Thursday, March 31, 2011

Books & More Books

Great Yuggoth, what a cool illustration!  It is one of the Jeffrey Thomas illos for my forthcoming collection, The Strange Dark One--Tales of Nyarlathotep.  The book will be published this October by Miskatonic River Press, my first collection for them (to be followed in 2013 by Gathered Dust and Others), and Jeff is doing an illustration for each tale.  I try'd to post the cover here but ye file is too big -- it worked over at Facebook, where it is now my profile image.  It's gorgeous.  I am quite excited about the book, and working with a new publisher.  I met the Tom Lynch, that handsome devil, at MythosCon, and he impressed me as a publisher with whom I can easily work and one whom I can trust.  One sometimes takes risks working with publishers for the first time, there are delays and other bothers.  I've juggled the contents of the book a wee bit, and here is ye final list of stories:
"The Strange Dark One" is a new Sesqua Valley novelette of 14,000 words.  With it I borrow one of the blackened windows from the Starry Wisdom church of HPL's "The Haunter of the Dark"  -- but most surprisingly I have also referenced one of August Derleth's Cthulhu Mythos tales, "The Dwellers in Darkness," one of my favorite Mythos tales despite its stupid ending.  In Augie's story there is a character named Laird Dorgan -- and in my story I introduce his daughter, April (whom I named after Derleth's own daughter, who recently passed away).  I think this novelette is one of the coolest tales of Sesqua Valley that I have ever penned.
"Past the Gates of Deepest Dreaming" (7,431 words) has appeared once, in The Fungal Stain and Other Dreams; this new version is heavily revised for its appearance in TSDO.
"Some Bacchante of Irem" (3,000 words), a tale that has not been reprinted since its initial publication in Dark Discoveries.
"The Audient Void" (1,500 words), heavily revised.
"The Hands that Reek and Smoke" (3,000 words), for which the above black & white illustration was created.
"One Last Theft" (10,000 words).
"Immortal Remains" (2,579 words), utterly rewritten for this book.
"To See Beyond" (7,500 words), brand new unpublished Sesqua Valley story that is my sequel to Robert Bloch's "The Cheaters."

My editor, Scott Aniolowski, has requested closing and opening poems, so I shall pen two new sonnets for the book as well, although my poetic efforts are a bit rusty.  The book will be published this October -- I love having books published in October.

While driving up to Olympia last weekend with S. T. Joshi to have dinner with the magnificent Laird Barron, my beloved friend and the fellow whom I consider today's most talented and fantastic new weird writer (if you haven't read Laird's two collections from Night Shade Books, you really need to devour those!), S. T. said he felt that Hippocampus Press won't be able to publish my next collection from them, Uncommon Places," until next year.  That is way cool with me.

And I will begin work eventually on two collaborative books: one with Maryanne K. Snyder, where every tale and poem will be inspired by the works of Clark Ashton Smith; and a new Lovecraftian collection with Jeffrey Thomas, concerning a sinister New England artist, a book of connected tales.

Lots of wonderful work yet to do!  Books and more books to write!  It is the work that I love, because it helps to sooth and save my sanity, my soul.

Hooray -- I think I have now been able to load ye book's FABULOUS COVER!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Book Half Sold Out!

Incredibly, my next book is already half sold out at Horror Mall after just a few days of going up for pre-sale!  I wish I had known about this when I was a skinny little sissy being shoved into lockers in Junior High and High School.  I could have told my butch tormentors, "You know, decades from now my new book will be half sold out in a matter of days, so screw you."  Some Unknown Gulf of Night will be published as a beautiful limited edition signed hardcover, illustrated by the amazing Matthew Jaffe, and sell for $65.  150 pages, and just 100 copies.  I consider it the finest and strangest book I have ever penned.  Click on ye title to this wee blog to be taken to the Miskatonic Books Blog, from which you may be linked to Horror Mall and order ye book while yet they last!  I've just posted one final promotional video on my YouTube channel, reading from the book.  I have become quite fond of doing my vlogs on my MrWilum channel -- it's become like doing one of my punk rock fanzines, where I splatter my personality on the page -- only with a video I can reveal myself as never before.  Some are hoffify'd -- some enchanted & amused.  As a promotional tool for writers, the video blog is simply wonderful.  You can shew your new book to the webcam and read from it, you can talk about the books your friends have written and shew them to the world.  It's awesome. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

April R. Derleth (1954-2011)

That's Walden and April Derleth above, the children of August Derleth.  April died yesterday.  Here is the notice from Locus Online News:

"Publisher APRIL R[OSE] DERLETH, 56, died March 21, 2011.  The daughter of author August Derleth, April was co-owner of Arkham House with her brother Walden Derleth, and ran the company as president and CEO starting in 2002.

"April Derleth was born August 9, 1954.  Her parents divorced when she was five years old, and her father retained custody.  August Derleth co-founded Arkham House in 1939 with Donald Wandrei.  After August Derleth's death in 1971, Wandrei briefly served as editorial director until being succeeded by James Turner, who oversaw operations until April Derleth took over.  She sought to shift the house's focus back to its original emphasis on classic weird fiction.  Arkham House has announced that sales and unfulfilled orders will be temporarily suspended."

This is very sad indeed, because Miss Derleth  brought Arkham House back to life after years of dormancy, with two excellent new editors and many new books planned and announced.  I myself am working on a story for Arkham Nightmares, a new Arkham House anthology edited by the wonderful Lois Gresh, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at Mythos Con.  August Derleth has been on my mind of late, and I have just started recording a series of vlogs concerning his "posthumous collaborations" with H. P. Lovecraft.  It is my fervent prayer that Arkham House can survive and continue under new direction.  Peace unto April Rose Derleth.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

H. P. Lovecraft's "The Nameless City"

That's me with pen & pad in hand as I sit inside ye Fleur-de-Lys Building in Providence, the very building that figures in "The Call of Cthulhu."  I love remembering my four days spent in Providence, one of the supreme highlights of my life as an obsess'd Lovecraftian.  At ye moment I am listening to the H. P. Lovecraft podcast (hopefully ye link provided will take ye there) and their wonderful discussion of "The Nameless City," with bewitching readings from ye tale by the amazing Andrew Leman.  If you have not listened to these literary podcasts, you are really missing out.  They are delightful.  And informative.  The two hosts are delightfully inform'd Lovecraft fans and often bring perspectives to Lovecraft's weird tales that are as unique as they are fascinating.  I'm listening (for ye third time -- these podcasts are so good they can be listen'd to repeatedly) to their discussion of "The Nameless City" because earlier to-night I made a wee video commentary on the tale, & I do not feel I said enough.  I am now preparing to read a weird tale of mine own, set in Sesqua Valley, inspir'd by "The Nameless City."  The podcast offer'd is truly haunting, for throughout one hears the daemon-wind that haunts Lovecraft's tale, & it really enhances the experience.  Superb.

"The Nameless City" has oft been dismiss'd as a bad story.  It is nothing of the kind.  The prose style with which Lovecraft penned the tale has been condemn'd as bad, as overblown.  Perhaps I am a clueless yob who cannot recognize bad writing when it swims before my eyes -- but I find the writing of this story smooth, poetic and effective.  As often with Lovecraft, we do not know if we can rely on the narrative to be an authentic presentation of reality; it could be the relating of a dream, of a vision spawn'd in lunacy.  This adds to the beguiling mystery of the tale for me. 

In the first volume of his biography of H. P. Lovecraft, I Am Providence, S. T. Joshi has some ungenerous things to say about the story.  (One of the real pleasures of I Am Providence are its fascinating and informed discussions of Lovecraft's fiction.)  S. T. writes of "The Nameless City":  "The absurdities and implausibilities in this tale, along with its wildly overheated prose, give it a very low place in the Lovecraft canon.  Where, for example, did the creatures who built the nameless city come from?  There are no indications that they came from another planet; but if they are simply early denizens of the earth, how did they come to possess their physical shape?  Their curiously composite nature seems to rule out any evolutionary pattern known to earth's creatures.  How do they continue to exist in the depths of the earth?  The narrator must also be very foolish not to realise at once that the entities were the ones who built the city.  Lovecraft does not seem to have thought out the details of this story at all carefully."  Now this is simply absurd criticism.  Had Lovecraft explained any of these things, he would have ruptured the mystique of the spectral race and robbed the story of much of its atmosphere.  This is like saying that, in my tales of Sesqua Valley, I should explain the origin of the valley's shadow-spawn, these queer creatures with silver eyes who spill into reality from a realm of otherness.  I have no intention of explaining any of this.

"The Nameless City" remains one of my favorite tales by H. P. Lovecraft, despite maturity and repeated readings.  So there.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Derleth Factor

I've always been an August Derleth fan, but of late I've been reconsidering all that he has done for the genre, as editor and author.  My thinking of late has been edified by the works of John D. Haefele, who is a member of the amateur press association devoted to Lovecraft, The Esoteric Order of Dagon, for which S. T. Joshi is our Official Editor.  John has been doing a lot of work related to Derleth and the history of his relationship with H. P. Lovecraft and the Cthuhlu Mythos.  One extremely fine book (I've already read it three times) is August Derleth Redux: The Weird Tale 1930-1971, published in Denmark in 2009 by H. Harksen Productions.  It's a great wee book.  But I am really excited about John's forthcoming book, which will be a thorough study of the Derleth Mythos.  Derleth's handling of the Lovecraft papers and copyright, of his personal explication of symbolism in Lovecraft's Mythos, and in his heinous use of Lovecraft's name in the stories published as posthumous "collaborations" have fired up emotional debate.  Anger and knee-jerk reaction has played its role in shaping the current assessment of Derleth and his treatment of Lovecraft and his tales of the Mythos.  I have said my share of foolish things in the heat of clueless emotion. 

I have really been enjoying the series of vlog commentaries I've been recording at YouTube concerning the weird tales of H. P. Lovecraft.  I have had a hankering to do the same kind of commentary concerning the tales by Derleth that have been published in such books as The Survivor and Others, The Shuttered Room and Other Pieces and The Watchers Out of Time.  I am going to begin recording a series that discusses the posthumous collaborations, tale by tale, probably at the end of this week.  (Tomorrow will be reserved for H. P. Lovecraft alone, it being the Ides of March, on which Grandpa died in 1937.)  I think that I have been among many who have quickly condemned the posthumous collaborations as crap without giving them careful critical attention, and I mean to re-examine them in this series of vlogs at my MrWilum channel.

Monday, March 7, 2011


I am floating on a dark cloud of aesthetic ecstasy -- Larry Roberts just sent me the above cover artwork for my next book, Some Unknown Gulf of Night.  The artist is Matthew Jaffe, who did ye cover art for Laird Barron's stunning second collection, Occultation.  I shall probably be reading that segment from my new book tonight on my MrWilum channel at YouTube.  I have been thinking of this new book as my charmed book, it came to me out of the blue, mysteriously and magically, & I wrote it in a state of aesthetic frenzy in a period of six weeks.  I thought that Larry would be publishing it only as a paper chapbook, but he amazed me by planning to bring it out first as a limited edition hardcover!  Arcane Wisdom Press will publish the hardcover either late Spring or early Summer, and then they will bring ye book out as pb.  Great Yuggoth, whut an amazing cover illustration!  I'm a lucky guy.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Maybe Now I Can Chill

I think one reason I have been so unable to concentrate on writing this past month was -- I am so ready to have a new book out.  I was feeling so frustrated, knowing that I had readied four books for publication last year and not seeing them come into being.  But yesterday's mail brought my copies of The Tangled Muse, my omnibus from Centipede Press -- &, Great Yuggoth!, it is honestly the moft beautiful book I have ever seen.  Jerad has a true genius for book design, which is one reason that Centipede Press has become such an acknowledged publishing house.  What he did with this new version of my book is simply amazing & magnificent.  Jerad used the illustration that I found by Virgil Finlay of the woman attired in her tangled tresses as a visual motif at the beginning of the book.  The image is first used in dark negative, a gray image on black background.  It looks spectral.  The same negative image is used, enlarged, for the book's title page, and it looks so cool.  And then the image is reproduced once more, clearly as it is seen above.  I love that this remarkable illustration has become my Tangled Muse -- you can imagine how freaked out I was when I first discover'd ye illustration when, looking for art to use for the book, I did a wee Google on Finlay.  I probably screamed like a drag queen when I first set eyes on the image, it is too perfect.

So now I can relax and just concentrate on writing the next few books.  I feel a kind of aesthetic calm now, knowing that this beautiful book is publish'd & will soon be in ye hands of yem whut have order'd it.  It's been a long wait & I thank ye for your patience.  I did a reading from the book as my new vlog over on my YouTube channel, and will probably do a few more.  It is the duty of all small press writers to promote their own books, because, honey, small press publishers ain't got no clue when it comes to promotion.