The Fourth Delusion
Circus Oasis drops on Tuesday!
Welcome back! I hope you are sitting in a room chilled with air conditioning while you read this. Summer is here. That means reading, right? Right.
The big news is that my next novel The Circus Oasis comes out this Tuesday, June 21st from Encyclopocalypse Publications! Even better news: if you order the paperback today (Sunday as this newsletter goes live) you should get the paperback on the day of release. Or the day after.
Come one, come all and see the greatest show in the Imperial Valley!
The Circus Oasis is back!
The original Circus Oasis hotel was shut down in the 70s after tragedy struck the Salton Sea. Many years later, after a massive rejuvenation of the area, the Lazar family has rebuilt the hotel, expecting a grand opening . . . and hoping the past stays buried in the desert sands where they left it.
Families pile into the hotel for the inaugural Big Top Show, all smiles and in good cheer despite the blistering desert heat, excited to be among the first to experience this new attraction. However, in nearby Bombay Beach, there is something else brewing. Something that has become a staple for the locals during the decades the Salton Sea had been ignored. The residents of Bombay Beach now have a taste for entertainment that is a bit more twisted than what can be offered at a mere circus.
When the vagabond woman places a beautifully carved tramp art box like an offering at the water’s edge, things begin to get interesting. Guests Bette De Anza and the Burkhead Family begin to experience episodes of the uncanny. These episodes seem to be trivial at first but get more peculiar in the days leading up to the big top show. Soon they are drawn into a strange underworld in a desolate little town society has forgotten.
Everyone smiles as they wait for the Big Top Show to begin. And what a show it’s going to be!
Pre order HERE and the ebook will land on your Kindle on June 21st. Or grab the paperback and get it in a few days!
What Have I Been Reading?
I finished the audiobook of The God Provides by Thomas R. Clark. A beautifully written story of rival clans rich with atmosphere and Irish folklore. Below is a quick interview I did with Tom. Check it out and then go grab one of his books. or maybe two.
I read Ghost Walk by Brian Keene. This is a sequel to Dark Hollow, but sort of indirectly. For me, this is exactly what I want out of a sequel. Ghost Walk is its own story, and could be read as a stand-alone, but is much richer having read Dark Hollow, which I enjoyed very much when I read it years ago. I’ve enjoyed almost everything I’ve read by Keene, this book being no exception. I know Brian has said that people complained that the characters in Dark Hollow were two-dimensional (which I think is crazy, but whatever). Well, he said hold my beer and wrote a novel that is very rich on character development without becoming a slog. I loved the book. I don’t follow the whole Labrinth shared universe that Keene’s work encompasses (I’m not big on that sort of thing, but hey, that’s just me), but this one goes pretty deep into that stuff.
Currently reading? The same books I haven’t finished that I mentioned in the previous two newsletters. Maybe I’ll finish one of those. Stranger things have happened.
Thomas R. Clark
Having recently listened to two of Tom’s audiobooks, I enjoyed them so much that I asked him for a small slice of his time, to which he obliged. I asked six questions that I hope will give people a peek into his writing world and maybe whet your appetites for some of his fiction. I highly recommend checking his stuff out.
Robert Essig: The God Provides is heavily steeped in Irish folklore. Is that a subject near and dear to your heart? Did you do a lot of research?
Thomas R. Clark: Yes, Irish folklore is near and dear to me and family in general. I’m Irish/English by descent, and my family has always been proud of our heritage. The use of “Digger Do” as a pseudonym for the bogeyman or a dearg dur vampiress, was a word my father used to use, just for example. I also did a ton of research. But my research on this project was more to ensure that the character’s names meant something. For example, McEntire is a clue to their secret, as McEntire in Gaelic has multiple meanings, from a soldier of fortune to a wolf or even wolf hunters. I also went to the well Bram Stoker fed Dracula from for some of my mythology, especially that surrounding the legendary Irish Vampire King, Abhartach.
RE: When it comes to something like folklore, how do you feel about taking liberties and mutating the lore to fit the story?
TRC: I love the TV show Vikings, and it took great liberties with history to create an engaging drama on screen. With that in mind, I did the same in The God Provides with the myth of Cu Chullain, molding it to fit the theme of my book. As Irish mythology isn’t as widely known as Norse or Hellenic it was easy to take and rewrite it, essentially making a new myth. Think of it in the same manner as the MCU re-inventing the origin of a lesser known superhero or villain.
RE: I listened to the audiobook of The God Provides, as well as The Death List. Both narrators did a wonderful job. Do you have a hand in choosing who narrates your books? If so, is there something specific you look for in a narrator?
TRC: Yes. I choose my voice actors. I prefer female narrators with a firm tone, and the ability to speak with an Irish or Gaelic accent. I’ve known Mia Moravis, the narrator of The God Provides, for a good decade, I met her in 2013 at my first NYCC. She’s a producer on the stage play Jagged Little Pill and has multiple Emmy and Tony nominations for her work. Cheryl May, the narrator for The death List was discovered during an open call for a narrator. When I saw she’d worked with fellow author Kristopher Triana in the past, I was sold. Mia and Cheryl will be my exclusive narrators going forward.
RE: In your novella The Death List your character Patrick Dermotty talks like a game show host and makes balloon animals out of his victim's guts. I thought that was absolutely brilliant. It made for such a bizarre, surreal villain like I'd never seen before. What can you tell me about the origins of Patrick Dermotty?
TRC: All good lies are rooted in truth, right? And so is the mystique and enigma of the Balloon Boy Killer. Patrick is based on a real person, a local children’s party balloon animal maker. I met him some 25 years ago at a karaoke bar. Patrick is a high functioning autistic person, with a lot of talent. One day at a pool party Patrick attended with us, one of the attendees noted how easily any of us could become a serial killer. I proposed that Patrick would be the best at it out of all of us, as he could make balloon animals out of our guts as a trophy. And the Balloon Boy was born. The knack of quoting game shows comes directly from one of the real Patrick’s quirks.
RE: If you could write a story in anyone's universe, book, film, whatever, which universe would you choose and why?
TRC: Robert E. Howard’s Hyborian Age. First and foremost, his suicide note, a paraphrase from Viola Garvin’s poem, The House of Caesar, is tattooed on my arm. And secondly? My first mentor in writing was L. Sprague de Camp. I corresponded with him for a few years through the late 1980’s, picking his mind on what makes a good writer. His answer? Always… grammar and verbiage. His list of “bad words” has stuck with me - “Just, Like, That, So, Was, Were, Had, Very, Alright, Alot,” and I do my best to use any other words than these in my prose. As you may or may not know, de Camp is notable for two things in fiction: coining the phrase “Extraterrestrial” and for being the man to collect and re-release Robert E. Howard’s lost works around his iconic hero, Conan of Cimmeria. De Camp also served as an advisor on John Millius’s original film adaptation of the Howard source material and co-wrote the novelization of the film.
RE: Your latest book SummerHome comes out on June 28th. Give the readers of this newsletter your best pitch for the book.
TRC: I think the book’s back cover blurb says it all the best: After Maureen Coleman is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's, her children bring her to live at SummerHome. As her condition deteriorates, siblings Sean Spencer and Meghan Coleman are unsure if they have made the correct decision. They grow concerned when their mother claims to see the ghost of her dead husband, and a series of tragic, unexplained events impact the community. Now, with the residents of SummerHome believing their complex is haunted, the world famous Para-Hunters come in to investigate. The ghost hunters soon learn this isn't a typical haunting. Because slinking through the shadows is an evil, unleashed from underneath the Mound nearly 300 years ago, and it doesn't want to go back.
Thank you for your time! I can’t wait to check out SummerHome. It sounds fantastic.
I urge you all to check out the works of Thomas R. Clark. Visit his Amazon page HERE.
Today is Father’s Day. My wife and son get me something on this day, make me breakfast, a nice dinner, the works. She went above and beyond this year. I was venting the other night on Facebook about the price of concert tickets. She saw the post and bought tickets to see Mastodon and Ghost in Alabama. Holy shit! I’ve seen Mastodon once, but have not seen Ghost yet. I couldn’t be more excited. It’s gonna be a blast. Thank you, Dawn and Noland!!!
What I’m Working On
My work in progress is coming along nicely. It’s a book I started writing last year, but had to put down when I got the Evil Awakens trilogy deal with Raven Tale Press. Since then I have finished those books and tidied up a few other novels for submission. I have releases clear into 2023, which I am grateful for. I think I mentioned in the last newsletter that I would post a schedule for my coming releases. I guess I lied, because I’m about done with this one and have no desire to figure that shit out at the moment. The book I’m writing has been untitled, but today I jotted down three possible titles. The one I kind of like is In the Hour of Violence. I’m around 35K words into it. The plot is hashed out, but I’m getting deeper into the characters that I was expecting. There’s a cohesiveness about this book so far that I really like. By the time I finish the first draft I’ll hate it. But that’s the way writing goes.
That’s all for now. See you next time. Read horror!