Tag Archives: Scott Dyson

JACK’O’LANTERN (and THE MOMENT and SARAH’S PUPPY) free on 10/29!

In honor of Halloween, I’ve made my short story trio containing JACK’O’LANTERN, THE MOMENT and SARAH’S PUPPY free for five days, starting Thursday, 10/29/15, till Monday, 11/2/15.  It’s been free before, but this time it contains sample chapters from my novellas THE INN and THE CAVE.

Jackolantern updated cover

All three stories are also found in the collection 14 DARK WINDOWS, which is priced at only $0.99 and will continue to be priced there for the foreseeable future.

Grab it while it’s free! If you like it, grab something else as well! Thanks for reading!


About THE INN…

My book THE INN now has 4 reviews (three of which have text), all 5-star ratings.  J. Michael Major, author of ONE MAN’S CASTLE, had this to say about it:

Talk about the band trip from hell! Young and beautiful student teacher Kimberly Bouton rides along with the high school band from Minnesota to Alabama. But one of the stops along the way is an inn where creepy things have started to occur. Miss Bouton and other band members wake up sore and with headaches. Is someone at the inn abusing the women in their sleep? Dyson cleverly weaves a great tale with events in the news that quickly escalate out of control. Filled with twists and turns, you won’t want to put this one down!

(Check out his book, for a good serial killer book that focuses on some interesting issues!)

Another reader identified as “Anne” posted this about the book:

Really enjoyed this short but scary read. Extremely well-written — and difficult to put down. The characters were compelling, and the suspense was thrilling. A perfect story for a night by the fire.

It was nice to hear that a reader thought it was extremely well-written. I try…

And finally, Steven M. Moore, author of too many books to count, including his latest, FAMILY AFFAIRS, wrote this about it on his blog:

Scott Dyson, author (Deadlock Press, 2015).  Is this the longest story I’ve read by Mr. Dyson?  It’s a novella, and there’s a lot of horror, mystery, suspense, and thrills in these few pages.  I loved it, and It’s not a genre I often read (the horror part).  No zombies, vampires, or werewolves (thank God!), just one seemingly ordinary human being doing horrible things to other human beings.  Some scenes reminded me of Hayton’s novel Breathe and Release reviewed here and that real life atrocity with the three girls in Ohio.

The band director, his student teacher (a woman not much older than the students), and the band are on a road trip.  They plan to perform and then spend a day at a nearby amusement park, crashing two nights in the inn.  I can’t say much more without writing spoilers, but I will send out a warning: if you were a member of a high school band, any nostalgia might fly out the window as your read this.  Or, some readers might say, “This is a lot more exciting than our band trips were.”  Mr. Dyson’s writing is fresh and original.  Fans of the genre will enjoy this one. (Rating?  How would you rate the TV show Dexter?)

So there are three very positive reviews of THE INN.  Thanks to those reviewers for taking the time to read and review it!

Here’s another from Mit Sandru, author of the VLAD vampire series and TIME HOLE, among others:

This is another fine novel written by Scott Dyson. While reading I had to remind myself that I wasn’t reading a Stephen King or Dean Koontz horror novel, but and equally well written book by Scott.

I love it! I’ve been compared to King and Koontz! Two of the best ever, in my opinion!

I thought I’d toss some stuff up here about the background of writing THE INN.  I flew through it; the story seemed to write itself.  I went back and added in the material about St. Louis and the store where my main character purchases the flute pendant after the first draft was completed.  I tried to give a little more depth to the parent-chaperones, who were barely mentioned in the first draft.  And I fleshed out a few of the students a bit more in the narrative, making them more than just names that passed by in the story.

The idea to write it came after I finished a book called TEXT MESSAGE by William Malmborg.  In that book, Malmborg describes a college student who loses her younger sister at the mall, and then begins receiving text messages from her sister’s phone telling her to do embarrassing things (mostly of a sexual nature) or bad things will happen to the sister.  When the girl refuses, the bad guy (girl?) texts a photo of the sister with a finger cut off.  So the girl follows instructions to the letter, and…well, it goes on from there.

I thought, after reading it, that I could probably write something similar, and started thinking about storylines.  I thought of a motel or an inn (instead of a school or a mall) where bad things happen, and then I flashed back to a recurring concern I have when I’m in a motel room — that somehow they have surveillance cameras in the rooms.  I mean, how would you know unless you start tearing the room apart?

It so happened that band trips came to mind, and I combined the two things — a band trip to a motel with something of that nature in some of the rooms.  I recalled certain things about my own band trips as a high school student, and about more current band trips and how they are organized, and out came the story.

It ended up being something around 37,000 words, give or take.  After about six months of polishing, getting input from my beta reader, and repolishing, I finally came up with an idea for the cover.  I searched out images that would fit what I was picturing, and I think what I came up with is pretty close to my original idea.

It hasn’t sold well…two copies in October and eleven copies in September, at least at Amazon.com (not sure about the other Amazons in the UK or other countries), but it’s been getting some KU page reads — over a thousand last month and over five hundred so far this month.  My shorter novella THE CAVE (about 25,000 words) has been read in KU a few times as well, although it has only sold one copy in two months.

So that’s the long story behind THE INN.  I’m currently working on a long version of ODD MAN OUT, and am polishing a couple of other things that are done.

Looking forward to getting some more things out.  Till then, try one of my other books!  They’re still all only $0.99, which is a huge bargain.  (THE INN is going to go up to $1.99 soon…)

Oh, and do yourself a service and read FAMILY AFFAIRS, TIME HOLE, and ONE MAN’S CASTLE.  All three are excellent books!



A weekend of writing, playing and Cubs!

I tend to write this blog as conversationally as I can — like I’m talking to a friend.  So even though I’m probably not talking to too many people (I really don’t know how many visitors I get because I’ve never set up that JetPack thing) I figured I’ll continue in this style and drop a quick note about my weekend.

Every year a group of friends heads up to northern Wisconsin for a weekend of playing music and enjoying the water (if it’s warm) and the colors (if it’s late enough and conditions are favorable) and eating and drinking and just relaxing.  This past weekend was that weekend, and I went up there for the first time in about 4 years.  Besides playing (I do keyboards, guitar and a bit of drums) I took some time to write.  Sometimes I even got in a couple of hours of writing in the day.

I got in enough writing that I actually finished a YA/MG novel I started with my son a long time ago.  As I reread, I note places that need to be filled in, but I haven’t even started with that.  I’m just trying to get a sense of whether the story holds together.

It’s interesting that two of the projects I’ve finished are two of my longest projects and both started in my son’s imagination — not in my own imagination.  I honestly think that his imagination is a lot better than mine.  Whenever I hit a snag, I’d ask him where it was going.  He’d sometimes come up with something so out-there and off-course that I’d veto it.  But usually he’d give me a sense of what he saw happening and it would work.  He’ll be getting co-writing credits on both of these, though, due to the nature of some of my horror, I may use a different name for this stuff.  It’s a complete departure from the horror I write.  Not sure I want any overlap on readership.  I won’t keep either a secret.  The pen-name will have a menu header up at the top, I think, and I’ll post something every time I add a page to it, but I’ll try to keep them as separate as I can.

Oh, and we watched a Cubs loss and a Cubs victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.  After two more victories at home, we’ve vanquished the Cards and we’re in the NLCS for the first time since 2003, and that was the first time in history that we’d been in that position.  Can’t wait to see if Back To The Future 2 was accurate in its prediction!


THE INN is live!

I finally did it!  THE INN, my 37,000 word horror/suspense/thriller, is live on Amazon!

Take a look at the cover:

The Inn Cover 4

Here’s the blurb from Amazon:


The Jackson High School Band and student director Kimberly Bouton are making their biennial journey to a music festival in the deep South for fun and educational opportunities. Kim expects to deal with hormonal teenagers, a severe lack of sleep, and long boring bus rides, but the roadside inn where the band stays on their visit hides a sinister secret – and it translates to unimagined horrors for students and teachers alike…

Check into THE INN, where the guests are the entertainment…

It’s not for everyone.  It’s horror (nothing extreme, but people die and such, like in most horror), and it’s the realistic type of horror, not the supernatural type.  But please take a look if you are so inclined.



New title coming out…

I finished up my final editing pass over the weekend, and I think it’s time to post the cover for what will be my most recent and my longest published work to date:  THE INN.

THE INN is about a high school band who takes a school trip to a music festival in Alabama, and focuses on their student-teacher, a 22-year-old college senior named Kimberly Bouton.  But this inn has some strange goings-on, and both the teacher and the kids experience that strangeness first hand.

I haven’t written the blurb yet, but I’m working on it.  This is a serial-killer-horror type of novel (or is it still a novella at around 37000 words?  Probably…) with the standard trappings of horror novels of this type.  I wouldn’t call it “extreme horror” — there are no graphic descriptions of — well, anything, really.  But it’s full of mature and disturbing occurrences, like most horror novels.

I’ve alway been a fan of horror movies, even the slasher-type of movies (though I think it’s been really overdone and I haven’t seen many in the last several years), and I recently read some novels by indie horror writer William Malmborg , especially one called TEXT MESSAGE and one called NIKKI’S SECRET.  After I read them, I thought that I could probably write something like those stories, and this is my attempt.  I’d like to think that it has my usual level of character development (for better or worse) but I don’t think it is for every reader.  If you don’t care for this sort of horror novel, take a pass on this one.  OTOH, if you liked RED DRAGON or SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, you might not be totally put off by this one.

THE INN, a horror thriller which clocks in at about 37000 words and contains a sample chapter of THE CAVE as well.  Here’s the cover:

The Inn Book CoverI’ll be posting links to it on Amazon in a day or so…


ODD MAN OUT Promotion

It was a spur-of-the-moment decision – I decided to give away ODD MAN OUT, a short story pair that featured the title tale (about 1600 words) and a second short story called THE HOUSE AT THE BEND IN THE ROAD (about 1800 words).

Of all my works, I like this cover the best.  It looks professionally done, because it was.  I have a good friend, Rich Siegle, who did the cover for me (gratis), and he does book covers for small publisher Poison Pen Press in Scottsdale, Arizona.  I paired these two stories because, well, they seemed to go together.  Originally I had paired SOLE OCCUPANT and ODD MAN OUT because I liked them about the best of all my short stories, but I ended up using this pairing because it kept the word counts between the two ebooks about the same.

ODD MAN OUT is also found in the collection 14 DARK WINDOWS.  The short story pair costs $0.99 on Amazon, because that is the lowest price Amazon will let you set for something.  I lowered the collection to $0.99 also, because I hoped to move some titles.

I decided to give this short story away because I thought if someone liked enough, they might be inspired to buy the collection which contains both of these and twelve other stories (including the aforementioned SOLE OCCUPANT).

I also started to expand this short story into a longer work.  Hoping that I can get 20 or 30 thousand words out of it.  It struck me as I read it that there was a lot more story to tell.  So we’ll see what comes out of that project.  I haven’t been putting much time into writing on this story recently; there’s been a LOT going on with my family, but I think things might start to wind down now.

The other reason I haven’t been writing it is because I spent some time finishing up the collaboration between my son Kevin and me.  It’s part of a series, and we completed Book 1 and got a fair start on Book 2.  Book 1 is about 77000 words, so it’s a full length novel.  Believe it or not, it started life as Harry Potter/SwordArt Online crossover fan fiction written by my son.  I saw some potential in it and decided to write it with a more original slant.

So, maybe I will get some things written before summer runs out of time.  We’ll see.

Oh, yeah.  The point of this post was that I did a giveaway with ODD MAN OUT.  The giveaway ran three days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday).  I only announced it on Facebook.  I gave away 35 copies of the short story in that time frame.  (Well, 36, but one was downloaded by me for free in an attempt to boost the number by one.)

I guess that’s 35 people who never heard of me before, because I doubt I had anyone from my Facebook announcement get it.  Okay, perhaps there were four or five downloads because of that announcement.  I can’t say for sure.  We’ll see if anyone grabs the collection in the next week or so.  Even one or two downloads would be great!

So, did it do what I hoped?  No…it made it to #10 on a “Ghosts and Haunted Houses” list on Amazon, but it certainly didn’t amount to much in the sense of sheer downloads.  But it’s just one of those things.

Have a great week.


Going all-in on KDP Select…

Yesterday I was reading blog entries on The Passive Voice, on Joe Konrath’s blog and some Hugh Howey thoughts, and I thought, “Wow!  Why am I not in KDP Select?”

So why wasn’t I?

I put my short stories in KDP Select when I wanted to give some of them away several months ago.  But I never put my longer collections and my novella into it.  My reasoning was that I was going to move to publish the works with other platforms, like B&N, iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords.  I was thinking that maybe Draft2Digital was the way to go, but I wasn’t sure.

I never did any of that.  Honestly, I can’t see myself putting in the work to do so at this time.  Maybe if I was seeing income worth talking about, I could justify putting in the time.  But right now, I can’t.

So, I placed everything into KDP Select.  My novella, THE CAVE, costs $0.99 to buy, but can be borrowed in Kindle Unlimited or through Prime.  My short story collections, DIE 6, 14 DARK WINDOWS, and THE STRIKER FILES, are all currently priced at $0.99, and all can be borrowed via KU or through Prime.  And my four short stories (all of which are found in 14 DARK WINDOWS as well), are also priced at $0.99, and all are part of KU and Prime.

Here’s what one reviewer said about my short story ODD MAN OUT:

A pair of creepy tales, well written if on the short side. Worth a read, especially via Kindle Unlimited. I’ll be checking out the collection that includes these.   EC, Amazon review.

Another review about the same says:

The book is two short word pictures of atmospheric horror. They both nicely evoke a feeling of creepy dread, and in the case of the House At the Bend In the Road, mystery. Worth a read!  Scott R. Turner, Amazon review.

(ODD MAN OUT is available as a standalone short story or as part of the collection 14 DARK WINDOWS.)

Anyway, there it is.  I’m all in on KDP Select for now.  Grab ’em or borrow them.  They’re not pricey.  I think they’re good reads, but of course I would think that, since I wrote them.  But a few others think the same.  Don’t let others do your thinking for you; check them out yourself…


THE CAVE is live!

My 25,000 word novella, THE CAVE, is live on Amazon! (Click on the image to link to the file on Amazon…)

The Cave Novella

The Cave Novella

Here is the description:


While exploring the woods near their bike trails, four soon-to-be eighth grade boys make an exciting discovery: a real cave! Of course they decide to explore it, and they make a pact to keep it as their very own secret.

But Steve breaks the pact in order to win the attention of the neighborhood girl that they all dream about: Gina Lawson. To their surprise, Gina wants in on their adventure. As the five of them explore further and deeper, they begin to realize that their cave is not simply a cave – but does the strange pocket of darknesss merely pose serious danger, or does true evil lurk within?

A 25,000 word horror novella mixing teenage exuberance with a touch of the macabre. (Contains adult themes and some adult language.)

It only costs $0.99!  For 25 THOUSAND words!  (maybe a few more, actually.)  Grab it today!


Price reductions!

I have reduced the prices of everything I have published to $0.99!  Is that good news or bad?  That remains to be seen, I suppose.  If the lowered prices result in any sales at all, it’s great news!  If not, well, then, it isn’t any different from what’s going on now.

The truth is, until the 13th of May, I hadn’t seen a sale in over a month.  One of my short stories, “Night Family,” was purchased on that day and has not been returned.  The last three before that had been returned.  Why?  Because whoever downloaded them was disappointed that they were too short?  Or because they realized that they’d already read them as a part of either 14 Dark Windows or The Striker Files.

I’ve redone the descriptions in a very minor way, making the first line an indicator that the stories are contained in larger collections, also costing $0.99.  Hopefully that will help.  Also it will hopefully take away the “being upset at the length” factor, even though every one of them clearly shows the number of pages AND I state the length of the short stories in the blurb.

So now everything is $0.99, including the 25K novella THE CAVE which will be out very soon.  The short stories are also in KDP Select, so they can be downloaded as a KU borrow or used as a “Prime” borrow in a given month.

Although you can see all the titles by clicking on the “Books” menu tab above, here they are:



THE STRIKER FILES 3-in-1 Collection

SOLE OCCUPANT (two short stories)

ODD MAN OUT (two short stories)

JACK’O’LANTERN (three short stories)

THE GATEWAY   (three short stories)

DEAD OR ALIVE (a Striker Files short story)

NIGHT FAMILY (a Striker Files short story)

RICK’S RULES (a Striker Files short story)

And that’s all of them.  Except for THE CAVE, which isn’t live yet on Amazon.

Oh, yeah.  Did I mention that they’re all $0.99?  They literally can’t get cheaper as long as they’re exclusive to Amazon…

Take a look, assuming anyone sees this post.


Why “horror?”

My post from yesterday talked about what scared me, and I promised that I’d write something about why I write what I write, which is mostly horror.  The short answer is that it’s what comes out when I start writing.  So there.

There’s gotta be a longer answer, right?

Well, let’s see.  I write horror because I think it’s fun to imagine scary scenarios.  There’s usually a morality play at work in such stories; even if they glorify gore and torture, there’s a good-vs.-evil thing going on.  You the reader root for the good guy (usually).

I cut my fiction teeth on mysteries when I was small.  All mysteries seem to me to be “small horror” stories in a way.  Something bad has happened.  The mystery is who did it, or why.  Sometimes it’s a puzzle story about the act of figuring things out.  Think of thrillers.  Murders, terrorists, evil government agencies, disappearances, bombs, plane crashes — all these things can be elements of a horror novel.  But the focus is on the good guy solving the problem, not so much on the victim.

I remember a mystery I read when I was younger titled THE BLACK SPANIEL MYSTERY (or something close to that).  I remember that these puppies were disappearing.  Or rather, they were being replaced.  But one of the kids noticed that the markings of the puppy were not the same as the markings on the original puppy.  Why?  I can remember feeling for those puppies, as well as for the kids who were hurt by the puppies’ disappearance.  That the kids took it upon themselves to solve the puzzle made it a mystery.  But what if the puppies were being stolen just to hurt the kids?  Or they were going to do a “Cruella DeVil” on them and skin them for their lovely fur pelts?  That’s horror, no?

Further, I moved on to science fiction.  Asimov and Heinlein were my two main sources of entertainment for a long time (considering how many books both of them wrote, you can well imagine that getting through their catalogs took a few years…).  Again, we had mysteries, even in something like FOUNDATION, where the whole book is basically a search for the Second Foundation.  Along the way there is The Mule, a mutant who can rule the universe with his advanced mental powers.  That’s sort of scary, isn’t it?  He’s almost an alien in those books, and here he is taking over the human race.  Admittedly, Asimov’s emphasis doesn’t focus on any horrific elements, so it remains firmly in the SF realm.

Then finally, I found Stephen King.  Now here was horror.  We had a psychic girl going destructo on her high school prom, we had vampires taking over a town, we had the ghosts of evil in a big hotel recruiting the caretaker and convincing him to murder his snowbound family, we had a psychic who sees the end of the world in a politician’s handshake and acts to stop it, we had a virus which kills off 99.4% (or something like that) of the population of the U.S., setting up an epic battle between good and evil.  We had ghosts, we had aliens, we had monsters, we had zombies from a pet cemetery…all manners of horror.  All done with style.

I didn’t really read horror to be reading horror for a long time.  I just read authors.  Dan Simmons wrote some horror (Summer of Night, Carrion Comfort).  Robert McCammon did, too.  So did Orson Scott Card (Lost Boys) and Dean Koontz.  Finally I found authors who wrote nothing except for horror.  Richard Laymon, Edward Lee, Jack Ketchum, Phil Rickman, Melanie Tem, Nancy Holder, Poppy Z. Brite…  So many names, so many scary stories.  The tales varied.  Some were gross and bloody, some were moody and ephemeral.

I wanted to write science fiction, but nothing I wrote seemed to really work all that well.  Although I have a science background (chemistry major, lots of health sciences in dental school, and interest in the space program dating to my childhood, so I always took in information about the goings-on in science), my stories never seemed really plausible to me.  Maybe that was the problem.  Maybe I knew enough to know that what I was thinking wasn’t really going to work, but not enough to figure out a way to make it believable.  Anyway, as big of a fan of SF as I am, I’ve only written three short stories that are more or less in the realm of SF.

Everything I write seems to always come back to either the supernatural, or to something evil.  I’ve liked that in short stories I can sometimes have the bad guys win (see my short story GARAGE SALE which is found in THE STRIKER FILES 3-In-1 COLLECTION, or my story THE FUN HOUSE in DIE 6).  I like going in that direction with my stories.  It seems natural to me.

I like stories about characters.  I believe that most horror, at least most entertaining (to me) horror, is character-centric.  If you don’t care about the victims, then you won’t care much about their story.  And there is always a very important struggle between good and evil, between right and wrong.  To me, that’s the cool part of a story in the horror genre — it’s the “good will rise over evil” aspect, the fact that while not everyone might live through this evil, in the end, somehow, the good characters will triumph.  Perhaps it will be at a steep cost, perhaps their lives, or the lives of their loved ones.  Sacrifices have to be made.  That’s a good story right there, in my opinion.  It’s a universal story; one that can be adapted across genres.  Maybe all, or most, good stories have it at their core, somehow.

Recently I read a book called SEASICK by Iain Rob Wright.  In the book a troubled cop on holiday finds that he’s reliving a day over and over and over and over and…  well, you get the picture.  It turns out (SPOILER ALERT, though I think that even if you know the end, you can probably read the book and enjoy it because it’s a pretty fun read) that there is a killer virus on the ship, released by terrorists, and when the ship reaches the dock, it’s going to infect the port, and the world, and everyone’s gonna die.  How is the cop going to get out of this?

Is this a thriller or a horror novel?  Well, the virus turns people into some sort of zombies, so that makes it horror.  But…terrorists…a plot to release a virus…a hero cop…thriller, right?  But, a sorcerer who is causing the day to repeat for this cop until he gets it right…back to horror…  But…

You see what I mean.  A good horror novel can be a good thriller.  It just has supernatural aspects, and doesn’t shy away from depicting the bad stuff that happens, even if it happens more or less “off camera.”

I like writing character-driven stories.  I think that most of my stories start with the characters and move on from there.  I don’t know if I succeed.  Read something I’ve written (all short stories, until THE CAVE goes live sometime this weekend, then I’ll have a novella in the mix as well) and come back and tell me what you think.  It happens that most of my stories end up being horror in some way, but they’re mostly just stories.

One of the best horror series I’ve read in recent years is F. Paul Wilson’s “Repairman Jack” series.  Why is it so good?  Because Jack is facing off as the champion of a supernatural entity, and opposing another, more involved supernatural entity, but the horrors are a mix of real-life horror and horror caused in an unbelievable way by something supernatural.  Because Jack is fighting for himself as a sort of every-man, and his family, and even for people he doesn’t know but shares humanity with.  Because in the end you just have to know what’s happening, how it’s going to resolve, and what will become of Jack and Gia and Vicky and Abe and others.

It is a character-driven series, in my view, and they are the type of books I love to read, and aspire to write.

Anyway, that’s a long answer as to why I write horror.  Mostly it’s because those are the kind of stories that I make up.  Lot of words to get back to that short answer.  Sorry!