2021: A MACABRE YEAR IN REVIEW, IN LOVE AND IN WRITING.

It’s difficult for me to recall what I’ve done in the previous week, not to mention an entire year. Thankfully, I’ve got many documents and journal entries to remind me just what the hell happened in 2021. One is tempted to speak only on one’s victories, to cherry-pick only the bright spots in one’s life. But of course, isn’t it better to include the panoply of human experience? With every joy and victory there is despair and failure!

I’ll start with the failures, but shall end on only positive notes:

I received around 40 rejections from publishers regarding short stories, poems, and essays. I wrote a 114,000 word-length novel, and in the end, didn’t much like it. I began writing another novel, got 20,000 words in, then didn’t have enough inspiration to complete it. I struggled for months over short stories. What was once a joy and release had become a chore. I was writing every day, yes, but the stories were no good. I became frustrated and slightly depressed. I got restless. Drank a bit too much.

Now, onto the positives, which I believe will vastly outweigh what I’ve shared thus far:

All in all, I wrote 29 short stories, 1 short screenplay, 1 giant novel, 3 personal essays, 83 poems, and 3 journal books. I pat myself on the back and say, “Not bad, kid.” All the while, I’m hoping to do even better in the upcoming year.

When I fell into that uninspired slump with my stories, I counteracted by drastically changing my routine. Instead of writing a short story every week, as I’d been doing the past two years, I decided to write one poem a day for an entire month! This resulted in a full-length poetry book, titled, “I Grew Up in a Haunted House”, which I aim to edit and publish. After that, I wrote a personal essay every week, and came up with some decent pieces that way.

Along with 40 story rejections, and many “non-responses” (or, at the very least, eternally pending responses . . . ) from publishers, I was able to sell three stories I’d written. Here they are:

“If Fish Could Scream” was sold to Forlorn-The Periodical.

“Out Beneath the Jack O’ Lantern Sky” was sold to Hellbound Books for their Madame Gray’s Vault of Gore anthology.

“Billy’s First Haircut” was sold and will appear in an upcoming issue of Cosmic Horrror Monthly — which I’m incredibly excited about.

I’ve also compiled a NEW short story collection (I’ll be editing this and sending it off to publishers soon, hoping to publish traditionally as opposed to self-publishing, as I’ve done with all of my books thus far).

TWO of my stories were also featured in WEIRDSMITH: Number One, from Too Much Weird press. I also independently published MATTERS MOST MACABRE, my proudest work to date (which has also collected many excellent reviews), as well as published GATOR HOUSE, a novelette, which has received mostly good, yet mixed reviews.

Today is January 1st of 2022, and I’ve began it by pounding out 4000+ words and finishing a new short story, “An Obsolete Art”, which I believe readers are truly going to enjoy. It’s a slow build of a story, yet with an utterly macabre pay-off!

As for my next creative project, I’ll be directing a debut film, a fifteen minute black-and-white supernatural feature called, “A Bell-Tierney Christmas Mystery”, which is currently in pre-production and will be shot in early February. I’ve got some great actor-friends tagged to this film. I’m incredibly nervous and excited to make it.

Best of all, above even writing and art, 2021 is the year I married the love of my life, Tessandra. We are closer, and happier, than we’ve ever been in our six years together. I’m grateful for what will be, if I’m fortunate, many more years with this excellent (and patient) human being. She doesn’t merely put up with my idiosyncrasies and my ego, but rather accepts me as I am — and that is love.

In addition, I’ve had the honor and pleasure of being interviewed by the talented Candace Nola, for her website, Uncomfortably Dark. (See here, though you’ll have to scroll a bit: https://www.uncomfortablydark.com/blank-page-5). I also did an interview with Curtis Lawson, for his WYRD TRANSMISSIONS podcast. Admittedly, I was quite nervous for this interview, and could hardly be myself. Still, it was an honor.

I also lost a job this year (at the ‘haunted factory’, where I was a security guard working the graveyard shift — the best writing job one could imagine), as well as quit one of the worst factory jobs I’ve ever had, and am now quite content and grateful to work as a full-time bookseller at a Half-Price Books store in Minnesota.

A week ago, I (stupidly) crashed my car and wound up having to take out a loan to buy a another vehicle, but at least I have reliable transportation once again.

I am wishing friends, family, and fellow readers and writers much fulfillment in the New Year. I’ve included, in addition, my favorite books and films I’ve come across in 2021.

Best,

Tylor James.

Top 10 books I’ve Read in 2021:

The Complete Stories of Robert Bloch, Vol. 1

Age of American Unreason – Susan Jacoby

Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque – Joyce Carol Oates

How to Read and Why – Harold Bloom

STIFF: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers – Mary Roach

Shatterday – Harlan Ellison

Dandelion Wine – Ray Bradbury

The House on the Borderland – William Hope Hodgson

Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween – Lisa Morton

Top 10 Films Seen in 2021:

The Lighthouse (this has become one of my very favorite films!)

A Streetcar Named Desire

Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive (2017 documentary)

Strangers on a Train

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?

American Movie

Waking Life

Get Out

Vertigo

I’m Thinking of Ending Things

MATTERS MOST MACABRE, available in kindle, paperback, hardcover: https://www.amazon.com/Matters-Most-Macabre-Tylor-James-ebook/dp/B08Z7LM8TZ#:~:text=Matters%20Most%20Macabre%20is%20a,just%20plain%20weird%20you%20out!

GATOR HOUSE by Tylor James

Fellow Friends of the Macabre,

Might you enjoy an appetizer for the upcoming spooky season? Consider GATOR HOUSE, my new terrifying novelette, now available in kindle/paperback on Amazon. Beware, this tale of just eighty pages has teeth — sharp ones!

I had a great deal of fun writing his tale of beasts and men (which are worse? I cannot truly say), and can only hope my readers will have just as good a time reading it.

A link to the kindle ($2.99) and paperback ($6.99): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09F71Q9BR/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

Wishing you a most enjoyable spooky season,

Tylor James.

PS: If a short novelette isn’t what you’re looking for, I understand. You need something more to sink your teeth into, eh? In which case consider MATTERS MOST MACABRE, my highly-acclaimed, full-length collection of short stories. You can find that here in kindle/paperback, even hardcover: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08Z7LM8TZ/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i2

The New Tylor James Book: GATOR HOUSE, TBR on October 1st!

Fellow Friends of the Macabre,

The temperature is dropping, leaves are changing color, and before we know it, it will be Halloween night. In honor of the ‘spooky season’, many people enjoy reading horror books — either re-visiting classics they know and love, or reading something entirely new. I’m delighted to bring to your attention something of the latter: my novelette, GATOR HOUSE, will be published on October 1st in celebration of Halloween. At only 80 pages, it will provide you a tasty treat which you may consider an ‘appetizer’, before moving on to the delicious brain-meals that are Bram Stoker’s Dracula or Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.

If you enjoy reading about characters you can root for, and if you enjoy monsters, GATOR HOUSE is for you. For a better idea as to what you may be getting yourself into, here’s the backcover blurb:

Samantha and Amy are a happy couple on a honeymoon road trip. They can hardly wait to arrive at the Gulf of Mexico and dive into the sea for a refreshing moonlight swim.

Their rosy ideals are crushed when an unexpected detour in South Texas leads them to the GATOR HOUSE: an ancient, decaying farmhouse converted into a bar & restaurant. Strange, backwoods characters work and drink at the establishment. Muddy, sticky, mosquito-infested swampland surround the old house on all sides. Enormous alligators lurk in the dark with red eyes, waiting for the perfect moment to strike . . .

Will Samantha and Amy escape the threatening patrons of GATOR HOUSE? And if so, how will they defend themselves against the hungry alligators who have not tasted human flesh for nearly a month?

Time for the gators to feed.
Time for Amy and Samantha to find out what they are truly made of.

If this sounds like a good time to you, feel free to hit the pre-order link below for the kindle version, or eagerly await the October 1st release of the paperback.

Wishing you a most happy October season,

Tylor James.

PS: The incredibly talented writer/artist, Terry M. West (author of The Devil’s List, What Price Gory, among many other excellent horror books) designed the utterly wild cover art for GATOR HOUSE.

https://www.amazon.com/Gator-House-Tylor-James-ebook/dp/B09F71Q9BR/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&qid=1630936775&refinements=p_27%3ATylor+James&s=books&sr=1-1
Terry M. West’s cover design for GATOR HOUSE.

Uncomfortably Dark: My Interview with Candace Nola

Fellow readers, writers, and Friends of the Macabre,

Consider the following an informal newsletter as to what I’ve been up to, writing/publishing-wise.

The very first review for my new book, MATTERS MOST MACABRE, is now in and it’s overwhelmingly positive. Talented writer/reviewer, Candace Nola, has awarded it a full five stars, as well as interviewed me for her excellent website, Uncomfortably Dark. We talk about writing, creative influences, horror fiction, and more.

Feel free to check out that interview/review here: https://www.uncomfortablydark.com/blank-page-5

Thank you, Candace!

For my fellow readers, if you’d like to purchase my latest book in kindle, or paperback, or hardcover, I would be immensely grateful! Matters Most Macabre can be purchased here: https://www.amazon.com/Matters-Most-Macabre-Tylor-James-ebook/dp/B08Z7LM8TZ

Best,

Tylor James.

MATTERS MOST MACABRE (now available in paperback/kindle)

Fellow Friends of the Macabre,

I’d like to inform you that as of today (4/23/21) my best and latest book, MATTERS MOST MACABRE, is available in paperback and kindle, with a hardcover option on the way shortly.

I wrote this book “on the clock” during 2020, back when I worked as a security guard at a shut down cheese factory out in the middle of Nowhere, Wisconsin. The thirteen strange and bizarre tales featured in Matters Most Macabre will amuse, disturb, provoke thought, and just plain weird you out!

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in reading, please consider buying a copy. Buying books makes authors happy (especially this one). Here’s the Amazon link for Matters Most Macabre: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0939ZG3HV/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Matters+Most+Macabre&qid=1619170179&s=books&sr=1-1

Thank you, fellow friends, readers, writers, and Aficionados of the Strange, for your continued support. I’m hoping that you enjoy the book . . . as far as I’m aware, there will be many more to come in the years ahead.

Best,

Tylor James.

Cover design by the ever talented writer and artist, Greg Chapman

MATTERS MOST MACABRE (cover reveal/upcoming book by Tylor James)

Greetings boys and ghouls,

Just wanted to bring to your attention that I’ll have a new book out near the end of April! By my estimation, this is my very best work yet, and I’m hoping you’ll even consider nabbing a copy. What we have here are thirteen tales of the strange, the grotesque, and the macabre.

Here’s the wonderful cover design by Greg Chapman:

Here are the contents/stories:

  1. Introduction
  2. The Day the Stories Died
  3. Independence Day in Holebrim, Texas
  4. The Drip
  5. Godly Business
  6. Box of Chocolates
  7. The Typewriter
  8. When the Joke Grows Sharp Teeth
  9. The Shape
  10. Helga’s Helping Hands
  11. The Thing in Gregory Thornton’s Basement
  12. Order of the Wolf
  13. Avery’s Dog
  14. Everything is Broken
  15. Concluding Essay: The Stories Behind the Stories

I’m hoping fellow readers of dark/horror/weird fiction will enjoy this collection immensely. If you’re interested in reading some tales of mine, yet perhaps not invested enough to buy this book, I recommend reading WEIRDSMITH: Issue One, a very slim book containing just two stories of mine. It will give you a quality sampling of my work. Weirdsmith: Issue One is available on amazon for just .99 cents on Kindle, and $7.99 for paperback.

In other news, I’ve got tales popping up soon in April issues of The Periodical, Forlorn, Penumbric Speculative Fiction Magazine, and a future issue of Cosmic Horror Monthly.

Stay scary, friends,

Tylor James.

What Jasper Bark has to say about “WEIRDSMITH: ISSUE ONE”

Greetings friends and fellow readers,

It’s a lovely feeling when an author whom you highly respect compliments your work. Here’s what Jasper Bark, cult novelist and all-around literary Renaissance man, graciously had to say about WEIRDSMITH: Issue One:

In the space of these two stories, Tylor James puts the reader through an emotional wringer. Starting with a Roger Corman style, radioactive, body horror that is genuinely gruesome and highly chilling, Mosquito Summer left me wheezing on the floor holding my guts after the last line. Whereas the gentle lyricism of Old Dance Hall left me full of the sorrowful nostalgia that was once Rod Serling’s stock in trade. Be warned, if you pick this Weirdsmith up, you’re likely to find yourself hunting down everything else Tylor James has written.” — Jasper Bark, author of ‘Quiet Places’

Fellow dark fiction fans should know that WEIRDSMITH is a brand new series of novelette-length books from Too Much Weird press. Each issue features a talented author from the dark fiction/horror community. I’m fortunate enough to have two of my macabre tales selected for the first issue, available on kindle for 0.99 and in paperback for $7.99. Can’t beat those prices, eh?!?!

If interested, Weirdsmith: Issue One is available here: https://www.amazon.com/Weirdsmith-Magazine-Number-Tylor-James-ebook/dp/B08Q1WHZRQ/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=weirdsmith&qid=1611791211&s=books&sr=1-2