Saturday, September 17, 2016

THIS IS HALLOWEEN (Coming soon as a limited release)

So, I teased already. Now I can show you the final work..

The following is the cover for a new short story collection by yours truly.  The collection, called THIS IS HALLOWEEN, will be available this year at the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival. As the collection directly revolves around Halloween and has MOST of my Halloween stories collected in one place, it seemed appropriate.

This is a limited edition, and only in print for the present time.

The cost will not be prohibitive. More on that soon.

In the meantime. I just wanted to show you the amazing cover by Dan Brereton, who is awesome. Dan knows all about the Halloween spirit, as he is responsible for THE NOCTURNALS, just about the best comic book ever to happen to Halloween and all things creepy.

Before We Even Met

This week several writers are remembering a man who was an influence, a peer and a friend. Maybe you’ve heard of him or read his works. Maybe, if you are very lucky, you had the chance to meet him in person.

His name is Charles L. Grant, and I knew him as Charlie.  He died ten years ago and I miss him.

Charlie was a powerful, subtle and always entertaining wrier. He knew how to bring a shiver down my spine (NOT an easy task, rest assured) with a few words. He also understood and appreciated the art of subtle storytelling. Not everyone gets that. There are a lot of writers out there whom I enjoy, but a goodly number of those very people simply do not have the skills required to make a quiet shiver.

The first time I met Charlie, he was gracious and kind. The second time I met him he chewed me up one side and down the other for not taking care of business properly when it came to my career. He yelled at me regularly about things like getting an agent and reading my contracts carefully. He was, in many ways, a mentor to me when I was just starting out. Rest assured, a substantial portion of the advice I give to other people I learned from him.

Charlie lived in northern New Jersey and I lived in Georgia. Most of the time when we talked it was at conventions or occasionally on a long distance call that, back then, cost more than we probably should have spent as writers.

Except, of course, when I was reading his works. At those times, we talked endlessly. We chatted about the lives of the characters he created from thin air and breathed life into. Well before I met Charlie in person, he’d told me all about THE PET, and took time to sit at THE TEA PARTY (My very first excursion into Charlie’s writing and one that still sticks with me today.) I read every volume of SHADOWS, the anthology that Charlie edited, as soon as I could get my hands on it.

Charlie was a monster when it came to writing. Look him up and you’ll only sew a few books, but he edited a lot, he wrote a lot and he sold a lot under pseudonyms. Lionel Fenn wrote mysteries. Simon Lake wrote horror and suspense. Felicia Andrews wrote gothic romances. They were all Charles L. Grant, who made my output seem insignificant in comparison.

Charlie was an amazing writer.

Charlie was a drinker and a smoker. They took their toll on him in the end and he left us far earlier than anyone would have liked. I point that out only because it wrenches my soul to think about how different the world would have been if he’d been with us for longer.

Charlie lived in New Jersey when he passed. I still lived in Georgia. I could not make it to his funeral. I still miss him.

But when I miss him the most, when I think about his laugh and it gets stuck in my head, I go over to my library and I choose a book from his rather extensive collection of works, and we talk again, like old times, before we even met.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Laura Silverman: GIRL OUT OF WATER

So an author friend of mine, Kami Garcia, brought this to my attention, via Christopher Golden.

There is an outspoken, first time author who has her first book coming out next year. The book is so new that review copies haven't been made.

Amazon has a link, but no image and barely any information is available beside the release date of May 1st.  There's no cover, but there will be in time.

So, with no cover and no review copies available, a strange and demented miracle took place today. Losers and racists decided to post their own reviews on The reason for this? Laura has been very vocal in her dislike of Donald Trump as a presidential candidate. Frankly, he's made a gigantic number of racist comments (I'm not gonna source that. Look basically ANYWHERE on the internet where actual news is reported and you're going to run across a few references.)

And apparently she offended the racist red neck brigade. who promptly started giving her one star reviews on Goodreads after generating a flurry of spam identities to allow them the privilege.   I understand that a slurry or racial remarks made their way onto Goodreads,too, just to make sure a new author felt welcome.

I don't like racists.  I find they are, as a rule, not nice people. Even the ones who ARE  nice are only nice now and then and under the right circumstances. Left to their own devices, some of them even go so far as to drag people behind trucks for a few miles, chain people to trees, burn crosses in front yards, oh, the list of atrocities is monumental and even leads to genocide too often for my comfort. Not all, but enough to leave me unhappy with their philosophies and enough to guarantee that I would never consider voting for Donald Trump, who seems to believe that pointing at anyone other than himself and calling for blame is the best way to run a campaign (unfortunately it's worked to a very real extent).

This nonsense. Right here.

Let me clarify: REVIEW COPIES ARE NOT AVAILABLE. THEY DO NOT EXIST AS YET. Somehow, a few dozen readers magically got copies and all decided it was a one star book.

This is Laura's first book. You don't like her? Fine, don't buy the book. Don't like her politics? Don't like her religion or her race? Same answer. but to start a smear campaign before the book is out? Well, pardon my language, but that makes you an a douche bag loser of epic scale.  

The following was found on Goodreads:

"Due to trolling and the falsified reviews being posted for Girl Out Of Water which is NOT yet available for review in any form or capacity, we are adding this note from the publisher until the harassment of Laura Silverman on Goodreads is addressed and a resolution has been reached.

Thank you to everyone who is supporting Laura and Girl Out of Water. She appreciates your love and so do we! We hope to solve this problem as soon as possible. In the meantime, please share the pre-order link to Girl Out of Water! and your love for Laura on Twitter #LoveForLaura

Amazon -

Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer.

Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word. Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves?

Seriously, sounds like a proper synopsis to me. I'm looking forward to it.

I'm not saying anyone should follow my lead here, but I hope people do. Last I checked the ideas that stood for the most in this country included freedom or religion and freedom from racial/religious persecution. Also, I tend to like it when new writers do well. it means more people are reading and writers are making a living in their trade.

I seriously do not want to know where I would be if this had happened with my first book.

James A. Moore

Thursday, September 15, 2016

I'm not SAYING....

I'm not SAYING that I have a special edition book coming out for the Merrimack Valley Halloween Festival, but I'm saying that it's so. Limited edition, but there might be a few available when it's all said and done.

I'm also not saying that the cover is by the amazing Dan Brereton, but there ya go....

This is not the cover. Just an awesome piece by Dan....

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Upcoming River City Writers Events



River City Writers Present: 
Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival 2016 
Saturday, October 22nd 10am to 4:30pm at Haverhill Public Library, Haverhill, MA 

Join us as we celebrate books this Halloween season! 33 Authors and Artists gather to present panel discussions on New England horror traditions, ghost stories, why scary stories are good for kids, and much more! Authors will be selling and autographing their books. This event is sponsored by River City Writers and Jabberwocky Bookshop. 

This event is FREE and open to the public!!! 
Please share!! 

Our lineup of participating authors, artists, and filmmakers includes: 

Christopher Golden 
Brian Keene 
James A. Moore 
Thomas E. Sniegoski 
Josh Malerman 
Paul Tremblay 
Leigh Perry 
Craig Shaw Gardner 
John Langan 
Kat Howard 
Nicholas Kaufmann 
Rio Youers 
Toni LP Kelner 
John M. McIlveen 
Glenn Chadbourne 
Jack Haringa 
Jason Ciaramella 
Hillary Monahan 
EJ Stevens 
Bracken MacLeod 
Errick Nunnally 
Kristin Dearborn 
Douglas Wynne 
Christopher Irvin 
Izzy Lee 
Scott Goudsward 
Tony Tremblay 
Gardner Goldsmith 
Jan Kozlowski 
Daniel Braum 
Gregory Bastianelli 
Amber Fallon 
Dan Padanova 
Asher Ellis 


Writers of all experience levels gather to discuss the business and craft of writing. Writers Coffeehouse events are always free, and are an excellent opportunity to learn and to build relationships within the writing community. 

Upcoming Coffeehouses include: 

Saturday October 2016 1st 2-5pm: 
Bodacious Books and Baubles, 225 Shaker Rd., East Longmeadow, MA 

Saturday December 3rd 2016 1-4pm: 
Portland Public Library, 5 Monument Square, Portland, ME 

Saturday, February 4th 2017 1-4pm: 
BookClub Bookstore, 2 Main Street, Westfield, MA

The River City Writers are here

So for a while now Christopher Golden and yours truly have been working on something. that something is now here. 


With more than half a century’s combined experience in writing and editing, Christopher Golden and James A. Moore bring their shared love of the written word to all they do. In recent years, the Haverhill, Massachusetts-based authors and editors have expanded their repertoire to include events like the wildly successful Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival and area workshops like the Writers Coffeehouse New England. Now Golden and Moore launch RIVER CITY WRITERS, a company offering book-and-writing-related events, workshops in all areas of writing and publishing, focused and intimate writing retreats, and by popular demand, premium editorial and consultation services.

RIVER CITY WRITERS debuts in 2016 with events including the 2nd Annual Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival, the continuation of the free Writers Coffeehouse New England series, and a combination of single afternoon and multi-day workshops. Golden and Moore will both be offering selective editorial and consultation services as their own busy writing schedules allow.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A little advice I still try to live by

I wrote this a while ago, like six years ago this Halloween, for Storytellers Unplugged. It was my last essay after several years, and I ran across the article on my computer (because I collect semi-finished files like a hoarder collects magazines) and reread it.

It still makes sense to me, so I'm posting it here for anyone who thinks my advice might be worth something.

Yes, There Are Rules

Waaaaaay the heck back (Five years ago last July) I pondered whether or not there are rules for this writing gig. I even gave a few that I think are fairly easy to live with. A few people disagreed with me, but to be fair, at least one of them was just trolling around and looking for something to argue about.  Also to be fair, I was probably wrong about a few of them.

So, here’s my disclaimer. YES there are rules, but any rules I provide (or other writers, for that matter) should be considered and then applied to your personal situation as best suits your needs. Why? Because you aren’t me. My experiences aren’t going to be yours. Learn as you go. Never stop learning. That one is non-negotiable: If you ain’t learning as you go through this life, you’re doing it wrong.

This will, by the by, be my last of these essays for the foreseeable future. Why? Because I’ve earned three strikes. That doesn’t mean that Dave Wilson (he who manages this site and all the archived wisdom placed therein) has banished me. No. I’m banishing myself. After several years of not ever dropping the ball on a deadline for Storytellers Unplugged, I have now missed a total of three essay deadlines. I don’t think that’s fair to you, the reader, to Dave or to any of my peers here. It means that I’m not being a professional. Now, I could go easy on myself and simply deal myself a few hundred laps around the office as punishment, but the problem is my time consumption. Paying bills must take precedence over writing for Storyteller’s Unplugged, especially since I’m not sure I’ve even said anything new in the last year.

That said, it’s been a lot of fun and I mean that. I’ve enjoyed the comments, I’ve enjoyed the correspondences, and I’ve enjoyed having a spot to lay down my opinions for what little they are worth.  I hope someone somewhere got a little useful advice along the way, because, really, that’s what this site is all about.

That said, time for those rules.

1)   Write every day. Read every day.  No exceptions.

2)   Write it first. Edit it later. I can’t emphasize how many people I’ve seen who failed to ever finish a short story, let alone a novel, because they get mired in editing the words they wrote earlier the same day or week. I firmly believe you should make a note to go back and make corrections, and then move on while the proverbial iron is hot. The comparison I use most often is that writing anything of significant length is like walking uphill. You lose momentum and have to start all over again at the bottom of that damned hill every time you edit before you’ve finished the story. Write. Then edit.

3)   Be professional in your dealings. I don‘t care if you’re dealing with an editor, a peer or a fan, be professional. That doesn’t mean you can’t be a little casual. You can. You can talk to your writer buddies as friends, but when it comes time to do business, then, damn it, do business. Listen, I’ve collaborated with several authors on several projects. No matter what the case, we work out the ground rules in advance, and if it becomes necessary we write out a contract in advance, too. Anyone that takes offense to the notion of a contract hasn’t been playing this game for very long. Along the same lines, make sure that you include that self addressed stamped envelope, that contact information, those references, that damned cover letter if that is what is expected of you. Contrary to what you might think, you are not the exception to the rules. At least not until the editor/peer/coauthor tells you so. And as for your readers, well, it’s best to remember that the person you flambĂ© on an online forum will remember if you’ve been an ass (and sometimes will remember even if you haven’t) and will gladly share that information with everyone they know. More than one writer has received digital egg on the face for being foolish and not thinking before making a comment. You don’t act like a fool, you don’t have to recover from foolish actions nearly as often.

4)   Get paid for your work. I’ve gone over this again and again. I’ll continue to do so. Don’t “Sell” your work for free. That means you think it’s got no value. There are always exceptions, but they should be just that, exceptions. Yes, I occasionally write for charity anthologies or write for an anthology that isn’t paying top dollar. No, I’d never give a publisher anything more than a short story without expecting compensation. If you want to be considered as a professional, then act the part and that includes getting paid. Also, from time to time remind those who owe you money that you have bills too. Remember, folks, I’m making these suggestions for those of you who want to make writing your career. If you want writing to be your hobby, you need read no further.

5)   Edit the damned manuscript. Then, just for fun, edit it again. No matter how many times you do it, you’re going to miss things. That’s why there are real editors out there. You may never meet one, but they do exist.  Your manuscript may not need to be perfect to get into print, but get as close as you can, while understanding that you will never be satisfied with your work a year after it’s seen print. You doubt me? Go ask a few authors you know to read their first printed piece again and watch their faces, see how many of them flinch. At least 90% at a guess.  Proviso: Know when to stop editing. If you’ve gone over it three times. Call it finished. Move on and send that puppy out into the wilds.

6)   Expect Rejection. That rule hasn’t changed. No one sells every piece, at least not on the first try. If they do, they’ve either got more talent than God or more luck that an army of leprechauns. Have a good cry if you must, then get that poor rejected story back to the editing board if you think it will help, and then resubmit and move on.

7)   Put your ego in check. I don’t care how good you are, you ain’t all that.  From Stephen King to Stephanie Meyers to every other best selling author out there and a few who think the review they got on MyFavoriteBooks.Com makes them something special, you ain’t all that. You might be successful, you might even be highly praised, but that doesn’t mean you need to have an ego the size of Texas. Though, to be fair, at least two of the aforementioned can probably negotiate for a MUCH higher advance than most of us will ever see. More power to them. Don’t let success go to your head. Be grateful, then move on.

8)   Make your deadlines. If you can’t make your deadlines, make sure your editors/publishers know in advance. Technically this is part of being professional, but it bears repeating, They’re waiting on you and if they’ve paid you and upheld their part of the agreement, you have an obligation to do the same.  Late happens. Life happens and almost guarantees that. Just the same, bust your ass and do it right.

9)   Read everything. Write what you love. You should be well read. The market is always changing, especially these days. Be aware of that. Work with it. As a writer, this is part of your job. If you’re serious about writing, read every day. Write what you love. No matter who you are or how well you think you know the trends, the trends will change before you can finish what you’re writing. That being said, write what you love. That way, you can always be pleased with the end result.  No, I have not written any classics with a twist of zombies/alien invasions or werewolves. Why? I don’t want to steal somebody else’s work and then add a few thousand words and claim it as my own, merely because the original work is in the public domain.  It ain’t my thing. Proviso: Yes, I DID write BLOODSTAINED OZ with Christopher Golden. Yes, I AM writing two sequels (BLOODSTAINED WONDERLAND and BLOODSTAINED NEVERLAND). No, none of those works use a single sentence from the original works, but they most certainly use the creations in the public domain. There’s a difference between an homage and effectively stealing half or more of a dead writer’s work. No, I don’t feel the least bit bad about saying that. Nor will I change my mind in the future. It was cute the first time. Now it’s just a lazy way of trying to make a buck without having to actually do most of the work.

10)                  Have fun. If you aren’t having fun in this industry, you’re doing it wrong.

11)                  Remember that these are my rules and may not work for you. In the long run you have to decide for yourself.

Thanks, folks. Those of you who’ve followed faithfully, I am flattered and honored and I hope I helped. Those of you who actually picked up a book or two, thanks very much indeed.  Any way you look at it, I’ve had a lot of fun.

All the best, and, of course, Happy Halloween!

James A. Moore