Blood Dust

Chiral Mad 3 is now available as an ebook, paperback, and limited edition signed hardback. Edited by Michael Bailey, this anthology includes what I consider to be my best short story (so far): “Blood Dust”. It’s about dogs that eat trash. Other things happen, too. I think. I don’t know, it’s been a while since I wrote it.

But I can say it was directly inspired by a Modest Mouse song called “Wild Pack of Family Dogs”. I recommend listening to the song before and after reading the story.

If you wanted a signed hardback, looks like there’s only 13 left. After that, you’re out of luck. Get one here. You can also buy an ebook or paperback from the same link. Or you can shop on Amazon, if you’re one of those…types.

Here’s a photo of my contributor copy, along with a print of Glen Chadbourne’s beautiful illustration that accompanies my story.

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Also included in this massive, glorious anthology:

Introduction: Observations on Horror Burnout – Chuck Palahniuk

Fiction:
01. The Poetry of Life – Richard Chizmar
02. The Last Rung on the Ladder – Stephen King
03. A Rift in Reflection – Hal Bodner
04. Windows, Mirrors, Doors – Jason V Brock
05. Prayer – Mort Castle
06. The Agonizing Guilt of Relief (Last Days of a Ready-Made Victim) – Paul Michael Anderson
07. The Black Crow of Boddinstraße – Emily B. Cataneo
08. A Flash of Red – Erinn L. Kemper
09. Red Runner vs. The Surgeon, Issue 18 – Jessica May Lin
10. The Dead Collection – Mercedes M. Yardley
11. Watch Me – Meghan Arcuri
12. The Bigger Bedroom – Josh Malerman
13. That Perilous Stuff – Scott Edelman
14. Know Your Code – Ramsey Campbell
15. 3-Dot People – Gene O’Neill
16. Silver Thread, Hammer Ring – Gary A. Braunbeck
17. Those Who Watch From on High – Eric J. Guignard
18. Blood Dust – Max Booth III
19. The Offering on the Hill – Richard Thomas
20. The Whipping Girls – Damien Angelica Walters
21. Seconds – Jack Ketchum

Poetry:
01. Fair – P. Gardner Goldsmith
02. Fail-Safe – Jonathan Balog
03. Folie à Deux – Sydney Leigh
04. Reflecting on Reflections – Bruce Boston
05. Mirror Image – Marge Simon
06. Black River #1 – Elizabeth Massie
07. Prescience – Rose Blackthorn
08. The Speed of Sound – Ciarán Parkes
09. Welcome Home, Darling – Stephanie M. Wytovich
10. Whisper #1 (A Warning) – Erik T. Johnson
11. Whisper #2 (A Prophecy) – Erik T. Johnson
12. Put Me to Dream – Stephanie M. Wytovich
13. Recognizing Trees – Ciarán Parkes
14. Arbitration – Rose Blackthorn
15. Black River #2 – Elizabeth Massie
16. Reflections Through the Raven’s Eye – Marge Simon
17. Beyond Symmetry – Bruce Boston
18. Folie à Plusieurs – Sydney Leigh
19. Insomnia in Reverse – Jonathan Balog
20. Promise – P. Gardner Goldsmith

BUY CHIRAL MAD 3

Epiphanies at 4:00AM on a Sunday

  • Downton Abbey is not called Downtown Abby. I still do not know what it is about.
  • Pistachios are remarkably easy to open once you realize you’re supposed to take the first shell you crack and wedge it into the other pistachios then twist until they split.
  • Gilmore Girls is a better show than I anticipated. Also, if a death metal band ever covered the show’s theme song, it would suddenly sound like the song was about a stalker/murderer.
  • I have a job so I can fill up my gas tank and I have a car so I can go to work.
  • I won’t be able to care about politics until I learn how to care about myself, and that will never happen.
  • Those Hap and Leonard books are not arriving at my house soon enough.
  • Some of these things were not epiphanies.
  • It is not easy for me to spell “epiphanies”.

How an Author Should Behave During the Torturous Purgatory Publishers Put You Through While Considering Your Stupid Story

I write stuff sometimes. The majority of it is not very good. I am not delusional. I understand that, like most writers, I am merely using creative fiction as a way to pass the brief flicker of time between life and death. But I do submit a lot of short stories. Sometimes they are accepted and sometimes they are not. As a publisher, I also receive a lot of submissions from other writers. Sometimes I am quick to respond and other times I am very slow. There are different reasons for this. Sometimes I’m lazy and sometimes I’m indecisive and sometimes I’m drowning.

I’ve been doing this long enough to understand that a publisher cannot accept every submission they receive, especially when the submissions cause their eyeballs to rupture. As badass and metal as that sounds, you do not want this to happen. You will not be accepted if an editor’s eyeballs rupture. In fact, you may be placed on some sort of list.

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The wait between submitting a story and receiving a response can be cruel. I completely understand. That’s why I’ve written these little tips on how to successfully survive these rough times. Here is what I do. As always, please try these at home:

  1. As soon as you submit your story, immediately go to the SENT folder in your email and reread your cover letter. Did you address the editor by the correct name? No? Well then resend the submission and apologize for the mistake. Most editors will reject you for the tiniest error. Do you think it doesn't matter whether you sign off your cover letter with a "Sincerely," or a "Best,"? If so, you are not ready to be a professional writer.
  2. Return to the SENT folder and reread your submission. Take a gander at the million typos you missed before sending it in, you big dumb idiot. Now fix all the typos and send the story in for a third time. Don’t worry: editors love this and openly encourage this type of behavior. It shows you have passion.
  3. Now sit back and wait. Check the time. Has at least five minutes passed yet? Yes? Perhaps they’ve read and responded. You better check your email.
  4. Repeat Step 3 until they respond. If one week passes and you still have not received a response, follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Go through every post and tweet they’ve written and “like” or “fav” it. Share things they posted three years ago. Comment on their friend's daughter's birthday photos. Friend their spouses and compliment their taste in sex.
  5. If you still have not received a response after accomplishing the first four steps, then obviously your submission was lost in the slush and you should just go ahead and submit it again.

All right, I think that about covers the basics. Good luck out there!

Gouge Your Eyeballs Out and Shuffle the Deck

For the majority of 2015, I was obsessed with a new novel. It looks like I will continue to be drowning in this same project for at least a couple more months. I am, of course, speaking of my much anticipated (by my parents) hotel novel, No Sleep ‘Til Dying.

It’s turned into an absolutely insane book that I have to admit I no longer have any control over. It’s currently sitting at 66,000 words, but that’s after many rewrites and edits. Last week, while aimlessly scrolling through various chapters, wondering how to fix the many things that I’m not satisfied with yet, I came to the realization that the pacing in the novel is dogshit.

The problem is, I wrote No Sleep ‘Til Dying entirely out of sequence. I created the puzzle pieces before knowing what order they’d go in or what kind of image they’d create once they were connected. For example: I didn’t write the first chapter until last night. I am a man of constant chaos, and I do not recommend it.

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The novel is (well, was) split up into three, mostly standalone sections.

Bad writer, bad!

The solution was easy. I needed to edit the manuscript and merge all three sections. These different plots are all part of family, so why was I so adamant on forcing them into different homes? Now, under other circumstances, the road ahead would send me into a cold sweat. But, this book is different than any other book I’ve written: I wrote it on the greatest goddamn program ever invented.

Scrivener.

With Scrivener, you can easily organize each scene and drag them before and after other scenes.So, if you think the owl keeper should have died before Pablo bought a mocha latte at Starbucks, then simply drag your “The death of the owl keeper” file on top of your “Pablo gets refreshed with a tasty beverage” file, and once you convert the final draft into a doc file, everything is peachy.

Instead of many, many hours of exhausting rewrites, all I had to do was drag various scenes from parts two and three and merge them into  part one, into spaces where the content made the most sense to be introduced. I’m not saying the reordering is close to done, of course. I still need to go back through the book and make sure I’m not referencing shit that hasn’t even happened yet. But Scrivener has definitely saved me a lot of time, and for that I am forever in its debt.

On second thought, I paid for that fucking program, so I owe it nothing.

Anyway, if you want a super convenient program to write novels on, I highly recommend you go pick yourself up a copy. It’s only $45.

New Hotel Horror Story: “Darling”

My short story “Darling” is now available in Gothic Blue Book V: The Cursed Edition. It is about a night auditor who takes a sudden liking to one of his new guests. It’s a good mix of Gothic and body horror.

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Also included in the anthology are the following wonderful people:

Thanks to Christian A. Larsen for compiling all those author links on his own blog post, which I shamelessly stole.

Buy the paperback HERE or purchase the kindle HERE.

Mandy De Sandra Kidnaps Kirk Cameron

I recently wrote a novel called How to Successfully Kidnap Strangers. Some people have used it as a guide, others have used it to balance wobbly dinner tables. It’s about a writer who one day impulsively kidnaps a book reviewer outside of a coffee shop, in front of dozens of witnesses. This is obviously not how one would successfully go about kidnapping a stranger. My novel is more of an anti-guide. Do the opposite of what my characters do, and you might actually have a successful abduction.

But now that I’ve gotten a few kidnappings under my belt, I’ve decided to hold some auditions for those who might be interested in being my partner. Today’s audition features Mandy De Sandra. We will be discussing the possibility of kidnapping the protagonist from her truly inspiring book, Kirk Cameron & The Crocoduck of Chaos Magick.

Kirk Cameron JPG Cover

MB: All right, Mandy, before I agree to be your partner, you’re gonna have to answer a few questions. I don’t kidnap strangers with just anybody. Well, not usually. I have a long list of potential partners awaiting my consideration, so let’s make this fast. Who the hell are you, and why should I trust you?

MDS: I am a proud worker of The Department of Labor and a Bizarro Erotica writer. My friend Stephanie says I’m the only homegirl she has that she trusts with her man. I am way prettier than her so that is a testimony to my character.

MB: Provide examples of your criminal past. Any jail time served? Ever jaywalk or swallow your gum even though you knew it would stay in your stomach for years until eventually hatching into a horrifying monster? I need to know this kind of stuff ahead of time.

MDS: At my all girls boarding school my roommate and I got caught masturbating to Mr. Belvedere. I just think male servants are hot. It was embarrassing but that was really it. I am a good girl except on the page.

MB: Do you have any special talents? What can you bring to the table?

MDS: I can make very good Ethiopian food. I had an ex-boyfriend from there (a real man, not like Trevor) and he taught me how to make the sponge bread. I can pack it up in snack packs while we follow and kidnap someone.

MB: I don’t think I’ve ever eaten Ethiopian food, so this will be quite the adventure. Cool, so if you’re wanting to work with me, you must already have a target in mind. Who are we kidnapping?

MDS: Kirk Cameron.

MB: Haha, oh boy.

MDS: Kirk has been brainwashed by the religious right and he won’t do a Growing Pains movie because of it. We need to help and save this talented genius.

MB: How much money you think we can get out of him?

MDS: Mr. Booth, this isn’t about money. This is about art.

MB: How dangerous is this guy?

MDS: I heard Kirk has taken Karate but has a weakness for cheese. We should bring some cheese from Whole Foods to distract him.

MB: What location were you thinking?

MDS: Camp Pray The Gay Away or Ray Comfort’s house.

MB: Okay, we have a target and a location. Now we need to discuss method. There’s many ways to kidnap a person. We could sneak up on him and throw a potato sack over his head. We could order him a pizza and lace it with sleeping pills. The possibilities are endless. You know this person better than anybody. How do you recommend going about this?

MDS: We say that we’re sorry for being sinners and we want to be saved. We ask him to pray with us and then we hit him over the head with a bible or one of my clear heels I bought from Frederick’s.

MB: Now that we have him, how long until someone notices he’s gone? Who’s going to be coming after him? Should I be worried?

MDS: Ray Comfort and that cast of God’s Not Dead. We should be very worried.

MB: How could we convince him we mean business?

MDS: I need you take pictures of me sitting on Kirk Cameron’s face. That the facesitting will stop only when Kirk Cameron signs a contract to make the Growing Pains movie.

MB: What do you think will happen?

MDS: I think there will be a Growing Pains movie in 2016 on Starz.

MB: Yay!

Brandon Barrows Kidnaps His Protagonist

I recently wrote a novel called How to Successfully Kidnap Strangers. Some people have used it as a guide, others have used it to balance wobbly dinner tables. It’s about a writer who one day impulsively kidnaps a book reviewer outside of a coffee shop, in front of dozens of witnesses. This is obviously not how one would successfully go about kidnapping a stranger. My novel is more of an anti-guide. Do the opposite of what my characters do, and you might actually have a successful abduction.

But now that I’ve gotten a few kidnappings under my belt, I’ve decided to hold some auditions for those who might be interested in being my partner. Today’s audition features Brandon Barrows. We will be discussing the possibility of kidnapping the protagonist from his new collection, The Castle-Town Tragedy and Other Stories.

The Castle-Town Tragedy

MB: All right, Brandon, before I agree to be your partner, you’re gonna have to answer a few questions. I don’t kidnap strangers with just anybody. Well, not usually. I have a long list of potential partners awaiting my consideration, so let’s make this fast. Who the hell are you, and why should I trust you?

BB: I’m a bad mamma-jamma. I’m the Ace of Bass. I’m the meanest man on the west side (of Colchester, Vermont) and you can trust me because I told you to and bad things happen to people who don’t do what I tell them.

MB: Provide examples of your criminal past. Any jail time served? Ever jaywalk or swallow your gum even though you knew it would stay in your stomach for years until eventually hatching into a horrifying monster? I need to know this kind of stuff ahead of time.

BB: One time, I got so drunk I tried to walk the wrong way up the middle of a one-way street and collapsed, vomiting all over myself (presumably repeatedly). At least, that’s what the police told me when I woke up. I gave them the old spiral eyes whammy, though, and got off with a bench appearance. Boo-ya, turkeys!

MB: Do you have any special talents? What can you bring to the table?

BB: I can rattle off the backstories of thousands of fictional characters without taking a breath. I can consistently get up to ninesies in jacks. My jeans don’t get dirty cuz dirt knows better than that. And I always bring the finest imported china to the table, because I like to make my dinner guests feel like an evening together is something special.

MB: All right, so if you’re wanting to work with me, you must already have a target in mind. Who are we kidnapping?

BB: Mister Thomas Carnacki of London.

MB: What’s so special about him?

BB: Well, he’s Edwardian England’s foremost occultist as well as a self-taught scientist of some renown who spends his days battling both supernatural and human evil across the British Isles. That and he has access to some damned fine liquor.

MB: What kind of ransom are we looking at? What’s in it for me?

BB: Oh, I don’t want money, I just want to see about maybe becoming his apprentice or something. Writing weird fiction is fine and all, but living the weird/supernatural life seems like it’d be a lot more fulfilling.

What’s in it for you? Did I mention Carnacki’s collection of fine liquors?

MB: Be honest. How dangerous is this person?

BB: Well, he can and has held his own against ghosts, demons and cosmic deities from beyond the Outer Circle, plus he carries a gun, so… sort of dangerous, I guess. I mean, I once saw him break the arm of a thug, a member of a gang pretending to haunt an abandoned mansion to keep local villagers out of their way, just by giving him a knowing look. So, watch out for that and maybe wear some mirrored sunglasses and maybe those houdou looks’ll get reflected back.

Also a big, cartoon-style net to capture him in. It’s so simple, so low-tech, so mundane, he’ll never see it coming. I hope.

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MB: What location were you thinking? Is there somewhere we can get him alone?

BB: Well, he’s usually alone on his occult investigations and he does go to some awfully far-out places for those sometimes so there should be plenty of opportunity. As for getting to one of those, we’ll have to stake out his place, maybe go through his mail even, to figure out exactly when and where. He lives alone, too, actually but he’s got these friends who are always over drinking his liquor and smoking his tobacco in exchange for letting Carnacki brag about his exploits, so that’s no good. They aren’t there ALL the time, of course, but if he disappeared from his own home, I’ve got a feeling they’d know something was up pretty quickly.

MB: Okay, we have a target and a location. Now we need to discuss method. There’s many ways to kidnap a person. We could sneak up on him and throw a potato sack over his head. We could shoot him with a tranquilizer. We could order him a pizza and lace it with sleeping pills. The possibilities are endless. You know this person better than anybody. How do you recommend going about this?

BB: Since most of these investigations are spent in dark, out of the place, supposedly-haunted places, as I mentioned, I think we can just make sure he’s alone, stuff him in a sack and then be off on our way. People bring Carnacki in cuz they’re scared and at their wits’ end already, so it’d likely just enhance the place’s reputation and keep away any possible investigators – at least for a while. It’s kind of perfect, actually.

MB: Now that we have him, how long until someone notices he gone? Who’s going to be coming after him? Should I be worried?

BB: Hmm, he has a tendency to disappear on cases for anywhere from days to a couple months at a time, so I’d say we’d probably have at least a month or two before anyone really got suspicious. As for who’d come after him… well, who can say? His friends probably wouldn’t themselves, but they might contact some of Carnacki’s occult associates. As for who those would be, I frankly don’t have a clue at the moment. But, hey, why worry ‘til it happens?

MB: How could we convince them we mean business?

BB: This is an easy one. I read on the bathroom wall in a haunted public library that Carnacki is ticklish as all get out. Tie him up, grab a feather and go to town on those tootsies. Bam, results.

MB: How do you predict this hypothetical kidnapping ending? Will it all be smooth sailing, or is there a massive gunfight in our future? I don’t mind spilling a little blood here and there, I just need to be prepared.

BB: Well, I’m hoping he’ll see it for what it is: an attempt to obtain his approval and mentorship and instantly accept me as his apprentice. I mean, this is how you build long-lasting relationships as far as I know. Yeah, the more I think about this, the more right it feels. I think as soon as we have Carnacki in that over-sized net, everything’ll be just fine. I’ve got a good feeling about this.

MB: Me too. Let’s do this.

Gregory Bouthiette Kidnaps…Himself

I recently wrote a novel called How to Successfully Kidnap Strangers. Some people have used it as a guide, others have used it to balance wobbly dinner tables. It’s about a writer who one day impulsively kidnaps a book reviewer outside of a coffee shop, in front of dozens of witnesses. This is obviously not how one would successfully go about kidnapping a stranger. My novel is more of an anti-guide. Do the opposite of what my characters do, and you might actually have a successful abduction.

But now that I’ve gotten a few kidnappings under my belt, I’ve decided to hold some auditions for those who might be interested in being my partner. Today’s audition features Gregory Bouthiette. We will be discussing the possibility of kidnapping the protagonist from his novel, The Book of Adventures.

book of adventures

MB: All right, Gregory, before I agree to be your partner, you’re gonna have to answer a few questions. I don’t kidnap strangers with just anybody. Well, not usually. I have a long list of potential partners awaiting my consideration, so let’s make this fast. Who the hell are you, and why should I trust you?

GB: I’m Gregory Bouthiette. And I have autism. You can always trust people with autism. It’s the law.

MB: Provide examples of your criminal past. Any jail time served? Ever jaywalk or swallow your gum even though you knew it would stay in your stomach for years until eventually hatching into a horrifying monster? I need to know this kind of stuff ahead of time.

GB: I am a master thief. I steal everything from diamonds to groceries. I even stole a guys peg leg once.

MB: Do you have any special talents? What can you bring to the table?

GB: I also make an excellent distraction for kidnap jobs. Witnesses will have no idea what’s going on when I’m talking their ears off.

MB: Whoa. That’s surprisingly clever. All right, so if you’re wanting to work with me, you must already have a target in mind. Who are we kidnapping?

GB: Actually, I’m the target.

bouthiette

MB: Uh…I think you need to elaborate a little here.

GB: Well, I’m the main character of a book. What’s more special than that?

MB: What, um, what kind of ransom are we looking at? Why should I help you kidnap…you?

GB: $2.70 and a pristine collection of wrestler action figures. You can loot my room afterwards, but that is the best of the lot.

MB: That’s a pretty big score. But how dangerous are you?

GB: A hammer to the head will be all you really need. I’m really not that dangerous. Remember that whole trusting autistic people thing?

MB: Okay, good point. Where should I snatch you?

GB: You can kidnap me outside of my house, that will be a good location.

MB: Right, so we have a target and a location. Now we need to discuss method. There’s many ways to kidnap a person. We could sneak up on you and throw a potato sack over your head. We could shoot you with a tranquilizer. We could order you a pizza and lace it with sleeping pills. The possibilities are endless.

GB: Just like you have to trust everyone with autism, people with autism have to trust you. You can just ask me to go with you and I will go with you.

MB: Well, that sounds easy. How long until someone notices you’re gone?

GB: My mom will notice that I’m gone first, it will take one minute for her to notice that I’m gone. I’d definitely be worried about her coming for you.

MB: Shit. I don’t like the sound of this. How could we convince her we mean business?

GB: Force me to be a backup dancer for Justin Bieber. That will show her who she’s messing with.

MB: How do you predict this hypothetical kidnapping ending?

GB: Wait, why are you kidnapping me again? This seems like a lot of work.

MB: Good point. I’m sorry for wasting your time, sir.

So Far, I Haven’t Had to Kidnap Any Reviewers

Hello, Internet. My new novel has been out for a few weeks now. So far nobody has told me they hated it, which is strange. I suspect that the plot of the book–a crazy author kidnapping a blogger who writes negative reviews–might be influencing some of my book’s praise, and that is completely okay. In this post I’ve collected some reviews the book has received so far, as well as recent interviews and articles I’ve been involved in. So here we go.

Reviews

Interviews

  • S.W. Lauden interrogated me about obnoxious reviewers and what being a publisher has taught me about being a writer.
  • This is Horror interviewed Lori and myself about Perpetual Motion Machine.
  • Benoit from Dead End Follies and I discuss in great length online writing communities, social media promotion for writers, and many other things.
  • My wiener dog/literary agent questioned me about the mysterious smell coming from our pantry.

Articles

 

Okay, that’s it. Stay tuned for more things. Until then, here’s an adorable owlet:

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