Sunday, February 26, 2017

Monthly Newsletter #2 February 2017

Welcome back to my monthly newsletter. A day late, but certainly not a dollar short. I'm still green, so cut me some slack, please! I hope you find some of this interesting, and if you have any feedback it is always welcome. Cheers!

News (fake or otherwise)

I have a number of works in progress at all times. I really wish I could focus on one or two at a time, but I have way too many ideas brewing in my head, and they all want out. In fact, after a recent incident that happened to my wife and I, I have the beginning of a novel in my head. As much as I want to open a new document and type away, I have to restrain myself. This is not easy. So, I'm focusing on two pieces right now. One is the first book in a potential urban fantasy series set right here in San Diego. The working title is The Underground: A Veronica Hensely Story. I took some of the tropes I see in urban fantasy and tried to twist them a bit. I love the story. I'm about 65K words in. The other is a collaboration with Jack Bantry. Think Cronenberg's Shivers with the comedic essence of Return of the Living Dead. We're having fun writing it.

The San Diego Horror Professions, a group of horror authors I roll with here in town, have set up a twitter feed. We all have access and will pop in from time to time to tweet out cool horror stuff. Sure, you'll get tweets of us selling our prose, but we'll dish out some cool and fun surprises too. Follow us HERE.

Cool Read

This month's cool read is Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen (with Jon Wiederhorn). I love a good rock bio, and anyone who reads these things knows that the autobiographies are the best, especially when the artist is brutally honest. Uncle Al is nothing if not honest in the telling of his absolutely mad, absurd, drug and alcohol fueled life of debauchery as the front man to the industrial metal band Ministry. Easily one of the best rock bios I've read, right up there with bios by Lemmy, Ozzy, Slash, and Rex Brown.

Featured Fiction

 This month I'm shining a light on my short story "Starving Artist" that was published last year in San Diego Horror Professionals Vol. 1, featuring Ryan C. Thomas, Chad Stroup, David Agranoff, Anthony Travino, Bryan Killian, and myself. My offering is about a woman so drawn to a piece of art on the boardwalk that she has to buy it. When the beach bum who sold her the painting shows up at her door the next day, she finds out that the painting is more of a curse that the exquisite piece of art she just HAD to have. I've had some good feedback on this story. If the horrors of losing control terrify you, then you will probably like it too. You can pick up a digital copy HERE for just a buck.

Thrift Store Finds

Didn't find much over the past month. My local thrift stores have been weak. The books and records pictured below were from a library book store and a nice old man who's selling records and toy cars locally on the weekend. Nice guy. Used to be a DJ decades ago, so he has an insane pile of records. I've gone through them twice and still there are more buried under tubs of cars and other records. His prices aren't the best, but he's willing to haggle. Some good surf rock from the Champs. Not the most surfy Ventures record, but good nonetheless. Krokus is an unabashed AC/DC ripoff. I hate it. Haven't read either author, so I hope these books are good starting points.

Closing Words

In closing this month's newsletter I would like to let you all know that two of my titles are on sale for .99 cents for another week. If you haven't checked them out already, there's no better time. Reviews are always welcome, whether you liked it or hated it. It means a lot to authors, and apparently the Amazon algorithms.

"Well written, well paced and thoroughly twisted, In Black is sure to please readers of horror and Bizzaro alike." 

- Bryan Killian, author of Welcome to Necropolis and Dust of the Devil's Land

Get In Black HERE.

"Essig brings a fat slice of urban horror combined with his uniquely abstract vision of a hellish world. Endless suffering abounds! For fans of down and dirty horror!"

- Daniel I. Russel, author of Come into Darkness and Mother's Boys

Get Through the In Between, Hell Awaits HERE.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Monthly Newsletter #1 January 2017

Hello, horror freaks! If you are reading this, then you are reading the inaugural monthly Robert Essig horror author newsletter. No, I'm not asking for your email address or anything - not yet at least. I'm going to kick off this newsletter here on my blog/website. Down the road, if demand merits, I will offer an email newsletter. You can expect to find info on new and forthcoming releases, a suggested book title that I have recently read, maybe a pic of recent thrift store book finds, and who knows what else. I'm sure it will take a few newsletters to dial in exactly how I want to format the letter. So, here you go. Enjoy!


The big January news is that my next novella BROTHERS IN BLOOD is scheduled to be released as an ebook from Grand Mal Press. The release date hasn't been set yet, but the novella is being edited. I will be updating as the publication date grows nearer. I'll say this: BROTHERS IN BLOOD is kind of like HG Lewis's GRUESOME TWOSOME meets Rex Miller's SLOB.

If you would like to know where the title for this novella came from, well, I was struggling to find something catchy. My working title sucked, whatever it was. At the time, I was listening to Anthrax's Persistence of Time album a lot at work. "Blood" is one of my favorite tracks off the album. I was thinking about the story one day and the chorus just seemed to pop. I had my title.

 Cool Read

Last month a I read I WILL ROT WITHOUT YOU by Danger Slater. I had heard an interview with Danger on the Bizzong! podcast, which piqued my interest. On top of that, there has been some buzz about the novel. I really didn't know what to expect since I'm not inclined to read much bizarro, but
the interview and the buzz sold me. I WILL ROT WITHOUT YOU is surreal and intense, and Danger has a way with words that is inspiring. His style is psycho poetic, gripping, and wild. There were moments when the story went so far off the rails of sanity that my interest wavered, but, like certain Richard Laymon novels, I couldn't stop reading no matter how preposterous the plot seemed. If you're into bizarro, this one is a no-brainer. If you like the weird and unusual, give it a shot.

Featured Fiction

In December my story "Hank R. Chief" was published at as Horror D'oeuvre #61. This piece of flash fiction is an intimate look at an unusual murderer fixated on a certain aspect of the kill. I mean, what can I say about a five hundred word story without giving it away? If you are a subscriber, follow the link and you can read this story, as well as "Inflatable War", which was published in 2015. If you aren't a subscriber, consider it. DarkFuse provides new fiction weekly. It's well worth the price of admission.

Thrift Store Finds

I'm big on going to thrift stores, primarily looking for books and music. It's kind of an addiction, but I'm no hoarder. I do need a larger book shelf, though. Here are a few pics of some recent finds.


Closing Words

So there you have it. You've survived my debut news letter. Feedback is always appreciated. I would like to hear what you think I'm doing right or wrong, what you love or hate about the newsletter. Like I said in the intro, I will be making adjustments in the coming months. This is kind of an experiment, really. I hope you tune in for the February installment. Thanks for perusing!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Books I Read in 2016

Everyone likes a list, right? Best of this, worst of that, most embarrassing this, yada yada. Here's my list of books I read in 2016. Maybe your book is on the list. I read these books in several formats. Good ol' dead tree, kindle app, even audio books (not as many of those as last year), and I didn't even come close to reading as much as I wanted to, though there were a number of books I didn't finish. Highlighted titles are links to reviews I wrote for SplatterPunk Zine.

1. Video Night by Adam Cesare
2. Sow by Tim Curran
3. Furnace by Joseph Williams
4. Ghosts in the Attic by Mark Allen Gunnels
5. Firebug by Robert Bloch
6. The Bad Game by Adam Millard
7. The Ghost Pirates by William Hope Hodgeson
8. Some Great Magic by Fritz Lieber
9. Little Girls by Ronald Malfi
10. The Bridge by John Skipp & Craig Spector
11. Black Cat Mojo by Adam Howe
12. The Complex by Brian Keene
13. Agents of Light and Darkness by Simon R. Greene
14. Ghosts I Have Been by Gregory Peck
15. Lost Signals by Max Booth III & Lori Michelle (editors)
16. Beware by Richard Laymon
17. Night of the Long Knives by Fritz Lieber
18. Punk Rock Ghost Story by David Agranoff
19. Year's Best Hardcore Horror Vol. 1 by Randy Chandler & Cheryl Mullenax (editors)
20. Psycho 2 by Robert Bloch
21. Jedi Summer and the Magnetic Kid by John Boden
22. San Diego Horror Prefessionals Vol. 1
23. I Will Rot Without You by Danger Slater
24. Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen with Jon Wiederhorn

Friday, December 16, 2016


After the success of San Diego Horror Professionals Vol. 1, we've decided to hit the ground running and wrote six more horror tales that revolve around the holidays in San Diego Horror Professionals Vol. 2. Ryan C. Thomas, David Agranoff, Anthony Trevino, Bryan Killian, Chad Stroup, and myself return with all new stories. This time we're decking the halls . . . in blood!

To gear you up for Vol. 2, I invite you to check out this review we just received for Vol. 1 by Marvin Vernon at The Novel Pursuit. This guy is the real deal. Here's what he says about my story "Starving Artist": "I am wary of picking a favorite out of these six works but this is a doozy. It has a delicious Twilight Zone feel . The basic plot is of a woman who falls in love with a painting by a somewhat sleazy looking sidewalk artist and buys more than she realizes. It is a little clever and a lot wicked."

With volume two I was challenged to write a holiday story with a clown. I accepted. I asked a simple question: what do clowns do on Christmas? Sounds like a joke, right? Sounds like something with a funny punchline. Nope. It's a serious story and I believe it delivers a wallop. A Twilight Zone feel for sure. I hope you all check out the book and enjoy our twisted holiday offerings.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Cheesy Horror Covers and an Interview with Evans Light

I recently wrote a guest blog post for SplatterpunkZine in which I discuss my love of cheesy horror book covers of the 80's and 90's, as well as interview author Evans Light, whose name is synonymous with said covers, considering that he is passionate about preserving those wonderful books (and yes, even the not so wonderful ones that came out of that particular horror boom, because some of those covers are truly magnificent!).

You can check out the article HERE.


Monday, November 7, 2016

New Anthology: Simple Things

I have a short story out in the brand spanking new anthology Simple Things from Lycan Valley Press.

Simple Things is a consignment shop unlike any other. Inside you’ll find home furnishings, housewares, fashion accessories, toys, books and a number of one of a kind items. But be forewarned; all of our things have a dark and sinister side. Some cut, some bite, some steal your chance for a restful night. With stories from Ross Baxter, Martin Reaves, Gregory L Norris, Jacki Wildman Wales, Paul D Marks, Roy C Booth & Axel Kohagen, Catrin Sian Rutland, K Trap Jones, Jo-Anne Russell, David Tocher, Frank Martin, Lori Safranek, Billie Sue Mosiman, Nicholas Paschall, Terry M West, Joseph M Monks, Sherri Sabastian-Gabriel, Robert Essig, Ken MacGregor, Roy Bishop, Robert Teun, Laura J Hickman, E F Schraeder, Anthony Servante, and V Franklin

 My offering is called "The Beauty Mark". Take one part Marylin Monroe, two parts Halloween, a jigger of evil, and you've got yourself a creepy horror/mystery mash-up.

The book can be purchased HERE.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Roscoe the Clown

It's the month of October, which means one thing...Halloween. This year things got a little...funny. Or maybe not so funny. A lot of people have been clowning around, as we all know from what we've seen on the news. Creepy clowns walking the streets, attacking people, scaring children, making threats on social media, and even doing an interview on one of my local news stations. It's crazy! (That's the tagline for Killer Clowns From Outer Space, by the way.)

To celebrate the madness, I thought I would make my own contribution in the form of a free story. It's a short one. You can read it in less time that it takes to check your twitter feed for the latest Killa Clown sighting. No really, it's that short, but it packs a punch...or maybe a squirt of hydrochloric acid from a fake flower?

Go ahead and play the music above if you are in the position to do so. It will accompany the story quite nicely.


Roscoe the clown was looking pale--well, beneath the white greasepaint, bright red painted lips and dark circles around his eyes, he was as pale as death.

His demeanor was lacking. The buoyancy of his gait had been reduced to something along the lines of a lethargic narcoleptic, always appearing to be one step away from collapsing on the ground, or perhaps falling and crushing a gleeful child.

The eyes were gruesome to behold, but the children didn’t seem to care, just the parents that would grab their child’s hand and hurriedly rush them away as if Roscoe would grab and violate them.

“Hey kids!” The voice came from Roscoe’s crooked mouth muffled and low.  “Do you want to see a trick?”

If it weren’t for the smile painted on his face, the kids would have been more aware of the slack jaw with the dried spittle and blood decorating the corners of his mouth.

The kids were uninterested as if they couldn’t hear the faint voice of Roscoe the clown.  They walked away in search of a livelier clown, or perhaps some cotton candy.

Roscoe retreated to his trailer, his steps stiff like a silver screen zombie.

Inside, he collapsed on the bed.  From the back of his colorfully striped clown suit there was movement, and then little hands began unbuttoning the large buttons.

Larry pulled the clown suit back and exited the hollowed out cavity of Roscoe’s body.  The interior had been lined with plush leather--well, as plush as a midget could afford on a carnival wage.  The legs were equipped with stilts that his feet strapped into, the arms with a series of grips fastened to Rosco’s tendons that allowed Larry to manipulate the dead clown’s hands. He was looking forward to showing the children the trick he learned to do with his crude manipulations, but they weren’t paying attention to him.

Roscoe’s body was beginning to rot and it was harder every day for Larry to mask the odor, but he wanted to do just one trick for the kiddies, just one balloon animal.

Larry grabbed a microphone and gutted his stereo system.  If the kids couldn’t hear his muffled voice within Roscoe’s body, damn-it, he would just have to wire the clown for sound.


So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed my little Halloween treat. If you did and you would like more, please check out my Amazon page, featuring my latest release, Salpsan.

"Robert Essig has crafted one creepy-as-hell tale of modern gothic horror that sets an ominous tone from the first few words and never lets up. Told from the POV of an unconventional narrator with secrets of her own, Salpsan is a dark, dark story that will prove you wrong several times when you think you know where it's going. I enjoyed it immensely, and can't wait to read more from this writer!" -- James Newman, author of Odd Man Out, Animosity, and Ugly As Sin

"With Salspan, Essig takes you on a twisted journey through the Spanish hillside; one full of intrigue, memorable characters and hellish encounters. This is a story that will stick with you, long after turning the last page. --K. Trap Jones, author of The Charm Hunter, The Sinner and The Harvester