Monthly Archives: August 2015

10th Anniversary of DARK DUETS: Musical Mayhem


2015 marks the 10th anniversary of DARK DUETS: MUSICAL MAYHEM published by Wildside Press (Thanks again, John Betancourt). The book was my first published fiction and my short story collection and still fans enjoy the book today as much as they did when it was published a decade ago.

A little about the book:

I assembled my “dream team” horror band, drawing on the talents of collaborators Mark McLaughlin, P.D. Cacek, Michael Romkey, Charlee Jacob, Jeffrey Thomas, Cindy McCarty, Teri A. Jacobs, R.L. Fox, Christopher DeRose, and Sandy DeLuca. This is a music-themed horror collection like nothing you’ve ever seen before and with an introduction by Bentley Little.

Dark Duets

(Dark Duets … cover by Mark McLaughlin)

The stories include:

“Sex, Drugs & Rot N Roll” co-written with Mark McLaughlin, it is a tale about the band Meat Wagon, which also appeared in my book I KISSED A GHOUL.

Mark & Mike

(Photo of Michael McCarty & Mark McLaughlin)

“Carine-Vore” co-written with P.D. Cacek, which is the prologue to my book I KISSED A GHOUL. It is the story about Tommy Wharton and his encounter with a werewolf.

Trish 1

(Photo of PD Cacek)

“Buried With Children” co-written with Jeffrey Thomas, which is a very EC Comic Book tale about a zombie family.

Thomas 1

(Photo of Jeffrey Thomas)

“The Ice Cream Man” co-written with Charlee Jacob, a dark story of a bratty kid in the Bible Belt and the evil ice cream man.
1 charlee

(Photo of Charlee Jacob)

“Super-Clean” co-written with Cristopher DeRose that is about three janitors hired to clean up “Super-City.”

derose 1

(Photo of Cristopher DeRose)

“Mira” co-written with Sandy DeLuca. Mira is the Angel of Death and she meets an artist during the 1970s.
sandy 1

(Photo of Sandy DeLuca)

“Of Gargoyles & Sin” co-written with Teri Jacobs that is about a Sin-Eater pursing the ultimate sin.

“City of Two-Thousand Sins” co-written with Mark McLaughlin an apocalyptic vision of Las Vegas with Legion.

“Sugar Daddy” co-written with R.L. Fox that involves a mad scientist who is unlucky at love.

Fox 1

(Photo of Michael McCarty & Ron Fox)

“Skull Job” also co-written with Teri Jacobs, which I will write about more, in a little bit.

Teri Jacobs

(Photo of Teri Jacobs)

“Military Mite” co-written with Mark McLaughlin. This is one of my favorite tales about a military scientist who is in jeopardy of having his job eliminate unless he creates a new weapon.

“Hell’s Bells” co-written with Cindy McCarty, my wife, this is a darkly humorous tale of the Grim Reaper in the South.


(Photo of Cindy & Michael McCarty)

“The Wish Doll” co-written with R.L. Fox. I had read several tales that Stephen King was inspired by “The Monkey’s Paw.” This is R.L. Fox and my take on it.

“Blocked” co-written with Michael Romkey a dark yarn of a writer with writer’s block.


(Photo of Michael Romkey)

“The Ten Klown-Mandments” co-written with Mark McLaughlin an epic story of Klowny, a cult clown and his Moses like life.

Critical acclaim for the collaborations of Michael McCarty:

“City of Two-Thousand Sins” — Honorable Mention 2002, The Year’s Best Fantasy And Horror

“Then there’s the weird fascinating collaboration between Michael McCarty and Mark McLaughlin — think The Bible meets The Lottery for post-holocaust SF.” — Jim Lee, Scavenger’s Newsletter

“Veteran horror writers Michael McCarty and Mark McLaughlin team up on ‘City Of Two-Thousand Sins,’ a dark and gloomy depiction of what hell might be like and where it might be located — in this case, Las Vegas. McCarty and McLaughlin are deft storytellers and the conclusion to this gripping tale of what happens when sin becomes the law is blasphemous, chilling and unexpected.” — Tod Goldberg, author of Living Dead Girl and Fake Liar Cheat

“Military Mite” — “My two favorites in Warfear were by Jeffrey Thomas and Mark McLaughlin’s collaboration with Michael McCarty.” — Don D’Ammassa, Chronicle

More about the book:

I was always fascinated by those “Duet” CDs, and thought maybe I could do a similar concept, but instead of singing with other artists, I’d co-write with other writers, thus DARK DUETS was born.

(Photo of Bentley Little)

My first big break, after writing these 15 wonderful tales, was to have horror veteran novelist Bentley Little write the introduction. Having Bentley Little associated with this book, really helped me out a lot, because I was still just a struggling horror writer starting out.

The second big thing to happen was having Mark McLaughlin do the cover of the book. I met up with Mark for lunch and we talked about my concept, he drew it on a cocktail napkin, it was almost so good then, if it wasn’t on a cocktail napkin, it could have been the cover, but he went home, polished up the concept and came up with a killer cover.


(Greg Dwyer & Bill Michaels)

Lastly, the thing that really pushed the book initially for me was to appear on the Dwyer and Michaels morning radio show on WXLP 97X Davenport, Iowa. Greg Dwyer and Bill Michaels were talking about the book, picked up a copy of DARK DUETS and said, “What is a ‘Skull-Job?’”

I laughed and said, “Oh, I can’t talk about that on the radio.”

“Why is that?” the DJs asked.

“It is too adult oriented. Teri and I had that story rejected by Hustler magazine because it was too dirty.”

I think it was Dwyer, who started reading, just the first couple of paragraphs of the book on the radio and he stopped and said, “Yeah, I can’t read anymore of this aloud on the air.”

At my first book signing for DARK DUETS, I had 30 copies of the book I was selling at Borders. I thought the store would be stuck with a lot of leftovers. But the publicity that was generated from the Dwyer and Michaels radio show, the book completely sold out.

Thank you Dwyer and Michaels, it was still one of my most successful book signings for an individual title and I do miss Borders.

If you want the book yourself, here is the links:

Dark Duets


Trade paperback:


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