Thursday, April 30, 2009

New and Upcoming Releases

I've been busier than a mole-digging dog these days, so I thought I'd let y'all know what's been going on with my writing career during the first half of 2009... as well as what's in store for the remainder of this year.

The Final Feature / This is an original short story that I wrote exclusively for the premiere of Horror Drive-In's new Fiction section. It's sort of a dark comedy with a bit of nastiness and naughtiness thrown in for good measure. You can read it here:

Cumberland Furnace / This creepy Southern ghost story (based on true events way back during the War Between the States) recently appeared in the fifth volume of Richard Chizmar's acclaimed anthology series. I'm in good company here, sharing the storytelling porch with such fine folks as Kealan Patrick Burke, Rick Hautala, Graham Masterson, Scott Nicholson, John Skipp, Chet Williamson, and many others. You can grab your copy now at

Midnight Grinding & Other Twilight Terrors / My first short story collection, containg 32 stories from the past twenty years of my horror writing career, was released by Cemetery Dance Publications in mid-February and has garnered many positive reviews from such publications and websites as Publisher's Weekly, Booklist, Famous Monsters of Filmland, Horror Drive-In, and The Green Man Review. It boasts a darkly disturbing cover by Alex McVey and is available now in regular limited edition, as well as limited lettered edition. Order your copy now at

The Sick Stuff / This mini-collection of seven extreme splatter-punk type stories will be released by Thunderstorm Books in early May. It contains three previously-published stories, as well as four never-before-published tales of darkness and depravity! The Sick Stuff includes a special introduction by James Newman and creepy-crawly artwork by Zach McCain. Due to a limited print run, they're sure to go fast. You can order your copy at or

Hell Hollow / My first full-length novel in over twelve years (a whopping 500 pages!) will be released by Cemetery Dance this summer. This book features ghoulish artwork by Alex McVey and is availabe for pre-order in regular limited and lettered editions. You can reserve your copy at

The Thing at the Side of the Road / This original story will be making its debut in Harlan County Horrors, a rural horror anthology edited by Mari Adkins for Apex Books. It should be making its appearance around October of this year.

The Peddler's Journey / This original tale -- yet another ghost story, this one set high atop the Smoky Mountains, -- will appear in Appalachian Holiday Hauntings, a Christmas horror anthology edited by Mark Justice (of Pod of Horror fame) and Micheal Knost for Woodland Press. This one should be released in November of this year... just in time for your Christmas stockings!

Undertaker's Moon / Finally, after wandering from one ill-fated small press publisher to another during the past several years, my novel of Irish werewolves in rural Tennessee will be seeing print... in a lavish special edition brought to you by Full Moon Press. Undertaker's Moon will be Number One in FMP''s The Essential Ronald Kelly Collection and, along with the original Zebra novel and horrifyingly hirsute interior illustrations and cover painting by Alex McVey, it will also include a brand-new prequel novella titled The Spawn of Arget Bethir. We're hoping that UM will be ready to ship by the end of this year. This book will be available in regular limited edition, lettered edition, and trade hardcover. You can preorder your copy at
Now here are a few more things to come... as well as projects in the works:
Cemetery Dance Magazine / I will have an interview and Halloween-themed short story featured in the Halloween issue of Cemetery Dance Magazine. Also, I'll also be involved in another Halloween-themed project of huge preportions to be released around the same time.
Signature Series / I've recently been invited to contribute an original novella for CD's acclaimed Signature Series. I can't tell you exactly what it's about at this point, but I will say that its the type of dark tale that'll come crawling down out of the shadows and leave you with one hellacious bite! Look for this one later this year.
Somewhere South of Hell / This anthology of original Southern horror tales will mark my debut as an editor and will boast an impressive roster of respected authors of dark prose, such as Joe R. Lansdale, Brian Keene, Elizabeth Massie, Bryan Smith, James Newman, Scott Nicholson, Deborah LeBlanc, Weston Osche, Nate Southard, as well as many others. It will be illustrated by Alan M. Clark and Alex McVey. This anthology of Southern-fried horror should be seeing print sometime in 2010.
After the Burn / The proposal for my collection of post-apocalyptic horror tales is still under consideration at a major horror publisher. This collection of two novellas and five short stories will contain a truckload of original artwork by Zach McCain. Hopefully we can get a green-light for this project and have it in your hands and on your bookshelf sometime in 2010.
A Dark & Bloody Ground / This month I'll be sitting down and fleshing out a proposal for my next novel, A Dark & Bloody Ground. The way it's looking, this will be quiet a departure from my previous novels; much darker and much more grisly than the stuff I did back in the 90's. I've got several potential publishers for this one, so I won't say who I'm gonna send it to first (maybe I'll send a pair of boxing gloves with each manuscript and let the interested parties duke it out!) I should have this one in the finishing stages toward the middle of 2010.
So there you have it. Alot of Southern-fried horror coming your way in 2009 and 2010. Empty yourself a shelf on the ol' bookcase and I'll help you fill it up right fast (or at least that's the plan). Stay tuned here at the Southern-Fried & Horrified blog, or at for updates on these and other Kelly projects.

Monday, April 20, 2009

And Now a Word From Our Sponsor...

This must have been directed toward Northerners. For Southerners
it's a way of life.

A good argument for obesity

So that's why my doctor tells me to take two humps
and call him in the morning...

Infants with double-edged razor blades...
sounds like a good idea to me.

Those daffy british folks and their queer... uh, strange... use of the English language.

Now this is just udderly ridiculous...

Why does this sweet little girl have a maniacal gleam in her eye?
If not the bread, then the knife perhaps? Or is it the blood-red jam?

Oops... that one just kinda slipped in there...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

No More "Elam-Eyes" Part 2: The Recovery

How I looked after the operation... only worse.
Well, it's done. It wasn't a heckuva lot of fun... but it's done.
As you know from my previous blog, No More "Elam-Eyes": My Upcoming Surgery, I was scheduled to undergo a procedure to correct my Strabismus, or crossed eyes. While both my eyes had the tendency to wander a bit, it was the left one that wanted run off way off into left field and stay there. So my eye surgeon, Dr. John Bond III, performed the operation on Wednesday, April 8th.

I arrived at Centennial Hospital in Nashville at 7AM, for preliminary tests: blood tests, an EKG, etc. That process, in itself, was an experience. The medical technician left a nasty looking bruise on my inner forearm that still hasn't gone away (from drawing blood). I actually think phlebotomist is just a fancy word for vampire, if you ask me. Also, the electrodes for the EKG left a few suction marks on my flesh, making me look as though I had fallen into a vat of hungry leeches. But that was the tame part of the journey...

Around nine o'clock, Joyce and I were ushered into a private room where I was prepared for the journey to the "holding area". Of course, I was told to disrobe and put on one of those little backless hospital gowns. This was a first for me, wearing one of those dadblamed things. I did get to keep my drawers on, though, which served to rescue my manly dignity from further humiliation. In fact, the whole surgery thing was a first for me, since I'd never gone through anything like it before. Around 9:30, I was wheeled down a winding halway toward the first step of my eventual desintation. I got an eerie feeling as I began to round corner after sterile corner. I kept expecting to turn the next corner and find two twin girls standing there calling "Come play with us, Ron. Forever and ever."

Finally, I arrived at the Holding Area, which, in a way, resembled animals being led to slaughter... or so my ghoulish mind fantasized. I was wheeled into a curtained space, where a dozen people appeared, one-by-one, and asked me the same four questions. What is your name? What is your date of birth? Who is your doctor? What procedure are you having done today? I reckon this was a fail-safe plan among the staff to make sure that I didn't have my gall bladder extracted by mistake. The anethesiaologist dropped by and, intially, told me that they would be doing a nerve block, deadening the area around my eye, and that I would be awake during the entire operation. Later, he came back and told me that they had decided to put me under for the procedure. Whew! Thank God for small favors. Ten minutes before ten o'clock, Dr. Bond stopped by and said "So, we agreed that we would only do the left eye today, is that correct?" I said, yeah, that was the plan. The good doctor then took an ink pen from his coat pocket and marked an X prominently above my left eyebrow, just so there would be no confusion... an X that stayed there , for all to see, for several days afterward.

At 10Am, two nurses came to take me to the operating room. "Let's turn on the good stuff," one of them suggested and started my IV. "You'll just feel a little drunk." When I told her I'd never been drunk before in my life, she said "Well, this should feel pretty weird to you." It was. Almost immediately, I felt as though the gurney I was laying on was rocking to and fro, like a hammock. My vision began to get a little fuzzy as they wheeled me down more immaculately white corridors. We went through a set of double doors, I saw those big alien-looking banks of operating lights overhead... and that was all she wrote. The next thing I knew I was staring up at the styrofoam paneling of the recovery room ceiling through my right eye. The left was covered with gauze and what felt like a mile or two of surgical tape. I stayed there, drifting in and out of consciousness for an hour, and was eventually wheeled back into the little room where I started out. My devoted wife was there to attend to me, providing me with compassion and Sprite on ice. Soon, the effects of the anesthesia had diminished to the point where I could dress in my street clothing once again. Before leaving the hospital, the nurse removed my bandages, revealing my bloody and battered left eye (see the photo above for a hint of what I saw when I glanced in the mirror). Ray Milland in The Man With the X-Ray Eyes looked danged good compared to how Ol' Ron looked at that moment.

Now let's get into the gruesome and gory stuff. Hey, I'm a horror writer, remember? I'm entitled to grossing you out for a sentence or two, aren't I? Well, to do the operation, my doctor had to literally remove my eyeball from my skull. My wife, Joyce, still denys that it happened, but it was necessary to do everything that had to be done. When the offensive orb was plucked from my gaping socket, several deadening shots were injected into the optical nerve and extraocular muscles. It was a good thing that I wasn't awake during the procedure, or I would have likely been looking myself in the face. Dr. Bond (and his father, who assisted him) shortened two of the extraocular muscles on the side next to my nose, while repositioning one on the opposite side, loosening it up a bit. Then the eyeball was popped back into my head with the pupil positioned securely in the center, the way it should be. Days after the operation, my left eye was swollen and possessed the texture and color of raw hamburger. Thankfully, during the past couple of days, the swelling has gone down and I've began to regain normal function again. I can actually see some of the white of my eye today and my double-vision appears to be clearing up.

So there you have it... much more than you really wanted to know about my eye operation. I'm glad I had it done, but most of all I'm glad its over and done with. One of the goals of only doing the left eye was to see if the correction would "bully" the right eye into behaving itself and staying put... which, so far, it has. The next time you see me in person, I should be looking at you dead on with no deviation whatsoever. I'm hoping and praying that this single operation will do the trick, 'cause I'd sure hate to think that I'd have to undergo the same procedure again with the other eye. Hopefully, in that respect, the only things that will remain crossed are my fingers. My eyes, on the other hand, should stay where the good Lord intended them to be in the first place.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

MIDNIGHT GRINDING Receives Positive Reviews!

Since it's release in mid-February, my short story collection, Midnight Grinding & Other Twilight Terrors, has garnered quite a few positive reviews from such publications and websites as Famous Monsters of Filmland, Publisher's Weekly, Horror Drive-In, Dead in the South, and The Green Man Review.
You can check them out at

Monday, April 6, 2009

No More "Elam-Eyes": My Upcoming Surgery

Not me... but close.

Do you remember Jack Elam? He was that great character actor who appeared in hundreds of motion pictures, mostly westerns, during the 50's, 60's, and 70's. Legend has it that he was a California accountant until his eye doctor told that he would have to give up his chosen profession or eventually go blind. So, armed with very little acting experience and one very noticable physical defect, he decided to try his hand at acting. It wasn't long before he hit it big in Hollywood and over the next three decades seemed to appear in every-other western film made. Oh, he was an excellent actor... always playing the gruff heavy or comedy foil to actors like John Wayne and James Garner. But most of all, the single thing that brought Jack Elam fame and fortune was, quite simply, "the eye".

Elam suffered from Strabismus, a condition in which the eyes are not properly alligned with each other. It typically involves a lack of coordination between the extraocular muscles ( the muscles along the sides of the eyeball) causing one or both eyes to drift inward toward the nose or outward in the direction of the ear. Most folks know it as crossed eyes, lazy eyes, or wal-eyes. In Elam, it was his left eye that canted perpetually toward his temple.

In my case, both eyes do it a little, but mostly my left eye. Yes, folks, I too suffer from that annoying condition called Strabismus. It started when I was a young man, only happening late in the evening or at night after my eyes became particularly tired or strained. But as I grow older, my ability to coordinate both eyes for the common good has grown frustrating and more than a bit embarrassing. My left eye tends to drift to the side without my knowledge at the most unopportune moments, bringing odd looks from folks and a mixture of fright and fascination from most kids (who lack tact and promptly ask me "What in the world is wrong with your eye, mister?). Fortunately, I have the ability to consciously realign my eye, but by then the damage is already done. People have branded me with the embarassing stigma of "crossed eyedness" and they're constantly watching for me to let down my guard and let it happen again. Which, eventually, it always does.

A few years ago, I didn't let it bother me so much. But now that my writing career is gaining momentum and I'm out in public at book signings and conventions, it bothers me more than I care to admit. When you're meeting your fans face-to-face, you don't want to be looking at them eye-to-eye with only one good orb, while the other checks out the coffee shop on the other side of the bookstore. Sure, it might seem to be appropriately spooky for a horror author to possess such an ocular defect, but it's no fun for the owner of that rambling eyeball. Of course, I could yank out a couple of my teeth and be affectionately known as "that cross-eyed hillbilly horror writer".... but I think I'll pass on that honor.

I've been assured by specialists that my condition is probably hereditary. A couple of my uncles -- on both sides of my family -- suffered from Strabismus, and my Grandfather Spicer most definitely did. I have an old tintype of Pappy made in the late 1800's, smiling into the camera, one eye centered forward, the other wandering out in north forty somewhere. My condition has grown so severe that I tend to drive with my right eye and allow my other to relax and ride shotgun... sort of like some goofy dog with his head hanging out the car window. Actually, this is potentially dangerous, since it screws up my depth preception something awful. So... I finally decided to do something about it. This past Feburary, I made an appointment with John Bond, a leading eye surgeon in Nashville and sought out a solution for this annoying condition. This coming Wednesday I'll be going under the knife (yikes!) to correct my Strabismus. Dr. Bond (with his father assisting him) will be working on my left eye (the worse of the two) and will be shortening two or three of the extraocular muscles in order to tighten them up and reallign my eye. He hopes that correcting the left eye will "bully" the right into behaving itself. If not, I'll probably have to have similar surgery on my right eye somewhere down the road. Of course, I'm not all that crazy about being put to sleep (the first time I've been put under in my 49 years) and having my eye cut on. My thoughts always go back to that cliched horror device of the patient being anethesized, but not completely so, and in the middle of the operation, his mind screams "No! I'm really awake!" while the scalpel draws closer, ever closer. Pardon me while I do a full-body shudder here...

Dr. Bond tells me that recovery time is swift. I do the surgery Wednesday, go back to have my eye patch taken off Thursday, and it should be a done deal. I'd appreciate your prayers and good vibes, since it's always sort of tricky whenever anethesia and surgery go hand in hand.

Ol' Jack Elam made a career out of his wandering eye, but, as for me, I believe I'll do what I can and take the straight and narrow path. Eye-wise, that is.