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The Ghoulish Times | 01/22/22
Edgar Allan Poe Truther | Dog-Operated Bookstores | Mothman is Real
Hello and welcome to the latest issue of The Ghoulish Times, a newsletter written by me, Max Booth III, a novelist, screenwriter, editor, publisher, podcaster, and eater of eggs. For those keeping track at home, this morning I had 3/4 cup of egg substitute, scrambled with potatoes, mushrooms, peppers, cheddar cheese, and onions, which I folded up into lil’ breakfast tacos. It did not taste great, as I think the mushrooms have gone bad. I suspected they were before even cooking them. They were slimy and had a strange odor. Yet I gambled anyway. I still have a bad taste in my mouth. I refuse to brush my teeth. I must face the consequences of my actions. Is this how I die? Of course not. I already know how I die. I looked into the socket of that one-eyed witch and saw everything. But that’s for a different newsletter.
Last week we announced the new horror imprint of Perpetual Motion Machine: Ghoulish Books. We made membership subscriptions available and opened for horror novella submissions. Subscriptions remain available until February 14th and we don’t close for submissions until May 8th, so calm down, you still have time.
Over on our new Ghoulish Books Twitter page, we’ve revealed the covers and plot descriptions of our first three GB titles of 2022, which I will now proceed to recap below:
BELOW | Laurel Hightower
HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO TO HELP A STRANGER?
While driving through the mountains of West Virginia during a late-night snowstorm, a recently divorced woman experiences bizarre electrical problems, leaving her with little choice but to place her trust with a charismatic truck driver. But when an unexplainable creature with haunting red eyes gets between them, she is forced to make one of the toughest decisions of her life. Will she abandon the stranger who kept her safe—or will she climb down below, where reality has shapeshifted into a living nightmare?
Cover art: Trevor Henderson
Release date: March 29
Below was also recently included on a LitReactor list about upcoming horror books. Check out the article HERE.
MAGGOTS SCREAMING! | Max Booth III
THE FAMILY THAT DECAYS TOGETHER, STAYS TOGETHER
On a hot summer weekend in San Antonio, Texas, a father and son bond after discovering three impossible corpses buried in their back yard.
Cover art: Corinne Halbert
Release date: April 12
Yes, this is a novel I wrote. Yes, I am releasing it myself through Ghoulish Books. I’ve played the game of publishing with other small presses for almost a decade now, and in my experience I get burned more often than not. Going forward, I plan to self-release my own books, unless it’s something I think would work better with an agent/commercial publisher. Trust me when I tell you Maggots Screaming! is the opposite of commercial. It’s an indie book through and through, and I am really proud of how it turned out. I think it’s the best thing I’ve written.
LEECH | John C. Foster
Archibald Leech is the secret weapon Control unleashes when the fabric of reality tears and alien mathematics leak into our world. Control wields him like a barely understood instrument, because Leech can see through the curtain, and it’s enough to drive a man mad. But now his relationship with Control is slowly disintegrating as his need to create a safe home for his volatile and hard-drinking wife increases. Unfortunately, people in Leech’s line of work don’t retire so easily—not when he’s pitting himself against doppelgangers, demigods, and whatever the hell else might be waiting in line to give him a bad day.
Cover art: Trevor Henderson
Release date: April 26
I should note that all of the above books can also be pre-ordered by subscribing to our Ghoulish Books Membership Subscription, which is only available until February 14th. By subscribing, readers will automatically pre-order all eight Ghoulish publications scheduled for release this year. In addition to Below, Maggots Screaming!, and Leech, subscribers will also receive Perfect Union by Cody Goodfellow, All These Subtle Deceits by C.S. Humble, Soft Places by Betty Rocksteady, and Rabbits in the Garden and Hares in the Hedgerow by Jessica McHugh.
Here is a pic of the die cut Ghoulish Books stickers that subscribers will receive in their packages. It is exclusive to membership boxes only.
And here are the other bonuses one can expect in their boxes:
Several of these books are being published in April/May so we can tie them into the first Ghoulish Books Festival in San Antonio, which will take place the weekend of April 30th and May 1st. Next week my partner Lori Michelle and I are sitting down and figuring out panels/schedules and will be announcing some fun updates, so stay tuned for that. Until then, there are plenty of badges left if you wish to attend the festival. There are also 5 vendor spots available if you wish to sell books during the event. Every time I think about the festival, a ball of stress increases its size in my stomach. I imagine it will not go away any time soon. Can’t wait! Get your tickets today!
I launched another newsletter last month called Dog Ears. It’s craft based, focused on the writing and publishing industry. Every month I will post a new essay about writing and/or publishing, and also an exclusive interview with someone about craft. Last month I published an essay about writers settling for publication and conducted a very lengthy conversation with Josh Malerman.
Stay tuned next week for January’s Dog Ears updates. I have a new essay almost complete, plus I am in the middle of transcribing an interview with Daniel Kraus about organization / outlines / research. It’s a fun conversation! Can’t wait to share it with y’all.
Also, the majority of Dog Ears is behind a paywall. $5 a month gets you access to everything. The newsletter is my attempt to continue working full-time as a writer and publisher. I do not want to get another non-creative job again. The last year has spoiled me. Support Dog Ears today! I’ll love you forever.
ICYMI, here are the latest episodes of my podcast, unsurprisingly titled GHOULISH:
Guests on upcoming episodes include folks like Cheryl Couture, Anthony Wayne Hepp, Dustin Katz, and Kathe Koja. They’re already recorded. I just need to edit them and get the episodes out. Soon!
I don’t know why, but today I keep thinking about the bizarre theory about Edgar Allan Poe’s death that made the rounds a couple years ago. Here’s a quote from LitHub, which explains the theory better than I could:
The place was Baltimore. The date was October 3, 1849—or, Election Day. The poet Edgar Allan Poe was found in a sordid state, lying in a gutter. He hadn’t been heard from in a week. His semi-lucid body was stumbled upon by Baltimore Sun journalist Joseph W. Walker and rushed to the house of a friend, Joseph E. Snodgrass, a magazine editor who allegedly also had medical training. Poe ebbed in and out of consciousness, never fully able to explain what had happened. He appeared to be hallucinating. He muttered senselessness. Four days later, he died.
One popular theory is that the beloved poet fell victim to cooping, a highly illegal but apparently extremely common form of voter fraud that involved gangs kidnapping people, getting them dangerously drunk, beating them, and forcing them to vote several times. Apparently, back in the golden days before Prohibition, voters were also given alcohol after voting as incentive to complete their civic duties, which could also explain the deliriously drunk Poe.
I’m sharing this here because none of my friends knew what the hell I was talking about, so maybe this theory isn’t as widely known? Weird and fascinating, regardless. It’s always funny how the brain works, because despite hearing zero actual evidence that this is what happened, I kind of 100% believe this is the truth. Sometimes you just believe crazy shit because it feels right. Just as I believe mothman is real, and that he loves you.
Sadie Hartmann recently posted an article on LitReactor detailing New Years resolutions from several writers in the horror scene. Read the full article HERE. Also, I’m copy-pasting the resolution I provided below:
I deleted my Goodreads account in December, as I can no longer stomach Amazon or anything it owns. As a reader or a writer. I will never support them again. Plus, in addition to that, I don't really consider myself a critic, so I don't feel comfortable continuing to write reviews of the books I read. I also don't think "logging" my reading habits is very healthy, and only adds to the internet's need to know everything everybody is doing at all times. There's a thing with Goodreads where it makes reading feel like a video game you can succeed or fail at (fuck those annual reading challenges). I hate that kind of pressure. And I hate thinking of art like that. Ratings are disgusting. Art isn't designed to be graded on a one-out-of-five star system. How absolutely repulsive. Plus, I don't really feel the need to write negative things about books I don't enjoy. I'll continue recommending things I like, but the things I do not care for do not need to be publicly bashed. Writing a book is fucking hard. And, again, I am not a critic. I don't feel obligated or skilled enough to write lengthy analysis of published work. So I guess my resolution for next year is to maybe be more private with not just my books, but other areas of my life, and to also focus on the things that I enjoy rather than letting unpleasant things ruin my mood. I will probably fail at that last bit.
I’ll close this week’s newsletter by letting you in on a little glimpse behind the scenes of our publishing company. Last week we received a huge box of returns from various bookstores that have purchased books from us and then failed to sell them in their shops. I am convinced at least one of these stores are operated solely by dogs. The managers are dogs. The employees are dogs. The customers are dogs. It is a dog bookstore, is what I am saying. Why? Uhhh…
A dog did this. You cannot convince me otherwise.
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, and Twitter (PMMP | DMD | Ghoulish podcast | Ghoulish Books | personal). Reserve your ticket for the first annual Ghoulish Book Fest. You can also join us on the Ghoulish Discord.
See you next Saturday, ghouls.