Friday, October 30, 2015

HARROWED is Free Today!

Jolene and I are giving all you horror fans an early Halloween treat. HARROWED, the first book in our Woodsview Murders series, is FREE today (10/30)!

Click here to get HARROWED for free today only!

Here's the synopsis for HARROWED:

Journalism Rule #1: Always report the story. Never become the story.

Avery Blair has accepted the fact that nothing exciting ever happens in her small town of Woodsview, Massachusetts. As the editor of the high school blog, she prays for something—anything—to come along that would make for a great headline.

When Beatrice Thompson’s body is found in the girls’ bathroom, Avery has her biggest story ever. The rumors circulating the school say that Beatrice took her own life, but Avery doesn't believe it for a second. Her instincts prove true when the next day brings another body bag. The tiny community of Woodsview has become the hunting ground for a killer known as the Harvester. The killer targets Avery and her classmates, stalking their every move and terrorizing them with morbid messages.

With the help of her boyfriend Jason, her best friend Quinn, and an aging detective who can't keep her off the case, Avery dives head-first into her own investigation. She discovers that the secret of the Woodsview Harvester is buried in the town's history and its annual Harvest Festival celebration. With every clue she uncovers, Avery grows closer to unmasking the killer—and becoming the next victim.

Avery Blair has finally found a story to die for...if she can stay alive long enough to write it.

And here's the trailer for the book:

So please, go check it out, and if you know someone who's looking for some fun YA horror, let them know about it. If you like our book, we'd greatly appreciate it if you left a review on Amazon for us. Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

NaNoWriMo is Almost Here! Get Ready with Brian and Jolene!

Can you believe that NaNoWriMo is less than a week away? We are in countdown mode, people!!

I am very excited about NaNo this year, as my writing partner Jolene Haley and I are once again teaming up! We just released out first book Harrowed into the world a little over a month ago (you can find out more about the here), and we're about to dive into a new story November first. It;s not a sequel to HARROWED though (although that is already in the works)--it's a brand new story. I've already dropped some hints if you've been paying attention on Twitter.

But that's not why I'm writing today. Today I'm here to talk about getting ready for NaNoWriMo. Back in March of this year, Jolene was a guest on the See Brian Write podcast, in an episode about prepping for Camp NaNoWriMo. She had some excellent tips and resources for having a successful month, and we talked about everything from pre-NaNo prep to making it through the month in one piece.

The great news is that pretty much everything we talked about applies to NaNoWriMo proper as well.

So, I'm reposting the episode right here for those that want a little help and inspiration as they prepare for Sunday's writing adventure. You can listen right here:

If you have feeback, questions or just want to talk writing as we all jump into NaNoWriMo together, hit us up on Twitter! I'm at and Jolene is at

You can also find the rest of the See Brian Write podcast episodes over on my SoundCloud page. I'll be back early next year with a whole new season of the show.

NOTE: This episode led to Jolene and I writing HARROWED together. Pretty cool, huh?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

First Impressions: Amazon Fire Tablet

I am a tech junkie--or rather, I'm a cheap tech junkie. Whereas some people drool over the announcement of the new $1500 Macbook or the Microsoft Surface book, I get excited whenever a decent piece of tech breaks a new low price barrier. I'm fascinated by Chromebooks, Raspberry Pi computers and both Windows and Android tablets that are priced at a point where most people can afford them.

So, I did a spit take when Amazon announced their new family of Fire tablets, along with a new $50 tablet called simple the Amazon Fire. I grabbed one a couple weeks ago, as I had to see for myself whether or not this ridiculously low-priced tablet was more than a paperweight. And I'm happy to report, while the Fire does make some compromises to get its insane price point, it's a fantastic tablet that is definitely worth checking out.

The Amazon Fire package comes with tablet and charger.

One thing that makes the Fire almost worth getting alone is the fact that it has expandable memory. You can increase the memory of the $50 Amazon Fire by up to 128 gigs via a micro SD card. That's a lot more books, comics, games and apps than the 8 gigs the tablet comes with. That may sound like not such a big deal, but you can't do that with an iPad.

Another great thing about the Fire tablet is that you can install the Google Play store on it pretty easily. There are a ton of articles n how to do this (here is a good one), but even the least tech savvy person out there shouldn't have a problem. You don't need to, of course, but if you want your YouTube, Gmail, Hangouts, Drive and Chrome browser on your Fire, you'll need to install the Play store. Of course, you don't need to install the Play store unless you really want those Google apps. The Amazon App Store has gotten much better since its launch, and despite some obvious omissions, many of the apps you or your kids would want are on that store now.

But if you're getting an Amazon tablet, it's probably because you are already a fan of Amazon's ecosystem. It goes without saying that if you're already an Amazon Prime member, this $50 tablet is a no-brainer. It's made for consuming books, video and music. Heck, you could join Prime for $100 and the $150 total for the tablet and the subscription would still be way less than most tablets out there. The iPad Mini 2 is currently $269, so you could get two years of prime and still be below that price point. Samsung's mid-range Galaxy Tab A is around $230 right now, so you could make a similar value comparison with that.

Actual screenshot of an awesome book from my Fire.

So what's downside? Well, it's a $50 tablet. The construction feels cheaper than the other Kindle Fire tablets (which are very solid), and design-wise, it's nothing special to look at. The screen is only 1024x600 with 171 pixels per inch (ppi), so it's not quite HD. There is only one speaker, so the speaker audio isn't great (though I'm usually wearing headphones, anyway). If you are looking for an HD experience, this is not it.

BUT, if you are looking for a device to consume content with--especially Amazon content--this tablet does that and more. Amazon is actually running a deal where if you buy five tablets, you get a sixth one free. Six tablets for $250.

What's most exciting to me about this move by Amazon is the potential for this tablet to make it's way into classrooms. For $1250, you could equip a classroom of 30 kids with a tablet. And with apps like Overdrive, where you can access library books, there is a ton of potential to get kids ready a wide array of books that a school might not have access to alone.

The Amazon Fire is also a pretty solid choice for a child's first tablet. If your kid breaks a $400 iPad, it's a big deal. A $50 Fire--not so much. And there's a kid's version of the Fire for $100 that comes with a 2-year replacement guarantee.

So to recap--the Amazon Fire is a great value for the price, and a complete no-brainier if you're already a Prime member. It's not the blazing-fast, HD experience that true technophiles will be looking for, but it's damn impressive what Amazon has been able to pull off at this price point. I've already gotten $50 of use out of mine in the first two weeks.

Fire design specs, via Amazon.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Rock and Shock 2015 Was a Blast!

The whirlwind that is October continued for my podcast partner Matt and I as the Secret Identity tour bus pulled into Worcester for Rock and Shock--a three-day festival of horror and heavy metal.

There's not much I enjoy more than talking horror and music with people, so this show is pretty much made for me. But he end of the weekend, I could barely talk, but it was a ton of fun from start to finish. I split my time between roaming the floor for interviews and promoting the podcast and my books at the booth. There was so much to see and do, I could have spent a week there.

My entire weekend (and year) was pretty much made when my good friend and very talented sculptor Amy Kukta surprised me with a sculpture of the King in Yellow, which you can see below:

The base of the sculpture is a little NSFW, as it features a pretty gruesome scene from the pages of Courting the King in Yellow. The sculpture is amazing, and it will be a centerpiece at shows where I'm selling books from now on.

The guest list featured some legends in the industry, including director George Romero (Night of the Living Dead) and actor Doug Bradley (Hellraiser). I had been fortunate enough to have met them before, which was a good thing, because the lines at both of their tables were a mile long all weekend. I did however get to spend some time chatting with Felissa Rose, who horror fans know as Angela from the classic Sleepaway Camp. She is one of the nicest people I've ever met, and it turns out she's a hardcore metal fan as well. She just produced Slayer's new video for "Repentless," the first single off their chart-topping album of the same name. She brought in some legends in the horror industry for the video, including Danny Trejo (From Dusk 'Til Dawn, Halloween), Tony Moran (Halloween), Derek Mears (Friday the 13th) and a bunch more, all of whom you can see in the video below.

WARNING--This video is basically a horror film, and features explicit content. Not for the faint of heart.

On the band front, Danzig was the main event of the weekend, and Matt got to hang out with Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstien of the Misfits.

Perhaps my favorite exhibitor at the show this weekend was the Shih Tzus and Furbabies Small Breed Dog Rescue. They're an organization that rescues small breed dogs and finds adoptive homes for them. There were a variety of adorable dogs at the booth throughout the weekend, who received constant love and attention from everyone who came by. In speaking to the staff of STFBR, they projected that at least five or six of the dogs would be getting adopted by people who attended the show.

Matt and I also interviewed several creators at the show, and you'll be hearing those interviews in the coming weeks and months on Secret Identity. One of my favorite interviews of the weekend was with author Matt Serafini, who is a huge fan of slashers like I am, and wrote his own take on the genre, a novel called Under the Blade (which is also a nod to the classic Twisted Sister album). Stay tuned for that one.

Sunday was kids' day at the con, and my son joined me for the final day of the show. The Creative lair featured craft making, pumpkin painting and more activities throughout the day, and he had a blast meeting some of the creators and celebrities he's heard me talking about over the years.

All in all, we had an amazing time at Rock and Shock 2015. We'd like to thank Leah Urbano for letting us be a part of this year's show, and we cannot wait for next year. I'll leave you with some more pics from the show floor. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Read My New Short Horror Story "Harvest Moon" Now!

Photo by Alfredo Garcia Jr.
The Night Harvest event is in full swing over at the Pen & Muse site, which means you can read original short horror stories all month long! The them of this year's event (as you might have guessed) is the harvest, and today, my take on that theme is live for you to read!

Click here to read "Harvest Moon" now!

This idea for this story came to me as soon as I heard what this year's theme would be. I wanted to do something with the harvest moon (the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox). The fact that this year's harvest moon was also a blood moon (given reddish appearance by a lunar eclipse) and a supermoon (the full moon closest to the earth for that year) was too good to pass up. I mean, that confluence of events has to be magical in some way, doesn't it?

Of course, in my stories, magical can often mean bad. So, this particular moon doesn't bring good things to the people of New Lakeford, Massachusetts.

"Harvest Moon" has a connection to my Parted Veil series of books, so those who have read any of my books are in for an extra treat. "Harvest Moon" is a standalone story though, and you don't need to be familiar with the Parted Veil series to enjoy, or be disturbed by it.

I hope you like "Harvest Moon," and I hope you continue to check out all of this month's Night Harvest entries over at Pen & Muse. If you dig any of those stories or pieces of artwork, go support their creators by buying one of their books or prints. There's a ton of very talented people participating in this event.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Come See Me at Rock and Shock This Weekend (Booth #403)!

Three days of heavy metal and horror!

As I've said many times before, metal and horror are like peanut butter and chocolate--they go great together. No one knows that better than the folks behind Rock and Shock, an annual horror and heavy metal show that is one of a kind. This Friday through Sunday at the DCU Center and Palladium in Worcester, MA, horror and metal icons will be hanging out and celebrating together--and I'll be there too!

The lineup of guests and bands at this year's show is fantastic. On the guest front, you have George Romero, Tobin Bell, Doug Bradley, Adam Green, PJ Soles and many more. On the music side, Danzig, Superjoint, Hatebreed and more than a thirty other bands will be playing all weekend at the Palladium. And there will be a ton of vendors as well, including me!

I will be selling copies of all three Parted Veil books this weekend--Courting the King in YellowLovecraft's Curse and Lovecraft's Pupil (which was released on March 31, 2015).

For those that buy all three books, I'll be giving away a print called "The Uguborth" that depicts a scene from Lovecraft's Curse. My friend and local Springfield artist Mike Valade created the print, and it's amazing.

I will also be hosting a panel on starting your own podcast Saturday at 1:15pm in the Creative Lair of the show, and I'll have some copies of my podcasting book Making Ear Candy on hand for anyone interested in picking one up.

So, if you're in the area this weekend, head down to the DCU Center and say hi! It's going to be an amazing show. For more info, you can go to or check out the official Facebook page for the show.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Night Harvest Has Begun!

October is a month for celebrating horror, and the gang over at Pen & Muse takes that responsibility very seriously. For the past few years they've run a themed fiction event in October. You may remember the Dark Carnival, which you can now get as an ebook) and last year's Pen & Muse Haunt event. Well this year, Pen & Muse is bringing us the Night Harvest.

As with previous events, this one is a writer and illustrator showcase. All month long, short horror stories and art pieces will be getting posted over at Pen & Muse. They are all original, and they're all free for you to read.

The event kicked off yesterday with Anne Marie's "(Don't Fear) the Raptor," a tale of dinosaurs, blood and young romance. You can read that story right here.

I'm participating in the event as well, and my story "Harvest Moon" will be going live on Thursday, October 15th. It's a story that has a loose connection to my Parted Veil series of books, though you don't have to know them to enjoy this standalone tale.

So, bookmark the schedule page for the Night Harvest event, and enjoy the next few weeks of scary stories from some very talented creators!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Catch Up With My Coverage of NYCC 2015!

We got back from New York comic Con last night, and what an amazing four days it was! In the coming weeks, you'll see and hear news, reviews and interviews on Secret Identity, Co-Op Critics and The Midnight Society. I've already got daily recaps of NYCC up on Secret Identity here:

NYCC: Day One Report

NYCC: Day Two Report

NYCC: Day Three Report

NYCC: Day Four Report

Over on Co-Op critics, we have a gallery of some great gaming cosplays, which you can see here.

I'd like to thank NYCC and ReedPOP for allowing me to come and cover the show again this year. They've always been great to Matt and I, and we will be talking about the convention for months to come.

Later this week I'll be posting a review of the premiere of Ash Vs. Evil Dead over on The Midnight Society, and Matt and I will be recording a special episode of the Secret Identity podcast, where we'll recap our experiences at the show. On Co-Op Critics, I'll be writing up my impressions of both Just Cause 3 and Dark Souls III, which I got some hands-on time with.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I'll See You at NYCC (Booth #2018)!

This morning I'm heading down to New York for the big show--New York Comic Con. As one half of the Secret identity podcast, I've been covering this show for years, and it never gets old. Many of the interviews we post over the year come from this show. Between my show partner Matt Herring and I, we'll probably interview about 40 creators over the course of the weekend.

But, NYCC is also a time for me to catch up with friends that I only get to see once a year. And if you're headed to NYCC this weekend, I'd love to catch up with you, too!

I'll be based out of the Monarch Comics booth (#2018), where my good pal Vin Ferrante will have tons of great specials and giveaways for his Witch Hunter comic. I'll also have some cool HARROWED bookmarks to give away, and you may even be able to get a copy of Monarch Comics Chronicles #1, featuring a short story I wrote!

So, stop by booth 2018 and say hi!

Monday, October 5, 2015

The First Reviews for HARROWED Are Killer!

So, HARROWED has been out in the wild for a little over week now, and we are starting to see some reviews come in. Our small town slasher story has now been reviewed on Goodreads and Amazon, and folks have had some really wonderful things to say about it.

As a writer, you learn not to get too high or low when it comes to reviews--heck, some writers don't even read them. There will always be people who like your story, and those who don't. When I read reviews, I'm looking for signs of whether or not I accomplished what I set out to do, and where I can get better if I didn't.

Without quoting the reviews directly (you can read them at the above links if you'd like), there are some real bright spots in people's reactions so far. Here are my top three:

1. The Harvester feels like a slasher. This was extremely important to Jolene and I. The Woodsview Murders series is our love letter to the slasher genre of horror films. We wanted to create a character that felt iconic. So far, it seems like we succeeded

2. The story keeps people guessing. The identity of the Harvester and the killer's motivations are a satisfying mystery. In the feedback we're getting from readers, there have been a variety of theories about the identity of the killer, which is great.

3. Woodsview, Massachusetts is a living, breathing place. We are consistently hearing that our setting captures the feel of a small town, which is great to hear, as it is populated with people and places that Jolene and I grew up with. The diner, the record store, the school--they all exist. Oh, and there is a real Woodsview, too. Perhaps someday we'll reveal its true location...

I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to write a review of our book so far. Thoughtful reviews are tremendously helpful. As we continue to work on book two of the Woodsview Murders, it's great to know what aspects of the first book are resonating with people.