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.


  1. Thanks. I finally did a careful proof-reading of the extra ten-thousand words I added to ye title piece and in revising it added another 200 words. I am crazy tired. My mom's health has gotten worse so I really need to be more attentive to her, which makes writing next to impossible; so I'm not doing any more writing for the rest of the year. I've been too obsessed with writing new books, and in the past two or three years I've completed work on:
    DREAMS OF LOVECRAFTIAN HORROR revised edition for Mythos Books;
    THE TANGLED MUSE for Centipede Press;
    WEIRD INHABITANTS OF SESQUA VALLEY, published last year by Terradan Works;
    UNCOMMON PLACES for Hippocampus Press.
    That's a crazy amount of work for two years--it can't be two, it must be three years, I think. Anyway, I'm utterly worn-out and will just relax and read and take notes and write wee outlines for new stories for the rest of the year, and then next year I will limit myself to writing two new books. It may take a couple of years to finish my first novel, whut I am writing with Maryanne.

  2. First of all, congratulations on the completed works. I'm especially interested in seeing how the Centipede press books comes out.

    I was thinking about Vernon Shea's 'Haunter of the Graveyard' story. I have it in the original
    Arkham House publication, but I couldn't find out if the story was written for the book (my assumption) or if it was a reprint. The reason for my curiosity was that if it was written for the collection it might have been done so about the time you and he were friends, and getting to the point, I could imagine that the main character was based just a little bit on you. Well?

  3. No, the book was published in, I think, 1969, long before I became a Lovecraftian (1973). Vernon told me that he was working on the story and was halfway completed with writing it when Derleth invited him to submit a tale for the Arkham House book, and so Vernon concluded the story as a Cthulhu Mythos tale. I've always enjoy'd ye story, but felt he should have done more with his suggestive mention of Obediah Carter -- so in my sequel I do so.

  4. Ah, well I recalled your 'Famous Monsters' photo and was thinking that was from around '68 or so, and that that might have been the time you made
    Mr. Shea's acquaintance. I think you would have been a fine 'Creature Feature' host, based on your early exploits.