On T.M. Wright’s Passing

I was very sorry to learn of the passing of author T.M. Wright yesterday.  I knew him best for his 1984 novel, A Manhattan Ghost Story.  It’s a weird, trippy book which shuttles back and forth between a past in which two boys are breaking into a mausoleum and a present in which a man is losing track of the difference between the worlds of the living and the dead.  Its style is low-key, conversational, its evocation of Manhattan vivid.  In its experimentation with narrative convention, it strikes me as akin to Peter Straub and Tom Tessier’s fiction (not to mention, as a kind of thematic ancestor of Paul Tremblay’s recent A Head Full of Ghosts).  It’s another one of those books that demonstrates how much a talented and ambitious writer can do with the material of horror; if you haven’t read it, I recommend it.  Nor was A Manhattan Ghost Story Wright’s only book:  his output of novels and stories was impressive.

From what I understand, Wright had been ill for some time.  May he rest in peace.


The October Report, First Installment: Scary Vampires, Comic Con, Parental Horrors, and a Film Set in Upstate New York

I suppose it’s only appropriate that October should be a busy time for a horror writer.  Of course, there’s good-busy and bad-busy.  The last couple of weeks have definitely fallen into the former category.


The first two Saturdays of the month were taken up with events related to the release of Seize the Night, the anthology of scary-vampire stories edited by Christopher Golden, and full of more great stories than you can shake a stake at.  On October 3rd, I drove up to North Andover for the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival.  This was held at the ACT theater, a community theater located in the recesses of a converted industrial site.  There were a ton of horror writers there, and even more horror readers.  The theater itself (which, appropriately enough, was set up for Seussical the Musical) hosted a series of hour-long panels on an assortment of horror-related topics, while the space immediately outside the theater (where, I’m guessing, concessions would normally be located) was set up with tables for book selling and signing.  I took part in a panel on Seize the Night at the beginning of the event, and was part of a brave attempt to read all of Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at its end (after two hours, we were about three-quarters of the way through it, but decided to stop for dinner).  In between, I signed and sold books, and spent time with some wonderful people:  Paul Tremblay, Sarah Langan and J.T. Petty, Jack Haringa, Brian Keene and Mary SanGiovanni, Rio Youers, Dana Cameron, Kelly Link, S,J, Bagley, Gardner Goldsmith, Bracken MacLeod, Barry Dejasu and Catherine Grant, and of course Chris Golden.

Rio Youers can't believe how pink I am.

Rio Youers can’t believe how pink I am.


Are Jack Haringa and I judging you? Of course we are.

Are Jack Haringa and I judging you? Of course we are.


I'm happy to be with S.J. Bagley and Brian Keene. They are more dubious.

I’m happy to be with S.J. Bagley and Brian Keene. They are more dubious.


Paul Tremblay and I, immediately before the spiders rained from the ceiling.

Paul Tremblay and I, immediately before the spiders rained from the ceiling.


Dana Cameron and I love our fans!

Dana Cameron and I love our fans!


I have to say, I don’t think I’ve ever been to one of these events at which everyone–writers, fans, support staff–was in such a good mood.  It was like a huge party.  Afterwards, Jack Haringa and I joined everyone else for a huge dinner at a local brewpub, during which Kelly Link and I talked weird anthology ideas (the MANthology, anyone?) and I had the chance to speak with noted editor Jaime Levine.  Thanks to everyone who came out and made the event such a success.  Thanks, too, to Chris Golden for doing such a fine job organizing it, to the folks at the ACT theater company for hosting and staffing it, and to the Andover Bookstore for selling copies of everyone’s books.  This was a huge effort on Chris’s part, but if he decides to put this on again, next year, you can be sure I’ll be at it–and so should you.



The following Saturday, I took the train down to Manhattan so I could attend my first-ever New York Comic Con.  There were people in costume boarding the train in Poughkeepsie, and their numbers grew with each stop.  By the time I was walking to the Javits Center, I was a decided minority, with my jeans and zombie Mona Lisa t-shirt.  Ed Schlesinger, the editor at Simon & Schuster who worked with Chris Golden on Seize the Night, met me outside the Center, bestowed a pass on me, and escorted me inside to the madness that is Comic Con.  If you’ve seen pictures of the event, then you have some idea what it’s like:  a crush of people, many of them in costume, wandering aisles flanked by booths full of comic- and genre-related people, publications, clothing, toys, videos, video games, and memorabilia.  Right away, I was in love; although I think I was grateful that I didn’t have that much money with me.


Dana Cameron and I met up at the Simon & Schuster booth, and Dana, who had been at the convention for days at that point, was good enough to help me in my quest to find a Hawkeye t-shirt and copies of the first couple of Hawkeye collections for David.




We returned to the S&S booth in time to meet up with Chris Golden, and then the three of us sat down to sign some books.  In between signings, Ed Schlesinger, who’s very charming and funny, told us how brilliant the three of us were.  After the signing was over, Paul Tremblay and I wandered the convention floor, both of us bemoaning an assortment of childhood toys foolishly discarded before we realized they could have paid our kids’ ways through college.  Once Paul left to catch his train, I made my way over to the Horror Writer Association’s booth to meet up with Ellen Datlow for dinner.  On the way, though, was the convention’s great surprise and treat for me:  Glass Eye Pix had a booth there.  If you’re not familiar with it, it’s writer/director/actor Larry Fessenden’s production company.  Larry’s behind a number of my favorite horror films, including Habit and Wendigo.  Not only did the booth have Blu-Rays of his latest effort, Beneath, but Larry Fessenden himself was there to sign them!  Because I was on my way to Ellen, I didn’t have time to do much more than shake Larry’s hand enthusiastically and gush about how much I love his work.  Still, what a thrill to meet such a great filmmaker.

Larry Fessenden at NYC Comic Con with specialty posters of a couple of his films.

Larry Fessenden at NYC Comic Con with specialty posters of a couple of his films.


After some shenanigans at the HWA booth with Trevor Firetog, Patrick Freivald, and James Moore, Ellen and I headed out for a nice dinner at an Italian place that wasn’t too far from the Javits Center.

Me, Trevor Firetog, and James Moore, expressing our delight in one another's company.

Me, Trevor Firetog, and James Moore, expressing our delight in one another’s company.


Ah, but here our mirth has turned to lunacy...

Ah, but here our mirth has turned to lunacy…


Then it was back home, in time to catch David still up and give him his Hawkeye shirt and comics.  His reaction may have been the highlight of my day; scratch that:  it was the highlight.  Thanks to Ed Schlesinger and Chris Golden for making my first trip to Comic Con happen; and thanks to the folks at the Simon & Schuster booth who helped make the signing go smoothly.  You can be sure, I’ll be back for this next year.



The Tuesday after Comic Con, I was back in Manhattan, again, this time for Pen Parentis‘s monthly salon at the Hotel Andaz.  Together with the fabulous Veronica Schanoes and my (not?) cousin, Sarah Langan, I read from my work and then took part in a far-ranging discussion about writing while raising small children, writing horror as a parent, and writing effective horror.  It was great to see Nick Kaufmann and Alexa Antopol there, as well as Dan Braum.  M.M. Devoe and Christina Chiu did a fabulous job organizing and MC’ing the evening.  This was my second time back at Pen Parentis; I’m grateful to them for having me.  I look forward to number three.


Veronica Schanoes, Sarah Langan, and yours truly, flanked by Christina Chiu and M.M. DeVoe, in the swanky Andaz Hotel.

Veronica Schanoes, Sarah Langan, and yours truly, flanked by Christina Chiu and M.M. DeVoe, in the swanky Andaz Hotel.


I'm not saying I sang Elvis's greatest hits, but the camera doesn't lie, does it?

I’m not saying I sang Elvis’s greatest hits, but the camera doesn’t lie, does it?


My favorite downstate Langan.

My favorite downstate Langan.


Oh, and afterwards, there was Japanese food.  Just sayin’.



The morning after Pen Parentis, I was up early (well, for me) to travel with the Honey Badger up to the New York/Vermont state border, where an intrepid film crew was nearing the end of principle photography for their film adaptation of Laird’s story, “30.”  The drive went more quickly than we’d thought, through some lovely, if increasingly-remote, country.  We arrived at what I guess you could call base camp in time for lunch with the director, Phil Gelatt, producer Will Battersby, and just about all of the crew.  That everyone was happy to see us had nothing to do with the beer and homemade cookies Laird had brought.  Phil Gelatt is a lovely and talented guy; he wrote the script for Europa Report, which convinced me he’d be the perfect guy to adapt “30.”  We’d met at this past Necronomicon Providence, where we’d had a pleasant conversation about this very project, and it was pretty wild to see him now engaged in it.  After the meal, we accompanied everyone to the location of the principle outdoor shoot, where we were allowed to watch part of what I think will be a pretty creepy scene being filmed.  Will Battersby stood with us and patiently and thoroughly answered the questions with which Laird and I barraged him; it was quite the education.  I left impressed by the sheer effort involved in bringing just a minute of film to the screen.  Laird was pretty happy with everything he saw.  Out of respect for Phil and the crew, neither of us took pictures of the set, but they’ve set up an instagram account where you can see some of what they’re up to.  Thanks to Phil, Will, and the entire crew for being so accommodating of the two of us, and thanks to Laird for asking me to tag along.


So there you have it:  a pretty busy couple of weeks.  Thanks again to everyone who’s played a part in making these things happen.  If I signed a book for you or talked to you, thanks very much.


October! (Part 3)

The last in a series!  Collect them all!

Ahem.  Towards the end of the month, On Wednesday, October 28, to be precise, I’ll be at the WORD Bookstore in Brooklyn as part of Alex Houston’s Dead Dreamers:  A Celebration of Weird Fiction.  I’ll be reading my fiction alongside the honey badger himself, Laird Barron, and the tremendous Livia Llewellyn.  In addition, Ryan Britt will be discussing a selection from one of the recent NYRB reissues, and Tobias Carroll will be reading from and discussing Thomas Ligotti’s work.  It should be a blast.  I’m thrilled to be at WORD, which is a terrific bookstore, and I’m thrilled to be reading with Livia, especially, who is a powerhouse of a reader.  Seriously, if you have not heard her read her fiction, you must rectify this oversight as soon as is possible.  You can find information about the event here.

The very next day, Thursday, October 29, I’ll be taking part in this year’s H.P. Lovecraft Forum at SUNY New Paltz.  For the twenty-eighth year, noted Lovecraft scholar Bob Waugh is putting on a combination of scholarly talks and fiction readings from 7:00-9:00pm in room 1010 of the Jacobsen Faculty Tower.  This is the only thing of its kind in the country, and free, to boot.

Then, on the day after that, Friday, October 30, I’ll be taking part in Dark Harvest:  An Evening of Horror and Speculative Fiction, which is a group reading at Inquiring Minds Bookstore in New Paltz.  I’ll be there with Laird, as well as Phoebe North, Nicole Quinn, Gabriel Squailia, and Nicole Kornher Stace.  You can find more information about the event here.


And I think that’s it for October.  If you can make any of these events, I encourage you to do so; I’m thrilled to be part of each and every one of them.  And please, say hello.

October! (Part 2)

Continuing with the list of my upcoming activities, on Tuesday, October 13, I’ll be reading at Pen Parentis in Manhattan with the fabulous Veronica Schanoes and the stupendous Sarah Langan (to whom I’m not related, really [except, with the name thing, you figure we have to be, somewhere in the dim mists of time, right?]).  Pen Parentis is a group concerned with parents trying to balance their parental roles with their writing lives (or should that be with writers trying to balance their writing lives with their parental roles?).  They put on a terrific reading series, in which writers read from their work and then discuss the challenges of writing while parenting with each other and with the audience.  You can find information here.  If you can make it, please do, and please say hello.

October! (Part 1)

The upcoming month looks to be quite busy for me–which is appropriate, I suppose.  Originally, I was going to list everything I’m going to be doing and everywhere I’m going to be doing it at in one post, but that post became ridiculously long, so I decided to break it up into three (somewhat) smaller parts.  So:  first up is an event that started as a kind of launch party for a book in which I have a story, Seize the Night (which Chris Golden edited and is full of amazing new vampire stories), but which has morphed into a kind of celebration of contemporary horror/weird/dark fiction.  There will be writers engaging in panel discussions, and there will be writers signing books:

Saturday, October 3rd:  The Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival (*free* and open to the public!)

Where: ACT Theater Company, 1632 Osgood Street, Osgood Landing, North Andover, MA 01845. http://www.acttheatercompany.com/

When: 10/3/15 from 1pm till 7:30pm.  DOORS WILL OPEN AT 12:45 p.m.

What: Horror and Suspense authors from New England – and all around the Northeast U.S. – will be selling and signing books throughout the event, and participating in panel discussions in the theater about New England Horror Tradition, what makes something scary, new fears, and childhood terrors. The event will conclude with a quintet of authors doing a live reading of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Who: Authors signing and speaking that day include:

Joe Hill, Kelly Link, Brian Keene, Sarah Langan, Christopher Golden, Paul Tremblay, Caitlin Kittredge, Thomas Sniegoski, John Langan, Dana Cameron, Rio Youers, Toni L.P. Kelner, Myke Cole, Mary SanGiovanni, Leigh Perry, Bracken MacLeod, Jack M. Haringa, Jason Ciaramella, Kat Howard, John M. McIlveen, Glenn Chadbourne, Mallory O’Meara, Holly Newstein Hautala, Errick Danger Nunnally, Izzy Lee, Scott Goudsward, Gardner Goldsmith, Douglas Wynne, Kristin Dearborn, Jan Kozlowski, TT Zuma

Sponsored by ACT Theater Company, Andover Bookstore, and Vicious Circle.

Get your FREE TICKETS now!  (We’re trying to get an idea of how many people are actually coming. Please help us out by following the link and ordering your free tickets.): http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2259519

PLEASE NOTE: Andover Bookstore is only equipped to take cash and checks during this event. Individual authors selling books *may* accept other methods of payment, but please anticipate cash and check as payment methods. (And it’s up to the authors themselves as to whether they’ll accept checks.)

Please note that ACT Theater Company is located in a converted industrial space at Osgood Landing. I guarantee you will think you are in the wrong place when you arrive–it doesn’t look like a theater, but it is!

Here is the panel schedule for that day:

1pm: Childhood Horrors—Paul Tremblay, Thomas Sniegoski, Holly Newstein Hautala, Scott Goudsward, Mallory O’Meara (M)

2pm: Seize the Night: New Tales of Vampiric Horror—Christopher Golden (M), Rio Youers, John Langan, Leigh Perry, Dana Cameron

3pm: The New England Horror Tradition—Jack M. Haringa (M), Caitlin Kittredge, Jason Ciaramella, Glenn Chadbourne, John M. McIlveen

4pm: The Anatomy of Horror: What is Scary?—Sarah Langan, Kelly Link, Myke Cole, Errick Nunnally (M), Kat Howard

5pm: We Get the Horror We Deserve—Joe Hill, Brian Keene, Izzy Lee, Mary SanGiovanni, Bracken MacLeod (M)

6pm: Live Reading THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE—Jack M. Haringa, Bracken MacLeod, Brian Keene, Kat Howard, John Langan, Gardner Goldsmith

Who’s signing when at Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival? #MVHBookFest
Alphabetical order:

Bracken MacLeod: 3-5
Brian Keene: 1-4:30
Caitlin Kittredge: 4-5
Christopher Golden: 3-6
Dana Cameron: 1-2 and 3-3:30
Daniel Braum: 1-3:30
Douglas Wynne: 1-7
Errick Nunnally: 1-6
Gardner Goldsmith: 4-5
Glenn Chadbourne: 1-5
Holly Newstein Hautala: 2-3
Izzy Lee: 6-7
Jan Kozlowski: 1-7
Jason Ciaramella: 1-6
Joe Hill: 6-7
John Langan: 3-4
John McIlveen: 1-3 and 5-6
Kat Howard: 3-4 and 5-6
Kelly Link: 3-3:45
Kristin Dearborn: 1-7
Leigh Perry: 3-5
Mary SanGiovanni: 1-4:30
Myke Cole: 6-7
Paul Tremblay: 2-3
Rio Youers: 3-5
Sarah Langan: 1-4
Scott Goudsward: 1-7
Thomas Sniegoski: 2-6
Toni L.P. Kelner: 3-5
TT Zuma: 1-7


To reiterate:  IT’S FREE to attend; though the folks putting this on are asking you to register for a ticket so they’ll know how many people to expect.  If you can make it, that would be great; please say hello.