The new book is here.

Image

Good morning, Heathens. 

My new book, Short Stories About You, is now available in paperback and on Kindle. 

You can buy it here.

Thank you, and spread the word!

X

Advertisements

Over the hump.

I’ll give you the ending first.
You’ll have a new Elders Keep story soon.

The goal, of course, was to try to give you a new story every month.
Things happened.

I spent a lot of February fine-tuning and editing a screenplay I co-wrote with Jim Branscome and James DeHaven. Actually, they had already written it. I sort of came in towards the end and had some ideas. Regardless, there was a lot of fine-toothed combing that needed to be done. It took a couple of weeks. It was surprisingly exhausting. By the time we were finished, I did not want to have anything to do with words. No reading, no writing, no speech above a guttural level.

Mild burnout is still burnout, and it was hard to get my shit back together. I couldn’t work on my own script. I couldn’t work on the next Elders Keep story, even though I had it planned and ready to go. I was tired.

It wasn’t even like writer’s block. I was still typing words. I just didn’t like any of them.

The thing that snapped me back was a late-night Twitter conversation with Leslie Moore, the editor of Popshifter dot com.  It was late and we started talking Eighties music. I’d name a couple of bands, she would throw a couple back at me and, all of a sudden, we were traversing the decade, moving in and out of musical directions and it was fun. A lot of fun.

The next thing I knew, I was writing a weekly column about Eighties music for Leslie’s website. It got me excited about writing again. There’s a freedom to it, a weird kind of stream of consciousness feel, that makes it fun to write and, I’m told, a blast to read.

 

So here I come, back again, ready to put words together in a strange fashion. Ready to head back into the Keep and do bad things to fictional people. Ready to write about obscure music from the 1980’s, a decade I actually remember.

Things are moving, things are moving. Keep up.

-X-

Haüsfraü.

I know they’re talking about me. It happens to every public figure eventually. I, however, am not like every other public figure.

It’s understandable that you’re all bursting at the seams with questions you dare not ask about me and my personal life, especially given the strange anecdotes and conspiracy theories surrounding me. I don’t mind giving you that kind of access. There’s no hiding here. I’ll answer pretty much any question you hurl my way. While I am quickly becoming your favorite writer, I certainly don’t want to hide behind my rock-solid literary reputation. Salinger, I am not, and in more ways than two.

In fact, a lot of you newer fans may not know that I, Jeffery X Martin, am a domestic goddess. Can it be? you think. Can someone so manly, so John Milius-esque, around whom such legendary tales have arisen have a side that longs for hearth and home?

Oh, Children.

X shooting gun

I have heard the stories. I have been regaled with stories of how I singlehandedly led a lost safari through the desert, allowing the stragglers whom I rescued to live by filtering my sweat and urine for them to drink.

Rumors have reached my ears about my secret work in Myanmar, smuggling Burmese children across the borders before they were impressed into service by vicious warlords and madmen.

I know what they say about me in the boardrooms, behind heavy oaken doors in their looming castles of glass and iron; how Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of Iron Maiden and licensed airline pilot, and I helped Richard Branson fake his own death so he could continue his work in stem-cell genetics without the interference of rogue government groups who sought to use his research to resurrect the Third Reich.

I understand the power of history. I am fully aware of the kind of fear I engender, the respect I command when I enter a room and the fawning and kowtowing of women when I simply extend my hand.

Women want to be with me. Men want to be in me. Men want to be in the women who want to be with me, preferably with me in them, and in me, also. That’s a kind of knot-tying best left to professionals.

These stories, ridiculous and absurd at first glance, make a strange kind of sense upon further inspection. Are they true? Well, Loyal Fanbase, I believe firmly in the power of belief. I can honestly say those stories are as true as you want them to be.

While the so-called experts babble about the nature of Truth as a concept and what constitutes Right and Wrong, I can honestly say to you I make a mean-ass omelet.

X cooking eggs

You know what the trick is? Don’t add water to the eggs. It thins them out too much; you’ll never get a good flip. If you must use milk, don’t overdo it. Seriously, you only need a splash. Less than a splash, even.

What you should really use is a teaspoon of sour cream. Whip together two or three eggs with that sour cream, and you’ve got the basic building blocks for a perfect omelet.

You know what else is nice? Put a little bit of cinnamon in your vacuum cleaner. It makes the whole house smell like the food court at the mall.

Coffee filters are great to clean glass with. They don’t leave any kind of lint behind. They’re also cheaper than any kind of pre-moistened wipe! And it’s all about saving money, isn’t it, girls?

I may be crafting the stories that give an entire generation nightmares. They may be hailing me in some circles as the new voice of terror. But inside, past all the rumors and hype, I’m just a guy who works from home and likes to take care of his family.

Okay. The story about me shooting my way through a door to enter a burning building so I could rescue cardboard boxes filled with baby kittens, puppies, lambs and babies is totally true. The babies were already blind and they did suffer burns, but Bruce Dickinson and I donated some of our ass skin for the grafting process. One of the babies did regain her sight after someone read a couple of my movie reviews out loud to her. They’ll be fine.

-X-

Tarotsphere has some pretty long legs!

When we published it last October, I figured it would pick up some sales just because of Halloween. I was wrong. People are still buying the book and, from all available accounts, still enjoying it!

It’s not an easy book to market. Hell, it’s not an easy book to explain. How often do you find funny books dealing directly with non-Judeo-Christian methods of divination, employed by practitioners of different belief systems all over the world? People don’t automatically associate anything involving the “Death” card with pieces of fried comedy gold.

The concept is catching on, though, and so is Tarotsphere.

If you’ve already bought the book, please accept my sincere thanks. Spread the word! We could all use a little laugh these days.

To help keep the momentum going, we’ve got a little surprise headed your way soon. It will be something you can use to spread your Tarotsphere love to all your friends. And why not? Spreading love is a good thing.

Wishing you good throws always,

-X-

Valentine’s Day is for assholes.

Valentine’s Day is for assholes.

 They Luv!

 

I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day. I understand that some of you are. Maybe you got married on that day, or celebrate an important romantic touchstone on that day. Good on you. From the bottom of my black little heart, I hope you party that shit up and make it big.

***

I am a happily married guy. I’m so far off the market, I can’t find my own expiration date. I am pleased with this remarkable turn of events.

I have been in long-term relationships (marriages included) that did not turn out well. Bad things happened. This is how I can be cynical about love and all of its trappings while thoroughly reveling in the relationship I’m in. My wife is in the same boat.

We’ve all been burned. I’m fully aware how lucky I am to be in the kind of relationship I’m in. She’s my best friend and my wife, not just one. We do something to show each other how much we appreciate each other every day, every single day. We even keep two separate anniversaries: we keep our wedding anniversary (which is Samhain, by the way) and we, at the very least, acknowledge the first time we had sex. A fuckiversary? Sure. Why not? We acknowledge it every month. It’s a big number. I think it makes us feel more accomplished.

We’re both dark people. One of my fondest memories was being told that, when I walked down the hallway at work, someone said about me, “Don’t look in his eyes!” That’s awesome. You should be scared of me. I write horror. On one level of my mind, I am constantly thinking of ways to kill people. I don’t have any problem talking about that, either.

My wife thinks that shit is funny. Gallows humor, black clothing, sexual innuendo and foul language are the order of the day. We’re probably not the people to invite over for Sunday dinner.

Even through all that, we still make people sick. You know the lovey-dovey couple you somehow get stuck in the same room with? The kind of couple that says entire sentences at the same time? That’s us. You think people like us only exist in movies or on the goddamned Disney Channel. Wrong. We celebrate our Life underneath a statue of Anubis.

***

Bear with me.

I’m making a point.

***

This is why Valentine’s Day is a hideous event, one that should be banned. It reduces something as complex and mysteriously beautiful as Love to guilt and a receipt. Did you buy her the kind of candy she likes? Do you even know what kind of candy she likes? Did you get her a card that can’t even come close to expressing how you feel about her? Did it rhyme, for fuck’s sake? Does she now own another garishly colored stuffed animal, holding an embroidered heart that says, “I WUV U?” Are you dating a four year old with a speech impediment?

Ah, there’s that cynicism I was talking about. That sweet, sweet hatred. Let it flow.

 

How did you buy the lie that you have one day a year to show her how special she is? You’ve been sold a bill of goods, some kind of marketing contract that states you must spend a certain amount of money on a specific list of items in order to celebrate this very day. You have been taught that if you do not, then you do not truly Love the woman in your life.

You’ll notice I’m speaking to men right now. That’s because, generally speaking, men don’t get shit for Valentine’s Day. It’s not their turn. It’s all about males buying things for female, hoping to find the key to their woman’s cooter.

Don’t even bring up Steak and a Blowjob Day, either, which was created as a more male-friendly alternative to Valentine’s Day. There are no cards for that holiday. There are no commercials from the Beef Council encouraging women to have both beef and pork at the same time. Dick: The Other… uh… Meat. As sweet of a sentiment as Steak and a Blowjob Day is, it still amounts to I Bought Her A Diamond Ring and All I Got Was This Lousy Ribeye and A Glorified Handy. Also, does that mean a man only gets a steak and a blowjob one day a year? Because I don’t know a man who wouldn’t call bullshit on that immediately.

Reverse it for a moment. Chocolate and Cunnilingus Day. Once a year, girls. Have fun with all that. Now go buy us a new car, every year, on this arbitrary day, because it’s got a funny name and greeting cards to go along with.

***

Love is an everyday thing, not a once a year special event. Of course, there are times for celebrations and special occasions. Those are great times and should be relished. However, manufactured special events, like Valentine’s Day, are not real. They are soulless, heartless marketing opportunities.

You can do better than that, can’t you? Surely you can think of ways to express your emotions to the person you live with/are sleeping with/are stalking on Facebook better than some goddamned corporation, right?

***

 

All of this simply to tell you that I’m releasing the second story in the Tales from the Keep series on Valentine’s Day.

It’s probably the closest thing to a Valentine’s Day story you’ll ever dredge out of me, seeing as how Todd Farmer already perfected the “My Bloody Valentine” story. Even though it doesn’t take place on Valentine’s Day, doesn’t mention Valentine’s Day and makes no mention of St. Valentine, Cupid or boxes of candy whatsoever, it’s still a Valentine’s Day story.

The story is called “Be Sweet.” If you know, you know.

The characters in it are all searching for love. They’re not good at finding it. They don’t know how to express their true desires well.

They’re just the kind of sad, sorry fuckers that would fall for all that Valentine’s bullshit.

You’ll see what I mean when you read the story. It is, at the core, a story about love, even if it isn’t strictly a “love story.”

Oh, yeah. There’s also some graphic sexual content, a monster and copious amounts of bloodshed. It ain’t for the kiddies, but it beats the living shit out of a pair of edible undies and a cheap pink coffee mug.

And that’s the point.

-X-

 

“Tales from the Keep: Volume 2 – Be Sweet” will be available for Kindle and Nook on February 14th, 2013.

All skull art pictured in this post © 2010 Hannah Lunsford. Find more at ofemptymen.weebly.com.

 

The Jitters

7:29 PM

I’m introducing my wife to the ghostly glory that is Mike Mendez’s “The Gravedancers.” She’s painting the next in her series of modern demon skulls. We’re a few drinks in. It’s Monday. This is to be expected.

We’ve both had shit days. I’ve been dealing with Federal programs (how do people abuse or “work” the system when I can’t even fucking get into it?) all day, and swallowing my rage at bureaucracy gone mad. Hannah, as she often does, has spent her work day fixing mistakes that others have made, mistakes that shouldn’t have been made to begin with. She should know. She wrote the training manual, and she’s not even a real employee! She’s been a temp with the same company for almost three years.

So, why not? A great ghost story (hmmm… do I follow this up with “Poltergeist” or “The Fog?”), some delicious ice cold vodka and artistic pursuits. All of this to help us forget about our shitty Mondays… and, for me, the fact that my ginormous new Projekt, the one I will probably spend the rest of my life working on, launches tomorrow.

It’s 7:51 PM. Let the jitters begin.

Continue reading

A Review Is In!

I am pleased to share this with you, Loyal Fanbase. Doctor Hob has both read and reviewed Tarotsphere. He liked it! Positive reviews are always a good thing, and this review was especially satisfying for me, being somewhat of a curmudgeon myself. If you haven’t availed yourself of this book yet, perhaps this will help sway you. A thanks to Doctor Hob for the kind words.