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

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Dark Moon Digest Celebrates Six Years!

It's almost Halloween, and that means a new issue of Dark Moon Digest,from the fine folks at Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing. Number 25, to be exact, and that also marks their six year anniversary. Congratulations to Max Booth III and Lori Michelle for continuing to publish this nifty horror magazine, and to Stan Swanson for starting it all back in 2010.

This issue also marks my first time being published in Dark Moon Digest, along with my cohort in evil, Jack Bantry. Our story "A Lesson in Renegade Filmmaking" follows the budding friendship between an odd video store clerk and a young kid who has a hankering for horror films. The clerk has a lot of knowledge to teach the young kid about the finer points of horror film history, but how much is too much?

I love this story. It's a cool little coming of age tale that incorporates some of my favorite horror movies, and it I feel that it winds the reader up for quite a wallop. This one is for all of you out there with a deep love for classic horror films.

Get your copy straight from the publisher, or from Amazon.

Monday, October 17, 2016

"High Fashion" Horror

SplatterpunkZine is an old school little DIY zine, a throwback to the punk rock and horror fiction zines of the 80s and 90s. Founded by Jack Bantry several years ago, SplatterpunkZine has rolled out seven issues with fiction by a number of well known modern horror fiction authors such as J F Gonzalez, Ryan C. Thomas, Shane McKenzie, Jeff Strand, Tim Curran and many more. I have been fortunate to have written a story with Jack that was published in issue #4, and been reviewing books for both the zine and website for a few years now.

What's the next step? A collection of short fiction by some of the Splatterpunk roster as well as some new blood. Oh, by the way, Bantry has a message for you:  SPLATTERPUNK'S NOT DEAD!

I was asked to contribute a story and, of course, I couldn't resist. My offering, "High Fashion," is about a washed up young fashion designer, Jordan, whose boss is desperate to see his designs on the runway again, but tired of dealing with someone who seems to have lost his mojo. When push comes to shove, how far is Jordan willing to go to recapture the magic that put his fashions on magazine covers and red carpets?

This was kind of a strange story for me to write. I'm not into fashion whatsoever. Not even the slightest bit, but I recall some show my wife used to watch that had to do with the fashion industry. I remember thinking it was strange how the designer looked so washed up and drab, even though she was some kind of fashion guru. That always stuck with me, that someone would be so dedicated toward their passion for fashion that they would completely let themselves go (or so it appeared that way--she was probably just comfortable).

The final scene burned in my mind, and though I know very little about the fashion industry, I did a little bit of research to create a cohesive story to lead the reader on a gruesome road to that lingering image. I hope you enjoy it.

Get your copy HERE! You won't be disappointed!

Book Review: Punk Rock Ghost Story

My review of David Agranoff's PUNK ROCK GHOST STORY is up at SplatterPunkZine.

 Take an entire discography of old school punk and hardcore, a haunted van, add a dash of angry youth, a liberty Mohawk, some drugs and alcohol, and you’ve got yourself a driving force of a novel that pushes the boundaries of the serial killer and ghost story tropes and binds them together with the gritty underground of 80’s punk. What I’m talking about is David Agranoff’s PUNK ROCK GHOST STORY.

Read the rest of the review HERE.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

New Local Horror Anthology

There's a brand spanking new anthology from Grand Mal Press featuring some of San Diego's horror writers including myself, as well as David Agranoff, Ryan C. Thomas, Chad Stroup, Anthony Trevino, and Brian Killian.

My story "Starving Artist" examines with the horror of dealing with an uninvited house guest who will NOT go away.

This book is available in paperback right now, with the kindle version to follow soon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Yes, folks, the day is here. My novella Salpsan is now available exclusively for kindle, and it's only $1.99, or FREE if you are a Kindle Unlimited customer.

She lives to help the sick, but will she help a monster?

Marion Fleicher has been stripped of her nursing license and ostracized in her homeland for an act of sheer compassion. Desperate to help the sick and infirmed, and struggling on a fixed income, she takes a job as a private nurse. She finds herself in the Spanish countryside at the door to a dilapidated old house wondering if she’s made a mistake. Behind the door is a motley trio: a servant-man who is as shady as a shadow and sneaky as an imp, Terrance Adler, Marion’s ambiguous employer, and her patient, who is in desperate need of a doctor. Will she be able to help her patient or will she die trying?

"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

Available in the US HERE

Available in the UK HERE

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Writing Biz as Compared to the Rock Music Biz...It's All Art, Baby!

I've been at the writing thing for the better part of eight years. I sold my first story seven years ago for a ten spot and a contributor copy (note the word 'sold'--I foolishly gave a few stories away for contrib copies as if those publishers had some kind of audience. believe me, they didn't). In that time I've made a ton of virtual acquaintances and a lot of friendships. I've met a few of these people, and hope to meet many more in the future. The number of people across the world writing horror and, hopefully, publishing their material is staggering. I've watching so many people give it up and others succeed, and still other struggle to keep afloat. It's a cutthroat business in many ways, and yet I think that, for the most part, we are here to help each other out whenever possible. Writers make friendships and bonds with other writers and, for the most part, we stick together, because if we aren't for ourselves, who will be?

In the past eight years I've seen some of my writerly brothers and sisters achieve noteworthy success, some of them publishing on the regular with the great small presses and even a few landing book deals with the Big Five (though this is atypical). I'm always excited to see someone succeed, no matter how much I get down on myself for my lack of success. It gives me hope in what would otherwise seem like a crushing series of rejections and near misses. Let's just say I make the short list a LOT, there's just so much great writing out there that I'm nudged out.

So, how is this like the music biz? Well, I've long thought of my roll in horror publishing, at this point, as being comparable to a band playing local gigs here in, say, San Diego and getting the chance to gig up in LA from time to time and maybe even as far as Vegas, though not in the strip, but some shitty dive bar where the floors are sticky and the top shelf liquor bottles are filled with swill. It's better than playing the same local gigs, but not exactly where you want to be. Remember, this is an analogy and my description of the dive bar is in no way comparable to the publishers I work with (people in the Internet have this way of taking things out of proportion and getting butt hurt over nothing, so I feet it's necessary to clarify that). If my fellow writers were bands, those who have made it to the Big Five are headlining world tours (remember, not so many people there, not in the horror biz), and those who have found homes with the cream of the small press are hitting the arenas and taking names. They too played local gigs and dive bars and while some of them catapulted to success, others had opening slots on the arena tours, playing for audiences they may not have even been ready for, but were more than happy to rock all the same.

I know, this might be kind of abstract, but let's take it a bit further, shall we? We shall. I would say that Stephen King is the Rolling Stones of horror fiction. He's been at it longer than just about anyone publishing today and when he puts out a book (yearly as opposed to how infrequently the Stones tour), he packs the house, and he's always playing at the biggest stadium in town. I went to Barnes and Noble the other day (an event that's always depressing--maybe I'll write a separate post on that) and saw that there were four horror novels in the New Releases section, all in glorious hardcover: Pressure by Brian Keene, Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones, Disappearance at Devil's Rock by Paul Tremblay, and The Fireman by Joe Hill (there may have been a fifth that I didn't see or was sold out, but I kind of doubt it). These are the folks who are currently doing stadium tours. Some of them have been on the stadium and arena scene for many years, and others are only now embarking on what, hopefully, will blossom into a fulfilling and successful career. I must say, seeing those books on the New Arrivals shelf made me feel just a little bit better about the blatant lack of horror represented in the Fiction section (remember, they did away with their horror section years ago), and the fact that they only had one Robert Bloch book. One. At least there were three Shirley Jackson books available, and, of course, rows of Stephen King (he's playing the pyramids in Giza by now), but, sadly, so many authors seem to have been forgotten. This sort of thing happens in music as well. I don't have to give examples; bands come and go like the tides.

So there you have it. The writing biz is kind of like the music biz, and I'm certain I could make similar correlations to just about any popular art form. Yeah, I hope I find success, but I'm also happy to see my fellow writers find that lucky break, because I've heard from many a pro that talent is important, but success doesn't come without a little luck.

My new novella Salpsan is now available exclusively for kindle download.

"Robert Essig has crafted one Creepy-as-hell tale of modern horror that sets an ominous tone from the first few words and never lets up."

            --James Newman (author of Ugly as Sin, Odd Man Out, and The Wicked)

 "With Salpsan Essig takes you through 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 you turn the last page."

            --K Trap Jones (author of The Charm Hunter and The Harvester)

Available in the US HERE
Available in the UK HERE