Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My New Favorite Song

Eric Bibb's cover of Guy Clark's "The Cape".

Monday, May 23, 2011

Joke of the Week

A young couple were driving down the road one day, happily, deliriously in love and due to be married the next day. Suddenly, a large truck swerved from the oncoming lanes into their car! BOOM! And they both died.

At the Pearly Gates, the young couple confronted St. Peter. "Sir, you have to help us! We were to be married tomorrow. Is there any way we can be married in Heaven?"

"Hmmm," replied St. Peter, "I don't recall there ever being a marriage in Heaven. Well, let's take it up with God and see what he says."

So they approached God with their plea. God sat for a moment, pondering the request. Then he looked down and said, "Come back in five years and ask me again."

Five years later, the couple approached God again, even more in love than ever and pleading that he allow their marriage. God paused for quite a while, musing over their request. Then he spoke, "Come back in five years and ask me again."

And once again, five years later, the couple was again in the presence of God, more in love than ever and begging God's permission for the third time to marry. This time God smiled broadly and thundered, "Yes my children, you may marry!"

Well, the wedding went off beautifully, the reception was huge, everyone thought the bride was simply breathtaking and the groom was soooo handsome, and everyone was happy! Until...

Two years later, the couple was back before God, and things were not looking so good. The couple had come to the realization almost immediately that although marriages were made in heaven, they didn't last very long there! And, in spite of their struggles to come to terms with the situation, they had decided there simply was no alternative but to get a divorce.

Black clouds fractured by lightening rolled across the sky, and the ground shook with explosive thunder. God glared down at the tiny couple before him, his face becoming dark and angry, and he roared, "Divorce?! Impossible!!! It took us TEN years just to find a priest in Heaven! Do you have any idea how long it will take to find a LAWYER?!!"

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Another Book Sighting

My new collection Looking at the World With Broken Glass in My Eye is now available at Barnes and Noble.

Also, here's the link for ordering it at Amazon.

Or, if you prefer to order directly from the publisher, we've got you covered there, too.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Interview With Me

Since Blogger ate the first version of this post, here's another link to Matt Cowan's interview with me at Vintage Horror.

Thanks to Matt. He's a great guy and a true fan of horror fiction.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Looking at Amazon

Looking at the World With Broken Glass in My Eye
, my new collection, is now available from Amazon.com.

I know some book readers prefer to order there, so here's the link.

Saturday, May 07, 2011


If you drop by here on occasion, you know that my collection Looking at the World With Broken Glass in My Eye is now available to be ordered (Just $13.95 if you order now.)

My publisher asked for a piece for their newsletter that included an excerpt from one of the stories. Here's what I gave them.

Is It Okay To Laugh When a Man is Chewing His Way Through Another Man’s Entrails?

By Mark Justice

Let’s start with a confession. Maybe it will be good for my soul. Lord knows I need all the help I can get.

I love horror. I love writing horror. But, sometimes, humor wants to creep in.

Case in point: “Deadnecks”. I wanted to write a story about a few good ol’ boys in a small town being turned into zombies. After all, we’ve all seen the zombies at the mall and shambling through the streets of a big city. How would zombies shamble through the hollow (or, as we call it back home, the holler)?

Little did I know when I typed the first sentence that my zombies would still want to drink beer, watch NASCAR and hang out at the neighborhood watering hole long after they got the craving for flesh. Sure, there’s plenty of gore in “Deadnecks” and its sequel, “Deadneck Reckoning” but there are some chuckles, too. The first story was published in Dark Discoveries magazine, and both tales ended up in a beautiful chapbook from Novello publishers, which quickly went out of print. Now the stories bookend my collection, Looking at the World with Broken Glass in My Eye.

Those beer-swilling dead guys weren’t originally part of the book. As submitted to another publisher, the book was a leaner collection of an original novella—Deadtown (notice a theme in my titles?)—and a few of my short stories. When the first publisher trimmed his line, he dropped the book, and I was free to shop it around. By the time it landed at Graveside Tales, it had “swole up like a poisoned dog”, as pappy used to say. I added several more stories—some straight horror, others my peculiar horror-humor combo. I also decided enough time had passed that the Deadneck stories would rise again.

(Also, the other publisher wanted to change my weird, long title. But, hey, it’s my weird, long title and I look it, so it’s back on the book.)

(And pardon another brief digression, there are other Deadneck stories, and since I am occasionally asked about this: yes, there will one day be a Deadnecks novel. Keep watching the skies. I mean, the bar that’s showing the race.)

So now you get over 100,000 words of horror. And much of it is straight-ahead, full-tilt, eyeball-clawing scary fiction. All for such a low price, you could probably find enough change in the floorboard of your Ford Falcon to cover it.

To tempt you into placing an order, here’s a teaser, the beginning of a story called “Nursing Home of the Gods”. Enjoy.

Anubis settled onto the cracked linoleum of the rec room couch, sighing when he found a spot that didn’t poke the frayed fabric of his robe. The television was on, as always, blaring some insipid game show. Anubis had requested The History Channel but the others had overruled him. In the corner, Mammu played checkers with a large coyote, probably one of the Native American deities.

While the annoying game show host blathered on about phrasing answers in the form of a question, Bastet came in curled up in a chair opposite Anubis. They had never been overly fond of each other, but Anubis found her to be less irritating than some of the others in his pantheon.

“What’s up, Nooby,” she said.

“Please don’t call me that.” Nicknames were demeaning, robbing one of one’s dignity. And Gods knew dignity was in short supply at this place.

Bastet laughed and lit a cigarette. With her free hand she stroked her whiskers, smiling at him through the cloud of smoke.

“You hear about Zeus?” she said.

“What happened?”

Bastet drew a long nail across her neck. “Last night.”

Inwardly, Anubis shuddered. Another one gone.

At least Zeus didn’t have to sit on this couch and watch game shows anymore.

A clockwork nurse clicked and whirred to the couch. She offered Anubis a cup of pills.

“Do you have one that can make me young?” he said.

The eyes of the nurse shuttered open and closed until he took the pills and swallowed them down. He hoped one of them was a laxative. Anubis felt like he’d been backed up since The Exodus.

The nurse handed Bastet her pills, then clacked away, only to be replaced by the rolling roar of another resident.

“Ho, dogface!” the newcomer bellowed.

“Thor,” Anubis said, less than enthusiastically. He’d given up trying to explain the difference between a dog and a jackal to the senile warrior.

The wheelchair bound god rolled up close to Bastet. Anubius thought he smelled like urine.

“Ah, cat head. How fare thee?”

“Okey-doke,” Bastet said.

“Tis my birthday,” Thor proclaimed. “Can thou guess mine age?”

“Hmmm,” Bastet said. She dropped her cigarette to the floor and crushed it out with one slippered foot. “I think I can, but I’m going to have to see your hammer.”

Thor reached for the stone mallet that always hung from his belt.

“Not that hammer,” Bastet said.

It took a moment, but realization slowly dawned on the Norse god’s bearded face. He raised his loincloth to display the largest penis Anubis had ever seen.

Bastet lifted the organ with both hands, stroking it to rigidity, a process that took several minutes. Finally she said, “You’re three thousand seven hundred thirty-seven.”

Thor gazed at her in open-mouthed wonder. “How didst thou know?”

Bastet turned loose of the organ and smiled. “You told me yesterday.”

To be continued…

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Start Looking

My collection Looking at the World With Broken Glass in My Eye is now available for pre-order from Graveside Tales. For a limited time, as they say on TV, the book is only $13.95.

It's over 100,000 words of chills (with the occasional chuckle thrown in). It's reprints the sold-out Deadneck Hootenanny (thus the chuckles) and includes two previously unpublished novellas.

Get your copy by heading over here.

The Perils of Vocabulary

While speaking at the Dogwood Writing Conference yesterday, I recalled the first story I ever wrote (or the first I finished; I’m sure there were several earlier attempts).

I was in sixth grade, and when I was given the assignment, I set pencil to paper and wrote a story about a bullied sixth-grader who responded by developing destructive telekinetic powers (and this was in the 1960s, long before Stephen King’s Carrie).

The lined notebook paper with my story has long been lost, but I remember that in
his rage and fear, the boy destroyed the school, killing the staff and the students. Had a kid written that story today he would probably be hauled off to a shrink and put on a Homeland Security watch list.

Instead, my teacher accused me of plagiarizing the story or of having someone else write it for me.

She said the writing was too advanced for my age, and she was particularly troubled by my use of the word “visage” to describe the bullied boy’s face.

To say I was devastated would be a massive understatement. Like a lot of kids, I craved the approval of the authority figures in my life, especially my parents and teachers. Now I had not only failed to please my teacher, she was accusing me of

Even now, I remember my frustration and, yes, my fear. I imagined being punished or even kicked out of school. Even worse, the incident could follow me around forever as part of that eternal threat from the forces of education, my Permanent Record.

I tried to explain to her that I had come across “visage” dozens of time in books and, especially, the Marvel comics written by Stan Lee. She wasn’t buying it.

Here comes the part that separates true stories from fiction: I don’t remember how it ended.

I think my parents got involved. If so, they would have told my teacher about my voracious reading habit. And my father would have certainly lost his temper. It was something he did very well.

Ultimately, life went on and my permanent record was unscathed. I got an early lesson in handling rejection. Sometimes I think it would be cool if Dad was still around to yell at publishers for me.

Thanks to the Dogwood Writing Conference for the invitation to speak. The audience asked some great questions and bought several of my books. Being around
like-minded people for a little while is always a good experience.

The location was the lodge at Greenbo Lake State Resort Park, a gorgeous setting. Here’s a pic of the lodge, likely taken a few years ago: