Another Reaction to Far From Streets

Recently I mentioned a few initial reactions to Far From Streets, my novella published this summer by Dunhams Manor Press.

I don’t intend to make another new blog post every single time someone says anything about it, but comments recently made by Christopher Slatsky on Facebook [HERE] delighted me sufficiently that I want to mention them. Follow the link if you want to read what he said, which ends with: “Fantastic accomplishment here. Very highly recommended.”

Thanks, Christopher!

Initial Reactions to Far From Streets

My first stand-alone novella Far From Streets, from Dunhams Manor Press, sold out in pre-order. It’s finally been published, and purchased copies have begun to find their way into the hands of readers. I also handed out several copies at ReaderCon, and some of those people have already given feedback.

"Far From Streets," a standalone novella from Dunhams Manor Press

“Far From Streets,” a standalone novella from Dunhams Manor Press

Only my wife and one editor friend had read the story in the year since I finished writing it. Their responses were positive, but you never really know until a wider variety of readers weighs in.

First, I received a brief but very positive email from a very respected weird/experimental writer, who had apparently read it as soon as he returned from Readercon. This is a guy who doesn’t seem to go around handing out empty praise, so I though that was a great start.

Soon after, I started getting nice comments from people saying they were reading, and enjoying it. A few posted pictures of their copies of the book, always fun to see. Today, there were more pictures, and the first two public reviews or comments about the book.

Justin Steele includes Far From Streets in a July-ending rounding up of recent reads, HERE. Justin says:

“The book is about obsession and relationships as much as it’s about the difference between suburbia and the wilderness, and manages to be far more than just a surreal creep-out fest because of this. Griffin becomes more and more impressive, and this is my favorite work of his to date.”

Later this afternoon, Alicia Graves posted her reaction HERE, including the following very flattering description:

“It was striking, strange, and fluid. I described it to one friend as what I think a mash between Barron and Langan would feel like. Did I mention well written?”

My very sincere thanks to Justin and Alicia and everyone else who has given their time and attention to my work. If you missed out on preordering Far From Streets but would still like to read it, all is not lost. My intention is to include it in the story collection I’m assembling this summer, so you’ll just have to wait until next year when the collection would presumably appear.

From Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year 6

Why did nobody tell me that Ellen Datlow said the following in Year’s Best Horror 6?

DatlowYBH6

In case that image doesn’t display for you, the text says:

The Grimscribe’s Puppets, edited by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. (Miskatonic River Press), is a tribute to weird fiction writer Thomas Ligotti with twenty-two stories, all but one published for the first time. Most of the contributors do an admirable job using Ligotti’s dense, visionary, strange work to create their own weird fictions. There were notable stories by Livia Llewellyn, John Langan, Gemma Files, Jeffrey Thomas, Paul G. Tremblay, Nicole Cushing, Richard Gavin, Michael Griffin, Michael Kelly, Joel Lane and Kaaron Warren.

Most years, I buy the Best Horror of the Year right away. For some reason this year I hadn’t purchased one yet, but the moment I saw this, I had to grab it.

Yeah! Thanks, Ellen!

BARNES AND NOBLE:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-best-horror-of-the-year-volume-six-ellen-datlow/1116852790

AMAZON:

The Shirley Jackson Awards

This past weekend I attended ReaderCon in Burlington, an outlying suburb of Boston, MA. One of the highlights of the weekend, and really the last major event on Sunday, the final day, was the ceremony for the Shirley Jackson Awards.

readercon

All kinds of genre fiction awards exist, such as the Bram Stoker Awards, the Hugos, the Nebulas, the World Fantasy Award, the Locus Awards, among many others. In many cases, the awards are controversial, surrounded by accusations of vote-trading, log-rolling or other manipulations via insider influence. The Shirley Jackson Awards are relatively newer, and appear to exist free from the negative accusations that plague the others.

This was my first time attending ReaderCon, so of course I hadn’t attended SJAs before. Not only did several of my friends and associates have their own work nominated, but Joe Pulver was nominated for editing The Grimscribe’s Puppets, a Thomas Ligotti tribute anthology published by Miskatonic River Press, in which my story “Diamond Dust” appeared. Because Joe lives in Berlin, he wasn’t able to attend the awards, and asked me to accept on his behalf should he win.

grimbscribes

I’d made the same promise at the Stoker awards, for which Grimscribe’s was also nominated, but it didn’t win. I felt a superstitious certainty that I had ruined Joe’s chance of winning the Stoker by thinking too much in advance of what I’d say if I had to go up and accept on Joe’s behalf.

So this time, even though Joe emailed me a short statement to read, I didn’t look at it carefully, didn’t print it out, and certainly didn’t memorize it. As I sat in the audience of 100+, I concentrated on texting absent friends the results of winners in earlier categories such as short story, novella and collection. At the same time, I was flipping over to Facebook and posting updates about the category winners. I posted “Next is anthology” and never had a chance to follow-up by posting the winner, because I heard Andrea Hairston say, “The winner is Grimscribe’s Puppets by Joseph S Pulver Sr, who is not present, so the award will be accepted by Mike Griffin.”

That’s me!

I stopped posting updates, stood and switched my phone from Facebook to the app where I’d stored Joe’s acceptance speech. For some reason, the app displayed the lines of text much wider than the screen, so that only the center of each line was onscreen, and other text extended well off to the left and right edges. As I started up the aisle toward the stage, I tried to resize the text but it didn’t work. At that moment, I thought I would be unable to read Joe’s acceptance speech, and have to improvise. “He said something about thanking the awards committee, and the writers with stories in the book, and the publisher…” and slink offstage.

I was able to swipe left and scroll right repeatedly and read each line of the acceptance speech. At the time, it felt very awkward and I kept thinking: It doesn’t matter if I’m doing a terrible job reading this. What matters is that Joe won! Just get through it, grab the award, and get offstage.

There’s official video of the event, and as it turns out, my reading of the acceptance wasn’t as awful as I imagined. Here’s the portion of the ceremony where awards are given out. About 6:45 into the video is where we get to “Best Anthology.” You can see me pause on the way up the aisle, messing with my phone. At that point, I’m thinking “Oh, shit! I’m about to make a fool of myself in front of Peter Straub and Ellen Datlow and a hundred other VIPs in the field of horror.”

It was a wonderful treat to participate in the ceremony during the first Shirley Jackson Awards I attended. I’m so happy for Joe, for the rest of the writers in The Grimscribe’s Puppets, for Miskatonic River Press, and for those who wanted to see Thomas Ligotti get a bit more recognition as the great influence that he is. Here’s a picture of the award, gripped in my sweaty palm, as soon as I sat back down.

sja-award

I’ll say again, the Shirley Jackson Awards a great event, a wonderful award, and a swell bunch of people. The people giving out the other genre awards ought to take notes. This is how it should be done.

sja-card

Children of Old Leech Release Day

Today’s the official release date of THE CHILDREN OF OLD LEECH, the Laird Barron tribute anthology edited by Ross E. Lockhart and Justin Steele. Cheers, everybody!

cheers

You should buy this book, if you haven’t!

BOOK DEPOSITORY:

http://www.bookdepository.com/Children-Old-Leech/9781939905024

BARNES AND NOBLE:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-children-of-old-leech-ross-e-lockhart/1119727147

POWELLS BOOKS:

http://www.powells.com/biblio/61-9781939905024-0

AMAZON:

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
– Introduction: Of Whisky and Doppelgängers by Justin Steele
– The Harrow by Gemma Files
– Pale Apostle by Jesse Bullington & J.T. Glover
– Walpurgisnacht by Orrin Grey
– Learn to Kill by Michael Cisco
– Good Lord, Show Me The Way by Molly Tanzer
– Snake Wine by Jeffrey Thomas
– Love Songs From The Hydrogen Jukebox by Ted E. Grau
– The Old Pageant by Richard Gavin
– Notes for “The Barn in the Wild” by Paul Tremblay
– Firedancing by Michael Griffin
– The Golden Stars at Night by Allyson Bird
– The Last Crossroads on a Calendar of Yesterdays by Joseph S. Pulver Sr.
– The Woman of the Wood by Daniel Mills
– Brushdogs by Stephen Graham Jones
– Ymir by John Langan
– Of a Thousand Cuts by Cody Goodfellow
– Tenebrionidae by Scott Nicolay & Jesse James Douthit-Nicolay
– Afterword by Ross E. Lockhart

cool-cover2

ReaderCon Travel Upcoming

I’m going to ReaderCon! If you don’t know, it’s a convention about books and stories and writing and reading, and it’s in Boston.

readercon

I think it will be fun. I plan to post some pictures and silly comments with my phone while I’m there, so if you want to see those, you should follow or “friend” me on one of the social network-y things that show my photos as soon as I post them.

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Really, you should be my “friend” anyway. Come on, it’ll be fun. You’re already reading my blog, anyway!

Burnt Black Suns by Simon Strantzas

After I read Nightingale Songs, the prior collection of restrained and disquieting stories by Simon Strantzas, I found myself wondering what kind of work this author might creat with a more direct, less elliptical approach. His follow-up, Burnt Black Suns, answers that question.

burntblacksuns

Whether this change in direction arose from a natural drift in the author’s motivation, or a desire to prove he can successfully master new and different tricks, the stories here seem clearly designed to take a more straightforward approach than Strantzas has used previously. In particular, pieces like the opener “On Ice” and the titular closing novella hit so much harder as to seem almost the work of a different writer.

Not one story in the book is anything less than excellent, and the novella “Burnt Black Suns” is my single favorite thing Strantzas has written. This collection is a work of real excellence, which deserves to be read by everyone interested in intelligently crafted horror fiction. Burnt Black Suns is highly recommended.

Review of The Children of Old Leech by Benito Corral

Here’s another new review of The Children of Old Leech, and it’s another rave. It’s by Benito Corral, here:

http://betwixtbookreviews.blogspot.com/2014/07/reviewthe-children-of-old-leech-edited.html

I’m pleased to see another positive mention of my story “Firedancing.” This book really seems to be getting universal praise so far, and that’s something I love to see.