book review

Book of The Year 2018


Holy cow, how did I almost forget to hand out my Book of The Year award?

Last year went to John Langan’s incredible folk-horror tale, The Fisherman.

Let’s all hope Netflix turns it into a movie like they did with Malerman’s excellent Bird Box

OK, so onto this year’s book. It’s a doozy with one hell of a long title.

Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe by Thomas Ligotti

(Yeah, I totally cut & pasted that)

This book. Oh this book.

So it’s technically a re-issue, but holy cow. This (set of two) books garnered me not just a Book of The Year, but also a personal “Favorite New Horror Author” award. It’s that good.

Ligotti’s work is just mind-bending. It’s also literary AF. So unlike The Fisherman and Bird Box I can totally recommend this to people who don’t traditionally like horror. Just don’t expect an easy read. It’s anything but.

As I said in my review earlier this year, this book is a straight-up challenge to get through. It takes time, focus, and lots of re-reading individual passages to unwrap the horrifying packaging of this guy’s ideas. The prose is also flat out beautiful, and makes me envious when I look at it.

Grab yourself a copy and you won’t be disappointed. I’m very excited to have received Ligotti’s The Conspiracy Against The Human Race for Christmas, which supposedly inspired a lot of those crazy Matthew McConaughey rants as Rust Cohle in the excellent season 1 of True Detective.

Good times all around.

What was your book of the year? Let everyone know down in the comments. I need to start making my “To Read” list for 2019!


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Top Blog Posts of 2018


I have never done a “blog roundup” type of post on here before, but I’m inspired by all the ones I’m seeing in my reader, particularly Rust Belt Girl and K.M. Allan who I read pretty regularly.

But I like to do my own thing, and I’m kinda tired today, so lets just talk about the Top 3 Posts of 2018. Who doesn’t love a good list?

1. Social Media Kills Creativity

This post, by far, got more views and comments than any other all year long. I didn’t realize what a reaction it would get when I wrote it back on that Monday in April. I still contend that “the medias” do more harm than good. It seems a bunch of you agree. Except WordPress, of course. Our beloved WordPress can do no harm.

2. How To Quit Facebook (As A Writer)

Another humdinger.

This one dropped in June, and got a bunch of attention. Noticing a trend? I quit Facebook (and later Instagram) and I still stand by that as a good decision. It can certainly be an effective tool for authors, but I think there are better avenues these days that don’t require giving up so much for a “free” service.

3. Why I Started Reading Less Books

We’re finally off social media. Hooray!

Not sure how this one garnered such popularity. Maybe the sheer irony of an author website talking about reading less? Who knows. All I know is it was popular, and this plan of mine is still working out well since I started back in the summertime.

So what does this say about me and you, my audience? Well, for one thing, we’re totally hermits. Clearly we are digital isolationists who are striving to disconnect from the larger world in order to hone our craft and master the art of the written word. That, and we demand quality over quantity. Social media has quantity covered…

But seriously, I want to thank everyone who takes a few moments out of their week to read my insane ramblings. I’ll be sure to use this as some sort of extremely useful data point when I’m brainstorming new insane ramblings for next year. I mean, I do have a flip phone after all, what the hell else am I gonna do with my free time?



Happy New Year 2019


Just wanted to drop a quick note to all my readers here, new and old, and say have a safe and happy start to 2019.

I’ve had a bunch of new people follow this blog and comment on it, and it is consistently one of my favorite internet outlets, because the quality of discussion and discourse here is so much higher.

I’ll be taking a short break (like many do) over the next week or so, and be back next year with plenty of new posts about writing, a bit of film photography (got a new camera for Christmas!) and some site updates.

Happy New Year to you and yours.


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“O Unholy Night in Deathlehem” Now Available


Hey everyone,

Hope you had a great holiday of your choosing.

A quick note that O Unholy Night in Deathlehem is now available from Grinning Skull Press. You can purchase the ebook here for Kindle on Amazon. Print editions will be available soon as well.

This is an excellent Christmas horror anthology and features my short story “Manufacturer’s Defect” among a bunch of tales by some great writers.

Plus, all proceeds go to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation so these seasonal scares are for a good cause.

So grab yourself a copy, support a good cause, and keep those holiday feelings going before you take down the decorations and pop open the champagne to ring in 2019!


The Aesthetic of Your Journey, Creative


Holidays are all about tradition, and I plan to start a new one by making a cynical humorous annual post about overused words.

This list is based on my own opinion, and unlike the generalized lists that creep out on the internet this time of year, it is mostly targeted at “creatives”.

So without further ado, our first overused word.



  1. having the quality or power of creating.
  2. resulting from originality of thought, expression, etc.; imaginative:creative writing.
  3. originative; productive (usually followed by of).

Folks, it’s an adjective. Not a noun.

The number of times in 2018 I have heard people refer to one another and themselves as “creatives” is maddening.

I’ve been writing for a long time, and hanging out with writers and other artsy types for nearly as long. So I know we like to play with words, “expand the lexicon”, and sound all flowery and pretentious on occasion. What’s the point in being an artist if you can’t get pretentious and drink expensive coffee once in a while. Right?

While that’s all well and good, I feel like writers have a responsibility to uphold the “correct” traditional use of language (grammar and syntax) whilst the internet attempts to dismantle it on an hourly basis. I’m looking at you Twitter!

OK, traditionalist diatribe over.

The real reason this word is such a thorn in my paw is that it has been insidiously co-opted. The next time you’re reading a site or listening to a podcast where someone calls you a “creative”, their compliment is usually followed by an offer of some sort. Like when everyone became an “entrepreneur” back in 2015.

If you’re a creative, you might like my ONLINE COURSE/BOOK/SERVICE.  

Yuck. Get your marketing out of my art. Let me be a CREATIVE!



  1. relating to the philosophy of aestheticsconcerned with notions such as the beautiful and the ugly.
  2. relating to the science of aesthetics; concerned with the study of the mind and emotions in relation tothe sense of beauty.
  3. having sense of the beautiful; characterized by a love of beauty.

Another adjective being turned into a noun. Sorta like when “Google” became a verb.

“It has an aesthetic.”  /   “My brand’s aesthetic.”  /  “Your aesthetic is beautiful.”

Not as brutally irritating as “Creative” but nonetheless, “aesthetic” is so overused at this point it is starting to lose its original meaning.

Plus, there are so many other less fun-to-say words you can use instead. “Look”, “style”, “feel”. These don’t have the SAT-word quality of “aesthetic”, but they are still valid.



noun, plural jour·neys.
  1. traveling from one place to another, usually taking rather long time; trip:six-day journey across the desert.
  2. distance, course, or area traveled or suitable for traveling:desert journey.
  3. period of travel:week’s journey.

Hoo boy, this one…

So nothing grammatically incorrect about this one, and everybody loves that old axiom about “it’s the journey, not the destination…” Thanks Emerson.

In 2018 we are apparently ALL on a journey. You’re not just dabbling in a hobby. If you buy that beginner’s watercolor set at A.C. Moore, you’ve taken the first step on a grandiose adventure of personal evolution.

I felt pretentious just typing that last sentence.

If there is one thing I implore you to do in 2019, stop referring to making art as a “journey”. Besides the inherent self-important tone of it, it implies this kind of fluffy, overly positive, unicorns-in-the-meadow connotation to what art really is. Work.

Creating art is challenging, difficult, time consuming, and at times, painful. I’m sure I’m coming off as a real jerk when I say this, but I think overuse of the word “journey” (I’m looking at you, Youtube!) gives people the misimpression that these processes are a loose and breezy thing you can just pick up and put down while still getting better at.

Is it technically wrong? No. But I just feel like it’s simultaneously misleading and pretentious. Just my opinion. This is an opinion piece, remember?

In Conclusion

That’s my overly sarcastic list of Overly Used Words 2018. Are there any words or phrases all you “creatives” out there have grown to hate this year? Let me know down in the comments!

Merry Holidays and Happy 2019!