A Halloween Book Launch Party Like No Other

A Halloween Book Launch Party Like No Other

Halloween saw the launch of my new gothic Victorian horror novella, “The Seance”. This title also marked the first new publication from Dark Chapter Press. They have posted a lovely summation of the night’s festivities and I’m glad. It saves me the job of doing it. I did enough typing last night!

Last night’s online book launch for Jack Rollins’ “The Seance” was a total success. With loads of indie authors offering their books as prizes to help Jack along the way, he hosted the launch for 4 and a half action packed hours (instead of the 2 hours initially planned).

Building up the launch in the days preceding the main event, Jack had invited guests to follow his twitter account at https://twitter.com/jackrollins9280 and his Facebook page to build up the number of copies of “The Seance” he would add to the draws on the night.

Guests were also invited to register details to sign up to his newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/58PA1 to enable the delivery of e-books and paperbacks won at the event.

He opened the night early with a posted “Sound Check”, which linked to a Youtube video for the song “Burn” by The Cure, which sparked off some of the guests reminiscing about the movie The Crow. Jack returned at 8.55 pm to take things forward and as guests checked in, a relaxed tone was set as guests discussed movies and reboots etc.

The first draws took place at 9.10pm, to win a signed paperback copy of The Seance, and a copy of the e-book. This was the first of many draws which saw around 50 copies of ebooks and paperbacks from a host of generous authors being given away for sharing links to The Seance, or for buying the book, or a copy of The Cabinet of Dr Blessing.

Jack held a giveaway for the best Halloween costume selfie, and interspersed the competitions with music from The Misfits, Siouxie and The Banshees, and Ozzy Osbourne to name a few, as well as horror movie trivia questions and horror movie clips. There was even a link to an all-knowing online ouija board.

Some of the best fun was had when Jack decided to start some mischief, in true trick or treat style, and posted the link the launch party of his fellow author and friend Stuart Keane (who was launching his new novella “Charlotte” and who had donated copies of both of his novellas to the draws). Jack got his guests to gatecrash Stuart’s launch party and leave messages, including “The beer is better at Jack Rollins’ party”, which went down well. Those who did so received copies of Keane’s novellas.

This of course prompted retaliation from Keane’s camp, resulting in some great interaction and fun, as guests of both launches got involved in both of the parties.

Jack even took the time to encourage his guests to share and get involved in a Kickstarter campaign he has shown interest in, and which he has backed https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1180425123/blood-stained-windows to launch a short zombie movie in the UK.

By the end, a thoroughly exhausted Jack Rollins played out the party with The Misfits, “Hybrid Moments” and crawled off to bed. Having spent more time promoting the work of other people than promoting his own, Jack proved that a virtual book launch can be exciting, fun, packed with content and not all about “buy my book”. He used the opportunity to reveal himself, his likes and interests. He introduced his guests to the work of his ever growing network of author friends, his brother, who designed the cover of The Seance (and who got much love for it) and shouted out to his long-time writing pal Dave Basnett, author of the De Omori books (which connect up to Jack’s Dr Blessing series) and to one of his most staunch Twitter supporters, Lisa.

Speaking to Jack this morning, he has had over 90 messages and notifications on Facebook from after the launch ended, thanking him and encouraging him. People have trawled back over the timeline of the launch event, picking up on the bits they missed and hitting like and share.

Jack went to great lengths to make a truly interactive experience, rewarding not only his readers, but people new to his work. He worked the virtual environment as one would expect the host of a party to perform in person, mingling, including everyone he could, making introductions and somehow, only just, managing to stay in control.

Jack has deemed the night a success, one not measured simply by sales of his stories, but in the relationships, new and old, that will go on well after the last page of his novella has been turned.

So there you have it. I had a blast, I really did. There’s going to be a lot more like this coming as I will soon be relaunching “The Cabinet of Dr Blessing” with its splendid new cover, my entry in the “Carnage: Extreme Horror” anthology later this year, with Stuart Keane, Kyle Scott and Angel Gelique, and hopefully work in 2 new flash fiction anthologies and 3 other horror anthologies with a US publisher… It’s going to be a busy few months and no mistake.

If you love horror fiction, make sure you don’t miss a thing by popping your details on this form: http://eepurl.com/58PA1 – I hate spam, so I will send my newsletters out sparingly, I promise.

When credulity reigned supreme…

When credulity reigned supreme…

Today is a really proud day for me. “The Seance” has finally launched, published by new outfit Dark Chapter Press. The paperback looks fantastic and the e-book is doing well, thanks to good pre-order interest on Amazon.

The Seance is well suited to its launch on Halloween. It is a creepy tale of horror, betrayal and loss set in Victorian London. We follow Albert Kench as he calls into question all that he believes is true in the world as he investigates the mystery surrounding his sister’s mental and physical collapse. Assisted by an old friend, Albert finds a man who may have the answers; a self-proclaimed black magician who has integrated himself with society’s elite. Delving into the unknown, Albert confronts horrifying truths beyond his reasoning and understanding, sacrificing the morals he clung to, on his quest for vengeance.

The story is born of my fascination with all things Victorian. Where Dr Blessing was born of my interest in Victorian medicine, cure-alls and genuine pharmaceutical practices, The Seance comes from my interest in quack science, mystics and the Spiritualist movement. Mediums employed many shady practices and tricks (some of which occur in the story) and preyed upon the faith of those who mourned for lost loved ones. They happily took money on the pretense that they could tap into the great beyond, to bring back messages from the departed. So many Victorians, even those of good standing and well-educated, fell for it, lining the pockets of these shysters quite willingly.

Magicians emerged, never claiming to make use of spiritual powers, rather insisting that they created an illusion. Their purpose was to entertain and to baffle, not to take money from the emotionally vulnerable. In many cases, these magicians, applying the science they understood from the creation of their illusions, sought to expose the fraudulent mediums, often posing as believers in Seance sittings, striking when the moment was right.

Arthur Conan Doyle was a believer in Spiritualism, which I found surprising, given the application of reason demonstrated by his greatest creation. Conan Doyle’s wife too, was deeply embedded in Spiritualism. Indeed she claimed to possess the ability to ‘spirit write’ or ‘automatic write’, a practice where a spirit supposedly guides a pen or pencil held by the ‘medium’, to scrawl a message to the living. A great friend of Arthur Conan Doyle’s, the illusionist Harry Houdini, voiced his incredulity on this matter and so Conan Doyle invited Houdini to a demonstration.

In the demonstration, Lady Conan Doyle declared that she had a message from Houdini’s dead mother, and commenced to ‘spirit write’ a message from her. Houdini (whose real name was Erich Weiss and who was born in Budapest, Austria-Hungary) was astonished and declared it a marvel that his mother, who had never been able to speak a word of English in life, had been granted the ability to write in English, post-mortem.

The Conan Doyle-Houdini friendship ran somewhat cold thereafter.

With this little insight into where the story came from, I hope you’ll check out The Seance. You can request the paperback from your local bookstore, or go to one of these well-known retailers:

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/The-Seance-gothic-horror-misfortune-ebook/dp/B00NCD08ZY

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Seance-gothic-horror-misfortune-ebook/dp/B00NCD08ZY

Barnes And Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-seance-jack-rollins/1120362770?ean=9780993062001

Ebook Mall: http://www.ebookmall.com/ebook/the-seance-a-gothic-tale-of-horror-and-misfortune/jack-rollins/9780993062018

Blinkbox Books: https://www.blinkboxbooks.com/#!/book/9780993062018/the-seance-a-gothic-tale-of-horror-and-misfortune

Ebooks by Sainsbury’s: http://www.sainsburysebooks.co.uk/book/The-Seance-A-Gothic-Tale-of-Horror-and-Misfortune-Jack-Rollins/7954327

Waterstones: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/jack+rollins/the+seance/11377449/

 

For those who would like to know more about the Victorian age of credulity, I recommend as a starting point “Medical Meddlers, Mediums and Magicians” by Dr Keith Souter.