I’m about to make what will likely be one of my final passes on Extinction Peak, my dinosaur horror novel. Some of my work comes from my subconscious and flows rather easily. This book was not one of them. I wrote the first draft almost five years ago. The version that exists today has only the title in common with that old draft.
Weirdly, this book will likely be more fun to read than some of my other titles. It relies heavily on world-building and action, not symbology and style. That’s not to say it lacks depth. If you’re looking for it, my thesis will present itself. That’s all I’ll say about that for now.
Jeff Burk made it official the Monday after Killer Con, so I’ll announce it here: Extinction Peak is set for publication in 2020 by his new press Section 31 Productions.
It’s been a wild few weeks, gang. Hope y’all have been keeping up with the newest episodes of The Mangum Show. If not, you can subscribe here. I’ve recorded almost half a year’s worth of episodes and have been airing them a week at a time. That intensive period of recording is mainly to blame for the relative silence here as of late. But things will pick up again soon. I want to do more videos, as they seem to draw more traffic.
I’ve got two new books out. They’re novelettes, technically, but a good bit of fun, at least I think so.
The first of these is Long Night at Jade’s Diner.
Here’s the back cover description: The patrons and employees of a 24-hour diner face the wrath of an unnamed woman with a gun in this story of pain and the human beings behind the statistics.
Long Night at Jade’s Diner came from multiple places. First, I’ve wanted to address mass shootings in my work for a while, but it wasn’t until I came upon this idea that I found what I thought was the best approach. Second, I read After Dark by Haruki Murakami, and really loved the faux screenplay style of the prose. I loved it so much, I wanted to try it for myself. Lastly, the story is another example of what seems to be a running theme in my work: women in trouble who have to rely on themselves or each other.
I think Long Night at Jade’s Diner contains some of my strongest writing. That’s not entirely thanks to me. I owe great debts to Dr. John Blair, Rae Glassford, and Shelby Guthrie. The former is an author and professor at Texas State. The latter two are great up-and-comers themselves.
The other story is Cruel Summer.
Cruel Summer is currently on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, and Scribd. More stores are to follow. You can choose your store here.
Here’s the back cover description: A compulsive voyeur named Willow films a couple making love on an empty beach. When the masked killer comes for the couple, she keeps the camera rolling, but before she can escape, the killer sees her. When Willow stumbles into the yard of Sarah, an exhibitionist swimming in the nude, the killer isn’t far behind. Now, the women must fight for survival against a desperate, powerful and dangerous man. A man who’ll soon find out he’s in for more than he bargained for.
As you may be able to tell, Cruel Summer is a bit more playful than Long Night. It’s also very sexual. My starting point was imagining what sort of work would result if James Patterson had hired Richard Laymon to write a piece with him. I kind of just ran with it from there.
You hear a lot about beach reads. Cruel Summer is a beach read for horror fans.
These two pieces represent the poles of my work. The two types of stories I enjoy telling. Long Night is experimental, ambiguous, and emotionally driven. Cruel Summer is pulpy and fun. A lot of times, I end up weaving these approaches together. With these two works, I separated them. Watched them try to stand on their own.
I’ll let you decide whether or not I was successful.
As always, love ya, Mangumaniacs. Thanks for reading.
If you follow me on Twitter or IG, or if you know me personally, you may have heard that last fall I wrote a romance. I talked a little bit about that on an episode of The JDO Show, but I believe that episode is exclusive to his patrons, soooo, I figured I’d talk about it a little here.
With the exception of a phase during my teenage years where I exclusively wrote science fiction and action-adventure, I’ve been writing horror my entire life. It started when I was six-years-old with a handwritten, illustrated chapbook called The Skeleton that I photocopied and sold to my neighbors.
I had a well-documented psychotic break around this time last year. What I haven’t talked much about is that this break was the culmination of a whole lot of other things. Call it a sophomore slump or call it imposter syndrome, and you’d probably be onto something, but around 2014 (a few months after selling Flesh and Fire), I could feel my love of what I was doing, along with my love of myself fizzling. But I kept trucking forward. Kept writing. And, most notably, kept quiet. I published Mania and the first edition of Engines of Ruin. I finished Gods of the Dark Web and We Are the Accused. I did all of this, even though I thought I was a complete fraud.
After my son was born though, the mental exhaustion of dealing with a newborn proved too much. I stopped finishing things. Even when Gods of the Dark Web came out, I had a difficult time getting the fire back. Part of that was I tried to recapture the tone and style of that book, which I’d finished two years prior. Another part was that I was always tired and probably on the wrong medicine.
Eventually, I stopped writing altogether. You want to know whether or not writing is for you? Try not doing it for a while. After six months of a self-imposed hiatus, as well as getting hit with the news that because of my son’s allergies we had to get rid of all our cats, I just couldn’t take it anymore. This resulted in a long weekend stay at Austin Lakes Hospital.
While there, I learned some interesting things. For example: mental patients have a strangely acute sense of respect for others’ personal space. Most “well-adjusted” folk are always up in my shit. I also learned that writing is damn important to me. When not going to group, eating or sleeping, I was at it with a pencil and notebook, mostly just trying to create a perfect scene.
When I got out, I hungered to start a new project. After a long chat with accomplished romance writer Tracy Wolff, I thought a good way back into the process would be to try something completely different.
Enter All I Need, a romance in which two masked strangers who have a one night stand discover they’re long lost high school sweethearts, torn apart thirteen years prior by Hurricane Katrina.
I stuttered my way through the first bit. Not only had I not written in a while, but this was a whole new genre for me. Then Killer Con happened, and I remembered, goddamn, of COURSE I still love horror, and hammered out a few short stories that found their way into the reissue of Engines of Ruin. But since I hate leaving good ideas unfinished, I returned to All I Need and typed the words “The End” on the document in November.
Multiple revisions later, All I Need, the first of 4 romance novellas set in New Orleans, is up for preorder on Amazon. If you’re curious to see the piece that got me writing again, check it out.
If you’re only here for the horror, that’s cool, too. Finishing All I Need got me to Saint Sadist, and I’ve got many more tales of terror in the works.
I’m delighted to show you the cover for my next book, Saint Sadist, which will debut this March from Grindhouse Press. This image is perfect for the book, given its content and themes, which is crazy considering the image existed prior to me writing the book. The art is by the incredible George Cotronis, who is one of my favorite cover artists in the game today. Check this shit out.
I’ll provide more updates as they come. In the meantime, don’t forget my newest book We Are the Accused is out now via Sinister Grin Press, or you can grab my collection Engines of Ruin via Crossroad Press if you’re more in the mood for short fiction.
Weekend was nice. Got a lot of writing done, made a little money, bought some pet fish, and started putting a new bookcase together. School starts on Tuesday. Updates may be a bit more sporadic after that, but I will try to keep up as best I can. I enjoy writing these blogs quite a bit, and I hope you enjoy reading them.
Super-excited to announce that my super dark book, Saint Sadist, has been accepted for publication this March by the fine folks at Grindhouse Press.
Here’s a brief synopsis:
Pregnant with her father’s child, nineteen-year-old Courtney is a girl on the run, willing to do anything to make her way on the road. When a car accident leaves her wounded by the side of a desolate highway, she is taken in by an environmentalist doomsday cult led by the enigmatic Saint Ambrose. Ambrose is a charismatic preacher and ex-environmental scientist who gave up everything after claiming to see the face of God. When he meets the seemingly vulnerable Courtney, he is taken by her beauty and her wounded soul. Now, with the promise of salvation hanging in the balance, Courtney must undergo a series of trials, each more painful and humiliating than the last, her incestuously conceived baby growing in her womb and a strange presence visiting her at night telling her that Ambrose has lost his way and it is she who must overthrow him. Much blood will be shed. Saint Sadist is a dark erotic thriller for fans of Martyrs and Nymphomaniac.
So yeah, it’s a pretty gnarly story. Very nasty, but not without moments of transcendence and beauty.