Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Rest In Peace Jack Ketchum

Shocked to hear the news.

It seems like every horror writer has a "When I met Dallas (his true name) story." That's because you can't forget the way he made you feel. I was standing there in a circle of folks, the discussion was "Favorite Stephen King Book" and out of the blue he pointed to me and asked which was my favorite. (I chose The Long Walk). He had a charm about him, a quietness, but still waters run deep, and his books. Oh, his books. "Who is the scariest guy in America? Probably Jack Ketchum," Stephen King so aptly said. 

There was little supernatural horrors to be found in his stories, there was only true horrors. The darkness that humans are capable of. And it is my belief that he wrote these not because he had a darkness to him, but a softness, or at least a sensitivity, that made him feel these horrors deeper.  Of course, the content would be nothing without his craft, which is what truly set him apart. The Girl Next Door should not be confused with shock horror, for its detachment, its point of view, and the fact it is based on a true story is what is the real takeaway. While reading Peaceable Kingdom I wrote Dallas with questions or comments about the stories, and he responded in kind. It made for an incredible reading experience. His last book with Lucky Mckee, Secret Life of Souls, had his signature dark sweetness (and a love for pets).

Jack gave me an author blurb that I cling to pretty hard.  He submitted one of his stories to Garden of Fiends . These are just two small ways he has touched me. There are hundreds of writers out there feeling the same, all one collective sigh of grief.  Dallas is who I point to as an example that the darkest of writers have the finest of hearts.

Rest in Peace. Although it feels like you are watching me now. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

GARDEN OF FIENDS is on the HWA Bram Stoker Preliminary Ballot for Superior Achievement in an Anthology

Thrilled to announce that GARDEN OF FIENDS: TALES OF ADDICTION HORROR is on the preliminary ballot for the Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Awards for Superior Achievement in the anthology category.

Who woulda thunkit after I perhaps stupidly shared my ambitions of seeing what other horror writers might come up with when tackling the topic of addiction. 

As a writer and recovering addict, this has been a very personal project of mine. The stories inside feature the insidious nature of addiction told with compassion yet searing honesty. Some of the most incredible names in horror fiction have tackled this modern day epidemic. 

The table of contents includes: Kealan Patrick Burke, Jessica McHugh, Max Booth III, Mark Matthews, John FD Taff, Glen Krisch, Johann Thorsson, and Jack Ketchum 

CLICK HERE to check out GARDEN OF FIENDS on Amazon

If you are a HWA voting member, please inquire within for your copy. Email to

Monday, January 8, 2018

New Release: BODY OF CHRIST (A Novella)


BODY OF CHRIST is a new release that drops Monday, January 8th. It is a transgressive work about grief, loss, and two young people who rely on the church for guidance, and find it in the strangest of ways. In some ways, it might be considered sacrilege. In other ways, a testimony to the story of the resurrection. Read it and decide.

Here is the official blurb:

After his first Holy Communion, a boy secretly builds his own Jesus out of communion wafers and the flesh of his dead father.

On Halloween night, his Jesus shall rise.

After a tragic death, a girl tends to the Cemetery of the Innocents, a memorial to the holocaust of abortion and children killed before their time.

On Halloween night, the children shall live, and they need to be fed.

The Holy Spirit comes to life in this shocking, transgressive story of Christian Horror


Some reviews have already come in. Here's one:

"Mark’s writing, while fiction, is all too real. He takes real situations, real emotions, real tragedies, and builds amazing stories around them. Most authors try it the other way around - they start with the fantastical and try to build reality around it. This is why Mark’s stories hit home so hard.

Body of Christ is a weird, frightening, emotionally draining, horrific romp into the fearful minds of two children who witnessed the deaths of their parents. Faith watched them pull the plug on her mother, and Kegan watched his father commit suicide by police. In addition to those horrors, Faith has to go through her first menstruation with no help from her father, and Kegan is frightened by his zealous mother about his upcoming First Communion.

The way they both cope is something to behold. You’re left wondering, did it all happen? Was it just the fantasy of an imaginative child? Or did something else occur?

I’ve said it before, and it bears repeating - Give Mark a read, you’ll not only learn something, but you’ll be entertained as well; and don’t be surprised if you’re left wondering, “What the hell did I just read?” (But in a good way)"

Here's what reviewer Shane Keene had to say

"This remarkable little tale took me by surprise, I confess. I've not read Matthews work before and so went in with zero expectations, but even if they had been high expectations, they would have more than been met. Body of Christ is a quick, horrific little read, packed with emotion and all the pain that comes along with a child losing and longing for a dead parent.

I'll have a full review coming soon but wanted to leave something here to tell you that you really want to read this guy's work. Ketchum has great things to say about him and there's a damn good reason for that. Mark Matthews and Body of Christ are the real deal."

Check it out! Just $2.99 on Amazon

Friday, November 3, 2017

Step Inside the Garden of Fiends for .99 Cents

For the first time since the written word, GARDEN OF FIENDS: TALES OF ADDICTION HORROR is on a .99 Cent Kindle Countdown Deal. It's also a Bookbub deal of the day on November  4rth.

US click here:->
UK click here->

"A brilliant and original concept, Garden of Fiends captures the struggles of addiction and the horrors they inflict on those affected by it. Yes, it is dark and visceral, but with moments of hope throughout that make this a memorable collection of stories." ~THE HORROR BOOKSHELF

"An unflinching and intense look at addiction and its consequences, from some of the best horror writers in the business." - CHAR'S HORROR CORNER

"An incredibly fascinating and at times grim read. These are dark tales set against a backdrop of fear, addiction and self-loathing where families are ripped apart and relationships are left in tatters."- ADRIAN SHOTBOLT, THE GRIM READER.

"Every offering drips with truth, blending tales of horror and addiction into an emotionally draining, yet essential experience." - BEN WALKER, UK HORROR SCENE

"Garden of fiends is a brutal and brilliant story collection giving expression to the horror of addiction. Some of the most talented and original voices in the business provide equal doses of compassion and grotesqueness. A traumatic read--and I mean that in the best possible way." -JON BASSOFF, author of THE INCURABLES and CORROSION, Winner of the 2013 DarkFuse Readers' Choice Award for Best Novel

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Copies of GARDEN OF FIENDS to HWA Members for Bram Stoker Consideration

Hi Folks,
I'm offering up copies of
for Bram Stoker Consideration in the Anthology category.

The dark truths of addiction told in tales of horror.

Stories and novellas inside by Kealan Patrick Burke​, Max Booth III​, Jessica McHugh​, Glen Krisch​, John FD Taff, Johann Thorsson​, (me!), and Jack Ketchum​

"A brutal and brilliant story collection giving expression to the horror of addiction.  Some of the most talented and original voices in the business provide equal doses of compassion and grotesqueness. A traumatic read - and I mean that in the best possible way."
-Jon Bassoff​, Winner of the DarkFuse Readers' Choice Award for Best Novel

PDF/Mobi copies available, as well as audiobook vouchers and a limited number of paperbacks.

Message me at

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A LIFE OF DEATH, By Weston Kincade, the introduction

Weston Kincade edited my first horror novel, On the Lips of Children, and both of us were published by Books of the Dead Press. After Books of the Dead reorganized and released both of our titles, Weston re-released his A Life of Death trilogy. I was honored to have written the introduction for book one. Please go check out the book, and here's how it starts...

Our Lives of Death: An Introduction

We are all born fractured, crying, screaming, a bit bloody, and thrown into this world by no choice of our own. One could say it is our soul’s mission to fix these primal wounds through our travels, and to find some sort of wholeness and meaning, using our gifts as best we can. Instead of giving up when the sky grows dark, we gain strength through our burdens.

Such is the conflict in A Life of Death, where Kincade takes universal themes, adds some supernatural and horrific elements, and floats it down a deeply emotional current. This is fiction with young adult themes, but it cannot be stuck on the shelf of any one genre. Horror, suspense, YA, thriller. Whatever you call it, it’s damn interesting fiction.
A Life of Death on Amazon 

Alex is the main character, and he has lost his dad to a drunk driver. This primal wound of losing a parent is a common theme in literature (often times it is losing both parents, for “orphans” have ruled the literary world since the beginning of time). There’s something about the cursed start, the emptiness we feel made manifest in having that parent gone, that sets us up for a “life of death,” as if each life has been killed in its early stages. This fractured self is most pronounced during times of transition such as adolescence to adulthood. Not only is Alex the outcast teen, grieving his father, but he is also not safe within his own family after his mom marries a physically abusive step-dad.

The outcast trope is in full play.

A Life of Death takes these universal themes and makes them its own. Alex’s life has been defined by death, and this becomes his curse, but also his gift. Alex learns he can see into the afterworld; touching an object gives him visions, terrifying but illuminating, of how the object’s owner has died. Some mysteries are explained, and others are revealed, and this power can either terrify or empower him.

It is during these glimpses into the afterlife that the most stunning imagery happens in A Life of Death. It is here where you’ll feel the power of the book, and what makes the world Alex inhabits even more confusing. He becomes isolated further from his peers, but ultimately it is these very powers that can help heal the chunk that was taken out of his life when he lost his dad. Death no longer becomes the thing that took away his life, for he has become a part of death, a witness of it rather than its victim.

Without death, none of our lives would have meaning; they’d just be endless meanderings where no moment was more important than the next, for moments are infinite. Same as with loss, for to never lose would be to never have value. To probably misquote some Taoism, it is the empty space that gives the bowl its purpose, not the material of the bowl itself. Things are defined by their opposites; our lives are defined by death.

This is dark, indeed, but as a writer I find myself defending elements of horror and the supernatural more than I should, for it is my take that such things make fiction more real, rather than less. Horror is just magical realism, the truth of reality so intense it explodes out of its confines, and the messy truth is what you get.

How can you explain the impact that death has upon all of our lives without some elements of the supernatural? If you are to do the topic justice, there has to be some horror involved. Candles shine brightest in the pitch-black dark, cliché to say, but Alex’s life needs to be surrounded by darkness for him to shine. The supernatural elements, the gifts, are simply an extension of the character's experience; a metaphor for their passage. It happened with Stephen King's Carrie, going through a similar transition with supernatural powers, and it happened for four years of high school with Harry Potter, and it is happening for the young adult Alex in A Life of Death.

Finally, the role of story-telling itself as a power to heal and transform is on full display here. It is through stories that we learn about ourselves, and A Life of Death is a story within a story. Alex is an older man, telling the tale to his own child while at his desk in the precinct, speaking to his son, Jamie. His child will certainly have his own cross to bear, with his own primal wounds to heal with his own unique gifts. A father passes his legacy on to his child, the ending becomes a new beginning. The words of a story, like death, give life its meaning.

And this book you are about to read has a story worth telling.

-Mark Matthews

A Week of Sales

MARCH 18TH-MARCH 24TH Kindle Sale! 5 books to choose from CHECK OUT ALL THE SALE BOOKS  CLICK  HERE !