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The Ghoulish Times | 02/18/23
Public Embarrassment - Daily Grindhouse - Evil Moms
Hello and welcome to the latest issue of The Ghoulish Times. My name is Max Booth III and this is my spooky newsletter. If you’re new here, to quickly catch you up to speed: along with my partner Lori Michelle, I run the small press Ghoulish Books, edit the new magazine Ghoulish Tales, host the GHOULISH podcast (and the upcoming Dog Ears podcast), organize the annual Ghoulish Book Festival in San Antonio, and also occasionally write books and movies. We Need to Do Something is my most well known book, and Maggots Screaming! is my best.
If you’ve subscribed to this newsletter, it’s probably due to one of the above projects mentioned. Please do not call the cops on me. For one thing, they will never find me. I’ve successfully scattered myself throughout the United States in several undisclosed dumpsters. I am untraceable.
That is a lie. I am, unfortunately, very much intact.
Last night, I attended a high school baseball scrimmage game. My soon-to-be stepson is on the team. It was freezing outside. I decided to pace around the side of the field to get warm. Someone hit a foul ball near me. I recovered it and waved a confused couch over to the sidelines so I could throw it at him. He looked at me in a way that clearly asked, “What are you doing?” I quickly flexed my nonexistent muscles in a way that answered, “Something incredibly badass.” I then threw the ball over the very short fence toward him. Only I have horrible eyesight, and did not notice the giant net attached to the top of the fence until it ricocheted the baseball back at me. At this point, everybody at the game was staring at me. I quickly turned around and ran to my car and listened to the new Lana Del Rey song 100 times in the parking lot until it was time to go home. Nobody there will ever see me again.
Well, they might see me later today if they happen to go downtown (in San Antonio, that is). We will have a Ghoulish Books vendor table at the Eldritch Horror Brunch Market, which is located at Brick at Bluestar from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM. We need to wake up and leave the house by 8:45 AM. I am writing this newsletter at 12:35 AM. It’s…going to be a long day.
I hope to see you there, unless you witnessed my embarrassing throw last night. If you did, please unsubscribe from this newsletter immediately.
Before going to the baseball game, I managed to finally finish putting together the trailer for Shelly Lyons’s debut novel Like Real. It took me longer than I anticipated, but I’m pretty happy with the end result. Let me know what you think:
And also, if you haven’t already, you can secure your copy of Like Real HERE.
I was interviewed over at Daily Grindhouse earlier this week. Here is the very nice and touching introduction they wrote up before the actual q&a:
We here at The Daily Grindhouse may be big fans of depravity and perversion in our cinema, but we like to keep decent company. After all, liking absolutely reprehensible art and being a little bit louche yourself doesn’t mean you can’t treat others well and be a basically decent human being, even if your daily beat involves regularly brushing up against vice workers, weirdos, and the general underclass. That’s why we here at Daily Grindhouse are also big fans of Max Booth III. The founder/owner/capricious overlord of Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing and its popular imprint Ghoulish Books, Max is a rarity in a genre space that sadly too often attracts its fair share of leeches, hotheads, grifters, and conmen: Max is just a really decent guy.
Never whoring for fame on social media, never trend hopping for clout or tossing aside acquaintances when it becomes convenient, Max has instead built the PMMP/Ghoulish brand on hard work, basic decency, and a pure love of genre writing coupled with a desire to uplift other writers while also establishing himself as an irreverent voice howling in the wilderness of horror lit. His wry sense of humor coupled with keen human observation and an occasional sentimentality, often set against the backdrop of a rural America usually only represented in backwoods horror, has made him a unique voice in contemporary horror lit, and something of an inheritor to 80s-era Joe Lansdale’s throne of humorous horror with heart. After years of quietly establishing himself with his own novels as well as the output of PMMP, Max got a major boost when his novella We Need to do Something was optioned and adapted into a Sierra McCormick-fronted film of the same name at the height of COVID, raising his profile and tossing him into a wider spotlight. Always one to pay it forward, Max in turn put on the first annual Ghoulish Book Festival in 2022, a San Antonio-based weekend-long horror publishing event meant to give a space to indy and Southwestern horror authors since the genre—even in the age of cyber democratization– tends to focus on high-profile and coastal-based creators. The result was a resounding success: highly trafficked, multiple authors found themselves selling more than they ever had before, and Max and his wife/PMMP-co-owner Lori Michelle immediately set about planning an even bigger Ghoulish Book Fest 2, scheduled for April 14-16 of this year.
Having recently wrapped up a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $20k towards a brick-and-mortar horror bookstore in San Antonio plus more involved book launches for PMMP/Ghoulish, Max is set to further up his game as a major force in the realm of indy horror publishing, and we here at Daily Grindhouse couldn’t be happier to see a good guy win for a change. So it was that we dispatched Greg Mucci to sit down with Max for a conversation about publishing, indy horror, and making your own way in a space that often impedes rather than encourages success.
Read the rest of the interview HERE.
The latest episode of the GHOULISH podcast is out now and available for your disgusting little ears. One of my favorite people in the world, Jessica McHugh, returned to the show to discuss Evil Moms in celebration of her two most recent Ghoulish Books releases: Rabbits in the Garden and Hares in the Hedgerow.
Along the way, we also discovered Anne Ramsey has been dead for a very long time. RIP, Anne Ramsey. Plus, apparently CRADLE 2 THE GRAVE is not a sequel to THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, after all. Who knew??
Also, if you enjoy the podcast, please consider rating & reviewing the show on the places you do that (iTunes, for sure, and maybe others?), and also sharing with folks you think might enjoy it. I would love to see the podcast’s audience grow this year. I am very appreciative of everybody who already listen, don’t get me wrong, but it would also be cool to expand a bit. Thank you.
Submissions have officially closed for Ghoulish Tales. We ended up receiving 1,212 submissions in total, which is definitely more than I’ve ever received for any single project in such a short amount of time. I’ve rejected just over 100 stories already so far, and have shortlisted 9. It’s…uh…going to be a long, exhausting, exciting process, and I can’t wait to dig deeper into the slush over the next couple weeks.
We remain open for our next anthology - Bury Your Gays: An Anthology of Tragic Queer Horror - until May 31st. More details over at Dread Central.
My debut horror collection, Abnormal Statistics, comes out March 23 from Apocalypse Party. Robb Olson, former host of the Booked. podcast and current host of the ARC Party podcast, sent me the following message yesterday after finishing the novella that opens the collection:
The novella in question is called Indiana Death Song, and it’s the most personal, fucked up thing I’ve ever attempted to write. It takes place in Gary, Indiana—specifically, at the now-abandoned Majestic Star Casino in Gary, Indiana. The novella is set in the late 2000s, back when the casino was still open—and back when I literally lived in the casino’s hotel with my parents. My experience there has shaped my entire life, and I am very nervous for more people to start reading about it.
Here’s Matthew Revert’s cover art for the collection:
It has also received the following advance praise:
"Abnormal Statistics takes us on a desolate walking tour of the everyday American nightmare. Come see what’s happening behind the closed doors and shuttered windows of your neighbors, your best friends, the people you trust most. Bleak and bloody horror that’s as raw and immediate as a pile of yellowed teeth, roots and all."
—Trevor Henderson, creator of Siren Head
"A tightly written and devastating collection. Abnormal Statistics grabs the reader by the throat with each tale, from the stellar opener 'Indiana Death Song' to the harrowing 'Video Nasties.' Throughout the collection, Booth performs a sort of emotional autopsy that's impossible to look away from, even as we're handed our own viscera to hold. Horror, sorrow, fury and dark humor are woven throughout with an expert hand, and by the end, it hurt more of my feelings than I ever knew I possessed."
—Laurel Hightower, author of Crossroads and Below
You can pre-order a copy of the collection HERE.
That novella especially is pretty heavy on my mind currently, because a couple days ago I finished the first BIG DRAFT of the screenplay adaptation.
This is a spec script that I am hoping to sell with my film & tv manager sometime in the near future. I admit I have aspirations to direct it, too, but I also recognize that I’m pretty much a nobody, even with one produced screenplay under my belt.
It might be because I just finished it, but I feel strongly that the Indiana Death Song screenplay is the best screenplay I’ve written so far. Fingers crossed we can actually do something with it.
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).
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Reserve your ticket for Ghoulish Book Fest 2023.
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See you next time, ghouls.