After years of being a fan of the supernatural and paranormal, reading countless blogs and websites and listening to podcasts on the subject on a regular basis, I was finally inspired in mid-2017 to put down my own experiences on paper. I owe this to Mike and Wendy at Otherside Podcast, who were always expressing their own desire to have encounters. I could never understand why they were so eager to chase this stuff. It didn't seem like such a big deal to me.
When I made a list of my encounters, I was surprised at how many things I've experienced, and heard about, first-hand, from my friends and co-workers. So many, in fact, it would fill a book. But did I want to put out there that I think I might have actually seen a ghost, once? Sure, what the heck. I already write supernatural thrillers for fun and meager profit. Why not go full-tilt and reveal the stories I've accumulated in 50 years of life. But how to make it interesting...
Ultimately, I chose a simple format for this book: tell my stories and the stories I'd heard from people I personally know in chronological order, showing how as a kid I was a true-believer, but as I've aged, I've looked beyond the curtain and developed a healthy skepticism for this kind of stuff.
I released the book, Stranger than Fiction: A Skeptic's Journey, on November 23, 2018: Black Friday.
I didn't write this short book to make any money--I'm selling it for $.99. I released it to share some interesting stories, most of which I can explain away, despite their appearance, on first examination, as being incredible encounters with the supernatural. I wrote it to share the same kind of stories I've enjoyed for years--and that inspired my fiction efforts. As such, I didn't exactly push the envelope on marketing this. It's just another line for the bibliography--something I emailed to a few of the podcasts I regularly listen to, ran a tiny Facebook ad, and bought one of Amazon's overpriced product ads.
Otherside Podcast very graciously mentioned the book in a recent podcast. But, I haven't gotten any real responses from anyone else. And now I know why.
On December 3, 2018, this book appeared on Amazon:
It's by a guy named Bill Bean. I heard about the book on Dave Shrader's Beyond the Darkness podcast--another show I used to listen to. Curiously, I had emailed Mr. Shrader about my book on November 29, 2018. The following day, he started following me on Twitter. December 9, 2018, he had Bean on his program to promote Bean's STF book, to which I say, WTF?!
Is it possible Bean and I both had the same idea at the same time--to collect personal experiences and put them in book format? Yes, it is.
Is it possible that we both would list them, categorized by chapter, then have final-thoughts, or conclusions, chapter? Yes.
Is it possible we both would happen to pick the title "Stranger than Fiction" ?
Now, we've clearly crossed the line of possibility... Not into the realm of the paranormal, but rather, into another realm that starts in P and ends in lagarism. They say you can't copyright a title, but I'm fairly certain if I released a book called "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Other Stone" I'd be sued--even if it was the tale of a Bricklayer named Harold building a Wizard's castle.
So, what do I do? For one, I'm removing Dave Shrader from my playlist. I'll probably also name some red shirt in one of my future novels William Bean, and make sure he dies a particularly gruesome literary death. Other than that, I'll probably just fume as my blood pressure rises and once again, my efforts are stolen away by someone else.
Oh, and if you know of a paranormal-themed podcast that doesn't pander to hacks, please, list it in the comments below...