The Mondays

Yesterday, my throat started feeling dry and scratchy. This morning, the symptom has only gotten worse. Plus, I’m achy and very tired. I thought getting a flu shot was supposed to prevent this type of crap.

Oh, well. Maybe it’s allergies again.

I saw my psychiatrist today. I told her lately I’ve experienced drops in my mood. She doubled the dosage of one of my medications. She said it may make me more anxious and irritable, but at least I’ve got another medication that can counteract that. Mental illness is a lot of things. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how many moving parts contribute to your well-being.

Some of these parts aren’t at all related to taking a controlled substance. Stuff like getting to feed a can of Fancy Feast to a neighborhood stray. Spending my weekend with my wife and son. Reading a good book. Finishing projects.

The stray’s name is Snowflake, and I’ve long-suspected she wasn’t being fed. The way she scarfed that can of Fancy Feast, I’m inclined to think my suspicions weren’t far off. It’s nice to feel needed by an animal again. I mean, sure I’ve got the fish, but I dunno, it’s just not the same.

Anyway, I went out with people from work for the first time this past Friday. It was a good night out. I managed to pace myself with booze, which can sometimes be a challenge. The highlight was showing up in costume, because I wrongly believed the gathering was a costume party. Luckily, the costume was easy to take off. I’m glad I didn’t show up covered in fake blood.

It dawned on me the other day that I just might finish all the projects I started this year. Next month, I plan to do a full rewrite of Skull Forest for National Novel Writing Month. I also plan to knock out a top secret screenplay project AND finish Island of Teeth. I think I can really do this, gang!

I’ll even have the revised, finished version of Blood and Brimstone up on my Patreon in the coming weeks. It’s been pretty hopping over there anyway with flash fiction and writing advice essays posted a few times a week. Now, know it’s not sexy asking people for money, but book sales can be really volatile. Having a Patreon helps me have a more reliable income stream. I hope you’ll join me. You’ll be glad you did. Not only will you help me pay some bills, you’ll also get access to exclusive content. Once Blood and Brimstone wraps, I’ve got another serial novella ready to go called I Was a Teenage Cult Leader. Unlike Blood and Brimstone, which becomes publicly available a week after each entry is posted, IWATCL will be exclusive to Patreon for at least a year.

Anyway, that’s my sales pitch. A final note on finishing things: I’m not counting my collaboration with Ryan Harding as something I’ll finish this year. We want to take our time and enjoy the process as much as possible. I’m also not counting Girl on the Borderland, which only has its first chapter written so far. I’m only counting stuff I’ve been deep into over the last ten months.

See you next time, loves.


Currently reading: Fear Street Cheerleaders: The First Evil by R.L. Stine

Just watched: Incident in a Ghostland

Must-Read Books for Halloween

As is tradition, I’ve spent a good deal of this month watching horror movies. I’ve included old favorites as well as some I haven’t seen before. Last night, I showed C.H.U.D. to my neighbor. I think he liked it. I remembered how truly great it is. There’s more humanity in it than a hundred Ari Aster movies, but I digress. A newer standout is the Barker-esque Beezelbuth. It’s a lot of fun, and pretty gory. I also got the chance to watch some Hammer movies I missed as a child like Twins of Evil, Vampire Circus and Hands of the Ripper. I didn’t get to do a horror movie a day, but I did watch a lot more than I have in previous Octobers.

But this isn’t a post about movies. Instead, I’d like to talk about some great reads to get you through this final week of October. I’ve read lots of fun stuff this year alone, but you’ll find some classics here as well.

A final note, this list isn’t in any particular order. Everything listed here is awesome!

1. Kill for Satan! by Bryan Smith: “On the night before Halloween, a Satanic mass is held deep in the woods outside a small American town. Followers of the dark faith are assigned a mission in a message delivered by the devil himself. On Halloween, they must deliver a bounty of pure souls to their dark master. By killing virgins. As Halloween begins, so does the all-day horror movie marathon hosted by Count Victor von Gravemore on Channel 39. Many will be watching as real horror invades their lives and screams ring out all over town.”

Now, if that doesn’t get you excited for Halloween, or this fantastic book, I don’t know what will!

2. Halloween Fiend by C.V. Hunt: ” Strang isn’t the small, quaint town it appears to be. It’s haunted every night by a creature the townsfolk refer to as Halloween. Once the sun sets each day, Halloween emerges to collect its treats: a small, live offering from each household. The residents comply because no one wants to be the target of Halloween’s tricks. But the nightmare of residing in Strang is nothing compared to the yearly ritual Halloween demands of the citizens on All Hallows’ Eve.”

I love the mythology behind this book. Hunt does a great job giving the reader a fully-realized world in this very quick read.

3. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz and Illustrated by Stephen Gammell: “This spooky addition to Alvin Schwartz’s popular books on American folklore is filled with tales of eerie horror and dark revenge that will make you jump with fright. There is a story here for everyone—skeletons with torn and tangled flesh who roam the earth; a ghost who takes revenge on her murderer; and a haunted house where every night a bloody head falls down the chimney. Stephen Gammell’s splendidly creepy drawings perfectly capture the mood of more than two dozen scary stories—and even scary songs—all just right for reading alone or for telling aloud in the dark.”

Yeah, the movie’s great, but this collection is fantastic. The macabre illustrations alone are worth the price.

4. The October Country by Ray Bradbury: “Ray Bradbury’s second short story collection is back in print, its chilling encounters with funhouse mirrors, parasitic accident-watchers, and strange poker chips intact. Both sides of Bradbury’s vaunted childhood nostalgia are also on display, in the celebratory “Uncle Einar,” and haunting “The Lake,” the latter a fine elegy to childhood loss.”

This collection changed everything for me. It reintroduced me to the power of prose after half a decade spent writing only brooding song lyrics. “The Next in Line,” in particular, is probably my favorite.

5. Come Closer by Sara Gran: “If everything in Amanda’s life is so perfect, then why the mood swings, the obscene thoughts, the urge to harm the people she loves? What are those tapping sounds in the walls? And who’s that woman following her? The mystery behind what’s happening to Amanda in Come Closer is so frightening that it ‘ought to carry a warning to…readers.'”

Hands-down, Come Closer is the scariest novel I’ve ever read. I’ve been saying this for a decade now. This year, mostly thanks to book reviewer Sadie Hartmann, this book has seen a resurgence. It’s not centered around Halloween or October like some of the books on this list, and it’s not playful with its horror like Schwartz’s collection of folklore retellings, but it’s kept me up nights. Sometimes it still does.


Anyway, that’s my list of great books to read around this time of year. What are some of your favorites?


P.S. If you enjoyed this blog, feel free to check out my books, a lot of which are free this week. You can also back me on Patreon for exclusive content posted every other day.

Free E-Books

Hi, gang! I just wanted to let everyone know my Richard Laymon tribute story Cruel Summer, my dark thriller Long Night at Jade’s Diner, and my cursed screenplay novella Mania are all FREE on Kindle this week.

Call it a Halloween present.


In other news, it’s Monday and I’m tired. My brother-in-law makes very good, but very strong margaritas. Nonetheless, I’ve got words to write and customers to assist.

On the agenda, I want to get at least another 5,000 words on Pandemonium before I kick it back to Ryan, and I need to do revisions on a top-secret film project (more on that when I can talk about it).

In the background, I’ll have Cannibal Terror on. Halloween’s almost here, gang, and I can’t be more excited.

Blood and Brimstone, Chapter 14 – Free Serial Novel

The Devil was waiting for Windom in the clearing beside the highway, some twelve miles outside of the Tennessee town of Yester Castle. In the blue-gray dusk, the magma bubbling under the Devil’s cracked skin glowed hot and bright, but it was the stink of meat hanging from his cape that drew Windom’s attention.

Windom turned off the highway and met the Devil thirteen paces into the field. The Devil’s lips spread. Windom couldn’t quite call the expression a grin.

“Windom,” the Devil said, voice distorted like wasps lived in his voice box, “I see you’ve once again emerged victorious. When will they learn?”

“When they’re all dead, I reckon.”

“And I reckon there will always be others. Men such as yourself are too dangerous to be kept alive and anyone on earth who meets you learns that all too quickly.”

“I find out who keeps putting out these hits, could take him out and just hide for a while, catch a breather.”

“I’ve never seen you as the type to want to catch a breather.”

“All this running and killing gets old, all I’m saying.”

The not quite smile of the Devil widened. Eyes narrowed into slits. A gnarled claw rose from beneath the cape, stroked his chin. Gave the illusion of considering something, but Windom guessed Old Meat and Magma had already made up his mind about whatever was on his mind.

“Perhaps a side job would provide a nice diversion for the time being. The ones trying to kill you could be…placated…for now.”

“Wish you would do that more often.”

“Then what hold would I have on you.”

If the Devil was to be believed, Windom was one of his sons. Didn’t matter much to Windom. He’d grown up never knowing his father. All he knew was that he’d been born with the abilities to draw deadly powers from symbols that just appeared in his mind, to confuse people to the point where they would remember nothing of their interactions with him, and he didn’t seem to age much. He could be one-hundred-seventy, could be one-eighty. He’d stopped counting at ninety-nine, and he didn’t look much older than forty-five. Didn’t hurt much either.

Windom snorted. “What’s the job?”

The Devil reached over to the side of his cape and unhooked a dripping strip of meat. With his other hand, he caressed Windom’s cheek, slipped a finger inside Windom’s mouth and pried open Windom’s jaws. He held out the meat and placed it on Windom’s tongue. The blood trickled over Windom’s palette, sweet and buttery, a kick of spice, hint of bitterness. Old Meat and Magma used a killer marinade. Windom closed his eyes, closed his mouth and let the meat dissolve.

As the juices leaked into his cheeks and gums, a symbol burned in his mind’s eye. Angry red flames encircled each line. Animals danced in a spiral: a hawk; a wolf; a lion; a fish; an octopus. They moved, disappearing into the symbol’s center and reemerging at its edges. The symbol grew in size and brightness until it blinded him. He gagged on sulfur and vomited light. The light split into two wormy appendages and collected into twin orbs of flame. The orbs became square-shaped; the lights dimmed, revealing levitating books with rugged, parchment covers. One bore the fiery symbol. The other was titled The Cosmic Heart. Windom’s job, his mission revealed itself to him as he dwelt on the tomes.

The Beyond with Sam Richard

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-susvq-beca19

Violence against eyeballs! Death by acid! The Book of Eibon! Fabio Fucking Frizzi! Hear about all this and more as author and publisher Sam Richard joins Lucas to discuss Lucio Fulci’s legendary splatter flick The Beyond.

Check out Sam’s press Weirdpunk Books and watch for updates on the forthcoming Multi Stabber Tarot Deck.

You can find Lucas’s books here. Or you can support this podcast on Patreon.

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.