Long Nights and Cruel Summers

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.

It’s available wherever e-books are sold.
Click here to see the list of stores.

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.

The Glory of Garbage

I watched a 1988 movie called GROTESQUE last night. It had a lot wrong with it. Pacing issues. Bad effects. Lack of focus. A terribly silly ending. And yet. And yet I enjoyed myself. Been a while since I sat alone in the dark and watched a dumb horror movie. There’s something incredibly comforting about that for me. Weirdly enough, during my recent streak of nightmares, I was watching very little horror. It’s as if consuming horrific things satisfies the things that give me nightmares.

I finished writing a novella yesterday called Parasite Patch. It will be the first of a series of stories featuring the pulp hero Gerald Hawke. He and his partner Audrey travel the world investigating and often fighting all manner of supernatural menace. His books chronicling these exploits have given him a significant amount of success and he’s trained in various forms of martial arts. Trouble is, he is rather squeamish. The goal is to release four or five of these, one a month, and later collect them into an omnibus later this year. It sounds ambitious, but these stories are a lot of fun to write. Working on them feels more like play than work. I hope they’re just as entertaining to read.

Found this crazy thing at Half Price Books.

It’s a Laserdisc!!!

I considered picking it up, but holy crap! While the laserdisc itself was cheap, laserdisc players are anything but! I’m curious (and this question goes out to all the collectors out there). Are laserdiscs, like vinyl records, actually a superior medium, despite being deemed obsolete? Also, if anyone has a lead on a reasonably priced player, please (pretty please!) let me know.

There’s something primordially fascinating and rewarding about rediscovering treasures. There’s glory in garbage. Or splendor in crap, to paraphrase Michael Chabon (who loves BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES even more than I do). Sometimes it’s an iconic frame in an otherwise messy film. Sometimes it’s art made by a problematic person. Sometimes it’s an enlightening psychedelic trip during a period of wretched excess. Sometimes it’s falling in love at a funeral. Sometimes it’s the stories of Lester Dent, Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and H.P. Lovecraft appearing in dime novels.

Happy Sunday.