Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My new collection up for pre-order

I just ran out of Hallowe'en candy, and honey I bought four bags of the stuff.  But I am to blame, because I bought that kind of candy that I find irresistible, & thus I've been "invading" ye bags for a week, so as to devour my favourites.  It's just after nine p.m., & I hope to spend an hour or two trying to work on the new novelette.


I am happy to announce that my new collection of Lovecraftian weird fiction, above, is now available for pre-order at Miskatonic River Press [www.miskatonicriverpress.com].  This is my collection of stories concerning ye Outer God, Nyarlathotep (whom I ignorantly have been calling a "Great Old One" for moft of my Lovecraftian life, but a fellow acolyte clued me in...).  I am extremely pleased with this  collection and anxious for it to see print & find its way into ye hands of they who dig my eldritch.  Ye Contents is:

"The Strange Dark One," a novelette of 14,000 words, set in Sesqua Valley, that is, in part, a sequel to August Derleth's "The Dweller in Darkness."  I consider it one of ye finest Sesqua Valley tales that I have even penned.
"Immortal Remains."  This is yet another revision of this old story, & yet with this version it is almoft a completely new tale.  It nigh features ye diabolique Simon Gregory Williams, & has been expanded to almost 3,000 words.
"Past the Gates of Deepest Dreaming."  Slightly revis'd, 7,340 words.  Set partially in Sesqua Valley.
 "One Last Theft."  A tale of 10,000 words, slightly revis'd, set in Sesqua Valley.
"The Hands That Reek and Smoke."  Another personal favourite among my own tales.  It has just been reprinted in The Book of Cthulhu II.  
"The Audient Void."  A very odd Sesqua Valley vignette of 1,500 words; completely rewritten for this collection.
"Some Bacchante of Irem."  Has not been reprinted since it appear'd in a past issue of Dark Discoveries; I think I meant it to be set in Boston but cannot now remember.  It features Simon Gregory Williams.
"To See Beyond."  A 7,500 word sequel to Robert Bloch's story, "The Cheaters."  Set in Sesqua Valley, it concerns Simon Gregory William's debauch of Sebastian Grimm's suicidal effort; & it contains a character filter'd, sort of, from E'ch-Pi-El's "The Music of Erich Zann." 

Each story is illustrated by Jeffrey Thomas, who also created that fabulous cover.   It feels good to have collection these tales of ye Crawling Chaos in one volume.  I hope it will bring pleasure to my readers.  Oh, Miskatonic River Press will be offering this in ebook format, for all of ye who have burn'd your physical libraries and read only on your flat illuminated Kindles.  Selah.
 
one of Jeff's interior montages

Monday, October 29, 2012

Ligotti!


I haven't yet had time to begin reading this book, but I am going to make time to-day.  I want to do a review on Amazon.  Tom's fiction captivates me more than most.  I consider him the finest, most important weird writer since Lovecraft; but, unlike Lovecraft, Tom is thoroughly consistent and none of his stories make me cringe with moments of poor writing.  I shall return here to-night, hopefully having devour'd moft of this collection, & write my thoughts.  Until then, here be one of my readings from Tom's Centipede Press book.  (My imp of ye perverse preludes the reading with Lady Gaga dancing--but ye can fast forward through that if ye find it too nameless & eldritch...)


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Penguin Classics Clark Ashton Smith!!!


S. T. Joshi's new blog is up, and therein he announces that he will be editing a volume of CLARK ASHTON SMITH's poetry & prose for Penguin Classics!!!This is a project that he and Scott Connors have been working on, and although Penguin seem'd to lack enthusiasm for Smith, Sunand was persistent, & his patience paid off.  To read ye blog go to www.stjoshi.org.  This is simply wondrous news.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Friday, October 19, 2012

THE ACKERMONSTER CHRONICLES!

I am overjoy'd to be in this movie!  Uncle Forry delighted me beyond measure when he dedicated Famous Monsters of Filmland #69 to me. 


H. P. Lovecraft--The Complete Fiction


This really is the finest single edition of H. P. Lovecraft's weird fiction.  It is the perfect edition to find itself into public libraries, or to be used in schools (is Lovecraft being taught in schools these days?).  It comes to 1098 pages (ye Contents page lists an "About the Author" final page, but this was not actually included in the book).  S. T. Joshi's Introduction is quite substantial, and then the stories are published in the order in which Lovecraft wrote them, so that by reading the book from first to last, we can see E'ch-Pi-El's growth as a writer, see those idea that obsess'd him and to which he return'd.  It's a beautiful, sturdy book, and I often find myself reaching for it just to glance through S. T.'s fascinating wee introductory notes that has been supplied for each text. 


Of course, my favourite editions of Lovecraft are S. T.'s three Penguin Classics annotated editions.  Above we are dining in Providence, Rhode Island, in October of 2007.  I carried, every day I was there, at least one of the Penguin editions with me at all times--and there I am with my favourite volume, The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories.  These are the volumes of Lovecraft with which I wou'd want to be bury'd, if in fact I was to be interr'd, which I'm not--I want my ashes tossed from Mount Si in North Bend while people are screaming "Yog-Sothoth!" to storm clouds.

Cool Lovecraft editions continue to be forthcoming.  In 2015 we can expect a sumptuous edition from W. W. Norton, The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft, edited by Leslie Klinger, who did the fantastic three-volume edition of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes.  The volume will have extensive annotations and shou'd be exquisitely illustrated.  I was on a panel with Leslie Klinger at World Horror Convention in Salt Lake City, 2008, and he's a wonderful chap.  He'll be attending NecronomiCon Providence 2013 next August, so we can get more details on his Lovecraft edition then.

# # # # # #

Still can't bloody concentrate on new writing.  I mean, the reason I'm sitting here in front of my keyboard to-night is cos I thought I was gonna work on the new story, "This Phantom in My Eye," the first story for a book I am collaborating on with my buddy, David Barker, who is also a long-time Lovecraftian.  For the past month, what usually happens is I'll have to wait until my mother is in bed before I'm able to write, because dealing with her dementia makes concentration on work bloody impossible during the day.  So by this time (it's now 10.30 p.m.), I am dog-gone tired, it's been a long day, but now it's peaceful and I think, okay, let's try to write.  So I sits here for half an hour, looking at the screen and the wee bit I've already written for the story--which ain't much--and all I can feel is how tired I am.  Can't concentrate on the work, so I'll think, "Well, let's write a new blog, or let's write a new book review at Amazon--that way I'll get started writing, and then it may carry on into working on the new book."  It usually doesn't.  So, still feeling distracted, I'll sit back and frown, and then out of boredom I'll go to YouTube and watch music videos or audio videos of readings of Lovecraft's weird fiction.  

Exhaustion and ennui finally overwhelms me, so I go to bed.  No worthwhile work has been accomplished.  I've heard a rumor that artistic types are bigger emotional babies than most other mortals.  True, I wonder?  It's at times like this, when week after week passes and I've not accomplish'd any worthwhile new writing, when I begin to freak out and think that perhaps I've lost entirely the ability to concentrate on new work, that I'm just too burned out and tired to carry on.  It's frustrating because the flip-side of that is the kind of frantic energy that enabled me to write an entire new book over the summer months, or that allow'd me to write Some Unknown Gulf of Night in six amazing weeks of non-stop productivity.  It's either high-voltage creative energy or, like now, a feeling that I've reach'd an end of being able to sustain the peace of mind and concentration needed in order to write.  It's like manic/depressive.  It's boring.  

Guess I'll give up trying tonight and go to bed.  Sweet dreams, sweet chums.



The art in the above video is by Santiago Caruso.  He will be doing the jacket art for my next book from Dark Regions Press, Encounters with Enoch Coffin, a book of twelve new original Lovecraftian-to-ye core tales that I've written in collaboration with Jeffrey Thomas.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Rock ye Vote


Got me ballot, voted for President Obama and in support of gay marriage.  I am now inclin'd to think that Romney may win, and that wou'd be fascinating--our first Mormon president.  It wou'd be interesting to see if Republicans in power wou'd try to ban all abortion, reinstate Don't Ask Don't Tell, &c &c.  It's all extremely fascinating.  I haven't any faith in the political sense of America--we are the country that voted for George W. Bush--twice.  I am almost entirely lacking in a sense of patriotism, and if I had the means I would move to Great Britain and become a citizen there, as did Henry James.  But I cannot be completely cynical concerning the human race, much as I am tempted to be, because I meet too many fine and intelligent people.  Still, I keep humanity at a distance.  I am a non-social recluse and my best friends are cats and books.  I grow so weary of politics, but I must admit that it felt delicious to vote again for the President.

I'm unable to attend church because I have to stay home as my mother's caregiver, so I've been ripped-off of the whole thrill in the church concerning the possibility of an LDS president.  I do love the idea of a Mormon in the White House, it wou'd annoy so many people, so many bigots.  My roots to the church go back to its beginning.  My British ancestors joined the church in England and then crossed over to Nauvoo and helped to build the original Nauvoo temple.  Then Joseph Smith was murdered and my ancestors made the treacherous journey with Brigham Young to what became Salt Lake City.  Having pioneer heritage gives one a certain kind of zing in the church.  I miss being active and long for the day when I can become a full-time Mormon once again.

I encourage y'all to vote!


Lots of Reading


I finally started what I am calling ye Prelude to my new story, the one set in Arkham and inspired by a story idea that H. P. Lovecraft never got around to writing.  But fiction writing is suddenly very difficult, mostly because of this strange and intense weariness that I cannot understand, it seems more mental than physical.  It is during such times, to keep a sense of activity, that I usually go to Amazon and write book reviews.  I spent a great part of last night finally reviewing Black Wings II.  S. T. has now completely edited the third book in the series, for which Jessica Amanda Salmonson and I have written an extremely perverse wee thing called "Underneath an Arkham Moon."  I continue to be absolutely mesmerized by Lovecraft's Arkham and its fictive possibilities.  Happily, I have been able to find my misplaced copy of the Chaosium Call of Cthulhu roleplaying manual, The Compact Arkham Unveiled.

I had been looking for my copy for almost a year, couldn't find it anywhere and was just about to re-order it at Amazon, when I decided to rearrange my writing room and bring a tall antique bookcase from my bedroom into the wee room where I work.  Moving the towering bookcase, I found my copy of Arkham Unveiled.  I'm not a gamer but as a Lovecraftian and as an author I've come to love these gaming manuals for their authentic Lovecraftian riches.  They are the work of people who also adore HPL and who are intimately attuned to Grandpa's oeuvre.  This particular book brings witch-haunted Arkham to life and includes maps of the town, so useful when one is preparing to set a lengthy new novelette therein.  With this new novelette, I want to thoroughly explore Arkham as a setting.  My tale is inspired by this comment from E'ch-Pi-El:  "I'm not working on the actual text of any story just now, but am planning a novelette of the Arkham cycle--about what happened when somebody inherited a queer old house on the top of Frenchman's Hill & obeyed an irresistible urge to dig in a certain queer, abandoned graveyard on Hangman's Hill at the other edge of town.  The story will probably not involve the actual supernatural -- being more of the 'Colour Out of Space' type...greatly-stretched 'scientifiction'."

My own work, unlike Lovecraft's, is audaciously supernatural.  Here is the opening paragraph of my new thing:

The uncouth creature loped toward the pale willow tree and knelt to the place where grass did not grow.  How curious, that such a canine countenance could look so sly, so cunning.  It raised its green eyes to the full moon and uttered a sound of low baying, and those who heard the sound while sleeping found themselves plunged into the depths of strange nightmare that is unique to Arkham.  Now, in modern time, people have mostly forgotten the special relationship that moonlight has with Arkham; but it was remembered on this night, in this haunted place, by the beast that wrapped its talons around pallid willow vines.  The blasphemous thing breathed heavily, and clouds of fetid vapor issued fromits large mouth; and as it blinked its jade-green eyes to dead moonlight it grinned again to think, with what remained of its once-human brain, of its relationship with the lifeless globe of dust in the sky.  And then it scanned the silt on which it hunkered, unwinding one monstrous hand from the willow vines so as to etch a sigil in the earth.  Its hand formed into a fist, with which it pounded the ground; and from shadowed places inthe graveyard there came the echo of other fists that beat the earth, fists that belonged to creatures pent in darkness, fiends with wide mouths and jeweled jade-green eyes.

#  #  #  #


One of the stories on which I will model my own novelette is "The Dreams in the Witch House."  I have always been extremely frustrated with the unimaginative way in which Lovecraft used Nyarlathotep in that clumsy tale.  I am, as you know, utterly entranced by this Outer God, and my book that celebrates him, The Strange Dark One, will be publish'd this month.  Lovecraft's tale has aspects of wondrous originality, but they are combined with boring cliches, the worst of which is his turning this awesome icon, Nyarlathotep, into an unimaginative emblem of Satanism.  No!  Thus I want to bring in the strange dark god, and the island in the river wherein he dwells, into my own novelette and make these plot elements intriguing and utterly macabre.  

I have not yet jot down one word of my novel, this thing that I am calling my own version of The Lurker at the Threshold -- but I know beyond doubt that I am going to write the book.  Something wonderful has happened to me as a writer, some new abilities have blossomed.  I can sense the thing I need to write, and then, suddenly, I am able to write it.  This has never happened to me until the last couple of years, where I have known absolutely that I have what it takes to write the thing I ache to create.  It makes me feel so grown up and professional.  I told myself that I would spend this past summer writing a new collection of Sesqua Valley novelettes, and I did.  When Pierre invited me to write a work of 11.000 words for a new issue of Fungi, I easily and joyously wrote my own version of Lovecraft's "The Lurking Fear" -- and it came to 11,300 words.  I knew, deep down, that I could do it.  I love this new ability.  And thus I know that, before next year is over, I will have written my first novel, a short novel certainly, no more than 70,000 words, and that it will be my own version of Derleth's The Lurker at the Threshold, set in Sesqua Valley.  I just don't know when I'll have the inner-strength to begin writing it.  But I'll find it, so I will.

Shalom.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

This New Lurking Itch


My friend John has written an entire book discussing the Derleth Mythos and ye origins of the Cthulhu Mythos; & this morning I re-read (for ye third time) the section on The Lurker at the Threshold.  My initial understanding of this book was that Derleth wrote it (and he wrote the majority of it) as homage to H. P. Lovecraft; but the history of its being written has never been intelligently investigated--until now.  It is still a mystery, exactly why Derleth wrote the novel and felt compell'd to add Lovecraft's name to ye byline--but we know absolutely that it was not an attempt to exploit Lovecraft's fame or "use" him name for one's own gain, since Lovecraft's reputation was nil in 1944, and most of the growing reputation that he had was the direct result of Derleth's editions of Lovecrafts Works published by Arkham House.

I have always maintain'd that it was Derleth, as much as Lovecraft, that got me hook'd on ye idea of becoming a professional Mythos writer.  It is, in part, as a way to pay tribute to Derleth that I plan on, someday, writing a book in which every tale is inspir'd by Derleth's oeuvre of supernatural fiction.  But that book, to be called Songs for the Comte d'Erlette, will have to wait---because Ms. Thang has a new obsession that is boiling my brain with creative fervor.  I wrote, a wee while ago, my own version of Lovecraft's "The Lurking Fear," creating a novelette of 11,000 words.  It was mass fun, and felt audaciously fan-boy.  (I tell myself, "Girlfriend, a really professional author wou'd never write such a thing...")  And now, reading John's section in his A Look Behind the Derleth Mythos: Origins of the 'Cthulhu Mythos' that discuss The Lurker at the Threshold, I am suddenly obsess'd with ye idea of writing my own version of that novel, set in Sesqua Valley.  Is that crazy or whut?!  I have long wanted to write a first novel, but I simply never got past the first two chapters.  This feels different: I am fairly confident that I'm gonna write this thing.  It may be a total travesty, but I gotsta do it.  & I think I want to write ye entire first draft in longhand.  I used to write all of my rough drafts in longhand, but then S. T. Joshi, becoming my main editor of my books, insisted that I get email so that I can compose using Microsoft Word and then send him my work as email.  And thus I got into ye habit of doing all first drafts on ye keyboard.

Anyway, much to do, to plot and plan, to experiment with.  If I actually write this thing I shall submit it to Dark Regions Press for publication.  I'm looking at a work of approximately 70,000 words.  Oh, the old girl is getting ambitious in her twilight years!  If I can pull this off, then I truly am ye Queen of Eldritch Horror and worthy of wearing my Innsmouth gold tiara!  Ia!!!


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sonnets


I've just sold a three-sonnet sequence to ye online journal of speculative poetry , Eye to the Telescope.  The sale is especially sweet to me since I have had a hankering to return to writing poetry but this yen has been quashed by my need to write books of weird fiction.  I have a wee ache to write my own Lovecraftian version of Shakespeare's sonnets--numbering 154.  Instead, I am planning on writing a new novelette that takes it plot from Shakespeare's sonnets.  My working title for the novelette is "Dark Lady," and that was going to be the story's title until I saw this:


I'll find some nice phrase in ye sonnets to use as my title after I've compos'd ye tale.  The idea has been a Lovecraftian obsession of mine for some time.  Lovecraft mention'd, in correspondence, of wanting to write a novelette set in Arkham about a bloke who inherits a house on French Hill and is compelled to dig in an antient graveyard on Hangman's Hill.  I've toy'd with this idea in one or two wee things in prose-poem and vignette sequences--but now I am determined to write HPL's unwritten novelette.  I'm shooting for 13,000 words.  I had such adolescent fun writing an 11,000 word novelette that was my own version of Grandpa's "The Lurking Fear," I want to do it again.  This time I have no completed story to bastardize--just a wee idea; but it hath fired my imagination, and I can use elements from "The Dreams in the Witch House" in my own novelette.  My "dark lady" will be my recurring character, Marceline Dubois, of Sesqua Valley, who is spending time in Arkham as a Shakespearean actress, perhaps in a production of Antony and Cleopatra.  I want to write fully and suggestively of that island mention'd in Lovecraft's tale; and I want to play with the idea of Nyarlathotep as Black Man, perhaps, one of the elements that so disappoints me in "The Dreams in the Witch House," as Lovecraft's use of Nyarlathotep in that tale seems to me extremely uninspir'd.  And I want to play with the Shakespearean motif of father and daughters, and of the lure of the Dark Lady of ye sonnets.  Lots to play with, hopefully enough for me to conjure forth a work of 13,000 words.

I'm off nigh to read some of my own sonnets from my book Sesqua Valley and Other Haunts on YouTube.  I'll post ye video here after I've recorded it.  Shalom.

a moment of inspiration while walking ye lanes of Providence.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Where Be Hangman's Hill?


What I actually may be remembering is not a story that E'ch-Pi-El penned but one that he mention'd wanting to write.  I quote from pages 894/895 of S. T. Joshi's I Am Providence:
"I'm not working on the actual text of any story just now, but am planning a novelette in the Arkham cycle--about what happened when somebody inherited a queer old house on the top of Frenchman's Hill & obeyed an irresistible urge to  dig in a certain queer, abandoned graveyard on Hangman's Hill at the other edge of the town"

I love writing about antient graveyards, especially antient Lovecraftian graveyards.  And I love seeing them depicted in art.  I was so stunned with the cover painting for my book, Some Unknown Gulf of Night, because it evokes, so simply & beautifully, what I love about such a scene, the gnarled old trees, the moonlit slabs, the ghouls and freaks that frequent such a dwelling.  I hope that I can actually overcome this current block and write my wee tale.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Eldritch Revelation!


The above recording gets a bit garbled at times, but I love this reading of one of my favourite tales by HPL.  Mike Davis, of ye Lovecraft eZine, alerted me to this video on YouTube--& it shocked me to remember that I had this record in the 1960's--& thus it served as my introduction to the fiction of H. P. Lovecraft!   I had always thought that my real interest in Lovecraft's weird fiction began while I was in Ireland as a Mormon missionary and corresponding with Robert Bloch.  I was obsessed with horror films when I was a kid, and determined that my career would be that of horror film actor.  I had no interest in reading.  My horror film buddy, Brian Wise, was a huge reader of horror, and I remember he once shew'd me a jacketless edition of the Arkham House edition, Beyond the Wall of Sleep, which he assured me was very rare and for which he had paid the outstanding sum of $65.  Then one of my favourite horror film fanzines, Gore Creatures, did an issue which was almost entirely devoted to a huge article by editor Gary Svehla on HPL.  So, I have to now adjust my memory of my first acquaintance with H. P. Lovecraft, which came in the 1960's in the form of this recording by Roddy McDowall.

It is cool and strange, the effect of listening to a reading of a Lovecraft tale.  It immediately fills me with a deep creative ache, the need to write Lovecraftian weird fiction.  And it makes me want to write stories that are intimately wed to Lovecraft's works, as I recently did by writing my own version of "The Lurking Fear."  Lovecraft is such a drug to me--pumping my blood with ye fire of creativity.  That makes times like this, when I am unable to write, really dull & gloomy.  The only time I feel absolutely alive is when I'm writing.

I've written my own sequel to "The Hound," and a delightful reading of my tale may be found in ye audio offerings of the Lovecraft eZine.