The Third Delusion
A new book deal?
Hello all you horror fiends! Welcome to the third instalment of my newsletter. First off, I want to thank Ronald Kelly for making the banner you are seeing at the top of my newsletter (if you’re viewing this on the website you might not be seeing the banner). I’m hopeless when it comes to design, so I appreciate all the help I can get. Thanks, Ron! You rock!
Big news this week! I just signed with D&T Publishing to put out my latest novel Secret Basements in 2023. I couldn’t be happier about this. I’ve been following D&T pretty much since they started. I’ve been burned so many times by new publishers that I waited to see them get their bearings, and it sure didn’t take long. They’re doing it right. Plain and simple. I was so eager to submit my novel that I set an alarm on my phone so I didn’t miss the three-day submissions window (I’d missed two horror western anthology submission windows just last month and I’m still salty about it).
More details on this book in the future. In the next edition of the newsletter I will post a list of forthcoming books and short stories, as well as events I will be signing at.
I finished Borderlands, edited by Thomas Monteleone. An excellent collection. More of a mixed bag than the second volume, but very enjoyable. Standout stories for me were “The Pounding Room” by Bentley Little, “Delia and the Dinner Party” by John Shirley, and “A Younger Woman” by John Maclay, which was the best of the bunch, in my opinion.
I read Billy Silver by Daniel J. Volpe. That one is about as gritty as sandpaper. A real nasty tale about drug addiction and wild, murderous impulses. One of those stories you have to wash off with Lava soap once your finished.
I listened to the audiobook of Thomas Clark’s The Death List. Wow, what a great novella. It reads like a hardcore horror heavy metal take on John Carpenter's Halloween. I'll never look at balloon animals and game show hosts the same!
Still reading The Fog by James Herbert. That one is slow going for me. Also working through Come Thirteen by David Silva. I’m still not entirely sure where that story is going. And because two books isn’t enough, I started reading Brian Keene’s Ghost Walk.
This is a quick little flash piece that was originally published many years ago on a really cool online venue that specialized in carnival and circus themed stories. I couldn’t tell you where the idea came from. I discovered the website one morning, wrote the story, went over it a few times, submitted, and was accepted, all in about a two-hour span. That never happens.
Roscoe the Clown
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 off kilter. 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 maw.
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 Roscoe’s tendons that allowed Larry to manipulate the dead clown’s hands by squeezing them. 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.
Look for “Roscoe the Clown” and many others in my short story collection Infected Voices dropping later this year.
Also, in the next newsletter I will have a short interview with Thomas Clark. If you haven’t read him yet, you better fix that.
Thank you for your time. Now, go out and read a horror book!