Did Craig Carton scam the New York Mets?

I live in the New York area and tune in to WFAN on the way to work to listen to the Boomer and Carton show. Boomer would be former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason, and Carton would be Craig Carton, the loudmouth, bombastic sidekick.

(Carton’s on the left, Esiason’s on the right. Credit to Getty Images.)

Earlier today the Feds arrested Carton for allegedly running a multimillion-dollar Ponzi-like scheme to pay off massive gambling debts.

My first question: Did Carton (a huge Mets fan) convince Fred and/or Jeff Wilpon to invest in his scheme? That would be delicious because the Wilpons, who (terribly) own the New York Mets, were scammed by Bernie Madoff a few years ago, and fans have cited that as one of the reasons the Wilpons don’t open up their wallets the way the crosstown rival New York Yankees do to sign free agents. Hopefully the Wilpons learned their lesson!

I’m not happy Carton got arrested. He’s a father of four with a dream job in the biggest media market in America. He reportedly makes $250,000 a year, and now faces decades in prison. He’s one of the ones who pointed to the Madoff scam over the years to criticize the Mets, and, unfortunately, now has more in common with Madoff than the Wilpons.

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Krampus Funko Pop! Is coming!

With all this talk about deporting millions of children, and the possibility of thermonuclear war without Matthew Broderick saving the day, I figure, why not spread some pre-Christmas cheer? (Just in case earth is noting but a smoldering orb in a few short months.)

Funko, that is wonderful company that produces roughly 100,000 different bulbous-headed action figures and bobbleheads from decades of pop culture has finally gotten around to making a no-brainer of a Pop! Krampus!

And not the one from that movie from a few years ago. This is the Krampus that I and a continent of petrified European children conjure in our darkest dreams:

And the best part? There will be five of them!

Two of them are “flocked” and only available at a store called “Hot Topic,” which, honestly, sounds like a place where tween girls buy clothing. And to quote many a parole officer: Don’t go there. Unless you’re a tween buying Krampus for your geek parents.

The others are available at FYE (meaning they’ll cost $10 more) and, well, everywhere they sell items that are a complete waste of money but you need something for your desk anyway.

I cannot tell you how excited I am about this! (I truly need human companionship.)

Oh, and for you Elf fans, Christmas is coming early for you this year, too, unless Kim Jong Un decides to steal it by way of mutually assured destruction.

Goin’ to Virginia!

Well, the hotel room’s booked! That means I’m going to Scares that Care in Williamsburg, Va., this coming Friday through Sunday to hawk books and give out pretty bookmarks (I designed them myself)!

Scares that Care is an annual event that caters to the horror crowd (that likes meeting B-, C-, and D-list actors and actresses, and Z-list authors [ahem] for that matter) and it benefits children fighting terrible illnesses, the to the families who support them.

It’s worth the price of admission. So, to all three or four of my blog readers, if you’re in the area, please swing by to say hello.

Has it been that long? (Yes.)

The Highwayman cover7The last time I blogged was more than a  year and a half ago. What could possibly have kept me away from this form of social media?

Could I have been binge-watching Sherlock? Yes, but seeing that there are only 14 episodes, I finished bingeing a while ago, and I’m frankly dismayed that it might literally take years for any future episodes to be made.

Was I busy colluding with the Russians? (I don’t know. I might have had Russian salad dressing, and I’m convinced that made at least half the country angry.)

Or was I looking to find a new home for my already-published works and a place for my new book, The Highwayman? The obvious answer, based on the oversized photo of the book cover, is yes! Crossroad Press has kindly picked up my backlist and just published my first-ever thriller.  Remember the show “To Catch a Predator”? (Great show to watch, awful show to be on.) Well, in my book, the creeps don’t meet Chris Hansen in the kitchen with a plate of stale brownies and a camera crew–they’re murdered. But why is an above-reproach FBI agent who is investigating the case targeted by the killer? Go to my website for the full scoop.

I just wanted to say a quick hello, and hopefully it won’t be another 18+ months before you hear from me again.

 

Win a $50 Amazon gift card!

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Greetings y’all! I’m doing what many unknown authors do: coaxing readers into reviewing my work for the chance to win something!

Here’s what’s what: Twelfth Krampus Night (Samhain Publishing) is my first-ever novella and I thoroughly enjoyed writing it. And it costs less than certain drinks at Starbucks!

So, if you’d like to win a $50 Amazon gift card, and a print copy of my first book, The Dark Servant, follow this Rafflecopter link to see how to enter, which you can do multiple times.

Also, and this it the REALLY IMPORTANT PART: If you review Twelfth Krampus Night and send the link to Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, at hookofabook@hotmail.com, and click you’ve done this on the Rafflecopter section for it, you will get 5 extra entries! Any questions, defer them to Erin as well. Click on the Rafflecopter daily to enter!

Dark servants clash!

Medieval maiden Beate, who’s grieving over the mysterious evisceration of her best friend, Gisela, must escape a Bavarian castle under siege by sadistic creatures.

Standing in her way—beyond towering walls and crossbow-toting guards—are Saint Nicholas’s demonic helper, Krampus, and Frau Perchta, a belly-slitting hag who prowls the countryside during First Night festivities to punish naughty teens. Beate wants out. Krampus and Frau Perchta want in, determined to breach the castle to snag their prey. Beate has no idea why these monsters want her, but she must use her wits to save herself from horrors both human and inhuman—lest she wind up like Gisela.

To Don D’Auria, my editor

Don D'Auria, myself, and a really patchy beard, at BEA 2015 last spring in NYC

Don D’Auria, myself, and a really patchy beard, at BEA 2015 last spring in NYC

Tonight I drink to Don D’Auria.

I rarely drink. I originally planned on having a beer tonight to celebrate the release of my newest supernatural thriller, Sentinels, from Samhain Publishing, where Don was my editor. I say “was” because Don informed his stable of writers he’s leaving the company this Friday. Why and how this came about, I can’t say. Samhain turns 10 years old this month, and for a majority of that time has published romance, lots of it, and has even seen a few of its titles make The New York Times bestsellers list. Don was hired in 2011 to start a horror line, and he’s done so quite ably. Three of his edited works have been nominated for the coveted Bram Stoker award presented by the Horror Writers Association. He discovered a bunch of eventual Bram Stoker-winners during his days with Dorchester Publishing, where my history with him began.

Don plucked me out of Dorchester Publishing’s creaking slush pile in 2010. I’d written a straight crime thriller and Don offered me a small advance to make the book part of Dorchester’s Leisure line. I agreed, and then promptly saw the deal collapse—and Don laid off—a few months later because Dorchester went bankrupt. I stayed in touch with Don and heard he’d landed with Samhain. I couldn’t follow him there because my book wasn’t horror, but I kept him in the back of my mind, and when I got the idea for my Krampus novel, The Dark Servant, in 2012, he was the first guy I emailed—Don’s primary method of communication. He expressed a few concerns, nothing major, and was enthusiastic to see what I could do. He encouraged me to write, making no promises, and to send him some sample chapters. A line from his email, which I saved: “I have no doubt the book will be well written, unless you’ve had some serious head injury you haven’t mentioned.”

Don believed in me, and that was important. And what I’d hoped to have happen in February 2011 (a book with Dorchester) happened a few years later in December 2014 (a different book with Samhain). And I’m eternally grateful to have earned Don’s trust. He’s easy to work with, states up front his concerns about a character or a plot point. And he’s an exceedingly nice man. I was fortunate enough to attend BEA 2015 in New York just this past spring, and Don was there. We caught up, discussed horror, the publishing industry in general, and it was simply nice to finally see, after five years, the first editor to appreciate my work and offer to pay me for it.

So what now? Here’s my message to the Big 5 publishers: Hire this man. He knows what he’s doing and will bring talented authors with him. I’m not the only author who’s reeling upon learning about his unexpected departure. But I’m also not the only author who believes that Don will land somewhere else and succeed. I have a feeling I’m going to work with him again.

My beer is Michelob Ultra. Don’s apparently a martini fellow. (Sorry, I can’t do that.) But I will be drinking my beer tonight and celebrating two published novels, and an upcoming Krampus novella, Twelfth Krampus Night, which drops in December. I’m proud to say Don D’Auria helped make them happen.

I have a bookshelf of Samhain Horror works by Jonathan Janz, John Everson, Tamara Jones, Brian Moreland, Hunter Shea, and Glenn Rolfe, and I’ll be adding more in the months ahead. (Russell James, Ron Malfi, you’re on notice.) And tonight I’ll drink to all of them and to the man who edited them—Don D’Auria, who gave me my start. Cheers.

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Having a Howl of a Time Talkin’ Horror with Glenn Rolfe

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When you meet Glenn Rolfe, the first thing you think is “Why is this 12-year-old kid trying to sell me a werewolf book?” That’s my way of saying that Glenn looks young (and he is—still in his 30s; when you’re 40, like me, anybody in their 30s is young). In all honesty, when I first met Glenn in person last year in Cincinnati at HorrorHound, the first thing I thought was “Glenn really loves horror.” His love for the genre is infectious. He’s tremendously supportive of his fellow writers too. So when I learned Glenn had a werewolf book, Blood and Rain (Samhain Publishing), scheduled to drop in October, I couldn’t wait to help him try to promote it to all 4 readers of my blog. And Glenn’s take on the age-old legend defied my expectations—it wasn’t what I was expecting at all! But that’s not a bad thing. I’ll let Glenn explain it. Here’s my Q&A with him. Enjoy!

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Q. Many werewolf stories revolve around not knowing who the monster is until the big reveal at the end of the book, but not so in Blood and Rain. We know full well the identities. Did you ever toy with keeping the identities hidden? If so, what made you change your mind? If it was always your plan to reveal who’s who up front, what was the reason?

A. I changed it in my re-writes last summer. The original manuscript was about 60% different. It was a mystery that I ran to have people guessing whether it was one or the other and then the big surprise was that it was both. I liked it, but I ended up completely changing one of the characters. When I sat down to get real last July, I started by writing the prologue. I revealed it right there. And I liked it. To me, it doesn’t matter if we know or not. If you want to do that, go for it. I decided to run straight ahead and just have a lot of fun with the story and these creatures. So, to answer that one, I guess the story demanded that I reveal the identity of the beast right off. I love how it came out.

Q. You’re a Stephen King fan. Publisher’s Weekly even likened your approach in Blood and Rain to the horror master. How did King’s Cycle of the Werewolf influence you? I know it did because A.) you’re from Maine and pronounce lobster entirely different from New Jerseyans, and B.) Blood and Rain is set in a small Maine town much like Cycle. Am I correct in these observations (don’t worry about the lobster one)?

A. Of course. Yeah, I’d seen Silver Bullet a million times growing up and in 2004 I finally read Cycle of the Werewolf. When I finished it I knew I wanted more! I wasn’t a writer at that time, but I jotted down an idea for a story. Years later, that idea became the first few original chapters of my first real work, Blood and Rain. I love small towns. I’ve lived in them almost my entire life. It’s what I know best, so it’s what I use to paint with. King’s beast is bad news, too. I made sure mine was also going to be mean and nasty.

Q. How come your werewolf isn’t a shirtless teenaged Native American boy who can’t act? You do realize you’re alienating 99% of the high school-aged female readership by going out of your way to make your werewolf a vicious, man-devouring monster.

A. Ha! Hey, Taylor Lautner is a good looking kid. But, yeah, no. I had no romantic notions circling my brain during this one. No way were my monsters going to be pretty and lovely.

Q. Werewolf novels you’d recommend to your fans?

A. The Howling by Gary Brandner (if you go to the movies, The Howling IV is actually the story from the first book). Cycle of the Werewolf. I also loved what Ray Garton did in his book, Ravenous. That one had a lot of influence over the original manuscript, too. Outside of Garton and King’s books, I hadn’t read that many werewolf books prior to writing Blood and Rain. I’m catching up now. W.D. Gagliani has an interesting take with his Nick Lupo series, too. I’m getting ready to read book 3 of his saga. Jonathan Janz’s new one, Wolf Land, is pretty vicious, too.

Q. What’s the most difficult part about writing a werewolf novel compared to your earlier works (Abram’s Bridge, a ghost story; and Boom Town, aliens)?

A. It wasn’t any harder than the others. It was a lot of FUN. The most difficult part was re-writing it. It was the first real thing I’d written. The manuscript had all of my “I have no idea what I’m doing” bits in there, but I knew the heart of the story and the characters I’d created were good enough. I refused to give up on them. I did a crazy re-write marathon for about three and a half to four weeks at the end of last summer. I was lucky to have my friend Ben there to tell me yes or no on the changes. He beta read both versions. Once he said “Dude, this is it”, I knew I had it. Then I let Erin at it and she cleaned up the rest of my mess (Thanks, E!) and helped me tweak the last couple of pieces I wasn’t comfortable with. So, much much kudos to Ben and Erin!

Q. I read Blood and Rain and will say this, you spare no one. I won’t spoil anything, but my god! I will tell the reader not to get attached to anybody. What compels you to kill off characters (some the readers might like) or keep them alive? I must admit there were some characters I wish had survived.

A. I don’t worry about whether it’s going to upset anybody. I let the story do what it wants. If they live or die, that’s whatever I felt the scene wanted. It’s not plotted out at all. I just go with the flow when I’m writing. I like to think if this was real life and this shit happened, it wouldn’t be pretty. You’re lucky if you come out in one piece or at all. I write for myself. If anyone else enjoys it, awesome! But you have to write for yourself first. Looking back after I’ve finished at a piece like this, or my other novel, The Haunted Halls, when I see the carnage and death toll….I like it. In real life, shit happens. Life doesn’t play by the rules. There’s something about going into a book or a movie where you don’t know who is or who isn’t going to make it out. I never understand why some writers choose to play it safe every time out. It is what it is. And I dig it. ###

I wish Glenn the best of luck with Blood & Rain. And for those of you in Maine who are eager to meet him. He’s having a book signing at the Barnes & Noble in Augusta on Saturday, August 24, from noon to 2 p.m. So get out there to pick up a copy, and talk to the guy about horror. You’ll learn a lot and have a great time doing it!

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