Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Kitty, New Story


I am at present working on my daemonic ear-trumpet tale, the story that so many have warned me not to write because one can never write a serious weird tale about an ear trumpet.  The idea has tickled my brain for almoft two years nigh, and in order to stop ye tickling I simply must write ye tale.  I am up to 800 words, and am setting ye tale in Sesqua Valley.  It's not really inspir'd by anything of Derleth's, so I have entitled it "Someone in Darkness," so as to echo the title of Derleth's first Arkham House collection.  One of the things I will try to do with this book of Derleth-inspired weird fiction is to simplify my narrative tone; but that is probably a futile attempt, as I always end up writing exactly as I always do.  I found a wondrous ear-trumpet on which to base the one I shall conjure in my tale:

That looks rather Lovecraftian, eh wot?

So, I shall spend the day writing this wee thing--I doubt that it will be longer than 3,000 words--and my plan is to try and have this new book mostly written by year's end.  I will then submit it to Dark Regions Press.  My other book, of weird fiction inspir'd by the Life and Work of Oscar Wilde, will then be written for Lethe Press, a house that specializes in queer literature.

Shalom.

with S. T. and doggie at ye home of Jonathan Thomas in Providence


a lovely orange cat in Marblehead, MA

Monday, August 27, 2012

Dipping into Derleth


I became an obsess'd Lovecraft fanboy in 1973 or 1974, at which time things were really changing in Lovecraft land.  Derleth's death, on July 4m 1971, had changed a lot of things.  Now I don't know how much of what I "learned" about Derleth in those early years of Lovecraftian activity were true.  There was a camp who insisted on painting Derleth as a villain.  It was claimed that Derleth had no legal rights to the Works of H. P. Lovecraft.  It was said that he thought of the entire Cthulhu Mythos as a thing owned and copyrighted by Arkham House and that if anyone tried to write Mythos fiction without his permission he would sue.  The famous "black magic" quote ("All of my stories, unconnected as they may be, are based on the fundamental lore or legend that this world was inhabited at one time by another race who, in practising black magic, lost their foothold and were expelled, yet live on outside ever ready to take possession of this earth again.") with which Derleth began his Introduction to Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos (Arkham House 1969) was held up as spurious, and Derleth was unable to shew anyone the original Lovecraft source for the quote.  Augie's paramount crime was that he affixed Lovecraft's name to the byline of the posthumous collaborations. stories that were written by Derleth after Lovecraft's death.

So why wou'd I want to honor such a dude by writing a book in his memory, featuring weird fiction inspir'd by his oeuvre?  Because it was August Derleth, through books he wrote, edited and published, who gave me the deep ache of desire to become, myself, a weird fiction writer.  I knew that I had initially read the so-called collaborations with my mind poison'd by everyone telling me how bad they are, that they were complete ripoffs of Lovecraft's superior and original Works.  Last year I picked my copy of The Survivor and Others (Arkham House 1957) to reread ye tales in there and see if they were in fact as bad as I was told they were.

While I was in the E.O.D. apa. John Haefele was contributing his research on Derleth to the mailings, and I found it all extremely fascinating.  And then John's brilliant wee book was published:
I have read the book a number of times and I admire it absolutely.  Last week John sent me ye doc for his next book, A Look Behind the Derleth Mythos: Origins of the 'Cthulhu Mythos', for which John has asked me to write a wee preface, and the book is so magnificent that it has reawakened as potent aesthetic flame my desire, which I've had for two years now, to write an entire book inspir'd by Derleth's weird fiction.  I saw the book as being filled with Mythos tales and straight horror yarns, and I'd have a sonnet sequence about ghosts (spectral tales were beloved by Augie and he wrote some fine ones).  I had a taste of working on this book when I wrote the title novelette for my next-to-be-publish'd book, The Strange Dark One--Tales of Nyarlathotep (Miskatonic River Press, October 2012).  "The Strange Dark One" novelette is a semi-sequel to Derleth's "The Dweller in Darkness."

[Stephen E. Fabian's wonderful illustration for "The Dwellers in Darkness," from IN LOVECRAFT'S SHADOW: THE CTHULHU MYTHOS STORIES OF AUGUST DERLETH (Mycroft & Moran 1998)]


So.  I am beginning, after two years of thinking about it, to write my Derleth book.  It will be a book of homage, to the writer, editor and publisher who, more than any other, inspired me to become a writer when I was a young man in the early 1970's.  I plan on having gobs of eldritch fun in writing it!  I've decided to base the first story on the jacket art, by Richard Taylor, for Augie's The Mask of Cthulhu.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Songs for the Comte d'Erlette

ye founders of Arkham House, Publishers


Thursday, August 16, 2012

New Novelette Completed


It has been unspeakably hot to-day, way too hot to concentrate on ye creation of new original fiction.  That annoy'd me, as I want to write my portion of my new collaboration with Jessica Amanda Salmonson, with whom I am writing a story inspir'd by the glorious weird fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith.  So I decided to use this hot hot day as a time to carefully proof and polish ye new Sesqua Valley novelette, "A Presence of the Past."  I have dedicated my story to ye memory of Adam Niswander.  The tale itself is my own version of E'ch-Pi-El's "The Lurking Fear," complete with a dark hill, "Tempest Hill," atop of which stands the hoary and haunted Martense mansion.  I was inspir'd to write so audacious a thing by my editor's request that the story be 11,000 words in length and that each chapter have its own title, which reminded me of the stories that Lovecraft wrote for Home Brew.  Writing such a story feels almoft illicit and frightfully fanboy; & yet one strives to make the thing a serious tribute to H. P. Lovecraft and a good story in itself. 

I am now anxious to begin work on the new book, which will be a collection in which all of the stories, poems and prose-poems will be inspir'd by the Life & Works of Oscar Wilde.  I will be writing this new book for Dark Regions Press.  I feel such an audacious and inescapable compulsion to create more and more books of decadent weird fiction.  It will not surprise me if I have the Wilde-inspired book completed by ye end of the year.  I live to write.


CLARK ASHTON SMITH POETRY



Hippocampus Presss -- www.hippocampuspress.com -- has put the three volumes of Smith's Complete Poetry up for pre-order, & I believe that Derrick plans on bringing these volumes out within a few weeks.  The softcover editions will contain corrections of errors from the handsome hardcover editions, and will include additional poems that have been since discover'd.  This should prove an enormously popular set and so one wou'd be wise to order pronto.

Of course later this year Hippocampus Press hopes to publish the combined H. P. Lovecraft/Clark Ashton Smith correspondence in two hardcover volumes.


Friday, August 10, 2012

"The Lurking Fear" as Serious Fictional Inspiration



It was, of course, inevitable --that Miss Thing wou'd pen her own version of "Ye Lurking Fear".

Ye editor of Fungi magazine has ask'd me to write a new Sesqua Valley novelette for their journal.  His needs were quite specific:  he wanted something around 11,000 words, and he wanted the individual chapters to have their own separate titles.  Naturally, I immediately thought of "The Lurking Fear" and knew instantly that this new thing wou'd be highly influenced by Lovecraft's tale.  I decided, thus, to be obnixiously obvious.  Here is ye thing's title and chapter titles:

"From Wreaths of Darkness"
I. The Shadow on the Chimney
II.  A Passer in the Storm
III.  The Horror in the Eyes
IV.  The Horror from the Shadows
V.  From the Dark

O, what obnoxious & obvious thievery!  What blatant plagiarism!  What fun!

"The Horror in the Eyes" is especially delightful, considering the eyes of ye shadow children of Sesqua Valley.  I shall have fun there.

I already have 3,600 words.  Part I is completed.  It concerns an innocent fool who discovers a private journal in which mention is made of ye haunted Martense mansion atop Tempest Hill in Sesqua Valley.  The high and dark domed hill is just below the spectral twin-peaked mountain and contrasts with that mountains shimmering white rock.  Legend has it that the mansion was built by lunatic sorcerers who were among the first mortals to settle in Sesqua Valley, and that the building of this pile of stones was what initially awakened Simon Gregory Williams and his horde of kindred in that secret realm of shadow and mist from which they eventually wandered.

In Part II, ye narrator meets a regular human resident in the valley named Arthur Monroe, and together they return to the shunned mansion and learn some of its diabolique secrets.  Again, the writing of the story is such fun, and although I am blatantly playing upon themes and incidents in Lovecraft's original story, I hope that Iam doing so in a way that is original and effective.  I firmly believe in that element of fun that was a vital component in ye writing of Lovecraft-inspir'd fiction during E'ch-Pi-El's lifetime.

at ye Fleur-de-Lys Building in Providence, clutching ye Penguin Classics edition of Lovecraft's tales that contains "Ye Lurking Fear."

Friday, August 3, 2012

They Haunt Me Still, ye Gaunts


Well, they both use ye incorrect "But ho!"  It should be "But oh!"  A minor thing, but it gnaws at me every time I hear the incorrect phrase.  Here it is, corrected; the font used is a replication of HPL's actual handwriting:
I am very partial to ye night-gaunts.  For me they are one of H. P. Lovecraft's perfect horrors--incomprehensible and evocative, creations of genius.  And for my newest book, Bohemians of Sesqua Valley, I have finally written my definitive tale of ye gaunts, "A Quest of Dream."  I've just suggested to Gwabryel that he paint a jacket illustration inspired by ye tale -- I want night-gaunts on the cover of my book.

Here is just a wee description from my story:

One member of the horde floated to me and hovered just above the ground.  I thrilled to the sound of its membranous wings beating in the air, at the rich smell of its ghastly inky flesh.  As it hovered close before me rich moonlight fell upon its facelessness, and on that slate of jet I saw a vague reflection of my own visage."

How rich and rare, to be so haunted by a creation of fancy.  What wondrous creatures of disturbed dreaming they are, these gaunts!



I am now beginning work on another book inspir'd completely by H. P. Lovecraft's Fungi from Yuggoth.  This will be a huge collection of thirty-six stories between 2,000 and 3,000 words.  I was going to write one beginning tale of six-thousand words using the first three of E'ch-Pi-El's sonnets, which are connected and tell a wee tale; but nigh I think that I will write three separate tales for each of the first three sonnets in ye Fungi.  I also need to reread Lovecraft's "The Book," in which he seems to have try'd to write a short story inspir'd by those first three sonnets.


Okay, let us return to daemonic visions of night-gaunts, & allow them to usher us into deprav'd realms of nightmare, wherein we laugh and weep in ecstasy.