Sefira& Other Betrayals!

Today is the official release day for my third collection, Sefira and Other Betrayals (which is available in paperback from Amazon here and in hardcover and paperback from the publisher, Hippocampus press, here).  Although I’ve been planning it for some time, this one took a while to arrive, in no small part because what was supposed to be the original, title story turned into an actual short novel in the writing, and then the other original story I decided had to be in it became a novella.  Thanks to everyone who’s been waiting for the book for your patience.

If you don’t mind, I’d like to include the book’s Acknowledgments page here, because you can never say thank you enough times for the good things in your life.  (I know, some of this is redundant, but what the heck?):

Acknowledgments

With this latest book of stories, I am reminded once again of my debt to my lovely wife, Fiona, for her love, support, and patience.  Thanks, Love, for all of it; here’s another bouquet of dark flowers.
The love and support of my sons, Nick and David, is a constant and ever-surprising joy. Thanks, guys; I look forward eagerly to the art you’re making.
Laird Barron and Paul Tremblay remain the brothers I never knew I had, their regular phone conversations one of the highlights of my week. They continue to do amazing work, which inspires me to try to do better in my own fiction. Nadia Bulkin, Michael Cisco, GlenHirshberg, Stephen Graham Jones, Sarah Langan, and S.P. Miskowski arepretty cool, too.
I continue to consider myself fortunate in my agent, the indefatigable Ginger Clark, as well as her assistant, Tess, and the film and foreign rights folks at Curtis, Brown. As the story notes indicate, I owe most of these pieces to invitations from editors, and I’m grateful for the support John Joseph Adams, Ellen Datlow, Nick Gevers and Jack Dann, and S.T. Joshi showed these stories by first publishing them. Thanks, too, to Derrick Hussey and Hippocampus Press for the fine work they did with my last collection, and for publishing this one.
Finally, thanks to you, whoever you are, for the gift of your time and attention (and in many cases, patience—I know this book has been a long time coming). You make books such as this one possible, and I’m grateful for that.

 

 

Also:  that Santiago Caruso:  am I right, or what?

Advertisements

The Fisherman: Publication Day!

In addition to being the birthday of my talented friend, Paul Tremblay, today is also the official release day for my second novel, The Fisherman.

TheFishermanCover

I’m extremely grateful for all the support I’ve already received, in the form of several very kind reviews.  I’ll put up links to them in another day or two.  In the meantime, I wanted to present an excerpt from the book:  the acknowledgments page.  While writing a novel is ultimately  a solitary activity, it doesn’t take place in a vacuum, and without a lot of help from a lot of people, this book would not have seen the light of day.  So:

 

When I started writing the story that would become this book, my wife was pregnant with our son.  He’s now twelve-going-on-thirteen.  Needless to say, that’s a long time from start to finish.  A lot has happened during that time, a lot has changed, but the love and support of my wife, Fiona, has remained a constant.  More than that:  as the years slid by, she was the one who said, every now and again, “You have to get back to The Fisherman.”  This book wouldn’t be here without her.  Thanks, love, for everything.

That twelve-going-on-thirteen-year-old has blossomed into quite the fisherman, himself these last few years, pretty much on his own.  (I basically sit nearby with a book and try to make comments that don’t sound too ignorant.)  David Langan’s technical advice helped a great deal in making the fishing-related portions of this narrative more accurate, while his love and all-around awesomeness made the rest of my life better.

My older son, Nick, and my daughter in law, Mary, and their trio of astounding kids, my brilliant grandchildren, Inara, Asher, and Penelope the Bean, have brought and continue to bring more joy into my life than I probably deserve.

It’s becoming a critical commonplace to say that we’re currently experiencing a resurgence in the field of dark/horror/weird/whatever fiction.  I happen to think this is true, but what matters more to me is the friendship so many of my fellow writers have offered me.  Laird Barron and Paul Tremblay have been the other brothers I never knew I had, even as their work has made me grit my teeth and tell myself to do better.  Sarah Langan, Brett Cox, and Michael Cisco are pretty good, too.

These last few years, I’ve continued to benefit from the kindness of writers whose work inspired my own.  Both Peter Straub and Jeffrey Ford have been unfailingly generous in their support and example.  While I am at it, let me raise a glass to the memory of the late, great Lucius Shepard, whose encouragement, praise, and fiction I continue to treasure.

My indefatigable agent, Ginger Clark, has been a champion of this book since I sent her its first three chapters a long, long time ago.  Every now and again, Ginger would send an e-mail encouraging me to finish the novel, and when at last I did, there was nobody happier.  I’m grateful for her continuing faith in me and my work.

As was the case with my previous novel, House of Windows, The Fisherman took a while to find a home.  The genre publishers said it was too literary, the literary publishers, too genre.  Thanks to Ross Lockhart and Word Horde Press for responding so immediately and enthusiastically to the book.

And a final, heartfelt thank you to you, the reader, for the gifts of your time and attention.  You make this writing life I have possible, and I’m grateful for it.

 

If I were going to add any names to this list, it would those of the writers who provided some very flattering blurbs for it:  Laird Barron, Adam Cesare, Michael Griffin, Stephen Graham Jones, Richard Kadrey, Victor Lavalle, Cameron Pierce, Pete Rawlik, and Paul Tremblay.  For about a day, their kind words made me more insufferable to my family than usual.  (“Do the dishes?  Do you know what Victor Lavalle had to say about my book?”)

Five Minutes’ Worth of Publishing Advice

One of my wife’s former students, now a professor herself, e-mailed me the other day to ask if I’d mind putting together a two to three minute audio interview on my first experiences with professional publication, for a class she’s teaching.  Fiona and I made this short video, which is about twice as long as what her former student asked for, not to mention, it’s a video.  I thought I’d post the link here in case it’s of interest to anyone.

Publishing advice.

Sefira and Other Betrayals

I’ve kind of announced this already, in a couple of recent interviews, but it seems a good idea to me to make it official:  I’ve recently signed the contract for my third collection of stories, whose working title is Sefira and Other Betrayals.  It’ll be forthcoming from Hippocampus Press in early 2016 (right now, we’re thinking February).  Paul Tremblay has agreed to write the introduction; I’m still working on the person for the afterword.  I’m also hoping to get Santiago Caruso back for the cover, his schedule permitting.  The table of contents will consist of:

“In Paris, In the Mouth of Kronos”

“The Third Always Beside You”

“The Unbearable Proximity of Mr. Dunn’s Balloons”

“Renfrew’s Course”

“Bloom”

“Sefira”

This last will be an original novella which is looking to top out somewhere around 30,000 words.  It’s about a woman hunting a succubus.

My gratitude to my agent, Ginger Clark, for her usual diligence in handling the contract negotiations, and to Derrick Hussey of Hippocampus, for being willing to work with me again.  There’s no pre-order listing for the book, yet, but rest assured, I’ll let you know when there is.

Projects Recent and Forthcoming

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.)

Shock Totem Cover

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-starry-wisdom-library-jhc-edited-by-nate-pedersen

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.

Giallo Fantastique

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.

Doll Collection

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.

aickman1

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!