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How did I ever get mixed up with a guy like Jack Kilbourn?  It started out innocently enough…

One of the very first comments I ever received on my blog was from a lovely children’s book illustrator and writer.  Katherine Battersby had stumbled upon my blog in its first few weak-kneed days and was kind enough to leave a note of encouragement.  Her blog, The Well Read Rabbit, became a favorite.  I loved its gentle tone, captivating illustrations, and her inspiring words for writers.  I check it every day because it makes me smile.

Perusing her calm oasis of a website one day, I read this post as my first introduction to J.A. Konrath’s blog,  A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing.  (Irony alert.)  Katherine wisely urged her readers to read all the way to the end of Konrath’s “cheeky” comments, lest we miss his true intent of encouragement.  I did read the whole thing, and was hooked — now Konrath’s Newbie blog was on my blogroll as well.  I trolled through lots of his past blog posts and found a wealth of helpful information about getting started as a writer.  He’s a successful novelist already, with the Lt. Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels suspense series and many other publishing credits.  Plus, he was just scary funny (insert foreshadowing music here).  He made me smile in a completely different way.

Then he turned a whole different cheek of cheeky.  J.A. Konrath launched an ambitious blog book tour, creating lots of buzz for his new book  Afraid along the way.  This horror novel, set in small town Wisconsin, is to be released on March 31st.  Every day in March, he has been on a break-neck-paced blog marathon that makes me wonder if he is going to make it to 3/31 in one piece.  And, who is this Jack Kilbourn?  Just his pseudonym for when he wants to write the hard-core horror.  If you have not been following along, it is worth a look to watch J.A./Joe/Jack in action.  As I have mentioned before, I see blog tours as a fun ride for us as readers to follow.  I find so many interesting people…

But, how did I wind up in this story?


Afraid is billed as the scariest horror novel ever written.  He invited anyone to read the book before it’s released (he’d send you a copy) and write a review.  I have since read many reviews that sound convincing.  “Carnival of carnage?”  “An absolutely unrelentless nightmare??”  I am convinced I would not sleep for weeks if I attempted to read this book.  This is not my genre.  I feel much more comfortable hanging out in the blogosphere with a well read rabbit.  Preferably one that does not have blood dripping from its fangs cute little bunny teeth.  I wrote Joe Konrath a note saying I was too big a scaredy-pants to read his novel but I wished him luck anyway.

And here is what he sent back to me:  A Top Ten List to help readers like me who are horror challenged.  Under his alter-ego pen name Jack Kilborn, he writes a sick, gory story — but I am starting to suspect that this J.A./Joe/Jack fellow is really just a nice fuzzy bunny inside.

I hope.

I’m leaving all the lights on while I keep hoping.

Top 10 Ways To Get Through Afraid by Jack Kilborn if You’re Just a  Scaredy-Pants

by Jack Kilborn

10. Keep repeating “It’s only a book, it’s only a book.”

9. Read it in the daylight, surrounded by people you trust.

8. Get the audiobook version, and listen to it while driving or working out, so your attention is divided.

(Note to self: I don’t think I should be operating a motor vehicle while listening to something that might make me wet my pants in terror.)

7. Stop every five pages for cookies and milk. You can’t be frightened while eating cookies and milk.

(Finally, an appealing idea!  Except what if I toss my cookies after reading about the woman’s toe being gnawed off?)

6. Give it to a brave friend, and have her cross out all the scary parts with a marker. (added benefit: you’ll be able to read the whole book in eight minutes.)

(Anyone? Anyone?)

5. Visit www.JackKilborn.com and play the Afraid game. You’ll realize the writer is a goofball, and not scary whatsoever.

4. Keep the phone nearby, with 9 and 1 already dialed.

3. Make sure the doors are locked, the lights are on, and your gun is loaded.

2. Read it drunk. Then you won’t remember the scary parts.

1. Don’t read it at all. But for heaven’s sake, buy a copy. The author wants to buy a Porsche.

So, there it is, compliments of the scary man himself.  A big, happy, fuzzy bunny hug to Joe for including me on his blog tour.  I am honored.  I may not be brave enough to read Afraid, but I am now a loyal reader of his other work.  AND, I’ll always remember that when one blog leads to another, there is no telling where I might end up.

Afraid comes out March 31. If you think you’re brave enough, give it a try…