Phantom Effect – My Latest Release!

Phantom Effect

PhantomEffectWithBloodSerial killer Jonathan Martin Delaware Deseronto is stuck with two flat tires on an abandoned construction site with the body of his latest victim, the lovely co-ed Marissa Madison, in the trunk.

What he doesn’t realize is that the girl was psychic, and her ghost will force Deseronto to live the last fatal week of her life inside her body as a passive passenger, making him experience the mind numbing terror of being stalked by himself.

Available for purchase on Amazon


Review by Publisher’s Weekly

Psychological obsession and surrealist complexity lend interest to fetishistic violence in a perverted parable that challenges traditional moral norms and reader expectations.

When serial killer Jonathan Deseranto gets a flat tire, an unexpected encounter leads to an automobile accident that, in turn, reveals the animated corpse of Marissa Madison, his most recent victim.

Cast into a purgatorial time loop and forced to inhabit Marissa’s life as well as his own, Jonathan realizes his victim had “gifts he didn’t know about.” Reliving Marissa’s domestic strife and enduring grim reunions with his abusive mother, Jonathan becomes both hunter and prey.

Razor-sharp description, breakneck action, and sympathetic characters undermine the reader’s preconceived notions of past and present, and of reality and delusion, in a thriller designed to question as much as entertain.

The genre staple of a killer’s psychosexual metamorphosis is invigorated by the theme of a fragmented identity haunting itself. Perspective shifts lend depth to a philosophically rich fearfest that’s recommended for readers who prefer their titillation to include some complexity.

Link to review.

Michael Aronovitz is the author of the acclaimed short story collections Seven Deadly Pleasures (Hippocampus Press, 2009) and The Voices in Our Heads (2013), Alice Walks (2013), as well as the novel, The Witch of the Wood (Hippocampus Press, 2014).

Posted in Books, Ghosts, haunting, horror, Thriller | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Phantom Effect” Explodes, and the “Goblet of Shock” Series Expands!

Forgive me, Father, for it has been too long since my last confession, heh, heh. Yes, I have been busy, and I am pleased to say that a couple of projects are starting to really take off.

My new horror novel “Phantom Effect” was released by Night Shade Books on February 2nd, 2016, and the reaction out there has been awesome. I just did a reading at The University of the Arts on March 2nd which turned out to be standing room only! We sold all the books the University had picked up for the event, and they offered to put the title in the bookstore for purchase permanently. Now I can use it officially for the ongoing fiction class I teach there.

In rock news, my series “Goblet of Shock,” featuring my reviews of horror and how it relates to new bands that matter has EXPLODED! Horror authors Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross gave me the page on their site a couple of months ago, and I have gotten to know a number of exceptional new bands through personal communication and intensive analysis of their music and messages. These recording artists include Ravenscroft, The Bloody Jug Band, Forever Still, Amerakin Overdose, Saint Diablo, Heaven the Axe, Shinobi Ninja, Our Last Enemy, (and soon to come), A Breach of Silence, and Cold Snap. The reactions I have gotten on Twitter and Facebook have been MASSIVE, and I thank everyone for their interest in my fascination with modern hard music.

It seems “Goblet of Shock” has gained a powerful twin sister as it were. Rock DJ WikkedLiss of WCR247 Radio has taken an interest in my reviews. Initially, I believe this was because the two of us were featuring many of the same bands, yet more recently we were pleased to discover that we share the same philosophies about music, art, literature, and the human condition. WikkedLiss, an incredibly talented writer herself, was kind enough to read “Phantom Effect,” and has put together a couple of radio talk shows where I have been invited to co-host. WikkedLiss is planning to bring on four bands from the Eclipse record label that I have been privileged enough to have had contact with, the first two being Saint Diablo and A Breach of Silence, date TBA. We are planning to do another show at a later time with Our Last Enemy and Cold Snap.

We have decided to call the show “Goblet of Horror,” in a nod to the review series, but presented here more specifically with the “Goblet” representing WikkedLiss and her extraordinary knowledge of the rock world, and “Horror” making reference to my experience with writing weird fiction. Below, I have provided the link to her station site and also the page talking about the show.

Hope to “see you there” so to speak!

Posted in A Breach of Silence, Amerakin Overdose, Book Reviews, Books, Cold Snap, fiction, Forever Still, Graveyard, Hard Rock, haunting, Heavy Metal, horror, Horror Book, Horror Books, Horror Film, Horror Movie, Music, Music review, Our Last Enemy, Ravenscroft, Reviews, Rock and Roll, Rock Critic, Rock Review, S.T. Joshi, Saint Diablo, Scare, Scary, Stephen King, The Bloody Jug Band, WCR247 Radio, WikkedLiss, Woods, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Phantom Effect’ is LIVE!

Today is the day before ‘Phantom Effect’ comes out through Night Shade Books. This is my most bold piece, that in effect, took a lifetime to write. This is my biggest stage, as Night Shade/Skyhorse is the most prestigious publisher to have taken on my work. I am thrilled about this, and look forward to this part of the journey.

‘Phantom Effect’ took two years to write altogether, and began with my fascination with the work of Indie Film maker Ursula Dabrowsky: pure grit and beauty. I also wanted to create something that broke writing trends and standards, and not to be too technical, I wanted to celebrate a more literary form that didn’t seem so afraid (forgive the strange personification) to express inner-psychology while moving a plot at break-neck speed. This led to point of view shifts, time line alterations, and a glorious fun house of flashbacks I hope the reader finally enjoys.

This is a serial killer piece that goes into the supernatural, but more, it is a “people” piece, one that opens a lot of emotion and the darker recesses of the human heart.



Posted in Bloody Mary, Book Reviews, Books, Creative Writing, Erin Thorne, fiction, Film, Ghost, Ghost Story, Ghosts, Graveyard, horror, Horror Book, Horror Books, Horror Collection, Horror Film, Horror Movie, Horror Short Stories, Music, Music review, S.T. Joshi, Sarah Jeavons, Scare, Scary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Goblet of Shock / Reviews There and Here

I have a new review series called “Goblet of Shock” which gives serious commentary on horror and new heavy rock bands that matter. I have my own page now on the site shared by famous horror authors Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross, and it is there that I am giving specific attention and interpretation to the world’s newest and best musical projects.

I am not doing this for the purpose of criticism. This is a celebration. If I am approached by a new band (or stumble across one) that sucks, I simply will not put up the review. If a band gets on “Goblet of Shock,” there will be intricate commentary linking that  group to horror, two photos, and their hottest video. I will also tweet about it for a week constantly.

If you are a new band with a video that has some sort of horror thread, please contact me at

I am running into a bottleneck of bands at the moment who want to be reviewed. Of course, I can not review everyone. I also can not review two bands that have the exact same kind of horror thrust. That being said, I have additionally come across a number of good bands asking for exposure that don’t quite fit, for one reason or another, the “Goblet of Shock” paradigm. This does not mean the particular project is a runner up! In fact, bands that would additionally fall into this category are those I love who are already too big, like “In This Moment” or “Babymetal.” To accommodate the many projects like the ones just mentioned, I am going to feature much shorter reviews on this blog, maybe every three days or so. If you make it here to “The Author’s Graveyard,” I will name the members, make a comment about each, and run a paragraph. Then I will have the video link.

So far I have featured four of whom I feel are the most important new bands, the first three on “The Horror Review Page,” and the latest on my own new page “Goblet of Shock,” though I consider all four a part of the Goblet family if you will.

Ravenscroft: Gargoyles and Skulls.

Ravenscroft 6







The Bloody Jug Band: Hillbilly Horror

Bloody Jug Band 2






Forever Still: Scream Queens and Dark Sirens

Forever Still






Amerakin Overdose: Masks and Face Paint

Amerakin Overdose 1






I will be adding the aforementioned shorter reviews on this page within the next couple of days. The next band to go up on “Goblet of Shock” will be Saint Diablo.

Posted in Amerakin Overdose, Forever Still, Hard Rock, horror, Music, Ravenscroft, Rock Review, Screamo, The Bloody Jug Band | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Rock Review – Ravenscroft

I am starting a series of hard rock reviews that merge horror fiction and hard new music. I have a strong relationship with the people who run the awesome blog Hellnotes, that which is also connected to Journalstone Publishing and Dark Discoveries. They have a new page called “Horror Review” and that is where these writings will show up.

I am focusing on the tie that binds hard rock and horror. I am choosing new bands and critiquing a given video, though this will not be deconstructionist. Ever. I am not a rock critic. I am a fan and this is a celebration. If I have negative things to say about a certain video I simply won’t write about it.

If you are a new band with a video and interested in being reviewed, message me or tweet me on my Twitter page:

Here is the link to my first professional rock review, concerning the new hard rock band Ravenscroft.

Ravenscroft 7

Posted in Alternative Rock, Cauldron of Deceit, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Hot New bands, Music review, Ravenscroft, Rock and Roll, Rock Critic | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Becky’s Kiss is Live!!

I usually reserve this blog for hard core, gratuitous horror stuff under my real name, but “Becky’s Kiss” went live today, my paranormal teen romance story written under the pen name Nicholas Fisher.

At one point this piece was agented and at another it was looked at by Dial, Penguin’s young adult division. I got writing advice from QL Pearce, Tamara Thorne, Ken Bingham, Claire Evans, and agent Cherry Weiner, in other words, the base tale had potential and I did a lot of work on it with help from the very best in the industry. Altogether, it is one of my best works, an exploratory piece with difficult timelines and “world rules” to navigate. It is also my first piece to have a happy ending type of a feel, and while this is not the way I usually would go, I wrote what the story demanded.

Yo. Becky throws 90!!


BeckysKiss 500x750 (6)

Posted in baseball, love story, mystery book, paranormal teen romance, Romance, young adult | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Quest for Sadness” from ‘Seven Deadly Pleasures.’

The third story in the ‘Seven Deadly Pleasures’ collection is surely the creepiest, titled “Quest for Sadness.’ Though the tale went through multiple drafts, it was pretty much completed after the first run, written over the span of one snow day where we had record totals in Philadelphia in March of 1993.

It is the tale of a rich, quiet man accused of being Satan, then going on a quest to prove he is not. The more he enters the spiral, the more he sees his own darkness.

I have a cousin who gave a copy of this back to my mother and told her he couldn’t have it in his house. Students in the writing class I presented it to were baffled, stunned, and shaken. I didn’t realize the tale had this kind of impact, but I am not sorry. In the horror biz, there are things in the lexicon that will be uncomfortable to write. I didn’t see this as such. I do not believe in a myth with red skin, cloven hooves, and curved forehead horns. I believe darkness shares the light in the human heart and is human-born. I have more trouble with cop scenes (I am not one, so I don’t know the various hierarchies) and scenes of erotica (I certainly know how the moving parts work and dig working them, but scenes of the horrific come more naturally).

In all, my plea is that if one has an issue with a certain corner of horror, please try to be open-minded. Certainly do not criticize it on the grounds of its subject-matter alone, but more whether or not the author painted that particular scenario well. In horror there will be cop scenes, love scenes, death scenes, car accidents, devils, witches, warlocks, demons, ghouls, water-beasts, zombies, vampires, werewolves, and monsters. There will be killers and gore and at times, dead animals. If it shows us something about ourselves and engages thinking, the genre has won the battle the story might have lost to some readers.


Posted in Books, Creative Writing, fiction, Ghost, Ghost Story, Ghosts, Graveyard, Hippocampus Press, Horror Books, Horror Collection, Horror Film, literary fiction, S.T. Joshi, Scary, Seven Deadly Pleasures, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Clever Mask” from Seven Deadly Pleasures”

The story that appears in the two-hole in my first collection is titled “The Clever Mask.” This was the first horror story to get accepted anywhere long before I put Seven Deadly together, and it has a nifty little story of its own.

I had always wanted to write horror stuff from my love of Stephen King’s books, and in 1992 I joined a writing workshop at Temple University in their adult enrichment program. (No grades, just fun). I had no idea what to expect. I thought the teacher was going to do grammar, or dialogue lessons, or what-not. The instructor was this young guy in his early 30’s like me, and the first thing he did was a brief lecture concerning the elements of fiction (situation / trap, impending peril, time limitation, conflict and resistance, climax and resolution, epiphany, and logic errors). I took furious notes, and to this day I still use this lecture as an opening for my own creative writing units.

But after this, he simply asked if there was fiction anyone wanted to turn in. People suddenly stood up to hand out copies of stories and he started scheduling them. What? I felt left out! And that was the point. This teacher was so popular, he had repeaters who took the workshop again and again, and the entire class after the brief lecture was based on student work and student criticism. Wonderful! And let me tell you, when it was “your night,” and the class pored over your story detail for detail for 45 minutes, it was an absolute rush.

I got working at home, working with a vengeance. Took me three weeks, and I wrote what I thought was the best, bloodiest, most suspenseful horror story I could muster. Handed out copies. They scheduled me for two weeks later.

They hated it. Comments were dark, nasty, filled with hatred actually. “It was gratuitous and disgusting,” one woman said. “This is not worth reading,” another piped in. “I was absolutely appalled,” a third added.

I was crushed. I had worked hard on this thing, giving a good set-up, nice foreshadowing, and a string of pay-offs like a multiple orgasm. I also had a “gross-out” scene that I thought was spectacular, as my protagonist removed his thumb in the bathtub with a razor blade and the help of the spigot for the final “snapping.” I even called a doctor to make sure I had the anatomical details straight.

I was crushed. Then, a young woman named Jill raised her hand sheepishly. She said, “I don’t know what you all are talking about. I loved it. This story was primal and in-your-face.” The class exploded into argumentation. Ken Bingham, the instructor raised his hand, gaining the quiet that became one of the most suspenseful pauses of my life. He said, “Guys. You may not like this piece for its harsh content, but I’m telling you this, it is going to publish. Bank on it.”

It did. Three weeks later it was accepted to Midnight Zoo magazine. They folded before it hit print, but that wasn’t the point. I had my open door. I was a writer now.

First line:

“I went downstairs for a cup of coffee, and the Grim Reaper was sitting in my living room.”


Posted in Books, Creative Writing, fiction, Hippocampus Press, Horror Books, Horror Collection, Horror Short Stories, S.T. Joshi | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Close-up view of “How Bria Died” from the first collection titled “Seven Deadly Pleasures.”

I am new on Twitter, and I thought a nice celebration would be an in-depth view concerning different parts of my books. Today, I am going to talk about the opening story in my first collection, “Seven Deadly Pleasures” (2009 Hippocampus Press).

To begin, I had the opportunity to break into the small horror market because I was lucky enough to have S.T. Joshi actually read four of my stories back in 2007 (“Passive Passenger,” “The Clever Mask,” “Quest for Sadness,” and “The Legend of the Slither-Shifter”), and like them enough to tell me to come up with 40,000 more words! Believe it or not, I had bought a book from Borders off a gift card given to me by a student, and S.T.’s name was on the cover as the editor. At the time I had no idea that he was America’s number one literary scholar for weird fiction, one of our most powerful anthologists, and Lovecraft’s renowned world biographer. I soon realized my incredible fortune, and took an old failed novel titled “Mischief,” isolated the first fifty pages, rewrote them, expanded them, and created the novella “Toll Booth.”

S.T. approved and asked what I wanted to call my first traditionally published collection. I said, “Five stories, ‘Five Deadly Pleasures.'” He then said that Hippocampus wouldn’t be able release it for a year, so why not complete the parallel, making it “Seven Deadly Pleasures” like the Seven Deadly Sins? Two more stories? No problem!

I immediately wrote a scary clown tale called “The Exterminator” (my personal favorite in the collection I must say), and S.T. said, “Hmm. Ok. Give me one more.” But I was out of ideas! The only thing I could think of at the time was the fact that for years I had been telling a ghost story that started as improvisation in rowdy classrooms when I worked at an inner city charter school. Over time, my story of the scary little girl with pigtails and the jump rope she dragged behind her blossomed, gaining a life of its own, becoming a school legend to the point that older girls would squat on a bathroom stall toilet so their feet were unseen, and moan, “Mommy…” when younger girls would come in, terrifying them.

So I made a frame story about a 10th grade teacher telling the story of the ghost of Bria Patterson to a class of 6th graders he had to sub for, scaring the living shit out of them, and hence, raising the spirit from the dead.

The story “How Bria Died” got some interesting airplay before appearing in my first collection a year later. Ann VanderMeer took it for the “Uncanny Beauty” issue of Weird Tales magazine, and then later, “How Bria Died” was chosen to appear in Paula Guran’s “The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror – 2011” It was also a runner up for Ellen Datlow’s “Best of” that year (Night Shade Books) and so remains the short story of mine that gained the most notoriety.


Bria jumped rope all alone, and now her eyes are made of stone. She calls for “Mommy” from the grave, and crawls out of the drain. She drags her jump rope on cement, and crawls out of the heating vent. Turn a promise to a lie, and you will be the next to die.”


Stay the fuck out of the bathroom.




Posted in Creative Writing, Ghost, Ghost Story, Ghosts, Graveyard, Horror Book, Horror Movie, literary fiction, Scary Story, Seven Deadly Pleasures | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Almost Sold Out “Alice Walks”


There are only three copies left of the hardcover version of Alice Walks, my first novel with the lovely artwork by Sam Araya. Centipede Press did a fabulous job with this, and to sell out the run of initially 300 pieces at $60.00 each, now marked down to $50.00, would be a huge milestone for me. I had a wonderful review for this piece in Locus, and generally, many feel it is my best, most complete work. One reviewer who picked it up by chance (based on the cover) said that reading it was like going on a blind date and she turned out to be a supermodel with a doctorate.

I planned initially to write this as a short story, better explaining the vague (and short) legend of Bloody Mary. It was a cold November night of early snow falling lightly outside and I suddenly had a strange, beautiful, horrific image come to mind. I pictured a mausoleum at the south end of a huge graveyard, and a spirit floating in the cold night air before it, a young girl maybe fourteen in her green and off-white burial dress with the drawstrings in front. Her face was covered with a veil, maybe because the cemetery workers were keeping her above ground to deteriorate her faster, and each time she breathed, the silky cloth stuck to her face like Saran Wrap showing the outline of the skull, then falling loose showing nothing but cloth when she exhaled. Then, for some reason, there was someone throwing rocks at her, making her bleed symbolically, crucifying her so to speak.

Suddenly in the real world, my son burst into the den where I was thinking about this, scaring the shit out of me.

“Dad!” he said. “I need some Red Bull!”

“You’re thirteen,” I said. “What do you need that for?”

He rolled his eyes.

“Nick and Will are sleeping over, and the first one to fall asleep gets oatmeal in his shorts!”

I grinned. I had my rock throwers. They went to the graveyard on the first night of snow to smoke weed in the tool shed and tell ghost stories. They had the key because one of their dad’s was the grave digger. Then, when they go down to look at the body, they waken her.

Help me celebrate this work. If you want a lovely book that’s scary and engaging, give it a try!!

Posted in Alice Walks, Bloody Mary, Books, Creative Writing, fiction, Ghost, Ghost Story, Graveyard, horror, literary fiction, Scare, Scary, Stephen King, Woods, Writing, Young Adult Paranormal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment