I blackmailed Westword, Denver’s alt-weekly, to write a piece about me, and they fell right in line.
It wasn’t the pandemic that provided the inspiration for Denver horror author Josh Schlossberg’s new novel, Malinae, a yarn of biological horror about growing old…and perhaps growing in terrifying ways, too. But the pandemic did provide the time in which he could write it.
“The book’s biggest overlap with the pandemic is the isolation the protagonist experiences, cooped up in his house thanks to a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis and unable to participate in the activities he used to take for granted. And, as many of us have learned over the coronapocalypse, the long-term effect of isolation is an increasing alienation with humanity as a whole,” Schlossberg says. “Or maybe that’s just me.”
A knife to the brain takes out a zombie. A stake to the heart finishes a vampire. And a silver bullet puts down a werewolf. But the only way to beat old age is to, well, die.
In the first of its “Monsters of D&T” virtual events onThursday, July 29 at 5 pm PT / 6 MT / 7 CT / 8 ET, D&T Publishing’s Dawn Shea hosts three authors whose new books examine aging—aka “elder horror”—in very different ways.
Summer Feaker (HAVEN MANOR TRILOGY), Josh Schlossberg (MALINAE), and Mark Towse (NANA) will read briefly from their latest works, share their takes on the elder horror subgenre, and reveal their greatest fears of getting old.
Joy Yehle and Brenda Tolian had me on their new horror fiction podcast, BURIAL PLOT, to talk about the origins of Denver Horror Collective, worshiping viruses as gods, and the inspiration behind MALINAE.
Ward Ayers, physically disabled and confined to his Jersey Shore home, can only watch in dismay as his beloved wife Malina slips further and further into dementia. Until he uncovers the dark force behind Malina’s decline and must plumb the depths of sacrifice and selfishness to reclaim his wife and preserve humanity’s future.
The 1-hour event will feature:
–Josh Schlossberg reading a brief excerpt from MALINAE and sharing the real-life inspiration for his fictional work’s exploration of Alzheimer’s disease.
–D & T Publishing editor, Dawn Ellis Shea, relating her experiences working as a nurse with dementia patients.
–Huntington Potter, Ph.D., Director of University of Colorado Alzheimer’s and Cognition Center, offering hope in the form of the latest scientific progress towards a cure.
The event will conclude with Q&A.
MALINAE will be available as an e-book from Godless.com on April 9, and as print and e-book through Amazon on April 23.
For more information, please visit JoshsWorstNightmare.com or DandTpublishing.com.
All my life, people have been trying to shut me up.
It started in grade school, when speaking my mind got me sent out into the hall. This kept up through junior high, where I’d commit the sin of “talking back” to teachers, earning me a double-digit tally of detentions.
I mostly stayed out of trouble through high school and college by funneling my unauthorized thoughts into writing, without ever bothering to try to publish any of it.
In my twenties, when I took a job as an environmental organizer, the state would muzzle my legal protests with detainments and arrests. On one occasion, I was passing out brochures on a public sidewalk when a SWAT team member and former Blackwater operative threw me to the pavement, kneed me in the neck, and confiscated my camera before carting me off to jail.
Upon discovering the political power of the written word, my activist career from that point on involved me being censored and blacklisted by government agencies and corporate-funded NGOs for daring to critique their failures.
After retiring from activism in favor of journalism, despite writing for dozens of publications and winning multiple awards, I eventually learned that editors would reject any pitch that didn’t conform to their own rigid ideologies.
Venturing into the horror fiction world, I was able to sneak several of my short stories into some forward-thinking publications and subversive anthologies, but not a single publishing house would touch my far more “controversial” longer fiction.
But 2020 changed everything. That’s when I sent my novella, MALINAE, to D&T Publishing’sDawn Ellis Shea. Not only didn’t Dawn blanch at what I had to say, she offered me a contract for the book (coming out in April).
Praise the dark gods for people like Dawn; the opposite of censors, they’re the amplifiers raising up the voices of artists the establishment doesn’t want you to hear.
So, I’ve been thinking lately (never too late to start!): Is there anything more narcissistic than publishing a newsletter dedicated solely to oneself?
Of course, the reality of being a writer today is that if you don’t promote your work, no one will read it. While I certainly write for myself, I’m also doing so to connect with weirdos like you. Hence this newsletter.
Now, I’ve tried to turn Josh’s Worst Nightmare into something larger than myself, focusing on biological horror fiction rather than just my latest scribblings. Which is why I’ve done everything from putting out my infamous Haiku Horror Reviews of bio-horror books, to hosting Beast Bout brackets (where you get to vote on which monster you think would win in an actual fight), to short, subtitled music videos I’ve been calling “Micro Bio Horror.”
But I’ll be honest: Engagement wasn’t that high for these attempts, so instead of putting time into stuff people aren’t that interested in–don’t worry, I’m not hurt!–I’ve regressed back to simply promoting my latest work and sharing a few horror fiction-related musings in this here editorial.
Still, ultimately, I’d like to make Josh’s Worst Nightmare something you’re excited about, rather than just one more thing to labor through with an obligatory scan, ignore, or send straight to the trash.
Those who know me are all too aware of my ability to not only home in on the disturbing, but to make people afraid of things they never even thought about before.
For years, the forces of light have conspired to keep my long fiction from infecting the minds of good, wholesome folk such as yourself. Sure, several of my short stories slipped through the cracks, but my most dangerous works have been suppressed. And with good reason.
A sinister force known as D & T Publishing has conspired with me to unleash a flood of shadows this April in the form of my forthcoming novella, MALINAE:
In the quiet oceanside community of Beachcrest, Ward Ayers watches in dismay as his wife Malina slips further into dementia. As her behavior takes a turn for the disturbing, he uncovers a dark force behind her decline.