Thursday, November 16, 2017

Free Stories

Just in case anyone missed them, there are four free short stories set in the SEVEN FORGES universe.

Here are the links:

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

FALLEN GODS and beyond

So, FALLEN GODS goes to print in January. Very early on. You can see the amazing cover right here and as a background, too.

I'm finishing up the third and final book in the series right now. I'm technically a little late but I want to get it just so.

No name yet. But soon. More news soon, too.

Keep smiling,


Sunday, November 12, 2017


(yes, I'm asking for money, but honest, there's a good reason.)


Edited by Christopher Golden and James A. Moore
Published by Twisted Publishing
(a Haverhill House Publishing imprint)

Anthologies were a vital, formative part of our development as writers — and as readers. We look back with love and wonder at the efforts of the legendary Charles L. Grant to bring the cream of the horror crop into readers’ hands. His eleven-volume SHADOWS series contained familiar names, but every installment also presented us with the unfamiliar, and often the brand-new. Other Grant anthologies — TERRORS, NIGHTMARES, MIDNIGHT, the quartet of GREYSTONE BAY books — provided the same. Charlie Grant helped move unknown writers into the horror community’s conversation.

There were other anthologies that contributed to the trend. Thomas F. Monteleone’s BORDERLANDS series. Kathryn Ptacek’s WOMEN OF DARKNESS. Stuart David Schiff’s WHISPERS series. Kirby McCauley’s legendary DARK FORCES. Skipp & Spector’s milestone BOOK OF THE DEAD. David J. Schow’s SILVER SCREAM. And on and on…

But those books were published during horror literature’s glory days. In the years since, it has grown more and more difficult to persuade publishers to invest in horror anthologies (or anthologies of any sort, really). If Golden wants to pitch an anthology to a mainstream publisher, it’s necessary to compile a list of contributors first. Which means that there’s little opportunity to bring in unknown writers.

Yet those memories remain. We have talked for years about the desire to present an anthology that is open to anyone, and which allows us to follow some personal rules (outlined below). Yes, it’s a massive time commitment, but we—and John McIlveen of Haverhill House—believe it is absolutely worth it. We want to create a market for horror stories that presents a real, professional opportunity.


•  Will have zero spaces reserved for marquee names.

•  Will use a blind submissions program (we won’t know who wrote the stories until we’ve selected them).

•  Will pay professional rates—a minimum of six cents per word, with a cap on advances of $300 per story.

•  Will pay royalties—a pro rata share of 50% of all royalties earned.
How the hell are we going to do this?

If you’re reading this, you already know. We’ve launched this GoFundMe page because we believe there are enough readers out there who will believe in this project to get it funded. We want there to be opportunities out there for horror writers to compete based solely on talent, and to be paid professional rates for their work. Yes, we’re aware six cents per word is not a lot of money, but it’s a start.

We’re also starting with our own money. Christopher Golden, James A. Moore, and John McIlveen have each committed to donate $333.34, making up the first One Thousand Dollars (and two cents) of the money needed to fund this book. The editors are not taking a penny from their efforts until royalties are earned.

What should you donate, and what do you get?

If you believe in this project, you should donate whatever amount you feel comfortable with. $5 or $50 or $500. However, donate at least $25 and you’ll get a free digital copy of THE TWISTED BOOK OF SHADOWS. Wait … why just a digital copy? Well … we’re doing this as a GoFundMe instead of a Kickstarter because we want to focus on paying the writers. No gimmicks, no fancy prizes … nothing like that. No incentives other than a great reading experience and a level playing field for authors. We believe that there are enough people out there who believe in this project that we’ll be able to meet our goal of raising $7000 in total (especially since we have already committed to put in the first thousand).

What happens to the money if we go over our goal?

If we’re fortunate enough for that to happen, it’s our hope that we’d roll the additional money into the next volume. If, for whatever reason, there is no second volume, we would disperse the money in equal shares to the authors of this first volume. The editors will not take a penny of the donation money, not even in repayment for our initial donations. A donation is a donation. The only way we’ll earn any money is from actual royalties from actual sales.

When will THE TWISTED BOOK OF SHADOWS open for submissions?

There will be a window for submissions during the entire month of February, 2018. This gives authors nearly four months from this announcement to write their stories. More information will be forthcoming about the submission process.

What happens if you don’t meet your goal?

We hope that won’t happen. If it does, we might need to accept fewer than our planned 18 stories. But if somehow there is no book, donations will be refunded.

So what now?

DONATE! If you believe in this project, if you’d like to see an open, professional market for great horror stories, please contribute. Remember, $25 or more gets you a digital copy of the book, but every dollar helps.


— Christopher Golden, James A. Moore, and John McIlveen

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The SEVEN FORGES digital boxset is live

All four books for a very low price. You can find it here.

Friday, October 20, 2017


And because it's the right time of year, a reminder that THIS IS HALLOWEEN is now available both in trade paperback and as a kindle edition. The Kindle edition is only $2.99!

Wicked Haunted

So the New England Horror Writers have a new anthology coming out called WICKED HAUNTED. Last year it was WICKED WITCHES and this year, instead of focusing on witches we're going with ghosts. Of COURSE I wanted to be in the anthology because I love ghost stories!

Well, it's out today.

You can order it HERE!

Ghost stories, from local myths to full blown horror shows, have been spun around campfires since the dawn of man, passed from generation to generation for edification or simply to frighten and thrill. They lead us along dark side roads, into murky swamps and abandoned houses. Ghost stories bring us face-to-face with the farmer harboring secret graves behind his barn, the old man living next to the cemetery, or the frightened person staring back at you from the mirror. They haunt the listeners and readers and make them want to re-tell them again and again, so they would not be alone in their fear. 

Here's the table of contents:

Bracken MacLeod Lost Boy
Remy Flagg Murmur
Doungjai Gam We're all Haunted Here
Emma Gibbon Ghost Maker
Kenneth Vaughan And They Too Want to be Remembered
Peter Dudar The Thing With No Face
GD Dearborn Triumph of the Spirit
Nick Manzolillo My Work is Not yet Completed
Paul McNamee East Boston Relief Station
Trisha Wooldridge Ghosts in their eyes
Curtis M. Lawson Everything Smells like Smoke Again
Renee Mulhare Stranding Off Schroodic Point
Tom Deady Turn Up the Old Victrola (a.k.a The Road Part Deux)
Dan Szczesny Boy on the Red Tricycle
Dan Foley They Come With the Storm
Barry Lee Dejasu Tripping the Ghost
Rob Smales Road to Gallway
Paul McMahon The Pick Apart
Morgan Sylvia The Thin Place
Matt Bechtel Walking Man
Larissa Glasser The Mouse
Patricia Gomes Scrying Through Torn Screens

Books-A-Million Likes me!

Spotted in Maine!

The Virtual Box Set for Seven Forges

An ebook collection of the first four Seven Forges books is coming out in November and will be available through January. Can you say "cool Christmas Present?"

Joe Ledger: Unstoppable

Coming Halloween day: JOE LEDGER -UNSTOPPABLE. An anthology with original stories set in Jonathan Maberry's New York Times bestselling Joe Ledger universe by Larry Correia, Mira Grant (aka Seanan McGuire),Scott SiglerDavid FarlandChristopher Golden,Tim LebbonSteve AltenJon McGoranDana FredstiJennifer Campbell-HicksJavier Grillo-MarxuachBryan Thomas Schmidt (also co-editor), GP Charles, Keith DeCandidoJames A. MooreAaron Rosenberg, Nicholas Steven, James Ray Tuck JrJeremy Robinson, and Jonathan Maberry. Print, eBook and (soon to be announced) audio, read by Ray Porter.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival, year three!

THE MERRIMACK VALLEY HALLOWEEN BOOK FESTIVAL 2017 will be held on Saturday, October 21st, 2017, from 10am till 4:30pm. Once again, the event will be held at the Haverhill Public Library (Haverhill, MA) and is FREE and open to the public. Sponsored by River City Writers, Andover Bookstore, Haverhill House Publishing, and--of course--Haverhill Public Library.
So…who’s going to be there? We’re expanding a bit this year, adding a number of writers primarily known for their mystery and thriller novels, and our total number of attending authors and artists has passed FIFTY. Among them, we’re thrilled to welcome back Joe Hill. Joe’s new book, Strange Weather, debuts around the country on October 24th…but we’ve made special arrangements with Joe’s publisher and our friends at Andover Bookstore to have Strange Weather make its official debut three days early, at the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival. Joe will be on hand to sign them, of course.
But I know you want the full list of attendees, so here you go.
Joe Hill
Hank Phillippi Ryan
Sarah Smith
Tim Lebbon
Gregory Bastianelli
Matt Bechtel
Stephen Bissette
Daniel Braum
Lisa Bunker
Dana Cameron
Glenn Chadbourne
Jason Ciaramella
Joseph Citro
Tom Deady
Kristin Dearborn
Rachel Autumn Deering
Barry Lee Dejasu
Amber Fallon
Fiona's Fright Shoppe
Dan Foley
Craig Shaw Gardner
Christopher Golden
Scott Goudsward
Catherine Grant
Kat Howard
Christopher Irvin
Nicholas Kaufmann
Brian Keene
Toni L.P. Kelner
John Langan
Fred Van Lente
Bracken MacLeod
John M. McIlveen
Hillary Monahan
James A. Moore
Holly Newstein Hautala
Jason Parent
Philip Perron
Leigh Perry
David Price
Mary SanGiovanni
Cat Scully
Rob Smales
Thomas Sniegoski
Laurie Faria Stolarz
Paul Tremblay
Tony Tremblay
John Urbancik
Kenneth Vaughn
Trisha Wooldridge
Douglas Wynne
Rio Youers
Extra fun for Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival.
The brilliant novelist Sarah Smith will be conducting her own version of "Antiques Roadshow" at the event. Bring an antique item or two and for a minimum $1 donation to the library, she'll evaluate and discuss the items with you. Thanks Sarah!

Monday, October 2, 2017

ONE BAD WEEK a Jonathan Crowley Chronicle

Available soon from Haverhill House Publications

Jonathan Crowley is having a bad time of it. He’s too busy for anyone’s good, dealing with calls from beyond the grave, demons that refuse to stay dead, the very creature that murdered his wife and children and a few spirits that have unfinished business with the Hunter. The past comes back to haunt the man who gives monsters their nightmares in a series of encounters that deal with Crowley’s past losses and even his occasional victories, but anyway you look at it, Jonathan Crowley is having One Bad Week. Now the question is who will survive to talk about it later?
Includes an original bonus Rufo the clown shot story, "Changing Faces."

Thursday, September 28, 2017

ONE BAD DAY: A Jonathan Crowley Chronicle

So new this year for the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival, I am releasing ONE BAD DAY: A JONATHAN CROWLEY CHRONICLE.

Tis includes several Crowley stories: Back to Serenity, a sequel to SERENITY FALLS, Little Boy Blue, Vendetta and Home for the Holidays, as well as a brand new, never released Rufo the Clown, story called "Changing Faces."

Here's a little preview of the cover.

Guess who's smiling at you.
Go on, Guess.

THIS IS HALLOWEEN is now available for the Kindle

The request was made, and so here it is. You can order by following THE LINK. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

A Matter of Perspective

First Person: The writer is, the Narrator: “I walked into the smoke-tainted air of Murphy’s Pub and looked around for Johnny. The bastard owed me money and I aimed to get paid.

Second Person: The writer, for some insane reason tells you what you feel and do. If you’re guessing I’m not fond of second person, you’re right. “You walk into the bar and nearly choke on the cigar fumes coming from the manager’s stogie. Murphy’s has a strict no smoking policy, but you know Murph never enforces on himself.  There’s a good chance Johnny is hanging around the place and doing his best not to pay you.”

Third Person: “Dan walked into Murphy’s Pub and felt his eye twitch in irritation at the vile stench of the owner’s cheap cigar. Murph looked his way and grimaced apologetically. It didn’t take a genius to know Dan was on the prowl, and the manager was just glad the man wasn’t looking for him. In the far corner, his back to the door, the target of his rage sat talking with a few friends.

“Dan moved in the right direction and slipped the brass knuckles from his back pocket. Johnny owed him a lot of money and payment was due.”

That’s as basic a breakdown as I’m doing. Let me say first and foremost that I can just barely tolerate second person as a perspective and even when I am forgiving of that particular sin, my tolerance is limited. I think the nature of that beast is flawed. Most might disagree, but no one has convinced me that I’m wrong so far.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get on to the real issue here: Which is better, First Person or Third?

With my usual grace I’ll answer that with a vague response: It depends.

First person has some very good uses, especially for suspense and for intimacy. On the suspense front if you’re reading a first person narrative it’s easier to ratchet up the possibilities of a beat down. Let’s take a look at the nemesis-du-jour, Bryce Darby.

The following first person scene is just off the top of my head.

At seventeen years of age Bryce Darby stood six feet, four inches in height. He had bright red hair and pale skin adorned with a few constellations of freckles and skin that was either burned and turning into a tan or tanned and growing more burnt by the second. His hands were both covered with an assortment of rings that were adorned with skulls, a lion’s head, and what looked like three crossed swords respectively.

I’d had plenty of chances to examine those rings in great detail, normally when he was holding me off the ground with one of his ham hock hands and waving the other fist under my nose. We had never been friends and I didn’t think that was going to change anytime soon.

Bryce was leaning against the brick exterior of the school, near the exit from the auto shop, and slowly murdering a toothpick in a continual grind between his pearly whites. His eyes regarded me with a sort of dead interest. There was no real expression in his baby blues at all until he spotted me. Then his brows pulled together over his broad nose and his mouth pulled down into a scowl.

I’d been planning a nice, leisurely walk home and maybe a few minutes of flirting with Katie Lowell. Just the thing to take the edge off a bad Monday. Now, with Bryce looking my way, I was remembering that just the week before my mouth had gone off half-cocked and said a few things about Darby’s heritage that he had not seen fit to forgive or forget.

“Need to talk to you, Corin.” The toothpick shredded between his incisors as he came my way.

I tried to think of anything I could possibly say that would end this conversation with me not in traction. Nothing was coming to mind. Darby took two more steps in my direction and I felt adrenaline kicking into my system like nitrous into a high performance engine. I hoped my legs were up to a hard run, because I knew my face wasn’t up to getting rearranged.

This scene, in third person, is from my novel, POSSESSIONS, in which our hero, Chris, decides to use the neighborhood bully as a means of escaping the bad guys.

“Look, Brittany doesn’t know a damned thing. I know, because I already asked her.” He looked around and saw still more people. Bryce Darby was leaning against the corner of his mother’s house, smoking a cigarette. The sun was bright and magnified as it cut through the thickening clouds. The way it ran across Darby’s face, he almost looked like a statue with bronzed hair. Darby lived with his father but still came back to the neighborhood from time to time to see his mother. He was wearing jeans and heavy hiking boots, both of which had seen better days a long time ago. He was also wearing a T-shirt with a picture of Yosemite Sam looking ornery and dangerous in a cartoonish sort of way. Darby and the cartoon gunslinger had a lot in common as far as Chris was concerned. They both had brutal faces, red hair and bad attitudes. The difference was that Bryce Darby was real and fully capable of breaking damned near anyone he saw in half. Bugs Bunny would have been rabbit stew inside of two minutes around the local terror of Chris’s early years. Seeing him made Chris want to scowl and then to smile as an idea finally came to his mind.
“Look, maybe if you described this key it would help?”
“I don’t suppose it could hurt.” Crawford shrugged and casually scanned the area. His eyes saw Darby and immediately ignored him. That was better than Chris could have hoped for. “It’s a little larger than a quarter, a gold coin with some fine silver filigree and the small gems in the center. It’s old, too. The original coin is actually a little uneven in shape.”
Chris heard the words but paid them little attention. His mind was already working on the Darby angle. He waited until they were even with his old classmate and then looked Bryce directly in the face. Bryce’s wide, square face turned to notice him, the dark eyes under a broad brow locked with Chris’s for a second, and he nodded almost imperceptibly. Damn, he’s in a good mood. Now I have to go and piss him off. On the best day, with maybe a dozen friends to help him, Chris still didn't like the idea of making the man angry. He wasn’t really that much bigger than Chris, but he had an almost unnatural capacity for violence and shoulders that made it nearly impossible for him to walk straight through a door. The thought that he might actually get bigger was enough to make most people gape in amazement. If even half the stories he’d heard were true—according to Jerry and a kid they both knew named Tom Murphy, Darby had once curb-stomped a grown man’s face for threatening to call the police on him. He didn't know if he believed it, but he’d never heard Bryce deny it, either—enraging Bryce Darby was probably a better way to get paralyzed than the pistol shoved against his side. It went against his nature to even get Darby’s attention. Actually deliberately making him angry? Well, that was almost a guarantee of bodily injuries.
Chris gave Darby the finger. What had been an almost pleasant look on his brutish face suddenly became a scowl. One corner of the red haired boy’s mouth lifted in an almost feral way, and he suddenly wasn’t leaning against the support post on his mother’s stoop any longer. He was standing straight and tall and looking twice as ugly as an IRS audit notice.  He lifted one leg and crushed out his cigarette against the worn heel of his boot. His eyes never left Chris’s.
Chris made another obscene gesture in his direction and smiled. 
Darby started walking his directing with a casual saunter that Chris knew meant nothing but pure trouble.

Both of those descriptions work well enough. They get the point across. But the first person can add a level of immediacy that third can’t as easily achieve. I tend to think of it as shorthand for the emotional occasions.
When should you use Third Person? When should you use first?
That’s easy. Use the one that works for the story. Listen I was 14,000 words into my latest novel and it just wasn't working for me. I mean, damn, it was not going well at all. It was going so badly, in fact, that I actually went back and rewrote/edited all 14,000 words from Third into First.

It was a damned big risk as far as I’m concerned, but you want to know something? It’s working now. The story that refused to flow for me is now working as well as anything I’ve done in a while.

In this case it’s the nature of the beast. I’m writing an apocalyptic novel. Things are going badly for planet Earth on a massive scale. In third person a lot of what I’d written comes across as statistics. This many bodies, over an area the size of that item. But when you add in the first person emotion, there is a palpable sense of dread offered in what would otherwise be a dry sequence. How can I tell the difference? The story is moving at a better pace and my first readers have told me very emphatically that first person works in this case.
And, because I am me and therefore likely certifiable, I’ll point to my one exception to the rule.

Sometimes the answer BOTH works just fine.

In my novel SMILE NO MORE I tell the story in three separate segments for most of the book. Two of them are First Person. The third is in, no shock, Third Person, limited omniscience. That is to say, there is a limited perspective per third person scene, but it is definitely third person.

Scene One is told from the perspective of Cory Phelps, remembering the events that led up to his death. Scene Two is told from the perspective of Rufo the Clown—the corrupted spirit of Cecil Phelps—fifty years later as he seeks to find the family he left behind when he was murdered. Scene Three is from multiple third person perspectives and examines the consequences of Rufo’s modern day actions. It was a nightmare to write, but you know what? The story demanded it. The end result seems to have been worth it. Reviewers praised the intimacy of getting to know and sympathize with Rufo and also dreaded his very dark actions all the m ore because they were cheering him, often times knowing they shouldn’t have. That was what I wanted. That was what I got. It was worth the extra headaches of switching perspectives constantly.

It was what the story dictated.

I still maintain that Second Person was designed by Satan to annoy me. But that’s a matter of personal taste.

Until next time,

James A. Moore

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Building A World: The Differences Between A “Real World” Setting And Creating Your Own.

I spent most of my years as a writer working in the real world. That is to say a world just like this one we all inhabit, give or take a few sideways trips into the Weird Zone. A ghost, a werewolf, strange things from beyond, the Fae making a trip into our realm. That sort of thing.
It can be a challenge, but it’s also a slightly easier route to take. How do I mean? Well, first, it can be a challenge because there’s research to do, isn’t there? Let’s say I want to set a story in London. I need to have a decent map or at least a few good reference guides. That’s a good starting point but it can’t actually give me the details of London that will cement the reality of that city in the minds of readers who have been to London. There are details that remain hidden away, like the scents that are common in certain areas, or the fashions that might be happening at a certain time. Say I want to set a book in the seventies. That’s going to be a very different section of London than it is today. More research.
Now if I want to take that same London and make it as real as possible, I need to talk to a few people who are either in London or visit frequently. I’ve been there exactly once, you see, and I loved it, but the entire trip is a blur of fond memories and could provide very little that stands out without some feedback from a few of my compatriots who know the city far better than I do.
What does it matter?
Someone, somewhere, reading my book has been to London. If I do my job the wrong way, if I get enough facts incorrectly assembled in my tale, they can no longer enjoy whatever story I am telling them. The suspension of disbelief has been broken and that sucks. I want to entertain ANYONE who reads my book. I know I will not always succeed, but I have to start by trying to get it right.
Another example for you: I know that the outbreak of Spanish Influenza was devastating. I can find statistics with ease, thanks to the Internet. What I can’t do is tell you what it was like. Not as big a problem as there aren’t that many people left who were alive when the outbreak happened, but I want to get a proper feel for the era, then I need to do my research and use my imagination in equal parts.
Now, let’s say I decide to do near future pace exploration. Time to pony up some serious research hours and figure out the details of space travel in the modern era. From here I can decide what leaps in technology have happened and I need to be able to make it all make sense to a complete layman because, frankly, no one wants to read a book for entertainment that requires a few doctorates in math, computer sciences, jet propulsion and astrophysics. And if they DO want to read that, I can pretty much guarantee they’ve come to the wrong place.
It’s a lot of work, especially if you want to get into more details about the world as it was or will be or the world away from your comfort zone. I cannot honestly describe the Vatican. I have never been there and I can guarantee that the culture is as alien to me as medieval China.
So, research, research, research.
I don’t need to do any of that for a fantasy world. The laws of physics are mine to shape. Do I want dragons in my world? Okay, sure, why not? How do they work? How big are they? Is the fire they breathe from the bowels of hell? Is it a naturally produced gas that they can only expel occasionally?  Is it a sorcerous fire that generates only as they need it? I may never state which version of a dragon’s breath is accurate, but I need to KNOW which one works in my world. I need to work out the details if I’m going to use it, because if I fail to at least have a notion about that fact, then I can confuse myself on the way it works and contradict myself later.
Let me give you an example: I’ll not mention the author or the book, but while reading a very hefty apocalyptic novel by a British writer I know, he took me clean out of the story on two separate occasions by changing the skin tone, hair color and eye color of one of the leading ladies. Not a major crime, but it was something neither the author nor the editor ever noticed. She was dark-haired, fair skinned and freckled with green eyes. That detail was given to the reader. Later she was blonde, blue eyed and deeply tanned. I could have accepted the tanning, because we’re dealing with an end of the world scenario here. But later still she went back to dark-haired, fair skinned and freckled with green eyes. Again, it’s a quibble, but it was enough to remove me from the story and make be go back and double check that it was the author making the changes and not me.
If I decide that a world like Fellein is set with certain technologies and flavors, it has to be consistently set that way unless the transformation is part of the plot.  Most of the soldiers in Fellein wield crossbows. Their enemies use bows of differing shapes and sizes because they make their own weapons as part of their culture. The soldiers from Fellein all use standardized shields and armor. Their enemies among the Sa’ba Taalor also make their own armor or sometimes wear none at all depending on their plans. The Fellein all go through the same training. The Sa’ba Taalor have a religion that stresses martial skills above all else.  Their differences are designed to show the ways in which they have been raised.
I made a new world and that means knowing the rules it works by just as surely as I know the rules of modern warfare if I’m writing about how the US Army fights against its current enemies.
The difference is that I have to make the rules as I go along and I have to remember them consistently. The Sa’ba Taalor have seven gods. I know their names and the philosophies that their followers employ. I know what each god demands and what each follower is expected to do. I HAVE to know that, regardless of whether or not it is stated in the actual manuscript, because, again, internal logics must apply or the story cannot hold without causing confusion. 
I can look at a map of the United States. I have to create a map for the continent of Fellein and the surrounding areas. (Said map has always been in my head, but as I write this an illustrator is currently creating a solid image the be shared soon.)
I need to know the socio-economic status of my characters. I need to know something about how sorcery works in the world I’ve created and just as importantly how it doesn’t work. I have to make the rules and then not break them.
For the life of me, I cannot tell you which is more difficult but I can tell you that I am loving the process of building a new world. Is it hard? Yes it is. Is it rewarding? Most decidedly so.

James A. Moore.