You Should Be Reading This: Jon Padgett’s THE SECRET OF VENTRILOQUISM

I read this book a while ago, and more recently, listened to the audio book edition (which is read by the author). I’ve been meaning to post something about it, but things with my own work have kept me preoccupied lately. Allow me a moment to make up for lost time.

You should be reading Jon Padgett’s The Secret of Ventriloquism. Right now. Stop reading this. Go to Amazon. Click “purchase.” And read. There, you’ll thank me later.

This book is unsettling. It’s pure atmosphere, existential dread, and quiet horror. As I said to a friend in recent weeks, the sort of horror you find in this book is like coming home to discover someone has broken in, except they haven’t stolen anything–instead they’ve left something for you to find. You don’t know what it is, but the feeling, the dread, is there. That something doesn’t belong. Something is out of place. And it can see you.

A few things you should know: It’s a collection. Some reviewers on Amazon seemed to miss that part. That said, the stories are loosely connected, in that they appear to take place in the same world. Multiple stories reference certain events, often in subtle ways.  It’s one of the things I love so much about it.

This also isn’t for every horror fan. You will not find in-your-face gore. There isn’t blood running down every page. The horror to be found here is mostly in the understated language, the pauses between breaths, often between the lines in what isn’t said. You’ll find that Padgett is a master of his craft, in more ways than you think–he’s also a ventriloquist, perhaps a practitioner of Greater Ventriloquism, and by the end of the book, you’ll realize he’s been controlling you from the beginning. Every story is delightfully weird and dark, but I think my personal favorites are “20 Simple Steps to Ventriloquism,” “The Infusorium,” and “Escape to Thin Mountain.”

I truly hope we see more work from Jon soon. In the meantime, stop being a trifle and check out this collection. Listen to the audio version if you can. I can’t recommend it enough.


P.S. You can listen to “20 Simple Steps to Ventriloquism” right now over at Pseudopod!

News, Musings, and Other Things…

There’s a lot in the works right now, folks. Some of it’s on the writing front (and in that respect, some of it I can’t talk about publicly just yet), and some of it’s in my personal/working life, in which case I haven’t felt like talking about it since I have to live it five days a week. But when I logged in here to do some housekeeping and updates and realized I hadn’t written a post in a while, I thought I’d bring everyone up to speed on some things…

I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was working on a novel called Spiders in the Lattice. That book’s going to be written, but I’ve set it aside for now in favor of the other book, Devil’s Creek, which I’ve been working on each day for the last week or so. Writing is slow going, especially in first draft stage when I’m still figuring out the story, but I’m averaging close to 1k a day. Unlike a certain unfinished trilogy, this story is refreshing to me in that there are no expectations and no restrictions; furthermore, it’s something different, and that’s probably the most important thing to me.

Devil’s Creek is a small-town horror story based on an old urban legend from my hometown. It’s about a buried god, an obsessed minister, those crawling shadows from our past that we spend most of our lives trying to outrun. It’s a pulp horror story in a modern setting, with Lovecraftian undertones set in the Southern US. And, most recently, I discovered it ties in with The Harbinger, which will be appearing in my collection, Ugly Little Things: Collected Horrors, later this fall.

So that’s what I’ve been working on in my spare time. I’m closing in on the first 10k words, which should round out the first part of the book nicely. I mentioned on social media a few nights ago that this story will probably get me excommunicated everywhere, and I wasn’t kidding. The story is extremely sacrilegious in a number of ways, and I suspect it will only get worse from here. So, in other words, I’m having a lot of fun writing it.

I went to a couple of writing-related events in recent months which I completely forgot to mention here. The first was the Beers & Fears tour hosted by Armand & Shelly Rosamilia, Chuck BudaTim Meyer, and Frank Edler. Erica and I drove a couple of hours to visit these clowns in Mt. Holly, NJ back in April, and we had a blast hanging out with them. There were beers, writer talk, and general hilarity. Book reviewer Frank Errington also showed up, just a few days out of the hospital (because he’s a badass). It was nice to catch up with him, since I hadn’t seen him since last year’s NECON.

After appearing on Armand’s podcast to talk about ULT a few months ago (which you can listen to here), we had this inside joke in which he’d tell me to go to hell and then I’d tell him to go eat a bag of dicks. Not to be outdone, I took a bag of gummy dicks to Armand in Mt. Holly. Peter Pecker’s Penis Gummies, in fact. There’s even photographic evidence of Armand’s annoyed expression, which I think is hilarious. I don’t drive two hours to give gummy dicks to just anyone, Armand. Feel special.

I also ventured out to Kenneth W. Cain’s abode last week for one of the first HWA Pennsylvania Chapter meetings. Ken’s a great guy and is trying to get a PA chapter up and running, so I drove out to support his efforts. Also in attendance was Frank Errington and Allan Rozinski. I think our meeting lasted close to four hours, and we had some excellent discussions about publishing, storytelling, and the craft. If you’re a Pennsylvania horror writer who’s interested in joining, be sure to get in touch with Ken at the HWA Pennsylvania chapter page on Facebook.

At the insistence of my publicist, the wonderful Erin Sweet-Al Mehairi, I’m going to try and blog more frequently going forward. That said, they’ll probably be cumulative like this one. If you want to stalk keep up with me by the minute, your best bet is to always follow me on social media, and the links are to your right on the sidebar over there. You’ll notice I added a new one for Instagram. Yeah, I know, I’m not proud of it, but this book business is a tough gig and sometimes putting ourselves out there with the latest trends is necessary. I’m going to go hang my head in shame.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear what you’ve all been up to lately. What are you reading? What are you watching? Better yet, what are you playing? Tell me these things. I must know! For science!



And now for some ULT news.

Hey, folks.

You’re probably wondering why I’ve been quiet these last few weeks, especially with a pair of books coming out next month. Here’s the thing: they aren’t coming out next month. After several conversations with my agent and with Joe, we’ve decided to push back the release of the book to September. Instead of two volumes, there will be one massive volume simply titled “UGLY LITTLE THINGS.” The edited manuscript is approximately 105k words.

The reasons for the change are something I can’t talk about right now, but what I can tell you is that I’m happy with this decision and that it will be good for the book. I’m extremely lucky to have such a dedicated team working on this release.

Aside from this, I thought I’d share another bit of news: I’ve committed to turning in a novel draft to my agent by April 2018. It’s a horror story that I began a few years ago for NaNoWriMo. It’s called SPIDERS IN THE LATTICE, and if I had to compare it to anything, it would be Stephen King’s REVIVAL meets H.P. Lovecraft’s FROM BEYOND.

There you have it, folks. I’ll talk to you all soon.


So this happened…

As of Friday, March 31st, I’m officially represented by Italia Gandolfo of Gandolfo, Helin & Fountain Literary Management. She’ll be my literary & media rights agent for all forthcoming projects. We already have something in the works, and no, I can’t talk about it because 1) It isn’t official, and 2) I don’t want to jinx it.

This is a huge step for me and my writing career. I’ll be honest, folks: It’s kind of weird. A good kind of weird, but weird nonetheless.

So, yeah. That happened. I guess I should get back to work, huh?

More soon!


Cleaning House.


Hey, folks. Apologies for the radio silence. I’ve been busy these last few weeks, but I’ve got some time to share some recent news.

  • THE FINAL RECONCILIATION audio book, narrated by Joe Hempel, is complete and was submitted to Audible for review a couple of weeks ago. Last I heard, it’s passed quality inspection and is being prepped for sale, so it should be available for sale in the next week or so. I’ve listened to the whole thing, and I assure you, Joe did a wonderful job with it. He captured Aidan’s rough voice perfectly. I can’t wait for this one to be released.
  • UGLY LITTLE THINGS: VOLUME ONE has a release date! It’s May 5th! For those of you keeping score, this is a reprint of the original collection that was published by Precipice in 2014. It’s being made available in paperback for the first time.
  • UGLY LITTLE THINGS: VOLUME TWO also has a release date! It’s May 19th! Yes, May is going to be an ugly little month. It will also be available in paperback, and will include some reprints and new material. Final Rec will also appear in this volume. Perhaps my favorite part, though, is the introduction written by my dear friend, Mercedes M. Yardley. Her kind words brought tears to my eyes.
  • The covers for both ULTs are being designed by Ben Baldwin. I’ll share them once they’re available.
  • Erica and I will be attending NECON 37 this summer in Rhode Island.
  • I currently have three projects in the pipeline for Precipice Books, none of which I’m ready to announce yet, but the first should happen in the next couple of weeks. It’s a collaboration with Joe Pulver and Luke Spooner, and I can’t wait to reveal it.

Speaking of Precipice: The release of GREETINGS FROM MOON HILL (which is now sold out, by the way) marked the beginning of a new direction for the . . . company? Project? Experiment? I like “Experiment” more, so let’s roll with that. My focus with this Precipice experiment is to produce high-quality limited edition hardcovers that are unique to their source material. The hardcovers of ULT and Moon Hill are proofs of that concept.

Unfortunately, for those two runs, we encountered some quality issues with the printer, LSI. The same issues, as a matter of fact. Twice now, their dust jackets have been folded incorrectly. I know that seems like a small problem, but when it’s more than half of a book order, it happens twice in a row, and you’re on a schedule, it’s something that can’t be ignored.

So I’m shopping around for a new printer.

Also, since the focus will be on limited edition releases, I’ve decided to take the Monochrome hardcovers out of circulation. I’m not saying they won’t appear in hardcover again in the future, but for now, they’re going to disappear (see what I did there?). That said, I’m not going to do it right away. If you want ALT & TLM hardcovers, you have until April before I take them out of circulation.

Additionally, I’ll be shifting the paperbacks for ALT & TLM over to a different printer/distributor in the coming months, so there may be periods of time in which they are not available. I’ll update here when that occurs.

I think that’s about it for now. I’ll post again once the Final Rec audio book is available.

Until then,