Ideas for Christmas Book Buys

Hey there you sexy pilgrims. I hope everybody is well. I’ve bought a bunch of books recently and figured, hell, why not do a suggestion post of some of my favorites old and new to help you with your merry holiday shopping list! Keep in mind that most of these are dark, heartbreaking tales, not feel-good reads, although there are a couple on the list that have moments of wonderful humor (like Grendel, Beautiful Sorrows, and Savage Season).

Darkfuse Book Club: It’s a hell of a deal! Top-notch writing from established writers on both sides of the pond, as well as up & comers like myself. They used to be Delirium Books and have since branched out into Dark Fiction of all styles, which I think is truly awesome. Got a hankering for Horror, Sci-fi, Mystery, Techno-Thriller, Noir, Coming-of-Age, etc., Darkfuse has you covered!

GRENDEL by John Gardner: Easily in my top-three of all-time favorites. Beautifully written, tragic and funny.

THE LAST KIND WORDS by Tom Piccirilli: Pic is a master of Noir. The sequel to his novel was released recently. Check them out!

WILLY by Robert Dunbar: A truly underrated author who, with this novel, captures some of my favorite things a great story can produce. This novel still sticks with me.

THE BLEEDING SEASON by Greg Gifune: Another underrated author. This novel is extremely atmospheric, as is all of Gifune’s work, and the story is a perfect example of why craft is so important.

THE RAPIST by Les Edgerton: This is one wicked read but don’t be scared by the title. It’s a terrific book!

THE DAMNED by John D. MacDonald: I heard of John D. MacDonald through John Connolly’s BOOKS TO DIE FOR… MacDonald quickly became my favorite of the old pulp crowd. He’s a master of characterization and most of his stories zip along. This one is brilliant in a very subtle way, kind of like WINESBURG, OHIO by Sherwood Anderson. He was one of Stephen King’s and Dean Koontz’s favorite authors too.

WATER FOR ELEPHANTS by Sara Gruen: Still one of my favorites, and the book is a thousand times better than the movie. Read it!

MORDRED, BASTARD SON by Douglas Clegg: Like EDGERTON’S The Rapist, this short novel will not set well with the PC crowd, but it’s brilliant and I think Clegg’s best.

BEAUTIFUL SORROWS by Mercedes M. Yardley: Mercede’s first short story collection. Dip your toes and imagination into an assortment of tales that are at once disturbing and humorous. This gal is a sweetheart and so incredibly talented.

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR by Jack Ketchum: Ketchum’s novel pulls off that tough to do ‘I want to punch this protagonist in the face,’ thing. At it’s heart it demonstrates the damage done when we stand by and watch horrible things happen. Sadly, I think this is one of the truest novels there is.

SAVAGE SEASON by Joe Lansdale: The first Hap & Leonard novel and a great introduction to these two raw-boned characters. What a great series!

SHARP OBJECTS by Gillian Flynn: A short novel with a terrific punch!

THE END OF EVERYTHING by Megan Abbott: Still my favorite of her novels. Haunting and fast-paced and has a perfect ending.

THE CYPRESS HOUSE by Michael Koryta: I met Michael at Bouchercon and he signed a book for me. Such a nice guy and terrific writer. In many ways he reminds me of a cross between two other favorites–Michael Connelly and Dennis Lehane.

WHITE DOVES AT MORNING by James Lee Burke: Great novel!

CABAL by Clive Barker: This was one of the first Barker books I read and certain moments are still vivid in my memory. He’s such a talent at showing how our hunt for excitement and pleasure can transform us.

THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS by John Connolly: Still my favorite of Connolly’s!


And for a shameless plug, add WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL by me. It’s my most popular release so far and a quick, powerful read that heroes like Tom Piccirilli and Jack Ketchum read and blurbed.

If you’re on Twitter, give me a follow. If you’re on Goodreads, friend me. And don’t forget to subscribe to my website newsletter since I have a lot of big news coming in 2014!

Happy holidays to all!

New Brian Hodge: Whom the Gods Would Destroy


Very excited to see Darkfuse release a new Brian Hodge novella! In my opinion Brian is one of the best writers out there. Dave Thomas does a great interview him for Darkfuse, and Brian created a soundtrack for the novella, which is neat as hell. I just snatched the novella from Amazon, and you should too!

Lee Thompson 1st Video Q&A

What you can’t see in this video is the guy with a gun standing off to my right…
Thanks to the folks who sent me some questions for this video! If you have a question find my email on my bio page and send a message about whatever you’re curious about: my writing, the craft, publishing, agents, etc. Advance thanks to anybody who comments, watches, and shares!


Review of WITHIN THIS GARDEN WEEPING (and an aside)

Within This Garden Weeping cover spread

Within This Garden Weeping reads like a book of the Old Testament by way of Ray Bradbury and Twin Peaks… says fellow scribbler Lucas Magnum in the review he just posted. You can check out the full review here.

As an aside, and something very few people know about me, I like the Old Testament reference a lot. I’ve studied the Bible, and I seriously considered at one time being a pastor. I love teaching, I love the way stories are tools, and also more than tools, their examples that can vividly illustrate whatever makes us cower, and also what makes our heart sing. Even after I realized I’d probably never take the step to actually being a pastor because I would have been a hypocrite since I love to drink, all the time I spent studying the Bible has had a profound influence on me and the stories I create, especially the Division Mythos. So, thanks Lucas! Very interesting to see someone frame the start of their review in that manner!

Buy a book for yourself and for someone else at Christmas.

Video reading of Daddy Screamed With Us

I’m going to focus on using video a lot. It’ll be a learn as I go type deal. It was definitely a bit uncomfortable, but I’ll get used to it because I like getting better at stuff and I think videos will be fun! Feel free to share it with anybody you think might be interested and have a wonderful week! Thanks!


Novel opening: An Ounce of Mercy

I like how sometimes we don’t get it right on the first draft of something we’re creating, and then we see the heart of what we meant to say is straddling the track parallel to what we actually have. It makes for an easy fix and it’s uplifting. Anyway, I’m working on the second draft of this novel. It was originally planned to be a simple ghostwriting project for my dad’s best friend, but he’s been adamant he wants to be listed as co-authors. That’s great because I think this novel is going to be very successful. I’ll just have to pay back the ghostwriting fee once it sells so we’re squared away. Simple. 

Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter! I’m going to have so much exciting news over the next year you won’t want to miss it!

Anyway, now that I pitched the newsletter, here is the pitch of the novel, which I’ll have tightened up around the time I finish this second draft:

In An Ounce of Mercy Charlie Sullivan is watching his wife battle cancer until he starts dreaming that she wants him to smother her with a pillow and end her misery. He can’t imagine life without her, let alone a mercy killing. Under the guise of needing something to do to keep Alzheimer’s at bay, Charlie writes about the month in their early teens when they first fell in love, and he explores the tragedies they endured that made national news.  


And here is the first chapter, when his wife is on her death bed and he’s beginning to write about the horrific things they faced when they were children. And of course it will return to them in the present at the end:



This is going to be the longest love letter you ever received from me, Kayla. I wish I would have written you more of them while I had the chance. But I was a fool then, through all those weeks of that horrific autumn when we were children, through all the years we tried to pick up the pieces following those encounters we shared.

Looking at you now, as used up as you are, and seeing how you still fight, and knowing that you do it for me more than anything, it breaks my goddamn heart. It breaks me entirely, because I want to tell you: Go on, it’s okay to leave your body here, I’ll visit it and tend your grave, and you just make sure to tell God to take good care of you because he’s got himself another angel…

But when I try to move my mouth, to make the words come out, they just won’t.

You remember the fall of 1980? How I celebrated my birthday without my mother for the first time. I had just turned thirteen, and like most children I believed I knew everything because my parents had taught me their own beliefs with such force and verisimilitude. It hurts to know that they were wrong about a lot of things, and it hurts to accept that I couldn’t help them, or save them, or simply be the binding agent that held them both to each other and to this earth.

Even now, all these years later, as I write down our story, Kayla—how we tried to save our families from falling apart, and how we tried to pick up the pieces and put them back together—I’m reminded how helpless I am.

Yet you called me your hero.

You even did it this morning when you were halfway lucid.  I hope you come through this. I hope the chemo works. I hope that you will bounce back the way you always have from everything else that would have cracked or destroyed a lesser person.

I have faith in you. You’ve proven yourself a woman of stunning faith, incredible feats, and an endless love you give not only to the world, but also to the people who populate it. It amazes me how even when you’re in incredible pain, you still believe that things will be okay.

I don’t know how you do that.

I have to hurry to get this down, Buttercup, because my memory sometimes slips and Julie tells me that this will be good for me, maybe for us.

Maybe, I can read this to you when it’s finished and you can correct all of the things I’ve gotten wrong. That gives me hope that you’ll still be here; life can’t be so cruel as to take you before our story is told.

But you know what I dreamt about last night? You told me you didn’t want to suffer anymore. And you asked me if I remembered the ending to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. You had tears in your eyes and in the blackness of your iris I could see the ending of the film, how the big Indian smothered Jack Nicholson’s character with a pillow because old Jack had been a man full of living until the end, when he was comatose and helpless in bed, so drugged up he might as well have been dead. And the big Indian smothered him with that damn pillow.

In my dream, you said, It was like an ounce of mercy.

But all I could do was shake my head, and say, I can’t.

And you whispered, You can

I can still hearing you saying it now, so loudly at times. It makes me want to hold the damn pillow over my own head. Hearing your broken voice makes it so I never want to dream again. I just want to enjoy every moment I can with you because it was a warm fall season that brought us together, and I’m afraid it’s this warm fall season that will tear us apart.

You were strong like my mother, you know. Maybe stronger. When I look at the letters she had written me before I even had the ability to read, and those you wrote as well after she was gone, it’s sometimes confusing because you two are so much alike. Despite all that happened back then, all we tried to understand, and in all the ways we failed since we had been only children, you inspired me.

You still inspire me.

I wish my mother could have known you.

She would have loved you as much as I do.

Hang in there just a little while longer.



Very excited to share that I sold my Crime novel A BEAUTIFUL MADNESS. I can’t share any details with you yet, but find that little Subscribe box on the side there and sign up to stay in the loop once the novel’s cover, jacket copy, etc., are revealed! As of right now it’s scheduled for an August 2014 release. The date could change, but it might also remain the same. Either way, I’m excited. A BEAUTIFUL MADNESS is a rip-roaring romp with a surprising amount of heart. I can’t wait until everybody has the opportunity to read it! 

Go after your dreams!

What do you think?

It’s a beautiful (and cold!) Sunday morning. I hope you all have an amazing day! I’m usually not torn between which book to write next, but I just started another novel (and I’m editing two other novels to pitch to my agent), but anyway, my brain is wired with faith in the impact all of these pen-named novels will have when Chip sells them and they’re published. 

I woke early (2 am) because I had a dream that startled me with its vividness. I’ve been thinking a lot about the next Julian Vaughn novel and I haven’t been certain how to start it. But that’s the beauty of dreams and letting our subconscious have its way with us. Here’s the opening I just saw in my dream, I’ll save the rest of what I saw for when I start writing the manuscript (let me know what you think!)  

For the longest time I thought the worst night of my life was when the three O’Connell brothers nailed my dad to a tree.

Looking back, it seems that what I’m about to tell you began that bloody evening, when I was twelve, and that the miracles which followed were birthed by adversity and grief; not only my own and my families, but possibly that of all the world. My ears bled from the roar of it and when I woke in the hospital I learned I’d been struck deaf, and later, after the fear and the blackouts passed, I learned the fate of my father.

It was five years later, at the open house following my graduation, when the first miracle manifested itself in physical form and changed the world.

Perhaps I should start this story there…

Get my novel Gossamer for 99 cents until Halloween

Gossamer cover Final

From now until just after Halloween you can get my novel Gossamer: A Story of Love and Tragedy for 99 cents! Grab it for Kindle here, or grab it in another format here

“Gossamer” is a mythical, almost philosophical book that strips the reader naked and forces us to challenge our assumptions about love with passages that will touch you in places inside yourself you forgot exist. – Anita Siraki/HellNotes

Lee takes the unlovely parts of real life and sets it in a setting so deliciously bizarre that you think you’re simply reading a story, when in fact you’re listening to a man sitting across from you and telling you all about pain. – Mercedes Yardley/Shock Totem

“10 out of 10 Stars… GOSSAMER: A STORY OF LOVE AND TRAGEDY will blow you away my friends. It is that good.” — Peter Schwotzer/Famous Monsters of Filmland.

An ancient witch, Dorothy Good, has lost everything to the vampire who has blown in on the hot desert wind and lain waste to her soul and her town. When a young family arrives at the end of a two week battle, she sees a chance to end the bloodshed and possibly regain a portion of what was stolen.

But they’re heavily outnumbered and night is falling…

Mercedes Yardley’s latest interview

Those who know me know that I love Mercedes M. Yardley. I think she’s special, and a beautiful person, and incredibly talented. A lot of authors become blurb whores, but I’ve only given two (one to Les Edgerton for his awesome novella The Rapist, and the other to Mercedes), because I think they’re two of the most gifted writers I know, writers that I wish I could write like. But I can’t, so fuck it.

montessaspread by M

Check out M’s latest podcast interview, which also includes a great sample of her reading from her novella Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu. This woman is going to be a big deal soon. Trust me, I have good taste and a natural intuition. 


And after you listen to the podcast you can read my interview with M HERE.

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