The Ghoulish Times | 01.28.24
Hello and welcome to the latest issue of The Ghoulish Times. My name is Max Booth III and this is my spooky newsletter. If you're receiving this newsletter, it is because at one point in the past or the future you decided or will decide to subscribe due to our shared interest in the horror genre. At one point, you will also unsubscribe--either from this newsletter, or from life itself, and I have made peace with the fact that there is no preventing either fate. Have you?
I am writing this newsletter from our bedroom. I mean the bedroom I share with my wife. I do not mean the bedroom I share with my readers. I want to apologize if I misled any of you with the murkiness of this paragraph's first sentence. It was not intentional. Now that I've noticed its ambiguity, I cannot look away, and I cannot fix it. Life is full of imperfections. To pretend otherwise is to dishonor the world we live in.
But no, to answer the question at least one of you might be asking, and--more importantly--to segue into my next paragraph, my wife is not in our bedroom currently. Instead she is in the kitchen, frantically sawing the handles off a dozen medium-sized buckets. I refuse to ask why. I did offer some assistance, but she rejected my help. There is a look in her eyes today that says, "I must hacksaw these bucket handles off in absolute solitude," and I respect that, and will honor her wishes, as I am a feminist and a strong advocate of a woman's right to individually dismember grip accessories from metal containers with jagged-toothed blades. I don't care if that's a controversial opinion. Feel free to roast me on Elon Musk's hellsite. I stand by what I said.
Continuing from last week's newsletter, I know everybody is eager to hear an update in regards to the volume of snot entering, exiting, and orbiting the general proximity of my personal space. The answer is: massive, massive quantities.
There were a few decent days last week that tricked me into foolishly believing cedar fever had finally passed. This was simple trickery by the devil himself. I woke up this morning making my way through another box of tissues, and not in a fun way either. I manage to write two or three sentences in between every ten-minute painstaking session of sneezing and coughing. This is why, going forward, I am making it my mission to personally destroy every ashe juniper tree in Central Texas.
If you think I am bringing all of this up to gain sympathy from my readers, you are correct. If you think everything I write isn't also created for the same reason, you have a lot of growing up to do. If you think I'm just typing nonsense into my computer while my brain floods with snot and attempts to make sense of the English language again, get out of my house. I already told you, this is not your bedroom.
Last night, while driving to my bookshop, I was listening to Aesop Rock's "All the Smartest People" at full blast. My hand happened to be moving back and forth at the top of the steering wheel, matching the song's beat. You've listened to music before. You know exactly what I am talking about. But here is where things fall into more...unexplainable territory. I was in the process of exiting I-35 when a car in front of me suddenly swerved from the highway toward the same access road I was entering. Then, half a second later, it decided against this and swerved back onto I-35. If you've driven a car before, this probably doesn't seem that surprising. Stuff like this happens all the time, right? Right. But...the thing is, this car happened to be jerking along perfectly in sync with my hand motions. Almost as if...I was controlling the car with some kind of awesome mind abilities? For a single, beautiful second I was convinced this was the truth, that I had somehow unlocked a power every other human being on this planet has tried so hard to conquer. I've done it, I thought. I've finally done it. And you know what? I remain half-convinced that I did do it, and challenge any one of you goddamn naysayers to prove otherwise.
Speaking of the bookshop, I want to give a huge shoutout to the four people who showed up yesterday afternoon. They informed me that they host a horror bookclub together in Indiana, and had decided to fly all the way out from Indianapolis to San Antonio specifically to visit our store. For those not in the United States and are unaware of this country's geography, this would not have been a short flight. When they told me this, I believe my initial response was, "Holy fuck, what?" I remain at a loss for words about this whole encounter. Our store is almost a year old at this point, and while it doesn't attract the greatest foot traffic, I can't help but feel like we're doing something magical here when a group of people will travel halfway across the country just to visit. The horror genre, man. It unites us like nothing else, and that's something we must never take for granted.
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Now Back in Print: IN DREAMS WE ROT
New year, old fears? Does that work? I don’t know. Moving on. This is a post about Betty Rocksteady’s In Dreams We Rot, her debut story collection that came out a few years ago from another press, then went out of print, and is now back in reprint thanks to Ghoulish Books. It’s available right now, ghouls. A collection that any diehard horror fan would be a fool not to slobber over. Take a look at a copy in the flesh:
FICTION LIKE A FEVER DREAM
A voyeur becomes the one being watched, terrifying beasts are stitched together, strange new insects appear, ancient sex gods rise, and an island on the brink of madness falls apart.
Betty Rocksteady’s debut collection blends surrealism and horror, tearing apart tropes as words bleed and transform down unexpected avenues of nightmare logic. These twenty stories run the gamut from splatterpunk to somber. They’re hot and wet and nasty, guaranteed to leave you with an unspeakable sense of dread.
This new edition of In Dreams We Rot includes a bonus short story, story notes from the author, and an introduction from the publisher titled “Betty Rocksteady in 3D”.
All paperback orders will come with a signed author sticker (while supplies last).
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An Explosion of Deal Alerts
Over the last couple weeks, we've announced several books we plan to publish this year. I would like to round them up here now, in case you've missed the initial posts on our various social media platforms.
First, there's Shannon Riley's Pocketknife Kitty:
Then Danger Slater's Starlet:
Followed by Justin Lutz's Give Unto Us:
Then Valkyrie Loughcrewe's Decrepit Ritual:
Followed by Lucas Mangum's Haunted Hearts:
And, finally, Jeremy C. Shipp's Familiar:
If you'd like to pre-order any or all of these books, including a few others we previously announced last year (such as Laurel Hightower's The Day of the Door, Perry Meester's The Inherent Flesh, and Sofia Ajram's Bury Your Gays anthology), stay tuned for a fun update this upcoming week on the GHOULBLOG. We will be making our 2024 paperback subscriptions live for one month only, throughout February, which will allow readers to pre-order all of our 2024 lineup at a discounted price. (Note: this won't include the reprint of Betty Rocksteady's In Dreams We Rot, which you'll have to order separately.)
Ideally, I would have loved to already launched this year's paperback subscription drive, but...well, the realities of a small press are sometimes not as glamorous as I'm sure the general public suspects, and in fact we fall behind on deadlines often. We are catching back up, though, and I am thrilled to get these books in the hands of horror readers.
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And now, if you will forgive this pure act of self-indulgence, I would like to share some good news in regards to my own writing career:
I have been publishing fiction for almost 13 years now, starting with short stories in 2011 and finally releasing my first two novels a few months apart in 2014. I have sent out queries to literary agents in the past, but either I've never heard a peep back or I've received the kind of rejections that could potentially kill a person out of sheer embarrassment. Back in 2019, I managed to obtain film & TV representation, but until now literary rep has eluded me.
So, I think it might be an understatement to announce that I am pretty goddamn excited to finally sign with an agent.
Becky LeJeune, of the Bond Literary Agency, is cool as hell, and I am looking forward to working together with her.
Also, can we please take a moment of silence to appreciate how funny the above screenshot looks with my Twitter handle? Big shoutout to the nutjob stalker from my past who inspired it.