Tag Archives: When We Join Jesus in Hell

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!

THE HAUNTING OF HOOD CANAL by Jack Cady: Read it!

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!

On the Bram Stoker Award’s Preliminary Ballot

Pleased to see my novella WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL on the Bram Stoker Preliminary Ballot for Superior Achievement in the Long Fiction category. 

I think the Final Ballot comes out Feb. 23rd. I don’t know if I’ll make the cut but I’m going to have a beer anyway. 

I’m really happy with how this novella has been received. A big thanks to my pre-readers Shaun, Kevin, Chris, and Charlene. And to my publisher Shane Staley and his crew. And to all the wonderful readers who make “going there” worth it. I get a lot of help. 

Nice to see a bunch of Delirium titles on there as well, and a few of my lady buddies *Waving at Sandy DeLuca and Mercedes Yardley!* who I hope win in their categories.

Here’s a link to the Stoker Award page: *Click Me and be great in bed*

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Review in Black Static

Very happy to see the latest review of WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL in the super awesome Black Static Magazine. Thanks to Peter Tennant for the read and time! Here’s a snippet of what he said:

With its central concept of a once violent man who has been domesticated, but is prompted by circumstances to get back in touch with his inner beast, this novella reminded me of nothing so much as the Cronenberg film A History of Violence, though in the touches of arch-weirdness that litter the text – Fist trundling the corpses of his loved ones around in a shopping trolley, talking to them and pet lizard Bianca, his conversation with an artist who works with bodies – there is also more than a hint of the Lynch of Blue Velvet… At the heart of the story are questions about the nature of violence and how far we go before crossing a line. Fist’s dilemma underlines the failure of both society and the justice system, leaving a man to do what a man has got to do, if I’m allowed a cliché or two. It’s a powerful and affecting story…

You can check out Black Static here

Also had a first recently when WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL got mentioned in another book’s review on HorrorTalk. Pretty neat. Here’s a snippet.

Not too long ago I was blown away by Lee Thompson’s When We Join Jesus in Hell. What fully impressed me was not just Thompson’s amazing skill, but the fact that I truly enjoyed a style of writing that I tend to avoid. Normally, I’m a meat a potatoes type of guy and don’t have a lot of a time for…I don’t know, “pretty” words? But Thompson didn’t care about likes, he just said read it and like it, which I did. I’m thinking J.R. Hamantaschen went to the same school as Thompson, because he pulled the same shit on me with his You Shall Never Know Security, a collection of his short stories.

Also answered interview questions for Shock Totem #6, which will be out soon with a story by me and others, including that sexy mothereffer Jack Ketchum. Looking forward to when that issue hits the stands (and ereaders). 

Not the Final Cover
Not the Final Cover

And if you’re of a mind, swing by to participate in the discussion on Horror Aficionados where I’m guest author for January! We’re having fun and you should too!

My Vampire Novel

My buddy Sandy DeLuca’s novel MANHATTAN GRIMOIRE is free on Amazon right now. Grab it while you can! She’s incredibly talented. 

And if you missed me interviewing Noir Master Les Edgerton go here to grow enlightened!

We’re also having a blast on the Goodread’s Group Horror Aficionados discussing my brutal novella WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL for the month of January. It’s a blast. Come join the party!

I hope everybody’s 2013 is off to an amazing start!

I’m working on the ending of GOSSAMER: A STORY of LOVE and TRAGEDY. I think it’s going to be the most unique story with vampires that you’ve ever read. It’s fun too because I get to tip my hat to Ray Bradbury, Clive Barker and Stephen King, all in different ways. The climax kills me. I can’t wait until I have it in shape enough to send to my readers. Probably by the end of next week. 

On a Few Year’s Best Lists

Very happy to see my heartbreaking novella WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL on a few Year’s Best Lists. Thanks to Peter, Brett, and Steve! 

 

On Horror Talk…

On Brett J. Talley’s List…

On Literary Mayhem…

 

Plus I’m the guest author over at Horror Aficionados, a Goodreads Group, for the month of January. Where they’re reading and discussing When We Join Jesus in Hell. It’s only the second day but it’s been very fun! Come join us!

January’s Guest Author and an Upcoming Interview

I’ll be the guest author for the month of January at the Horror Aficionado’s group on Goodreads! They’ll be reading and discussing my heartbreaking novella WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL. I’m very excited to participate and look forward to answering a bunch of questions. Thanks to Jason and Tressa for the invite! Come join us! 

This novella has been turning heads. And it should. It’s wickedly subtle (not). 

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Grab a copy for Christmas and join the party! 

If we’re not friends on Goodreads, send me an invite, punk. 

And to keep up with all the whirlwind that is my writing career sign up for my newsletter off to the right there. 

Oh, I’ll also have a deliciously decadent interview in Shock Totem #6 as well! I love that crew! Make sure you check it out. 

Not the Final Cover
Not the Final Cover

Thanks for everybody’s support! Merry Christmas or whatever it is your celebrating!

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.

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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!

 

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Bunch of News

 

I’ve been invited by Jason and Tressa as January’s Featured Author for the Horror Aficionados Goodread’s group. The group will be reading and discussing my novella WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL. I’m very much looking forward to interacting with those passionate cats and answering questions anyone might have! Thanks to Jason and Tressa for the invite! If you’re on Goodreads join the group. I’m hardly ever there because I’m a workaholic but I’ll be checking in everyday in January!

Also saw the covers for Shock Totem #6, which is my favorite speculative magazine! I have a Division story (The River) in this one that takes place between NURSERY RHYMES 4 DEAD CHILDREN and THE DAMPNESS OF MOURNING. I like it and they bought it and you can read it! Everybody wins! Looks like a fun group of authors (plus one of my heroes, Jack Kethcum!) in this issue and I can’t wait to read it.

Ken Wood from Shock Totem will also be interviewing me, too, in issue #6! I’m very much looking forward to that because I’ve had so many exciting things happen, and have learned so much, in the past year.

And author Brett J. Talley recently read my novella WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL and made a post called “Does Good Horror Have to be Depressing?” Check it out. 

 

 

I recently interviewed the fabulous duo Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip who write the Detective Kubu series. These are great books and you have three days to enter the giveaway for one of their novels! Enter here…

I signed a three-book deal with Darkfuse/Delirium Books. I’ll be handing in a standalone novel every March for the next three years. Fun! I’m working on the first now (Gossamer) and think it’s going to be a freaky novel. Gotta get back to work on it so I bid you adieu.

New release: WITHIN THIS GARDEN WEEPING

 

 

People have their own hidden worlds inside them as young Red Piccirilli has learned through the tragic events of his past.

His parents try to protect him by moving the family to a dead-end road out of town, but their plan is short-lived when a mysterious old man who seems to have a history with Red’s mother comes knocking at their door.

Red is quickly thrust into a crossroads between worlds, where he will soon learn from a broken god how to harness his true power…

Very happy to announce the Kindle release of my novella WITHIN THIS GARDEN WEEPING. This story can be read as a trippy surreal standalone, or if you read it after Before Leonora Wakes, you’ll see more of Red Piccirilli’s character  arc that lead him to his actions in The Collected Songs of Sonnelion (which will be released in 2013, I believe.)

Many thanks to those who already snagged it and shared it with the other dark fiction lovers in their lives! I can’t stress how important word of mouth is, and how much I appreciate it since my success is largely due to die-hard readers like yourself.

Please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads! Thanks!

Also happy that my novella, WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL, that Jack Ketchum called “Hard as nails,” and Tom Piccirilli read pre-pub and said, “Fuses both genres together in the turmoil of terror, tragedy, blood, guilt, and lost chances at redemption…” is kicking some ass.  Having two of my biggest influences read my work and give me blurbs has definitely been a highpoint in my 2012. Have you read it yet? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What I’m reading and other stuff

 Beautiful weather here which always lightens my mood. Working hard on my Crime novel THE WOLVERINE and think I can reach my goal of finishing the first draft by the end of the month then I can whisk it off to my readers Shaun, Kevin, Chris and Charlene. Very excited to hear their feedback! 

Lately I’ve read, or am reading: 

The second Detective Kubu novel THE SECOND DEATH OF GOODLUCK TINUBU by Michael Stanley (the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip, whom I met at Bouchercon last month.) Love the series and can’t wait to finish this one and get my hands on the third novel which recently won the Barry Award for Best Paperback Original. Michael and Stanley are also working on some interview questions about writing as a team and the aspects of the Detective Kubu series. Very wonderful guys and I highly recommend giving the series a chance!

Also reading BEAUTIFUL SORROWS by Mercedes Yardley. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking. Along with Cate Gardner and A.C. Wise, she’s easily one of my favorite speculative writers. Beautiful Sorrows is like a soft kiss on the lips and a sledgehammer to the heart. You can grab a copy from Shock Totem! You can also read this interview with M about Beautiful Sorrows where she mentions me because we’re both so damn awesome. 

I also read the second Jack Reacher novel DIE TRYING by Lee Child. Met him at Bouchercon last month, too. These are such fun and fast reads. Really looking forward to #3. 

I gave my first blurb to Les Edgerton (another writer and very interesting man I met at Bouchercon) for his wicked novella THE RAPIST.  He’s tackled some very hard subject matter with a deft hand, filled it with textures and colors a lesser writer can only dream of. It’s not an easy read, but it’s well worth the time. Can’t wait until it comes out to see how people react to it. 

I had a great review from Steven Pattee at Horror Talk for WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL. He called it “Poetry for those who hate poetry…” and said, “Be prepared for an asskicking from this novella.” Really happy with all the feedback this story has received since it’s probably my favorite novella I’ve written so far. 

And it shouldn’t be too long before the second Red Piccirilli book WITHIN THIS GARDEN WEEPING is released digitally by Darkfuse. It takes what happened in Before Leonora Wakes a big step further into the dark heart of the matter that is Division. Artwork by Dani Serra. 

 

 

 

 

 

What has caught your interest lately? Read anything that has floored you?