Posts Tagged ‘living and life’

I have some exciting stories on the way, just you wait and see.

Today’s December 1st, 2022, and it’s almost midnight as I’m finishing this post. Just over 29 days till 2022 is over. And yesterday, November 30th, 2022, close to 11 PM, I finished a new novelette. I wanted to blog about it, but it was getting late and I had to go into the office today, so I went to bed instead.

Worked out in the end though, because not only do I get to talk about this new story, but also what I’m going to work on next, and maybe a third or fourth thing as well.

Benefit of having a blog: you can write whatever you want to write (so long as it doesn’t break any laws or causes harm to others or yourself, of course).

So, my latest story is something I’ve been working on all November and finished last night in a mad dash to get it done by a self-imposed deadline of 12:00 December 1st. It’s called “Forever Young,” and follows the career of an actress who never ages past childhood. It’s currently a little over thirteen-thousand words, and I swear there’s a good story somewhere in there. It’s just lost in a rough draft that probably has too much in it or not enough. A lot of ideas that just need someone to sift through them and cut the gold from the shit.

Thankfully, a friend and a fellow writer agreed to beta read and critique it for me, so hopefully they can give me some idea on how to get it edited up to snuff. I’m sure it’ll take a lot of edits and maybe some rewrites, but I like and believe in this story too much (and I’ve spent too much time on it) to give up on it. With any luck, I’ll be able to make it into a story that people might enjoy and find a little thrilling.

So, what’s next? Well, I spent last month trying to write a novelette. I think I’ll spend this month trying to write a novella.

If you read my article on Ginger Nuts of Horror last month, you saw that I’m developing a story based around the Backrooms, an Internet-born urban legend about an endless maze of empty office hallways that stretch on for miles and are inhabited by entities that resemble nothing close to natural. At least, not as we define it. Anyway, I have the outline for that story ready and I’ve already written about eleven hundred words, so I’m going to try to finish this story by 11:59 PM, January 2nd, 2023. That’s when I’ll likely start working on Hannah and Other Stories again and will only be doing other stuff in-between edits of stories in the collection.

But hey, I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m very excited for this story and the possibility of making my own unique twist on the Backrooms mythos that has been created. The Backrooms are a fascinating idea, very psychological and uncanny valley in their strange nature, and I want to further highlight how strange the space is by dropping some people in there and making them deal with the impossibility of the space, as well as what is capable of happening there.

Well, despite what I wrote at the beginning of the post, I don’t have a third or fourth thing to talk about. I guess I just wanted to talk about what I wrote last month and what I got on deck next. But hey, I had fun doing that, so I guess it’s cool. Like writing stories, as long as I’m writing what I enjoy, that’s all that really matters.

That, and I look forward to sharing with you all these strange and macabre stories I have coming down the pipeline. Stay tuned.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. As the year winds down, I’ll be back with thoughts on the past year, as well as plans for the upcoming year. And if any good news pops up, I’ll be sure to let you all know.

Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares.

If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you may be aware that billionaire Elon Musk bought Twitter and has been turning it from a somewhat tolerable landscape to a freaking hellhole. I’m not going to go into details, because you can read all that elsewhere, but suffice to say, a lot of people have been wondering if now is a good time to get off Twitter and find a new platform to interact with that does the same thing as Twitter. For us writers, we’ve been looking for a new platform where we can talk about writing and maybe avoid the vitriol that seems to have been given free reign on Twitter these days.

One of those platforms is called Hive Social, which I’ve seen a lot of posts about on both Twitter and Facebook this past week. It seemed like a good platform, a lot of writers and horror types I’m connected with were trying it out, and I’m usually slow on new social media trends and wanted to not be the last again, so I decided to give it a try yesterday. Besides, the platform’s website says it doesn’t tolerate hate speech or any other sort of awful behavior, which honestly appeals to me in the wake of certain decisions by Twitter’s new leader.

So, now I have an account on Hive. I’ve gotten about forty-something followers, posted a couple of times, and have liked other people’s posts as well. How does it compare to Twitter?

Well, it does have some room to improve. The app is slow to load or register likes at times, and the search engine feature doesn’t always bring you to the person you’re looking for, even when you type their full name in. You can’t access the app from the laptop just yet, only your mobile devices, and occasionally the app just shuts itself off mid-use. And you can’t leave a link so people can directly go to your page on the platform.

However, this may be because of its sudden popularity. I doubt anyone running the app could have foreseen so many people migrating over to Hive as Twitter continues to implode, so they’re probably scrambling to make sure the app is at least somewhat able to handle all these people. In fact, I did see a post from the app’s company asking people to be patient as they try and deal with the new influx of users.

So, there is a chance this app could improve as time goes on. Of course, there’s also a chance that it won’t replace Twitter and that we’ll stay on there. Or maybe we’ll go off both apps and find something else. It’s hard to tell the future. All we know is that Twitter might not be a good place to stay for the foreseeable future and that we may not be able to stay on there for much longer.

In the meantime, I’ll keep trying both apps for a while before I make any final decisions, one way or another. And while I can’t leave a link to my page on Hive, I can leave links to my other social media (though you can also look to the left and see them listed there). If you want to check me out on any of these platforms, please do. And if you end up subscribing, I hope you and I will have plenty of wonderful interactions on these other apps.

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

YouTube


One more thing before I sign off tonight, my Followers of Fear: I found out today that my short story “The Dedication of the High Priestess,” which combines ballet with the figure of the King in Yellow, will be read aloud on the Tales to Terrify podcast this Friday. I’m so excited for you all to experience this story! I’m quite proud of it and I really hope you enjoy it. I’ll be sure to post a link as soon as it’s out.

The RMS Queen Mary, one of the locations I would like to visit someday.

So I may be super busy these days writing a hundred different projects while also working a day job, but there’s one thing I can always make time for: looking up haunted places I want to investigate. And as expected, I have ten more I want to visit and even investigate. And some of them are even close! I hope that means I can get into them eventually.

Anyway, let’s talk about some haunted locations I will want to visit, investigate, and eventually force one of you to join me for a night of terrifying occurrences. Yes, I might kidnap one of you, Followers of Fear. You know I’m capable of it.

Marsh’s Library, Dublin, Ireland
Marsh’s Library was the first public library in Ireland, and dates back 300 years. From what I hear, folks like Bram Stoker and James Joyce may have spent time researching there and going through its over 25,000 volumes and manuscripts, some dating back centuries! Perhaps some of those books have spirits attached to them. What is known is that there are rumors that the library is haunted by its founder, Archbishop Narcissus Marsh, who is buried near the library. According to one legend, his beloved niece eloped and left a note for him in one of the books, so he’s searching for it.
Seems a dumb reason to haunt a library, but that’s just the one legend I was able to find. Perhaps there are other stories behind it. Other ghosts. Which leads me to ask: when can I check in?

Central Ohio Fire Museum, Columbus, Ohio
This one’s really close to me. Like, just a few miles away! Originally a working fire station until 1982, the building was turned into a museum by some firefighters wanting to preserve the history of firefighting. Today, it’s an educational center that teaches about fire safety and preserves the history of the profession in Ohio. However, there are some spooky happenings in that building as well: ghostly thoroughbred horses from the days before fire engines had engines are said to haunt the building, as does a dead fire captain who likes to take inventory. There are also reports of singing coming from nowhere.
I don’t think this place is open to ghost hunts. Still, if I could, I would go.

Pine Street Saloon, Paso Robles, California
The Pine Street Saloon is one of the oldest buildings in the area, having been around since the 1800s and used for various kinds of businesses. Today, it’s a working bar that’s open to the public and that has its fair share of spooky ghosts hanging around. I wouldn’t mind getting out the dowsing rods and doing a spirit session while also drinking a pint or two

Satan’s Hollow, Cincinnati, Ohio
Supposedly there’s a storm drain in the Blue Ash neighborhood of Cincinnati that’s supposedly a portal to Hell. If you manage to find it and go inside, you’ll hear strange noises, ghostly voices, and even demonic growls. Videos online taken in the storm drain often have creepy voices that will deliver shivers to any viewer! Sadly, this place is on private property and going there means you’re trespassing. Apparently the police have to go there multiple times a year because of trespassing calls, especially around Halloween. Makes you feel sorry for the landowners, who are probably lovely people.
Still, it would be cool to investigate. Just make sure to bring some sage with you before you go.

The Yellow House, Six Flags Over Arlington, Texas
In Texas long ago, a little girl named Annie was found dead in a creek. Years later, the Six Flags company built Six Flags Over Arlington, and the land where that creek used to be became part of the park. Annie is sometimes seen around the park, but is well-known to stay at the Yellow House, a yellow building/concession stand near the entrance of the roller coaster the Texas Giant. From what I hear, a paranormal group investigated the building and did get some recordings from Annie, who is generally a kind and mischievous spirit.
I’m not much for theme parks these days (too much standing around in line in the hot summer sun), but if I could investigate the park one night, I’d make the trip.

Sylvan Beach Amusement Park, Sylvan Beach, New York
Another amusement park, but this one is supposedly haunted all over the place, and the park even acknowledges its history of hauntings with ghost tours. Supposedly, people who love the park so much in life stay behind after death just to enjoy the rides and games for all eternity. I’d be willing to come by after hours to check this place out.

Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan
The Grand Hotel is one of Michigan’s most beautiful resorts! Built in the 19th century, it’s a lovely building with great architecture and some lovely golf courses, stables, dining facilities and other attractions. However, there’s a dark history to the area. The island used to be home to both Native Americans and an Army fort, so there were a lot of deaths over the years. Supposedly, so many skeletons were found during construction, the construction crew gave up trying to excavate them all and just built over them. Stories of spirits haunting the place include a woman in Victorian clothing traipsing through the halls and climbing into beds at night, a man with a top hat smoking a cigar in the piano lounge, and a malevolent shadow figure with red eyes that was once spotted in the theater.
I don’t know if they lean into their haunted history at all, but if they do, invite me over. I want to find some spooks!

Cachtice Castle, Slovakia
Ever heard of Elizabeth Bathory? For those of you who haven’t, she was a Hungarian noblewoman who was accused of killing many young girls and women for the sadistic pleasure of it. Some legends even claim she bathed in the blood of her victims as part of a macabre beauty regimen (likely false, as it was first recorded a century after Bathory’s death and ascribes a very stereotypical reason for the murders. I guess for some people, women being sadistic for sadism’s sake is just too ludicrous).
Nowadays, there’s a lot of doubt that Bathory did commit those murders, or as many as is popularly rumored. Instead, she may have been the victim of a witch hunt, accused of heinous crimes because she was a powerful landowning woman whom even the King of Hungary owed a favor to. God forbid they just let a woman be independent and capable and even a national leader!
But even if the stories are lies, the castle where she supposedly committed those crimes is still around. Whether or not it’s the sight of terrible horrors, it’s probably picked up a ghost or two. Maybe even Elizabeth Bathory’s ghost. Who wants to visit with me?

Queen Mary, Long Beach, California
A former British ocean liner, the Queen Mary was used as a commercial passenger ship and, during WWII, a naval troopship. In 1967, it was retired and moored in Long Beach, California, where the city purchased it and converted it into a hotel, museum and tourist attraction. Given its history, it’s not surprising that it’s gained a reputation for being haunted. One stateroom is home to the spirit of a man who was allegedly murdered, and a former third-class cabin is said to be, by the Queen Mary’s own admission, “notoriously haunted.” I want to go there, I want to investigate, and I want to write a story based in the hotel. Who’s with me?

Catalina Casino, Catalina, California
A lot of California locations this time around, isn’t there? Anyway, this isn’t a gambling establishment, but instead comes from the original Spanish word for casino, “gathering place.” Indeed, the casino has a theater and a ballroom, and is where the residents of Catalina Island are supposed to head to when disaster strikes. However, the place is filled with a lot of spirits. A very aggressive woman supposedly haunts one of the lounges, spirits are sometimes heard knocking around the theater, and the casino once held a museum inside featuring skeletons of the local natives, which probably contributed to the hauntings.
Anyone want to make a trip out to California?


That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I haven’t had anything really worth blogging about lately, so I’m glad I was able to at least get together a list of haunted locations to visit at the right time and post about it. But tell me, have you been to any of these places? Are there any I should add to my list for next time? Do you plan to become a ghost after you die, or do you have other plans? Let’s discuss.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear, good night and pleasant nightmares.

I don’t know how writers who write in silence do it. Unless I’m trying to sleep, I absolutely hate silence. I’m not saying I need noise all the time. That’s part of the reason I moved out of my old apartment complex: I couldn’t stand the noise my neighbors were always making and the lack of support from management to quiet the noise. But it’s rare when I’m comfortable with complete quiet and I’m not trying to sleep.

And there are writers who are able to write in silence. Hell, some even need it!

Me? I need something in the background. Especially when I write. It’s rare that I can write in silence. If I do, my brain automatically starts playing something on loop in my head just to make up for the silence. So, when I write, I need to listen to something when I work. And it has to be the right sort of thing for the project I’m working on. Otherwise, I find it hard to concentrate and get any words down on paper.

Sometimes, this is easy to do. Usually I can put on 80s music or the soundtracks of my favorite musicals and just write, no matter the story. No joke, I wrote The Pure World Comes entirely to my favorite hits of the 1980s. Or I listen to ASMR videos on YouTube, especially if I’m blogging. (And if you don’t know what ASMR is, I’m not going to explain it here. Just know, I find it very relaxing when done right.) And when I’m editing, I can put on music, or maybe have an anime on in the background, and just get it done.

Other times, it has to be very specific, or I can’t work at all. For my novel Toyland, I needed to listen to the Moulin Rouge soundtrack (Broadway musical based on the movie, not the movie itself) for nearly the entire writing process. Until the final few chapters, I could not write without that soundtrack. It only occurred to me ages later that my mind probably chose that album subconsciously because, like Toyland, both plots involve a story within a story. I might need to listen to that soundtrack again when I do one more round of editing on it and then try to find a publisher.

I’m still trying to nail down what works best for Crawler. Some days I’m in the mood for 80s music, other days I’m in the mood for a musical soundtrack. Once I even listened to the Mad Max: Fury Road soundtrack just because it was so epic I couldn’t help but write to it!

Thankfully, for the two projects I’m working on while I’m break from Crawler and before getting back to editing Hannah, identifying the background sound I need was easy. For one project, which involves a very unique child actress, I’m listening to the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack. Makes sense: both involve people in the fine arts who are not what they seem. And the other, which involves my own unique take on a recent piece of internet folklore, will involve ambient noise videos on YouTube. I already got the first part of the story done while listening to a video of noises at an outdoor mall (guess where that scene took place?).

It’s lucky that I was able to figure those out so quickly. Otherwise, I might not be able to write a single word!

Still, I was able to identify what I will (likely) need, so I’m glad for that. I have good feelings about these stories and I look forward to writing them. And I’ll thankfully have the right sounds to listen to them while I do.

Do you listen to music while you write? Do you need it or can you do without it? What do you prefer to listen to?

And if you prefer silence, why? How are you able to write like that? Let’s discuss.

In truth, I should have posted this update last night. That’s when I finished the latest chapter of the novel. But it was nearly eleven at night, and I had to go into the office this morning, so I put it off till now. Would have been written earlier in the day, but I had to de-stress from work and relieve my election related anxiety.

So, as many of you know, I’ve been working on-and-off on a new novel, a mummy novel tentatively called Crawler. The story was inspired by that god-awful movie with Tom Cruise that came out in 2017. Or maybe I should say it’s my attempt to show the world (and maybe Universal) how to write a decent mummy story. We’ll hopefully see someday whether or not I’m successful in that department.

Anyway, I’ve been writing four chapters at a time, then working on other, shorter projects that I can submit to other publishers. And if you’ve guessed that I’m going to post an update every four chapters, you’re completely right. In fact, the chapter I finished last night was Chapter 8. And if I’m being honest, these past four chapters have been among my favorites to work on so far.

Yeah, I know. How can I have favorites this early in the process? The novel is barely a quarter written! And you’d be right. But these chapters have some (what I think is) great content. Chapters 5 and 8 have some nice, slow character development and bonding that I really enjoyed writing. I really got to showcase the forming and established bonds between these characters, which is something I feel like I haven’t done enough of in my previous novels.

And Chapters 6 and 7 did plenty to establish the mystery and terror of the story. Chapter 7 in particular, I feel, was quite creepy and is a nice little opener for the horror that the readers will eventually get to experience. I’m trying to approach the idea of the mummy as a threat in a way that hasn’t been done before, so seeing the initial results with these initial chapters is encouraging to me and makes me think I’m onto something here.

And when I get back to this novel, I’ll be diving right back into the horror and seeing if my idea goes anywhere (no spoiler, but Chapter 9 is going to be something else). At the moment, the novel is currently 133 pages (regular MS Word pages, double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font) and 37,575 words. It’s going to be one hell of a Stephen King doorstopper when it’s done. And hopefully just as terrifying. Or if not terrifying, hopefully just as interesting.

In the meantime, however, I’ll be working on a couple of (hopefully) shorter works, and finally editing that story where I put some neo-Nazis through the hell they deserve. All these stories have a common theme to them, so I think they might work well together if I wanted to create a new collection or something. Of course, we’ll have to wait and see what I end up writing, if it’s any good and if I think a collection is the best way to go with these stories.

But first, I’ll need to write and edit them, of course! And I look forward to every moment of it.

Well, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I need to head to bed. So, until next time, good night, pleasant nightmares, and may God have mercy on all our souls! Trust me, there’s a good chance we’re going to need it.

Where did the month go? How are we already in November? And why were stores putting up Christmas decorations before Halloween had even passed? I know it’s a big holiday, but come on! At least wait till November before you put that stuff up!

Anyway, onto why you’re all here. As many of you know, I co-founded a small publishing company called Cracked Skull Press with some of my fellow Ohio horror writers, and we released our first anthology, That Which Cannot Be Undone, on October 4th. The anthology is written entirely by Ohio authors, and each story is set in Ohio, as well as revolving around the theme “that which cannot be undone.”

Obviously, I have a story in the anthology, “Is Anyone There?” which takes place in the Ohio State Reformatory, one of the most haunted locations in America and one of my favorite places in the world. So far, I’m getting some good feedback on it.

I’ve said it before, but it’s very exciting for all of us writers to have this anthology out. And we’ve been doing our best to make sure as many people as possible check it out. We just had a release party at a restaurant in Columbus the other day (one of the waiters actually bought a book off us), and this past weekend, some of Cracked Skull Press and the other writers showed up at a local writing-related establishment for an event (I was at the ballet). Thanks to all this work, more people than ever are reading the anthology, and we’re so glad they are.

Not only that, but we’ve had some amazing reviews. The Akron Beacon-Journal from Akron, Ohio gave the book a very positive review, as did Kirkus Reviews! And from what I hear, more publications are going to release reviews of TWCBU soon! Imagine, so many publications are going to have reviews of this book in it! The mind boggles.

Not to mention all the love we’ve gotten from readers on Amazon and Goodreads. Here are what people are saying:

A gem. I’m an avid reader and writer and new to the horror genre. This was a great opportunity to explore a bunch of creative and very different authors. I snickered, I laughed, I almost cried from the beauty of several scenes. I lost my breath at several twists. I grinned at several regional legends brought to life. I’ve found a new genre.

Justin Reynolds, Goodreads

This book contains 18 stories of the deranged, mysterious, spooky, and disturbed. These stories all take place somewhere in Ohio and include a little bit for everyone. There’s a possible vampire baby, a dead girl in the snow, gender-shifting, an underwater town, death by lawnmower, a reanimated body, a FrankenDaddy, and some insurance revenge.

The stories are so creative and well-written that I found myself just sinking into the book until I found myself at the last page. This speaks to the excellent editing, as well, because I am easily distracted by grammar errors, misspellings, duplicated words, etc. This book was so well edited, I remember thinking about it while I read, amazed I hadn’t encountered an error. A perfect addition to your spooky season reads! Just released and ready for you to grab now on Amazon!

The Bookish Abyss, Amazon

What a great idea for a horror anthology. These eighteen stories, all set in Ohio, weave different aspects of the state into their terrifying narratives. From the cities of Cleveland and Columbus, to an old prison, a drowned town, an abandoned winery, and many other natural and notable locations, these stories place Ohio front and centre on the map of horror landscapes…A frightening anthology that has ensured if I ever visit Ohio, I will be very afraid.

Iseult Murphy, Author of “All of Me,” Goodreads

Not only are people loving it, but some are discovering the horror genre for the first time and loving it because of TWCBU! Can you imagine? A lot of people say Stephen King or Anne Rice or Shirley Jackson or other major authors were their introduction to horror. Hell, King is why I’m writing horror today! And now something I’m part of is bringing new fans to the genre. It’s an honor to be part of this project.

If you’re interested in this book, I’ll leave links below. You’ll find stories about serial killers, underwater towns, ghosts, people haunted by more than ghosts, and so much more, so why not dive in and see what sort of stories you’ll come across? Perhaps something will be your new favorite.

And if you do read it, be sure to leave a review. Reviews help bring visibility to the book and allow other readers to figure out whether or not a book might be up their alley. So please be sure to share your thoughts when you’re done.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ll be back with more to post soon. Until then, happy reading, pleasant nightmares, and 364 days till the next Halloween. I wonder what horrors will occur in the meantime?

That Which Cannot Be Undone: Amazon, Goodreads

I wanted to post something before Halloween, but there wasn’t any one particular topic I was passionate enough to write an entire blog post about. So instead, I thought I’d do an update post, because there’s a lot going on right now and you should know about it. How much is going on? Well, let’s take a look and find out.

Crawler and Toyland

So, for my mummy novel with the tentative name of Crawler, I’m making steady progress in it. I’m currently writing Chapter Seven and think I could get to Chapter Eight by the end of the week. Hell, I might finish it by the end of the week, if life is kind! (It’s usually not, but one can hope, right?). After that, I’ll take another break to work on shorter works (more on that below), and then get straight to Chapters 9-12. It may take longer than usual, but I will get this novel done eventually.

As for Toyland, I hope to do another draft of it before sending it out to publishers. I feel that this Gothic novel of a boarding school under attack by a ghost obsessed with a children’s novel has a lot of potential and I want people to read it. However, I want to get Hannah and Other Stories out of the way before I tackle that novel again (there’s a good reason why Hannah needs to be done first, but I can’t tell you that just yet). So hope Hannah gets released soon.

Hannah and Other Stories

Speaking of Hannah, BSC Publishing and I are looking to get that out sometime in 2023. Currently, the publisher is starting its winter vacation a month early in November rather than December, so I’m getting a little break from Hannah to work on more of my other projects. However, once we hit January, it’ll be a furious pace to wrap up the edits on the book and get it ready for publication. I can’t wait to share with you this terrifying collection of short stories featuring ghosts, budding serial killers, and meat-eating horses, among other things, so keep an eye out for news after the new year.

Other Shorter Works

As many of you know, I have one more short story, “The Dedication of the High Priestess,” scheduled to come out before the end of the year. Literally: Tales to Terrify, the podcast that will be reading the story aloud on their show, said it will come out before the end of the year. And with 61 days left, there’s only so much year left, so I should be getting news on that any day now. When I get that news, I will let you know.

I will also, of course, let you know the moment I hear of any other stories of mine getting published.

In the meantime, I plan to do some writing and editing on some other stories over November and December, once I finish Chapter Eight of Crawler. For one thing, I plan to finally edit They Sleep Within the Rock, the novella I wrote last winter where I terrorize neo-Nazis. I have no idea why I put it off for so long, but I have and I want to give it some edits so I can maybe find it a home. I also want to write some more novelettes and novellas that I’ve been feeling passionate about working on for some time. A lot of these stories center around common themes, so I think I would not only enjoy writing them, but maybe putting them into a collection.

I may also write a short story involving bugs, but I’m not sure if I want to. Yeah, there’s an anthology I could submit it to, but I prefer to write stories that I feel I would enjoy writing rather than what I think would get accepted or make some money for me. We’ll see how I feel after I finish those chapters of Crawler.

Anything Else?

Quite a bit, actually. Let’s talk about it.

  • Events: This coming Saturday, I’ll be operating a booth at the Columbus Witches’ Ball. This is an awesome event featuring plenty of paranormal enthusiasts, psychics and mediums, authors, and so much more. Plus, plenty of dancing and ritual (or so I’m told). I’ll be selling books and doing Tarot readings there, so I hope you can stop by. The event is November 5th, 2022 from 6 PM – 11 PM at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. I’m not sure you can get tickets at the door, but I know you can buy them from Eventbrite by following this link.
    In addition, I’m already signed up for events in 2023! I’ll be making reappearances at Hidden Marietta Paranormal Expo (which will be in May this year and in a bigger venue) and at ParaPsyCon. I’ve also put down a deposit for another booth at Mystics & Marvels and am waiting for confirmation on a few other events, so I’ll keep you posted as those come up.
    And, of course, I’ll be at StokerCon in Pennsylvania in June, so if any of you are planning to be there, I really hope I get to see you and give you a great big hug (if you feel comfortable with it).
  • I saw Dracula the ballet yesterday. As you probably know by now, I’m a huge ballet fan, and I’ve long held that ballet can be a great venue to tell horror stories. I got to see that in action yesterday when my local company BalletMet performed Dracula, which was as amazing and as horrifying as I could have hoped. It was scary, really delved into the themes of Victorian terror regarding sexuality and anything considered aberrant through its choreography, and even managed to surprise me at times, especially with the conclusion. If I ever get a chance to see it again, I will.
    And, of course, if there are any other horror ballets, I would love to see those too. Hell, I have a few ideas for ballets that are both horror and otherwise, so if any companies would like to collaborate, email me. Let’s work together! I’m easy to get along with, and I don’t cost an arm and a leg, so why not?
  • New YouTube video. I’m going to try to post a new video to YouTube tomorrow before my Halloween festivities really get underway (having a friend over for pizza, drinks and scary movies. I can’t wait!). If I can’t, I’ll get it out as soon as possible. In the meantime, please check out and consider subscribing to my YouTube channel while you wait. You can also check out my other social media by clicking on the widgets on the right.
So looking forward to putting this bad boy out on the stoop tomorrow.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. As usual with these sorts of posts, I’ll post links to my published works down below in case you want to support me that way or if you’re just looking for something spooky to read. Until next time, good night, pleasant nightmares, and one day till Halloween! Get ready to hop around a bonfire in costume with terrifying creatures from the other side!

The Pure World Comes: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, Goodreads, Audible, Chirp, BingeBooks, LIbro.Fm, Storytel

Rose: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Audible, B&N

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

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

I did warn you this post was coming, didn’t I?

As many of you are aware at this point, I’m the co-founder of an independent publishing press, Cracked Skull Press, and we released our first anthology, That Which Cannot Be Undone, exactly two weeks ago today. The anthology is written entirely by Ohio authors, every story is set in Ohio, and the theme of the anthology is “that which cannot be undone.” This anthology is the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign, as well as lots of tears, sweat, discussion, blood, and so much more, and I’m so proud that I got to be part of its creation.

I’m also quite proud to have one of my own stories, “Is Anyone There?”, in the anthology. It’s about a ghost at the Ohio State Reformatory, one of my favorite places on Earth, and I consider it some of my best work.

Anyway, in the two weeks since the book was released, we at Cracked Skull Press have sent out copies of the anthology to the backers who supported us and have sold plenty of copies through Amazon. The result is that we’ve been seeing a lot of people reading the anthology, which is what we always hoped for! And not only that, but we’ve been getting plenty of reviews. At the time I’m writing this, we’ve received nine reviews on Amazon and eleven ratings with ten reviews on Amazon, for an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 and 4.18 out of 5, respectively.

Here are what people are saying:

This is a horror themed short story collection with a diverse range of topics. All stories have two things in common – they take place in Ohio and the underlying theme is that somehow something in the story is irreversible. As always with such collections I enjoyed some stories more than others, yet there weren’t any that I actually disliked. I think the editor did a good job putting this anthology together. Some stories had so cool concepts that I was “enraged” when they ended, wishing they were made into novels or movies. A few were based on myths or locations authors knew about…Some really imaginative and original stories in here that did manage to “wow” me and make it quite easy to recommend this anthology.

Aili Annuk, Amazon

This book brings together short stories that are very different from each other, all set in Ohio. Some are more horrific, others more melancholic, but they all have something original and appealing. Whether they are about ghosts, teeth, PTSD, or murder, they all have a dark and intriguing atmosphere that makes you want to keep reading. A perfect read for a cozy autumn evening.

Aiden Messer, Goodreads

What a great idea for a horror anthology. These eighteen stories, all set in Ohio, weave different aspects of the state into their terrifying narratives. From the cities of Cleveland and Columbus, to an old prison, a drowned town, an abandoned winery, and many other natural and notable locations, these stories place Ohio front and centre on the map of horror landscapes.

Iseult Murphy, author of All of Me, Amazon

High praise, indeed. And if things continue in this vein, we’ll only be getting more.

Anyway, if you would like to support our little venture and get some good scary reading in before Halloween, I’ll leave links to the anthology below. You can check it out, read the reviews, and then decide whether or not you’d like to read That Which Cannot Be Undone yourself. And if you end up reading it, I hope you’ll leave us a review. It lets us know what you think and helps other readers decide whether or not to read the book.

Anyway, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I hope you’re having a wonderful and spooky October. Until next time, good night, pleasant nightmares, and 13 days till Halloween! Who has sweets and scary movies ready?

That Which Cannot Be Undone: Amazon, Goodreads

So, for those of you not following my social media, particularly Instagram and Twitter, I got a home winemaking kit for my birthday last year. So far, I’ve made two batches of wine with it. The first is plum wine, while the second is pumpkin wine. Yes, you can make wine from pumpkins. You can make wine from all sorts of fruits, vegetables, and other materials you normally wouldn’t think of for winemaking. Anyway, I haven’t tried any of the wine yet. And winemaking, as it turns out, is a lot like writing fiction. I’ll explain both in a moment.

First, let me give you a quick rundown of the winemaking process. You basically take all the ingredients, including the crushed/chopped/quartered/otherwise cut up main ingredient (ex. grapes, plums, pumpkins, etc.), put them all into a big container with fermentation yeast and oxygen, and let it simmer for a week or so. During this time, the yeast breaks down sugars and releasing flavor from the main ingredient. This is primary fermentation. Then you put it in a smaller container with as little oxygen as possible, where it undergoes secondary fermentation. This can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, changing containers every couple of weeks until the wine is clear. At that point, you bottle it and let it age for a year before drinking.

This is the pumpkin wine I finished making earlier this week. Looks good, right?

That’s why I haven’t had any of the wine yet. The plum wine won’t be ready until January, and I just bottled the pumpkin wine earlier this week, so it won’t be ready till next Halloween. I hope it tastes good when I finally taste it. Otherwise, I’m going to feel very bad for anyone who drinks the wine with me.

Now, here’s a pop quiz: using multiple ingredients to create a single thing? Going through multiple processes to further refine it? Taking at least a year to work on before it’s ready for consumption? This does describe winemaking, but what else can it describe?

If you guessed fiction writing, congrats. You win a glass of wine from your own stores. But yeah, it does sound a lot like fiction writing. The ingredients for the wine are like the plot, the research, and the words; the primary fermentation is the rough draft; the secondary fermentation is the subsequent drafts where you clean up the story; and the year after it’s bottled is the time until publication, during which you may do further refining for the story until it’s out.

Plum wine, just before it begins primary fermentation, when it’s just a bunch of disparate elements in a bucket.

And, like writing, winemaking takes time and trial and error to get good at. Like I said, I haven’t tried the wine yet. I tried both the plum wine and the pumpkin wine before secondary fermentation, but at that stage the wine is tart and full of yeast and other matter floating around. It was alcoholic, yes, but was it good alcohol? No. Just like a first draft is technically a completed story, but it’s not something you want to immediately release into the world! I mean, all those errors and plot holes you might miss before giving out the story!

But getting back to the wine, I have no idea how either batch will taste once I open them up. They may be completed, but will they be any good? It might take years of trying and failing before I make a good batch of wine. And that’s kind of like writing, too. You can write a story and go over it many times, but you have to keep writing until you’re any good at it.

But maybe that’s why I enjoy making wine. I mean, yeah, I love wine, especially sweet wine, but I also like the process of it. I like taking my hands and using them to create something that people can enjoy with me. I like that it takes hard work, precision, trial and error, and your love of something to create it and bring it together. And I like the many possibilities it presents.

It’s like writing to me. Only I don’t intend to sell this stuff: that requires a license, and I’m not going to jump through hoops for that!

Also, I’m going to need a wine rack and more empty bottles before I make any more wine. Otherwise, I’m going to run out of space for it all in my condo!

Anyway, I just wanted to share my thoughts on wine-making and writing with you guys. I’m going to do a little late night writing and then hit the hay. Good night, pleasant nightmares, and fifteen days and thirty-four minutes to Halloween. Anyone else vomiting spiders in excitement?

You know the drill: I released something, so I have to do a post about it the day of, one week after, two weeks after, one month after, two months after, three months after, six months after, one year after, and then every year on the release anniversary. Hopefully you don’t find that too annoying.

So, as you know, last week the press I’m part of, Cracked Skull Press, released That Which Cannot Be Undone, an anthology of horror stories written by Ohio horror authors, set in Ohio, and revolving around the theme “that which cannot be undone.” This includes my spooky ghost story “Is Anyone There?,” which takes place at the Ohio State Reformatory and is inspired by something that happened to me at the prison a few years ago.

(I also had a short story, “Disillusionment and Trauma Sometimes Go Hand-in-Hand,” published in Volume 14 of the Ink Stains Anthology series on the same day, and you can get a copy for that here. However, since I had a bigger hand in the creation and release of TWCBU, this post focuses on that.)

As you know, getting this anthology created started over a year ago with just a dream and some talk among my fellow Ohio writers and friends. And a year, a Kickstarter campaign, and a whole lot of work later, the book is out, and we at Cracked Skull Press are focused on making sure that the book’s release isn’t the last you hear of it. Rather, we’re focusing on making sure that this dream goes on, and leads to all sorts of wonderful things. That TWCBU becomes an anthology all horror fans want on their bookshelves!

And from the looks of it, we’re making good progress on doing just that. It’s only been a week, but at the time I’m writing this, TWCBU has amassed four reviews on Amazon and five on Goodreads for an average score of 4.7 out of 5 and 4.40 out of 5, respectively. Here are what people are saying:

What a great idea for a horror anthology. These eighteen stories, all set in Ohio, weave different aspects of the state into their terrifying narratives. From the cities of Cleveland and Columbus, to an old prison, a drowned town, an abandoned winery, and many other natural and notable locations, these stories place Ohio front and centre on the map of horror landscapes.

Iseult Murphy, author of All of Me, Goodreads

When I was in 5th grade I discovered horror fiction, and I’ve been a fan ever since (almost 40 years), and I’ve always had an affliction for short story horror fiction collections. Especially the kind that makes a 12 year old think its better to ‘hold it’ than make a break for the bathroom in the middle of the night – the risk of putting a foot on the floor at 3am is too great.

This is a (creepy) collection of short stories, all with ties to Ohio where I now reside, although many references will be well known outside the area.

Its any easy read, as most short story collections are, with a variety of writing styles, so each story feels fresh. Some creepier than others, but all entertaining by their own merit. As the days are getting shorter and the weather colder, this makes for a perfect bed time snack before turning out the light (be sure use the restroom first).

Wallflower9193, Amazon

So glad I had this creepy captivating horror anthology to read during the short breaks between bands at a huge metal/rock festival over the last four days.

This anthology written by multiple authors had stories ranging from ghosts to murder to horrific creatures. This dark and chilling collection was a joy to read.

Gillian Casso Speiche, Amazon

And these are just a few of the reviews we’ve received! Imagine, as the backers get their copies and more people buy copies, what they’re going to say about the anthology! I’m getting chills just thinking about it. Or is that the legion of undead that have escaped my washing machine freezing up my condo?

Anyway, this is a great anthology that will hopefully continue to receive notice and praise, and I’m doing all I can to ensure that that happens. So, if you would like to check out the anthology, I’ll include the links for both Amazon and Goodreads below. And if you do read the anthology, I ask that you leave a review somewhere. Amazon, Goodreads, BookTube, BookTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, whatever! Just let us know what you think!. Reviews not only help us know what you’re thinking, but give readers an idea of what they’re about to get into, so it doubly helps us out!

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ll be back soon, I’m sure. In the meantime, I’ll be at the Licking County Local Author Fair with Cracked Skull Press on Saturday, October 15th, 2022 from 10:30 AM – 2 PM. If you’re in Newark, Ohio this weekend, stop by the Downtown Library and say hi. You may even get a signed book from it all.

Until next time, good night, pleasant nightmares, and 20 days till Halloween. Have you ingested pumpkin spice flavor yet? If not, better get to it!

That Which Cannot Be Undone: Amazon, Goodreads