The First Delusion
What you can expect from this newsletter
Big hello to the tens of people who will be reading this inaugural newsletter. This is Robert Essig’s Confusions, Delusions, and Formidable Impressions, my bi-monthly newsletter (well, hopefully bi-monthly).
What can you expect? News on what’s cooking with my fiction. I’ll tell you about what I’ve been reading, suggest some stuff I think you should be reading, tell you about conventions and events I attend. There will be giveaways. I’ll post snippets of works in progress, free short fiction, sneak peeks at cover art. I’m trying to come up with some stuff that’s more interesting than just a big ol’ buy-my-book spiel.
If you are not yet subscribed, well, hit the button below. It’s free. I won’t spam you. There will be no more than two newsletters per month.
There’s a lot to cover since this is the first newsletter, so I will cover half of what I have going on at the moment and hit the other half in the next newsletter. Most recently I signed with Encycopocalpse Publications to release my novels Circus Oasis and Mojave Mud Caves. I’m excited to work with them. We’re already getting the ball rolling on Circus Oasis. I’ve seen a rough draft of the cover art and it looks great. I don’t have any tentative release dates for either, but they’re coming . . . soonish.
Evil Cookie Publishing just released their latest anthology of extreme horror Counting Bodies Like Sheep, and boy do I have a story for you. It’s called “Blood Expectations”, and it’s a wild one. The anthology is loaded with amazing authors. Extreme horror fans should check it out. Evil Cookie has been knocking out of the park with their releases, and I’m not just saying that because they published my crazy-ass book Tweaker Creatures. Evil Cookie is on the rise and I’m glad to be working with them.
I will be vending this Saturday, May 14th at FrankenCon in Knoxville, TN at the Hilton in Tyson McGhee Airport. If you live in or around Knoxville, come down to the show. It’s a one-day event, and the inaugural event for this convention. They have some cool special guests including Joe Bob Briggs and Darcy the Mail Girl. I, of course, will be selling my books. I will report back in the next newsletter detailing my experience.
What am I reading? What have I recently read? I’m currently reading Borderlands, edited by Thomas F. Monteleone and Come Thirteen by Davis Silva. So far Borderlands is hit or miss, but most anthologies are like that. I read Borderlands 2 years ago and loved it. So far the Bentely Little story “The Pounding Room” is my favorite. What a weird, thought provoking tale. I find myself thinking about it here and there and I read it days ago. I don’t know how this one didn’t make it into his book The Collection.
Come Thirteen hasn’t grabbed me just yet. I’ve read Silva’s book Child of Darkness and absolutely loved it. I’ll stick with it and see where it goes. The writing is good, but I’m just not following the characters as much as I would like.
I just finished Clans of the Alphane Moon by Philip K. Dick. No, not horror, but a decent read. The first third was great, but by the end I kind of stopped giving a shit. Dick wrote some crazy stuff (Ubik is a damn masterpiece), but this one almost seemed like a great start that was ultimately phoned in. Maybe just too sci-fi for me, and not rooted enough in the real world, although I did like the telepathic slime mold character.
My first novel with Evil Cookie publishing. The sordid tale of an east San Diego town called El Cajon that has been overrun with a nasty variation of meth that’s turning the users into monsters.
I’m not going to bore you with back cover copy. Here’s a little insight. I grew up in El Cajon. The meth epidemic hit there in a bad way, especially in the 90s. You’d see these tweakers twitching and dancing and carrying on like complete maniacs. It’s sad, really. They become slaves to the drug. I certainly hope that no one thinks I’m making light of what a serious problem meth is, but I just had to write a story about the physical attributes of the long-time user completely mutated into something horrific.
An interesting note, especially for those of you who have read the book, is that some of the material was largely inspired by Robert Bloch’s Psycho 2. Yes, this extremely violent and bat-shit crazy story was in some way influenced by Robert Bloch. Mostly the motel room sequences. A big part of Psycho 2 takes place in a motel as the protagonist is looking for the escaped Noman Bates who is heading to Hollowood. Something about the motel sequences in that book really fueled me to write my character basing her search for her sister out of a seedy motel. I started writing Tweaker Creatures many years ago, and I think I read Psycho 2 at that same time, so it was all fresh in my mind.
Another interesting factoid is that the house on 2nd street in the book was a house I actually lived in on 2nd Street in El Cajon. And yes, at one time—after I lived there as a child and before I lived there as an adult—it was a tweaker pad. I won’t go into detail, but I helped clean the place after they moved out and it was horrendous. The kind of stuff that gets a writer to thinking…
In my attempt at diversifying as a hybrid (I’ve mostly been traditionally published), I have decided to start learning how to use software like Photoshop. Now, I cannot afford to pay a monthly subscription at this time, so I have downloaded GIMP, a free program I used to have years ago. I just started fucking around with it yesterday and came up with this goofy image trying to learn how to cut images out of one pic and transfer to another. It’s all in good fun now, but I hope to be able to create cool promos, bookmarks, flyers, and maybe even book covers some day.
Did you make it to the end? I tried to keep it short and sweet. I’m still figuring this thing out. Anyway, the contest is for a signed copy of the limited chapbook A Lesson in Renegade Filmmaking by myself and Jack Bantry. How do you enter? Leave a comment. Everyone who leaves a comment on this first newsletter is entered. I will pick a winner that will be announced in the second newsletter. Perhaps in a video. if you happen to be outside of the US, I won’t be able to send a copy of the chapbook, but I will give you an ebook of Tweaker Creatures. I know, I know, not a cool as the physical chapbook, but if you knew the international shipping rate for a teeny tiny little chapbook you’d shit your pants.
Thank you so much for reading this newsletter. The number of subscribers before I even released this inaugural letter has been amazing and, quite honestly, surprising in the best of ways. I’ll try to keep these newsletters fun and interesting. See you next time, you horror fiends!