HPLFF 2016 Day 3

We’re getting ready to head down to the Hollywood district for day 3 of HPLFF.

I’m reading with Cody Goodfellow at 3PM at the EOD center. Hope to see some of you there! I’ll be reading from Far From Streets, for the first time.

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What’s in the Book? (First Part)

By now I’ve shown the cover of The Lure of Devouring Light, I’ve given the table of contents, bragged about my blurbs from Laird Barron, S.P. Miskowski, Jeffrey Thomas and Michael Cisco, and most recently mentioned the flattering review in Publishers Weekly.

But maybe you’re wondering what these stories are all about. The majority of the book by word count (though not a majority of the stories by number) is previously unpublished. Also, some stories were previously published, but never widely seen. Most of the pages in The Lure of Devouring Light will be unfamiliar, except for those few readers who made a s serious effort to track down all my work along the way.

For this reason, I’d like to go through the table of contents and say something about each story. There will be no spoilers, no excerpts from the text, only a bit about where it came from, and where (if) it was previously published.

Note: As I began working on this post, I quickly realized that it was going to end up too long if I did the entire book all at once. So this will be part one of two, covering the book’s first half, the items in bold in this Table of Contents:

Introduction by John Langan
The Lure of Devouring Light
Dreaming Awake in the Tree of the World
Far From Streets
The Book of Shattered Mornings
Arches and Pillars

Diamond Dust
The Accident of Survival
No Mask to Conceal Her Voice
The Jewel in the Eye
The Need to Desire
The Black Vein Runs Deep

~~~

Introduction by John Langan: Scored, Scoured, Shining: Mike Griffin’s Surreal Inscapes

It’s customary that story collections, especially those from newer writers, include an introduction by a more established writer. The reason for this may be to let an author with greater clout or credibility offer a sort of endorsement, or provide insight in the form of analysis, a sort of map or guide to what should be made of the texts that follow.

I feel very fortunate to have an intro by John Langan. It’s my opinion that John’s last book, The Wide Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies, might have been the best collection of 2013, which is really saying something, considering what else came out that year, including Laird Barron’s The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All. John is far from unknown, but I feel most readers have not yet come to adequately appreciate a powerful, talented and impressive writer he is. But they will come to understand, I have no doubt. John is just too damn good a writer.

I won’t spoil anything John says in the intro, but I will say John Langan was my first choice to fill this slot. I’m flattered and delighted to have an introduction for my first book from someone whose work stands at the pinnacle of present day Horror and Weird Fiction.

The Lure of Devouring Light

The title story was my first professional publication. It came out in Apex Magazine, issue 47 in April, 2013, when Lynne Thomas was editor of Apex. Of course, I was very pleased to have a story in such a notably excellent and high-profile magazine. That year, Apex was up for the Hugo Award in the Best Semi-Pro Zine category, so of course I was hoping they would win so I could take all the credit. Alas, Apex came 2nd for that prize.

My story did receive a bit of notice. Many people sent me comments about it, which was my first experience with that. I even heard from a New York agent, expressing admiration for my prose and asking if I had a novel to submit.

One notable thing about “The Lure of Devouring Light” is that this story was originally written on spec for a themed anthology, but ended up being rejected. Of course rejection is never enjoyable, but in this case I was especially disappointed because I had created the story especially for this theme, this book. My anecdote may sound like sour grapes, but its point is not “how dare that editor reject me?” but something else. If the story had been accepted for that anthology, it could not have been accepted by Apex Magazine, where I received my first professional sale, and where the story received more notice than it might have otherwise. I believe that says a little something about the experience of emerging writers. Be patient. If the work is good, a rejection doesn’t matter.

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Dreaming Awake in the Tree of the World

This story may be my favorite among the previously unpublished stories here, not counting the giant novella “The Black Vein Runs Deep,” specially crafted to give extra heft to the end of the collection. Most of my stories are about strange places, and some are inspired by actual locales encountered in the real world. This is one of those.

My wife Lena and I hike a lot, in all kinds of settings within 2-3 hours drive of Portland, where we live. For a while we were very fond of one of the state parks, because in addition to setting in the bend of a beautiful river, and a slope up through the trees a high overlook, it was also very near home, and had good parking and clean bathrooms. In one of our hikes there, early in the Spring after frequent and steady rains had given way to a blast of heat, we encountered trails bogged down with mud, and overgrown with certain plant life that had overreacted to a couple weeks of sunlight. Even some of the elements in the story that may sound as if they could not possibly exist in a public park were in fact found to exist… at least if a little imagination could be used to explain certain things which appeared to lay beyond fenced boundaries.

Far From Streets

For many, “Far From Streets” is the most anticipated inclusion in this book. The novella was previously published in a very small edition, and achieved a fair amount of enthusiastic word of mouth, but because it went out of print before publication, a lot of people who had heard good things about it were unable to find copies.

It came about at NecronomiCon 2013. I was invited by Jordan Krall to write something for Dunhams Manor Press. I believe Jordan had been talked into this by Scott Nicolay, with whom Jordan had driven to Providence from New Jersey.

Because this was to be a stand-alone book, I saw this as an opportunity to write longer than was usually allowed by magazines or anthologies. I decided to rework an old story idea I really loved, but which had stalled, into a length that would allow me to do it justice. This problem had occurred several times in my earlier years as a writer — I would come up with something like a novel-sized idea and try to squeeze it into the 5,000 words usually allowed. So I ended up with folders full of ideas I had tried to write, stories I really wanted to tell, but which I had never been capable of pulling off, given the constraints of short story length. Having permission to write longer gave me the opportunity to revisit and flesh out such a very personal story idea, and work it out in depth. It was a difficult but wonderful and enlightening process.

I believed it was by far the best thing I’d yet written, but I was unsure how people would receive it. The story seemed very strange, and I wondered how it would come across. Because of publishing lead times, nobody ended up reading what I had written for quite a while after I was finished, so I had plenty of time to worry I had made it too strange, too philosophical or too perversely dark.

When the book came out, the reception was strongly and uniformly positive. This was a great experience, hearing from people who had ordered the book, or friends to whom I’d given copies. “Far From Streets” will always be an important milestone in my development, both from my inward perspective as a writer, and in terms of how other people began to recognize me as someone they wanted to read.

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

The Book of Shattered Mornings

Another previously unpublished piece. Some stories which include a lot of “drawn from life” influence bring it all from one place, one experience or one person. Others stitch together varied parts from different times and locations to create a strange brew, unpredictable because of the disparity of the ingredients. This story is of the latter type.

Arches and Pillars

This story’s background is much like “The Lure of Devouring Light” above, written on spec for a themed anthology for which it didn’t make the cut. Disappointment at that “failure” was quickly replaced by elation at the home my story found with the next place I sent it. “Arches and Pillars” was my first acceptance by the highly regarded Horror magazine, Black Static. I appeared in issue 35, July 2013, along with Daniel Mills, who has turned out to be the writer with whom I’ve shared a Table of Contents more often than any other, so far.

“Arches and Pillars” has its origins in a story I wrote in my twenties, when I was trying to write “straight” character-driven fiction, whether you want to call that literary or mainstream or something else. The aspects of the story I wanted to keep, primarily the delicate balancing act between two characters, really came to life once I imagined, “What if something strange…”

blackstatic35

~~~

Stay tuned for the sequel to this post, in which I’ll discuss the six stories in the second half of the book.

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!

Far From Streets Selling Out Fast

Sunday I mentioned that my standalone novella Far From Streets was available for preorder from Dunhams Manor Press.

I also mentioned this will be a small limited edition, and is expected to sell out fast. As of this morning, the edition is mostly gone. It’s hard to gauge from the little “availability” meter on the web store, but I’d say we’re about 2/3 sold out. If you want a copy, now’s the time. In a few days, they’ll all be gone.

ffs-teasebanner

Here’s that link to buy again. It’s only $7 for over 100 pages in a nice tidy little paperback, with a cover I designed myself using artwork I tweaked from a Gustav Klimt painting of fir trees.

Since it will sell out soon, if you buy it, read it and end up hating it, you’ll probably be able to sell it later for more than you paid! That’s better than a guarantee, isn’t it? MORE THAN your money back if not satisfied… sort of. Remember, though, this is a pre-order, so copies will not be mailed out immediately.

I appreciate the support of everyone who has ordered a copy so far.

Far From Streets Available for Pre-Order

The prior announcement was not a hoax. FAR FROM STREETS is now ready to pre-order! It’s only $7, though I think that’s is an introductory deal, and the price will increase soon. I’ve referred to this as a chapbook, but it’s actually a full novella, over 100 pages, not some little pamphlet.

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

http://dynatox.storenvy.com/collections/240632-all-products/products/7045832-far-from-streets-by-michael-griffin

I’ve described FAR FROM STREETS as “Antichrist meets The Willows.” It’s a weird tale of relationship disintegration, and the beguiling and terrifying aspects of wilderness.

This book is a limited edition, and we expect (hope) it will go out of print fairly quickly. If you’re interested in getting one, be ready to order in a super-duper hurry.

“Far From Streets” Coming Soon

In a recent update, I mentioned my upcoming novella “Far From Streets.” I’ve been given the go-ahead by the publisher, Dunhams Manor Press, to announce that this will be available to preorder soon.

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

Dunhams Manor Press has released some nice chapbooks of weird fiction by Nicole Cushing, Daniel Mills, Jordan Krall and others. In addition to my own upcoming release, the press will be doing books by Joseph S. Pulver Sr., Scott Nicolay, Wilum H. Pugmire, and T.E. Grau.

These are very limited editions (usually 25 or 33 or 50 copies) and generally sell out in pre-order, so if you have any interest in obtaining one, it’s best to order as soon as they’re announced. Soon I’ll say a bit more about the story, in case you need a bit more of a nudge in order to be interested.

For now I’m very pleased and excited to let everyone know this is coming. My thanks to Jordan Krall of Dunhams Manor Press for making this happen.

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.

“Far From Streets” Novella Coming Summer 2014

Several months ago I mentioned finishing a novella intended for standalone publication with a very interesting small press. The project has sat idling for a bit, but things are revving back up. I just finished cover design (the publisher was kind enough to let me create my own piece of art, a variation on a Gustav Klimt forest painting, and design my own cover layout) and reviewed the proofs, so this should be available for pre-order within a few weeks.

I’m very excited about this story, “Far From Streets.” It’s the longest thing I’ve written in many years, at about 19,000 words. The finished book will be just over 100 pages. I’ll have more information soon, including a preview of the cover art, and a more specific release date.