Tag Archives: John W. Smith

June 2018 Author Recap

I hope you enjoyed the previous month’s worth of introductions to authors you may not know. It was my pleasure to share such talented writers with all of you.

AUTHORSYOUSHOULD KNOWI had the idea in late May to do a month long series exposing my followers to other writers who I admire and read. When I started this project, I told no one. I wanted it to be a surprise for all the authors involved. No one knew who I was going to share or when. It was pretty cool to see the surprise coming in from those whom I featured. For those writers, I do hope it was a well-received surprise. For you readers, I hope you found a new author or two to check out and sample their work.

I want to stress that there were many other authors I could’ve included. I don’t want to upset any of my author friends that may not have been included in this first series of Authors You Should Know. Please don’t take it as a slight against you or your work.

For a recap of each author, please click their name below and it will take you to the brief post I published. I encourage you to try someone new and try one of their books. You never know when you might come across a writer you’ll absolutely have to read. It’s difficult finding readers. My hope is that you found something useful through the month of June within these posts.

 

Jason’s Authors You Should Know – June 2018

Amy Hale                    June 1

Leland Lydecker        June 2

Donna McCarthy       June 3

Vince Churchill          June 4

Mirren Hogan             June5

Brian K. Morris          June 6

SA Gibson                   June 7

Mark Pannebecker   June 8

RJ Batla                       June 9

Simon Bleaken           June 10

F. Kenneth Taylor        June 11

Brent A. Harris           June 12

MD. Parker                 June 13

Pamela Morris           June 14

Ray Wenck                 June 15

Stephanie Barr          June 16

Thomas Gunther       June 17

Greg Alldredge          June 18

C.A. King                     June 19

PC3                             June 20

Jay Noel                      June 21

Christa Yelich-Koth   June 22

Eric Asher                  June 23

Diane Morrison         June 24

John W. Smith           June 25

Lucinda Moebius       June 26

Merri Halma              June 27

Bryan Caron              June 28

Leo McBride               June 29

Aaron Hamilton         June 30

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Jason’s Authors You Should Know – John W. Smith

JohnSmithToday’s author you should know is John W. Smith.

John is an author of horror and dark fiction. He’s got a couple short story collections available (I’ve read Nightmares of a Madman and loved it!) as well as the novel Tainted Blood and a new upcoming dark novel called Death’s Retribution. He’s a talented writer of dark stories which kinda counters his friendly and helpful personality.

I first met John at the St. Louis Indie Book Fair in 2016. We were seated next to each Nightmaresother and soon discovered we wrote similar material. We ended up naming our little corner the Dark Corner and had a great time getting to know each other. He then invited me to share a table at PennedCon in St. Louis last year and we sold quite a bit of books and met a bunch of new readers. John has been so helpful to me, sharing new events and supporting my work with reviews and more.

From his Amazon page:

John Smith is a features and short story writer who has grown into longer works. His professional career began as an award winning military journalist. He is the au-thor of numerous works, including the award-winning book of short stories, Dark Dreams. Other works in-clude Nightmares of a Mad Man, A Dark and Stormy Night, an anthology, and three Kindle short stories, Spirit Dagger, Colonial Scum, and Hungry Things. John has been an avid reader of dark fiction since an early age and has used books, magazines, and movies to en-courage his imagination. Tainted Blood is his first novel.

John currently lives in Illinois with his Basset Hound, Barkley P. Howl.

Check out his other books on Amazon or get more info on his website johnwsmithauthor.com.


Come back tomorrow for another author you should know!

 

PennedCon 2017 Recap

Wow.

PennedCon is a well run machine thanks to the dedication of Rick and Amy Miles and a ton of volunteers.

Oh wait, what is PennedCon you ask? It’s an annual author convention which just celebrated its fourth year. It’s an event that raises money for Action for Autism by bringing together over 160 authors and readers over two days in St. Louis, MO.

Dominated by Romance authors (I think the first year it was almost exclusively for Romance authors) it is now open for all genres. I will say, if I’d gone in with only my dark short story collections, I wouldn’t have sold much. My young adult sci-fi novel “The Selection” really helped with sales over the weekend.

PennedConSwagI got to meet readers who actually read my books beforehand! For me, that’s an amazing experience. I had one twenty-something young lady (man that makes me sound old!) bring by a bound book she had created with pictures of the covers of some of the books she read of the authors there. It wasn’t like taped together or anything, but bound with a metal spiral binding. She opened it up and there was the cover to my book “Moments of Darkness.” We talked about the book and the stories and then I signed the page for her. Just floored me!

I got to meet potential new readers and sold a fair amount of books over the two days of the convention.

They also had workshops, keynote lectures, and more. At one point, Mark Coker, the CEO of Smashwords stopped at my table and I had a nice conversation with him about his service. I have one book I used Smashwords for: (Almost) Average Anthology. I used a different service for my other two books. He asked a bunch of questions as to why I tried the other services and what I thought about them. I’m not gonna lie, it felt slightly awkward telling the CEO of such a well known company why I tried his competitors. It was all good though. Later that day he sat at my table for lunch along with several other authors and we all talked a bit more.

PennedCon does an amazing job of after-hours events for VIP ticket holders and authors. We had a pajama party on Thursday night and there was a party thrown on Friday night featuring a lip synch battle. I didn’t get in on the battle, however as the night wore on, several of the guys decided to do one last song. Somehow I got roped into the group and we did a pretty funny rendition of Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me.” And yes, there is video. Lots of them. 🙂 There was a casino night Saturday night, but my wife and I decided to leave after the signing room closed and made it home late that night.

JohnAndMyselfThough I didn’t sell a ton of books, I sold enough to cover my table fee. Beyond that, I got to catch up with a few author friends like Amy Hale, John Smith, Eric Asher, and more. Actually, my wife and I hung out with Amy and her husband for most of the after-hours events. I met new authors to me like John Hartness and Bess Sturgis and meeting potential readers ultimately made the event that much more enjoyable.

I’ve already booked a table for next year. Maybe I’ll see ya there!

 

 

Books 2016

Every year around this time I post a list of all the books I’ve read in the past year. And every year I want to do more.

old-books-436498_960_720I’ve continued to read Daily Science Fiction. I can’t get enough of those short, entertaining stories. I tried to keep up with Every Day Fiction as well but they’ve had some serious server problems and are just now getting back to daily stories. There’s also Flash Fiction Online, Nightmare Magazine, and Lightspeed Magazine to name a few of the online ezines I’ll read from time to time. I’ve also picked up hard copies of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. None of those are mentioned below.

What follows is my list of novels, ebooks, and short story collections that I’ve read in the past calendar year (in no particular order)


Mike Wech: Seven X:Seed of Demons

Inklings Press: Tales From the Mist

Inklings Press: Tales From Alternate Earths

Iain Robb Wright: Sea Sick

Bram Stoker: Dracula

John W. Smith: Nightmares of a Madman

Ray Wenck: Random Survival

Philip K. Dick: The Variable Man 

Ben Bova: The Craft of Writing Science Fiction That Sells

Vince Churchill: The Butcher Bride 

Neil Gaiman: The Graveyard Book 

Luke Smitherd: He Waits 

Mark Pannebecker: Fraternity of Fractures 

Mort Castle: On Writing Horror 

Sinister Grin Press: Cut Corners Vol. 1 

Stephen King: Revival

Maria Haskins: Dark Flash 

Mary Shelley: Frankenstein 


Looking back at what I’ve read, it’s a mix of indie authors and classics as well as a couple books on writing. I’ve discovered I don’t really like “Dracula” as much as I’d hoped. However I did enjoy “Frankenstein” quite a bit. Both are far different than any movie version.

Other than the short story collections from Inklings Press, I think the other stand outs for me were Ian Robb Wright and Maria Haskins. I loved the pace and tone of Wright’s “Sea Sick” and look forward to reading more of his work. Maria Haskins has a written voice that I find engaging. More of her work is certainly on my “to read” list.

None of the books above were bad at all, which was a surprise. Normally there are a few with serious problems or weren’t quite my taste. All of the books I’ve read in the past year are worth your time (and money) to read.

Have you read any of these? Which ones stand out for you? Any books I need to read in 2017? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts and recommendations.

 

The Year of Me

2016 was an interesting year. It began with the release of my first collection of dark fiction short stories (Almost) Average Anthology.

signing
At the Book House in St.Louis – my first book signing!

For those that have actually read my book, its been well received. The positive response has been humbling. I’ve met many new readers/fans and some that I’ve stayed pretty close with. My decision to create a paperback copy of what was at the time just “an experiment” in self-publishing made all the difference (thanks Dan!) I was able to do book signings and attend book fairs and conferences.

My first book signing at The Book House in St. Louis will always stick with me (thanks so much Ken!) Then my first book fair with the St.Louis Indie Book Fair was a great experience. I met the organizer Mark Pannebecker and fellow author John W. Smith. Mark also organized the book fair side to Con-Tamination which I attended and met authors Ray Wenck and Vince Churchill.

Meeting these authors has opened even more doors for me. In April I’ll be at Wizard World in St.Louis because of Ray and in September I’ll be at PennedCon in St.Louis because of John. These authors have been invaluable to me and I look forward to growing as a writer with them.

readingvacation
Reading my story “Vacation” at the St.Louis Indie Book Fair.

In 2016 I also started the year as a writer for Sum’n Unique Magazine. The founder and head guy in charge F. Kenneth Taylor has a vision for his magazine that I completely understand and support. Through him I was able to have my first book signing, first interviews, and more. From my time with S.U.M. I also met fellow writers Lakesha Mathis and Kevin Daniel. All this amazing talent! I wish I could’ve stayed with them but I needed to focus more on my fiction writing and had to step down about mid-year. If you’ve not heard of S.U.M. or their writers, I encourage you to check them out.

In the Spring of 2016 I was also surprised to have one of my stories from (Almost) Average Anthology published on the No Extra Words Podcast. Hearing my words spoken by someone else was an amazing experience.

Of course every year has it’s downside too. For me it came around June when I thought all was going well. In a sense it was going well (and still is) but I hit a bump in my writing. Everyone has critics. Everyone has more to learn in their craft. I was so caught up in thinking I knew what I was doing that when I encountered my first real criticism, it snuffed out my flame of creativity. The critiques I heard were valid and right. They were meant to help me create true works of fiction. I’ll forever be grateful for the lesson, but at the time it made me rethink a lot of what I was doing. In the end it was by far the best thing that could’ve happened to me.

Then in October I released my second collection of dark fiction short stories Moments of Darkness. This collection can be seen as (Almost) Average Anthology vol. 2. So far it’s not taken off as well as the first one but I’m hopeful it will soon. If not, that’s ok too. As I continue to write and new readers discover my work, they’ll have a back catalogue to peruse.

I started 2016 as an unpublished writer and I leave the year as the author of two collections of short stories. I’ll take that! I took my dream and made it happen. I’ve created new connections over the year that have helped me along the way. Not a bad year if I do say so myself! Thanks for sticking with me through all of this. Here’s to an even greater 2017!

Books for the Halloween Mood

Dark, creepy, and scary stories are perfect for this time of year. I enjoy a good horror movie or book and in the days leading up to Halloween, I can’t get enough.

I want to share a few books to get you in the Halloween mood that you might not have read. These authors are not as well known but that doesn’t mean their work isn’t excellent.


butcherbrideThe Butcher Bride” by Vince Churchill. I met Vince at a con in St. Louis in June. Great guy! He’s hilarious and we had a great competition going. In the end, he won the “Golden Screw” but it was close! (Go ahead and ask him when ya get the chance!) This book reminds me of 80’s slasher flicks. And I Love those kinds of movies. It’s set in a small Illinois town and centers on a haunted house around Halloween. Give it a try! Vince is an excellent writer who clearly loves horror and does it right.

 

 

 

 

 

nightmaresNightmares of a Madman” by John W. Smith. Despite his common name, John is not a common writer. I met him in St. Louis in May of 2016 and instantly hit it off. He has a couple short story collections featuring dark fiction similar to my two books. This is his debut collection and I was entertained from the beginning. Dark, twisted plots with some unusual characters fill this volume of stories. It’s certainly worth a read.

 

 

 

 

 

seasickSea Sick” by Iain Robb Wright. I came across Iain on Twitter and I’m thankful I did. He’s got an excellent writing voice and in this zombie novel, I couldn’t get enough. I say “zombie novel” but trust me, it’s not your run-of-the-mill story about zombies. There’s an interesting plot twist that makes it a highly entertaining read. I have four more books of his I intend on reading but I can’t recommend this one enough.

 

 

 

 

 

516qlpryx7lMoments of Darkness” by…me! (I had to do at least one shameless plug, right?) It’s my second collection of dark fiction short stories perfect for when your reading time is limited. My stories are often referred to as “slightly darker than Twilight Zone” which I take as an excellent compliment. I recommend this book but try it for yourself and let me know what you think!

 

 

 

 

 


There you have it.–four books to set the Halloween mood. Have you read any of these? Do you have others you’d like to recommend? Do so in the comments below and maybe help us discover new voices in dark fiction. Thanks!