Scary Stories for a Good Cause: Gene O'Neill on "Graffiti Sonata"

By L.S. Johnson (

Tomes & Coffee Press

Tomes & Coffee Press

Gene O’Neill has seen 150 of his short stories, novelettes, and novellas published, as well as seven short story collections and seven novels. Twelve of this group were Stoker finalists, two claiming the haunted house—Taste of Tenderloin (collection) and The Blue Heron (novella). Two novels and a novella collaboration will be out sometime in 2019.


Tell us a little about your story, “Graffiti Sonata.”

An artist is under stress; he’s lost his ability to make art, and his wife and child are leaving him. Incidentally he notices some strange freeway graffiti that moves. The two events overlap.


Was there any specific inspiration for the graffiti in your story?

I was looking at some Freeway graffiti and thought what if graffiti moved? The story is built around that what if. There is art and music in the story, and the title is a play on this: movement of graffiti and movements in a sonata … 

What is your relationship to California?

I live in Napa. We lost a family home in the 2017 fire in the Napa Valley fire.


As writers, we constantly use our imaginations, sometimes in terrifying ways. But can you imagine a hopeful future for California? What might that future look like?

California’s economy is doing well. If we can control fires, and we do something about global warming, everything will be fine in the future.


Where can readers find more of your work

Readers can Google my name or check my name on Amazon.Com. I list upcoming books on my Facebook page.


"[A] brilliant collection of truly creepy tales by horror's hottest voices! Dark, funny, heartbreaking, and bizarre. Highly recommended!"
-Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of V-Wars and Glimpse

Scary Stories for a Good Cause. From Bram Stoker Award-nominated editor of the cult magazine Morbid Curiosity comes Tales for the Camp Fire, a new charity anthology of short stories to help support wildfire relief efforts. Through these pages roam werewolves, serial killers, a handful of ghosts, plenty of zombies, Cthulhu cultists, mad scientists, and a pair of conjoined twins.