THE NAUGHTY LIST – Final Days

The Kickstarter for THE NAUGHTY LIST — a short dark comedy crime noir film based on my short story “The Siqqusim Who Stole Christmas” — only has five days left. We’re already successfully funded and all of the stretch goals have come and gone, so why am I bringing it up?

Because it’s going to be an awesome movie, and you’re going to want it on DVD, and the only way to do that is to pledge. Click here to help support the project.

Win A Date With Brian Keene – THE NAUGHTY LIST

Yes, it’s true. I’ll do anything to insure the success of THE NAUGHTY LIST Kickstarter. With only seven days to go, we’ve just announced our final stretch goal — a date with me. Details on the Kickstarter page.

And while the Kickstarter campaign marches into the final week, our costume designer Alina Morar is working away on designs and fabric selections for actor Mac Elsey’s Santa costume.

RETREAT – eBook On Sale Now

RETREAT, the last full-length novel written by J.F. Gonzalez, is on sale now for Kindle, Nook, and Kobo. A paperback edition will follow in two weeks.

Rick Nicholson loves his new job at Bent Creek Country Club and Resorts. The exclusive five-star hotel, located on forty square miles of rolling forests and picturesque prairies, is a perfect getaway for the affluent, and a monument to prestige. Bent Creek offers it all — at a price.

But Rick soon learns that the price may be steeper than he ever imagined. Because after dark, unthinkable things happen on the grounds at Bent Creek. Unspeakable atrocities that hint of something more powerful than wealth or the elite. Something evil. And when he finally uncovers the real secrets of Bent Creek, there may be no time to stop them. No time to scream.

No time to…RETREAT.

RETREAT was the last full length novel J.F. completed before his death (he had also completed a novella-length prequel to his novel SURVIVOR, and — in collaboration with myself — LIBRA NIGRUM SCIENTIA SECRETA).

He had partially completed a second novella-length prequel to SURVIVOR (which has since been completed by Wrath James White, and which will be on sale later this year, along with the other prequel), and had partially completed a sequel to RETREAT, which I will be finishing later this year, based on an extensive outline he left behind. There are also a number of partially finished short stories that will be completed by his friends and peers, and a few other older unfinished novels that may see publication once completed.

But RETREAT is the last full-length novel he completed on his own. It is our honor to present it to you, his fans. We hope you enjoy it!

52 Weeks of Horror

My weekly podcast, THE HORROR SHOW WITH BRIAN KEENE, turned one year old last week. That’s 52 weeks of broadcasts, without taking a single week off. (Yes, Dave and Coop filled in on two episodes, but we didn’t have a single week where we didn’t air some kind of content).

If you haven’t listened, and you’re a fan of my work, then you missed in-depth discussion of everything from the genesis of THE RISING and DARK HOLLOW to details of the Dorchester/Leisure collapse.

If you haven’t listened, and you’re NOT a fan of my work, then you’ve missed intimate, in-depth interviews with some of the best in the business, including F. Paul Wilson, Edward Lee, Mary SanGiovanni, Thomas Monteleone, Sephera Giron, Scott Edelman, Jeff Burk, Weston Ochse, Yvonne Navarro, Paul Goblirsch and dozens and dozens more.

Luckily for you, ALL of those shows are archived right here and free to listen to on any device — your computer, your phone, your iPad, iPod, television, or even old fashioned radio.

We have big things in store for this year’s shows — and eventually, when my health gets to the point where I can’t write anymore, this will be what I’m doing full time, so you might as well get on board. Give us 90 minutes per week, and we’ll give you the horror genre.

Aimee Marie Bejarano on Nickolaus Pacione

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(The above graphic created by TallyDude)

Nickolaus Pacione is a misogynistic, racist, homophobic forty-year old mentally ill man from Morris, Illinois who has a long, documented history of abuse, harassment, and stalking of public figures — particularly authors, musicians, and clergy — including myself, Clive Barker, Mary SanGiovanni, Cherie Priest, Ramsey Campbell, Billy Martin (Poppy Z. Brite), Kealan Patrick Burke, Sarah Jezebel Diva, Joe Ripple, the members of Thirty Silver, Karen Koehler, Ray Garton, RL Baupader, Kent Hovind, and dozens and dozens and dozens more. He has threatened violence, attempted doxxing, and even made threats against the school of an author’s child. Despite numerous complaints and police reports from precincts around the country, he remains free due to the incompetence — or possible malfeasance — of his local authorities. Most people know this. So why am I talking about it again? Because there are still those who don’t, and there are still people who fall victim to him.

Yesterday, author Aimee Marie Bejarano asked me to quote: “let others know I have nothing to do w Nickolaus Pacione” after receiving a one-star review on Amazon’s page for her book, THE GATEWAY, for her perceived connection to Pacione.

Over the past year, Pacione has been advertising his services via Linked In and Facebook as a book designer. Unaware of his history, Aimee hired him to design THE GATEWAY. Those familiar with Pacione can easily guess what happened next. He uploaded the book to Amazon, listed himself as a co-author, and filled Aimee’s bio and the book description with his inimitable screed of attacks on others. Aimee quickly disengaged from Pacione, removed the book from sale, removed Pacione’s contributions, and then put it back up for sale. Pacione predictably responded to this perceived slight with rancor on Twitter and elsewhere. Despite this, Pacione’s association with the book remains in the minds of some members of the public.

We talked recently about the abuse of Amazon’s customer review system, and this is another example of the argument to overhaul it. But it’s also an example of why we continue to occasionally warn the public about Nickolaus Pacione. If he contacts you, be it with an offer to design your next book or the details of his conspiracy theory about how myself and other public figures are engaged in a conspiracy to replace him with an army of actors equipped with his Social Security Number, it’s best to simply report him and then block him. And if you are an author, always, always, ALWAYS take five minutes to Google somebody before working with them, no matter what their claimed credentials.

THREE INTRODUCTORY KEENE NOVELLAS – 99 CENTS

I have permanently reduced the price on the ebook editions of ALONE, SCRATCH, and THE GIRL ON THE GLIDER to just .99 cents each.

THE GIRL ON THE GLIDER has been reprinted in WHERE WE LIVE AND DIE, and it also appears — with ALONE and SCRATCH — in the forthcoming ALL DARK, ALL THE TIME: THE COMPLETE SHORT FICTION OF BRIAN KEENE VOL. 2. Because of this, I can’t see charging readers more than 99 cents for them individually.

All three are available on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo. If you’re new to my work, they make fine introductory reading.

Meanwhile, in Comics Journalism

The Outhousers* has a new article today about THE NAUGHTY LIST Kickstarter campaign, and my perceived willingness to do just about anything to see it succeed. If you’ve never visited their site, they are – in my opinion – the single best comics journalism site, offering equal helpings of insightful unbiased news and commentary with a hilarious and much-needed acidic, intelligent snark. This article is a fine example, as it lovingly — but firmly — skewers my ego (which we all know has its own zip code).

I also like Bleeding Cool**. When Rich Johnston is on, he’s ON — and I don’t think he gets nearly enough credit for the stories he’s broken over the years. I could do without some of the filler/clickbait over there (and I’ve yet to read anything with Christina Marie’s byline that isn’t simply a rehash of various writer’s Twitter feeds), but I’m willing to forgive those because, as I said, when Rich is doing what he does best, there’s nobody better.

Jill Pantozzi***, who used to edit The Mary Sue, has been writing some pretty great in-depth, long form essays via her Blog, The Nerdy Bird. Definitely worth checking out (start with the recent one about Gillian Anderson’s salary battle). And Comics and Cola is also well worth a read.

I like those four. The rest of the comics journalism sphere is, for the most part, a vast wasteland of corporate teat-suckers, pop-up ads, political bias, and gibbering slack-jawed idiots. I’m sure there are a few good ones I might not know about, though. And I’m not including podcasts, because frankly, there are a bazillion comic book podcasts and I don’t have time to wade through those, looking for the gems.

Disclaimers:

*I used to write for The Outhousers under a pseudonym. I am not, however, Jude Terror (as one person on the forum suggested), nor have I written for them in well over a year (maybe two). My last article for them (which the editor chose not to publish) was a tongue-in-cheek look at how a comic publisher’s then-Director of Trade Book Sales spent their time at work sending anti-gun tweets to Target.

**Bleeding Cool has featured several interviews with me over the years.

***I totally have a crush on Jill Pantozzi. I think, given time and enough resources/capital, she could be one of the biggest — and best — voices in independent comics journalism. The way to make that happen is to donate to her Patreon.

****I also totally have a crush on The Outhousers‘ Jude Terror. But he only has eyes for Cullen Bunn, so it’s an unrequited thing…

Sunday Quick Notes

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The above is a work in progress by Steve Wands, for our forthcoming original graphic novel THE FALLEN, which will be published by Cemetery Dance later this year. Follow Steve on Twitter and you’ll see more artwork from this project.

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THE NAUGHTY LIST Kickstarter is just a hair shy of $13,000. I’d love to see it go over that tonight, while I sleep. Click here to contribute.

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That’s all. Working fast to get this next chapter of THE SEVEN finished and posted before midnight.

Thank You

Our sincere thanks to Christine Siler, Nathan Filizzi, Andrea Vick, Graham Vick, Malcolm Tween,
Kyle Lybeck, Dan Spain, Jeremy Stomberg, Ari Abraham, Mike Walters, Kel Barrass, Ross Peacock, Tod Clark, Robert Hall, Joshua Brown, John Bruni, Granny Mary, Nick Roberts, Michael Fowler, Adam Rowland, Steven, Pate Clemens, Tom Wilkinson, Justin Holley, Nils Go, Lou, Josh Viola, Joseph Pugh, Barry Skelhorn, Julie Garie, Charles Buda, Gabriel Zero, David Ruchty, Dave Rodeheaver, Doug Bolden, Fredrik Back, Ricard Tomas, Jeremy Hey, Joshua Penrod, James Withers, Rich Husband, Stephen, Laird Barron, Eddie Coulter, Laura J. Hickman, Dustin James, Robert Swartwood, Mary Fan, Paul Tremblay, Craig Dolling, Alicia Stamps, Ken Jensen, Darren Wright, Adam Love, William Jones, Stewie, Paul Legerski, Meghan Arcuri-Moran, Kevin Foster, Ali Maggs, John McGuiggan, H Micheal Casper, Kevin, Sofronis Efstathiou, Amber Fallon, Brian Kirk, Adam Cesare, Martin Roberts, Zachi Panigel, Chuck Hickson, Jonathan Echevarria, Russell Dickerson, Eric Valerio, Cj Waite, Christopher Schaefer, Efren Rodriguez, Joe, Desmond Reddick, Gina Mitchell, David G. Barnett, Doug Dobbs, Ben Sparkman, Hannah, Tim Clague, Chris Lunney, Vicki Wigton, Regina Tuzzolino, James Latopolski, Jonathan Echevarria, Tammy Hagon, Kimberly Mitchell, Joseph Hackney, Chris Kosarich, One Mad Guerrilla, Michael Bailey and David Low, Ashley Martin, Shannon Sporleder, Thomas Werner, Jonathan Echevarria and Jess Roberts for their support of THE NAUGHTY LIST Kickstarter.

THE NAUGHTY LIST Nears $13,000

The Kickstarter campaign for THE NAUGHTY LIST — a short film by Paul Campion based on one of my short stories — continues to be successful. As Paul wrote, “In just the first 3 days of this campaign we’ve passed our original target of £6,500 (US$9,200). This is fantastic news and we’re humbled by the response and how quickly our backers have got behind this project and we can’t thank you enough.

This is just the beginning of the journey to make this film. Our original target of £6,500 was the minimum we needed to raise to get the film made, and what we would like to do now is to raise more money so we can make the best film possible for you, our audience.

Every extra pound and dollar we can raise will help put more money ‘up on screen’, whether it’s an extra day in the studio in pre-production so we can spend more time building our set or pay for some more props to help dress it, or a little more money to go towards the costume design or on the crane our Director of Photography Jono Smith would like for a stunning overhead shot.

And we can always use more time in post-production, a bit more time spent editing, composing the music, mixing the sound and working on the visual effects shots.

The more money we can raise over our goal, the better film we can make for you the audience.”

Let’s see if we can go over $13,000 today. CLICK HERE TO PLEDGE.

Birthdays and Badlands

Today is Mary SanGiovanni’s birthday.

You should celebrate by purchasing one of her books in paperback or on Kindle.

If you’ve never tried her work, you can’t go wrong with THRALL — a stand-alone monster novel that evokes John Carpenter, HP Lovecraft, and Silent Hill.

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The focus of yesterday and today is finishing the last chapter of Part Two of THE SEVEN: THE LABYRINTH Book 1 — the online serialized novel that unites characters from all of my novels in one final climax. For those who read it monthly, this means that Frankie, Teddy, Tony, The Exit, Bloom, LeHorn, and Lucifer are about to finish dinner with Amun, who will then say a few last words. After that, the group will be traveling to the badlands of Iraq and Syria for their first confrontation with the Thirteen. If you haven’t been reading it, you can do so right here on my Patreon page. All of the previous chapters are available at that link, as well.

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Speaking of Patreon, the Project iRadio Network — who host my podcast, THE HORROR SHOW WITH BRIAN KEENE — now have their own Patreon page, as well. This will help offset operational costs such as servers, etc. While all of the shows get advertising revenue, much of that money goes to the hosts and their individual staffs. The funds raised by Patreon will go to the network overall, making a better listening experience for you. Check it out here.

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Speaking of Project iRadio and my podcast, voting is open for the first annual People’s Choice Project iRadio Awards. If you enjoy THE HORROR SHOW WITH BRIAN KEENE, let them know here.

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One Star Civilization

Writers, publishers, and booksellers have a long list of problems with Amazon. My problem with them has always been a little different. My problem with them is their Customer Review process.

I don’t mind a one-star review that is based on the merits of the book. That’s a valid thing, whether I agree with the reviewer’s position or not. But we’ve all seen one-star reviews that say things like “I think this e-book costs too much so I’m giving it one-star” or “I didn’t read this book, but I find the subject matter offensive, so one-star.” This is ludicrous, it is wrong, and it directly impacts the author’s wallet. It’s the equivalent of a writer showing up at your job in the warehouse and saying to your supervisor, “I know Bob is a forklift driver, but he packed chicken salad for lunch today and I hate chicken salad, so dock ten bucks off his pay next week.” Even more baffling to me, is that it directly impacts Amazon’s profit, as well — yet they allow it to continue.

Reviews, be they positive and five star or negative and one star, should inform you about the product in question, be it a book, a movie, a record, etc. And while many Amazon customer reviews do just that, they are invalidated every time Amazon allows some brain-damaged howler monkey to hammer out a review of their own

For example, known stalker and serial harasser Nickolaus Pacione, having been temporarily banned from Twitter, Facebook, and other social media, took to Amazon’s customer review system to Blog about his private life. In this five-star review of a Beanie Baby, he rants about charges of child abuse against him. How is any of this drivel conducive to helping a customer make an informed decision as to whether or not they wish to purchase this product?

Another example, unfolding right now, is the novel ONLY BY BLOOD AND SUFFERING, written by Robert LaVoy Finicum. For the uninformed, Finicum was one of the militia members who recently seized federal land as part of a protest against Eminent Domain and other grievances. Now, I’m not going to get into the man’s politics, other than to say I think both his group and other recent protest groups such as Black Lives Matter all raise important points, and it’s a shame they can’t listen to each other and find common ground, rather than seeing each other as antagonists from the other team. Finicum was killed last night during a stand-off with FBI agents and local law enforcement, allegedly while surrendering with his hands up. When you read the reviews for his novel, legitimate reviews based on the merits of the book are lost amidst a flurry of one-star and five-star reviews from people who admit to not having read the book, and are instead basing their reviews on their feelings regarding the stand-off.

And it happens to everyone. Chuck Wendig’s STAR WARS novel is filled with bogus reviews by people who admittedly did not read the novel and are protesting the erasure of the old Star Wars novels from continuity. Reviews for books by Bush, Clinton, Obama, and Trump are filled with political posturing, rather than anything having to do with the content of the books. The Sad Puppies troll the reviews sections of John Scalzi’s books. The Social Justice Warriors troll the reviews sections of Larry Correia’s books. Doctor Who fans leave reviews based on whether or not they like the actor depicted on the cover.

Amazon’s Customer Review process is in need of a serious overhaul. It’s something that is long overdue. As it stands right now, it’s a shopping experience akin to going to a brick and mortar bookstore, and picking a novel off the shelf by an author you’re unfamiliar with, and attempting to read the back cover synopsis while a lunatic stands next to you shouting about the fish in his pocket and how you should pet it. At which point I put the book back on the shelf, leave without making a purchase, and re-read one of the 4,000 books I already own.

The Parable of Fred and Lucas

Fred likes Team A. Team A professes to represent all of the things that Fred believes in.

Lucas likes Team B. Team B professes to represent all of the things that Lucas believe in.

From now until November, Fred and Lucas will show their team spirit, trumpeting their support of Team A and Team B on social media, at work, at dinner, and everywhere else they go. They’ll watch their teams compete on television. They might put signs in their front yard, sharing their enthusiasm with their neighbors. They may even wear shirts or hats emblazoned with the names of their favorite team players. They will root for their team, and ultimately support their team with money and the act of voting.

In November, Fred will vote for Team A and Lucas will vote for Team B. But who they’ll really be voting for is Team C. Team C isn’t on the ballot. Team C doesn’t need to be on the ballot. And no matter what the ideological differences between Team A and Team B are, it is the policies of Team C that ultimately get put into practice. If Team C decides that Fred and Lucas should be punched in the nuts, then Team A and Team B will punch Fred and Lucas in the nuts.

And four years from now, Fred and Lucas will vote for them to do it all over again.

I Still Want To Believe

As hard as it is to believe, The X-Files was not a ratings blockbuster in its first season. I started watching with the third episode, and as far as I know, I was the only one of my friends doing so. The show took off with seasons 2 and 3, but that first season? It felt like it was just mine.

The night I first saw The X-Files, I was a young twenty-something father, working a blue-collar job and trying to become a writer, had just gotten divorced and — much to my dismay (and theirs) — had temporarily moved back in with my parents. That living arrangement lasted two months, ending when I’d saved up enough money to start over again. But my love an enjoyment and devotion to The X-Files has lasted ever since.

I’ve always sympathized with Fox Mulder’s quest. There are things in my background, things I experienced, things I don’t talk about or share with nearly anyone — public or private. Only a very slim few know about them. Suffice to say, I always wanted Mulder to find the truth, because it was a truth I sought, as well. But Mulder and Scully’s search for the truth goes beyond alien abduction and government conspiracies. At the core, it’s a search for answers — to what happens when we die, is there anything more than this, who’s in charge, does the universe have order, or is it just a chaotic joke? Their quest was one that appealed to our human spirit — and that’s a quest that never gets old.

Mulder’s gotten older. Scully’s gotten older. Skinner’s gotten older. And I’ve gotten older. And yeah, that premiere was a little bumpy in parts last night (episodes 2 and 3 are much stronger). But it was good to see those characters again. Good to know that somebody else is still searching, and still asking. Because the truth is still out there, and I still want to believe.

This is a good time to remind you that I made my own contribution to The X-Files universe, with TRUST NO ONEavailable in paperback, digital, and audiobook.