Halloween Extravaganza: Jessica McHugh: Wishing I Were Wolf Bait

Wishing I Were Wolf Bait

Part ONE

I used to dream of bloodthirsty wolves. I used to dream of apocalyptic warfare and loved ones with sloughing faces, who were either ripped from my arms or liquefied in my embrace. I used to dream of severed hands and broken teeth and corpses draped in antique lace, whose bones sounded like forest fires as they clambered and howled for my blood.

I think they dreamed of me too.

The dark was different when we were together, hazier, paler, like we were meeting in misty moorlands instead of my messy bedroom. As if entranced by this melding of worlds, I would open my eyes, sit up in bed, and see them as clearly as the words on this screen. There was never a tussle, never an attack. Just staring. Silent warnings and soft curses. I don’t know how long we dreamt of each other, but come morning it felt like I hadn’t slept a wink. Throughout my youth and well into adulthood, these waking dreams disrupted my sleep and caused bouts of insomnia that lasted days. And unfortunately, consuming horror fiction made matters worse.

Following my first viewing of Del Toro’s The Orphanage, Tomás, a young character who wears a burlap sack mask to hide his deformed face, entered my room. He stood beside my bed, his tiny fingers curling the burlap up his chin, threatening to show me the deformities the movie didn’t. Blinking hard, pinching my arm, and burying myself in covers didn’t help. It only brought us closer.

And then, a strange magic occurred. A phrase came into my mind, which I then repeated for reasons I can’t explain. I could still see Tomás with my eyes closed and blankets over my head, the burlap revealing new horrors by the second, but this phrase made him stop. It made him release the mask and back away. The phrase and its strange magic made him disappear.

The words I repeated that night were: “Danny Marble and the Application for Non-Scary Things.” It made no sense, but there was an undeniable power in it. The next day I began writing a book of the same name about a child with waking nightmares, and though it’s now out of print, I still regard it as one of my best stories.

I’ve written quite a lot thanks to nightmares, including one of my bestselling books, “Rabbits in the Garden,” but inspiration isn’t exactly a fair trade-off for insomnia. So, in attempt reduce the frequency of my nightmares, I stepped away from reading and watching horror. And unfortunately, it worked.

Creating horror didn’t affect me, but I noticed a drastic drop-off in nightmares when I reduced my intake. I didn’t hide it the change either. When I did panels at conventions, an inky cohort inevitably brought up how I, a horror writer, didn’t read or watch horror anymore, and we all had a good laugh at the contradiction.

As much as I missed my creepy inspirado, movies especially, I liked sleeping through the night more. My once frequent nightmares morphed into adventures. There were still scary elements, but with my cat Tyler as my trusty sidekick, there was nothing we couldn’t handle. We rode the avalanching debris of collapsing buildings. We slept in the trees of enchanted forests. And when we had to flee from danger, I picked him up and ran, pushing through crowds and leaping over downed power lines until my arms ached. Sometimes they even hurt the next morning. But over three years, throughout countless complex worlds I explored with Tyler, I didn’t experience one waking nightmare. I didn’t dream of wolves, and they didn’t dream of me.

Part TWO

My hands started shaking after Tyler died. For over a year, I watched him shrink from a squishy 20lbs beast to a 2lbs sack of bones, ignorant to how his sickness was also shrinking me. Not being able to afford the tests to identify the cancer, let alone remove it, hit me hard. Because I chose an artist’s life—a poor life—it felt like I’d condemned him to suffer. My best friend. My soul mate. My boy.

Surprisingly, Tyler’s physicality was the only thing that changed over the months. His personality remained the same: affectionate, dickish, and always at my side. Tiny as he became, he was still Tyler.

Until he wasn’t.

I knew it would be hard to let go, but I had no idea how it would irrevocably alter my life. After we said goodbye to our little man, I threw myself back into work. I’d been in the middle of writing a novel and decided to continue. In hindsight, it was a terrible idea, as I’m rewriting all of that horrible prose almost four years later. But at the time it seemed the only way I could cope.

I finished the novel and began a large flash fiction project soon after. A few weeks later, I noticed the trembling in my hands. I wrote it off as a symptom of grief, of which I had many, but as my mourning progressed and other symptoms receded, the shaking intensified. Even when my hands weren’t physically trembling, it sure as hell felt like they were. It came in waves, much like grief itself, feeling like insects hatching in my fingertips, skittering down my arms, and converging in my chest like a nest of restless beetles.

I hid it for months, which I’m certain made it worse. There were times it struck me while I was writing and I had to stop because I felt like my skin was going to shake right off my bones. One day while writing in a bar, the feeling hit me with such overwhelming agony I threw my pen as far as I could. After apologizing and retrieving it, I texted my husband and finally told him what was going on.

I also started speaking about it on the podcast I co-hosted with Jack Wallen. I decided it was probably best if I took a break from writing since it was obviously causing so much stress. But after spending the last decade with a pen almost constantly in hand, not writing was just as agonizing. So I occupied my hands with things that didn’t stress me out as much. I drew. I played handheld games like Professor Layton and Bejeweled.

But with no improvement, I had no choice but to drag my uninsured ass to a doctor. That’s when I began worrying about what else besides grief was causing the shakes. Maybe all the bouts of tendinitis I’d gotten from pipetting had taken a permanent toll. Or maybe it was something deeper; the fact that my father has cancer certainly heightened those fears.

But friends (and Google searches) kept bringing up the same question: Could this be as simple as anxiety and panic attacks?

No, because anxiety isn’t simple. Nor are panic attacks, clinical depression, or any other invisible illness, especially when you don’t have insurance. But I finally forced myself into a doctor’s office, where it became clear within minutes that I’d been experiencing severe anxiety and depression since Tyler’s death–and likely before. The doctor was kind enough to give me a discount and Zoloft for my depression and Xanax for panic attacks. Over three years later, I’m jazzed to report that my hands only shake when I have panic attacks, and even then, I’m able to cope with medication, yoga, and breathing techniques.

Depression and anxiety are as much a part of me as mourning Tyler. And they’ll be there forever, on the edge of my mind. But over time I’m learning to use them as stepping stones rather than brick walls.

Part THREE

If you Google Zoloft dreams, you’ll find posts from dozens of people who say the drug increases the vividness of their dreams, often to the point of nightmares. It’s not true in my case, but there has been a significant change since I started the drug.

I’m gorging myself on a healthy diet of horror again. In the four years since Tyler’s death, I’ve consumed more horror than I did in the decade preceding it, and I haven’t had one waking nightmare. I haven’t had much I’d even consider a “scary dream.”

But I also haven’t found a story in a dream in ages. I haven’t woken with monsters in my mind and inspiration in my guts, or had to rifle through my bedside table for a paper and pen before the idea vanished. Now my bad dreams consist of packing and unpacking everything I own, in new houses, in hotel rooms, always in a hurry. And then there are dreams of auditoriums full of friends and family telling me I’m a shitty person, that I’m untrustworthy and useless and undeserving of their love.

And you know what? I miss my monsters. They stole sleep from me, but they gave me inspiration. They made me cry out of fear, but they didn’t make me feel worthless. Perhaps it’s best that they’re gone, tucked away with childish things, but I can’t help wondering if there’s a magic I’m now missing. Would I have found more phrases like “Danny Marble and the Application for Non-Scary Things?” Would I have unlocked more doors, discovered more worlds, if I hadn’t interrupted the horror flow all those years ago?

I might never know the answer, but one thing is clear: it’s a fair trade-off now. I can ingest horror fiction and sleep through the night. I can use all manner of terrifying sources for inspiration and know that my hands won’t shake when I write. I can support my horror-writing friends again and find magic in their phrases instead.

Now that the sun has set and I’ve taken my pill, I’m off to watch Hold the Dark on Netflix. Here’s hoping it’s a beautiful nightmare.

Jessica McHugh is a novelist and internationally produced playwright running amok in the fields of horror, sci-fi, young adult, and wherever else her peculiar mind leads. She’s had twenty-three books published in eleven years, including her bizarro romp, The Green Kangaroos, her Post Mortem Press bestseller, Rabbits in the Garden, and her YA series, The Darla Decker Diaries. More information on her published and forthcoming fiction can be found on her website.

Website ** Amazon
The Green Kangaroos ** Tales from the Crust ** Burdizzo Mix Tapes Vol 1
The Darla Decker Diaries Vol 1-5

The Green Kangaroo

Perry Samson loves drugs. He’ll take what he can get, but raw atlys is his passion. Shot hard and fast into his testicles, atlys helps him forget that he lives in an abandoned Baltimore school, that his roommate exchanges lumps of flesh for drugs at the Kum Den Smokehouse, and that every day is a moldering motley of whores, cuntcutters, and disease. Unfortunately, atlys never helps Perry forget that, even though his older brother died from an atlys overdose, he will never stop being the tortured middle child.

Set in 2099, THE GREEN KANGAROOS explores the disgusting world of Perry’s addiction to atlys and the Samson family’s addiction to his sobriety.

Darla Decker Diaries 1: Darla Decker Hates to Wait

Patience is not Darla Decker’s strong suit. Surviving sixth grade is tough enough with an annoying older brother, a best friend acting distant, and schoolwork. After adding instructive kissing games and the torturous wait for a real date with her biggest crush, Darla is perpetually torn between behaving like an adult and throwing temper tantrums.

Games of flashlight tag, and the crazy cat lady roaming Shiloh Farms in a “demon bus,” serve as distractions during her parents’ quarrels and her anxiety about show choir auditions. Yet the more Darla waits for her adulthood to begin, the more she learns that summoning patience won’t be the hardest part of being eleven.

A frank and funny look at the path to adulthood, DARLA DECKER HATES TO WAIT begins a journey of love, loss, and the nitty-gritty of growing up through Darla Decker’s eyes.

Tales from the Crust

The toppings: Terror and torment.
The crust: Stuffed with dread and despair.
And the sauce: Well, the sauce is always red.

Whether you’re in the mood for a Chicago-style deep dish of darkness, or prefer a New York wide slice of thin-crusted carnage, or if you just have a hankering for the cheap, cheesy charms of cardboard-crusted, delivered-to-your-door devilry; we have just the slice for you.

Bring your most monstrous of appetites, because we’re serving suspense and horrors both chillingly cosmic and morbidly mundane from acclaimed horror authors such as Brian Evenson, Jessica McHugh, and Cody Goodfellow, as well as up-and-coming literary threats like Craig Wallwork, Sheri White, and Tony McMillen.

Tales From the Crust, stories you can devour in thirty minutes or less or the next one’s free. Whatever that means.

Rabbits in the Garden

At twelve years old, Avery Norton had everything: a boyfriend who was also her best friend, the entirety of Martha’s Vineyard as her playground, and her very own garden to tend. By thirteen, it was all over.The discovery of a secret crypt in the basement starts the Norton family down many unexpected avenues, including one that leads to Avery’s arrest for murder and her subsequent imprisonment in Taunton State Lunatic Asylum.

Set in 1950s Massachusetts, Rabbits in the Garden follows Avery Norton’s struggle to prove her innocence, exact her revenge, and escape Taunton with her mind intact.

Halloween Extravaganza: INTERVIEW: Jessica McHugh

Meghan: Hi, Jessica. I’ve not had the pleasure of interviewing you before, so welcome, welcome. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Jessica McHugh: I’m an author of horror, sci-fi, young adult, and pretty much any other speculative genre that wriggles into my mind, especially if it’s a giant mash-up. While I primarily consider myself a novelist, I also write lots of short fiction, poetry, and am an internationally produced playwright. I love my amazing husband, my super cool cats, and my hometown in Maryland where I work as a tour guide for food and happy hour tours.

Meghan: What are five things most people don’t know about you?

Jessica McHugh:

  • My maiden name means “beautiful” but is also a variety of tuna.
  • I told Jakob Dylan from the Wallflowers to his face that I used to jerk off to a poster of his face.
  • My parents changed my middle name from Lynn to Brianne after I was baptized the same day as another Jessica Lynn.
  • I worked as a stripper in West Virginia for 7 months.
  • If you’ve read my book Pins, you already know the previous fact, so here’s a new thing. After my 2nd night at the club, my boyfriend at the time had to take me to urgent care because I’d thrown and slammed and twisted my body in so many ways I could barely move the next day.

Meghan: What is the first book you remember reading?

Jessica McHugh: Fox in Socks. I remember telling my oldest brother I thought the Fox was mean.

Meghan: What are you reading now?

Jessica McHugh: Devil’s Creek by Todd Keisling. It’s actually great culty inspirado for my work-in-progress.

Meghan: What’s a book you really enjoyed that others wouldn’t expect you to have liked?

Jessica McHugh: I honestly can’t think of one. I think most people know I have eclectic reading habits.

Meghan: What made you decide you want to write? When did you begin writing?

Jessica McHugh: I’ve always been a bookworm and loved making up stories/ playing pretend, but in 4th grade when a teacher introduced short stories and the writing process, I fell in love with the revelation that the authors of my favorite books were once just kids like me. I also discovered my love of crafting horror during that time. I wrote my first scary story, and though a note from my teacher suggested I “avoid gory topics,” I clearly ignored that advice. I did turn more toward poetry and scriptwriting in high school, but I dove back into writing short stories and novels in a huge way when I was 19.

Meghan: Do you have a special place you like to write?

Jessica McHugh: I moved a few months ago after 11 years in the same place so I’m still sussing out my favorite writing spot. It’s also a weird transition time for me cuz I’m trying to type more than handwrite as I’ve been doing for years, so I’m all over the place right now. I do enjoy typing in our little dining nook, though, and I’m lucky to have a bunch of amazing bars in walking distance where I can get my people-watching inspirado. I do enjoy writing in public quite a bit.

Meghan: Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Jessica McHugh: I wouldn’t call it quirky, per se, but it seems a lot of my inky cohorts don’t do this, soooo… I do an auditory revision as my last step before submission. In other words, I have my computer read my story aloud so I can hear how the dialogue flows and catch any issues my eyes missed. It’s extremely helpful and probably the least stressful part of the writing process, as I can relax with a glass of wine and jump in here and there to fix things.

Meghan: Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Jessica McHugh: Everything about writing has been challenging since my cat Tyler died almost four years ago. He was an integral part of my writing life, and it’s been a struggle finding my way back to the comfort and joy I felt before. At one point last year I even considered leaving the writing world entirely. Obviously I didn’t do that. Couldn’t, really, because I love story creation too much. So I’m working my ass off–not to regain what I lost, but to appreciate the life I had before and nurture the one I’m cultivating for the future.

Meghan: What’s the most satisfying thing you’ve written so far?

Jessica McHugh: I believe my novel The Green Kangaroos is the best book I’ve written, and it was the funnest first draft experience, so it definitely gives me a lot of satisfaction. Because it had such personal content dealing with addiction, it was therapeutic to get out those feelings. The bizarro elements, however, disconnected me enough from the traumatic truth of the tale to have a lot of fun.

Meghan: What books have most inspired you? Who are some authors that have inspired your writing style?

Jessica McHugh: I feel like every new book I read is an inspiration, especially those from small press authors like me. I read slowly these days because of my hectic deadline schedule, so I value the time I get to spend in my worlds of my inky cohorts. They make me a better writer. I think the biggest influences on my style are Anne Rice and Bret Easton Ellis. I enjoy writing honest and raw prose like Ellis, but I also love going crazy on description, especially when it comes to world building and gory bits, which Rice excels at without going too purple with the prose.

Meghan: What do you think makes a good story?

Jessica McHugh: For me, it’s all about the characters. A unique plot and rad setting helps for sure, but if the characters aren’t compelling or making realistic decisions according to their personalities, I won’t care about all the radtacularity around them.

Meghan: What does it take for you to love a character? How do you utilize that when creating your characters?

Jessica McHugh: Flaws. Most real people are carrying around a lot of damage, whether caused by outside trauma or self-inflicted. If a character can coast through story conflicts as if the world was built just for them, I’m out. I especially love “unlikable” characters, which I feel are pretty much just… humans… so I tend to write a lot of those folks.

Meghan: Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Jessica McHugh: The main character of my young adult series, Darla Decker, is a version of me with bigger balls. She takes more risks and talks about her feelings with more ease, but I do think I’ve improved on both those counts, partly because I learned a lot about myself while writing her character over five books.

Meghan: Are you turned off by a bad cover? To what degree were you involved in creating your book covers?

Jessica McHugh: You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but… come on… some covers are so bad you can’t help but think the story will follow suit. And unfortunately that’s a risk of indie and small press. Not to say the rash of covers with headless regency females released by big presses are much better at enticing me. As for my own, I wish I was better at envisioning what they should be. I usually just throw out some ideas and hope the cover artist/ publisher can make sense of it.

Meghan: What have you learned creating your books?

Jessica McHugh: Much of what I learned and took joy in during my first decade plus of writing was unfortunately rewritten during my grief process over my cat. No embellishment, everything about my writing life changed. Four years later, I’m still far from where I was when it comes to productivity. I used to think nothing could ever derail my drive to write, but… well, here we are. So I guess I’m still learning who I am, every day, with every word I write, without him.

Meghan: What has been the hardest scene for you to write so far?

Jessica McHugh: About a decade before Tyler’s death, I wrote a death scene for a character based off him in my sword and sorcery series, The Tales of Dominhydor. Actually, since the first book exists in the mind of the main character (this isn’t a spoiler; it’s in the first line of the novel) and the second book covers the reality of what’s happening in Dominhydor, I wrote that scene twice, each filled with lost love and overwhelming sorrow I had no idea would cling to me years later.

Meghan: What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Jessica McHugh: The fact that I won’t stick to only this genre. Even if it’s undoubtedly a horror book, there will also be elements of suspense, comedy, action, romance, fantasy, science-fiction, and maybe some nods to bizarro. Real life is a genre goulash, and I want my stories to feel like that too. Even if it makes the book seem a bit bonkers, I prefer bonkers over boring.

Meghan: How important is the book title, how hard is it to choose the best one, and how did you choose yours (of course, with no spoilers)?

Jessica McHugh: I think it’s really important. I just happen to be terrible at it. Oh titles… one of my least favorite parts if I don’t have one at the get-go. I think the title is extremely important, so I definitely stress over it. I’ve chosen titles in different ways, from posting options online and having my fans pick (like with Rabbits in the Garden) or putting keywords into a form and generating random options (like with “Camelot Lost”). I also once posted that I wanted to write “a motherfucking heist novel” one day, and one of my inky cohorts begged me to make that the actual title, so I did. However, the family-friendly version is “A Melonfarming Heist Novel.” My current work-in-progress is a sequel to Rabbits in the Garden, so the title “Hares in the Hedgerow” came about organically. As did the third book I’m planning to write, “The Witches in Our Warrens.” But I usually agonize over this part of the writing process.

Meghan: What makes you feel more fulfilled: Writing a novel or writing a short story?

Jessica McHugh: In the past I’ve gotten more satisfaction from developing and writing novels, but since it’s been a few years since I started and completed a new novel, I have to show short stories some serious love. They’ve buoyed me as I’ve navigated the stormy waters of grief and depression. Without the magic of short stories, I might’ve drifted out to sea, never to write again, but they kept me paddling, striving to reach a glittering shore I once called home. Whether I’ll reach that satisfying shore of novel inspirado again, I don’t know, but I’m taking what fulfillment I can from the various short stories that have come and gone over the last few years.

Meghan: Tell us a little bit about your books, your target audience, and what you would like readers to take away from your stories. I could spend the next few pages rattling on about my books (and definitely have before) but I’ll just say this: because of all the different genres in which I write, you might not enjoy all of my books, but I guarantee there’s at least one book in my catalog that’s up your alley. Except for the Darla Decker Diaries, I don’t usually write for a target audience–and even those were written for adults to enjoy too. And enjoyment is exactly what I want the reader to take away. Whether they derive it from stories about blossoming friendships or a stripper’s face being obliterated by a malfunctioning pinsetter, I want my readers to have a fun, complicated, messy, bonkers, devastating, hilarious time in the McHughniverse.

Meghan: Can you tell us about some of the deleted scenes/stuff that got left out of your work?

Jessica McHugh: I do save most of what I cut for possible use in other projects, but most of it will probably just chill in a folder until the end of time. As much as it hurts cutting cool scenes and lovely lines sometimes, I’ve learned to recognize when something simply doesn’t belong in a story. If it’s not telling the reader anything new about the characters or moving the plot forward, it’s gotta go.

Meghan: What is in your “trunk”?

Jessica McHugh: I wrote a historical fiction novel about playwright Christopher Marlowe’s secret life as a spy for Queen Elizabeth I. I loved it at the time, but anxiety about historical accuracy halted me.

Meghan: What can we expect from you in the future?

Jessica McHugh: My latest novel “Hares in the Hedgerow” will likely be out from Post Mortem Press in 2020, but I have several short stories due out at the end of the year. “When the Moon Hits Your Eye,” a bloody tale of a home-invasion gone wrong is in the now famous pizza horror anthology, Tales from the Crust, from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing in October. “This Can Happen to You” is a story about a reluctant lottery winner navigating the ills of fame while trying to protect her baby that will appear in the Sara Tantlinger-edited anthology “Not All Monsters” from Strangehouse Books. I used the Fleetwood Mac song Gold Dust Woman as inspirado for my story “Pick Your Path and I’ll Pray,” which is part of the Burdizzo Mix Tape Volume 1, now available from Burdizzo Books, and my story “My Partner Went First,” which focuses heavily on a cat’s grief as it deals with the unexpected death of its owner will appear in Volume 2 of From a Cat’s View from Post-2-Print Publishing.

Meghan: Where can we find you?

Jessica McHugh: I’m on Instagram and Twitter, and I also run a Patreon page that folks can join for as little as $1 a month. I post a short story from my experimental compound novel, “WEBWORM,” as well as stories inspired by patron votes on polls about setting/genre. For $5 I’ll record a singing video to entertain my neighbors, of which patrons can request as many as they want every month, and I also mail out physical copies of one-of-a-kind blackout poetry for $10/ month. I’m probably most active on Instagram, though, so come find me!

Meghan: Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you’d like to say that we didn’t get to cover in this interview?

Jessica McHugh: I just want to thank all of my fans and friendos who’ve supported me these past eleven years. Whether it’s reading and reviewing my books, subscribing on Patreon, buying my blackout poetry, or donating when times got rough, you have all made me feel like I (and my stories) really matter in this crazy and often fickle publishing world. It’s a gift I feel like I can only repay by creating more art. Which, thanks to your encouragement, I fully intend to do.

Jessica McHugh is a novelist and internationally produced playwright running amok in the fields of horror, sci-fi, young adult, and wherever else her peculiar mind leads. She’s had twenty-three books published in eleven years, including her bizarro romp, The Green Kangaroos, her Post Mortem Press bestseller, Rabbits in the Garden, and her YA series, The Darla Decker Diaries. More information on her published and forthcoming fiction can be found on her website.

Website ** Amazon
The Green Kangaroos ** Tales from the Crust ** Burdizzo Mix Tapes Vol 1
The Darla Decker Diaries Vol 1-5

The Green Kangaroo

Perry Samson loves drugs. He’ll take what he can get, but raw atlys is his passion. Shot hard and fast into his testicles, atlys helps him forget that he lives in an abandoned Baltimore school, that his roommate exchanges lumps of flesh for drugs at the Kum Den Smokehouse, and that every day is a moldering motley of whores, cuntcutters, and disease. Unfortunately, atlys never helps Perry forget that, even though his older brother died from an atlys overdose, he will never stop being the tortured middle child.

Set in 2099, THE GREEN KANGAROOS explores the disgusting world of Perry’s addiction to atlys and the Samson family’s addiction to his sobriety.

Darla Decker Diaries 1: Darla Decker Hates to Wait

Patience is not Darla Decker’s strong suit. Surviving sixth grade is tough enough with an annoying older brother, a best friend acting distant, and schoolwork. After adding instructive kissing games and the torturous wait for a real date with her biggest crush, Darla is perpetually torn between behaving like an adult and throwing temper tantrums.

Games of flashlight tag, and the crazy cat lady roaming Shiloh Farms in a “demon bus,” serve as distractions during her parents’ quarrels and her anxiety about show choir auditions. Yet the more Darla waits for her adulthood to begin, the more she learns that summoning patience won’t be the hardest part of being eleven.

A frank and funny look at the path to adulthood, DARLA DECKER HATES TO WAIT begins a journey of love, loss, and the nitty-gritty of growing up through Darla Decker’s eyes.

Tales from the Crust

The toppings: Terror and torment.
The crust: Stuffed with dread and despair.
And the sauce: Well, the sauce is always red.

Whether you’re in the mood for a Chicago-style deep dish of darkness, or prefer a New York wide slice of thin-crusted carnage, or if you just have a hankering for the cheap, cheesy charms of cardboard-crusted, delivered-to-your-door devilry; we have just the slice for you.

Bring your most monstrous of appetites, because we’re serving suspense and horrors both chillingly cosmic and morbidly mundane from acclaimed horror authors such as Brian Evenson, Jessica McHugh, and Cody Goodfellow, as well as up-and-coming literary threats like Craig Wallwork, Sheri White, and Tony McMillen.

Tales From the Crust, stories you can devour in thirty minutes or less or the next one’s free. Whatever that means.

Rabbits in the Garden

At twelve years old, Avery Norton had everything: a boyfriend who was also her best friend, the entirety of Martha’s Vineyard as her playground, and her very own garden to tend. By thirteen, it was all over.The discovery of a secret crypt in the basement starts the Norton family down many unexpected avenues, including one that leads to Avery’s arrest for murder and her subsequent imprisonment in Taunton State Lunatic Asylum.

Set in 1950s Massachusetts, Rabbits in the Garden follows Avery Norton’s struggle to prove her innocence, exact her revenge, and escape Taunton with her mind intact.