Hello there readers,
Over the weekend, my family and i took a short hike. A little over a mile. Nothing major. Ever since buying my 3 year old his own walking stick, he's been anxious to use it. Before I get to the trail, let me tell you about this really cool app called All Trails. If you're in to hiking, you should check it out. They're not sponsoring this blog post or anything, I just thought it was really cool. You can search for hiking trails near you. There's a whole community that rates trails so you know what you're getting in to before you go. And you can even check out trail maps ahead of time. It's great!
Anyway, back to the trail. Like I said, it was a short hike. But short hikes can be fun and exciting, too. On this particular hike, we decided to take a turn on a nature trail which cut through the trees and most other people weren't taking. And I'm glad we did. Because along the way, we found a little flooded area and a baby gator sunning itself.
Of course, this is Florida so I've seen plenty of Alligators in my time. But it's still always so neat to come up on them in the wild because they're amazing creatures. The closest I will ever get to seeing a dinosaur in person, right?
This was too short of a hike so I didn't bring my GoPro with me or anything. However, I did use my GoPro a lot in the Smoky Mountains and I'm actually working on creating a video for that trip. If you're interested in seeing my hikes through the Smoky Mountains, or anything other hikes I've taken or will take in the future, check out my other YouTube channel Bonds' Hikes. It's been a while since I've posted but I'm going to start using it again and sharing our hiking/camping adventures there. I hope you'll check it out!
This past week, I took a trip with my family to the Great Smoky Mountains. It was a family trip and not any sort of research for an upcoming book. Although, there is much inspiration to be had in Tennessee. Such a beautiful place. But I thought it would be fun to talk about a few of the highlights of the trips. If you know me or have been following me for a while, then you know I love camping and hiking. We did a bit of hiking so I definitely want to talk about some trails. Oh, and if you want to hear a brief story about a paranormal experience I may have had, sign up for my monthly newsletter or Patreon page. Only places you will find that story!
First thing I'll talk about is our brief stay in Senoia, Georgia. We stopped and stayed over night to help break up the drive. And to visit one of our favorite small towns. It doesn't hurt that it was the backdrop for Woodbury in AMC's The Walking Dead. We've visited a few times but there's always something new and exciting to see. And since it's an active filming location still, there's new stuff popping up all the time. Fans of the show would recognize Alexandria which is right across the street. I'll share a few photos at the bottom of the post that you can sift through.
Of course, the real trip started when we got to Tennessee. You could see the Smoky Mountains from our cabin and the view was incredible. In fact, the whole cabin was incredible. I call it a cabin for lack of a better word, really. The first night, we looked up at the stars and I broke out the telescope to view Saturn and Jupiter. The night sky is so much darker up there than Florida so it was amazing.
Let's move on to some trails. The first trail we hiked led to a place called Cataract Falls. Not sure the story behind this naming but I bet it's a funny one. The waterfall was a cool sight to see and we were able to climb a few rocks to get a close look. We also hiked a place in North Carolina called Clingman's Dome which is the highest point in the Smokies. A trail called Gatlinburg Trail. And one of my favorites, Metcalf Bottoms Trail.
Metcalf Bottoms Trail wasn't a long hike. About 1.5 miles round trip. However, it was up a mountain and back down. So it was uphill both ways. That will be funny in a second. At the end of the trail is an old wooden school house and cemetery. The school house was built in 1881. We explored a bit and realized you were allowed inside. Which was great because it started to rain so we took shelter until it stopped. While waiting, we learned that kids used to hike the very trail we had used to get to and from school. Which means, there really are people who can say they used to walk to school uphill, both ways.
If you've ever been to Gatlinburg, you know it's a tourist city with lots of giftshops and touristy things to do. We didn't spend the majority of our time here but we spent a good amount there. It helps that my wife and I have been to Gatlinburg a couple of times already. One thing that was really fun was taking a ski lift up the mountain to a little mountaintop park. We had some drinks and enjoyed the amazing views before heading back down.
There was so much we did on this trip that I couldn't possibly sit here and talk about it all without boring you to tears. Everything from enjoying a camp fire to laying out on the ground to watch a meteor shower. It was a fun trip and a great way to get away from everything that's going on right now. I highly recommend taking a trip up there if you haven't already! And who knows, maybe there will be a book based in the Smokies coming soon!
Hello there and happy Tuesday.
Today, I thought I would share 3 of my favorite horror related YouTube channels. If you like scary videos, abandoned places, ghost hunting, and horror movies then you'll love these 3 channels. So, let's get started, shall we?
3. Slapped Ham
Alright, so Slapped Ham doesn't exactly sound like it's a YouTube channel for anything spooky. However, this is a channel filled with creepy and unexplained videos from around the internet. It has everything from creepy Cryptid sightings to creepy security cam footage to keep you up at night. If you're a bit skeptical like me, you'll still enjoy the channel as a lot of the videos are creepy even if they are fake. The real chilling videos are always the ones involving real murders that have gone unsolved or the last known footage of people before they were kidnapped. Those are spooky for sure.
2. Crypt TV
If countdown and list videos aren't your thing and you would prefer to watch horror shorts then Crypt TV is the channel for you. They have a lot of shorts that are all horror related. And the budget/production value of these shorts are amazing. With 3.2 million subscribers, it's not hard to see why. I wouldn't be surprised if they become a full fledged movie studio production one day.
1. Amy's Crypt
Normally in these blog posts, I put these things in no particular order. Just because one channel makes it to number 1, doesn't make it my favorite. However, in this case that's not true. Amy's Crypt is absolutely my favorite horror related YouTube channel. Amy's Crypt follows adventurer Amy as she explores haunted and sometimes abandoned places. She shares the history of the location and even performs paranormal investigations. I think the reason she comes in as my favorite channel is her skepticism. I've seen plenty of paranormal investigation channels who hear one little click from a room and scream ghost and run for their lives. While this might entertain some, I find it ridiculous. Amy's Crypt, however, does not do that. Even when she seemingly has solid evidence of something paranormal, she's quick to express it was probably something else. I share the same mentality and attitude when thinking about the paranormal so I love watching. Plus, the history and abandoned places she adventures to at night are creepy in their own right! If you're a history buff, lover of urban exploration, or the paranormal then this channel is right for you!
Those are my top 3 favorite horror related YouTube channels. Do you have one not on this list? Please, let me know in the comments below. I always love discovering new YouTube channels. And if you are looking for more horror YouTube in your life, give the 3 channels above a subscribe and don't forget to check out my YouTube channel Books by Bond which is the home of my new narrated horror story show Terror Tube. You can check out my latest video below.
At the end of this year, I wanted to take a moment to send some thank you's out into the wild. First of all, I want to thank anyone who has read my books this year or at all. Without readers, I'm a crazy person typing words on a page. I'm still a crazy person who types words on a page but at least people read those words.
Next, I want to thank everyone who follows me on social media or has signed up for my newsletter. Each and every one of you has made a statement by following me. You like what I have to say, one way or another.
A big thank you to everyone who has helped me in any way shape or form. Whether that be bouncing story ideas off of you, showing up to my events to say hi, providing feedback on my writing, etc. Every single person who has had to listen to me talk about my books and my writing deserves a huge thank you!
Lastly, a special thank you to anyone who has left a review on any of my books. For you amazing people, I can't say thank you enough. Reviews seem like such a simple thing but they're actually quite important. Each review pushes the visibility of the book upwards on Amazon. Without reviews, books are hardly seen. Besides that, a positive review can really make an author's day. You may not see the full effect of kind words when you leave a review but I can promise you it has one. You can turn an author's entire bad day around with just a simple positive review!
Thank you to everyone reading this blog and everyone who has supported me this far. I look forward to many more adventures in writing next year and beyond. Have a happy new year, everyone!
Failure. It sucks. No one likes to fail. But that's the nature of competing, isn't it? Someone has to win which means someone has to fail. Both teams can't take home the Super Bowl ring and only one candidate gets to be President. Someone always has to fail.
I recently participated in a short story contest. It was a Halloween themed contest. The stories were supposed to be scary and take a classic story or trope and give it a twist. I had a lot of fun with this idea. Here's what I came up with. A ghostly woman in white hitchhikes on the side of the road, waiting for her next victim. A man pulls over to pick her up, only for her to try and kill him. However, he's not what he appears either and the woman in white ends up becoming the hunted.
It was a classic story, woman in white, with a neat twist. I spent a lot of time writing, re-writing, editing, re-editing, proof reading, and so on. Finally, I hit submit, crossed my fingers, and hoped to win. The winner would take home $75. Money I would have used towards expensive advertising costs. Of course, if you read the title of this post you already know if I won or not.
When they announced the winners, I was obviously let down. I really loved my idea. The character was awesome. The execution of the story was well received by the few people who proofed it for me. And reading the stories that did win, I felt even worse. None of them encapsulated the nature of the contest. None really followed the guidelines of the contest. I almost felt cheated. But something happened.
If you're hoping for some twist to this story where the judges changed their mind or announced they made some mistake and I was actually the winner, sorry to disappoint. And to be honest, I'm glad they didn't. Because I learned something more valuable than the minimal prize money. I learned self appreciation. The story and the character might not have been enough for the judges but it was certainly enough for me! I loved my idea so much that I decided to give the character his very own series. And when you break down writing, whether you write for fun, you're a traditionally published author, or self-published, you should write for yourself first and an audience second. If you loved the idea and the story, that's all that matters. Meaning, don't write what you think other people will like if it's not what you like. Don't write YA novels because you think they'll sell better. Don't write non-fiction because you think it'll be easier. Always write what you love, no matter what. You like writing horror? Do it! You love writing fantasy? Do it! Your first book isn't selling well? Write another!
If you would like to read the story that I'm so proud of, there's a couple of options for you. You can head over to Patreon.com/EvanBond and become a patron. It's available exclusively for Patreon supporters for now. Or, you can wait an indeterminate amount of time for my short story collection book to come out. That's right, I will be piecing together some of my favorite short stories that I've written over the years as well as some new ones. I'll slap them together in a book and make it available. However, I don't have a release date for that yet as it's just in the planning stages. I need far more short stories in order to make it. So, you could be waiting a really long time. Why not just head over to Patreon now to read it? But, whatever you end up doing, I hope you enjoyed this blog post and learned something from it. Until next time, keep wandering. Just not alone.
Over the weekend, I got a bit of sad news. Due to Hurricane Dorian, the Space Coast Comic Con was cancelled. As you can imagine, I was pretty bummed about this. I've been looking forward to this con all year. I was excited to use what I learned a couple of weeks ago.
The good news is, the convention will be giving vendors a table at their next convention in 2020 so I at least have time to make any changes to my strategy and set up. Plus, if you think about it, it might be for the best. Even if Dorian doesn't hit the state, a lot of people may have cancelled their plans to travel to the convention because of the storm. Which means, there may have been a lot less people. So, it might work out for the best.
I'm not going to waste this trip, however. Since I already booked a hotel, which can't be cancelled now, I'm going to take my family on a vacation. My son will be excited to check out the Kennedy Space Center. Now, we just have to hope the hurricane doesn't decide to ruin more of our plans!
The 5th annual on point book fair is still happening on September 21st at 10AM. That one is in Tampa so if you're local, come check it out. It will be a Westshore Plaza in Tampa. Hope to see you there!
This past weekend, I worked my first comic convention. I met a lot of awesome people and had a lot of fun. Above all, I learned a lot. So, today I thought I would share with you what I learned in case there are other authors out there reading this and wanting to attempt to work a convention as well. Or, maybe you're just interested in what I learned. Either way, here are the 5 things I learned working my first convention.
5. Get to know your neighbors
A lot of authors are introverts and that's okay. I'm one of them. I'm not really a fan of public speaking or talking to strangers. However, conventions are long. This particular convention was only 2 days, Saturday and Sunday, but some can go from Thursday through Sunday. That's a long time to work around other people and not get talking to them. You never know what you might learn from those around you. Maybe you'll end up next to a seasoned veteran and they can give you tips to better your chances at making a sale. Plus, it's a lot more fun to chit chat with your neighbors when the con gets slow, and it will. When they did a costume contest, almost everyone cleared out and left the vendors alone. It was the perfect time to sit back and have a fun conversation with your fellow con workers.
4. Spend extra care on your booth/sales pitch
Like I mentioned above, a lot of authors are introverted. In order to sell books, you need to talk to people. You can't expect your book to sell itself, regardless of how good it might be. And I don't mean attack everyone who walks by and throw your speech at them. Not everyone is going to stop at your booth. But greet everyone who walks by. Say "Hi" or ask how they're doing. And when you do reel someone in, know what you're going to say to them. If you're selling multiple books in different genres, start by telling them what genres you write in and which one is their favorite. For example, I write mostly thriller, suspense, and horror. When someone responded that they loved thriller books, I would pick up Death Can Wait and hand it to them, explaining what the story is about. At the same time, it isn't just your sales pitch that's going to draw the crowd. You want them to notice you. Have a display that catches the eye, something different from the norm. I have the ammo crate I built and used it as the display case for my books. I received a few compliments on it saying the set up was original. If you can, go all out. Get a nice table cloth and a runner with your name on it. Get a large banner with original artwork behind you and plaster your name and website on it. You want people to see you from across the room.
3. Bring someone with you
Now, I know I told you to talk to your neighbors but you can't always rely on them. Maybe they're getting a lot of traffic and you're not. Maybe they've stepped away for a few minutes to use the bathroom and get a bite to eat. Either way, you'll want someone to talk to. If the con gets slow, it's easy to get bored. And on top of that, it's nice to have someone there to help you. Maybe you want to run around the convention hall and check out the vendors. If you leave your booth, how will you make money? What if a potential customer stops by? Will they move on and not come back? Having someone there, who has read your books and can pitch it, is essential. Make sure it's someone you can trust to help you. If your partner lets you down, it's going to be hard to recover. Especially if sales aren't going the way you planned. Which brings me to my next point.
2. Be prepared to fail
You might sell nothing the entire convention. You might sell out. There's no way to know for sure until after it's all over. But be prepared to fail and sell nothing. I won't lie, Sunday was brutal. The convention was quiet and there were hardly any patrons there. I didn't make a single sale on Sunday. The vendors around me didn't fare much better. The day was dead. And it was tough. It's too easy to give up and go home, upset that you wasted a whole day. Especially when you paid to be there. Trust me, I know because that's how I felt most of Sunday. It's heart wrenching. But you can't focus on that. You have to focus on what you learned from the experience. There's always something new to learn and things you could do better. And remember, selling might be important but so is networking. If you're not selling, hand out business cards or bookmarks or push your newsletter signup (which you should definitely have out on your table). You might not make a sale that day but someone may go home and buy your book on Nook or Kindle. And that's still a win.
1. Wear comfortable shoes
This might be obvious but wear something comfortable. Especially the shoes. You should be spending most of the day on your feet. Trust me, it helps. People find you more approachable if you're on your feet and engaging. If you're sitting there, looking bored, people won't approach you. Most conventions centers have concrete floors. So there's not a lot of support there. Your feet and your back will hurt by the end of the day. So, think carefully about what you're going to wear. I do recommend wearing cosplay which either matches the convention theme or your writing theme. It will bring people in to your booth. For example, I decked myself out with Agents of Shield items since this was a Marvel themed convention. But make sure you'll be comfortable. It's going to be a long day.
There were so many more things I learned than just these five but these are the ones most worth noting. Maybe if this blog post is well received, I'll write another one. And if you're an author who wants to sell at a convention and haven't, you should try. You won't know what will happen until you do. And if you have any questions or want any advice, feel free to reach out. I'm always happy to share whatever knowledge I have and help someone out!
Let me start by saying, I didn't read as many books as I would have liked this year. My Goodreads goal was 24 and I came in at 20. Pretty close, though. But of those 20, I do have a few favorites that stood out to me so I thought I would share them with you today. So, let's get into it, in no particular order and spoiler free, of course.
5. Origins by Dan Brown
I guess we'll start with the mainstream title. Ever since The DaVinci Code, the Robert Langdon books have been hit or miss with me. I didn't care too much for The Lost Symbol. Inferno was pretty entertaining but I felt as if these books were missing something the first two had. Angels & Demons and The DaVinci code made bold statements about religion and science. I felt that statement was lost on the others. Then enters Origin. I won't spoil anything about the ending but I will say Dan Brown explains religion and science in such a beautiful way which happens to mirror my own thoughts. Nothing might ever be as good as the first two but Origin sure as hell came close!
4. Brimstone Hustle by Robert McKinney
I discovered this book while browsing a self-publishing Sub-Reddit page. I'm glad I did. This book was a lot of fun to read. I won't sit here and tell you it was my favorite book of the year but it was a lot of fun. The plot centers around a woman who is able to "teleport" anywhere in the world she wants by taking shortcuts through Hell. The idea was original enough to catch my attention. Of course, she uses this power to get payback on an individual and I won't say much more than that. It's the first part in a series and I really should get down to reading the rest. My only complaint, which could be squashed with the sequels, is the power could be used for so much more than your regular thriller story. But still a fun read.
3. Glass Girl by Jessyca Thibault
Poetry is not something I normally read, however, I discovered Jessyca on Instagram a while back while she was doing a free promotion for her first book Doll Eyes. I found myself unable to stop reading and finished it in one sitting. Same with her follow up book Glass Girl. If you like poetry, you must give her series a try. I enjoyed them so much because it wasn't just a collection of poems but a window into the soul of another human being. It allowed me to take stock of things in my own life and try a new perspective. And with so many horrible things in this world and all the hate, opening your eyes to another person's experiences is something we need more of. And Jessyca does this well. She's a talented author with a bright future ahead of her!
2. The Ruins by Scott Smith
Although I didn't find this book as scary as many others have, I still enjoyed every second of it. A group of backpackers on a vacation in Mexico find themselves trapped on top of an ancient ruins site where the vines literally come to life and the locals won't let them leave. The book is dirty and visceral at times but for all the right reasons. I never looked at any character as heroic nor villainous. You could feel the desperation in every choice they made and you could almost feel the utter exhaustion they felt as well. A well crafted tale of horror.
1. The Resort by Bryce Gibson
It was a tough choice between this and Gibson's other thriller, The Reading Buddy. Both were excellent reads full of suspense and death. In the end, I had to give it to The Resort. There's not much I can say about this book without giving anything away. But I can tell you the main character Mackenzie Walker works on an island with his parents running a resort. When college students come for spring break and one of them winds up dead, Mackenzie gets pulled into a whirlwind of happenings and learns there's something terrible inhabiting the island. You'll have to read it for yourself to find out what it is. I promise, it's worth it.
Well, there you have it. My top 5 picks of the year. I definitely will be attempting to read more books next year than I did this time around. What were some of your favorite books? Have you read any on my list? Or do you plan to read any of these? Let me know in the comments below.
Horror is one of those genres which, if done well, can really stick with you for a long time. There's a lot of horror books out there. Some are eerie, some are creepy, some are downright disturbing. But what truly makes a horror book amazing, in my opinion, is one you can remember years later and still get that uneasy feeling. And these four books definitely lingered with me for quiet some time. So, here they are. Four of my favorite horror books, in no particular order.
4. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Richard Matheson's book I Am Legend was outstanding. It had everything a horror fan could ask for. Post apocalyptic society, vampires, desperate loneliness, and more. Plus, the vampires were real vampires, unlike the movie of the same name. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the movie sucked but the book was certainly better. There are still scenes that stick with me to this day. For example, there's a scene with Robert Neville trying to return home before the vampires come out for the night. He's behind the wheel of his manual car and his foot slips off the clutch and it stalls. There was so much tension in that scene. There are plenty more examples but I want to keep this spoiler free. If you haven't read I Am Legend, you need to!
3. Dracula by Bram Stoker
I'm sure you've read Dracula or at least seen one of the many movies inspired by the book. If not, you surely know his name. He's the king of all the undead beasts of our horror fueled nightmares. Dracula is cunning, charming, dangerous, and vile. This book sticks with me for many reasons but mainly because of its style. The book is written as journal entries from our hero Johnathan Harker and others at times. It was such a cool concept and original idea. It seemed to build the suspense over the entire novel. Plus, Dracula was much more than the simple villain movies made have made him out to be. In the book, he's far more dangerous and cunning. He's able to shape-shift into multiple forms, not just a bat. Some of them are utterly terrifying. I really feel for Jonathan and his fiance. There's a particular scene between Dracula and Jonathan's fiance Mina that was particularly unsettling. But I'll let you discover it for yourself.
2. The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe
I know what you're thinking. Evan, The Cask of Amontillado is a short story and not a book. To which I say, how are you able to interrupt me while I'm writing this? You must have the shine (from Stephen King's The Shining. Foreshadowing to the number 1?) Seriously, The Cask of Amontillado by Mr. Poe has to be my all time favorite story of his. Of course, there's the classics like A Tell Tale Heart, or The Raven (yes, I know that's a poem. Stop interrupting!), and The Pit and the Pendulum. But I can still remember this story clear as day from when I first read it in middle school. I can't say much about the story, for those who are about a hundred years late in reading it. Let's just say it centers around being buried alive. That is an utterly terrifying notion. In fact, it's been a while since I've read this story. I think I'll go read it now.
1. The Shining by Stephen King
Now that I've reread The Cask of Amontillado, let's talk about The Shining. (Seriously, I did go read it before finishing. Don't believe me? Follow me on Goodreads. You'll see!) Now, I know I said there was no particular order to these but I think I lied about the number one spot. The Shining has to be my all time favorite horror book and might even be my favorite King novel. The book is far more unsettling than the movie and there's plenty of scenes to get your paranoia flowing. One part in particular happens in the bathroom. Let's just say it took me a while to use the bathroom without moving the shower curtain first. Then there's a bit about a firehouse, an elevator, and just everything. Everything in this book is creepy and terrifying. It's amazing!
There you have it. Four of my favorite horror books and my number one favorite of all time. Are any on my list your favorites as well? If not, what are some of yours? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and remember, keep wandering. Just not alone.
Hello and happy Friday! Got any cool weekend plans? I'm installing a fence this weekend, should be fun. Speaking of fenced in areas, I have a question for you. When it comes to the books you like to surround yourself with, what is your favorite genre? I'm just curious what everyone out there reads. Let me know if the comments below if you can't get enough fantasy. Maybe Sci-Fi is your thing. Maybe it's horror. Or, perhaps you love a good old school spy thriller. Or, maybe you read a genre that isn't main stream like erotica. Whatever it is, let me know!
To cover up his search history, Evan Bond is a thriller/suspense author. As an outdoor enthusiast and horror lover, Evan Bond enjoys writing stories where the two come together. He lives in Florida with his wife and two sons.