Reading “Firedancing” at BizarroCon Nov. 2015

I’ve had two opportunities to read my work this month. First was the Word Horde group reading at BizarroCon. I read the middle of my story “Firedancing” from the Laird Barron tribute anthology, The Children of Old Leech published by Word Horde last year.

My wife Lena was good enough to record video of my reading.

Video also exists of the second reading at Powell’s Books in support of Cthulhu Fhtagn!, and I’ll post that soon.

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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:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1939905028

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

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Catching up on Recent Reading

Recently I resolved that I’d stop doing formal (or at least, semi-formal) reviews of the books I’ve read, but I didn’t intend to completely stop talking about what I’ve been reading.

Right now I’m in the middle of Burnt Black Suns by Simon Strantzas. I’ve read enough to know it’s something I’d definitely recommend. The second half of the book will determine how high I might rank this, but at a minimum it’s very good stuff, and worth a look. Simon’s one of the great writers on today’s horror scene, and seems to be aiming with this book for a more aggressive, visceral edge, as opposed to his usual quiet, atmospheric approach.

burntblacksuns

I recently finished Ana Kai Tangata, the debut collection by Scott Nicolay. In my review on Goodreads.com I said, “Certainly it’s one of the best debut collections I’ve ever read, and promises great things to come. Anyone interested in horror or weird fiction, or just dark and disturbing stories of troubled and broken people, will want to check this out.” Scott is a friend, but that’s not why I believe he’s written an incredible book here.

anakaitangata

You absolutely should not miss North American Lake Monsters… though this one’s getting such great word of mouth, you probably already know that. It came out last year, so I’m getting to it a bit late. This has been a hell of a time for collections of dark, weird fiction. I love the way Ballingrud shifts from a dirty realism reminiscent of Raymond Carver to the toughest and darkest black horror. Ballingrud’s work is powerful, confident and inspiring. Truly impressive.

northamericanlakemonsters

This week, I finished Child of God by Cormac McCarthy, and absolutely loved it, if “loved” is the word you’d use for something so dark and awful it makes you shudder while you’re reading. It’s earlier, simpler McCarthy, only a couple of hundred pages long, and more stripped down than anything of his I’ve read. For those who argue McCarthy is a horror writer, this is Exhibit A.

childofgod

Prior to that, I read McCarthy’s Blood Meridian for the first time. Somehow, I’d managed to postpone reading the greatest work by one of my favorite authors. I had some sense of “saving it” for a later time, and finally decided 2014 was the year. It’s difficult to come up with language sufficient to convey what this book is like, how hard it hits. It may be the most powerful book I’ve ever read, and certainly one of the most inspiring. I’ve always believed the weird and horrific can convey profound truths about the universe, and the place of human beings within it. This book spun my head around with its wild philosophical ideas, its brutality, and overwhelming, incantatory language.

bloodmeridian

I’ve just begun Moby-Dick, another one of those “how could any English major graduate without having read it?” books I’m encountering later in life. What I’ve read so far is beautiful and strange, and I plan to savor it slowly, over several months. I purchased the California Edition, recommended to me by Michael Cisco as his preferred edition of his favorite book. It’s a vastly less expensive, reduced version of the Arion Press letterpress edition, copies of which sell for tens of thousands of dollars. You get all the beautiful letterpress layout (reproduced in offset printing) and woodcut illustrations by Barry Moser, for 1/500th the price.

mobydick

And keeping with the theme of books I should’ve read long ago, on Scott Nicolay’s recommendation I read Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. It’s yet another of those all-time greats of American literature, one which many proclaim the Great American Novel. I’ll admit I probably avoided it in college because someone described it to me as a “protest novel,” but it’s not that at all. It’s weirdly experimental, propelled by an at times almost manic, jazzy energy, and displays fierce intelligence and philosophical curiosity. Truly a shame Ellison didn’t publish more than this in his lifetime.

invisibleman

Lastly, I’ll mention a new book I finished reading a couple weeks back. This one’s different than those above. I’m a bit biased, as my story “Firedancing” is included. It’s The Children of Old Leech, an anthology in tribute to Laird Barron, edited by Ross E. Lockhart and Justin Steele. I mention this not just because I’d like to see the book do well, but because it truly seems to me like a top-notch weird fiction anthology. The quality of the writing is uniformly excellent. Every writer seems to “get” Laird Barron, what’s unique about his work, and many take unusual approaches in their tribute. The book is a delight from beginning to end. But remember, I’m biased!

ChildrenOfOldLeech

That constitutes a truly amazing stretch of fiction over the past several months. I’ve become a bit more quick and ruthless about setting aside any book that’s not really top-notch, which has left me more time for rewarding reads like these.

The Children of Old Leech Ready to Order

The Children of Old Leech is supposed to be released July 15, but has begun showing up as “in stock” in various online bookstores.

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:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1939905028

All four of the above indicate in one way or another that they have copies of the book to sell, though the only one that says “ships within 24 hours” is Barnes and Noble.

I know a lot of people are looking forward to getting their hands on this book, and with good reason. I just finished reading it myself, and it’s absolutely packed with excellent and varied stories by many of today’s best weird & horror fiction writers. My own story “Firedancing” appears in the book. I feel absolutely thrilled and proud to be included in such company, and also to be able to pay tribute to Laird Barron, for whom I have the greatest respect.

ChildrenOfOldLeech

Editors Justin Steele and Ross E. Lockhart have put together a really noteworthy book, one that I feel is certain to get a lot of attention in coming years.

Children of Old Leech – It’s Gonna Be a Book!

There’s a progression of a book moving on from beginnings to become more and more real. First it’s just a concept, then it becomes a real plan, with a name and release date.

Cover art makes it seem more real, and if it’s an anthology, seeing a roster of the writers involved, and especially the titles of their stories, brings it that much closer to tangibility.

Short of actually holding the book in your hand, the two things that make it seem like it’s actually, truly going to be a real book are, 1) reading an electronic proof of the complete, edited text, and 2) seeing photos of the actual book in proof form.

I’ve had the ebook version of The Children of Old Leech for a few days now, and I’m about halfway through the book. So far, every story I’ve read is somewhere between very good and fantastic. I love the wide variety of styles and approaches taken by the different writers.

And as for seeing a copy of the actual book, we’re not quite to the final stage in the “it’s a real book” progression, but yesterday co-editor Ross E. Lockhart posted this:

oldleech-large

I love the cover design by Matthew Revert. The concept was clear from looking at digital art, but the intended sense of a real, old tome of worn leather really comes across when you see it like this.

Those of you who haven’t seen me talk about this before: this is The Children of Old Leech, a Laird Barron tribute anthology. You can read more or pre-order if interested.

The Children of Old Leech – Table of Contents

Justin Steele (co-editor along with Ross E. Lockhart) recently posted the full and official table of contents of Children of Old Leech, the Laird Barron tribute anthology.

– 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

I think any aficionado of weird fiction, or fan of Laird Barron, should find much to enjoy within these pages. I can’t wait to hold the book in my hands, and read the other stories.

Here’s that cover again, because it’s lovely. If you want to preorder, visit Word Horde.

ChildrenOfOldLeech

2014 Spring-Summer Publications

There’s a lot happening on the publishing front in April, May, June and July. It’s funny, the same thing happened last year after a dry spell – four publications in four months, then another dry spell.

Lovecraft eZine "King in Yellow" special issue, April 2014
Lovecraft eZine “King in Yellow” special issue, April 2014

Last week saw the publication of the April Lovecraft eZine, a special King in Yellow issue guest edited by noted Chambers-obsessed madman, Joseph S. Pulver Sr. This issue includes my long story “No Mask to Conceal Her Voice. Not only is the eZine be free to read online, but you can also order a print copy if you prefer. The Kindle ebook version is available on Amazon. Publisher Mike Davis gave me a print copy at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, and it looks fantastic.

Here’s Nick Gucker’s knockout illustration from my story:

"No Mask to Conceal Her Voice" illustration by Nick Gucker for Lovecraft eZine
“No Mask to Conceal Her Voice” illustration by Nick Gucker for Lovecraft eZine

April should also see the paperback publication of Mighty in Sorrow, the Current 93 tribute anthology edited by Jordan Krall. The Kindle ebook version of this is already available here, but of course many readers prefer a tangible paper copy. I’ve previously blogged about the Table of Contents here — there are some great writers in this book (Pulver, Mills, Cushing, Lockhart, Satyamurthy, tc.), and I’m proud to have my short piece “May Dawn Redeem What Night Destroys” included. The cover:

Mighty in Sorrow, a Current 93 tribute anthology
Mighty in Sorrow, a Current 93 tribute anthology

Soon I will have some more information, and maybe a pre-order link, for a limited edition chapbook of my novella, “Far From Streets.” This is a dark and strange story of a marriage, a cabin in the forest, the way time sometimes slips away from us. I think of it as a cross between “The Willows,” the classic story by Algernon Blackwood, and Antichrist, the recent film by director Lars von Trier.

I’ll hold off on sharing the cover for now until the publisher is ready, but here’s a little hint.

ffs-teasecard

Last, but by no means least, is Children of Old Leech, a tribute anthology dedicated to the fiction of Laird Barron, and published by Word Horde. It’s a great thrill to be part of this project, rubbing shoulders with some of weird & horror fictions’s greatest names. My story is called “Firedancing.”

ChildrenOfOldLeech

You can preorder Children of Old Leech and receive the hardcover along with an ebook version. Here’s that link again because you just know you wanna grab this book! Lastly, the Children of Old Leech ad card from Word Horde listing the authors included.

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That’s quite a bit of stuff coming, and I hope to have even more to announce soon.

Firedancing, Coming Up in Children of Old Leech

This weekend, I received the very exciting news that my story “Firedancing” will be included in the Laird Barron tribute anthology, CHILDREN OF OLD LEECH. The book will be edited by Ross E. Lockhart and Justin Steele for Lockhart’s press, Word Horde.

ChildrenOfOldLeech

The whole roster and table of contents have not yet been revealed, but based on announcements I’ve seen people making on Facebook about their stories being accepted, some wonderful writers like John Langan, Richard Gavin, Joe Pulver, Jeffrey Thomas (among many others) will be included.

I will of course include more information here, as it becomes available. You can also seek out editors Lockhart and Steele on social media, or check out the Word Horde Blog: http://wordhorde.com/the-children-of-old-leech-are-coming/.