Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012...Hello New Year

Haven't been posting much as of late. Shame on me. Maybe I'll change that in 2012. I sure hope so.

In retrospect 2012 wasn't so bad. A lot of people cannot say the same considering politics, the economy, and the general state of humanity, but for me it was a good year overall. Of course, the politicians are playing Russian roulette with the American taxpayer right now, and their decisions will affect the middle class one way or the other (though I am, politically speaking, considered poor). If we go over the fiscal cliff, well...I don't know what to think.

But enough about that shit. I digress. What 2012 brought for me was the publication of my first novel Through the In Between, Hell Awaits, of which I couldn't be more proud of. To add a cherry on top, I sold my second novel People of the Ethereal Realm to Post Mortem Press. Those accomplishments alone made my 2012 a success. Though I sold fewer short stories, I made more money off of them, so take that however you like. I'm very pleased, and I can only hope to increase my reputation and sales in 2013.

On a personal level, my son is healthy and I did a metric shitload of work on my house (new flooring, remodeled my son's room, paint, baseboards, etc.). Doing the labor myself saved a pretty penny. The downfall of the year is that with getting older the need for health care is increasingly necessary. My wife has had an eye infection that the doctors and specialists can't seem to properly diagnose. That or they have their thumbs firmly planted up their asses (as I suspect some of them do). A trip to the ER without health insurance is a major bummer (to use some well worn SoCal vernacular). It's tough, but crunching the numbers we cannot decide whether it is worth paying for medical insurance or just dealing with the hospital bills (insurance is freaking outrageous!). Anyway, that's the big shit storm at the end of a decent year, and the bills haven't stopped coming in. On top of that, the eye infection, though seemingly healed, will likely come back (it came back once already). We can throw money at it, but until we find a doctor who gives a shit, we're screwed, glued and tattooed. I see paying ridiculous premiums for health care in 2013. Robert may be working an extra day or two a month, who knows.

All of that aside, I hope we all have a wonderful and prosperous 2013.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Through the In between, Hell Awaits -- OUT NOW!

That's right, folks!  My debut novel from Grand Mal Press, Though the In Between, Hell Awaits, is now live! Available in print, for kindle, nook, and at smashwords.

After an ancient tribe of sentinels disbands, the realm between Earth and Hell devolves into a land where vile beasts roam free and corruption reigns. In this aberrant land time is only relative, and pain can last forever. On Earth there are three strangers in search of something tangible, something real, something that gives meaning to their lives. Little do they know that a grisly murder in San Diego will mark the beginning of a series of events that will draw them to a world of madness, torture, and lawlessness where they will be forced to fight for their desires and their lives. Once in the realm of the In Between will they ever be the same again? Is there a way back home to Earth, or does Hell await?

“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. Russell, author of Samhane


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Critique by Daniel I. Russell

Critique is the story of harsh restaurant critic Sandy Devanche who finds something rich and invigorating through the doors of The House of Jacob, where is is introduced to something he never could have prepared himself for. Taken down the strange and often times horrifying road to redemption he is forced to deal with his past demons in a most unusual way.

This may very well be the best book I've read this year.  From beginning to end everything in this novella is top notch.  The characters are so real you feel their horror and yearning, the plot so rich and textured that you cannot put the book down.  Russell's ability to lay down smooth prose makes for a most joyous trip into Mr. Devanche's worst nightmares.  Not an overly gory slice of horror, Critique does tread some disturbing territory of which Russell weaves effortlessly.

For those who haven't read this novella yet, what are you waiting for?  Do yourself a favor and pick this one up.  You won't regret it.

Available HERE in both print and kindle format.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fear the Abyss

Fear the Abyss is the latest anthology from Post Mortem Press in which the stories blend science fiction with horror. I wrote a story specifically for this anthology called "The Nostalgiac". I have had an idea for a story about and intergalactic moving company that transports relics from a defunct Earth to people now living in the universe. I'd tried to write the story once but it was utter shit. When I was invited to submit to this anthology I knew it was time to revisit that idea. I changed it drastically and wrote the first draft over the period of a few days. After rewrites and some editorial suggestions, I am very pleased with how the story turned out.

Below is the table of contents. I'm honored to share the pages with such talented authors.

• "Cutting the Cord" – Joseph Williams
• "Extraction" – Jessica McHugh
• "Amid the Walking Wounded" – Jack Ketchum
• "A Box of Candy" – Nelson W. Pyles
• "That Which Does Not Kill You" – Matt Moore
• "Human Caverns" – Lawrence C. Connolly
• "The American" – S.C. Hayden
• "What's Left Behind" – C. Bryan Brown
• "Always Something There To Remind Me" - Gary Braunbeck
• "Neptune Dreams" – Rose Blackthorn
• "Broken Promises" – Jamie Lackey
• "The Great Ocean of Truth" – Tim Waggoner
• “Graphic Violence Equalizer" – Michael Arnzen
• "Parasite" – Kenneth W. Cain
• "If Thine Eye Offend Thee" – Thomas Malafarina
• "Seeing" – Harlan Ellison®
• "A Nice Town With Very Clean Streets" – Paul Anderson
• "The Nostalgiac" – Robert Essig
• "Life After Dead" – Jeyn Roberts
• "Andrew and the Better Mouse Trap" – KT Jayne
• "They Still Sing Beautifully" – Brad Carter
• "What We Found" – Andrew Nienaber

Fear the Abyss is slated for a late November release. I will post details when it is available.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What I've Been Working On

With work on Through the In Between, Hell Awaits finished (it will be released so damned soon I can taste the blood and grue!) I have had time to work on some other projects that have been set on the back burner, and I would like to get some things finished before editorial work on my Post Mortem Press novel People of the Ethereal Realm begins.

In the interim I have written a story that reflects one horrifying result of the desperation many facets of our current society are dealing with called "Like Ants on a Carcass".  I heard two news stories in one day that were frighteningly similar with a sad yet comical bend, so I took the idea and gave it a sad and horrific twist by taking said situation to the extreme. I'm pleased with the first draft and eager to tidy it up.

I have recently rewritten a story that I had entered into a writing competition last year.  The story had done terribly for many reasons, one of which was that I was too excited and didn't properly edit.  As a result there were a few embarrassing typos, however the commentary by the others in the contest was very helpful in directing me away from the worn-out monster with tentacles and the typical POV I had been using. Now the story has an original villain that better reflects the deeper meaning of the story, and with the shuffle of my lead character I think it is a far more engaging and affective read.  And, of course, I will have to clean this one up before submitting (maybe a few times for good measure).

With first drafts of those stories finished, I have resumed working on my latest novel In Black, which is coming along nicely. I have been hitting 500 words a day, which isn't too shabby for a guy who has been working a day job and then coming home to work on his house until 10 PM just about every night for the past week and a half.  What is it they say, if you can't fit writing into your busy schedule, then you may want to reconsider being a writer? I don't know what they say, but it's something like that. And who the hell are they anyway? In Black is coming along nicely. I am writing it using the stream of consciousness method, which I am trying to steer away from if for nothing else that to see if there are more effective ways to write books. I'm always interested in trying new methods. Having no idea how the book will end or where it is going is kind of thrilling, and can be very exciting when the plot begins to take hold.  Recently I have hit a major development, which may have something to do with my recent 500 words a day (that may not be a lot of words for many other authors, but I'm kind of a slow writer, so it's very good for me, particularly on weekdays).

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I appreciate it.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Free PDF of Through the In Between, Hell Awaits

Through the In Between, Hell Awaits will be out very soon.  This means we need to create some buzz. If you would be interested in reading a free PDF of the book, please contact me HERE and I would be happy to get one to you. You wouldn't be required to post a review on amazon, however that would be very much appreciated.

Thank you! I appreciate your interest.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

When Inspiration Knocks

I'm sure most authors would agree that there are times when inspiration doesn't just knock lightly, but pushes the damn door down, insisting that you drop just about everything you're working on to write, write, write. One must heed this call. In my opinion and experience, if the driving force is lost, the story most often is lost with it. Even a detailed set of notes that are later retrieved when there is a spare moment will not suffice, for during the period when the inspiration is fresh and new, bright and driving, the story will come out like lightning from my fingertips.

I was hit with the an inspiration uppercut just the other day. It was Thursday, I believe. I heard a news story on the radio that was so desperate and unbelievable that my mind went wild with the possibilities. The story was about a family whose house was foreclosed, and when they wanted to do something good as a result of their misfortune, they were completely taken advantage of by not one person, not two people, but a slew of greedy, heartless fools who really should have been prosecuted for breaking and entering if nothing else. Yes, I know my description of the story is vague, but I'm keeping the details to myself, as they play an important role in the story I am writing.

This got me thinking about the state of our society. Here we are in the midst of a Presidential election, the economy sucks about as hard as a twenty dollar whore, and people are either being pushed to desperate measures or using their ignorance and the struggling state of their existence as an excuse to run amok. How far can or will it go? How desperate will people become? Or is the current state of our economy just a great excuse for petty crime?

Inspiration hit me hard -- just about gave me a black eye! So as soon as I was finished with a short story re-write I had been working on, I immediately began work on a short story I am calling "Like Ants on a Carcass". I wrote about 1,000 words last night, and just as soon as I sign off on this blog post I will write more. The way it's going, I may finish the first draft in one more sitting. I had intended on finishing a novel I began in the summer tentatively titled "Paint it Black", but I learned a while back that I must heed my muse lest the inspiration die away and all I'm left with is a note, an idea, and nothing more.

Cheers and good writing!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Post Mortem Press to Publish My Novel People of the Ethereal Realm

The title says it all! Post Mortem Press will be publishing my novel People of the Ethereal Realm. This novel has a bit of a history, having been accepted for publication by four publishers in the past several years. Without getting into detail, there were a variety of reasons it was not published before Post Mortem got their hands on it. Bad contracts and publishers dropping off the face of the planet may have all been for the best. I've worked with PMP before, and I am looking forward to seeing this book on their 2013 roster.

The tentative release is for February, 2013. I, of course, will make updates as the novel progresses through the many steps toward publication.

Here's a quick blurb about the book:

Barbara comes to Adam at night while his wife is working the graveyard shift at the hospital. She is but a dream in the mind of a frustrated man whose life is on the verge of collapse, but Adam has something she wants and she will go to any extreme in acquiring her desires.

Gerald lives a lonely life in the Boulevard, a ghetto on the wrong side of the tracks. He's blind, but where his sense of vision is obsolete, his ability to communicate with the souls of the dead is acute. He fears nothing, having grown up on the mean streets, but on the night Barbara visits him that is about to change

Who is this mysterious woman and what does she want so badly that she'll destroy anyone and anything that gets in her way? Can she bring two men from different backgrounds together for her bidding? How many people will have to die, and how many will wish death was the end?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A New Interview

Recently Rebecca Snow asked me to do an interview. If you would like to know a little something about me, here's your chance. Take a trip into the Isolation Tank, and after you're finished, take a look around. There are lots of goodies to check out on her blog.

Thanks, Rebecca!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

DOA II Cover

Well, Blood Bound Books did it again.  Here is the cover for their forthcoming anthology of extreme splatterpunk style horror entitled DOA II. The cover was done by none other that Andrej Bartulovic. He has done several BBB covers such as Scarecrow and the Madness, as well as album covers and much more. He isn't called the Maggot Master for nothing.

Look at the names on that toe tag! I couldn't be more pleased to have a story accepted into this anthology, not only because I'll be sharing the pages with such talent (the toe tag names and so many others who I've heard were accepted into the book), but also because I had a story in the first volume and I just love working with Blood Bound Books. They are good people.

My offering to this sadistic collection of extreme horror is called "Dr. Scabs and the Hags of El Cajon". I only hope the story holds up to the title, and I think it does--it's a nasty one! As soon as a full table of contents is revealed I will post it here.


Soundtrack for Through the In Between, Hell Awaits

I have been reading the galley PDF of my Grand Mal Press release Through the In Between, Hell Awaits for typos and, for shits and giggles, I decided to compile a soundtrack for the book chapter by chapter along with a title for each chapter (they aren't titled in the book).

I figure that after the book is released I will use the songs and titles for promotional purposes on my facebook fan page. Just a little something for fun that may entice someone to pick up a copy of the book if they are on the fence.

As a huge music fan it was only natural that I do this. It's actually very fun, and very fitting for this particular book. Lots of heavy metal and a few oddball songs so far, which is no surprise. The first chapter is represented by the Pantera song 10's from their Great Southern Trendkill album (the best Pantera album in my opinion). I chose that song to kick it off because I had been listening to it a lot on my ipod when I dreamed up the preliminary idea for this book. It was a lyric that started the ideas flowing. Something as simple as "...the whoring angel rising", and my mind was all a flutter with ideas about a demon that stalked groupies at rock 'n roll shows. The book took a completely different direction from those initial musings, but that first chapter was a direct result of that particular lyric in that particular song.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

What a SLOB!

I just finished reading Rex Miller's classic debut novel SLOB, the first story featuring Jack Eichord, a renowned detective who specializes in serial killers, and Daniel "Chaingang" Bunkowski, a monster of a man whose proclivities have earned him the title of the Lonely Hearts Killer.

I enjoyed SLOB for a variety of reasons, however there were a few aspects to the novel that turned me off. What both worked yet simultaneously distracted from the novel was the voice and style of the writing. Very solid, very poignant, yet at times very tedious, particularly the chapters that focused on Daniel Bunkowski. I have to assume that Rex wrote those chapters through Daniel's intimate perspective, which is something I enjoy in fiction, however Daniel, being a completely mad bastard, has a mind so twisted and sick, so quick on the uptake and perverse, that those chapters were like a roller coaster that looked fun from the ground, but was a too much to to handle once the nerdy operator pushed the grimy metal bar into your gut. Of course, that's subjective, and the book was one hell of a ride, which I can very much appreciate.

I found myself very much enjoying the story of Detective Jack Eichord as he falls for a widow whose husband had been a victim of the Lonely Hearts Killer. He was a very likable character, and the way he managed the case and his fledgling relationship was a pleasure to read. He's the kind of detective I could stand behind and appreciate. Now there's a character I would like to read more books about.

Other than the monotonous and often times repetitive Bunkowski chapters (too many dream-state flashbacks to 'Nam for my taste), SLOB was a fast paced, gritty, and engaging novel. This was my first venture into the longer fiction of Rex Miller (I've read a few of his shorts in various anthologies), and it surely will not be my last.

I give this one a solid 4/5 stars.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Smashing Review for Darker Minds

While haunting the Shocklines board today I noticed a thread for the Darker Minds anthology. Having a story in this fine anthology, I had to take a look. I discovered that there has been a review on the Ginger Nuts of Horror blog...and it's a damn fine review at that.

Each story was reviewed individually. Like any self-respecting author I scrolled down to read the comments about my story "Tale of the Abnormal Beauty Queen". The reviewer called it "brilliant". Nuff said.  Here's the link: Darker Minds Review. Check it out and read the reviews for all of the stories. There were only a few that the reviewer didn't care for, which is to be expected with any anthology.

My contributor copy arrived in the mail a week ago and it is a thing of beauty. Excellent cover art and a wonderfully composed interior. I'll be digging into it in the near future.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cover Mock-up for Through the In Between, Hell Awaits

My debut release Through the In Between, Hell Awaits is coming along nicely. Here's the cover mock-up.  There may be some minor alterations before publication, but I have to say I'm very pleased with it.  We're looking at a few weeks before uploading the files and debuting this bad boy.

I'm excited about the book's release, and curious about how readers and reviewers are going to respond to it. I hope to schedule some local book signings and hopefully make it to a convention or two next year to promote the book. I will report here with further news.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Skin Trade

The question is, what would happen in a post apocalyptic world...set in the Wild West? Read Skin Trade by Tonia Brown and find out. You most certainly will not be disappointed.

This is more than a horror story set in the west, and certainly more than your average zombie book. In fact, the Great Undead Uprising of 1870 is the perfect backdrop for a tale about a young woman's coming of age through peril, perseverance, and grit. Samantha Martin, our heroine narrator, is one tough cookie!

Skin Trade is a well crafted book that will stick with you long after you finish reading it. The characters breathe, they live, and you want to know what happens to them. In a Wild West made only wilder with the onslaught of a zompocalypse, Samantha must be weary and careful with whom she places trust, because she has a secret that is more valuable in the Badlands than the zombie hides harvested in the skin trade, and a past that she desperately wants to get away from.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sleepless Night

We all have sleepless nights from time to time, often times due to something burning in our mind, throbbing like an infected sore.  And then there are the times when sleep is just unobtainable for no good reason at all.  You wake up way too early and, well, you're awake...and it's the middle of the night.  Not midnight, not even one in the morning, but that dismal, quiet time of night when drunks are swerving home from the bar and the TV is a flourish of infomercials.

I had a sleepless night the other night.  Went to bed at ten thirty, which is a little early for me, and woke up two hours later.  I tried to sleep, glancing at the clock, drinking water because it was hot in the house, using the bathroom because I drank too much water, looking at the clock, tossing and turning, and looking at the clock some more.  Soon it was three AM and I wasn't the least bit tired.  "But I have to get some sleep before work," I told myself, and I realized then and there that the Sandman had skipped my house that night.

So I turned on the television, pulled out my laptop, and wrote a thousand words on my latest work-in-progress.  I wrote for an hour, glancing at the Olympics on TV here and there, and still I wasn't tired.  I went to bed around four-thirty, woke up at seven, and I felt great all day.  I think I know why.

This isn't scientific, it's just a theory I came up with.  I've long heard that when you can't sleep, get up and be productive.  Do something.  Read a book, watch a movie, gaze at the stars--something.  Lying there staring at the clock and worrying about getting the proper sleep will wear you out.  I think it's stressful to toss and turn, and I think it's that stress that causes one to feel like shit during the day after a sleepless night.  I always feel terrible when I lay in bed staring at the clock and stressing myself out about work and sleep, sleep and work.  Get the fact that you can't sleep off your mind, and perhaps you'll be able to go to sleep.  Works for me. 

Insomnia, on the other hand, is a completely different monster.

May you sleep well.


Monday, July 23, 2012

My Favorite Villain

I have been listening to the Anthrax album State of Euphoria non-stop in my car lately. Great record a friend of mine just turned me on to. There's a song titled "Now It's Dark" on the album. I immediately said to myself, "That's a Blue Velvet quote." Sure enough, the song is about the movie, and the chorus quotes Frank Booth, the villain in Blue Velvet, one of the most bizarre film's I've ever seen. This got me thinking about villains.

There are a lot of memorable villains in both cinematic and literary history. Perhaps due to my age and the fact that film was a big part of my life at one time, the most memorable villains are ones I watched on old VHS tapes time and time again.  The greatest of them all is Frank Booth as played by Dennis Hopper in the David Lynch film Blue Velvet.

I could give a brief two sentence synopsis of the film, but that just wouldn't do it justice. If you haven't seen it, then you simply must. I am going to assume that most people reading this are familiar with the film, as it is required viewing for those of us who enjoy dark, edgy themes.  If you haven't seen it yet, I'm sure Netflix has it.

For years I considered Randal Flagg, from the Stephen King novel The Stand,  to be my favorite villain, but with much deliberation I have decided that Frank Booth is the most memorable and greatest villain of them all. He's sadistic, murderous, violent and unpredictable. He's a drug addict, a gangster, a rapist, confused, insane, and frightening. And, on top of all that, he delivers some of the most memorable one-liners, most of them littered with the incessant use of his favorite four-letter expletive. My favorite line: "Don't you fucking look at me." His Heineken rant is classic as well: "Heineken. Fuck that shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon!"

So, I raise a Pabst for Frank Booth, may your celluloid soul rot in Hell, you evil fuck!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Love of the Dead by Craig Saunders

Another great release from Craig Saunders and Evil Jester Press!

With The Love of the Dead Craig Saunders delivers a brilliant blending of horror and mystery that sticks its fangs in and holds on until the mind-bending conclusion.  With deeply human characterization and precise wording, Saunders weaves a tale of life and death, hurt and sadness, all revolving around a bizarre string of murders that only Beth Willis, a medium balancing on the frayed ends of her tumultuous mind, and Detective Coleridge, an overweight, no nonsense policeman, can hope to stop.  But sometimes things aren’t what they appear to be.  Some things transcend good and evil, space and time.

Any one who has read Craig Saunders knows that his words flow like blood from a severed jugular.  The Love of the Dead is no exception.  This book is all horror, though it will entertain any fan of detective mystery stories.  Do yourself a favor and get this book.  Read it, and then find Craig’s other books and read them.

Available for kindle in the US & UK.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Some Words on Dark Hollow by Brian Keene

I finished Brian Keene's Dark Hollow the other day, solidifying my fandom. I'd read four of his novels before this one, all of them good with the exception of The Rising (just didn't do it for me), but Dark Hollow is in a class all its own. With a great cast of characters that are are so real you feel you've known them at some point in your life, a protagonist that you may know of from ancient mythology but never read about in such a way, and a driving plot that demands your attention, you get one hell of a great read.

The story is a first person narrative told by up and coming novelist Adam Senft who discovers something strange and unearthly in the woods, plunging him into a world of wonder and worry that is only amplified as several women in town disappear to the tune of eerie piping music. With little help from the police, Adam and his neighbors are forced to investigate and solve the mystery of LeHorn's Hollow themselves.

This story is a prime example of what makes a great novel, as exercised by the wonderful characterization, particularly of our narrator. I found myself pondering my own town and my neighbors, of whom, sadly, I have little affiliation with. I found that I liked Adam and his neighbors. For the period of time that I read this book, I cared about them and wanted the best for them, which made for a very satisfying read. I'm already looking forward to the next Keene novel sitting on my shelf waiting to be read.

I'm certainly late to the party on this one considering it was originally published in 2008, but when it comes to reading great novels you're never too late as long as you get on board, and now is just as good a time as any. Dark Hollow is available through Deadite Press. Do yourself a favor and get a copy. You will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Anatomy of Gone?

I recently made the decision to remove my self published collection of short stories Anatomy of Fear from The reason for this is two-fold.

The initial intent of this project was to promote my forthcoming novel People of the Ethereal Realm, which was supposed to be released this year from Twisted Library Press. Included with the short stories was a three-chapter preview that I hoped would entice readers to buy the book when it came out. Well, due to the recent inactivity at TLP, my contract expired, and PotER is now without a publisher. That was one reason I decided to pull Anatomy of Fear.

The other reason I decided to pull the plug was that, as it turns out, I am no fan of self publishing my material. I knew this going in, but I figured I would give it a shot anyway, more for promotional purposes than anything else. It didn't do all that great. Looking at the sales figures, it did all right during the period that I promoted it, which was only for about two weeks. As soon as I stopped promoting the book, the sales dropped off, which is to be expected. If no one knows a book is out, how the hell are they going to buy it?

For the most part, I'm finished with self publishing. I believe I did it the right way--I had an editor edit the material, and I created a decent cover--but it's just not my cuppa tea. I may do this sort of thing again for the strict purpose of promoting a novel in the future...or maybe not.

That being said, there are a lot of established authors who are self publishing their backlog, and that seems to be working out great for some of them. I'm nowhere near that established an author, but perhaps in the future I will consider that option.

Until next time...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Latest News: Ethereal People & Hell Awaits

It's been a while. Far too long, really. So here I am, back on my blog writing about what I've been working on. In short, I haven't been working on anything aside from the edits for my debut novel Through the In Between, Hell Awaits. Yes, you read it right, my debut novel. For those of you who have been following (yes, you!), What was supposed to be my debut novel, People of the Ethereal Realm, has been cancelled for publication with Twisted Library Press. Why? Well, twelve months passed and the contract became null and void. Simple as that. But really I have no idea why the book wasn't published. Unfortunately, it appears that Twisted Library Press, unless it is resurrected, is no longer publishing books. With little response from the Dr. Pus, no one really knows what happened. He has mentioned that he's dealing with health issues. I wish him the best. He's a kind and generous man who gave me many opportunities early on.

I have some plans in the works for PotER. If everything works out, it will now become my second novel, because Through the In Between, Hell Awaits is steamrolling through Grand Mal Press like a bat out of, er...Hell. The manuscript has been edited, the edits have been reviewed and approved, and the cover art is now under way. It's only a matter of time, and I couldn't be more excited. This book is insane, it's violent, it's horrific, and it will take you to places only visited in nightmares. I will make updates as the release draws near.

I'm currently doing revisions of my 40K word novella Stronger Than Hate. This is easily the most brutal piece of fiction I've penned. I wrote it months ago and haven't looked at it since, so I'm kind of excited to go through it again. The trouble will be finding a publisher for it. The extreme nature of this story kind of narrows the list. That's all right. I accept the challenge.

Until next time...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Through the In Between, Hell Awaits -- Sold to Grand Mal Press!

I am proud to announce that I have sold my second novel Through the In Between, Hell Awaits to Grand Mal Press.  Yes, yes, I know, I announced this two weeks ago on Facebook and a few forums, but I figured I had better blog it here too. 

I wanted to include a blurb for the story, and I had been working on something cool that would entice people to look forward to this book.  Well, as it turns out I hate writing blurbs.  It's difficult, but it's a part of being a writer.  Just how does one boil down 90K words into a paragraph or two?

Bah, that's another subject for another post.  I'm more than delighted to be a part of the Grand Mal family, and I will be making updates as I get more info about my forthcoming novel.  For now, here's a short blurb, or perhaps more of a teaser:

Austin Wheeler roams the earth in search of meaning, of something tangible to fill the void his wealthy upbringing left him with.  Rich Wompler, tired of his routine life, left his family to follow his favorite rock band on their west coast tour.  Witness to an unusual and bizarre murder they find themselves on two very different paths that lead to a crossroad called the In Between where demons and monstrosities roam freely.

Will they make it out of the In Between alive, or will they remain stranded in a realm where pain is limitless and suffering can stretch beyond eternity?

It must be known that through the In Between, Hell awaits!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

It Isn't Just ANY Cabin in the Woods

My wife and I went to see the movie The Cabin in the Woods the other night.  I loved it; she hated it.

I had heard so many good things about this film on forums and facebook that I had to check it out.  I see maybe two or three movies on the big screen per year due to lack of quality film, bad experiences with fools in the audience, and the ridiculous ticket prices, but this one I couldn't pass up.  I happened to have two free movie passes, but I would have gladly paid full price because, for the first time in quite a while, I was really looking forward to seeing The Cabin in the Woods.

What can I say about this film?  Not much, and I'll tell you why.  You may not have seen it yet and I'm am not going to spoil it for you.  I could warn of spoilers, but that may be too tempting for you, and then you would read something that would tarnish the fine experience that is The Cabin in the Woods.  What I will say is that this film is something the horror genre has begged for, something horror film has needed, and something that I hope will open some eyes as to what we, fans of horror, want, because this film, in many ways, is a farewell of sorts, paving the way for what is next.  And just what is next?  I don't know.  I just hope it isn't the same ole same ole, because I've been getting bored with horror film as of late.  To quote the Cramps: "I need a new kind of kick!"

The Cabin in the Woods was a new kick.  Now I want another kick, and another, and another...

We'll see.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Anatomy of Fear is Alive!

"It's alive; it's alive!"

Anatomy of Fear went live on Sunday, available as a kindle download for just .99 cents.  In this collection you will find 10 short stories in the horror genre from the supernatural to the unnatural, from madness to madmen, from blood 'n guts to subtlety and dread. Included is an excerpt from my forthcoming novel People of the Ethereal Realm, to be released from Twisted Library Press in 2012.

Get you copy today!  BUY NOW.  If you stop by the amazon page, please like and tag the listing.  Every little bit helps.



Monday, April 16, 2012

"Fountain of Eternity" Has Found a Home!

My short story "Fountain of Eternity" has found a home in Cover of Darkness, a quarterly magazine from the fine folks at Sam's Dot Publishing.  This is a story about an explorer who discovers the fountain of youth in the far reaches of the Amazon, only it's not what he had expected.

The story is tentatively slated for the Dec. 2012 issue.  I will make updates as I gather more info.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Two New Stories Out Now!

I haven't been posting here much recently.  I'm on the Internet daily, but for a short period of time.  I just don't have time for this machine.  On top of that, my laptop is strictly for writing, thus I have no Internet access unless I use the PC.  I don't have, nor do I anticipate having a smart phone, so surfing the web, hitting the forums, and posting on my blog tend to take the backseat to other elements of my life.  I find the Internet to be distracting, and I'm trying to get more writing done.

Now, as the title of this post says, I have two fresh stories out from two different publishers.  First is my vampire story "Like Father Like Daughter" in the Kayelle Press release Night Terrors.  I calling it a "vampire story", but that's what it is.  I'm not the biggest vamp fan, so maybe that will translate well into something unique.  If anything, I hope I brought something fresh to a loooong tradition of bloodsucker stories.  Night Terrors went on sale Friday the 13th, and you can get it in either ebook or paperback HERE.

I also have a story in the Rymfire eBooks anthology Undead Tales 2.  This is a zombie anthology featuring my story "The Suicide Program", which deals with a man in the dismal days following a massive zombie apocalypse in New York City.  He has learned how to conceal himself from the zombies on the street, however he loses his only connection to humanity, and the zombies are becoming...intelligent.  Like vampires, I'm kind of done with zombies, so I hope I have written a story that takes the genre in a bit of a different direction.  You can get the ebook from amazon HERE.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

What Frightens Me?

Seems like an appropriate topic for a horror author to blog about.  We all have fears.  There's no way around that aspect of life.  A man without fear is a man insane.  Some of us fear more than others, and some of us have irrational fears.  Deep inside we all probably have a few irrational fears, but for the most part I think people as a whole have a lot of the same, or similar fears.  Sure, there's a whole list of phobias to choose from, but that's not what I'm talking about.  Phobias are classified as irrational fears.  What I want to discuss are real fears.  Everyday fears.  My fears.

Horror is a label for immense dread and fear.  We hear the word horror and think of slasher films and Stephen King and a plethora of fantastical images of vampires and monsters and so many other elements of horrific entertainment that we have enjoyed or have become a part of our lexicon.  But what is horror really?  What was it that caused Bram Stoker to pen Dracula?  What was the reason for Lovecraft to write stories about monstrosities and ancient gods that dwell beneath the sullen seas of the East Coast?

I cannot speak for any one else, but I have several reasons for writing horror.  Above all I write horror because I've always been a fan of the genre.  Ever since I watched A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 I was hooked.  I rented all the horror films from the local video stores (yeah, there used to be little mom and pop video stores, three on one street and we had memberships at each and every one of them).  In Junior high I read Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery" and I was hooked.  Aside form the fascination with horror that is so strong, there is also the whole idea of fear.  That's the second part of why I write horror.  I like the idea of exploring fears.  So the question remains: what do I fear?

When asked what horror novel or story scared me the most, I always respond that Richard Matheson's story "Lover When You're Near Me" was the scariest story I ever read.  Anyone familiar with that story would likely wrinkle their brow in confusion and ask, "Isn't that a science fiction story?"  Why yes it is.  And it gave me chills when I read it seven or eight years ago.  Why?  How could a story that takes place on some made up planet where a man is sent there to oversee a mineral mining operation conducted by gelatinous, oafish natives be frightening.  I'll tell you how.  Because the female native who is the housekeeper of our weary protagonist has fallen in love with him, haunting and smothering him telepathically.  In my world that's terrifying.

After much consideration I realized that the inner workings of the mind is a huge part of many of my longer works.  My novella The Madness deals with various forms of insanity.  Two unpublished novellas, The Executioner's Shroud and Stronger Than Hate, also have heavily cerebral themes that explore reasons for madness and the results.  It's a bit of a theme, though done differently each time.  Over time I have realized that insanity is perhaps my greatest fear.  To not be in control of your own mind is absolutely terrifying.  That's what frightens me.  Are their other things?  Of course there are.  Mobs are scary.  Ghettos are scary (I've had to work in local ghettos before -- fuck that!  Gang lands are no place to be).  Flesh eating bacteria is scary.  The government is scary.  Third world governments are even scarier!  Bodies of water are scary (perhaps that can be classified as a phobia).  The list could go on.

Next to insanity, too much consideration about what happens after death is scary.  That's another theme I delve into quite a bit.  If I think about that too often, I swear I feel the rising tides of madness.  Religious folks don't mess around.  They have that base covered, but I don't buy what they're selling.  No one knows what happens after we die beyond our bodies decomposing, and that brings me to one of the most influential and frightening of fears: the unknown.  Perhaps that fear has bred more horror stories than any other, because horror has so much to do with the unknown.  We as horror authors delve into the unknown and bask in its darkness.  We succumb to its draw and fill our minds with its potent elixir.  And then we tell the stories, one at a time.

Robert Essig

Friday, March 9, 2012

Darker Minds TOC revealed!

The table of contents for Darker Minds has been revealed.  Looks like a fine line-up.  I can't wait to get my copy of this one.  It will be interesting to see how the other authors used the loose theme of horror based on the dark side of the human mind.  I had written my story for a contest two years ago.  It was more of a sci-fi/fantasy contest, but I sent a horror/mystery story anyway.  I was told that it was the best of the horror submissions, though no horror stories were chosen as finalists.  I sat on the story for a while, uncertain where to submit it, and then I saw the Darker Minds guidelines and it seemed to fit what they were looking for quite nicely.

Here's the TOC:

Reflections From a Broken Lamp - John Travis
Tale of the Abnormal Beauty Queen - Robert Essig
Waste Disposal - Ray Cluley
The Man Who Remembered - Stephen Bacon
Cinder Images - Gary McMahon
The Way of the World - Gary Fry
John Bane's Grave - Charles Muir
Rise, Dead Man - Joe Mynhardt
Looking at Me, Seeing You - Mark West
The Listening - Benedict J Jones
Seeing Things - Robert Mammone
Slip Inside This House - Daniel Kaysen
Houses in Motion - Stuart Young
Shutdown - Clayton Stealback
Laws of Aquisition - Simon Bestwick
Darker Minds should be available in April.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

People of the Ethereal Realm Banner

I made a banner for my forthcoming book People of the Ethereal Realm.  I used (I've used them before).  Without their stifling watermark the banner looks a bit pixelated.  Kind of bothers me, but I don't know how to generate my own banners.  I have a free program called Gimp that I used to create the cover for my forthcoming eBook Anatomy of Fear, but I'm not familiar enough with the program to create a banner.  If I find the time, I'll have to play around with the Gimp...(I'm suddenly transported to Zed's Pawn Shop in Pulp Fiction).

Anatomy of Fear will hit amazon soon as well.  This is a collection of ten short stories, some of them reprints, and an excerpt from People of the Ethereal Realm.  It will be a .99 cent eBook, primarily for people to sample my work if they are hesitant about purchasing PotER.

Friday, February 17, 2012

New Reviews of Scarecrow and The Madness

After running a Google search I discovered a few reviews of Scarecrow and The Madness that I wasn't aware of. 

The first review is from the Sonar4 Landing Dock.  It's not so new as it was published in late December, but I just discovered it, so it's new to me.  The reviewer notes that they had to put my novella down a few times to recover from where the story took them.  I have to say that I don't write specifically to disturb, but disturbing imagery often appears in what I write.  That's kind of funny because my mother (fan of such authors as Danielle Steele and Mary Higgins Clark) read The Madness and loved it.  She said she couldn't stop reading it (yes, I know, it's my mother and she's biased, but she's read a great deal of my published stories and, like my wife, is very blunt if she doesn't like one of them).

The second review is on author Matthew Tait's blog.  I recognized this review when I read it.  I believe he also posted it on amazon, but I thought I would link it for those who haven't read the amazon reviews.

Both are very positive, and both are linked below.

Sonar4 Landing Dock: HERE
Matthew Tait's Review: HERE


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Anatomy of Fear TOC

Here is the updated table of contents of my forthcoming eBook collection Anatomy of Fear:

1. The Devil's Workshop
2. Death in the Flower Fields of My Mind
3. Behind the Chipping Veneer
4. The Safest Place on Earth
5. Cacti Mirage
6. The Price of a Priceless Painting
7. Autumn Soup
8. A Crack in the Silver Lining
9. Bloodmobile
10. A Step Toward Redemption
11. People of the Ethereal Realm (excerpt)

From the original TOC I removed the story "Paranoid Rant."  Though it has already seen publication in the now defunct chapbook zine The Nocturnal Lyric, I'm just not fond of that one.  I added two stories that were originally published in the chapbook Pantomime.  That makes seven originals, three reprints and a sampling of my forthcoming novel People of the Ethereal Realm.

For .99 cents, it's a steal.  The manuscript is currently being edited.  Look for it in a few months.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Kingdom of the Dead

I haven't really experienced writer's block.  I don't know what it's like.  There have been times in the past where, for a day, I had no inspiration, but that goes away very quickly.  Inspiration is always just around the corner be it a song, an experience, a news story, a conversation.  Life is a series of stories that we all go through from the mundane to the extraordinary.  Within the reality of the daily grind there are stories of the fantastic, lurking and waiting for someone to see them where others can't and put them to paper for others to read.

No writer's block here.  In fact, I have so many stories to tell that it is, at times, maddening.  There aren't enough hours in the day, and I am a slow writer.  On a good day I can pen 2,000 words, but my average is probably more like 500 words, depending on the project, of course.

So what's with the title of this blog post?  let me tell you.  It's the title of my latest endeavor, a three part series.  There, I said it: a three part series.  That's something I didn't think I would ever do.  I'm not the biggest fan of serial novels or sequels, but it's all mapped out in my mind, and the first installment, Kingdom of the Dead, is well on its way.

Kingdom of the Dead is the story of a Carlo Arpado, a depraved man who has spent all his life searching for the grim reaper, lusting for a glimpse of that moment when the soul is taken from the body.  His obsession is so strong that he kills people for the sole purpose of witnessing Death at work.  Eventually he begins to hoard the dead, and that's when he comes face to face with Madam Death...and she's nothing like what he expected.

This is Carlo's story, as well as his trials and tribulations through Madam Death's Kingdom of the Dead.  The second book will be titled Kingdom of the Damned, which is another realm deeper in the abyss and closer to Hell, which is the subject of the third book: Kingdom of Hell.  I've already developed the major sub-plots for the following books, and I hope that they read as their own story rather than parts two and three, but who knows.  I really can't cross any bridges until I get to them.  Things have a way of changing, and everything, it seems, is under construction.

This is a hell of a project (no pun intended) and far out of the realm I'm used to.  After the first book is finished I'll probably write some other stuff and return to this project if there is any outside interest in it, or if it just has to be freed from my mind.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Like Father, Like Daughter

I just got the news that my short story "Like Father, Like Daughter" has been accepted for publication in the forthcoming Kayelle Press anthology Night Terrors.  This anthology is slated for release in March of 2012.

"Like Father, Like Daughter" is a story about family secrets and what happens when the deepest, darkest secret is discovered.  Something so egregious that death is the only answer.  Only some people don't die.

I wrote this story a few years ago based on a painting by Jerrod Brown.  The painting was divided into four parts, each of which was supposed to be the cover of a four volume anthology series.  The idea was to write a horror story based on each quarter of the painting.  I wrote four stories, and all of them were accepted, however the series was cancelled.  "Like Father, Like Daughter" will mark the second of those stories to be published, the first, "A Night to Live Forever", having been published in Post Mortem Press' inaugural anthology Uncanny Allegories.

I'm proud of all four of those stories, and hope that the other two find their way into a magazine or anthology in the future.  I may have to check out Jerrod's paintings when in need of inspiration. 


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Anatomy of Fear -- A Little Something I'm Working On

I have been deliberating on whether or not to jump onto the self published eBook bandwagon.  I had been vehemently against it for some time, but like so many American politicians, I have flip flopped and decided that it may be something worthy of my endeavor.

That being said, I have come up with nine short stories--two of them previously published and the others brand new--along with an excerpt from my forthcoming novel People of the Ethereal Realm (providing the publisher allows me the privilege), to be collected in a volume of which I have titled Anatomy of Fear.  I may add another reprint or even another original story to this preliminary roster, but that waits to be seen.

The primary purpose of this novella length collection is to promote People of the Ethereal Realm.  Yes, I hope readers enjoy the stories, but my bigger hope is that they enjoy the writing and decided to give PotER a chance when it comes out.

I have done a cover mock up.  I am proud of what I have done, which isn't much when you consider the image is from a centuries old anatomy book, which puts it in the public domain.  I will do a few more mock ups and weigh my options, but I really like what I have here.

Below is a list of the nine stories that are going to be included in this volume:

1. The Devil's Workshop
2. Death in the Flower Fields of my Mind
3. The Price of a Priceless Painting
4. The Safest Place on Earth
5. Cacti Mirage
6. Paranoid Rant
7. Autumn Soup
8. Behind the Chipping Veneer
9. Blood Mobile

Friday, January 20, 2012

Two New Reviews of Scarecrow and The Madness

Over the span of that last few days two reviews of Scarecrow and The Madness have been published.  Both of them are very good, particularly the Hellnotes review.

"What the authors and Blood Bound books have delivered is a double slice of horror very reminiscent of a grindhouse exploitation film or a hybrid graphic novel. The cover illustration is worthy of devotion whilst the stories themselves deliver exactly what is promised."


Here's the review in full:

The other review was published at  You can read that one here:

Both reviews are very positive, and hopefully if you haven't given this book a chance, you will feel inclined to do so.  It is available at amazon in print and for kindle at new reduced prices.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

To ebook or Not to ebook

That is the question.

I say ... DO IT!

It took me quite a while to really accept the so-called e-book revolution for a variety of reasons.  There was the fear that paper books would be all but forgotten, though I never really believed that would happen.  I figure mass market paperbacks will drop off a bit, and with the failings of Leisure it seems like that is exactly what's happening.  I think this is a shame, but in this tech world we live in paper is becoming outdated.  Schools probably don't even use paper products any longer.  I bet kids in kindergarten are painting pictures with fake brushes on kiddie sized laptops.  What a horrible thought!

Unlike the vast majority of the populace, I have very little interest in technology.  I have a flip phone and I like it that way.  I have no use for a "smart" phone.  (As a side note, I hate the term "smart" for things like phones and those little death-trap cars.)  It took me a while to get an e-reader, and now that I have one I can understand what all the buzz is about.  It's a pretty cool invention, and it allows me to purchase books from authors I have never read at low prices (providing the publishers keep prices low, which I think they will, for the most part, considering the fact that we're talking about a transfer of data here, not something physical).

That being said, I also think ebooks have opened up an opportunity for unknown writers like myself to get their work out there.  One must be careful, though.  There are a plethora of authors and so-called authors dropping piles of shit here and there and everywhere.  So much so that potential customers and horror enthusiasts have to wade through every X amount mediocre or just plain out terrible books for a good one, which can turn people off of trying something new, or, gulp, something self published.

Oh the horror!

I once said I would never self publish my work, and to a certain degree I have not wavered in that opinion.  I will not self publish novels, however I have an idea about self pubbing some short work.  I have seen many authors selling a single story for .99 cents.  Ok.  I have seen established authors sell their back catalogue for .99 cents apiece.  OK.  The established author will make money off of that kind of price due to the volume they sell.  I would be doing nothing selling my books at that price because few people have heard of me and are looking forward to my next release (hopefully there's more than few, but who knows).  So my thought is to publish an ebook with around 20-30K worth of short stories.  Some of them new, some of them re-prints, maybe one or two of them trunk stories...maybe.  I'm weary of trunk stories, and I am uncertain that a whole book of them is a good idea.  Anyway, I would also include a preview of my forthcoming novel People of the Ethereal Realm, providing the publisher will allow me to do so.  The price: .99 cents.  A customer would get more for their buck than just a single story, and hopefully that would entice them to take a chance on my work.  It would be a sort of starters guide to Robert Essig's fiction.  If they like what they read, then maybe they would be willing to take a chance on People of the Ethereal Realm or Scarecrow and The Madness.

I'm working this through my mind and going to have to figure in a few other factors.  I would have to hire an editor, of course, and maybe someone to do a decent cover if I couldn't manage one myself (and I probably can't).  Once I see the cost going into this little venture I will decide whether I feel it is worth the effort.

Here's to ebooks!


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Another First Draft Has Been Penned

This morning I finished the first draft of my latest long work entitled, for the time being, Stronger Than Hate.  I have been throwing some other titles around, one of which is Eat Your Pain.  I'm kind of partial to the other title, but we'll see.  Things have a way of changing.  The original title was That Sinking Feeling.  Sounds atrocious when I read that one out loud.

The word count pre-rewrites and edits is just over 50K.  I thought hitting 30K was going to be a challenge, but this story wrote itself.  This was one of the more pleasant writing experiences so far concerning larger works.  I actually woke up one night at three in the morning and couldn't sleep because I just had to work on the story.  I told myself that I needed to sleep so I wouldn't be groggy at work the following day, but the story wouldn't leave me alone, so I wrote for an hour and a half and then went back to sleep.  Wasn't a bit groggy the next day, either.  This morning my son woke me at 5:45.  I told him to go back to bed, and he did, however my mind began swirling with the final pages of the story.  I was too tired to finish it last night, but as soon as I woke, the ending became clear.

It's such a great feeling to complete the first draft of a novella or novel length work.  There's still a huge amount of work before this thing will be ready to submit to publishers, but getting the story typed from beginning to end is quite a feat.

As for the story itself, well, it's crazy.  For some reason I've been on an extreme horror bender for the past year or so.  I told myself after I finished my second novel last year that I would explore an idea I have that is more psychological and less violent and depraved, but when this idea struck, I couldn't let it go.  I had started the story early 2011, but hit a snag and couldn't figure out where it was going.  After seeing the behavior of some of the Wall Street protesters--the pissing and shitting and raping and such (yes, I know those people don't represent the entire movement, so back off!)--I was inspired and the story bloomed from there.  I was watching a program on ID last night about several people who kidnapped an elderly woman and put her body in the back of her car, of which they stole.  They carted her around town and showed her to several of their friends and family (fingerprints on the trunk of her car belonged to at least ten different people!).  If I thought my story was too much, and that people really wouldn't gather together in the name of something evil and heinous, the deplorable behavior of some of the Wall Street protesters and the people who didn't report that kidnapped woman's body validated my pessimistic look at certain facets of society.

Stronger Than Hate is extreme, however the horrors of this book, for the most part, are very real.  I am continually surprised at what humans are capable of.

What a hell of a sad note to end this post on. 

So be it.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Resolute Disillusion 2012

This morning I submitted four short stories to various publishers.  Two of the stories went to the same publisher by invite, though they still have to go through the submission process and aren't guaranteed a spot in the book.  The other two went to separate publishers, one in Australia and the other here in the states.  I made my notes and marked each submission with the month and year, and that's when it occurred to me that it is indeed 2012.  Sure, there was the same old drinks and celebration last night (very low key this year) but I believe it's when you first write 2012 on a check or document that it becomes a reality (or when you write 2011, curse yourself, and have to change it).

What does this all mean?  Well, I started thinking about my writing...hobby (I can't truthfully call it a career--I don't make enough money to live off of, so I feel I must call it a hobby).  I realized that it has been five years that I've been seriously submitting my work to publishers and collecting far more rejections than acceptances.  That got me pondering where I am with my writing and where I should be and where my fellow writers are.

When it comes down to it, we all go our own pace no matter how talented we are or however much we are mindlessly chasing a dream that will never come true.  For some it will come true, for many it has, but for most it will not.  That's a sad truth, but reality stings, doesn't it?  There's no reason to live in denial or have ridiculous expectations, and I think that's how I made it through the past five years writing and submitting my stories.  Besides, I have to write.  It's therapeutic and necessary.

To date, I have had 39 short stories and two novellas published from early 2008 - 2011.  My debut novel People of the Ethereal Realm is due out in 2012 from Twisted Library Press as well as a short story  called Tale of the Abnormal Beauty Queen which will appear in the anthology Darker Minds.

Not too shabby.  There are a lot of writers who have accomplished far more than that in the same amount of time, but as I said earlier, we all work at our own pace and some of us are far superior at the craft than others.  I fancy I'm somewhere in the middle.

Here's to bigger and better things in 2012.