I’ve long failed the challenges involved in keeping up with the latest speculative fiction, but I’ll make the extra effort to hunt down and give a shout out to the likes of Cody Goodfellow with his latest, The Flying None. A writer who is not only difficult to define, he has actually concocted a body of literature all its own independent of horror, science fiction, Bizarro, etc. Such an immense imagination and talent is hard to confine to the written word, so Betty Rocksteady‘s unsettling whimsical retro art accompanies this one. Her art is what happens when Al Colombia has a nightmare about Betty Boop who tears her face off to reveal Camille Rose Garcia, though that only approximates the images Rocksteady creates. She’s also a fantastic writer of the odd and uncanny in her own right. Greatly anticipating this one.
Very cool to see that S.L. Edwards and Scott Nicolay have new books on the way from Word Horde. Edwards’ collection Monsters of the Sea and Sky was exceptional and deserved far more attention. His ability to convey the horrors of colonialism and the traumatic spectres of history is second to none. Edwards has also selflessly supported small press unknowns like myself, and I cannot thank him enough for that. Looking forward to his debut novel In the Devil’s Cradle. And Scott Nicolay’s Ana Kai Tangata remains one of my favorite debut collections, so his sophomore collection And at My Back I Always Hear is bound to be outstanding. Congratulations to both. Word Horde has posted that these new releases should be available in March and April of 2022.
Christi Nogle‘s debut novel Beulah is scheduled to be released in early 2022 from Cemetery Gates Media. I’ve read Nogle’s stories in Nightscript, Three-Lobed Burning Eye, SYNTH, and Vastarien: A Literary Journal, though her stories have appeared in several other places as well. I’m very much looking forward to her novel, as her writing has been consistently excellent and captivating. Definitely an author to keep an eye on. Her previous publications are evidence enough that she possesses a unique and exciting voice.
I’ve decided that as long as this blog is operational (sporadically at best, and likely to conclude at the next billing cycle), I’ll focus on writers and books I appreciate, look forward to, and am excited to share and celebrate. So this one goes out to T.E. Grau whose writing is unquestionably at the head of the pack of contemporary authors. I Am the River is a powerful debut novel, and I’m excited to see a Spanish translation on the way. Dilatando Mentes Editorial has translated and published the likes of Brian Evenson and Michael Cisco, so Grau is in solid company. Well deserved, as Grau is a fantastic author. Pre-orders are now up for Yo soy el río.
Cover art by Raul Ruiz. Translation by Jose Angel De Dios García.
I’ve been anticipating Daniel Mills‘s latest collection for quite some time, so I’m impatiently scouring the internet for any new release date information from Undertow Publications. Per publisher Michael Kelly himself, Among the Lilies is due this coming September. Mills is an absolute master of the uncanny, a writer whose understanding of loss and the beauty of the inexplicable is second to none. His stories consistently fill me with awe and a sense of sorrowful longing, like a child’s ghost returning decades later to the forest that was once home to their treehouse, now long subsumed by nature.
Mills is also an exceptionally kind person whose support and sympathetic words over the year(s) has been invaluable. So very many thanks, Daniel.
Cover art by Yves Tourigny. Design by Vince Haig.
David Peak’s fantastic debut collection Eyes in the Dust and Other Stories is now available for pre-orders. I was humbled that David reached out to a nobody like me requesting I write the introduction. I can only hope I managed to express how much I admire and respect his body of work. A brief excerpt from the introduction:
“All of Peak’s stories are thick with setting. Again and again he conjures an elusive magical substance that occurs when pessimistic philosophies and compelling characters are dissolved into ambience. A mad alchemist, his writing is rare alchemy.”
I deleted the previous published draft of this post, but decided it wasn’t too bad. So the one or two who’ve already read this may recognize much of the following.
I released my second collection in late January. Despite plenty of ambivalence about the book itself, that failed to diminish my respect for the kindness of those authors who provided blurbs, shared it on social media, and mentioned the title as something worth reading in 2020. Nobody owed me anything, I don’t know any of them in real life, and few had even heard of my writing. I’m grateful they took the time to comment, shout out, and generally support a small press writer whose anonymity is assured. I’m relieved a handful found something of interest in the collection. I’m way outside of the loop and don’t know any writers or publishers personally. My general impression is that the writing community isn’t particularly inviting, if any meaningful community even exists. Having said that, I emphatically thank those who supported my book in various selfless ways.
First, and most importantly, many, many thanks to Kristine Ong Muslim. Having a writer as accomplished as her contribute 3,000 words give or take was an absolute highlight in the last 12 months. At the risk of sounding like a fawning fan, she’s simply the best writer around. Finding her slim volume Age of Blight while reading up on speculative fiction from the Philippines was a revelatory experience as potent as my first discovering Octavia Butler, Thomas Ligotti, or Ervin Krause. Her intro’ for my book is a pearl in a literary compost heap. It’s the best thing in the collection.
And with equal importance I thank Jon Padgett for publishing a writer with no track record to justify making such a gamble on. You’ve my utmost gratitude. I wish the book had a wider readership; Grimscribe Press deserves to be recognized for the phenomenal work under its banner. The other authors involved with Padgett’s press, as well as Jon’s writing itself, will surely eclipse anything I had to offer. I can only hope my book isn’t a black eye.
Thank you so very much to William L. Rukeyser and the estate of his mother, Muriel Rukeyser. And thanks to Dan Dzula for authorizing the use of Elizabeth Eaton Converse song lyrics, even though I ultimately decided not to incorporate them.
My profound thanks to Adam Nevill, Daniel Mills, Clint Smith, T.E. Grau, Steve Rasnic Tem, John Langan, Brian Evenson, Philip Fracassi, S.P. Miskowski, Kurt Fawver, Simon Strantzas, Jose Angel De Dios García, David Peak, John Claude Smith, Scott Dwyer, Seb Doubinsky, Paula McAuliffe, Chesya Burke, Edward Morris, Jeffrey Thomas, s.j. Bagley, Weye’s Blood, Scott R. Jones, Matt Cowan, Justin Steele, Aaron Besson, Steve Berman, Dejan Ognjanović, Perry Ruhland, Justin Burnett, Cody Goodfellow, Joshua Dysart, Christopher Ropes, Rowan Fortune, Orion Zangara, Nick Cato, Paul StJohn Mackintosh, Sibylle Baier, Timothy Jarvis, Michael Cisco, Mike Griffin, Tim Waggoner, John Boden, S.C. Hickman, Daniel del Valle, Matt Cardin, Jonathan Raab, Thomas Ligotti, Acep Hale, Matthew Bartlett, Jayaprakash Satyamurthy, John Palisano, Des Lewis, Craig Laurance Gidney, Kathe Koja, Nick Mamatas, Angela Slatter, Michael Kelly, Jeffrey Ford, Ramsey Campbell, Paul Tremblay, and Sam Edwards.
Suffice it to say all have been supportive and/or inspirations in some capacity, in varying degrees, whether they realize it or not. Most likely have no idea.
And thank you to Annie, Roman, August, and Bowie. They put up with a lot of bullshit as I tried to make this writing dream work. I missed the net, but they’ve all been there to catch me. Love you all. I’m sorry I wasted the last 9 years.
I’m working on the introduction to David Peak’s debut collection, Eyes in the Dust and Other Stories. It’s a remarkable book. I’ve two stories awaiting release in 2021: “beautiful animal” in a Fulci tribute titled Beyond the Book of Eibon, and “Fearful is the Ancient Evil of Their Faces” in Cody Goodfellow and the late Joe Pulver’s New Maps of Dream. Both anthologies look solid, and I’m proud to have been invited to send something for them. Hopefully the Spanish edition of The Immeasurable Corpse of Nature will be released in 2021, as will the Polish edition of Alectryomancer and Other Weird Tales. Unfortunately, the German publication of The Immeasurable‘ fell through, so that was another disappointment. I can look back at these events and feel I’ve accomplished a handful of worth in the micro-press writing world. I gave it a shot.
No interviews or such this year. Maybe I shouldn’t have said no to those rare review and podcast requests, or maybe I should’ve gone out of my way to pursue those interviews and podcast requests—it’s not like too many rolled my way. I normally don’t do them, but I did say yes to two of the better known horror podcasts when they asked me in late 2019 and early 2020. But they never followed up. I don’t know how these things work. Maybe I should’ve participated in writerly stuff like conventions and whatnot over the years, though the pandemic put a bullet in the head of that possibility in 2020. I made plenty of mistakes this year. All I am certain of is that if I do continue to write it is of the utmost importance to focus on reliable, professional publishers. I turned down a few projects this year; too much of the indie publishing world is less than stellar. Be choosy. Quality over quantity.
Some readers have contacted me over the months to let me know they think both Alectryomancer and Other Weird Tales and The Immeasurable Corpse of Nature deserve to exist. I thank them for reaching out.
It was a disappointing year. It really took the last 12 months to sour me on the whole publishing thing. Sure, there’ve been plenty of setbacks over the last decade, but nothing that really nailed home the futility of this as 2020 managed to do.
That’s an appropriate note to end on.
Listen here: PseudoPod 732: Devil Gonna Catch You in the Corners
I’m pleased to announce that my story “beautiful animal” will appear in Perry Ruhland and Astrid Rose’s tribute anthology to Lucio Fulci. The wonderful cover art is the work of Trevor Henderson. My story is a tip of the hat to the more unusual, hallucinatory, and melancholic aspects of Fulci’s films. Unfortunately, there is no eyeball violence in “beautiful animal”, but it does have a hitman, plenty of mad science, and blow up dolls. It’s a macabre, psychosexual weird tale with its roots in Fulci, nunsploitation, and noir.
Beyond the Book of Eibon will also include stories by the following excellent writers:
- Adam Cesare (Clown in a Cornfield, Video Night)
- Gemma Files (Experimental Film, The Hexslinger trilogy)
- Orrin Grey (Guignol and Other Sardonic Tales, Painted Monsters and Other Strange Beasts)
- Michael Hoarty (Akashic Imprint Oddities, The Bodies Bear Traces of Parasitic Infection forthcoming)
- H.K. Lovejoy (Funerary artist, The Black in Between forthcoming)
- Kai Perrignon (Static Vision, The Melbourne International Film Festival)
- Jonathan Raab (The Hillbilly Moonshine Massacre, Camp Ghoul Mountain Part VI: The Official Novelization)
- Perry Ruhland (The Last Nautilean & Other Seaside Phantasmagoria, Sungazer)
- Zin E. Rocklyn (Nox Pareidolia, Flowers for the Sea forthcoming)
- Astrid Rose (Morbid Tales: An Anthology of Weird Fiction, Bullet Points Monthly)
- Matt Serafini (Rites of Extinction, Under the Blade)
- William Tea (Mannequin: Tales of Wood Made Flesh, In Stefan’s House: A Weird Fiction Tribute to Stefan Grabiński)
- Mike Thorn (Darkest Hours, Shelter for the Damned forthcoming)
- Mer Whinery (Trade Yer Coffin for a Gun, The Little Dixie Horror Show)
Death Wound Publishing is looking at a February, 2021 release date.
Contracts signed/arranged/pending for Alectryomancer and Other Weird Tales to be translated/published in Poland, and The Immeasurable Corpse of Nature in Germany. The Spanish translation of The Immeasurable‘ should be out in 2021; the pandemic has set things back a bit. The Polish edition of Alectryomancer‘ will be translated by Wojciech Gunia, the writer who also translated Ligotti’s Teatro Grottesco. It’s interesting to me that these requests all came out of the blue recently—in fact, I was hesitant at first because these publishers have worked (or will work) with the likes of Jeff Vandermeer, Jeffrey Thomas, T.E.D. Klein, Ted Grau, etc., and I assumed them contacting an obscure writer like me was some misguided phishing attempt! While I have a small readership in the U.S. judging by social media and emails, I do tend to get many readers from Eastern Europe, Mexico, Central and South America emailing me about my books. I’m humbled at this response, particularly for someone with zero interviews, podcast appearances, readings, or convention attendances.