Amityville Man Cave

“What the fuck is that?” Deena said. 

“It smells like … Axe Body Spray,” Stephanie said. 

“Okay, so, I didn’t smell that five minutes ago, did you?” 

“No. Why are you so freaked out?” 

“Well, there’s something I didn’t tell you about this house we bought.” 

“Oh, no! What?” 

“It used to belong to Neckbeard.” 

“So? I’m sure lots of neckbeards have owned houses.” 

“No, not just any neckbeard. I’m talking about Neckbeard McDudebro.” 

“Oh, no. Him?” 

“Him.” 

“But isn’t he just an urban legend?” 

“Does that smell like an urban legend to you?” 

“No, it smells like Axe Body Spray.” 

“That’s because he’s here. This is the house of Neckbeard McDudebro and we are standing in his man cave!” 

“Why the fuck didn’t you say something?” 

“Because you wouldn’t want to buy the house if I did.” 

“You’re goddamn right I wouldn’t have!” 

“Ugh, the smell is getting stronger. I’m sorry, Stephanie.” 

“Sorry? In the span of a few seconds, I just found out ghosts are real, and my girlfriend is a fucking liar. I don’t think sorry is going to fix things. God, that smells awful. We need to get the fuck out of here.” 

“I don’t know if he’ll let us leave.” 

“Why the fuck did you want to buy his house so bad?” 

“Because it’s a nice house, and I don’t believe in ghosts.” 

“Well, actually,” a disembodied voice began, “I’m more of a poltergeist. Are you two going to scissor for me or what?” 

“Neckbeard?” both women said. 

“That’s right, bitches. Welcome to my house. Now you must do what I say. Because I’m dead, I’m no longer under your oppressive matriarchal rule. Now, boobs or get the fuck out.” 

A set of milky eyes opened on the wall in front of the women. Lips took shape and curved into a smile. 

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” Stephanie said. 

“No, I think he’s serious.” 

“Well, he’s not getting boobs, so I’m getting the fuck out.” 

“Wait a minute. Fuck him. It’s not his house anymore. He’s not getting boobs and we’re not going anywhere.” 

Several seconds of silence passed. Then, 

“Well, if you won’t do what I say and you won’t leave, I’ll have to move furniture around and make scary sounds.” 

“Is that it?” Deena said. 

“What do you mean? Doesn’t that scare you?” 

“Not really.” 

“Deena, what are you doing?” 

“I don’t believe in ghosts and we’re tired from moving. Maybe we’re just imagining you.” 

“I’m real.” 

“I don’t know, man. I’m exhausted. I’ve hardly slept for days. Neither has Stephanie. I think you’re just a bad hallucination.” 

“Yeah,” Stephanie said. “And come on, moving around some furniture? Making scary sounds? We’ll just tell each other it’s the house settling or some shit.” 

“Like earthquakes. This is California.” 

“You can’t deny me. Boobs or get the fuck out.” 

“Sorry, man. You’re just an urban legend and not a very good one.” 

“But wait! The Axe. Surely you smell me. And my face on the wall. Surely you see me.” 

“I don’t see shit,” Stephanie said. “How about you, girlfriend?” 

“Nope. Just some weird shadows.” 

“But the smell, the smell!” 

“What do you think, Steph?” 

“I think that stink is just left over from when you were still alive. Even in death, your smell lingers, but you don’t. You’re gone. This is our house.” 

“But not this room. This is my man cave.” 

“You know what I’m thinking, Steph?” 

“What?” 

“I think these walls would look really good in pink.” 

Richard Laymon Lessons

A friend was kind enough to gift me with the ever-elusive A WRITER’S TALE, Richard Laymon’s nonfiction book about the writing life. I’ve been trying to make a go at this writing stuff for 10 years now, but I’m a big proponent of continuing to learn, and boy, oh boy, A WRITER’S TALE has been incredibly eye-opening. Lots has changed in the biz since the writing of this book, but you can learn a lot from history, and while I’m a big fan of innovation and moving forward, sometimes things really were better back then. Even when they weren’t, I think they still present teachable moments. So, what are the big takeaways from this long out-of-print holy grail for Richard Laymon fans?

First, write what you love to write. Be willing to learn and always be honing your craft, but ultimately, write the sort of stuff you want to read. Seriously. Hack work shows. Love Laymon or hate him, he always wrote his truth. That uncompromising approach earned him a huge following and eventually a successful career.

Second, hold onto your day job as long as you can. I won’t go into the chapter where he explained the financials of publishing, but I will point out that, according to his notes, ten/fifteen books into his career, he still had to hold down a regular job to make ends meet. Most writers do. Don’t let the success stories of King, Koontz, and Patterson color your judgment. First, they aren’t the overnight successes they appear to be. No one is. Even Patterson wasn’t able to write full-time until 1996. By then, he’d been at it twenty years. Second, their huge successes are exceptions. They achieved financial reward and levels of fame most writers don’t. Seriously, hold onto day job until it makes financial sense to quit.

Third, novels. Fucking novels. Yeah, I know. Those short stories may be fun little dopamine boosts because it’s nice to finish things quickly. They can also be a way to make fast money (depending on the market). Novellas are cool, too. They’re lean and mean and if you’re okay with haunting the small press, you can get quite a few books in print by writing them. But we’re in a bubble, gang. While we may enjoy reading and writing novellas and short stories, it’s simply not feasible to build a career on them. Novels simply sell better. This is why you (I) should …

Try new things. If you’re familiar with Richard Laymon’s body of work, you know that his first few books were short novels. They were fast-paced chillers with characters that were not one-dimensional but certainly less fleshed-out than in his later works. After he got a few of those under his belt and gained some confidence (and after some career advice from his buddy Dean Koontz), he tried his hand at writing something more immersive. The result was a book known as DARK MOUNTAIN (which I’m re-reading now). The horror elements are great, sure, but my favorite parts are his lush descriptions of nature (it’s a book about camping) and moments where the characters are just hanging out together being characters. If you’re like me and you’ve mostly only written stuff that’s 20-40,000 words, it may be worth trying to let your characters breathe and find concepts Laymon describes as “infinitely expandable.”

Lastly, learn to love the word “rump.”


My newest book, EXTINCTION PEAK, is currently available. It has no rumps, but it’s got plenty of dinosaurs and badass women. You can order it here.

Up for Preorder: Extinction Peak

My newest book is up for preorder from the Madness Heart Press store. All paperbacks come signed.

Check out the back cover copy below:

When the raptors come out of sinkholes across the United States, Deandra Antigone Merriweather’s elder brother Johnny sees the chaos as opportunity.

Overrun by prehistoric beasts of increasing size and savagery, the world has completely gone to hell, but he doesn’t suspect it will stay that way, and he wants to be a rich man by the time things get back to normal.

Though less optimistic about the future, Deandra thinks it might be a good idea to have some money stashed away just in case, if only so she can one day getaway from the abusive Johnny for good.

Together, they embark on a perilous journey across the wasteland to rob the mountain home of a corrupt California senator.

But the home isn’t empty. The senator has stayed behind to live like a king in this post-apocalypse world. With specially trained raptors, his sadistic wife, and sexually stunted son, all manner of misery awaits Deandra within the house’s walls.

All the while, the outside world crumbles under the trampling feet of monsters long thought extinct.

31 Days of Horror, Day 2 – Haunt

I watched this movie last year and was totally blown away. I gave it another whirl yesterday. My feelings haven’t changed.

From the writers of THE QUIET PLACE and produced by Eli Roth, this movie has some of the most inventive gags and memorable characters in quite some time. As someone who loves going to haunted house attractions, but also gets very scared by them, this was the perfect film to get me in the Halloween mood.

Check it out on Shudder if you haven’t already.

31 Days of Horror, Day 1 – CV Hunt’s Horrorama

This October, I’m kicking things off right with a brand new book release. My novelette “Primitive,” as well as works by A.S. Coomer and Matt Harvey (of Exhumed), is featured in the newest Grindhouse Press release.

It’s called Horrorama and is meant to emulate a late-night horror movie marathon.

Brilliant cover design by the brilliant Rachel Autumn Deering.

“Primitive” is a werewolf story about four friends who encounter a feral woman whose looking for her werewolf son while they’re camping in the Washington State wilderness. For inspiration, I watched the films RITUALS (1977) and WAKE IN FRIGHT (1973), and did a close read of FRANKENSTEIN. I’d be curious how many of you see the parallels.

You can grab the book directly from Grindhouse Press or wherever books are sold.

While you’re at it, why don’t you listen to my Halloween playlist to get in the spirit of the season.