Five Stories Ya Gotta Read – July 2020

You Rock written on a picnic table with little painted fish

It’s time for another Five Stories Ya Gotta Read! ‘Welcome to the Reptile House’ by Stephen Graham Jones from his collection After All of the People Lights Have Gone Off. I have read Stephen Graham Jones before; a novella called The Night Cyclist. The novella was good, but it does not hold a candle to […]

Five Stories Ya Gotta Read – June 2020

This is the start of a brand-new series of blog posts. Each month I will share with you five stories that I’ve read recently that you should look into. ‘Wilderness’ by Letitia Trent from Exigencies ed. Richard Thomas Recently I took a course on contemporary dark fiction, and this is the first short story we […]

What I Learned from Perdido Street Station by China Miéville

This book blew my mind the first time I read it. I finished the whole thing while on flights for work in December of 2019. I’d never read anything quite like it. Warning: minor spoilers ahead. Before reading this book, I was convinced that there was an unspoken law that authors were not allowed to […]

20 Short Stories That Inform and Influence My Fiction

Double Exposed film photo of an alley door with a light leak

Occasionally, someone will ask me what stories and authors influence my writing. That is a difficult question. Really, everything a writer reads in some way influences our writing. It all pushes or pulls our work in some direction. When I read a story that doesn’t work for me, I learn that I should not attempt […]

What’s It Like To Take A Long Intensive Writing Course?

ballpen and journal on desk

My Contemporary Dark Fiction writing and reading class is finally over. Well, almost over. I still have a couple assignments to turn in and I owe critiques on my classmates’ stories. Want to know what it was like? Is a class like this something for you? Read on to find out. I will have 4 […]

Lessons Learned from Josh Malerman’s Bird Box – An Essay

Bird Box with lots of post it flags

The first time I attempted to read Bird Box I did not like it. I made it only a couple chapters in, and the thriller style pacing turned me off. Over the months, the story bugged me until I picked it back up. That time I finished the full story and loved it. But, for […]

Joe Reviews: Bird Box by Josh Malerman

My Thoughts on Bird Box It is time for my review of Bird Box by Josh Malerman. To start things off, I need to let you all know that Bird Box took me a couple tries to get through. On my first attempt, I gave up only a few chapters in. It may have been […]

Joe Reviews: Wounds

Joe Reviews Wounds by Nathan Ballingrud

Okay. So, you need to read this. Please, if you are into horror you owe it to yourself to experience these stories. These collection sums up what is possible in the modern horror and weird fiction genres. This really among the best fiction I’ve ever read. I’ve not come across horror short fiction this engrossing […]

Joe Reviews: We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Cover for We Have Always lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson is a legend. Just like every other teenager in high school English, and well before I ever had serious aspirations for writing, I’d read her short story, The Lottery. At the time I didn’t thing much of it. It was just another thing I had to read for class, and I made it […]

Joe Reviews: My Best Friend’s Exorcism

Cover for My Best Friend's Exorcism

I recently finished his next novel, My Best Friend’s Exorcism, and it was a pile of nostalgic fun. I never did get around to reading Grady Hendrix’s other book, Horrorstor, and now I regret that a lot. 80s nostalgia is the ‘in thing’ at the moment, especially in horror. It has been going for a […]