Swarm of Flying Eyeballs

Swarm of Flying Eyeballs

Swarm of Flying Eyeballs by Gina Ranalli

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


*Note: This review refers to the 2019 Deadite Press edition, which also includes the story Smirk.

As one of the founders of the bizarro movement, Gina Ranalli proved herself to be one to watch and with her newest release she shows exactly why.

The titular story is a lot of fun and so strange, it begs you to keep turning the pages. I could easily see it expanded into a full-length novel a la The Swarm or one of James Herbert’s classic works of gross-out horror.

The second story Smirk shows an author at the peak of her powers with descriptions so vivid, you’re planted right in the action. I pictured events unfolding in my local Whole Foods. And that ending… so satisfying.

It’s time we start recognizing Gina Ranalli as a master of the genre. The two stories here are only small examples of why we all should be reading her.



View all my reviews

Austin Comic Con

This weekend I tabled at Wizard World’s Austin Comic Con with my friends Max Booth III and John Wayne Comunale. Between meeting readers, we talked all the joys and frustrations of this writing life. We also debated Midsommar and the new Creepshow series, caught up on small-press gossip, and talked shop in general.

We met a ton of new people, some of them aspiring writers themselves and others just excited about books. I thought about giving shout outs, in case some of these wonderful folks drop by my blog but I’m bound to forget someone and don’t want anyone to feel left out.

It’s been a tumultuous eighteen months for me. Talking to my buddies reminded me I’m not the only one who’s struggled. Due to lots of ongoings in our scene and my own mental health issues, I’ve reevaluated who my friends are and who I intend to keep as mere acquaintances. When I first got into this writing scene, I wanted to be everybody’s close friend. As I’ve continued doing my thing, I’ve been reminded of how unrealistic such a goal is.

At the end of the day, you’ve got to decide whose flaws are worth tolerating and whose aren’t.

But the ones who you really gel with and don’t prove themselves toxic are goddamn priceless. I never expected to get rich doing this writing stuff but I did expect to make some of the best friends I’ve ever had. That expectation has been exceeded over and over.

I’m happy to see John Wayne doing well for himself. He’s one of the hardest working writers I know and it’s nice to see it pay off. The two secrets to his success, I think, are his positivity and his nearly militaristic organizational skills. I work hard and I’m positive. Organized? Not so much. That’s something I intend to work on once National Novel Writing Month is in the rearview.

Speaking of. That’s going well. I’ve got 21,000 words on a new manuscript and had a major breakthrough that allows me to combine two narratives I really enjoy into one book. I won’t say much except it’s a coming of age cosmic horror novel. I think there’s a lot to explore by marrying those subgenres. Lots of cool opportunities to play with opposing themes.

I grabbed and already read the first issues of Chaotic Flux, Kinetic, and Lady Frankenstein and the Mummy’s Brain, plus an old issue of Marvel’s Chamber of Chills and the first trade of a series called Cover of Darkness. I don’t read comics often but when I do, I tend to enjoy them. Indie stuff seems to be where it’s at these days, as in literature as well.

I’ve been able to write the books I want to write thanks to the small press. I hope eventually I’ll get to do this for a living but that’s still a ways off. And honestly, things are pretty good. The reviews for Saint Sadist reflect exactly what I wanted the book to do. I’ve got a decently paying screenplay gig in the works. I’ve got two releases slated for next year.

Also, this anthology just went up for preorder: The Big Book of Blasphemy, edited by David G. Barnet and Regina Garza-Mitchell, it features stories by Brian Keene, Ryan Harding, Wrath James White, Monica O’Rourke, myself, and many, many more. My story, “Sister Scar,” is basically a Hemingway-esque WWI story but nunsploitation. You preorder The Big Book of Blasphemy right here.

Last but not least, Blood and Brimstone, the sequel to Flesh and Fire has come to an end. It’s serialized on my Patreon the last few months. You can read it in its entirety here.

That’s it for now, gang. Take some time this week to appreciate the people in your life. You’ll be glad you did.

Book Review – A Penny for Your Thoughts

A Penny For Your Thoughts

A Penny For Your Thoughts by Robert Ford

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This collaboration between Ford and Hayward is a spooky Twilight Zone worthy tale gleefully infused with a heavy dose of dark humor. I fell in love from the first line and finished the book happy. The authors perfectly captured the nuances of a father-son relationship, laid the atmosphere on thick, and crafted some truly memorable scenes.



I will try to be better about putting my reviews here on my blog from now on. In the meantime you can View all my reviews on Goodreads.

Extinction Peak-A Novel of Dinosaur Horror

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.

Killer Con 2019 Itinerary

The following is my Killer Con itinerary:

Thursday night around 7ish, you can find me at the bar.

Through most of Friday, I’ll be in the dealer’s room lending a hand to those who need one, BUT Friday night I’ll be a contestant in the Wings of Pain Challenge, which starts at 8:30. “But, Lucas, aren’t you vegetarian?” To that I say, “Shane McKenzie was kind enough to get me plant-based wings so he can punish me with hot sauce.”

Friday at 9 pm, you can find me at the Death’s Head Press party in the Convention Suite. That is, if Wings of Pain doesn’t totally ruin me.

Saturday, I’ll be supporting folks in the dealer’s room again, but after that, you can listen to me and several others as we take part in the panel How Not to Kill Yourself, which is all about staying sane while writing about terrible things. The panel starts at 6 pm.

Like last year, I’ll be participating in the Grossout Contest at 10 pm on Saturday. Unlike last year, I’m walking home with first prize this time around. At least that’s the goal!

At 1 pm on Sunday, I’ll be a part of the Clash Books reading block.

Now, I’ll be around all weekend, but these are the parts of my itinerary that are set in stone. Hope to see my Mangumaniacs there!

Want to attend Killer Con? You can register here.

All the Books I Read in 2018

I meant to post this a LOT earlier, but the first ten days of the new year have been packed with work and family drama. Last year I read 37 books, most of it in the latter half of the year. A lot of these titles seem like they’re from an AP English reading list, and that’s intentional. I passed up a lot of these titles in my late teens/early twenties, because I don’t like being told what to do. It was cool getting around to these books after all these years. Plus, there’s some Richard Laymon, Carlton Mellick III, and books from some friends. Check it out below.

  1. This is a Horror Book by Charles Austin Muir
  2. Elevation by Stephen King
  3. I Love You When I’m Drunk by Empar Moliner
  4. Sex and Rage by Eve Babitz
  5. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  6. A Minor Storm by J David Osborne
  7. Glimpse by Jonathan Maberry
  8. Areopagitca by John Milton
  9. Paradise Lost by John Milton
  10. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
  11. The Short Stories, Vol. 1 by Ernest Hemingway
  12. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
  13. A Very Easy Death by Simone de Beauvoir
  14. After Dark by Haruki Murakami
  15. Stacking Doll by Carlton Mellick III
  16. Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  17. The Aeneid by Virgil
  18. Cold Blooded by Lisa Jackson
  19. Louisiana Stories by Kate Chopin
  20. Paperbacks from Hell by Grady Hendrix
  21. Toy Cemetery by William W. Johnstone
  22. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  23. In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri
  24. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  25. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
  26. Nightmares in Ecstasy by Brendan Vidito
  27. Spider Bunny by Carlton Mellick III
  28. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
  29. Singularity by William Sleator
  30. The Metamorphoses by Ovid
  31. The Odyssey by Homer (Emily Wilson translation)
  32. Ruined by Tracy Wolff
  33. Forever… by Judy Blume
  34. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
  35. Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman
  36. Dark Mountain by Richard Laymon
  37. Island by Richard Laymon

It’s worth noting that this list doesn’t include books I didn’t finish, or the ridiculous amount of poetry and short stories I also read. So, yeah, I read a lot last year, and a lot of it, I liked. If I do anything different this year, I will try to read more current titles. We’ll see though.