Tag Archives: writing

Dear Writer


You are not special.

You do not deserve leniency.

You are an employee of the mind. You wanted to work, well here’s your chance to work. Now work.

You are no different than the kid who flips burgers at McDonald’s.

You are the garbage man outside your house.

You are the person scraping road kill off the side of the highway.

You do not get a speed-pass to skip ahead in line. There is nothing remarkable about you that differentiates you from any other soul out there trying to make a dollar.

You are a person with a job to do. You either do your job, or you’re fired. You sit around, fucking off, complaining about your job enough, then we’ll just find someone else to do it.

You don’t feel like writing? Too bad. Do you think the waitress feels like busting her ass off, listening to your problems, only for a two dollar tip? No, but she does it anyway. Why? Because she has a job to do. She wants to get paid. Your worries are pathetic in her eyes. She doesn’t sit around and wait for something to inspire her to refill your coffee.

Every second you aren’t writing is another second you’re wasting on the clock. What are you even doing here?

You may not have a spatula or a box cutter, but you do have a pen, you do have a keyboard. Your tools may be different, but it doesn’t change the fact that your shift isn’t even close to over.

Dear writer, either piss off or do your fucking job.

Now Available – Jamais Vu #1

The debut issue of Jamais Vu: Journal of the Strange Among the Familiar was recently released, and it includes my short story, “Video Nasties”. The issue includes a lot of great short stories, poems, reviews, and articles. It also features an ongoing column from Mr. Harlan Ellison himself.

jamais vu 1

My short story, “Video Nasties”, is inspired by the James Bulger case that haunted many people back in the ’90s. In case you aren’t aware of what happened, two 10 year-old boys abducted, tortured, and murdered a toddler. It is a very haunting story, and it stayed with me for a long time. The only way I found myself able to deal with it was by writing a short story and draining all my emotions into it.

Jamais Vu #1 has earned a few great reviews so far, many of them directly referencing my story. Check out some of these snippets…

“Max Booth III’s story brings us firmly back to reality. It’s brilliant. Relentless. Flashes of video games and movies that we’ve all seen and played before provide a bleak backdrop to this story of two bored kids who take their entertainment too far. Also fertile ground for the essays that accompany the story. The language is unpretentious and very much how I imagine a pair of teenage boys would talk and interact. You knew what was coming. You hoped it wouldn’t. But he took us there, and he wouldn’t let us blink.”

“‘Video Nasties’ by Max Booth III is a disquieting short story about casual violence and the root causes. So topical is the story that it is accompanied by two thought-provoking essays debating the role of media as the catalyst for a proliferation of violence.”

And finally, the magazine’s editor, Paul Anderson, recently wrote up a lengthy Facebook post about why exactly he decided to accept my story for the issue. Fellow horror authors, pay attention now. What Anderson says here is essential for almost any horror story, not just mine:

“Max, very early on in the submission process, messaged me about possibly submitting. He wanted to check because of the wording of our guidelines and he didn’t want to be in the wrong (tip for writers: do this. If guidelines say, for examples, zombies are an incredibly hard sell, you might not want to send a zombie story or, at the very least, query the editor. There ARE dumb questions–if we’re being honest–but querying saves both you and the editor a lot of time and frustration). At this point, I’d just come off my duties as Acquisition Editor for Post Mortem Press–which was basically my test drive for this job, sorta–and had read and recommended we accept his novel TOXICITY.

TOXICITY is a dark comedy.

The story Max asked me about, and submitted, is not.

He told me, prior, that it was inspired by the Bulger (not Whitey) case–which, we all remember, was the infamous Mercyside case of two ten-year-olds torturing and murdering a toddler.

He asked if it was okay to send in.

I, admittedly reluctantly, said yes. Send it in. I have a child, a small daughter, and my tastes have changed since she was born.

“Video Nasties” is roughly 2,800 words and it’s hard to read. Incredibly hard. You would not think that a person who came up with the outlandishness of something like TOXICITY–you’ll be able to get it soon, gentle reader, and you’ll want to–could come up with this.

If you have child, it’s difficult to read. Even if you don’t, it’s difficult. My wife refused to read it. It is not outwardly graphic–the majority of the violence is, for lack of a better term, out of frame–but the subject matter is disturbing. No kidding–for as brutal and reminiscent of Jack Ketchum it might be, it’s only a tenth as brutal as the inspiration. Max actually softened a lot of things.

So, why’d I accept it? Why was it one of the first pieces I had in my mental Table of Contents as I began sifting through the maybes?

Because–as much as it disturbed me, as much as it made me want to cling to my daughter, as much as it made me want to shut my eyes and look away…I thought it was Important, with initial capitals.

Horror is not about just the grossout. It’s not just about the tension of the rough beast slouching towards Bethlehem to be born. Horror is the visceral reaction to what disturbs us, what unnerves us, what makes us shut our eyes and want to turn away. And NOTHING is more horrifying than what we can do to one another. Horror is about the alien nature of the other–the other person. The outsider. That’s what can make it literature. That’s what can make it important.

Max not only harnessed that, but utilized it to fully push it in another thematic direction. If it were just about the brutality of humans to other humans, “Video Nasties” would be B-grade Ketchum. I am no fan of torture-porn and aspiring writers take note: you send me that and 100% of the time you will be rejected.

But this isn’t torture-porn by any stretch of one’s logical thinking. He put his guts on this thing and forced us to examine–not the action, but the WHY of the action, and the sometimes ridiculously frustrating fact that the WHY may forever be beyond our grasp, and we can only hang on to scapegoats and pale superficial things in substitute.

I read and re-read Max’s story as we inched towards publication with Issue 1. The story didn’t get any easier.

And that’s a good thing.

I can tell you to buy Issue 1 for many reasons–not the least of which that it keeps me in a job; c’mon, people, I got a kid to feed, here–but one of the foremost reasons is because of Max, who does his job right and makes us think.

Pay attention.

This is important.”

Jamais Vu #1 is now available in both paperback and ebook. I recommend you get your copy today. This is a magazine you do not want to miss. Check out the table of contents and see for yourself:

“The Moors” – Marge Simon
2. “Death of the Crossing Guard” – Bruce Boston
3. “Eventually, You Become Immune” – Stephanie Wytovich
4. “Procrastination’s Joy” – Matt Moore


1. “I Had a Thought Today…” Harlan Ellison
2. “The Strange & Uncanny In DOCTOR WHO” – Paul F. Cockburn
3. “The Medium As the Mirror” – Lydia Peever*
4. “Twisting Our Values: Culture & the Medium That Shapes It” – KT Jayne*
* Articles 3 and 4 are a point-counterpoint special to this issue.

1. “Only God Forgives” – Jessica Dwyer
2. “Antiviral” – Adam Shaftoe
3. “Spider Baby” – William D. Carl

1. “Dark Roads: Selected Long Poems – 1971-2012″ by Bruce Boston – Mary A. Turzillo
2. “The Last Revelation of Gla’aki” by Ramsey Campbell – Andrew J. Wilson
3. “Song of Kali” by Dan Simmons – Donald Jacob Uitvlugt

1. “Photo Captions” – Gary Braunbeck
2. “Another Friendly Day In the Antique Trade” – Adam-Troy Castro
3. “Shiva” – Cameron Suey
4. “Bait” – Michael Kelly
5. “The Hydra Wife” – Sandra Odell
6. “Another Pleasant Valley Sunday” – by Jessica McHugh
7. “Video Nasties” – Max Booth III

As well as comics by Kenneth W. Cain and Jon Towers!

Post Mortem Press to Publish TOXICITY

I have sold my debut novel, Toxicity, to Post Mortem Press.

While I already have two story collections currently available (True Stories Told By a Liar and They Might Be Demons), Toxicity will be my first novel. I am beyond thrilled to be a part of the Post Mortem Press family. My short story, “In the Attic of the Universe”, was previously published in their New Dawn Fades anthology.

In the past, they have published writer greats such as Clive Barker, Joe Hill, Harlan Ellison, Jack Ketchum, and Jonathan Maberry, along with up and coming talents like Jessica McHugh, Christian A. Larsen, Kenneth W. Cain, and Brad Carter.

Toxicity has been my baby for a long while now. All in all, with all the rewrites and edits taken into consideration, this is a novel that took eight years to really complete it at the stage it currently resides. It is a black comedy about awful people continuing to put themselves into awful situations.

There will be more details in the coming months, including a micro-website for the novel which will encompass reviews, blurbs, and everything else related to it.

Here is what Richard Thomas, one of my early editors on the book, had to say about it:

Toxicity seeps under your skin, infecting you with black comedy, shocking violence, and the stinking desperation of bad people rotting in the sun. And yet somehow, we still root for these dark souls—and that is the genius of Max Booth III.”


Toxicity has a targeted release date of March 2014.


In Which I Take Over the HWA Blog and Pimp Zombie Jesus

So in case you didn’t know, I recently edited an anthology for Dark Moon Books called Zombie Jesus and Other True Stories. It comes out in just over a week. To promote it I wrote a guest post on the Horror Writers Association blog today; in this post you’ll find out how to win a free, signed copy of this book. So, ya know, maybe check it out.

Also, for another chance to win a free copy, go over to the promo blog I’ve been running and leave a comment on literally any post to be entered in the drawing. Or, you could just preorder the book right now and receive a free poster of the book cover. Which I’m sure you’ll be convinced to do once you lay eyes on this beautiful bastard below:

Everyone Wants Me

I was interviewed by author Alan Dale over on his blog yesterday. He did a pretty nice job with what I gave him–you should all check it out. Whoever “you” might be. If I was to believe most pictures on the Internet, I would be left to assume that you are cats. I don’t exactly know what business cats have reading a Max Booth III interview, but what the hell, shine on you crazy cats, shine on.


A Brief Message From Kurt Vonnegut

“I had no respect whatsoever for the creative works of either the painter or the novelist. I thought Karabekian with his meaningless pictures had entered into a conspiracy with millionaires to make poor people feel stupid. I thought Beatrice Keedsler had joined hands with other old-fashioned story tellers to make people believe that life had leading characters, minor characters, significant details, insignificant details, that it had lessons to be learned, tests to be passed, and a beginning, a middle, and an end.

As I approached my fiftieth birthday, I had become more and more enraged and mystified by the idiot decisions made by my countrymen. And then I had come suddenly to pity them, for I understood how innocent and natural it was for them to behave so abominably, and with such abominable results: They were doing their best to live like people invented in storybooks. This was the reason Americans shot each other so often: it was a convienient literary device for ending short stories and books.

Why were so many Americans treated by their government as though their lives were as disposable as paper facial tissues? Because that was the way author customarily treated bit part players in their made-up tales.

And so on.

Once I understood what was making America such a dangerous, unhappy nation of people who had nothing to do with real-life, I resolved to shun storytelling. I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order, instead, which I think I have done.

If all writers would do that, then perhaps citizens not in the literary trades will understand that there is no order in the world around us, that we must adapt ourselves to the requirements of chaos instead.

It is hard to adapt to chaos, but it can be done. I am living proof of that: it can be done.”

-Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions

Slices of Flesh (and whatnot)

I know it’s been a hell of a long time since I’ve posted here, but I can totally explain. You see, I’m lazy.

Right, moving on then. The World Horror Convention was a blast. Will hopefully get around to writing about that sometime here soon, but then again, probably not. Let’s look at it this way, by the time I have a write up of all the crazy events that occurred in Salt Lake City, the NEXT World Horror Convention will have already passed. But WHC did mark the launch of Dark Moon Books’ charity anthology, SLICES OF FLESH, which includes one of my stories. It also features some of horror’s greatest authors, such as Jack Ketchum, Joe McKinney, and Not-Brian-Keene.

You can will buy it HERE.

Also, if you wanted a little taste on just how awesome this book really is, why don’t you take a stroll over to Tales to Terrify, where the ever so kind host has recorded my story, MONSTER, on his podcast. And let me just say–holy shit, it is awesome.

Let’s see, what else, what else. Oh yeah, my horror western novella, BLACK, is coming closer to publication in the anthology, WELCOME TO HELL. The incredible cover art is as follows:

Obviously you should all buy this book when it comes out, because it’s going to kick a ton of ass.

I guess that’s about it for the moment. Am going to try to write more on this friggin’ thing, but then again, netflix.

Oh yeah, and if you’re wondering why I’ve completely changed this site’s theme, it’s because I am astonishingly indecisive.

Updates (01/21/12)

First, in case you missed it, I got the pleasure to interview Cracked.com columnist, John Cheese, on the DMD blog a few weeks back. If you haven’t been following his column, then you’re truly missing out. Click here for the interview.

Secondly, I am currently editing an upcoming anthology for Dark Moon Books called Zombie Jesus and Other True Stories. The theme is alternate history horror, and yes, it is a paying market ($20 and a contributor’s copy). Click here for the rest of the information. It will be the first of three planned anthologies of 2012 that I will be editing along with writers Stan Swanson and Lori Michelle. Calls for submissions for the other two will be announced soon.

I’ve been working on writing The Ultimate Survival for Humanity: How To Survive Attacks From Zombies, Vampires, Ex-Lovers & Other Scary Things as of late, and it is coming together nicely. In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, this is a book I am co-authoring with Stan Swanson that will surely rock your socks off; it is scheduled to be published Summer 2012 by Dark Moon Books, so I am really kicking my ass to get this finished. Not to mention that at the moment I am also in the middle of writing a novel (about 25,000 words in it so far), a graphic novel, and a book of flash fiction. And other projects as they come up, I’m sure.

Hopefully the writing doesn’t get put too much on the backburner seeing as I was just hired full-time over at everyone’s favorite store, Walmart, as an overnight stocker. I doubt it does; actually, I think it will probably get me writing even more. It seems that the more free time someone has, the less productive they end up being. So this will be a good thing all around (especially the whole actually having money factor).

2012 is looking like a great year for writing, too. I already have three accepted tales so far, and that’s half of the number of acceptances I got last year, so yeah, things are definitely looking up. The three accepted tales being in the upcoming Dark Moon Digest Issue Number 7, an unnamed horror western anthology edited by Eric S. Brown, and the charity flash fiction book, Slices of Flesh, which also will be featuring perhaps one of the best horror writers in the game today, Jack Ketchum.

So that’s what’s going on there.

Now to end this post on a creepy note.

Today myself and the aforementioned Lori Michelle were visiting a flea market. Nothing unusual about that, people visit flea markets all the time, right? Of course they do. I even managed to get a sweet ass 1941 first printing of a Robert Louis Stevenson collection.



But then we found the heads.

The baby heads.








Sweet screams.