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  • Writer's picturePete Mesling

Books to Date and Books to Come

Reader, you’ve put up with me as I’ve shifted my focus from horror to crime and suspense fiction over the past year or so, and I’ll repay your loyalty with a collection of my most harrowing tales of terror to date next summer. But to get there, I’ll be taking another detour. January 2022 will see the publication of The Maker-Man of Merryville, my portal-fantasy novel for young readers, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Here’s an aerial view of what you can expect:

Young Gilbert Sullivan, hoping that a new toy store will bring joy to the dreary town of Merryville, finds instead that it leads him to another world, where a fearsome queen named Mixie is hard at work sealing the shared fate of both worlds. The owner of the toy store—known to the people of Merryville only as the Maker-Man—convinces Gilbert to purchase a magical substance called Away Putty, which he uses to open a portal to a place called Skaaten Dowe. He and his friend Sarah step through and quickly find that the portal, on the Skaaten Dowe side, is inaccessible for an immediate return trip. They have no choice but to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Only with the help of many strange and wonderful new friends can they hope to make it back to Merryville and restore happiness there.

That’s about all I want to say on that for now, but stay tuned for more information regarding the release of The Maker-Man of Merryville, as well as a cover reveal when the time is right.

In the way of other updates, I’m slated to have a story called “Imposter Syndrome” in the forthcoming Survive the Night: Three at Dusk, One at Dawn anthology from Dark Regions Press. It’s a strange and suspenseful tale, and the plan is to have a limited-edition hardcover version of the book, signed by all contributors, as well as paperback and audiobook editions. I suspect that Dark Regions is a little behind schedule with COVID and everything, but I do hope to see this anthology roll out before too long. For one thing, I haven’t seen the final table of contents yet, and I want to read this thing!

Otherwise, I haven’t been submitting a lot of work lately. Most of my non-writing energies have gone into the self-publishing engine that is Other Kingdoms Publishing; however, I have a story under consideration for inclusion in a horror anthology from a Big Five (Big Four?) publisher, and the fact that I’ve been shortlisted for that has me cautiously hopeful. If there’s movement on it, I’ll be sure to let you know.

As always, I hope you’ll explore some of the small-press anthologies and magazines I’ve appeared in over the years. Many of those titles can be found on my Amazon page.

My solo titles can be found there, too, of course, but here are the books I’ve published so far under the Other Kingdom’s Publishing banner, called out specifically:

Jagged Edges & Moving Parts (horror collection):

“Pete Mesling leads the reader through many a harrowing tale in this collection of short fiction. The wide variety of stories, long and short, grabs the reader and holds on. Be prepared—the going will get tough. You are not getting through this book unchanged.”

Alan M. Clark, author of The Prostitute’s Price and Mudlarks and the Silent Highwayman

“The writing was as beautiful as the stories were uncomfortable. Pretty pictures of ugly things.”

Well Read Beard (a.k.a., Kevin Whitten), reviewer and BookTuber

“Each short story is a new and exciting world … A brief glimpse into a horrific painting before being ripped away at the conclusion … Pete Mesling can write. Wow.”

Steve Stred, author of Invisible and Wagon Buddy

The Portable Nine (noir suspense novel):

“A dark blend of Ocean’s Eleven and Mission Impossible, Mesling’s The Portable Nine pits a team of mismatched miscreants against a nefarious villain in an age-old tale of intrigue, betrayal, and revenge. With whip-sharp characterisation and a network of plotlines, Mesling proves his mettle in this cinematic thrill ride.”

Lee Murray, Bram Stoker Award® winner and author of Into the Mist

"Pete Mesling has gifted us with an intriguing cast of characters and a complex, fast-moving plot in The Portable Nine. This one gets off to a fast start, and never stops to catch its breath. (Borderlands Press Writers Boot Camp lightning strikes again!)"

Tom Monteleone, five-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award

“A compelling tale of vigilante hit men that’ll keep readers on the edge of their seats.”

Roy Lee, producer of IT, IT Chapter Two, Doctor Sleep, and The Stand

Imperfect Lodgings (poems—some in a horror vein but most more general in their appeal):

Eagerly awaiting its first review! I realize that poetry has a narrow audience, but I'm as proud of this as I am of any other book with my name on it.

The Wages of Crime (crime collection):

"I love Pete Mesling's short stories. Some of them are soft and easy, but when he turns on the hard stuff, it's pretty brutal. This time around I really enjoyed reading about Caldera's nemesis, Metzger. Those stories are always great fun. I think my favorite is 'How about That View?' This is the tale of a corporate scumbag who gets his comeuppance, but that's not the end of the story. The end is a lot more interesting than that. A close second is 'It's the Thought That Counts,' which contains a pretty vicious killing.

"Speaking of vicious, the final story, 'The Birdcager of Carillon Ridge,' features a scene that made the backs of my knees feel all funny, it was that brutal. And 'Such Bitter Business' is an excellent horror story with a chilling ending.

"Mesling does it all. You should look into that. "

John Bruni, author of Blood and Tales of Questionable Taste

"Excellent collection of crime stories. Two things stand out. First, Mesling's writing is crisp and fine-tuned, channeling the best of 1950s and 60s crime writers. The voice fits with the wonderful style of a magazine like Manhunt. Second, Mesling is master of the short story form. None of the stories in the collection struck me as better suited to the novel form. Rather, all the stories fit the art of the short story perfectly. There's a proper flow to each tale. That's important to me as a reader, because a lot of short stories today feel like aborted novels. Not these. 'The Day-Brighteners' and 'A Certain Type of Violence' were my favorites in the collection, but I enjoyed all of them."

Coy Hall, author of the forthcoming Grimoire of the Four Impostors

Thanks, as always, for your time and interest. In many respects, you remain the most important side of this equation. Just remember, when you stare into one of my books, it stares back.

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