In Michael Freeman’s Head

A couple of weeks ago I got to sit down in my little world and have a chat with author, filmmaker, artist and all around do everything guy, Michael Freeman. With two books being released at the same time, I thought I would share our conversation. Sit back and relax and enjoy the ride.

AJ: Michael Freeman, tell me a little about yourself.

MF: I am a 44-year-old indie filmmaker/director/writer with eight kids.

AJ: Eight kids?

MF: Yep…and it is enough.

AJ: Man, you’ve been busy.

strigoiMF: Nah, most are gone from home now. I only have three left at home Few more years and I can run around the house in my underwear again

AJ: Before we get into talking about writing and film making, what’s it like to be a dad to that many kids? I mean, one more and you could have had a baseball team.

MF: Feels like a referee at times. But I love my little monsters, and we have a lot of fun when I am not so busy. Heck, I don’t have to pay staff for our haunted house attraction, they all work for candy.

AJ: Hahahahaha—and I bet they do a good job.

MF: My two youngest daughters are terrifying.

AJ: And how old are they?

MF: Six and Seven.

AJ: Ooooh yeah, that age where they realize they can drive their parents crazy.

MF: Yep. Or sneak in your room in the middle of the night and stand next to your bed so when you open your eyes, you fly across the room.

AJ: Hahahaha! The Boy does that. It is creepy as crap.

MF: Mine do it all the time. It scares the hell out of me every time

AJ: Yeah, me too. So, tell me about writing. What do you write and why?

MF: Most of what I write is horror or sci-fi. I write it because of the haunted attraction industry. I worked for a Jaycees Haunt back in Jr High and loved that I could make someone into a creature that scared people. Off seasons I would write stories.

I have been doing this since before 1982 and it never gets old for me. And most guys out there think it is a way to get rich or make a ton of money, but I write, film, draw for fans. Money is great but I got that covered enough to take care of mine, so this is what I do because I enjoy it.

AJ: So working at a haunted attraction got you into writing and film making and drawing? Did you actually do the make up for those people at that attraction?

MF: I did. I started in special make-up effects and have worked in some of the largest in the country.

AJ: So then you have a LOT of experience with this. That is awesome.

MF: I got to be on the Pumpkin Head set when I was 18 and learn some new things. I have learned a ton from Dick Smith, Tom Savini, Allen Hopps.

AJ: I bet you have had a lot of fun doing that, too.

MF: It’s been good. I just got an invite a few months ago from the Krampus effects guys to come visit a set in August for a new film they are doing.

AJ: Are you going to do it?

MF: I don’t know yet. With how things are going right now, I may be filming the Virus K series in August.

AJ: Tell me about Virus K.

MF: I can’t tell you too much about it. What I can say is the Lolipop Guild meets The Walking Dead but not zombies

AJ: Ha. Top Secret.

MF: Yes. We keep that one guarded closely until the treatment book is released.

AJ: What is a treatment book?

MF: It is a book that goes out to test the market for the story. If the book catches on and does well then the series moves forward. They are usually around 70-100 pages, like a pilot episode. Lisa has read it since she is publishing it. Well episode one anyway.

AJ: Very cool. You said Lisa, do you mean Lisa Vasquez of Stitched Smile Publications?

MF: Yes. She has the pilot book. The way we are thinking about the release is episode one/book one package deal.

AJ: When you say episode one/book one, do you mean like a movie/book deal?

MF: Yes

AJ: That would be cool. You can read the book then watch the film right after.

MF: It is a DVD set with up to 16 episodes per season and 4 seasons written so far. Casting has been a nightmare since there is over 200 extras that are kids

AJ: 200 kids? That has to be like herding cats.

MF: It would be if I could ever get them cast, and then we have to get them in make-up chairs for prosthetics.

AJ: Are you the creator of the series?

MF: Yes. I created it

AJ: What inspired you to create it?

MF: It was a dream I had a couple of years ago while I was Dying from Xanax withdrawal. Doctor over prescribed then took me off too fast when he realized his mistake. Damn near killed me.

AJ: Oh wow. That is crazy.

MF: Had some pretty good dreams, though.

AJ: How long did it take you to recover?

MF: Four months and eighteen trips to the ER.

AJ: Eighteen trips to the ER? Holy cow.

MF: Yeah My brain does not create serotonin, and they had me on those to try to balance it out. When they took it away after 6 years of overdosing me, my body went into shock.

AJ: So, what are you doing for the serotonin now?

MF: I take a substitute. I am waaaaaayyyy medicated. But not non-functioning medicated. That is what I would be without medication

AJ: That’s crazy. I’m sure I’m not the only one to think or say this, but I am really glad you are doing okay right now.

MF: Thanks. Me too

AJ: So, what do you enjoy most about being a writer, a film maker and an overall artist?

MF: Fan reactions.

AJ: Man, I know exactly what you mean.

MF: That has always been the payoff, good or bad. If it is a good reaction then I am great. If it is bad, then I have learned to do something different next time

AJ: I think you said something very important that all artist (no matter what the venue) can take away from this: if you get a negative thought from a fan, then you can take that and learn from it. That is how you get better as an artist.

MF: Always. Too many people that write or whatever path they follow take criticism the wrong way. They get all bent out of shape instead of listening to those people that follow them and their work and make the adjustments to not only make their experience better, but improve on a lifelong craft centuries old.

AJ: It is said to do any sort of art, you have to have thick skin, but I would also add that you need to take things in stride as well. I try not to get too up or too down–those emotions can ruin you.

MF: For sure.

AJ: You are also a partner with SSP, right?

MF: I merged two of my companies with SSP a few months ago and if Lisa needs something I find a way to get it done.

AJ: How has that partnership been so far?

MF: I think it is going fantastic. We bounce ideas off of each other, and it seems to be a perfect fit. SSP compliments my businesses, and I would hope mine compliment SSP.

AJ: Good to hear.

So, tell me what else can we expect from you in the near future?

MF: This crazy ass film challenge, four graphic novels, a kids series, and if all goes well season one of Virus K, plus what Lisa throws at me.

AJ: Film challenge? Tell me about that.

MF: I have been offered a really unique challenge from the My Rode Reel 2016. They would like me to submit ten short films on or before May 1st. I took 8th place in this festival with one film last year and now they want ten. So now people know why I have been all over the place like a mad man.

AJ: Ten films? How many have you finished so far?

MF: Two done. Six written ideas and on the final two.

AJ: And you have less than two months to finish it all.

MF: Yep. I am filming Whispers tomorrow, editing Sunday then shooting down the list in two-day intervals.

AJ: How confident are you that you will meet the deadline?

MF: Oh I got this if I have to do it all. I work good under pressure or pissed. I think with this one I may be a little of both.

AJ: Is there anywhere that we can get updates on this as you continue forward.

MF: Rode Reels

As the films become available to vote on I will post links there, do thunderclaps, pretty much drive social media crazy every day until June 1st when voting closes.

AJ: Okay Michael, is there anything else you want us to know before we close this down tonight?

MF: I think you know it all now. LOL. If not people can feel free to send me a message or email and I will get back to them as soon as I can. I usually check those things twice a day.

AJ: And where can people contact you?

MF: @ne_films on Twitter. I have other accounts that I can’t think of off the top of my head, but those are what I check the most.

AJ: Okay, Michael. I appreciate your time. I know you are a very busy guy.

MF: And don’t forget Strigoi and Strychnine.

AJ: Oh yes, tell us about those if you don’t mind.

MF: Strigoi is five years of study I did on the Vampire religion for the first book that leads to the vampire war. And Strychnine was originally a rock opera with the main band being a pack of werewolves as a metal band with a new mission to save the earth.

That was pretty brief

AJ: It was. You have a co-author for one of those, right?

MF: Donelle Whiting started as my editor on both, but her additions to the stories were so good that I wanted her to leave them in and co-author on both so she had the credits for her hard work.

AJ: That is totally cool, as a writer, to do that. Most other writers would not do something like that.

MF: She basically made both of those books shine. I have gotten into writing screenplay format, and she just fleshed them out and made them better. She did the work; she gets the credit.

AJ: I agree with you there.

MF: And one other thing to be watching out for is I will be uploading two classes on screenwriting and one on Graphic Novel writing for authors that are interested.

AJ: You are diverse, aren’t you?

MF: Gotta be today.

AJ: Yeah, man, truth. Michael, again, thank you for your time. I appreciate you sitting down with me with your packed schedule.

MF: Not a problem. I needed the break from edits and cuts.

AJ: Have a good night and I’m going to let you go, buddy.

MF: Sounds good. Take it easy and have a good night. I am going back to editing footage. LOL.

You can find Strychnine here.

You can find Strigoi here.







So You Have Been Stitched Now What?

Have you ensured your Amazon book page has a great book description, amazing cover and your book is competitively priced and has plenty of reviews?

Your answer:

Have you looked up similar books to yours on Amazon and noted their Amazon categories and possible keywords? If yes, please input categories & keywords.

Your answer:

Have you placed a back page in all book versions with a request for reviews and a link to the book on Amazon and a mention of other books you have available and a link?

Your answer:

Have you identified prizes to offer readers who sign up for your email list?

Your answer:

Have you imagined a series of blog posts you could write related to the book and started writing them? If yes, please write the subjects you will be covering.

Your answer:

Have you identified people who can share or post your blog posts and asked them will they do so?

Your answer:

Have you identified book advertising sites such as  & to advertise your book?

Your answer:

Have you identified controversial, emotional or helpful themes from your book for use in posts, graphics or Tweets

Your answer:

Have you created animated GIFs for Twitter  and a book trailer (Michael Freeman and Lisa Vasquez can also be a huge help in this department.

Your answer:

Have you sent out review copies far and wide?

Your answer:

Have you reviewed a book at the Stitched Smile Publications Facebook Review group and submitted your book for reviewing?

See: (Work In Progress)

Your answer:

Have you checked your website and blog and Facebook page and Twitter profile and any other sites you are on to ensure they are up to date?

Your answer

Have you added any new social site you might need?

Your answer

Have you created a list building page with an incentive to build your email list?

Your answer

Have you created a Nouncy or Thunderclap campaign to get group promotions and have you promoted it?

Your answer:

Have you sought endorsements from anyone prominent?

Your answer:

Have you prepared a press release and sent it out to media contacts and newswire services?

Your answer:

Have you had a live book party and enjoyed your moment?

Your answer:

Have you put the first few pages of your book on your site and created a Soundcloud audio recording?

Your answer:

Have you created #tags and used them?

Your answer:

Have you a SmartUrl for tracking hits to your Amazon book page?

Your answer:

Have you posted about your book to Goodreads  & LinkedIn or Pinterest or Instagram , as appropriate?

Your answer:

Have you written anything provocative about your book?

Your answer:

Have you set up Google Alerts  about your book’s themes and are you adding comments to posts about them?

Your answer:

Have you personally thanked ALL your supporters?

How to Build an Email List for Authors

What is list building?

You offer something of value for free in exchange for an email address. You can set up auto-responders which are automatic emails that go out directing the person to more useful information.

This is permission marketing. You have given something to the person and in exchange asked permission to send them more useful information.

List building is NOT list-buying. It’s the growth of your own list over time in exchange for something of value.

What is the point of having a list?

If you have people’s email addresses, and you are a trusted provider of useful information,  people will open and read your emails. This means you can use the email list to market your books (if the list has been set up for that purpose).

Imagine how powerful it is to have a list of 10,000 people and to send an email saying “My book is available now. Click here to buy”. This is the basis of all the Amazon bestseller campaigns which generally use other people’s lists. If you build one yourself, you have a much more targeted list, and you are a trusted provider to those people. Remember, if people know, like, and trust you,  they are more likely to buy your book.

How do you build a quality list? 

You need to have something to give away for free that is:

  • Valuable and useful to people
  • Related to your product/book

Once you have that, you set up an email signup box like the one designed by Mail Chimp People enter their email and then get the free product.

It is very important to use a reputable service that:

  • manages this all for you automatically and is scalable (yes, you could have 50,000+ subscribers within a few years!)
  • lets people to unsubscribe easily (mandated by anti-spam laws)
  • enables you to send out broadcasts when you like as well as setting up auto-responders
  • enables you to manage and download your list
  • allows you to set up multiple lists from one account

What free giveaway can you do?

As authors, we are uniquely placed to offer some great free giveaways as we produce quality information relatively easily. It is also very important that you giveaway something that is related to what you are selling. There’s no point in giving away an e-book on finance if you want to sell romantic fiction on your blog.

Here are some ideas for your free giveaway:

  • First 3 chapters of your book, or a short story, or the first novella in a series of 3
  • Top 10 tips for <insert your niche here> e.g. Top 10 tips for creating authentic characters / Top 10 tips for writing horror
  • Audio of you reading your work or talking about the subject you are writing about

The most important thing to remember:

You want to be a valuable resource to people, either for information or entertainment. You do not want to be seen as a spammer. So give away great information, offer quality on a regular basis for free, and people will be happy to buy from you when you have something they are interested in. Don’t send unrelated offers. Don’t abuse the list or they will unsubscribe. It’s all about respect.

If you are interested in housing your creative horror works with a publishing house that puts the author first contact us TODAY! Stitched Smile Publications


We’re Expanding!

Hello everyone!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted and I apologize, there is so much going on and I’m here to tell you about it.

First, I’d like to welcome some new staff members:
Brandy Yassa — Editor
Deanna Cooley — Editor
Sylvia Stein — Editor
Mark Deloy –Aquisitions
Jeff Brown — Jack of all Trades (No official title but he’s ours, damnit)

Welcome to all of our new staff and I’m looking forward to working with you, creating new nightmares, and giving hope to new authors!

Now let’s get to releases. My goodness! We are rolling out nothing but gold (OK, so I’m biased). Below you can get a glimpse of our current catalog. We have several parties happening at the end of the month so keep reading for more details about that.


Stalker (available now on
5.0 out of 5 stars  “Lightness at the end of a dark tunnel”

Carl is a good man who was dealt a bad hand. He has a stressful job, and he struggles with his wife, Gloria, a successful woman who likes to play games that she may not know how to handle.
Gloria begs for attention from her male clients. She gives them what they desire, and they bury her in expensive gifts, dinners, and sex. They always used the same hotel. She even used her real name. A drunken one-night stand leads her to a stalker who has killed before, and he watches her on a daily basis from her shadows.
Most of the citizens of their small town have reported what Gloria gets up to while John is at work. He shrugs it off as he walks by them, but inside, his heart is black. She killed him and his spirit.
John is at a loss; he doesn’t want to divorce her, but he doesn’t want to have anything else to do with her. Separate rooms make them more distant. He has his life and friends. Then the stalker steps from the darkness, and John has to deal with a different kind of loss.


Collision Course (available now on!)
5.0 out of 5 stars  “Read this Thrill ride and be swept away into action, bloodshed and intesnsity”

Wylderness: A powerful, mysterious corporation with the desire to play God. Gerald: An unpredictable sociopath they thought they could keep chained, but who, by his very nature, is uncontrollable. Gwen: a dishonored cop craving redemption, beholden to the company for her recovery.

Gwen and Gerald are polar opposites. He’s Welsh, built like a Rugby player and wired like a lunatic. His interests? Fast cars, dirty hookers and sharp knives. She’s the all-American golden girl who loves hiking, educational TV and the perfect cup of coffee, but has fallen head-first into a bottle of vodka.

When Gwen’s drinking becomes an addiction, she makes a fatal mistake at work, costing innocent lives as well as her career. At the same time, Gerald has lost the ability and the desire to maintain any façade of obedience to his employer.

Be forewarned, Gerald’s exploits are not for the faint of heart, or stomach; even Gwen’s courage has its limits. If you’re ready for a barely controlled, action and horror-filled apocalyptic joyride, buckle up. You’re on a Collision Course. It’s not going to end well.


Granville (available now on!)
5.0 out of 5 stars  “A worthy read filled with absolute horror and revenge on a level rarely read.”

Stanley is a typical high school student trying to find his way through the hierarchy of study and popularity. Nobody wants to spend time with him and even his crush turned him down nine times. He spends most of his time alone in the house, cursing his mother and blaming her for driving his father away. He has a preoccupation with all things horror and his love goes beyond just watching the movies; he wants to be the star of the show.

Making masks started as a hobby that soon becomes a practiced ritual and finally, when he has the right mask and slips it on over his head, he realizes that he is transformed. He is no longer Stanley but Granville, a masked warrior who intends to get payback for all the wrongs done to him and he will hold no punches.

The town is on lock down, the people terrified of this hideous killer, all the while he waits and plans his final masterpiece before taking off.



Strigoi: The First Family (available March 30th)

Not all monsters are made. Some are born. And sometimes, history gets it wrong. A freelance writer is invited to an elderly man’s home to witness his telling of the family history to his sons. The patriarch’s reason for requesting a stranger into his home as he shares his tale is a simple one. He wants the young man to write the true history of Family Dracul, to trace the lineage back to the very first member of a family cursed. But, the old man has another agenda. He wants to warn humanity; what happened in the past was nothing compared to what is to come.

“The vampire legends died soon after [Elizabeth] Bathory’s demise only to reemerge in the early 1970s with book after book and movie after movie. If only those stupid humans knew the truth.”




Strychnine (available March 30th)

What if the Zombie Apocalypse was man made, but not the way we think? It wasn’t some virus that started with patient zero resulting in an accidental outbreak. It is true, it was a bio-weapon that when released failed to accomplish what scientists created it to do, and it had an unintended side effect.

And, what if werewolves really did exist, but they haven’t been our enemy for years until one ruthless man bent on domination is turned?

Strychnine is the story of two brothers torn apart by an experiment forcing them fight against one another. It is also the name of a metal band made up of another set of brothers and their girlfriends.

Life for Thorne, his girlfriend, Blaze; his brother, Seminole; and Seminole’s girlfriend, Spaz, is about to be flipped on end as they find out zombies are real, werewolves have always been real, and certain werewolves are mankind’s saviors and its enemies at the same time. After being bitten by a werewolf fighting for mankind’s survival, Thorne unwittingly creates his own small pack to continue the fight over the worst kind of terrorist, one with large fangs and claws.

“Many years ago the Lycans roamed the earth. When they were discovered by your government, a deal was made.”

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Hell’s Guardian Chronicles (available March 23rd)
Zyra Falls, is a latent vampire known as a Stregoni Benefici, who is struggling to survive after. The Red system attacked her again. She has to learn to become a Hunter as well as learning to control her psychic powers. Will Queen Velika take her revenge out on Zyra and the innocent Lugat? Or will Zyra do what she has to save them from her grasp?



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