Posts Tagged ‘IABE’

I always look forward to a Junji Ito collection. Whether I like it or not, I know I’m in for an experience. One with great artwork and a weird but most likely intriguing story. And Lovesickness is no exception.

The bulk of this collection is the titular six-chapter saga, taking place in a town under a perpetual fog. In this town, there’s a popular fortune-telling tradition where you wait at an intersection and ask the first passerby to tell their fortune. However, this tradition has bad memories for a young middle schooler who is returning to town for the first time in nearly a decade. And his own trauma is exacerbated by events in the town. A mysterious young man in black is giving fortune-seeking girls prophecies of doom, driving them to suicide. This leads to a series of events that will affect everyone in the town, and destroy more than a few lives in the process.

Except for maybe the last chapter, this story is pretty solid. The backgrounds are often pretty dark, except when the fog is particularly thick, which lends it this creepy atmosphere al a Silent Hill. And the protagonist is pretty believable as a young man with serious PTSD. While the antagonist is always drawn with this sort of mist-like smudging, which lends him this otherworldly aura. Add in some creepy ghost imagery that would make most zombie graphic novels ashamed, plenty of downward spirals into madness, and it’s one hell of a horror story.

The other highlights of the collection are the short stories The Mansion of Phantom Pain and The Rib Woman. Both of them have very weird and interesting concepts, though the latter pulls its concept off a lot better.

On the other hand, two of the related stories in the collection, which follow a strange family of siblings, aren’t that good. I think it might have been Ito’s attempt at a new horror-comedy series, but I couldn’t get into it. Like The Addams Family without the charm.

And there’s a story in the back called “Memories of Real Poop,” which I think is a vignette from Ito’s childhood. Anyway, it’s a weird addition to the collection and kind of stupid. Don’t know why Ito spent his time drawing it unless he needed to pad out a collection or two.

And as I said, the last chapter of the titular story didn’t sit well with me. Honestly, it felt tacked on just to give a bit more resolution to the story.

Still, it’s a good collection. On a scale of 1 to 5, I’m giving Lovesickness by Junji Ito a 3.8 out of 5. Most of the stories are rather scary and worth a read. Just be sure not to read the main story on a foggy night. You don’t know what you’ll see when you look up from the book and out the window.


Just a quick note, my Followers of Fear: Indie Author Book Expo Aurora, or IABE Aurora, has been moved from August 7th, 2021 to September 11th, 2021. As far as I know, this is the last date change. All other details, such as taking place at the Prisco Community Center in Aurora, Illinois. Hope that doesn’t impact anyone’s travel plans. Anyway, I hope to see you there. At the very least, you’ll get a much better fortune from my Tarot cards than you would from the fortune telling method in Lovesickness.

Anyway, you can find out more about the convention here.

Until next time, pleasant nightmares!

Good evening! Or is it morning? Whatever. So, as you are no doubt aware, IABE Chicago was canceled recently due to that stinking COVID-19 virus causing issues with the venue. The organizers, being a determined lot, scoured the area for a new location. And guess what? They found one!

Indie Author Book Expo Aurora will be taking place on August 7th, 2021 at the Prisco Community Center in Aurora, Illinois, about an hour west of Chicago. This will be an amazing gathering of authors of all sorts of backgrounds and stories, and from what the organizers tell me there will even be food vendors.

So, if there are any Followers of Fear in Chicago or the nearby area, or just general fans of books and supporting smaller-scale authors, then you won’t have to go too far out of your way to come out and see us. You can find out more information by checking out the Indie Author Book Expo website here.

And I’m happy to note that, while nothing is set in stone yet, there are some talks for events in the Halloween season. I’ll update you as soon as I have concrete news on that.

Anyway, I hope you’re having a good time wherever you are. And I hope I can see you in Aurora later this summer (if you can’t I’ll post links to my work below). If you need me, I’ll be posting about IABE on my social media and maybe filming a quick YouTube video. Until next time, pleasant nightmares!

Agoraphobia: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada

Mother of the King: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada

Rose: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Audible

Snake: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo

The Quiet Game: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo.

Hello humans. Can you believe we’re two-thirds of the way through the month of May? Time is flying by almost too quickly. Though with the fun coming my way, I’m not sad or angry.

Anyway, I wanted to give you a heads up on some of the stuff going on in my professional life. Things are cropping up, and I want to make sure that you are all aware. And I hope some of you would like to know.

First, I’ll be joining my friend Dellani Oakes on her podcast What’s Write for Me on Wednesday! That’s right, I’ll be back on my good friend’s podcast for the first time since Rose first came out. That’s about two years, so I’m glad to finally have a reason to be back on the show. A few, actually: including my Arthurian fantasy “Mother of the King” and my creepy short story “Agoraphobia,” I have my short story “The Divorce from God” being published in The Jewish Book of Horror this Hanukkah and my article “The Horror of the Broken Child” in House of Stitched Publications. And who knows? I may have more good news to talk about when the show starts.

The logo for Dellani’s show.

So, why not get on now while I have the chance?

And even better, I’ll be joined by Scott Moses, an author and editor I’ve recently had the pleasure to get to know over Twitter. He’s got a new project or two to talk about, so I’m looking forward to hearing what he’s going to talk about and what we’re going to talk about with Dellani.

Anyway, if you would like to check out the show, it’ll be on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021 at 4 PM by clicking on this link. Also, make sure to check out Dellani’s website by clicking here. She writes more stories than I do, so who knows? You might find something you’d enjoy.

On another, much sadder note, I’m sad to say that Indie Author Book Expo Chicago has been canceled. Yeah, I’m sad too. But it looks like there was a COVID-19 issue with the venue, and I am very happy that the organizers are putting our health first. Speaking of whom, the organizers are looking for alternative venues in the Chicago area. However, at this time, I am guessing that I’ll have to find something else to do this June 19th, 2021 (and so will you). Too bad. I was looking forward to driving to and from Chicago. My first interstate road trip!

Sad to say, but this is canceled.

Anyway, I’ll let you know if it gets rescheduled and where and when. Keep an eye here for that here and on my social media pages. I’ll include links below.

This weekend!

On the bright side, guess what’s still going on this weekend? If you guessed ParaPsyCon, you are correct!

This Saturday and Sunday, ParaPsyCon will be held at the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, OH! I’m so excited to be heading back to the Reformatory and to be participating in this awesome convention. There will be ghost hunters, authors, psychics and mediums (oh my!), and so many others. All it takes to attend is to buy a self-guided tour of the prison, and you get automatic access to the convention. You can learn more by clicking on the link here. Hope to see you there.

Anyway, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I hope I’ll get to see you in some form or another soon. In the meantime, stay safe, enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend, and pleasant nightmares.

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I’ve always considered that receiving fan art is one of the highest compliments you can receive as a creator, as well as a sign that you really have made it as an author, illustrator, mangaka, YouTuber, video game designer, whatever. Last week, as I was celebrating the accomplishments of both a short story and an article being accepted by various publishers, I received another reason to celebrate: fan art.

Now, you might have seen on my blog, as well as on some of my social media accounts, mentions of my dragon bats. What are the dragon bats? Well, they’re bats, obviously. They’re big enough to earn the designation dragon, with a ten-foot wingspan. They have tough skin on their bellies that looks kind of scaly. They are carnivorous, and while they don’t breathe fire, their bites are either full of potent venom or very dangerous pathogens that can kill you in minutes. Either way, they’re like Komodo dragons: they’re the biggest of their kind, we’re not sure what’s in their bite, and we have to be very careful while finding out. And they have dragon in the name, though neither are proper dragons (Komodo dragons are actually the largest species of monitor lizards).

Also, a group of dragon bats is known as a coven. Just worth mentioning.

Anyway, the mention of my beautiful dragon bats inspired the artistic side of a particular Follower of Fear, my friend and fellow author Iseult Murphy. Before I knew it, she’d created a couple of pieces of fan art featuring her interpretation of the dragon bats. The first, which I received Friday, is below.

Pretty neat, huh? As you can see, I am on the right unleashing my dragon bats on what I can only assume is either a hapless victim or one of my noisier neighbors (I have a few, unfortunately). Said victim has lost their head while blood spurts out, which the dragon bats are slurping up. And at the top of the picture is “Congrats,” referring to my story and article being accepted.

Obviously, I loved it, so I went ahead and shared it across my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram profiles. Besides being from a friend, I was flattered that anyone was interested enough to create art based on my ideas and stories. And it was good artwork too, to boot.

Then yesterday, I got another surprise from Iseult. She made another piece of fan art!

I like this one too. It shows three dragon bats on a branch having a nap after gorging on blood and meat from helpless victims. I love the sheer amount of detail in this picture. The branches have a lot of detail you would expect from tree branches in real life, and I love how all three have different colors and characteristics. Kind of like Danaerys Targaryen’s dragon babies.

I love this artwork too, and obviously spread it around the social media channels too. And, as you can see, I decided to post both pieces here on my blog so they could be appreciated by a wider audience. But I also got to thinking. If the dragon bats were getting fan art, I should really write them into a story. Maybe give Iseult and other potential readers something for their creatives sides to cogitate on.

And yesterday, I did come up with a story. A short story or novelette featuring the dragon bats that I might work on later this year. It’ll be dark, creepy, and yes, very bloody and gory. And don’t worry Iseult, I’ll let you beta read it when it’s done. I won’t put you into the story, however. I only do that to people who have really wronged me in the past.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed Iseult’s interpretations of the dragon bats. If you see one or a coven in the future, please find some sort of shelter and hide, because they are vicious. And if you want to check out Iseult’s blog, which you can find here, I recommend you do. She does great fiction reviews and publishes her own dark and creepy fiction as well.

And thanks again for the fan art, Iseult. It means a lot to me and makes me really feel like I’ve made it as an author. I hope my strange ideas and stories continue to inspire you and many other creators in the future.


One last thing: I’m sure you’re tired of hearing this, but ParaPsyCon will be held this coming weekend, May 22nd and 23rd, at the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, OH. This is the biggest convention of authors, ghost hunters, psychics and mediums, and more around, at one of America’s most historic and haunted prisons. Cost of admission is one ticket for a self-guided tour of the prison, $25. I’ll be there selling copies of my books, reading Tarot, and hopefully having fun, so stop by if you can and say hi. More information on the website here.

Also, I’ll be in Chicago for Indie Author Book Expo Chicago at the Quarry Chi on June 19th, 2021. This is a small expo of an eclectic gathering of authors, so you’re bound to find something there that’s up your alley. So if you’re in the area, please stop by and say hi. You can find out more information on the website here.

And if you’re unable to make either of those events but still want to support me, I’ve got links to my books below. Please consider checking them out and, if you like what you read, please consider leaving a review somewhere. Positive or negative, I love reader feedback and it helps me, as well as other readers looking for something to read, in the long run.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I have to go feed my coven of dragon bats and then work on some of my side projects. Until next time, stay safe, hope to see you soon, and pleasant nightmares!

Agoraphobia: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada

Mother of the King: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada

Rose: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Audible

Snake: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo

The Quiet Game: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo.

Yep, I’m doing this again. But I gotta make sure people know. Otherwise, how will people know to come?

So, if you’re unaware, I’m doing some events as an author this spring and summer. And, in the hopes that some of my Followers of Fear might join me at one or two of them, I’m updating you on the details of each.

First off, we have ParaPsyCon 2021, which I’m glad to say is happening! ParaPsyCon is a convention hosting plenty of ghost hunters, psychics and mediums, and authors (including yours truly), among other things. The convention takes place this May 22nd and 23rd at the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, OH. If you recognize this building, it’s the former prison where they filmed Shawshank Redemption, and is one of the most famous haunted prisons in America. Cost of admission is just one ticket for a self-guided tour of the prison, so you can see where they filmed famous scenes from the movie and then check out the convention.

I’ll be there selling copies of my books, including chapbooks of “Mother of the King” and “Agoraphobia,” as well as doing Tarot readings and selling a few other odds and ends. And who knows? Maybe I’ll catch a ghost on camera. You never know. Anyway, hope to see you there. And if you want more information, please click on the link here.

The other event I’m currently scheduled to be at (assuming I don’t sell out at ParaPsyCon), is the Indie Author Book Expo, or IABE, in Chicago on June 19th. And as you can see, I’ve included the posters above.

IABE Chicago is from the same group who hosted the expo I was at in Des Moines last year (you can read all about that here). It’s got a very eclectic mix of authors coming by the Quarry Chi in Chicago. So, if any of my Followers of Fear, or anyone who would be interested, happen to be in Chicago (or Illinois in general), please feel free to stop by. And for more information on IABE’s events, click this link here.

Anyway, that’s all I got going on right now, my Followers of Fear. I’m trying to set up more events for summer and fall, particularly around the Halloween season, so I’ll let you know if any of that turns out to be successful. In the meantime, I hope some of you are able to stop by the events. And if you’re not able to, then maybe consider alleviating your boredom and supporting me at the same time by checking out some of my stories.

Yes, I’m doing another plug for my books, but can you blame me? Gotta get them into readers’ hands somehow!

Anyway, I’ll leave the links to my work below. And if you like what you read, please consider leaving a review online. Reviews not only help me out, but they also help other readers decide whether or not a story is worth their time.

That’s all for now. Until next time, my Followers of Fear, stay safe and pleasant nightmares!

Agoraphobia: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada

Mother of the King: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada

Rose: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Audible

Snake: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo

The Quiet Game: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo.

So as you likely know by now, I’ll be attending some events as a vendor. And I’ve been promising an update to let you know what the status of those events are. Well, not only have I created a post with updates on the events I’ll be attending later this year. I created a YouTube video about it!

So if you didn’t have time to watch that, let me just tell you about the events I’ll be at later this year.

First, I’ll be a vendor at Paranormal & Psychic Convention, or ParaPsyCon, 2021. This will be held at May 22nd-23rd, 2021 at the Ohio State Reformatory. If you’ve been following this blog for forever, you know that this is a former prison that later became a film set (it was actually the set for The Shawshank Redemption) and now it’s a museum famous for its architecture, history and numerous spirits haunting the building.

Yeah, you read that right. It’s haunted, and I have the documentation to prove it. Click here and here to find out what spooky stuff I witnessed while at the Reformatory.

Anyway, entry into the convention is just the cost of entry into the Reformatory, about $25. Not only will you get to tour the prison, but you’ll get access to the convention. Along with me, there will be other authors, reiki healers, Tarot readers, jewelry makers and vendors, paranormal teams, and so much more! You can check them out on the convention website here. I hope you’ll stop by and check them out.

The other event I’ll be attending as a vendor this summer is Indie Author Book Expo, or IABE, Chicago 2021. This will be at the Quarry Chi in Chicago on June 19th, 2021. This is being held by the same group that I did the book expo in Iowa with last year. With the pandemic improving and a big urban center, hopefully more people interested in reading books by lesser-known authors will stop by. And as far as I know, there’s no charge to get in, so that should help with people’s book budgets. I hope you’ll stop by to see me and all the other amazing authors there. In the meantime, check out IABE’s website here for more information.

My table at the Indie Author Book Expo in Des Moines last year. That was a fun time. Hopefully fun times are ahead this year.

That’s all the events for 2021 so far. If I end up attending any others, I’ll be sure to let you know. I’m actually trying to set up a few author readings for when I’m traveling during my vacation later this year. However, most of the places that are willing to work with me have cautioned that unless I have some sort of local presence, it’ll be difficult to have a successful event of any sort (do I have any Followers of Fear out in St. Louis? Vegas? New Orleans? Bueller?).

And if you’re not able to attend any of those events, you’re always welcome to check out my work by using the links below. Yeah, I’m listing my links again. Sorry, but writing is a business as much as it is a labor of love. Anyway, if you do decide to check out and read my works, I hope you’ll let me know what you think. Positive or negative, I love reader feedback and it helps me out in the long run (as well as other readers).

Also, check out and maybe consider subscribing to my YouTube channel. I don’t post as often as some YouTubers, but I’m passionate about every video, so that should make up for the difference.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. Assuming my first dose of the vaccine doesn’t throw me out of commission, I’m off to devour my enemies with a clan of gargoyles. Until next time, happy reading, a good April, and pleasant nightmares!

Agoraphobia: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada

Mother of the King: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada

Rose: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Audible

Snake: AmazonCreatespace, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo

The Quiet Game: Amazon, Createspace, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo.

Last year, I posted about a couple of conventions and book expos I was signed up to attend as an author or vendor. I’m putting out a quick update on that to keep you all updated. And I’m hoping a couple of you will be able to come and see me if you know about them well enough in advance.

First, there’s the Paranormal and Psychic Convention, or ParaPsyCon 2021. This is an annual event held at the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio. You know, the former prison that was used as the set for the Shawshank Redemption and which is very haunted? Anyway, they released a new poster on Facebook today, which I’ve included below, and has said that, at the present, the convention is still a-go. This makes me very happy, because I love this location and I look forward to seeing all the different vendors there. Not to mention some friends and readers.

If you’re interested in attending, it’s going to be May 22nd-23rd. All you need to do is buy a regular ticket into the prison to attend. The convention is wrapped into the ticket cost! You can find out more details here.

And if you’re a vendor interested in joining in on the fun, I think the convention is still taking applications for vendors. You can look at their vendor application page here.

The other event I’m scheduled to attend is the Indie Author Book Expo in Chicago, or IABE Chicago. Sponsored by the same group who held the event I attended in Des Moines back in July. This one will be held at the Quarry Chi on E. 75th Street in Chicago, Illinois on June 19th. I don’t think the location has ever been haunted or used as a film set, but the photos online show a very nice event space. You can walk around, check out some authors and books, and maybe say hello to me while you’re there.

And that’s the total number of events I’ll be attending this year. So far, anyway. It’s still early in the year, so if something comes up that I can go to, I will. And I’ll post about it too. (Let me know if you know of any I could go to.)

And yes, I know that COVID-19 could interfere at any time. Believe me, it interfered with ParaPsyCon last year. As in canceled it. But with the vaccine rolling out and early results showing promise, I’ve reason to hope. And make plans. And maybe see some Followers of Fear in real life, rather than through a screen.

Well, I just wanted to update you on all that. If anyone needs me, I’ve dinner to make and the first short story of 2021 to write. Until next time, stay safe and pleasant nightmares!

My table at the Indie Author Book Expo in Des Moines this past year. I’m hoping to have wonderful experiences at the events I’ll be attending this coming year as well.

I know it’s early. We still have three months and nine days left of 2020. I also know that, with COVID-19, any planned event is subject to change or cancellation. And there’s no telling when this pandemic will end. But I want to be optimistic and hope things work out before these events happen.

Plus, I’ve already talked about one of these events on most of my other social media in order to help get more vendors there. And if you want to get this stuff on people’s calendars, you gotta get the word out as early as possible. Before they put weddings and bar mitzvahs and other conventions on their calendars.

What was I talking about? Oh right. So, I’m signed up to be a vendor or author at a couple of conventions and book fairs next year. And I’m letting you know about them in case you’d be interested in them or going to them.

First, there’s Paranormal and Psychic Convention 2021, or ParaPsyCon 2021. This is an annual event at the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, OH. You know, the haunted former prison where they filmed the Shawshank Redemption. The one I’ve been to twice and filmed some of my best haunted footage at. It’s from May 22nd-23rd, 2021,* and all it takes to get in is admission to the convention is to pay for admission to the prison. You can find out more on their website here.

Fun fact: I was actually supposed to be at this convention earlier this year. But we were in the early days of the pandemic, and the convention organizers were wise to cancel it. They then offered to put me on the vendor list for 2021, and I accepted. I’m hopeful that by then, things will be a bit safer and we can go to the convention in peace.

Then the month after, I’ll be at an event hosted by Indie Author Book Expo, or IABE, the very same group who hosted the expo I went to in Des Moines back in July. However, this time, I’ll be at IABE Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. It’ll be held on June 19th, 2021 at the Quarry Chi on E. 75th street. Not sure what the parking situation is, or if this location has been used as a film set, or if it’s haunted. But hey, doesn’t mean it won’t be a good time. You can find out more about it, as well as the other events IABE will be holding next year, on their website here.

I’ll be at both events, selling books,** doing Tarot readings, meeting readers, writers and others alike, and just trying to have a good time. So, if you’re able to come to either, please do. I’d be happy to see you.

And if I sign up for any other events, I’ll be sure to let you know well in advance that I’m attending. Don’t know if there will be. Some won’t happen unless the pandemic gets better. Others won’t let you sign up unless you’ve had a book published within a certain time period, so my attendance will depend on what occurs over the next year or so. We’ll see what happens.

Anyway, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. If any of you are able to make these events, I hope I’ll see you then. Until next time, stay safe and pleasant nightmares.

*Same weekend as StokerCon, I know, but I already had this on the calendar. What are you going to do?

**And some other things. I’ve had a few ideas on other items I can sell alongside my books. And I’ll probably think of a few more before the first convention.