Saturday, November 9, 2019

Honorable mention 
Ellen Datlow's
Best Horror of The Year 2018 


A moonlit caravan
snaked its way
down misty back roads
its sinister mysteries 
shrouded from view

It rumbled to a stop
with an eerie groan
hoisting black tents
and tattered flags
that fluttered like ghosts

A call was unleashed
that could only be heard
in that hidden place
of slumbering darkness
children’s dreams

They scampered away
at the stroke of midnight
their tiny feet
sneaky and silent
still in a dream

At the last hour
before daybreak
the midnight circus
rolled away again
leaving the way it came

All that was left
in the waking houses
was racing footsteps
frantic searching
and horrified screams

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


          A rumbling horde of cars and trucks turned into the Starlight

Drive-In on this solemn night. They’d grown up watching horror movies on

the gigantic screen, soaking in every gruesome sight until it was an

unspoken part of who they were. Roaring monsters and stumbling teens

glimmered beneath the twinkling stars, and the glorious smell of popcorn

and beer swirled through the cars like a summer breeze. But times had

changed and tonight would be the last night, the death of a ritual they

loved. Wal-Mart was moving in and that was a different kind of monster.

There were the usual scares, glowing like shocking nightmares in the dark.

When the movie was over, they drifted away like ghosts. But they’d

decided to come back to the place where blood and guts had flowed every

night, and show the new owners what they’d learned about fear.        



Wednesday, March 16, 2016


Beyond the misty forgotten past

and beyond the future of galactic death

the end of the universe was just cinders and ash


About the past so much destroyed

infinite bleakness in a howling void


About the future only misery and dread

brutality and embers a universe dead  


Then something appeared vast and unknown

colossal and craggy nebulas long


A gargantuan bone fell into space

a gruesome puzzle from some disant place


Then more came too galactic and white

twisting and tumbling into sight


They were the jagged bones of a cosmic carcass

spinning and floating through the endless darkness 


There was nothing left except death and rot

the memory of blazing battles and wars fought


There was only a final travesty to consider

about these celestial bones of God


Who was the killer?


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

     This is without a doubt the greatest drive-in movie of all time, even though drive-ins are pretty much gone. But someone should find an abandoned drive-in somewhere and restore it, just so people can watch this movie.  I’d love to be in a car on a hot summer night, the smell of exhaust swirling through the air, and watch this movie glowing on one of those giant screens.  I’d crank up the volume and strap myself in for two hours of amazing movie mayhem.
         What this movie does so well is strip away all the clutter and only focus on the hardcore essentials, because action fans don’t like anything slowing things down. This is a road trip movie where the only law is to keep going faster and faster, because a fiery death is charging through the gloom right behind you.  Every element is riveting and raw, stripped down to its most essential core. 
         There’s the brooding anti-hero with a haunted past, a beautiful but disfigured heroine with her own anger issues, and a messianic bad guy with a rictus grin that’s even worse than the Joker’s, all of it taking place in a post-apocalyptic landscape that’s a ravaged warning about what will happen if we don’t take care of our planet in the proper way. This warning is posed in the same brutal terms. If we screw things up, then the search for the staples needed to survive – food, water, gas – will be all that’s left of life itself.
         The color palette is stripped away too, everything is parched and grimy, dirty and decayed, except for the pristine whiteness of the young women who represent hope for a different kind of future.  This is the plot, stripped down too, to transport this fertile cargo away from the hell of the monstrous Citadel to a remembered oasis.
         It’s a chase movie, but one that’s a visual onslaught in the best possible way of over-the-top action and roaring high speed warfare, a kind of Cirque du Soleil demolition derby.  It’s a delirious mash-up of extreme sports and road kill horror, all of it pumped up by a wild banshee rock star strapped to the front of a barreling big rig slashing at his flame throwing guitar. The dialogue has been whittled down to the bone, because there’s nothing to say that a howling shotgun can’t say a whole lot better.
         But there’s also a message that action fans are always wary of, but this is a good one we haven’t seen as vividly before.  The real kick-ass heroes in the movie aren’t the usual suspects, but some new recruits.  The gruff muscled guy does his part, and the tough chick too, but it’s the seemingly fragile young waifs, a bad boy kid, and a gang of old women on motorcycles who step up and deliver the firepower and courage needed at the end.  And I think this is the message of the movie, to blow up the way action movies have always been done, and show there’s a little bit of madness in all of us.  

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Here’s a video of the Prologue from my novel
The World on Fire:


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Here's a dramatic reading of my short story, A Beautiful Horror, from the anthology Cellar Door III:

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Go dark, or go home. 

         Horror short stories are my favorite things to write. The best are 

literary story bombs that go deep and dark without wasting a lot of 

time. They usually start off quiet, but when the bomb goes off it’s not 

like anything else in literature, a heart-pounding ride that will only end 

when boundaries are broken.  They celebrate the mysterious and 

unknown, exposing in eerily subtle or brutally stark ways, that life 

isn’t always neat and tidy.  And that’s always a good lesson to keep 

in mind, because horror stories remind us the cosmos we live in is 

infinitely more complex than that.

         But what horror stories do best, is connect us in an intensely 

visceral way to what we love.  It’s only when you fear you’re going to 

lose something, do you suddenly realize how important it is.  Horror 

stories scare us, but they also remind us to cherish what we have, 

because it can always be snatched away.  At their essence, horror 

stories are a warning to always be careful and not assume what you 

know is the final, unshakable truth.  Because nothing is ever final, 

there is always change and new mysteries ahead.  

     Horror stories are the literary eye-opener that wants you to see 

what can’t be seen. The monster or bogey-man is just a metaphor for 

the uncertainty of life. Horror stories don’t coddle easy assumptions, 

they blow them up, then shine a flashlight on the shadowy, unknown

landscape that lies ahead.

         The other thing I love is the language, because it’s usually 

soaring departure from the everyday.  When describing unknown 

horrors and mysteries, writers have to kick up their descriptive 

game and use language that’s as stunning and unexpected as the 

macabre wonders they’re revealing.  Horror writers tend to use 

language in a more varied and vivid way, creeping into their reader’s 

inner world, word by word, then unleashing their dark surprises.

                 Horror is the removal of masks...

                       -- Robert Bloch