Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Guest Post: Curtains by Scott Nicholson

I am super lucky to be part of Scott Nicholson's epic Kindle Giveaway Blog Tour. He's my very first guest to post on my blog and I'm super excited.

Curtains

By Scott Nicholson

http://www.hauntedcomputer.com/

When I started releasing my story collections as e-books, Neil Jackson of Ghostwriter Publications did a wonderful cover for my collection Ashes that had a red velvet curtain on one side.

We already had a “monster eye” cover for The First, and I thought it would look cool to use the curtain for the monster eye as well. That led to the “curtains” motif we used in Flowers as well, to create a linked set. I had stories left over for at least two collections, so when it came time to come up with a name for my mystery collection, it was obvious: Curtains.

In slang, one of the meanings is to “drop the curtain,” as in the closing of a show or to conceal an object. I like to picture a gangster pointing his Tommy gun and saying to the victim, “It’s curtains fer ya.”

A good bit of my early stories were in the mystery genre, back when my goal was to be published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. I have eight or 10 rejection slips from there but I never hit the right tone for the magazine, which was a lot different from the old Alfred Hitchcock Presents anthologies I used to read—those were darker and had as much horror as crime, and the mystery field has always struggled between its two extremes of serial-killer noir and tea-room cozies.

That’s fine with me. I have always liked extremes. In the world of Scott Nicholson, I can write a light-hearted mystery veiling a romance (“Kill Your Darlings”) and I can literally kill some darlings, as in “The Weight of Silence,” where family is only worth what the insurance policy claims it is.

The collection features one of my best stories, “Dog Person,” which arose from a real-life story about one of my friends making the decision to put his beloved dog to sleep rather than spend thousands of dollars on surgery and treatments. My friend then spun a story idea out of it, and we challenged each other to add an extra twist to make the decision less voluntary.

In the late 1990’s, there was a mystery e-zine called Blue Murder Magazine that managed to put out about five issues as PDF downloads. It was a little ahead of its time, because nobody wanted to read PDFs on their computer screens back then, and nobody wanted to advertise in magazines they thought nobody wanted to read. I managed to place stories in three of the issues, and I still have one of the last surviving T-shirts. I’ve also been fortunate to publish in some of the other top crime magazines like Cemetery Dance and Crimewave. Cemetery Dance is, of course, the top horror destination as well, while Crimewave constantly features some of the best writers in the United Kingdom.

The collection also contains a couple of bonus contributions from J.A. Konrath, the e-book Pied Piper and author of the Jack Daniels series, and Simon Wood, who is one of the best hard-edged crime writers working today.

I’ve since spun my interests into the crime novels The Skull Ring and the forthcoming Disintegration, and my forthcoming collaboration with J.R. Rain will overlap into mystery as well. I’ve read a wide range of mystery novels, from M.C. Beaton and Carl Hiassen to Patricia Highsmith, Dennis Lehane, and Donald Westlake. Those I enjoy the most tend to be those that border on psychological horror, like Silence of the Lambs, or more literary novels that play on mystery convention such as Richard Brautigan’s Dreaming of Babylon and Jonathan Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn.

Maybe I shouldn’t even investigate the origins of my influences. I think the only answer I’d be able to come up with is, “It’s a mystery to me.”

-------------

Scott Nicholson is author of 12 novels, including the thrillers Speed Dating with the Dead, Drummer Boy, Forever Never Ends, The Skull Ring, As I Die Lying, Burial to Follow ,and They Hunger. His revised novels for the U.K. Kindle are Creative Spirit, Troubled, and Solom. He’s also written four comic series, six screenplays, and more than 60 short stories. His story collections include Ashes, The First, Murdermouth: Zombie Bits, and Flowers.

To be eligible for the Kindle DX, simply post a comment below with contact info. Feel free to debate and discuss the topic, but you will only be entered once per blog. Visit all the blogs on the tour and increase your odds. I’m also giving away a Kindle 3 through the tour newsletter and a Pandora’s Box of free e-books to a follower of “hauntedcomputer” on Twitter. Thanks for playing. Complete details at http://www.hauntedcomputer.com/blogtour.htm

79 comments:

Teawench said...

Love the pic! And I love that with each post on this tour we're seeing a little bit more of you.
teawench at gmail dot com

Jeff said...

E-publishing seems to be getting more and more wild west-ier. I like it! To me it seems that it is more like early days of flight. Even though Leonardo designed a helicopter, the technology had to catch up significantly! The book business these last few years is like in the first powered-flight sort of days with barn stormers, wing walkers, and Howard Hughes-es (?), and anyone else who wanted to get into the air ... dangerous but cool! (Thankfully, not to be outdone entirely by the changes toward freedom in the music business.)

Free the writers! Free the readers! Write on!

Jeff White whitejw@ameritech.net

Monster A Go-Go said...

So, you finally landed in the slammer (again). It was only a matter of time. What was it for THIS time?? Goat molestation (again)? Indecent exposure (again)?? Did someone in authority actually READ one of your books and lock you up...or is this for the CRIME that was the song you posted on yestrerday's blog? SHOCKING!!!

While you are sitting there (either on the bunk or on that snazzy-looking toilet), I know you are probably looking forward to your weekly shower (so you can drop the soap and "squeal like a pig" -- if you catch the right con's eye, that is). Instead of just a quick shower, maybe you should consider cleaning up your act altogether. Oh my stars!!!!

How much more heartbreak, shame and humiliation do the poor citizens of Boone need to put up with? With you, the Looney of Boone, there isn't much hope for the town. Because of your scandalous antics and general, over all bizarreness, tourists have even shunned the town (well, except for a few strange pervs that come to town hoping to catch you going home with a goat or two on some lonely Saturday night...). Children run away from home as soon as they are able and the adults keep asking what they've done to deserve YOU!

Scott, you are my pal. I don't understand it either. I'm like the ONLY friend you have left in the world (well, except that poor, unfortunate woman you have locked in that pit in your basement that you insist is your wife). If you would just take your medication like you are supposed to and THINK things through a little more (like last winter, when you made Xerox copies of your butt, stapled mistletoe to the top of them and sent them out as Christmas cards---BAD idea!), EVERYTHING would be so much better. It's kind of like that poor woman in your wonderful (so far---I'm only about 50 pages in to it) novel "The Skull Ring". I know (from reading your blog posts) that she suffers from false memory syndrome (or something like that---and THANKS for spoiling the book for me, as I have NOT gotten to that part yet... I'm only up to where she stepped in dog poop and tracked it into her house). You don't suffer from false memory syndrome...but you DO suffer from False Man-whorey Syndrome. Walking around town naked and thinking you are quiet the goat ladies man--it's quit shocking. (I was also going to bring up your False Mammory Syndrome, but you finally stopped wearing those big, oversized bras. Thank goodness!) Scott, NO ONE wants to see you naked (not even the poor woman in the pit) and the reason you have a hard time picking up goat chicks these days is NOT because all of the good goat girls got married off---it's because everyone in town has sent their livestock far AWAY from you to live. STICK to the writing. It's good "therapy" for you---just like the doctors say.

Blah! Blah! Blah! (It's FINALS week! Ignore my rantings once again...)

CHEERS!

byonge said...

Hm, which one is the real Scott? the Scott at the old computer, or the Scott in the jail cell? What did you do, steal some of the profits of the big publishers?

byonge@lonepinetv.com

gnostalgia said...

Were you that guy in the next cell who was making so much noise?

Barry
http://gnostalgia.wordpress.com
anamchara@gmail.com

sailorwind said...

sailorwind@gmail.com

sailorwind at gmail dot com

Inspired Kathy said...

Please enter me.
bkhabel at gmail dot com

Candace said...

Another great post! Sorry, I'm drawing a blank on what to say...

candace_redinger at yahoo dot com

Sandra said...

Hi,
So your friend turned putting his dog down into a story..very interesting..lol I agree with the title to the book Curtains and the cover is perfect for it..
Good Luck to all..
:)

baby_blackroze@yahoo.com

chey said...

What a great cover!
chey127 at hotmail dot com

monapete said...

Great contest!

monacart32 at hotmail dot com

jpearson said...

Thanks again!

i.pearsonatcomcast.net

Eric said...

Scott, the photo of you behind bars seems oddly fitting. ;-)

calseeor (at) gmail (dot) com

Cathy M said...

Great post, Scott, you keep surprising us.


caity_mack at yahoo dot com

Candy's Creations said...

thanks
Candy
dragonfly1976@gmail.com

Estella said...

Great post! Love the Curtains cover.

kissinoak at frontier dot com

Dee Martin said...

I come for the blog post, stay for the goat comments and leave you my contact info :)

deedeekm@gmail.com

Mommy Dearest said...

well HELLO AGAIN!
Please enter me again!
emily_erickson@yahoo.com

bluefrog said...

I'm beginning to think Monster is jealous because he wants the goats to himself.

bluefrog62@yahoo.com

dor said...

Ha Ha,,,funny comments. Thanks for being involved and giving us a chance to be lucky.

dorcontest at gmail dot com

lorraine_lanning said...

Sigh, I guess I have one more book to add to the 900 already on my Kindle. So many books, so little time!

As I've been reading more and more indie authors, I've developed a taste for suspense and mystery.

lorraine_lanning[at]yahoo[dot]com

Icedream said...

I also enjoy a wide selection of mysteries, there is no rhyme or reason to what I will like or what will bore me to death. I have read your horror but haven't tried any mysteries yet, I look forward to it.

waitmantwillie at hotmail dot com

Brenda said...

First, to Titania86. Scott Nicholson is your very first guest blogger? How cool is that?! And, Scott, I love all the curtain covers. But, why are you smiling? Not everyone gets a spiffy stainless steel toilet in their cell. Looking kind of smug about it. I'm starting to think I'm getting kind of addicted to thse blogs.

Douglas Dorow said...

So many books, not enough time.

dwdorow@gmail.com
ThrillersRus.blogspot.com

author Christa Polkinhorn said...

Oh, boy, the minute I leave the country, you end up in jail! What are you in for anyway? From Monster A Go-Go's comment, it could be for a ton of reasons. Leave it up to me to find an editor with a criminal past and/or present/future. Sigh.
I guess the upside of finding you is a bunch of great books and stories.
Where do I send the care package with the Swiss chocolate? What's the address of the Boone Slammer?
Cheers,
Christa
cpolkinhorn@msn.com

Bev said...

I've never followed anyone on a blog tour before. This is pretty cool!

Write2Bev@gmail.com

James Rasmussen said...

It was mystery stories that started out as my literary drug of choice; I've since developed a less refined habit...but then there's mystery at the heart of any genre.

jamesemr (at) gmail (dot) com.

anamlgrl said...

I'm really enjoying all of the great insight I'm gaining following this tour!
anamlgrl@yahoo.com

Cathy W said...

Great post! Thanks.
cjwallace43 at gmail dot com

Ashley (Ashley's Bookshelf) said...

Great post!

ashleysbookshelf@gmail.com

Riva said...

I don't usually read much short fiction, but I may need to start!

dulcibelle [at] earthlink [dot] net

Randy said...

Ah ha! It's curtains for the printed book. :-)

randymir@gmail.com

Neal Hock said...

Scott in lockdown! I wonder if the toilet is haunted?

-Neal

Bibliophile said...

It was interesting to read about your influences.

mrlucky said...

Scott, hope you get early release. Count me in for the Kindle.
Paul
mrlucky@charter.net

Heather said...

I would love to be entered!
littlebearries@yahoo.com

author Scott Nicholson said...

@TeaWench careful or I will be tempted to wind up the tour with the Full Monty

@Monster, if I took my medication, the world would be a far less interesting place for all of us

@christa can you smuggle a file in with that Swiss chocolate?

Can't wait for parole, they only give me crayons in here...

Scott

deanna said...

I would LOVE a Kindle DX. Thanks for the opportunity to win one! :)

P.S. Click on my name for my contact info. ;)

Inanna said...

That is a great shot!

inannajourney at gmail dot com

jessica said...

The dog story sounds like it would be interesting with your friend and you working on it together and challenging yourselves.

Things coming out before people were ready for them is common. My library got the first ebook reader before people were ready for them and a couple of years after they withdrew them, other ebook readers have come out and they have caught on. You never know when it's going to catch or not. .

jessangil@gmail.com

Joseph said...

Love it!

josephafisch@yahoo.com

sohamolina said...

I am entered

eddiem11@ca.rr.com

stacythemagnificentmommy said...

Funny!!!
hancoci_s at msn dot com

LaQ said...

Ebooks, for me, are still a bit hard to read. I'd rather curl up with a book than have my pc staring at me all night. Sorry, just my preferences. Great interview though. ;)

LaQuiet(at)gmail(dot)com

Sharon S. said...

what landed you in the jail ;)

sstogner1@triad.rr.com

Weston said...

Great to hear a bit more about the workings of your psychotic mind. I also enjoyed finding out about other publications. I will most certainly take a look into them with future short stories.

wakincade AT gmail DOT com

Hank Brown said...

Actually, the gangster would say: "It's coitans fa' youze!"

Twitter: MachineTrooper
http://twofistedblogger.blogspot.com

Doreen said...

What are ya in for Scott, and what are you coloring in jail with those crayons?! :)

purposedrivenlife4you at gmail dot com

author Scott Nicholson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carol said...

Interesting picture! ;-)

Linda Kish said...

I'm looking forward to getting this Kindle.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

n2france said...

I've heard of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. I always wanted to read one since I've heard several people mention them. Maybe I should write it down so I don't forget this time. LOL.

Margay said...

Scott, I love reading about what prompted you to write your stories. I find it fascinating.

Margay1122(at)aol(dot)com

Rabid Fox said...

Cool pic. I've read a few Hitchcock mags in my time, and I do agree that the older works walk a much darker path it seems. Ah well, still some good stuff to be read there.

therabidfox[at]gmail.com

Diana said...

Thanks!

Tiffany Christie said...

Great post! I'd love to be entered to win the Kindle ....Tiffypoot @ (aol.com)

DarcyO said...

Great tour! Thanks for the chance.

dlodden at frontiernet dot net

coriwestphal said...

Nice!

coriwestphal at msn dot com
@coriwestphal

Kimberly K. said...

I really like the cover picture for "Curtains". The red color really stands out and draws the eye right to it. It makes a really great picture.

kellysydow at yahoo dot com

Kristie said...

I love psychological horror. I also used to watch Alfred Hitchcock Presents with my grandma. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com

sablelexi said...

great post.

jlynettes @ hotmail . com

stacey said...

Trying to Keep up.Please enter me.
sasluvbooks(at)yahoo.com

booklover0226 said...

I enjoyed the post and the blog tour. I look forward to the next stop.

Thanks,
Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

author Christa Polkinhorn said...

Scott, I was going to pack that file and a Swiss army knife as well, but I realized, you're out again. Did you bribe the guard?
Christa

Jesse said...

I'll have to check "Curtains" out as soon as I'm done with your other collections.

-Jesse
conrad.jd (at) gmail (dot)com

Coscom Entertainment: Publisher of Monster and Superhero Fiction said...

The crime genre is something that has always appealed to me though I’ve really never ventured there in terms of fiction (whether reading or writing it). I’ve read a couple Mary Higgins Clark mysteries and enjoyed those, and for a time had delved deeply into the world of Jack the Ripper and read a bunch of books on him. To this day, that case still fascinates me.

Mystery’s tricky--to me, anyway--in terms of dropping the bread crumbs for the “whodunit” while at the same time ensuring that when you do reveal the killer(s), you take the reader by surprise and, in the end, the revelation makes perfect sense and there wouldn’t be anyone else as the killer.

Cudos to you for writing in that genre.

Coscomentertainment [at] gmail [dot] com

www.canisterx.com

POSSESSION OF THE DEAD and ZOMBIE FIGHT NIGHT available for the Amazon Kindle. Grab your copies here!

Leeanna Fatovic said...

I'd love to win!
leeannafatovic@bellsouth.net

sydlife said...

that jail cell photo would be great for your author photo wouldn't it? get people wondering, as though they aren't allready.

thanks again,

Julie
pjtansey@hotmail.com

Scooter said...

Let's have a caption contest for this pic!

~ Scott Nicholson contemplating taking the "Browns to the Superbowl."

Scott, too!

Linda Kish said...

Count me in, please.
Thanks for the chance to win.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

hendy said...

Is Dog Person available anywhere-this story looks very interesting. Thanks again for another great post.
hmhenderson AT yahoo DOT com

The Undead Rat said...

Great picture, Scott. I always knew you'd go far.

Actually, were you doing research for a story when that picture was taken?

I ask because I'd recently read horror author and HWA President Deborah LeBlanc's story about researching what it would be like to be trapped inside a coffin by trying it herself -- the story sent chills up my spine, which surprised me by its intensity.

After all, I read horror for the entertainment . . . not to develop new phobias.

Thanks for the chance to win,
Greg "The Undead Rat" Fisher

theundeadrat (@) gmail (.) com

Andrea I said...

It's always interesting to read these posts.


andrea.infinger@gmail.com

HODGEPODGESPV said...

hi, i'm a bit late but am catching up!spvaughan@yahoo.com

Ima said...

Hope I am not too late! Catching up on the blog tour.

dreamer dot ima at gmail dot com

Pink Panther said...

Thanks for the lovely post! :)
You can reach me at luvpinkpanther@gmail.com

chris Einhaus said...

Creepy photo.

Thanks for the contest

chris.einhaus@insightbb.com

author Scott Nicholson said...

Thanks for entering, entries here capped at 77! Please join the tour and follow the newsletter to improve your odds.

@Brenda, it's the lack of padding on the cot I am contemplating...

@doreen I am writing my epitaph in blood!

@n2France not sure AHMM is still around, I haven't seen one in years

@hendy Dog Story is in only three places--the back issue of Cemetery Dance, my paper collection Scattered Ashes, and in the Curtains ebook

@Greg Deb is a wild one and a great writer!

Thanks, Titania, for hosting.

Scott

Karina said...

hufflepuffgrl13@yahoo.com