Monthly Archives: March 2014

Input Needed

Yeah, I should be writing instead of penning this.  Sorry.  Even my brain needs to step away once in a while and sort of decompress.  In the meantime, I’ve been playing with different ideas for SWAG.  For those who aren’t too familiar, it’s the little freebie stuff you give out to folks to help promote your product.  In this case, it’s the Monster Squad.

I have a friend and fellow author who is also a graphic artist who designed a really cool ‘unit logo’ for me to use.  As some of you have seen, I’ve put this on some stuff like coffee cups and t-shirts and whatnot…just to get a feel for it.

MS Mug

While the coffee cups looked pretty darned cool, they aren’t really something that people carry around with them ALL the time.  Well, unless you’re a Chief Petty Officer in the NAVY and have a permanently hooked finger.  Sorry.  A little military humor there.

So…here’s the thing.  I talked with Jeffrey (he’s the aforementioned author and graphic artist) and he tossed together something for me to use for t-shirts.  Instead, I saw it as the cover of the hardback for the first four Monster Squads…a little project that Denise and I had been talking about for quite a while now.  With just a little tweaking, he gave me this:

Rise of the Sicarii - Heath Stallcup

I really liked it.  No.  Scratch that.  I LOVED it.  Simple, yet…striking.  At least to me.
So here is where I need YOUR input.  I mean, you guys are the fans.  You’re the readers.  You’re the reason the characters continue to grow and enjoy new life and new adventures. If you were to look for Monster Squad items, whether they be coffee mugs, t-shirts, pens, posters…whatever.  What design would you like to see?

Would you rather it be just the logo like the coffee cup above?  Or would you rather see something that reminds you of the book covers that you’re used to seeing? Something with the silhouette of the soldiers?  Both?  Neither?  Just the words ‘Monster Squad’?  Give me some feedback, please.  Because I’ll tell you, this stuff isn’t cheap and picking up little bits here and there just to see how I might like it is getting…well…expensive!  Help me decide which image best represents the squads.  What do YOU think of when you think of them?

You can message me here or on Facebook or email or drop by the house and we can chat over a cup of coffee.  However you choose, your input is valuable. Or should I say, invaluable?



Posted by on March 21, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Surprise Surprise!

Well, originally we had MS4, Blood Apocalypse, scheduled to be released in May.  Then we moved it up to April because of the World Horror Con.  Release it early so that we could compile the first four books into one big hardback edition and present it at the WHC in Portland.  Then ACX reared its ugly head and stated that if your book wasn’t under contract by March 12th, it fell under their new terms and conditions.

In the immortal words of Gomer Pyle, Surprise, Surprise, Surprise.  Guess what gets released 3/10/2014?

BA mini

If you guessed Monster Squad 4, Blood Apocalypse, then you’d be right!

Beside trying to hurry and get MS4 into the system and beat ACX at their own game, there are other reasons for publishing sooner than originally planned.  As mentioned, we want to compile the first four squad stories into one very large tome…one complete edition with each story re-edited and rechaptered and attached back to back, telling the epic story of the Rise of the Sicarii from start to finish as it was originally intended.  This new hardback edition will be released at the World Horror Convention in Portland and I hope that it will be well received.

Rise of the Sicarii - Heath Stallcup

I know this is a strange new twist for those who have been following the squads since Phoenix.  Usually we plan for a certain date and hold our breath, praying that we can hit close.  Something always seems to come up that throws it off, usually at the last minute.  But this time, not only are we early, we are WAY early.
So, enjoy it.
Because now the real work begins.  Not only do I have to try to promote this, I also have to get MS5 drafted and to Todd for editing.  And MS6 and MS7 and…>sigh<
Merry early Christmas y’all.


Posted by on March 9, 2014 in Uncategorized


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The Meaning of a Handshake

I’m old school.
Big surprise to a lot of you, eh?  No, what I mean is, to me, a handshake has more power, more meaning than a written contract.  If someone tells you that they’re going to do something, their word is their bond.  If you shake hands on it, it’s a done deal.  It’s as good as gold.  You might as well take that to the bank, because it was DONE.
Well, there are a LOT of people out there…nay, not just people, but entire businesses, institutions, that don’t understand what that simple concept means.
What am I talking about?  Take for instance, your credit card. Regardless of whether it was a pre-approved offer sent in the mail, an offer found online or even one that your bank or credit union offered you, they give you the terms and conditions and you agree to it.  You SIGN your NAME and you enter into a contract with them.
Fast forward six months…or even a year.  You receive a notice in the mail.  “We have changed our terms and conditions…blah blah blah.”  Ummm.  No.
You see, you entered into a legally binding contract and…
Oh, no, sir.  If you’ll look at the fine print, it states that we reserve the right to…
Really?  Seriously?  Fine print?  You can change a CONTRACT midstream?
Yes, and if you don’t like it, don’t deal with us.
Well, that’s sort of what ACX is trying to do with writers and narrators.  As of March 12, 2014, ACX is changing the terms and conditions of the way they deal with WE the People who actually CREATE the stories being sold on their site.  Before, they took a full half and left the other half for us to figure out if we could hire a narrator ourselves and keep our profit or find a narrator of a good enough quality and that was willing to split our half with us.  In essence, if we were an aspiring young writer (or old writer, as the case may be), we could either pony up thousands of dollars to get it produced and then keep all of our half…or split it and hope that both the writer and narrator made money.
Now, ACX has decided that they are entitled to a full 60% of the monies.  They didn’t write the stories.  They didn’t narrate them.  They didn’t produce them.  They don’t even PROMOTE them for us.  But for some reason, they get damn near two thirds of the money?  Where the fuck does this get from?  Pardon my language, but…for reals??
Now, ACX has their ‘reasons’, and they’re all BS.  They may as well have just written, “We are feeling really greedy and since we have the market cornered, screw you guys.”  Because, trust me…that IS exactly how everybody affected by this has taken it.  ACX has forgotten what a ‘handshake’ means.  They’ve forgotten what it means to stay true to your word.  They’ve forgotten that it is all of ‘we the people’…the little guys and gals who actually CREATE the stories and market the stories and the narrators who produce the awesome sounding audio files that you the consumer actually listen to…they’ve forgotten that it is US who are the crafters.  We’re the artisans.  We are the faces behind the craft.  They’re the Wal-Mart to our product.  Except, they don’t offer the advertising. Or the ‘everyday low prices’.  They just offer…a place.  For us to go to…to get screwed!
So there you have it.  My rant.  For whatever it’s worth.
And the really truly SAD part about the whole thing?  They KNOW they have us over a barrel.  If we want our books made into audio, we’re going to have to continue to go to them and get raped.  At least, until someone comes along to compete against them.
Where is our audio K-Mart?  The Audible Target?  The Amazon against Amazon?
I guarantee you…if eBay decided to get into producing audio books, Amazon would straighten their sh!t up in a hurry!

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Posted by on March 3, 2014 in Uncategorized


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