The Ghoulish Times | 10/14/22
Saint Grit - Secret Ghoul - Horror Movie Contest
Hello and welcome to the latest issue of The Ghoulish Times. My name is Max Booth III, and I already know what you’re thinking: is that suffix real? Yes. It is real. I would not make something like that up.
If you’re impressed, thank you. If you’re outraged, I apologize. If you’re turned on, I don’t know what to say. Tell me what you want me to do and I’ll do it. I exist to please you. I emerged from the womb on a unicycle juggling pies, and I imagine I’ll die the same way.
I imagine you will, too.
The other day we announced a new book acquisition I’m pretty excited about. From Publishers Marketplace:
Once in a while we joke that “Goosebumps for Perverts” should be the slogan for Ghoulish Books, and I think Saint Grit by Kayli Scholz kind of perfectly captures that vibe. It is a very fun, sick novella that I think only a certain kind of person will love, while everybody else will probably be repulsed. We are cooking up a rather…uhh…bold front cover right now with an artist we’ve never worked with before (but is very talented and also has a huge fanbase on Instagram), and I’m excited to see the finished product. Stay tuned for more updates as we have them.
JESSICA LEONARD BOOK SIGNING
Jessica Leonard will be signing copies of her debut novel Antioch and our anthology Lost Contact, which features her short story “Ashes, Ashes” at the Barnes & Noble in Bowling Green, Kentucky. October 15th! That’s tomorrow! 2pm-4pm! Don’t miss it.
QUEENS & KINGS OF HORROR
This weekend we will have a Ghoulish Books vendor table at the Queens & Kings of Horror market at the Wonderland of the Americas shopping mall in San Antonio, TX. If you’re local, come say hi! We will have lots of spooky books for sale.
DISCORD UPDATES (movie screenings, book club, secret ghoul gift exchange)
If you’re not on the Ghoulish discord, last Wednesday I hosted a little movie screening of The Night Flier. We had a lot of fun and I decided we’re going to try to have one every Wednesday night going forward, probably around 7pm or 8pm CST. Join the discord HERE to avoid missing future screenings. Next Wednesday I’m going to be screening another vampire movie—this one is pretty rare, out of print, a total gem from a bonafide horror master. I’m excited.
Two more discord-related updates:
We are still voting on the first book of the Ghoulish book club. Voting ends tomorrow morning (Saturday, October 15, 9am CST). If you’d like to participate, join the discord.
Also, we announced the first of what will be an annual Halloween book gift exchange called SECRET GHOUL. If you’d like to participate, sign-ups are open until October 18th. Simply join the discord and find the #secret-ghoul channel under the SPOOKY READING category and react to the first post.
Michael Allen Rose’s Jurassichrist was nominated for a Wonderland Award, which we published through Perpetual Motion Machine last year. It’s a fun, pocket-sized book that I adore, and I am very happy for Michael.
It’s time for Jesus to attempt his second coming, but linear time progression doesn’t apply to extra-spatial deities, so he ends up coming “again” long before the first time – the Jurassic period. Once he arrives, expecting to see a bunch of human beings who’ve been waiting for him for two millennial seasons, he is surprised to find himself in a weird civilization full of thunder lizards.
Jesus goes into Predator mode, arming himself to the teeth and slaughtering them wholesale, trying to find someone who’s capable of nailing him to a cross so he can get back home, however, dinosaurs don’t have thumbs. What they do have is the “hum,” a magical frequency capable of shaping the world. They have mythical metals. They have a sensible social contract. They have a bizarre, but seemingly decent civilization going.
Mammals however, are the most disgusting, rotten, violent things imaginable, and they seem to be evolving into something worse with the help of a little cosmic power. Something has been providing them with products that shouldn’t be invented for another billion years or so, from the as-seen-on-tv catalog, and they’re taking full advantage of it. Who is behind this forced evolution, and what could they stand to gain? Is heaven full of heroes, or gibbering lunatics?
It’s up to J.C. to set things right and stop the apocalypse and figure out whether the universe really should be run by a bunch of insane deities, or whether it’s better to wipe out heaven and let them sort it all out themselves! Action, adventure, insanity and good ol’ fashioned heresy!
Last week’s newsletter I talked about going to check out a storage unit for the publishing company. Here is a brief update:
What you’re seeing here is a combination of publishing inventory, vendor table setup decorations, and various odds & ends needed for the Ghoulish Book Festival (speaking of, have you secured your badge yet?).
I like the unit! The dream would be to turn one of these into a little writing office, but unfortunately that goes against the rules and also there’s no actual light inside the unit unless the door’s open. Maybe I’m just tired of conducting all of my work at a desk three feet away from our bed. I don’t know. It’s better than nothing! One day when I’m rich I will invest in a cool writer shed in our back yard.
Next we need to invest in some shelving for the unit. But that’s Future Max and Lori’s problem…
I will be writing the introduction for Chelsea Pumpkins’s new anthology, AHH! That's What I Call Horror: An Anthology of '90s Horror.
GEMMA LOVES HARES
Jessica McHugh’s Hares in the Hedgerow received the following exciting blurb from Gemma Amor:
"Hares in the Hedgerow is as beautiful, compelling and seductive as a haze of lethal perfume. McHugh writes with a level of assurance that makes me utterly breathless."
—Gemma Amor, Bram Stoker Award nominated author of Dear Laura and Full Immersion
She wakes up in a 1973 Volkswagen Kombi, naked and afraid . . .
An aspiring singer/songwriter, Sophie Francis is searching for inspiration, pining for connection, and desperate to know why she feels so different from everyone else. Maybe it’s the ghosts whispering in the apartment above her, or the chilling thoughts writhing in her mind when the ghosts are quiet. Maybe she’s a reincarnated saint abducted as an infant and raised by a former serial killer.
Or maybe she’s just sixteen.
Upon meeting an intoxicating musician named Liam LaSalle and an enigmatic community of misfits known as the Choir of the Lamb, Sophie scampers down a rabbit hole of music, martyrs, and madness. There, she discovers her link to a dangerous legacy and a fiery little girl named Avery Norton.
From 2x Bram Stoker & Elgin Award nominee, Jessica McHugh, Hares in the Hedgerow leads Sophie Francis on a disturbing and transformative journey to expose and harness the darkness in the roots of her family tree.
Craig Wallwork is the author of the Tom Nolan trilogy. On today’s episode of GHOULISH, we are talking about horror thrillers. Is it horrifying? Is it thrilling? It’s both, buddy, and you better accept it.
HORROR MOVIE CONTEST ENTRIES
I announced a contest in last week’s newsletter. Tell me about the worst place you’ve been trapped, and I will pick one person to win a free DVD or Blu-Ray of my movie We Need to Do Something. Well, y’all fucking delivered. I received some crazy stories, and I see no reason why I should be the only person to read them. So here they are. Enjoy.
I was trapped once at a going away party for a mutual friend who was also friends with my ex-wife. She brought her current fuckpal, and I had just gotten dumped by my then girlfriend. I had to be "nice" and actually played cards with the two assholes. It was a miserable experience and my desire to be positive and cordial to the mutual friend overrode my discomfort at being around someone who I had zero interest in talking to or being anywhere near.
I once made the horrible decision to go ziplining. I'm terrified of heights, but, I reasoned, I love roller coasters, and what is a zipline but a roller coaster without a seat? Well, the difference is, when you're strapped in a roller coaster, at a certain point you just have to surrender to the machine and let it take you where it may. With a zipline, you must actually step into the void -of your own volition-. I managed to make myself do it twice, which is a miracle I do not understand, but the joy of falling a la roller coaster never materialized--just the dread certainty that I would mess up in some way and kill myself, or get stuck in the middle and have to wait for rescue, suspended an unholy distance in the air. The third time, I simply could not. I begged the guide to shove me (if it wasn't my choice, would it become fun like a roller coaster?), but alas, their liability insurance does not allow their employees to throw guests from the platform. I am not too proud to admit I cried. The guide pretended to be absorbed in the fall foliage. I eventually accepted my defeat, climbed down from the tower (a fright of its own! at least the ladder was enclosed), and waited for the little golf cart that would drive me back to the parking lot, just me and a literal child who also decided against the void that day. We were very brave about it.
I was trapped in a stairwell for like 3 hours once. It was at the office I work at and it was after hours, I had stayed late a little bit and was leaving. The stairwell requires a badge to open any door on any level from the inside, but not the outside. Well I left mine at the desk when I left. It was mostly boring and I had to piss in a corner of the floor. I tired myself out going up and down all the flights and banging on the doors. Luckily night security came by doing rounds at 9P and I got to leave, after answering a few questions
The worst place I was ever trapped was in a condominium in Florida during a tropical storm with my family. My parents had decided two things they announced to my sister and I on what they called "the last family vacation": my dad was going to seminary and they were adopting another child. I was fifteen and my sister was eleven. She was frantic about no longer being the baby. I was watching my dreams of going to college slip away as my parents were going into poverty just when I was looking for a school. We were not getting along well with each other, but being able to walk down the beach was my only consolation. Then the storm hit with its lashing rain and power outage. My parents argued in that sotto voce yelling that parents argue in when they are trapped with their children. I read all of Stephen King's It under the covers by flashlight, trying to ignore my sister weeping in the top bunk above me. I wished there was an evil clown in the storm drain wanting to spirit me away, but even a supernatural being would have drown in the torrent.
I have 2 stories that fit this prompt. One that is spooky, and ultimately harmless, and one that was a really traumatic moment in my life. I don't think anyone needs to be traumatized by reading my experience, so I'll go with the first one.
When I was younger, I spent over half of a decade living on the streets, a lot of it in Hollywood, CA. Back then (the early 00's), there was a building on Vine, between Sunset and Hollywood that everyone called The Tav. It was a small high rise, some said it was the home of a record company years before. No one really knew for sure. What was known is that it had been a squat for many years, but at least 2 fires had broken out, trapping street kids inside and taking their lives. Also that the elevator shafts were open and empty, and had claimed several poor souls who were stumbling around in the dark. Of course the stories grew about the ghosts in the building. I stayed away.
My ex and I slept in the building next door, a 2 story, shuttered strip mall called the Survivor Building, due to the sign for Survivor insurance that still adorned the outer wall. My ex and I had claimed a small inner office as our own, but there were many other people in other offices, so when the banging woke us up one day, we didn't worry at first. We went back to sleep for a bit, and in the late afternoon, attempted to get up and go about our daily routine. Unfortunately, a construction crew had been there, securing a thick piece of plywood over the small window that we used to get in and out of the building. We tried in vain to kick the board out, but it wouldn't even wiggle.
We walked through the building, waking up others and trying to find any other exit. Eventually we found a window that opened onto a small alley between the Survivor Building, and The Tav. It would be easy to get into the alley, but unfortunately, there were tall cast iron fences on both ends of the alley that would be impossible to climb. The only way out of the alley, was through another window, above a side door leading into The Tav. My ex assured me he could get me through the mythic building, so I agreed to go in.
The interior of the building was pitch black. The small amount of light coming through the window didn't reach very far. We didn't have flashlights, and cell phones weren't as prevalent yet. My ex led me through the building, the only light coming from small, scattered fires, surrounded by groups of street kids. Their shadows danced along the walls like the spirits that were rumored to populate the building. I clutched the arm of my ex, terrified of what would happen. We walked through a few floors, looking for the exit. Up and down random staircases, I felt disoriented and that we would never escape. I imagined I could feel the breath of ghosts on the back of my neck.
Eventually we came out on the roof of a smaller building behind The Tav. In the end, we had to climb down a fire escape to get away. Considering my fear of heights, it wasn't ideal, but somehow less terrifying than that building.
I'm long off the streets, and both buildings were bulldozed over 15 years ago, but that experience will always stick with me. I no longer believe in ghosts, but I can't deny the oppressive atmosphere that was in that building.
I hope that fits the bill!
I have been trapped in Northwest Indiana for 48 years. The steel mills, the oil refineries, the decaying shopping malls and strip malls. The Casino's filled with the walking dead. The spillover of crime of Chicago and Gary, the lack of bookstores, the lack of interesting people (all of our cool people, Jean Shepherd, Michael Jackson, and Max Booth III have all un-assed the place as soon as they could.) Now I wait for my senior-citizenship so I can go to Florida where everything goes to die.
I spent a couple of years as a produce clerk, and maybe one year at a store in Boston so small the storage was in the basement. The freight elevator stopped for maybe 45 minutes with me a cart jam packed with fruits and veggies. I had to call the front desk ("this is who?" "Ryan from produce") and then the manager sat at the top of the shaft telling me how this should count as my lunch break.
I was once trapped in the bathroom of a now-defunct music distributor while an instrumental post-rock band called the Boxhead Ensemble provided the live soundtrack for a screening of a documentary about a small town in Alaska. It was weird, but at least the music was good.
In 2003, the handle of my office door fell completely apart as I was turning it to exit, trapping me inside. I worked nights, from 5pm to 2am, and was the only person in the building, as this happened after midnight. I had to call a few co-workers before some got out of bed and came by to help turn the inside latch to open the door. I was fortunate, as being stuck in there all night with nothing to distract myself but work seems like a kind of hell.
Here's one - in Dublin, the coffin when a relative does is laid out in the lounge, and everyone visits the day before hanging out with the body. My uncle was in said coffin and there we were, eating sandwiches, cakes, drinking tea and some family members knocking back beer chit chatting by the coffin.
I was in my thirties - oh boy.
The WORST place I was trapped was about 10 years ago, me and some friends went to a an old haunted house attraction close to Halloween and they had a room with all kinds of bugs (spiders, roaches, etc.) underneath your feet. Well, the grates gave way as I was crossing over and I fell into the cutout. Wasn’t a far drop, but the way I landed and the covering fell, it took me a fair bit of time to get up and out. I was covered in these things and (call me a baby, because I love horror books/movies) but I cannot stand bugs. Needless to say, I screamed like a baby and thought I would kill myself trying to get out and get them off of me. I still shudder when I think about that night and will never go into another place that has bugs in it. I was scarred for life…….. That was the ABSOLUTE worst place I have been trapped!!!
Congrats, Bryan. You’ve won the contest. That sounds absolutely horrifying. Check your email.
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).
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See you next time, ghouls.