Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Remember Desmond on LOST? He was an interesting character, but the thing I found most interesting about him was his possession, even on the island, of a copy of OUR MUTUAL FRIEND by Charles Dickens. His intent? This was going to be the last book he ever read.

I was struck by that because I also have a book I keep in reserve for the very same purpose. I thought I was the only one who did that sort of thing. Guess I was wrong.

I've never read OUR MUTUAL FRIEND. I'm not a big Dickens guy. I recognize his importance to the history of writing, but I couldn't get into anything except for A CHRISTMAS CAROL. That one was all right. The rest? Just not my thing. I can't say if Desmond has good taste or not.

If I may be so bold, I'm pretty sure I have excellent (if questionable) taste. Ever read a fellow by the name of Jim Thompson? He is, in my humble (yet bold, remember) opinion, the greatest crime writer of all time. I still haven't read all of his work. I dole it out because I know there's a finite number of his books.

Everything I've read about CHILD OF RAGE makes it sound like it's the greatest book he'd ever written. Offensive, intense, crazy. An examination of rage and racism. I can't express to you how off-the-walls awesome it sounds. Considering my brushes with death, I have the book in bubble wrap and in an easy-to-find place, so even if I'm in the hospital, I can instruct someone to find it for me.

But hell. I'm a writer. I could probably go at any minute. I've had pancreatitis. My gall bladder has been removed. My teeth are rotting out of my head. I can barely feel my feet. My vision is shot. I have the 'Beetus and high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I'm a garbage dump of a person. I expect a heart attack will get me. If that's the case, I'll probably never get to read CHILD OF RAGE. Shit, maybe Desmond and I are idiots. Who are we to say that we'll know when we're dying? Could be a toilet seat from the space station falls on me and kills me as soon as I finish this sentence. Maybe I should crack that fucker open and read until dawn.

(Good thing I didn't die right there. But the possibility of the toilet seat from the space station falling on me still remains in the back of my head ever since I watched DEAD LIKE ME.)

Fuck it. Let it ride. I'll take the chance.

Oh God! What if it's a horrible book?

It probably won't be. Thompson was a beast, and too many people I respect are saying it's great.

I'll tell you all about it from my death bed.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


I'm calling it right now. This is the year. 2016 has been exceptionally cruel. Thankfully it only has a couple of months left. But in 2016, that is a loooooong time. So here it is. Mark my words. Double down on your celebrity death pool.

This is the year that Keith Richards dies.

It won't happen tomorrow. Or next week. Or even for 30 days from now. I highly suspect it will happen late on New Years Eve, because 2016 is sentient. It's a sociopath. And it wants us to feel hope before it ruthlessly takes it away from us.

Keith Richards has survived a lot. There are so many ridiculous rumors about how he continues through life. Even Bill Hicks (who, I might remind you, was outlived by Richards by FAR) suggested that there would be a nuclear winter, and only the cockroaches would survive . . . and Keith Richards, thinking that the light from the bombs was his curtain call.

Everyone thought Lemmy was immortal. Whoops. But Keith Richards? No one has any doubts. Even if he has to become Richard Coppergate from my book, POOR BASTARDS AND RICH FUCKS, he will survive. (And I'm sure he'll do the cock transplants, too. You'll see. Maybe.) He will become a kaiju or a giant robot just to sustain his vampiric life.

Except . . . well . . . this isn't a bizarro book. This is real life. Keith Richards is mortal. He's just been super lucky so far.

Until now. 2016 will get him, and it will be overwhelmingly vicious about it, kinda like Negan on Sunday.

But . . . what if I'm wrong? I could be. Maybe Keith Richards *can* do it. What if he does survive 2016? Could you imagine the meme super storm that would result from that?

In the interest of public sanity, I've already started you on this. Here's the meme that will define 2017. Enjoy. Goodnight.

Monday, October 24, 2016


I've been writing stories since I was a child. I've been submitting stories since I was a junior in high school, when my creative writing teacher introduced me to the H/SF/F section of WRITER'S MARKET. But I've always had a great deal of self doubt. I wondered if I was doing the right thing by getting square jobs out of the hope of one day being a full time writer. Here are a few signs that pointed out that I'm on the correct path:

-In junior high I wrote some poetry (yeah, I know, me writing poetry?!) that gained the attention of a local poet. She included me in a creative poetry class at my school. I still have the poem that got her attention. It's on laminated cards. It got published. It sucks, but it's not as bad as I would have thought.

-Also in junior high I met Vivian Shurfranz. She wrote books mostly aimed at young girls, but she read my detective stories and complimented me on them.

-In high school I had a small group of people who religiously read my stuff. And then there was the weird porno shit I wrote under an assumed name that A LOT of fellow students read religiously.

-I won a couple of state journalism awards in college. I also won some in-house awards, among which is my favorite, the Greatest Story Never Written. Except I *did* write it. They just didn't have the guts to print it. It was a soft news story about masturbation on campus. It wasn't even my idea, but I did it. I even asked the college chaplain how masturbation fit into his own life. Surprise! It was never printed.

-In college I sold my first stories . . . which were pornos. To this day, these are the best paydays I've ever gotten. Also, gay porn sold for a lot more. Sadly INDULGE FOR MEN is no longer in business, but they published my most lucrative stories ever.

-My story, "Pack Rat, or The Way of All Flesh," was published by CTHULHU SEX MAGAZINE. Wrath James White was in the same issue. That was the first time I was published with a big name author. It's also my most popular story. If I get an obituary in BEST NEW HORROR, it will mention this story. It's been reprinted the most, and most people who read it will mention it first in any conversation I have about my writing.

-My story, "The Worm," was published in VILE THINGS. I shared that book with quite a few big name authors, my favorite of which were Ramsey Campbell and Graham Masterton. My story was favorably reviewed in FANGORIA.

-Shane McKenzie published a story of mine in A HACKED-UP HOLIDAY MASSACRE, alongside the likes of Jack Ketchum, Bentley Little, Nate Southard, Joe R. Lansdale and others. I got the chance to meet Lansdale in person a couple of years ago, and he said that he really enjoyed my story in that book. Lansdale is my favorite living writer, and to hear that from him lifted my ego waaaaaaaaaaay higher than it should be lifted.

-I had a conversation with Tom Piccirilli on Brian Keene's previous message board. Holy shit, how awesome is that?

-David Morrell, the author of FIRST BLOOD and so many other awesome books, followed me on Twitter. So did Douglas Clegg. And John Skipp friended me on Facebook. WOW.

-Speaking of Brian Keene, he also followed me on Twitter. And he invited me on his podcast, THE HORROR SHOW WITH BRIAN KEENE. And I got to do the show with Kevin Strange, Keene himself, Dave "Meteornotes" Thomas, Mary SanGiovanni and Phobe. Not to mention the fact that I got to stay at Mike Lombardo's house at the time. Shortly after, Mary and Phoebe friended me on Facebook.

-I am currently an author that publishers want for anthologies. That's pretty fucking huge.

My writing career has been all over the place. I'm super pleased with where I am now. Most of the stories I have out there on the market have been published or will be published soon. People are recognizing me on the market, especially when it comes to book shows. How awesome is that?!

I'm very frequently depressed, but my writing career has been pretty awesome. If I died right now, I'd be disappointed. There are so many more things I want to do. But if I died, I'd be proud of what I've accomplished.

If you're afraid of writing because you're uncertain what people will say about you, forget it. I've been writing for longer than I can remember. Just do it. Put yourself out there. You might fuck up, but so what? With each fuck up, strive to fuck up just a little bit less each time.

You can do it.

Love and kisses. Goodnight, lovelies.

Sunday, October 23, 2016


John Bruni is the author of a crime novel, STRIP (from MUSA), and a collection of short stories, TALES OF QUESTIONABLE TASTE (from StrangeHouse). His shorter work has appeared most notably in SHROUD, MORPHEUS TALES, OVER MY DEAD BODY!, PRODUCT OF SOCIETY, CTHULHU SEX MAGAZINE, TRAIL OF INDISCRETION, AOIFE’S KISS, TALES OF THE TALISMAN, THE BRACELET CHARM, HOUSE OF BIZARRO and a number of other magazines including anthologies from StrangeHouse (ZOMBIE! ZOMBIE! BRAIN BANG!), Pill Hill Press (A HACKED-UP HOLIDAY MASSACRE), Comet Press (the critically acclaimed VILE THINGS) and Nightblade (LOST INNOCENCE). He was the poetry editor of 

blah blah blah blah. I hope that's enough for the Facebook preview that usually accompanies these posts. Truth is, well . . .

Made you look! Silly geese. Seriously, if you avoid every stupid clickbait article about The Walking Dead, your life will improve greatly. This has been a public service announcement from an asshole.

Stop reading analytical posts about shows you like. (Unless it's Rob Bricken writing about Gotham, because he's a funny motherfucker.) Everything else is garbage. The show is all that matters. I get it, it's tempting to click on that tomfoolery. But don't do it. This behavior should not be encouraged.

The shows are awesome as they are. The only interpretation that matters is what YOU get out of it.

Have fun with your shows. Don't turn it into science.

Saturday, October 22, 2016


Once upon a time my favorite living comic book artist was Steven Hughes. Some of you kids might not remember him, but he was primarily known as the co-creator of Evil Ernie and Lady Death along with writer Brian Pulido. Hughes was a fucking rock star. He was a wonderful horror/fantasy artist. He could do anything. One of my favorite images in comics history is when Evil Ernie ripped off both of Dr. Price's arms and shoved a mop handle through the stumps to prop him up. It's a wonderfully horrific scene, and Hughes pulled it off like a champ. I only wish he could have been there for Ernie's final battle with Price.

I got to meet Hughes once. I was surprised at how frail he seemed. He had a weak handshake. I was shocked that such powerful art could come from a guy like that. He couldn't have been nicer. He was one of the most quiet, polite guys I've ever met. I didn't know at the time. I guess no one did except his close circle of loved ones.

I walked into my comic book shop one day, and my dealer gave me the bad news. Steven Hughes had passed away. Cancer. Fucking cancer. He had it when I'd met him. Goddam, that was his strength. He was dying before my very eyes, and he still did the show. Do you realize how much strength that takes?

Fast forward to earlier today. Steve Dillon is my favorite living comic book artist. And then I turned on fucking Twitter. Jesus Christ. We don't have a cause of death yet, but he was a young guy. A lot of people are suggesting it was booze related. I don't know the truth. Whatever killed him is horrible. He was a talent taken from us waaaaaaaay too soon.

He co-created my favorite comic book of all time, PREACHER. If you doubt his talents, pick up an issue. Or go for HELLBLAZER. Or PUNISHER. Fuck.

I never got to meet him. I had a chance at this year's C2E2. I was super excited for it. And then . . . then I got sick, and I had to skip it. I regret that from the very bottom of my soul.

A while back I had a conversation with a fellow horror/bizarro author. I won't mention who in case that person doesn't want it to be public knowledge, but we were talking about the death of Nick Cave's son. It sounds horrible, and I realize it, but I pledged to be completely honest with all of these GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS. We were in agreement: Nick Cave's next album would be really fucking good. I haven't gotten SKELETON TREE yet, but I feel that his son's death would have a profound effect on his work.

Yeah. I know. That's a shitty thing to say or think. And I'm about to say something else that's also shitty, but I'd be less than honest if I didn't say it.

We are never going to get Ennis and Dillon's dream project now. Some of you might remember that they were planning an epic for Vertigo called CITY LIGHTS. I've been salivating for that thing for years, and we're never going to get it. Maybe Ennis could get someone else, but it wouldn't be right. It wouldn't be the vision.

So I went into my comic book shop today. I asked my dealer, "Did you hear about Steve Dillon?" He said he didn't, and I told him about it. He was shocked. I hadn't realized how much this had mirrored our earlier conversation about Steven Hughes until this very moment as I'm writing about it. He reacted the very same way I'd reacted to him years before.

I can't believe Steve Dillon is gone. I can't believe we're never going to get another Ennis/Dillon series. He really, truly was one of the best. Now he has entered the pantheon of greatest comic book artists. I'd put him in the top 5. I'm not sure yet where, but he's up there.

It's so unfair. The life of a comic book artist is not very financially rewarding, especially now. I'm sure he did all right, being an artist for both DC and Marvel, but still. He had AMC money rolling in now. It's not right.

Rest in peace, Steve Dillon.

If you want to know who my favorite living comic book artist is now, I haven't decided. It's either Gabriel Rodriguez or Darick Robertson. If you haven't, hunt down LOCKE & KEY, TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE, THE GREAT AND SECRET SHOW, TRANSMETROPOLITAN and THE BOYS to see why. Just fuckin' do it, all right?


I forgot who said it, but I remember hearing someone talking about the difference between contacting celebrities now and contacting them back in the classic Hollywood days. Way back when, you had to physically write a letter, be it by hand or typewriter, and you had to snail mail it to the studio. There a representative of the celebrity in question would type a phony letter, sign a picture for the celebrity and send the lot back to the fan. Now all you have to do is send them a tweet on Twitter. Sometimes you get ignored, but sometimes you get lucky and they respond.

Whoever mentioned this didn't take it to the next logical step: what if classic Hollywood had social media?

You fuckin' KNOW that Valentino would be sending out dick pics via DM. I would love to see Errol Flynn's drunken midnight tweets. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Duke would outrage millions by the far right things he'd post. Everyone else would probably be equally outraged by Bogie's views. I like to think that Rock Hudson would have been a gay rights activist. Perhaps someone would have been able to see Marilyn Monroe's problems and would have saved her life. Chaplin wouldn't be considered a genius today; he'd have been busted for his very active interest in underage girls instead.

Holy shit, could you imagine if Sinatra Periscoped his legendary parties? Jane Russell's Instagram would be on fucking fire. What if the Hollywood 10 protested on their Facebook pages? A lot of those guys were talented, and I'm pretty sure they could come up with just the perfect barb to hurl in McCarthy's direction.

Extend it to musicians. Images of John Bonham trashing hotel rooms would be all over the internet. Jimi's sex tape would be all over Pornhub (like it is today!). John Lennon and Paul McCartney sniping each other on Facebook. (And I'd bet even money that there would have been a Lennon/Ono sex tape. Maybe there is, but it hasn't surfaced yet.)

How about writers? Am I the only one who would have loved Jack Kerouac's blog? Or how about F. Scott Fitzgerald's? I can see Hunter S. Thompson posting videos of him shooting at high grade explosives on YouTube. Could you imagine the wonderfully depressing and soul-bearing posts Sylvia Plath would have sent out into the world? Shit, I know it's earlier than everyone else I've listed, but goddammit! I think Mark Twain would have been the Patton Oswalt of his time.

Presidents! Do you think JFK would be able to control himself with Snapchat nudes? Nixon wouldn't have needed Watergate to destroy him; he'd just need to do drunken live posts on Facebook. Everyone would have known about FDR's disability. Everyone would follow Teddy Roosevelt in much the same way everyone follows Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellan when they're hanging out together, doing knight shit.

If you don't think all of this would be crazy, let me remind you that this happened recently. Yes, Charlie Sheen, star of MAJOR LEAGUE, is saying that he'd pitch for the Indians if they asked him to. Shit doesn't get more surreal than that.

Unless you give social media to classic Hollywood. Let's build a time machine, shall we?

Friday, October 21, 2016


On the train today a couple of Catholic school girls sat next to me. How did I know they were Catholic school girls? Because they were wearing the uniform. The skirt uniform that so many perverts go crazy over.

(Side note: I honestly don't get that fetish. Maybe because when I was in junior high I got my first blowjob from a Catholic school girl. I don't know. I just don't get it.)

It's in the forties today. That's pretty cold to be wearing a skirt with no leggings. I guess the Catholic church wants these poor girls to freeze. Why do they even wear those uniforms?

I looked it up, and the official reason, per Wikipedia, is the following:

"Stated purpose for uniforms, often set forth in school uniform policies, include reducing clothing expenditures for parents as well as avoiding distinctions among children based on whose parents can afford to buy them fashionable clothing to wear to school. The conservative clothing is also said to reduce distractions and help with student identification, ensuring that a stranger will stand out among the uniformed students."

Apparently there are some schools that give the option to wear pants if the weather is harsh. I'm not saying that it was a tundra out there today, but those girls couldn't have been comfortable. I would think that given a choice, they would have worn pants. This suggests to me that this is not an option for them. If that's true, I think that's a pretty cruel thing to do to a kid.

Am I wrong on this? Personally I'm against school uniforms for anyone, Catholics or otherwise. I think uniforms remove personality, kind of like what prisons do by taking away prisoners' names and giving them numbers. I think that's a dangerous thing. But to make these girls suffer through cold weather in such a way seems to me a bad thing. The boys get to wear pants. Why not the girls?

Let me know what you think in the comments below.