Inside the Outside is One Year Old!

Has it really been a whole year?

My goodness, how time flies. I could swear it was just yesterday I was sitting in my parent's kitchen, talking with my mom, scared to the brink of vomiting at the thought of publishing my debut novel, Inside the Outside. Sitting across the table from her in the middle of the night, I asked, "What if nobody cares?"

When I was writing the book, riding the wave of confidence that comes when there are no expectations, no outside pressure, nobody looking over your shoulder, my only concern was making the book as good as I could make it. In my mind there was no doubt that, as long as I gave it my best effort, readers would find it and enjoy it; and, really, that's all I wanted was for readers to like it. As any author can tell you, a novel is like your child. It comes from you, out of you, and, for years at a time, you nurture it, watching it grow and develop.  You become proud when it takes on a life of its own, taking its first steps, becoming independent.

And then, one night, while your sitting in the kitchen with your mother, you realize it's time to let it go. It's time to send it out into the world, where you won't be there to protect it if it get's bullied by reviewers or teased by bloggers. You want to be there, standing by its side, fighting its battles, only you realize you can't. All you can do is make sure you've written the best book you know how and then you wait and watch and hope for the best.

So, it's funny how before that night in the kitchen, I'd never considered the question: "What if nobody cares?"

All along I assumed people would care, one way or another. I figured readers would love my book or hate it or have ambiguous feelings that they couldn't quite articulate—but I'd never factored in the possibility of people not caring. Worse yet, what if nobody noticed? What if I published my book and nobody bought it? What if it simply got lost in the vast library of books already out in the world competing for the attention of readers?

"Well, you know we'll buy it," my mom said. "That's at least two."

It was sweet and it made me smile, but I still couldn't get past that one looming question. However much it weighed on my mind and however many times I considered turning back from that cliff, I realized I would never get over the regret of not publishing Inside the Outside.

So, on July 9, 2011, that's exactly what I did. That was one year ago today and, boy oh boy, what a year it's been.

Within a few weeks of publication, Inside the Outside broke into Amazon's Top 100 Bestsellers in Horror, peaking at #58. And during that same span of time, it also raced up Amazon's Top 100 Hot New Seller's in Horror, reaching #3.

And then the reviews started coming in...

Will Entrekin, author and Creative Director of Exciting Press, wrote:

"It’s not just the best indie novel I read in 2011; it’s the finest novel I read overall, and that distinction might carry back a couple of years besides."

Cara, one half of the BiblioBabes, wrote:

"It was torturous trying to read faster, to turn the page quicker..."

Kat, the other half of the BiblioBabes, wrote:

"I picked this story up, and I literally could not put it down.  I was reading it at work.  I was reading it at a party last night.  I fell asleep in bed with it in my hands at 2AM two nights in a row.  I was totally hooked, and reading at every possible second."

Book Den wrote:

"I classify Inside the Outside with books such as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Patrick Süskind's Perfume: The Story of a Murderer—books that may have violent content or a disturbing premise but appeal to a much wider audience."

Before I knew it, Inside the Outside was a critically acclaimed bestseller. It had (and continues to have) an enthusiastic and growing base of loyal and vocal fans. I got invited to make personal appearances at libraries and prisons and high schools and universities where I read from my novel, talked about writing, signed books, and posed for pictures. It was all just so much and I really couldn't have hoped or asked for anything more.

And then Inside the Outside started winning awards...

One year in and the experience of publishing Inside the Outside has already exceeded all of my expectations. Of course, it hasn't yet exceeded my wildest dreams. My dreams for this book are pretty big and this first year has only served to increase my expectations for what it can still accomplish. But if it were all over today, right now—poof!—no more, well, I'd have nothing to complain about. This past year has been such an exhilarating ride and, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank everybody who's helped make this dream of mine come true.

Reviews, Interviews, and More!


Matt Cannot Write | "...the details Martin describes and the flow of his narrative [in Inside the Outside] are so beautifully smooth its like listening to a whiskey-toned jazz DJ on a late night drive."

BiblioBabes (Kat) | "I honestly believe that Lastrapes could be the next Stephen King."

Annamarie's Book Reviews | "There is no sparkling romantic vampires in ["Adam & Olivia: A Vampire Short"]. It left me wanting more. Everything a vampire story should be."

Guest Post by Green Angel (via the BiblioBabes) | "Before Martin Lastrapes, only one author gave me the feeling that I was reading a book written by someone gifted. This first writer was J.K. Rowling."

Monkeycstars | I strongly suggest you read ["Adam & Olivia" and "Jesus the Mexican Vampire Hunter"] now if you're like me and just can't wait for the FULL length story [The Vampire, the Hunter, and the Girl]to come out.

Belinda Frisch, Author | "I can tell you that I haven’t had a book call me back as much as Inside the Outside in some time. The characters are unconventional, flawed, and as real as the world Martin’s made for them."

Nylon Admiral | "[With Inside the Outside] Martin Lastrapes excels at constructing a complete, and believable story from start to end."

BiblioBabes (Kat) |  "I picked this story up, and I literally could not put it down...I was totally hooked, and reading [Inside the Outside] at every possible second.  Honestly, I wish all my reading experiences were like this..."

Hello? Is This Thing On? | "What matters to me the most is the way a story stirs something within me to continue reading. And that’s what Inside the Outside by Martin Lastrapes did."

8 Days A Geek | "With dark thoughts and an ever increasing sense of dread, Inside the Outside is a book I can read over and over again."

Tasha's Take On Books! | "I want more, more of the same twisted story but also more of Martin Lastrapes['] amazing imagination and his talented writing. The way he can lay a story out I am in awe of."

BiblioBabes (Cara) | "It was torturous trying to read faster, to turn the page quicker to figure it out.... But this is what makes the book so great: suspense, confusion, shock, disbelief, more shock."

Exciting Writing (Will Entrekin) | "[Inside the Outside] is an exceptional novel like I rarely encounter."

Book Den | "I classify Inside the Outside with books such as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Patrick Süskind's Perfume: The Story of a Murderer..."

Tea Time With Marce | "[Reading Inside the Outside] I was entertained with how the story was being told to me.  It felt like I was in [a] dark room, scary but cozy with this adorable storyteller."

Monkeycstars | "...a creepy, spectacular, AMAZING book...Everyone needs to grab [Inside the Outside] right now! "

Blood Red Nightmare | "I LOVE this book...[Inside the Outside] is nearly perfect."

Attore e Scrittore | {In Italian} "Voglio parlare di un romanzo che ho letto negli scorsi giorni, Inside the outside di Martin Lastrapes, che ha come tema proprio il cannibalismo."



Press-Enterprise [VIDEO] | "My initial goal was to publish traditionally."

Words 4 Other Words | "If you don’t like a book, put it down and start a new one. A good author should enjoy reading, otherwise what’s the point?"

Attore e Scrittore (Mauro Corso) | "I’m very fascinated with how people grow up to be who they are, what forces around them shape and form their thoughts and beliefs about the world. The story of Timber Marlow and the Divinity was meant to work as something of a metaphor for this idea."

BiblioBabes (Kat and Cara) | "I mean, it’s okay to shock your reader, so long as there’s a substantive purpose at play. Otherwise it’s just literary shock porn."

Warrior Princess Romance Writer (Bernadette Marie) | "My goal, among other things, is to write a vampire novel for folks who don’t like vampire novels."

Dark Lucidity (Brian Moreland) | "For me, characters are there to serve the story and not the other way around. The best reading experiences I’ve had involve books with great narrative plots, so, naturally, those are the types I’ve books I want to write."

Karen Woodward: A Blog About Writing | "Read. Read, read, read. If you're going to be a writer, you have to read and you have to read a lot."

Greg + You = This | “Look, it’s a book. While I am open to a film deal, there is no film for you to pirate.”

Exciting Writing (Will Entrekin) | "Well, the cannibal part came first. I’d become fascinated with writing about cannibalism about 10 years ago, which, not coincidentally, was about the same time I became a vegetarian."

The Inquisition (The Black Abyss) | “I like that [dark fiction] can produce terrifying stories where the monster can simply be the circumstances a character must deal with.”

The Ginger Nuts of Horror | "I didn’t do much reading as a kid, despite the fact that reading came very easily to me for as long as I can remember.  I liked comic books, though.  And professional wrestling."



Violence, Brutality, and Death: Dark Fiction and Why I Love it | "The fact that we are mortal, that our time here is finite, haunts us daily. And perhaps the only thing more haunting than the idea that we will someday die is the fear that we may one day die a brutal, violent, tortuous death—or maybe that’s just me."

I Kidnapped Martin Lastrapes for a Guest Post... | "Hello out there. I don’t know if anybody is reading this, but, if you are, can you please help me? My name is Martin Lastrapes and I am currently being held hostage on this blog."

A Self-Publisher's Manifesto | "If you’re a reader, a simple lover of books, someone with no aspirations of ever writing or publishing, then there is a very good chance you’re unaware of the culture war that has been going on within the world of publishing for what feels like forever."

One Author’s Attempt to Write a Likable Killer | "I gave myself what turned out to be a pretty difficult problem to solve in that I wanted my protagonist [Timber Marlow] to be a killer. Part of what makes this difficult is most readers don’t want to sympathize with a killer."

Creating the Illusion of Flesh and Blood on the Page | "So, how do you get the reader to care about a character who has done terrible, gruesome things? It’s not quite as complicated as you might think."

The Benefits of Being an Independent Publisher | "What follows is an informal editorial based on my experiences as an independent publisher and is not meant to be regarded as a 'how-to' piece."

Guest Blogger Martin Lastrapes | "And for anybody who hated the book, but chose not to review it, I appreciate you the most!"

What Inspires a Writer to Tell a Story? | “Since the publication of my debut novel, Inside the Outside, I’m often asked the question: What made you want to write about cannibals?  For me the answer is obvious: Why wouldn’t I want to write about cannibals?!”

Staying Inspired - Martin Lastrapes | "The truest measure of success is happiness. And writing makes me happier than anything else, which is why I spend so much time doing it."



Simon & Schuster Canada (Interview with the Bibliobabes) | "Your favourite book in the last year? Kat – 'Tough call!  I have a hard time narrowing things down, but I’d have to say...Inside the Outside by Martin Lastrapes...' Cara - 'Hmmmm, I’d agree with Inside the Outside by Martin Lastrapes.'"

Paris Book Festival | "The coming-of-age story of a refugee from a cannibalistic cult is the winner of the 2012 Paris Book Festival, which honors the best of international publishing."

Exciting Writing (Will Entrekin) | "It’s not just the best indie novel I read in 2011; it’s the finest novel I read overall, and that distinction might carry back a couple of years besides. It’s devastating and funny, poignant and honest, sincere without over-sentimentality, and most importantly, Lastrapes can write."

The Bibliobabes (Kat) | "Not only is Martin Lastrapes a fantastic writer, he's actually a cool dude as well.  He's witty, friendly, and ridiculously down to Earth."

The Creative Penn (Joanna Penn) | At the 18:10 mark of this video, Joanna Penn has some complementary words for Inside the Outside:

Fearless, Motherfuckers. (Emma Arnold) | "[Inside the Outside] sort of reminds me of Brett Easton Ellis' masterpiece, American Psycho, because it fills the reader with such delicious dread..."

Paranormal Wastelands | "This entire crazy discussion [about eating brains] stemmed from me reading a creepy, spectacular, AMAZING book called Inside the Outside by Martin Lastrapes. Everyone needs to grab it right now!"

The Warrior Poet (Cameron Conaway) | "...Inside the Outside, has received loads of praise. I’m honored to be a part of what [Martin Lastrapes] does."

On Being Simply True (S. Kay Murphy) | "Martin has been teaching college for some years, but having read an advance copy of his new book, I can see that his future truly lies in written expression."

Belinda Frisch, Author | "Authors, this is a very nice blog to be featured on. Thanks, Martin, for your hard work."

Dreadful Tales | "Being a horror hound and book fiend can really put the hurtin’ on your wallet, but we’re always looking for ways to save...Inside The Outside by Martin Lastrapes debuted this past July and now you can pick this up for your Kindle or Nook at only $0.99!"

BiblioBabes (Cara) | "Me with my new Kobo reading Inside the Outside by Martin Lastrapes [for Naked Reading Sunday]."

BiblioBabes (Vlog) | Check out the video below as Cara reviews Inside the Outside in the BiblioBabes very first vlog:

The Write Stuff (Marta Chausée) | "He looks sinister in this shot, but he's not.  He's the 2012 Paris Book Festival winner and guess what?  He's our own local, Inland Empire, cannibal-creating, Mt. Sac professor and fair-haired boy."

Perfect Fourth (Jessica Maybury) | "Oh and I've been completely stuck into Inside the Outside by Martin Lastrapes which I have on my kindle app(lication). It's seriously deadly, so tis! I wonder who did the cover. I can't stress this enough though: GO. BUY. IT."

Menifee 24/7 | "On the other end of the spectrum, literary horror author Martin Lastrapes featured his newly debuted novel, Inside the Outside, which has already been on the Amazon bestseller list three times."

GoodReads is the Place to Be!

Since publishing Inside the Outside in July 2011, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time on GoodReads. If you’re not aware of it (and why wouldn’t you be?!) it's a social network for book lovers. I was a member of GoodReads before I published my novel, so being an official author on the site is super cool. One of the great things about GoodReads is it hosts book giveaways, such as the giveaway for Inside the Outside, which ended on September 2, 2011.

Speaking of which, congratulations to the winners—Amanda (Visalia, CA), Stacy (Inverness, FL), and Amy (Greene, NY)—each of whom received a signed copy of Inside the Outside.

One of the other great things about GoodReads is it’s a place for readers to leave reviews about the books they’ve read.

I’m not sure if other authors (Stephen King, for instance, or Chuck Palahniuk) read their reviews on GoodReads, but I do.

And, so far, Inside the Outside has faired extremely well with readers. In no particular order, I wanted to share the kind words readers on GoodReads have been saying about my debut novel.

(Side Note: I truncated some of the longer reviews. You can read them in their entirety by following the links below).

Emma wrote:

One of the best books I've read all year. Creepy, original, with a tight story and enviable prose. I plan to read it again, which in today's media clutter, is the biggest compliment I can bestow upon it. It's just that good.

Jennifer wrote:

Fantastic book. I was completely captivated; I'm still thinking about it days later.

Chanel wrote:

This book had me on the verge of tears, laughter, and terror, sometimes at the same time. Martin Lastrapes writes with such vivid imagery, that there were times where I had to put the book down to avoid being overly spooked. I found myself caring for each character and caring what happened to them.

Natasha wrote:

I totally loved this book. It was hard to read at times imaging what was laid out about cannibalism. Made me cry and laugh. I want more, more of the same twisted story but also more of Martin Lastrapes amazing imagination and his talented writing. The way he can lay a story out I am in awe of.

Cassandra wrote:

5 STARS AMAZING! I absolutely LOVE Inside the Outside by Martin Lastrapes. I strongly recommend everybody read this book. After reading the first few pages, I already knew I'd be HOOKED. YOU MUST READ THIS! Happy, Sad, Intense, Creepy...YES, YES, YES!

To those readers who read the book, enjoyed it, and thought enough of it to take a little time out of their day to write a kind review, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. For those readers who read and enjoyed the book, but didn’t leave a review on GoodReads, I appreciate you too. And for anybody who hated the book, but chose not to review it, I appreciate you the most!