Hello everyone! I'm proud to announce that The Thin House is now available in both digital and print. Furthermore in it's first week The Thin House has been ranked in the Top 100 Children's Scary Stories on Amazon. I really appreciate the support so far, and I look forward to hearing what some of you think once you've had a chance to read the story. I'll be sure to share the reviews on the book's page where you can also purchase a copy if haven't already. Thanks again and I hope to have some more updates soon.
I hope everyone is keeping safe and doing the best they can during this difficult time. Things have been hectic the past few days as I've been working to prepare for the Thin House's release date which as I write this is only nine days from now. In light of the upcoming release, I wanted to do a special update post to discuss a very important part of the book. Specifically, the Dedication Page.
On third interior page of my first book there is a picture accompanied by the following phrase:
This book is dedicated to grandparents-and to the stories they tell their grandchildren.
On the About Page, I talk about my family and the storytelling environment that I grew up in. My family communicates a lot through the stories we tell each other. I want my books to communicate some of those same feelings. I want my books to make the reader, regardless of their age, feel a little bit better for having wandered among my imagination.
That's how I felt when I listened to my parents, grandparents, and great grandparents tell stories. My protagonist, Finn Anglin, experiences this through his grandparents. It only seemed fitting to dedicate the books to those grandparents who, like my own, created worlds for their grandchildren to explore, who made life seem a little more magical.
There is a lot of creativity in my family, and I'm fortunate enough to have a grandmother who is a very talented artist. She was kind enough to create an original piece of art for The Thin House. You can view it below
I hope you feel it when you read the book. Particularly with all the uncertainty and fear that many of us are living with during this difficult time, I hope this story makes things a little better. Check back soon for more updates on the release. Talk soon.
Short but important post today. I am excited to announce that we officially have a release date! The Thin House will be available for purchase on April 27th in both print and digital formats. I'll provide purchase information wen the time comes, but for now I want to provide a sneak peek at my cover artwork below. The art was provided by Teo Skaffa. You can see more of Teo's work at www.teoskaffa.com. Talk soon!
I got married about two years after I finished my missionary service. I've never liked when people go to social media, or public platforms to talk about how much they love and adore their significant other. I think that's more of an Acta Non Verba area to be honest. I will say I'm very fortunate and leave it at that. Lydia and I don't have any kids yet, but we are definitely animal people, and we like our Akita, Ceri better than we like most people. Never thought I'd be one of those people, but here we are.
When I'm not working on The Thin House and it's spin-offs, I enjoy gardening, cooking, boxing, reading comics, spending time with family, and watching far too much television. Right now i'm really into Fargo (the anthology series on FX), Barry, and The Haunting of Hill House. However, I also constantly revisit The Twilight Zone, Cowboy Bebop, and Justified. With books, lately I'm reading a lot of Fredrik Backman, Dan Simmons, and I'm halfway through the Mr. Mercedes books by Stephen King.
So that's a little about me. Know that I do my best to respond to inquiries, comments, etc. In terms of some house-keeping, I'm happy to share that some of the last technical pieces are coming together for the book, and I hope to have some firm dates on the release, as well as a tease of the cover art in the next couple weeks. Until then.
I believe I've been pretty transparent about the nature of The Thin House, but it never hurts to clarify, especially as we get closer to the release date. So with that in mind I wanted to address the genre of my upcoming book. Based on the summary, and what's been teased so far one could rightly infer that the Thin House contains monsters. However, the presence of monsters and the supernatural is not necessarily indicative of the book being a horror novel.
Don't get me wrong there are parts of the book that are going to get scary. If I've done my job well, you should certainly shudder at least once or twice. That being said calling the Thin House a horror novel to me is kind of like calling the Twilight Zone a horror show. Obviously anyone who's seen "It's a Good Life" knows terror certainly has it's place there. However, to me the Twilight Zone has always been about people coming into contact with "The Other" in some way or another and how the experience changes them. I respectfully challenge anyone to watch "One For the Angels" or "Nothing in the Dark" and tell me the show's purpose is to frighten. The same is hopefully true with my book.
To provide an example I wanted to share a little bit about one of the first inhabitants our hero Finn meets in his grandparents strange boarding house. Be warned the faintest, smallest of pseudo spoilers follow *****************************************************************************************************
It's a fun challenge to write an interesting vampire character in a world saturated with vampire-centric books, movies, shows, etc. Mr. Gareth is my attempt. He was born out of the question "As a vampire what would you do faced with essentially an eternity of free time?" For me I've always devoured books, and anytime I go to a library or bookstore I always leave thinking there is so much more I want to be reading. So as I started fleshing out the characters, I came up with the idea of a vampire who does just that-reads absolutely everything.
Instead of dwelling among cemeteries, blood banks, Gothic castles, or high schools my vampire would be an inhabitant of the world's greatest libraries, and instead of consuming blood (OK maybe he consumes a little blood) he feasts on everything from Herodotus and Dante to Batman comics. He came to play the role of an educator and guardian to Finn. To me the character eventually came to represent the best aspects of teachers and well-educated mentors from my childhood.
Despite the whole creature of the night thing, Mr. Gareth gradually developed into a very gentle teacher, who ended up having a lot more in common with Mr. Rogers than Dracula. There's something very warming to me about a creature blessed (or cursed depending on your POV) with an unnaturally long life using that time to gain wisdom and in turn do whatever they can to share that wisdom with others. Originally, he wasn't supposed to have a particularly large role, but he grew on me in a big way.
I hope he does the same for you. I hope he's one of your favorite guests in The Thin House. And I really hope I can get Stephen Root to play him if this ever becomes a tv show. Until next time...
I'm going to let you in on a secret...I am not an experienced or well known author. My educational background is in finance and accounting, and my current day job is in local government. I've always loved story telling, and I've dabbled in writing short stories since I was kid, but The Thin House is my first book. Any idea I have of what i'm doing, largely comes from the advice of more experienced friends and internet research. My inexperience felt the most daunting when I first opened a blank Word document and asked myself, "Where do I start?"
I'm sure there are more academic ways to do it, but getting started for me meant figuring out my characters. I had a vague idea for the plot, but before I even really started to polish that into an honest-to-God story I knew I needed to figure out who it was going to be about. I've always liked character driven media so that's what i tried to get a handle on first. I thought for today's post it'd be fun to introduce three of them.
The main protagonist of The Thin House is an eleven-year-old boy named Finn Anglin. Finn was raised by his mother, who has kept a lot of her family's history from him until the sudden announcement that he will be spending the summer at his grandparent's boarding house. Finn is quiet, thoughtful, and curious, and is a good stand in for the reader as he is continually introduced to bizarre characters and situations. Finn's defining characteristic is a desire to understand those around him, and I based him on myself as a little kid interacting with my extended family, particularly grandparents, great aunts, and uncles.
Two other major characters in the book, are Finn's grandparents themselves. Their names are Eleanor and Ezekiel Blacklock. Little is known about them at the start of the book, but it quickly becomes apparent that both are larger than life. Eleanor is a yoga master, who shows her love for her guests by cooking elaborate and personal meals that seem to have an almost supernatural healing quality. Ezekiel is a quiet but imposing marksman, who seems to have the rare ability to see things exactly as they are, which can be difficult considering their usual clientele. Both are fiercely loyal and devoted to the grandson they have been waiting years to meet.
The Blacklock's are based on some of the best qualities of the men and women who I wanted to be like as a kid. Some of their interactions with Finn are pulled closely from stories from my childhood. Their relationship with each other; however, is pulled from my own marriage. Of all the characters in The Thin House and those planned for future books, I am the most excited to share the Blacklocks. They have stuck with me in a really fun way long since the book has been completed.
I hope this peaks your interest. I'm excited to introduce the characters that have been bumping around my head for the past few years. I hope to have some more announcements soon, including some new artwork from the book. Until then...
Welcome to the Jackalope Stories Blog! As I prepare for the launch of my first book, I thought it would be nice to have a platform to release news, teasers, and a little insight into the background of The Thin House and other projects. Be sure to check back here for regular updates.
For today's post I wanted to provide a little background into The Thin House. I began working on my first book almost two years ago. At the time, I was working on creating a comic book. I finished the scripts but the art was proving difficult. I was working with a very talented artist, but since we were both trying to get started in the industry there was no way I could pay what he deserved. As such he rightfully continued his own side projects, and we just were not moving forward like I wanted.
I ended up reaching out to a friend of mine who has some experience in the comic book industry as a creator, and asked for advice. He suggested I put my efforts into a project that was 100% on me. So I started thinking about a book. A friend of mine who did the editing for the comic scripts (and eventually The Thin House) had written a novel and she helped me understand some of the basic mechanics. With a very "here goes nothing" attitude I got to work.
I had been tinkering with the idea of exploring monster stories and childhood memories. When I was a kid I loved old monster movies, particularly the classic universal studios ones. I used to love the The Wolfman, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and many more. What I've noticed though is that as I've gotten older I've developed a deep sense of warm nostalgia for the monsters that used to scare me.
This all came at a time when my grandfather's health was fading. In fact, the entire generation that had stood so tall when I was a kid were slowing down. For the first time, I was really considering a future without the men and women who had served as the underlying mythology of my family for longer than I'd been alive.
That's where The Thin House came from. Finn Anglin's eventful summer in his grandparents boarding house is my childhood listing to the stories of giants. The supernatural guests are my great uncles and aunts and their bizarre exploits. The only real monster in the book, the creature waiting for Finn in the basement is my own fear of moving further and further from that part of my life.
Like all writers, I put a lot of myself into this book. There's a lot about it that I'm excited to share. Even though the book is filled with the creatures that I loved to be scared by when I was little, I would never call this a horror novel. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely some moments that are meant to raise the hairs on the back of your neck, but overall this is a love letter. Not just to the monsters that used to inhabit our closets and the spaces beneath our beds, but to the people that made my childhood truly magical.
So I hope you enjoy this summer with the Blacklock's in their mysterious boarding house. There's a lot more to come. We haven't even gotten to the Jackalope yet.