You Wanna Know How I Got These Cards?

So…now that everyone’s preordered the September package from the wonderful people of Night Worms (thank you, by the way! Knowing the care and attention Sadie and Ashley put into each month’s box, you’re in for a treat; I mean, yay, you’re getting my book, and a signed bookplate from me, but you’re also getting so much more and I’m excited for people to get them), what are Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing and I doing with people who just pre-order Standalone from us?

Check out below!

The above is one of six (6) limited-edition trading cards that will be sent, along with a bookplate and the book itself, to the first 350 preorders. Did you collect trading cards, as a kid, like sports cards or, if you were like me, the Marvel Comics cards of the early 1990s? Those were the springboards for this.

Designed in-house by the wonderful Lori Michelle, the illustrations were done by Luke Spooner (who’s illustrated a ton of my stuff over the years, from I Can Give You Life in Nightscape Press’s Ashes and Entropy, to “The Universe Is Dying” in You, Human from Written Backwards, to “Everything You Leave Behind” in PMMP’s Lost Signals anthology), based off descriptions I dreamt up from the novella itself. In fact, readers of that book will find the Scarecrow figure very familiar.

On the back of the cards is trivia and thumbnail origins, which was fun to make up. It reminds me of articles you see periodically of all the novels Stephen King has referenced he has had ideas to write, but never did (like, I dunno, that I, Jason tweet I shared on my social media).

Here, though, are slasher movies I’d be pretty excited to see, personally (it beats watching, I dunno, Pieces again). In fact, while writing the copy for these cards, I got an idea for a story.

I guess we’ll see where that goes.

Anyway, you should probably pre-order Standalone now, huh? These are going to go fast.

All New STANDALONE-Related Story Up Over at Inkheist!

Hey, gang! Today, over at the horror site Inkheist, a new Standalone-story called “Everything Feels Wrong without You” is premiering. It involves a secondary character from the novella, named Martin–at least, that’s what he goes by right now.

“Everything Feels Wrong without You”, like Standalone, deals with movies and our reaction to them–although it’s more references in the novella, and the short literally takes place in a version(s) of Hollywood. Quick little Easter Egg, while I hint at Martin’s origins–they’re a bit, ahem, Arthurian–Billy Settle’s name was an homage to Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five (“Settle” here, instead of “Pilgrim”, showing the essential differences between the two characters). This was written around the same time as “The One Thing I Wished for You” (which originally appeared in Unnerving #3)–meaning, the shorts predate the novella. “The One Thing I Wish for You” is included, by the way, as a “bonus” story at the end of the book.

While I was writing Standalone, I got to a point where I needed characters more knowledgeable about the situation than my main folks–I tend to write from what-ifs and have people work their way through the problem, learning as they go–and the character of Martin (or the presenter from “TOTIWFY”, although he’s just called “the man in a black suit” there) popped into my head. Someone who’s been around the multiverse-block and could fill in some blanks for my main people.

Martin’s kind of an antagonist here in the short, while an ambivalent ally in Standalone, but this, like the short story “The One Thing I Wished for You”, is the first time I’ve ever re-used characters. That’s, honestly, kind of exciting for me. I’m not one to have central cast–and anyone who’s read my work knows that the stories don’t tend to lend to them coming back. I tend to, with a few exceptions, loathe series characters in what I read, too, so I’m always wary of repeating characters myself. But, I gotta admit, it was fun.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it. Hit me up on Twitter to let me know. You can find the story here. Big thanks to Rich Duncan, Shane Keene (who’s been a big supporter I’m grateful to have since Bones Are Made to be Broken), and the entire Inkheist crew.

After you’re done reading, if you want to see more of Martin, and learn more about the multiverse, you can preorder the book here.