Halloween Month!

For a horror writer or fan, October is our most beloved month. What’s not to love? It’s getting cold, the leaves are turning all kinds of beautiful colors, and the rest of the world takes horror as seriously as we do.

Halloween
A sign of the season…

So on my website, I also wanted to do something a little special. I’m going to be doing a couple of special October posts! First things first, I’m going to be writing a sequel to my Noble Film Festival from last year! This festival feels like it should be an annual thing, so we are going to be doing it all over again.

I’ll also do a book themed post (more on that to come) and an exclusive horror story! I’m treating it as a serial, with a piece coming out every day (starting on the 24th of October) and ending on All Hallow’s Eve! So keep your eyes peeled (not literally) for the spook-tastic activity here at my site!

Monthly Review: September 2019

Hello everyone! It’s been a few months since I’ve done a Monthly Review. Life has been a bit crazy lately, and my writing has taken a back seat. I did have a little movement, and once my schedule clears up, I hope to do more.

Story Submissions:

New Submissions: 1

Stories Still Out in the Wild: 2

Acceptances: 0

Rejections: 0

I submitted a flash story to a monster contest. If the story wins, I’ll know on the first of October. It’s a fun story, and if it doesn’t get picked up there, I’ll find a new locale to send it out to. I’m also still waiting on another story, and I’m thinking it will still be a few more months.

What else have I been doing?

Interview with Laird Barron!

Laird Barron

Photo Credit by Ellen Datlow

In September I interviewed the king of horror-noir, Laird Barron! Laird is one of my favorite authors, so interviewing him here was a check on my writer bucket list. It was a great interview!

My NecronomiCon Book Haul!

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Back in August I attended NecronomiCon 2019! It was a four day convention in Providence, RI, dedicated to H.P. Lovecraft. It was one of the coolest events I’ve ever attended. I bought a lot of books, and this article highlights some of the cool stuff I got my hands on.


I did want to make one more announcement: I’m Interviews to every other month. It was way too tough to hunt down an author to interview and then get them thoughtful interview questions in a timely manner. While interviewing monthly was awesome, I just don’t think I’m doing it justice! I still want to have an article come out in that first week slot, but I may switch up into something a bit more fun. More information forthcoming!

My NecronomiCon Book Haul!

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Late last month I attended what has to be the most awesome event ever: NecronomiCon Providence! If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a 4-day convention dedicated to the works of H.P. Lovecraft, as well as other giants in Weird Fiction. It’s four days of film festivals, author readings and other events. It’s one of the best parts of the convention is the books! The Vendor Hall is filled with authors and publishers, looking to sell you their extensive back catalog. I left some room in my suitcase and brought some true treasures back. Because I don’t have anything else to write about this month, let’s look at said treasures!

I picked these two books up directly from Jonathan Raab of Muzzleland Press. Muzzleland’s first anthology was also my first real publishing credit, so I’ve been a fan of them for years now. Jonathan is a pretty great guy, and both of these books look awesome. Cinematic Gothic Horror is an excellent idea for an anthology, and Jonathan’s new novel sounds like the meta-slasher tale that I need this time of year.

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I also picked up Ross Lockhart’s Giallo Fantastique. I own this one on Kindle, but I’ve been wanting to add this book to my real shelf for quite some time. If you’re a giallo fan giallo.jpgor a fan of excellent fiction, you should consider grabbing this one as well.

Continuing the theme of excellent publishers, I finally got my hand on Nightscape Press’ Ashes and Entropy.jpgnew anthology of horror noir, Ashes and Entropy. Several of the stories were signed, which looks great next to the lush art inside. I also got a chance to hang out with Robert S. Wilson and his wife, who are really wonderful people.

It’s no secret that I’m a big John Langan fan. I snagged this book from the Lovecraft Arts and Sciences storefront at the Arcade mall. I got to hear John read, and then tried not to geek out to much when I met him. It was the same story with Nathan Ballingrud. Two of the best writers in the genre, and I got personally signed copies of their books. Pretty awesome, and a highlight of my Providence visit.

I treasured my time in Providence, and I hope to have another article coming soon that will summarize my time there. If you love Weird/Horror media, NecronomiCon is worth every penny to attend.

 

Interview: Laird Barron

It’s just now September, which means we are arms length away from autumn. But summer isn’t done yet, so let’s fill some of the time with a new Author interview! Every month I’ll be interviewing authors and creators about their newest works, their lives, and what influences them. This month I’m chatting with the king of horror-noir, Laird Barron!

Laird Barron

Photo Credit by Ellen Datlow

Hello Laird! Thank you for joining me for this interview! For my first question, I want to go back to your origin story. What made you want to be a writer? What lead you to lay out words on paper for a living?

Hi, Logan. Thank you for the conversation.

I was interested in writing before I knew the alphabet. Wrote three novels by my early teens and filled a few boxes with stories, story fragments, and poetry. The idea of appearing in anthologies and magazines alongside my favorite authors was an ambition that floated around on the periphery. I recall poring over Harlan Ellison’s introductions to his Dangerous Visions books and was impressed that so many famous authors corresponded or hung out. That collegiality seemed pretty swell to a kid living in isolation in Alaska. Writing as a means to earn money didn’t coalesce until I actually started selling stories in 2000.

Your new novel Black Mountain released back in May. Both that book and your previous one (Blood Standard) feature ex-mob enforcer turned P.I., Isaiah Coleridge. When creating this character, did you draw inspiration from other books or films of the genre? 

I’ve written hardboiled characters for many years to maneuver myself into position to depict Isaiah Coleridge. He’s not a regular person, even by pulp standards. Achilles, Beowulf, Hercules, and Krishna, among others, sleep in his blood. Hunters from the Stone Age dream in his hindbrain. I’ve long thought Jules Winnfield from Pulp Fiction and Hawk from the Spenser series were fascinating. Some of my inspiration for Coleridge’s baseline aesthetic draws from that well, and the wells of John D. MacDonald, Roger Zelazny, and on the darker end of the first-person narrator spectrum, Jim Thompson.

On the film front, Takashi Miike’s general tone is influential. Peckinpah and Bergman, same. Watch it all and be awed. Michael Caine’s Carter in Get Carter. Peter Fonda was such an effective force of banal evil in The Limey. Refn’s Only God Forgives and Too Old to Die Young are way up there. I’m anticipating Destroyer with Nicole Kidman

As I read both Blood Standard and Black Mountain, I felt like I could see the groundwork for future threats that Isaiah may come up against. I’m excited to see how it all plays out! Will we be seeing more of Isaiah in the near future?

I’m working on the third chapter in Coleridge’s saga. It’s called Worse Angels and will hit shelves in 2020. He glimpsed the darkness that underlies the daylight world in Black Mountain. Unfortunately, the darkness has also seen him.

A lot of young writers I talk to get discouraged with the grind (sending stories out on submission, etc.) and the constant struggle that is the publishing world. Do you have any general advice for any writers looking to get published?

I don’t have any advice that isn’t out there. Here’s how I look at it.

The places where you are really, really hot to get published are rejecting 98 to 99% of all comers. A significant number of writers can’t sell a second story or a second or third book to the same publisher. It’s a game designed to make you quit. Learn to manage your expectations accordingly. You’ll be happier.

Let’s talk about books for a moment. What’s in your To Be Read pile right now? Any books you’re looking forward to in the future?

I have read or am reading manuscripts by several authors. I’m also revisiting crime and noir novels from my youth. Chandler, MacDonald, Leonard. J. Todd Scott and Hilary Davidson have excellent crime novels out. Crumley’s The Last Good Kiss is a classic I overlooked until recently. Glad to have rectified that. Will be switching gears and hitting up thrillers soon—Martin Cruz Smith and Frederick Forsyth come to mind.

Last question: if you woke up tomorrow in a Laird Barron story, how do you think you would fare? If you came across a copy of The Black Guide, would you take it home with you? And how long would it take you to abandon your place at the Frazier Estate Apartments?

A Laird Barron story is merely a possible outcome of everyday existence. We have a border collie. Smart as a whip. I frequently hide somewhere in the house and she searches for me. The best trick is to challenge her a little. So, I hide when she is unaware and then wait for her to notice.

The other night I had the great idea to crouch in the dark under the dining room table. I waited patiently. Five minutes, ten minutes, now I’m a bit uncomfortable, fifteen…I figured out later that doggo and girlfriend had gone off and fallen asleep. Somebody hiding under a table to surprise his or her dog might be a Laird Barron story detail.


Yet another insightful interview! I’d like to thank Laird for his time, and thank you dear reader for joining me! If you want to pick up any of Laird Barron’s work, go through his website here: lairdbarron@wordpress.com.

And if interviews are you things, please check out the rest of my Interview series!

The first interview with Lovecraftian extraordinaire Pete Rawlik! 

The insanely talented Kristi DeMeester!

The spooktastic Michael Wehunt!

Horror’s favorite skeleton Orrin Grey!

Artist and cryptid king Trevor Henderson!

Haunted radio jockey/author Matthew M. Bartlett!

Horror podcast maverick Gemma Amor!

Horror author (and birder!) Carrie Laben!

Video game critic (and video game Jedi) Alex Kane!

Strange story specialist Simon Strantzas!

Myth-maker Georgina Bruce!

Stoker Award Winner Nicole Cushing!

 

 

My Summer Reads So Far!

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It’s summer time! The breeze is coming in off the water, the sun is out, and… I’m at work. Bummer. But don’t despair! I’ve had the chance to explore fantastic and horrific worlds from the air-conditioned comfort of my living room. I wanted to put together a post to share all the excellent books I’ve been reading this summer.

Wounds: Six Stories from the Border of Hell by Nathan Ballingrud


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When I was a kid, I spent a LOT of time in the local library. It was nice and cool for one, and for a very big two, it was filled with books.

So it seemed fitting that I start the summer off by borrowing Nathan Ballingrud’s newest collection. Wounds was truly impressive. It may be my favorite collection of the year. The world building and terror constructed here kinda’ blew my mind. I was sad to see it end.

A Collapse of Horses by Brian Evenson


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A Collapse of Horses has been in my TBR pile since late last year. When my wife and I visited Boston, we (of course) had to visit the Harvard Book Store. When I saw this fantastic cover, I knew I had to grab it.

With all the attention on Brian’s new collection, I figured it was time to unearth this book and dive in. I LOVED this collection. I find it hard to describe what I like best about Brian’s works. They are as cold as Aickman’s, but with the twisted logic of Ligotti. Maybe? Just read them. It’s sheer nightmare fuel.

Song for the Unraveling of the World by Brian Evenson


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And speaking of nightmare fuel… Brian Evenson has a new collection! While I think it’s not as perfect as A Collapse of Horses, Song for the Unraveling of the World is still an incredible read. Reading these back-to-back was like drinking some kind of sweet poison.

The Dream-Quest of Velitt Boe by Kij Johnson


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I decided to reread The Dream-Quest of Velitt Boe because it’s perfect for summer! It’s warm, interesting, and deep. It’s a short book about a long trek through H.P. Lovecraft’s Dreamlands. While I was never a fan of Lovecraft’s Dreamlands, Kij has made them a mysterious delight. I want to hang with Velitt and the cat. Please.

The Grand Dark by Richard Kadrey


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And now for the book I’m currently reading! Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim books are favorites of mine, so the promise of a new Kadrey creation made me take note. Though I’m only about mid-way through, I’m in love with this vile Steampunk fantasy world. Kadrey knows how to world-build and make it fun.


Those are my summer reads! Do you have any go to summer reads? Beachside or otherwise? Fill me in below!

Interview: Nicole Cushing

Hello everybody and welcome to July’s Interview! I’ve got an interview ready just in time for the holiday weekend! If you’re new around here, every month I’ll be interviewing authors and creators about their newest works, their lives, and what influences them. This month I’m talking to Stoker Award Winner Nicole Cushing! Her new novel releases next month, and I invited her to my blog to talk about it!

Nicole Cushing

Hello Nicole! I’m excited to be interviewing you today! I like to start with the ultimate ice-breaker request: tell us a little bit about yourself! What made you want to be a writer?

I’ve always loved language. When I was ten years old, I would entertain myself by skimming through the dictionary. I especially enjoyed finding out the backstory of words; how they came to be, their roots in other languages, for example.

Later, as a teenager, I developed an appreciation for fiction. I believe this is because the stories and poems I read in English class spoke to me in a way nothing else did. Emily Dickinson “felt a Funeral, in (her) brain”. Shakespeare stared at suicide. Poe ogled cruelty and disease. J.D. Salinger mocked the phoniness and triviality of common aspirations. Katherine Anne Porter exposed the futility of hope. Who wouldn’t want to join such a lovably degenerate gang?

Your new novel ‘A Sick Grey Laugh’ releases next month! How did this book come to be? And how did it differ from your experience writing your previous books?

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My first novel (Mr. Suicide) won the Bram Stoker Award in 2016, and in the aftermath of that celebration I found my career at a crossroads. I had to ask myself, Where do I go from here? I mulled the pros and cons of writing a second novel very much like my first. But, in the end, I took a different path.

Now, make no mistake: my usual themes of trauma, foulness, and madness do very much lurk within the pages of A Sick Gray Laugh. As does my penchant for gallows humor. But the story unfolds on a far bigger canvas than usual: the canvas of history, society, culture, and politics.

Between your Patreon (The Nightmare Institute) and workshops at places like StokerCon, you have a lot of experience in teaching writing. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

In my Patreon class, I help students learn how to write a good horror story by presenting them with a good horror story from the past, and pointing out what makes it tick. It’s a very practical, hands-on approach. In fact, I like to think of my role as being like an auto mechanics instructor. I “pop open the hood” of a good horror story, remove its engine, and take it apart so I can show my students the various components that make it run well. For those curious, I offer some free samples of classes on Youtube.

The class I’ve taught at StokerCon is similarly practical, but focused on career planning. I help students discover their unique creative identity and then help them determine the publication goals best suited for that identity.

In tying into my last question, do you have any general advice for any new writers looking to get published?

I think it’s important for new writers to realize that when they submit a story (or a novel, novella, poem, etc.) the default setting for an editor’s response is “no”. The vast majority of submissions are going to be rejected. Many of these submissions don’t actually suck, they’re just “meh”. “Meh” isn’t good enough.

In order to be accepted, you have to create something so extraordinary that it pulls the switch off its default setting. To accomplish this, a writer typically needs to spend time honing their craft. In my case, this meant engaging in dozens (hundreds?) of failed literary experiments before I finally arrived on the right path. It took years to develop my skill set. It took patience. But that patience paid dividends.

Let’s talk about books for a moment. What’s in your To Be Read pile right now? Any books you’re looking forward to in the future?

Oddly enough, I made a Youtube video about this very subject last week. (My To Be Read pile is a literal pile taking up about six square feet of my office. Very telegenic.)

But I’m glad you asked the question here, because my T.B.R. pile has changed even since then! I went to the library and picked up two books: an annotated edition of Dracula (with an introduction, notes, and bibliography by Leonard Wolf), and Pushkin’s Little Tragedies.

Last question: where can people find you online?

www.Patreon.com/nicolecushing

https://www.youtube.com/user/NicoleCushingWriter

www.nicolecushing.com

As well as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Yet another great interview! If you’re interested in reading more of reviews just like this one, click the links below!

The first interview with Lovecraftian extraordinaire Pete Rawlik! 

The insanely talented Kristi DeMeester!

The spooktastic Michael Wehunt!

Horror’s favorite skeleton Orrin Grey!

Artist and cryptid king Trevor Henderson!

Haunted radio jockey/author Matthew M. Bartlett!

Horror podcast maverick Gemma Amor!

Horror author (and birder!) Carrie Laben!

Video game critic (and video game Jedi) Alex Kane!

Strange story specialist Simon Strantzas!

Myth-maker Georgina Bruce!

Monthly Review: June 2019

We’re 26 days into June, and that means it’s time for my Monthly Review! A semi-busy month for me! E3 kicked off and I managed to experience several streams worth of games. I also got a few submissions in this month and started planning for an important event coming up… But before we get to that!

Story Submissions:

New Submissions: 2

Stories Still Out in the Wild: 2

Acceptances: 1!

Rejections: 1

One acceptance, and one rejection! The acceptance was for a flash story that will be released in a large anthology of themed flash tales. I wrote a fun little vampire story. This has been your Nic Cage story acceptance sighting…

Also…

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I will be attending NecronomiCon Providence this year! Since I’ve first heard about this, I’ve wanted to attend. It will be August 22nd through the 25th in Providence, Rhode Island! I’m expecting an awesome time and I’m beyond pumped to attend.

What else have I been doing?

Interview with Georgina Bruce!

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This month’s interview was with myth-maker Georgina Bruce! We talked about her collection (This House of Wounds) and the dangers of temporal oddities. I loved interviewing Georgina, and I look forward to the rest of her work. Next month’s interview is with horror author Nicole Cushing.

Loading: The Rest of Video Games in 2019

Night in the woods

E3 has come and gone. I decided to not write an article post E3 (this year was just fine) but I wrote this article talking about my intentions for gaming for the rest of the year.


We are out time for the month! Check back again next week for the Author Interview for July!