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The Ghoulish Times | 12/31/22
eat shit, 2022
Hello and welcome to the latest issue of The Ghoulish Times. My name is Max Booth III and this is my spooky newsletter. I am the head editor and publisher of Ghoulish Books, the managing editor of Ghoulish Tales, the co-founder of the Ghoulish Book Festival, and the host of the GHOULISH podcast (which, yes, will be returning in early 2023 after a brief hiatus).
This is the last newsletter of 2022. It is also the last day of 2022. Some people are already existing in the new year. Those people are dangerous and should be terminated upon sight. Do not trust them. They know things we do not. They are hiding the ugly, awful truth of the universe. No thank you.
Before we continue, I must remind you that on Tuesday (January 3rd) our massive Ghoulish Kickstarter goes live. A pre-launch page is already up, with a neat little “notify me on launch!” button available to click. As I’m beginning this newsletter, we are at 91 followers already, and I would love to reach triple digits before the campaign publishes on Tuesday.
Click HERE to view the pre-launch page.
All 13 of our planned releases for the year will be available to pre-order with one flat fee. Possibly 14 books if we hit a certain stretch goal. But more about that on Tuesday.
LET THE WOODS KEEP OUR BODIES
Over at Fangoria, we revealed Ryan Caskey’s cover art for E. M. Roy’s debut sapphic horror novel LET THE WOODS KEEP OUR BODIES.
Leo Bates knows what’s behind every corner in her hometown of Eston, Maine, where she’s lived her whole life. Some bad memories and grief for her late parents, sure, but nothing dangerous. Nothing unexplainable.
All of that changes when her girlfriend Tate goes missing, and the lead detective on the case blames Leo for the disappearance. Haunted by self-doubt, Leo can only watch as the town she thought she knew deteriorates around her. She is forced to confront the painful truth about her parents, this town, and her relationship if she is to survive the following onslaught of conspiracies, cryptic monstrosities, and whatever is hiding in the woods where Tate was last seen.
The familiar becomes strange the longer you look at it. Leo navigates a broken sense of reality, shattered memories, and a distrust of herself in order to find Tate and restore balance to Eston—if such a thing ever existed to begin with.
We are pitching it as My Best Friend’s Exorcism meets Twin Peaks.
Coming October 10, 2023 from Ghoulish Books.
E. M. Roy (she/they) is a writer and lover of all things weird, horrific, and dark, especially when those things have a social justice bend and are rooted in a queer perspective. After obtaining a B.A. in English from Boston University, their work has appeared in a handful of small publications. She currently resides near Portland, Maine with her parents, sibling, and dog, Boo. Let the Woods Keep Our Bodies is their debut novel.
CONJURING THE WITCH
Continuing our theme of spooky fiction set in the woods, earlier this morning This is Horror revealed Matthew Revert’s cover art for Jessica Leonard’s CONJURING THE WITCH.
There are witches in the woods. These are the words the reverend of the Lilin Assembly of Our Lord repeats to his parishioners each week. Steve and Nicole Warby think it’s just a metaphor, until Nicole takes a walk in those woods and comes back changed. Something came out of them with her, and the simple small-town life they’ve always known is forever altered when they discover the dark secrets buried deep and those intent on keeping them there. Fearing for his wife’s sanity, and his own comfortable status in the church, Steve is unsure if he wants to help or ignore the problems. The reverend believes there are witches in the woods, and he thinks Nicole is only the most recent.
Conjuring the Witch is a dark, haunted story about what those in power are willing to do to stay in power, and the sins we convince ourselves are forgivable.
We are pitching it as The Autopsy of Jane Doe meets The Grip of It.
Coming May 2, 2023 from Ghoulish Books.
This is Horror also asked both Jessica and myself to come up with quotes about the book. I’ll share what Jessica had to say here, but you’ll have to head over to This is Horror to read my quote.
“In the winter of 2019 I noticed a church in the woods. It was along my route to work so twice a day I would look at it, just beyond the tree line behind a field that ran along the highway. I thought about it often and eventually on my way home turned down a side road to try and get to the church, but I wasn’t successful. And then I got a little obsessed. I looked for it on Google Maps but couldn’t find it, I went down other little country roads but never ended up in the right place. The thing is, I could see it. It was white and had those tall windows that denote a church. But I could never find it. That tiny church that only seemed to exist in the exact right place of the road where I could glimpse through the trees was the beginning of CONJURING THE WITCH. I imagined the reasons a church might hide and how that could happen. There was, in my mind, an obvious answer. There are witches in the woods.”
—Jessica Leonard, author of Conjuring The Witch
Jessica Leonard is a horror author who loves creating ghosts and that feeling you get when you think someone is watching you. She was born in a small town that may or may not exist and still lives there to this day. She lives with her husband, son, and two dogs. She has two novels, Antioch and Conjuring the Witch.
If you are a writer who has submitted short stories to us recently, here are a few quick updates:
Night Frights - We are behind on this project, but hope to have responded to everybody by the end of January. Right now we are going through the last 150 stories in our slush pile. If you haven’t received a response from us yet, your story is still under consideration. Apologies for the delay with this one. The plan was to originally go through all the slush, make decisions, and get the issue edited earlier in 2022, but then my mom died and those plans went straight into the trash. We are slowly catching up, though. Thank you for your patience.
Ghoulish Tales - We opened for issue #1 earlier this month and have already received over 300 submissions at the time of this newsletter. The deadline is February 15th. We are looking to accept between 5-7 stories only, so keep in mind competition here is going to be fierce. Best of luck! Also, as a reminder: please do not send us more than one story per reading period. If we reject you, you can submit again when we re-open for issue #2 (most likely in July).
Secret Anthology - It was our intention to announce a new anthology in this newsletter, but Publishers Marketplace is being incredibly slow about posting the announcement we submitted to them, so this will just have to wait until next month/year. But yes. We are going to be opening for a new anthology soon, edited by an excellent writer/editor we love, with an estimated publication date of April 2024. All I’ll say right now is if you’re a queer horror author, it might be wise to start sharpening your pencils or shining your keyboard or however the hell you prefer to write. Maybe you use voice-to-text. In which case, uh, start clearing your throat? I don’t know. Moving on…
THE LASSER CAST
I was interviewed on the latest episode of The Lasser Cast about spooky books:
EXPANDING THE GHOULISH STAFF
For a decade now, Perpetual Motion Machine / Ghoulish Books has mostly been operated by two people—myself, and Lori Michelle. So it’s very exciting to announce that recently we have expanded our staff to include Jenna Malcolm (copy editor), Emily McCorkle (copy editor), and Mar Garcia (publicity). Check out our brand-new STAFF PAGE to learn more about them.
I don’t think 2022 was particularly kind to many people. When I think back, my main highlight was the inaugural Ghoulish Book Festival back in April. It went over very, very well, and I am terrified of not being able to repeat the magic for 2023. (Psst, badges are still available! Please come!!!)
The last half of 2022 has been especially dog shit on my end. I lost my mom. I lost a very close friend. I spent a month and a half losing my mind while living in my hoarder dad’s repulsive trailer and I still have not even come close to mentally recovering from the toll it took. I dropped the ball with the publishing company when it came to properly marketing/preparing releases. I failed at writing several novels and scripts. A television project that had been in development for 2 years died due to vague scheduling reasons.
The tl;dr version of 2022: it kinda sucked.
But at least we did publish some pretty awesome books along the way, and I’d like to remind you they exist, and that they are well worth your time.
In March, we published Below by Laurel Hightower as the first title to be released under our new Ghoulish Books imprint (for those unaware, from 2012-2021 we solely operated under the name Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing). It has quickly become one of our bestselling books in our entire decade of existing as a publishing company.
Below was followed by John C. Foster’s Leech, which secured us our very first Booklist review. This was our fourth John C. Foster book, and I am optimistic that it will not be our last. He is a delight and a master of hardboiled horror.
My novel, Maggots Screaming!, was also released through our Ghoulish Books imprint. I think it’s the best book I am capable of writing at this time and I’m tremendously proud of it.
I’ve been a fan of Danger Slater for years now, so I was thrilled to finally have a chance to publish one of his books. Moonfellows came out back in July and has earned some massive praise from folks over on Goodreads. Danger Slater is the closest writer I’ve come across who could carry Kurt Vonnegut’s torch (and still carve out his own original voice in the process), and I think perhaps Moonfellows might be his best book yet. This is currently the last book we published solely through Perpetual Motion Machine (instead of through the new Ghoulish Books imprint), and if we never add another title there, I am proud to have had Moonfellows close it out.
In the second half of the year is when things went a bit dicey due to the aforementioned deaths in my life. But we did manage—even if publication dates were delayed, and the marketing wasn’t the most ideal—to release Soft Places by Betty Rocksteady, Perfect Union by Cody Goodfellow, and Rabbits in the Garden and Hares in the Hedgerow by Jessica McHugh. We also released the final issues of Dark Moon Digest.
All of these titles are books I deeply admire. If you haven’t read them yet, I encourage you to consider picking them up.
In fact, fuck it—to add further incentive, we have just created a discount code for any book in our webstore.
Enter EatShit2022 upon checkout and receive 22% off your order. Deal expires Monday night.
I discussed our 2023 schedule in the previous newsletter, so I won’t repeat myself here. Needless to say, we are excited about the future. As shitty as 2022 was, it still happened to be our most successful year as a publishing company, and I am hopeful these stats continue increasing into the new year.
I’m nervous and excited and stressed and freaked out about this upcoming Kickstarter. I think it’s going to be a really great thing for us. But these things are unpredictable. The only thing we can know for sure is I am going to lose a lot of hair in January.
The new year will also see us hitting the gas on promoting and organizing the 2023 Ghoulish Book Festival (April 14-16). We have so many great Guests of Honor lined up: V. Castro, Josh Malerman, Johnny Compton, Hailey Piper, and Trevor Henderson. This thing is going to be so much fun! Plus, Lori and I are getting freakin’ MARRIED during the festival. Are you coming? Please consider it!
I will continue hosting the monthly Ghoulish Show at Radio Coffee & Beer in Austin, TX until they ban me from the premises. It occurs on the last Tuesday of the month, every month.
My short story collection, Abnormal Statistics, releases in March.
Looking ahead, this is what I hope to accomplish: continue treating Ghoulish Books like a full-time publishing job, improve my writing productivity, start reading more books for pleasure, and get banned from Twitter for making Elon Musk cry.
Okay, that’s it for this week. You can support us on Patreon, browse the books in our webstore, and follow us on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter (PMMP | Ghoulish Tales | Ghoulish podcast | Ghoulish Books | personal).
Or just click on our LINKTREE for all relevant links.
Reserve your ticket for Ghoulish Book Fest 2023.
You can also join us on the Ghoulish Discord.
See you next time, ghouls.