Black Gypsies is Live

My crime fiction debut BLACK GYPSIES is live on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Bookshop. It’s been seven years since my last book was published so this is a big deal. You can pick it up at a book retailer or a signed copy here.

“BLACK GYPSIES is a fresh slice of classic underground crime fiction, gritty and grimy, streaked through with poetry, with a heart full of blood underneath. It’s meant to be read late night on the L, where the other passengers can hear you whisper “holy shit” as you quickly turn the pages.” – Jordan Harper, Edgar Award-winning author of SHE RIDES SHOTGUN

“BLACK GYPSIES is exactly the kind of book I want to read. Short and sharp. It’s equal parts heart and brutal reality, full of grit and beauty. This book will take you deep into the other Chicago, the side of the city the news warns you about. Where everything is for the taking and only the smart and ruthless live to see another day.” – Daniel Vlasaty, author of ONLY BONES

“Energy pulses through BLACK GYPSIES, giving the reader a sharp jolt. It’s a live-wire of a novel, written with sweat and heart, where there is always room, despite the violence the characters experience, for grace notes.” — Scott Adlerberg, author of JACK WATERS

Here’s the book trailer that was edited, scored, and stitched together by the brilliant Mike Kleine. It’s pretty badass.

Lastly, I started a free weekly newsletter called Literary Loud. You can subscribe and read it here.

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Spontaneous Human Combustion (Book Review)

I’ve known about Richard Thomas for years…always hearing great things about his work, but some reason never took the dive until now. On social media, he was offering up ARCs for his new short story collection and I decided to bite. Definitely worth it.

I took notes in my phone while reading the book. So here they are below…

Repent – nice prose and intense crescendo. Powerful descriptions. This man can write his ass off.

Clownface – one of my faves…Thomas is flexing his writing muscles here and I’m here for it. Narrator shows us around this mysterious space that houses this Clownface figure. Thomas really knows how to move the reader emotionally. Slight undertones of Clive Barker.

Requital – best story so far, Graysen keeps waking up in this heat shack in the desert. It’s like some strange form of hell, great prose and shape-shifting.

Battle Not with Monsters – Cool Nietzsche reference. Serial killer cannibal…we’re immersed in this unhinged mind and Thomas puts us in the driver’s seat, plunging us deep into his disturbing reality/existence. Great story.

Saudade – post apocalyptic landscape, angel thing walking around with visions of the future. Dark fantasy feel (wasn’t my cup of tea).

Hiraeth – rural fairy tale, spells, magic…great descriptive writing. Immersive storytelling. Absolute standout in the collection.

Caged Bird – ambitious tale of daunting clowns, shadows, a mysterious creator (slight Barker vibes), I wish Thomas wold write a full-length novel or novella focused on clowns because he really shines in this arena.

In His House – cool Lovecraftian tale in the form of a letter.

Open Waters – great sci-fi piece with hints of desperation…poetic prose; I like the way Thomas handles race in here as well. I want more of this.

Undone – probably my favorite story, one long sentence drawn out over three pages. A couple’s car breaks down in the forest and it’s anxiety-inducing. The ending is chilling. This like watching Kobe put up 50+ points in a basketball game.

Overall, Spontaneous Human Combustion is a great short story collection and Richard Thomas pulls off some masterful work. I can see myself returning to this exploring the themes of redemption, repentance, and transformation. I can’t wait to dig into the rest of his catalogue in the future.

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You’ve Lost a Lot Blood (Book Review)

You’ve Lost a Lot of Blood by Eric Larocca is my first real exposure to the author’s work and I couldn’t believe I waited this long. I heard a lot of hype and saw the waves he’s making in the horror game so I had to take the plunge. I assure you he lives up to the hype in spades. This will most likely end up as one of my favorite reads this year. It’s a bold, daring novella that resembles a Matryoshka doll in terms of plot structure. There’s recordings from this serial killer Martyr Black, exposing the reader to his twisted mind and demented poems involving insects. Then there’s an amazing novella Black wrote weaved into the narrative that’s fed to us piece-meal.

It revolves around machinery horror told in present tense and the mystery itself is bananas. I had to pause multiple time throughout the book; I was so floored by progression of the narrative and the tricks Larocca employs. I felt like Larocca was flexing his writer muscles left and right. Metaphorically, he’s a swole motherfucker in the writing department.

The reveal in the novella within the novella is crazy, but well done. I can’t wait to cop every other book Larocca has put out. He’s the real deal and I highly highly recommend You’ve Lost a Lot of Blood to any and all horror connoisseurs.

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God’s Leftovers Cover Reveal

Check out the cover to my new book GOD’S LEFTOVERS coming this August via Bizarro Pulp Press. Isn’t it beautiful? It was designed by the phenom himself Don Noble.

I’m super hyped. This is my 3rd book being released by Bizarro Pulp. You know I’m a loyalist through and through. Nicolas Day, the editor, describes it as “What if Robert Altman decided to take a stab at something like THE HILLS HAVE EYES and the soundtrack was released by No Limit Records? Or, if we’re strictly talking books, what if the Jack Ketchum cannibal clan of OFF SEASON took psychedelics and got into brutal sex magic? What you’d have is something mean, with twists and turns you aren’t going to see coming, and altogether very Wamack.”

Pretty badass right especially considering that I love Wes Craven and I grew up devouring books by Jack Ketchum. It’s almost like a mini-dream come true. Plus, I’ve improved in spades since my last 2 books came out.

You can read the full write-up and read a snippet at this link:

It’s about to be a hot summer…

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You Pray for Dry Weather at the Sight of the Sun (Book Review)

So I had the opportunity to read J. David Osborne’s new book YOU PRAY FOR DRY WEATHER AT THE SIGHT OF THE SUN before its release. It’s a bold meditation on the game Death Stranding, but also delicately balances a videogame narrative and David’s real life struggle as a new father…

He’s gets philosophical about life & death, fatherhood, and human connection. It’s a striking, vulnerable piece of art especially chapter 30. Chapter 30 hit me in the gut and had me crying this morning. Cop this book on 2-22-2022. Well worth your time and mula.

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New Podcast Alert!

I had the dope opportunity to be featured on episode 4 of the Writers on Wax podcast hosted by Joshua Marsella. It was fun time. We talked musical influences, J. Dilla, serving in the military, new writing projects, and other shit I have in the pipeline. I haven’t spoke about some of these projects anywhere else so if you want to know what’s to come, peep the interview above.

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The Wingspan of Severed Hands (Book Review)

I heard a lot of hype surrounding The Wingspan of Severed Hands by Joe Koch via twitter and the writing circles I move in so of course I had to cop the book and see for myself. I started reading it late last year, but didn’t finish this book until earlier this month and I will tell you, it definitely lives up to the hype.

There’s not much that can prepare you for the book. It’s cosmic horror and tied into Robert M. Chamber’s Yellow Sign Universe (a personal favorite of mine). The evocative prose style is dripping with purple lush prose. I smoked some weed a few times before cracking this book open and I got lost in the sensory experience which only added to my high. The rush of words were almost over-stimulating at times like a rich slice of cheesecake that I wanted to devour but had to take my time consuming one bite at a time.

The narrative itself is somewhat hard to describe without experiencing the novella. Research facility, intense dream sequences, researchers trying to bring back the Queen of Carcosa in the form of a experimental weapon, people unraveling, madness, etc. Basically, all of the good shit you want and need in cosmic horror.

It’s full of trippy yet terrifying dreams that bleed into reality, and Carcosa is this ever looming presence overlapping into our world and the next. It’s a trip I highly recommend you take and the imagery has been staying with me for days. I’m super excited to read more of Koch’s work because they are a force to be reckoned with and they’re bringing something new to the table. *Insert 100 fire emojis here*

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2021 Lookback/2022 Look Forward

Virtual Reality Vr GIF by alecjerome - Find & Share on GIPHY

So 2021 one was an interesting year. I had a lot of personal revelations and I got a new book contract for my horror novella GOD’S LEFTOVERS coming out via Bizarro Pulp Press. It’s surreal, nasty, extreme and it features a black anti-hero. I’m very excited for this to come out because this really shows my growth as a writer and it combines a lot of literary elements that really appeal to me and I hope this appeal to the masses as well. It’s inspired by a shroom trip in Spain combined with a trip to the Valley of Fire with an esoteric bent.

It’s been a long 7 years, but I’m back with a vengeance. I have some collabos with some other exciting authors being cooked up as we speak and I’m in the process of revising some old yet exciting solo work of mine. It’s mainly crime fiction, but this is something I’m passion about and something where I’m going out on a limb and trying more ambitious feats.

In other news, I started managing a talented music artist named ayoka. You can stream her debut project Venus on all DSPs. Also, I managed to get her new single “Weekend” close to 400k streams across all streaming platforms. You can listen to it below. It’s dope.

Speaking of management, I’m dipping my toes into writer management and I manage the ever controversial yet talented J. David Osborne. I’ll be helping him promote this book below and we’ll see if we could get some substantial book sales going. Be on the lookout for this on 2-22-2022 (check out the numerological significance of that date; it’s something special).

I also have some exciting promo I’m putting together for GOD’S LEFTOVERS that will greatly appeal to some of my old fans and it will have a musical spin to it. So I’ll be able to flex some old creative muscles of mine that will tie into the book nicely. And of course I’ll continue providing updates here and some thoughts on life in general.

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Best Books of 2021

I somehow managed to get more reading done in 2021 than 2020 so that’s an accomplishment in itself. Here are the books that really impacted me this year & stood out. They affected me on deep levels and/or left a last impression and most likely inspired me to step up my own writing.

This is the third book I’ve read from Kelby and it’s the best one so far. It’s a briskly paced narrative about two friends stuck together in a trailer during an intense hurricane in Houston, Tx. Throw in some ghosts, philosophy and drugs that are all used to great effect. Kelby does a great job of building the tension and dread throughout the book utilizing the blank spaces to his advantage and ominous reoccurring motifs. Smooth dialogue and death is ever present in the background with an apocalyptic flair.

In Kelby’s last two books, he wore his influences on sleeve. This time around Kelby has outgrown his influences and he’s coming into his own in the best way possible. Beautiful, terse prose, dope rap references i.e. Kevin Gates, a dose of high strangeness all combine to make up a great piece of minimalistic crime fiction.

Great story, fantastic art and such a ballsy outing in the Wonder Woman universe. I had a handful of people hype this graphic novel pretty hard. I felt a bit underwhelmed at first, but it lives up to the hype. The way the narrative unfolds is so smooth and the emotional impact/reveals left me reeling. Also, read this while I was high and the colors became more vivid and the action was riveting. Highly highly recommended.

Ever since I laid eyes on this book cover, I knew I needed it in my life. The nostalgic throwback nod to Zebra books and this outrageous kangaroo had me sold before reading any kind of synopsis. For a couple of months I found myself in a weird reading slump where nothing was really satisfying me in anyway. Alan Baxter’s Roo was the perfect remedy. I mean a swole ass kangaroo is fucking up all of these people in a small town in the outback in the most violent way possible. I sincerely hope Baxter cooks up more of these books.

I’ve been hearing great things about Brian Evenson for years so I finally decided to see what the riff raff was about so I dove into The Warren. He’s definitely the real deal and lives up to the hype. Slightly reminiscent of Jeff Vandermeer, but still very much his own voice and vibe. It’s such a bleak weird sci-fi tale of post apocalyptic survival and successfully explores the human condition through a shattered lens. I can’t wait to check out his short story collections next.

One of my favorite pieces of the year was the limited edition Karaoke Night at Daisuke’s. It’s a beautiful piece of physical media – pearl paper, transparent paper, etc. Just very high quality printing all the way around. Color me impressed.

Experimental, dazzling prose and just a fantastic piece of sci-fi published by Self Fuck and written by the one and only Mike Kleine. Prolly one of my favorite pieces of fiction published this year. Kaiju, parallel dimensions, hallucinations, and e-sorcerers driving through the desert.

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Titane Movie Review

I’ve heard too many great things about this French flick to pass it up. I mean look at the accolades: Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards and the coveted Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. So I smoked some weed, took an edible, and revved this movie up. To be honest, I was pretty unprepared for the emotional rollercoaster from the jump even having watched the trailer. Our protagonist Alexia gets into a terrible car accident as a child where she has to get a titanium plate surgically implanted into her skull. We shoot back to the present where Alexia is a car model and life doesn’t seem to have really improved much at all.

Nudity and violence are commonplace in this film and director Julia Ducournau places a glaring spotlight on these moments with an unflinching clarity. There is no romanticization of Alexia kissing her girlfriend, any of the messy murders or even the ups and downs of her pregnancy. It’s as if we’re forced to watch our disturbed friend try her best to desperately survive and we’re holding her grimy hand the entire time. I respect the sheer boldness of this film.

Ole girl Alexia murders a bunch of people, gets pregnant by an automobile, and goes on the run. She poses as a fire captain’s missing son and he takes her in accepting this reality in his twisted mind. It’s cool how both of these individuals resonate with one another so strongly through their desperation for safety, familiarity and a connection of utter connivence.

It’s not hard to guess that the narrative continues being weird and it grows nearly impossible for Alexia to keep her identity as well as her pregnancy under wraps. You shouldn’t be surprised that shit continues to go south.

Ducournau does a great job weaving in strange car related imagery. Oil fluids, the pregnancy, car show model, fire trucks, etc. Alexia can never truly escape her past, her trauma, and her damned connection with cars.

Titane is high quality French body horror and delivers such a bold uncompromising vision that will leave you wishing you brought your seatbelt and a therapist for the ride.

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