Thursday, October 27, 2016


I've seen a lot of horrible shit on my commute to and from Chicago every day. Like the time I saw a dead body at the train station. Or the time someone had to be literally thrown off the train. Or the time that a street preacher told me to get home before I died. Or even the time that the weird guy stood outside a bank and constantly yelled, "FUCK BANK!" Over and over again. I'm still not sure if he was requiring action or just naming a bank.

But it's not all bad. There are some good people out there. A while back, when my laptop was in the shop (hence why I didn't write about it at the time), I saw a guy walking along, and something dropped out of his bag. His phone and a money clip. He kept on walking without a care in the world. Before I could open my mouth to tell him, someone else notified him of it. He thanked them and went back to retrieve his property.

And then, this week, I saw a woman who missed the last step on her way out of the train. She cried out and hit the pavement face first. I stopped, ready to step in and help, when I saw a crowd of people surround her and pull her to her feet. She was shockingly not harmed. I would have thought she'd at least have a few cuts, but she was okay. Just rattled. She laughed it off.

I hate the city. It's an awful place full of awful people. It would be beautiful without the humans. But it's not all bad. There are decent people out there, and they're always ready to step forward to help. Remember to do your good deed for the day.

One more thing: ever read Mark Millar's HUCK? It's fuckin' great. Remember #OneGoodDeed. Click on it for an awesome news story.

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.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


I had to go into work a half-hour early today. My commute turned out to be quite different from my usual schedule. First of all, and best of all, I got to park on the first floor of the parking garage today. That's pretty cool. But then I got to the train station. It was dark out. I read every morning while waiting for the train. I had to read by streetlight, which was awkward because I had to tilt the book in order to see the words.

There weren't a lot of people there. Once on the train I saw that there was plenty of room. Weird. I even got to have my own seat. At one point I glanced out the window and saw the dark skyscrapers of Chicago. The sun was lurking just behind them, not quite up and out of bed but getting there. The predawn light made the buildings look like dead, empty monoliths.

I took to the streets, and yet again I noticed that there was barely anyone walking to work. It was far from the seething throngs I see every day. Even the homeless guys were just showing up. They didn't have their cups out yet. It was kind of like they were showing up for work, and they were just getting settled in.

As soon as I got away from the river it was almost like a dead zone. I saw maybe a handful of people before I got to my office. It almost got to the point where I had to wonder if someone had closed down the streets to film something, and I was just walking around on their set. I kept expecting some angry director, possibly Michael Bay, to yell at me.

Just as I got to my floor I saw the front doors locked, and there was a pile of newspapers just outside. No one manned the receptionist's desk.

Very odd. I wonder if my commute home will have any differences. My initial thought is that there won't be, but I could be wrong. The difference this morning was a half an hour, and I'm leaving a half-hour early. It's funny the difference that makes.

Hey, I bet you thought I forgot about HEY, FUCKERS. Well, I did, sort of. Remember when I got that new shift at my old job and decided to quit writing GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS because I'd be writing it at something like 8:30 or 9? That's not a bedtime. 10 or 11 or even midnight, those are fuckin' bedtimes. I got antsy and started this series, which could be written at any point in the day. But then I found myself in a position to resume GF, so HF fell by the wayside. Unfortunately my laptop is in the shop right now, and I'm chomping at the bit to write more GF's. Until I get it back, I might send off a few HF's if I have the time. The laptop isn't due back until Halloween.

Friday, October 14, 2016


Sucks to be Ken Bone. Plunged suddenly into the limelight, he was poised to make a lot of money from becoming an overnight celebrity. And then it comes out that he's a pervert, a criminal and an idiot. Whoops. That was pretty quick. It was almost literally Warhol's theory of fifteen minutes of fame. Almost.

He said a lot of unfortunate things online. That seems to happen a lot these days. Being into pregnant porn isn't a crime, but it's pretty distasteful. Siding with Zimmerman over Martin is, well, awkward to say the least, even if you do call Zimmerman a bad guy. And maybe, just MAYBE, you shouldn't be confessing to forging papers for insurance fraud. But the one thing that stood out for me was the Jennifer Lawrence thing. Oddly, I don't see a lot of posts about that. Everyone's attacking Trump, and rightfully so, about the horrible things he said, in particular the pussy line. How many of you know about the Ken Bone story? I'd wager it's significantly fewer than those who know about Trump's locker room talk.

But it's a thing. If you missed it, here is just one article. It sums the situation up pretty clearly. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Reddit is the hell hole of the internet. No matter how bad you think the comments are on YouTube videos, Reddit has worse. If you're looking for a place that caters to scum and villainy, don't bother wasting your time with Mos Eisley. Go directly to Reddit. Do not collect $200.

Anyway, the Lawrence thing. I find it interesting. Someone posted nude photos of her, stolen from the cloud--PRIVATE pictures--online. She did not want those out there. Fair enough. Those photos were not meant for us. They were meant for her and whoever she sent them to. We've all done this. My exes have very personal pictures of me, and I have very personal pictures of them. I would never dream of betraying that trust. I'd rather they not betray it, either. I don't care about my dick pics floating around out there, but I made those pics for specific people. It's very personal. Lawrence feels violated because, well, she was.

In case you didn't bother with the link (and since it's so late, why would you?) Ken Bone said this about her pictures: "Maybe she should have been more careful with her pics, but the bad guys are still the ones who sought them out and looked at them. By which I mean guys like me. I saw her butt hole. I liked it."

Hm. He seems to through around the phrase "bad guy" pretty recklessly. Maybe it means nothing to him. Your thoughts, George Zimmerman?

This was posted on Reddit, by the way, under an assumed name. But people on Reddit, as awful as they are, know the internet almost as well as the dark net folks. They found out that "StanGibson18" was really Ken Bone. Again, whoops.

Do you know what that implies? It implies that Ken Bone did not want people to know it was really him saying those things about Jennifer Lawrence. How does it feel, Bonester? How does it feel to have something out there about you that you don't want out there? I highly doubt you're feeling very proud of yourself today.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


. . . and he will, I assure you. The first time I was aware of the political system was during the '88 election. That was the one and only time I've ever been wrong. My family was pro-Dukakis, so I figured I had to be, too. My grandfather is 100% Greek, and I suspect, in hindsight, that was the reason. I fully believed Dukakis would wipe the walls with Bush I. Whoops. In gambling that's known as betting your heart. Don't ever do that.

Every election since then I have considered everything very carefully. I was right about Bill Clinton twice. I was right about Bush II twice. I was right about Obama twice. And I'm going to be right about Hillary Clinton this year. I can't stand anyone on the ballot (except for maybe me, #VoteBruniDanger2016), but Clinton is the best qualified. She's a fucking sleazy politician. She knows so many underhanded techniques that no one else would be able to run this country. Hopefully Bill Clinton's slimy tendencies have rubbed off on her, and she'll do what no other president in recent memory has done: balance the fucking budget.

But Trump? I worry about the li'l fella. What's he going to do when he's proven to be a loser yet again. (Remember, this isn't his first presidential bid.) Well, anyone remember what Samuel Johnson said about patriotism? It's the last refuge of scoundrels. But patriotism is going to fail Trump yet again. Where do you go from rock bottom?

Correction: that is not rock bottom. There's something else he can become. Don't forget that Jordan Belfort, the infamous Wolf of Wall Street, has a career today despite the horrendous financial crimes he committed. How does he have a career? Simple: he went into public speaking.

I think Trump might have a future in that, but I don't mean just any ol' public speaking gig. I'm thinking he could do a PUA type thing. For those unfamiliar with this, PUA stands for Pick Up Artist. These are the scumbags who try to teach men how to worm into the pants of women. They're the ones who try to teach you the right way to say things like, "Nice pants. Think I can get in them?" Or, "I'm glad I brought my library card, because I'm checking you out." Etc.

Trump's first seminar could be titled HOW TO GRAB 'EM BY THE PUSSY AND GET AWAY WITH IT. Or maybe HOW TO BECOME SO FAMOUS YOU CAN KISS BEAUTIFUL WOMEN BEFORE YOU EVEN SAY HI. But it doesn't have to be limited to that. Maybe we can fit in a few like HOW TO MAKE EVERYONE THINK YOU'RE BETTER THAN THEM. Or perhaps HOW TO NOT PAY TAXES FOR DECADES ON END. Or best yet, HOW TO MAKE EVERYONE THINK YOU HAVE MORE MONEY THAN YOU DO. Money's a tricky thing. Everyone depends so much on money that doesn't exist that George Carlin is right: without bullshit this country would fall apart.

(My favorite philosophy professor in college hated the word "potential." He demonstrated by holding out his empty hand. He said, "Right now I'm holding a potential sandwich." Every one of us who has a credit card is holding potential money. It doesn't really exist until you pay it off. *If* you pay it off. But that's *my* problem for now, I guess.)

When I was in high school I learned a very important lesson. We had an election in government class. It was me versus a thief versus a sex fiend. I decided I was going to run an honest campaign, and guess what? I came in last. That very important lesson I learned? You have to be a lowlife in order to win in American politics.

But more importantly you have to be a lowlife who knows how politics works. Trump is a so-called businessman and a self-professed outsider (which is a contradiction, by the way). Clinton, on the other hand, is a lifetime politician. She's slimy and a liar and etc. But she has experience, and that's why she's going to win. I'm all right with that, I guess. If anyone was going to win I'd rather it went to the underdog, Sanders. But that's never going to happen because he insists on being, well, honest.

So yeah. Trump, if you need help finding a job after this failed attempt at seizing the White House, give me a call. You've just got to sell me this pen first.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Fuck. I've done it again. I've written something that I have no idea how to market. I'm pretty sure there is zero interest in something like this. Those of you who know me are probably not surprised by this development. I do this on a regular basis, and every once in a while I luck out. Take for example my recent story about butts. I was 99.99999999% certain that no one would want it. Surprise! It has found a home. I probably can't talk about specifics, but the likelihood of this happening again in the same way is very, very slim.

It is not horror, but it's horrifying. It's not bizarro, but weird and fucked up things happen. It's not crime, but crimes are committed in it. It is not mainstream, but its intent is literary. I'll go you onne further: a rape is central to the story. No one fuckin' wants to publish rape stories. It's a touchy subject, and no one wants to even take a chance with something like that.

It's not an endorsement of rape, by the way. (Collective sigh of relief from all of you.) It's not a rape/revenge thing, either. That's too easy, and we've all seen I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE already. Why tread such familiar waters? Explaining it would make me sound like a pretentious asshole, so I won't bother. Anyone reading it would know my intentions are pure, and a lot of it is based on a kinda-sorta true story.

But here's the problem: I have no idea of who to send it to. The rape scene is within the first 300 words. I don't think anyone would read beyond that. There is nothing titillating about this story, and it's not some shock value thing, either.

When I find myself in such a position I usually take the scatter gun approach. Sure, a lot of publications wouldn't want this kind of thing, but what the hell? I'll send it out to some in the hazy area of whatever genre I'm writing in, and maybe I'll get lucky. Sometimes I do.

As someone who wants to make money in this business I should probably stop writing things I don't think I can sell, but I can't. Even if I know a story isn't going to get into readers' hands I have to get it out of my head. Even if I'd never gotten published I'd do it. This isn't a get-rich-quick scheme (shit, if only that were true!). This is a compulsion for me. Some people bite their fingernails. Others lose themselves in sex addiction. Still others hoard to the point where they're not surprised to find a dead cat in their house.

I write. It would just be nice if I could find a home for this thing. No one likes to work and have nothing to show for it.

Anyone interested in a story like that?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


Earlier today I ran into a friend and his family. While he and his wife ordered food from McDonald's I found myself in an interesting conversation with their seven-year-old son. He's actually pretty smart. I've always thought that he was going to go on to do something important. He certainly knew more than I did when I was his age.

We started talking about time travel stories and historical SF. He'd just read some good stuff, and he was thinking about the age old question: if you could go back in history and kill baby Hitler, would you? He didn't want to do that. Blessed with coming of age in a more tolerant time he said he wanted to go back in time and help Hitler be a better person so he wouldn't do all of those horrible things. "I want him to experience beauty," he said. "Maybe he didn't have enough art in his life. Maybe he should have been a creator instead of a destroyer. I'd try to teach him an art, like painting or something."

My blood froze with that last statement. In that moment I realized that this kid was going to be a genius. One day he was going to invent a time machine, and he was going to go back in time to teach young Hitler how to paint. Which will lead to him being refused admittance to an art school. Which will lead to genocide and a wildly violent attempt at world domination.

There is no changing time. If you travel back in your future, it has already been done.

I just realized that I had to kill this child so he couldn't go back in time to try and save Hitler.

Wish me luck.

Just kidding. Children are not smart. They're stupid and disgusting. If you knew me you would have known this was a joke. Do you realize how many messes I've had to clean up because of children? I'm pretty sure that they're all Donald Trumps waiting to happen. Good luck in training that out of them.

All right, kids aren't that bad. I'm just glad I don't have any I have to take care of. I thought it was a good joke, that's all. I apologize to the children of the world for assuming they're all assholes. They're not. Well, most of them aren't. Some are good. Probably.  #VoteBruniDanger2016

Monday, October 10, 2016


I pride myself on very few things, but the one I hold in the second highest regard is my ability to have a story for just about anything. Name a topic, and I've got something for you. Granted, it might take me a moment to shuffle through my brain. There's a lot of alcohol up there. But there's always something. I feel like Kup from the Transformers sometimes. I'm not an old war beast, but I've been around the block. I've been around most of the blocks. Something always reminds me of something else.

Recently Bradley Sands, the author of the great RICO SLADE WILL FUCKING KILL YOU, commented on one of my GF posts that I should write about jowls. That threw me for a loop. Off the top of my head I couldn't think of a single instance where jowls specifically came up in my life. But I like a challenge, and I thought about it for a long time. I thought maybe I'd write a humorous piece about jowls and my appreciation of them (especially on Mitch McConnell, who for some reason reminds me of this guy). Or maybe I'd talk about how my jowls are starting to make themselves known, and how I remember having a clearly defined jawline. I don't know. That sounded kind of like cheating.

And then it hit me. It usually does. If I'm having trouble with something, I put it on the back-burner. Let it simmer. It usually works itself out, usually just in time. Today, as I was driving through an area I used to hang out in (but no longer do), I came upon a house I used to be in on a regular basis.

Rob Tannahill, my fellow creator on THE COCAINE! BROS. and current jailbird, has a habit of getting into friendships with a group of people and dragging me into it. Then he does something that gets the group to despise him, and he starts all over again with other people. Most times I don't like anyone in that group of friends. They're not people I want in my life on a long term basis. But I'll give him this: he always found him some fucking characters to hang out with.

One of these guys lived in the aforementioned home. He was one in a group of Satanists. No, not the animal sacrificers. I mean the real ones. Their favorite thing to do? Go to Denny's so they can smoke, drink coffee and play Magic, the Gathering. I've never cared for Magic, but that's what they did, so that's what I did. It was fun.

This guy once told me a story about how a friend of his was doing anal with his girlfriend, and she farted when he came. As a result something broke inside of him. Whenever he pissed, he came. Whenever he came, he pissed. It doesn't sound very likely, but I humored him.

He was a skinny motherfucker. He also looked a lot older than he was. When I saw him I figured him for 35. He told me he was 22. I couldn't believe it, and when I questioned him on it he said that it was easy to explain. "I used to be a fat ass. I weighed 300. No shit."

I couldn't believe it. He was so skinny I could have grabbed him around the waist with one hand and have my fingers touch my wrist.

"I'll prove it," he said. "Check it out."

With both hands he grabbed each side of his jawline and pulled down. I was surprised by the elasticity of his skin. He pulled down nearly all of his face. He had so much loose skin I thought maybe he'd been wearing a mask the whole time I'd known him. I'm not kidding when I say that I could have grabbed those jowls and wrapped my entire fists in them. I have very thick hands. I wouldn't be showing off a single finger.

He didn't look like he had jowls, but holy fuck. They were the biggest I've ever seen. If he'd pulled up instead of down he would have covered his face up to his eyes. It's fucking crazy.

When I was in high school I weighed 245 lbs. When I saw my graduation video I looked like Chris Farley. I found that unacceptable, so I got myself down to 205. I ran into some horrible setbacks (in particular a romance that went wrong very badly), and I rocketed up to 305. I found my way and cut back down to 215, but then another horrible romance drove me up to 270. I'm down to 250 now. But no matter how much weight I lose there is one fact that always remains: you will have loose skin.

That dude had so much loose skin it didn't look human. I don't know how he managed to make it look like nothing. If I stretched it out from his face, I could probably cradle a baby in there.

So yeah. Jowls. If you have any further suggestions let me know. I'm confident that I can find something about anything in the rotten, booze-soaked folds of my brain. I consider it a challenge. I love a challenge. Hit me with your best.

Sunday, October 9, 2016


I live pretty close to where I grew up. When I was a kid my family was upper middle class, but due to a lot of financial issues by the time I was in fifth grade shit fell apart. We used to live in a two-story house on Edgewood which was fucking beautiful. I've fantasized about buying it back as an adult and living there. But we moved to Vallette two blocks away, and it's maybe the shittiest townhouse in Elmhurst. I'm lower middle class swirling down the drain to lower class. I don't mean that as an insult to anyone, but that's just the way it is.

But I remember things. My parents were never married, so I am technically a bastard. (And as a person, I am also a bastard, so everything works out. Sorry.) I've never experienced what is considered to be the regular family life, which is maybe why I embrace the unusual. I've been unusual since birth.

My earliest memories are of mom trying to find a father figure for me. Or maybe my dad trying to find a mother figure for me. It doesn't matter. Both failed spectacularly. (I'm happy with my second step-mom, although currents were rough for about ten years.) I didn't care about those things because I didn't know I was supposed to. As far as I knew everyone had moms and dads that lived apart, and that kids lived with their moms except for certain weekends when their dads watched after them.

I'm out of bounds. I didn't always know that, but I think I'm in a good position to examine the so-called "regular" experience. I remember Mulder once saying, "How do you define normal?" That is my personal philosophy. There is no normal, no matter what TV tells you.

But! There are some things I remember from childhood. Looking back my earliest memory is of my mother and me. I was about three or four, and we did what we always did back then: we walked around the neighborhood.

I walk the same neighborhood as an adult for exercise. But it looks vastly different. I've mentioned it before, but I'll say it again. Elmhurst is dedicated to tearing down houses when they reach their 50th birthday in favor of more modern houses.

I won't mention the address, as there are a lot of awful people who might be paying attention, but Mom and I would head down the block to a neighbor who had a beautiful garden. It was open for everyone to see. I ran my hands along the flowers, awed that such stunning things could exist. My tiny hands on something the earth had produced. Something like me. Natural.

I walk by there now and the garden is not only gone, but the new owner has erected a fence to hide everything in that yard. I saw the garden destroyed. Now I can only wonder what happens back there. Goodbye to my youth.

Two blocks down there was a guy who cultivated an apple tree. Every time Mom and I stopped by he would give me an apple fresh from the tree, and I'd wolf it down. That may surprise many of my friends today. I hate fruits and vegetables. I much prefer cheeseburgers and hot dogs. But lest ye forget, apples are the only fruits I can tolerate today. I think this neighbor is the ONLY reason I do that.

(The only veggie I tolerate is corn, and that's probably because my grandparents made a game of putting butter and salt on cobs so I'd eat it.)

Fast forward to now. The apple tree was dragged out of the ground by its roots for reasons I can never understand. When I walk past that yard I see empty space. Nothing but grass. I don't know why. Maybe the current owner hates trees or apples or both. Goodbye to my youth.

And then there was the maple tree in the front yard that I used to take great joy in climbing. It's still there, and it's bigger than I ever thought. There have been several occasions when I felt I should climb it, but I'm an adult now. I would probably be arrested for it.

The thing about the apples. I don't say this a lot. I didn't even know it until a friend of mine observed it back in college. I got the worst beating of my life from my stepfather over a cheeseburger. Today I consider myself a cheeseburger expert.

I loved McDonald's cheeseburgers when I was a kid. I thought that was the pinnacle of good taste. And then my stepfather stopped me from eating fast food and cooked a cheeseburger for me. It was a bad cheeseburger, so I told him I hated it. I wanted a McDonald's cheeseburger over this shit.

He punched me like I was an adult. He threw my head into a wall. He yanked down my pants so hard that I still have the marks from it on my waist. And he beat the shit out of me.

If you want to know about great cheeseburgers, ask me. I have intimate knowledge about the best of the best. The greatest real cheeseburger is at the Country House in Clarendon Hills, IL. The best charburger is at Sparky's in Oak Brook. The best fast food burger belongs to McDonald's, provided you ask for extra everything.

Those apples were really fucking good.

To quote Jimmie's Chicken Shack and Marcy Playground, "My life was easier at five."

I miss those days. Goodbye to my youth.


Remember when I used to write a bunch of reviews for my blog? When I first started up Tales of Unspeakable Taste I thought it would be funny to do cemetery reviews. Who the fuck does cemetery reviews? I did a few before I got bored with the idea. One of them was on Bachelors Grove. If you want to read it, here it is. It might help you understand where I'm going with this GF tonight.

I was thinking about Bachelors Grove because a friend mentioned it earlier today. I realized that there was one thing I left out of my review. Let's rewind 17 years.

In 1999 I won an honorable mention at a State of Illinois journalism competition sponsored by the Trib. It was for feature story. When I worked for the Elmhurst College Leader it was suggested to me, because I was the fuckin' weirdo on staff, that I should write a feature piece on local haunts. So I did. I'd heard about Bachelors Grove a few times over the years, but I'd never gone down there.

I decided to make the trip for the story. I was floored by how spooky that place is. If you read the review in the link above you'll see a double grave that someone had slightly dug up. Years after my first visit a friend of mine took a picture of that grave. When he developed the film he'd captured what looked like two ghosts. I've seen the picture. I'm an incredibly skeptical guy when it comes to things like this, but I'll be damned if it didn't look like two ghosts. It was hazy, but they had human form, and I could see their eyes. One was obviously male, the other female, which matches up because a man and woman are buried there. I don't know what to make of it. I'm just going to say it's something I don't understand.

And no, the picture no longer exists. My friend lives the life of a transient (he is currently in prison and will not have a home when he's released), and he lost the picture and the negatives. Sorry.

If there is any place that is truly haunted, it's Bachelors Grove. But that's not what I'm here to talk about. There is something I left out of my review, and I only remembered it this morning during the IM conversation with my friend.

On several graves someone had left identical copies of the same letter. I know I kept one, but I can't for the life of me find it now. The gist of it was that the writer was a very lonely woman in her late twenties, a Wiccan, and she was looking for fellow cemetery appreciators to talk with. It wasn't a sexual thing. She just wanted to find a friend because she didn't have any. It was one of the saddest things I'd ever read.

Back then I still had a shell around me. I was anti-social. I wanted to separate myself from the world. The only people I wanted to talk with were people I was already familiar with. I later discovered the joys of alcohol, which cured me of this horrible malady. I never wrote to her email address. Only two years later I would have, and that's a thing I regret to this day. Out of mere curiosity I would have contacted her. I'm sure she's an okay person, so there probably would have been a great friendship in that.

Being lonely and wanting to be lonely is one thing. That's what I wanted back then. But this person was lonely and didn't want to be lonely. That's something else entirely.

We didn't have social media back then. I wonder how she's doing now. I hope she's found friends online. Friends online almost always leads to real life friends. There are about two dozen people I was online friends with before I met them in person this year alone. Social media can be a terrible place (Reddit, I'm looking specifically at you; I've never seen a more merciless pit of vipers). But it can also be wonderful. A radio personality I used to listen to back in the early 2000's was fond of saying that he was a high touch guy, not high tech. He blamed the internet for distancing people from each other. I disagree. While there is an element to that, I find that it's brought me closer to humanity. I wouldn't know a majority of the people I know today without the internet.

I hope that lonely Bachelors Grove woman has discovered that truth, and I hope she has tons of friends. I hope she's no longer lonely.

Our solar system is a big place. Only this planet is inhabited. As far as we can see into the rest of the universe is unpopulated. But the math is against us being alone in existence. Still, that's a lot of space, and that's a lot of loneliness.

Tell your loved ones that you love them. In the end that is all we truly have.

Friday, October 7, 2016


Today one of my coworkers at my new job told me that he was a horrible person. I joked with him, acting like I was surprised. But it turns out he nearly committed one of the most horrible sins imaginable.

He said that he'd run into money problems, so he decided to sell some of his most valued books. *gasp!* Yes, that is a horrible idea. He had a book--signed, no less--that was valued at about one grand, so that's what he tried to eBay it for. Thankfully his financial situation improved, and he no longer had to sell this prized possession. Instead he turned to trolling those who tried to undercut him. One person audaciously tried to get it for $200. He mocked them all and kept his book.


I've spent my life amassing the library I'm surrounded by in this very moment. I have three bookcases in my bedroom, all full to the brim with books on top that reach to the ceiling. I also have three piles of books on the top shelf of my desk . . . and they reach to the ceiling. To say nothing of the two and a half giant towers of books on their own (one and a half being a stack comprised of two stacks topped by one stack because it kept falling over). To say nothing of the paperbacks stacked on my comic book boxes and the one shelf mounted on my wall.

Go outside my room and you'll find another full-to-the-brim bookcase with books on top . . . reaching to the ceiling. And three stacks next to it . . . reaching to the ceiling.

I cannot possibly imagine myself selling any one of them. I have a lot of signed books. I have a lot of limited editions. (The most I ever spent on a book was $500 for a signed limited edition of Richard Laymon's A WRITER'S TALE; worth every penny, and anyone will tell you that's a pretty good deal.) And I have a ton of regular hardcovers and paperbacks. I had to sell some books recently to make room, but I sold only the ones I hadn't enjoyed. Everything that I loved (or have not read yet) is integral to my continuing existence.

Even the ones I sold kind of hurt. I'd put those books in my head. They were a part of me even though I didn't like them (or I had other, better editions that I did enjoy).

This guy was going to sell a prized possession. I find that unthinkable. I could never part with any of the books I have in my place.

I hear horror stories about people having to move and leave their books behind during a move. Or sell them in order to move. Or there's the one story about Joe R. Lansdale losing his library to a flood. Jesus! That's so horrible! Just hearing it drills a hole in my guts.

Which reminds me, I have a ton of books that are signed by the authors that I HAVEN'T read. I need to get on that as soon as possible.

Goodnight, my fellow book fiends.


It's a rarity, but I like series characters every once in a while. Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers. Bill Hodges and Roland and friends. Harry Potter. Rambo. Burke and Cross. Hap and Leonard. Tony and Vince. Hell, going back to my childhood, Frank and Joe Hardy.

OK, maybe I like them more than I think. But I never had an urge to write series characters. The tough part is writing a story that resonates so strongly that readers lust for more tales about those people living in your head. It's a daunting task, and I'm almost certain that no author thinks about series characters until they accidentally happen. In their heads it's usually one-and-done until readers love the hell out of it.

I don't write sequels. There was that one time when I was a gay porn writer. I wrote under the name of Anthony Haversham. I sold "Bobby Yandell, Private Investigator" to INDULGE FOR MEN. The pay was really fucking good, so I wrote another Yandell story called "My Dick is Quick." The first one was an homage to Chandler. The second had Spillane written all over it. Sadly IFM was not interested in pursuing a series character. No one else was willing to pick it up. I, being a real scumbag, published the story in the first TABARD INN. I don't like putting my own stories in work I'm editing, but I made an exception in that case because it was a pen name, and I had no intention of ever revealing the truth. (spoiler) There are times when I think I should do a third story but inspired by Jim Thompson. Maybe someday.

But about a year ago I was struck with a great idea for series characters. I've been puzzling the stories out ever since. I even decided to convert another idea for this series. I have a huge background for it. There is even a mysterious character that is going to link all of the stories together, and I know all about his FUBAR past, and I can't wait to get it all on paper.

I started writing the first in this series yesterday. It's inspired by my previous job, and it's reinforced by my new job. I sincerely hope that someone is interested in publishing stories in this series. I desperately want to pepper these things throughout magazines and anthologies for the next ten years. I think I've mentioned before how much I love Manly Wade Wellman's John the Balladeer stories, and how I like unexpectedly running into him in a random anthology. I want readers to feel the same when they come upon these savage and twisted (and somehow noble) characters.

I'm almost done with the first story. I anticipate there being at least a dozen of these things. I hope these sell well. If you're a publisher and interested in a series about the same characters doing vastly different and fucked up things, please let me know.

If you're a reader, I hope I can get this thing before your eyes. I'd really like to know what you think.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


I got my first flu shot today. It's making me nervous as all hell. I used to joke about worrying what the government was putting in these things, but in reality I had a very different fear. They say that once you get your first flu shot you have to get them for the rest of your life. Kind of like shaving your body hair. Once you do it, it will grow back twice as tough, and you'll have to keep on doing it forever if you want to be rid of it.

You may remember that earlier this year I was stricken with a ghastly mystery illness that started with a horrible, filthy child in an urgent care waiting room. That little fucker coughed and sneezed all over everything. I saw him sneeze in his mother's face. No admonishment to cover his mouth. I suspect that he'll grow up to become the next Donald Trump.

I only get sick once a year, and that piece of shit caught me at that exact time of year. But it kept getting worse to the point where my doctor thought I had pneumonia. It wasn't that, but whatever it was triggered the mystery illness that had me laid up for two months. I'm certain that the mystery illness wouldn't have happened without that asshole kid's virus, whatever it was.

While trying to figure it out, my doctor asked me if I'd gotten the flu shot that year. I told him I never get them. He said that because I'm diabetic I should get them every year. He was certain that this horrible period of my life was caused by me not getting my flu shot.

So yeah. Not wanting to go through that bullshit again, I got the flu shot at work today. I guess I'll be doing that for the rest of my life. Fuck.

It was an all right experience. I hate needles. I never liked them, but I've been around a lot of them these past few years for various ailments. I got used to them, but at the same time I hate them even more. The nurse was pretty good with this one, though. I barely felt it. Better yet, she seemed interested in my reading material. JF Gonzalez's SURVIVOR. On my morning commute someone on the train noticed the book and recoiled in horror at it. It was good to see this nurse balancing out the universe.

But the thing that really freaked me out was when I admitted this was my first flu shot. Everyone was very concerned, afraid that I would have an allergic reaction. I'm allergic to nothing (except, possibly, religion), but all the same it gave me The Fear. They made me wait a while before sending me back to work. My head filled with visions of my arm puffing out like an overstuffed sausage. It didn't help that the nurse asked me if I was right handed or left handed. When I said I was a righty, she said she would inject my left arm.

But it all went good. I swear to fuck, if I get sick this winter I'll be pissed. Fuck what my doctor says, I'm not getting the shot next year. But if all goes well? I guess I can shoulder that burden.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


I've noticed that on my train commute there is an automatic audio announcement for every stop, and I kind of find it funny that it treats each stop differently. I don't pay attention in the morning because there are only two announcements: Oak Park and Ogilvy. But in the evening?

My first stop is Kedzie. There is no pleasant way to say that word. It always comes out awkward or distasteful. It's so bad that no one gets off there. Only two cars are on the platform at the time. Metra doesn't care about Kedzie. (As a side note, remember the time I talked about the bum who got kicked forcefully off the train? It was at Kedzie. Just to add some flavor.)

Then we get to Oak Park. Might as well be announcing we're all breathing today. It's too matter of fact. Water is wet, folks. As you were.

The next stop I'll mention later, but after that is Maywood. Again, not much of a fuss. Just grass growing. Melrose Park, on the other hand, seems like it's a surprise to the automated response. Melrose Park? We're stopping there? Really?

Next up is Bellwood. The robot doesn't know what to make of the word. It gets it wrong every time. It sounds vaguely right, but it's a mish-mash. Ugly.

The next two stops are Berkeley and Elmhurst (my stop). Both times are like Melrose Park, except it's not just a surprise. It's a pleasant surprise.

But there's one I haven't talked about. One that is completely different from the others. I think the robot is very happy about this one. It's the third stop: River Forest. When it announces this stop, it is completely pleasant and impressed, like River Forest might be the greatest place on the planet.

And sure, it looks nice. It's not bad for a mid-level suburb of Chicago. Doesn't look rundown, but it doesn't look very civilized, either. Some of it is actually pretty beautiful. No wonder this computer likes it. I imagine if it was trying to become a sentient being, emotion and all, it would want to commute from River Forest everyday.

Is my train becoming self-aware? Oh shit.

Monday, October 3, 2016


It takes a lot to piss me off. Frustrated is easy. That happens everyday. But pissed off? Furious? That's a lot harder. I can take a lot. I was severely beaten as a child. I was mercilessly bullied until high school (when I suddenly, luckily, grew to a height that dwarfed my bullies). I can take just about anything. Fucking anything. If you were to guess that I have a ruthless, possibly pathological, self-deprecating sense of humor, then you would be right.

As you can tell, something's stuck in my craw. I apologize for the egotistical post, but this thing has been eating at me since yesterday, when I first encountered it.

I am not a natural storyteller. I have a natural drive, but I had to seek out a way to do this shit. Ask anyone who read my work when I was a kid. They'll tell you it was garbage because I didn't know how to do it. It took me a long time to figure out how to tell a satisfying story, and it took a lot of hard work. One of my friends, and this is a guy who tells it like it is, told me that when he read my stuff from high school and college, he thought I was a shitty writer. Then he read my stuff in the past couple of years, and he was thoroughly impressed by how far I've come. That didn't happen by magic. It happened through hard work. A lot of it.

How do you piss me off? Tell me that I'm wasting my talent. I love the person who said this, and I don't want to go too deeply into that aspect. But I told her that it wasn't a talent. It was an ability. I built it up from virtually nothing. So substitute talent for ability. Even so, how the fuck am I wasting it? I write nearly every day. I have a metric shit-ton of titles to my name.

I have, over my computer, a sign that says WRITE DAMMIT. YOU'RE NOT GOOD AT ANYTHING ELSE. All right, I ripped it off from Simon Clark, but still. Writing is the one and only thing in my life that I truly take seriously. It is the only reason I'm alive. If I didn't have this I would have withered away a long time ago. It's the one thing I'm proud of, and I'll be damned if anyone is going to take that away from me.

Fuck. Reading back, I sound like a fucking prick who's full of himself. Wow. I need to get laid.

Saturday, October 1, 2016


To be honest I didn't expect much. Morris, IL, isn't a big place. I had grave doubts that anyone would buy my weird books. The only thing I thought they might buy was STRIP. That's the most straightforward book I've written. It's still ultra-violent and hyper-sexed, but it's normal. The things that happen in that book could actually happen in real life. There are no monster cocks or anything in that one. I also had an odd feeling in the back of my head that I might be burned for a witch when they saw my books. At the very least I might be arrested. I wore my WARNING: OFFENSIVE shirt just so people knew before they approached my table.

I sold two books. The $20 I made off of them went into my gas tank for the ride home. Still, the show was fun, and more importantly, it was for free.

Unfortunately it rained today. This book fest was supposed to be held outside, but instead they held it inside the library. As a result we didn't get a lot of Corn Festival traffic. Still, it wasn't a bad show. It had a real intimate feeling to it. To my surprise no one was horrified. No one was disgusted when they saw my books. They certainly weren't to everyone's taste, but they were very polite about it. True library people. Even if they don't like something, they would never make a big fuss out of it. I should have known better, having worked at a library from 1996 to 2006.

They had me sharing a table with Gregory T. Obert. That made me a little nervous. I know how offensive my books can be to people, and I didn't want to ruin his fest experience because of the kind of author I am. I warned him ahead of time, "Either you're going to be amused by me, or I'm going to horrify you."

Luckily it was the former. He's a really good guy. He listened to me tell my terrifying real life stories for three hours. When we were packing up he said that he had some pretty good stories, too. If we ever get thrown in together again, I'm going to shut my mouth for a change and listen to him. Click on the link above. Buy his book, THE MAN ON THE BENCH. I haven't read the book (although I did a book swap for it), but having spent a while with him, I know it's going to be good. At the very least it's got a great cover, as maybe half a dozen non-customers told him today. It was his first public appearance, and he handled himself very well.

Originally I'd asked a friend of mine, Nicole Evans, to be my table mate. If you do shows, you can't do them alone. You need someone to watch your back. She co-wrote "Suicidal Tendencies" with me. You can find the story in TALES OF QUESTIONABLE TASTE. Unfortunately she's run into some health and legal issues, so she couldn't make it. I put out the call to fellow IL authors, and Groot Marbles answered it. I've known him for quite some time online, but I've never met the guy even though we live maybe 45 minutes away from each other.

It was a sheer joy to meet him and his lady in person. We had a good conversation. Unfortunately he is the unluckiest person I've ever known. One of my brothers is supremely unlucky. Anything that can go wrong for him will go wrong. But Groot has it much worse. He told me about the shitty day he's had today, and then he told me that's pretty much every day for him. I wish I could have spent more time with him, but events conspired against us. I'm going to see him again in November, and hopefully his unluckiness won't get in the way of that. Also, he has some great news. I'm sure he can't announce it yet, but stay tuned.

Once again I couldn't help but notice that kids are drawn to my books. I don't know what it is. If there's a child in my vicinity, they will be attracted to my books. There was one kid who came by three times. His grandfather, a fellow author sitting near me, said that the kid did not stop at anyone else's table. It was just mine. He was not alone. A lot of children pawed my books, and it made me very nervous. Thankfully the parents were all understanding. (Groot mentioned that what was going on could very well be defined as child abuse. I was stricken by the idea, but the observation was so spot on I couldn't help but laugh.)

I should also add that at one point the kid who came to my table three times was in awe of TALES OF QUESTIONABLE TASTE. Remember the kid I mentioned at the Printers Row show? The one who saw that book and stared at it like he'd seen titties for the first time in his life? That's exactly how this kid responded.

Groot told me that I should write children's books. I might take that under serious consideration.

But yeah. Two books sold. Will I be back next year? Probably. It's a good show. Not financially rewarding, but I had fun. Morris, IL: I will see you in twelve months. If you'll have me, that is.

PS: I had a wonderful conversation with the person who bought STRIP. She said that her boyfriend was working on a horror novel set in a strip club, and it sounded like an excellent idea. If you're reading this, let me know. When the book comes out I would love to read it.


I just did a book fest in Morris, IL, and it was not as successful as I was hoping. Right now I'm sitting on a treasure trove of stock. If you want to buy from me directly, let me know. Everything is ten bucks, or I have a 3 for $25 deal. My stock is as follows:

-STRIP: 2 (You should really buy from me. If you go to Amazon you'll be charged an arm and a leg. With me it's either $10 or cheaper if you go with the 3 for $25 deal.)







I also have one more thing. It's not included in the 3 for $25 deal, though. I have the very last copy of STRANGER DANGER by Kevin Strange and Danger_Slater that you will find on the market. Go look at Amazon. See? No one's even selling it used. This book is out of print, and while you can purchase the novellas within separately, the likelihood of this book ever going back into print in this form is very, very slim. It is also signed by both Kevin and Danger. This is a super collectible right now. I could be a dick and charge $100 for it, but you can have it for $15. That's right, for $15 you can have the final copy of STRANGER DANGER for sale.

Let me know if you want some books. If you don't live close to me (so I can hand deliver to you), there might be shipping charges. If it's just for one book, I'll eat the cost, but if you want more than one I'll have to find out how much that costs.