Tag Archives: horror/comedy

‘Tis Me, Hanging from the Horror Tree…

I have the great honor this week to be the subject of the weekly author interview at the website Horror Tree. I was very pleased to discover that the interviewer Ruschelle Dillon took time to cyberstalk me and compose original questions just for me. So if any of you out there are curious about my previous life as a mime or a special effects artist, feel free to drop in at the link below:

https://horrortree.com/

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Writer stuff

The Squirrel Apocalypse is Nigh!

I know you folks have been waiting for a while, but the time is here. I have signed a contract with Hydra Publishing for my next book: Squirrel Apocalypse. It is a profound rumination on how a shattered man cannot return to his idyllic childhood retreat, and when he tries, it winds up being overrun by killer GMO squirrels.

Set in the halcyon days before marijuana went legal in Northern California, it is a maniacal romp with geriatric pot farmers, drug cartels, dairy cows, a radio voice like sex on buttered toast, and squirrels. Lots and lots of squirrels.

I have no definite publication date yet, but it should be some time this summer. Catch it upon its release and finally learn the answer to the question: “How is karma like a squirrel in a blender?”

And now for a slightly related musical interlude:

Leave a comment

Filed under Silly stuff, Writer stuff

Dead Rabbits on Imbolc

Merry Imbolc, or Candlemas, or Groundhog’s Day. Whatever floats your metaphysical boat upon your noumenal reservoir. It is a time to contemplate renewal amidst the cold and dark of winter, a time to take stock of your resolutions in the second month of the new year. Or a time for dead black magicians to return from the grave. Your choice.

This is an excerpt from “The Ren Faire at the End of the World” which happens in Arcanum on Imbolc. This explains a little why Arcanum Ohio is the scariest town in the world:

 

Marc followed the trail through the slush left by yellow-suited crime scene technicians. In one of the older quarters of the Arcanum cemetery, yellow police tape was strung from yew tree to yew tree to cordon off the ruins of the Stone family mausoleum. Photographers and deputies slipped under the tape going back and forth.

Brenwyn stood at the outskirts of the activity, wrapped in a gray woolen cloak. She was poised as if listening carefully to something no one else could hear. As Marc came up beside her, he could see that her eyes were closed.

“I should have known that we’d wind up in a graveyard at some point,” he said.

“We all do,” she replied, her eyes still closed.

“Cheery.” He sighed. A graveyard is a tough room for comedy. “Picking up anything on your radar? Besides the police calls, that is?”

Brenwyn opened her eyes. They were a flat grey today that nearly matched her cloak. The three vertical scars on her cheek seemed even darker against her olive skin for some reason. She drew closer to Marc.

“There is something behind this, something that goes back before Jeremiah’s death,” the young witch said. “It is vast and dark and hidden.”

“Isn’t that pretty much what ‘Arcanum’ means?”

He at least got a lopsided smile out of her for his efforts.

“Do you know what today is?” she asked.

Marc did some quick calculations in his head.

“Our three-and-a-half-month anniversary?”

“Possibly.” She acknowledged that with a nod. “It is also Imbolc today.”

“And that is?”

“One of the eight Great Sabbats, it is a time of renewal after Midwinter,” she said. “You would know it as Groundhog’s Day.”

“So, there’s a chance that we’ll go through this morning over and over again?”

“Not likely. But Jeremiah did say something about the groundhog seeing his shadow this year.”

Marc knew that the last message from Brenwyn’s ex was just a trick of modern phone technology, recorded as he stood with the noose around his neck and left on her answering machine two weeks later, but the thought of that little goth weasel coming back from the dead still made his skin crawl. There was only one rational response:

“Rat’s ass.”

“Rat’s ass, indeed.”

Brenwyn leaned in closer and Marc wrapped a protective arm around her. As they settled into each other for warmth, a low, cultured voice boomed out from behind them.

“Aw, how touching: The conspirators share an intimate moment.”

Marc and Brenwyn turned towards the sound, separating as they did. Lieutennant Throckmorton of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation stood there, smiling, a tall black man in a cheap black suit. Marc put a hand on Brenwyn’s shoulder and pulled her back beneath his arm.

“Good morning, Lt. Throckmorton,” Brenwyn purred with false cheer. “Did Sheriff Latchke call you also?”

“Maybe to help string yellow police tape?” Marc added.

“I am engaged in an ongoing investigation, if you don’t mind.” The long-standing animosity between him and Brenwyn over his investigation of Jeremiah Stone was evident in his voice.

“Oh no, do go ahead. Detect or do whatever you do,” she said.

“You’re too kind, Ms. Czarnecky. Would you two care to join me at the crime scene?” He gestured as if showing them to their seats in the theater.

Marc looked anxiously at Brenwyn. She gave him the slightest of nods.

“I was, actually, hoping to get a look,” he said.

“Perhaps, you could share some thoughts,” Throckmorton replied.

Throckmorton turned and headed for what was left of the miniature Gothic cathedral that housed generations of the Stone family dead. Marc and Brenwyn followed him at a distance.

“Careful, dear…” Brenwyn murmured.

“I know,” Marc replied. “As always, I’m the prime suspect.”

#

A single whoop of the siren shattered the morning peace as the sheriff arrived last on the crime scene. Marc could see, even from outside the perimeter, that the Stone family mausoleum was simply shattered.

One side of the ornate structure had collapsed, scattering its rough-cut red granite stones over the dead grass and crushed foliage. The interiors of two of the crypts were visible through the breach in the nearest wall. There was one coffin missing.

A leafless magnolia leaned away from the building. The tree’s roots raised into the air along with a mat of turf and soil. Patchy snow around the grounds was trampled to slush by a myriad of what looked to be animal footprints.

The sheriff and a half-dozen of his deputies gathered around his SUV on the far side of the building to go over the situation within the cordon of yellow police tape. None of them seemed interested in a visiting contractor and witch.

Lt. Throckmorton stood waiting for Marc and Brenwyn at the edge of the crime scene.

“Thank you for coming down,” he said. “I’d appreciate any insight you might have.”

As they drew closer, Marc started to make his usual assessment of another male:

Could I take him in a fair fight?

Then, Marc remembered this was the same state cop that had stood by without complaint as Jeremiah’s father threatened to blow Marc’s brains out. He decided it best to cooperate and make no sudden moves.

Brenwyn looked quietly horrified at the desecration of the tomb. Marc was honestly impressed by the sheer scale of the damage.

“My God, what a mess,” Marc said. “Any idea who did this?”

What did this,” Brenwyn corrected. “Do you remember the Samhain bonfire? The second one?”

She could be referring to any number of horrors that gathered around the illegal bonfire Jeremiah had set on the faire grounds, from protean demons from before the time of Creation to the flock of skinned rabbits and squirrels possessed by those spirits. From the clues, Marc was guessing something compact and skinless.

“Looks bad, smells bad, about the size of a shoe box?”

“That would sum it up.”

Throckmorton lifted up the tape to allow Marc and Brenwyn to pass underneath it.

“What are you two talking about?” the lieutenant asked irritably.

“Nothing,” Marc chirped. “Nothing at all.”

Marc moved closer to the mausoleum and hunkered down, squatting to avoid putting the knees of his black BDUs in the mud.

“Please don’t touch anything, Mr. Sindri,” Throckmorton warned.

“I’ve seen enough cop shows to know that.” Marc pointed at mud and stone of the shattered foundation. “Have you taken a look at these marks?”

Throckmorton crouched down beside him.

“I haven’t had a chance yet.”

“These aren’t tool marks, at least not any kind of tool I would have used. It looks more like this area was dug up by animals.”

The lieutenant eyed him dubiously.

“That’s ridiculous.”

“Any more ridiculous than digging with a blade a quarter-inch wide?” Marc asked. “What would have that—a bonsai yard rake?”

“We have people in the state lab who can work that out.”

That sounded like the classic lie: We’re from the government, we’re here to help. Marc looked up at Brenwyn, who only shrugged sadly in response.

“Yeah, right,” Marc said.

Marc stood and slowly surveyed the ground around him. He focused his attention on a large stone angel toppled from the mausoleum. It seemed to be making a pained mewling sound.

“Hey, there’s something under this.” Marc started over to the statue as he spoke.

“Why do you say that?”

“Statues don’t make noise on their own—normally.”

Throckmorton slipped on a pair of black rubber gloves and handed Marc a pair.

“Let me call one of the photographers,” the lieutenant said.

“You might wish to wait on that,” Brenwyn advised.

“Sure, this might be nothing.” Marc backed up her point. “Whatever it is, I’m sure it won’t run away.”

Throckmorton shrugged.

“Whatever you think best.”

Marc and Throckmorton rolled the stone angel onto its side with a good deal of straining and grunting. An undead, skinless rabbit was underneath, all brownish-green and smelling as bad as it looked. The creature’s feet and tail were still fluffy though filthy. The falling angel had pushed it into the soft soil, splaying out its limbs like an “x.”

“What the Hell is that?” the policeman asked.

“We do not really have a precise definition,” Brenwyn replied.

The bunny pulled its head out of the earth and screamed, a sound like fingernails on a chalkboard.

All the other investigators on-scene stopped to crane their heads to locate the sound.

Marc and Brenwyn took a step back and both tried to look innocent.

Throckmorton levelled his gun it at the creature that continued to pull itself out of the earth with agonizing slowness.

“You don’t want to do that,” Marc said.

“Your reason being…” There was quite an edge in the cop’s normally smooth voice,

“It’s already dead,” Marc said. “How are you going to write that up in your gunfire report?”

Throckmorton kept his gun trained on the zombie rabbit as it shook off the dirt and limped off into the bushes. Its hindquarters angled away from the rest of its body where its back was broken.

Only after it had disappeared into the bushes did a gangly crime tech with his Darke County windbreaker thrown over a “Cthulhu for President” tee-shirt show up on the scene. He quickly took in Marc holding Brenwyn and Throckmorton pointing his gun at a breach in the bushes.

“What the Hell was that?”

“An injured rabbit,” Brenwyn said somewhat honestly.

“Was it hurt bad?” For a man who spent his workdays at scenes of death and mayhem, he sounded awfully concerned.

“I can guarantee you that rabbit is never getting any better,” Marc said.

“Sadly true.” Brenwyn nodded in agreement.

“And the gun, Lieutenant? Was the rabbit under arrest?” No amount of compassion, it seemed, could prevent a little bit of inter-departmental snark.

“I was—um—intending to, uh, put it out of its misery.”

Embarrassed, Throckmorton re-holstered his gun.

“Unfortunately, he got away.”

“I could go find him.” The crime tech made one step towards the bushes.

Marc, Brenwyn, and Throckmorton all shouted at once:

“No!”

“Okay, whatever.” He shrugged and obviously chose not to argue with the man with the sidearm. “Let me know if you need me.” The tech went back to work at the far side of the tomb. The others all remained pretty much motionless until he was gone.

“What the Hell is going on here?” Throckmorton asked through gritted teeth.

“Appropriate choice of words.” Marc turned to Brenwyn. “Do demons actually come from Hell?”

Brenwyn easily slipped into the pedantic mode that Michael seemed to live in:

“There is no such thing as Hell. That is a Judeo-Christian fiction to maintain hegemony over the under-educated masses.”

“What?” snapped the Lieutenant.

“So if there is no Hell, those aren’t really demons reanimating the bodies of dead rodents and lagomorphs?”

“What!?”

“They are amorphous primeval remnants of Creation,” Brenwyn replied, “but if it make you more comfortable to call them ‘demons,’ feel free, dear.”

Throckmorton put his hand on the hilt of his pistol.

“I swear, I am going to shoot someone if you two don’t stop talking gibberish.”

“He seems a bit unhinged,” Marc observed.

“It happens quite a bit here, lately,” the young witch responded.

“You still haven’t answered my question.”

“There are some things in this universe,” Brenwyn told Throckmorton, “that cannot be explained in simple terms.”

“And they all live here in Arcanum!” Marc added cheerily.

Leave a comment

Filed under Writer stuff

Launching the End of the World.

The month of December has been a rough month: I’ve been ill, I’ve lost my writing mews, and my family has been inundated with tuxedos (long, but different story). On the positive: we are hosting my book release party at The Alley tomorrow for The Ren Faire at the End of the World, we have matching black kittens Yule and Solstice, and I did this radio interview with my publisher PMP,  link below.

I would like to blather on, but I have a party to prepare for and a reading to practice, and I am still not one hundred per cent. Hope to see many of you tomorrow!

https://www.facebook.com/events/258943501303355/

http://www.postmortem-press.com/BEYOND-THE-WRITTEN-WORD.php

Leave a comment

Filed under Writer stuff

The Time of Sex, Magick, and Power Tools is Ending

My third book in the Arcanum Faire trilogy, The Ren Faire at the End of the World, is now live as an ebook on Amazon. Other venues to activate shortly. You can see at the link below.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077MG44CZ

It is a little sad to leave the town of Arcanum, OH and its whacko inhabitants after over a decade. but there are new adventures to chronicle. I am nearly done with my tale of the Squirrel Apocalypse. After that, I attack my non-eurocentric steampunk series.

For those of you who are Netgalley accredited reviewers, the second book of Arcanum Faire, Power Tools in the Sacred Grove, is available for request/download. With luck I will be able to upload RFEW to be available December 1.

https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/book/125017

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Writer stuff

There is no punchline

We are just days away from the release of “Ren Faire at the End of the World”, the third book of my Arcanum Faire trilogy. It will be November 28th for the trade paperback edition and November 21st for the ebook. Dread Central will be hosting a cover reveal on their site between now and then. This link will be live as of 11/16/17 at 09:30 PT:

http://www.dreadcentral.com/?p=260529

Until the 28th, I have a little taste of the opening of RFEW to pique your interest. As always, watch the bushes and keep a shovel handy at all times.

 

THE THREE LURKERS

A paparazzi, an OSHA inspector, and a Vatican priest hunkered down behind the bushes outside Camp Arcanum.

Unfortunately, there is no punchline to this story, Jeff Lazarro thought as he knelt in the ice-cold mud. Ms. Snowden, the disgraced OSHA inspector with a face like a weasel sucking a lemon, squatted just behind him. Her pale wool coat matched her short platinum blonde hair, which fortunately blended into the drifts of snow behind them. Monsignor Valcarcel, on Jeff’s other side, wore a navy pea coat over his black priest’s cassock. Only the white tab of the rugged old man’s color and his ruddy nose gave him away as anything other than a tree stump.

All Jeff wanted was some nice juicy pictures. With the trifecta of Sex, Suicide, and Satanism following Jeremiah Stone’s death, demand had pushed prices into the stratosphere. Marc Sindri had cost Jeff his next boat payment when he had caught Jeff and erased the card that held a few dozen images of a New Year’s Day co-ed fistfight just outside these three Airstream trailers

Snowden’s mission in life was to prove that either monsters were real and lurking on the grounds of the renaissance faire or that Sindri had rigged the whole thing as a prank to scuttle her workplace inspection. Sometimes, she speculated that he had maybe hired the monsters. Also, she wanted her clipboard back.

The priest, when he spoke, warned of a threat to souls of all involved in black magic and New Age heresy at this renaissance faire. Having Valcarcel tag along gave Jeff the same guilty feeling he got after admitting to his dentist he’d forgotten to floss, but their resources together were far better than lurking in separate bushes…

Valcarcel took a sip of his fortified coffee and pulled down a branch to get a clear view of the old barn, gravel track, and trailers that made up Camp Arcanum.

“You know,” the old priest muttered, “I would give my left nut to know what’s going on in that trailer right now.”

Jeff didn’t know what use a celibate priest might have for his testicles, but his feelings were pretty much the same.

Leave a comment

Filed under Silly stuff, Writer stuff

Book Signing at Karen’s Book Barn

Next Saturday, I will be making a road trip south to LaGrange KY. With C. Bryan Brown and our publisher Eric Beebe, we will be signing books filled with vampires, witches, detectives, and undead skinless bunnies. Look for us at 2 pm, Chris with “They Are Among Us,” and me with “Camp Arcanum” and “Power Tools in the Sacred Grove.”

You can check out the Facebook event here for details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1670163616604021/

Or simply contact

Karen’s Book Barn

127 East Main Street

LaGrange, KY 40031

502.222.0918

night-photo-of-la-grange

Thank you Gary Knapp for such a wonderful shot.

Leave a comment

Filed under Writer stuff

A special offer from Post Mortem Press

I don’t usually shout “Buy my book!” but my publisher has set up a special offer to introduce you to my “Arcanum Faire” series. You can get both “Camp Arcanum” and “Power Tools in the Sacred Grove” for only $4.99. Click on over and check it out. Enjoy, and watch out for reanimated roadkill on the information superhighway.

https://ganxy.com/i/102547/josef-matulich/the-arcanum-faire-series

Leave a comment

Filed under Writer stuff

Power Tools in the Sacred Grove

As Marc pulled into Camp Arcanum, Mr. Fixit’s headlights caught something sparkling in the dark. He vaguely remembered that Eleazar and Michael had erected an artificial Christmas tree beside the picnic table. Orange extension cords coiled around it as garland. Chrome-plated box-end wrenches dangled from the branches as ornaments and reflected light like mirrors. A mechanic’s trouble light took the place of a star on the top.

He growled under his breath at the waste of time and tools. At the last moment, he decided to park beside it instead of on top of it.

Marc slumped out of his car and into his trailer. He didn’t bother with the lights inside. Stripping his clothes off as he went, he fell into bed. He knocked over the pictures of women he didn’t know and burrowed under the covers, hoping he didn’t dream about Brenwyn, Jeremiah, or any of the other denizens of Arcanum.

#

Eleazar made the circuitous run of the last few hundred yards into camp driving with only his left hand on the wheel. His other hand spent most of its happy time between the thighs of Esmeralda, an exotic beauty he had met that evening in Arcanum. That he was able to negotiate the turns, the clutch, the gear shift, and a curvaceous Brazilian was a tribute to his superb physical coordination.

He pulled his gypsy wagon into its habitual space and his paramour for the evening was upon him before the engine had even died. He found her enthusiasm to be encouraging. He did everything he could to encourage her in turn.

The two of them made it out of the truck without injury and commenced across the gravel drive, the stairs and trailer door while linked lip-to-lip. Once inside, Esmeralda’s outer clothes came off as if buttered. Eleazar was doing his best to catch up when he was distracted by the sound of bedsprings. His blood froze as he saw the naked form of his boss, the surly giant that beat monsters to death with a shovel, rising out of shadows.

“What the Hell are you doing in my trailer?” Marc rumbled.

#

To discover how bad things can go from here, catch my reading from my second novel “Power Tools in the Sacred Grove” this Sunday at the Book Loft: 631 S 3rd St, Columbus, OH 43206, (614) 464-1774.  Barring bad weather, I will be in the garden between 1 and 3 p.m., reading, signing, and perhaps hand out bribes of sweets.

Leave a comment

Filed under Writer stuff

Unleash the Minions with Hedgetrimmers!

After a little over a year, it’s official: “Power Tools in the Sacred Grove”, the sequel to “Camp Arcanum”, is available. It has all the magick and twice the sex and power tools of the first volume.

After only a few weeks in Arcanum Ohio, Marc Sindri finds himself in love with Brenwyn the witch; hospitalized by Jeremiah Stone’s sex-conjured demon; and woefully behind in his construction deadlines to open the new renaissance faire by May first. Moving in with Brenwyn for protection from further supernatural attacks during his rehabilitation, Marc delegates the work on Arcanum Faire to his minions, Eleazar the ren faire libertine and Michael the overwrought artisan.

The path to the faire’s opening day is not smooth, obstructed by invisible tentacle demons, undead skinless bunnies, interference from OSHA and even the Vatican, but Marc slowly recovers. With luck, he will soon be healthy enough to lift a chainsaw or survive sex. Through a vegan Thanksgiving, a tool-bedecked Christmas, and lovers’ spats with a woman that can throw lightning bolts, Marc makes his way mostly unscathed.

If only his semi-erotic dream about hedgetrimmers and a sacred grove didn’t end up leaking into Brenwyn’s sleeping mind.

I am already currently working on the third book, its working title “The Beltane Faire”. It will prove to be as great a battle between Good and Evil as Pellenor Fields, if fought between reanimated road kill and renaissance faire performers.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/power-tools-in-the-sacred-grove-josef-matulich/1121679659?ean=9780692399309
http://www.amazon.com/Power-Tools-Sacred-Grove-Arcanum-ebook/dp/B00V93C0VO

Leave a comment

Filed under Writer stuff