Krampus

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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Weird NJ gives some Krampus love!

  
Weird N.J., journal of all things odd, spooky and unique in the Garden State, was nice enough to run a complimentary review of The Dark Servant in its 44th issue! 

Special thanks goes to Joanne Austin for originally expressing interest in what this local author had to hawk.

  
Now, you could read the review here, or you could run right out to your local bookstore or newsstand and support this excellent New Jersey institution. 

Do both!

Thanks, Weird N.J.!

The Midnight Society talks Krampus!

I want to call attention to the Melinda Harrison’s “Merry Krampus” post on The Midnight Society website. It’s a sleek website with reviews from folks who like their books a little bloody. And I’m glad they’re talking about Krampus. He needs to be chatted up in the United States!

Keep up the good work!

NJ 101.5 blogs about The Dark Servant!

I had a blast talking for a few minutes for NJ 101.5’s Steve Trevelise. He was nice enough to blog about The Dark Servant and me. Thanks Steve!

Blog Talk Radio appearance set for Dec. 18!

I’m thrilled to announce that I’m scheduled to appear on Blog Talk Radio’s Whispers in the Dark program, hosted by Viktor Aurelius at 9 p.m. on Thursday, December 18!

As many of you know, I love radio in all of its forms and am looking forward to discussing The Dark Servant and Krampus, in general, with Viktor and his co-host, Jeff Niles. You can participate in the show by calling (347) 884-9923.

Please listen!

 

Thank you, Rush Limbaugh

Credit: The Rush Limbaugh website.

Credit: The Rush Limbaugh website.

I like Rush Limbaugh.

Now that I’ve effectively guaranteed that The New York Times will never review my book, allow me to explain why I like the most-listened-to radio talkshow host in the United States.

The short answer is he mentioned my entire name and the title of my book on his show today. I provided neither my full name—Matt Manochio—or the book’s title—The Dark Servant. I was Matt from Netcong, NJ. I encourage you to read the call’s transcript and how Rush came to mention me. Whether my book sells more copies (I know I’ve sold at least one!) because of this, I’ll wait and see.

But there’s a longer answer to why I like Rush Limbaugh. Rush speaks passionately about the lengths people go to achieve success, and he laments when people who are capable of achieving success don’t try because of self-imposed limitations, or because success—however it’s measured— isn’t immediately achieved.

When you’re an unknown author, success rarely comes overnight. It sometimes takes years and several books under your belt. You have to plug away. And even then success isn’t guaranteed. You’ll experience failure in the form of rejection, be it from agents or publishers. But if you’re good enough, learn what you’re doing wrong, and persist you will get yeses. And those yeses matter. My point to Rush was that unknown authors must get blurbs from established writers, most of whom will say no. It’s not personal. It’s time consuming for established authors to squeeze in work they might not enjoy. But authors ask, and that led me to discuss a point Rush sometimes makes: Never be afraid to ask for something because you just might get it.

I asked at least 130 New York Times bestselling and/or Bram Stoker Award-winning authors and had a 6% success rate in getting blurbs: but that 6% accounted for 10 blurbs, an impressive haul that included some respected names. And I got them by asking, always respectfully, never pleading, always professionally.

The impetus for my call was a college professor’s study declaring the American Dream dead, and that upward mobility is an illusion. That’ll certainly be the case if you don’t try. And it will be the case if you abandon your passion. One of the things I wanted to tell Rush was how great it felt to write my book every day after work, not thinking it was something I had to do, but something I couldn’t wait to do. It’s a feeling I can’t describe but it’s something I hope everyone experiences in their life. I might not even sniff a bestsellers list, but I’ve achieved a personal goal, and whether it leads to massive financial success isn’t up to some force of nature. It’s up to me and my ability to tell a compelling story, to hook readers, and to spread the word about what I’m trying to do. If I wanted his listeners to take away anything, it was to at least try, and ask for help if you need to without losing your dignity.

I called Rush’s show and was greeted by the call screener, Bo Snerdley. I explained what I wanted to tell Rush about the blurbs, and told him I would not ask Rush for anything (otherwise authors would call Rush all the time). Bo took my data—Matt from Netcong—and sternly commanded me, I’m paraphrasing, not to plug my book on the air or else I’d come to regret it. I gave him my word I wouldn’t.

Now, Rush isn’t stupid. He sees on the call board that there’s an author on the line and that I’d be a fool not to want to plug my book. But I didn’t, I wasn’t tempted to. Rush sometimes allows authors to give their names and titles. I figured if the call went well, perhaps Rush would express interest. That didn’t happen. He commented on the point I brought up and went to break. That was that. I wasn’t able to plug my book, but I did get through to Rush Limbaugh’s show, which is no easy feat. People try for years and don’t get on. This was my second time trying (the first being last week) and I got through. And I’m certain he appreciated what I was saying. Success!

Rush returned from the break and then proceeded to identify both me and my book. I was sitting on my couch at home and my jaw dropped. It literally dropped. Rush said he appreciated that I was reserved in not attempting to shamelessly shill for myself, and explained that he Googled Matt and Netcong NJ and there I was. I didn’t ask for this nor was I expecting it. But it was a classy thing for Rush to do, and for that I’m thankful.