Exciting news this week as my website, Mysterious Heartland, surpassed 3 million total page views since it went online in January 2009. Of course, at that time it was home to the Legends and Lore of Illinois. Since then, we’ve greatly expanded the scope of our content, especially since I’ve had the opportunity to explore places as far away as Arizona and the Gulf Coast. Last year was our best year ever, with over 1,376,600 views. Thanks for sticking with me and exploring our wonderful American Heartland.
My recent post at Mysterious Heartland, “Top 10 Most Haunted Colleges in the Midwest,” was picked by WordPress editors to be featured on their “Freshly Pressed” page today, a distinction given to only the best blog posts on WordPress. What an honor to be selected for this distinction! Already, I’ve had over two dozen new website subscribers and about a dozen new comments. Hopefully there will be more good news like this in the future.
My recent post at Mysterious Heartland, “Top 10 Most Haunted Colleges in the Midwest,” continues to gain steam, with over 107,530 views and counting since Monday. A variety of local newspapers and blogs all over the Midwest have picked up the story. Strangely, not a single media outlet in Illinois has done so — despite the fact that there are two Illinois colleges on the list. Where are you, Illinois media?
Here is a quick list of some of the coverage, with more to come:
- “We’ve got spirits, yes we do! Look at us, we’re number 2!” Ripon Press
- “Ghostly Roberta Hall lands Northwest campus in Top 10,” Maryville Daily Forum
- “St. Olaf Among Midwest’s ‘Most Haunted’ Campuses,” CBS Minnesota
- “Iowa State lands spot on most haunted colleges list,” DM Juice
- “Top 10 Most Haunted Colleges in the Midwest,” NowThatsCollege.com
- “Minnesota college makes list of most haunted in the Midwest,” BringMetheNews
- “Haunt-hunting at Iowa State University: Are the ghost stories real?” DesMoines Register
- “Iowa State lands spot on most haunted colleges list,” Press-Citizen
- “Kenyon is #1 At Being Haunted!” The Thrill
- “St. Olaf Makes the Top 10 Most Haunted Colleges in the Midwest,” NewsTastic
I didn’t think I would be able to surpass the traffic I received at Mysterious Heartland in December, but my latest top 10 list (and the first to feature locations from all over the Midwest) “Top 10 Most Haunted Colleges in the Midwest” has exploded in popularity over the past several days, getting over 69,000 views since Monday. I also broke my record for most site views in one day – 44,109 on Tuesday, and today it looks like it might surpass even that. Needless to say, this is very exciting! My top 10 list is getting coverage from some local media, and a WordPress editor has picked it to be featured on their “fresh pressed” page in a few days!
Maureen Hoff from the Kenyon College blog The Thrill posted this funny article today: Kenyon is #1 At Being Haunted!
An article was recently released on the top ten most haunted colleges in the Midwest, and Kenyon crushed all competition, sliding smoothly into first. And if you didn’t read that article, or weren’t already told the moment you stepped onto campus, then you are getting this info here first. I’m the first person to tell you. It’s as if I knew that Kenyon was haunted before anyone else. And are we really that surprised that I was the Nancy Drew of this situation, and you’re the dance teacher who lost her music tapes? Too obscure of a reference? I drop it after the jump!
Read the entire post here, and stay tuned for more great news about MysteriousHeartland.com!
Thanks to the strange forces that make posts go viral, Mysterious Heartland has set a new record for site visits in one day – 33,383 on December 29th, and has received more than 70,000 visits in the past three days. That made December 2013 our best month for visits since the website launched in 2009. Thanks to a related sales boost, my book Haunting Illinois: A Tourist’s Guide to the Weird and Wild Places of the Prairie State reached #1 in Midwestern travel guides and #4,535 in Books overall on Amazon.com today. That’s the highest ranking any of my books has ever achieved. That, coupled with the unexpected surge in website traffic, made for a great end to 2013. surprise
Things are a little hectic around here. As you can tell, I haven’t updated this website in about a month and a half, but I’ve never been the kind of person who rushes things just for the sake of it.
On January 1st I am officially announcing the start of the Black Willow Grove project, a fictional look at the Midwest’s “most haunted” town–Black Willow Grove. Each month will bring a new location to light. I will be posting pictures and background information on each of these locations, all culminating in a novel staring The Fallen from the Legends and Lore of Illinois. This novel will focus on The Fallen’s investigations into these places, so essentially what will be posted on this website is a large public brainstorming session.
Speaking of the Legends and Lore of Illinois, its brand new website will be launched at the beginning of the new year as well. This site will also be hosted on WordPress, and it will be easier to navigate and find what you are looking for.
The new issue of Black Oak Presents is also coming out on January 1. This will be the greatest issue to date, so don’t miss its release on http://www.blackoakmedia.org.
Finally, I am going to be working on a collection of my chapbooks called Michael Kleen’s Early Works, possibly edited by my father, et al. This book will contain several edited and updated versions of The Distance of Sorrow; Tales of Coles County, Illinois; Home of the Brave Part 1; and Six Tales of Terror. Getting all of these in one bound edition is a great deal! I’m looking forward to seeing it in print later on this year.
That’s all for now, see you in a few weeks.
Welcome to my brand new website! Not only will it have the advantage of the WordPress engine, it will be more cost effective while making my writing more accessable to you, the reader! I’m excited about this changeover, and I think it will attract many new viewers to the site. The missions statement of this page is to give you the most information about me and my writing, without all the usual clutter. Look around and see for yourself!