Coming soon from Section 31 Productions.
Watch this space.
Coming soon from Section 31 Productions.
Watch this space.
It’s Saturday morning, somewhere in Texas. My son is playing with his Transformers. I got a couple of nice royalty payments this week, so I decided to get Game Pass for my PC. If you’ve got X-Box game recs, hit me up in the comments.
Games and comics are good for winding down. I still very much enjoy reading prose, but because doing so is necessary in order to keep my writing tools sharp, it sometimes feels more like work than play.
And I need to play.
It’s not just something kids do.
It’s something adults need.
Lately, I’ve been playing Magic, the Gathering: Arena . It’s a lot of fun. I didn’t play Magic as a kid, but always wanted to. There’s a lot to learn, but again, in the context of play, it doesn’t feel like work.
Reading comics and playing games has strengthened my writing, strangely enough. While I want Spider God (Gods of the Dark Web, Book 2) to have the quick pace of its predecessor, I want it to be more epic in scope. I want to deepen the world and give the characters more complications as they move toward their ultimate destinies.
Comics and games are great for this. Not only are the worlds rich, they enhance and keep the pace fast by having each obstacle tied to a different setting. Interaction with the world has a very specific role in the plot mechanics. I think that’s something prose writers can really learn from. I know I certainly have.
I’m about 11-12,000 words into Spider God. I’m shooting for 60,000, but I’d be happy with 50,000 and thrilled with 70,000. We’ll see where I land.
Yesterday, the audiobook for my Splatterpunk Award-nominated novella Saint Sadist was released. Today, it’s placed #88 in Gothic Horror audiobooks, so that’s pretty dope. You can help me reach #1 by ordering your copy here. It’s free with an Audible membership, or you can cop it for the price of a venti mocha. I know a lot of you have read it on paperback or e-book, but believe me when I say the audio, performed by Melody Muzljakovich, is the way this story was meant to be experienced. She brings the narrative and its characters to chilling life.
That’s it for now. Stay safe out there and remember: take time to play.
Hi gang! My Splatterpunk Award-nominated novella SAINT SADIST is now available on Audible. Brilliantly narrated by Melody Muzljakovich, THIS is the way it was meant to be experienced. Check it out here.
On the side of the main drag, some five miles from Daddy’s property, I have a vision:
A genderless angel falls, wings on fire. When it hits the ground, the sky turns red. I’m caught in the infernal blast radius. My child swims like a fish in my belly. Tongues of fire rise alongside me like burning buildings. They line the road ahead and I walk on.
A prophetess whore in exile, onward to Canaan.
– Saint Sadist, 1:5 (Coming soon to Audible, now free on Kindle Unlimted)
Last night, I appeared alongside voice actress Melody Muzljakovich on the excellent podcast, Audiobooks from Hell, hosted by narrator Sean Duregger. We discussed his narration of the GODS OF THE DARK WEB audiobook, which you can get now on Audible from the fine folks at Crossroad Press. It’s worth mentioning this new edition is the version I prefer and not just because of Sean’s excellent performance. It cracked the top 20 in Horror Fiction last week and remains Crossroad’s bestselling title on Audible at the moment. Super-cool!
Anyway, the podcast was a lot of fun to record. Melody has an audio version of SAINT SADIST in production as we speak. It was cool to hear about her process and how she interpreted the material.
Give the show a listen wherever you get your podcasts.
Hi folks, I’m Lucas Mangum. I’m an author of dark fiction with several books published by independent presses. At this stage in my life, I’ve noticed my work has a variety of recognizable themes and motifs. With some heavy revisions, putting them together could almost form a sort of meta-narrative. Now, I’m not deluded: I don’t think I’ve originated archetypes or motifs, though I do believe I’ve made them my own. While listening to an episode of the Weird Studies podcast in which they covered the Sun Ra film Space is the Place, I thought it’d be fun to pull out essential passages that best represented this overarching narrative.
Last week, I kicked things off with an excerpt from FLESH AND FIRE, originally published in 2016. You can read that post right here or you can get the book in its entirety for FREE (that’s right, FREE) by subscribing to my store’s newsletter.
This week, I’ve decided to feature a selection from my troubled, unhinged novel WE ARE THE ACCUSED. I wrote this book while working as a 9-1-1 call taker. I was settling into life as a suburbanite, a role which I’m still not entirely comfortable with. I’ve mentioned in interviews and on social media that I went crazy while writing this book. There’s a moment I’ve alluded to in which you can actually see me, as the author, lose my mind. Maybe I’ve got some bias, given I was there, but I think maybe it will be obvious to you, the reader, as well. I’d be curious to know what you think. Feel free to sound off in the comments or email me.
This book was supposed to be my epic. I had high hopes for it. Unfortunately, mental illness got in the way. I regret it so badly, the publisher and I have agreed to issue a revised edition, which is currently in the works. The scene below depicts the book’s protagonist, Bianca, descending into darkness after witnessing one too many atrocities. Especially troubling to her is, just before this, she slept with her high school sweetheart, which is a huge no-no. She’s a cop and he’s an ex-con. With this on her mind, she goes to interrogate a witness, and finds something far more frightening. Her darkness begins as a coma and evolves into, well, something else. Check it out beyond the break.
Morning came with dirty gray light. Exhaustion weighed down all of Bianca’s limbs. Her eyes itched with unrest. Jason snored softly. She could only hear it if she lay still. It was kind of cute and reminded her of nights she snuck out of her parents’ house to stay with him. Her lips twitched with the beginning of a smile, but she made herself get control.
Back to real life now.
She left without saying goodbye. She went home to shower and change clothes before heading to work. When she arrived at her office, there was a message for her from Pastor Rickman’s secretary. The message provided the address and contact information for Becky Rogers. Bianca tried calling the Rogers’s residence first, but got no answer. She went back to her car, put the address in her navigation and left the office. Cold Bitch front and center, she did her best to focus on work and push last night as far away from her memory as possible.
Becky’s house was, like most houses in Blue Brook, modest. A shotgun, surrounded by a chain link fence, its most distinctive feature was the cherry red Pontiac parked in the driveway, all kinds of extravagant in the face of its plain surroundings. Bianca ran her fingers along its sun warmed rear panel as she approached the front door of the house. She raised her hand to knock and paused. Her breath caught. Every muscle tensed.
The door was ajar. A bloody handprint smeared the jamb. Looked like someone had gripped the doorframe, then was dragged back inside. She reached for her radio and stopped when something rustled behind the door. She reached for her gun instead.
“I’m a Detective with the County Sheriff’s office. If you can hear me get away from the door and keep your hands where I can see them.”
The rustling continued. Something crashed and Bianca took a step back. She tried to ignore the blood pounding in her head. Tried to ignore the nagging memory of the time her unit entered an Al-Quaeda hideaway and were greeted by a thirteen-year-old kid with a bomb strapped to his chest. She didn’t fire the lethal shot, but witnessing it scarred her just the same.
She pushed the front door open with the toe of her boot.
The balding, large-framed man stopped chewing through his wrist when she entered. He looked up, his expression at once rabid and guilty, like he’d been caught stealing from a church’s collection plate but was too crazed to stop himself. He pulled his arm away from his mouth. One tendon caught between his teeth, stretched and snapped. A beard of blood glistened on his cheeks. His bleeding wrist sprayed his ear and temple, but he hardly noticed. Instead, he rose to his feet and stalked toward Bianca.
“St-stay where you are. I’ll call an ambulance.”
She glanced behind him and her stomach flipped. Gristly stumps of limbs were strewn across the room. Knives of various sizes stuck out of the torso of a young boy. A woman’s head hung from the ceiling fan, the fan’s chain looped through her nose and mouth and tied in a knot. The man (Mr. fucking Rogers?) took another step toward her, dizzy and slow, teetering on wobbling legs, but no less menacing.
“Fuck.” She removed a hand from her gun and grabbed the radio. “This is Detective
Viteo. I need assistance at…”
Mr. Rogers crumpled to his knees, but he still reached for her. He reeked like he had taken a bath with a thousand crusty, old pennies. His fingers clawed the air.
“Viteo, do you copy? What’s your twenty?”
Mr. Rogers’ eyes bulged. His mouth gaped. Something red stormed between his teeth.
A plume of the fog shot forward. It darted for her like a heat seeking missile. She stumbled backward and rolled her ankle. She cried out, fell through the door and off the front stoop, managing to tuck her chin in time to avoid a direct blow to the back of the head. The fall still hurt like hell. The radio broke apart under her ass. Her gun went off, the wayward shot exploding a potted plant.
The red fog swirled over her like a hurricane. Sheet lightning glowed at the cloud’s center. There were whispers and a deep, savage tickle, like ants crawling under every inch of her skin. She remembered the moon shaped toy that hung above her crib and played Brahms, only the song was slowed down, lower pitched, minor and gloomy. The walls around her glistened with blood. The bars on the side of her crib were twisted, metal tentacles like the remains of a blown-up building. The coppery stink was oppressive. Everything hurt, like she lay on a mattress full of rocks.
Lumpy forms bulged from the hovering cloud. Amorphous, pulsing protrusions. Expanding, contracting. Unseen hands molded them into ovoid shapes of various sizes. Eyes opened on each of them, eyes wide with panic, terror. Mouths stretched into screams. These were the faces of the dead, Allan and Judith Robbins and their seven children, Andy Gage and Joseph Schroeder, Becky and Mr. Rogers and their only child. All of them had died for the same reason. All of them were sacrifices, and they wouldn’t be the only ones.
The red cloud pressed on her from all sides. Filled her ears with screams and a sound like tearing paper. Her discomfort increased. The reek of blood blocked her nostrils, filled her mouth and throat, choked her. She would have screamed if she could have. Instead she coughed and gurgled. Writhed on the concrete, wrapped in the amorphous monstrosity.
It wanted her, this entity. Wanted her to carry out the rest of its mission. It showed her things. Whispered suggestions to the buried monster in her, the same buried monster inside every human. The monster stirred, its waking thoughts poisoned by bloodlust, consumed by the craving to do harm to those its host loved. She witnessed herself smashing Jason’s face in with her pistol and fucking the last twitches of life out of him. Her hands pressed her mother’s head into a hot oily frying pan and inhaled the fumes of sizzling jowl. Pulling out her father’s teeth with pliers and replacing them with shards of glass from a broken bottle of Macallan.
The monster inside her grinned. In the throes of pleasure, the beast released something like acid that surged through her veins, ignited pain, blinding, all-encompassing pain. She screamed against the choking mist. Willed herself not to give into the awakened monster. Called on, prayed, to her colder self for strength.
The agony persisted for several more seconds, or several hours. She could no longer tell. She imagined a cold hand taking hers and pulling her from the devouring fog.
The red parted and she fell into an abyss, deeper than black.
Deeper than sleep.
Deeper than death.
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.
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.
I’ve been reflective lately.
Yeah, you say, what else is new?
Hear me out.
Ten months ago, I grudgingly returned to social media. I’m not proud. I definitely did it to sell books, but something else happened. I made some new friends. That was pretty cool. And yeah, I did sell some books, which was also pretty cool.
But I still saw a lot of the ugly things that drove me away in the first place. Hypocrisy, petty arguments, dismissive comments, and manufactured outrage.
Then I got tired, frustrated and depressed.
Back in June, I restarted The Mangum Show podcast. Recorded a ton of content. Paid for a logo. The works.
Unfortunately, I ran into some technology roadblocks. Skype recordings are inconsistent in terms of quality. I can’t seem to figure out editing in Audacity. Then my MP3 converter just decided to stop working.
I got tired, frustrated and depressed.
Marketing yourself, man. I’ve done a lot of it this year. Even paid for some ads, which produced mixed results.
Through these last ten months, I’ve learned a lot.
I’ve learned videos get the most attention on this site. As a result, you should expect more videos.
I’ve learned social media is STILL toxic for me. I won’t be deleting my accounts again, but I do plan on cutting back my time on there significantly.
I’m working full-time again, so time is more precious than ever. I want to spend it on things that are worthwhile.
Videos that bring more visitors to this site. Patreon-exclusive content. The Mangum Show will continue, too, albeit in a different format. Plus, writing, writing and more writing.
This is probably not a particularly organized blog entry, so much as it’s me thinking aloud. If you’re still here, thanks for indulging me.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering: this October, I’m reading lots of Richard Laymon and Bryan Smith instead of watching the same movies over and over again.
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.