Weird NJ Revisited

CourierPostThe Courier Post, a local New Jersey-based newspaper, recently reprinted an article I wrote for Weird NJ Magazine about ten years ago. I’m not really sure what prompted them to do so, but obviously I’m not complaining. It’s weird to see it suddenly come roaring back from obscurity and making the rounds on social media. Because of this recent development, I’m now a very rich man so I’m off to buy several boats.

Nah, just kidding. See you tomorrow, misery job.


Halloween in Head and Heart

Another day, another kind message about The End of Summer!

You probably get this a lot with other Halloween enthusiasts, but I’m saying it anyhow: I think you’re my long lost brother from another mother and separated at birth! (Actually I’m probably old enough to be your mom.) When I read the back of your End of Summer book, I died! I’ve loved Halloween since I was a little kid. I love Autumn, and John Carpenter is my fave! I just saw him live in concert! He does all his music from all his movies! Anyhow, thanks so very much for all the right words to say about All Hallow’s Eve! My home’s already decorated, 90%. One room is Halloween all year! And I was remarried last Halloween! I’m old, but I’ll never be too old to have Halloween in my head and heart daily! I just actually got the book, and just the prologue made me cry, laugh, and jump for joy! Thanks, and Happy 🎃 !

Thank you, Fran! Happy Halloween to you as well!

Halloween All the Time

Receiving incredibly kind notes from readers who really enjoyed my book, The End of Summer, is enough on its own. But I love receiving them at this time of year, because for us Halloween lunatics, once the mid-point of August hits, it’s Halloween all the time in our brains. Halloween is just one day for most people, but for us weirdoes, it’s a three-month celebration, which starts right about now. So let’s get it going!

Kathy from Tennessee writes:

I bought your book on Audible and I also bought the paperback version which arrived from Amazon today. It is a terrific book. I just wanted you to know how much I am enjoying it. You have really captured the spirit and essence of Halloween! I have been in love with the genre since I was a little girl. As you well know, it causes one to be misunderstood at times. But the love of the horror genre has been in my blood, pardon the pun, since childhood. I think that is one of the many reasons I love your book so much. I immediately recognized and sensed that it was written by a fellow Halloweener! And the forward you wrote truly speaks volumes. I have several Halloween anthology books (including the Alan Ryan one you mentioned), but yours is by far the best one in my collection. I like every single story …no exceptions!

Being that the Alan Ryan collection, Halloween Horrors, is my utmost favorite Halloween anthology of all time, let me just say I find it deeply humbling to even be mentioned in the same breath.

Thank you, Kathy!

Another Satisfied Customer

A reader named Jeff was (very) kind enough to reach out and share his thoughts on The End of Summer, which continues to be the little Halloween book that could:

J.T., I just finished reading your wonderful book, The End of Summer: Tales of Halloween, and I wanted to let you know how much I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is perfectly written and eerily atmospheric — a fine tribute to what should be a national holiday. As one of those “monster kids” born in the mid-50s, I grew up with vampires and mummies and werewolves and aliens on TV, and of course Halloween and going trick-or treating (but only after watching A&C Meet Frankenstein, my all-time favorite film) — I still love them all to this very day. While in college I wrote for “Famous Monsters of Filmland” and helped Forry around the Ackermansion — what an incredible experience that was, getting to hang with Forry and visit with legends like Chris Lee, Ray Harryhausen, Vincent Price and others. Halloween is such a passion of mine, and I sure hope you’re considering writing a follow-up to The End of Summer. Again, thanks for the awesome read, and let me know about Part II…my claws are crossed and my fangs drip with anticipation.

Thanks Jeff!

I do think about The End of Summer every so often, but I’d need thirteen solid ideas for stories before I would seriously consider doing it.

Still, you never know…

Now Available: Beware the Monstrous Manther!

BewareTheMonstrousMantherThe second book in the “Fright Friends Adventures” series, Beware the Monstrous Manther!, is now available via the usual places. (You can find buying options here.) This isn’t a direct sequel to The House on Creep Street so much as it is a new adventure with our already established characters, along with some new ones. The paranormal tone of the first book is also gone, in favor of some slight science-fiction aspects. It’s pretty different and perhaps just a little bit darker, but obviously still kid-appropriate, being that my co-author and I aren’t total maniacs.

There’s something fishy about Joey’s new neighbor – that old man named Carl White. Joey can’t help but notice his strange behavior… like those pet crates he carried into his house on the night he moved in, and those weird lights and noises coming from his basement window, and how he leaves his house late at night in his rusty old van. But Joey’s weird new neighbor isn’t his only problem. A friend from his past named Glenn asks him for help after his dog goes missing. And then Kevin’s cat disappears. Soon, pets all over Blackwood are vanishing and Joey has more questions than answers. Like, what’s with Barry’s new cat, Midnight? The one that can go invisible and walk on the ceiling? And what’s with those sightings of a creature described as half-man/half-beast? Does Joey’s new neighbor have something to do with it? Things start to get really hairy in Blackwood, and soon The Fright Friends’ curiosity is piqued. If they only knew curiosity killed the cat.

Kind Words

I received the following letter via the contact form on this website last night. It’s provided a bit of comfort during what’s been a somewhat uncertain time in my life–for a variety of reasons–and so I thought I would share it. Not that I’m bragging, but I do receive notes like these every so often, which are obviously great to see pop up in my inbox, but it never occurred to me to share them before. In the past, it always made sense to me to keep those letters as “mine,” but this one in particular felt especially humbling. As I said to its sender, I always find reactions like these to be very rewarding–not just because the reader responded so positively to my writing, but because at times when it feels like my books have finally disappeared into the ether of the internet, something like this comes along to remind me that they still have life in them.

I am writing because I recently finished your superb short story collection, “The End of Summer” and wanted to thank you and share my appreciation for it.

I grew up in my small Ohio town, and I feel that, probably more than any other author, you capture that something special and magical about this holiday that so many authors overlook. I grew up, but that sense of excitement, wonder, and yes, even danger is something that will always stick with me. Reading your stories, I felt all of that again, and for that reason alone I can’t commend you enough.

Halloween is a complicated holiday for many people, and I feel that you really nailed the core of what it can mean for so many people. While some stories dabble in gruesome horror (“Devil’s Night”), there are others that deal with the sweeter side of Halloween, such as “Hersh’s Last Ride”. As a fellow Halloween (not just horror) obsessive, I believe that you’ve written something pretty comprehensive I’ll dust off (or re-download, but you get the idea) every autumn.

Once again, I want to thank you for writing such a collection. During the autumn months, I find myself wanting something uniquely Halloween, and I think that your collection will scratch that itch for many years to come. I anxiously await any further writings.

Podcast: “The Rock ‘n Roll, Horror Movies, and Tattoos Show”

PodcastJack of many trades Steve Gray (audiobook producer/narrator, tattoo artist, writer, aspiring filmmaker) recently invited me to take part in the debut of his new pod/vid cast “The Rock ‘n Roll, Horror Movies, and Tattoos Show.” During our talk, I delve a lot into The House on Creep Street and a little about The End of Summer, and I share details on the next book in the “Fright Friends Adventures” series Beware the Monstrous Manther! Pretty cool that I share some running time with Danny Hicks, an actor likely most famously known for playing hillbilly Jake in Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn. It was a good talk and Steve’s a good guy, so have a listen.

Interview with Creative Crossroads

creativecrossroadThe awesomely named Ulysses Escobar of the Creative Crossroads tumblr asked me to take part in an interview featuring some not-so-obvious questions, pertaining entirely to my love of music and how it’s helped to shape or inspire my writing. He then assembled a playlist via Spotify featuring some of my favorite all-time songs. Be sure to check out the interview and do some reading/listening. And then let me know how terrible my musical taste is, you miserable trolls. (Just kidding, I heart you.)

It’s Here!