I have a short story available on Godless Indie Horror, a great online store for the best in independently published horror stories.
A bizarre family tradition.
A sudden tragedy.
A dark odyssey on a late autumn night.
From two-time Splatterpunk Award nominee Lucas Mangum comes a story about loss of innocence and the futility of recollection.
You can purchase Bone Cider for 99 cents right here.
I’ve also been revisiting a bunch of classic Universal Monster movies on Peacock. Nothing gives me the nostalgic fuzzies like cobwebs strewn over a Gothic set on black and white film. So far, I’ve checked out Dracula’s Daughter (ahead of its time!), Werewolf of London (a rewatch, still effective), and Son of Dracula (not great from a story standpoint but lots of cool moments and a great look).
When I turned eight or nine, I got a bunch of these movies on VHS along with the original Night of the Living Dead. I wish I still had them. One of the best birthdays ever, almost thirty years later.
I keep forgetting to post here when a new episode of Make Your Own Damn Podcast goes live, but we have new episodes every week. Right now, we’re going through the Class of Nuke ‘Em High franchise. This week, we looked at the third entry. Then, we pivot to talk about our favorite horror movie franchises. You can download the full episode here, or listen to it wherever you get your podcasts.
Here are the episode details: Class of Nuke ‘Em High 2 is a fun, over-the-top slice of 90s cinema. Can the same be said for Class of Nuke ‘Em High 3: The Good, the Bad, and the Subhumanoid? Plus, Jeff Burk and Lucas Mangum talk all about horror franchises, the place of the Nuke ‘Em High films in that canon, our favorite series, Halloween Kills, Final Destination and Saw, the campy brilliance of David R. Ellis, 15 Minutes of Shame, and Man, Fuck This House by indie horror author extraordinaire Brian Asman.
I caught Halloween Kills this weekend. Old school fans like me will recognize it as a remixed version of parts 2 and 4. I got a kick out of it! I liked the exploration of how Michael’s murder spree affected the people of Haddonfield and the examination of mob mentality. As with the previous entry, I don’t love the retconning of earlier entries (I’ve mentioned before that 4 is probably my favorite of the series), but it’s still a fun watch.
Remember, I’ve got a new book up for preorder from Raven Tale Publishing. It’s called Rusted Blood and it kicks off a brand new series. You can grab it here.
I hope everyone’s week is getting off to a nice start. I’m back to watching Dino Dana with my five-year-old. Good times.
A while back, I announced I’d signed a six book deal with Raven Tale Publishing for a new series of haunted tech/weird Internet horror stories. Rusted Blood is the first in that series.
Check out the blurb, and see if it’s something you’ll dig.
CUBE meets RATS: A NIGHT OF TERROR in this survival horror thriller.
Six people wake to find themselves in a disused ice cream parlor in the middle of an abandoned amusement park. They don’t know why they were brought here, but they soon find they’re not alone. Hungry rats seemingly controlled by strange music and hooded figures with superhuman strength lurk around every corner. With a handful of clues and tools, the captives must band together and fight for survival, but the park is not what it seems, and neither are they.
RUSTED BLOOD is two-time Splatterpunk Award-nominee Lucas Mangum’s most thrilling and bizarre book to date, and it kicks off his brand-new DIGITAL DARKNESS series, a cycle of supernatural, technological horror stories.
I had a great time last week chatting with Jeff Burk about the 1990 classic FRANKENHOOKER. Like KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE and POULTRYGEIST, it’s a great example of a film with a ridiculous concept that its creator fully embraces and takes as far as possible. It’s also one of my absolute favorite movies.
Sometimes a tarot reading is extremely straightforward. The dude on the leftmost card even looks like me. Also, the number on the third card is the sum of the numbers on the first two. Fascinating stuff!
I asked the cards, “WTF am I doing?”
So, how did it answer? This is an easy one. Much of this year has seen me paring down my social circle, cutting away frivolous interests, and abandoning previously held ideals that harmed me. Those three tipped over cups? Those are people I’ve chosen to dissociate from, interests outside my family and creativity, and ideals I’ve abandoned such as vegetarianism. The two cups behind me, still standing, may be a smaller quantity than the cups left behind, but they’re more important to me, which is why I’m guarding them carefully. What’s in ’em? Family (which includes close and reliable friends as well as blood) and my creative endeavors.
The second card, with its three celebrating figures raising their cups and dancing circles, shows the joy that comes from focusing more on quality of relationships, interests and ideals than quantity of relationships, interests and ideals. That is, indeed, worth celebrating.
The third card, Strength, is one of the Arcana. I love the Strength card. Sure, there’s a lion in it, but it’s domesticated, cared for by the person in the image. Its message in the context of this reading is twofold. First, this paring down of my social circle, cutting away of frivolous interests, and abandoning of harmful ideals will strengthen me. But there is also a sadness that comes with separating wheat from chaff, and kindness and compassion toward myself as I mourn is also a showing of strength.
With good friends dying, I don’t have time for people who drop off the face of the earth no matter how much I like them. As there’s more demand for my work, I need to be smarter about how I spend my time creatively. When my body tells me what it needs, I must listen.
Last week, I wrote about the discussion Jeff and I had about BLOODSUCKING FREAKS for our show MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN PODCAST. Now, you can hear the full two-and-a-half hour conversation wherever you get your podcasts, or you can download the episode right here.
Made in 1976 by people mostly associated with the porn industry, BLOODSUCKING FREAKS is quite possibly the most notorious Troma movie ever, but is it any good? Listen as Jeff and Lucas deep-dive, dissect, and analyze this cult classic.
I am so excited to announce that I’ve joined the roster of amazing authors at Raven Tale Publishing for a whopping SIX BOOKS of Internet/tech horror. Think BLACK MIRROR meets AMERICAN HORROR STORY.
I won’t say much else for now, but if you’re thinking this sounds like I’ll be exploring themes introduced in GODS OF THE DARK WEB, you would be correct. However, these are not SEQUELS to that book. It’s important to make that distinction.
More news to come as it develops, but for now, I’ll just say that I’m beyond thrilled to be part of this exciting new imprint. Keep your eyes out for more news.
Last night, Jeff Burk and I recorded what I believe is our best episode of MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN PODCAST thus far. We discuss the highly controversial BLOODSUCKING FREAKS, and it turned into a discussion of extreme art as self-examination and a history lesson on grindhouse cinema. Be on the lookout for the episode on Monday.
Not gonna lie, gang. It’s been a hard week. Getting to talk about extreme or transgressive art in a nuanced way with intelligent people is the perfect salve.
I spent last weekend virtually attending Killer Con 2021. For the uninitiated, Killer Con is a convention for professionals in the splatterpunk and extreme horror subgenres. The con ended on Sunday afternoon. It’s Wednesday morning now, and I’m still wiped. It was a great time, though. Killer Con has an energy to it rivaled by no other con I’ve attended. I may be a little biased. I’m on the committee.
My personal highlights were sitting on a panel on imposter syndrome with Wrath James White, Jeff Strand, Kenzie Jennings, and Lucy Taylor; cohosting Horror Trivia with Adam Cesare; getting beat-up on during the collaborations panel; watching the Splatterpunk Awards and seeing how excited and humble all the winners were; the Gross-Out Contest won by Nigel Parkin, and the Sunday morning poetry hour with John Baltisberger, Susan Snyder, and Wrath James White. All three of the poets knocked it out of the park.
It was my first sober convention ever. Every convention I’ve attended, I’ve been under the influence of something. Usually just beer or liquor, occasionally weed. I think I brought the same (if not more) energy to this weekend sober than I would have intoxicated. It was a great experiment and one that will likely continue.
I don’t consider myself an alcoholic. There’s a school of thought where not admitting this is dooming me to failure, but in case you haven’t been paying attention, AA is not science. It was literally founded by a handful of church dudes almost a hundred years ago. There’s no denying it’s helped some people, but it’s just not my bag. I’m not an alcoholic. I just have bad coping mechanisms, but I’m working on that.
I’ve spent a good portion of the year reevaluating my place as a creator and as a human being. The White Trash Occultism sessions with Kelby Losack and J David Osborne were part of that. Writing American Garbage helped immensely too. It’s my most raw and personal work yet, and I think it helped clean some residual trauma goo from my brain. I’m also taking better care of myself. Eating meat again, exercising every day, and the above-mentioned sobriety are only small parts of this plan. I won’t bore you with additional details, but long story short: more intensive therapy and better meds.
Life is stressful enough without baggage from the past and bad brain chemistry.
On Monday, a friend passed away after a ten-month battle with cancer. He was a smart and funny dude. I don’t think I ever had a bad time whenever we were hanging out. While I’m sure I would’ve come into this writing life eventually, his encouragement in 2010-2011 really helped set me on my current path. That was when I started taking all this stuff a lot more seriously. He had a lot of potential as a writer in his own right. I hate that we’ll never get any stories from him. More than that, I hate that his kids (5 and 2) will grow up without a father. Life can be a real motherfucker sometimes.
Lucas Mangum, myself, and Encyclopocalyse Publications are proud to present THE FINAL GATE, a fiction tribute and loving homage to the films of Lucio Fulci! Also Includes a wonderful introduction by Ryan Harding. Coming August 3rd 2021 in paperback, e-book, and audiobook. Pre-order the e-book here. Paperback will be available on the day of release. BACK […]
All authors have books they want to write. I want to write more Gods of the Dark Web books. I’d also like to try my hand at some dystopian science fiction. Maybe even some sword and sorcery. The universe behind the Gods books has an infinite amount of untapped potential. Dystopian science fiction is a genre I grew up loving. Sword and sorcery is just fucking cool.
But beyond the stories we want to tell, there are other stories. Stories that keep us up at night. Stories that fuck with our mood. Stories that won’t fall silent until they’ve been committed to the page. Not stories we want to write but stories we need to write.
American Garbage is such a story.
There’s a lot you don’t know about me. I used to be in a band. It’s not something I really advertise because it was a long time ago, a different me. We are not who we were yesterday, let alone 15-20 years ago. Still, we are haunted by the ghosts of who we were, of who we loved, of who hurt us, of who we aspired to be.
You can grow and change, build a life far different than the one you envisioned, especially if you didn’t expect to live past thirty. Even so, your ghosts never really leave.
These past few months, while hamstrung by genre and talking things through friends J. David Osborne and Kelby Losack, I planned a book untethered by conventions and tropes, one populated simply by people as real to me as those who shaped me.
That book is American Garbage. And when I say “past few months,” I mean it. This is the most organic work of mine you’re apt to read. I wrote it over the course of a month (mostly on a Neo by Alphasmart), edited it with Kelby Losack (who also made that incredible cover), and placed an order through Bookmobile.
Yes, Bookmobile. No Amazon this time around. We bitch and bitch about their business practices and monopoly on the industry, but we still buy and publish through them without batting an eye. Not this time.
Why not Audible? See above. We can’t take the power back with lip service.
What’s it about? It’s about a twenty-something trying to hold his band of burnout musicians together, while battling his own mental illness and navigating his tumultuous intimate relationships during the early years of the War on Terror.
Is it a memoir? Not quite. Call it autofiction.
Is it horror? Let’s call it horror adjacent. Picture Stand By Me in the post-9/11 landscape and you’ll be somewhat close to the mark.
Will this be my publishing model going forward? That’s harder to answer. There are other people in the community I’d like to work with, as well as some preexisting projects and agreements that won’t work with this model. Also, this is an experiment.