"The Bruja" Was Never Intended to be a Stand-Alone

If you read all the way to "The Bruja's" final page (well I hope you did!) you'll notice the promise of a sequel. That's a promise I will be keeping in 2018. The universe of The Collapse is rich and deeply flavored. There are no grand epics to be found here, no White Walkers or Eye of Sauron. There are, however, stories to be told about people. People surviving the end of the world. Adapting, and rebuilding civilization. Learning to live with ghosts, gods, and magic. Some people will want power, others will want to protect the weak. Many may still be driven mad, and those who just want to be loved. What happens in that world? Why does it happen? Well, come along for this adventures with me, and I promise to show you. There is no trilogy, no collection. There is only a world you can immerse yourself in. There is a timeline, and some folks will change that timeline. Or, maybe they don't. Perhaps they perish on their journey or even become gods themselves.

This is The Collapse. A world of untold beauty and fathomless nightmares. This is where wonder and horror meet. Here's what you can expect.

Early 2018: I will be partnering with author Melissa Johnson to bring you a handful of short stories from the shadows of The Collapse. These stories will be free, and available for download from MichaelMolisani.com -- "The Dread Harvester" will be the first and should drop sometime around April or May for your reading pleasure.

Late 2018: "Mayhem" will be published for e-book & softcover from retailers like Amazon. "Mayhem" follows Maggi's apprentice and adopted-daughter, Margaret as she attempts to thwart the manipulation of gods and man. Her best allies and worst enemies may be the twin granddaughters of Maggi Lopez, Amihan & Ramona. The future of the Antecedent Empire & House Owens rests in her very small hands.

Mid 2019: Melissa Johnson & I are going to be releasing a short-story anthology from the world of The Collapse, again from retailers like Amazon. This project is unnamed as of yet, but I am thrilled to be working with Melissa. I've known her for years and she is an incredibly talented author. This collaboration is a dream come true anyone who's a fan of great writing. The anthology will cover different eras of The Collapse and will include the fiction we're releasing this spring.

Late 2020: "Century Witch." Remember that title. This is the juggernaut I'm most proud of, and probably the best fiction I have ever written. I toyed with releasing this book first, rather than the "The Bruja," but I believed ardently that every tale should start at the beginning. This is not the end of our adventure, but rather the end of our prologue. "Century Witch" will destroy every notion you have about horror & fantasy, and it will go above and beyond the notion of a book. I can't wait to share this with you all.

These dates will be maintained as best as I can. I have a day job that pays the bills (writing does not!) and I need to maneuver around that. I also will be working with content & copy editors, publishers, artists, and illustrators. We'll do our best to keep on schedule and not go full George R. R. Martin on you.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy "The Bruja." If you haven't already purchased a copy, its currently on sale for $3.03 on Amazon!

Fresh Review

This week one of "The Bruja's" fan left an amazing review on our Goodreads.

I don't know who this person is, but I'm thrilled she enjoyed my book. I'm even more thrilled that she took the time to write such a complete & spoiler-free article on "The Bruja." This is the sort of thing that makes all of this madness worthwhile.

So, I thought I'd share the review, below, in its entirety. Make sure to add "The Bruja" on Goodreads, and leave your own review!

R.C. Mulhare rated it -- really liked it --
Post-apocalyptic fiction is thick on the ground these days, but this one caught my eye from the sheer awesomeness of the cover art.

Thankfully, the story behind that cover lived up to the expectations that the art presented. The world-building is fascinating and well-thought-out. I'd like to have seen more of what lead to or caused the Collapse, the tearing open of the Veil between the world of humans and the world of strange preternatural beings, but perhaps future volumes will reveal these details (or perhaps, they're less than important than the drama playing out against this backdrop. Or, better still, the details might be better left to the reader's imagination). The setting has a Mad Max vibe, while the primordials, entities of immense power, remind me a bit of the Elder Gods of H.P. Lovecraft's writings, only a bit less aloof from humanity (perhaps this skews it closer to the writings of A
ugust Derleth, one of HPL's students).

What I really loved about this, are the witches at the center of this nightmarish drama. These are not the archetypal gentle, earth-loving modern witches, but intense, powerful, and dangerous magic users, fiercely protective of the non-magically gifted people under their protection. It's great to see some dark and dangerous ladies slinging spells and taking names, taking on even darker and more deadly forces beyond our reckoning.

And it's awesome to see a strong female lead who might be foul-mouthed and fierce, but nevertheless has a good heart, albeit one that she certainly doesn't wear on her sleeve, but which she keeps under her ribs where it belongs.

The action scenes are intense, even gruesomely violent at times, but there's a great balance of physical action and magic-slinging, the scenes well-mapped out without feeling over-written. As dark and gritty as this universe might be, I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next in it!

The Bruja is Author House's #1 Horror Title!

Happy Monday! I've got some exciting news to cover. Firstly, I'm getting ready to leave for Las Vegas. It'll be a short trip, and I'll be in town for my day job, so no hookers & blackjack for me.

"That's not very exciting," I hear you say. You know what? You're totally right. But, you know what is exciting? Nan Fe (Phan Hoai Minh,) will be returning to the Collapse universe this year to paint the cover for "The Bruja's" sequel title, "Mayhem." We made it official over the weekend with a formal transfer of funds. I'm personally abuzz over this. Nan Fe is an ironclad professional, working with her on the visuals of the Collapse universe is like working with another me.

At one point during the creation of "The Bruja's" cover, a conversation between Nan Fe and I went:

Nan Fe: "I'm planning to get some blood on her face and a bit on her feet, is it ok?"

Michael: "YES, to blood on the face. Yes to feet. If you think to yourself; 'Should I add blood here?' my answer will always be, 100% 'yes, do it.'"

Again, great lady. Make sure to check out her Facebook, link located to the right. You can also follow her on Instagram & Twitter, as well as her profile on Deviant Art.

Last, but not least, is the news from Friday, 2/9. "The Bruja" topped #1 on our publisher's Horror roster. Not in the top 50, not in the top 10, #1 with a bullet. Now, while I realize that conquering a small publisher's Horror genre isn't the greatest accomplishment in authoring, I am still proud! We have a long way to go on Amazon's bestseller ranks, but let's conquer one mountain a time.

I want to thank everyone who's made this possible. That's you, the people who have bought copies of "The Bruja," and follow us on Facebook and other social media. This is the start of something amazing. There will be more books, more short stories, and more art in 2018, and the years to come. This isn't a one-time flash in the pan folks! Maggi's world is here to stay, and I'm looking forward to taking you all along for the ride!

Have a great week, everyone!


When you think of the word "horror," and its connotations in fiction, you're probably thinking of slasher flicks or monster tropes. Maybe, you think of classic authors like Poe or Lovecraft. Maybe you even remember old Hammer films with actors like Ralph Bates or Christopher Lee.

I don't think you commonly imagine the horrors that you may face at any moment, on any given day.

To the left, pictured, is my best friend Athena Driscoll. She's the craftswoman behind Leanans' Boon, and in 2016 she did a books-on-tape recording of "The Bruja" in its original form, that you can enjoy on Youtube. She also acted as content editor for "The Bruja," and is partially the inspiration for Maggi's friend Aubriana. If you've read "The Bruja" by now, you know that Maggi betrays her friend and leaves Aubriana to die during the first days of the Collapse. If you haven't read "The Bruja," I just spoiled it for you and I feel no guilt whatsoever.

What you probably don't know: this was also inspired by real-life events. Several years ago Athena was diagnosed as pre-diabetic and advised to alter her diet. She did so. Unfortunately, her urgent care clinic only gave her half the story. That same diet she assumed would end up almost ending her life and condemn her to a diabetic coma that she would not wake from for weeks. Obviously, "alls well that ends well," she's alive & healthy today -- as healthy as any type-2 diabetic can be; constantly facing down death, each day.

When she shared those memories with me I was genuinely haunted. For days, even weeks after, I found myself genuinely transfixed and rattled. I was far too able to empathize, to visualize, what she had experienced. The idea of being trapped in a body that doesn't function, while the world goes on and speaks of you in the past-tense made me ill to my stomach. Worse, her accounting of various altered states of mind she would enter, beyond her control, gave me nightmares. This was, for me, real horror. Jason and his machete had nothing on this. I would rather face all the awful boogeymen the imagination can offer than experience a trauma similar to this coma.

So, naturally, I needed to write about this. A lot of what I write is trauma, let's be honest.

In "The Bruja" it was a perfect fit. The core of the narrative will always be driven by internalized horror. Just as Aubriana suffers a fate worse than death, so too does Maggi when she's forced to confront her failures, her cowardice. The Wave Organ scene is more than a "boss fight," its intended to be a literal depiction of hatred & loathing played out, bloody and rife with brutality. That's real horror for me. The ghosts and goblins, that's window dressing. That's just where my mind lives 24 hours a day. The horror of "The Bruja" exists, for me, in the mind's darkest corners, locked away, waiting for a chance to crawl out into the waking world.

I'll be releasing a re-written version of "The Dread Harvester" on this blog, later in February. It will focus more heavily on these aspects, and it'll probably be pretty awful. I mean, it'll be great writing, but you'll probably feel awful after you read it.

Wait, who part me in charge of PR?

Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

When I was 12 years old, I saw "The Road Warrior." It was as old as me at that point, we were both born in 1981. By now it had been adapted for network television and was airing on some affiliate one Saturday afternoon.

Now, I wasn't allowed, per se, to watch this film. In fact, my mother had very strict rules on what I could and could not watch based on sexuality and violence. In order to keep my first viewing of "Road Warrior" a secret, I had to minimize the volume and keep an eye on the open door of my room. It was tricky, for sure, but I managed to see most of the movie. This engendered a few things in me a person, at such an impressionable age. First, I acquired my love for silent cinema, an affection I never lost. Second, I discovered a love for post-apocalyptic storytelling and visuals. That love only grew as I became older, and when I began to create the world of "The Bruja" I had my opportunity to throw my hat in the ring.

The biggest thing I wanted to focus on for "The Bruja's" world was the idea that this was not a static universe. There was no stagnation here, the world hadn't simply crumbled apart and stayed a ruin. People didn't want it to remain that way, they needed to survive, they wanted to make a more comfortable life to exist in. Part of that evolving climate was the idea that city-states would emerge in the United States from existing cities, towns, and states. When foreigners look at America they see us as one people, with one culture. This couldn't be further from the truth -- New York is not California, and that's absolutely not the population of rural Illinois. If civilization collapsed our world would only diversify further. That's what I tried to capture in "The Bruja," and what I wanted to continue developing in future Collapse universe books.

While "The Road Warrior" was my gateway drug, it was hardly my most intense influence. I was much further moved in later  David Brin's novel "The Postman," was absolutely an inspiration, and to a lesser degree, the film adaptation. Another book that moved me was Cormac McCarthy's "The Road." Although I didn't love the book, I was so thrilled by the idea of an unnamed cataclysm. This erased so much of the junk narrative and forced a reader to be pulled into the tension of the moment. It was, however, Stephen King's goddamn masterwork, "The Gunslinger," that most set my imagination ablaze. This, for my mind, was the coup de tat, a persuasive tale of impossible entropy. Cultures evolved and warped, just as complete as people, all packed into a world that you didn't entirely understand and fill your stomach with a dreadful fear. I may as well have been following the Pied Piper of Hamelin after reading that book, and the subsequent "Dark Tower" novels.

This is only naming a few books, of course. There are others, and if I had to name the writers I most idolize, I would choose both Stephen King & Tanith Lee. I'll be discussing these two authors in future blog postings, most especially Tanith Lee, because I feel like she's fallen into obscurity -- very ill-deserved obscurity.