Slanting My Shadow Into Nico Bell’s Spotlight

Of late, I’ve been sobered by an exceeding sense of privilege:  an abundance of at-home technology which has allowed me, and my children, to remain productive over the course of this uncanny stretch — safety and security are not lost on me, residing in a neighborhood where my family doesn’t have to watch our backs, whether on a walk, or a two-mile jog.  I’m grateful, and should shut up about it.


In my nascent slouches of attempting to become a published writer, I recall repeating the platitude that I was just happy to be part of the literary conversation.  I’m devoutly aware (whether due to my granted rhythms and windows of fiction manufacturing, or owing to the quality of my product) that there are coteric circles in which I’ll never be included.  I don’t mind, really — I enjoy the writing game too much, and have had too many brushes with luck thus far, to make a nebulous need a priority.

Yet, one of the principles which has not changed, and which I’ll continue to repeat:  that the complicated craft of both pursuing publication and attempting to carve-out a name for oneself in this field yields conversations with colleagues which would remain non-existent if for not the arduous nature of this process.


One of the conversations in which I was privileged to recently partake was with horror author Nico Bell, whose debut novel, Food Fright, was released by Unnerving this past March, 2020.  Back in February, I participated in her monthly Spotlight Author Interview.  

We had a brief exchange back in February, and I felt as though I’d made another kindred acquaintance in this creatively crowded field — appreciative for establishing another connection in this complicated network.

Again:  I’m grateful.  I’ll shut up about it.


Book-release day has arrived: available now in both paperback and Kindle / e-reader formats: When It’s Time For Dead Things To Die (Unnerving, 2019).



This novella-length story is, in part, a product of both my time in Chicago as well as a formative stint in the adjacent “Region”; and my encounters with that erratic cast of characters (some more “human” than others) informs much of the narrative action. I’d like to extend a warm note of gratitude to Unnerving’s Eddie Generous, who’s provided the opportunity and support to expand this story with the potential of reaching fresh eyes.

Here’s the back-cover synopsis for When It’s Time For Dead Things To Die:

Things are in decline…for Joseph Lowe, a rootless young man who falls for the wrong girl; for Gregory Bath, an aristocratic magnate who spares Lowe an almost certain death for his “transgression,” imposing upon him a kind of parasitic servitude. Now working as a line cook at Bath’s legendary Tudor Quoin, as well as catering to the growing needs of a man far older than he seems, Lowe desperately seeks release from a trap which has ensnared him for the past nine months. But who could possibly escape a family as powerful, as influential, or as far-reaching as the Baths? In the end, choices must be made, sides must be drawn, and for Lowe this means discovering an unlikely salvation between himself and his captor, as well as learning the true meaning of “family.”

From the mind of Clint Smith, author of Ghouljaw and Other Stories, comes a haunting, poetic novella, equal parts Dracula and Eastern Promises, set in modern-day Indiana but stretching its talons far back into history.


Ambrosius Huber (1499), published pamphlet reading: Here begins a very cruel frightening story about a wild bloodthirsty man


Clint Smith is the author of the collection, Ghouljaw and Other Stories (Hippocampus Press, 2014). Of late, his tales have appeared in Weird Fiction Review #9 (Centipede Press) and Twice-Told: An Anthology of Doubles (Chthonic Press). His sophomore collection, The Skeleton Melodies, is slated for 2019 release with Hippocampus Press. Clint lives in the Midwest, along with his wife and two children, on the fringes of Deacon’s Creek.