Brian Keene Called Me Motorhead!
And other stuff I want to talk about.
Yes, today is April 15th. It also happens to be Good Friday. It’s tax day, too. And it’s my birthday. It’s a whole lot of things. As I sit sipping coffee and finishing up this newsletter, I’m excited about where this year’s headed. Things are looking up. I’m happily married to my best friend. I see a future where my kids in Panama will come visit and get to meet their stepsiblings and will finally get to meet their stepmom. I have a tattoo on one forearm and might actually get one on the other to balance it out. I just finished Faces of Beth, a book I’ve been so excited about for so long. It’s now live on Amazon, and I’m already 20k words into my next novel.
And Brian Keene called me Motorhead!
When I was a kid, my dad called me Motormouth. That’s a whole different thing. For one, when my dad called me that shit, it pissed me off and didn’t make me cry. When Brian Keene called me Motorhead, it made me ridiculously happy and did make me cry. Trying to figure that shit out? I know, it probably makes no sense. Let me explain.
I was called a lot of things as a kid. Motormouth, Worry Wart, Opie –
Yeah, looking at that picture of Opie, I can see the resemblance.
I’m sure there were plenty of other names I was called. Hell, I wet the bed until I was like ten years old, so I’m sure that brought with it a ton of foul nicknames.
You should have heard the trail of obscenities that followed me as I raced out the door the time I hid behind the sofa and pressed record on my little boom box and unwittingly recorded my dad in the middle of a drug deal. Yeah, I proudly stood up when he was done and announced, “Gotcha, Dad. Listen to this.” I pressed play and you should have seen the look on his face. He flipped his shit, and for the longest time, I had no idea what I’d done wrong.
It wasn’t until much later when I thought back to the conversation I’d recorded that it kind of made sense. Things like:
“How much can I get for…”
“I’ll throw in a dime bag…”
“You can get the fuck outta my house and take your crack head friend with you if you think…”
Yeah, I can see why he was mad.
It was kind of like the time I overheard the adults at one of my dad’s get-togethers using the C-word and didn’t know what it meant. I only knew what it sounded like. Nobody found it amusing when I approached one of the female adults at this little shindig and laughed in my best Sesame Street’s The Count's voice and said, “Ha ha ha Cunt Dracula.”
At least while I was getting yelled at nobody seemed to find it amusing. I suspect they laughed their asses off once I was out of the room. I mean if one of my kids did it, I would have thought that shit was hilarious.
Where was I? Oh, yes. Drug deals. I should probably mention it was just weed my dad was buying or selling or whatever. I don’t even remember. I was probably contact-high at the time. I was only eight or so. I should probably also add that my parents were divorced and my mom wasn’t there. She reads my newsletter sometimes and she’s probably cringing right now, slapping her forehead, saying, “My God.”
Man, that boom box I recorded him on was my pride and joy. It was the one I held up to my ear and marched up and down my Tulsa neighborhood sidewalk while listening to an absurd mixture of The Beastie Boys’ ‘Licensed to Ill,’ David Lee Roth’s ‘Eat ‘Em and Smile,’ and Run-D.M.C.’s ‘Raising Hell’. I thought I was the shit! I clearly wasn’t.
So, I told you all that because, well, I have no fucking clue why I told you all that. That’s the kind of shit you get when you read my newsletter. Just tidbits of nonsensical information about me. You’re welcome.
Ha! Seriously though. Let’s talk about Brian Keene a bit. Before we do, I just want to let you know he wrote the introduction for my new novel, Faces of Beth, and I want to mention once again that it’s live right now on Amazon.
Faces of Beth is Out Now!
The ebook and paperback is available by clicking HERE. Or, if you want a signed paperback from me, reach out to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook messenger. Here’s the cover!
What’s it about?
When Andrew meets Beth at the Myles-Bend State Mental Hospital, he knows she has issues. She checked herself into the place because of her problems, but he can’t help falling in love with her anyway. He’s willing to put up with her constant mood swings and all the baggage she brings into the relationship. He’ll help raise her kids, give her siblings a place to stay, and even look after her creepy grandfather. After all, he has the space in the huge house left to him by his parents.
Marriage has its hardships, Andrew knows that, but there seems to be something else wrong with Beth. A dark entity grows inside her and he can’t help wondering if she might be possessed. Andrew can look past all the other drama in their new life, but the thing inside her that seems to want him dead – that’s kind of a deal breaker.
Sorry for Interrupting…
So, yes, surprise! It’s live. I know I was kind of vague on why I couldn’t put it up for preorder. I kept saying it was still going through the editorial process, and it was, but there was “more to it” than that. The truth is, Brian told me during virtual Killercon 2021 that he would write an introduction for my next book.
And panic set in.
That is the “more to it.”
Brian Keene offered to write the introduction. Now, there are two ways I could go with this. I could act like a complete professional. I could sit here and pretend this kind of shit happens all the time and I knew exactly what to do and was totally cool and calm and collected and all that. Or… or… or I could be the Carver you all know and take the honest route.
You know, the Carver who shows you pictures of the bitch beer he drinks. This stuff:
Remember that? I still drink it. It’s pretty good once you get used to it.
So, I got the book ready. My team of awesome beta readers went through it and helped me fix it up. Then I sat down to write Brian an email. It went something like this.
Dear Mr. Keene… no, that’s ridiculous. He’s gonna do that thing where he tells me only his dad was Mr. Keene and then I’ll feel like a jackass. Delete, delete, delete.
Hey Brian! No, we’re not drinking buddies. Not yet anyway. He might be like, “Who does this chump think he is? Do we go way back? Did we bump chests on the football team? Fuck this guy!” Delete, delete, delete.
Hey Keene! No, that’s what Mary SanGiovanni calls him, but she’s his woman. I’m not his woman. He might slap the shit out of me and say, “What, do you think you’re my woman?” Delete, delete, delete.
For fuck’s sake.
I think I ended up crossing my fingers and just going with Brian. Well, I had to call him something.
Anyway, I sent the copy of Faces of Beth to him right before Scares That Care Authorcon. I mean it was just a couple of days prior to the event. When I saw him there, he was one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. He was so down to earth. So was Mary. I talked to her at her table for at least twenty minutes one day about everything from Lovecraft to Silent Hill to horror movies worth watching.
I’ll need to do a whole other newsletter on the event because it was just awesome, and there’s so much to say about it. I could go on and on. I’ve been to signings in the romance world, but this was my first ever horror convention, and it was something special.
The fact I had Jules by my side made it all the more amazing. She was right there experiencing it all. Unfortunately, we had some bad news while there. In my last newsletter, and oftentimes on social media, I mentioned Graham. The little kitten we took in from outside. He was the one I showed the picture of in the Peaky Blinders outfit. Gangsta Graham. Well, we took him in to get neutered the day we left for the event. We got a call while we were there that Graham didn’t do well under anesthesia and he passed away.
Jules took it really hard. I think losing a lot of pets when I was younger has just made me more able to accept these things, so it didn’t hit me the same way. This happened so early on, while I was still setting up my table for the event, and it was during the time Jules was still trying to process everything and was still feeling a bit out of place. She’s so used to the romance world and she didn’t know what to expect out of the horror crowd.
So many people were so kind to her when they found out about Graham. Brian Keene talked to her on the side about a similar situation he went through, Mary SanGiovanni was really sweet, Joe Ripple, Jake who helped run the event, and so many other authors, staff members, and attendees were unbelievably awesome. I can’t stress enough how much of a family the horror world is. It’s incredible. Jules was hurting and everyone came through for her. For us. Thank you for that.
At the end of the event, as we were leaving, I mentioned to Brian that I hadn’t told anyone yet that he was writing the introduction for the book, and he said, “What? No, tell them. Tell them I’m the reason it’s taking so long. Blame me. Tell them I’m the reason it’s not up on preorder yet.”
He was just so cool about it. He initially told me he’d need a month or two to read it and write his introduction. So once I sent it to him, I figured I’d wait at least a few weeks before putting it up for preorder. But I got an email 5 days after the event with a message from Brian saying, “Here's an excerpt: ‘Carver Pike is Motorhead.’”
My response? “Oh, hell yeah!”
Forty minutes later I had the introduction in my email inbox. I sat down on the couch to read it, and I wept.
I’ve mentioned how, in this profession, it’s a grind. We love it, but it is definitely a grind. We write a book, pitch it to the masses, and then we sit down to a blank screen and start again. I never know who’s reading my work. None of us do. I know that my family knows I write, but I feel like they don’t understand how serious it’s becoming and how far I’m planning to take this. Jules understands because she’s an author.
Brian’s words touched me because imposter syndrome is real for so many of us. I get down sometimes. Self-doubt hits me. I wonder if I’m good enough. I try not to read negative reviews or peek too hard at the lists of everyone’s favorite authors in Facebook groups or see the answers to posts asking who might be the next great horror author or who will be the next Stephen King or Clive Barker.
Of course, seeing my name on those posts lifts me up but not seeing it can bring me down. I’m only human. I’m sure other authors feel the same way, and it’s not your job as readers to feed my ego or lift my spirits. You have no job other than to pick up a book and be entertained. I can only hope I’m the one doing the juggling for however many hours it takes you to finish the book. I only want to charm you, delight your senses, and hopefully, one day, be remembered as one of the greatest storytellers to have ever lived.
Now, I know many of my readers have reached out in the past to tell me they love my work. I appreciate that more than they’ll ever know. Jules tells me all the time how great of an author she thinks I am, but she loves me, and I know she doesn’t have to say it, but you know - she loves me lol.
To have someone like Brian who has dedicated his life to this genre in so many ways write what he did in that introduction – that just felt like someone finally saw me. Someone noticed me. He noticed me. And maybe, just maybe I am fucking good enough.
I’m going to print out that introduction, frame it, hang it on the wall, and read it when I start to wonder if I belong here.
Brian, whether he wants to be or not, will always be a friend of mine lol. And I hope that someday I can pay it forward and have a positive effect on an up-and-coming author who might be needing that same push in the right direction that Mr. Keene gave me.
What’s Coming Up?
On another note, I’ve begun working on my next novel. It’s called Kin of the Fallen. I’m still not ready to reveal exactly what it’s about, but I can tell you I have put together a merch store that ties in with the novel. There will be hoodies, T-shirts, tank tops, backpacks, wine glasses, stickers, tote bags, and all other kinds of cool stuff to go along with this book. I’ll also be putting together merch to go with the Carver Pike brand and with some other books. So you might see a Diablo Snuff-related tee and stuff like that. It’ll be a lot of fun.
Speaking of Diablo Snuff, I’m considering putting together a big omnibus collection, like one big book that has all the DS books in order. Would anyone be interested in something like that? I’d still make the single books available for anyone who is collecting those, but to clear up some of the confusion as to which books should be read in which order, I thought it would be cool to have maybe a limited edition big-ass Diablo Snuff collection book. Just a thought.
I’ve decided after my last newsletter and the feedback I’ve received since then that I should write the Scalp prequel as a full-length novel. So I’ll begin working on that soon. I think that might come after Kin of the Fallen.
May 14th from 1-3pm I’ll be teaming up with fellow West Virginia horror author Paul Lubaczewski as we sign books at A New Chapter bookstore in Lewisburg, WV. If you’re anywhere in the area, swing by, pick up a signed book, and say hi. We’d love to see you.
First Chapter Freakshow Episodes
First Chapter Freakshow, my YouTube show where I read the beginning of my horror author friends’ books, is at episode 51. With traveling to Scares That Care Authorcon and other things going on, I haven’t been able to film many new episodes lately, but I’ll be jumping back into filming soon.
The way it works now is authors are on a list and when they get to the top of that list, I put them on a spinning wheel. Each episode, I read the first chapter or two from an author’s book (it has to be horror), then I spin the wheel so we can see whose book I’ll be reading from in the next episode. I erase that name from the wheel and pull the next name from the top of the list. It’s a lot of fun, or at least I like to think it is. Since my last newsletter, I’ve recorded the following episodes. Click on each one to be taken to it on YouTube:
Written in Red
I also joined authors Aron Beauregard, Daniel J. Volpe, and Rowland Bercy Jr. as a co-host on a podcast called Written in Red: The Horror Reader and Writer’s Podcast where we discuss the ins and outs of the indie horror world.
Check out our latest episodes:
I guess that’s about it for this issue. If you’re not already following me, make sure you’re hitting me up in all these places:
Facebook Author Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/carverpikereadergroup
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