New Novel Coming Soon: THE NIGHTLY DISEASE

I’m stoked to announce DarkFuse will be publishing my new novel, titled The Nightly Disease (previously No Sleep ‘Til Dying).  This is the “hotel novel” I never seem to shut up about, based loosely on my own experiences as a hotel night auditor.

Check out this fucking cover painted by the lovely Zach McCain:

nightly_disease-1

Sleep is just a myth created by mattress salesmen.

Isaac, a night auditor of a hotel somewhere in the surreal void of Texas, is sick and tired of his guests. When he clocks in at night, he’s hoping for a nice, quiet eight hours of Netflix-bingeing and occasional masturbation. What he doesn’t want to do is fetch anybody extra towels or dive face-first into somebody’s clogged toilet. And he sure as hell doesn’t want to get involved in some trippy owl conspiracy or dispose of any dead bodies. But hey…that’s life in the hotel business.

Welcome to The Nightly Disease. Please enjoy your stay.

The Nightly Disease will be first be released as an online serial for the paid subscribes of DarkFuse Magazine throughout the month of October. Every night next month, a new installment will be posted at 11PM EST, which is what time I would be clocking in at my hotel if I lived somewhere with an Eastern Standard Timezone. But alas! I am Central, so each installment will actually be posted an hour before my shift begins. Which makes sense, because the hour before my shift is often the cruelest.

You can order an annual subscription of the magazine HERE, and if you enter the code CheckMeIn you’ll even receive a 50% discount. Note: this offer expires on September 29th at 11:59PM EST.

The Nightly Disease will also be published  as a limited edition (52 copies) signed hardcover early next year. Pre-orders for this hardcover will be made available sometime in October, so keep an eye out. Subscribe to my newsletter if you want me to email you the moment you can pre-order it (subscribe in the sidebar to your right).

I’ve also received many queries about paperback and digital editions. The answer is yes, those will be made available sometime in 2017 as well, but right now the publisher would like to focus on selling the 52 limited hardcovers first. So if you can’t afford the limited edition signed hardcover when it’s available, hey, it’s okay, there will be cheaper methods of purchasing it sometime down the road.

Until there is more news to report, I recommend liking my Confessions of a Night Auditor page on Facebook, which I regularly update during my night shifts.

Observations from Teaching an 8-Year-Old How to Play Chess

page-image-3184-8a3b4aa3-5bd7-4985-bf9e-a345f26cb5e6

  • If you buy a game box that includes both checkers and chess, the 8-year-old will undoubtedly want to play chess, despite the fact that you know it’s too difficult for him and he’d have a much better time playing checkers. Why would anybody want anything to do with a round piece-of-shit chip when, in the other game, you get to fuck around with knights and kings?
  • I’ve never been good at chess until I played an 8-year-old.
  • Despite how many times you explain how a knight moves, he will insist on moving it in every other goddamn shape except for an L.
  • He would rather sacrifice any other piece on the board–including his king–for the precious life of one of his pawns.
  • Every single time one of his pawns die, it will feel like the end of the world.
  • He refuses to call the queen a “queen”, but instead “the mother”.
  • When preparing for a game, he will inevitably point at me and shout, “I’m gonna kill your mother!”
  • His smack-talk is unbeatable.

Six Flags: Scum of the Earth

The people who visit Six Flags are fucking disgusting, and I am one of them.

They stop in the middle of walkways. They take selfies as you’re trying to get into the bathroom. They sprawl out on benches when there could easily be enough room for another two people to sit. They drip of sweat and try to touch you as they pass. They eat enough grease to clog every artery in their bodies, and they eat even more. Nothing is ever enough. They stand in lines then complain about the lines and look at their phones then complain about their lack of signal.

Everybody who goes to my Six Flags is a piece of shit.

The place is so crowded you can’t even think. Everybody is filthy and drenched in cheeseburger jism. Everybody reeks of an adventurous asshole.

Last week, a kid in Kansas was fucking decapitated on a water slide. Today, kids in Texas are jumping down slides without a care in the world. Any one of them could be next. That kid who rode the Batman ride today could have easily flown out of his seat. I stood in line and imagined it happening, figured I’d be the one to do a football-dash and catch him inches from concrete. Everybody is imagining the same thing. That, and they’re fantasizing about sticking their dicks in a funnel cake after the ride. I assume that’s what you do with a funnel cake. At least, from experience, that’s what I think you do. Don’t correct me if I’m wrong.

I have no reason to write this blog post other than the fact that I want to update the site more and this is the most exciting thing to happen to me in weeks, which is depressing and funny. Funny to me. Depressing to you.

I fucking hate amusement parks. The people who attend these things are terrible and will probably vote for Trump. But I still go. The kids like it. Sometimes I do, too. When the parks are ghost towns and the breeze is right.

One of these days I’m gonna pay the twenty dollars and get shot into the clouds.

But hey. At least I passed my ten thousand steps, so I guess that’s something. And also, I didn’t fuck a funnel cake, and believe me, that was no easy feat.

Is This Horror? This Is! This IS Horror!

This-Is-Horror-Podcast1

Michael David Wilson is a madman. The fact that he uses his middle name should have been your first indication. Typically only serial killers use all three names. But Michael isn’t a serial killer. At least we assume he isn’t. He might be, but I doubt it. Regardless, he is a bit crazy. You see, every month the editors at LitReactor email the staff (which includes Michael and myself) asking for article pitches. This month, Michael decided to pitch the following:

“I can write ‘How I Doubled My Patreon Support in 30 Days‘ provided you tell me ASAP you’re commissioning it and give me at least thirty days to write it—it’s going to be a pretty experimental column.”

And of course the editors accepted the pitch. So now he has 30 days to double his Patreon, which sounds fucking crazy, but hey, “Crazy” is Michael’s middle name. Okay, well actually, it’s “David”, but you get what I’m saying. Dude’s bonkers.

In case you live under a rock, Michael is the mastermind behind the horror platform, This is Horror. It’s a podcast, review sanctuary, blog, merch shop, publishing house…and probably other, more illegal things I don’t yet know about. It’s one of the best damn podcasts around, if I’m being honest. I’m already a supporter of This is Horror’s Patreon account, and I highly encourage you to do the same.

This is Horror is dedicated to supporting the genre. It’s keeping us alive. We owe it to them to pay them back. Hell, I’ve even been on the show, but don’t let that talk you out of supporting the cause, because so has Stephen Graham Jones, Paul Tremblay, Josh Malerman, and many other much more talented folks.

There’s a lot of great perks that come with supporting this Patreon, too. Head on over to their page to check them out, and consider sharing the link on your own social media accounts once you click that big, orange “Become a patron” button.

Their goal is either 78 patrons or $390.

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.

chiral mad 3

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.

oiYM2

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.

Same-people-that-brought-you-Platoon

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.

12000898_976567442395401_2122028720077253832_o

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.