New essay on InkHeist

I wrote a number of articles and essays last year for the ULT promotional blitz, and only one of them didn’t find a home. It’s a brutally honest piece about my dealings with depression and relating it to my experience reading Kathe Koja’s brilliant-yet-unsettling novel THE CIPHER.

Fast forward to last week. Shane Douglas Keene (Shotgun Logic) and Rich Duncan (The Horror Bookshelf) joined forces recently to establish the new review site, InkHeist. Shane reached out and asked if I had anything to contribute, and as fate would have it, I did have something they could use…

My essay, Placing Your Hand into the Void, went live on InkHeist last Wednesday. Since then, it’s received a fair bit of attention (all of which, I’m pleased to note, has been positive). Kathe herself even read it, retweeting the article on Twitter, which pretty much made my week.

Here’s an excerpt:

Reading Koja’s book was a weird turning point for me on a personal level. I enjoyed the book, but I don’t think I can read it again. It was claustrophobic and frantic, revolving around two hopeless people who were caught in a debilitating relationship like two planets destined to collide and obliterate one another. In all honesty, I don’t think I should’ve read it while being depressed—but that’s part of the point I’m trying to get at here. I didn’t realize I was depressed until I read the book.

You can read the full article here.

Expect more news soon.


The Aurora Interview

Earlier this year, I was interviewed for the 2018 Spring edition of Aurora, Eastern Kentucky University’s literary journal. I talk a little bit about what it was like growing up in southeastern KY. Here’s a snippet:

Southeastern Kentucky isn’t known for being an intellectual mecca, so I had to find my creative outlets where I could. Comics, novels, video games, film, and drawing. Sports weren’t my thing, I wasn’t popular in school, I didn’t hang with the cool kids or wear the trendy clothes. I was a goth kid, wearing T-shirts for bands like Nine Inch Nails and Tool. I was the artsy kid, the English nerd, and in that respect, I’d say that it was also hazardous to my health.

You can read the whole thing (along with the rest of Aurora’s spring issue) right here. And please do–these kids worked hard on pulling this issue together.


Signing Event: Barnes & Noble!

Heads up, folks. Just dropping in to let you all know I’ll be signing at the Barnes & Noble in Wyomissing, PA later this month. Special thanks goes out to my agent for arranging this gig!

Here are the details:

Broadcasting Square Shopping Center
2751 Paper Mill Road
Wyomissing, PA 19610

Saturday, 4/28/18 – 1 to 4 PM

Sunday, 4/29/18 – 1 to 4 PM

Copies of ULT are in stock, so if you don’t have one (or if you’d like to buy another one–AND YOU SHOULD), they’ve got you covered.

So, if you’re local, or live within driving range, consider spending your Saturday or Sunday with me. I promise I’ll be weird!

See you there,


In which I remember I have a website.

Okay, so I forgot to update this thing. Yeah. A lot’s happened since…when did I post last? January? Early February?

*checks website*

Shit. Mid-January. Okay, yeah. A lot has happened.

First and foremost, I FINISHED DEVIL’S CREEK!

178k words, folks. In ten months. For those of you who’ve followed this blog for a long time, you might remember the first draft of TLM took me 19 months. Devil’s Creek is almost twice that length in almost half the time. The book threw me a few surprises, but for the most part, it came together how I imagined it would. I’m currently doing a read-through to clean it up before sending it off to Amelia and a few select beta readers for feedback. There’s still a long way to go before it sees the light of day, but the hard part is done. Now I can sit back and relax, right?

No. I’m probably starting my next novel in May. It’s tentatively titled SPIDERS IN THE LATTICE. It’s a bit like Waco meets From Beyond. Or something like that. Hard to say, since it’s mostly swirling around in the soup of my brain.

I’ve also got a couple of stories out on submission, I’m outlining a non-fiction essay for submission, and there are a couple of other open calls I want to get to before starting on the next book.

So, no, I won’t be relaxing any time soon. Now that DC is done, I hope to get back to blogging again with some pseudo-regularity. Stay tuned.


P.S. No, Final Rec didn’t get a Stoker nomination. Maybe next time.

“THE FINAL RECONCILIATION” is on the ballot!

I’m a little late in getting this posted, but in case you don’t follow me on social media, here’s the news: THE FINAL RECONCILIATION is on the Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction! Voting occurs on January 30th, with the nominees being announced on February 5th. If you’re a voting member of the HWA and would like to receive a copy of my novella, please get in touch.

Not going to lie: I’m stoked and honored and kind of over the moon about this. I don’t write for awards, but goddamn, folks, it feels great to be recognized for something like this, especially from my peers. I’m on this list along with many other incredible writers.

Seriously, check this out:

2017 Bram Stoker Awards® Preliminary Ballot

Superior Achievement in a Novel

Barker, J.D. – The Fourth Monkey (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Golden, Christopher – Ararat (St. Martin’s Press)

Jemc, Jac – The Grip of It (FSG Originals)

King, Stephen and King, Owen – Sleeping Beauties (Scribner)

Malerman, Josh – Black Mad Wheel (Ecco)

McGrath, Patrick – The Wardrobe Mistress (Hutchinson)

Miskowski, S.P. – I Wish I Was Like You (JournalStone)

Nevill, Adam – Under a Watchful Eye (Pan Macmillan)

Rabarts, Dan and Murray, Lee – Hounds of the Underworld (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Purcell, Laura – The Silent Companions: A Ghost Story (Raven Books)

Tem, Steve Rasnic – Ubo (Solaris)


Superior Achievement in a First Novel

Cabeen, Robert Payne – Cold Cuts (Omnium Gatherum Media)

Davidson, Andy – In the Valley of the Sun (Skyhorse Publishing)

Hartwell, Ash – Tip of the Iceberg (Stitched Smile Publications)

Hayward, Matt – What do Monsters Fear? (Post Mortem Press)

Hepler, Jeremy – The Boulevard Monster (Bloodshot Books)

Rosson, Keith – The Mercy of the Tide (Meerkat Press)

Thomas, Scott – Kill Creek (Ink Shares)


Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

French, Gillian – The Door to January (Islandport Press)

Leveen, Tom – Hellworld (Simon Pulse)

Liggett, Kim – The Last Harvest (Tor Teen)

Lukavics, Amy – The Ravenous (Harlequin Teen)

Porter, Sarah – When I Cast Your Shadow (Tor Teen)


Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

Carey, Mike and Arvind, Ethan David – Darkness Visible (IDW)

Duffey, Damian and Butler, Octavia E. – Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation (Abrams ComicArts)

Ferris, Emil – My Favorite Thing is Monsters (Fantagraphics)

Haun, Jeremy and Hurley, Jason – The Beauty Volume 3 (Image Comics)

Hickman, Jonathan – The Black Monday Murders (Image Comics)

Liu, Marjorie – Monstress Volume 2: The Blood (Image Comics)


Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

Baxter, Alan – The Book Club (PS Publishing)

Deady, Tom – Weekend Getaway (Grinning Skull Press)

Edelman, Scott – Faking it Until Forever Comes (Liars, Fakers, and the Dead Who Eat Them) (Written Backwards)

Jones, Stephen Graham – Mapping the Interior (

Keisling, Todd – The Final Reconciliation (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Kiernan, Caitlín R. – Agents of Dreamland (

McGuire, Seanan – Down Among the Sticks and Bones (

Taylor, Lucy – Sweetlings (

Vandermeer, Jeff – The Strange Bird: A Borne Story (MCD x FSG Originals)

Waggoner, Tim – A Kiss of Thorns (DarkFuse)


Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

Bailey, Michael – “I Will Be the Reflection Until the End” (Tales from the Lake Vol. 4) (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Bodner, Hal – “The Baker of Millepoix” (Behold!: Oddities, Curiosities & Undefinable Wonders) (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Chambers, James – “A Song Left Behind in the Aztakea Hills” (Shadows Over Main Street, Volume 2) (Cutting Block Books)

Fawver, Kurt – “Etch the Unthinkable” (Gamut #1) (Gamut Magazine)

Lombardi, Nicola – “Even the Stars Fall” (The Beauty of Death Vol. 2: Death by Water) (Independent Legions Publishing)

Mannetti, Lisa – “Apocalypse Then” (Never Fear: The Apocalypse) (13Thirty Books)

Marceau, Caitlin – “No Filter” (Read-Only: A Collection of Digital Horror) (WatchMojo Publishing)

Neugebauer, Annie – “So Sings the Siren” (Apex Magazine #101) (Apex Publications)

Rourke, Naomi Brett – “Coyote” (Straight Outta Tombstone) (Baen)

Taff, John F.D. – “A Ware That Will Not Keep” (Behold!: Oddities, Curiosities & Undefinable Wonders) (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Wahl, M.F. – “Absolution” (Feverish Fiction Magazine Issue #6) (Sleazy Viking Press)

Walters, Damien Angelica – “All the Windows, All the Doors” (Chopping Block Party: An Anthology of Suburban Terror) (Necro Publications)

Yardley, Mercedes M. – “Loving you Darkly” (F(r)iction Magazine #8) (Tethered by Letters)


Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

Cain, Kenneth W. – Embers (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Cataneo, Emily B. – Speaking to the Skull Kings (Trepidatio Publishing)

Dorr, James – Tombs (Elder Signs Press)

Fracassi, Philip – Behold the Void (JournalStone)

Gafford, Sam – The Dreamer in Fire and Other Stories (Hippocampus Press)

Hill, Joe – Strange Weather (William Morrow)

Kiste, Gwendolyn – And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe (JournalStone)

Malerman, Josh – Goblin (Earthling Publications)

Matsuura, Thersa – The Carp-Faced Boy and Other Tales (Independent Legions Publishing)

McGrath, Patrick – Writing Madness (Centipede Press)

Sheldon, Deborah – Perfect Little Stitches and Other Stories (IFWG Publishing Australia)


Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

Aronofsky, Darren – Mother! (Paramount Pictures, Protozoa Pictures)

Del Toro, Guillermo and Taylor, Vanessa – The Shape of Water (TSG Entertainment, Double Dare You Productions)

Duffer, Matt and Duffer, Ross – Stranger Things: MadMax, Episode 02:01: Chapter One (21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre)

Ducournau, Julia – Raw (Frakas Productions/Petit Film/Rouge International)

Frost, Mark and Lynch, David – Twin Peaks: The Return “Gotta Light?”, Episode 3:08 (Rancho Rosa Partnership Production)

Palmer, Chase, Fukunaga, Cary, and Dauberman, Gary – It (New Line Cinema)

Peele, Jordan – Get Out (Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, QC Entertainment)

Shyamalan, M. Night – Split (Blinding Edge Pictures, Blumhouse Productions)


Superior Achievement in an Anthology

Bailey, Michael and Speegle, Darren – Adam’s Ladder (Written Backwards)

Brooks, Kinitra, PhD., Addison, Linda D., and Morris, Susana, PhD. – Sycorax’s Daughters (Cedar Grove Publishing)

Datlow, Ellen – Black Feathers: Dark Avian Tales: An Anthology (Pegasus Books)

Eads, Ben – Tales from the Lake Vol. 4: The Horror Anthology (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Ferguson, Cin and Campbell, Broos – Mother’s Revenge: A Dark and Bizarre Anthology of Global Proportions (Scary Dairy Press)

Kaheaku, Danielle – California Screamin’ (Barking Deer Press)

Maberry, Jonathan and Romero, George A. – Nights of the Living Dead: An Anthology (St. Martin’s Griffin)

Manzetti, Alessandro and Lester, Jodi Renee – The Beauty of Death Vol. 2: Death by Water (Independent Legions Publishing)

Matthews, Mark – Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror (Wicked Run Press)

Murano, Doug – Behold!: Oddities, Curiosities & Undefinable Wonders (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Price, David – Northern Frights: An Anthology by the Horror Writers of Maine (Grinning Skull Press)


Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

Brittany, Michele – Horror in Space: Critical Essays on a Film Subgenre (McFarland)

Brooks, Kinitra D. – Searching for Sycorax: Black Women’s Hauntings of Contemporary Horror (Rutgers University Press)

Cardin, Matt – Horror Literature through History: An Encyclopedia of the Stories That Speak to Our Deepest Fears (Greenwood) 

Hendrix, Grady. Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ‘70s and ‘80s Horror Fiction (Quirk Books)

Jones, Stephen – The Art of Horror Movies: An Illustrated History (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books; Ill edition)

Mynhardt, Joe and Johnson, Eugene – Where Nightmares Come From: The Art of Storytelling in the Horror Genre – (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Rhoads, Loren – 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die (Black Dog & Leventhal)


Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

Bolivar, Adam – The Lay of Old Hex: Spectral Ballads and Weird Jack Tales (Hippocampus Press)

Fantina, Michael – Alchemy of Dreams and Other Poems (Hippocampus Press)

Frazier, Robert and Boston, Bruce – Visions of the Mutant Rain Forest (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Hanson, Michael H. – When the Night Owl Screams (MoonDream Press)

Manzetti, Alessandro – No Mercy (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Ness, Mari – Through Immortal Shadows Singing (Papaveria Press)

Razvi, Saba – Heliophobia (Finishing Line Press)

Simon, Marge and Turzillo, Mary – Satan’s Sweethearts (Weasel Press)

Sng, Christina – A Collection of Nightmares (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Weikel, Cynthia O’Quinn – Return to Graveyard Dust (Goose River Press)

Wytovich, Stephanie M. – Sheet Music to my Acoustic Nightmare (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

So yeah, there you have it. I just wanted to mention that. I know I’ve been lax with updating this blog, but I’ve been busy with the book. Speaking of which, DEVIL’S CREEK is currently 126k words long and is officially the longest thing I’ve ever written. I’ve still got a ways to go before typing “THE END” but I can see the end in sight. I’m thinking another 50k will do it–about 25k more than I thought.

Right. I’m diving back under the water. Wish me luck!


2017: Rising from the Ashes

Close to a year ago, I proclaimed 2016 a field on fire, for multiple reasons. You can read about that here if you want.

2017 was a weird combination of things, both good and bad and a little in between. I balanced myself between a shitty job situation and a growing determination to build upon my writing career, suffering through months of depression and somehow emerging on the other side with a great deal of perspective about myself and my limits. I forced myself out of my comfort zone again, traveling to see friends and family. I gave myself permission to step away from a failing writing project and work on something new, a decision which I’m happy I made and I do not regret it.

I won’t recap everything here. Some of these things are mine, and mine alone. The rest, however, I’d like to share with you.

  • My novella, THE FINAL RECONCILIATION, was released as a standalone eBook title through Crystal Lake Publishing in February. It was recorded and produced by the amazing Joe Hempel a month later, and is now available on Audible.
  • In March, I signed on with Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary Management. My agent, Italia, has been an absolute godsend. More importantly, she’s a great friend, and I’m honored to know her.
  • I partnered with Erin Al-Mehairi at Hook of a Book to help with the publicity of ULT. Erin’s awesome, and she was a huge help with keeping track of reviews, guest posts, interviews, and more.
  • In May, I began work on a novel I’m calling DEVIL’S CREEK. It’s something I tried to write a few years ago, but I wasn’t ready for it. I still wasn’t sure if I was ready, but the last several months have proven me wrong. First, I thought the book would fall somewhere around 100k words; when I finished the first 10k, I figured okay, maybe 150k is the target. Today, the book is approximately 115k words long, and I think it may hit 175k words before it’s done.
  • Bucket List Items: I got reviewed by Cemetery Dance and This Is Horror.
  • UGLY LITTLE THINGS: COLLECTED HORRORS was released in September to critical acclaim and solid sales. Local folks should be able to find copies of it on the shelves of Barnes & Noble in Wyomissing, PA any day now (if it’s not there already).
  • The last I checked, I have work on the HWA’s recommended reading lists for Long Fiction, Short Fiction, and Fiction Collections. I know that’s not a big deal to most of my peers, but to me, it’s a big thing and matters a lot.

There are other things in the works that I can’t mention yet, so I apologize for being vague. What I can tell you is that I’m looking forward to 2018.

So, to wrap this up, I want to say thanks to all of you who checked out my writing this year, whether you shared a post, bought a book, or told a friend about it. It means the world to me.

Happy Holidays, everyone. See you next year!


No, I’m not dead.

Just really busy. DEVIL’S CREEK is approximately 109k and climbing. I’m currently in TN visiting family for an early Thanksgiving, but I’ll get back to work when I return next week. Expect more radio silence while I finish up this monster. My initial goal of 150k will likely be exceeded. 175k is more likely because I’m insane.

In the meantime, here’s a great in-depth review of ULT courtesy of Mike Thorn over at Unnerving Magazine.

Happy holidays, everyone!


#ULT – “A Soundtrack to Darkness”

ULT just received a glowing review on This Is Horror! Check it out!

Keisling is definitely shredding the horror scene to pieces with his unique brand of terror that incorporates the feel of great progressive metal. He dips his pen in the ink of many styles and blends them into his work with precision creating a seamless concoction of utter darkness, otherworldly ambiance and at times harsh reality. Ugly Little Things is a soundtrack to darkness, hauntingly inviting and absolutely horrific.

Read the full article here!

Win a signed copy of #ULT!

That’s right! We’re hosting a Goodreads giveaway all month long. Three signed paperbacks of ULT are up for grabs, and one of them could be yours. All you have to do is enter! That’s it! It doesn’t get easier than that.

Seriously, what are you waiting for? Go enter the giveaway!


P.S. I’ll also have a small stock of signed copies for sale very soon. Stay tuned.