Also during the past several months, I’ve had a couple of pieces appear in print, and a couple more accepted to appear in 2015. So:
The Recent (1): “Kore,” an autobiographically-inflected story masquerading as a Halloween memoir, which appeared in Shock Totem‘s Halloween special (available here). At the end of this past summer, Barry Dejasu contacted me to ask if I’d consider writing a holiday recollection for Shock Totem magazine’s upcoming Halloween special. Of course I said yes. I was already thinking about the Halloween walk my wife and I have been putting on for the last several years, and how I wanted a chance to write about it. As I did, though, the story took on a life of its own, inspired by one young boy who found the experience of the Walk a little bit too much. Which is to say, only most of the events in the piece actually happened.
(As an aside: this issue of Shock Totem comes in the form of a little paperback that is just about pocket-sized. It’s quite charming.)
The Recent (2): Entry for Les Mysteres du Ver, a description of a fictitious book for auction as part of a larger catalogue of occult books, which appeared in The Starry Wisdom Library: The Catalogue of the Greatest Occult Book Auction of All Time, edited by Nate Pedersen (available here). A couple of years ago, Nate Pedersen contacted me to ask if I’d be interested in a project he was putting together. It had been inspired by one of H.P. Lovecraft’s last stories, “The Haunter of the Dark.” In the story, there’s mention of a cult, The Church of Starry Wisdom, which possessed a vast library of occult tomes (i.e. Lovecraft’s famous Necronomicon). Nate’s conceit was to imagine that the cult might have put its library up for auction as a way to raise funds. He proposed putting together the catalogue for that auction, which would combine physical descriptions of the individual books with short essays on their contents. I signed on immediately, this kind of pseudo-historical invention being something I love to do (as you may have gathered if you’ve read my story, “Technicolor”). I had thoughts about selecting the infamous Black Guide, which my pal, Laird Barron, has written so much about since I first told him of its French original, but ultimately decided on Les Mysteres du Ver. This was a book I first introduced in my second published story, “Mr. Gaunt;” it was my take on one of the Lovecraft circle’s invented books, De Vermis Mysteriis. In my subsequent essay, I had some fun tying the book together with my stories, “Renfrew’s Course” and “Mother of Stone,” as well as to M.R. James’s “Count Magnus” and Elilzabeth Kostova’s The Historian.
I have to say, though, that I was unprepared for just how much care Nate was going to lavish on the production of the book. This is a marvelous reproduction of a late nineteenth century auction catalogue, its attention to detail of the highest degree. In addition, its list of contributors is a who’s who of contemporary horror, from Ramsey Campbell and F. Paul Wilson to Livia Llewellyn and Molly Tanzer. It may be about the strangest anthology I’ve ever been part of; it’s certainly among the most weirdly wonderful.
The Future (1): “The Communion of Saints,” a story to appear in Giallo Fantastique, edited by Ross Lockhart (not yet available for pre-order). In my stories, “City of the Dog” and “Children of the Fang,” there’s an Albany, NY, police detective named Calasso. I thought it would be fun to write a story about him facing a series of gruesome kidnappings apparently committed by some of the more infamous, if cliched, monsters of recent movies.
The Future (2): “Homemade Monsters,” a story to appear in The Doll Collection, edited by Ellen Datlow (available for pre-order here). Sure, I called them action figures, but I played with dolls all the time as a kid. At first, I thought I might write about the 8 inch Spider-Man figure who was probably my single favorite toy when I was about nine; then I remembered how I had transformed a number of my Star Trek figures into monsters, especially Godzilla. More autobiographically-inflected fiction, with kaiju.
The Future (3): “The Underground Economy,” a story to appear in Aickman’s Heirs, edited by Simon Strantzas (not yet available for pre-order). During the 2013 Necronomicon and immediately after, I encouraged Simon Strantzas to put together this anthology. That was so I could submit a story to it. I love Robert Aickman’s work; though I’m far from understanding it. I had re-read “The Swords,” recently, and that came together with comments made by Simon and folks on the All-Hallows Message Board about the role of the erotic in Aickman’s fiction into this story. The piece felt like a chance; I’m happy it worked for Simon.
There’s one other project that I haven’t been given leave to speak about, yet; more as soon as I can say it. And I’m hopeful that 2015 will see my third collection making its way into the world; fingers crossed!