Jeff Strand+Bigfoot’s Little Donuts=Perfect Day

So, here’s the dream. 

I’m sitting at a table in Bigfoot’s Little Donuts, my favorite shop for the sweet treats. Sitting across from me are one of my literary heroes, Jeff Strand, and his wife, the wonderful horror book cover artist Lynne Hansen

(L to R) Lynne Hansen, Jeff Strand, Bridgett Nelson, Bigfoot, and me.

Sitting to my right is one of the most buzzed-about horror authors from 2022, Bridgett Nelson. And right behind me is a seven-foot-tall carved wooden statue of Bigfoot, one of the major inspirations of my life. 

Lined up on the table are three trays of donuts: key lime, Samoa, and cherry limeade flavors. But I’m so full from eating lunch at Hildegard’s German Cuisine (that Jeff Strand paid for, by the way) that I can’t even eat a donut. 

And all this happens on a Saturday, which is a workday for me at the store where I’m employed. But my awesome manager Christine says, “Sure, you can take a three-hour lunch on our busiest day of the week to spend with them.” She didn’t say that exactly, but I could see it in her eyes. 

Anyway, all that wasn’t a dream, folks. That actually happened to me on January 28th, 2023. And it was one of the most delightful days of my life. 

There are books you read that make you instant lifelong fans of certain authors. Among them for me are The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon, The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum, The 13th by John Everson, Depraved by Bryan Smith, and Dweller by Jeff Strand. 

I’ve followed Jeff’s career (yes, I call him Jeff now) since I read Dweller in 2010. It’s one of the most original horror novels I’ve ever read. It chronicles a tragic decades-long friendship between a lonely boy and an orphaned Bigfoot-like creature. 

Over the years, I’ve reviewed several of Jeff’s books and interviewed him a few times for various websites. I even traveled to a Bigfoot conference in Georgia to get my copy of Dweller signed by him. As an added bonus, I bought a print of the book cover from his artist/wife Lynne Hansen, which hangs directly above my writing desk next to my Bigfoot Crossing sign. 

So, when Jeff, Lynne, and Bridgett decided to make a day trip to Huntsville, Alabama, he emailed me out of the blue, and we made lunch and donuts happen. I presented them with T-shirts from Bigfoot’s Little Donuts upon arrival, and the perfect day for me began. 

Now, Jeff, Lynne, and Bridgett go on day trips all the time, visiting with friends and never missing a chance to try the best ice cream in every city they visit. They are serious about their ice cream, folks. They have ice cream journals now. 

But their visit was a big deal for me. 

I mean, this is Jeff-Freaking-Strand, who wrote one of the most influential books of my life. 

This is Lynne Hansen, who was commissioned by the Bram Stoker Estate – yes, that Bram Stoker – to do the cover for the 125th anniversary of Dracula. 

And this is Bridgett Nelson, who wrote one of the most critically acclaimed horror collections of 2022 with A Bouquet of Viscera, and, to me, penned one of the three best short stories of the past year with “Jinx.” She writes extreme revenge horror that will gut-punch you, but in person, she’s the sweetest lady. Still, I wouldn’t cross her. 

Anyway, I’m at a table at my favorite donut shop with this amazing trio. And they were the nicest, down-to-earth people. As a fan myself, I can say Jeff sincerely appreciates his readers and supporters. 

We all talked about writing, other authors (nothing negative), movies, horror fiction, food, and horror conventions. They offered me some much-needed advice on my own writing career as well as their support. It was just the best three hours of fellowship that I will never forget. 

When they arrived to pick me up (yes, they chauffeured me around), they all greeted me with hugs like long-lost friends. But what struck me most is when we returned to my place of employment, I told Jeff, “You can just drop me off at the sidewalk entrance” because the parking lot where I work is the parking lot from Hell. 

“No, we’re going to say a proper goodbye,” Jeff said. 

He pulled his vehicle into a parking spot, and everyone exited simply to give me a goodbye hug. How cool is that? 

Good folks, good food, and good donuts equal a good day. 

I couldn’t have dreamed of having a better time.



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FRESH BLOOD: Bridgett Nelson

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3 thoughts on “Jeff Strand+Bigfoot’s Little Donuts=Perfect Day

  1. OMGosh, that is so cool! I know you all had a great time.

    Huntsville, eh? I was an engineer at Intergraph (Hexagon) back in the day. The hubster and I got married in Huntsville at some historic home that I’ve now forgotten the name of because it was back in the dark ages.:-)

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