Bones Are Made to be Broken is released!…Tomorrow!

So.  Tomorrow’s kinda a big day.  Yep.  A little bit.


Bones Are Made to be Broken will be released tomorrow, the 29th.  I hope it does well.  I mean, the people who blurbed it seemed to like it, and, since I last posted, another advance review came in, this time from Unnerving Magazine’s Eddie Generous, who wrote, “Gutting and deep-reaching, this collection dangles the dark side and delivers with such potency it’s difficult to imagine something better or more impactful. Strong writing blooms into something truly awesome with the emotion poured into these stories.”  This on top of the stellar review from Thomas Joyce’s review over at This Is Horror just made me do a little happy dance (imagine a curmudgeonly, 6’2″ bearded sarcastic dude doing a little happy two-step–there you go).

Coming up, I talked a little bit with Becky Narron over at Roadie Notes and I show up, briefly, on the latest This Is Horror, to talk about creating suspenseful scenes–I, uh, hate the sound of my voice and if I sound like a tool, well…After that, more reviews will be coming in from places and people I respect and are my go-tos for good analysis even when it’s not my ass on the line (you know who you are, people).  And then, well, people will see if the book sucks or not, won’t they?

So, yeah.  Tomorrow.  Big day.  Mark ye olde calendars.

You can buy the paperback and eBook–and help me support my family; no pressure, though, over at the main publisher site, Dark Regions Press, and I’m seeing links for the eBook on Amazon.  If you’re feeling special and fancy, you can spring for the deluxe, expanded, hardcover that editor Michael Bailey and I are currently fine-tuning.



Illustration by Pat R. Steiner, design by Michael Bailey

First review of Bones Are Made to be Broken! (Also, what the fuck just happened?)


Well, the first review of Bones Are Made to be Broken is in and the verdict is…

“Every tale has one thing in common: Anderson’s ability to craft a compelling, thought-provoking, dark and beautifully heart-breaking story displaying the darkest depths of the human soul.”

Thomas Joyce, This Is Horror

really fucking good.

Oh, man, I needed that today.  Joyce goes through the stories and gives a decent rundown on them; I find it funny that “Baby Grows a Conscience”, one of the oldest stories in the collection (it was originally published in 2011, written in the summer of 2010), gets such notice.  Not funny in a bad way, and it’s not like the more recent stuff–the title novella,  or “All That You Leave Behind”–doesn’t get some love, but my earliest stuff, even though written only a few years ago, feels so alien to me.  When I decided to include it, I took it through a superficial rewrite–people who might have the original issue of Necrotic Tissue where “Baby” first appeared might notice the differences–but the initial read-through was like reading a story by someone else.

I’ve said this before, but it’s also my wife’s favorite story.  And it has the distinction of me remembering exactly where I was when I wrote the opening line that Joyce singled out (“It was easier to hold a gun to a little girl’s head than Richie thought”)–during a break from conducting a writer’s workshop at a little convention.  So, y’know, there you go.

You can read the review here.  Also, pre-order the book–in either trade paperback, eBook, or super-snazzy-expanded-and-deluxe hardcover here.


Illustration by Pat R. Steiner, design by Michael Bailey

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In other news…

What the ever-loving fuck just happened?

Tons of ink and bandwidth are being used to answer this question about the election.  I have no answers–just railing, snarling, enraged snark that I won’t bother reciting here, leaving that to others. (Although I will say one thing–man, fuck my homestate of Pennsylvania.  The running joke for years was that, between Pittsburgh and Philly was Alabama and this was the only thing either city could ever agree on.  Who knew how fucking true that joke-that’s-not-a-joke was.)

No, I won’t put forth my own Monday-morning-quarterbacking because, right now, it all seems fucking pointless and out-of-place here.  Besides,  I’m a straight white dude; in the American game of life, I’m like a kid at a bowling alley who’s got the bumper-rails on the lane and one of those nifty-ass slides to push the bowling ball I’m too small to throw myself. This election, if all that was promised and threatened comes to fruition, would do more harm to those I love and cherish and respect than to me.  And that fucking sucks, man.

Also, I have a daughter, five years old, and I was grooving on the idea that she was going to know that a woman president wasn’t just “possible”, but reality.  I really, really liked the idea.


I only have this to hold on to, and I’m holding on to it like Rose in the movie Titanic (when she held onto the door, not Jack, because we all saw how holding onto Jack turned out–and, yes, I’m depressed that I know the names of these characters even though I haven’t seen the flick in 20 years):


Some books I’m in & some books I’m not


Art by Luke Spooner

Adrian Shotbolt over at his review site Beavis the Bookhead has been running a writer’s version of VH1’s old show Storytellers (is that show still on?  Jesus, if it doesn’t have a corporate mouse on its logo, I don’t watch much television, anymore).  This past weekend, he’s been talking to the contributors of the Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing anthology Lost Signals (a really great book I’m more than a little proud to be a part of), and he spoke with me, Betty Rocksteady, and Michael Paul Gonzalez about our stories.  You can check it out at the link, friendo (to cop a saying from friend Jessica McHugh).

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Last week, Eddie Generous over at Unnerving Magazine asked me for some book recs and I obliged because I love talking about good books–and not all of them horror.  I take a kind of perverse pride in not sticking to my specific genre, if only because so many meatheads do stick, stubbornly, to only one genre.

That was probably the most startling thing I discovered when I dove into writing professionally/fandom/either-one-is-a-kind-of-Sisyphean-hell-so-terminology-is-up-for-grabs: you go to conventions or workshops and meet people who wouldn’t dream of stepping outside of their own imaginative neighborhood.  SF fans who turn their noses up at horror, horror fans who think romance stops and starts at the covers of Danielle Steel novels, fiction fans who think nonfiction is confined to only boring textbooks from eleventh grade history class.  All of them oblivious to the fact that, regardless of the mode, there’s a good story maybe waiting there–or, on a strictly self-interest level, turns of phrase or characterization or plot development they could learn from for their own work.

Meatheads.  I hope I’m not one of them.

So, over at Unnerving you can read what books turn my dials up to eleven, but here are a few almost-rans, the books I almost gave in the article, if it pleases you:


In college, my history professor, noting my interest in late-19th century/early-20th century history as well as the centrist-progressive politics (is there such a thing? fuck it, sure) of my weekly column, recommended Theodore Rex, by Edmund Morris.  I’d known of TR, of course, but like most kids in the latter days of the 20th, I knew more about his cousin, Franklin.

Reading the book, the second in a planned trilogy by Morris, was riveting, chronicling TR’s two terms in office, from tumultuous beginnings to placid end.  I immediately went out and hunted down The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, which won the Pulitzer and National Book Awards in 1980.  This book, the first of the trilogy, detailed the beginnings of TR’s life.  Morris’s writing is breathtaking–he takes library-sized-chunks of first and second-person accounts and manages to tell an actual story without dropping into the safe and dry-as-the-Mojave voice of a textbook.

He completed the trilogy, and the end of Roosevelt’s life, a few years ago with Colonel Roosevelt.  I cannot recommend this trilogy enough, but start with The Rise of…first.

(Oh, and avoid H.W. Brand’s TR: The Last Romantic; it’s really, truly dogshit.  Brand has a hardon for Woodrow Wilson, so everything else pales before the old Princeton president and cosplaying Lovecraft hobbyist [in both looks and views!].  To that end, Roosevelt gets pretty shoddy treatment.  A nice supplement to Morris would probably be The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin, which contrasts TR’s friendship with Taft and the rise of activist journalism.)


 We Have Always Lived in the Castle, if you’re only a casual fan of Jackson (meaning, you know The Haunting of Hill House and–maybe–“The Lottery”), is unknown then, man, you need to discover this book.  Tension pulls like a hangman’s rope and everything, everything, feels off and the almost orgiastic violence at the end feels like true catharsis.  Read this fucking book.  Like, now.  I prefer Merricat to Eleanor.


In the 1980s, you were a fan of Rambo or Rocky.  I went with the sullen, PTSD-afflicted Vietnam vet and it was only until years later, when I read the novel finally, that I figured out why I preferred the first movie to the second, where Stallone fully transformed this character into a stock-1980s action hero.  Morrell’s character is the true anti-hero and there is no set good-guy-bad-guy here; Rambo and Teasle are perfectly matched in good and bad attributes and watching them bounce off each other is a treat of missed opportunities and retribution.  In both the book and the film, the introduction of Trautman is almost a disappointment.  I got a special-edition hardcover last year for my birthday, finally replacing the battered paperback pictured above.


If I’m funny at all (debatable), if I know anything about comic timing, it’s because I saw George Carlin’s 1991 special Jammin’ in New York when it premiered and when I was eight.  Y’know, a wholly appropriate age to understand things like syphilis jokes and Desert Storm.  Carlin once said that there are performers who wrote their own material, but he always thought of himself as a writer who performed his own material.  The distinction is thin but not that hard to see.  This is Carlin’s second book, after Brain Droppings and it’s basically a written version of his 1990s-era standup but thrown through his 1970s-goofball-nature.

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This Is Horror‘s running their 6th Annual Awards and nominations are open for the month of November; my book’s not out yet, but that shouldn’t stop you because there’s been a glut of great books this year (and, hey, if you have read Bones Are Made to be Broken, maybe…?)

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Also, finally settled because people who backed the earlier campaigns got first-dibs, Bones Are Made to be Broken will be hitting digital/physical (?) shelves on November 29th.  You can pre-order here and, as I’m writing this on Election Night Eve (like a reverse Christmas where Santa kicks you in the balls), you can use the book for fire fuel after reading it–depending on who wins, of course, and I’m not talking about the Capable Queen of Pantsuits–so order lots, ‘kay? It’s gonna be a cold winter.