Hello and welcome to the latest issue of The Ghoulish Times. My name is Max Booth III. If you are subscribed to this newsletter, go outside and check your physical mailbox. Your Ghoulish survival kit should have already arrived. Please open and separate the gelatinous items into the refrigerator immediately. Do not forget to chant the words printed on the bottom interior of the box. Seriously. We are not responsible for any damage caused due to your own negligence. I warned you plenty of times.
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Lately I’ve been experiencing a bit of a deer-in-headlights feeling. Due to a recent family tragedy, I fell immensely behind on work obligations—including writing, publishing, and podcasting. Books that should have been edited and released already are still going through final rounds of copy edits. Promotional efforts are slow and draining. Trying to convince readers to buy our books seems silly and absurd for some reason. The idea of being a salesman. It’s a hard character to fake. I would rather be doing anything else.
I haven’t recorded a new episode of the podcast in several months. Thankfully, I still have like 3 episodes recorded from before my mother’s death, but actually taking the time to edit and release them feels impossible most of the time.
And…writing. Yeah. Besides these newsletters, and three flash fiction pieces I posted on our Patreon, there hasn’t been a single word typed since the first week of August. I’m 26,000 words into a vampire novel that I was working on before everything happened. I feel like it’s an important book, especially since it deals with the death of a mother, and how three brothers cope with the aftermath. Weirdly enough, I was writing it before my mother died and I went back home to cope with my brothers (who the characters in my novel are loosely based on). It’s just…strange, man. The timing of everything. I gotta get back into it. I go long enough without writing and I start getting irritable and antsy. I also have several screenplays half-finished and a pilot that needs tweaked.
There are projects waiting for me in every direction, and it has created this colossal sensation of being overwhelmed. Hence the deer-in-headlights. I’m frozen with indecision. There are too many things hurling my direction and it’s way, way easier to surrender to the collision.
One small bit of self-treatment I’ve decided to do concerns social media, something I’ve always had a negative relationship with. I do not think something like Twitter is very healthy. I think, if you aren’t too careful, Twitter can rot your brain. That goes for all forms of social media, really, but Twitter is the one that gets me the most. I have a very addictive personality, which makes sense, considering I come from a family of addicts. I hope nobody ever tells me how many hours and days of my life I’ve wasted to Twitter. Just scrolling the endless newsfeed. Getting caught up in drama that does not matter to anybody outside of Twitter. Wasting my emotional and creative energy providing free content to a service that thrives on outrage. It’s hard to remember sometimes, but we—the users—are the real product for a place like Twitter, or Facebook, or Instagram, etc. We are the product and advertisers are the customers. How fucking deranged is that?
I do understand social media has many advantages. I’ve made hundreds of friends because of Twitter and Facebook. People I would have never known otherwise. I’ve made connections in the writing and filmmaking industry. I’ve been given opportunities that would not have existed for me had I not been on social media at the right time. I get this. I truly do. But I’m not sure I can personally participate the way I once did. Which is why the other day I used a service to delete my entire Twitter history. Note: this is probably the third time I’ve deleted my tweets. But I think this time it’s going to stick. Going forward, I am only using Twitter as a promotional outlet. No more free jokes. No more undeserved rage. No more time sucks.
I was thinking about this the other day, imagining myself dying (as I often do), and wondered how I’d feel knowing I’d spent more time on this earth tweeting than doing things I actually care about, such as spending time with my family or writing books or going on long walks or playing with my dogs or doing any number of fun activities that don’t involve making billionaires richer. Growing up, I never thought, “Gee, I sure hope someday I can be a tweeter.” Fuck that. I wanted to be a novelist. I wanted to write spooky books. At some point for a lot of us, I think “having a social media presence” outweighed being productive on the things that made us excited in the beginnings of our careers. And that’s such a fucking bummer.
That isn’t to say I’m going full hermit. Instead, I am focusing my digital loitering over on the Ghoulish discord, which has become quite active over the last year. It’s far more organized and…healthy feeling than the chaotic void of Twitter. It feels less like a million strangers screaming at each other and more like an actual community.
Going forward, to make the discord an even more enjoyable experience, I plan on trying to host movie screenings at least once a month, if not more often. I meant to host our first screening last Thursday, and instead spent the entire day unsuccessfully attempting to fix our kitchen sink; $300 later, a plumber managed to unclog it with a snake the length of a football field. Note to self: never, under any circumstances, dump rice down the garbage disposal. You will live to regret everything.
I also launched a Ghoulish book club on the discord, which I’m very excited about. Right now members are voting on our first book, which will begin in November. The choices include Red X by David Demchuk, Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder, and We Are Here to Hurt Each Other by Paula D. Ashe. Voting ends on October 15th.
We currently have 151 members, and if everything I just said sounds interesting to you, then I invite you to join the discord. No pressure to say anything. We have plenty of lurkers. Participate at your own comfort.
THE GHOULISH SHOW
Last month we hosted the debut episode of The Ghoulish Show, which is a live spooky comedic event in Austin, TX. If you missed it, don’t worry: we managed to capture everything on camera.
Apologies to our sponsor, Real Ale, for insulting their product so much.
If you’re local, come on down to the next show on Tuesday, October 25th. It’ll begin around 8pm at Radio Coffee & Beer.
GHOULISH #172 - THE HELLRAISER FRANCHISE WITH PAULA D. ASHE
Paula D. Ashe is the author of WE ARE HERE TO HURT EACH OTHER. She is also a HELLRAISER mega-fan. On today’s episode of GHOULISH, she was kind enough to walk me through every single bonkers HELLRAISER sequel (except for the new one that just dropped on Hulu). Along the way, we also ponder the age-old question: was Prince a cenobite?
LAUREL HIGHTOWER BOOK SIGNING
This is today! Laurel Hightower is signing books at the Bowling Green, KY Barnes & Noble! It’s her very first bookstore signing! Holy shit! Go go go!
Then, next week, at the same location…
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.” October 15th! Don’t miss it.
Oh, and just a quick Jessica Leonard-related update: her next novel Conjuring the Witch will be published through Ghoulish Books in April. Matthew Revert just delivered the front cover art a couple days ago and it’s goddamn incredible. More on that soon-ish.
ALL THESE SPOOKY BOOKS
Yesterday, Lori and I decided to stop avoiding the inevitable and spent several hours taking stock of our spooky inventory. Here is a little video I posted on tiktok (ugh) of everything laid out for the whole dang world to see:
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Want to buy some of those books and take them off our hands? Of course you do. CLICK HERE.
Our company has finally grown to the point where we simply do not have room in our house to…move around. Which is why this morning we are renting a storage unit to help separate our publishing merchandise from our…regular household stuff. Actually, Lori has been waiting on me to finish writing this newsletter for the last 90 minutes now so we can go take our first trunk-load of books to the storage unit, so I think I better wrap this up. But before I go…
HORROR MOVIE CONTEST
Contributor copies for my dang horror movie We Need to Do Something finally arrived. To celebrate, I thought I’d do a little contest for the newsletter. Simply reply below with the worst place you’ve ever been trapped (context is encouraged!) and I will pick one commenter at random to receive either a Blu-Ray or DVD (winner’s choice).
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.
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.