Sunday, April 27, 2014

Dreaming of Providence

Been rereading "The Haunter of the Dark," and that always makes me dream of Providence.  In the photo above I am standing in front of Lovecraft's final home, where he wrote the story.  It seems I cannot read "Haunter" without also wanting to reread one of my favourite Robert Bloch stories, "The Shadow from the Steeple," whut Bob wrote as a sequel to "The Haunter of the Dark."  And always...always, reading those stories together fills me with an ache to write my own wee sequel to "The Shadow from the Steeple," to continue the myth of the daemonic force that haunted Providence in those stories.  This writing of sequels to Lovecraft's tales, or tales inspired by him, seems a peculiarly Lovecraftian disease, and I love it.  Yuggoth knows that there are many such stories that I dream of writing, but Yog knows if I'll ever get around to writing any of them.  Still--still, this new ache to write a sequel to Bob's story seems rather potent at ye moment, so we shall see.  I need to write at least 30,000 or 40,000 words of new original fiction for my second collection forthcoming from Centipede Press, and I've decided I want that book to be Lovecraftian-to-ye-core.

Getting rather excited about World Horror Convention next month, so I am; although I'm glad I'll be there for two days only, as I get so worn out with the required activity.  S. T. Joshi is my ride to and from the convention, and he needs to leave no later than noon on Saturday so as to be home in time to prepare to sing that evening with his choral group.  Friday is gonna be a busy day for me.  I have a Lovecraft panel at eleven in ye morning, and then David Barker and I will be doing a special 2:00 p. m. signing of our new book at the Book Bin table in ye dealer's room (followed at 3:00 p. m. by Ellen Datlow doing a special signing of her fab new anthology, LOVECRAFT'S MONSTERS).  Then from six to nine p. m. is the mass autograph session with all of the horror writers at the convention.  Directly after that is the special launch party for S. T.'s new anthology,  SEARCHERS AFTER DARK, in which I have a new Sesqua story.  Whew, that's all gonna wear me down, but it's also gonna be such fun.  Hope to see some of y'all there!

Saturday, April 26, 2014


Above, Maryanne Snyder and I contemplate H. P. Lovecraft's final home, where he lived when he wrote what is perhaps my favourite of his tales, "The Haunter of the Dark."  I'm glad I was able to stand before this house last summer, as I will never again return to Providence, travelling being so arduous for me due to increasing poor health.  I once dreamed of living in Providence, of writing my final Lovecraftian tales as a resident there; but I am far too settled in my present home, with my cats and my handsome companion, and it is here that I will compose my final books.

My next book, out next month, will be the 33,000 word novella, THE REVENANT OF REBECCA PASCAL, that I co-wrote with my pal David Barker, published in hardcover and trade pb by Dark Renaissance Books.  David and I originally wrote the novella to be part of our collection for DRB, SPECTRES OF LOVECRAFTIAN HORROR, but our publisher decided to bring it out as a wee single volume, and so David and I have been working on two new things of length to fill the void.  I wrote a very rough first version of a thing I called "In the Gulfs of Dream" (a title Lovecraft was considering for "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath"), set in Dreamland and concerning Cyrus, the child of Sesqua Valley who was abducted and taken to the dream world by Nyarlathotep at the end of my tale, "The Strange Dark One."  This new thing of mine came to 9,000 words, but it needs a lot of work, so now David is going to expand it, writing new scenes and bringing in new characters, so that maybe we can give my original another 10,000 words or so.

I am slowly writing my book of homage to Clark Ashton Smith, but it has proven far more difficult that I anticipated.  I like the challenge and am determined to do justice to CAS in my own weird way.

The next main book I am working on is my second omnibus collection for Centipede Press.  My working title for the book is MONSTROUS AFTERMATH.  It will include such things as my new 40,000 word version of SOME UNKNOWN GULF OF NIGHT, and I am spending the rest of this year writing some new original stories for the collection.  Now that BOHEMIANS OF SESQUA VALLEY is no longer available in book form, I want also to include four of its original pieces: "An Ecstasy of Fear," "Unhallowed Places," "This Splendor of the Goat" and "A Quest of Dream" (although the last named story will soon be reprinted in a major weird fiction anthology, I still think I want to include it in ye Centipede book).  "Unhallowed Places" is a prose-poem sequence, and I plan on expanded it by 10,000 words, bringing it to a total of 20,000.

So, that's what I'm doing.  I'm experiencing, at ye moment, a boring inability to write--or rather, an inability to concentrate on work.  My mind is a thing of chaos and I can't stop its grotesque buzzing and wandering.  I cannot seem to relax enough to fully concentrate on one thing.  Perhaps I will be able to settle down after World Horror Convention, during which I will be frantically busy although I am on but one panel, a Lovecraft panel with S. T. Joshi, Cody Goodfellow, Ellen Datlow and others.  The new book from DRB will have its official release at the convention, and David and I will be holding a special signing in the dealer's room at 2:00 p. m.  on Friday.  This will be my last convention ever.

Shalom, my darlings.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft

New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft

Ye link above will take you to Leslie Klinger's blog in which he listed ye entire Contents for THE NEW ANNOTATED H. P. LOVECRAFT.  I shall soon have a galley of the book and will add to this post a video shewing the book at length.  I think it's gonna be awesome,y'all!

me with editor Leslie S. Klinger in Providence, Rhode Island 2013

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Centipede Press Library of Weird Fiction: H. P. LOVECRAFT

This is the second volume of the new Centipede Press Library of Weird Fiction.  The theme of this series is just that: weird fiction, no fantasy, mystery, of science fiction.  Therefore, there are none of the Dunsanian tales by Lovecraft in this thick volume of 859 pages.

Introduction by S. T. Joshi
The Statement of Randolph Carter
Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family
The Picture in the House
The Outsider
The Music of Erich Zann
Herbert West--Reanimator
The Lurking Fear
The Rats in the Walls
The Festival
The Shunned House
Cool Air
The Call of Cthulhu
Pickman's Model
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
The Colour out of Space
The Dunwich Horror
The Whisperer in Darkness
At the Mountains of Madness
The Shadow over Innsmouth
The Thing on the Doorstep
The Shadow out of Time
The Haunter of the Dark

From S. T.'s Introduction:  "I have determined that Lovecraft's 'Dunsanian' tales--beginning with 'The White Ship' (1919) and culminating with The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (1926-27)--are less central to the weird tradition than his tales of supernatural horror, including those tales that verge on science fiction.  Accordingly, all the Dunsanian tales, for all their and merit, have been excluded.
"I have also been compelled to be selective in regard to the short, macabre stories of the first decade of Lovecraft's literary career (1917-26).  Entertaining and significant as some of these tales are, they are dwarfed in importance by the longer tales of Lovecraft's final decade of writing.  I have therefore included only a small number of the pre-1926 tales, focusing on those that are of intrinsic merit and those that have had significant influence on subsequent weird writing."

The stories are arranged in order of writing rather than publication.  It was originally planned that some of Lovecraft's weird verse would also be included, but the publisher felt that there was not sufficient space, and so no poetry appears in the book.  It's a very handsome, solid book, with a sewn-in red ribbon marker.  One nice wee feature is Lovecraft's signature embossed on the front board.  The book is available for pre-order at Amazon for a significant savings of $20--I believe the price at Centipede Press will be $60.  

It is strange that so many editions of Lovecraft's fiction are coming forth this year.  This is the first, and will soon be followed by the individual illustrated volumes of nine of Lovecraft's tales from PS Publishing.  Then we will have S. T.'s THE VARIORUM LOVECRAFT in three volumes.  And finally, the huge THE NEW ANNOTATED H. P. LOVECRAFT edited by Leslie Klinger.  (Leslie is sending me one of the galleys of the NEW ANNOTATED HPL, so I'll be able to shew that on YouTube.)  One ponders:  who is going to buy all of these various editions?  Hopefully, Lovecraft is popular enough that there are plenty readers with different preferences for the kindof editions they desire, and all of these books will find homes.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Ye first three volumes of PS Publishings LOVECRAFT ILLUSTRATED are about to be unleash'd upon ye world.  Part of ye allure that this series has for me is that some of the volumes will include essays written about Lovecraft's tales, and one of my initial introductions to literary criticism, for which I now have a passion, came from reading such criticism in publications such as LOVECRAFT STUDIES and CRYPT OF CTHULHU.  In the PS Publishing illustrated volume for THE DREAMS IN THE WITCH HOUSE, besides a new Introduction by S. T. Joshi, there will be a Foreword by Stuart Gordon, who filmed the story for telly; and a reprinting of "Through Hyperspace with Brown Jenkin," by Fritz Leiber.  

For THE DUNWICH HORROR volume, for which S. T. has written a new Introduction, there will be included a foreword by series artist Pete Von Sholly, "The Mythic Hero Archetype in 'The Dunwich Horror'", by Donald R. Burleson, and one of my old essays from ye 1990's (and reprinted in a 2003 issue of Crypt of Cthulhu, I think) in my "Lustcraft" columns for TALES OF LOVECRAFTIAN HORROR.  I am slightly dubious about the worthiness of this latter for inclusion in an actual book, thrill'd as I am to be included at all.  

"The Dunwich Horror" was one of the stories that most delighted me when I first read H. P. Lovecraft, and it is a story to which I often return and continue to find satisfying--despite what I see as an extremely silly ending. I mean, to pack some magick powder into a pesticide gun and then proceed to a haunted Dunwich hill so as to shoot ye powder at some invisible cosmic grotesque:

ye can just barely see the pesticide gun in Santiago Caruso's wonderful illustration above, carry'd by ye chappie at ye back of ye line.  Sorry, my dear E'ch-Pi-El--it just doesn't work for me.  And what purpose does the powder serve, except to make visible the monster so that it may be vividly described?  Yet, despite misgivings about ye climax of the tale, I do not at all agree with S. T. Joshi that the story is an artistic failure.  There is too much in it that is wonderful, evocative, delicious.  Lovecraft is often derided for being unable to create interesting, realistic characters.  First, such characters were not his concern as an author, and had he concentrated on them it would have been an artistic misstep.   However, with just the slightest of strokes, Lovecraft in this story creates three distinct characters that are absolutely fascinating.  Little is told of Lavinia Whateley; but we learn enough so that a fascinating portrait is suggested, enough so that an ingenious writer could fashion an entire novel concerning Miss Whateley from just the few mentions we have of her in this story.  Indeed, the magnificent poet, Ann K. Schwader, has written an entire sonnet sequence, Lavinia; here is one of ye poems:
She heard the voice of thunder in the hills,
& knew it for a summons.  Wandering
Alone among the ageless stones, she thrilled
At premonitions subtler than spring
Might spark in other maidens.  All she'd read
& wondered at came clear, as though a gate
Had opened for a moment in her head, 
Revealing her both cursed & fortunate
Past human comprehension.  Lightning split
The sky in triumph as she turned for home
Convinced of chaos & her place in it,
Exulting in the mystery to come
Beyond this last brief spate of April rains:
A black tide rising, surging in her veins.

And what of Wilbur?  No cinematic version has yet to capture the power of this creature as it is portrayed in Lovecraft's prose.  The aspect of Wilbur's sinister and unearthly nature, especially when he be fully grow'd and of towering height, is a masterpiece of dramatic writing.  Lovecraft captures, superbly and absolutely, the Outside nature of this gigantic hillbilly, and the degrees of fantastic mental abilities that lies beneath the facade of country bumpkin-ism.  This is rich character writing, perfectly suited to the story in its ability to both arouse fearful suspicion and move the plot.  Lovecraft's characters shew, as does his excellent prose style, that he was in full artistic control as a writer.  Despite his repeated complaints that he had fail'd to accomplish what he wanted to as an artist, his fiction has survived and continues to stay in print because it is, in every way, successful.

And nigh we get this awesome new illustrated edition of this remarkable story!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Fedogan & Bremer

I am, at last, publish'd in a Fedogan & Bremer book!  I love that press so much, and ever since Arkham House went inactive, I kinda thought of F&B as a new Arkham House.  Thus it seems more than fitting that S. T. Joshi should continue the fabulous Arkham House tradition of publishing new anthologies of original weird fiction.  Searchers After Horror looks fantastic.  The interior illustrations by Rodger Gerberding really enhance the handsome volume.  This book is a thing of quality, and of authentic weird richness.  I've listed its Contents in a blog below, but want again to post a link to the publisher so that you may order the book yourself --

I did, alas, find two typos in my tale, and they both originate from my typed Microsoft Word doc, so it's my fault.  I thought I had totally proofed that story when S. T. sent us ye file.  Now, as much as I love and admire S. T., I have qualms about some of his editorial practices--the main one being his attitude, which I only just discover'd, about proofing.  Black Wings III is a fantastic anthology, but it is riddled with a wretched amount of misprints.  When I chided S. T. about this, his defense was that he had sent the proofs to all of the writers and it was our job to see that our text was error-free.  To this I say "nay."  If you are the editor of a book, if your name is on the cover, is should be one of your duties to also proof that anthology.  Because you will get the blame, along with the publisher, for the typos therein.  If my name was on a book as its editor, I would want very much to go over all of the stories carefully in final proof to make certain that this book is error-free.

Anyway, it's always great to sell a story to a Joshi anthology, and I am thrill'd to be in this one.  Below is ye illustration to my story.

Friday, April 4, 2014

LOVECRAFT ILLUSTRATED soon to crawl forth from PS Publishing! Ia!!

Now, as many of ye know full well, I am a very serious Lovecraftian.  When it comes to H. P. Lovecraft as an author, y'all better shew him some respect.  Thus, when I first began to witness ye artwork of Pete Von Sholly, I was confused and slightly annoy'd.  I mean, I digs me artwork that illustrates these stories that I love so much -- but this artist had such a perverse sense of whimsy that rather disconcerted me.  And when I look at ye above spread from THE DREAMS IN THE WITCH HOUSE, one particular illustration evokes from my antique lips a soft murmur of, "oy gevalt...."  But I can say with all honesty that I have become a fan.  And I became so excited when PS Publishing [] announc'd their initial nine volumes of LOVECRAFT ILLUSTRATED, I was delighted.  I became really excited, and I arranged with S. T. Joshi (who has written new Introductions for all nine volumes) to buy the series directly from him when he got his extra copies.  Then I got invited to write essay for some few volumes, and thus I get free contributor copies of all nine volumes, Yok-Sotot!!    Speaking of Yog-Sothoth:

I am overjoy'd to be a part of this series.  I love essays concerning the fiction of E'ch-Pi-El as much as I adore artwork that illustrates it, and for some of these volumes, the books will be filled out with essays old and new concerning the story of that particular volume.  I have written new original essays for THE CALL OF CTHULHU, THE COLOUR OUT OF SPACE, and THE SHADOW OUT OF TIME; & for THE DUNWICH HORROR, one of my old essays from TALES OF LOVECRAFTIAN HORROR will be reprinted.  The first three volumes, soon to be available, will consist of THE DREAM-QUEST OF
UNKNOWN KADATH, THE DREAMS IN THE WITCH HOUSE, and THE DUNWICH HORROR.  The text for each tale will be the Corrected Text of S. T. Joshi.  Looks like a fun series, wee volumes that overflow with colourful artwork and scintillating critical essays.  Go ye to PS Publishing, bitches, and order!

           * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Thursday, April 3, 2014

CAS-inspir'd collection feebly begun

I have, for years, ached to write a book inspir'd by ye brilliant fiction and poetry of Clark Ashton Smith.  The thing that stopped me from doing so is a feeling that I wou'd merely write a book of stories that were more Lovecraftian than Smithean.  With the publication of S. T.'s Penguin Classics edition of Smith's work, my resolve to write my own book hath increas'd.  I have nigh written a very rough first draft of the book's first story, "Some Hidden Rift of Ruin" (the title is from "The Treader of the Dust").  One thing I don't wish to do is set my stories in any of Smith's fantastic realms.  Rather, I want to invent my own kingdom in ye Ashton Smith tradition.  I have done this, I think (I cannot clearly remember the story) with a story that was publish'd in Weird Fiction Review, naming my kingdom Khroyd'hon, after the "dream aspect" of Ssequa Valley's Mount Selta.  My own setting will be an expanded and fantastical reinvention of Sesqua Valley as a Smithean locality.  The white twin-peaked mountain will be red and far more actively daemonic.  I will have wizards and mummies and witches, and sorcery up ye arse.

I think, this time, after so many false starts, I am determined to write this book, although I have no set schedule or timeline for its completion.  I want to enjoy this delicious project to ye full, and thus I will take me time, aye.  Of course, because I am unstable in all my ways, in writing ye polish revision of this first story, I am going to add a wee Lovecraftian node, as I want to submit ye tale to S. T. for Black Wings V.........