The Ghoulish Times | 10/31/21

The Salton Sea - The Bloody UK - Drunk on a Train

Hello and welcome to the 6th issue of The Ghoulish Times. Last Saturday I skipped writing a newsletter due to the fact that I was in England freezing my ass off, but now I’m back in Texas and ready to tell y’all about my trip. But first! Have you noticed that crack in the sky? It seems to be spreading…


Our next release, Michael Paul Gonzalez’s Beneath the Salton Sea, comes out in just a couple weeks, so how about a cover reveal and a new promotional trailer?

Every memory is a recording.

Nothing about the Salton Sea is normal. The sand isn’t sand. Just piles and piles of desiccated bones. There are little pockets where life clings on, birds, reptiles, people. It’s an ecosystem of living things that rely on other living things too stubborn to leave. Life forcing itself on death, or maybe the other way around.

Dee and her wife Sharon find this out the hard way after making a quick stop at Salvation Mountain to film some b-roll and see the sights out in the middle of the vast nothing. A bizarre rumor of a “crack in the sky” from one of the locals sends them on the hunt for an abandoned yacht club— where they make a discovery that changes their lives forever, and those close to them as well.

Could you identify a loved one by their whisper?

Beneath the Salton Sea is a cosmic horror technological nightmare transcribing the raw honesty of what makes a family, what breaks them, the difficulties of communication, and the painful joy of memories.

If you knew this was the last thing I’d ever tell you, what would you want me to say?

"Beneath the Salton Sea is a mesmerizing trip into the strange, uncanny places of the world. The setting lurches to horrific life in Gonzalez’s deft prose, inviting us all to explore the otherworldly decay that permeates this place. This is a haunting story—I won’t be able to forget the visceral images that these characters encounter any time soon…" — Jo Kaplan, author of It Will Just Be Us

"Beneath the Salton Sea is a hallucinatory wonder. A lyrical exploration of emotional trauma and the timelessness of grief. Gonzalez's words draw you in, sentences washing over you in waves, before the story pulls you under completely." — Joshua Chaplinsky, author of The Paradox Twins

“I loved every word of this startlingly visionary novel. A bizarro blend of The Twilight Zone meets Emily Dickinson, Beneath the Salton Sea is a lyrical and dark exploration of the impossible, of grief, and of longing. This is what loss looks like.” — Lee Murray, double Bram Stoker Award®-winner and author of Grotesque: Monster Stories.

Pre-order Beneath the Salton Sea directly from our webstore, and receive a signed bookplate from the author: ORDER LINK.


Ghoulish Episode #116 - Ratman with Jay Wilburn!

Jay Wilburn returned to GHOULISH to talk about ratman, live-streaming on Twitch, adapting to new generations, and the dying slang from our youth.

Ghoulish Episode #117 - Horror Movie Novelizations with Tim Waggoner!

Tim Waggoner recently published the novelization for Halloween Kills, so I invited him onto the podcast to discuss the process of writing a movie novelization. And, because my friend Miguel Myers (host of My Horror Confessional) is the biggest Halloween fan I know, I felt obligated to allow him to guest co-host the episode with me. It’s a fun time! Don’t listen if you haven’t seen Halloween Kills, as we dig deep into spoiler territory.


As mentioned in my last newsletter, the Celluloid Screams film fest in Sheffield, England invited me to attend the UK premiere of my horror movie, We Need to Do Something. I thought, for those interested, I would do a brief breakdown of my trip in this week’s newsletter.

Wednesday 10/20

  • I drove to Miguel’s house in Austin (yes, the same one who hosts the My Horror Confessional podcast) and dropped my car off in his driveway so he could drive me to the airport. He was kind enough to let me leave my car there to avoid paying parking garage fees. He also baked me an entire bag of cookies for my journey. These weren’t just any kind of cookies, either, but cookies cut into the shape of Michael Myers and various knives. Here’s a photo that is either a knife or Michael Myers’s penis (which maybe are the same thing, when you really think about it):

  • Fortunately I don’t have much to comment on concerning the actual travel aspect, because nothing went wrong and everything was pretty smooth. I flew from Austin, TX to London, which was like a 9+ hour flight, had a 3+ hour layover, then flew another hour to Manchester. I did find it amusing that the first thing waiting for new arrivals in the London airport was a Harry Potter-themed airport, which—to me—felt like the equivalent of a gun shop at baggage claim in a Texas airport (which we absolutely do have).

Thursday 10/21

Friday 10/22

  • I woke up early the next morning and caught an Uber across the city for my Day 2 appointment, which is a mandatory test for anybody traveling to the UK. Basically just an additional COVID test. I talked with Michael David Wilson (host of the This is Horror podcast) on the phone while waiting for the clinic to open and we talked about how every British person seems to be mildly annoyed about everything.

  • After returning to my hotel, I took a shower and walked over to the Showroom for some lunch. I got a chicken gyro wrap and a pint of something alcoholic. Then I took a decent walk into the city center in search of an indie bookstore. I try to make it a habit to support at least one independent bookstore whenever I visit a new place. The store that was recommended to me by Celluloid Screams happened to be a little kiosk called La Biblioteka. I purchased a copy of Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk, mostly because the title is the most heavy metal title I’ve ever heard in my life. How fucking cool is that title. Oh my god. The rest of the book also looks great, I’m looking forward to one day having time to read it.

  • I roamed around the city center for a little while longer, buying a few gifts for my family here and there, although Sheffield is definitely more of a industrial/college city than an ideal place to purchase gifts—which is totally okay, I’m not complaining. I quite enjoyed how Sheffield looked and felt, and I can’t wait for another opportunity to visit.

  • For dinner, I returned to the Showroom’s pub and ate a “buttermilk chicken burger on a pretzel bun”, which was as delicious as you might expect.

  • Then I returned to my hotel room and waited for BBCSheffield, the local radio station, to give my cell a ring. I was interviewed live on the air around 8:15PM in anticipation of the premiere of We Need to Do Something (which would be screening only an hour later). The interview went pretty well. The host, much to my amusement, seemed mostly fascinated with my name. I guess he had never met anybody with a suffix before. His final question, if my memory is correct, was, “How did you come upon a name like that?” Which I responded with, “Well, I wasn’t given a choice. I was pried from my mom’s womb and they just gave me the name without consulting me about it.”

  • I do have to give the radio host props, though, because the bizarre question completely threw off my plan to get murdered in Sheffield. The entire day I knew I would be doing this interview, you understand, which means I had the entire day to cook up a truly stupid idea. I intended, toward the end of the conversation, to ask the host what the most popular “soccer” team here was, and once he answered, I was going to insult the team and imply it consisted of “a bunch of grandmothers” and then challenge anybody who spotted me on the street to come fight me if they disagreed. Why would I say any of this? Because I am a stupid person who cannot resist doing the least logical thing in any situation. Except when someone interrogates me about my name, I guess. Well played, BBCSheffield. Well played.

  • After the call, I rushed back to the Showroom just in time for the UK premiere of We Need to Do Something. I gave a brief introduction that consisted of something like “Do you like bathrooms? Do you like movies? Well, I have good news for you.” As it turns out, the kind folks of Sheffield enjoy both bathrooms and movies (although, I think in the UK “bathrooms” are more commonly called “toilets”—my sincere apologies). I’ve attended numerous screenings of this movie now, and I have to say, the Celluloid Screams showing might be my favorite theater experience of all time. The crowd fucking loved it. They laughed at the right jokes and reacted to the right scares in the exact way I hoped they would, which isn’t always the case. There’s been other screenings where not a laugh could be heard the entire runtime, which—trust me—is abysmal feeling. But this screening was the opposite of abysmal. It was goddamn awesome. I also did a Q&A after the screening and that went pretty well, too. The director, Sean King O’Grady, Zoomed in to accept questions virtually alongside me.

  • All in all, it was a great day, one that I will never forget.

Saturday 10/23

Sunday 10/24

  • Due to sleeping all day Saturday, I ended up staying awake until 5AM watching stupid shit on TV and reading Clive Barker’s The Great and Secret Show, which meant I slept all day again on Sunday—which was a little intentional, since I would be leaving Sunday night (or Monday morning) at 3:45AM via train. So, I slept until the late afternoon, then I got some lunch and headed over to the Showroom for a screening of When I Consume You. I loved Perry Blackshear's They Look Like People so my expectations were really high with this one, and I was not let down in the slightest. Seek this out the moment it becomes available.

  • Directly after the screening, I did a video interview for Celluloid Screams that will eventually go on their YouTube page, and also another interview for Ghouls Magazine. Not sure when either will be published. I’ll provide updates on both in future newsletters.

  • The closing film of the fest was Titane, which I decided to skip since I’d just watched it back in Texas the week before flying out here. Great movie, though! You should definitely watch it. I just wanted to use that time to go back to the hotel and shower and pack my bags.

Monday 10/25

Okay, that’s it! We Need to Do Something is finally available on VOD in the UK. Go rent/buy it digitally! Watch it in your bathroom. Don’t flush until it’s over.


You can support us on Patreon, browse the books in our webstore, and follow us on Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter [PMMP | DMD | Ghoulish | personal). You can also join us on the Ghoulish Discord.

See you next Saturday, ghouls.