WHERE’S WALDO? – A Guest Post by Jack Ketchum

Today I have a special treat for me, and for readers out there — a guest blog post from friend and mentor, Jack Ketchum as stop #2 on his I’m Not Sam Blog Tour! Enjoy!


So what’s disturbing? What’s troubling, emotionally or mentally?

Loss is, for one thing.

The novelist Michael Chabon wrote, “if you can still see how you could once have loved a person, you are still in love; an extinct love is always wholly incredible.

I agree.

I’ve been going through some old files lately, actual paper files, excavated from the deep recesses of the bottom drawer of my four-door filing cabinet in my dark walk-in closet, trying to impose some order on what’s inside, separating unfinished fragments of manuscript from notes to myself, story ideas, letters, lists and throwing out the by-now undecipherable stoned maunderings of my youth — there’s a flake of something in my soup, I wish I had a dock to sit on.

It’s an interesting thing to do, this kind of housekeeping. Like looking at snapshots of your brain.

This is your brain at twenty-five. This is your brain at forty.

I’ve been separating the letters into two piles. Letters to and from other writers and more personal letters, from people you‘ve never heard of, although if you’ve read me and then went through the latter pile, you might just recognize a few of them as thinly-disguised characters in my stories.

But in this latter pile are love letters.

Letters that still have the power to make me smile, or bring tears to my eyes. Or both.

Because while I think that Chabon’s statement is true, that love never goes extinct, it’s also true that in most cases and to many varying degrees, the object of that love has gone out of reach. Has married or moved away or even died. Cannot be touched.

And to be unable to touch a loved one and yet still remain in love — that’s a very great loss indeed.

In I’M NOT SAM, Lucky and I wrote the following…

“I think of Sam and me at the amusement park in Kansas City years ago, before we were married, the way she kissed me from a bobbing horse when I managed to grab that brass ring.”

Sometimes, in a letter, in a memory, you can almost feel that ring, and taste that long-lost kiss.



I’M NOT SAM by Jack Ketchum & Lucky McKee can be purchased from CemeteryDance.com and SinisterGrinPress.com. For more info about the author, please visit http://www.JackKetchum.net. or follow him on Twitter at http://www.Twitter.com/JackKetchum
Check out our contest giveaway at http://www.jackketchum.net/im-not-sam-contest/

And here’s our I’M NOT SAM 2012 Blog Tour Schedule. Have fun!
Tour Stop 1: 9/10 at http://www.Litreactor.com
Tour Stop 2: 9/11 at http://www.marysangiovanni.com/
Tour Stop 3: 9/12 at http://www.BrianKeene.com
Tour Stop 4: 9/13 at http://www.Bookgasm.com
Tour Stop 5: 9/14 at http://www.tompiccirilli.com/

Upcoming Coolness

A few announcements on upcoming things:

Fans of Jack Ketchum will want to check this space out come September 11th — I’m the 2nd stop on his blog tour promoting I’m Not Sam and I’ll be featuring a special guest blog post by him!  I’m delighted that he will be stopping by.  🙂

I understand the Thrall audiobook is on sale through Dark Realms for only $5.95 until September 2nd — now’s your time to pick one up at its low sales price!

Also, as my first foray into Kindle self-publishing, I have finished the ms for a new short story collection called A Darkling Plain.  The collection will feature 10 short stories spanning over a decade of my short fiction writing, including many hard-to-find and out-of-print stories and story notes at the end.  Once it’s up and running, I’ll post ordering details.

A short story of mine called “The Anathema Cell” should be appearing in chapbook form soon — details to follow.

Finally, for those interested in this sort of thing, I am a quarter of the way through a new novel.  I hope to be able to announce more about this soon.

Creator Cookout Today — Come Join Us!

This afternoon, I’ll be at the 5th Annual Creator Cookout, which takes place at Comix Connection in Mechanicsburg, PA. This awesome event is held to raise canned goods and money for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. Bring a canned goods donation and you can get stuff signed, eat for free, and hang out with a lot of great folks. Guests include Brian Keene, Mike Hawthorne, Duane Swierczynski, Dirk Shearer, Kelli Owen, and me.

Comix Connection
Artworks Building, Carlisle Pike
6200 Carlisle Pike, Suite C
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050
Phone: 717-591-2727

Updates and Appearances

It’s been a while since I updated the site and I apologize for that; I’ve been in the process of moving from NJ to PA and reconnecting all the wires that a move like that requires. However, I do have some news on the writing front:

* T-shirts will be mailed without fail this weekend.  They are packed, addressed, and in my car, awaiting postage.

* On August 18th, I’ll be at the 5th Annual Creator Cookout, which takes place at Comix Connection in Mechanicsburg, PA. This awesome event is held to raise canned goods and money for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. Bring a canned goods donation and you can get stuff signed, eat for free, and hang out with a lot of great folks.  Guests include Brian Keene, Mike Hawthorne, Duane Swierczynski, Dirk Shearer, Kelli Owen, and me.

* I understand that Thrall is now available as a CD audiobook through AudioRealms’ horror imprint, Dark Realms.  Negotiations are in the works for audiobook adaptations of other works of mine.  News to follow.

* Upcoming publications include a chapbook of my story “The Anathema Chamber,” which has never appeared anywhere, nor is likely to for a while.  Possible upcoming publications include a paperback version of Thrall and Kindle versions of at least one short story collection.  I am also 1/3 of the way through a brand-new novel.

Looking forward to this last quarter of 2013 — I think it’s going to be an exciting beginning to a great new life down here in PA.  I appreciate all the support and help I’ve gotten from fans and friends alike during the transition. (hug)  You folks are great.

Appearance This Weekend at York Emporium

A quick reminder, folks, that I’ll be attending Horrible Saturday this weekend, July 14th, at the York Emporium. Also in attendance will be fellow authors Brian Keene, Kelli Owen, Bob Ford, and Chet Williamson. We’ll be participating in all kinds of fun events including Q&A and an on-the-spot story round robin, and we’ll have our books available for purchase and signing.

York Emporium is located at 343 West Market Street, York, PA. It promises to be a lot of fun, so come on by.

Also, regarding appearances, I’ve made a few changes/additions. For an updated list of appearances for the rest of this year, check out the Appearances page.

Website Updates

I’ve made some updates to the website here, primarily in that I’ve revamped the sidebar to the right a little.  I’ve renamed the former Interviews page as Media and Interviews.  Also, I’ve posted 1) an audio clip of my presentation on the lesser-known Do’s and Don’t’s of novel and short story publishing, and also 2) a neat little video interview with a local VA cable access TV channel that I, Brian Keene, and a number of other authors did back in 2004.  Enjoy!

Mo*Con Report and GSHW Appearance Reminder

I just got back from Mo*Con yesterday. It was an amazing time.  I laughed until my sides hurt, and also talked about writing and the impact of race, religion, spirituality, sex/gender, orientation, and personal experience on our work.  I had a wonderful time talking shop and cracking jokes with Maurice and Sally Broaddus, Nate Southard, Mary Robinette Kowal, Chesya Burke, Rodney, Jim Cobb, Jerry Gordon, Micheles Lee and Pendergast, Michael West, Gary Braunbeck, Lucy Snyder, and so, so many more.  It really was a privilege to have been invited as a Guest of Honor.  Thank you especially to Maurice, Sally, and Rodney, and to the whole Mo*Con team for making my first time as Guest of Honor anywhere so special.

Speaking of appearances, for those of you in the NJ/eastern PA area, I will be giving a talk to my old beloved writing group, the Garden State Horror Writers, next Saturday, May 12th.  The meeting starts at 11am at the East Brunswick Public Library, and I will probably go on around 12pm.  My topic is The Esoteric Do’s and Don’t’s of Writing.  Basically, I’ll be talking about things writers do that hurt their careers and how to avoid these pitfalls. I will also offer some less commonly known advice to help writers go from slush pile to published.  This is a great group and I’m delighted to have been invited to talk to them.  So if you’re in the area, come on down.  Also, Brian will be with me in an unofficial capacity, and both of us will sign books after the meeting for folks if you’d like us to.

New Keene, Gonzalez, SanGiovanni Bookstore

Just letting folks know that BK, JG Gonzalez and I opened a bookstore section at the York Emporium.  Basically, we want to 1) make available our books, including signed, limited editions, collector’s copies, lettereds, etc.; 2) Drive more traffic to the York Emporium, because Jim Lewin, its owner, has always been incredibly supportive of local authors; and 3) Get rid of the surplus of books that the three of us have.  Please consider checking out the store.

For a more complete description and store information, check out Brian’s write-up here.

Miscellaneous Thoughts Post

Just a quick couple of thoughts:

I noticed that For Emmy‘s sales went up on Amazon. I wonder if that’s connected to my appearing in Little Miss Zombie’s 50 Kindle Horror Books Written by Women. It’s a great list, and I’m honored to be appearing on it with so many women I like and admire.


The Hollower is now down to about 20 copies; I can’t say when or if the trilogy will be appearing in paperback or digital, so if you want them, my suggestion is to get them now.


For those following the abhorrent recent actions and sad downward spiral of Dorchester Books, BK has some new information on his website.  It is most definitely worth reading, not just for Leisure and other Dorchester authors, but for all writers.  My advice: know the publisher.  Talk to the authors who work with them.  And also, make sure to work into your contract a reversion clause, if possible.  Three years, five years, in writing, whatever the terms — make sure you KNOW who gets what, and for how long,


I’m working on a new novel, as yet untitled (but it’s supernatural) and a novella which, in a change of pace for me, will not be supernatural.  So far, so good.  For inspiration, I have also been trying to catch up on my reading, starting with books and short stories I should have read long ago, interspersed with anthologies, at least, of today’s top horror fiction.  It’s really renewed my excitement of writing through a sense of nostalgia for a time when, essentially, I was just a fan.  I tend to think that never goes away, being a fan first and a practitioner second.  Being a fan makes you an avid reader, and makes that reading, which is as much a part of writing as inhaling is a part of breathing, an enjoyable thing and not work.  Writing is the work.  It’s freakin awesome work, it’s the best work on the planet, and it’s fun, but it is work.  It takes time and patience and persistence of learning.  But when you write something that makes you feel the same elation, maybe even the same nostalgia as when you read your old favorites — you write for that.  Always.


Part of my reading has been old TZ Magazine issues (BK thoughtfully completed my collection by buying me the entire run for Christmas one year, and I love them).  I enjoy reading the interviews (this issue had one with Robert Bloch) and the short stories, seeing the editors talk about Stephen King almost as if he’s the new kid on the block they’re all proud of, reading the affable and humorous tones in the book and movie reviews.  There’s a part of me that kind of wishes I could have had a chance at submitting to/getting published in this magazine, alongside these greats.  I wish I could have met people like Robert Bloch, Karl Edward Wagner, etc.  I guess I want to be ageless and timeless and have enjoyed the history of commercial horror fiction as much as the present and future.  What I do find funny about reading through these old magazines and anthologies is that there were the same complaints and dramas then as there are now; like the old saying says, as much as things change, they stay the same.  There’s something kind of comforting in that; I guess when you’re in the midst of such a revolutionary time — tech-wise, war-wise, medicine-wise, society-wise — it’s nice to know publishing has, as evidenced by editorials, always been on the brink of explosion/implosion/annihilation at the hands tentacles of rabid pygmy sharktoctopi.


Guess that’s all for now.  Go out and enjoy the beautiful day. 🙂