Wednesday, December 29, 2010


The amazing illustration is by Matthew Jaffe, for the jacket of Laird Barron's magnificent second collection, Occultation.  Matthew will also be illustrating the forthcoming Centipede omnibus, Masters of the Weird Tale--Arthur Machen, and some of his illustrations for that may be found, reproduced in color, in the 2010-2011 Centipede Press catalog.  They are stunning.  Thus it is with the greatest of pleasure, with pure joy, that I can announce that Matthew has agreed to illustrate Some Unknown Gulf of Night, providing cover and interior work.  His style will be perfect for the book.  I was fortunate enough to meet Matthew at thus year's H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival -- it was kind of funny, cos when he initially came up and introduced himself, his name sounded familiar but I couldn't place it.  Then he came again and told me who he was and I perked up, being already such a fan of his artwork.  It was on seeing the Machen work that I sighed, "Oh, how wonderful to have him illustrate a book of my own," and so it is dreamy indeed that he said "yes" to illustrating the new book forthcoming from Arcane Wisdom Press.  That book is going to be special.  I also asked an extremely fine Lovecraft scholar, J. D. Worthington, if he would write an Introduction to the book, and he wrote what is probably the finest Introduction to any of my books, a piece that is kind and knowledgeable and perfect!  The book will probably see publication late spring/early summer of 2011. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

New Book Just Sold to ARCANE WISDOM !

The year is ending strangely & beautifully.  I say strangely because I still find it bewildering that I was able to write a wee book of 37,000 words in six weeks.  I have never experienced that before and it rather feels like a dream I had. I challenged myself to try and write the book before this year ended, before I left for MythosCon.  What happened was, I became so obsess'd with writing the thing, and so determined to emulate the rush with which H. P. Lovecraft penned his sonnet sequence, Fungi from Yuggoth (said sequence being the inspiration for my book), that I entered into a kind of self-made state of surrealism. leaving "reality" behind and becoming utterly consumed by the world that I was creating with my keyboard.  I told myself, "If Lovecraft could write his entire sequence of 35 sonnets in less than two weeks, I can write my sequence of 36 prose-poems in less than two months."  The entire experience has proved to be one of life's happiest.  Larry Roberts, of Bloodletting Press, had asked me two years ago if I would be interested in writing a wee chapbook for Arcane Wisdom.  It has taken me this long to come up with an idea that interested me enough to write it.  The big push of inspiration came from listening to William Hart's reading of the entire Fungi from Yuggoth sequence at YouTube, where each sonnet is read and can be read with its text presented in a font that replicates HPL's handwriting.  Pretty sweet.

So I wrote my book and submitted it to Larry Roberts.  He accepted the book today, and will publish it next year -- not only as a chapbook but with a limited hardcover edition of 100 copies!  So I shall have two cool hardcovers out next year, this new book and The Tangled Muse, both beautifully design'd & presented so as to emphasize their decadent nature.  I am unutterably delighted.

I've been joking that I may have four new books publish'd next year: but maybe it's no joke!
The Tangled Muse, publish'd by Centipede Press in a limited edition illustrated hardcover edition;
Uncommon Places, published in paperback by Hippocampus Press;
The Strange Dark One--Tales of Nyarlathotep, probably trade pb but possibly as hardcover as well, from Mythos Books;
Some Unknown Gulf of Night, as chapbook & limited edition hardcover from Arcane Wisdom.
Talk about glutting ye field!  Now I need to slow down and just do two books next year.
Thanks to y'all for visiting my blog, and I wish ye all a Fabulous New Year!

poftscriptum:--  My buddy Jerry Worthington has agreed to write an Introduction to Some Unknown Gulf of Night -- I actually sent him new segments of the thing as I wrote them and thus he experienced the work unfolding before him, and he was gracious enough to proof each segment and give comments that not only helped me correct some things within ye text but also influenced the direction of some of the segments.  He has just sent me ye rough of his Intro and it is exactly right.  J. D. is an astute student of the genre and H. P. Lovecraft, and his amazing insights may be found at the Science Fiction Fantasy Chronicles Forum: 

Thursday, December 9, 2010


So many books -- so little time.  But now this refers to the books I want to write.  I cannot understand what is going on with me -- maybe it's just the fact that I am able to write full-time -- but the more work I produce the more I want to produce, it's like a ruddy mania.  I finally completely finish'd proofing the new book last night, after deciding I needed to completely rewrite segment XXII, that whut was my "poetic commentary" on Lovecraft's sonnet, "Azathoth."  The prose-poem that I had initially compos'd was less than 200 words, & when I went to proof it I look'd at the wee thing and snarl'd, "This is my prose response to one of ye finest sonnets in Fungi from Yuggoth?  This insipid fluff of nothing?  No, girlfriend, I don't think so!"  So I wrote out a new response in rough, a wee weird tale that brought Some Unknown Gulf of Night's entire word count up to 37,000.  That I could write 37,000 words of polish in six weeks is a miracle -- but it was part of the ritual in which I engag'd, the ritual of "wanting to be like Lovecraft" that absolutely dictates my writing life.  Lovecraft penned his sonnet cycle in a concentrated rush, beginning it on December 27 and completing it on January 4.  One of the ways I wanted my sequence to emulate HPL's accomplishment was to write my new book is a concentrated rush, to be so entirely caught up in it that it would spill from my crack'd skull before I leave for MythosCon at ye end of this month.  I wrote ye damn thing in six weeks.  They were works of the strangest aesthetic enchantment I have ever experienc'd, where I could not stop writing, where I wrote in a state of creative fever.  I don't know if that was a good or bad thing -- but I mean to let the work stand as it is, a testimony of Lovecraftian ambition & obsession.

But the more I do the more I crave to do.  Now I want to write a novel about Randolph Carter that takes place after the events of "Through the Gates of the Silver Key," wherein Carter finds a way to mortal existence once again yet also finds his powerful dream life, which assists him in writing new novels that are exquisite macabre fantasies.  So to-night I have started a slow critical reading of that collaboration with E. Hoffmann Price during which I am taking notes.

Another future project, perhaps for 2012, will be a collection of poetry and prose inspir'd by the Works of Clark Ashton Smith.  I now have all five volumes of his weird fiction and his complete poetry in three stunning volumes.  I'd like to begin work on a CASian sonnet sequence next year, take my time on it and make it something worthy of his memory, and then spend most of 2012 on a series of weird phantasies inspir'd by his tales.  I feel a deep need to write such a book, & then I can dedicate it to my buddy Scott Connors.

As soon as I return from MythosCon I begin working with Maryanne on our novel, and I begin to write a book of "traditional" Cthulhu Mythos fiction for Miskatonic River Press -- a book that I want to be substantial.  And, blast my soul, I still have a hankering to write (for that book) a weird tale about Richard Upton Pickman visiting Sesqua Valley and finding his way into the Dreamlands at a place in the Sesquan woodland that conjoins with the forests of the Dreamlands; for as HPL wrote in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath:  "....the furtive and secretive zoogs; who know many obscure secrets of the dream-world and a few of the waking world, since the wood at two places touches the lands of men, though it would be disastrous to say where."  One of those two places is Sesqua Valley.  The story in Weird Inhabitants of Sesqua Valley that has Pickman visiting Sesqua sucks ichor -- I need to write a good story of that theme.

So -- the writing mania will not, I think (I hope) abate. 
I can tell I'm worn out cos I've made so many typos writing this blog.......hope I caight them all

Monday, December 6, 2010

New Inspiration

I was unhappy with one segment of Some Unknown Gulf of Night -- the one that was inspir'd by Lovecraft's sonnet, "The Window" -- feeling it was too wee (around 300-hundred words) and not very interesting.  My goal with this new work was to try and make it at least 35,000 words, a good size for a chapbook -- & thus I was let down that I arriv'd a mere 33,000 words.  Then yesterday I got this new idea for a different weird tale based on :The Window," so I spent the morning writing ye rough and it came to around 2,000 words!  I was up until one in ye morning typing the polish.  I brought in a bunch of Lovecraftian tidbits, stolen from his Life & Works and blended into an eldrtich mix.  I have the woman who appears on ye mound from "The Mound," aspects of "The Unnamable" and "The Statement of Randolph Carter" and "Nyarlathotep."  My narrator is named Howard, and his buddies are Samuel and Maurice.  One thing I neglected to do in Gulf was to include a new sonnet of mine own, so I used this new segment for that.  It's a very strange and decadent mix and it has brought the work up to 35,000 words.

So now I have one more wee weird tale to write, and then I begin work with Maryanne K. Snyder on my first novel.  We are going to set the novel in my invented city of exile, Gershom.  The first two tales of Gershom, "Some Buried Memory" and "The Tangled Muse," will see their initial publication on my omnibus from Centipede Press next month.  Gershom was to be my "urban" Sesqua Valley.  I got the idea after reading an anthology of tales of the New Weird.  I decided I needed to try and write some more modern stuff, try and be more up-to-date and cutting edge.  I invented my town of exiles, Gershom -- a modern yet strange city.  But when I think of exiles I immediately think of Oscar Wilde -- so one of my recurring characters in the Gershom tales is the poet/playwright, Sebastian Melmoth -- who is none other than Oscar Wilde.  Then I brought in others from ye Victorian fin-de-siecle -- and thus my "modern" city became more of a blend of Wilde's London of ye 1890's and Baudelaire's Paris -- not very modern after all.  The spirit of Oscar Wilde (to whom I paid homage in ye photograph above) is prevalent.  So, write the novel with Maryanne, who inspires me in a magical way, will be interesting, and the book will be totally non-Lovecraftian.

But I do have a Lovecraftian-to-ye-core project for next year as well.  Miskatonic River Press has asked me to write them a new collection of pure Mythos fiction.  My idea is to set each tale in one of Lovecraft's mythical towns such as Arkham or Duwich or Kingsport, &c.  And I want to make these weird tales very Mythos indeed.  We shall see if I can do so.

Next year may have a lot of my books see print: The Tangled Muse from Centipede Press, The Strange Dark One--Tales of Nyarlathotep  from Mythos Books, Uncommon Places from Hippocampus Press -- and, who knows, maybe Some Unknown Gulf of Night from Arcane Wisdom Press.  I think I can slow down a bit now.  I've been so ferociously busy because of my bad health, my congestive heart failure.  My good friend, Joyce Ring, died unexpectedly last Summer from heart failure -- she was my age, 59.  I was totally shocked and freaked-out by her death.  My own heart complications have me convinc'd that I may not have long to live, so I became obsess'd with writing as many books as possible before I kick off.  Silly, the things we dread.  But look at the work it has gotten out of me!  And now, the next challenge will be the writing of Lovecraftian novels.  I have always wanted to try and write novels and ye attmepts have always floundered, but of late I am feeling such a bravado of confidence -- who knows?  As soon as I return from MythosCon I begin work on a novel with Maryanne K. Snyder (that is her in ye photo below, where we sit in ye hilltop burying ground in Marblehead, and ye view outspread before us is that which so moved Lovecraft to ecstasy).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

29,000 & Counting

That's me at the LOVECRAFT UNBOUND reading at last year's WFC, and in my lap is the copy of the rare Arkham House book, Dreams and Fancies, that I found for $90 in ye dealer's room.  These two books shew what a long way we have come as Lovecraftians, and how the Lovecraft scene today remains vital and active.  Ellen's anthology was simply magnificent, gathering excellent tales from a wide range of artists, unique fiction that explores Lovecraftian themes with intelligence and ingenuity.  The wee Arkham House book takes us back to a time when Lovecraft was not yet the icon he is today, but it helped to take him there and is a wonderful collection, a book I return to for inspiration and eldritch delight, with that fine cover by Richard Taylor.
Happily, Arkham House is still around and has arisen from its nameless slumber.  This heightens the excitement of what it means to be a weird tale fan today.  The plan for Arkham House is to publish books by older AH authors (new collections by past AH "house" writers is the way I think it would be phrased) and then newer books by modern writers -- Lois Gresh will have a collection from them next year, and I learned last night of another author who is working with them on his first AH collection.  One of the greatest things about Arkham House were the fantastic anthologies of original fiction that August Derleth assembled, and Derleth's superb anthologies of weird poetry.  Plans are assembled to bring forth a three-volume edition of the fabulous poetry anthology, Dark of the Moon, with many new and original poems by modern poets, and a new anthology of weird fiction may be in the works as well!  It was my discovery of Arkham House and books such as H. P. Lovecraft's Selected Letters and Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos that turned me into an insanely obsess'd Lovecraftian and gave me my firm determination to become a professional Mythos writer.  I owe Arkham House a lot.

I am now just past 29,000 words with Some Unknown Gulf of Night.  I have five more sonnets in HPL's Fungi from Yuggoth on which to write prose segments: XXXII. Alienation, XXXIII. Harbour Whistles, XXXIV. Recapture, XXXV. Evening Star and XXXVI. Continuity.  But I still want to make this wee chapbook a work of 40,000 words, which means that each new segment would need to be 2,000 words.  Thus I am taking a new course, and these last five segments of the sequence will form portions of a new Sesqua Valley story, with each portion inspir'd in some way by the sonnet on which it is a comment.  I wasn't going to have any references to Sesqua in this book, but then I thought, on, what the hell.  & nigh I have this really perverse inclination to write a tale in which I kill off Simon Gregory Williams.  I've been playing with this all day, & now the idea doesn't seem "right".  I think I want to continue making each segment a direct "comment" on the sonnet that serves as inspiration, & yet I can hopefully make each of the last five segments 2,000 words.  We shall see.  It hath been quite amazing, writing this thing in a state of creative hypnosis almoft, where I feel my soul flowing through waves of creativity.  I've never experienced anything like this in my writing life.  I continue to grow as an artist, and much of that has been made possible by moving in with Mother and being able to write full time. 

I am so looking forward to meeting some of you there, in Phoenix!

Monday, November 22, 2010


How I love ye Fungi from Yuggoth -- and, Great Yuggoth, how it hath inspir'd me!  The writing of my new book has been a magical experience.  I have never -- nevah nevah evah! -- felt this inspir'd or had a work spill so easily from that warped realm called me brain.  I am now at 25,200 words as I work, unexpectedly, on the vignette inspir'd by Sonnet XXXVII--"The Elder Pharos."

I say "unexpectedly" because I have just been invited to write a wee weird tale for an anthology that will be publish'd by a House that I have ached to write for since the early 1970's, & to be invited to finally pen a Lovecraftian weird tale for them has me so excited I have trouble sleeping.  I'm so far along with SOME UNKNOWN GULF OF NIGHT that I thought I could now cease work on it for a while and plunge into the writing of this new 5,000 word weird tale, "This Weave of Dreaming." -- in which I will have aspects of "Nyarlathotep" and "Medusa's Coil," although the tale will not to be sequel or any such thing to anything Lovecraft wrote.  But then in to-day's post there arriv'd a new disc of Will Hart's reading of ye Fungi from Yuggoth in an MP4 File that actually shews the text (in Lovecraft's handwriting!) as the audio reads each sonnet.  And Will's readings are so wonderful that it put me into the mood to not stop work on Gulf, so to-night I have begun segment XXVII.  I will work on both the new book and the story for this fabulous editor who has invited me to write for a book I cannot yet discuss as much as I want to proclaim it to ye Woild, and I hope to have a nice polish of the new story finish'd by end of month.

I've entered a delicious era in my life as a Lovecraftian author.  The circumstances are not wonderful -- I had to move in with mom because she has grown too crippled and eccentric to live alone -- but it, and another aspect that is the awesome miracle of my life, has made it possible for me to write full time.  It's flipping awesome!  And I've reached this phase of, I guess I have to call it "professionalism," where I am now able to do the projects that I have in mind, instead of merely dream about them.  I told myself I want to write a prose-poem/vignette sequence of 35,000/40,000 words inspir'd by Fungi from Yuggoth and have it mostly completed in two months' time.  Now, three years ago, if you had told me I'd be able to accomplish such a feat, I would have laughed my ass off.  But now I think it's actually going to happen.  Writing has become much easier now that I am doing everything on Microsoft Word, including rough drafts which I then print out and read from as I type ye polish drafts.  Indeed, it is now impossible for me to work on a rough draft with pen and pad, as I always used to do.  I need to do it all on keyboard.

Okay, must put Mother to bed, turn up the heat (it's been snowing all day) and return to work.  Hope y'all who celebrate Thanksgiving have a nice day.  We order'd ye Holiday Turkey meal from Safeway, and my prayer is that all the snow is gone when I go to pick the food up on Wednesday cos I have never driven in snow & the idea of doing so has me fairly terrify'd!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Almoft Half-way There

My sequence of prose-poems, vignettes & short-shorts, Some Unknown Gulf of Night, has reached 18,200 words.  I am working, to-night, on segment XX, whut is based on the sonnet "Night-Gaunts" in Lovecraft's Fungi from Yuggoth sequence.  Up until now I was feeling very inspir'd & ye writing came so easily; but now I feel a need to shift things a bit and go a different direction imaginatively.  The next few sonnets of Lovecraft's sequence, "Night-Gaunts," "Nyarlathotep," and "Azathoth" touch on aspects that have become central to ye Cthulhu Mythos,  I want my sequences inspir'd by them to echo that.  My idea now is to shift ye scene to the dreamlands and explore the dark beauty of that realm.  This shift hath slow'd me down, as I really need to study Lovecraft and think deeply about where my sequence is headed.  The reason I am here writing on my blog to-night is because I am stunk in ye writing of Gulf and don't know how to advance, so I've come for a bit of distraction.

I have many things I want yet to do with this work.  I am especially hopeful to use some segments so as to remember my wonderful week in Providence, Rhode Island, and I want to set one sequence in the Fleur-de-Lys Building at 7 Thomas Street.  My friends and I were actually allow'd inside the building for a wee tour, & thus I was able to roam the huge lower room (pictured above, where I pose reading from S. T.'s Penguin Classics edition, The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories, reading from the book's title story, in which the building wherein I am dwelling is featured) -- so I need to set a segment of my sequence inside that wondrous place.

The writing of this new work has been so satisfying artistically.  Best of all, it has return'd me to H. P. Lovecraft, my ever-Muse.  It gives me such happiness to know that I will be able to continue to delve into the Works of HPL & find therein never-ending inspiration.  Now that I am at segment XX, I am close to half-way completed with ye writing of this wee chapbook, which I hope will be around 40,000 words.  This feels really weird, to be so far along -- I've been kind of hypnotized while working on this thing, & Time has been a thing of naught.  My plan was to have the book completed before we head off for MythosCon in January -- but I am so far along & it's only ye 11th of Novembyr!  How wonderful it is, to get so lost within one's work that it flows & flows.  Of course, it is work, & there have been times when things would not express yemselves; but moftly it has come easily & swiftly.  I shall be very surpris'd if I cannot deliver ye polish to my publisher at end of year.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fantastic new art for THE TANGLED MUSE

The magnificent Swiss artist, Gwabryel, who has done so many wonderful works for Centipede Press, has delivered five new pieces of black & white art for the much-delay'd new edition of The Tangled Muse, art that will take the place of the works that had to be removed from the book.  Shewn here is his piece for my prose poem sequence, "In Memoriam: Oscar Wilde," whut will see it's first publication in the Centipede Press omnibus -- now scheduled for a late January release.  I am so thrill'd with this new artwork!  I love his style, & feel it compliments the eeriness of my prose. 

Happily, Gwabryel will also be working on new artwork, including a colour cover, for my forthcoming collection from Hippocampus Press, Uncommon Places.  I spent yesterday with S. T. Joshi, & he is hopeful that my new Hippocampus book can be publish'd late next year, perhaps in time for WFC -- but isn't dead certain, as Hippocampus Press has so many titles that must come forth before mine own.

S. T. shew'd me the pre-publication copy of his periodical, Weird Fiction Review, that is forthcoming from Centipede Press, & it looks amazing!  He also had lots and lots of news concerning his meeting with publishers at WFC and the future looks great for S. T.'s future as an editor of Mythos anthologies, &c &c!  He is also ready to begin serious work on his biographical novel concerning H. P. Lovecraft!

Some Unknown Gulf of Night continues slowly but steadily, & I now have up to 7,000 words.  I've not had time to work on it for a few days, but I hope to make up for that by writing 2,000 or 3,000 words today!  It is proving an exciting and satisfying experiment in writing prose poems and vignettes inspir'd by Lovecraft's Fungi from Yuggoth yet retaining my own perverse & peculiar stamp.  I hope to have ye majority of the thing completed before heading off for MythosCon.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Will Hart has an amazing website, CthulhuWho1, where a number of wonderful offerings may be sampled.  Some wee time ago he downloaded his reading of the entire Fungi from Yuggoth sonnet cycle over at YouTube, one video for each sonnet, with each poem reproduced in text using the H. P. Lovecraft font available  from the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society -- so it looks as if each sonnet had been penned in HPL's handwriting.  Will's reading voice is magnificent, and this is, for me, the definitive recording of ye Fungi.  This sonnet cycle has long been one of my keen Lovecraftian obsessions, and when S. T. Joshi led a wee pack of us on a walking tour in Providence, I had my pb edition of Fungi from Yuggoth and Other Poems (a reprinting of the Arkham House Collected Poems that reproduced Utpatel's fabulous illustrations) in hand, and as I stood before 10 Barnes Street, where Lovecraft wrote ye Fungi, I recorded the incident in ye book.  I have long wanted to write some work that was absolutely inspir'd by Lovecraft's sonnets; & at first I thought this wou'd be a sonnet cycle of mine own.  I wrote my sonnets for Sesqua Valley and Other Haunts, but I've come to dislike moft of yem, I was too experimental with ye sonnet form, wrote the cycle too quickly, &c &c.  

My new love as an author is to compose my prose-poem/vignette sequences, the most ambitious of which is "Uncommon Places," which in its final form reached 25,000 words.  I have now started work on a new sequence that will be entirely based on Fungi from Yuggoth.  I've just completed the first one and it seems okay.  My initial plan was to try and make each of the thirty-six segments around 1,000 words, which wou'd bring ye total work to around 40,000 words, whut I cou'd then submit to someone as a potential small press chapbook.  But the first one came to only 800; & if any of the future segments need 2,000 words to tell their tale, cool.  Most of the segments will be wee prose poems, but I fancy that some of them will blossom into short-shorts of 2,000 or 3,000 words.  We shall  see.  My hope is to have moft of this thing written by the time we attend MythosCon in January -- and perhaps that is a lunatic hope, but I am sure gonna try.

By clicking on ye title on this blog ye will be taken to Will's fabulous site!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

YE TANGLED MUSE nigh available for pre-order!

 THE TANGLED MUSE will be delayed so that we may incorporate some wonderful original art by the Swiss artist, Gwabryel.  Great Yuggoth, he is such a fantastic artist!  He will be illustrating my prose poem sequences in memory of Oscar Wilde and Edgar Poe, and he has a strange illustration for "The Zanies of Sorrow," a story that I consider one of my most original.  So, it will be worth the wait!  Gwabryel has worked often with Jerad, and samples of his artwork may be seen on ye Centipede Press website.  He has some really eerie work in that fabulous H. P. Lovecraft art book that Jerad publish'd a couple years ago.  I am ecstatic about this fellow's artwork, it is so original, so unique, and it absolutely compliments the decadent "feel" of my book!  Hooray!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New Story Sale

I've been working with Maryanne K. Snyder on a book of collaborative work, and she has proved an absolute delight to work with.  I prefer to write alone, collaborating is a lot more work for me; but often writing with someone else can take you to places you would never otherwise discover writing on your own. 
Our first story together, "The House of Idiot Children," was publish'd in Weird Tales and will be reprinted in The Tangled Muse.  Perhaps our strangest tale, "With Softer Gleam," has just been accepted by Jason V Brock and William F. Nolan for their second volume of the anthology, The Bleeding Edge.  The first anthology was spectacular, and I am excited and very pleas'd to be in ye second.

"With Softer Gleam" is set in London in the late 1870's, at the time when Oscar Wilde began to live in London with the artist Frank Miles.  However, the 1870's was also the time when Simon Gregory Williams, the first-born spawn of Sesqua Valley's shadow-land, was awakened by they who began to settle in the valley.  In this tale, a newly mortal Simon ventures to London and encounters Wilde and Miles, and taints them with his sorcerer's debauchery.  It is a very strange tale indeed.

Maryanne and her husband Greg (he is the hero of this past week-end's H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival & CthulhuCon) took me on a three-week tour of New England and New York, and thus I was able to dwell in Lovecraft's Providence.  By nameless coincidence, S. T. Joshi was also in town, working at ye John Hay Library on some Clark Ashton Smith poetry.  It was a journey that still reverberates in my weird fiction.  One of the pieces I spoke at my reading at HPLFF was inspir'd by our stopping at Gloucester, Massachusetts, whut partially inspir'd Lovecraft's creation of Innsmouth.  The day was beautifully gray and atmospheric, and we stopped so as to walk upon a pier.  Being of adventurous blood, Maryanne removed her shoes and socks and walked out onto the sand and shallow water, toward deeper water and moving waves.  Being a loyal husband, Greggie join'd her, waving me to do so, but I declin'd.  I watched them go farther from where I stood on my safe bit of solid timber.  Suddenly, from the distant depths beyond Maryanne, two figures rose from out the waves.  These foreboding creatures were black, rubbery, faceless -- like wingless night-gaunts.  I realis'd, after my initial shock, that they were two swimmers in scuba-gear -- but,  Great Yuggoth!, what a superb Lovecraftian moment they inspir'd!  Ye prose poem that I penned inspir'd by this is part of my "Uncommon Places" sequence, which hath seen its first publication in The Tangled Muse, in a version of 15,000 words.  A revised version of 25,000 words will see it's first publication next year, in my new Hippocampus Press book, Uncommon Places.

Maryanne and I begin work immediately on our first, yet unnamed novel, a decadent supernatural thing that will be set in my city of exiles, Gershom.  My first-written tales of Gershom, "Some Buried Memory" and "The Tangled Muse," have just seen their first publication in my Centipede Press omnibus.


I had such a great week-end at the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival & CthulhuCon.  I rode down to Portland with S. T., after we had recorded a wee video on YouTube about some of his new & forthcoming books.  I shared a motel room with Jerad Walters, who owns and operates Centipede Books.  He was at the theatre setting up his table in ye dealer's room when we finally arriv'd, & so our room was empty as I walked in.  I immediately notic'd a book on my bedside table on which there was -- a yellow book!!!!!  My heart jolted as I approached the wondrous thing.  A yellow book with an Aubrey Beardsley illustration on it of an old fellow whose face resembled mine when I'm in drag. 


I had told Jerad that I wanted the boards to be yellow, that I wanted the book to look as though it had been publish'd in Oscar Wilde's fin-de-siecle.  I took up the book and kept muttering, "Oh my gawd, oh Great Yuggoth, I can't believe, oh my freaking gawd..."  I had to go out and shew ye tome to others.  Not bothering to unpack or anything, I departed ye motel room and stagger'd outside.  I went first to Greg and Maryanne's motel room and knock'd on their door, wanting so to shew yem ye tome as it is dedicated to them & their charming son Victor.  Scott Connors and others were nearby, so I shew'd yem ye book & they thought it exquisitely design'd.  I left and almost waltz'd to ye theatre, where I found Greg, to whom Jerad had already shewn ye book.  Finding Jerad's table, I saw other copies of the book.  It is not the official edition but one of six unsign'd pre-publication editions, thus making them the rarest and probably most collectible edition of the book.    Jerad hoped to sell the other five copies for $75@ -- & did so promptly.  Jerad is still here visiting his friend who lives in Renton and has opened a wee cafe here in Seattle; he returns home to-morrow and will then update his website so that the official sign'd edition of The Tangled Muse may be order'd directly from Centipede Press for $125 per copy.  The print run is a mere 150 copies and there seems to be a buzz about ye book, so we are hoping it sells well.  I've shewn it on camera on some YouTube videos on my MrWilum channel, one of which I recorded with Jerad at my side.  The book is simply spectacular in design.

I can tell that age and ill-health hath really affected me.  It was difficult to walk to and from the theatre to ye motel, a mere three blocks.  I know my congestive heart failure has really affected things, but had no idea I was so unable to walk any distance without becoming instantly worn out.  I was so weary after each night that I did not once attend the after-hours gathering at Tony Starlight's and thus did not imbibe the absinthe cocktails as was my plot.  But I got to hang out with writers and others, got to meet and be on a panel with the remarkable Caitlin R. Kiernan.  My reading went very well, although I got rather choked up when reading from "Letters from an Old Gent," a sequence of prose poems in the form of letters perhaps written to his friends and loved ones.  I read the two address'd to his wife and papa, and it was while reading ye latter that tears began to well.  I have such an emotional link to Lovecraft.

One of the best days was Sunday, when I finally met my hardcore punk friend, Connie.  She was one of my readers when I was doing my Punk Lust fanzine in ye early 1980's.  We used to correspond, lost contact, and she recently found me on Facebook.  I had no idea she was now living in Portland.  She attended my Sunday panel and reading (and took ye photos above; & that's her sitting next to me outside ye theatre), and then we joined her charming husband Frank for a wonderful meal at Dot's.  I love hanging out with old school punx, & they were delightful in every way.  

We left early, me and S. T. and Jerad.  Jerad came to my pad and we did our video (he was really nervous about being on camera!), but Jerad has a sharp cat allergy and my three cats were getting to him, so I took him to his pal's cafe to hang out and we said our goodbyes.  He said that my book will be available for order at the end of this week and then should ship late this month or early November.

Although this was Andrew's last year as director of The H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival, there are others who are working to keep it alive and in Portland.  Thus, with luck, I'll see y'all again next year in Portland.  Now we concentrate on MythosCon, held in Phoenix in early January, and it is going to be a remarkable Lovecraftian gathering.  I hope to see many of you's there.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ye Leopold Return Tales

So I read S. T. Joshi's cool mystery novel (whut we will be discussing in our vlog next Friday when he comes to drive me to Portland for ye HPLFF), and some thing in his excellent approach to the genre got me hankering to reread those books concerning my all-time favourite detective, Nero Wolfe.  I think I may have read all of the Wolfe novels thirty or thirty-five years ago, and then five years ago I began to read them again but got distracted.  This past week I reread In the Best Families, and this morning I began And Be a Villain.  I also order'd ye DVD set of the A&E series starring the remarkable Maury Chaykin as Nero Wolfe.  I seen a few of these, either on telly or I borrow'd yem from ye library -- but they are so fabulous and authentic that I want to watch them all.

It seems that I cannot have a literary passion these days without trying, in some fashion, to ape it.  It hath long been one of my little literary aches to write a series of psychic detective tales, with my psychic being a child of Sesqua Valley.  This poses some few problems, because the haunted valley is, as I have constructed it, a secretive place, and such a series of stories would involve clients coming to visit my detective at his house in the valley.  But now I see that this can have entertainment value and dramatic effect, so my mind is working overtime on ideas for such a series of tales.  I have vow'd to work on two books only this coming year--and whenever I make such a vow I can never keep it.  I've got this weird feeling that I'll be writing three books in 2011, one of which will be Tales of Leopold Return, who will be my psychic detective.  The stories will be highly inspir'd by the Nero Wolfe novels, and Return's sidekick will be a female version of Archie Goodwin.  Tough talking, probably lesbian; a woman of ravishing beauty who dresses mostly in masculine attire and ain't no wimp.  Of course, the series won't comprise "serious" work of fiction, but fun (yet hopefully not trivial) tales in the tradition of Jules de Grandin and Carnaki.

I like being surprised by my sudden "needs" as an author, & to write a wee collection of amusing psychic detectives tales is suddenly a keen ache indeed.  I'm not clever when it comes to plotting, so they won't be whodunits with intricate plotting and red herrings.  They will be investigations of supernatural queerness.  They will be mass fun to write.

Monday, September 20, 2010


That's a great lineup, and  I'm getting very excited about this.  I'll be sharing a motel room with Jerad of Centipede Press, and he is bringing lots of book!  How tempting it will be to me wallet, sleeping in a room filled with Centipede Press books!  He hopes to have the Frank Belknap Long Masters of the Weird Tale omnibus there.  Alas, my own Centipede Press book won't be ready in time for ye HPLFF, but I'll be doing a reading from it.  Hope to see many of ye there!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New S. T. Joshi Video Interview on Octobye 1st!!!

S. T. will be driving me down to Portland, Oregon for this very last H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival, on Friday  ye first of Octobyr.  Just before we depart we're going to record another live video interview on me webcam for my MrWilum channel over at YouTube.  Should be mass fun.  He seems anxious to plug his mystery novel, The Removal Company, and discuss his life as a novelist.  It has been his secret ambition all these decades to write fiction.  His novel is quite good, and I believe a second book is ready for publication, probably under his own byline since there is another mystery novelist writing under ye name of J. K. Maxwell. 

Of course S. T.'s moft astounding plot as fiction writer is to
write a biographical novel on the life of H. P. Lovecraft.  He is certainly equipped to write such a book, as his definitive biography of H. P. Lovecraft, I Am Providence, has just been publish'd in two volumes by Hippocampus Press.  Derrick now has had the books shipped to him and is frantically busy sending out ye order'd copies, the first 350 of which (out of 1,000, I believe) are sign'd by S. T.  Gawd, an authentic novel about the life of Lovecraft, penned by ye World's Leading Lovecraft Scholar -- whut a rad treat that will be!!

Hope to see many of you's at ye Hollywood Theatre, & then come join me at the Tony Starlight's Supper Club & Lounge each night after ye festival and imbibe a glass of absinthe with me.  We can drink a toast to Oscar Wilde, or Baudelaire!

Monday, September 13, 2010

S. T. has accepted UNCOMMON PLACES for publication!

I am happy to report that S. T. has read, highly praised and accepted my newest book, Uncommon Places, and hopes to have Derrick bring it out as a Hippocampus Press title probably late next year.  It may be that Mythos Books will bring out The Strange Dark One--Tales of Nyarlathotep, out next year as well, although I wou'd prefer that title to be releas'd in 2012.  I'm still taking this month off and doing no writing, but it's so weird--I tell myself, I'll just take some time off and relax, but then, when I'm not writing, not working on a book, I get all antsy and can't relax!  I feel restless, I get agitated, and it sucks death.  The only way, at such times, that I can relax is to begin work on a new book.  My work is my therapy, I guess.  So I am doing the mental work for the new book, studying Lovecraft and dreaming dark dreams.  I expect I'll begin writing in earnest, or trying to, when we return from the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival.

I'll be riding down to Portland with S. T., and maybe by that time we will all have copies of I Am Providence, whut I ache to begin reading, as I know that it will aid my Muse.  Indeed, sometimes when I'm too weary to think like a writer, to concentrate or feel inspir'd, I will dip into my favourite portions of H. P. Lovecraft: A Life, & I am instantly rejuvenated as a Lovecraftian artist.  Hanging out with hundreds of Lovecraftians also gets my writing mind boiling and bubbling over, & when I get home from such events my pen flies like a wild thing.

I look forward to seeing some of you's soon in Portland!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Attic Window and Others, by Randolph Carter

I love that spectral photograph of Grandpa--he looks both haunting & haunted.

Been reading over the new 10,000 word addition to "Uncommon Places," seeking yem typos that escaped my notice.  Usually they are wrong words or incomplete words; like, I just found one where I typed "image" instead of "imagine"; & I found one sentence where I used "particularly" and "particular," so I'm altering the 2nd to "peculiar" so to avoid repetition.  Proofing is a bore, but not catching the mistakes & having them infiltrate one's book is too grotesque.

Reading over the entire sequence of 25,000 words, I find it far more Lovecraftian than I remember'd -- or intended -- it to be.  When I added the new portion of 10,000 words it was my aim to be totally Mythos, since the majority of the segments form'd a semi-sequel to J. Vernon Shea's "The Haunter of the Graveyard."  What I did was I wrote one segment that was a portion of the short story, and then I followed it with an arty prose poem that was related to the story I was telling.  Here's an example, with a wee portion of the story, followed by the prose poem inspir'd by it:

Uncommon Places Part XXII (climax)

And then I heard a cry from somewhere in the trees just beyond me, and at their sound a night wind rose, cool and smooth, that played with my length of hair; and as if in answer to the cry a dark cloud melted in the sky and thus was revealed the moon that had been secreted behind it, and I blinked as its dead light fell onto my eyes.  Another sphere arose, as if from buried earth, small and delicate, with black pits where a human face would have worn eyes, and a scarlet mouth that parted.

"Ses yeux profonds sont faits de vide et de tenebres..."

The figure stopped its recitation and cocked its head.  I watched as it hopped from the tabletop slab on which it stood and walked a few steps nearer, and I noticed that this stranger also held a book.

"I suppose you don't know French, judging from your dumb expression.  Let me translate and sing the verse again, thus:
'Her eyes, made of the void, are deep and black;
Her skull, coiffured in flowers down the neck,
Sways slackly on the column of her back,
O charm of nothingness so madly decked!'
Delicious, is it not?  And how clever of Luna to shew her form just now, so as to aid with ghastly light.  One should always read poetry in moonlight, don't you agree?"

"Certainly, if the poet is Baudelaire."

"Ah!  An educated soul."  The voice was high and nasal, yet masculine.  His eyes were concealed behind round black lens of what looked like antique wire spectacles.  His fantastic mauve hair was piled high upon his dome in thick tube-like coils, and moonlight shimmered on the crimson gloss with which his simpering lips had been coated.  "I've been looking for mine kindred dead, many of whom are planted here."  He looked at me from behind his queer spectacles and did not smile as he spoke his name.  "Randolph H. Carter, from Boston.  And yes, I am ruefully related to the writer and man of mystery.  Have you read his famous book?"

"I've inherited an edition, but haven't scanned it yet.  What was his mystery?"

"He had many, actually.  There is the mystery of what happened to his friend and mentor, Harley Warren, who was last seen with Randy on the day of Warren's disappearance.  I actually know a direct relative of Warren's here in town, a fabulous painter who has a studio on French Hill.  It was she, actually, who told me of this place; she often paints it and its denizens.  Just now she is conjuring a life-size doppelganger of Obediah Carter, who was whispered to have been a wizard."

"That was his tomb you were standing on just now."

"I thought it might have been, although I couldn't quite make out its faded inscription."

"Perhaps," I ventured, "you should remove the shades..."

"Don't be absurd."  He began to move away from me through the high dead grass, and so I held my lantern higher to light his way.  We both saw the tree at the same time, and I could not suppress a shudder.  "Some fool hanged himself on that tree last year."  He turned and frowned at the expression on my face.  "How sad you look; but then, who wouldn't dressed like that?  You look like some Gothic hobo.  Well, I should depart, morning classes at Miskatonic come so early.  What are you reading?"  I told him.  "Ah," and he winked, "be on guard for the little people.  This is their kind of demesne, I imagine."  I watched him saunter toward the trees and disappear into their darkness, and suddenly I felt alone and vulnerable.  Turning, I found my way homeward, climbed over the stone wall and examined my house.  It looked a grotesque thing in the sallow moonlight, with its cupola, widow's walk and many gables.  Lunar light feasted on the face of the gargoyle that Elmer Harrod had added as Gothic touch, and which had been featured in the opening shots for many of his episodes where he was seen before the house in his outlandish outfits and ghoulish make-up, costumes (such as the one I now wore) that usually had some connection to the horror film that he would introduce and mock throughout.  Standing as it did at the end of a dead end street on which most of the decaying houses had been abandoned and uninhabited, the Victorian pile seemed especially desolate, a classic haunted house; and so it was, haunted by myself and my strange imagination, my conjurations, my spectral dreams.

Entering the lonesome place, I went to the library and found the collection of horror stories by Randolph Carter, The Attic Window and Others, which had been published by private hands some years after his strange vanishing act in 1928 had caused a sensation, resulting in his early and unpopular book being reprinted by a New York publisher.  The new edition had been an enormous success.  I was pleased to see that Harrod's copy was the original first edition.  I began to read, oblivious to the subtle keening of windsong that emanated from the graveyartd next door; but soon my eyes grew heavy, and my long day came to an end in the cozy armchair of my quiet room.


She climbed the winding wooden steps that led to the small door, pushed it open and coughed into the dry air that, issuing from the attic room, assaulted her face.  Her candle's feeble flame threw shadows into the room among the litter of antiques, the wooden crates, the shrouded figures.  She was curious to see that their dark sartorial camouflage resembled her own, and she wondered if they, too, had hoped to conceal themselves from the world of men when roaming the streets at night.  Pressing her hand against the breast of one still thing, she felt its torso of twisted wire; and then she lifted her face to its sad mask, the expression of which filled her with such remorse that she drifted from the thing, to the attic window.  Bending before the small panes of glass, she gazed into their latticework at her peculiar wavering reflection, upon which shadows frolicked.  She watched one patch of shadow sink into one particular reflected eye, and her eye of flesh experienced a bothersome tugging sensation, as if some playful thing were pinching it.  She did not like how dark that eye looked on the window's glass, and so she brought her candle very near it, until its lashes were slightly singed.

The contents of the attic room began to spin, like leaves caught in a dance of wind, inviting her to trip the light fantastic; and so she rose and pirouetted around the place, one hand holding her taper, the other at her breast, beneath which she could feel a latticework of dainty bone.  She gazed again at the dark shrouded ones who watched her with their awful masks and saw that on each mask one eye-hole was larger than the other, giving each faux countenance a slight distortion of feature.  Raising a dainty hand, she stroked the rough surface of one mask, and then she gasped as the thing loosened from its mannequin and slipped into her hand, which grasped it.  Gently, she lifted the mask to her face and pressed its rough surface to her soft soft skin, against which it adhered.  Gracefully, lifting her free arm in imitation of the figures that began to move about her, she joined in their danse as candlelit shadows on walls watched unmoving.  She capered until exhausted, and then fell once more upon her knees near to the attic window, toward which she turned so as to behold the reflection of her mask; but it was not the stiff papier-mache veil that appeared there, but rather a misty countenance that wore a beguiling and sinister smile.  Setting her taper on the floor, she crept to the attic window and touched her finger to one of the small squares of glass, and she shivered as the image behind the window lifted its mouth so as to kiss her hand, which experienced sharp pain.

Falling away from the attic window, she lifted her hand and marveled at how the beads of blood that spilled from the slit thereon shimmered in the candlelight, like rarest gems.  Beyond her hand she could espy the wavering of night's mist and the face within it, the face with a blemished eye and bloodstained mouth.  It was a face that seeped through the reality of glass and wood and floated just before her, joined by spectral arms in antiquated dress that reached for her with hands that, taking hold of her mask, lifted it away.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Damn it, I've completed work on five bloody books these past two or three years and I deserve a holiday.  True, a lot of the work on those books has merely been doing a light polish on older yarns, but lots of it has been ye composition of new weird fiction.  So I told myself, okay, I'm taking the rest of the year off, no writing until I return from MythosCon.  Four months of being lazy.

Joe Pulver says No Way.  That's me and Joe standing at the grave of Robert W. Chambers.  Joe also has a new collection forthcoming from Hippocampus Press, and S. T. Joshi told me he cannot yet read or comment on my newest book because he is busy reading a Joe Pulver novel.  You have all ready Joe's first collection from Hippocampus Press, the magnificent Blood Will Have Its Season -- if you haven't, what the hell is wrong with ye?  It's bloody brilliant!  Thomas Ligotti praised it!

Well, I do have a new idea for a story I'm gonna write for my book from Miskatonic River Press, a tale set in Innsmouth.  I need to write at least one lengthy Innsmouth story.  So I got this idea of a young poet who has just graduated from Miskatonic University thirty years after the incidents in HPL's "The Thing on the Doorstep," who -- wanting to write a book of weird verse that will be powerful & evocative of Derby's verse -- journeys to Innsmouth for decadent squalid atmosphere.  He finds an antique store run by the youngest of the three Innsmouth  servants that were hired by the Derbys.  In his bed and breakfast he meets a weird white dude who is actually Nyarlathotep in his The White Man disguise, who has come to Innsmouth in search of rare Deep Ones metals with which to build some amazing device using rare metals from Y'ha-nthlei and combine them with Innsmouth lightning so as to fashion a toy of doom & destruction.  The idea looks idiotic set down but I think I can have fun with it and write something Mythos-up-ye-arse.  So I've started taking notes and am nigh reading "The Shadow over Innsmouth" and "The Thing on the Doorstep" so as to fill me commonplace book with suggestive notations.

My buddy Greg, who along with Maryanne have taken me to the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival these past years, has just reminded me that every time I attend HPLFF, I come home so on fire to write that there's no way I will be able to take off for four months and do no writing.  He's probably correct.  I'll come home from this, ye very last HPLFF in Portland, with emotional & creative overload -- & onlie ye pen will save both sanity & soul.

Friday, September 3, 2010


And, honey, it feels so good!  I even sent it off to my editor, S. T. Joshi, before I did a final careful proof of the new 10,000 word addition to "Uncommon Places," and now my printer is outta ink so I can't print ye damn thing out and make corrections with red pen, as I like to do.  I've accomplished a lot of long-planned goals these past few years, written stories that I've been wanting to write for years or decades.  I finally wrote "The Tangled Muse," a title that haunted my mind for almost ten years before I found the way to tell its tale.  I finally wrote my sequel to a Robert Bloch story after almost three decades of trying.  And now I have written my sequel to J. Vernon Shea's "The Haunter of the Graveyard," something else I've had on my mind for ye past three decades.  I've written the sequel as part of the extra 10,000 words I've added on to "Uncommon Places," which was supposed to be a series of prose poems and vignettes inspir'd by Lovecraft's Commonplace Book (hence ye title Uncommon Placees).  But I really wanted these last ten-thousand words to be totally Lovecraftian bordering on Cthulhu Mythos, and it came to me that I cou'd combine inspiration culled from entries in ye Commonplace Book with that inspir'd by "The Haunter of the Graveyard."  It worked extremely well.  Here's an example.  Here are two of the entries from Lovecraft's notes that I used as inspiration, followed by a portion of my finish'd work.

[entry 165] Terrible trip to an ancient and forgotten tomb
[entry 112] Man lives near graveyard--how does he live? Eats no food.

I came to inherit the queer Victorian residence after my uncle's insane suicide, and I happily made the move from my small and cramped apartment to the spacious abode, where I was surrounded by elements of ghastly horror collected from various pockets of the globe by the two previous owners, things that I knew would aid my career as weaver of weird tales.  I was ruthless enough to bask in the notoriety that came my way, to the aid of my creative reputation, by the scandal that arose from my uncle's suicide; for the local papers carried sensational stories of how my uncle's corpse had been discovered hanging from a strong length of vine attached to a hideous old tree in Old Dethshill Cemetery, and how the end of the vine that had tightened around his broken neck had implanted itself into the flesh of the ravished throat.

I found, during my first months of residence in Arkham, that Uncle Silas had gained a curious reputation in the town; for it was whispered that he never ate, was never known to shop for groceries or dine out, and the fact that he was often seen haunting the abandoned cemetery at night gave way to rumors of vampirism and other such nonsense.  It was when I discovered my relation's own home movies that I learned how uncanny truth can eclipse the wildness of paltry rumor; for Uncle Silas had followed Elmer Harrod in the practice of being filmed within the wild confines of the haunted burying ground, but where the horror host had brought in a film crew to record his outlandish behavior among the tombs, it seemed that my uncle's was a one-madman's crude operation.  On one spool of film he had recorded himself dancing among the tombs and speaking the most outlandish gibberish I have ever heard, in what must have been a language of his own invention.  He seemed almost to chew upon his lips as he drooled and muttered such phrases as "Kloolhu Rally" and "Ne'er-lahtep."  On one film he had recorded himself reclining on the slab beneath which rotted Obediah Carter, and the dim electric light that he had somehow set up caught to perfection the weirdness of his expressions, with which he mimicked the actual visage of the dead sorcerer as he muttered what seemed to be snatches of eighteenth century verse.  But perhaps the most disturbing images were caught on the three rolls of film that showed him dancing in front of the unwholesome tree on which he ended his life.  On one spool of celluloid he had wrapped the hanging vines around his arms and ankles and then pirouetted like some deranged puppet; and it was eerie to see how the withered old tree, in the uncanny light of uncle's source of illumination, seemed more like some gigantic bestial claw than any dendroid inhabitant of the necropolis.  My uncle's experiments with filming seemed to incorporate some kind of trick photography near the end, for on the last spool of film he was seen close up, dangling from the vines of the tree, vines that resembled cloudy veins through which a dark substance moved in the directions of my uncle's upraised limbs, into which the vines had penetrated.  Uncle Silas did not regard the camera as he muttered, "More, more -- my arms are hungry."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
In "The Haunter of the Graveyard," Vernon mentions how many Carters are interred within Old Dethshill Cemetery, and he mentions the grave of an evil sorcerer, Obediah Carter but briefly, then neglects to use this warlock in the rest of the tale.  I thought it would be fun to tell a bit more of the history of Obediah and his influence on they who are lured into the graveyard.  This was great fun, as it had me returning to the Randolph Carter stories by HPL, so as to cull them for historical anecdotes.  I loved the writing of this sequel to dear Vernon's story.  I shall rewrite the thing for the book I will write next year, a collection of Cthulhu Mythos stories for Miskatonic River Press, and therein I will dedicate the tale to Vernon's memory.  It was because of his story in Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos that I gave him the nickname of "Ghoulie Shea," whut he rather enjoy'd.  I miss my dear pal Ghoulie, so I do.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New Book Alomft Done, Thank Yuggoth!

I am at 21,844 words in my extension of "Uncommon Places," the title piece for my new book from Hippocampus Press, whut I hope to see published next year.  Not certain if I'll get these new version of the sequence up to 25,000 words, as I hope to.  The 15,000 word version will see its initial publication in The Tangled Muse, to be publish'd late this month or early next.  Because I am calling the Hippocampus book Uncommon Places, I want the title piece to be of significant length.  Most of the new wordage is in fact a short story inspir'd by J. Vernon Shea's "The Haunter of the Graveyard," which he wrote for Derleth's initial edition of Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos.  My sequel, such as it is, to Vernon's story is based not only on his text but by entries in H. P. Lovecraft's Commonplace Book, and I'm having great fun writing this very Lovecraftian thing set in Arkham. 

I have also added two old tales to the book's contents, "The Host of Haunted Air" and "The Zanies of Sorrow," since they touch on aspects of Oscar Wilde.  The contents for Uncommon Places as I now have it stands thus:
"An Identity in Dream" (new, 484 words)
"Artifice" (new, 226 words)
"Cesare" (new, 236 words)
"The Host of Haunted Air" (reprint, 4.041 words)
"Hempen Rope" (new, 474 words)
"Cathedral of Death" (revised reprint, 534 words)
"House of Legend" (new, 622 words)
"Inhabitants of Wraithwood" (reprint, 13,000 words)
"In Memoriam: Oscar Wilde" (reprint, 2,073 words)
"The Zanies of Sorrow" (reprint, 4,994 words)
"In Remembrance: Edgar A. Poe" (reprint, 3,340 words)
"Keepsake" (new, 309 words)
"Necronomicon" (reprint, 462 words)
"Postcard from Prague" (new, 165 words)
"Sickness of Heart" (new, 455 words)
"The Tangled Muse" (reprint, 6,094 words)
"Uncommon Places" (reprint with an addition of 10,000 new words, 25,000 words)
"Letters from an Old Gent" (new, 2,398 words)
"Chamber of Dreams" (new, 457 words)
"Some Distant Baying Sound" (reprint, 6,060 words)
"Your Ghost on Glass" (new, 224 words)
"Some Buried Memory" (reprint, 2,849 words)

My plan to write a sequel to "Inhabitants of Wraithwood" did not work -- yet.  All in all, if I can actually complete the new 10,000 word extension to "Uncommon Places," the book will come to almost 75,000 words, a perfect length.  I will, quite frankly, be glad when the book is finished, as I am feeling a bit of burn-out, which is moftly ye result of heightened duties here at home, where I am my mother's live-in caregiver.  I be worn down, my ducks.  Too, I have been intensely productive.  Since getting online a wee bit over two years ago (I think), by using Microsoft Word and composing almost completely on my laptop, I have completed these books:
Dreams of Lovecraftian Horror (revised/expanded edition), for Mythos Books;
Weird Inhabitants of Sesqua Valley, published by Terradan Works in 2009;
The Tangled Muse, Centipede Press, hopefully out end of this month but maybe not until October);
The Strange Dark One--Tales of Nyarlathotep, Mythos Books;
Uncommon Places, Hippocampus Press.

Honey, just looking at that list makes me wanna take a nap!
I swear I am gonna limit myself to two books next year, a first novel with ye lovely and awesome Maryanne K. Snyder, probably set in Gershom, my city of poetic & doomed exiles; and a book of totally Cthulhu Mythos fiction for Miskatonic River Press.  I'm a busy wee thing, aye.

Monday, August 23, 2010

There is nothing wrong with your television set

Actually, I can't figure it out.  I was gonna try to post my vlog with S. T. Joshi here, but I can't figure out how to transfer it from my computer to this blog site.  I did send it to myself as an email.  Oh, well...going back to bed....  You can see the video by clicking on to the title of this blog, however!

Sunday, August 22, 2010


That's J. Vernon Shea and Bho Bloch, such snappy dressers!  Among those members of the Lovecraft Circle (people who knew H. P. Lovecraft and corresponded with him) that I came to know when I became an obsess'd Lovecraft fanatic in 1973, Vernon was my dearest pal among yem.  We had a long correspondence and spoke often over the 'phone.  I loved him and miss him still, and often think about him when I am writing my wee Cthulhu Mythos fiction.  Vernon was one of the first to really encourage me in my writing, and although he was too kind to those early tales that I have now discarded, disown'd and destroy'd, he gave me the confidence to try and write weird fiction.  The chapbook to the left was publish'd by Necronomicon Press and I imagine it's difficult to find these days.  Vernon had a story, "The Haunter of the Graveyard," in Derleth's original Arkham House edition of Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos.  When the wanker Jim Turner re-edited the book, he ruthlessly dropped Vernon's charming tale from the contents.  I don't think the tale has ever been professionally reprinted, but it should be.  Vernon told me that he was writing it when Augie sent him an invitation to write a new tale for the anthology, and although Vernon hadn't intended the tale to be a Mythos yarn, he changed course midway and, voila!, a Mythos tale were spawn'd.  I've been thinking of Vernon and "The Haunter of the Graveyard" all day because I've been listening to a 1978 recording of a Lovecraftian panel on which Vernon was a panelist along with Fritz Leiber and a very youthful S. T. Joshi.

Well, I've been working on expanding "Uncommon Places."  Its first publication, in the 15,000 word version (there is an earlier 10,000 version) will be in The Tangled Muse at ye end of next month.  Because I am calling my next collection for Hippocampus Press Uncommon Places, I've decided to try and expand the thing by another 10,000 words, and I have a perverse yen to make these final segments rather Lovecraftian.  It came to me that I could write three or more new segments using Vernon's story as inspiration.  I am basing the writing of these new segments on these entries in Lovecraft's Commonplace Book:
[98] Hideous old house on steep city hillside -- Bowen St. -- beckons in the night -- black windows -- horror unnam'd -- cold touch and voice -- the welcome of the dead.
[112] Man lives near graveyard -- how does he live?  Eats no food.
[165] Terrible trip to an ancient and forgotten tomb.

I first envision'd I cou'd tell ye tale in three related segments, but now my imagination is running wild, and I fancy it may take many words to convey ye tale that bubbles in me brain.  Here is ye first segment, just compos'd:

"Uncommon Places" -- Part XX

I never solved the mystery of how my Uncle Silas came to own Elmer Harrod's house in Arkham, but I suspect it had something to do with my uncle's love of campy horror films.  Harrod had a fine collection of such films, as well as his personal home-made films that had been shot in the nearby cemetery.  My uncle used to love to show me those home-made films when I visited him as a young teenager, and I confess they had an eerie appeal for me as well; and I recall how something caught my attention, something reflected in Elmer Harrod's shadowed eyes -- momentary expressions of authentic mental disturbance, bewilderment, fear.  Harrod's fame, such as it was, came from his occupation as television horror host, but I was too young to remember his ghastly make-ups and muggings before his Victorian house on the television screen.  He was less renowned for the books of horror fiction that he had edited for various paperback publishers, short-lived titles with lurid covers, or for his one novel, Underneath the Witch Town, which, as an adolescent, I had found enthralling after having found a box of copies in Harrod's house after my uncle had purchased the building and its contents.  It was the library of the house that really influenced me, for it was stuffed with the horror host's extensive collection of weird phantasy.  I spent summer after summer pouring over those books, and it was under the spell of their authors that I became determined to join their ranks and write horror fiction professionally.  It was while stumbling through Old Dethshill Cemetery that I came up with my pen-name, Deth Carter, for there were many Carters buried in the place.  I had been particularly drawn to the hidden grave of one particular fellow, Obediah Carter; for his long tabletop tomb, dated 1793 to 1887, was decorated with a faded photograph of the elderly gentleman that was beneath an oval of glass that had been fastened to the slab of stone.   There had long been legends that the Carters of Arkham had been tainted with witch blood, and one could well believe it when examining the stern and satanic countenance of Obediah.

I came to inherit the queer Victorian residence after my uncle's insane suicide, and I happily made the move from my small and cramped apartment to the spacious abode, where I was surrounded by elements of ghastly horror collected from around the world by the two previous owners, things that I knew would aid my career as weaver of weird tales.  I was ruthless enough to bask in the notoriety that came my way, to the aid of my creative reputation, by the scandal that arose from my uncle's suicide; for the local papers carried sensational stories of how my uncle's corpse had been discovered hanging from a strong length of vine attached to a hideous tree in Old Dethshill Cemetery, and how the end of the vine that had tightened around his broken neck had implanted itself into the flesh of the ravished throat.

I found, during my first months of residence in Arkham, that Uncle Silas had gained a curious reputation in the town; for it was whispered that he never ate, was never known to shop for groceries or dine out, and the fact that he was often seen haunting the abandoned cemetery at night gave way to rumors of vampirism and other such nonsense.  It was when I discovered my relation's own home movies that I learned how uncanny truth can eclipse the wildness of paltry rumor; for Uncle Silas had followed Elmer Harrod in the practice of being filmed within the wild confines of the haunted burying ground, but where the horror host had brought in a film crew to record his outlandish behavior among the tombs, it seemed that my uncle's was a one-madman's crude operation.  On one spool of film he had recorded himself dancing among the tombs and speaking the most outlandish gibberish I have ever heard, in what must have been a language of his own invention.  He seemed almost to chew upon his lips as he drooled and muttered such phrases as "Kloolhu Rally" and "Ne'er-lahtep."  On one film he had recorded himself reclining on the slab beneath which Obediah Carter rotted, and the dim electric light that he had somehow set up caught to perfection the weirdness of his expressions, with which he mimicked the actual visage of the sorcerer as he muttered what seemed to be snatches of eighteenth century verse.  But perhaps the most disturbing images were caught on the three rolls of film that showed him dancing in front of the unwholesome tree on which he ended his life.  On one spool of celluloid he had wrapped the hanging vines around his arms and ankles and then pirouetted like some deranged puppet; and it was eerie to see how the withered old tree, in the uncanny light of uncle's source of illumination, seemed more like a giant bestial claw than any dendroid inhabitant of the necropolis.  My uncle's experiments with filming seemed to incorporate some kind of trick photography near the end, for on the last spool of film he was seen close up, dangling from the vines of the tree, vines that resembled cloudy veins through which a dark substance moved in the direction of my uncle's upraised limbs, into which the vines penetrated.  Uncle Silas did not regard the camera as he muttered, "More, more -- my arms are hungry."

I could watch these films but once, and then I stored them away and tried to forget them; but the memory of their images haunted my dreams, and I knew that the only way I could expel them was to use them as fictional fodder.  Thus it was that I composed my first novel, Beneath Arkham, the publication of which brought me a modicum of fame and fortune.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Happy 120th Birthday, E'ch-Pi-El

I am spending to-day lost in Lovecraft, studying his weird fiction and ye entries in his Commonplace Book as I add an additional 10,000 words to my prose-poem/vignette sequence, "Uncommon Places." Each entry of the work is inspir'd by one or several entries in Lovecraft's Commonplace Book. I wrote the first 10,000 word version of the work for the revised/expanded edition of Dreams of Lovecraftian Horror for Mythos Books. When it become apparent that I needed to add wordage to The Tangled Muse (to be publish'd next month by Centipede Press!), I added an additional 5,000 words to ye sequence. I am calling my next collection from Hippocampus Press Uncommon Places, and thus I have decided to add yet another 10,000 words to the work, bringing it up to 25,000 words.

For the first of the new segments, I am using the following sections from HPL's Commonplace Book:
[52] Calling on dead -- voice or familiar sound in adjacent room
[53] Hand of dead man writes
[54] Transportation of identity

I am also incorporating Lovecraft's letter of November 16, 1916 to Rheinhart Kleiner, found of page 3 of Dreams and Fancies, which begins, "In January, 1896, the death of my grandmother plunged the household into a gloom from which it never fully recovered." I want to make these additional 10,000 words of prose poems and vignettes extremely Lovecraftian, and this demands that I submerge into Lovecraft's world by pouring over his fiction, his poetry, his letters, his biography. It's wonderful to be doing this on HPL's birthday!

Can't remember if I mention'd that I finish'd, after three decades of trying, my wee semi-sequel to Robert Bloch's "The Skull of the Marques de Sade," having finally written it as a Cthulhu Mythos tale for ye anthology Dead But Dreaming II, to be publish'd by Miskatonic River Press. I wasn't certain if the story was much good, but the publisher seems to have enjoy'd it, for he has just asked me to write a new collection of Cthulhu Mythos tales for the press. I will begin work on that new book next year, and I plan to set the stories in Lovecraft Country, writing new tales of Kingsport, Arkham, and perhaps my first tale set in Innsmouth. My very useful tools in the writing of this new book will be the gaming manuals published by Chaosium, with their wonderful maps and atmospheric studies of Lovecraftian localities.

Also next year I plan to finally work on writing my first novel, in collaboration with ye magnificent Maryanne K. Snyder. Mare and I have spent the last couple of years collaborating on lengthy weird tales, the first of which, "House of Idiot Children," was publish'd as lead story in an issue of Weird Tales.

Okay, my ducks -- back to work!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I have tentatively begun what I hope may be a sequel to "Inhabitants of Wraithwood," my story in S. T.'s Black Wings anthology. S. T. once hinted that he thought I could write an entire novel situated in Wraithwood, but I prefer the idea of a collection of novelettes, if indeed such a book is possible. This new novelette seems interesting and the few hundred words of opening that I have hold my interest with suggestiveness -- yet there are so many things I have wanted to write and express'd an interest in writing that, now, seem beyond my feeble capabilities. The thing that keeps me from writing, the physical and mental exhaustion, is rooted in my home life; & I was just reading the Norton Critical Edition of Kafka's The Metamorphosis, whut publishes extracts of letters in which he whines about those things that interrupt his writing. I moved in with my mother two years ago (or is it three years? time is not easily measur'd in this existence of day-to-day writing & trying to write), because her weakened condition, her constant falls, &c, make it impossible for her to live alone. We now have to hire professional at-home care, & this will be good for me because it will give me more freedom for coming down here to the basement where I write my books without my constantly listening for mother's movements. I'll be able, I hope, to fully concentrate on writing, to lose myself within the work, such a delicious affair.

So, I'm working on what I propose to be a 9,000 word sequel to "Wraithwood," and the completed story will be one of the original pieces in my forthcoming Hippocampus book, Uncommon Places. I also want to add an addition of ten-thousand words to the title piece of that book, which is a 15,000 word prose-poem/vignette sequence with each segment inspir'd by entries in Lovecraft's Commonplace Book. I was just scanning over Lovecraft's notes that compose his Commonplace Book in S. T. Joshi's Miscellaneous Writings Lovecraft volume that was publish'd by Arkham House, and I have found a number of entries which inspire new dreams & nightmares that I think I can spill forth onto paper. There are now already two different versions of my sequence, "Uncommon Places," the first having been written for my revised/expanded edition of Dreams of Lovecraftian Horror that was supposed to be published by Mythos Books -- that version of "Uncommon Places" was 10,000 words. I then added another 5,000 words for the version that is to be publish'd next month in The Tangled Muse, my omnibus from Centipede Press. Because the Centipede Press edition will be limited to 150 copies, I am reprinting most of its new original contents in the next Hippocampus Press collection, whut I am now calling Uncommon Places -- & it struck me that, since I am using the sequence as the book's title piece, it wou'd be well to lengthen it againe by 10,000 words. That would bring my Hippocampus Press book up to, I think, around 70,000 words, a good size.

I lack the kind of discipline that a writer needs to be an absolute professional. That I have completed as much work as I have under the conditions in which I am living is, for me, a miracle. I have a profound determination to write book after book until I am either gaga or dead. This aesthetic compulsion deepens the older I grow. I want, when I die, to leave behind me a solid body of work. This zeal for production is something I got from reading the Life and Works of Henry James -- my gawd, that man lived to write! When I was working on revising everything for the Centipede Press book, I fancied that I was working on my own New York Edition of my oeuvre, scanty though it be. The combination of growing older, ill health, and a perverse home atmosphere hath slow'd down my fictive work to a depressingly paltry output. Hopefully, bringing in some professional help to be with my mother will free me and restore the energy that hath ebbed from me, enabling me to produce produce produce. That is my soulful prayer, to whatever Things may hear such.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Thank You Greggie!

My friend Greg came over and spent hours repairing the computer. He installed Windows 7, getting rid of Vista, so I need to learn new computer tricks. He was able to save all of my documents. There are some weird things still that I must learn how to figure out, but all in all I am back to normal. Basically, I have email again and Microsoft Word, so I can still use the laptop as my source of creativity and now get seriously to work on finishing UNCOMMON PLACES for Hippocampus. Hope to see many of y'all at ye Lovecraft Film Festival.