Dark Dreamer

More nightmares last night. Some of them were so horrific, I’m not comfortable sharing them here despite this blog evolving into a dream journal of sorts. Let’s just say I more or less lived out scenes from my latest novel We Are the Accused. And yes, I’m linking to the book, because I’m broke and need the money.

I reached the midpoint of my dinosaur apocalypse novel today. I punctuated the end of the book’s first half with the sort of scene that made me uncomfortable to write. Since I write horror, I guess that means I’m doing my job.

School starts tomorrow. I hope the nightmares subside, mainly because I’m really going to need the sleep. I see my therapist on Wednesday (for financial reasons, I can only see her once a month). Hopefully, she can offer some insights, and maybe even some technique for dealing with these awful dreams.

I was talking to my pal Shane McKenzie about them. We entered a discussion about life’s balance, and how pleasant (though sometimes sad) my dreams were when my head was falling apart. Now that my waking life feels somewhat ordered and aimed towards a purpose, my dreams are more frightening than ever. Is this balance necessary? I don’t know. Smarter people than us probably have that answer.

Do you know? Sound off in the comments if you do!

Saint Sadist to be Published in March

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.

Grab it in March on paperback and ebook!

The Accused Are Released

It’s here!

Today sees the release of a book that took so much out of me, I didn’t finish another for over two years.

WE ARE THE ACCUSED

A mad god lusts for power. Two demon lovers lust for death. An ancient man seeks to devour plagues natural and supernatural.

All converge on the small town of Blue Brook, Pennsylvania to wage war unlike any other, yet strangely familiar.

Bianca is an Afghanistan war veteran turned police detective whose ex-con high school sweetheart has just come home. Boone is a boy entrusted with immense power and living with a mother who’s struggling to hold their family together. Lafferty is a priest with many secrets.

All are caught in the middle of something beyond their understanding. The inner and outer darkness of each doomed soul must be faced. 

And blood will be shed.

WE ARE THE ACCUSED is now available on Amazon.

Read an excerpt right 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.

Black Horizon

I spent the week of Christmas Eve on a cruise ship. Between the delicious drinks and fantastic food and spending time with family, I found much to enjoy, but staring across the black water and trying to find where it ended and the black sky began brought me the most peace. Sometimes serenity comes with the focus of knowing where you’re headed. Other times it comes from the mystery of an unclear horizon, of blackness as far as you can see. The Abyss may stare back, and sometimes that’s scary, but other times it’s gaze is hypnotic and calming.

Despite making a tremendous amount of progress during the last half of 2018, I can’t say I know any better who I am or what tomorrow holds. However, I know what feels good, and what I’d like to keep doing as long as I’m able. I want to be a good father. I want to be a good husband. I want to keep writing. How I keep the lights on while doing those things is another matter entirely, though I’ve considered going into some form of teaching. I’ve learned a lot about literature and writing (both in terms of craft and the field itself) over the last ten years. I think people can benefit from that wisdom, and I think I’d find much joy in giving back.

But we’ll see. The horizon is black.

My new novel (or novella, depending on your definition) is available for preorder. At the risk of being found guilty of hyperbole, it is the craziest thing I’ve published to date. It begins in a familiar way, the sort of small town horror first popularized by Stephen King with ‘Salem’s Lot and continued by the likes of Brian Keene, Bentley Little, and Blake Crouch. However, in the second half, the story takes a dramatic turn. I guess anyone who’s followed my personal journey over the last four years or so could point to the middle of the book and say, “a-ha, this is the moment where Lucas Mangum lost his mind,” and they wouldn’t be wrong. The second half becomes more hallucinatory, drawing inspiration from William S. Burroughs and the films of Alejandro Jodorowsky. If you’re not reading close enough, the narrative may even appear to unravel, but it’s still there, even if it’s buried underneath psychedelic theological metaphor. I’m thankful Sinister Grin Press saw fit to release it, and if this crazy little book sounds like something you’d enjoy, you can read an excerpt or preorder it right here.

I caught the movie Bird Box last night on Netflix. Sandra Bullock gave a great performance. The film is full of tension and great scares, and it’s truly heart-wrenching at times. It’s basically The Road but with Lovecraft’s cosmic monsters.

Right now, I’m reading Scummer by John Wayne Comunale. If you’re into punk films like Repo Man or Combat Shock, you’ll really appreciate this book from an aesthetic point of view. Plus, Comunale’s really come into his own as a writer, and he displays impressive chops here, transcending his bizarro roots and finding horror in unexpected places.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Remember, just because the horizon is black, or you find the Abyss staring back at you, it’s possible to keep moving forward and fighting the enemy within.