ReaderCon 2019

I’ll be at ReaderCon this year, Thursday through Sunday. This will probably be the only convention I’ll travel to this year (though I’ll hit the local ones, like HP Lovecraft Film Fest).

As usual, I look forward to reconnecting with old friends, and meeting new ones. It seems as if many of the people I usually spend time with every year, including my #1 ReaderCon buddy Justin Steele, will be absent this year.

I couldn’t miss the 2019 ReaderCon, though, as I’ll be receiving my rock as a Shirley Jackson Award nominee. As far as I’m concerned, this is the top award in the fields of horror and weird fiction, and to me, just being nominated feels like winning. Assuming I’m not the recipient of the award (don’t get me wrong, winning would be nice and I wouldn’t turn it down), I’ll feel nothing but pride and satisfaction at being a finalist.

As usual, I’ll try to post pictures along the way. The Shirley Jackson Award ceremony is 11 AM Eastern, and will be streamed here:
https://www.periscope.tv/edelmanscott/

If you see me at the convention, please say hello, even if it seems I don’t recognize you. Sometimes social media friends just need a little reminder, and I love the chance to meet online friends in person.

Full List of Finalists for 2018 Shirley Jackson Awards

I wrote that previous “Hey, I’m a Shirley Jackson Award finalist!” blog in advance, knowing that the announcement was going to happen while I was at work. At the time, I didn’t know who else was nominated, but the announcement has been posted and I’ll copy it here:

In recognition of the legacy of Shirley Jackson’s writing, and with permission of the author’s estate, The Shirley Jackson Awards, Inc. has been established for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic.

The Shirley Jackson Awards are voted upon by a jury of professional writers, editors, critics, and academics. The awards are given for the best work published in the preceding calendar year in the following categories: Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Single-Author Collection, and Edited Anthology.

The nominees for the 2018 Shirley Jackson Awards are:

NOVEL
Everything Under, Daisy Johnson (Jonathan Cape)
In the Night Wood, Dale Bailey (John Joseph Adams Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Little Eve, Catriona Ward (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, an imprint of The Orion Publishing Group)
Social Creature, Tara Isabella Burton (Double Day/Raven Books)
We Sold Our Souls, Grady Hendrix (Quirk Books)

NOVELLA
Judderman, DA Northwood (Gary Budden) (Dead Ink Books/Cinder House Publishing)
The Atrocities, Jeremy C. Shipp (Tor.com)
The Only Harmless Great Thing, Brooke Bolander (Tor.com)
The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky, John Hornor Jacobs (HarperCollins Publishers)
The Taiga Syndrome, Cristina Rivera Garza (Dorothy, a Publishing Project)

NOVELETTE
“Adriftica,” Maria Dahvana Headley (Robots vs. Fairies)
“Blood and Smoke, Vinegar and Ashes,” D.P. Watt (The Silent Garden)
Ghostographs: An Album, Maria Romasco Moore (Rose Metal Press)
“Help the Witch,” Tom Cox (Help the Witch)
“The Black Sea,” Chris Mason (Beneath the Waves – Tales from the Deep, April 2018)

SHORT FICTION
“Back Seat,” Bracken MacLeod (Lost Highways)
“Hell,” David Hansen (The Charcoal Issue of Fairy Tale Review, March 2018)
“How to be a Horror Writer,” Tim Waggoner (Vastarien: A Literary Journal vol 1., issue 2 – Summer / Grimscribe Press)
“The Astronaut,” Christina Wood Martinez (Granta 142: Animalia)
“The Woman Dies,” Aoko Matsuda, translated from the Japanese by Polly Barton (online edition of Granta 144: genericlovestory)

SINGLE-AUTHOR COLLECTION
All the Fabulous Beasts, Priya Sharma (Undertow Publications)
From Deep Places, Gemma Files (Trepidatio Publishing)
Garden of Eldritch Delights, Lucy A. Snyder (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
Quartier Perdu, Sean O’Brien (Comma Press)
The Human Alchemy, Michael Griffin (Word Horde)

EDITED ANTHOLOGY
Chiral Mad 4: An Anthology of Collaborations, edited by Michael Bailey and Lucy A. Snyder (Written Backwards)
Robots vs Fairies, edited by Navah Wolfe and Dominik Parisien (Saga Press)
The Silent Garden: A Journal of Esoteric Fabulism, edited by The Silent Garden Collective (Undertow Publications)
This Dreaming Isle, edited by Dan Coxon (Unsung Stories)
Tiny Crimes: Very Short Tales of Mystery and Murder, edited by Lincoln Michel and Nadxieli Nieto (Black Balloon)

Shirley Jackson (1916-1965) wrote such classic novels as The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, as well as one of the most famous short stories in the English language, “The Lottery.” Her work continues to be a major influence on writers of every kind of fiction, from the most traditional genre offerings to the most innovative literary work.

The 2018 Shirley Jackson Awards will be presented on Sunday, July 14, 2019, at Readercon 30, Conference on Imaginative Literature, in Quincy, Massachusetts. Readercon Guests of Honor Tananarive Due and Stephen Graham Jones will be the ceremony hosts.

Websites:ShirleyJacksonAwards.org
Readercon.org
______________________________________________________________
Media representatives who are seeking further information or interviews should contact JoAnn F. Cox.

My sincere thanks to all the jurors and board members for the Shirley Jackson Awards, and congratulations to all the other nominees!

Four Wonderful Endorsements

One of the rare but wonderful occurrences in publishing is the moment before an upcoming book is published when the blurbs start to arrive. Not many things feel as wonderful as receiving endorsements from some of my favorite writers. For The Human Alchemy, I made of point of only reaching out to writers who hadn’t written blurbs for The Lure of Devouring Light (which included Laird Barron, S.P. Miskowki, Jeffrey Thomas and Michael Cisco). The blog post where I first announced the blurbs for my first collection is here

This time, I was lucky enough to get responses from Richard Gavin, Brian Evenson, Gabino Iglesias and Gemma Files. Despite my “no repeat” rule, S.P. Miskowski did return to write the introduction, about which I’ll say more in a future blog post.

For now, here’s what Richard, Brian, Gabino and Gemma had to say.

“Every story in The Human Alchemy is a finely-wrought tapestry, containing many shades of darkness and light. Michael Griffin deftly weaves together threads of loss, mysticism, and creeping fear to create a truly remarkable collection. His tales usher the reader through the familiar world, then reveals to them the infinite.”
Richard Gavin, author of Sylvan Dread

“Griffin’s characters often live in the aftermath of loss and, deeply wounded, they search for something to make them whole or to make them feel the world is not an arbitrary place.  From cult followers awaiting enlightenment, to believers in mystical texts, to a mathematician who tries to formulate the structure of the world, to a woman who thinks she’s entering a threesome but ends up getting (and losing) so much more, Griffin’s characters pursue the lure of enlightenment into places that are very dark indeed–and once they’re inside, chances are they won’t be able to get out.  A strong collection that makes us understand the weird in a powerful new way.”
Brian Evenson, author of A Collapse of Horses

“Michael Griffin’s The Human Alchemy is fine art dripping slime from another dimension. This is cool, strange, creepy, elegant fiction. Think Iceberg Slim in a tailor-made Italian suit channeling the best of Lovecraft while dragging it, kicking and screaming, into our time. Throw in crackling dialogue and an Escher-like ability to bend time and space while forging new realities and what you have is a collection that cements Griffin as one of the most stylish, unique, and entertaining voices in contemporary weird fiction.”
Gabino Iglesias, author of Zero Saints

“Michael Griffin’s The Human Alchemy reveals a multifoliatedly arcane world hidden beneath the surface of our own mundane one, riddling it with hell-holes, quicksand and potential ecstatic ruin. His stories snag and drown readers by degrees, fast or slow, every sequence a new section of reef lying in wait for unwary navigators, especially those trained to expect the usual horror tropes. In other words, damn this stuff is Weird.”
Gemma Files, author of Experimental Film

I can’t possibly thank these four amazing writers enough to accurately convey how flattered and pleased I am to receive their words. I hope anyone not already familiar with the work of any or all of the four will seek it out.

Word Horde Reading on Outer Dark Podcast

Maybe you missed The Outer Dark Symposium in San Jose two weekends ago, and wish you could’ve attended all the panels and readings? If so, you’re in luck, because The Outer Dark is also a podcast, and they’re starting to run audio of some of that programming.

First up, the Word Horde sponsored reading from Friday night, featuring Scott R Jones, Tiffany Scandal, Rios de la Luz and me.

http://www.thisishorror.co.uk/tod-034-the-outer-dark-symposium-2018-friday-night-readings-presented-by-wordhorde-featuring-rios-de-la-luz-michael-griffin-scott-r-jones-tiffany-scandal-and-ross-e-lockhart/

Upcoming installments of The Outer Dark podcast will feature panels and other readings. It was a great convention, and now’s your chance to check it out.

2018 Outer Dark Symposium

Next week I’ll be heading down to San Jose, California for the 2018 Outer Dark Symposium, held this year at the famous and scary Winchester Mystery House.

The Indiegogo fundraiser supporting this event still runs for two more days, so you can look HERE for supporting memberships, or to purchase donated books and other perks.

I’ll be part of a Friday evening reading, along with Rios de la Luz, Tiffany Scandal and Scott R Jones, at the Plaza Suites hotel.

The Symposium proper happens on Saturday, with four panels, all of which sound interesting to me. I’ll be a panelist on panel #3, “The Frame is the Landscape. In between the panels are individual readings. After, we’ll be taking guided tours of the Winchester Mystery House.

Sunday, after the Symposium is officially closed, there will be a breakfast, then a few off-site activities for those who aren’t heading home immediately.

This should be tons of fun! I’ll post photos for those who can’t be present, as much as possible. I look forward to seeing many good friends again, and meeting new ones for the first time.

Relevant links:

Brown Paper Tickets link: https://theouterdark.brownpapertickets.com/

Indiegogo: https://igg.me/at/theouterdark2018

The Outer Dark Symposium Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/192046028027298/

Friday Night Readings Presented by Word Horde Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/268053990398820/

John Langan’s 2017 Locus Summary

John Langan’s 2017 summary article “2017: A Year Inside the Tent” now appears on the Locus Magazine web site, and it’s a good overview of the prior year.

http://locusmag.com/2018/03/2017-a-year-inside-the-tent-by-john-langan/

John calls out my debut novel Hieroglyphs of Blood and Bone, as well as several of the anthologies in which I appeared last year, and mentions a lot of other novels, collections, and anthologies and works of nonfiction. Definitely worth a look.

2018 Outer Dark Symposium

In just over two weeks, I’ll be attending the Outer Dark Symposium in San Jose, California. You can read more about the event, and possibly help support it, at the Outer Dark Symposium Indiegogo page. There’s also a Facebook event page here.

The symposium, which takes place at the Winchester Mystery House, should be a fun and unusual gathering, smaller than conventions like NecronomiCon or ReaderCon, more intimate and packed with only the coolest Weird weirdos.

Just before the Symposium itself, taking place in the affiliated hotel where many of the guests will be staying, is a Friday night reading event. I’ll be reading along with Rios de la Luz, Tiffany Scandal and Scott R Jones. Of this event, the organizers say:

Thanks to Word Horde for sponsoring our Kick-Off event to The Outer Dark Symposium on the Greater Weird 2018 featuring readings by Mike Griffin, Rios de la Luz, Tiffany Scandal & Scott R Jones! Hosted by Ross E. Lockhart. Please tell your friends in the Bay Area because it’s open to the public for a $10 cover charge. Or we still have a few tickets left to the symposium, and it’s included in your membership. Spread the Weird! https://theouterdark.brownpapertickets.com

In fact, it appears the Friday reading event has its own event page (distinct from the Outer Dark Symposium event page) on Facebook here.

This will be my first time at the Outer Dark Symposium (there was an event last year in Atlanta). I believe this gathering promises to be a lot of fun, and I look forward to seeing many friends among the scheduled guests and random attendees.

Two Episodes of The Outer Dark

I participated in the last two episodes of The Outer Dark podcast hosted by Scott Nicolay.

Most recently, in episode 026, I discussed the two BizarroCon panels featured in the episode, and discussed Autumn Christian’s collection Ecstatic Inferno.

http://www.thisishorror.co.uk/tod-026-two-bizarrocon-panels-the-road-to-publication-and-the-weird-in-a-post-weird-world/

In last week’s episode 025, I made an appearance to talk about Bizarro Con, which had just finished at the time of the interview, and give a short review of John Claude Smith’s novel The Wilderness Within.

http://www.thisishorror.co.uk/tod-025-nathan-carson-touring-the-weird-by-canoe/

My BizarroCon 2017 Schedule

BizarroCon is a local convention I’ve really enjoyed the last few years. It takes place every autumn at McMenamins Edgefield, a site worth visiting on its own merits, even if there’s no BizarroCon happening.

It’s on the smaller side, as conventions go, and certainly one of the friendlier and more intimate events I’ve attended. The readings and several of the events occur in this separate building called the Ad House, but panels and the vending room and the Saturday evening banquet and awards take over a good chunk of the main hotel.

Above, I am reading in the Ad House last year (photo by Ross E. Lockhart).

I will be in attendance for a few hours Thursday night, and all day Friday and Saturday, and until mid-afternoon Sunday. My participation in the programming will include:

Saturday 12:30-1:30pm
THE WORD HORDE READING HOUR—Ross Lockhart, Michael Griffin, Nathan Carson, and Tiffany Scandal. (Location: The Ad House)

Saturday 2:30-3:15pm
WORLD BUILDING AND ATMOSPHERE (Mod—Ross Lockhart, Mike Griffin, Kevin L. Donihe, Laura Lee Bahr, Autumn Christian, Eric Hendrixson)—Bizarro fiction is known for its surreal landscapes and unconventional settings. How do you create a strange world while still keeping your story grounded and accessible to readers? This panel of writers will share their approaches to world building. (Location: The Barley Room)

Link to the complete schedule:

Schedule 2017

I’ll post pictures on my Instagram and Facebook feeds, for those who are curious but can’t attend. Those of you who will be present, I look forward to seeing you!

NecronomiCon Providence Report, Part 2 – Saturday-Sunday

Previous post HERE covers Thursday and Friday at the convention.

Saturday Lena and I got another late start, skipped breakfast and instead had wonderful early-lunch burritos at Viva Mexico. I should’ve taken pictures! Here’s a picture of me & Lena in the dealer room, photo courtesy of Todd Chicoine.

After yet another run-through of the vending areas, we attended the Thomas Ligotti panel. This featured Alex Houston (moderator), Michael Calia, Jon Padgett, Matthew Bartlett and Michael Cisco.

Jon Padgett offered quite a few special insights and anecdotes from his long friendship with Ligotti. We sat toward the back and couldn’t hear a couple of the panelists very well, so big thanks to Scott Desmarais for recording video, available below!

Immediately after this at 6 PM, just across the hall, was the Looming Low reading. Because we came straight from the other panel, I had to forego my usual fortification of a drink or two just before doing a reading. The event was very well attended, and the room was full, with an especially rowdy contingent of Canadians in back (not visible here).

The picture above is co-editor Justin Steele introducing the program. The audience extended further back, behind what’s shown in this photo.

I read the beginning from “The Sound of Black Dissects the Sun.” Here’s a photo by Jake Marley:

I kind of like this one better, though, as it fits the tone of the story. Photo by Michael Wehunt, with my special, secret “Sound of Black” filter applied.

And here a video of my reading, about 12 minutes worth:

Other readers included Livia Llewellyn, Anya Martin, Brooke Warra, and Michael Wehunt. It was Brooke’s first reading and she did a great job, as did all the others. All my photos had a lot of background glare, so I’ll just post one of Brooke, since a writer’s first reading is a big milestone:

In addition to those of us who read, there were a total of 12 contributors to the book in attendance! The crowd was not only large, but very enthusiastic. I signed more books than I’ve signed all in one place, anywhere, ever. I was also delighted to see how many people owned the hardcover.

Hardcover with art by Marcela Bolivar:

Nothing at all against the paperback — in fact, the art by Yves Tourigny is beautiful and every bit the equal of the hardcover art by Marcela Bolivar — but I love to see people picking up the special limited version despite the higher price. Both versions have the same content, of course, so you can’t go wrong either way. A surprising number of people seemed to have bought one of each.

Trade paperback with art by Yves Tourigny:

The book appears to be one of the Horror/Weird Fiction events of the year, and I very much look forward to investigating all 26 stories. If you weren’t able to pick up a copy at the con but would like to have one, you can order direct from Dim Shores.

Speaking of books and Dim Shores, Sam set aside a few copies of certain out of print Dim Shores chapbooks, intending to sell them at the con, but one of the boxes didn’t arrive until Sunday, after almost everyone had gone. Because of this, a few copies of recent books (previously sold out) are available now via the Dim Shores online store. This includes my own AN IDEAL RETREAT. This hasn’t been for sale in quite a while, and won’t be again, so if you’re ever going to want one of these, grab it up while the store listing is still active.

Here are direct links to the various books available as of now:

Dim Shores storefront http://dimshores.storenvy.com
Michael Griffin – An Ideal Retreat http://dimshores.storenvy.com/products/18112772-an-ideal-retreat
Michael Cisco – The Knife Dance (paperback) http://dimshores.storenvy.com/products/16315701-the-knife-dance-tp
Michael Wehunt – The Tired Sounds, a Wake http://dimshores.storenvy.com/products/18444427-the-tired-sounds-a-wake

Note, not all books published by Dim Shores are by people named Michael! Following is proof:

J.-H. Rosny aîné, translated by Scott Nicolah – The Xipéhuz http://dimshores.storenvy.com/products/18961909-the-xipehuz
Christopher Slatsky – Palladium at Night http://dimshores.storenvy.com/products/19885481-palladium-at-night
Cody Goodfellow – The Polite Ones http://dimshores.storenvy.com/products/20326736-the-polite-ones
Resist and Refuse #1 – a benefit zine http://dimshores.storenvy.com/products/20142866-resist-and-refuse-1
Looming Low volume 1 (trade paperback) http://dimshores.storenvy.com/products/20562302-looming-low-volume-i-tpb
Looming Low volume 1 (deluxe limited hardcover) http://dimshores.storenvy.com/products/20580953-looming-low-volume-i-dhc
Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. and Edward Morris – The Resplendent Troswoman Below http://dimshores.storenvy.com/products/21324986-the-resplendent-troswoman-below

Please note, this last item is a special fundraiser, profits of which go to benefit Joe Pulver, and help offset his ongoing medical costs.

SO, after such events as described above, what more could a convention-goer want? Maybe it was time to call it an evening, shut things down early and retire to restful sleep?

No!

One of the events that has characterized every hotel-based convention I’ve ever attended is the big Saturday night room party. At NecronomiCon in 2013, it was Laird Barron and John Langan’s room. In 2015, with Laird not in attendance, the party happened in John Langan and Paul Tremblay’s room. You might be thinking, “OK, so who did Langan share a room with this year?”

The answer is, John was unable to attend (and was much missed, and also gossiped-about, in his absence), so the torch has been passed to a new generation. The NecronomiCon 2017 room party of record was held in the room 638, shared by Justin Steel and Sam Cowan, co-editors of Looming Low.

There’s a new boss at NecronomiCon!

Justin Steele guarding the first deposits to the Iron Bank of Whiskey.

Here we have Lee Thomas, Katie Lang-Calia, Livia Llewellyn, Michael Calia, Simon Strantzas and Nicholas Kaufmann. The photo is slightly blurry because the room was so hot and humid, my lens fogged up.

Here I am standing by the cool ventilation of the open window with Theresa DeLucci and her husband, mostly talking about how the new Twin Peaks is the best thing ever, and anybody who doesn’t get it is just sad and wrong.

And here’s another angle of the cool, open window, with Paul Tremblay, Michael Calia, Me, Teresa, her husband Pritpaul, and Jake Wyckoff.

Somehow Lena and I managed to stick around until after 2:30 and there were lots of people still up and around when we left. The next day, Sam reported that he finally expelled the last stragglers at 4 AM. Room party successful!

I’ve never been good at falling right asleep when I get home (or at least to my hotel room), so I was up another hour or so, and had to set an alarm to wake me up after a short rest.

Sunday morning, the final morning of the convention, I had my earliest panel. Here’s somebody’s hand-drawn sign outside the room:

So it was, the Dreaded Surreal: Landscapes in Weird Fiction panel, with Eric Schaller (moderator), Craig L. Gidney, me, Jeffrey Thomas and Christopher Burke. Here, during introductions, Jeffrey Thomas shows off the novel I just mentioned.

That’s a buddy, helping with the promotional boost!

The panel went well, with plenty of interesting discussion and questions and recommended reading to check out. Before we know it, though, the thing was over! Not just the panel, but the whole convention.

Lena and I had to leave immediately after the panel, so I had my suitcase with me at the table and headed outside without delay. Before we knew it, Lena and I were at the airport, then through security, and NecronomiCon 2017 was already in the rear-view mirror. The whole convention was a wonderful experience. Highlights included the Looming Low reading, the Dim Shores room party, accepting the Robert Bloch award for Joe Pulver, attending the Ligotti panel, and having a chance to meet a great many online friends in person for the first time.

The NecronomiCon was a great experience all around. I only wish it happened every year. My sincere thanks to Niels Hobbs and his crew of tireless volunteers for making this happen!