Cthulhu Fhtagn! Table of Contents

Editor and Publisher Ross E. Lockhart of Word Horde has published the full Table of Contents of his upcoming anthology CTHULHU FHTAGN! Also note, the exclamation point is part of the title, not just my excitement about this book.

Word Horde post HERE.

And if you just want to see the TOC, here’s that…

Cthulhu Fhtagn!
Table of Contents

Introduction: In His House at R’lyeh… – Ross E. Lockhart
The Lightning Splitter – Walter Greatshell
Dead Canyons – Ann K. Schwader
Delirium Sings at the Maelstrom Window – Michael Griffin
Into Ye Smoke-Wreath’d World of Dream – W. H. Pugmire
The Lurker In the Shadows – Nathan Carson
The Insectivore – Orrin Grey
The Body Shop – Richard Lee Byers
On a Kansas Plain – Michael J. Martinez
The Prince of Lyghes – Anya Martin
The Curious Death of Sir Arthur Turnbridge – G. D. Falksen
Aerkheim’s Horror – Christine Morgan
Return of the Prodigy – T.E. Grau
The Curse of the Old Ones – Molly Tanzer and Jesse Bullington
Love Will Save You – Cameron Pierce
Assemblage Point – Scott R. Jones
The Return of Sarnath – Gord Sellar
The Long Dark – Wendy N. Wagner
Green Revolution – Cody Goodfellow
Don’t Make Me Assume My Ultimate Form – Laird Barron

This promises to be a great one. I’m excited to be part of another Word Horde book, and also to share a Table of Contents with so many great writers — some for the first time, others for the second or third time.

I’ll Be in Cthulhu Fhtagn!

In 2014, I had a story in the 2nd Word Horde anthology, the Laird Barron tribute The Children of Old Leech. This made me very happy, as I’m a huge fan of Laird’s writing. My story “Firedancing” remains one of my own favorites, and was even called out in a number of reviews of the book.

I’m happy to report that I’ll have a story in the 4th Word Horde anthology, Cthulhu Fhtagn! edited by Ross E. Lockhart. My story is called “Delirium Sings at the Maelstrom Window” and is a sort of present-day sequel to “The Music of Erich Zann.” Despite this connection to Lovecraft’s story, it still very much has the feel of my work, and will probably annoy some Lovecraft fans.

The cover hasn’t been revealed yet, and I don’t know the full table of contents, but quite a few great writers announced their participation this week, including: Anya Martin, Orrin Grey, Ted E. Grau, Scott R. Jones, Nathan Carson, Wendy Wagner, Molly Tanzer & Jesse Bullington.

I’ll post more information as soon as I can. This should be an excellent project, and I’m very excited to have a part in it.

Standing and Walking

I’ve always been interested in seeing pictures of how creative people work, maybe because I’m constantly tweaking and reworking my own work processes and tools.

Maybe the most notable thing about how and where I write is that I write in a lot of different places and situations. Sometimes I write longhand, sometimes I type into a simple distraction-free text editor (Byword or Writeroom or Pywrite), though most often I work in Scrivener.

This variety is driven by the need to move around and change positions throughout the day (especially on Sundays, when I wrote from early morning until 8PM) for comfort’s sake, and also in recognition of the importance of trying different approaches.

I haven’t included a picture of my main desk, but here are a couple of alternatives I sometimes use.

First, a standing desk.

standing

In the above photo, I’m using a vertical monitor orientation and a distraction-free (meaning no menus or toolbars or icons visible, just a page full of words) text editor.

I enjoy the change to a standing position, though I doubt I could write like this for an entire day. I tend to move around a lot, and I enjoy standing right between the stereo speakers. Music is a big part of the background atmosphere I use to create the right mental space.

At least once a week, I write on the treadmill.

treadmill

You can buy expensive “treadmill desks” but I’ve created my own setup by clamping a board across our existing treadmill. In this photo, I’m using a shoebox to lift my laptop to the desired height, but lately I’m using a more permanent lift solution… one of those adjustable aerobic “step exercisers.”

While writing, I walk at a pretty low speed, usually 2.2 MPH. Faster walking makes it hard to type accurately. In order to get myself a bit of a workout — I want to get some exercise, and increase my heart rate, but not get too sweaty while I’m touching the keyboard — I increase the treadmill incline to 6 or 8 degrees.

I find myself getting caught up in the world of the story and forgetting about the walking. Usually I do at least 90 minutes, more often closer to two hours. It’s something I’d very highly recommend to writers who need to spend a lot of hours writing, and lament the usual lack of activity.

There’s nothing too noteworthy about my laptop – it’s a 17″ Macbook Pro and I use Scrivener quite a bit. I also rely on an internet-blocking program called Self Control to prevent myself from using the distraction of social media to escape when the writing work gets tough.

XNOYBIS #1 Up For Preorder

The debut issue of XNOYBIS, the weird fiction journal from Dunhams Manor Press, is now available for preorder. My story “The Tidal Pull of Salt and Sand” will appear, along with lots of other cool stuff.

Limited to 100 copies
Approx. 140 pages.
Ships in late May/early June.

The first issue of this quarterly Weird Fiction Journal of fiction, nonfiction, and art.

Includes a newly found and previously unpublished interview with Thomas Ligotti from 1999. It has been approved for current publication by Mr. Ligotti.

Also:
A HISTORY OF SACRIFICE (An Exhibit)
Nathan Wunner

THE BATTLE OF CLOS YR ONNEN
Matt Leyshon

A TRACE OF DARKNESS
C.M. Muller

PROFESSOR COGNOSCENTE’S CALIGINOUS CHARMS CARNIVAL
Christopher Slatsky

CARNOMANCER, OR THE MEAT MANAGER’S PREROGATIVE
Matthew M. Bartlett

THE TIDAL PULL OF SALT AND SAND
Michael Griffin

THE RIVE
Clint Smith

THE POE BUG: A Journey to the Center of Poepathy and Beyond
Selena Chambers

S.P. MISKOWSKI’S THE SKILLUTE CYCLE:
A Review
Joseph Zanetti

Interior art by Dave Felton

PURCHASE LINK: http://dynatox.storenvy.com/collections/240632-all-products/products/12449961-xnoybis-1-quarterly-journal-of-weird-fiction-dunhams-manor-press

xnoybis

Update on Surreal World Anthology

A few months back I mentioned an upcoming anthology Surreal Worlds which will include my story “Jewels and False Memories: The Origins of a Lunatic.”

The publisher has just shared an updated cover image, a design by Matthew Revert. I think it looks fantastic!

SurrealWorlds

Here’s the table of contents, maybe not in the final order. This should be out fairly soon from Bizarro Pulp Press.

Steve Rasnic Tem – Paula Breaks
John Palisano – The BiPolar Express
Gabino Iglesias – aaaaaaaaa
Robin Wyatt Dunn – A Shadow of a Princess’s Dream
Bruce Boston – Surreal Chess
Rhys Hughes – Bones of Jones
R.A. Harris – The Noise that Stains
Seb Doubinsky – Goodbye Babylon (excerpt)
Thomas Logan – The Continued Instances of George Marthis within the Singularity, wherein the Instance Knows No Rules (George is Old When Our Story Starts)
Daniel Vlasaty – Everything is Colors, All of Them
Michael Griffin – Jewels and False Memories: The Origins of a Lunatic
Max Booth III – One Day I’ll Quit this Job and Rule the World
Dustin Reade – House Party
Adrian Ludens – I Can Do What I Need to in the Dark
Andrew Wayne Adams – Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation
Wol-vriey – The End of the World Pie
Allen Griffin – I, Autocorrect
Tom Bradley – Mr. Fuck You, Okay?
Chantal Noordeloos – Labels
Don Webb – The Last God
Bob Ritchie – The Mahler Stream
Eli Wilde – Snowflakes Falling, Pages Turning
Antonio Magogoli – The Inmost Plague Bell Swims
Chris Kelso – The Statement of Tom Tryout
Carter Rydr – Pain Pig’s Pilgrimage

2014 Year End

It always seems the case that when I go longer than usual without a blog update, it’s during a stretch of especially hard work.

I just finished writing a 38k word novella, which I hope will occupy the final slot in my planned story collection. I’ve assembled that collection manuscript and begun the submission process, and I hope before too long I’ll have some idea when, how and where my collection may appear.

I had a good year writing and publishing in 2014, though it included a share of disappointments and frustrations.

Story publications included:

“No Mask to Conceal Her Voice” in the King in Yellow themed issue of Lovecraft eZine

“May Dawn Redeem What Night Destroys” in the Current 93 tribute anthology Mighty In Sorrow edited by Jordan Krall

“Firedancing” in The Children of Old Leech, the Laird Barron tribute anthology from Word Horde.

Most significantly, I published the standalone novella Far From Streets with Dunhams Manor Press. Though that was published in a small edition of only 50 copies, which quickly sold out, that publication has received an excellent response from those who have seen it. That novella should reappear in my collection, for those who missed the standalone.

These acceptances for publication should appear in 2015:

“Apprentice, Muse and Mancer” in A Mythos Grimmly

“Jewels and False Memories: The Origins of a Lunatic” in Surreal Worlds

“Miles and Kathrine at the Crimson” in Leaves of Necronomicon.

I still have several other pieces under consideration at various venues, so may soon be able to add to the list of acceptances pending publications.

Of course the biggest thing I have going is the story collection, which is now in the submission process. While that’s underway, I’m beginning work on a novel, and sorting ideas for the next few things.

A Triple-Good Day For a Writer

A few things happen today, each of which counts as a quantum of “writer success.”

A new interview with Laird Barron by the guys at Miskatonic Musings was posted today,
HERE. I listened through about the 30 minute mark, but then had to depart for the day job, where I can’t listen to podcasts with naughty words and discussions of naughty bits freezing up. My wife informs me that Laird mentions me near the end, so that makes me pretty happy, since Laird is a towering, city-stomping monster of a weird fiction writer, and a very wise fella when it comes to recommending new talent.

Item number two, in other Laird Barron related news, is Laird’s latest blog post, New Blood, in which he lists a number of emerging writers who are constitute a sort of new generation “helping reshape the contours of modern horror.” My name is on the list, so I’m double-happy.

Third thing, I just received an acceptance email and contract and payment, all within a few minutes of each other, for a story to appear in A Mythos Grimmly. The anthology is a sort of crossover between Lovecraftiana and traditional fables. My story, “The Apprentice, the Muse and the Mancer,” is a bit of a departure. Also, though I don’t do this writing thing for the money, I did receive the largest-ever single paycheck for a story. Here’s to bigger and bigger checks, and more publications!

Recent Reads: Oct 2014 Edition

Generally it seems that the more reviews I’m writing, the less reading I’m doing. Lately I’ve focused on reading a lot, and left reviewing as a secondary consideration. Time to catch up a bit, and if not write reviews, then at least summarize recent reads. I’ll have to break this into three or four parts.

nocountry

No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

Even lesser work by Cormac McCarthy exhibits numerous moments of greatness. No Country for Old Men seems to be the story of Llewelyn Moss finding millions of dollars in cash at the scene of a drug deal gone bad in the desert, but it’s really the story of Ed Tom Bell, a sheriff approaching retirement and watching his county disintegrate into madness and violence. Anton Chigurgh, the psychopathic hitman memorably portrayed by Javier Bardem in the film version of the book, is reminiscent at times of the Judge in Blood Meridian, in seeming to represent a deeper, wider-ranging force than mere human malevolence.

The title hints at an almost reactionary conservative outlook on the part of Sheriff Bell, as the book ends with Bell’s observations that society has deteriorated in many irreparable ways, starting from the loss of manners and civility and culminating in a near-complete breakdown of respect for life and law. Most of McCarthy’s work feels less narrowly focused on a given time period and locale, more timeless and universal. In comparison, this book is tied-down in a way that is very specific and contemporary (though not quite present-day), and in that sense No Country for Old Men feels smaller, less consequential. Still it’s powerful work, well worth reading, especially for those who can’t get enough Cormac McCarthy

suttree

Suttree by Cormac McCarthy

Halfway through this book, I mentioned to friends that contrary to what I’d been told, “Suttree is not lesser Cormac McCarthy.” Having finished the book, I’d call it a profound achievement, maybe only half a step beneath the level of Blood Meridian, though of an entirely different flavor. The biggest difference is that Suttree is funnier and often more absurd, full of self-defeat and futility, along with with the usual McCarthy obsession on death and the hostility of humankind to itself. I’ll come back to Suttree again and again, and highly recommend it

goldfinch

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

It’s long, and might be exhausting for some readers, but I loved this book’s intimate point of view and lush detail. The Goldfinch is much more interesting at length than in summary, but basically it’s the life of a teenage boy Theo after he finds himself in the middle of a terrorist bombing. My favorite aspect of The Goldfinch is the vividly rendered, slightly strange cast of characters. Every person in this story seems quirky and interesting, even relatively minor ones like Xandra, and I loved Theo’s friends Andy and especially Boris.

mobydick

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

An amazing achievement of creative invention, full of philosophy and adventure and encyclopedia detail. You can find a thousand essays or analyses if you want to know what it’s about, or what Melville was trying to do, so I won’t bother going into that. I’ll just say, I loved this book so much, and I look forward to reading it again.

***

Aside from The Goldfinch, a new book which I believe will stand the test of time, this has been a great year for catching up for major novels of the past.