Tag Archives: Tom Piccirilli

Paperback release: WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL

My popular Crime/Horror/Noir novella is out in paperback! I’ve had a lot of fans ask about buying it in that format since its release, so I’m glad the time is finally here. Two of my heroes (Tom Piccirilli and Jack Ketchum) read it and also gave it blurbs, which is pretty awesome. Right now you can buy it here. It will be available in a few other channels in the next week!

New Jesus cover for paperback-page-0 (2)

 “Hard as nails!” – Jack Ketchum, author of THE WOMAN

“Lee Thompson knows his horror-noir. He fuses both genres together in the turmoil of terror, tragedy, blood, guilt, and lost chances at redemption.”–Tom Piccirilli, author of THE LAST KIND WORDS

Home, he thinks, Where the heart bleeds freely.

A hell of a boxer, he earned the nickname ‘Fist’ back in the day. But during the past eight years, he’s transformed into somebody he no longer knows-a weak, pitiful, and passionless office drone.

Barely hanging onto the last thread of his self-respect, he returns home one night to discover Hell has truly crossed its threshold.

And Hell has lessons to teach him through what fragments remain.

Slivers of dark light.

Knowledge in blood.

Forgiveness, clarity and redemption in commitment.

New Interview at Crime Fiction Lover

Michael Parker interviewed me for the fantastic Crime Fiction Lover. It was a blast and I was able to share some insider info on my first Crime novel A BEAUTIFUL MADNESS. Plus I talk about some of my heroes, like Tom Piccirilli, John D. MacDonald, Joe Lansdale, James Lee Burke, Dennis Lehane, John Connolly, and Lee Child.

Check out the interview here.

Feel free to leave a comment over there, and share the link.


DarkFuse just posted that my first Crime novel, A BEAUTIFUL MADNESS, is up for preorder on Amazon. You can get it in Kindle or paperback format. I'm excited about it and I'm really happy that my publisher is also excited about the direction my writing is going. 

I dedicated this novel to two professionals--author Tom Piccirilli, and agent Ethan Ellenberg--who were a huge help to me, and one reason I started selling professionally. 

The novel will come out in August 2014. Make sure you grab a copy, and if you know someone who digs gritty Crime fiction, share this with them. Thanks!


A Beautiful Madness novel cover

A Texas Senator and his wife go missing… On the same day, their son is slaughtered by an enigmatic killer on the lawn of ex-Governor Edward Wood’s residence. Sammy, Wood’s drug dealing son, suspects his father of the crime. After all, his old man snapped once before and crippled his wife with a lead pipe. But there’s something more to these events…something deeper and festering just beneath the surface…

In direct opposition to Homicide Detective Jim Thompson, Sammy begins an investigation of his own, searching for the truth in a labyrinth of lies, deception, depravity and violence that drags him deeper into darkness and mayhem with each step. And in doing so, brings them all into the sights of an elusive and horrifying killer who may not be what he seems.

A brutal killer on a rampage of carnage…a hardened detective on the brink…an antihero from the shadows…a terrifying mystery that could destroy them all…


A BEAUTIFUL MADNESS Hardcover Sig Sheets

Just received the limited edition signature sheets for my Crime/Suspense novel A BEAUTIFUL MADNESS that DarkFuse is releasing in August 2014. Can’t wait until it’s available to readers! The hardcovers will be beautiful and collectible so make sure you invest in one. It will also be available in paperback and digital formats. I dedicated it to two professionals–agent Ethan Ellenberg and author Tom Piccirilli–who have helped me out tremendously.

You can add the novel on Goodreads here. I’ll have lots of great news to share this year so make sure you sign up for my newsletter, too. Have a great week!

ABM sig sheetA Beautiful Madness novel cover

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!

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!


Free Christmas Story: A Bell Ringing in the Empty Sky

This is one of the first short stories I sold way back in 2010. I was very proud of it at the time because I love Tasmaniac Publications and I had words alongside some awesome writers like Tom Piccirilli, Paul Kane, Tim Curran, and Kealan Patrick Burke. Good company to be in. Merry Christmas!



A Bell Ringing in the Empty Sky


Lee Thompson




            Ben hid behind his bedroom door, peering through the crack, studying the hallway. Any minute now his mother would step from her room, her shoulders slumped beneath the weight of the bags she would carry. He loved the Christmas presents his parents bought him. Most of the kids in Junior High didn’t hide their jealousy—because his dad flew for American Airlines and raked in the dough and spent it on Ben in effort to make up for his absence, while their fathers were home but bought them little because they worked as auto mechanics, and construction workers, and some of them not at all.

They thought it meant his dad loved him more, buying him everything from new games for his Playstation 3, to the go-cart he’d gotten last year, hidden beneath all of the other presents. But he’d trade them, all of the gifts, for one Christmas morning with his father.

            His mother opened her bedroom door and walked out in her pajamas, struggling with the fabric bags full of presents as they banged the walls and tripped her up. She cursed softly. In the dim light spilling from her bedroom, her eyes looked shiny, as if she’d been crying. Ben didn’t think anyone should have to cry on Christmas Eve. He wanted to open the door and run to her and take one of the bags so that she didn’t have to carry them both, but he couldn’t because she’d put him in bed three hours ago and he was supposed to be sleeping.

            Wind battered the windows, and snow swirled, brushing and falling away from the panes. Restless, wanting it all to be over, be the 26th when his father would come home, he walked across the room to the glass and tried to peer through the white haze, praying, wishing, Please God. Bring my dad back. Cancel the flight. Bring him down from the sky so Mom won’t have to cry anymore and he can see me open all the things he bought me.

            The storm built. It was a bad night for anyone to be out, and he thought his dad had to be pretty brave to fly in stuff like that. A little pride swelled in his chest, even though he missed him, and told himself that he hated his dad for putting other people’s needs before their own.  His mom always joked that he did it for the young girls who helped the passengers, but Ben thought she was probably just jealous that she didn’t have an exciting job too.

            He shifted his feet. Slowly, a noise filled his ears. He concentrated, focusing with all his might until he realized what it was—a bell ringing dully in the empty sky—and it was getting louder. He swallowed and his forehead stitched up so tight it hurt. The wind threw snow against the glass in an angry rush, as if God were sick of people always asking things of Him. A bell rang again and the wind stilled but the snow fell faster, heavier, coating everything. The ringing faded. Ben’s heart hammered and his ribcage hurt. Across the house, his mother dropped the bags and cried out.

            He thought, Dad? And ran to the door and down the hall, unable to wipe the smile from his face, thinking, It worked! God listened! Though he wasn’t sure God did it, or if he’d just wanted it so much—mind over matter or something—and he made it happen all on his own. Either way, he didn’t care. It was the result that mattered. He rushed into the dining room and stared in toward the tree. Its dancing lights painted his mother in pulsing colors. She stood there, gaze locked on the Lazy Boy, the presents spilled around her feet, one bag’s handle still looped around her fingers.

            From where he stood next to the kitchen table, he saw the top of a knee, a hand gripping the chair’s arm, the gold buttons on the cuff of his dad’s jacket reflecting the blinking lights on the tree. He walked in by his mom and stared at his dad, taking in a quick breath at the sight of his dad’s hair swirled like a corkscrew pointing at the ceiling, his cheeks hollow and too white. His mother raised her hand toward him but stopped herself, unable to touch him. Ben cleared his throat and his mother looked up and opened her mouth, her hands clinging to the bottom edge of her pajama top. She made several weird clicking sounds before she found her voice. Her face went from confused, to angry, back to confused again. She looked younger when she was trying to mull things over, like the little sister that Ben had always wished he’d had; someone to play with and protect.

She blinked twice, and met his gaze. “I thought he was working. He told me he wouldn’t be here.” She looked back to her husband. “I never even heard him come in.”

            Ben stammered, “Maybe the flight was cancelled because of the snow, or maybe he let someone else take his place so he could be home with us.”

            “No.” She shook her head. “He would have told me he’d be home.”

            “Who cares?” Ben said, inching his way into the living room. “He’s here, that’s all that matters.” 

            Who cares?” His mother looked at the mess around her slippers. “If I’d known I would have waited to bring everything down. He could have done it with me.” She bit her lip, tears reflecting the light from the tree as they gathered on her eyelashes. Her features hardened. She stood straighter and kicked a blue-foiled box aside. “He probably never even went to work. He was probably at some filthy motel with some trashy stewardess.” Trembling, she wiped at her nose, doing her best to regain her composure. Ben waited, directing his gaze to the floor but having a hard time because he wanted to look at his dad and make sure he hadn’t vanished, make sure he was still breathing.

His mother said in a thick voice, “Help me pick these up and set them under the tree.”

“I thought you wanted Dad to help you.”

“He’s too tired to care and I’m too upset to wake him.”

Ben wanted to say: Don’t you think you’re overreacting? Dad wouldn’t cheat on you. He hasn’t been at a motel with someone. I brought him home. Be happy. We’re all together for Christmas now. But he said nothing because he knew her attitude would change for the better when his dad woke and everyone could have some laughs and cocoa. He helped her place the gifts under the tree, thinking, They really outdid themselves this year. No wonder all the kids at school either want to be my best friend and play with all my stuff, or hate my guts.

His mother kept glancing over her shoulder as they knelt next to the tree, the smell of pine strong this close to the branches; Ben a little worried now too, but for a different reason. When he’d wished his father home, he thought he’d show up awake and happy, come running to his room and pick him up in those strong arms and spin him around, crying, “Merry X-mas” because he knew that Ben hated people calling it that, but doing it anyway, just to tease him so they could laugh about it later. He wondered how long it would be before the sleeping ended and the fun began. Hopefully before winter passed and the trees budded and the birds built new nests and another year passed them by, everyone living but none of them living together.

They finished piling the presents and stood, his mother trembling again, running her hands down the front of her pajamas. “He never sleeps this soundly. The slightest noises always wake him up. Maybe he’s sick, maybe that’s why he’s home. Do you think I should call a doctor? Should we take him to the hospital? I don’t know if we can carry him to the car.” She looked out the picture window at the falling snow. “We’ll never be able to drive in that.”

“He can’t be sick,” Ben said. “He just can’t.” Saying it because he knew if something had happened to his dad, it was his fault. “He’s fine.”

“No, he’s not fine.” She moved over to the chair and leaned forward, her fingers brushing his cheek. “Kev? Honey?”

Ben waited, wishing his dad would open his eyes, a thought occurring to him for the first time—that he loved his father more than he ever could his mother, despite how much more time he had with her than he did with his father. He shook his head, ashamed of himself, wishing he could love them equally.

“Can you hear me? Wake up.” She shook his shoulders. “Wake up!”

Ben moved over to her side and pried his father’s hand free of the Lazy Boy’s arm. “Dad, wake up!” He pinched the skin near his father’s wrist, surprised by the weight and size of his closed fist. He pinched harder, as hard as he could. His father sucked in a quick breath, and his eyelids sprang open, his mouth wide and howling along with the wind pressing against the eaves. His head turned left and right, back and forth between them. The wind threw snow across the window. Ben let go and stepped back as his dad jumped from the chair, his eyes white as winter, as if being brought here through the sky and storm had presented a chance for the elements to work their way beneath his flesh.

Blood colored his face, and he almost looked alive. He clenched his hands, opened them, trying to breathe and move and only able to stand there. “How did I get here? What happened?” He hit his knee on the coffee table as he stumbled forward like someone had shoved him from behind. “What the hell is this? Huh? A bad dream? Tell me!” The thick vein on his neck looked like a cable beneath his skin. Ben took another step back, thinking, It wasn’t supposed to be like this. You’re supposed to be happy that you’re home.

Ben’s mom said, “What the hell is the matter with you? You come home without telling me? You fall asleep in your chair and wake up screaming? At us?”

“I’m dreaming,” he said, pacing, his fingers digging into his forehead like he was trying to get them into his brain and operate until he fixed whatever was wrong as he paled again.

Ben said, “You’re not dreaming. None of us are. We’re really together. On Christmas.”

His dad’s head snapped up. “I can’t be here. I was flying the plane and…” His face went stupid, confused. “And…”

The mad look in his eyes frightened Ben.

Ben’s mother said, “You’re out of your mind. I need a drink.”

His father laughed sickly and looked at the tree and presents. “This just can’t be.” He marched into the dining room and grabbed the cordless, holding it out like a foreign object, or something that might bite him. He stared at the keypad like he’d forgotten who he wanted to call. Ben thought, It’ll get better once the shock wears off.

His dad took a deep breath. “If I call them they’re going to ask how the hell I was on the 737 one minute and how I’m here the next. I should be over Los Angeles by now.” He shook his head again and dropped the phone by his thigh. When he looked up he met his wife’s eyes and Ben shifted his feet wishing he could read minds, wishing his dad’s color would return because he thought he might be dead and not even know it. “How am I supposed to explain this? I don’t even know what this is. Christ. I might be losing my mind.”

Ben laughed, not meaning to, hoping it was just the awkwardness of the situation as he pictured an insane pilot with a plane full of unsuspecting passengers. He wished, even if his dad was dead, or they were all crazy, that his old man could be happy, so they could all share it, be a family.

His dad glanced at his watch. “I have to land the jet in three minutes.”

Ben said, “Your co-pilot can land it.” His dad shook his head so violently that his face disintegrated—the flesh cracked and broke like an hourglass, skin and bone and brain all powder as it poured over his chest. Ben wiped his eyes and wished it away until his father was normal again, all of them so tired, the Christmas tree lights blinking, the world all white and windy.

His dad said, “He’s never landed in the snow, much less a blizzard. He’s going to be a nervous wreck.”

Ben’s mother crossed her arms over her chest and grunted. “Are you saying that you were flying five minutes ago? This is the dumbest excuse you ever gave for fucking those little skanks.” She had tears in her eyes again, like she’d had when she’d carried the presents out of their bedroom. His dad nodded dumbly, the look on his face saying—You’d believe that.

“You’re a sonofabitch.”

“Believe what you want. I was flying and then I was here. There is no one else, this isn’t some stupid story to cover up infidelity.” But Ben saw the guilt on his face, that it wasn’t all in his mom’s mind, some low self-esteem bullshit, but he’d done it to her, to them, taken his time and love and given his gifts, the real ones that you couldn’t buy, and handed them over to someone else. Some stranger. Ben curled his fingers into his palms, the back of his neck hot, waiting to hear a bell ringing in the sky.

His mom said, “You had to get here somehow.”

“No shit? You think I need you to tell me that?”

Ben said, “Can we go with you?”

His dad turned his head, brow all crinkled up like old paper. “Where?” He looked at Ben’s mom. “What is this, a joke? Mass suggestion? Where am I really?”

            Ben wished he could read his father’s thoughts, because the look on his face, those eyes darting about, unable to settle on anything for more than a second, made Ben believe that his dad wanted nothing more than to be on the job, or with one of his lovers at some sleazy motel room, sharing their filth in some bed with dirty sheets. And he thought that was the way life probably went, because adults didn’t believe anymore—not in themselves, and not in each other. Everyone was selfish. Ben could see it, even inside himself. And he thought it was pretty horrible, what he’d done, bringing his father home when other people needed him, his dad not wanting to be at home anyway.

            Ben said, “I’ll fix it. We’ll all go.”

            He bowed his head and clenched his eyelids shut.

He prayed, Please God. Put us on the plane. Let me watch him land it and all of us can ride home together then, and everything will be okay.

            His father grabbed his shoulder, and Ben’s eyelids sprang open as he tried to jerk away, but his dad’s fingers felt like meat hooks breaking his flesh. They both screamed as Ben’s mother shimmered, paled, and faded, her hands running over her pajamas. A gust of hot air slammed their house. The snow melted beneath the heat and drizzled down the glass like rain, or blood, and Ben thought, The sky is bleeding. My wishes made it bleed. But his heart hammered so hard and his dad was hurting him as his mother’s form evaporated.

            The wind stilled like a soft kiss against the place they called home despite the good times, in the face of the bad, and a bell rang in the empty sky. Ben looked up, until he felt something jerk him from inside, as if pulling his soul from his body, rending it, tearing it through the ceiling and into the clouds, a cold overpowering him and chilling his core, eyes watering, but his parents right there beside him, both upside down like they were dead and floating soundlessly in a vast body of black water. The wind roared in his ears and something popped inside his head. He saw his father with his head bowed to his left and his mother on the floor of the plane to his right, her eyes open but blank, and he heard people screaming inside their cramped seats, and saw them ripping at each other through the open cockpit door as if they could hold onto the lives they once had if they only tightened their grip enough. The co-pilot slumped behind the steering gear, metal digging into his forehead.

            Ben shivered, feeling weaker than he’d ever imagined possible. He took his parents’ hands and squeezed, wanting them to wake up, wishing they could all forgive each other and love like they should. He prayed, “Please God, please,” faster and faster, waiting for the bell to ring, as the sky rushed against the windshield, and they plummeted through an endless white expanse.

My Favorite Reads in 2012

Here is the best of the best of what I’ve read during 2012. Thanks to the friends who recommended or sent me some of this stuff! Read ’em!



Grendel by John Gardner

The Wreckage of Agathon by John Gardner

The Given Day by Dennis Lehane

Live by Night by Dennis Lehane

The Last Kind Words by Tom Piccirilli

The Burning Soul by John Connolly

The Neon Rain by James Lee Burke

Heaven’s Prisoners by James Lee Burke

Light in August by William Faulkner

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

Heart-shaped Box by Joe Hill

Only Child by Jack Ketchum

The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Death of the Mantis by Michael Stanley

So Cold the River by Michael Koryta






The Night We Buried Road Dog by Jack Cady

By Reason of Darkness by Jack Cady

Reign of Blood by Sandy DeLuca

Wood by Robert Dunbar

Without Purpose Without Pity by Brian Hodge

The Rapist by Les Edgerton (forthcoming)





Falling Idols by Brian Hodge

Beautiful Sorrows by Mercedes Yardley





Becoming Faulkner by Philip Weinstein

The Faulkner-Cowley Files: Letters & Memories 1944-1962

Writing 21st Century Fiction by Donald Maass

Books to Die For by John Connolly and Declan Burke



And for my 2012 Year in Review… Go here! It blew 2011 to bits.


2012 Year in Review

Well, it’s almost the end of 2012 and I’m having a hard time wrapping  my head around what an incredible year it’s been. I may post this early. I will just post it today. Frees up the rest of my year to just read, write and spend time with family. I’ll add any big developments before New Years. There are probably a bunch of things I’m forgetting.

Last summer/fall, when my first novel (Nursery Rhymes 4 Dead Children) and first novella (Iron Butterflies Rust) came out, was a very surreal time. I had been striving to learn how to write well enough to sell my work for almost a decade. It was a relief to sign the contracts, to get my author copies in the mail and see them, to mail copies to my readers, to dedicate the books, to get some feedback and strive to learn more.

This year has been even better. I had a ton of work come out.

The novella DOWN HERE IN THE DARK in Hardcover and digital January.

Down Here in the Dark HC spread

The novel THE DAMPNESS OF MOURNING in Hardcover, Paperback and digital in February.

TDoM front cover HC

The online serial novel THE COLLECTED SONGS OF SONNELION (being published print/ebook in 2013).

The novella IMMERSION in Hardcover, Paperback and digital in May.

Immersion AC pics

The novella WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL in Hardcover and digital in September.


The novella WITHIN THIS GARDEN WEEPING in digital in November.

Within This Garden Weeping cover spread

But it’s funny how we can roar but still feel like we aren’t doing enough. When I was talking to my buddy Shaun Ryan, which I do so much you’d think we were married, I remembered that I always feared dying young. Like I’d never make it to forty. I think it’s been in my subconscious, spurring me on to write every story taking up space in my heart as quickly as I can before the worms claim me, before the cold, damp earth is my pillow. I do want to leave something behind whether I die prematurely or whether I live as long as Ray Bradbury did. Something of substance, that has meaning for somebody other than myself. I don’t think it’s a lofty goal. I think all true artists, whether they’re successful or not, want to connect with other people and share the beautiful things they’ve seen, and the tragic times that have scarred them, and how the world has shaped them. As writers, or painters, or musicians we hold a mirror up to ourselves and the time we live in, and it’s not easy. We’re a very quiet voice that can easily be lost in a lot of white noise. But I see how important it is to try and keep trying. I’ve gained some wonderful fans. They might not know it but they know me through my work.

My buddy Peter Schwotzer, of Literary Mayhem and Famous Monsters of Filmland, designed a fantastic website for the Division Mythos. Thanks so much, Peter!

Narrator Matthew Stevens recorded my first audio book NURSERY RHYMES 4 DEAD CHILDREN. We’ll also be working on the audio for the sequel THE DAMPNESS OF MOURNING after New Years.


I also had a local paper interview me, which was neat. Thanks to reporter Bill Petzold! That was a lot of fun and I found I enjoy being interviewed much more than I ever thought I would.





Some other highlights this year were meeting John Connolly, Lee Child, Michael Sears, Stanley Trollip, Les Edgerton, Michael Connelly, Michael Koryta and Sabrina Callahan at Bouchercon (The World Mystery Convention.) I don’t know that I would be the writer, or even person, I am, if not for the books my heroes have written.

Me and my hero John Connolly



Me and the awesome Lee Child

Some of my heroes (Tom Piccirilli, Jack Ketchum, Brian Hodge, Robert Dunbar) read my work in 2012 and gave me blurbs. Having your heroes read something of yours is one of the greatest feelings there is. It’s fireworks in your head and a sudden jolt to your heart. It’s quite dreamy.

Reviews, which I never get very many of, have really taken off this year. Especially on Goodreads, which is one of my favorite sites. I get to talk to fans on there, too, which has been wonderful. And one of the groups (Horror Aficionados) has invited me to be the guest author for January 2013. They’ll be reading my brutal novella WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL and we’ll all discuss it. Very neat, yeah? Thanks to Jason and Tressa for the opportunity!

Sales grow as my audience grows. Thanks so much to everybody who has been buying the work and spreading the word about it! Word of mouth is vital. It helps me when I feel like I can’t write worth shit and then I find a stranger who enjoyed something I wrote, which leads to me  finding my balance again. To remember that, yes, I’m writing for me, but I’m also writing to connect with other people. It’s weird, but it’s good.

New novels… I wrote three novels this year (The Collected Songs of Sonnelion, The Lesser People, and The Wolverine) and got halfway through a fourth (Gossamer). I have ideas for  the next ten books that will range between 70-90,000 words. All I have to do is write them. Easy. My goal is to write four novels a year. I tell myself to take it easy, don’t work so much, but it’s part of my nature. I am an obsessive and the work gives me purpose that life would be too depressing without sometimes.

I signed a three-book deal with Darkfuse/Delirium Books in December. I’m very excited about it since Shane Staley has been awesome to work with and he publishes what he believes in. I’m writing and turning in a standalone novel every March, which works out great too because I have a ton of novel ideas and nothing for novellas or short stories lately.

Since I am quite prolific when it comes to novels, and I write more than just Dark Fantasy, I’ve decided to use several pseudonyms. I’ll keep the Dark Fantasy under my name. Have the name Thomas Morgan for Heartbreaking Coming of Age tales with a Historical Thriller slant; James Logan for suspense fiction that is very tightly plotted but has more hopeful endings than all my other work; Julian Vaughn for novels that are more big-concept with a lot of heart/more touching than horrific.

I had a writer I met at the World Mystery Convention (Les Edgerton) refer me to his agent for the pen-named work after he read WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL. That was really nice of him and whether it works out or not, him trying to help me counts for a lot. I’m really not worried about it since all of my worry is that the books are what I want them to be.

I got to interview a bunch of my favorite writers here. They are amazing.

I sold a couple of short stories. The River to my favorite mag Shock Totem. It will be in issue #6 along with Jack Ketchum and interview with me! And The Most Mysterious Silence sold to Nameless Magazine, owned by Jason V. Brock who made a great documentary about Charles Beaumont.


Not the Final Cover


Tuesday’s Training, my weekly writing advice essays for novice writers, has been a lot of fun. I know it’s helped a few people. That’s nice. I had help too: from things I’ve read, questions I asked answered by people far busier and far more experienced than I am, and help just through the encouragement that comes in something as simple as a smile.

Thanks to the publishers who have put their faith in me, the writers who encourage me, the pre-readers who help so much by offering feedback I can’t come up with on my own, the fans who help pay my bills and continue to come back for more of my work. 2013 is going to be an even more incredible year, which is really hard to fathom. But it will be. What a life. Thanks for helping me live my dream! Now go buy all my books for your friends for Christmas!