Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Orange Cthulhu

It's orange! It's eldritch!
To celebrate their 70th anniversary, Penguin Classics has re-issued a number of volumes as part of an Orange Collection series. Although I am a dead serious Lovecraftian, I confess that I love ye whimsical cover illustration for this new edition of S. T.'s first edited volume of H. P. Lovecraft's weird fiction for Penguin. When I once ask'd S. T. what he thought was his best edition of HPL, he said he consider'd this book the single finest edition. This new edition in the Orange Collection contains Lovecraft's texts only; it does not include Joshi's Introduction or his Notes at ye back of ye book. For those strange readers who find S. T.'s annotations invasive and/or irritating, this then is ye edition for you. 

It is, of course, a fine edition of some of Lovecraft's best work, although I confess that my own favourite volume in ye Penguin series is ye second, The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories. Penguin notes on ye inside cover flap: "For the 70th anniversary of Penguin Classics, we present the Penguin Orange Collection, celebrating the heritage of Penguin's iconic book design and twelve influential American literary classics from the breadth and diversity of the Penguin Classics library." So H. P. Lovecraft has ye honour of being one of a mere 12 writers to be so represented. Damn rad!

I just sign'd & return'd my contract for Black Wings VI: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror. S. T. accepted my story "To Move Beneath Autumnal Oaks," which I had originally written for another anthology, Autumn Cthulhu. I am very happy that the story will now appear in a handsome hardcover edition from PS Publishing, and then reprinted in trade pb by Titan Books, thus getting far more distribution than it wou'd have otherwise. My tale is set in Sesqua Valley--one of ye few Sesqua tales of mine that will appear in a hardcover anthology, hooray! 

In keeping with ye Orange theme, I try'd to find a photo of Streisand in orange attire, but this is ye best I cou'd do. This is Babs filming UP THE SANDBOX in Africa. I rather adore ye sign behind her.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Is it "traditional" or just cliche?

Working on a story for my collection of Victorian Mythos fiction. Part of whut I have reads thus:

"Shutting his eyes, he tried to visualize the word mentally, and then his mouth whispered an unnatural sound: 'Yok-Sotot.'
Something seemed to clasp his skull, and although his eyes were shut, Wilfred could see strange shapes that coiled and extended in darkness. The outre things convulsed and then cemented together so as to form one unspeakable outline from which a glistening stem unwound and crawled through the blackness, to him. The lad tried not to shout as a cold moist appendage pressed against his forehead."

Even as I was typing it the words spilled into my skull, "Haven't we been here before, girlfriend?" And yet this beginning feels absolutely right for the story I am beginning to compose. This is, after all, a book of Mythos fiction; & when a book is marketed as such, it shou'd contain those plot elements that Mythos fen enjoy. Right? I want the beginning of this first to set a distinct Mythos tone; and then as I continue to write ye thing, I can work to approach the Mythos genre with as much originality as my story will allow. That's my plan, anyway. My strongest feeling is that I must write a book that will please other Lovecraftians, and therefore I need to make it Lovecraftian-up-ye-arse. So, I will continue to write in this eldritch tradition, and weave a story that will please others who thrive on Lovecraftian horror.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Black Wings VI completed by S. T.

S. T. pofted a new blog to-day, in which is listed ye Contents for his forthcoming Black Wings VI:

Pothunters, by Ann K. Schwader
The Girl in the Attic, by Darrell Schweitzer
The Once and Future Waite, by Jonathan Thomas
Oude Goden, by Lynne Jamneck
Carnivorous, by William F. Nolan
On a Dreamland's Moon, by Ashley Dioses
Teshtigo Creek, by Aaron Bittner
Ex Libris, by Caitlin R. Kiernan
Your Shadows That in Darkness Dwell, by Mark Howard Jones
Mask of the Imago, by John Salonia
The Ballad of Aesnath Waite, by Adam Bolivar
The Visitor, by Nancy Kilpatrick
The Gaunt, by Tom Lynch
Missing at the Morgue, by Donald Tyson
The Shard, by Don Webb
The Mustery of the Cursed Cottage, by David Hambling
To Court the Night, by K. A. Opperman
To Move Beneath Autumnal Oaks, by W. H. Pugmire
Mister Ainsley, by Steve Rasnic Tem
Satiety, by Jason V Brock
Provinance Unknown, by Stephen Woodworth
The Well, by D. L. Myers

Writes S. T.: The works by Ashley Dioses, Adam Bolivar, K. A. Opperman, and D. L. Myers are poems. I had held an informal contest among these poets to see who could write the most evocative poem; but they all submitted outstanding work, and I felt it unfair to pick just one winner. So they are all included! The book is not likely to appear any earlier than the fall of next year.

S. T. handed out copies of ye newest just-publish'd issue of  his poetry journal, Spectral Realms #5. It's a fabulous issue featuring verse by numerous weird poets, plus an essay by Frank Coffman on "The Poets of Weird Tales: Part 2, and a section of reviews. I am pleas'd to appear in ye issue with a soonet sequence entitl'd "The Ghoul's Dilemma."

Hanging out with S. T. and other Lovecraftians always instills within me an enormous ache to write weird fiction & poetry. I hope I can conquer my current block and get to work!!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Victorian Weirdness

I am working, o so slowly, on my new collection of Victorian Mythos fiction; but in order to get started, I had to cheat a little, in that I am transferring ye beginning of a wee modern tale, of which I have a little over one-thousand words, from modern time to Victorian time. It's turning out, this transference, to be more work than I imagined; but I think I'll get there eventually, & hopefully find ye inspiration to complete a new story of substantial length. The original ms. was set in Sesqua Valley, and I have decided that won't do for this new version--so I need to invent some new American locality of haunted Lovecraftian weirdness. I don't want to use any of Lovecraft's own mythical towns. My publisher wants me to write a entire book of Victorian Mythos stories, and that will be incredibly different from my usual thing. I am uncertain about success, but I rather look forward to ye challenge. 
Here is ye first paragraph of the old version, set in modern time:

The veiled woman entered Adam Webster's bookshop and glided to its central chamber, where she found the proprietor seated on a sofa and sipping steamed almond milk from an artistically textured antique china cup. Adam could almost make out the face behind the black veil;  and although he was anxious to study it and imbibe its strange conversation, he remained silent and emotionless. Something in the woman's demeanor seemed to collapse, and he shaky voice was raspy as it drifted to him from behind the net of lace.
"Show me."

Writing has never gone so slowly, and part of that may be because of tiredness. My solitude has been shattered by my elder sister (& her three dogs) suddenly moving in with me, a disruption that may last for quite some time. I am, to ye core of my being, an eccentric recluse (far more than HPL was in actual life, despite his mythical reputation). I need to be alone in order to exist as an artist.

At least wretched summer is over, a time of year that I abhor. The days have become cool, and ye sky is often beautifully overcast. I breathe so easily in such a climate. 

Okay, back to work. Just felt ye need to do a wee update, for those faithful few who follow my ramblings.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Chaos in Motion

Chaos rools at my abode, & there is no end in sight. This domestic interruption is necessary because of special circumstances--yet it is hell nonetheless, and I will be so happy when it is over and my home is once again mine own. Little things are helping to see me through the mess, such as Barbra Streisand's magnificent new recording. The main emotional problem for me is that, with all the ruckus and disturbance in my home life, I am finding it extremely difficult to find that quiet mind-space requir'd for writing. I've been trying to work on a new story for almoft two weeks now, and I have two paragraphs to shew for my efforts. This is okay, because my new book (a collection of Victorian-era Mythos tales) isn;t scheduled for publication any time soon. Still--writing gives me a special peace of mind that makes existence tolerable; and when I find myself unable to write, I find it increasingly difficult to function in life. It is possible that ye situation will end in a fortnight, and then I can pick up the pieces, get my home in order once again, and life in peace and solitude.

I have a lot of things I want to write, and it makes me happy to know that I will return to it full-time and continue to contribute my wee efforts to weird fiction. 

HPL Providence Statue

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Ye Averoigne Cycle

Centipede Press sent me a copy of their new CAS book, & it is absolutely wonderful, a book of great fantasy writing and magnificent fantasy artwork. Here is the press synopsis of the book:

The Averoigne stories of Clark Ashton Smith are among the most vivid and breathtaking in all fantasy literature. Clark Ashton Smith's unparalleled imagination is complemented by the artwork of David Ho, who has created 12 double-page, full color artworks, one for each story, plus an assortment of small devices. 
       Combined with the stunning illustrations, we have an oversize format, over 11 inches tall, with four color printing throughout on silky Italina paper. With printed endsheets, ribbon marker, signature page, and cloth binding in Italian Cialux cloth, all wrapped in a stunning dustjacket, this is probably the finest book ever created for Clark Ashton Smith's works.
       Above everything else, Averoigne is beautiful and magical. Clark Ashton Smith was a poet of vast talent and his powers seem particularly evident when he sets them to evoking this strange, medieval land and its wonders. All of his stories resonate and haunt--you are far from finished with them when you've read them and put them down--but the spells woven by these tales seem to have a particular persistence.
       All the legends make it quite clean that anyone rash enough to visit a real fairyland will never quite manage to leave it again entirely, and, in that fairy sense, Averoinge is real. Once you've read this book you'll find you've been authentically enchanted by a master sorcerer and for the rest of your life you must expect to be periodically wafted willy-nilly far away from ordinary thing. One moment you'll be on a crowded bus, and the next you'll be wandering down a flowery pathway by the River Isoile; another time when you've almost gotten yourself to sleep in some lonely hotel room, you'll suddenly be lost amid tall, grey trees perilously close to the tomb of Malinbois; and staring fixedly into space with your mind on nothing in particular, will almost certainly cause you to revisit that interesting Inn near Sylaire.
     The edition is limited to 2oo signed and numbered copies. This is an extremely short run and will sell out quickly. Signed copies are sold out; note that we only have unsigned copies available.

The book includes a new Introduction by Gahan Wilson. Unsigned copies sell for $175.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Haunting Darkness

PS Publishing will be releasing (or they may already be in stock) three new volumes in their LOVECRAFT ILLUSTRATED series. Pictur'd above is volume eleven, the volume I am really excited about. "The Haunter of the Dark" is probably my favourite story by H. P. Lovecraft. I love its language and its Gothic tone. I love that it is set in Providence, a city I adore. Here is ye press release for this new edition:

The Haunter of the Dark is presented here with the Robert Bloch story that inspired it, The Shambler from the Stars, and Bloch's later rejoinder, The Shadow from the Steeple, which compromise a trilogy of sorts. The Haunter provides a glimpse into a dark sect and their secret laid in an old Providence church. Also included is The Thing on the Doorstep, an identity swapping tale of fiendish proportions and the short but powerful piece, Nyarlathotep, perhaps a prescient and chilling glimpse into our future?
Preface by Pete Von Sholly
Introduction by S. T. Joshi
The Thing on the Doorstep by H. P. Lovecraft
Excised Passages in "The Thing on the Doorstep" by S. T. Joshi
The Haunter of the Dark by S. T. Joshi
The Shambler from the Stars by Robert Bloch
Sonnet XXI (Nyarlathotep) by H. P. Lovecraft
The Shadow from the Steeple by Robert Bloch
Nyarlathotep by H. P. Lovecraft
The Spider by Hanns Heinz Ewers
Some Antecedents of the Shining Trapezohendron by Steven J. Mariconda
The Haunter" Letters by H. P. Lovecraft
A Eulogy for the Church of "The Haunter of the Dark" by Robert Bloch.

Page count is 178.
Ye other two volumes are

THE MOUND, 119 pages, with ye following Contents:
Introduction by S. T. Joshi
The Mound by H. P. Lovecraft
Who Wrote "The Mound"? by S. T. Joshi
"The Mound"; An Appreciation by Peter Cannon
Afterword: Some Notes on "The Mound" by Pete Von Sholly.

Introduction by S. T. Joshi
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by H. P. Lovecraft
In Search of the Dread Ancestor: M. R. James' "Count Magnus" and Lovecraft"s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by Richard Ward
Count Magnus by M. R. James
Re-Animating Lovecraft by Brent V. Friedman
Some Thoughts, Observations, and Conundrums with Regard to The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by Pete Von Sholly