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.

Syl Disjonk’s Ethereal Chrysalis

At this past Necronomicon, Henrik Moller introduced me to Syl Disjonk and told me I should watch Syl’s short film, Ethereal Chrysalis.  I finally got around to doing so, today.  It’s an impressive piece.  I was struck by all that Syl was able to accomplish in such a short amount of time.  He describes the film as Lovecraftian, which I suppose it is, but I think it’s the Lovecraft of the dream stories–or it may be the dramatization of those semi-coherent speeches Lovecraft’s characters make after they’ve had their glimpses of the unutterably horrible.  It struck me as sharing the spirit of some of Joe Pulver’s fiction, too.  Take a look for yourself:

Necronomicon Providence 2015–Four Weeks On

I returned from the 2015 Necronomicon Providence with my older son and his family about to visit, and with my younger son and I about to test for our next promotions in Tang Soo Do.  As a result, it’s taken me a little while to sit down and set down my thoughts on the second of these conventions.  The short version is that I had an even better time at the 2015 Necronomicon than I did at the 2013 one, which I’m not sure I would have predicted possible.  I was very busy with programming, participating in a couple of readings and a number of panels.  There were also room parties.   In between, I spent time with a host of friends, signed numerous books, and wandered the dealers’ room.  I think I saw the convention developing in interesting directions.  The 2013 con focused more on Lovecraft and his set, with attention given to some contemporary horror writers (mostly those who fit best with HPL’s legacy).  The 2015 con seemed more evenly divided between HPL and his set and more recent horror writers.  It’ll be interesting to see what happens in 2017.

So:  some highlights from this convention:

–Thursday evening dinner with Brian Evenson, Paul Tremblay, Michael Cisco, Nikki Guerlain, Simon Strantzas, and Richard Gavin at a swanky restaurant whose name I’ve forgotten, but whose food was top-notch.  There was a great deal of laughter, and I received some good advice about a minor publishing quandary.  Afterwards, Cisco and Nikki and I wandered the streets of Providence until we came to a restaurant with outdoor seating, where we sat and discussed Gemma Files and Mike Griffin (which is to say, Cisco analyzed their fiction while I nodded and tried to keep up).

–Speaking of Paul:  Stephen King had just tweeted a very kind notice of Paul’s novel, A Head Full of Ghosts, that weekend, and all of us who love and respect Paul spent every available moment teasing him mercilessly about it.  He didn’t care, nor should he have.  It was nice to be able to spend time with one of your friends after he’s received some much-deserved praise from one of his heroes.  (Which reminds me:  have you read A Head Full of Ghosts?  If you have, good.  If not, what are you waiting for?)

–Speaking of Simon and Richard:  in addition to participating in panels and readings together, we had a nice, quiet dinner together on Saturday night at the local Mexican restaurant, where the waiter began our meal by expressing his regret over the news that actor Steven Seagal had just died (which, as it turned out, was not true).

–Then there were the room parties…  With my roommates, Bob Waugh and Eddy Eder, I had rented a suite at the convention hotel.  We invited a few people to stop by on Friday and Saturday nights.  They did.  They brought some more people, and also some very fine alcohol.  There was much good conversation.  I’m told the air in the room was at one point ninety-five percent Scotch, but I believe that’s an exaggeration; it couldn’t have been more than seventy-five, eighty percent, tops.  What I do know is that I can still stay up till four in the morning, if it’s to listen to Matthew Warren Richey read an excerpt from an autobiographically-inflected story and discuss the apocryphal Mormon view of Bigfoot.  I also know that, if you have to liberate extra glasses from somewhere in your hotel, Michael Cisco is the man for the job.

–Speaking of Eddy:  this was his second convention since beginning to focus on his weird artwork.  He was warmly and graciously received by the artistic community at the convention, who made room for him to display and sell prints of his work on one of their tables in the dealers’ room.  He also made contacts with some of the publishers who were there.  I was very happy for him.

–Speaking of artists:  I finally had a chance to meet and shake the hand of the uber-talented Michael Bukowski, who gifted me with an absolutely gorgeous compendium of his Nyarlathotep illustrations.  I was as bowled-over by his generosity as I was his talent, and that’s saying something.

–Speaking of publishers:  I had good conversations with both Derrick Hussey of Hippocampus Press, about my third collection, forthcoming in early 2016, and Ross Lockhart, of Word Horde Press, about possible future projects.

–And I met and spoke to so many talented writers, I don’t know where to begin.  I had the chance to hang out and have lunch with Dave Zeltserman, whose The Caretaker of Lorne Field is a recent favorite.  We talked about the joys of martial arts for the aging male body.  Anya Martin made me a gift of one of her late father’s books, which was very moving and for which I’m very grateful.  Scott Nicolay gave me a copy of his beautifully-designed chapbook, After.  Marc Fitch gave me a copy of his novel, Paradise Burns, with a very flattering inscription.  I was able to purchase copies of Matthew Bartlett’s latest collection and chapbook, and to spend some time talking with him and his wife.  I was able to get the ferociously-talented David Nickel to sign copies of his books for me, and to talk with him about the joys of writing fiction that’s too literary for the genre imprints, and too genre for the literary imprints.  I talked to Mike Griffin about his upcoming collection.  Justin Steele and I cursed each other out.  The Miskatonic Musings guys caught up with me for a brief interview.  Joe Pulver took me aside to talk to me.  Cisco had me convinced to spend a lot of money at one table in the dealers’ room, and I would have, if that bookseller had taken credit cards.

–What else?  Jack Haringa, floating in a cloud of nicotine, snark, and Scotch.  Matt Burke, whose art I like a great deal.  Michael Wehunt, who’s a very interesting writer.  Jeff Thomas, signing my books.  Ramsey Campbell, always at one end of a line of people waiting for him to sign their books.  Michael Marshall Smith, glimpsed across a room but, sadly, not spoken to.  Cody Goodfellow looking like Moses.  Or Karl Marx.  Or that guy in The Professor and the Madman.  The madman.  Getting to shake Henrik Moller’s hand and tell him how much I enjoyed his short film, Inviting the Demon.  (Really, it’s very good:  go check it out on YouTube.)  Watching Leeman Kessler chase his young daughter, and imagining for a moment it’s Lovecraft playing with his child.

So, well done, all those responsible for and involved with the staging of this convention.  I haven’t been to a better one this year.

ETA:  And shortly after I post this report, I realize I forgot to mention meeting the ferociously talented Damien Angelica Walters, and Phil Gelatt, and Jason Brock, and Mike Davis, and Steve Mariconda, and Alex Houston, and Dan Mills, and I also forgot to mention signing books for any number of folks who were kind and gracious enough to ask me to.  Sorry about that, folks!

The Nameless Dark


Some time ago, Ted Grau asked me if I’d take a look at his forthcoming collection of stories, The Nameless Dark, and, if I liked what I read, maybe write a blurb for it.  I said sure.  I read it, and kept reading it, and liked it very much, indeed.  This is what I sent him:

T.E. Grau’s stories range across time and space, from Victorian-era London to contemporary Los Angeles, from America’s western frontier to the bohemian gatherings of Beat-inflected San Francisco.  In prose elegant and engaging, he details the lives of men and women, children and adults, who have arrived at places where the world they know peels away to reveal another, darker place.  It is a place where childhood fairy tales converge with stories of things older still, where the history we know is a mask for things better left concealed.  Grau’s attention to character makes their discovery of this other place resonate long after each story is done.  There are echoes of Bradbury in here, Lovecraft and Chandler, among others.  But it is Grau’s success to evoke these writers without lapsing into pastiche.  Instead, he has produced an impressive, gripping collection of fiction.  I recommend it highly.

–John Langan, author of The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies

For reasons having nothing to do with Ted, the blurb never made it to the printed book.  That’s fine:  I still got to read his stories, so as far as I’m concerned, I came out on the winning end of things.  Ted sent me a copy of the finished book, which was very generous, but he included with it something even more generous, a piece of Ray Bradbury’s stupidly-demolished home (a few fragments of which Ted managed to save before they were carted away).

Talk about being bowled over.  I’ve written a little bit about Bradbury’s importance to me as a writer, but there’s much more to say on the subject.  For the moment, suffice it to say, one of the nicest compliments my fiction has received came from a reader who compared it to Bradbury’s and T.C. Boyle’s, by which he meant that he never knew what he was going to get when he sat down with one of my stories.  For this little piece of his house to arrive felt positively uncanny.  It was like something out of a Ray Bradbury story.  Of course, some of those end…less than ideally for their protagonists.

Before I open my front door and find myself in the southern California of fifty years ago, however, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Ted for his gift publicly, and to share what I wrote for his book with a wider audience.  If you don’t have a copy of Ted’s collection, do yourself a favor, and pick it up.