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:
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.
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.
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.
The Original You-Know-Who
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.
This is a strange, strange book…
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.