Wednesday, December 29, 2010

MATTHEW JAFFE to illustrate SOME UNKNOWN GULF OF NIGHT


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!
--Willy

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:
http://www.sffchronicles.co.uk/forum 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

SO MANY BOOKS

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!