JOHN L. CAMPBELL
21 dark tales presented in the classic tradition of American Horror!
"Go to your desk no matter what your mood, face the icy challenge of the paper - write."
-J. B. Priestly
Omega Days now 13 weeks on Amazon Horror's BESTSELLER List!
Thank you for all the great emails and reviews! Check out the "News or Reviews" page...you just might find your comment posted there!
April 16, 2013
I signed with an agent last week; the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in New York. She's terrific, and has an impressive client list...and then me.
Also, there's something big in the works...unfortunately I can't talk about it yet, but very soon. I'll post as soon as I can!
SHIP of the DEAD is still well underway, with book three, DRIFTERS, to follow. Previously anticipated release dates are no longer accurate (due to the situation I cannot yet discuss) but that will be explained in short order. Hang in there, Readers!
"THE WOODSHED" (Print) - Third Wednesday Summer 2011
"TERRITORIAL" (Print) - Storyteller Magazine Summer 2011
"WHITE OUT" (Print) - Bleeding Heart Cadaver 'Best of 2011' Anthology
"JACKBOOT AND MARY" (Print) - 1,000 Words 2011 Prose Collection
"A SHADE ABOVE NORMAL"
"JACKBOOT AND MARY"
"ALLIGATOR MAGNETS & NUCLEAR WAR"
"SOMEPLACE THE WIND BLOWS THROUGH"
"A DAD'S PERSPECTIVE" - (Non-Fiction) CaryMoms 2012
"THE GLADES" (Print) - The Scream Factory 1991
About the Author, About Writing
FLASH HORROR - MicroHorror 2012
"TRAIL OF BREADCRUMBS"
"THE HOUSE ON MOHAWK" - Conceit Magazine (Print) Feb./Mar. 2012
"AVOIDING MIRANDA" - SNM Horror Magazine Apr./May 2012
"BACK TO UNREALITY" (Non-fiction) GamepointWorlds 2007
Based Upon Actual Events...
A novella of true life terror, and
the most horrific crocodile
massacre in recorded history!
Cannibals, demons, madness, dark fairy tales and more. 31 new nightmares guaranteed to chill and unsettle!
"CORN OF CORTEZ" - Timeless Worlds 2012 Anthology (Print)
Winning Entry 2012 Anthology Competition
"COURAGEOUS LITTLE PHILOMENA'S WONDROUS BAIT" -Gargoyle #59, 2013 Anthology (Print)
BOOKS I'VE RECENTLY READ (or reread!)
Gardens of Stone - Nicholas Proffitt
They Thirst - Robert R. McCammon
Dead or Alive - Tom Clancy
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
No Less than Victory - Jeff Shaara
Darkly Dreaming Dexter - Jeff Lindsay
What the Night Knows - Dean Koontz
11/22/63 - Stephen King
The Stand - Stephen King
Red Storm Rising - Tom Clancy
The Zombie Survival Guide - Max Brooks
The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Gathering Dead - Stephen Knight
Black Sunday - Thomas Harris
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Cops - Mark Baker
The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
The Frankenstein Series - Dean Koontz
Under the Dome - Stephen King
Duma Key - Stephen King
Bag of Bones - Stephen King
Pirate Latitudes - Michael Crichton
The Lincoln Lawyer - Michael Connelly
World War Z - Max Brooks
Valley of the Templars - Paul Christopher
Silence of the Lambs - Thomas Harris
An Amazon Horror & Occult BESTSELLER!
Now a Horror and Occult Bestseller in the U.K.!
Eight million walking dead stalk the San Francisco Bay Area, with more on the way. Scattered refugees - a priest with a bloody past, a college girl turned sniper, escaped San Quentin inmates and others - will quickly learn the three most important rules of survival: Make your bullets count. Don't fall behind. Don't...get...bitten!
Fast-paced and packed with zombie action, Book One of the Omega Days series lights off the apocalypse with a scream, and tears California to pieces!
It's been said, "You don't start your writing career with a novel. Start small." I don't necessarily believe that, now or then, and back in 1989, there was no one to tell me I couldn't. I threw myself into a full-length horror tale, knocking it out on an electric typewriter at a 60's era kitchen table with a cracked formica top. I was proud of it. It was about as bad as a first novel gets. No one wanted it, and when I'm courageous enough to peek at it these days, I don't blame them.
Short stories came next, a dozen churned out with clueless abandon. Check the rough draft for spelling errors and call it good. Make copies and stuff manilla envelopes. Spend money you don't have on postage, send to publishers and wait for New York to call. No one wanted them, either, but I collected an impressive pile of rejection letters.
Another novel, science fiction this time, and better than the first. So my friends and family told me. Landed an agent! One I had to pay up front, and who never called. Who knew? There was no internet to offer advice. New York wasn't calling, either.
What do you do about a sci-fi novel which isn't selling? Well, you write an even bigger sequel, of course. One which no one will want.
More short stories then, perhaps crafted a bit more carefully, and edited. One of them sold to a tiny horror mag in California. I photocopied the $10 check and hung it over my desk, placing my contributor's copy in a place of honor on the bookshelf. (I still have that copy!)
Another story sold, this one for $20, and I was crushed when the mag went belly-up before publication. And yet... someone had actually given me money for something I had written. I was doomed.
Novel number four was born, a futuristic tale with a samurai flavor, and much better than my three previous attempts. Not enough for anyone to print - seeing a pattern here? - but better. More short stories, and more rejection slips.
Years passed, my work was unwanted, and my dreams of becoming a writer were sinking. And all the while I failed to realize that I was a writer. I was writing, putting my work out there, getting knocked down and writing more. I was learning.
This was all pre-internet, pre-self publishing, and I'll be forever grateful for that. There is no question I would have pushed all those ill-crafted words onto the e-market, simply to get some small validation and satisfaction. Today they would be like dead animals forever hanging around my neck. Instead, the novels went into their boxes, and into the sea chest I'd inherited from my father. They remain there today.
I took a sabbatical from the keyboard... Alright, I got frustrated and quit, for nearly twelve years. The words called me back, though, the stories chasing around in my head, needing to be told. I unearthed some of those short stories and put them through brutal rewrites, started submitting again. A few were accepted, both in print and online. I began crafting more, dreaming up new short tales, starting to see a bit of success (the "we're not paying you but we'll print it" kind of success.) Again, I was learning, sharpening, taking more time.
A screenplay was born, co-written with a dear friend. It's waiting patiently, not in a trunk, but for me to have enough courage to put it out there and risk Hollywood rejection. I assembled short stories into collections, self-published, experienced pathetic sales, but sales nonetheless. Still growing my craft, still building my courage.
Then I wrote Omega Days.
It became an Amazon horror Bestseller within days of publication. I'm doomed.
Any tips I have to offer are likely nothing you haven't heard before. I did, and finally started listening.
* Write as often as you can. Make sacrifices...the game, a movie, an evening of loafing, time at the bar during business travel. Give it to your story. Novels do not write themselves.
* Rewrite. It's not as good as you think it is, which you will quickly see when you go through your story again. And again...and again. Walk away from it for a few days, and then go through it once more. You'll find things you want to change. It's worth it.
* Edit. Grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice, typos...they all count, and poor editing is the number one complaint from readers of self-published work. I know you want to get your masterpiece to market, but take the time to polish it. Your readers will appreciate it, and they'll buy your next masterpiece. I am by no means perfect in this area, and even after four rewrites and three rounds of editing, have had small errors slip through to publication. It's maddening, and don't think for a second your readers won't call you on it.
* Write what makes you happy. If it's a commercial success, all the better. This craft is a taskmaster with little mercy, a selfish, consuming compulsion demanding all your time and then crying out for more. It can be isolating and lonely, and your only salvation is if you love what you're doing.
* Believe in yourself, and in your story. Most people won't, so you'll have to be strong and take up the slack. And when you do experience success, great or small, the victory will be all the sweeter because you knew you could do it all along.
-John L. Campbell
Campbell's short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies, literary magazines and e-zines. He has lived all over the U.S., and has worked as everything from a limo driver to professional investigator and executive. He currently resides with his family in Connecticut, where he is hard at work on his next novel.
SCATTERED THOUGHTS and STRANGER THINGS
Ranked among TOP 100 HORROR AUTHORS
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