Saturday, August 27, 2011

It Rubs The Yogurt On Its Skin Or Else It Gets The Hose Again

Monterey Park, CA

So here's the pitch, Buffalo Bill from Silence of The Lambs gets away and opens up a frozen yogurt shop in Monterey Park hiding out and biding his time until one day he snaps, knocks out an employee and holds her prisoner in a soundproofed room until-

What? It's been done?

Robert Yachen Lee, owner of the Monterey Park yogurt shop O My Yogurt (who comes up with these names?) is in jail on charges of kidnapping and attempted murder with bail set for $10 million, after allegedly knocking a female employee unconscious, stripping her, putting her into an adult diaper and a collar and sticking her in a box in the middle of a sound-proofed room above his shop.

She was, thankfully, able to free herself and get help at an optometrist's office next door.

Prosecutors are thinking this was pre-meditated given that he had to build in the sound-proofing.

You don't say.

Now attempted murder's always a tough sell. You have to prove intent. In this case I don't think that's going to be a problem. Does anyone honestly think he was going to let her go?

I'm crossing my fingers that we won't find out that there are others and this is just the one that got away.

We're all full up on serial killers out here, thanks.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Personally, I'd Have Skipped The Taser

Wilmington, CA

The LAPD has been having a rough few days.

In the last week three officers have been involved in shootings in separate incidents. Television and action films aside, this is actually more rare than you'd think.

Officers were fired upon by murder suspect Brent Zubek in Encino, gang investigators were shot at in South L.A., and a traffic stop yesterday, also in South L.A. resulted in the shooting of an officer and large scale manhunt.

So it's perhaps understandable that trigger fingers are a little itchy.

Especially when being attacked by a screaming man with a pointed stick and the Tasers don't work.

A couple of LAPD officers heard screaming at an apartment complex in Wilmington yesterday and when they went to investigate found a man breaking out windows in a second story apartment. When they went inside the screaming man attacked them with a sharpened cane.

This is officially a Bad Idea.

When they tried to take him down with the Taser, it didn't do much.  Whether that's because it didn't do anything or they missed I can't say, he attacked them again, actually managing to stab one of them.

Surprise!  They shot him.

.40 Glock 22: 1 / Pointed Stick: 0

Showing once again why you don't go up against a technologically superior opponent with a pointed fucking stick.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Guest Blog - Caitlin Kittredge

I first got a chance to read Caitlin Kittredge's book STREET MAGIC, the first in her Black London urban fantasy series, while I was still shopping around CITY OF THE LOST. I was getting rejections left and right and feeling like my book was complete and total crap.

Reading STREET MAGIC did not help.

It's a fantastic read. Kind that makes you question your own writing. An emotionally damaged, junkie mage and a screwed up Detective Inspector who is suddenly out of her depth.

Magic, death, heroin. My kind of book.

Her latest, DEVIL'S BUSINESS, the fourth in the series is out August 30th.

It departs from her character's normal stomping grounds of London and takes place in L.A. Which seems to have presented her some challenges.

And here she is to talk about them.

Anarchy in LA

I write books set in the UK, mostly London and the surrounds, and apparently I do a good enough job to trick people into thinking I'm English sometimes. But I'm not—I'm American, and when I started writing the fourth book in my Black London series, I knew that I wanted to write a tribute to my home country, in all its weird, seedy glory.

As an East Coast native, I'd never been to LA before 2008—I knew about it, of course, through movies and TV. Depending on who you asked, LA was the ninth circle of hell, a boiling cesspool of silicone, false smiles and broken dreams hemmed in by the 405 freeway, or it was a dream factory, a wondrous hodge-podge city made up of twenty different mini-cities, each of which could hold the key to success and happiness if you just knew the right person, the right handshake or had the right look.

I found something of each to be true—some parts of the city are amazing, tiny universes unto themselves, full of shit you just won't find anywhere else in the country. Everything looks like a movie set, because chances are it was used as one at some point, which gives you the feeling you're walking through a dream most of the time. (Inhaling what passes for air in LA helps this effect.) Some parts are the plastic castles and empty promises that so much LA-set noir decries. I have visited few places more terrifyingly homogenized and false-faced than Beverly Hills, and could not get out of there fast enough. It was a Stepford nightmare, a glittering bear trap that entices you with the possibility that you, too, could be six feet tall, a size zero, and possibly some kind of Botox zombie. But it's a small price to pay for living the good life, right?

(Also: at any given moment I was the tallest person in my immediate vicinity. LA is a haven for short people, because height doesn't matter on camera.)

I visited again recently, before I began writing Devil's Business. I knew that this book was going to be a tribute to that dreamlike, hallucinatory quality that only LA possess. I knew it was going to be about the mythology of the American serial killer (Wisconsin may have more per capita, but California gets all the headliners.) I knew its backdrop would be failed movie stars, sensational murders, Santa Muerte and the impending apocalypse, LA style. I'd hoped to stay for a few days, soak up some atmosphere and locations, and go back to my frozen New England wasteland to write the book.

I got so much more than I bargained for. From the extraordinarily cheerful folks at the Museum of Death in Hollywood (where I spent an afternoon looking at their Charles Manson and Black Dahlia memorabilia, and wondering if I was one tanked novel away from starting a murderous cult of my own) to the giddy cartoon theme park of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, I found more atmosphere than I could squeeze into ten novels. And plenty of In-N-Out Burger, because a girl's gotta eat.

Sending my very English characters into this spray-tan tinged wasteland was an interesting exercise—my reactions, as a non-native American, were ramped up to 11 for my characters. London has a fantastic public transportation system, so the car culture of LA was a big stumbling block, as was the plastic surgery and the social currency of talking about your movie deal, your next audition, or your quick and dirty elbow rub with an actual famous person. And that's just the surface—the public face of LA. Dive below and you find the underbelly, the people who don't give a shit if Brad Pitt is filming down the block, the neighborhoods where survival trumps saving face. I admit I laughed a lot writing these two blue-collar British magicians trying to get a handle on LA, and usually not doing a very good job. But in the end, I think that Devil's Business embodies the spirit that showed its face when I went into the city looking for it, and it was a hell of a lot of fun to write. And I have LA to thank for that.

DEVIL'S BUSINESS is out August 30th. You can follow Caitlin on Twitter here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thinking Ahead With Meth

Loma Linda, CA

There's a long history of people stealing construction materials. Lead from roofs, copper pipe. A few years ago we had a problem with people breaking into the access panels of street lights and ripping out all the wiring.

With the housing bust a lot of that seems to have slowed down. Nobody's building anything. And really, by the time the business comes back there's going to be lots of pipe lying around, right?

With all those other addicts making a beeline for it the market's gonna be flooded, the prices'll drop and you won't get half the crank you could buy two years ago with fifty pounds of jacked copper. So what are you gonna do?

Slabs of granite.

Cops raided a house in Loma Linda and nailed four tweakers for possession and sale of methamphetamine, illegal possession of firearms and possession of stolen property.

That stolen property? Tombstones.

Yep. Bunch of 'em sitting there in the backyard. All from the Montecito Memorial Park in Colton a couple miles down the road. About $48K worth.

I'm thinking they were gonna cobble together some kitchen countertops, maybe make a fountain. Who knows, maybe they were going to try to make some new teeth they can't grind down from all the jaw clenching.

Meth: making bad ideas sound good since 1893.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Because Human Trafficking Never Goes Out Of Style

Santa Ana, CA

There's big money in people.  Smuggling them, selling them, enslaving them.  They get duped or kidnapped, sold by their families.  Locked away and forced to do unspeakable things for other people's money.  And the people who do it to them get away with it.

Most of the time.

Samuel Martinez Gonzalez, 26, of Santa Ana was picked up Friday on charges of sex trafficking.  He allegedly lured three girls from Texas aged 15, 15 and 16, to come out to California with him "to go to the beach".

Guess Galveston was too far away.

According to the girls, Gonzalez "...purchased "hoochie" dresses and high heels so they could "go to work" for him".  Hoochie dresses.  Really.

It's not looking good for our little Sammy over here.  Cops traced the cell phone that one of the girl's used to call her parents to track him down.  He was found with one of the fifteen-year-olds and the other two were picked up in an apartment in Orange with two women and another minor police think he was already prostituting.

Looking at ten years to life on this one.  Sex trafficking, transporting a minor across state lines.  Hell, that's automatically kidnapping, isn't it?

It's a mess all around.  These things always are.  But the girls are in protective custody, the creep is in jail.  So that's something.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Deadly Treats

Fall's come a bit early this year.

The Halloween themed anthology DEADLY TREATS is officially out today with my zombie short story WORLD'S GREATEST DAD about a loser father brought back from the grave who tries his hand at a little redemption. It doesn't go quite the way he planned.

And look, people are already talking about it.

Seems Amazon's already sold out, but B&N still has copies.

The idea that something can be sold out has become a bizarre concept. It's print, so I get that there's a finite number of copies available, but I've gotten so used to digital that it sounds weird. Sold out.


Anyway, twenty Halloween stories by nineteen incredibly talented writers and me. Lots of zombies, lots of death, a witch and a vampire or two.

Check it out. You won't be disappointed.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Your Friday Dose of Pulp Fiction - FIX

I've debated posting this. It's a story but it's not really intended to be.

This is how I world build. I don't put things into moleskine notebooks or on Post-It notes, draw diagrams or make wikis. I've tried, it doesn't work. Instead I take bits of the world I'm putting together and write scenes, short stories, bits of dialog. It's all a jumbled mess in my head but once I can put it into a story I've got something I can go back and look at.

This is a bit of the world where my urban fantasy novels CITY OF THE LOST and DEAD THINGS are set. This isn't in either of those books, they're not vampire novels, and probably won't ever show up in any future ones, either. But it helps me keep all the bits in my head.

This is also the first vampire story I've ever written. They don't sparkle.


"Vampire's just another word for junkie," Mitchell says, looking at Lillian like she's less than a bug. He takes the IV bag, a whole unit of blood in there, and slides it across the table toward her. He stops just before it gets close enough for her to take it.

"Cash. Up front. You know how this works."

Lillian nods her head, eyes down. She pulls out a thick wad of bills from her pockets. Singles and fives, a collection of loose change. She dumps it out onto the table with shaking fingers. Mitchell laughs as she does it.

"Jesus," he says. "You people are worse than the fucking tecatos."

She looks up at him then. Blinks in the clinic's harsh fluorescents. Eyes haunted, sunk deep in a pasty white face. She's afraid, yes, but there's more than fear behind those eyes and she knows he can see it.

He scoops up the bills and change onto his side of the table. Doesn't count it. She smiles a little. Now he's a little afraid, too.

She takes the bag of blood, looks over her shoulder at the bathroom door behind her. "Can I-"

"No," Mitchell says before she can finish. "Take that shit out onto the street. You don't fucking do that here. You understand me?"

"Okay," she says. She slides the bag into the inside pocket of her anorak.

"I don't want to see you here, anymore," Mitchell says. "Understand me? Find somebody else. I'm through with you. Through with all of you."

She stops at the door, crossing him off her mental list of dealers. That's three down this month. She's going to have to find somebody else soon. She has a stray thought that maybe she could kill him. Take his blood. But she knows the rain of shit that would come down on her isn't worth it. Not yet.

She pulls the hood of her greasy coat over her head before going outside. It's been raining steadily for the last week. The streets of L.A.'s Skid Row shimmer with water and reflected streetlights. Smells of rotting cardboard, wet pavement, slick oil. They drown out the scents of all this meat walking around.

Weather's no friend to the homeless. It's either too hot, too cold or too wet. Shelter's hard to find, privacy even harder. She spends a lot of time hanging out in porta-potties near freeway construction sites until security runs her out.

That's fine when all she's doing is some heroin, or smoking a joint to dull down the edge. But blood doesn't keep and she needs to find a cool, dry place she won't be disturbed. Shooting up enough blood for a high takes time. Not like the old days when a little bit went a long way.

All of the doorways are already taken, covered over with plastic trash bags and threadbare sleeping bags, their occupants trying to stay dry. A few of them flash red eyes at her as she passes.

They're her people and they know she's holding. They can smell it on her. She hurries past them as quickly as she can.

The Normals on the street avoid her. Nobody wants to get near the wet, stinking homeless lady. Even the ones that know what she is, the people in the life who know that the magic's real no matter what the rest of the world believes, they give her an ever wider berth.

Like Mitchell said, vampire's just another word for junkie.

Only it's not like that, she thinks, crossing Sixth Street, making little hop runs from the awnings of one building to another to keep as dry as she can. It's not like that at all. If Mitchell knew what she could do, what she used to do, he'd be more afraid than contemptuous.

She finds a dumpster in a Little Tokyo alleyway sheltered by a fire escape. One side is an art deco building housing a silk flower company and the other is exclusive lofts for the hipsters paying 5K a month for the chance to pretend that they live in New York.

It's not dry, but it's better than nothing. She wishes she hadn't had her shopping cart stolen last week. If it had been a Normal, a cop or some asshole gangbanger looking for easy pickings, she would have been fine.

It's not easy, but sometimes she can still pull up enough of her old power to put the scare into somebody, make them leave her alone. Was a time it would have been just as easy to make them fall in love with her.

But this wasn't a Normal. Demon, maybe? Some unnamed monster trying to pass for human? Lot of those around. Beat her senseless, took all her stuff. Left her unconscious out in the sunlight all day. She's still got blisters.

At least it didn't take her works.

She pulls the kit from one jacket pocket and the bag of blood from the other. O positive. She laughs, a dry cracked sound. Remembers when she could tell the difference. Remembers when she cared.

She hovers over the blood bag to keep the water off, pulls her syringe, cotton balls, tubing, tape and a penknife. She used to have alcohol swabs and occasionally she'll get clean needles from one of the homeless church groups nearby, but she's been using the same ones for a while.

It doesn't really matter. It's not like disease is going to kill her.

The bag will last a couple of days, even a week if she's stingy. No good for humans, but it'll feed her just fine. She likes to stretch it out as long as she can. Who knows when she'll get another.

She pops the bag's seal with her syringe, draws out enough for a hit, seals it back up with a piece of tape.

Hands shaking. So close she can taste it. Hates herself for wanting it so badly. Tubing around her arm, bunching her fist to make the veins stand out.

And then an awning far above her gives way, dumping a shit ton of water right on top of her.

The needle falls from her hands, rolls into a puddle. The bag pops open, the pressure spraying blood over the pavement, the dumpster, her. She scrambles at it, but it runs away from her on a current of brackish rainwater.

When she finally gets hold of the bag, it's spent. Nothing but a thin film of red left on the inside. She carves a fast slice into her arm with the penknife, squeezes the watered down blood into the wound, but she knows it's no use. The best she can get is a little electric tingle in her arm.

She drops the bag, stares at it floating in a puddle, her breath coming out in hitching gasps. She thinks she might be crying, but mostly she's just stunned.

It's all gone. Between losing her shopping cart and her works there's nothing left but the clothes on her back and the shoes on her feet. She wants to die.

The fucked up thing? She can't.


The cops find her sitting against the dumpster a couple hours later. The rain can only wash away so much. Her anorak is soaked red to the point it's almost black. Her hair, already stringy from not being washed in two weeks, is caked in the stuff. Blood has run into the wrinkles and crevices of her face, the lines around her eyes.

"Ma'am?" one of them says, squatting in the rain and shining a flashlight into her face.

She doesn't say anything and when he nudges her with the flashlight she falls over and lands in a puddle with a small splash.

"Shit," the cop says.

"She dead?" says the other.

"Fuck, I don't know."

"Flip you for it." The other cop pulls a coin from his pocket, flips it off his thumb, catches it and slaps it on his forearm.

"Heads," the first cop says.

"Nope. I'll call it in from the warmth and comfort of our luxurious Crown Vic. Enjoy baby-sitting."

"Blow me."

The second cop blows a kiss to the first and walks away laughing.

She's been picked up by the cops before. They'll occasionally pick her up on a 5150, an involuntary psychiatric hold. Let her back into the streets a little while later.

Except this time she won't be here.

She gives it a few minutes to make sure the other cop is out of earshot. She'll probably have about fifteen or twenty minutes. More than enough time to do what she needs to do and get away. And that's the key there. Getting away. Because there's no going back.

Before she can talk herself out of it she moves with lightning speed, grabbing the penknife from the ground and shoving it deep into the cop's carotid. She moves so fast he doesn't even have time to draw his gun and the only sound he can make is a thick, wet gurgle.

She doesn't weigh much, but it's enough to knock him down. Instead of trying to shove her off the cop is trying to go for this throat, stop the bleeding. She pretty much puts the kibosh on that plan with a half a dozen other quick jabs through his larynx. Soon his only movement is a series of fast, shallow gasps as his body tries to pull in oxygen to feed the blood that isn't there.

She pulls the syringe from her coat pocket, jams it into the spasming artery, fills it full of blood. She's tempted to shoot it up and ride the high, but if she loses her concentration and gets caught up in it she's fucked.

Though she gets the rush when she jabs the syringe into her arm and shoots the cop's blood into her desiccated veins, she's able to push the high away, keep her focus. But just barely.

She doses up the syringe four more times, squirting the blood into the spent blood bag. It's not much but it will last her a few days if she only takes small hits. She doses herself up once more and though the rush is nothing like the first time, what, ninety years ago A hundred? It's enough to wake her up, remind her of who she is. Of what she is.

She scoops up her works and the blood bag in a rapid sweep that's too fast to register. She hasn't had that much blood in a long time. And sure as shit not that fresh. Her veins are thrumming with it. Her brain is on fire. She watches the crevices in her hands, the wrinkled skin disappear as the flesh plumps out. She stands up straight and hears the bones in her spine crack from being bent over too long. Her hair goes gold, cascades in shimmering ringlets around her face.

When's the last time she had fresh blood? She can't remember. Can't remember the last time she killed a man. Fifty years ago, maybe sixty. Before everything went to shit.

Before she took The Deal.

And now she's broken it.

The fear's a distant echo through the singing blood, but not so far away that she can't hear it. She needs to go before the second cop shows, before the paramedics get there.

Before THEY come for her.

She leaps from the ground to the second story fire escape, climbs one handed up the iron frame like a mad monkey. Giddy from the power, the memory of the power. It's like being a paraplegic who can suddenly walk.

When she gets to the top she runs to the far edge, takes a leap that sends her flying across the alley to the roof of the next building. She does this half a dozen, a dozen times, until she comes to the 101 freeway and its traffic of late night truckers. One more jump and she's scot free.

Grab the top of an interstate truck and ride it out to Nevada or Arizona. Maybe take it up north. By the time the sun comes up she'll be far enough away that she can find a place to hole up. And it's not like she can't handle a couple hours of sun without blistering, a few days without really feeling the hit.

She'll start a new life. Go back to the old ways. Taking blood, like she should, not blowing junkies in alleys for spare change to get a hit. She'll set herself up like she did in the Twenties. A fine house, fast cars, full blooded men.

She sees a truck coming down the freeway with Arizona plates. Perfect. Another minute and she'll be getting out of this shit town with its shit rules.

"Where do you think you're going, Lillian?" The voice stops her dead.

"I'm leaving, Brady," she says, turning to face the man. He's tall, heavily muscled. Looks young, but looks are deceiving. He's almost a hundred years old. "I'm leaving and I'm not fucking coming back."

"You know the rules," he says. "You think they'll be any different anywhere else? You can't do that. I can't let you do that. You too The Deal."

She can hear the capital letters.

"It was a shit deal," she says.

"You knew what you were signing up for."

"Yeah, a life scraping along lower than the low while you fuckers in your corner offices laughed at us. Where you could protect us for our own good. And if we don't sign up, well we just conveniently disappear. Where do you get your blood, Brady? Huh? You got a stable of Albanian houseboys who's dicks you suck to get a hit? What makes you so fucking special?"

He pauses and Lillian expects him to spout the party line. "We're just like you," he'll say. "We're better equipped to handle things. We can't draw attention. We have to maintain order."

Instead he says, "Numbers."

She blinks in surprise. "What?"

"Come on, Lillian. You and I both know it's bullshit. We've always known it's bullshit. It's a fucked deal for you because we don't like you and there are more of us than there are of you. You're all just a bunch of fucking animals."

"Yeah," she says, knowing that this admission from him means she's got nothing left to lose. "I'm an animal. And if it were the other way around, you'd be an animal, too."

"You killed a cop, Lillian," he says, and she can tell he's back to spouting to the same political bullshit he always has. "They're going to hunt you down. They're going to kick over the hill and find all the termites and one dead cop will be the least of our problems. This is going to fuck all of us. You, me, the people on the street. So come on. I promise I can make your death painless."

"Bullshit." Vampires don't die easy. Most don't die at all. Wooden stakes, silver bullets, that's all a crock of shit. Want to get rid of one of her kind you pretty much have to dump them in acid. And even then you better let them stew for a good long while.

Brady's face hardens. "We wanted to do this easily," he says. "Why do you always have to make things so fucking hard?"

"You said we," Lillian says, looking around. Her night eyes are freshly blooded and she can see a squirrel under a dumpster from fifty feet away. There's nobody around but the two of them.


She answers him with a leap that would put a tiger to shame. Slams into his chest with the force of a freight train, ripping through his clothes, his chest, pulling on bone and meat, taking him apart. Tearing him into pieces.

Even then he struggles. She's got the advantage. Fresh blood, he's on his back, she got the first shot.

But most important, she's really pissed off.

He gets a few good shots in, tearing deep furrows into her face and arms, tears out her left eye. But she's so high she can't even feel it. A month or two of some decent blood and it'll grow back.

He finally stops moving when she tears out his heart. Before the light fades in his eyes, she holds it over him, smiles, makes sure he's looking.

And takes a big bite like it's an apple.

He won't be dead long, but it'll be long enough.

She collects her stuff, wipes the blood out of her remaining eye and turns back to the freeway.

A promising truck with Minnesota plates barrels down toward her. She'll have to get a shower soon, some new clothes. Figure out a cover story and a place to hole up. But it's not like she hasn't done that before.

This time she won't let anyone stop her.


Monday, August 01, 2011


A while ago I got the opportunity to read the manuscript for John Hornor Jacobs' fantastic book SOUTHERN GODS, which hit shelves last week. It's the story of WWII vet Bull Ingram who gets hired to track down a blues musician in the backwoods of Arkansas in the early fifties. Seems he's been making quite a scene through a pirate radio station. Rumor is he's sold his soul to the devil to make his tunes.

Turns out he's sold himself to a lot worse than that.

This is Lovecraftian Southern Gothic. It's got blues and family, horror and magic. I love this book. It doesn't shy away from horrors of family any more than it shies from the gibbering, squamous, eldritch-horror-from-the-stars type.
I asked John if he'd like to pop on over and say a few things about the book. 

Take it away, John.


Second guessing yourself as a writer or author ain’t a good feeling. I don’t know about you guys, but now that my book is out, I do think, occasionally, “Should I have included that?” It’s not an all-the-time worry. But the question crops up at certain points as I go along my merry way.

Times when my mom, or her friends, or the family priest, tell me they’re excited to read Southern Gods. A little voice in the back of my head goes, “Oh shit, they’re gonna think I’m a monster. A godless monster.” Then another little voice, this one more insistent, says, “Hell YES! Another sale. GET MONEY.”

But I do worry about how folks will think of me after reading it. Will they think me a psychotic gore-loving freak? A sex-fiend? A perv?

There’s a pretty graphic sex scene in Southern Gods. While I don’t keep the camera on it long enough to describe the inevitable gooey end, i.e. the money shot, I’ve been told by people I respect that the sex wasn’t needed. A British author of considerable note said, “If I had any complaint about your book it’s that the sex scene was unnecessary. Was it truly needed for the story?”

I say yes. Those characters needed to have a little fun before the things I put them through. And, of course, the story had been building – rising even – to that point. Their dialogue afterwards deepens the readers understanding of them as real people and also furthers the plot. The money shot, however, wasn’t needed, so I didn’t write that. It might have been titillating, but not gratuitous. Heh. Titillating.

My gay friend who read the book said, “John, the sex scene went on for like…uh…thirty pages!” I checked. It’s a little less than two pages.

Do I care if people think me skeevy? Hell yeah I do. I’m only your average everyday business-as-usual typical male skeevy, not some slavering, moist-palm overcoat-wearing-jumping-out-of-bushes skeevy.

Yeah, I worry about stuff. The violence? Again, I think about my mom’s polite and powdered ladies of the Little Rock Country Club – wonderful women all – and their expressions when they get to the point when Bull is doing some revenant clobbering, or some money collection. They’ll probably like the sex. I worry about what they’ll think of me when they get to the end.

Hmmm. The end.

Without giving anything away, I do some things to characters at the end of my book – characters I’d grown to love in the telling of my tale – that were cruel and horrific. But not gratuitous. Never that. Writing the end was hard. I had to consider writing it in a way that was less harsh, more happy. In the end, I had to make the choice to keep the initial ending I wrote because, simply, bad things happen to people. Things do not work out as you want and there’s value to that lesson. Hell, from what I understand from my crime writer friends, that’s what noir is all about. To put these characters through hell and then pull the punch at the end would be doing myself a disservice. And, by proxy, my readers.

But I still worry what people will think of me.

Shit, not much I can do about that now.

I hope you buy a copy and make your own decisions. But remember.

I AM NOT A MONSTER. At least not in real life.

SOUTHERN GODS is available in paper, audio and even on them new-fangled Kindle devices.