Upcoming Events

Well, David and I survived our black belt test this past weekend; now we just have to wait for the results, which should arrive at the end of the month.  The test was long (almost seven hours, from start to finish), but we were prepared for it, so I’m feeling reasonably optimistic.

In the meantime, here are a few events I’ll be part of during the next month or so.

 

October 16, 5-7pm

Children of Lovecraft reading:

The Lovecraft Bar NYC

50 Avenue B, New York, New York 10009

This celebration of Ellen Datlow’s latest anthology will feature readings by several of its contributors, including Livia Llewellyn, Laird Barron, Siobhan Carroll, Maria Dahvana Headley, Richard Kadrey, John Langan, David Nickle, and A.C. Wise.

children-of-lovecraft-cover

 

October 22, 10am-4pm

Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival 2016

Haverhill Public Library

99 Main St., Haverhill, MA

Join us as we celebrate books this Halloween season! 36 Authors and Artists gather to present panel discussions on New England horror traditions, ghost stories, why scary stories are good for kids, and much more! Authors will be selling and autographing their books. This event is sponsored by River City Writers and Jabberwocky Bookshop!

You can find a list of the writers attending and some of what we’ll be doing here.

merrimack-2016

 

October 28, 9pm-12am

Oh, the Horror! A Spooky Salon with Stories & Music
Be Electric Studios

1298 Willoughby Ave, Brooklyn, New York 11237
A brilliant and thrilling evening of ghosts, monsters, and other-worldly visitors, curated by DANIEL BRAUM, who is the author of The Night Marchers and Other Strange Tales (Cemetery Dance 2016). Mr. Braum will be reading alongside JOHN LANGAN, CHANDLER KLANG SMITH, and NICHOLAS KAUFMANN. Plus, the very talented JANNA PELLE will be our featured musician for the evening. Dress up in your most terrifying Halloween costumes, if you dare (totally optional)!
oh-the-horror-pic

November 16, 2016, 7-9pm

Fantastic Fiction at KGB
85 East 4th Street
I’ll be reading alongside the talented Matthew Kressel.
kgb-barnight
There are a couple of more things I think I’ll be doing; I’ll post a separate entry for them once I have the details ironed out.
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Corpsemouth!

One of the true pleasures of this past weekend’s HPLFF was getting to meet Dave Felton, an extremely talented artist who gifted me with the astonishing drawing he did for a scene from my story, “Corpsemouth” (which appeared in Ellen Datlow’s The Monstrous).  I had filmed a short video of myself reading an excerpt from the story for Jordan Krall’s most recent Krall-con; the idea was that, as I was reading the piece, Dave would be working on a drawing inspired by what he was hearing.  According to him, after the con, he went back to his drawing board to come up with a version of the drawing that was more in keeping with what he had in mind.  I was delighted with what he produced:

Corpsemouth by Dave Felton

Isn’t it something?  I tell you, every time I look at this, I grin like a kid.

Needless to say, Dave Felton has talent to spare.  Here’s a link to his Eldritch Etchings Tumblr site.  I hope he’ll start doing prints of his work; I also look forward to seeing more of it.  This guy needs to be illustrating a lot more of the weird stuff that’s being done now.

Here’s Me Reading a Brief Excerpt from “Corpsemouth”

A few months ago, Jordan Krall contacted me to ask if I would be interested in providing a recording of me reading from one of my stories for one of the activities scheduled at his annual KrallCon.  (Which sounds vague and possibly sinister, I know.)  The other night, my older son, Nick, stayed up late with me to record this excerpt from my story, “Corpsemouth,” which first appeared in Ellen Datlow’s anthology, The Monstrous.  I thought it would be fun to share it with anyone who’s interested.

 

 

Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror

I think you have to file this one under bucket-list items you didn’t realize were on your bucket-list:  my story, “The Shallows,” from Darrell Schweitzer’s Cthulhu’s Reign a few years back, will be appearing in Ellen Datlow’s forthcoming survey of recent horror fiction, Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror, which will be out from Tachyon later this year.

NightmaresCover

Some cover, huh?

The table of contents for this book is humbling:

 

  • Shallaballah by Mark Samuels
  • Sob in the Silence by Gene Wolfe
  • Our Turn Too Will One Day Come by Brian Hodge
  • Dead Sea Fruit by Kaaron Warren
  • Closet Dreams by Lisa Tuttle
  • Spectral Evidence by Gemma Files
  • Hushabye by Simon Bestwick
  • Very Low-Flying Aircraft by Nicholas Royle
  • The Goosle by Margo Lanagan
  • The Clay Party by Steve Duffy
  • Strappado by Laird Barron
  • Lonegan’s Luck by Stephen Graham Jones
  • Mr Pigsny by Reggie Oliver
  • At Night, When the Demons Come by Ray Cluley
  • Was She Wicked? Was She Good? by M. Rickert
  • The Shallows by John Langan
  • Little Pig by Anna Taborska
  • Omphalos by Livia Llewellyn
  • How We Escaped Our Certain Fate by Dan Chaon
  • That Tiny Flutter of the Heart I Used to Call Love by Robert Shearman
  • Interstate Love Song (Murder Ballad No. 8) by Caitlín R. Kiernan
  • Shay Corsham Worsted by Garth Nix
  • The Atlas of Hell by Nathan Ballingrud
  • Ambitious Boys Like You by Richard Kadrey

Thanks so much to Ellen Datlow for including me in this, and congratulations to everyone else in the book.

 

The October Report, Second Installment:WORD, The H.P. Lovecraft Forum, and A Group Reading at the New Paltz Public Library

I know, I know:  it’s December, for the love of Pete, practically 2016.  Probably, I shouldn’t bother, but I can be pretty compulsive when it comes to completing stuff.  So:

I.

The second half of my busy October began the Thursday before Halloween, with a mid-morning trip to New York City along with the Honey Badger, so the two of us could read that night at WORD, a  fine independent bookstore in Brooklyn, at a Halloween-themed event organized by the brilliant Alex Houston.  Once in Grand Central, we went our separate ways, me to lunch with my outstanding agent (Ginger Clark, for those who may have forgotten), and him to a long photo shoot at his agent’s (Janet Reed).  The weather was rainy and windy in the extreme.  Ginger and I enjoyed an excellent lunch at a French restaurant, during which we talked over my adventures during the first part of October, as well as my third novel (in process).  After lunch, I met Laird at Janet’s office, where he was deep in the photo session.  I have to admit, it was fascinating to watch the couple who were taking his picture at work.  (The older I get, the more interested I find I am in anyone who’s good at something.)  I succeeded in keeping my heckling to a minimum.

The shoot done, Laird and Janet and I caught a cab to Brooklyn, where we found a pub near WORD.  The three of us succeeded in consuming a platter of very delicious sliders and chips, after which, we were met by the editorial team from Penguin who had been responsible for the republication of Ray Russell’s The Case Against Satan, for which Laird had written a new preface.  They were a charming and fun group, and walked with us to the bookstore.  There, we were met by Alex and the night’s other readers, Livia Llewellyn, Ryan Britt, and Tobias Carroll.  A considerable crowd filled the bookstore’s basement reading space; I was happy to see Ellen Datlow, Michael Calia, Robert Levy, Ardi Alspach, and well-known diva Theresa DeLucci among its numbers.  The reading itself went well:  Ryan Britt made some interesting and amusing references to vampire trousers.  Laird read from his introduction to The Case Against Satan, and a brief excerpt from the novel, itself.  Livia delivered a powerhouse reading; she’s a talented and inspired performer of her own work who never fails to impress, and if you have a chance to see her read, you should.  Tobias Carroll read about half of one of Thomas Ligotti’s stories, and I have to say, brought out a humor I hadn’t recognized in Ligotti’s work before.  I read a self-contained narrative from my story, “Corpsemouth,” which appeared in Ellen’s The Monstrous.

Me at WORD

Let me tell you about Ellen Datlow…

After the reading was done, the booksellers kept the store open while my co-readers and I signed a lot of books for a lot of very nice people.  Then it was off to a local Polish restaurant for still more food (hunter’s stew, very tasty), before Laird and I began the trek to the nearest subway station, and home.

I’ll be honest:  reading at WORD has been one of my personal goals for a few years, now.  Thanks to Alex Houston and the fine folks at the store for making it happen.

 

II.

The day after WORD was the annual H.P. Lovecraft Forum at SUNY New Paltz, number 28 by my count.  Organized by my friend and mentor, Bob Waugh, the Forum has been bringing all sorts of scholars and artists to the New Paltz campus to discuss Lovecraft’s fiction and its impact since I was a college freshman.  This year’s program was among the more modest:  Bob and I each read selections from upcoming, Lovecraft-related stories, but we were joined by artist Stephen Hickman, who brought along copies of his Lovecraft-related sculptures, whose genesis and development he shared with us.

Hickman Lovecraft Pieces

The Original You-Know-Who

 

III.

The day after the Lovecraft Forum, I took part in a group reading sponsored by Inquiring Minds, the local independent bookstore.  Sadly, the bookstore had been damaged by a freak flood; happily, the local public library stepped in and hosted the event.  Half a dozen more or less local writers, including myself and the Honey Badger, read to a full house that included a couple of my students (who were amazed to discover I was an actual writer).  As we read, college students dressed in their Halloween costumes for the contest being sponsored by the bar across the street wandered past the windows, as if extras in the stories we were reading.

And I’m happy to report, the bookstore recovered from the flooding, and about a month later, I read there with Bob Waugh to celebrate the release of his first collection of stories, The Bloody Tugboat and Other Witcheries.

Bloody Tugboat Cover

This is a strange, strange book…

 

 

IV.

So that was October.  Thank God it only comes around once a year.  But a sincere thank you to everyone who was involved in making the various events I took part in happen, and to everyone who attended them, and to everyone who asked me to sign a book or sent a kind word my way.

 

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.

I.

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.

 

II.

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.

NYCComicCon

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.

Hawkeye!

Hawkeye!

 

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.

 

III.

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’.

 

IV.

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.

 

After Readercon

This past weekend I spent in Burlington, MA, at the 26th annual Readercon.  It’s probably the convention I most look forward to each year, because it’s the one the largest percentage of my writing friends attend.  This year was no exception:  I roomed with Paul Tremblay, and spent time with a raft of people including S.J. Bagley, Michael Cisco, Brett Cox, Joann Cox, Ellen Datlow, Gemma Files, John Foster, Mike Griffin, Liz Hand, Jack Haringa, Stephen Graham Jones, Sandra Kasturi and Brett Savory, Nick Kaufmann and Alexa Antopol, Mike and Caroline Kelly, Sarah Langan, Rob Shearman, Justin Steele, Simon Strantzas, Peter Straub, Jeffrey Thomas, and plenty more whose names I apologize for forgetting.  Highlights of the convention included fiction readings by Mike Cisco, Gemma Files, Rob Shearman, and Paul, as well as this year’s Shirley Jackson Awards, which I mc’d for the first time without embarrassing myself or the awards too badly.  I read from my own work twice, first as part of a group reading for The Monstrous, Ellen Datlow’s newest anthology, in which my new story, “Corpsemouth,” appears, and then on my own on Sunday afternoon, after the Jackson Awards, to a surprisingly large audience, to whom I managed to read all of my story, “The Savage Angela in:  The Beast in the Tunnels” (forthcoming in Jesse Bullington and Molly Tanzer’s Swords v. Cthulhu).  In the midst of the convention came the awful news that Tom Piccirilli had lost his brave fight with brain cancer, and we raised a glass in his honor and memory that night.  There was flatbread pizza, and there was Korean barbecue.  Then the weekend was over, so fast I still can’t believe it, and it was time for the annual drive back west accompanied by Michael Cisco.  As ever, thanks to the Readercon crew for putting on such a great convention.  The Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll see you next year.