Morbidly Beautiful to Exclusively Publish Horror Serial ‘DEEPER THAN HELL’

"Once you read the first chapter you’re going to be hooked and hungry for more!"

Morbidly Beautiful is teaming up with writer Josh Millican and artist Sean Wilson on the dark horror serial Deeper Than Hell. While they have featured creative writing in the past, Deeper Than Hell will be the site’s first reoccurring series.

Josh Millican is best known as a prolific horror blogger and he’s also the Director of Community for CryptTV. Stephanie Malone is the mastermind behind the amazing and will be producing Josh’s new book on her site. Last night I got to talk to each of them via email to find out more about this exciting new book series.

Los Angeles Zombie Girl: Josh, as a horror fan I am super excited to hear that you are doing a serial horror novel. I know the details of the plot are a secret, but what can you tell me about Deeper than Hell?

Josh: “It’s the story of two heroin addicts living in the tunnels beneath Las Vegas. A violent clash forces then deeper underground where they decide to embark on a bizarre pilgrimage. I wanted to create characters that people would actually care about, with compelling story-lines. And you won’t have to be a horror-head to dig it. I think fans of sci-fi and dark fantasy will dig it too.”


Josh Millican

LAZG: I am picturing a graphic novel that’s like a comic book- but should I think more like a regular horror novel with some great illustrations?

Josh: “The latter. Deeper Than Hell will have 12 chapters with 1 chapter published each month. But the art is a key aspect, as Sean Wilson is designing original art for each chapter; it’s a way of establishing an aesthetic and an all-encompassing universe. As for why I’m doing it as a serial, there are a few reasons. It will give readers something to look forward to each month. It will also help me build a following before the story is even completed. Ideally, we’ll have a supportive community in place before a physical copy is ever released.”

LAZG: Have you been working on this for a long time, or did it come to you quickly? In the press release I see you paralleling the series to many sources like Clive Barker, Alice in Wonderland, Lovecraft  and  even Dantes Inferno. Can you tell me more about that?

Josh: “Only the first 3 chapters are complete at this point, and I started working on it a couple months ago. I’ve got an outline, but releasing it as a serial will give me the opportunity to be fluid with how the story unfolds. If fans love a particular element, for example, I can go into more detail in a different chapter. It’ll probably only take a week to compose each chapter, but I’ll spend additional weeks editing. To me, all of these elements are connected: Alice in Wonderland and Dante’s inferno both involve adventures underground. Clive Barker and Lovcraft both set stories underground as well. Expect plenty of cliffhangers!”

LAZG: Cliffhangers? So you are going to do to us what The Walking Dead does to its fans? Darn you! Is this one story with many branches or is it more like an anthology of shorter stories?

Josh: “It’s one story; It’s a first person narrative from one of the junkie’s points of view. The thing about my cliffhangers is you’ll only have to wait a month for the reveal.”

LAZG: Josh and Stephanie, how did you two end up becoming a team to put this on Morbidly Beautiful?

Josh: ” I had originally pitched Deeper Than Hell to a different magazine as part of a contest. I didn’t win, but I was a finalist. So I had this outline and a completed first chapter, and I definitely wanted to continue, but I had fallen in love with the idea of releasing it as a serial. I have connections with a lot of sites, but Morbidly Beautiful differentiates itself from its peers in look and content. It’s as much a dark culture magazine as much as it is a horror blog. I knew Stephanie from Crypt Family, so I ran the idea past her and she loved it. Her support has been tremendous!”

Stephanie: “I knew Josh from CryptTV, where he serves as Director of Community. He runs the Facebook group for CryptTV family members, which I’m fortunate enough to be a part of. Josh also writes for some of the biggest horror sites out there, and he’s incredibly talented. As a fan of his work, I was beyond honored when he contacted me about a potential collaboration with my site,

Josh pitched his idea for an ongoing original horror serial, written himself, which would be published one chapter at a time monthly on the site. He sent me the synopsis, outline and first chapter of his story Deeper Than Hell. I was instantly sold! Not only was the entire concept brilliant, but it seemed like a perfect fit for Morbidly Beautiful. We are a site dedicated to celebrating the genre across all media and supporting and celebrating independent and up-and-coming artists. I loved the idea of doing something really unique that no one else is doing, while providing a forum for fans of great genre literature and creative writing to discover an amazing new talent.”

LAZG: Stephanie, What does producing a book of this sort entail?

Stephanie: “While we have published creative writing on the site before, this is our first venture into producing an ongoing horror serial. There’s definitely some work that goes into getting the site ready to publish this type of original content and putting a plan in place to help genre fans discover this great content.

Fortunately, Josh is such a pro. He had very smart ideas about the best way to publish and promote the serial. We recently announced the new partnership on the site, and we’ve begun aggressively promoting it across numerous social media networks. The first chapter will be published on October 7th, which is really meaningful as it marks the one-year anniversary of our site.

Each new chapter will be published the first Friday of every month, and the serial will run through September 2017. New chapters will be announced on social media by myself, Josh, and Sean. All chapters will be housed on a special page on the site that we’re creating exclusively for this serial, so it will be easy for new readers to catch up on anything they might have missed.”

Art Work for Death House by Sean Wilson

Art Work for Death House by Sean Wilson

LAZG: How do you know Sean Wilson and how did he get involved? What is it like working with such an amazing illustrator? His work is super dark and beautifully detailed. Are you excited?

Josh: “I’m definitely excited to work with Sean. No one makes art like he does. In fact, Sean’s such an important aspect of Deeper Than Hell that we’ll share top billing: It’s a story by me, Josh Millican, with art and inspiration from Sean.”

Stephanie: “I only know Sean through his art, which I’ve been a big fan of for some time. I follow him on social media and love his passion and appreciation for the genre, not to mention his enormous talent. He recently created the official poster art for Death House, which he gained a lot of attention for. And it’s absolutely brilliant!

When Josh approached me for the partnership, Sean was already on board with the project, having volunteered to donate original artwork to accompany each chapter. As Josh stated, Sean’s work will add a compelling element to each chapter and will help to establish a contained universe that will encapsulate the entire work.”

LAZG: What is the most important part of making a serial book work? With no books in our actual hands, how will folks remember to read the next chapter?

Stephanie: “This will definitely require a great deal of social media awareness to help readers find the serial and continue reading new chapters each month. Fortunately, over the past year, we’ve been incredibly lucky to build a strong and engaged audience — people who follow and interact with us on social and regularly visit the site for new content. Our hope is that our loyal readers, those who appreciate our passion for the genre and for unique horror content, will support this exciting new endeavor.

Even more importantly, both Josh and Sean are very well known and respected members of the horror community. Each of them has an extensive and loyal network of followers and fans. They will be regularly promoting the serial via their networks. Based on early response to the serial’s announcement, we’re all very optimistic that there will be a great deal of enthusiasm and support for the serial — enthusiasm we’re hopeful (and confident) can be sustained over the next year.”

LAZG: Anything else you’d like to share at this point?

Josh: “Most people know me as a journalist, a nonfiction writer, but I actually have roots in creative writing and poetry. So it’s exciting for me to get back into a creative mindset. I love the fact that in fiction, as opposed to a movie,  you can be as epic as you want to be without any budgetary constraint. I’m only confined by the limits of my imagination!”

Stephanie: “Morbidly Beautiful is coming up on it’s 1 year anniversary! Truthfully, I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate this momentous occasion than by partnering with such an exceptional writer (Josh Millican) and artist (Sean Wilson) to bring our readers something of such originality and quality that they can’t find anywhere else. This partnership represents everything our site stands for, and it means the world that Josh selected Morbidly Beautiful for the exclusive distributor of his first horror serial. Having this level of writing and artistic talent attached to this project makes this something really special that we are honored to be a part of. Finally, let me just say, once you read the first chapter you’re going to be hooked and hungry for more!”

Chapter 1 of DEEPER THAN HELL will debut on on October 7th; additional chapters will be published the first Friday of each month, and the serial will run through September 2017.


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