Friday, August 26, 2011

The Real New Book!

The CAS-inspir'd book is -- a future project.  I have found it extremely difficult to begin work on.  I knew that it wou'd be difficult, but it is more so than I thought, & I may simply not have what it takes to write such a book. But not to fear, my darlinks!
Larry Roberts, who just publish'd Some Unknown Gulf of Night, seems anxious to have another book from me!  Now, my last few books have been so serious that I feel a wee ache to do something rather camp, yet still Lovecraftian and creepy.  I've also been wanting to do something with an exotic setting, as can be found in the weird fiction of Henry S. Whitehead.  Don't know if that is viable.  Maybe I could invent a haunted island or something.  Anyway, writing for Larry Roberts gives me the freedom to be wild and eccentric and as kinky as I wanna be -- he is, after all, the publisher of Edward Lee.  

So I have the idea for this new collection.  Imagine a book co-written by H. P. Lovecraft, Henry S. Whitehead, and Ronald Firbank !  With just a pinch of Poe and Saki.  Now some of ye may never have heard of Ronald Firbank.  I have been trying to get the biography written by Jonathan Fryer (see above) for some time.  I thought the book was already publish'd but it ain't available anywhere.  One of my favourite books these past few decades has been Prancing Novelist: In Praise of Ronald Firbank, by Brigid Brophy, whut I discover'd during my initial discovery of Oscar Wilde.

It's a classic examination of this remarkable writer.  His prose style is what one might call High Camp.  Some of his sentences fairly shriek.  I thought that would be a sublime prose style to emulate in my new book for Arcane Wisdom Press, Midnight Din and other Weird Stories.  I've just completed my share of working on my collaborative book with Jeffrey Thomas, Encounters with Enoch Coffin, and I've really enjoy'd writing stories with a recurring character.  So for this new book I thought I would have a recurring Queen called Reginald Din.  It will be a wonderful challenge, to write tales that are campy and irreverent & yet absolutely Lovecraftian-creepy as well.  We shall see if I am the woman who can pull it off.

Another challenge:  I wrote Some Unknown Gulf of Night last November/December, in a matter of six weeks.  I plan to write this entire new book before this year is over, whut gives me about four months.  I love that idea and I think, if I can find the concentration, to accomplish this.

My thoughts and prayers are with ye who are in the path of this huge storm, Hurricane Irene.  I hope that you have fled, however harsh an ordeal that may be.  I have had fantasies of what I would take with me if such a storm was headed my way, & I know that I would have to rent one of those U-Haul gigs that was large enough to hold all my books and Barbra Streisand cds.  Our big worry here on the Northwest is The Big One, a nine-point earthquake.  Be safe, my darlings!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Conjuring A New Book

S. T. shews us ye CAS papers at John Hay Library
One of the really exciting moments of our visit to Providence in October of 2007 was being shewn the boxes of Clark Ashton Smith papers at Brown University.  By coincidence, S. T. Joshi was in Providence at the same time we were, working on the volumes of Smith's poetry that would eventually be publish'd by Hippocampus Press.  Many of the ruled sheets were scrawled over in Smith's handwriting in very faint pencil and looked extremely delicate.  When Derrick brought those three thick, beautiful volumes of verse into print, it was a time of celebration.


Perhaps it is a common occurrence, that many of us come to CAS by way of H. P. Lovecraft.  I probably first read Clark Ashton Smith's weird tales when, in either Ireland or Las Vegas, I bought a second-hand pb set of Derleth's Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos.  When I finally return'd to Seattle in 1973, I discover'd Arkham House and quickly bought every in-print title, and I remember there was at least one volume of Smith's fiction in print as well as his Selected Poems.  Reading the three volumes of HPL's Selected Letters then available, one gain'd a sense of Grandpa's admiration for Smith's poetry and prose.  I then found the lovely wee Panther Horror pb reprintings of the early Arkham House Smith hardcovers, and his fiction had a real influence on my own attempts at writing dark phantasy.  The CAS influence has been remarked on over the years by friends and fans who have read my books.  I've paid little tributes to Smith in some of my weird tales, often mentioning him by name, and naming one character in "Your Metamorphic Moan" Klarkson Ash.

A couple of years ago I felt the ache to write an entire book of poetry and prose that wou'd be directly influenc'd by CAS.  Although the idea intrigued me, it was also intimidating.  I have no confidence in my ability as a poet, and I have moftly confined myself to writing in my favourite form of the sonnet.  That was when I thought of Maryanne K. Snyder, my collaborator with whom I wrote a story that sold to Weird Tales and has since been reprinted in The Tangled Muse.  When I first met Maryanne and her charming husband Greg, at a Seattle Gay Pride march, she was writing lots and lots of really excellent poetry.  Gobs and gobs.  She has the soul of a poet, as can be detected when one reads her personal letters or listens to her talk.  And she is a huge CAS fan.  It was the obvious choice, to ask her to write this CASian book with me.  Over the years, her writing time has becoming limited as she pursues an existence as a business woman--another thing at which she is brilliant.  Thus working with her on projects is a sometime-thing, & thus it has been an easy & regrettable habit to keep putting off this CAS-flavor'd collection while I wrote my many other books.

But the time hath come for the CAS book to become reality, and I suddenly feel an amazing energy for conjuring its reality.  That will probably be my main focus once this book I am writing with Jeffrey Thomas, a book perhaps to be called Encounters with Enoch Coffin and to be publish'd next year by Dark Regions Press, is completed, & that will be soon.  Thus I am slowly devouring the wondrous three volumes of Smith's poetry from Hippocampus Press and the magnificent five volumes of The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith edited by Scott Connors and Ron Hilger forNight Shade Books.  & it is indeed a compelling, enchanted realm, the world of Clark Ashton Smith.  I look forward to when I can delve into that realm non-stop, every day, day after day, as I work non-stop on a book that pays this Master of the Weird Tale homage.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Writing Begins to Flow --- :-}

The leatherbound-with-slipcase edition of Gathered Dust and Others has sold out in pre-order, and the regular $40 hardcover editions seem to be selling quickly.  My thanks to all who have order'd it!  Ooo, how I love that cover painting by Wayne Miller.  It captures the atmosphere of the book's title story exactly.

I completed, at 8,256 words, what I consider my definitive tale of Lovecraft's Dunwich, "They Smell of Thunder."  I have finally taught myself how to write in this new environment of being upstairs in the dining room, where I need to be to keep a closer watch on me mum.  This new tale is for another book I am writing for Dark Regions Press, a collaborative book with the amazing Jeffrey Thomas.  (Oh, wow, I just figur'd out how to do colour'd text....)  The book consists of stories concerning a sinister New England artist, Enoch Coffin, and his encounters with ye supernatural, with which he communes so as to aid his art.  I have now penned two tales and have started work on the next, set in Kingsport and tentatively entitled "Mystic Articulation."  Jeff has written a number of excellent stories, and this is gonna be one rad book.  His tales are set in the real New England while mine are set in Lovecraft's invented mythic cities.

I have also been trying to work on an interplanetary tale in the tradition of Clark Ashton Smith, for a collection of CAS-inspired stories that I am writing with Maryanne K. Snyder.  Thus far this new idea has not worked out, and I am probably going to abandon it and find something more to my liking.  I am, perhaps, not capable of finding the interest needed for the writing of tales set on other worlds.    I do have an idea for another tale, inspir'd by my reading of Clark's translations of Baudelaire and his story, "The Tale of Satampra Zeiros."  My initial concern with writing this book with Maryanne was that the works not be in any way Lovecraftian but rather try to evoke the spirit (although not the language) of Clark Ashton Smith.  But now I'm just gonna go ahead and write whatever comes our way.  Our influences are legion.

Still have no word on the release of Some Unknown Gulf of Night..  I hope that the book will be in our hot hands soon.  It's weird:  I'll have that book released this month, the Dark Regions book next month, and the Miskatonic River Press book the following month.  How utterly insane, to have one book each for ye next three months.  Who can afford to buy yem all?  My books must needs compete with each other.  Utter lunacy.  I vow never to have more than two books out per year from now on.  Preferably one book a year, but I keep writing them so quickly that, well............

That's me in the Davy Crockett get-up with the Jimmy Durante glasses, next to my older sister, Linda.  Must have been 1956 or 1957.  How strange to have grown so antient.  Hmmmmm, it looks like my sis is holding a copy of ye Necronomicon!!!