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Group Reads: Guest Author Invite > August 2018 Group Read with Guest Author, Michaelbrent Collings

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message 1: by Kenneth (new)

Kenneth McKinley | 1511 comments Mod
This is the thread for the August Group Read with Guest Author, Michaelbrent Collings, as we read his classic tale of evil, Apparition. Joining us for this wild ride into the macabre is Michaelbrent himself. He has graciously agreed to let us pick his brain for the next month as we break down Apparition and talk all things horror. If you'd like jump into this group read, you can pick up Apparition at the link below. Please help me welcome, Michaelbrent Collings!

https://www.amazon.com/Apparition-Sup...


message 2: by Kristy (new)

Kristy (kristylytle) | 83 comments Welcome!


Andrew “The Weirdling” Glos | 71 comments I’m in!


message 4: by April (new)

April robinson (aprillost) | -2 comments hey there I'm in


message 5: by Misty (new)

Misty | 1 comments Hi!


message 6: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (kimberly_3238) | 5683 comments Mod
One of my first reads by Michaelbrent Collins--I'm in for a re-read!


message 7: by Michaelbrent (new)

Michaelbrent Collings (michaelbrentcollings) | 87 comments Hey everyone! So glad to see you all – I am a long-time HA lurker — and I have this chance to hang out.

Full disclosure, I go to a lot of comic cons and writing symposiums to talk about horror, and the introductions generally go like this:



EXPERT NUMBER ONE: I am an expert in horror. I have written 800 books about horror, and I run 72 different horror magazines in my free time when I am not watching one of my 18,000 or movies that I have on DVD, Blu-ray, laser disk, and some really fine stone etchings.

EXPERT NUMBER TWO: I am one of the top experts in the field of literary horror and horror criticism. I’m a professor at a major university, and won the Pulitzer Prize in Horror, which it turns out is a thing.

MICHAELBRENT COLLINGS: I’m michaelbrent Collings and... uhhh... I‘m enthusiastic!



Which is to say, I generally set my bar for “second dumbest person in the room.“ I always hope to say something wise and helpful, but will settle for witty and fun in a flash. So please please please toss out any questions you may have for me and I will do the best I can to answer them. Wisely if I can, wittily if I must, but with enthusiasm always.

I love horror, and I talk to anyone who will listen about how horror is not just a lot of fun, but is inherently the genre with the greatest power to uplift and sustain its readers in that big scary room called Life. So I am looking forward to spending a bit of time in that big scary room with all of you, and hopefully the scares we find will be of the type that make us clap in delight, laugh to show we were never REALLY scared, and then walk forward afterward a bit braver for the experience.


message 8: by Michaelbrent (new)

Michaelbrent Collings (michaelbrentcollings) | 87 comments Oh yeah, and we can talk about my book APPARITION, too. ‘Cause SCAAAAARY!

Ha!


message 9: by Michaelbrent (new)

Michaelbrent Collings (michaelbrentcollings) | 87 comments And final note:

I have an alarm set to show up here every day at least once – yes, I need alarms for things like that because if I was any good at life I wouldn’t be a writer – but you can also find me easily on my Facebook fan page at http://facebook.com/MichaelbrentCollings - where I talk a bit about books and writing; and a lot about my crazy, wonderful, and altogether magical family.

You can also find me on on Twitter (though I am on there only periodically because having to figure out “character count” as I write is terrifying): @mbcollings.

And last but not least, if you want to sign up for my email list, you will get early notice of new releases (I have a new one coming out next month!), sales, and the occasional freebies. http://eepurl.com/VHuvX

There. Mandatory shilling period over. Let the fun commence! MWA-hahahaha!


Andrew “The Weirdling” Glos | 71 comments I’m super excited. Mr Collings, I’ve heard your name tossed about a lot, but haven’t yet had a chance to read one of your books yet. So, this is a first for me and I can’t think of a better way to read it.


message 11: by Elke (new)

Elke (misspider) | 610 comments Welcome Michael, it is so great to see that you participate here!

I first shelved Apparition five years ago, so I guess it's time to finally read it...the cover was what lured me in, and every time I see it pop up on my shelves I feel ashamed I still haven't read the book. What better time to make a change than this August!

I love the HA group reads and challenges that give me the necessary kick in the * to finally read some of my long-time stacked books!


message 12: by Michaelbrent (new)

Michaelbrent Collings (michaelbrentcollings) | 87 comments April wrote: "hey there I'm in"

Woohoo! Hope you have fun, and looking forward to hearing from you!


message 13: by Michaelbrent (new)

Michaelbrent Collings (michaelbrentcollings) | 87 comments Kristy wrote: "Welcome!"

FIRST! (You, not me... so I only get to be a first-poster by proxy.)

Seriously, though: glad you're on board. I hope the book is a horrible, terrifying experience for you - in a good way, of course.


message 14: by Michaelbrent (new)

Michaelbrent Collings (michaelbrentcollings) | 87 comments Andrew wrote: "I’m in!"

YES!

I know, I know, fist pumps are SO late 90s. Or 80s. I don't remember. Whatever, they're appropriate sometimes, and I will hold onto my fist pumps until they are pried from my cold dead hands. Which I guess is impossible, since FISTS. Maybe with a hacksaw?
Where was I?

Oh, yeah. Glad you're here (seriously). Hope it's a fun ride for ya!


message 15: by Michaelbrent (new)

Michaelbrent Collings (michaelbrentcollings) | 87 comments Misty wrote: "Hi!"

Hi yourself, Miss Misty!

I don't know if you call yourself Miss Misty, but I couldn't resist the alliteration. Because writer.

Enjoy the book, and drop in again soon to let us know how it's going!


message 16: by Michaelbrent (new)

Michaelbrent Collings (michaelbrentcollings) | 87 comments Kimberly wrote: "One of my first reads by Michaelbrent Collins--I'm in for a re-read!"

Even now, after I've had some success and enough people like my books that you think I'd know differently, every time someone approaches me at a con or some other appearance and says, "Hey, I've read one [or several, or all] of your books!" my first impulse is to step back a bit in case they try and take a swing at me.

So... mental step back. But step forward with hopeful grin since you're bothering to re-read! Ha! Hope it's fun the second time, and that you find some new treasures in there. The best books (I think) are the ones that we enjoy the first time through, but which deepen and enrich our lives in different ways each subsequent time we read them.


message 17: by Michaelbrent (new)

Michaelbrent Collings (michaelbrentcollings) | 87 comments Andrew wrote: "I’m super excited. Mr Collings, I’ve heard your name tossed about a lot, but haven’t yet had a chance to read one of your books yet. So, this is a first for me and I can’t think of a better way to ..."

Always glad to be tossed! I hope you have a fun time reading it. Then I hope you join the cult of MbC and get everyone else to read it. And together we will all congregate in a barn somewhere, to read books together and wait for the Mother Ship to come and take us to the beautiful planet Mx'gtctcl, where we will dance with unicorns and sing songs of praise.

Ahhh, shoot. Probably too early in our relationship to go there. Forget I wrote that other stuff. Pretend I just said, "Enjoy the book!"

Yeah. That's all I said.
[Praise the Mother Ship]


message 18: by Michaelbrent (new)

Michaelbrent Collings (michaelbrentcollings) | 87 comments Andrew wrote: "I’m super excited. Mr Collings, I’ve heard your name tossed about a lot, but haven’t yet had a chance to read one of your books yet. So, this is a first for me and I can’t think of a better way to ..."

Also, Mr. Collings is my dad. I'm Michaelbrent, or MbC if you want to avoid carpal tunnel.


message 19: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (kimberly_3238) | 5683 comments Mod
Michaelbrent wrote: "Kimberly wrote: "One of my first reads by Michaelbrent Collins--I'm in for a re-read!"

Even now, after I've had some success and enough people like my books that you think I'd know differently, ev..."


Exactly my feelings on re-reads! I love finding things that I may have missed or forgotten in the previous read, that add to the story all the more. I think my personal favorites of your novels that I've read are THE HOUSE THAT DEATH BUILT, and STRANGERS.


message 20: by Latasha (new)

Latasha (latasha513) | 10644 comments Mod
Welcome and thanks!


message 21: by Michaelbrent (new)

Michaelbrent Collings (michaelbrentcollings) | 87 comments Latasha wrote: "Welcome and thanks!"

Thank you and YOU’RE welcome right back! 😎


Andrew “The Weirdling” Glos | 71 comments There’s a cult of MbC? As long as their are bizarre hats involved, I’m game!

Wait, hold up. There’s no castration involved is there? I draw the line at castration while sober. That’s not cool. Castration with free booze, however...


message 23: by Latasha (new)

Latasha (latasha513) | 10644 comments Mod
Andrew wrote: "There’s a cult of MbC? As long as their are bizarre hats involved, I’m game!

Wait, hold up. There’s no castration involved is there? I draw the line at castration while sober. That’s not cool. Ca..."


I wanna join! as long as your not going to marry me to some random guy.


message 24: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (kimberly_3238) | 5683 comments Mod
Latasha wrote: "Andrew wrote: "There’s a cult of MbC? As long as their are bizarre hats involved, I’m game!

Wait, hold up. There’s no castration involved is there? I draw the line at castration while sober. That..."


Some random guy? They marry you off to random GOATS in the cult of MbC! (Much more original) ;)


message 25: by Latasha (new)

Latasha (latasha513) | 10644 comments Mod
Oh dear! 😥😱 maybe I’ll pass lol


message 26: by Michaelbrent (last edited Jul 28, 2018 11:10PM) (new)

Michaelbrent Collings (michaelbrentcollings) | 87 comments Andrew wrote: "There’s a cult of MbC? As long as their are bizarre hats involved, I’m game!

Wait, hold up. There’s no castration involved is there? I draw the line at castration while sober. That’s not cool. Ca..."


The Boozy Castrati is the name of my rehab a capella group.


message 27: by Michaelbrent (new)

Michaelbrent Collings (michaelbrentcollings) | 87 comments Kimberly wrote: "Latasha wrote: "Andrew wrote: "There’s a cult of MbC? As long as their are bizarre hats involved, I’m game!

Wait, hold up. There’s no castration involved is there? I draw the line at castration w..."


This is the only part of the thread I find offensive.

All goats are hand-selected by the Mother Ship. NOTHING is random, and NOTHING is left to chance.


message 28: by Michaelbrent (new)

Michaelbrent Collings (michaelbrentcollings) | 87 comments Latasha wrote: "Oh dear! 😥😱 maybe I’ll pass lol"

Oh, you mean JUST WHEN THINGS WERE GETTIN’ REAL?

Phsh. Whatevs.


message 29: by Latasha (new)

Latasha (latasha513) | 10644 comments Mod
Lol!


message 30: by Alan (new)

Alan | 4490 comments Mod
Michaelbrent wrote: "Also, Mr. Collings is my dad. I'm Michaelbrent, or MbC if you want to avoid carpal tunnel.."

Ya know, if you ever decide to become a rapper, you can be Run MbC! (I'm copyrighting that now, so I'll get a piece of any record sales.)


message 31: by Michaelbrent (new)

Michaelbrent Collings (michaelbrentcollings) | 87 comments Alan wrote: "Michaelbrent wrote: "Also, Mr. Collings is my dad. I'm Michaelbrent, or MbC if you want to avoid carpal tunnel.."

Ya know, if you ever decide to become a rapper, you can be Run MbC! (I'm copyright..."


Best.
Idea.
EVER.


message 32: by Latasha (new)

Latasha (latasha513) | 10644 comments Mod
i'll be joining in. I'll be listening to the audiobook.


message 33: by Kenneth (new)

Kenneth McKinley | 1511 comments Mod
Michaelbrent. What can you tell us about the cover of Apparition?


message 34: by Michaelbrent (new)

Michaelbrent Collings (michaelbrentcollings) | 87 comments Latasha wrote: "i'll be joining in. I'll be listening to the audiobook."

Awesome! I hope you love it - I think the narrator did a great job with some very tough things. Not just the subject matter, though that's its own beastie, but with the way it's written - a combination of journal entries and prose, with my own designed-to-be-read-not-heard linguistic style.


message 35: by Michaelbrent (new)

Michaelbrent Collings (michaelbrentcollings) | 87 comments Ken wrote: "Michaelbrent. What can you tell us about the cover of Apparition?"

Well, first and foremost there have been SEVERAL. One of the nice things about being an indie is that nothing is set in stone. Most of my books have gone through several covers as audience tastes change and - let's face it - sometimes just to see if I can kickstart sales with a change of some kind.

I design all my own covers, which is something I enjoy. That said, I DON'T recommend that most authors do that.

The first cover (the white demonic face) I call my "Wild West" cover - it was done five or six years ago, I think, which was early enough in Kindle's evolution that there didn't have to be a lot of artistry or subtlety - indeed, I think those things probably hurt a book in the early days, since people were looking for "in your face" when they looked for indie work.

The next cover was a big leap forward in just about every way. It featured cockroaches crawling over and through rot, and it looked like the book itself was falling apart/rotting. I liked it a lot, but it didn't get a great reception from readers - again, another fun thing about being an indie is that audience feedback ACTUALLY MATTERS.

The current image (the one on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Apparition-Mic...) is my absolute favorite. The cockroach still makes an appearance - they're a great visual image, instantly put us in an "oogy" frame of mind, and cockroaches (either singly or en masse) are an important part of the story. They're a harbinger of sorts. But the cockroach isn't the lead element in the current book cover. Instead, I have a child's face, her mouth covered by a man's hand, and her eyes a milky white. All these elements are important hints to the book.

Yes, this is a book where kids are most definitely in danger.
Yes, this is a book where adults take advantage of their superior power to cause fear and harm to those kids.
Yes, there is a supernatural element - and yes, it directly affects the kids.
And yes, of course... cockroaches.

I also love the tagline "Kiss your children good night." It captures a lot of the essence of the story - not only is it creepy in and of itself, but it takes a beloved image we associate with warmth and family (is there anything more iconic to the "good" family than those last kisses on the forehead before the lights go out and dreams begin?) and not-so-subtly hints that such good things will be perverted. The family is the playground of the entity in this book, and it does things to them in a most cruel fashion.

The whole book was a tough one to write, in a lot of ways. Some of them I detail in the Author's Note at the end, but one of the biggest was just the fact that the more I researched, the more scary I found our own, REAL world to be. The entire book devolves upon filicide - the practice of killing one's own children. And the more I researched... yikes. One of the most horrifying moments was in reading a scientific study of the practice, at which point I realized a) WHAT KIND OF CREEPY SCIENTIST WOULD WANT TO STUDY THIS, and b) HOLY CRAP THERE IS ENOUGH OF THIS GOING ON THAT SCIENTISTS CAN STUDY IT AS A "THING" RATHER THAN AN ISOLATED EVENT.

Brrrr....

Sometimes the subject matter is enough to put the hairs on my neck to standing at attention. Hopefully this cover adds to that effect, if only in some small way!


Andrew “The Weirdling” Glos | 71 comments Are the facts at the very beginning true? If so, that may be more terrifying that anything else you have in the book. *shudder*


Andrew “The Weirdling” Glos | 71 comments Seven chapters in now. My initial impression- MbC, I’m a little worried about you, bro.


message 38: by Michaelbrent (last edited Aug 02, 2018 07:11AM) (new)

Michaelbrent Collings (michaelbrentcollings) | 87 comments Andrew wrote: "Are the facts at the very beginning true? If so, that may be more terrifying that anything else you have in the book. *shudder*"

Yes. That was a sinking feeling the more I read. The stats don't just include the flat-out-evil kind of thing; they also include negligence and things the parent caused inadvertently. But they're still terrifying.

Re seven chapters in: I'll take it that means you're worried about me... but not worried enough to stop reading. ;o) I'll take it. 'Specially since it's a horror novel, so you're disquiet probably means it's doing its job.

And don't worry about me. I'm coo-coo in the coconut, sure. But I've surrounded myself with uber-sane people, so things average out. Ha! Besides, the Mother Ship gives extra points for Crazy.


Andrew “The Weirdling” Glos | 71 comments You have it right. I am very much enjoying it and not stopping. I especially like the way you write the kids. I have a 12 yr old and an 8 yr old, and they remind me of mine a lot. (Though I suspected that may sting later on at some point.) Also, your keen sense of humor comes through strongly in the writing as well. So far, so good.


message 40: by Michaelbrent (new)

Michaelbrent Collings (michaelbrentcollings) | 87 comments Andrew wrote: "You have it right. I am very much enjoying it and not stopping. I especially like the way you write the kids. I have a 12 yr old and an 8 yr old, and they remind me of mine a lot. (Though I suspect..."

Yes!

Now remember your culty obligations: go out and find someone to bring in and chat with us in here. Just a chat. We won't change their minds. We're just friends...

[the Mother Ship... she caaaaallllllsssss]


message 41: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (kimberly_3238) | 5683 comments Mod
It was the real-life statistics that got to me, too.... After that, reading the fictional book was the best!


message 42: by Michaelbrent (new)

Michaelbrent Collings (michaelbrentcollings) | 87 comments Kimberly wrote: "It was the real-life statistics that got to me, too.... After that, reading the fictional book was the best!"

Real life is always more terrible and wonderful than anything a storyteller can dream up. Stories are shadows, but they at least show us (occasionally) the shape of the good and the bad, so we can better recognize them and survive the bad and thrive on the good.


Andrew “The Weirdling” Glos | 71 comments lol. What is “the pretty good horror book about killer robots” that Ella is reading? Have something in mind?


message 44: by Michaelbrent (new)

Michaelbrent Collings (michaelbrentcollings) | 87 comments Andrew wrote: "lol. What is “the pretty good horror book about killer robots” that Ella is reading? Have something in mind?"

Heh.

https://www.amazon.com/Run-ebook/dp/B...


Andrew “The Weirdling” Glos | 71 comments Oooo... Someone said “tentacles” and “eldritch” on the same page. Mr Lovecraft appreciates your nod. lol.


Andrew “The Weirdling” Glos | 71 comments Finished the book early this morning. (Yeah. Thanks for the all the lost hours of sleep there, MbC.) Very worth it! That afterwords was amazing and powerful, btw. It distilled a lot of my own feelings while processing the book. You’re right, as a parent it is very hard to read. But I cannot think of another horror book that deals as seriously and deeply with this darkest dimension of human existence. Sooooooo good. Thank you for writing it.


message 47: by Michaelbrent (last edited Aug 07, 2018 01:11PM) (new)

Michaelbrent Collings (michaelbrentcollings) | 87 comments Andrew wrote: "Finished the book early this morning. (Yeah. Thanks for the all the lost hours of sleep there, MbC.) Very worth it! That afterwords was amazing and powerful, btw. It distilled a lot of my own feeli..."

You are so very welcome; can’t tell you how glad I am to hear you enjoyed. A very personal book for me, and one I think has something valuable to say. Do drop an Amazon and/or GR review if ya can!


message 48: by Alan (new)

Alan | 4490 comments Mod
Michaelbrent wrote: "Andrew wrote: "lol. What is “the pretty good horror book about killer robots” that Ella is reading? Have something in mind?"

Heh.

https://www.amazon.com/Run-ebook/dp/B..."


Pulling a circa 1980s Stephen King there? >;)


message 49: by Michaelbrent (new)

Michaelbrent Collings (michaelbrentcollings) | 87 comments Alan wrote: "Michaelbrent wrote: "Andrew wrote: "lol. What is “the pretty good horror book about killer robots” that Ella is reading? Have something in mind?"

Heh.

https://www.amazon.com/Run-ebook/dp/B......"


Nah. He made the stories part of each other's threads. I just include some of my characters reading some of my books. Less part of each other's threads than a big circular meta (A reads B, B reads C, C reads A... so WHO IS REAL AND OHMYGOSH MY HEAD JUST EXPLODED BECAUSE WHAT IF SOMEONE'S READING THE BOOK OF ME RIGHT NOW?!


message 50: by Alan (new)

Alan | 4490 comments Mod
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