Friday, February 25, 2011

My new book to be shipping next week

Just got an email from Centipede Press announcing that my new book, The Tangled Muse, should be shipping late next week.  Now would be a very good time to pre-order.  The book is expensive ($125 per copy) but once it goes o.p. it will be even more costly.  It is limited to 150 copies signed by S. T. Joshi and myself.  I've been in such a funk of late, unable to feel the energy I need to compose new work -- & I think part of that was due to the depression of having this beautiful book so delay'd because of complications with one of the artists whose work has now been completely removed.  Jerad is a genius when it comes to book design, & this book is just the most beautiful I have ever set me eyes upon.  We chose that illustration by Beardsley for the front board as we felt it rather resembles me in drag.  I begged Jerad to have the boards yellow -- to reflect ye Yellow 'Nineties, ye Victorian fin-de-siecle of Beardsley and Oscar Wilde.  Yuggoth, I am so thrill'd with the publication of this book I cannot tell you.  My eternal thanx to Jerad, who has been an angel to work with, a real delight.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Inspiration

Some of you may have seen the first issue of a new free ezine devoted to Lovecraft and Lovecraftian fiction.  The first issue is absolutely superb.  I've been doing a series of video commentaries on Lovecraft's Tales on my YouTube channel (which, to my utter amazement, is creeping close to having had 22,000 visits!!  Holy Moly!!), and it has proved so interesting and so much fun that it has given me a yen to begin a new sequence of wee vignettes, each of which is inspir'd by a certain Lovecraft weird tale and is my personal "take" on that tale.  It wou'd be a kind of Some Unknown Gulf of Night, but culling its inspiration from HPL's fictive oeuvre.  I need something to get my fictive juices flowing again -- haven't written much of anything all month except the 2,000 words of a new collaboration with a very gifted young writer, Jacob Henry Orloff.  I have long been dubious of having fiction publish'd in electric form -- but that prejudice was shattered when, on our way to MythosCon, my patrons shew'd me their new Kindle book thingies -- & I must say I was impress'd.  It has been a kind of horrific vision for me of the future -- a time when books will fade away, replaced by electric gadgets with illuminated screens.  I now see it as rather a cool alternative to books.  I prefer to be published in book form.  My gawd, there is nothing more wondrous, as an author, than holding your book in hand, feeling its weight, smelling the pages and ink, seeing your work on good paper.  It's awesome!  However, as a Lovecraftian, I want to reach those who love Lovecraft's weird fiction and those other writers who pay homage to Lovecraft with their own writings.  So, I am very interested in having this new series of wee Lovecraftian vignettes see their first publication in this great new source, the Lovecraft ezine above.  The magazine will also be publishing some few of my other Mythos tales, beginning next month.  It comes to me, again & again, what a great time this is to be a Lovecraftian!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Isn't that a great illustration?  Just staring at it makes me want to take up my pen (or, as in these days, my keyboard) and write Lovecraftian horror.  Been having problems writing of late -- I've lost much of the energy I found in the last half of last year.  I don't mind slowing down.  Maybe it will be that I write only one book this year.  No matter -- the year will be deliciously Lovecraftian.  Whenever I cannot write, I return to Lovecraft, & gawd what a wealth there is to return to nigh.  Not only HPL's fiction, but Lovecraft studies, as found in Nyctalops, Lovecraft Studies, Crypt of Cthulhu -- and various books.  The finest (i.e. my favorite) Lovecraft scholar is Robert H. Waugh, who is soon to have a second volume of his amazing & magnificent Lovecraft scholarship publish'd by Hippocampus Press.

I wish that S. T. Joshi would write an entire book concerning Lovecraft's tales.  The expanded edition of his Lovecraft biography, I Am Providence, comes close, containing much that is fascinating concerning the history of Lovecraft's fiction.  At the moment S. T. is busy writing his own novel concerning the young H. P. Lovecraft, & has announced progress of it in his current blog.  It has often been my wish to write my own story-by-story commentary on the fiction of H. P. Lovecraft -- but I am not a scholar and my talents as a literary critic are weak.  However, I have found this desire to have inspired my current slew of vlogs on my MrWilum channel over on YouTube, & I have started a series of commentaries on Lovecraft's individual tales that is proving fun to record, although they add nothing new to Lovecraft studies.  I'm hoping they will help introduce some of my many viewers to Lovecraft's fiction.  I've printed out the chronology of Lovecraft's tales that may be found on the exception site, The H. P. Lovecraft Archive  -- the creation of Donovan K. Loucks.  The list mentions the revisions that Lovecraft worked on as well as his solo stories, and so I can comment on the revisions as well, working mostly in chronological order.

I am so ready to have a new book out I can't tell you!  I hope I don't have to wait much longer.  That's such an important part of the writing ritual for me -- to hold my newest book in my sweaty little paw.  I love it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Slowing Down

That's me walking past a church in Marblehead that may have inspired the church mention'd by Lovecraft in "The Festival."  I am carefully studying all of Lovecraft's Kingsport stories as I prepare to write a new Kingsport novelette for my forthcoming book from Miskatonic River Press, Gathered Dust and Others.  One of the real joys of working on a book set in "Lovecraft country" is that I can completely escape from modern time and prosaic reality, and I can sink my psyche into the realms created by H. P. Lovecraft.  It's a world I need more than ever.  This month has been a pathetic waste of time.  I've been lazy, but it's mostly a product of lack of sleep.  Insomnia has become a huge dilemma.  I simply cannot sleep, there is too much on my mind.  I recline in bed and my mind won't stop whirling and buzzing.  Without sleep, my brain cannot function as a writer's brain must, with clarity and rest.  Honey, it sucks.  Part of the problem is that I've taken on too many projects, for there are so many cool books that I want to write for -- but I need to concentrate on my collections.  I have three collaborative projects ahead of me, and collaboration is really difficult because you have to please the person with whom you are working, not just yourself.  So I've told some of the editors that I was gonna write for, "sorry, I need to bow out," and just concentrate on the books that really mater to me, my collections.

I am so ready to have a new book published.  This is another source of frustration.  I still have no idea when The Tangled Muse will see print from Centipede Press.  I may have to wait until early Spring to see a new book out, and that seems a long ways away.  I am now trying to complete two collaborative stories.  I am writing a story for Arkham Nightmares with Maryanne, and she has very definite ideas about what makes a story work.  I am also working with a new collaborator, Jacob Orloff, who has written a fine collection of weird fiction that he allowed me to read.  He is a very young writer but already has a fairly solid style and a rich imagination, and I am determined to have the story I am writing with him completed by this month.

I hope to find my energy again.  I think I became too over-confident at the end of last year, when I wrote Some Unknown Gulf of Night in six weeks -- it made me feel like I can do anything, when in truth the writing of that wee book was a freakish incident of amazing inspiration.  It's not the kind of thing one can replicate at will.

Arcane Wisdom has announced and are taking pre-orders for the first volume of S. T. Joshi's two-volume set of Lovecraft's revisions and collaborations.  It is going to be a fabulous set!  You may place pre-orders at Horrormall.

Friday, February 4, 2011

O, Ambition....

That's me at MythosCon, with Chanel on my lips and Poe on me hat, reading from Some Unknown Gulf Of Night.  The writing of that book feels, still, like some rare miracle & ecstasy.  I wrote its 37,000 words in a state of self-hypnosis.  The last time I looked it over I thought it was pretty good -- but often, when reading over something, I find myself hugely disappointed; so I am not going to look at ye text again until it comes to me in publish'd form.  No matter my future opinion of it, the memory of its creation will always give me intense pleasure and move my sense of wonder.  I have never been a writer of discipline, & that's why I have convinced myself that I can never be a really professional writer -- one who has what it takes to sit down and write for several hours each day, or one who is determined to write 1,000 words a day, or whatever.  A creature of mood, I write when I wish to, or when I can.  I have not been able to write anything these first four days of February.  I have sat before this keyboard and thought I might -- but nothing inspires me to touch fingers to ye keys. 

However -- something in my psyche has alter'd and transform'd.  I have become a creature of -- ambition.  One of my artistic poses has been to pretend I do not care if my books are "popular" -- "I write because I must, and whatever happens afterward is immaterial, let they who want to read my books do so, it matters not how many they number."  In saying this I am merely aping Lovecraft, of course -- and he cared more than he let on, as do I.  Writers are sometimes great babies.  We weep for love.  We are so easily wounded.  Bad reviews, rejection of work, drives us mad.  We have our goals and dreams.  Our ambitions.  My ambition, early on, was to become an acclaimed writer of modern Cthulhu Mythos fiction.  Later on I became obsess'd with having my fiction praised my S. T. Joshi, the only critic whose opinion means anything to me.  But with the writing of Some Unknown Gulf of Night, I have a new mantra: "I want this book to be wildly successful!"  I have never thought such a thing, and it rather shocks me to think it now -- but there it is.  My idea of "success" has always been rooted in critical success, not commercial success.  This is still true, although I am now hopeful to actually make a bit more money from my writing.  I have worked so diligently to create interesting and worthy additions to the genre of Lovecraftian horror, but to do so in my own weird way, with works that are perversely mine own.  I am that ridiculous creature, a man who has both confidence in his abilities and yet profound doubts concerning their worth.  The confidence comes from my intentions -- I am dead serious in my approach to writing, & I consider my writing my Art.  The doubts come from looking at my work and sighing, "Oy, is this the best you can do?"  I consider my imagination extremely adolescent, and I try to disguise that fact with a magnificent prose style. 

So.  I shall probably have four books published this year.  That is absurd because it means that people who cannot buy more than one of them will have to choose.  If I may influence, I would say, if you can buy but one of my books this year, let it be Some Unknown Gulf of Night from Arcane Wisdom.  It is the book that is completely new, sans reprints of any kind.  It is my perfect realization of my current obsession with the writing of prose-poem/vignette sequences.  It is the book of mine in which I try to be audaciously artistic.  I am dying to discover what my readers think of it.  I hope it pleases.  I want it to be a wild success.

Now, hopefully some day this month I can discover again that driving need to create.  It is the work that saves my sanity and soul.