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The Ghoulish Times | 10/28/22
Grief - Soft Places - Tattoos
Hello and welcome to the latest installment of The Ghoulish Times. My name is Max Booth III and this is my spooky newsletter. Thank you for joining me today.
The second half of 2022 has turned out to be quite the shitshow on my end. Any sense of productivity has pretty much ceased. I haven’t written anything of note since the first week of August, right before my mother was killed. Publishing-wise, I am absolutely behind on everything. I spend most of my time frantically trying to catch up on copy editing, only to find myself staring at the wall completely lost in thought, somehow having lost several hours of my day. It feels like my brain forgot how to…do things.
Is this grief? Probably. I don’t know. I’m no Charlie Brown.
One of my closest friends in the horror industry also passed away last week. His name was Jay Wilburn and you’ve undoubtedly heard his name before. He’s been on my podcast numerous times. I’ve known him since the very beginning of our careers. We both started around the same time, working with the same (now-defunct) publisher.
Unlike my mother, Jay’s death was not a surprise, although it still hurts like a knife to the heart. Over the last decade his health hadn’t always been the best, and it seemed to drastically decline even further over the last year or so. Back in April, when Lori and I hosted the Ghoulish Book Festival in San Antonio, Jay attended the convention as a vendor. When it was just the two of us in the vendors’ room, he confided in me that he’d chosen 2022’s conventions based on being able to see his closest friends one final time. We both had tears in our eyes. We hugged. I knew then that weekend would probably be the last time I ever saw him. I may have pretended it wasn’t true but at the same time of course I knew.
The first time I met Jay in-person was at the 2013 World Horror Convention in New Orleans. We already knew each other, but hadn’t met yet. Back then, Jay’s passion project was something called the Dark and Bookish tour. Instead of trying to explain this myself, I’m going to copy/paste Jay’s description from our failed Indiegogo campaign:
Dark and Bookish – Authors’ Tour and Documentary – Summer 2014
Struggling writers, horror, small presses, independent bookstores, conventions, and the modern era of publishing.
There is a very interesting story to be told here. This tour and an accompanying documentary will attempt to open up this world of horror writing and speculative fiction publishing in the current age of writing and reading.
5 authors are featured on a summer 2014 tour across the United States followed by a documentary crew. The tour promotes for the authors and publishers while serving as a stage for exploring the worlds of small authors, small publishers, and small bookstores.
The tour would cover approximately 30 days from the beginning of June through possibly mid July of 2014. The tour would cover 8-10 cities including 4-5 horror, sci fi, and general fandom conventions. The tour would include events at local, independent bookstores in the convention cities and in cities in between conventions. There would be 5 featured authors traveling for the entire tour with guest authors included for short stints or single events. The documentary, Dark and Bookish, will focus on struggling/ rising authors in the horror and speculative fiction genre, the work and struggles of small presses within these genre, and the experiences and struggles of independent bookstores within the current age of publishing.
I was one of the authors he’d chosen to spotlight in this potential documentary. Looking back, I am not really sure why, but I remain immensely grateful. Also involved, besides Jay and myself, were Jessica McHugh, Adam Millard, and Derek Deremer.
Here are our “criminal mugshots” we had made while trying to fund this crazy, brilliant idea:
At the WHC in New Orleans, we threw a massive hotel party to promote the project. The next day, I woke up in bed with bloodied knuckles. I asked Jay if he knew what I’d done, considering I had pretty much blacked out the previous night due to an excessive consumption of hurricanes, and he only laughed and walked away. Over the next decade, he would bring up these bloodied knuckles as one of his favorite stories. What did he witness me do? Did I kill someone? Am I wanted in New Orleans? Jay died with these secrets, just as he intended.
One of my favorite stories about Jay occurred the very same year, only a few months later, during Worldcon in San Antonio. Jay flew and stayed with Lori and me for the weekend. I was working nights at the time, so Lori drove to the airport to pick him up as I was sleeping off the previous night's shift.
Jay thought it would be very funny to be the one to wake me up. So, he tiptoed into the bedroom, got very close, and ripped the blanket off my body.
This is when he discovered that--for reasons--I had fallen asleep naked that morning.
Both of us were equally horrified, but neither of us could stop laughing.
Here is a photo of us together (along with another PMMP author Sue Lange) in front of the Alamo:
Jay Wilburn was probably the first real friend I made in the horror community. I've known him over a decade. He was one of the funniest and smartest people I've ever known.
I am going to miss our conversations so much.
Over on the GHOULISH podcast, I compiled every appearance he made on the show into one massive episode, if you were interested in hearing him talk and getting to know him a little better.
It feels weird to now spend the rest of this newsletter advertising and promoting things. A little ghoulish, but not in the good way. But we just published a new book, and we have events happening, and the gears don’t stop, so fuck it. Here we go.
SOFT PLACES, a novella/graphic novel hybrid, is available now for sickos everywhere
The rumors are true. Betty Rocksteady’s latest release, Soft Places, is officially available.
Fans of comics like The MAXX and Black Hole will undoubtedly devour this book, which is a hybrid of both a novella and a graphic novel. It is suggested for mature audiences.
A little about the story:
Johnna is found naked, wandering the streets with a mysterious head injury. Seemingly psychotic, she’s forced into the care of perverted psychiatrist Dr. Gonne. She must escape his clutches and return to a strange place she only half-remembers.
Here is an art sample from the inside of the book:
The first 200 paperback orders on our website will receive a signed bookplate from the book’s author/artist, along with a unique creature illustration. Seriously. Check some of these out:
I know we have some left in stock, but not many, so if you wanted one of these creature bookplates, I recommend placing your order right now.
And, as you wait for your copy to arrive, I recommend listening to one of the newest episodes of the GHOULISH podcast. Betty guested on it and we talked about Sam Kieth’s The Maxx. It’s a really fun conversation. I’ve missed doing podcasts with her. We gotta do some more soon, I think.
ABOUT BETTY ROCKSTEADY…
Betty Rocksteady spends as much time as possible wandering around daydreaming. Her illustrated cosmic sex horror novella The Writhing Skies won the 2018 This is Horror Award for best novella, and was nominated for the Splatterpunk Award. Surreal and explicit, her short fiction is collected in In Dreams We Rot. Her illustration style is inspired by old cartoons and newspaper comics. This is her first graphic novel.
Find out more at www.bettyrocksteady.com.
To celebrate the book’s release, I got a tattoo of a ghost illustration from Soft Places on my arm. Check it out:
I also got this little cartoon Satan, unrelated to Soft Places. It just looked cool and was the tattoo shop’s Halloween flash sale of the week.
Hailey Piper Blurbs HARES
Here is another blurb for Jessica McHugh’s Hares in the Hedgerow—this one from the very talented and awesome Hailey Piper!
ABNORMAL STATISTICS Cover Jacket Reveal
My debut horror story collection, Abnormal Statistics, will be released through Apocalypse Party on March 23, 2023. A couple days ago, they revealed Matthew Revert’s amazing cover jacket artwork. Take a look…
Pre-orders for Abnormal Statistics are officially open, too.
More writing news—I have been contracted by Cemetery Gates Media to write a novella for their 2023 fall publication schedule. It is a Halloween slasher called The Last Haunt and I look forward to working on it—first, of course, I need to get out of this writing hiatus my brain has forced me into. Hopefully soon, since I have a vampire novel titled She Creeps I intend on finishing first. I think it’s pretty good.
THE GHOULISH SHOW - OCTOBER 2022
Behold, a new episode of THE GHOULISH SHOW, a spooky comedy show hosted by Max Booth III. October 2022's episode features Max Booth III, Andrew Hilbert, John Baltisberger, Susan Snyder, Ryan Bradley, and Lucas Mangum IN COSTUME reading spooky stories. Plus!!!! Stephen Kink!!! The Ghoulish Show is recorded on the last Tuesday of every month at Radio Coffee & Beer in Austin, TX. Attendance is free and highly encouraged! The event typically begins around 8PM CST.
Today, Friday October 28th at 7:00pm, I am participating in a really fun event up in Georgetown, TX with some good friends of mine. Take a look at the flyer below for more information. Hope to see you there!
Then, tomorrow, Saturday October 29th at 4:00pm, I am doing a reading & signing at Cibolo Chicks Bookstore in Selma, TX. If you’re local, come support this great new indie bookstore! More information HERE.
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, and Twitter (PMMP | DMD | Ghoulish podcast | Ghoulish Books | personal).
Reserve your ticket for Ghoulish Book Fest 2023.
You can also join us on the Ghoulish Discord.
See you next time, ghouls.
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