"AMBER HOLLOW is the product of a very creative mind, a novel whose mysteries twist and turn, echoing backnon themselves, constantly changing appearances, till one doesn't know in which direction to look or whether one is coming [...] An amazing novel." Mallory, Goodreads
Published: October 15th, 2019
On July 15, 1991, an isolated village in Northern Wisconsin is ground zero for an unprecedented, fiery tragedy. Of the community's 600 residents, there are only five survivors. Detailed accounts by the victims contradict each other; the only link is a man named Anthony Guntram, but because he is presumed to be dead, this claim can't be verified. Further investigations reveal a culture enshrouded in mystery. What are the survivors hiding?
Only the villagers know the secret of Amber Hollow, a place where sanity is checked at the town line and the parameters of reality become blurred. An unconventional horror story by design, Edgar Swamp delivers an action-driven page-turner that will keep readers guessing until the calamitous ending.
Would I read my book?
If I never heard of me, would I read my book?
I’d like to boast that I am hands down the pickiest reader in the known universe when it comes to choosing a book to read — and that’s even if the book is free! I look at everything: the cover, description, media praise, and the coveted celebrity endorsement. I once read a book that only had one of those criterion (the celebrity endorsement, in this case Tony Hawk) and the book was so awful that less than 100 pages in I returned it to the library lest I should incur even a 25-cent late fee! To this day, I am wary of a celebrity endorsement unless it is another writer (I think Tony might have been a personal friend).
So, that said, when I picked my pseudonym (yes, sadly, Edgar Swamp is my pen name) I chose it because even if it sounded weird, it stood out. My real name is Brian Martin. Check your area for how many people have that name. Unless you live in the sticks, it’s in the hundreds. It’s as generic as John Smith. I wanted my author name to be something to look at, to have a creepy edge to it. I stole the name from a dog I treated at a veterinary clinic I worked for, and he didn’t mind. I asked if I could borrow it and a wag of his tail and a lick of my face was his enthusiastic compliance that I could use it with no future obligatory remuneration. Thanks buddy!
The cover is next. Remember the original cover from the book “Jaws”? I’ll bet you don’t, but you DO remember the cover of the movie poster, which later became the cover of the book. This may seem like a bad example because the book was a bestseller that then inspired the Steven Spielberg movie, but once the movie came out and the book was released with the new cover…wow, just…wow. Peter Benchley went on to write two more good books (“The Deep,” “The Island”) and then a bunch of trite, perfunctory crap, in my humble opinion. What I know is this: That cover with the movie poster made me pick that book up and buy it; the original cover made me pick it up…
The description is next, the hook. I confess I worked and reworked the back cover description of “Amber Hollow” until I beat it to death, and in the end, what I came up with was too wordy so I had to cut it down to fit. A paragraph was lost that I thought really tied it all in together, but I had to take what I could get. Be dramatic, be mysterious, be interesting enough for someone to give a crap! If that isn’t there, it’s hard to get someone to care. I still miss that lost paragraph, so in my case, I’m hoping I don’t need to call Tony Hawk (he actually lives in the same city as I do) and see how much money he’ll accept to endorse my book. Hopefully he doesn’t have any gambling debts he needs to pay off!
I’ve asked myself this question so many times, and I’ve lied to myself on a few occasions with past books, but I think I’m telling the truth now when I say that, yes, I would read “Amber Hollow” by Edgar Swamp if I never heard of him because of the author name, the cover of the book, and the description on the back (even without that coveted paragraph). If there was an award-winning author endorsing the book, I would actually pay money for it…maybe. I am REALLY picky! If Stephen King said I was the “new master of modern horror” (not his words — yet — he’s been dodging my phone calls!) I’d pay cash, but if Dean Koontz said, “This guy writes better than me,” I’d think the bar was set too low.
About the author:
Edgar Swamp is the author of the “Gyre Mission,” “Glitch in the Machine,” and “Blackout.” His short stories have appeared in Alienskin, Macabre Cadaver, and Urban Reinventors. When he isn’t holed up in his office playing online poker, he likes to dig up the recently deceased and make furniture out of their skin. He lives and works in San Diego, California. For more information, visit his website.
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