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Finally finished!

So Love in the Age of Trump is finished now. It started off being about one thing and ended up being about another. Seems like most things go that way, huh?

Here’s the last excerpt I’ll share with you – the last words I just typed in this first draft, though not actually the last words of the story.

It’ll be out in February.


“And what would they do after they were finished with the president? Go back to Columbus? Return to their normal lives, in their normal house, on their normal street, next to the neighbors they had actually never met, whose names they didn’t even know? Would they slip back into the heavy dullness of daily work at the dairy farm and the seafood restaurant, droning for forty hours a week or even longer when the boss required? They would. Yes, they would.

And their life at home – would it be the same, too? Watching Trump on television, ripping each other, forgetting to take out the garbage, drinking Diet Mountain Dews, as Paulina laughed and called him fat ten times every day? Would it all be the same? Sure it would.”

It WOULD be the same. What other options did they really have?”

Donald Trump


Libraries are our friends

I went to an event today at the Powell County (KY) public library with folks like Monica Smallwood Mynk, Dena Rogers, Chris Chaney, and Rebecca Hicks (who was live via satellite), among many others. Thank you to the library and organizers!

I hadn’t been there in about 20 years, but when I was growing up, it was one of the Important places. I hung out there a lot. I was reminded this week of when I was around 8 years old, and checked out a stack of paperback novels that I thought were action westerns, but actually turned out to be trashy, filthy romance novels about a lady sheriff and the men she, uh, “loved.” I don’t think my mom was too proud of that when she found out what I was reading. (I’m not sure what the librarian thought.)

Of course, I read a lot of other books from that library. Hundreds and hundreds. Certainly, books I never would have had an opportunity to otherwise read, about topics and worlds I might never have known. Today was a good reminder of what libraries can mean to our society, especially in places like Powell County where books and reading and learning just aren’t as accessible as they should be for far too many homes.

When you drive up to the Powell County library, you see that right next door, behind chain-link and razor wire, there’s a big, nice, new county jail. The jail is important, and needed (sadly, needed all too much these days), but libraries are important, too. We need to support them. If we don’t support them, they won’t seem as necessary, and they’ll fall into ruin, and then sooner or later we’ll look up and they’ll be gone.

Don’t let that happen. Support your public and school libraries.

Anyway, here’s a picture of my books in a case at the library in my hometown. I assume they are usually on the actual bookshelf.

Adventures in Terror…

I was just flipping through some of my documents folders and came across the mock-Fangoria cover I did for a section that got cut out of Adventures in Terror: Mostly the 1980s, and ended up being re-worked and published in Apex Magazine.

I love this cover – one of my favorites. And I still love Adventures in Terror; it’s a better book than Sewerville, in my not-objective opinion, and I wish more people bought it. But alas, more people did not buy it, which is why the sequel to Sewerville will come out a lot sooner than the sequel to Adventures in Terror.

Maybe I had too much of myself in it, I don’t know. Sometimes as a writer, you can get too close to things. Or, maybe I just didn’t know how to sell it. It could probably use a better title, one that better evokes the spirit of the book, which is much more Steven Spielberg-Stranger ThingsSomething Wicked This Way Comes than it is horror. It’s not scary. It wasn’t meant to be scary. It was meant to be a book about growing up in the hills with ghosts, and it’s just that. I’m glad.



It’s been a while since I posted anything, but fear not. I write on.

In the meantime, highly recommended: Stranger Things season 2, Thor: RagnarokIt (if you haven’t seen it yet), Dark Nights: Metal.  Not recommended: The Walking Dead, which seems to be out of gas right now.


Some Tips And Tricks For Writing Good Horror Fiction

Some folks out there could really use this advice.

PekoeBlaze - the official blog

2013 Artwork horror writing sketch

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when I really discovered horror fiction, but it was probably when I was about thirteen or so and happened to discover a copy of “Assassin” by Shaun Hutson on a market stall.

The cover art was wonderfully grotesque and vaguely reminiscent of the old 1980s video nasties with “PREVIOUSLY BANNED” stamped on the cover which I used to notice in video/DVD shops but, unfortunately, looked far too young to actually buy. Of course, after noticing the thankful lack of an “18 certificate” on the cover of “Assassin”, I bought it immediately.

It was nothing like any of the watered-down Young Adult “horror” stories I’d read before and it seemed exactly like what I imagined the “PREVIOUSLY BANNED” horror movies would be like (of course, when I eventually bought a few of these, I was actually kind of disappointed…) It was gruesome…

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Album review: Josh Nolan, FAIR CITY LIGHTS

Fair City Lights, the debut album of Kentuckian Josh Nolan, wears its influences the way an old man wears his jailhouse tats — the jagged ink not only sits there on the surface for everyone to see, it also burns in the skin, through the layers, into the marrow. It’s not just part of the old man; in a lot of ways, it’s who he is.

I’m guessing music is that tattoo for singer-songwriter Josh Nolan. It’s not just a part of him; it’s who he is. 

The classic bloodlines come through clean when you listen to Fair City Lights – bits of Springsteen there, Ryan Adams over here, John Prine and Neil Young, and Tom Waits over there, with lesser gods like Colin Linden, Loudon Wainright III lurking around the edges. But really, that’s all you hear – bits of the classics. Tributes, really. The rest is absolute, pure Josh Nolan, running his influences through a cement mixer, creating something unquestionably his own, singing about small town hearts and big-city dreams in a way that I haven’t heard in a long time.

In a world filled to the point of bursting with ironic songwriters and cookie cutter folk acts, it’s good to hear some straight up rock music again.

Though Nolan’s influences are apparent, he’s not running away from them. At times he even seems to be playing a game with his audience, tossing in the occasional ‘70s songwriter lyric or musical reference, just to see if we’re paying attention. “Between the Lights,” the album’s Mellencampesque finisher (Mellencampesque? Has that word been used before?), features an extended, rapid-fire string of references that start with Springsteen’s “Mary’s dress sways as the screen door slams” then rolls on through Bob Seger, (“way out past where the woods got heavy”), Don Maclean (it all dried up, but we made it to the levy”), and more.

In a lot of ways, Fair City Lights isn’t just a throwback, it’s a time capsule. These songs feel right at home in the rotation with the aforementioned Prine, Waits, et. al.. And let’s not forget Springsteen. Above all, Springsteen floats above this record like a favorite uncle looking down from Heaven – and not the bombastic, quasi-religious, borderline self-parody Springsteen that’s roamed the earth since he got the E-Streeters back together in the early 2000s, either. No, Josh Nolan has more in common with the early Springsteen, the Greetings from Asbury Park/Born to Run/Darkness on the Edge of Town/The River Springsteen, in no small part because his own natural voice sounds not just a little like the Boss of that era. Songs like“Come Mornin’”and “Do It Right” echo folky Bruce perfectly, while the screeching guitar (and accompanying glockenspiel) that opens “Waitin’ on the Night” proudly gives a shout out to Born To Run in a way that few folks even attempt these days.

That’s not to say that Fair City Lights is some shallow whipped-cream imitation of the real thing. Truth be told, it’s far from that. As any drink snob can tell you, the best wine or bourbon is so much more than the sum of its ingredients. I’m no alcohol connoisseur – I’ve never been able to taste plums or currants in my cabernet no matter how much the label says they’re in there –  but I damn sure know great music when I hear it. Josh Nolan and Fair City Lights fit the bill.


Fair City Lights hits itunes,, and Spotify, among others, on April 4. Visit Josh Nolan at


Facebook contest

Hey fans, friends, and followers,

There’s a little contest going on over at my Facebook page: when I hit 500 “likes” on that page, I’ll give TWO people a paperback copy of both Sewerville and Lost Change and Loose Cousins! When the page hits 500, I’ll put everybody in the drawing, pull out the two random winners, and then notify them via Facebook message.

As I type this, there are 400+ likes on the page already, so get over there. Click the big “thumbs up” and let’s do this thing!

(You can also like the page from the FB link at right.)