For several years this writing project was lodged in the recesses of my brain. I’d finish a story, then before I could start the next, life would intercede. When the pandemic paused the daily routine, I suddenly had no excuses as to why the book wasn’t finished.
To force myself to wrap it up, I paused writing and focused instead on the design of the book. I was convinced that if I could hold the physical form in my hands, maybe that’d give me the push I needed. The cover art and form factor had to hearken back to the mass-market paperbacks of the ’60s I’m fond of. The title doesn’t relate much to the stories within, but it does evoke an overall mood, so the art had to mirror that.
While working on the collection, I continually ran ideas by my good pal, Pat Sheehan. He contributed the back cover painting after reading the final story in the book.
My wife, Sophie, served as editor for the entire project.
The five stories recall a distant time - when you’d find yourself driving along an interstate only to see a stranger staring at you from the side of the road.
The doldrums of a dead-end retail gig are interrupted by a bizarre phone call. Read an excerpt
Hell is Real (Estate)
A real estate agent gets saddled with the absolute worst of clients.
The Fertility Riff in E Minor
A desperate teenager begs his guitar instructor to teach him the devil’s music.
Two wrestlers struggle to stay in character while touring the deep south. Read an excerpt
The Cleanest Gas Station Bathroom in all of Georgia
An insecure photographer chases fame, but finds something more sinister. Read an excerpt