Tag Archives: #SIPHON

Sucked Dry: Hindered Souls Press Closes Its Doors…

Well… If you haven’t heard already, Hindered Souls Press, home to M. R. Tapia’s Sugar Skulls, Renee Miller’s Eat the Rich, Leo X. Robertson’s upcoming (well, it was upcoming) Jesus of Scumburg, and of course, my debut novella Siphon, has shut down.

It came as a surprise. I received an email from H.S.P. owner and editor, M. R. Tapia himself. To say the least, I was not quite sure how to take it.

So, what is going to happen to Siphon along with the other titles? I’ll get to that in a bit, first I’d like to say a few things about H.S.P. in general.


When I finished writing Siphon, I was both relieved and nervous. It was a story that had been stuck in my head for many years and I finally got it down on paper. Sure, I’ve written plenty of short stories and had them published, but a story so near and dear to me, a story that took a long time to write, I wasn’t sure if it was good enough for someone to pick up or if I was just going to hide it in the proverbial dusty drawer to look at sometime in the future. The last thing I wanted to do was self-publish it — I wanted affirmation from an outside source that it was good enough.

I grew some balls and sent it out to some indie publishers. Long story short, M. R. Tapia responded with excitement, insightful editing advice, and ultimately a contract. It made my whole year. My first book. Everyone remembers their first.

It was picked up in December of 2017 and published February 2, 2018, six days before my 30th birthday. Hell, my wife got me a Siphon cake to celebrate both occasions.

I can say a lot, but to sum it up: M. R. Tapia poured all his love and energy into Hindered Souls Press, and into the authors he signed. However, family and health is the ultimate priority. Unfortunate personal burdens led to financial strain and mental fatigue, and Tapia made the decision to allocate all his energy and finances to tackle those hurdles while focusing all his love on his family.

This, I understand and respect.

He didn’t drag us through the mud with shitty communication. He didn’t play games or pussyfoot. Tapia reached a point where he knew it would be impossible to juggle both and he, as Renee Miller put it, “pulled the trigger.”

[You can read Renee Miller’s thoughts on the matter HERE]

I respect it. I understand it. And, in no way, am I bitter about his decision. I, too, run a small indie publishing company. However, I have two awesome partners in the endeavor in Dustin and Chris. When I feel overwhelmed or burnt out — they pick up the slack. Visa-versa. Tapia went above and beyond for a one man show. He set up booths at cons, drove to distant markets and bookstores to promote the catalog, and spent countless hours pushing and praising Siphon. I am forever in his debt.

Godspeed, hombre!

So, what about Siphon?

Well, in a frantic haste of what-the-fuckness after receiving the shitty news, I sent inquiries to handful of publishers. It’s hard enough to get an unpublished novella picked up, let alone one that is a reprint (If anyone reading this knows of any publishers currently open for novella reprints, get at me).

Whatever happens, Siphon, along with the other H.S.P. titles will be unavailable December 1st (Saturday). Go grab a few copies. It’ll help both Tapia and the rest of us.

That said, I don’t want Siphon to be out of commission for too long. If I can’t find a new home or potential new home for Siphon by February of 2019, I’ll self-publish it myself or make a case and publish it via Aphotic Realm.

I’m not too sure what the future holds. All I can do is reach out and wait.

Make sure to support indie authors and publishers. It really is a labor of love. It doesn’t pay the bills — I know this first hand. It takes a lot of time and a shit ton of energy, but it’s not the money (that we don’t make) that makes it worth it, it’s the support from the community that keeps us going when the going gets fuckin’ unbearably exhausting at times.

Be good to each other.



It Was A Long Summer…

June 18th…. June 18th was the last time I wrote a blog post. It was a long summer — bear with me while I attempt to organize the cluttered clusterfuck I call my brain. I’ll do my best to compartmentalize it all.


Since the last time I posted, Dustin, Chris, and I (along with the other members of Aphotic Realm) have been extremely busy.

In July, we released Issue #4 of the magazine, DYSTOPIA. Again, many great authors and artists are in this one. I even have a story — an ode to my favorite childhood book, The Giver — in this one, “8-Bit Rebellion”.


In September, we released Grimdark Grimoires: Volume One. This one is packed with nine wonderfully dark fantasy tales.


And lastly, just a few days ago, we released our most jam-packed issue to date. Issue #5: ELDRITCH. This one took a lot out of me. Stories, comics, interviews, art, et cetera.


Our next issue’s theme is FANGS. Creature horror. Think Jaws and Cujo. Submissions are open and you can find out more at http://www.AphoticRealm.com


SIPHON — A Novella

Siphon was my debut into the writing world. Although I have released a short story collection — ITCH — prior to the release of Siphon, I don’t consider that my debut. I finished Siphon about one year ago today, shopped it, and Hindered Souls Press picked it up and released it February 2nd, 2018.

Initially, I believe they wanted to release it after February, but I was adamant about having it out before my 30th birthday (February 8th).

That brings me to my next bittersweet topic: Reviews.

I have been more than thrilled to see the reactions — both good and bad — to Siphon. I’m not gonna lie, I was nervous, but not delusional. Given the content, there was no way in hell it wasn’t going to get some stinkers — blood and sex and violence and creepy-stalker dudes isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time.

But I like the range of star ratings I’ve received. If I received all 5 Star reviews/ratings, I feel like my message — the mood — I was trying to convey didn’t really land. If I got all 1 or 2 Star Reviews (haven’t got a 1 Star one yet, that I know of), then it would be apparent that my writing ability is lackluster.

I was trying to ride that fine line…

||gore/sex || psychology/emotion||

These are primal urges we all have, but for reasons — mostly to retain some type civility — we stifle the urges. We all, at one point or another, have been overwhelmed with thoughts of sex or violence. Siphon was just an exploration of what happens when a delusional man struggles to contain them, while trying to remain civil.

But I digress…

One aspect about my writing that I saw in most reviews (both good and not-so-good) was some type of praise about my pacing. Honestly, that made me feel good. I slaved over the beats of that story for a long time.

Double-edged sword.

Now, however, as I’m knee-deep into the next chapter of Claybrook City (where Siphon takes place, go buy the book) I’m second-guessing every damn thing.

“Am I ranting?”

“Is this scene going on too long?”

“I’m bored. Will the audience be bored? Of course I’m bored, I’ve read and rewrote this part six times! That doesn’t mean a reader will be bored… Does it?”

My elevator pitch for this book is The Goonies meets Eyes Wide Shut meets The Columbine Massacre.

“Is this too much?”

Ah, but in the end, the first draft must be completed. Hope to have that done by Christmas this year. Then, I’ll slaughter my proverbial baby and keep the tasty parts.

As for the recent winners of my Siphon giveaway, I didn’t make it to the post office on time Saturday, I’ll be shipping those out tomorrow (Monday).


I have a handful of short stories out and submitted. A few have made the shortlist, others I have not heard anything back yet. I’ll be sure to post any acceptances and where to find them if I’m lucky.

That said, I do have one acceptance. My story “A Night In Black Canyon” is a post-apocalyptic western that takes place in the world of Bo Chappell’s Year 47 novel. The anthology is called By Year’s End and should be out shortly.

BYE Ad.png


Let’s break this down in bullet points:

  • Got my first bass when I was 11.
  • Joined my first band when I was 13 (Shitty cover band called “GIZNAD” which was DANZIG backwards)
  • Been in punk/metal bands ever since. Toured. Released many albums.
  • In 2012 my father passed abruptly.
  • In an attempt to change my life and climb out of depression, I gave up music and went back to school.
  • Graduated with a BA in Creative Writing.
  • Started Aphotic Realm with Dustin and wrote short stories and eventually Siphon.
  • Now, I have the strongest fucking urge to get back to my first love.
  • I started taking some steps to make that happen while continuing to write.

It can seem egotistical to listen to your own band and like it. But, when it was six years ago and you’re so removed from it that it feels like your witnessing a whole other life, that nostalgia bug bites hard and deep. Here’s the song (I’m on bass and all vocals), I’ll post the lyrics underneath it — after all, it still counts as writing, right? It’s about time I pick up the battleaxe again.


In attempts to destroy my life, you’ve destroyed your own
Excuses & justifications, you’ve relinquished your own throne
Deep inside your mind, you’ve built a factory of lies
The epitome of scum, worthless defined
You believe you’re the victim, but you’re the one to blame
Truth is you’re the loser, of your own sick fucking game
Life is what you make it and you’ve made it your enemy
Demand sympathy for your wounds that you, yourself made bleed
Lines, thick and fucking thin
You, have, fucking crossed them all
You’re such a piece of shit
and your voice is equivalent to the god damn stench
I’ll gladly place the noose around your fucking neck
and present you with every reason to step off of life’s edge
I can still feel the knife pierced into my back
Look into my eyes, eyes consumed by hate
Your pathetic apologies come far too fucking late
Eye for a fucking eye..
Realize where you stand…alone, unforgiven, soul rotten
Descend into my darkness… You are, YOU’RE THE ONE I HATE
Let us discuss your existence, so we see eye to eye
Abandoned emotional resistance, I look forward to the day you die.
You know this is the end of the time when we used to call you friend.


Give me work or give me death!

When I’m not writing or editing or doing the interior designs for Aphotic Realm Magazine, I take on graphic design jobs on the side.

I’m cheap and easy.

Some of the book covers I’ve made lately:

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There are also a few that I can’t show (because they are not publicly announced yet!)

In addition to book covers, I’ve designed some board games as well…

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All that and more stuff for bands and small businesses that I don’t feel like uploading at the moment (I’ll eventually make a Graphic Design page/portfolio on here).

That said, my schedule frees up August 1st, and I’ll be open to any commissions for book covers, merch designs, whatever — you can inquire at uglyandhorrible@gmail.com or use the contact form on this site.

Until then, I have a few premade Kindle covers for sale.

15 USD each…

If you’re interested in any of these, just contact me with which one you’d like to purchase. I will then insert your title, author name, and any other blurbs you may see fit. I also have no problem altering font type or color scheme (as long as it isn’t a crazy amount of change).

Back to work I go!

Cheers! Stay groovy!



Part Two of the game.

If you missed part one, read my post from yesterday HERE.

Let’s get right into it… Dr. Gary Phillips stopped by to explain his tweet last night:


I’ll give him the floor.



My name is Gary Phillips. Doctor Gary Phillips. I’m the resident hematopathologist at Claybrook City Medical Center.

I’m sure no one is actually reading this, but I heard keeping a journal of some sort could be a “healthy” endeavor. I’ll give it a shot.

I haven’t been sleeping much lately. When I do, I don’t dream. At least, I don’t remember them if I do. Maybe this can help with that as well.

I started a Twitter account for “reasons”, reasons I can explain. See, I didn’t think anyone would follow me. I didn’t want anyone to follow me. Last night I posted a tweet, a tweet displayed above, and assumed would fall on deaf ears.

A cry in the vacuum of space.

A whimper in a dark chamber.

My own personal oubliette of sorts.

But that wasn’t the case, was it? A handful of you are curious as to what I mean by “The Beach!!!”. Let me explain. It all started with a woman, a girl by the name of Wendy Carter.

She’s a phlebotomist who joined my team of nobodies roughly a year ago. Blonde hair, big green eyes. A perfect, All-American figure reminiscent of those World War II era pin-up models plastered on the sides of bombers or hung up on the walls of barracks. A visual tool utilized by the soldiers to release a little steam. With enough stress and pressure, multiply that with sleep deprivation, the line between cumming and killing can start to blur. But that’s a topic for another time.

Wendy is young. Another generation young.

Young and attractive, it’s no surprise any man at any age would become infatuated with her. That is just a given. The nature of the libido. Yet, she dug deeper into me. There was a trigger, a trigger I didn’t know I had.

On her first day, I was walking her through a procedure on how to test for who the fuck cares in some jerk-off’s blood sample. The whole time she watched me, carefully, with intent, her bottom lip tucked under her two front teeth.

I could literally feel the blood in my head rush down south.

Thankfully, we were on opposite sides of the table. She was unaware of my beacon of arousal that I continuously and purposely rubbed up against the underside of the table as I locked eyes with her.

I lost focus.

I’m not even sure if I showed her the proper way to do said procedure. For all I know, she could still be doing it all wrong to this day.

Time went by and pornography didn’t cut it anymore. But if I had to make it work, it would have to star a young blonde and I had to try my damnedest to imagine it was Wendy.

Eventually, that stopped working too.

Everyday, I’d ask Wendy a question to make her ponder. When she pondered is when she’d bite her lip and gaze up at me with those murky ponds. It got so bad that I’d try and capture the image in my head and take a quick “bathroom break” before the visual escaped me.

Easy to say, I’ve fallen behind at work.

That’s when I remembered social media. All the kids are doing it. So, I started a Facebook account, found her profile, scoured her photo albums, and thankfully for me, they weren’t set to private.

My favorite photo was the seventh one in a folder she suitably named “Beach Time!!!” Wendy was making a peace sign with her fingers and biting her lower lip. She wore a white bikini; the water must’ve been cold that day. I saved that photo for last. That photo was for the final stretch.

The Big Finish.

I knew she had a cluster of freckles above her left breast. I knew she was a dog lover. I knew she had a tattoo that read “Peace & Love” with a flower on her right hip about six inches below her belly button. It was a Yellow Germini or a Gerber Daisy, I wasn’t too sure. I knew she liked beer pong, too much.

I knew more than I should.

Time stood still when I visited The Beach.

But see, she hasn’t posted a new photo in a while. I’m looking for a little variety. That’s why I started a Twitter; I hear people are more active here than on Facebook these days. I found her profile, but still no new pictures.

Will you guys do me a favor? An experiment of sorts?

Will you send me a picture of yourself biting your lower lip? I’m not entirely sure if the same “trigger” will trigger coming from anyone else, but I’d like to find out.

Until next time,

Dr. Gary Phillips

INSTRUCTIONS: Post a picture of yourself (or any picture from the internet if you’re too shy) biting your lower lip to the comments of this post on Dr. Phillip’s Twitter to create a thread.
Posting a valid picture: 5 points | Re-Tweeting someone else’s picture: 3 points | Someone liking your picture: 1 point
These will be tallied up over the following weeks in addition to the future “games”.

Have fun.

Song of the Day

One of Gary’s favorites…

“Silence in the air, Is anybody there? Searching every sound, walking on quiet ground.”