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Madness. Absolute Madness.

lfne, newsJason L Blair06 April 2017

It’s been almost half a year since I last updated?

That’s awful. Little Fears means too much for me to leave the site languishing this long. So let’s fix that.

I’ve been busier the past year than I maybe have my entire life. The day job continues to be amazing and insane but I should have a pretty chill summer and that means it’s time to get some stuff done for this game about kids fighting monsters.

No grand promises here but I will say:

1. The Middle Grade novel, The Wolf Pact, is done. I held off self-publishing in order to shop it to some agents and publishers who might have interest. Alas, nothing materialized. So I have this completed book that I’d really like to get out there for you folks (and to fulfill some Kickstarter pledges).

2. I would very much like to write the follow-up novel to The Wolf Pact—tentatively titled Fairy Tale Ending—as well.

3. The long-promised Campfire Tales release, The House that Wasn’t There, has been sitting almost-done since September of 2015. I’d like to finish and polish that up for sale.

Alright, I think that’s enough for now.

Oh! And I have ordered a whole bunch of PG-13 horror films so expect some Inspiring Fear posts as well. Including one that will up later this week!

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Update on The Wolf Pact

lfneJason L Blair20 July 2016

wolfpact_cover_workup_v2

I sent The Wolf Pact out to alpha readers on the 11th and the response has been amazing! I got some very good notes to help strengthen the story and LOTS of anecdotes that readers from 7 to 12 LOVE the book! It’s great to get feedback from peers on story structure, character development, and plot consistency but hearing that my target audience really likes the story of Nate and Jennifer makes my heart sing.

On top of that, the author of one of my favorite Middle Grade series ever has agreed to read the book for a potential blurb! Exciting times!

I am currently revising the book based on alpha feedback. Then I’ll start a head-down copyedit pass to fix up typos, grammatical errors, etc. Then it’s layout and proofing and then digital release!

I’ve decided to go ahead with a Kickstarter so folks who missed the book the first time around (or who just want the novel and not the RPG) can pick it up—though the focus of the Kickstarter will be funding the follow-up, Faery Tale Ending, which centers on Jennifer and her quest to [REDACTED].

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The Wolf Pact: First Draft Complete!

hblf, lfne, newsJason L Blair16 March 2016

wolfpact_cover_workup_v2

Hey everyone!

Just a quick note today to let you all know that I finished the first draft of The Wolf Pact yesterday. The manuscript needs a lot of love still but I’m very happy with what’s there, overall.

I’m kicking off the editing process today. I should have a draft ready for alpha readers very soon.

Once The Wolf Pact is buffed and shined, I’m going to dive into the sequel, Fairy Tale Ending. I’ve never been so jazzed about writing fiction before. It feels good to finally be in a place where I’m comfortable writing novels.

Anyway, that’s all I have for now. I’ll update again when I have more to share.

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The Wolf Pact: Update (with Revised Cover)!

hblf, lfne, newsJason L Blair15 March 2016

Little Fears: The Wolf Pact, my foray into bringing Little Fears into the world of Middle Grade fiction, currently sits at 32k words. I reckon I’m about 4k words from finish. I am to wrap up the first draft tomorrow.

My 8yo is super-stoked to read it which makes me very happy.

Once the first draft is done, I’m giving myself two to three weeks to revise it. Then it’ll go out to beta readers for feedback. More revision will follow. Publication should be early summer? Maybe sooner, depending on how the editing process goes.

I spent some time today tweaking the cover for the book. I’ve pasted the latest version below for your feedback. It’s coming together, folks! Woohoo!

wolfpact_cover_workup_v2

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Little Fears: The Wolf Pact Update

hblf, lfne, newsJason L Blair07 March 2016

Hello, everyone!

After a heated weekend sprint, I hit the 80% mark on the Little Fears Middle Grade novel The Wolf Pact. I can see the first draft wrapping up by the end of the week.

The Wolf Pact Cover Mock-Up WIP
(Cover-in-Progress)

Doesn’t mean it’ll be good to go though. I’ll take it through multiple editing passes before releasing it in digital.

Those of you who pledged for a digital copy of the book during the Blessed are the Children Kickstarter will get your comp copies first. Then I’ll put it up for wider sale on DriveThruFiction, Amazon, etc.

The print copies will follow but I’m considering a Kickstarter to fund a wider print run and to also fund the follow-up, tentatively titled Fairy Tale Ending, which I will have written prior to the launch of the Kickstarter.

I’m just considering this though. I don’t want to hold up those who have been waiting for their print copies but it might be nice to potentially add some interior illustrations to the book (akin to Clive Barker’s The Thief of Always, if you’re familiar).

I’ll follow up once the first draft is done. Stay tuned!

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Happy New Year?

lfneJason L Blair19 February 2016

My last post here was quite some time ago. But I haven’t forgotten about Little Fears. Far from it.

It’s been over a year since I released anything new for LFNE. The last product being Book 3: Blessed are the Children. I failed to put out even a single Campfire Tale in 2015. Yet, still, you all have been keeping Little Fears alive. With your emails and reviews (and purchases, yes), you’ve made it known that this game about kids fighting monsters is still out there, finding new fans and giving old ones good times around the table.

Thank you all so much. You’ve done a better job keeping Little Fears than I have.

I recently started the rewrite of my Little Fears novel, The Wolf Pact, and things are progressing nicely. I’m about 25% of the way through the first draft and I really like how things are going.

Which is, frankly, different my previous efforts. I finished the first draft of this back in 2007 in a flurry. I wrote the 50k word book in a week. And, trust me, it shows. It has some nice ideas but it sprawls everywhere and just has too much stuff going on. The new 30k version is shaping up to be much leaner, more focused, and—given the benefit of almost a decade more of writing experience—it reads so much better.

Once this is done, and revised and revised and revised, I’d like to maybe run a Kickstarter for it. Not to print it—it was funded by the Book 3 Kickstarter—but to generate more interest and, ideally, add some more artwork to the book. If you’ve read Clive Barker’s The Thief of Always, I’m thinking of pre-chapter images like he uses.

Those who backed the Kickstarter will get the ebook format immediately though. If I do run a Kickstarter and if it is successful then I’ll update the file. I would like to hold off on a physical print run though, so original backers (hopefully) get the illustrated version. But, as I said, if I either don’t run a Kickstarter or it doesn’t fund, I’ll print up the book as is (with Veronica Jonesglorious cover) and get that sent out.

After? Well, I’d like to start the second book (tentatively titled Fairy Tale Ending) and finish up Campfire Tales #8: The House that Wasn’t There.

I have no delusions that the day job will continue to be insanely busy this year but I also know that I can’t go much longer without putting out some Little Fears stuff—if for my own sake, if nothing else.

Anyway. That’s what’s currently cooking. Thank you all again for your continued support. I cannot put into words just how amazing you all have been and continue to be.

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A Long-Overdue Update

lfneJason L Blair10 August 2015

Well, it’s only been forever since I last updated. I left a lot of things hanging back in March (almost five months ago—eesh) including a promised Little Fears novel and a long list of RPG supplements “in development.” In addition, I’ve slacked hard on fulfilling orders in a timely fashion and following up on rules email and such.

That’s not good. And I know that.

So I’m looking to correct this moving forward.

This year has been insanely busy at the day job. Pair that with working in exercise and family time and I’ve spent nearly every hour I’ve been give since the calendar turned. Unfortunately, fitting in any extracurricular stuff, such as Little Fears and Streets of Bedlam, has been tough.

As the time has passed, my stress levels spiked off the charts and I hit a wall. I was anxious, depressed, and unfulfilled as well as agitated and uncertain about what I wanted out of life. The past month and a half have been particularly hard.

Thankfully, my wife is there for me when I am not and she booked a family vacation for a weekend out in the woods. So it was I spent last weekend holed up in a cabin surrounded by miles and miles of not-much which, aside from having to drive twenty minutes for groceries, was pretty spectacular. Normally I would fill my time with work, either day job or my own writing, or spend all my energy dealing with large crowds of people which is hugely exhausting for folks like me. And I’d come back from the “vacation” even worse off than I started.

But not this time.

This time, I did nothing but let myself be surrounded by trees, friendly roaming creatures, a bull-headed cat, a super-friendly chocolate lab, and walks in the woods.

It was amazing. And relaxing. And clarifying.

I don’t want to undersell that last point. “Clarifying.” My head has been so filled with static—work work work obligations obligations obligations—that I just ran head first from one task to another until I dropped. Like I said above: Every hour was filled. And, while I love my job and family, none of it was focused on my personal writing, which is one of the few things that keeps my anxiety demons at bay.

I thought maybe I could handle this. That maybe I could find time to fulfill my obligations to Little Fears and Streets of Bedlam in my spare time but make other things my top priority focus. But I couldn’t. I didn’t have “spare time.” No, I needed to make the time. I need to carve hours out of my day and dedicate them to my, shall we say, “ambition writing.” I needed to make my own writing a higher priority than it was. Yes, my day job is awesome and pays the bills, but my ultimate happiness relies on me putting out words that were wholly my own. That were my characters in my worlds doing my things. That were available to fans of my works, works that I love to support and grow. That had the potential to be books with my name on them put out by publishers who were not me.

And here it is, the Monday after and I still feel that way. I need to always feel that way. I need to make my own writing part of my daily routine. I need to fulfill my obligations.

Which is why I’m writing this to you today. Because I’m on a path to make things right.

Step One: More Timely Shipments
The money you pay for your hardcopies pays for the time it takes me to sign, package, and ship the products. I need to turn this around faster. I have let months go from initial order to final delivery and that’s not acceptable.

Step Two: Better Communications
I have some emails in the queue that need answered. I have fans on social media that deserve better support.

Step Three: More Product
Right now, the most outstanding product in the Little Fears line is The Wolf Pact. I have an outline, a fair amount of words, but it needs done. Which brings me to:

My Schedule

Starting tonight, I’m getting back into my own writing. I will have two nights each week to dedicate to writing and time outside of that, here and there, to do it as I can. But those two nights are nothing to sneeze at. There’s no good reason I can’t crank out 3-4k words each week. That’ll help me start to dig out from the hole I’m in and that’s good. It also gives me clearer goals as to when I can get stuff out.

First on my plate is something that’s not for Little Fears. I am about 2-3k words away from finishing SoB Stories #2 for Streets of Bedlam. That’s first. I will get that done this week and out next Wednesday. Then, I want to get back into Little Fears by finishing up Campfire Tales #8: The House That Wasn’t There. According to the latest file, I’m at the 33% mark there, which puts me about 5k words until done. I already have the art, so quick math check, I will have that finished next week.

I normally put in words like “should” or “aim to” but not this time. That gives me too much room to fudge. Instead, I’m dedicating to it. And not fulfilling that promise means I failed.

After that, I will decide whether I’m going to put out SoB Stories #3 for Streets of Bedlam or focus on The Wolf Pact. In fairness, SoB Stories #3 was promised first—and thus is later—but I would like to do some fiction. I’ll make that call soon enough.

Anyway, that’s where things are at. I am truly sorry for dropping the ball as much and as hard as I have lately. I am going to work to correct this and do better in the future.

(You’ll notice a similar post over at StreetsOfBedlam.com. Figured it was better to write this once and change some details than spend time restating everything.)

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Coming May 2015: The Wolf Pact

lfneJason L Blair23 February 2015

Hello, everyone! Just a quick update that you all can expect the first novel in the Little Fears fiction line to hit in PDF, epub, mobi, and other big platforms this coming May. For a sneak peek at the cover (which is very much still-in-progress), check out the preview below, featuring new artwork from the always stunning Veronica V. Jones! For those of you who added a copy via the Book 3 Kickstarter, you’ll get an update when this is ready to go. I will also run a pre-order for folks who missed it—and of course it’ll be available for regular sale as well!

The Wolf Pact Cover Mock-Up WIP

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Inspiring Fear: “Scary Stories” Headed to the Big Screen

hblf, lfneJason L Blair09 December 2013

“Saw Writers Bring Your Little Fears to the Big Screen With ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’”

Don’t let that headline fool ya: It’s not talking about the game line.

It is talking about something that might be relevant to your interests though! Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, two of the guys behind the Saw franchise films are adapting Alvin Schwartz’s classic short story collections, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark to the silver screen.

I own an omnibus edition of the three books and I adore it. If you haven’t read the tales, or haven’t for a while, I encourage you all to pick up a copy. It’s rife with Little Fears inspiration and the illustrations by Stephen Gammell are wondrously horrific.

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Halloweek 2013 – Doll-O-Ween #5: Slappy the Dummy

hblf, lfneJason L Blair01 November 2013

And we finish this year’s Halloweek/Doll-O-Ween with one of the most iconic dolls in literature: R. L. Stine’s Slappy from the author’s insanely popular Goosebumps series.

First appearing as an ordinary ventriloquist’s dummy in 1993’s Night of the Living Dummy, Slappy was not the antagonist of that book. Another dummy, named Mr. Wood, took that honor with Slappy only coming to life at the end of the story. Over the course of two more books in the original Goosebumps line—1995’s Night of the Living Dummy II and 1996’s Night of the Living Dummy III—we see Slappy terrorizing various families and often drawing the ire (and vengeance) of his fellow dolls.

While he has a mind of his own, when left for a long stretch of time, he enters an inert state where he is indistinguishable from a regular ventriloquist’s dummy. That is, until someone speaks the magic words: Karru marri odonna loma molonu karrano. A phrase which multiple unwitting children manage to mutter over the course of twenty years and five more books across multiple Goosebumps series. That’s a lot of traveling for a fella with wooden legs.

1998 brought Bride of the Living Dummy in which our wooden troublemaker becomes enamored with a doll belonging to his new owner’s sisters. Stung by Cupid’s arrow, Slappy will stop at nothing to get the woman he loves. This book is also where we learn that Slappy was carved from the coffin of a dark sorcerer—and he wasn’t the only one as later books revealed.

Just a year later, a new book featuring the diabolical dummy hit the shelves. Titled Slappy’s Nightmare, this book presents a solution to dealing with the doll. After getting tired of Slappy’s antics, main character Jimmy O’James learns from his new doll (and Slappy’s coffin-brother) Wally, that if the boy can get Slappy to do three good deeds in a week, Jimmy will have control over him. Though, as the book title suggests, all this may not actually be true.

Slappy makes two appearances in the Goosebumps HorrorLand series. Author R. L. Stine calls Revenge of the Living Dummy one of his scariest stories. The HorrorLand series is notable for how it places its characters into horrifying situations and then brings them all together in the titular theme park as a Very Special Guest.

As the series continues, the characters from the different books have to come together to escape. Slappy makes another appearance in later HorrorLand volume, The Streets of Panic Park, but as an ally.

In 2013’s Son of Slappy, we learn that the dummy, like Chucky, has a kid. Forcing current owner Jackson Stander to deal with not one, but two, evil dolls.

Slappy has a long history full of interesting tidbits you can pull into your own Little Fears stories. I highly recommend the books though seeing Slappy in action on the TV show is pretty spectacular as well.

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