Monday, February 27, 2012

New Book Up For Order

UNCOMMON PLACES: A COLLECTION OF EXQUISITES is now up for order at ye Hippocampus Press website!  Click on ye title of this blog to be taken to their site.  I am really really excited about the publication of this book, because it is different from my usual Mythos thing.  H. P. Lovecraft, in one of the letters wherein he bemoan'd the state of his writing, his inability to do the things he ached to do as an artist, mentioned in almost casual fashion that perhaps the medium he was working in was all wrong for what he really wanted to accomplish, and that perhaps the perfect medium for his imagination was the prose-poem.  I have become, over the past few years, obsessed with the prose-poem form, and so when I began working on this new book for Hippocampus Press I asked S. T. if it could include a mostly prose-poems and my prose-poem/vignette sequences.  I had written a number of such sequences for The Tangled Muse, such as "In Memoriam: Oscar Wilde" (illustrated above by Gwabryel, the Swiss artist who has done all of the illustrations for Uncommon Places).  My Centipede Press book was super-expensive and extremely limited, and so I knew that this new collection from Hippocampus would include all of the new works that I had penned for the hardcover, thus allowing them to be in a less expensive book that would have a higher print run.  Thus I organized UNCOMMON PLACES so that it would showcase my intense love for the prose-poem, and the book is blatantly "arty" in prose style and themes.  I thought that it wouldn't be of much interest to Lovecraftians who liked my usual Mythos things, but as I looked over the book I see that HPL's influence is evident in things that I was certain were not at all in the Lovecraft tradition.  He has tainted me absolutely.

I consider this new book from Hippocampus Press my second best book.  I am extremely happy to have it available for my fans to buy in this low-cost trade edition. 


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Wish I Was Going to Salt Lake City

That's me with Scott Edelman at the signing session for World Horror Convention, held in Salt Lake City in 2008.  It was one of the finest cons I've ever attended, small and intimate but very worthwhile.  It was my first time back in Salt Lake City since returning from my Mormon mission in 1972.  My pa was from Midvale, Utah, and we used to drive to Utah every summer, when I was a kid, and stay for two weeks.  My grandparents worked in the Salt Lake LDS Temple.  I used to take the bus from Midvale to Temple Square every summer and bask in the wonder of Utah Mormonism, so different from what was offered to an LDS kid in Seattle.  I loved being back in Salt Lake for WHC, spent a day with my relatives, bought a new set of LDS scriptures at Deseret Books, went to Temple Square every day.   It was a magick week for me, not only because I had returned to my religion, but because I felt that I had truly "found myself" as a genre writer, felt that I was doing exactly what I needed to do as an author of Lovecraftian horror. 

I doubt that I shall be attending any future conventions or HPL film festivals, due to the situation at home (having to take care of mom, who is crippled and suffering from intense dementia) and my own bad health and lack of $$$.  I don't mind, really, I have so little energy these days, and my life now should be dedicated to staying home and writing my final books.  I've always prided myself that, unlike H. P. Lovecraft, I am an authentic Lovecraftian recluse.  But I do painfully regret having to miss WHC this year, as it is being held once again in Salt Lake City, and its theme is "At the Mountains of Madness"!!  Two of my publishers (Centipede Press and Hippocampus Press) will be there, and Derrick of Hippocampus will receive an award during the Bram Stoker banquet.  (I am hopeful that the next book from Hippocampus, my own UNCOMMON PLACES, will be out in time for the convention.....)  And I haven't seen Jerad since the official release of THE TANGLED MUSE from Centipede early last year.  (The book has just gone out of print.)  So, this year's WHC is an event that I really should be attending. 

But I have things to do.  I thought I would be content with not having a new book out next year; but that year is 2013, such a delicious date!  How can I not try to have a book out in 2013??  Nay, the more I brooded upon it, ye more I knew that I would not be able to rest unless I try'd, at least try'd, to write a new book this year for publication next.  And so I am trying, in earnest, to write another book inspir'd by Lovecraft's Fungi from Yuggoth, but this time a collection of actual stories rather than prose-poems and vignettes.  I plan on calling the book Monstrous Aftermath, & we'll see if I can actually write ye damn'd thing this year and then offer it to a publisher for release next year.  To the task of that writing, I nigh return.

ye Queen of Eldritch Horror at MythosCon, wearing me Miskatonic River Press hat

Sunday, February 19, 2012

What H. P. Lovecraft and I Have Done for Each Other


That's me at World Horror Convention in Salty Lake City, holding the issue of Weird Tales in which Maryanne and I had the lead story.  This is just one of the intense gifts of joy that came into my life through my obsession with H. P. Lovecraft.  The way I came to that obsession is curious.  As a high school kid, I was obsessed with theatre and convinced that, upon graduation, I would go to Hollywood and become the new Boris Karloff.  The epitome of this obsession in high school came when we staged Arsenic and Old Lace, in which I played the role of Jonathan Brewster, a lunatic who murdered people because his plastic surgeon performed an operation and gave the Brewster Karloff's face.  Boris Karloff played the role in the original Broadway stage production.  But even in my comedic roles, a little bit of Karloff infiltrated the performance, as can be seen below in the photo of me in a high school production of The Fantasticks.


My favorite role in my one year of college was a non-speaking role as a corpse tortured to death in a strange torture chair.  I was off-stage screaming at intervals while the cast on stage were debating if they should save me.  Too late, my bloody corpse is rolled on stage.  The salesman who is pitching the line of torture chairs says something like, "Effective, isn't it?" and tilts my head forward.  The stage blood within my mouth spills out and the audience freaks out at the grotesqueness of it all.  I loved it.

So when I went to Ireland to serve two years as a Mormon missionary, I was obsessed with horror films, but had no interest in weird fiction.  Robert Bloch, who had written a piece on Forry Ackerman for one of my horror film fanzines, continued to write me.  My mission leaders frowned on me going to horror films in Ireland cinemas, and so I began to collect books by Robert Bloch, or anthologies in which Bho was one of many writers.  That's how I got hooked on horror fiction.  I placed my first short story with Space & Time, a small press magazine that is still being published today.  While serving in Omagh, I found a paperback called The Haunter of the Dark, published by Panther.  I was astounded to see that H. P. Lovecraft had dedicated the title story to my buddy, Robert Bloch.

Upon returning to the states, I discovered Arkham House.  Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos enchanted me.  The first three volumes of Lovecraft's Selected Letters got me to fall in love with Lovecraft's personality as presented in his correspondence.  I began to date my letters 1776 instead of 1976, and I used archaic spellings such as "shew'd".  I publish'd a series of Lovecraft fanzines and used my friendship with Bloch to get into touch with other surviving members of the Lovecraft Circle such as J. Vernon Shea.

I was still determined to be involved with theatre, but mostly I wanted to become a famous Mythos writer like my heroes August Derleth and Brian Lumley.  I discovered that one of the original members of the Lovecraft Circle, H. Warner Munn, lived in nearby Tacoma.  I began to visit him every week-end.  He came to the production of The Prince and the Pauper in which I had a wee role, and posed for ye photo below.

Life was interrupted by coming out as queer, which caused me to kicked out of the Mormon Church, and then I became extremely active in the local punk scene.  Eventually, I returned to writing, and my determination to be a writer of Lovecraftian weird fiction never wavered.  It was a common idea that writing Lovecraftian stories for the small press was a phase that young writers went through on their way to becoming professional writers who did their own thing.  I vowed that I would never stop writing Lovecraftian horror, but that the writing of it wou'd become a core portion of my personality.  If I was to be remembered as a writer, I wou'd be remembered as an author of Lovecraftian weird fiction.  I would, as an artist, be audaciously Lovecraftian, over the top.  People would tell me that I should stop "trying to be Lovecraft" and be myself; & I wou'd reply that when I am Lovecraftian, I am "myself" utterly.

I wrote primarily for small press magazines, but over the years they vanished and I lost my market.  Thus I began to concentrate on writing collections of short stories for various small press publishers.  Now, at age 60, I am more obsess'd with writing Lovecraftian horror than ever before.  It is a passion that never wilts, that contains an eternal magick and thrill.  It is the air I breathe.  I have gained more and more confidence as a writer, and I owe it all to H. P. Lovecraft.  When I got the idea to write a entire book that was inspired by HPL's Fungi from Yuggoth, I felt no hesitation or doubt--I knew that I could handle such a project, and that I wou'd do it as well as I cou'd.  The result, Some Unknown Gulf of Night, is my finest book.  When I proposed to Jeffrey Thomas that he and I collaborate on a book of Lovecraftian horror fiction concerning a stranhe New England artist, our own version of Richard Upton Pickman, I knew that I would so enjoy working with Jeff on the book; & it resulted in a book of really original and entertaining tales that are Lovecafian up ye arse.  The more I write Lovecraftian fiction, the more I find ways in which to express myself as a Lovecraftian artist.  HPL is my Sacred Fount.  

Now that I am an antient thing, my lifestyle has settled down considerably.  No longer a punk party girl, going out and being wild, and having to stay home because I moved in with my disabled mother so as to be her full-time companion and helper, writing is the one part of my myriad selves that still fully functions.  It is what I live for.  What I have given to H. P. Lovecraft is a growing library of books that pay homage to his genius, to his Literary Art; what H. P. Lovecraft has given me is--life itself.


MONSTERS & MORMONS

The book is HUGE -- over 500 pages of text.  I was wrong in stating in the video that all of ye contributors are LDS -- two of them are non-Mormons.  I love being in this book.  Ye Kindle edition may be purchased at Amazon.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

NOW IN TRADE PB


S. T.'s stunning anthology of Lovecraftian horror, BLACK WINGS, will see an American trade paperback edition next month.  I got my contributor copy yesterday.  We are disappointed that the publisher, Titan Books, thought it necessary to change the title--adding ye notorious name.  It seems that "Cthulhu" is, for nigh, a commercial selling tool, and there have been a number of books, fine anthologies all, using the name in their title: Cthulhu's Reign, The Book of Cthulhu, New Cthulhu.  This is unfortunate, as this implies that these books collect tales of the Cthulhu Mythos; but one of the emphasis of new Lovecraftian anthologies is that they do not embrace the cliches of Mythos fiction, and some such books, like Ellen Datlow's excellent Lovecraft Unbound, stated in their guidelines that stories including Cthulhu Mythos cliches would not be accepted for publication.  This is emphasized in the sub-title of S. T.'s book, "Twenty-One Tales of Lovecraftian Horror."

There was a time, when I was editing Tales of Lovecraftian Horror, that I went through an anti-Mythos phase, and it was my editorial policy that I would not accept Mythos tales for my journal.  I wanted, as an editor, to emphasis that modern Lovecraftian fiction was so much more than the tired old cliches, the cosmic tentacles and yet another rare dark book -- books so "rare" and yet  every library and lunatic wizard seemed to own a copy.  I found it impossible not to include some excellent tales that did indeed contain elements of the Mythos, but this taught me that modern Mythos writers can use such elements with originality and intelligence.  It has been one of my main goals as an author to write books of modern Mythos fiction that actually pay homage to HPL without just ripping off his ideas--and yet, Great Yuggoth, how I delight in pilfering Lovecraft's tales and bringing his characters and ideas into my own writing -- it's simply irresistible. 

This anthology of S. T.'s, which has spawned a series (P. S. Publishing will be bringing forth Black Wings II in March) is also irresistible.  I am so proud to be one of its writers, and delighted that it is now available in a handsome American pb edition.