Darkness, Digital Cover Reveal

Just when you thought it was safe to go on the Internet…

Cover by Jim Agpalza

It’s been years since true crime author Niles Highsmith and his brother Leon disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Left to pick up the pieces, Dana can’t seem to break free from the dark web cultists and their strange gods. As personal tragedies pile up, the world itself begins to fracture. The dark web isn’t just on the Internet anymore. Its influence spreads through the world’s darkest corners, whispering in the ears of elite and deplorable alike. Though pockets of resistance rise, time is a flat circle and nothing is what it seems.


Do stories haunt you?

This one haunted me. Gods of the Dark Web remains my most widely read and reviewed book, but the extreme violence and mean spirit of it unsettled me so much that I never wanted to return to its world again. Still, a lot went unsaid by the time I reached its final page. What happens to Dana after her uncomfortable encounter with Niles, the book’s protagonist (though not a hero)? How did all this start? What are some of the big picture consequences?

Despite the book’s success and the narrative’s plethora of unanswered questions, I moved on, writing messy attempts at epics with We Are the Accused and Extinction Peak, the transgressive but ultimately hopeful Saint Sadist, and the brutal fun of Pandemonium with Ryan Harding. However, as our world became a more frightening place every day–reaching the nightmarish peak of 2020–and I teetered on the verge of a mental relapse, the world I’d allowed my readers to glimpse in Gods, a twisted mirror of our own, haunted me.

I wrote Darkness, Digital over the course of a year. First, calling it Spidergod and attempting something larger in scale, something akin to Hellraiser meets The Matrix. That first draft petered out and I ultimately scrapped it, deciding to salvage what I could as short Dark Web-related stories, but soon, a through line emerged in the narrative. I found a way to collect these pieces into a new novella. Darkness, Digital: Gods of the Dark Web 2 is the result.

The book, this whole series, is a nightmare, one freakish simulation in a web of freakish simulations, a perfect reflection of this moment we’re all having. And yeah, I said “series,” so you can expect more of these, and a lot sooner than the three years that have passed since the first book’s publication.

Darkness, Digital will be out VERY soon. Others will follow.

Patterns of Chaos – New Limited Hardcover Omnibus

PATTERNS OF CHAOS, a signed limited edition hardcover collecting my novellas EXTINCTION PEAK, MANIA, SAINT SADIST, and the never-before-published SKULL FOREST is now available from Thunderstorm Books.

A brother and sister embark on a perilous journey across a wasteland overrun by dinosaurs to rob the mountain home of a corrupt California senator. But the home isn’t empty…

When the faces of their missing friends appear in an eerie painting, teenagers Nathaniel Ernest Brown and Haley descend into dark places to set things right. But the creature who took their friends is waiting…

A controversial film director plans to adapt a cursed screenplay and attracts the ire of a vengeful ghost. But she’s not the only one in Hollywood who wants him dead…

Pregnant with her father’s child, nineteen-year-old Courtney escapes her abusive home and finds shelter at the homestead of an earth-worshipping cult. But the congregants aren’t what they seem…

PATTERNS OF CHAOS collects four novellas by Lucas Mangum, including the Splatterpunk Award-nominated SAINT SADIST and the never-before published SKULL FOREST. 

You can grab it right here.

Gods of the Dark Web Turns 3

Yesterday, my nasty, cosmic horror creepypasta turned 3 years old.

Weird timing, as I finished work on the sequel last week. If you haven’t picked up this one yet, you can grab it on paperback, digital, or audio right here. I wrote this book in a month, yet it remains one of my most popular titles. Go figure. I DO have a very limited number of signed copies on hand. 17 bucks, includes shipping. If you’re interested, hit up the contact form and let me know.

As much as I like this book, it barely scratches the surface of the mythos behind the narrative. It’s something I explore a little deeper in the sequel. More on that later.

The rest of the week will be spent on the Wesley Southard collab and editing new episodes of White Trash Occultism.

13 Weeks

13 weeks. That’s how long it’s been since I’ve had any alcohol. Aside from some scatterbrained moments and bouts of mania, my focus feels a lot more stable. There were some real problems in the beginning. A shorter fuse. What felt like a million near-panic attacks. But that seems to have stabilized a bit.

I do feel the need to apologize. I anticipated ONE AND ONLY would be a bigger story than it is, but I dunno. I think it’s done, at least for now. I’m sorry if any of you were waiting on more. Ideas can be fickle sometimes. I’m not saying never, but I am saying not now.

Hopefully, that means more blogging here. I’ve missed connecting with you all on a daily basis.

Tomorrow morning, Jean and I head to the hospital to induce baby number two. I’m excited to meet her. Nervous about being a parent again, especially in this nightmare era, but mostly excited.

That’s all for now. The new episode of White Trash Occultism will go up later, so I’ll try to remember to link to it here.

All the Things People Say

People say I’m prolific. I also start a lot more projects than I finish.

People say they can’t imagine collaborating with another writer. Collaborations have kept my creativity alive these past couple of years.

People say I’m underrated. I’m always pushing forward.

People say extreme, transgressive art is problematic. That problematic shit has saved my life.

People say my work is triggering. Imagine living through the things that have inspired it.

People say lots of shit. Social media has turned everything into a worked shoot.

People say wrestling is fake. A plethora of injuries and premature deaths say otherwise.

Most of what people say is bullshit. But to them, the subjective is reality.

I’m not interested in what people say. But the people I love speak gospel.

Shut up. I’m talking.

It’s Okay to Break New Year’s Resolutions

People beat up on themselves for breaking things like New Year’s resolutions. I think it’s dumb. Goals and approaches to reaching those goals are fluid things. With that in mind, you can expect a blog here every week, not every day. I will continue to serialize ONE AND ONLY and post an introductory blog before each entry. I think that’s the best way to use this space and my time.

I’d initially intended to release ONE AND ONLY in parts on Amazon in a desperate attempt to game the algorithms, but given the experimental nature of this project, I think I’d rather offer it here. There will be a new chapter here weekly and revised digital editions of each part (4 total) for pay-what-you-want every month or so.

Will there eventually be a physical book? Yes. Eventually. It’s a long-term goal, but not a huge priority. The explicit purpose of this project is for you to get a little insight into my process from beginning to end. Give you a chance to experience the metanarrative.

Besides, I have enough collaborations in the works to fill my release schedule for the next two years. No need to interfere with that.


I was going to blog about the allegations against my favorite artist, but frankly, my take doesn’t matter.


Anyway, today will be spent working on ONE AND ONLY’s next chapter. It will be ready by Monday, along with notes on the inspiration behind it.

The Song of Saya

The latest visual novel I played was called THE SONG OF SAYA. Let me tell you, for a game that came out almost twenty years ago, it feels like it hasn’t aged a day. There’s so much care given to its story and characters. It’s full of truly grotesque moments and the ending I got really resonated. As a visual novel, it has multiple possible endings. I won’t spoil anything, but if you like movies like David Cronenberg’s THE BROOD, you’ll find a LOT to love in SONG OF SAYA.

I can’t believe I’d never even heard of it before a couple of weeks ago. Well, I guess I can believe it, since I’m still relatively new to gaming. Though I used to play as a kid and teenager, I didn’t start gaming in my adult life until last year. Still, you’d think a game like this would be more popular. Anyway, it absolutely should be.

It’s pretty cheap on Steam, just saying.

When I started playing games again a year ago, I didn’t think of it as part of my writing life. It was more along the lines of something I did to wind down. Relax.

Don’t get me wrong. Games can be good for that. I especially love beat em ups, shoot em ups, and (oddly enough) strategy. But visual novels, man. They feel like a genre after my own heart. With a little bit of work, I could see myself making one someday. I’m not showing my hand here or promising anything. But it’s something that’s definitely crossed my mind. I just don’t want to get ahead of myself. Pacing is so important for me so as not to feel overwhelmed by all the things I have in the pipeline.


This weekend, I put down a few thousand words on my collaboration with Wesley Southard. It’s really coming together nicely. Wes has some serious writing chops, a healthy level of enthusiasm, and he’s fun to work with. I’m glad this second entry in my accidental trilogy (composed of collaborations and tributes to existing works) is with him. We’re tipping the hat to the films of Lucio Fulci this time.

I always say write the kinds of books you want to read. Lots of people have said it before me, but it’s something I absolutely vibe with. Doing books modeled after films I love–first with PANDEMONIUM, now with the Fulci book–feels like the most natural thing in the world right now. I think that sense of fun carries over to the writing and makes it fun for the reader, too.


White Trash Occultism, the show I cohost with Kelby Losack and J. David Osborne, seems to be finding its legs. We’ve got two episodes up and two more in the can. We’ll be recording episode 5 this week and then taking a week or two off. My daughter will be born any day now, so to mitigate my mental adjustment, I want to take a couple weeks to just be with my family. In the meantime, you can check out the show on my YouTube channel, or the audio on Kelby’s podcast Heathenish Radio. It honestly probably needs its own YouTube channel, but I’m not in a rush.


That’s it for now. This week will be spent compiling ONE AND ONLY, PART 1 for the eventual digital release and tinkering with an outline for a top secret project I’ll be starting in March or April.

Signed Books Available & Some Updates

I promised myself I wouldn’t turn this blog into a place where I just plug stuff all the time. That said, I did just get a stack of author copies this week. This book was cowritten by Ryan Harding and myself, and it embodies both the spirit of wrestling and Italian horror. A tribute to the DEMONS franchise, it boasts an on-page body count of 120 or so. As mentioned before, it’s the most fun I’ve had writing anything, and I think it shows in the writing. I’ve got ten copies here that I can part with. If you want a signed copy of PANDEMONIUM, PayPal 17 bucks to L[dot]Mangum[dot]Fiction[at]gmail[dot]com, and put your shipping address in the note. The cost includes shipping, and I’m happy to personalize the book anyway you’d like.


I’m sorry activity has been slow here. It may, unfortunately, get a little slower. While blogging daily is pretty great, it’s cut into my fiction writing time significantly. Because I’ve got some looming personal deadlines that I’d like to meet, daily posts are just not doable at the moment. While I still intend to post here regularly (3ish times a week), it may be a while before you see posts two days in a row. The flip side of this is that I’ll have more time to think about what I’ll post and it may result in longer, more developed pieces. In the end, we’ll both win.

As you may have seen on Monday, I finished the first section of ONE AND ONLY. We’ve still got a ways to go, but I’d say we’re definitely stepping into the meat of the story. We’re officially in the second act. Come next month, I’ll be releasing those first four chapters as a compiled e-book. I just got the cover, too!

I’m also working on THE FINAL GATE, which is a collaboration between myself and Wesley Southard. It’s a fun horror novella modeled after the films of Lucio Fulci. I guess you could say that between this and PANDEMONIUM, I’m in a bit of a tribute phase. We’re about halfway through the first draft and, as they say in wrestling, business is damn sure about to pick up!

Lastly, the second episode of WHITE TRASH OCCULTISM, a video podcast hosted by Kelby Losack, J. David Osborne and myself, is now live. You can check it out on YouTube. The show has really hit its stride. We’ve recorded four episodes and have gotten into some pretty heavy conversations about art, the occult, and the importance of free expression.

That Time The Undertaker Possessed a Guy

You can’t talk about horror and wrestling without talking about The Undertaker. Over his 30 years (!) in the business, I imagine he’s the guy most people think of when they consider moments where horror and wrestling intersect. He’s a 6’10, undead mortician with mannerisms borrowed from Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees. He’s been “killed” more than once (including a truly ridiculous moment where his storyline brother Kane put him in a burning casket). Yet, he kept on coming back. While he admittedly evolved his gimmick to become more human as the business became more grounded, he still had a strange, dark aura around him. Indeed, until very recently, he never gave out of character interviews. Nowadays, you can’t get him to shut up. He’s even appeared on Joe Rogan.

One of my favorite Undertaker moments is in the utterly insane clip above where he straight up possesses a backstage interviewer in order to play mind games with his opponent Randy Orton. You can’t make this stuff up. Wrestling is often ridiculous and absurd, and I think fiction could benefit from trying a similar approach. We writers take ourselves too seriously oftentimes, and that’s fine, but also, if we’re crafting fantasy worlds where normal rules don’t apply, why not go full-on mad with it? Have your character possess someone. Why not?

With the release of my book PANDEMONIUM, I’ve been thinking a lot about times where wrestling and horror intersect. It’s a truly whacky book, full of comic-book violence and all sorts of wild characters. The Undertaker’s storied career has run the gamut of what can happen when horror tropes invade professional wrestling.