Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My Latest Anthology Appearance.

I don't say or write this often because I don't blow smoke up a reader's arse unless it's true. So, take my word for it, this is an epic work of fiction! Featuring several works of high-quality fiction from top shelf dark fiction authors, I am proud to have my short story "In Green Remembered" included in this massive tome of awesomeness.

482 pages for $17.10 in paperback or only $4.99 on Kindle sounds reasonable to me!  Order it for the holidays!

Cover image below:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My Adventures With Door-to-Door Solicitors.

I understand the need for direct marketing to peoples' homes.  I've worked in sales, although not the kind that has me going door-to-door, thank Zeus. As much as I find it annoying when someone shows up at my door unsolicited, I also know it's a tough job and try not to be rude when dismissing them. 

All that changes, however, when they keep coming back.  If I have sent you away at least twice, telling you I have no interest in your product or service, you have no reason to return to my door. Yet, one local cable company has been doing just that for well over a year now. Last week, I finally had enough and decided to put a stop to it once and for all.

Below is the email I sent this company and the series of replies they sent me:

I am requesting that your company stop sending solicitors to our door. This is occurring on a weekly basis and is extremely disruptive. My wife has a heart condition and does not need to have it set off by some clipboard jockey banging on our door like an angry cop. We have informed your field reps each time we are not interested for a year straight. When will the subtle hint sink in? Stop coming to our house or we will consider this harassment and pursue legal solutions.

First reply:


This is an automated reply to acknowledge that we received your email inquiry. It is our goal to reply to your request within 24 hours.

Our Promise to you shows that we are committed to providing the level of service our customers have come to expect. We appreciate you taking the time to write us and we will respond soon. Thank you for contacting (Company Name Omitted)
Second reply (30 minutes later):

Dear Christopher,
Thank you for taking the time to contact the e-Care Customer Support Team of ______ My name is Teresa, and I will be pleased to assist you with your request from solicitations from _____. I can certainly appreciate your frustration regarding this matter. I have sent off an e-mail to our Billing Support Department, to cease this solicitation from happening.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact _____Have a great day!

Teresa H
eCare Specialist
Third and Final Reply:
(Later that Night)
Dear Christopher,
Thank you for emailing _____ my name is Aaron, an eCare Specialist for _____ We appreciate you taking the time out of your day to contact us regarding sales agents visiting your home.
I'm very sorry for the disruption these visits have caused you and your wife. I can understand that with the medical concerns you mention why it is so important that this solicitation end.
I've sent a ticket to our billing support department to advise of the need to stop these visits. As they handle issues relating to the serviceability of addresses they should be able to note on the location information for your address that no in-person solicitation should be done at that location.
I'd very much like to thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding the on-going undesired solicitation. Should you require any additional assistance with this or any other concern, please do not hesitate to email us again or contact us by chat or by phone at ________

E-Care Customer Support

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"Kaiju" Now Available on Amazon!!!

The wait is over. Click here and order my latest novel today for just $11.39! (Odd amount but screw it)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

On Genre Ignorance & Why Tight-Asses Still Don't Get Stephen King.

One thing that always used to annoy me when I was younger was a clueless radio DJ. Guys who made statements on the air about a certain performer or music style about which they knew next to nothing, as if they were experts because someone paid them to spin records.  I have no idea if they still exist, as my radio listening days are mostly behind me and my passion for music in general has been waning for years.

However, as an author, my passion for fiction remains as intense as ever. As does my interest in genre-literacy, meaning, in so uncertain terms, people selling fiction knowing what the flaming Hell they are talking about.

Case in point: A certain library I happen to frequent which shall remain nameless has, like most libraries, a “Friends of the Library” book sale every so often. It just so happened today that they were offering “Buy One Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel, Get One Free.” I’d like to you store that last part away for not-too-far-in-the-future reference: “Or fantasy novel.” Got it? Thanks. Let’s move on, then.

After I’d finished browsing the library proper, I decided to go to the Friends sale and see what they had available. As usual, the majority of their offerings were not to my liking, but the advertised F&SF table had a few interesting things, including an entire row of Stephen King hardcovers. I had most of them, those I wanted anyway, but I had never purchased a copy of “Lisey’s Story,” my favorite post-Dark Tower King novel with the possible exception of his JFK one.  Still, I didn’t decide to get it until I located an old copy of “The Year’s Best Science Fiction,” my absolute favorite annual anthology.  Both books cost only one dollar, but combined they was buy one, get one free.

I took my choices up to the counter, enduring the annoying woman standing behind it bragging to an annoyed elderly couple about her dancing prowess at some get-together.  Once they’d beaten a hasty retreat, I placed both books on the counter and she said, “Oh, did these come from the science fiction shelf. One dollar, please! Wait, this is Stephen King. That’ll be two dollars.”

“Really?” I said. “The sign said they were buy one, get one free.”

Genuinely perplexed, the woman asked me if Stephen King was science fiction. I chuckled and told her sometimes.  “Well, let’s take a look at the back.” She read a few lines and frowned, “It says it’s about an unruly marriage…” She shook her head as if to say such a plot couldn’t possibly be the foundation for a work of science fiction or fantasy.

I felt my eyes blink rapidly, momentarily stunned by what I’d just heard.

“Let me go ask her,” the woman replied, referring to a woman who was helping another group of patrons.

The woman returned, seemingly displeased with the direction their brief conversation had taken.  With a heavy sigh, she said, “Okay, she said Stephen King’s on the table with the science fiction. One dollar, please. Although, I think he’s more of a horror…” She shook her head again. "Science fiction is more like Star Trek."

I dug in my wallet for the dollar. “I read the novel a few years ago and it’s more of a dark fant—“

“THANK YOU!” she said and grabbed the dollar, turning away from me.

I stared at the man who was bagging my books but he kept smiling and small talking as if nothing had happened.

For a moment, just a moment, a stream of not-so-nice words begged to erupt from my mouth, then I turned and walked out.

I realize I wasn’t at a book store, nor was I dealing with a librarian. Either of those things would have made the entire experience unacceptable and this piece would be a complaint letter going directly to the library. Still, if someone is going to be part of a Friends of the Library organization and act as if they know from books, they should know from books! And if they don’t know something as elementary as the fact that Stephen King’s work can be placed into several genres, they should be willing to listen and learn from someone who does know.

Genre ignorance is often a direct result of arrogant elitism combined with an inability to be wrong. What should have been a pleasant diversion had now turned into a rant about small-minded twits and their undue influence.

That’s all.