclude because he directed Jaws and also worked on Poltergeist. Some believe he really directed Poltergeist, but Tobe Hooper got the credit, so I had to exclude Spielberg.

So, without further ado, here are the top 15 horror directors in reverse order and some of the films they are most famous for:

15. Roger Corman: The Terror, The Raven, The Masque of the Red Death.

14. Ti West: The House of the Devil, Cabin Fever 2, The Innkeepers.

13. James Whale: Frankenstein (1931), The Old Dark House (1932), The Invisible Man (1932), The Bride of Frankenstein (1935).

12. Guillermo del Toro: Cronos, Mimic, Blade II, The Devil’s Backbone, Pan’s Labyrinth, Crimson Peak.

11. Mike Flanagan: Absentia, Oculus, Gerald’s Game, The Haunting of Hill House (Netflix limited series), Doctor Sleep.

10. Lucio Fulci: City of the Living Dead, The Beyond, Zombi, The New York Ripper.

9. Alfred Hitchcock: Psycho, The Birds, Rear Window, Vertigo, Frenzy, Family Plot.

8. Dario Argento: Cat O’ Nine Tails, Profundo, Phenomena, Inferno, Tenebrae, Suspira, Opera.

7. James Wan: Saw, Insidious, Dead Silence, Death Sentence, The Conjuring.

6. Sam Raimi: The Evil Dead series, Drag Me to Hell, The Gift.

5. George A. Romero: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, The Crazies, Creepshow, The Dark Half, Monkey Shines, Martin.

4. Tobe Hooper: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist, Lifeforce, The Mangler, Toolbox Murders, ‘Salem’s Lot (TV miniseries).

3. David Cronenberg: Shivers, Rabid, Scanners, The Fly, Videodrome, The Brood, The Dead Zone, Dead Ringers, Crash, eXistenZ.

2. Wes Craven: The Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, My Soul to Take, Red Eye, Shocker, Cursed, The Serpent and the Rainbow.

And number 1: John Carpenter: Halloween, The Fog, The Thing, Christine, Prince of Darkness, They Live, Village of the Damned (1995), Vampires, The Ward.

Here are some of the runners up that received at least one vote on the various lists I looked up:

Clive Barker: Hellraiser, Lord of Illusions, Nightbreed.

Tim Burton: Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow.

Joe Dante: The Howling, The Twilight Zone (one of the episodes), Piranha (1982).

Takashi Miike: Audition, Ichi, The Killer.

Jordan Peele: Get Out, Us.

Roman Polanski: Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby, The Ninth Gate.

Eli Roth: Hostel, Cabin, Hostel: Part II, Knock Knock.

Robert Wise: The Haunting, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Body Snatcher.

Todd Browning: Dracula, Freaks, London After Midnight.

Well, there you have it. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you think any notable directors were left off the list. Let me know if you agree or disagree, or let me know who some of your favorites are.

I’d also like to add a quick list of my ten favorite horror film directors in reverse order:

10. Guillermo del Toro: He doesn’t only do horror movies, but when he does them he’s brilliant. Mimic is one of my favorites and Cronos has always stuck with me. The Devil’s Backbone is creepy and well worth watching.

9. Clive Barker: Although he didn’t direct many films, I’d still put him in my top ten of horror directors (and horror writers). Hellraiser was a masterpiece that has stood the test of time, but I believe Lord of Illusions is an often overlooked horror classic.

8. Eli Roth: If someone could be on my top ten list for just one film, it would be Eli Roth. Hostel had a definite effect on me. Like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Hostel seemed so plausible and realistic. But Roth has directed some other memorable films like Cabin Fever.

7. Brian De Palma: I was surprised De Palma wasn’t mentioned more often on the lists of best horror directors that I looked up. Of course Carrie is usually listed in the top twenty-five of best horror films, but De Palma has directed other classics such as: The Fury and Dressed to Kill.

6. James Wan: Saw is one of the greatest horror films I’ve ever seen, with one of the best twists of all time. It would be difficult for him to top such a masterpiece as that, but he’s directed some other very good films like Insidious and The Conjuring.

5. David Cronenberg: What can I say that hasn’t already been said about David Cronenberg? He’s directed classics such as Shivers, Rabid, Scanners, The Brood, and The Fly. I think The Dead Zone is often underrated. And Videodrome and eXistenZ really creeped me out when I watched them.

4. Tobe Hooper: Few films are as visceral and disturbing as the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but Hooper is also credited with directing Poltergeist (some debate this as I mentioned above), another movie usually listed in the top 25 horror films of all time. But my personal favorite might be ‘Salem’s Lot.

3. Alfred Hitchcock: The master of suspense, and some would say the master of storytelling. Someone once said that all you need to learn about screenwriting you could learn from watching Hitchcock’s films. While most of his movies would be classified as suspense rather than horror, Psycho and The Birds are legitimate horror films.

2. Wes Craven: Craven is responsible for two of the most popular horror series: A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream. But some of his early films are memorable and gritty like The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes. One of my personal favorites of his, and another often underrated film, is The Serpent and the Rainbow.

And number 1: John Carpenter: My clear favorite is John Carpenter. What a body of work he’s done (so far). He’s directed classics like: Halloween (1978), The Thing (1982), Christine, In the Mouth of Madness, The Fog, Prince of Darkness, They Live, Cursed, and Vampires. I think In the Mouth of Madness is often overlooked, and They Live has stood the test of time. My personal favorite would be The Thing – maybe my favorite horror film of all time.

There you have my top ten. Please feel free to comment. I’d love to hear your favorites and your thoughts.

I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween!

SLEEP DISORDERS – my latest book now available on Amazon

Just wanted to let everyone know that my latest book – a psychological thriller – is now available on Amazon for .99 cents, but only for a short time.

You can pick it up here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07XX9WVGM

Sleep Disorders Cover 2

When Zach’s wife disappears from a busy restaurant, he digs into her past only to discover that she’s been living a secret life. To make matters worse, Zach has been waking up at night fully dressed, the lights on in his house, and his front door unlocked. Has he been sleepwalking? He’s never done it before? Does it have something to do with his wife’s disappearance? He films himself while he sleeps to see where he goes and what he does, but what he sees on the film scares him to death . . . and it’s only the beginning.

I hope you’ll check out my latest book, and please feel free to share this post.

Thank you!

WRITING TIPS: AUGUST 2019

PRICING YOUR BOOK

You’ve got your book ready to publish now (please refer to previous Writing Tips posts where we discussed the steps leading up to this). Your book has a great cover, an intriguing description, it has been formatted professionally, and you’ve got your keywords and phrases selected. Now it’s time to price your book on Amazon.

At what price should you sell your book? Should you start at .99 cents for a few weeks or start out at $2.99? Or even $5.99?

First, let’s look at a few things that may impact this decision. One good thing to do is to see what other books from indie authors in your genre are selling for. I say indie authors because well-known authors writing for large publishers may sell their books at a much higher price that’s been set by the publishing house. You could try to sell your book at $8.99 or $9.99, but you have to remember that you’re competing with well-known authors at this price point, and readers who don’t know you may not want to take a chance on your book at such a high price. You may want to try a lower price to attract new readers.

Also, the royalty rates Amazon pays may come into your decision to price your book. As of this writing, Amazon pays 35% royalties for ebooks from .99 cents up to $2.98, and also on books over $10.00. They pay a 70% royalty rate for ebooks from the $2.99 to $9.99 price range (and please double check this yourself before publishing because things can always change). When pricing your book, you’ll be prompted to select either the 35% or 70% range, and then you’ll have to price your book accordingly in that range. To benefit from the higher royalty rate, you may want to price your book in that range, but it’s entirely up to you.

Nonfiction books, as a rule, can often sell for a higher price than fiction, so that’s another thing you’ll have to keep in mind. And even though your book might be nonfiction, it’s still a good idea to compare your book to others in that genre.

But let’s say you’ve written a fiction novel. You may want to check books that are similar to yours in that genre, or sub-genre, to see what they’re selling for. You may find that a lot of indie authors are selling their books anywhere from .99 cents on up to $6.99. Yes, maybe a few authors will sell their books for more than that, and some may give their books away for free, but let’s just say that the above prices are where most of the books fall. So, what about the price of your book?

Let’s say you decide on the price of $2.99 to start with so you can get the 70% royalty. Maybe you want to come in a little lower than $3.99 and $4.99 so readers might take a chance on your new book. And maybe it’s selling pretty well. You can always experiment with your pricing, bumping it up to $3.99 or even $4.99. If sales drop off dramatically after your price change, you could drop it back down to $2.99. Experiment with the pricing and see which price works best until you hit that sweet spot.

What about having a sale for your book? Maybe you want to discount your book to .99 cents for a little while to increase your sales and your ranking. You could either start your book out at .99 cents or start out at a higher price and put your book on sale later (this can work well if you’re in Kindle Unlimited – you can lower the price for up to seven days once per 90 day period and still keep your 70% royalty rate). If you aren’t in Kindle Unlimited, you could lower your book to .99 cents to attract new readers for a little while. This can be a good tactic for the first book in a series. Some authors leave the first book in their series at .99 cents hoping to draw the readers into the series.

You could offer your new release at .99 cents for the first 30 days to build up the sales and reviews, and then raise the price later.

So, the choice is yours when it comes to price. And remember, you can always experiment with it.

Hope this helps someone out there.

Until next time . . .

WRITING TIPS: JULY 2019

SELECTING KEYWORDS

While setting up to publish your book on Amazon, you’re allowed to select up to seven keywords or phrases to use to help readers find your book in a search. There are a lot of books written on the subject of keywords, but I will give a brief explanation of what they are and why they are important to getting readers to notice your book.

Keywords are words or phrases that readers may use to look up books they want to read or subjects they want to learn more about. For instance, a reader may type in the words “horror novel” into the Amazon or Google search bar, then the most popular searches or relevant searches related to those words will show up. Some readers might stop at the first suggestion, and others may refine their search even more, maybe typing in something like: cosmic horror fiction. So you want to use those seven keywords carefully, using words or phrases that are closest to the exact genre of your book.

You will have to read Amazon’s Terms of Service to make sure that you’re not using keywords that aren’t allowed – like book titles and author names. If you want to target certain books or authors, you can do that with AMS ads and Facebook ads, but not with the keywords you use to publish your book. But you can still come up with some good keywords. If you’ve written a haunted house book, the word haunted house might be a good keyword to use. Or the word haunted, or haunting, or the phrase haunted house fiction. There are many words and phrases to choose from.

So how do you come up with the best seven keywords? One thing to keep in mind is to try not to use the same words that are in your title, genre category, or description because these words may already come up in searches related to your book. So, once you’ve ruled out those keywords, and forbidden words, you can start looking for the best keywords to use.

Here are some suggestions for finding the right keywords:

You could get a piece of paper and a pen and just brainstorm. Think of what your book is really about and what readers might type in the suggestion bar while looking for a book like yours. You could come up with a list of hundreds of keywords (and make sure you keep this list because you can use a lot of these words and phrases in your AMS ads if you choose to utilize those). You can only use seven keywords and phrases at a time, so pick the best seven without repeating words from you title, selected genres, and description.

Another tool you can use is the Amazon search bar. You type in a word and see what Amazon suggests. For instance, you type in the word horror then suggestions will pop down like the phrases: horror books or horror fiction. You could go through the alphabet using a core word like horror. Type in the word horror (or whatever word you’re using) and then the letter a and see what is suggested. Then the letter b, then the letter c, and so on. And again, make sure you write these suggestions down and keep the list in case you need to use it later.

Another way to find keywords is to use software such as KDP Rocket (and I think the name of the software has been changed to Publisher Rocket). I haven’t used this software or others like it yet, so I can’t really comment on it, but I’ve heard good things about it.

Now that you’ve selected your keywords, you’ll want to keep track of your sales data. I would suggest keeping track of your sales daily, writing down your sales and page reads, and then keeping track monthly using your monthly reports. As you keep track of your sales data, make sure you note if you’ve changed keywords, descriptions, covers, or had any kind of promotions or used any kind of advertising. By keeping track of your sales data daily, you can see what’s working better than others. If you decide to change your seven keywords or phrases (which you can do any time), you can tell if the changes are helping with more sales or if sales are decreasing.

So get your keywords list created, and when you’re ready to publish your book you’ll have them available.

Hope this helps someone out there.

Until next time . . .

 

BOOKS 2 AND 3 NOW AVAILABLE

Just wanted to let everyone know that the second and third books in my Dark Days post-apocalyptic series are now available on Amazon.

You can pick Chaos: Dark Days Book 2 up here: www.amazon.com/dp/B07TVYNW19

Dark Days 2 (a)

You can find Exposure: Dark Days Book 3 here: www.amazon.com/dp/B07TY5S1S8

Dark Days 3 (a)

As the Ripper Plague spreads across the country, we meet new characters in Books 2 and 3. But as they see dreams of Emma calling to them, and dreams of the shadowy man amassing a dark army to stop them, they begin their journey south to come together.

I’m working on the finishing touches on Refuge: Dark Days Book 4, and I hope to have it available in the next week or so.

Please feel free to share this post and help spread the word. Thank you!

MID-YEAR PROGRESS REPORT

Wow! This year seems like it’s going by fast. Once again, I set lofty goals for myself this year, and I’ve already fallen short of what I wanted to achieve at this time. But the year isn’t over yet, so maybe I’ll get close to meeting those goals.

I’ve published two books so far this year: Possession, the next book in my Exorcist’s Apprentice series, and then a little over a month ago, Collapse, the first book in my Dark Days post-apocalyptic series.

I’m working hard to get the next three books in the Dark Days series on Amazon within the next few weeks, so hopefully by the end of July they will all be on there and available to read.

Here’s the cover for the second book in the Dark Days series:

Dark Days 2 (a)

And here’s the cover for the third book in the series:

Dark Days 3 (a)

And here’s the cover for the fourth book in the series:

Dark Days 4 (a)

I’ve gotten the fifth book completed and almost ready to go, and I’m in the middle of the first draft for Book 6. I’ve also begun outlining Book 7 and Book 8. I’ve had a blast writing this series and I can’t wait to write more.

I’m also working on the third book in The Exorcist’s Apprentice series and on two stand-alone thrillers.

Thank you to all of you who have taken the time to read my books. I know there are millions of books out there to choose from, and I’m honored if you chose to read one of mine. Like I’ve said many times before, being an author is a dream come true for me, and it only happens because of readers like you. Thank you!

I’ll be back in the middle of July with another Writer’s Tip, and I’ll post my usual list for Halloween and an end-of-the-year progress report in December.

Until next time . . .