Jean Marie Bauhaus

Category: Books & Fiction (page 1 of 3)

Sneak Peek: Intruder

Intruder, my followup to Restless Spirits (I really need to come up with a name for this series), is still coming along, veeeeeerry slowly. My word count’s still not up to the 10K mark yet. The slowness is frustrating, but at least slow progress is still progress.

Anyway, here’s a rough draft of the synopsis, and the first chapter to whet your appetite.

The synopsis:

Susan Daly’s abusive marriage ended the night she shot and killed her husband Reggie. A year later, just as she’s settling comfortably into her new life as a single mom, she’s once again assaulted by someone she trusts and cares about. But as the police and Susan’s family struggle to understand why Susan’s neighbor, Alan Doyle, would do such a thing, Susan knows Alan is innocent. She knows because she saw his face as he tried to strangle the life out of her, saw the rage and hatred in his eyes, and the smile on his face. Reggie’s smile. Her husband is back, and he wants her dead, and he’ll use everyone in her life like puppets to accomplish that goal if somebody doesn’t stop him. But how do you stop that kind of evil?

 

Now onto…

The Intruder: Chapter One

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Rediscovering Stephen King

I’m still in an odd place where I don’t really know what to write about here. I think it might help remedy that if I can stop thinking of this as my “author blog” and just see it as my blog. I also think the creative part of my brain largely went into hibernation for the winter. It seems to be starting to awaken, as gradually and as grumpily as my box turtle, Matilda, as I try to prod her out of the hole she’s burrowed in and into the light.

My creative mind hasn’t been in total hibernation — and neither has Matilda; she wakes up a couple times a week to eat and bang around her terrarium before burying herself again. Similarly, my imagination has woken up a few times a week, long enough for me to bang out a few hundred words on my current novel before it slips back into slumber. I started in in January, hoping to have the first draft done by my birthday, but eking out time to write my fiction is as difficult as mustering up the energy has been. As of now, I’ve got about 5 chapters done, just short of 10,000 words.

What it is, by the by, is the follow up to Restless Spirits, tentatively titled Intruder. If you’re signed up to my mailing list, then you’ve already been shown the first chapter.

So as my creative brain is trying it’s best to drag its crusty self into the sunshine, I’ve been trying to feed and water it and give it vitamins and exercise to get it energized again. I’ve been doing this mainly by reading, and what I’ve mainly been reading is Stephen King novels.

I was a huge fan of Stephen King when I was a kid. We’re talking teen years, probably 13 or 14 to about 18, the ages they market YA to now, which is why I can’t get too bent out of shape when somebody complains about a YA novel having content that might be too mature for their 15 year old. I mean, I was reading The Stand at that age. The unabridged version, even. I loved many books before my Stephen King phase, and I’d done some creative writing by then (I actually think I wrote my first short story in first grade — it was about a sentient, anthropomorphic football, I think), but I think it’s safe to say that King was the author who made me decide I wanted to be an author, too.

Back then, it was all horror. I was a pretty big horror fan in general (that also went back to surprisingly (disturbingly?) early in my childhood), so King’s stories fit right in. In addition to The Stand, during those years I read It (or tried — I was too scared to finish it), Pet Semetary (ditto), ‘Salem’s Lot, Misery and, among others, Danse Macabre (not horror, but it was about horror, so that was alright; what wasn’t alright was my twelfth grade English teacher assigning us book reports on nonfiction and then sniffing haughtily when I turned in my paper, insisting that Stephen King never wrote any nonfiction and giving me an automatic F without even looking at the book). I devoured them every chance I got.

Once I got into college, I decided I needed to diversify my reading more, so I read less of Stephen King, and even less as I progressed through my twenties and into my thirties. The newer books I’d read, including Dolores Clayborne and Rose Madder, just didn’t pack the same punch for me, and I wasn’t sure whether I was just outgrowing him or he was losing his touch. At any rate, by the time I got around to picking up a beat-up copy of The Gunslinger at a used book store about four or five years ago, it had been years since I’d read any of his work, not counting On Writing.

I read it then, and I enjoyed it well enough, but as far as epic fantasy series go I was too mired down in one of my every-so-often rereads of  A Song of Ice and Fire to commit myself to another one. So it was another couple of years before I found the second book, The Drawing of the Three, at the same book store and gave it a read. Of course, that was around the time A Dance with Dragons finally came out, so I forgot about Roland and company for a while. Last year I picked up the third book, The Waste Lands, and added it to the big stack of paperbacks on my nightstand to wait until my life settled down enough to allow me time for leisure reading once again.

If you read my last book post, then you know getting through that big stack of books was one of my goals for the new year. I finally made my way through the stack to TWL last month. Since then, I’ve pretty much been on a Stephen King binge. I devoured The Waste Lands, and now I’m speeding my way through the fourth book, Wizard and Glass. In between (because I had to wait until the bookstore got a copy of book four in stock, and because it was already next in my big book stack anyway), I breezed through Stephen King Goes to the Movies, a collection of stories that have been adapted for the big screen. This includes 1408, The Mangler, Low Men in Yellow Coats, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption and Children of the Corn.

While I enjoyed the horror stories, particularly The Mangler (which reminded me a little of my short story Snack Machine), I’m finding that at this point of my life I much more enjoy his fantasy works and his more realistic dramas like Shawshank Redemption (in which the book’s narrator being described as a white, red-haired Irishman did not prevent me from hearing Morgan Freeman’s narration in my head as I read it). I particularly enjoyed Low Men in Yellow Coats, on which the movie Hearts in Atlantis is based, and which is part of the greater multiverse revolving around the Dark Tower.

I think what’s surprising me as I read these stories is the quality of the writing. I remember King being a great storyteller, but I don’t recall his prose being such a joy to read. It’s fairly straightforward, as he tends to get to the point and not linger more on description than he needs to, but at times it’s almost poetic without being flowery. The other thing is, although these stories still have their little moments of horror and squick and punches right to the gut, they’ve also got a lot of heart, and characters who are loveable despite being complex and complicated and at times downright despicable.

And that’s how, after a gap of more than a decade, I can go back to labeling myself a huge Stephen King fan. And now I’m going to go back to reading Wizard and Glass.

Free for the Kindle: Eucha Falls

Eucha Falls coverWake the kids and phone the neighbors: today through this Saturday, my horror novellette, Eucha Falls, is free on Amazon.com!

The description: A year following her brother’s mysterious disappearance, Melanie Fisher is determined to get answers. Her quest takes her to the site of an abandoned amusement park, where she finds a lost video camera containing evidence that her brother was losing his mind. As she digs deeper, she finds that the madness is catching. But is it really madness, or evidence of something much more real, and much more sinister than she could have ever imagined?

If you enjoy Slender Man stories, creepy pasta, found footage horror, Lovecraft, or simply having your spine tingled, this short story is for you. So check it out! It’s free! Tell your friends!

And grab the book right here!

Tackling My Giant Book Mountain: January’s Reads

One of my 101 in 1001 goals that I set at the beginning of the year is to read through the big stack of paperbacks on my nightstand. Finding time for pleasure reading is still proving to be a challenge, but I’ve managed to carve out some time for it by staying up later instead of going to bed when my husband does. While I was worried that this decision would force me to answer the question, “Is it better to be well read or well rested?” it turns out that — BONUS! — I’m actually sleeping better by staying up until I can barely keep my eyes open. Go figure.

Nevertheless, it’s still slow-going, because there are various other writing and editing projects I’m also trying to squeeze in during the evening hours (not to mention the battle to not answer Pinterest’s siren call — a battle I frequently lose), so during January I only got through three of the books. Well, two and a quarter of them, anyway. And those books were…

Crazy In Love – Lani Diane Rich

As a former Wiffer, I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t actually get around to checking out Lani’s books until last year, when she made a Kindle freebie out of Ex and the Single Girl (which I quite enjoyed). Now that I’ve got a couple of her books under my belt, I think it’s safe to call myself a fan of her writing, and not just of her excellent writing advice.

Crazy In Love is a fun, breezy romance between a haunted heroine and an ex-cop-turned-bartender who can’t decide whether this girl’s haunting is genuine or if she’s just plain nuts. For that matter, the heroine isn’t so sure herself. Add in a little attempted murder, a sleazy real estate developer who’s up to no good and a Crazy Woman In Love and you’ve got yourself an enjoyable, well-paced romantic adventure delivered with quirky, genuinely funny dialogue. I’m glad I picked this one up.

 

 

 The China Bride – Mary Jo Putney

I’ve never actually been a big fan of historical romance novels. I confess that I think I picked up The China Bride off of the free book shelves at our tax preparer’s office (they also run the biggest used book store in town, so free books is one of the major perks of having them do our taxes). This was over a year ago, so I can’t tell you what convinced me to bring this book home.

At any rate, I’m glad I did. This is a rather epic love story set against the backdrops of Victorian-era China, England and Scotland. Just some of the the descriptions of hte scenery are enough to take your breath away, but the romance itself is also pretty breathless, albeit frustrating at times.

Mary Jo Putney has a gift for transporting you to the places she writes about and for populating them with characters you care about. She’s definitely worth a read.

 

 The Perfect Lover – Christopher Priest

This is one I actually bought at the aforementioned used book store (probably with the gift certificate our tax preparer gave us). I was looking to see if they had anything by Cherie Priest (no such luck), and the cover of this one stuck out at me (the cover on my copy is vastly different and much prettier than the image I used here).

I couldn’t get more than a quarter of the way through this book. It’s not a bad book, by any means. It’s well-written, and it has an interesting premise — people lying in a lab in the 1980s are having their consciousnesses projected to a distant future in which the Soviet Union has successfully taken over the world. This book was written in the 1970s, when that was an actual concern (also, it preceded The Matrix by two whole decades).

I just couldn’t get into it. I don’t know if it’s because the virtual reality thing has been done so often since then that there’s no way it could feel original, even if it was, or if we’re so far removed from the threat of Communist Russia now that I can no longer relate to that fear, or if Priest’s writing style just didn’t grab me. At any rate, life’s too short and my reading list is way too long to keep reading a book I find myself not caring about.

Coming up next month: Northanger Abbey, among others (I hope).

SHINY Now Available to Subscribers

shiny copyIt’s here! My steampunk story, Shiny: A Clockwork Fairytale, is now available free of charge in both MOBI and Epub formats for my mailing list subscribers.

Next week, it will go on sale exclusively at Amazon for 99 cents, and will remain exclusive to Amazon for the next three months (Amazon Prime members will be able to borrow it for free, as they currently can do with my horror novelette, Eucha Falls).

So the only way to get it NOW, the only way to get it FREE (if you’re not a Prime member), and the only way to get it for Epub devices is to subscribe to my mailing list, which you can do below. This story is just the first of the free goodies and special offers you can look forward to if you sign up!




.99 Cent Kindle Sale!

99 cent ebook saleHey, folks! My paranormal romance/mystery novel Restless Spirits is included in this Big .99 cent Kindle Author Sale!

Dozens of books in just about every genre are included in this three-day sale, which runs from today through December 29th. You’re bound to find something you’ll like, and helping to support indie authors in the process.

And if you haven’t yet gotten around to reading Restless Spirits, you should know that this is your last chance to get it on the cheap. After this sale the price will go up and it won’t be put on sale again for quite some time (if ever) as I focus on promoting other books. So this is the best time to grab it — or recommend it to a friend!

Click here to check out the entire list of books on sale!

Halloween Book Sale!

Jean Marie Bauhaus Halloween book saleWe’re already halfway done with October and I’m just now finding time to tell my readers about my annual month-long Halloween book sale. That… is not an effective way to sell books.

At any rate, all of my e-books are only 99 cents all month long, everywhere that they’re sold. They’re also marked down on all of the international Amazon sites, so whatever the equivalent of 99 cents is in pounds or Euros or Canadian dollars or whatever… that’s what the price will be through Halloween.

Paperbacks are also marked down considerably.

All of my books so far have a paranormal/horror bent, so they’re perfect reading for the spooky season.

Get ‘em here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Createspace

Free Story: Snack Machine

It’s the first day of fall! Hooray! To celebrate, here’s a free story to help get you in the mood for the Halloween season.

 

Snack Machine

 

You think strange thoughts sometimes when you work the night shift. Coming home in the dark late at night, it’s easy to imagine that something in the darkness is out to get you.

If your imagination is like Tina’s, you might think how creepy it would be if the thin, dark gap between the wall and the vending machine at the end of the hall was really a doorway to some otherworldly dimension.

And then you might laugh the thought away as you grab your chips and resist the urge to run back to your apartment.

She was tired when the thought occurred to her, after a long night on her feet at the diner, and it was a nice distraction from worrying about getting mugged on the way home. Or worse.

Tina liked having the machine there. It was her one consolation when her budget had forced her to settle on the tiny basement efficiency. She almost hadn’t been able to afford even that, what with the landlady wanting two month’s rent up front. Thankfully, she’d relented. “Had a lot of trouble with drifters sneaking out without paying their rent,” she’d said, “but I guess you don’t strike me as a drifter.”

Anyway, takeout places were usually closed when her shift ended, and a bag of chips was better than nothing when she felt too tired to cook. She kicked off her shoes and turned on The Late Late Show and munched on her bag of Sun Chips. At least she could pretend those were kind of healthy. When they were all gone, she brushed off the crumbs, crumpled up the bag and headed to bed.

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Launching Today! Read Eucha Falls for 99 Cents

Eucha Falls coverQuick update to let everyone know that Eucha Falls is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It’s a short story on the longer side coming in at just under 10,000 words (Amazon says that translate to 39 pages of print, but that’s irrelevant in an e-book).

Here’s the official description:

A year following her brother’s mysterious disappearance, Melanie Fisher is determined to get answers. Her quest takes her to the site of an abandoned amusement park, where she finds a lost video camera containing evidence that her brother was losing his mind. As she digs deeper, she finds that the madness is catching. But is it really madness, or evidence of something much more real, and much more sinister than she could have ever imagined?

Updates on Eucha Falls and the Steampunk Cyborg Short

Eucha Falls coverGood news for anyone who has been waiting to read my pseudo-Slenderman, loosely creepypasta inspired, haunted amusement park story Eucha Falls: the wait is almost over!

The bad news is that the anthology to which it’s been under submission for the last several months politely declined its inclusion (I received a very polite rejection signed by Ellen Datlow herself. I’m cheering myself up by pretending that they’re not all signed with her name and that at least one of the slush readers thought it was worthy of her attention). So, that gamble didn’t pay off. I’m really not at all upset by the rejection. I’m much more upset that I put my initial publishing plans on hold for several months only to be told that it’s not quite what they were looking for, when it could have been out there earning me royalties and, hopefully, some fans.

This is why I self-publish, y’all.

At any rate, it’s already been thoroughly edited and beta’d, so I’m going to do my best to get it ready to release this weekend. That should be doable, as the cover (seen left) is ready, and all I have left to do is add front and back matter. But I’m having company on Saturday, and this is also the weekend of my wedding anniversary (which is actually Monday), so I’m not making any promises. Still, it should be available sometime next week.

As an aside, I was briefly thinking about changing the title (again). There’s one element of the story that’s inspired by the creepypasta Candle Cove (which you should go read right now if you enjoy a slow build to the unsettlingly creepy). Last weekend I discovered that the author of Candle Cove, Kris Straub, has both a website and shared storyworld (though both have been on hiatus for quite some time now) that happens to go by the name of Ichor Falls, which hits a little too close to home, especially since I’m crediting one of his stories as inspiration. But I can’t really think of a more suitable title, and if he wants to take it as a shout-out (assuming he ever even discovers my story), that’s fine by me. [/aside]

As for the steampunk cyborg pixie story, which currently has the working title Special, it is very close to done. I only have time right now to write about 450 words per day, so it’s creeping along, but I’m at the climax and the denouement is outlined in detail. I originally started writing it to submit to another anthology that’s being produced by Clarkesworld,  but my experience with submitting Eucha Falls has made me decide to publish it myself rather than letting it languish in a slush pile for months on end. I posted an excerpt here last Friday, and now I’m trying to decide whether to go ahead and post the rest of it as a freebie here as well as making the e-book free. Right now I’m thinking that’s probably what I’ll do.

Also, and I know this is a long shot, but I have a very specific image in mind for the cover: a steampunk butterfly. If anyone knows of an artist or crafter or jewelry-maker who does that type of thing, who is a fan of my work (even of my old fanfic) and/or who is willing to barter for services or yarn-crafted goods or even baked goods, if you could put them in touch with me, or vice versa, that would be awesome.

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