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Down Time: An I Hunt Killers prequel

Ever wonder what serial killers do on vacation?

Yeah — me, too.

So today, with the help of the folks at my publisher, I dropped a new I Hunt Killers prequel, just like that time Beyonce dropped an album without telling anyone ahead of time.

(Exactly like Beyonce. We’re practically indistinguishable.)

Beyonce and Barry

Separated at birth?

The story is titled Down Time and it’s available right now. As in “Why are you still reading this post — go buy it!”Down Time ebook cover

But wait! Actually, before you scurry off to your favorite e-tailer, let’s chat for a sec…

In the years since the series ended, I’ve gotten a lot (a lot!) of requests to continue the story of Jazz and his friends. The prequels have not diminished these cries — if anything, they’ve amplified them. Readers like seeing how we got to the trilogy, but they really want to know what happens next.

And believe me — I want to tell them. I want to tell those stories.

I’ve been planning for a little while now to put together a new series — The Jasper Dent Mysteries. It would pick up years after the end of the original trilogy and you’d get to see what everyone is up to. All your old favorites are there, along with some new faces.

The problem, though, is this: It’s been awhile since the last book came out. Five years is a long time in publishing. Publishers don’t think there’s a demand for more I Hunt Killers. Crucially, they also don’t think my readers want to read about a slightly older group Jazz and company.

If you want more Jazz, more Connie, more Howie and the rest, we have to prove them wrong.

Fortunately, we have an opportunity to do just that, right now.

If you want more Killers, you have to buy Down Time. It’s only $1.99.

Here’s a little something to sweeten the deal: If you use the form at the bottom of the page to send me your proof of purchase (please blur out your identifying info, such as name, credit card, etc.), I will send you (drum roll, please!) the first chapter of THE BRIDEKILLER, the first book in what I hope will be a series of new Jasper Dent tales. (The chapter will be sent out by Friday, August 10 as a PDF! Also: This offer is only good if you buy the book in the first week of sale — so, between August 7 and August 14!)

So: Buy Down Time. Send me a pic. And get a brand-new bit of Jazz in your life.

Amazon link Google Play linkiBooks linkKobo link


Questions? Yeah, I anticipated that. Here are some answers:

But I don’t like ebooks. I want a print book.

I’m sorry. This is an ebook. If you want to see more print books, you need to buy the ebook. It is literally the only possible way to convince publishers to make more print books for you. 

I’ll just wait for print.

If you wait, there will be no print.

I don’t have a Kindle or a Nook or any sort of e-reader.

Yes, you do. Whatever you’re reading this web page on is an e-reader. Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo… These people ALL give away absolutely free software that you can use on your computer, phone, or tablet to buy and read DOWN TIME. All you pay is the $1.99 for the ebook itself. See? Easy!

What’s Down Time about?

When the world’s most notorious serial killer goes on vacation, you’d expect murder to follow, right? And, yeah, it does. No shocker, there. But what will surprise you is who dies…and how…and why. And for the first time in his life, it’s possible Billy isn’t the hunter, but rather the prey!

I’m psyched about this! What can I do other than buy Down Time?

Thanks for asking! I hate to ask for favors beyond buying the book, but…

Tell your friends! Tell your enemies! Basically, tell everyone you know to spend a mere $1.99 for a fun, crazy, incredibly disturbing story so that someday everyone can enjoy even more, even longer fun, crazy, incredibly disturbing stories!

Put the word out on social media. Talk up the book online, including a link either to this page or to the page where you bought the book.

Last but not least: Review it! While I would never presume to tell you how many stars to give, I’ll just say that if you really, really like the book, a slew of early five-star reviews would be hugely important and much appreciated!

Anything else?

Nope! Enjoy!


Submit your Proof of Purchase to receive the first chapter of THE BRIDEKILLER!

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THANOS

So, back when I blogged about my 2017, I mentioned a couple of mystery projects. The first one is a collaboration with my wife, Morgan Baden, about which I will have more to say at a later date.

Today, though, I am happy to pull back the curtain on the second mystery project:

Thanos cover

Yep, that’s Big Purple himself, Thanos. The Mad Titan. And yours truly has written (and is at this very moment playing hooky from revising) a novel about exactly how he got to the point that he could, y’know, credibly threaten to extinguish half the living souls in the universe.

It’s been a hell of a journey and it’s not over yet. I hope after y’all see Avengers: Infinity War next week that you’ll want to head into a bookstore in November and buy a copy of the book that builds on its mythology.

I’m sure there’ll be more to say in the next few months. But until then, enjoy that gorgeous cover!

Interview: Cynsations “Survivors” Series

Over on the Cynsations blog, I was asked to contribute to “Survivors,” a series of blog posts from and about authors who’ve been in children’s publishing for a long time. How have they managed to stay in the biz? What have they seen come and go?

Given that I perpetually feel like the new kid in any endeavor, it was a little strange to wrap my head around the idea of being a “survivor.” But, yeah — I’ve been doing this for a dozen or so years at this point, with nineteen books in print as I type these words. So, I was happy to contribute whatever meager words of wisdom I possess.

Here are some excerpts:

I’m not the greatest writer in the world, but I’m good enough that publishers seem interested in seeing what I can do for them.

 

If you have books coming out constantly, well, familiarity doesn’t always breed contempt, but it sometimes midwives apathy.

 

I think YA is in the process of changing from marketing category-cum-genre into a political movement. I can’t think of another example of this sort of transmogrification in the art-space and I’m very curious to see where it leads.

Read the complete interview over at Cynsations!

2017

man with headache

My 2017 began in November of 2016 and ended in March 2018, so I had five extra months. Lovely.

If you are a living human being on this planet, your 2017 probably sucked, too. I had almost 50% more of it, so…yay, me?

I recently had dinner with a friend I’d not seen for most of the year, and when I tried to catch her up, I realized two things: 1) I was constantly having to back up to explain how some stupid thing had made some terrible thing both more terrible and more stupid, and 2) she was looking at me with increasing horror the more I spoke. So I figured I would write it all down so that I could keep it straight in my head and refer friends to it.

This way I don’t have to see the horror.

It all started out so promisingly, too! My 2017 began in November of 2016, when the phone rang, with the call that I’d basically been waiting for my whole life: A publisher wanted me to write a series of novels based on the Flash.

Ho. Lee. Crap.

[Read more…]

One Year Later (Again)

There’s a video I shot literally one minute after my son was born. In it, hands bearing towels descend ominously from out of frame, rubbing his bloody body clean as he makes a sound that is something between a cry and a wheeze. In the background, you can hear a very high-pitched voice uttering, “Oh my God! Oh my God!” over and over again.

That voice is mine.

I think a part of me thought he would never come, that he would just remain in my wife’s belly until sometime around 2027, when he would emerge on the cusp of tweendom. Since my daughter’s delivery was (relatively) quick, we assumed our son would come early, as second children so often do. Our OB-GYN cracked jokes about moving into the hospital sometime in the ninth month, just in case. His due date was January 25, then January 19, then back to the twenty-fifth, but everyone — even the doctor — figured he would come a week or so earlier than that.

By mid-January, my wife was inconsolable, miserably pregnant for a million years, it seemed, ready to get. Him. Out.

Stubbornly, he refused to come out. As Trump’s inauguration came and went, we joked darkly that our son was protesting by refusing to be born.

But then at around 11:30 PM on January 31 — nearly a week past the latest due date — Morgan looked over at me and said, “Oh, yeah. It’s gonna happen.”

We called her mom and her sister. By 1:00 AM, we had a full house, with Grandma and Auntie set to take care of Big Sister Leia. I transferred Leia’s car seat to her aunt’s car and planned on staying up, thinking we were close. My mother-in-law insisted I get some sleep, and I’m glad she did: We didn’t know it, but we were still twelve hours away from Baby Boy.

So we both slept. In the morning, with contractions coming reliably, we headed to the hospital. And that’s when things got fun.

With our daughter, we got to the hospital way early, and spent an entire sleepless night and the entire morning there before she was born. This time, we arrived at around 8:00 AM. Strangely, our son was born at the same time of day — almost to the minute — as our daughter.

My mother-in-law and my wife’s twin arrived about an hour after we did. Morgan was as comfortable as you can be, just relaxing in her bed. There seemed to be no particular urge to proceed. The midwife checked her and assured us that everything was fine.

Time passed. At around noon, the contractions were faster and more painful, and my wife called an audible, saying she was ready for a sweet, sweet epidural. The nurse informed us that the Bringer of Epidurals was currently in surgery and that it would be a little while.

Well, OK.

We waited. My wife panted. And then, right before 1:00 PM, she made The Sound.

It had been more than two years since I’d heard The Sound, but I recognized it instantly nonetheless. The baby was coming. She was ready to push.

My sister-in-law darted out into the hallway to get someone, anyone. The nurse came in to tell us, patiently, that the anesthesiologist was still in surgery and would be in as soon as —

“The baby’s coming!” I told her.

She didn’t quite believe me, but she got the midwife anyway, who took one look between my wife’s legs and went into panic mode.

My wife pushed.

Once.

Understand: When our daughter was born, I had prepared a little pep talk to buck my wife up for the ordeal. I barely got out the first sentence when she pushed twice and bang — there was Leia.

So this time I didn’t even bother with a speech. I kissed her forehead, said, “You can do this” and she pushed one time — once! — and…

My son shot out of her as though someone had set fire to the womb.

Now, I’m a writer. I live in my imagination, and I know I’m prone to hyperbole. But I’m not exaggerating. I’m not lying. I’m not sweetening the story for dramatic effect.

The kid was airborne for the first second or two of his life.

I’m a comic book geek; I remember blurting out something about a yellow sun and earth’s lower gravity. For real.

I have witnesses to all of this. The midwife, for one, is totally unbiased. Later, she looked at me said, “I’m glad I caught him!” The kid was totally flying when he came out.

One push. Jesus.

I think that’s why you hear me saying, “Oh my God!” over and over in my best falsetto. I can’t believe it’s actually real. I can’t believe that he’s there, in the real world, that he shot out like that.

From birth, he had total head and neck control. I watched him turn his head a few minutes into life. Yellow sun, indeed. The kid was Kryptonian, all right.

And now?

The cliché is that the time flies, and damn does it ever! A year has passed. He’s so big. So strong. The other day, he ripped a kitchen cabinet off its hinges when the baby lock kept him from opening it. He climbs everything he shouldn’t, everything that he can. He tries to eat the steel mesh covering our fireplace.

I’m beginning to feel sympathy for Ma and Pa Kent.

Last night, my wife pried off a tiny piece of our daughter’s peanut butter sandwich to give to him. He ignored her offer and instead snatched the sandwich from Leia and proceeded to shove the damn thing in his mouth.

My brother jokes that the kid is ready for steak and beer. I don’t think he’s that far off.

He was a big, strong baby, and now he’s a big, strong toddler. He runs like the wind. He loves to explore, to smash things, to lift things. He’s so physical, in ways his sister was not. Leia examined things. She could spend long minutes staring at the screws on the underside of a toy, probing the recessed heads with her little baby fingers.

My son… He knocks things over, laughs at the crash. Shoves everything and anything into his mouth. And good Lord, does he eat. As long as you keep putting food in front of him, he’ll keep eating. If there’s a bottom to his stomach, we haven’t found it yet.

A year old. In the blink of an eye. From the wheezing cry to a raspy laugh, from soaring out of his mother to delighting in being held upside-down. He’s a daredevil, a dervish, an endlessly exploring Indiana Jones who falls down, picks himself up again, and goes off to the next thing that will knock him down. Utterly fearless and totally enamored of everything he encounters. At least ten times a day, he terrifies me into a heart attack.

But this is him. This is who he is. He’s wild, yes, but also possessed of a great inner calm. He’s relaxed and chill where his sister can be high-strung and anxious. He cries for precisely one reason and one reason only: He’s hungry. No guessing with this kid.

He’s a year old and he’s a minute old, just born, bloody and gasping for his first breaths as I cut the umbilical cord.

Oh my God. Oh my God.