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Josh Vogt is a talented up-and-coming author, my former executive manager, and now an editor at Paizo Publishing. Here’s his take on monsters
We all have different fears. Heights. Spiders. Clowns. Puppets. (So, in other words, don’t ever stick me on a clifftop facing a giant spider that has a clown puppet.)
And they hide in all sorts of different places. Under the bed. In the closet. On dark back roads. In your office shared fridge. Or in a bathroom stall.
Now, I’ve never been a huge fan of all things scary in life. There’s a phrase I’ve heard tossed around that basically says, “You can laugh or you can scream.” I always prefer laughter, and believe if you learn to laugh at your fears, at the monsters, it can take away much, if not all, of their hold on you.
Monsters can still be fun. They can be fascinating, even, as you try to understand them and why they do what they do–or why they even exist in the first place. I also think it’s intriguing to see how the definition of “monster” can be so dramatically different from person to person.
What’s monstrous for you? Is it even always a bad thing, or do we need monsters to inspire us to overcome them? How would you go about defeating yours?
When I approach monsters, especially in my storytelling, I often tend to do so with laughter as my soundtrack, rather than screams. Now, that doesn’t mean the monsters aren’t serious and can’t cause nasty consequences, but it very much shifts the tone of the story and how the characters within it act.
That’s why my Cleaners series, starting with Enter the Janitor, has a more humorous bent to it–a level of inherent absurdity when you consider janitors working for a supernatural sanitation company, wielding mop and squeegee to take down monsters like dust devils, sewer creatures, or all sort of magical muck.
But that’s not the only approach, of course. And one of the best ways to see the enormous variety in how we deal with fear and monsters is in the Monsters Story Bundle going on right now. Just in time for Halloween, it’s the perfect way to add both laughter and screams to your reading list. Experience everything from dinosaurs and werewolves to zombie detectives and attorneys championing the rights of monsters in their city.
I hope you’ll take a look and enjoy many of these marvelously monstrous stories!
Monsters Story Bundle is available from StoryBundle.com, and includes up to a dozen monster stories for any price you want to pay (minimum $5). The other tales include The Love-Haight Case Files by Jean Rabe & Donald J. Bingle, Jurassic Dead by David Sakmyster & Rick Chesler, Pack Dynamics by Julie Frost, Working Stiff by Kevin J. Anderson, Empty Roomsby Jeffrey J. Mariotte, For This is Hell by Aaron Rosenberg & Steven Savile, Enter the Janitor by Josh Vogt, The Wolf at the End of the World by Douglas Smith, Monster Academyby Matt Forbeck, Helmet Head by Mike Baron, and Mammoth Dawn by Kevin J. Anderson & Gregory Benford. Story Bundle available until 5 November 2015.
The CLOCKWORK LIVES novel is a beautiful example of the bookmaking craft from ECW Press, a work of art with red leatherette stamped cover, endpapers, color printing, line illustrations. The unabridged audiobook is just out—and I think that’s pretty special, too.
CLOCKWORK LIVES is like a steampunk Canterbury Tales, the journey of Marinda Peake across the land of Albion, with airships, carnivals, the Watchmaker, the Anarchist, pirates, sea monsters, and more. Along the way, she collects the tales of others who have led interesting lives.
The audiobook has as many unique narrators as there are stories. One reader does the main narrative of Marinda Peake, while individual readers take over the duties for the different tales. I even did one of the stories myself, hitting the studio to record The Wrecker’s Tale toward the end of the book. Give it a listen! Available on audible.com or direct from Amazon.
For CLOCKWORK ANGELS: The Novel, Neil Peart took over the narration duties himself, spending days in the studio recording the novel. This time, CLOCKWORK LIVES was being recorded just as Neil and Rush were finishing their amazing R40 Tour, and though we tried to juggle the scheduling, it just didn’t work out.
If you’re in the mood to listen to something a little funnier, something with zombie detectives and kidnapped hellhounds and vampire trapeze artists, try another new audio we just released, WORKING STIFF: The Cases of Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. All seven of the hilarious individual cases of the best zombie detective in the Unnatural Quarter. Includes Stakeout at the Vampire Circus, Road Kill, Naughty & Nice, Locked Room, The Writing on the Wall, Role Model, and Beware of Dog.
We’ve got enough of what scares you. I put together a monstrous collection of books for storybundle.com, a dozen tales of werewolves, zombies, dinosaurs, bloodthirsty serial killers, vampires, and more. Who wants candy for Halloween?—this is a better treat.
Monsters Unleashed! A dozen monster books, and you name your own price.
I’ve done quite a few bundles before, so you probably already know how it works. Pay whatever you feel the books are worth, and you decide how much of the money goes to the authors, to a charity (the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, in this case), or to administration costs to keep storybundle.com running. Pay a minimum of $5 and get the basic six books—that’s half a dozen monsters. For $15 or more, you get all twelve books. They are delivered immediately, in whichever eBook format you prefer. DRM free.
You want werewolves? Check out Julie Frost’s Pack Dynamics and Douglas Smith’s The Wolf at the End of the World.
Prehistoric monsters? Try Jurassic Dead by David A. Sakmyster and Rick Chesler and Mammoth Dawn by Kevin J. Anderson and Gregory Benford.
You want occult forces and investigations? We have The Love-Haight Casefiles by Jean Rabe and Donald J. Bingle, Working Stiff: The Cases of Dan Shamble, Zombie, P.I. by Kevin J. Anderson, and For This Is Hell by Aaron Rosenburg and Steven Savile.
Horrific killers that make Hannibal Lecter look like a lightweight? There’s Empty Rooms by Jeffrey J. Mariotte and Helmet Head by Michael A. Baron.
Or just plain scary weirdness? Matt Forbeck’s Monster Academy, Josh Vogt’s Enter the Janitor, and Keith R.A. DeCandido’s Cayo Hueso.
The Monsters Unleashed Storybundle runs for only 3 weeks, from October 15-November 6. You can keep them under your bed, until you take them out to read. Help indie authors, help the Challenger Center, and have a good read while you’re at it.
You never get a second chance to make First Contact.
I am thrilled to be working with BushiGo to develop the first “appisode” series for my Saga of Seven Suns universe, the prequel VEILED ALLIANCES. The first six-minute appisode, “Confrontation at the Prism Palace,” is the pilot segment of an animated serial adaptation of
Veiled Alliances, the prequel to the Saga of Seven Suns, enclosed in an app, and it’s optimized for viewing on mobile devices.
The cast features the voices of Robert Picardo, known to sci-fi fans as the Doctor in “Star Trek Voyager”, and Kyle Hebert, known to anime fans as the English voice of Gohan in “Dragonball Z”.
It’s FREE for download at the following links
“Confrontation at the Prism Palace” uses the interactivity of mobile devices to create a new form of delivering entertainment. Bushing used the Unreal video game engine to drive the animation, so you’ll get the depth of a 3D environment in which you can move the camera angle around to suit your taste and curiosity without interrupting the action. In future episodes, you will be able to add story depth and access the main characters’ innermost thoughts in real time through Bushi-go’s unique “subtext engine”.
you can also watch a cool teaser video on the BushiGo home page!
And when you’re done looking at the Appisodes, you can check out the VEILED ALLIANCES book itself, in trade paperback and in all eBook formats.