Time is relative, anyway. And overrated!
August 2023 is gone, and so is most of September. I’m mentally exhausted, sleep-deprived, and road-weary, so I apologize for the delay with the newsletter. My attention and writing time has been required elsewhere for the last several weeks.
But before I jump into all that, I want to share this photo of me and my dad. We don’t have very many photos together. Not as many as we should. This one, though, is special to me. It was taken at The Taleless Dog in Berea, Kentucky on the last date of the tour.
He’s not a reader. Not a horror fan. But he came to this event to see me in my element, and tell me he’s proud of me. Took all I had not to break down in tears. I would say more here, but I don’t want to get emotional. To quote Trent Reznor, “There’s no smiling in rock ‘n roll.”
Anyway. Hi, I’m Todd Keisling, and this is Messages from the Southland, my (mostly) monthly newsletter. Prior issues can be found here. Comments are turned on, so you’re welcome to drop me a line if you want. I like hearing from you.
Post Mortem: The Summer of Dread
The Summer of Dread came to a close last month. I saw old friends, made some new ones, sold a lot of books, and drove about 1500 miles round-trip. Here are some photos from the events.
Many thanks to Conquest Books & Coffee, Butcher Cabin Books, Barnes & Noble Man o’War, and The Taleless Dog for hosting this weird ex-pat Kentuckian.
And a big shout-out to my dear friends Dave and Samantha, who gave us a place to crash in between events. We quite literally couldn’t have done the Kentucky tour without you.
I’ve heard from several of you asking about when I’ll visit your town, attend your conference, or the travel to the Midwest and West Coast. Believe me, I want to, but it’s a matter of logistics and money.
The publisher doesn’t pay for this sort of thing, and in a lot of cases, they don’t organize it, either. This was all me.
To do a full-on national tour, one of these things needs to happen:
A book deal with a sizeable advance, from which I can budget things like air travel, hotel stays, and food.
A movie deal with a sizeable option, from which I can budget things like air travel, hotel stays, and food.
A wealthy benefactor from whom I can budget things like air travel, hotel stays, and food.
It all adds up to a chunk of money I simply don’t have. Complicating matters is my anxiety threshold and general dislike of air travel, but they can be mitigated.
Until then, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing, going to cons (within reason) and doing one-off events in my region of the country.
This isn’t to say I’m done with events for the year. I do have a couple more planned for 2023. Speaking of which…
Upcoming Events - 2023
Paper Cuts Live! - YouTube - Friday, September 22nd at 8 PM EST
Halloween Scares - Barnes & Noble Wilkes-Barre, PA - Saturday, October 21st from 12-4pm
Halloween Hangover 2 - Barnes & Noble Richmond, VA - Friday & Saturday, November 4th & 5th
Details may be found here.
If you work at a bookstore or library and would like to schedule an event, please get in touch!
Revisions, Rewrites, Releases
I finally wrapped up the rewrites for THE SUNDOWNER’S DANCE a couple of weeks ago. The book gained an extra 30k words (which is about what I expected) in the form of new scenes, plot expansion, and a new part (it grew from three to four).
I can’t speak for all writers, but in my experience, there’s a point in the rewriting/revising stage of draft 3 or 4 where I begin to completely despise the book, its characters, and myself for having the audacity to think anyone would want to read this garbage. Usually, the book is pretty much done when I reach that point (except for copy and line edits), and this one is no exception. I attached it to an email to my agent and clicked “Send” with extreme prejudice.
I have to say, though… Typing “The End” on a new book never gets old.
That’s not all, though.
I finished my story, “Little House on the Borderland,” a few days past its deadline and sent it off to the editor. Yesterday, I got word that they loved it and want to buy it for their anthology. That also never gets old.
Here’s some fun book news. A pair of fans from the Czech Republic and Russia, respectively, sent me the covers for these new translated editions of Devil’s Creek!
As I write this, we’re five days away from the release of COLD, BLACK & INFINITE. The book is getting rave reviews from NetGalley and Goodreads readers (thank you all), but I want to call attention to this one from Becky Spratford for Booklist.
"I want to stress how Keisling's excellence as a visual artist bleeds into his prose. It makes for a reading experience that includes sight without pictures."
You can read the full review on Becky’s blog.
Be sure to watch this space on release day. And if you haven’t yet, you can pre-order the book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and anywhere else books are sold. Personally, I prefer either ordering direct from the publisher, or through Bookshop.org where you can support your favorite indie bookstore.
Lastly, here are two new releases that should be on your radar. NEVER WAKE, edited by Tim Meyer and Kenneth W. Cain, and OCTOBER SCREAMS, also edited by Kenneth W. Cain. Both are packed with new fiction, including my stories “Oneirophobia” and “The Puppeteer of Samhain.” Check ‘em out!
And that’s about it. Substack says I’m near the email length limit, so I have to wrap this up. Thanks for reading, folks!
Note: I had to back out of the Merrimack Halloween Book Festival this year due to a scheduling conflict. Have fun without me!