All Saints Launch, or: Getting to Know Jason Jack
“Please have a sweet Valentine’s Day, and show Jason’s book some love by sharing All Saints online, or ordering a copy for someone you care about.”
When I attended the Western Maryland Small Press Festival in autumn 2011 I had no idea how significantly that one event would alter the course of my career, and even my life.
Jennifer and I took turns manning the table throughout the day, and it was during one of my stints away on a panel that I met Heidi Ruby Miller. She was a protégé of one of our favorite authors to work with, Michael A. Arnzen, but I had never met her before. I was very impressed to say the least.
Throughout the day we also met author Jessica McHugh, who we would end up working with in the future, but at the time she was writing in a notebook furiously, a notebook with a Raw Dog Screaming Press sticker on it, which I thought was very cool. It wasn’t until later in the day that we caught up with Mike and Heidi again down the street at the Princess Diner. Joining us for the meal was a fellow named Jason… Jason Jack Miller, Heidi’s husband.
It turned out Jason was also an author, another of Arnzen’s favorites from the Seton Hill University writing program, and he was very intense. There was this seriousness and depth of scope to conversation with Jason, if you could keep up with the rapid pace and complexity of his humor and pop-culture references — the variety comedian Dennis Miller always hoped to achieve when he grew up, but never quite managed to pull off.
After speaking with Jason and Heidi for a while it became clear that they were both indie authors, self published, with the kind of success that had been impossible when we start our publishing company almost a decade prior. They were part of the first wave of folks to self publish on Amazon’s platform, and were having success with it. Much more so than a lot of the traditionally published authors we knew.
Week or two later we received a package in the mail from Jason. It contained his book, and we gave it a read—which is something we almost never do, because we are, after all, inundated with books year-round, in addition to unpublished manuscripts. From that point it was just a short leap to meeting up with Heidi and Jason again to talk business. We had a vision for his second book, and we struck up a partnership that made Pop Matters magazine describe Jason as the prototype for hybrid authors in the new millennium.
Over the last six and a half years we have published four books by Jason, and more than that we have been friends with him — which is not always the case in this business. One of the things that has made it easy to work with Jason is the fact that he was a natural born storyteller, weaving mesmerizing tales in conversation with the same level of skill he exhibits on the page. This is a trait I have noticed when hanging out with prominent authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Mary Robinette Kowal, among others, and I credit this innate ability, sharpened by years of practice, with Jason’s ability to build his readership.
Today is the release date for that fourth book of ours with Jason, but due to a significant death in the family last week he isn’t available for the whirlwind of publicity expected of authors. I am here to tell you, though, you won’t regret sitting down with Jason and letting him tell you the story of All Saints. Please have a sweet Valentine’s Day, and show Jason’s book some love by sharing All Saints online, or ordering a copy for someone you care about.
Jason discusses the origins of the book in his most recent blog. Check it out and be sure to comment with questions; he not only loves discussing his writing and travels, but is gifted at vividly explaining his behind-the-scenes process. Tell him John sent you.
In the meantime, thanks for checking out this post, and please keep scrolling for the the book trailer video, details about All Saints, and info for the other books in the Murder Ballads and Whiskey series!
ABOUT ALL SAINTS
In some dark corners of Mexico, All Saints’ Day isn’t merely a time to remember the dead. It’s an invitation to commune.
When a woman cursed with immortality and a man haunted by a bloody war stumble headlong into this strange mélange of mysticism and cosmology, they learn that a return home may entail more than a voyage of mere miles. It will require them to traverse space and time.
A groundbreaking work as tenacious as a hurricane and as radiant as Van Gogh’s STARRY NIGHT, this contemporary myth amplifies the conventions of genre and literary fiction to take us on a journey in a way that only a book can, and reminds us that even in darkness there is light.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT ALL SAINTS
“What I love about Jason Jack Miller’s fiction is the way he pulls me deep into his characters’ milieus and doesn’t let me out again–not that I want out–until long after the final page. His Murder Ballads and Whiskey series made me see my beloved/hated Appalachian landscape with clearer vision, beyond the littered streets of dying towns and into the magic, where screaming guitar riffs and dangerous love compete with evil for dominance over everybody’s soul. His new novel, All Saints, has evil still in fevered pursuit, but this time his hero—Ben, a war vet suffering from PTSD—is assisted (i.e. restrained from destroying himself) by three native boys, a yellow dog, and a beautiful, eternally young woman while they carom through Central American jungles and villages in search of the magic that can save them all. The writing is so rich that you will smell the jungle or feel the sand between your toes as you read; the characters are authentic and believable, and the mysticism will beguile. Miller writes with authority, but don’t expect to be in safe hands. He will take you where you might not wish to go—but will be glad you did.” —Randall Silvis, author of Only the Rain and Walking the Bones
“The author of Hellbender is back with a new book that proves beyond a doubt that ‘there’s more than one way to chase the devil around a stump.’ This genre-bending book reads like Gabriel Garcia Marquez getting in a bayonet fight on the battlefield. The plot explodes with action and fabulism. The dialogue stuns with its craftiness and then settles in with a deep afterburn. All the words zing like handmade bullets. And amidst all the fireworks of his imagination, the book just bleeds with so much heart you want to keep turning the pages. All Saints speaks to those among us whose candles are sputtering and beaten down to the wick by the winds of life, but still defiantly flaming on with the will of a wildfire, eager to dream, live and love. The novel stands on its own, but this addition to the Murder Ballads series is a gift to fans of the series, because Jason Jack Miller is an artisan crafting fiction at the top of his game.” —Michael Arnzen, author of Play Dead
“Action sequences and mystical elements are skillfully written…” —Publisher’s Weekly
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Jack Miller knows it’s silly to hold onto the Bohemian ideals of literature, music, and love above all else. But he doesn’t care.
As a record store clerk at a time when record stores mattered, as a whitewater raft guide on some of Appalachia’s wildest rivers, and as a concierge in one of Florida’s finest hotels—he has always sought every opportunity to be involved with and affected by the world around him. He chases experiences and then transforms them into stories.
He is a high school science teacher and an instructor and mentor at Seton Hill University’s prestigious Writing Popular Fiction MFA program. He lives just outside of Pittsburgh with his wife and Small Space Big Life co-creator, Heidi, and a cat named Francesca. Contact him via his website jasonjackmiller.com, on Youtube at Jason Jason Miller or Small Space Big Life, or tweet him @jasonjackmiller.
OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES
The Devil and Preston Black
Preston Black has a nasty habit of falling in love with the wrong women. But girls who don’t play nice are the least of his problems. This charismatic bar-band guitarist isn’t washed-up, but he’s about to be. He’s broke, he’s tired of playing covers and he’s obsessed with the Curse of 27. If he doesn’t wise up he’ll be adding ‘deal with the devil’ to his list.
Lucky for Preston, he has help: an angelic beauty who matches him note for note and a music professor who deciphers the old Appalachian curses binding Preston to a song that is his only shot at redemption. And when things get real bad, he has the ghost of John Lennon to remind him that “nothing is real.”
Let Raw Dog Screaming Press author Jason Jack Miller take you to a place where love is forever even when death isn’t, where magic doesn’t have to be seen to be believed, where a song might be the only thing that saves your soul.
What They’re Saying About The Devil and Preston Black
“With this new book, Jason Jack Miller has single-handedly cornered the market on Appalachian Noir fiction, and deservedly so… With just the right touch of magical realism, this hip take on the ‘deal with the devil’ story conjures up a tale that’s vastly enthralling and compulsively readable. Highly recommended.” —Michael A. Arnzen, Bram Stoker Award winning author of Grave Markings and Play Dead
“With the photographic clarity of a beat poet’s metaphor and the soulful twang of a bluesman’s axe, Jason Jack Miller draws the reader down a trail of folksong breadcrumbs to the haunted backwoods of Appalachia, where the worst devil of all may be the one that stalks our hopes and dreams.” —Christopher Paul Carey, co-author of The Song of Kwasin
“The complex and fascinating characters woven by Jason Jack Miller gives us a vivid tour of the Appalachian music world. The realism of the dialogue brings the reader into the room with the characters; and the musical explanations and descriptions show the passion and knowledge Miller brings to the subject. This was a book I could not put down.” —Gary Ryman, author of Fire Men: Stories From Three Generations of a Firefighting Family
Although the Collins clan is steeped in Appalachian magic, Henry has never paid it much attention. But when his younger sister dies mysteriously Henry can’t shake the feeling that the decades-old feud between his family and another is to blame.
Strange things are happening at the edge of reality, deep in the forests and mountains of West Virginia. Let Jason Jack Miller take you to a place where love is forever even when death isn’t, where magic doesn’t have to be seen to be believed, where a song might be the only thing that saves your soul.
Jason Jack Miller’s Murder Ballads and Whiskey series is a unique blend of dark fiction, urban fantasy and horror. It’s Appalachian Gothic, Alt.Magical.Realism, Hillbilly Horror. It’s American Gods meets Justified. True Blood with witches. It’s Johnny Cash with a fistful of copperheads singing the devil right back to hell.
What They’re Saying About Hellbender
“Jason Jack Miller has single-handedly cornered the market on Appalachian Noir fiction, and deservedly so…” —Michael A. Arnzen, Bram Stoker Award winning author of Grave Markings and Play Dead.
“Hellbender is an Appalachian folk tale made modern, a scintillating ride into a country filled with magic and mayhem, a ride found only in Jason Jack Miller’s head. Until now, Hellbender.” —Rusty Barnes, editor Fried Chicken and Coffee, author Mostly Redneck
“With the photographic clarity of a beat poet’s metaphor and the soulful twang of a bluesman’s axe, Jason Jack Miller draws the reader down a trail of folksong breadcrumbs to the haunted backwoods of Appalachia, where the worst devil of all may be the one that stalks our hopes and dreams.” —Christopher Paul Carey, author of Exile of Kho
“Hellbender is a modern day Hatfields vs.the McCoys crossed with The Blair Witch in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. Miller’s strong voice and beautifully rendered Southern details will wow readers of this action-packed novel.” –Susan Abel Sullivan, author of The Haunted Housewives of Allister, Alabama
“Perhaps I’m making too much of this, but Hellbender may not be just another good book. I wonder if this book (and its author) represents a changing tide, a new trend in the way books, good books, move from writer to reader.” —Popmatters
“Miller succeeds in drawing the reader into his setting through loving description and the atmosphere wafts off the page. Hellbender is a great example of a modern gothic horror story and makes for a wonderful read.” —A Fantastical Librarian
“Set deep in the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia, where blood feuds simmer on back country stoves and old hill magic is more deadly than the bite of a Copperhead. Hellbender is a glorious mix of modern day murder and ancient magic.” —Nevada Roadkill
“I have never been to the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia but, after reading this book, I feel like I know the area and the people who call that land home, pretty well. That’s what a well-written fiction can do to you – allowing you to travel in time and space.” —Books as Portable Pieces of Thought
The Revelations of Preston Black
Sometimes a battle between good and evil doesn’t look much like the ones they show in movies. The good guys don’t always wear white, and they don’t always walk away with the win.
And sometimes you’re better off with the devil you know.
The last time Preston went down to the crossroads, his best friend died and he nearly lost his brother. But Old Scratch doesn’t take kindly to fools, especially not those who come knocking at his front door. And before all is said and done, he’s going to teach Preston a thing or two about what it really means to sacrifice.
What They’re Saying About The Revelations of Preston Black
“The Revelations of Preston Black is no breezy summer read. It is a book to settle in with, to sip at slowly and savor (just like the two books before it). Like a good song, you want to just sit back and let this one wash over you.”—FearNet
“His masterful storytelling style is a magic brew of words, his prose is as deft as a guitarist’s fingers and as haunting as an old blues tune. Miller has enviable skill as a writer —the kind you’d sell your soul to the devil to possess.” —Mary SanGiovanni, author of Chaos, Thrall, and the Hollower series
“With crackling prose and razor-sharp characterization, Jason Jack Miller’s The Revelations of Preston Black is a heady stew of a novel, filled with action, suspense, and good old-fashioned deals with the devil. Loosen your belt, because you’ll be back for seconds!” —Tim Waggoner, author of Bone Whispers