I completed my new Sesqua Valley novelette, "The Strange Dark One," last night. At 14,055 is comes short of my hoped-for 15,000 words -- but it's near enough. The contents, then, of
THE STRANGE DARK ONE AND OTHERS is thus:
"Recompense of Sorrow" (reprint, 5,000 words)
"Some Bacchante of Irem" (reprint, 3,000 words)
"The Audient Void" (heavily revised, 1,500 words)
"The Hands that Reek and Smoke" (reprint, 3,000 words)
"One Last Theft" (reprint, 10,000 words)
"To See Beyond" (unpublished new tale, 7,500 words)
"Immortal Remains" (utterly revised, now featuring Simon Gregory Williams, 2,579 words)
"The Strange Dark One" (unpublished, 14,055 words)
Because the book is mostly reprints (but with some that have been in magazines only, not in past collections), I knew that the new stories had to be substantial. Still, at 46,634 words, this will be a wee collection, but one that I have wanted to bring out for quite a while, a book of all of my Nyarlathotep tales to date. I got the idea for the book during my first reading of Bob Price's The Nyarlathotep Cycle from Chaosium. The Crawling Chaos is quite simply the most intriguing of Lovecraft's Gods for me -- enigmatic, daemonic, beyond comprehension. Thus my collection shews my growing obsession with this Great Old One (if so he may be called,) this "soul and messenger" of the Other Gods. I knew that the new title story had to be a creature of length, and my dream was a novelette of 15,000/20,000 words. Didn't quite reach that, but I'm satisfy'd nonetheless. What weirded me out was that I had originally planned for the new novelette to be a total sequel to Lovecraft's "The Haunter of the Dark," and thus I brought in one of the black windows that was part of the New England church featured in Lovecraft's tale; but that was it! I also had this perverse idea that I would reference Derleth's story, "The Dweller in Darkness," a story that I really enjoy except for its bloody awful ending. So I have my main character, April Dorgan, the granddaughter of one of the dudes in Derleth's tale (naming her April after Augie's own daughter). As the story progress'd, it became, more and more, a total and direct sequel to "The Dweller in Darkness" and nothing else. But I think it works, and I like what I've done with various Lovecraftian angles.
I've sent the book via email to David Wynn, so now we just wait until he can fit its publication into his schedule. Feels damn good having a new book completed for publication next year, and one that came into existence rather quickly, almost as a surprise. I hope that it will give some pleasure to those Lovecraftians who read it. It will certainly please fans of Sesqua Valley.