To-Do List 01/07/17

  • Finally watch La La Land.
  • Finish article pitch for magazine.
  • Edit MYSTERY NOVELLA. Not a novella in the mystery genre. Just a novella I can’t talk about yet. I apologize for the confusion. Although the novella does indeed contain mysterious elements. But what doesn’t?
  • Argue with locals trying to barter the price I’ve listed for my used PS3.
  • Research anthologies and magazines currently open for submissions.
  • Finish reading Little Heaven and write a review.
  • Return to work after two nights off and try not to let misery devour me.
  • Let misery devour me.

StoryAWeek #1: “And All the World Drops Dead”

As I mentioned before, I’m participating in 2017’s A Story a Week Challenge, which means I am attempting to write a new short story every week. I am keeping progress of the challenge on the blog for reasons I haven’t quite figured out.

The first story of 2017 is titled “And All the World Drops Dead”. While writing it, I’d titled it “Poison (Deadly Nightshade)” but I think the new one is an improvement. The story is about two women (one cis, one transgender) driving around LA, high and drunk with a gun. There’s also a supernatural entity involved, but I’d rather not spoil the surprise.

I really love these two characters (Layla and Sylvia) and hope to write more about them in the future. I am a believer that most novels should be short stories and most short stories are already too long, but with this particular one, I’m thinking I could easily expand it into a novella or novel someday in the future. But for right now, I’m perfectly satisfied with its length of 4,000 words.

I’ll update y’all if and when I sell it. Until then, stay tuned for next week! Will I write another story, or will I fail like the poor pathetic sack of meat I am?


To-Do List 01/06/17

  • Go to sleep. I don’t work tonight and there’s no reason for me to be awake right now.
  • Eventually wake up, probably?
  • Proof Dark Moon Digest #26 and consider begging people to subscribe to the magazine by pledging to our Patreon but think better of it. I can’t ask people to buy things anymore. I can’t ask people anything. It’s so sickening. How can we function this way?
  • Watch the promo videos for Resident Evil 7 again and pee myself in the anticipation of its arrival.
  • Finish that goddamn story I haven’t been able to shut up about in the last couple posts.
  • Finish that goddamn article pitch I haven’t been able to shut up about in the last couple posts.
  • I finished that book review I was talking about last time, but the place I intended on sending it to turned out to be a dead end, so I’m waiting to hear back from another site about a potential reviewer gig.
  • Read more of Little Heaven.
  • Read Dark Moon Digest submissions and pretend like one day we’ll be completely caught up.
  • Spend time with Lori. Ask her to participate in a murder-suicide and pout when she once again declines the invite.
  • Buy a vanilla Diet Dr. Pepper from Sonic during happy hour. Drink it.
  • Write some more of Cirrhosis.

To-Do List 01/05/17

  • Purchase vendor table for San Antonio Lit Fest since I forgot the other day despite writing it on one of these to-do lists. GOTTA DO BETTER, MAX. GOTTA DO BETTER.
  • Repair credit card reader management somehow fucked up earlier today.
  • Mop the lobby and embrace the urge to turn my life into a musical once that mop’s in my hands.
  • Finish review of Jeff Strand’s excellent Cyclops Road and submit to cool website for potential reviewer job.
  • Watch the season premiere of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
  • Continue article pitch for potential column gig with horror magazine I can’t yet name.
  • Continue that goddamn Lana Del Rey tribute story. Not just continue but finish the motherfucker.
  • Continue edits for novella by MYSTERY AUTHOR.
  • Try not to blow up in a fit of rage caused by further issues with my Mac. Call Apple and inform them I just spent $150 with Geek Squad to repair it (and it’s not even repaired yet because now I have to order a goddamn part from Amazon since they don’t carry that shit in the store for some weird fucking reason) and only now did I discover Apple recalled my very type of laptop because of a faulty sata cable. Guess what’s wrong with my laptop, you motherfuckers? Also, surely Geek Squad knew about the recall. Sneaky bastards, all of them.
  • Try not to punch the next person who says “THAT’S WHAT YOU GET FOR BUYING A MAC” in the face. Some people only exist to say “THAT’S WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT A PC/MAC” after listening to someone’s computer troubles, and let me tell you, when the bombs drop, their deaths will be mercy killings.
  • Cash my paycheck since I am notorious for losing my direct depositing sign-up sheet so I’ve settled on never having direct deposit. It’s just not my destiny.
  • Play some more Alien: Isolation.
  • Play some more Rocket League with the kid.
  • Rub Lori’s back.
  • Squeeze in a short nap somewhere between blowing up in a fit of rage and rubbing Lori’s back.
  • Catch a 10:45PM showing of La La Land at the Alamo Drafthouse in New Braunfels.
  • Eat a goddamn peanut butter cookie.

To-Do List 01/04/17

  • Make a sign that says “PLEASE DO NOT ABUSE ME, YOU FUCKING ANIMALS” and tape it to the front desk service bell at my hotel.
  • Research potential open calls to send my short story “Every Breath is a Choice”. It was originally accepted to be published by Time Alone’s Let Me In anthology, but the press emailed their authors today informing them the project was dead. This was not a surprise. I predicted this would happen last year when they decided to split the anthology into three volumes because “golly, there are just so many good stories! we couldn’t possibly choose only ONE ToC!” Note that they couldn’t even publish one volume, nonetheless three.
  • Scratch ass.
  • Write a pitch article for a potential column series at a popular horror magazine you’ve undoubtedly read.
  • Write a pitch book review for a website that mostly reviews movies.
  • Continue and possibly finish this week’s short story, currently titled “Poison (Deadly Nightshade)”.
  • Add at least one page to novel-in-progress, titled Cirrhosis.
  • Continue edits on mystery novella.
  • Continue edits on Betty’s novella.
  • Type an entire sentence without getting interrupted by a guest requesting guidance on proper toilet-paper-wiping etiquette.
  • Don’t eat like a piece of shit. If you spend several weeks eating mostly healthy, then have fast food, your stomach will definitely file a complaint with the landlord. Ugh. Whataburger, you monster.
  • Proof this month’s issue of Dark Moon Digest.
  • Proof John Foster’s upcoming collection one final time.
  • Inhale.
  • Exhale.
  • Inhale.
  • Exhale.
  • Inhale.
  • Exhale.
  • Remind myself there’s a town in Texas called Ding Dong.
  • Smile.

The hotel book is finally out

Everybody who ordered one of the limited edition hardcovers should have their copy now. If you missed out on the HC, the eBook and paperback versions are also available. I wrote a thing on LitReactor about how the book came to life, but basically this one’s heavily based off my own experience from working the night shift at a hotel. Hopefully it’s funny and surreal and horrifying and an okay way to pass the time until you die.

It will probably get me fired. So please buy it so I can afford groceries once I’m unemployed.


You can buy it on Amazon HERE or if you want to buy a signed copy directly from me just shoot me an email at and we can work something out. The cost for signed copies will be a flat $20 (includes shipping) if you live in the US, and if you live outside the US just add another $7. Paypal only. The personalized copies will contain owl stickers.

I’ve typed the word “buy” out enough times in this post to make me vomit and I do apologize for that.

To-Do List 01/03/17

  • Send PDF of The Nightly Disease to Chinese agent requesting to check it out on behalf of one of her clients. Try not to get my hopes up. Try not to wonder why anybody would give a shit about some dumb thing I wrote while very sleepy. Consider contacting other foreign publishers and throwing my book at them. Wonder why I don’t have an agent. Consider setting myself on fire.
  • Write blog post about The Nightly Disease being officially available since it’s been out for, like, two weeks now and I haven’t said shit about it on this blog, except for right now, but this doesn’t count because nobody should be reading this list but me, hence why I’m posting it publicly instead of privately.
  • Continue working on Week 1’s story for the Story-a-Week challenge.
  • Begin edits on novella written by author I cannot reveal yet for a collection PMMP’s publishing sometime in early 2018.
  • Continue edits on Betty Rocksteady’s novella.
  • Continue not giving a shit about the point of doing things and continue just doing them because I fucking want to because that should be enough it needs to be enough it is enough and if anybody ever tries telling you or me differently burn their house down you burn it down and you make them eat the ashes of all their possessions and the ashes of their family
  • Enthusiastically reject the desire to edit punctuation into the last section.
  • Continue listening to Ramshackle Glory’s Die the Nightmare (or is that Live the Dream?)

  • Scream the sentence “ALL COPS ARE BASTARDS” over and over until I lose my voice.
  • Eat healthy. Stay moving when I’m not typing or shitting or sleeping or dying.
  • Contemplate pitch idea for a 33 1/3 book. Modest Mouse’s The Lonesome Crowded West? Well, no shit.
  • Only sleep the bare minimum necessary to prevent an automobile accident.

2017’s Story-a-Week Challenge

I’ll be trying to participate in 2017’s Story-a-Week Challenge, which is pretty self-explanatory. Every week this year I will attempt to begin and finish a new short story. The word count doesn’t matter. I won’t be doing this alone. Other much more talented folks like Jessica McHugh, Jay Wilburn, MIchael David Wilson, and others I don’t have the energy to name right now are also joining me. I don’t know if I’ll make every week but I’ll certainly try. I’ll write weekly updates on this here blog about how it’s going. I don’t know why this is something I feel like others will want to read about. It really isn’t. But I’m gonna do it anyway because who the fuck even reads this blog

To-Do List 01/02/17

  • Eat a dope-ass snickerdoodle cookie my girlfriend bought me at H-E-B. One of those kinda healthy (although what cookie is truly healthy?) cookies you find in the vegan aisle. Lots of protein and fiber and shit like that. They’re delicious. [FINISHED AS I WAS WRITING THIS LIST]
  • Drink some coffee, but don’t overdo it like I did on New Year’s Eve. I drank three entire pots that day. My stomach got furious at me and rejected it all out about twenty minutes into the new year. But I try not to drink alcohol because cirrhosis is destroying my liver and that is not a joke, it’s the real deal, Phil, so what else is there? Water? Ha-ha, what the fuck, you’re adorable.
  • Begin edits on Betty Rocksteady’s novella for the second time. PMMP’s publishing it sometime this year. Probably in April, but I’m not 100% yet. I’d already edited half of it, but my Mac is officially D-E-A-D and I am a fool who forgot to back it up, so now I’m starting on the edits again. The one time I edit something directly from a computer screen instead of printing it out and attacking it with a pen and highlighter. This is what I deserve.
  • Wonder what I will do if Geek Squad can’t fix my Mac. I have some money but not a lot and certainly not enough for a new laptop right now. Thanks a fucking lot, Santa.
  • Order vendor table for San Antonio Lit Fest in April
  • Read more of Nick Cutter’s Little Heaven and John Darnielle’s Master of Reality
  • Write a blog post about embracing the 2017 Story-a-Week challenge
  • Write my first story of 2017, a little girls-on-the-run-with-a-goddamn-gun piece currently titled “Poison (Deadly Nightshade)”, which is, yes, a reference to Lana Del Rey’s “Ultraviolence”.

  • Survive my first shift back at the hotel after three extremely productive nights off
  • Survive
  • Survive
  • Survive
  • Wonder what’s so special about surviving

A Very Spooky Story for Halloween

It was a dark and stormy night, and all of the children in town had to stay inside since their terrible parents wouldn’t let them walk in the rain. The next year, some of those kids were deemed too old by society to continue trick r’ treating. Instead, they lay in bed scrolling their social media feeds, viewing the parties of more popular kids and pretending they’d been invited. A few years later, these same kids went off to college and became accountants and lawyers. Some of them chose not to attend college and stayed in their shit-ass towns to join the local police force. Even with their calculators or neckties or big guns at their hips, none of them ever found the kind of happiness they’d once experienced as children trick r’ treating on Halloween night.

They all died alone.

Just as their parents had died. Just as their parents’ parents had died.

Just as their own children will die.

Just as you will die.