Dear Mother Nature, You're Being a Real...
And other shit I probably shouldn't say.
It was 65 degrees Friday evening. By Saturday night it was 15 degrees. Dear Mother Nature, you’re being a real bitch. West Virginia is not your dog’s chew toy. And Father Time, throwing us forward an hour the same weekend was not cool. Y’all are some deadbeat parents if I’ve ever seen any. We’re already bent over like this:
I should probably go ahead and say I’m going to put some memes in here I do not own. In fact, I probably borrowed some of ‘em from your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram feeds. Why? Because you all keep me sane half the time and make me laugh. If I didn’t steal it from Jules, because she sends me shit daily to lift my spirits, then I probably took it from one of you.
Seriously though. This is crazy. 2022 is already shaping up to be one of those low-budget horror movies only Nicolas Cage could rock the shit out of. Come on now. You can talk all the trash you want about Nic, but he’s been killin’ it in horror lately. I could totally see him playing TK Tantrum in a film version of The Grindhouse, my second Diablo Snuff book. I think he’d own that orgy scene on broken glass. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you have some reading to do!
What’s been going on?
Kidding aside, 2022 has actually been really good to me. Jules and I got married! If you follow either of us on social media then I’m sure you already know because we both posted pics of what we jokingly called our shotgun wedding. In all honesty, it wasn’t a quick thing at all. It was 2 years in the making. We just decided we wanted to do it quietly, easily, and intimate. We didn’t want to wait to plan a big ceremony. All that really matters is our love for each other and we didn’t want to wait another day not being married. So we tied the knot at the courthouse downtown and now she’s Julie Powers.
Yes, that’s another thing you might’ve missed if you don’t follow me anywhere but here. I came out with my real last name. I don’t really see it as being a big deal. Back when I was teaching, I was worried about risking my job writing extreme horror and stuff like that, but now, I really don’t care if everyone knows my real last name. All it did was give anxiety every time I checked in at a hotel for a signing and the person at the front desk called out at too high a volume, “That’ll be one room with a king-size bed for Mr. Powers!”
“Shh, dammit, Carl! It’s Carver Pike!” As I look around nervously to see if anyone’s noticed.
Even if you did, what would it have mattered? Honestly. Would you have found my mailbox and stole all my Little Caesar’s coupons? Figured out my phone number and called me about my car’s extended warranty? I don’t even have a car right now. Jules does. So every time someone calls me about that or my airbag recall I’m like, “I don’t even have a car! Stop fucking rubbing it in, Brenda!”
Seriously though. What’s the point of paying for two cars when I work from home and can use the one if I REALLY need it?
So here’s the skinny:
Real name: Christopher Powers
Erotica name: Chris Genovese
Romantic Suspense name: CM Genovese
Horror and Dark Fantasy name: Carver Pike
Phew! It’s nice to get all that off my chest. If you see me in person, you can call me Carver or Chris, whichever you’re most comfortable with. I’m used to answering to both. At first, it was weird answering to Carver but with the podcast and the YouTube show and communicating with the indie horror community so much, I’m almost more used to hearing Carver now than Chris. It’s become a nickname I guess.
I’ve been getting the question constantly since marrying Jules. “So, how’s the married life treating you?” Or, “What’s it like to be married?” I love this woman, that’s all I can say. It doesn’t feel a whole lot different other than now it’s official. She’s still the best part of me and I’m convinced I get to look at the most beautiful sight in the world before I turn the light out at night and I get to see the most gorgeous woman in the world each morning before she leaves for work.
Everything else about her can be explained in this meme. She’s God-fearing and a hellraiser all rolled up in one. Her philosophy is kind of like this:
What else has been happening?
Well, I’ve been writing my ass off and planning some really cool stuff for the future. I’ll hold off on telling you too much about this upcoming project for now. By my next newsletter, I might be able to tell you more about it. I’m super excited for this one though. One hint I’ll give you is it IS a new novel I’m working on and this one will involve merch to go along with it. I want everyone to feel involved with this one.
Scalp has been getting some notice on social media thanks to all you guys. I love that so much. In fact, I’m still trying to decide what to do about the short prequel I wrote. Maybe you can help me decide in the comments. I wrote a prequel that COULD potentially be a freebie that could go out to newsletter subscribers. IF we do it that way, you’d all get it for free, but it would only be like a 6,000 word book or less. We’re talking a really short story. The whole point of that would be to entice people to sign up for the newsletter in order to get the freebie AND to hopefully get people who haven’t read Scalp to try out this little bite-sized morsel of a story, like it, and dive right into the big bad boy of a novel. You know what I mean?
OR I could easily take what I wrote and make it into a full-length novel that would serve as a prequel to Scalp. Trust me, there’s plenty I could do with that prequel story that would make for a kick-ass novel.
Common sense tells me most people would want the freebie, but there’s the other part of me saying you might want a more complete tale. I’m interested to hear your thoughts. Let me know what you think in the comments below. That’s one of the cool things about my newsletter being on Substack. You can actually comment down below like a blog post. If you haven’t read Scalp, you can check it out on Amazon by clicking HERE.
Speaking of Scalp, I want to say a huge thank you to author Luther Kross for mentioning Scalp on Twitter and for the review he wrote when he finished. Sometimes people post quotes from my books and I look at them and think, “Huh, I did write that, didn’t I?”
Here’s a screenshot of Luther’s Tweet. If you’re not already following him, you should. He’s a cool guy. Check out his work too. He’s on Amazon HERE.
Speaking of authors you need to check out. I’ve been on a Lucas Mangum kick lately. I’ve read Bone Cider, Gods of the Dark Web, Rusted Blood, I’m reading his newest release which is the sequel to Rusted Blood and is the second book in his Digital Darkness series: Restless Void, I’m listening to the audiobook version of Saint Sadist, and I just picked up the signed paperback of Extinction Peak. He’s an awesome author, a really nice guy, and we recently interviewed him on Written in Red. BUT he’s not only badass because of all that, he’s SUPER badass because of this:
Hell yeah! I’m gonna start slapping that on the cover of my books. You’ve seen it here first:
“Carver Pike is quickly becoming one of my top 5 working authors.” - Lucas Mangum, Splatterpunk Award Nominated Author of Pandemonium and Saint Sadist
Thank you, Lucas. You fuckin’ rock, man! Check out Lucas Mangum’s work on Amazon HERE.
In other news, Faces of Beth is in its final stages and I should be able to put the pre-order up soon. For those of you who haven’t seen the cover and haven’t read the blurb, I’ll go ahead and share it here. I’m crazy excited about this one. It’s a little bit different from my other work. It’s not as splattery or as balls to the wall action-packed, but it’s still pretty sick and twisted. I think you’re going to like it. Here’s the blurb for Faces of Beth:
When Andrew meets Beth at the Myles-Bend State Mental Hospital, he knows she has issues. She checked herself into the place because of her problems, but he can’t help falling in love with her anyway. He’s willing to put up with her constant mood swings and all the baggage she brings into the relationship. He’ll help raise her kids, give her siblings a place to stay, and even look after her creepy grandfather. After all, he has the space in the huge house left to him by his parents.
Marriage has its hardships, Andrew knows that, but there seems to be something else wrong with Beth. A dark entity grows inside her and he can’t help wondering if she might be possessed. Andrew can look past all the other drama in their new life, but the thing inside her that seems to want him dead – that’s kind of a deal breaker.
My Edge of Reflection series has come up in conversation a bit recently too. If you’re not familiar with that one, it’s the first series I started. It’s not finished. I’ve written the first four of what could possibly be about eight books in total. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the series. On one hand, it’s my baby. It’s the one series I put my heart and soul into when I first started. And it went nowhere. I just couldn’t find an audience for it. Then again, when I started out, I was trying to sell it to a romance audience.
Even placing it in a genre was difficult. Sure, you could say, “Who gives a shit about genres and subgenres? Just write the book and we’ll read it.” But Amazon cares. You still have to label it in order to put it on a virtual shelf and have people find it online. I call it dark fantasy because most of it takes place in a dark world on the other side of the mirror. It’s not ogres and elves like high fantasy, and it does take place in an urban setting for the most part so it could be kind of dark urban fantasy I suppose.
It’s EXACTLY the kind of story I enjoy myself. It’s full of brutal characters, nonstop action, wild creatures… it’s kind of like Escape From New York, Sin City, and that show Into the Badlands had a bastard child and named it Steve.
I don’t know why Steve. It just came to me. So let’s go with it.
True story, and side note, I once had a good friend named Steve. He was this big, ex-New York cop. Looked a lot like Bruce Willis. I told him I was going to write him into one of my movie scripts and asked him what he wanted his name to be in the script. His choice? Steve Stone. I can’t even type that without imagining the Magnum or Blue Steel poses from Zoolander. Yep, Steve Stone. That’s how I wrote him into the script. Every time I came across his name, I chuckled. He was Steve-motherfuckin’-Stone.
Back on track. Get back on track.
I often wonder if I was too young in my writing journey to give my Edge of Reflection books, at least the first four in the series so far, the umph they deserved. I don’t know. I’ve had people read them and tell me they could clearly see I was a different author when I wrote them. I’ve had people even as recently as this week tell me they finished the fourth book and absolutely love that series. That it’s one of their favorite series ever.
Recently, I completely rewrote the first chapter or two, and I mean completely rewrote it. It’s not even the same book. Just to see what I would do with it now. I’ve contemplated trying that Kindle Vella thing. You know, where people buy tokens and use them on episodes. I believe you get the first three episodes free and then you have to use your tokens. I don’t know a whole lot about the system yet or even how lucrative it is for authors. I’ve heard it sucks and I’ve heard it’s amazing. Part of me has always liked the idea of trying my hand at a rewrite, but then I feel it’s kind of unfair to the people who’ve read all four books and are just waiting for the 5th in the series.
If you’re not familiar with the Edge of Reflection books, you can see Twisted Mirrors, Figments of Fear, Seed of Sin, and The Fractured Fallen in the second row of the picture below.
Again, I don’t know. As of right now, I’m leaning toward just finishing the 5th book because the recent love for the series has kind of inspired me. As authors, we grow, and if my growth is seen in the 5th book and on, so be it. Right?
One thing Jules always says about me is I’m so damned indecisive. When it comes to finding a parking spot, choosing dinner, picking a movie on TV… and even when it comes to this. Once I make a decision, I’m good. I just have to make that decision.
I guess it would make the most sense to go ahead and write the rest of the series and then maybe do the episodic thing with a different dark fantasy series - if I’m going to do it at all.
So, if you haven’t already, pick up Twisted Mirrors and start working your way through the series so I can get that burst of energy I need to blast through the rest of the series. You can grab it on Amazon by clicking HERE.
What’s coming up?
If you haven’t already heard, I’ve teamed up with the Written in Red guys and Jack Bantry, who runs Splatterpunk Zine and is the editor on this, to put together a really cool chapbook-style project that comes complete with illustrations by Anton Rosovsky and an introduction by Christopher Grindstaff. This is Exits: A Collection of Contemporary Urban Legends. So, Aron Beaureguard, Rowland Bercy Jr., Daniel J. Volpe, and I each wrote a short story that is either a new legend we made up or is a new twist on an old tale that comes from an area we call home. Pre-orders should be going up in a few days and we should have copies available to sign at Scares That Care Authorcon in April. This is going to be epic.
All four of us were also included in the table of contents for the Uncomfortably Dark Presents Baker’s Dozen anthology. If you haven’t seen the lineup for this one, you have to check this out. Authors include Jeff Strand, Christine Morgan, Ruthann Jagge, Aron Beauregard, Lee Franklin, Chris Miller, Patrick C. Harrison, III, Carver Pike, Kenzie Jennings, Daniel Volpe, Rowland Bercy, Jr., Candace Nola, and M. Ennenbach. It even includes a special foreword by Jeff Strand.
Candace Nola will have copies to sell at Scares That Care Authorcon and many of these authors will be there ready to sign. If you want to get a copy in advance or want to grab an ebook copy, click HERE to pick it up at Amazon.
Speaking of Scares That Care Authorcon, can you believe that’s only about two weeks from now? Joe Ripple has been doing an amazing job of going live in the group to answer author and attendee questions every Thursday evening leading up to the event. If you’re not a part of that group and are planning to attend or just need more info, this is the link to that group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/384299296521399
The event takes place April 1st through 3rd in Williamsburg, Virginia. All net proceeds go to families in need. Brian Keene is hosting the event and he’s done an awesome job of putting together a list of panels and readings. This is what’s going on as of right now (borrowed from Brian Keene’s newsletter, click HERE to sign up for that):
AuthorCon Programming Schedule:
Vendor Meeting – 4:00pm (Vendor Room): All vendors and Guests of Honor are encouraged to attend.
Vendor Room Hours – 5:00pm to 9:00pm
Silent Auction (Auditorium) – 5:00pm to 9:00pm
Grady Hendrix’s PAPERBACKS FROM HELL with Special Guest Will Bozarth – 9:30pm (Auditorium) Note: This is a ticketed event.
FRIDAY READINGS (Rooms A & B)
5:15pm to 6:00pm: Todd Keisling and Justin Holley
6:15pm to 7:00pm: Russell James and Clay McLeod Chapman
7:15pm to 8:00pm: Josh Malerman and Jonathan Janz
8:15pm to 9:00pm: Mary SanGiovanni and Hailey Piper
FRIDAY PANELS (Rooms 2 & 3)
6:00pm to 7:00pm: CHILDHOOD NIGHTMARES – C.W. Briar, Tara Moeller, R.L. Parker, Ally Malinenko, Nathan McCullough, and Shawn Burgess discuss their childhood fears and whether or not those memories have influenced their fiction.
7:30pm to 9:00pm: SPLATTERPUNK STRONG – Splatterpunk Award co-founder Wrath James White, and Splatterpunk Award nominees C.V. Hunt, Kristopher Triana, Jeff Strand, Kristopher Rufty, Candace Nola, Wesley Southard, Stephen Kozeniewski, Wile E. Young, Carver Pike, Aron Beauregard, Daniel Volpe, Jay Wilburn, and Thomas R. Clark discuss the current state of Splatterpunk and Extreme Horror.
FRIDAY WORKSHOPS (Center Lounge)
7:00pm to 8:00pm: WRITING THE BADGE – Former Police Officer and Detective Joe Ripple leads this free seminar/Q&A on the correct way to write police procedure, tactics, and operations.
Vendor Room Hours – 10:00am to 6:00pm
Silent Auction (Auditorium) – 10:00am to 4:45pm
Silent Auction Winners Announced by Joe Ripple (Auditorium) – 5:00pm
SATURDAY READINGS (Rooms A & B)
10:15am to 11:00am: Holly Rae Garcia and Kim Alexander
11:15am to Noon: John Urbancik and Gemma Amor
12:15pm to 1:00pm: Chet Williamson and David Niall Wilson
1:15pm to 2:00pm: F. Paul Wilson and Thomas F. Monteleone
2:15pm to 3:00pm: Maurice Broaddus and S.A. Cosby
3:15pm to 4:00pm: C.V. Hunt and Wrath James White
4:15pm to 5:00pm: Aron Beauregard and Daniel J. Volpe
5:15pm to 6:00pm: Andersen Prunty and Christoph Paul
6:15pm to 7:00pm: Sonora Taylor and Red Lagoe
7:15pm to 8:00pm: Glenn Rolfe and Donnie Goodman
8:15pm to 9:00pm: RJ Roles and Tim McWhorter
9:15pm to 10:00pm: Michael Tyree and Michael Seidlinger
10:15pm to 11:45pm: CARNIVAL OF CHAOS – Jeff Strand, John Wayne Comunale, Kristopher Triana, Wesley Southard, Stephen Kozeniewski, and Wile E. Young present nearly two hours of mayhem and madness.
SATURDAY PANEL DISCUSSIONS (Rooms 2 and 3)
10:30am to 11:30am: WRITING RITUALS – Bryan Nowak, Daniel Braum, Dea Schofield, Kelly Martin, Dan Franklin, and Joseph Pesavento discuss their individual writing processes and practices, finding balance with day jobs and family obligations, and their tips for productivity and focus.
11:45am to 1:00pm: PUBLISHERPALOOZA – Join representatives from Apex Books, Apokrupha, Bleeding Edge Books, Castaigne Publishing, Clash Books, Crone Girls Press, Death’s Head Press, Grindhouse Press, Stygian Sky Media, Tenebrous Press, and Weirdpunk Books discuss the trials and tribulations of publishing, and what they’re looking for from authors and artists.
1:15pm to 2:15pm: THIS DYSTOPIAN OBSESSION – Mary SanGiovanni, Jonathan Janz, Adam J. Smith, Anthony M. Strong, and Matt Wildasin discuss why dystopian and post-apocalyptic horror fiction are more popular now than ever.
2:30pm to 3:30pm: DEATH OF THE DEAD? – Night of the Living Dead and White Zombie. Day of the Dead and Wet Work. The Rising and 28 Days Later. The Walking Dead and World War Z. The popularity of zombies runs in cycles. Matt Blazi, Jay Wilburn, Kristopher Rufty, Jeremy Wagner, Thomas R. Clark, and Anton Cancre predict what’s next for the undead. Are we approaching a downturn, and if so, will they rise once more?
3:45pm to 4:45pm: WRITING SHORT STORIES – Katherine Silva, James Noll, Tony Evans, and Joseph Sullivan discuss the tips, tricks, and challenges of crafting the perfect short horror story.
5:00pm to 6:00pm: SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE – Josh Malerman, Maurice Broaddus, F. Paul Wilson, S.A. Cosby, Wrath James White, and Clay McLeod Chapman discuss the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of what happens when Hollywood comes knocking at your door.
SATURDAY WORKSHOPS (Center Lounge)
Noon to 4:00pm: UPPING YOUR GAME: HOW TO DELIVER A MEMORABLE LIVE READING – Author Robert Ford, one of the best live readers in the business, leads this interactive workshop on ways to improve your own live reading. Attendees will participate with live readings of their own work (so please come prepared) and receive practical developmental feedback. Note: This is a ticketed event.
4:30pm to 8:30pm: WRITING FOR VIDEO GAMES: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW – Video game veteran Richard Dansky (Red Storm, Ubisoft) leads this highly interactive seminar on how to write for video game. Note: This is a ticketed event.
Vendor Room Hours – 11:00am to 4:00pm
SUNDAY READINGS (Rooms A & B)
11:15pm to Noon: Rebecca Rowland and Douglas Ford
12:15pm to 1:00pm: Jacob Haddon and D. Alexander Ward
1:15pm to 2:00pm: Robert Ford and Richard Dansky
2:15pm to 3:00pm: Bridgett Nelson and Lindsay Lerman
SUNDAY PANEL DISCUSSIONS (Rooms 2 and 3)
11:30 to 12:30pm: BABY’S FIRST MONSTER – R.L. Stine. Stephen King. Leisure Books. Weird Tales. Different generations of horror fiction fans discover the genre in different ways. Hailey Piper, John Kelly, Jeremy Megargee, Matthew Mitchell, Mike Duke, and Kim Alexander discuss their introduction to horror.
12:45pm to 1:45pm: MY FAVORITE HORROR NOVEL – Andersen Prunty, Rowland Bercy Jr., Chase Will and Pamela K. Kinney discuss their all-time favorite horror novel, and the impact it’s had on them.
SUNDAY WORKSHOPS (Center Lounge)
3:00pm to 4:00pm: YELL AT BRIAN KEENE – What did you think of the first Scares That Care AuthorCon? The Board of Directors wants your honest feedback, so that we can improve the experience going forward. (Please don’t actually yell, though).
*** END OF SCHEDULE ***
Ok, the last thing I’ll mention about Scares That Care Authorcon is tickets are incredibly affordable for a 3-day event. So, if you happen to be anywhere near the area, within driving distance, or can get to the area, you should definitely check out https://scaresthatcare.org/authorcon and pick up some tickets. Joe says they’ll be available at the door as well, but it’s always helpful to know in advance who’s coming so everything can be planned accordingly. The list of special attendees is incredible and the list of authors at vendor tables is awesome, too. I’ll be there, so will all the other Written in Red authors and so many of my author friends. I’m excited and hope to see all of you there.
Damn, that schedule made this one hell of a long newsletter. It was already long, but damn! So, what else has happened?
Due to health reasons, I’ve become a little bitch. I was hard enough on myself for drinking those Bud Light Lemonade Seltzers but then I couldn’t find them in the store anymore. These damn things have been everywhere though. So, I tried them, and they’re weird, but they’re zero carbs, and if I use A LOT of imagination, I can pretend they taste like beer. Plus, they don’t seem to give me a hangover. They’re tolerable. They’re kind of light, crisp - basically all the shit the can has written on it.
I’m afraid to pour it into a glass because I don’t want to see the color. It might just be clear like seltzer and make my balls shrivel up and fall the hell off. Okay, I’ve made enough fun of myself for it that maybe you won’t have to.
Graham, on the other hand, who’s gone from this cute little bundle of joy:
To this gangster cathole who scratches me up every time he sees me…
He probably has plenty to say about my wimpy drink choices. But Graham can kiss my ass.
In other news, I found out it’s illegal to threaten to kidnap Donna Latham and drag her to your author/reader Village-O-Friends. Seriously, it was just a fun post about building a community out in the middle of nowhere and starting over where we could each only bring one person. We had hundreds of comments. Good times… until I apparently got violent. She offered to come anyway, so we’re good.
I should probably add to that how important it is for me to build this newsletter and how vital your role in that is. I need your help spreading the word and sharing this newsletter.
That warning I got above about kidnapping Donna? Facebook also threatened to shut down my account if I keep violating rules. There’s a constant reminder at the top left corner of my screen right now because of this and someone else’s violation in a group I happen to help admin. Has nothing to do with me but I got a warning because I’m an admin in the group.
Jules recently had her account closed because she couldn’t prove her maiden name was her real name. That was one of the reasons I came out with my real name, so she could use it on her account and it wouldn’t cause any issues. It just serves as a reminder that social media is flimsy. It’s fragile. Those who giveth can easily taketh away.
So being able to reach as many people as possible through my newsletter will help if, for any reason, I have problems with my social media accounts and lose access to my friends and readers. Please, share me.
First Chapter Freakshow Episodes
I’m also trying to reach people on YouTube. First Chapter Freakshow, my YouTube show where I read the beginning of my horror author friends’ books, is almost at episode 50 already. I’ve decided when I reach episode 51, I’ll change up the intro a little bit and I might make some other changes to the show. I’m still working on some ideas.
The way it works now is authors are on a list and when they get to the top of that list, I put them on a spinning wheel. Each episode, I read the first chapter or two from an author’s book (it has to be horror), then I spin the wheel so we can see whose book I’ll be reading from in the next episode. I erase that name from the wheel and pull the next name from the top of the list. It’s a lot of fun, or at least I like to think it is. Since my last newsletter, I’ve recorded the following episodes. Click on each one to be taken to it on YouTube:
Episode 40: The Book of Spite by R.F. Blackstone
Episode 41: Tribute to T.S. Woolard and Psycho Circus
Episode 42: The Ranch by Erin Lee and Chelsi Davis
Episode 43: Trench Mouth by Christine Morgan
Episode 44: Ape in the Ring by Douglas Ford
Episode 45: While Demons Kiss by Andre Sanders
Episode 46: Dani by Angelique Jordonna
Episode 47: The Virus by Damien Lee
Episode 48: The New Girls’ Patient by Ruthann Jagge
Written in Red
I also joined authors Aron Beauregard, Daniel J. Volpe, and Rowland Bercy Jr. as a co-host on a podcast called Written in Red: The Horror Reader and Writer’s Podcast where we discuss the ins and outs of the indie horror world. We’ve already put out 25 episodes. Our most recent was an interview with Lucas Mangum, who I talked about earlier in the newsletter. It was an awesome interview. Lucas is such a wealth of information. Click HERE to be taken to the YouTube version of that episode or you can listen to the podcast pretty much anywhere that you listen to podcasts.
I guess that’s about it for this issue. If you’re not already following me, make sure you’re hitting me up in all these places:
Facebook Author Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/carverpikereadergroup
And please make sure you subscribe to this substack and share it with your friends.