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It’s been too long. Since last I posted, I haven’t had the chance to write much fiction, the notable exceptions being Axis Mundi and First Souls in FLAPPERHOUSE, as well as The Crisis in Shadows on Main Street. I spent most of my creative time on Rise of the Tomb Raider, and while I miss writing for myself, I am immensely fond of my contributions to that game. If you played it, you may have seen a few very short horror stories of mine in the games collectible documents, but now that I have transitioned over to being a freelance writer, my hope is that I’ll be able to spin up the prose engine again
Over the next few months, I will be posting some stories that first appeared in print, but I now will be able to share with you, including my fantasy novella “Digger’s Lament” and others, so please keep an eye out for those updates, and some other news as I am allowed to share it.
As always, thank you for reading.
I woke up to a particularly loud telephone yesterday morning, alerting me to some sort of twitter goings-on. As it happens, an artist and writer I greatly admire, Kris Straub, had posted a new installment of his “Scared Yet” web-series, and this episode was focused on my stories. I’m flattered by what Kris had to say, and if you’ve found your way here through him, I’m grateful for the exposure. “Candle Cove” is one of the handful of stories in this new-internet-horror-genre that was instrumental in getting me to write creepypastas in the first place, so I’m giddy that the mutual admiration goes both ways.
Kris is currently in the second book of Broodhollow, his blend of classic cartooning and magnificently realized horror. Broodhollow has been hitting on all cylinders since the first strip, and has only grown more tangled, dense, and horrific. The plotting, the use of the format and art styles, the delicate blend of gallows humor and grim dread, and interior and exterior threats, all work hand in hand. The seemingly disparate elements support and enhance one another like complimentary flavors. It’s one of only two webcomics on my RSS feed, and without a doubt the best horror comic I’ve yet read. If you haven’t read it, start at the beginning…
If you’ve come here thanks to Kris, the stories he suggested, North, East, Sick (or, the Algorithm), Thaw, and Barricade can be found at the right, or clicking here. Please poke around, and if you have any feedback, criticism or questions, I am always grateful. The fantastic film version he mentioned of “Sick, or The Algorithm”, by Tom Festo can be found here. As for the pen name, Kris was correct, that came from my old 4chan days. I picked that pen name as a bit of a joke, acknowledging the pastiche and outright theft I was engaged in at the time. I’m more confident in my voice now, so I’ve dropped the pseudonym, but it continues to be the name I’m most known by.
For new and old visitors, if you’re looking for news or more conent, click through for a couple of updates for what I’ve been engaged in or otherwise up to.
“Axis Mundi” is deeper into the sci-fi spectrum than most of my stories and much longer, but what started as a fairly straightforward space-cannibal story turned into something very different… The complete text of this story is available at FLAPPERHOUSE.
CAPTAIN ELISHA DRIFTS BACK TO HER BODY. Sedative fog curls around her edges for a long, liquid minute before she remembers she has eyes to open. Lids slide across her sclera, a syrupy-sweet motion that tingles her spine like some small secret pleasure. Her forearms feel hot and then cold, as catheters spit the next layer of the wakeup cocktail into her blood. Already, the induced euphoria’s fading, shepherding the last of the delirium and confusion away to be replaced by a conscious, knowing glee. They’ve arrived.
Her new stateroom smells of wood and leather, warm aromas painted in crimson and deep oak hues. The armchair creaks as she moves, and smartbands retreat into its folds like startled snakes. The catheters slip from her flesh, spraying a thin mist of skinbond to cover their tracks, and constrict away into the arms of the chair.
Her vision drifts to a far wall, her eyes looping on a pleasing swirl in the burlwood, where Mithradates projects her feeds in layers of soft amber light. The most important detail rises to the surface in pulsing cobalt: No one has followed. Right up until their unscheduled departure, no alarms were even raised.
Now the slip is over, only a few hours passed, and the slick ebon needle of her new ship, the Mithra, drifts above the ecliptic of Gliese 667C. Mithradates maps the bewildering orbits of the neighboring stars and the six rocky planets around 667C, adjusting for any local eccentricities since the stellar event. The third star, a dull red coal, squats at the center of a tangle of scorched planets. Elisha waits for Mithradates to find any sign of their quarry, but so far she only sees the purples and oranges of worlds and moons.
Firstly, this week marks the release of the first issue of FLAPPERHOUSE, a new magazine from editor Joe O’Brien. Joe is a long time visitor to the site, and I was honored that he asked me to submit. My story, “Axis Mundi”, (sample here!) is a sci-fi/horror story about derelict spaceships and divinity, is one of several new stories and poems to grace the pages of the first issue. It’s a terrific collection of varied voices, and the more I read, the more proud I am to be a part of it.
Secondly, I just finished True Detective last week. I wanted to hold off on the last episode for several years, just to inhabit the liminal space forever, but my wife demanded that we finish it. I’ve been enormously taken by the show, from the deliberate reference to the philosophy of Thomas Ligotti and other antinatalists in the first 15 minutes, to the series-wide use of weird fiction in general and Robert Chambers’ “The King in Yellow”in specific, the show was not only expertly written, shot and acted, it was also directly created to please me. Or, that’s how it felt across most of the 8 episodes. I’m fairly certain that this is, and will remain for some time, my favorite series on television, ever.
Since the show ended, I’ve been chewing on some things. One thing I’m maybe mildly disappointed with is that a lot of the intricacy of symbolism in set and costume design turned out to be coincidental more than intentional, but the show still has the feel of a puzzle box. And I adore puzzle boxes. With the writer mentioning that he’s a fan of some of my weird fiction authors (Ligotti, Barron, and Langan among them), and that he’s drawn direct inspiration from the genre (beyond the overarching King in Yellow references within the story), it had me on high alert for references, metaphors and symbolism. So, this is me pulling on threads and seeing what tumbles out.
I’ll try, Rust. Here’s my thoughts on one of the repeating images and concepts from the show: Black Stars…
So, here we are, 2013.
Sorry, yes, I am going to give away a copy of Jamais Vu Journal, Winter 2014, but at the end of this post (and one more on facebook, and one more on twitter), so feel free to scroll right past all this other hogwash.
Anyway, I didn’t quite hit my goals this year, but enough good was accomplished that I’m not going to lament about it too much.
I didn’t quite keep up a respectable output, still falling into the feast and famine patterns of writing a huge chunk and then not again for many days. Here’s the thing: I know “write every day” is the advice everyone gives writers, but… Sometimes that’s not possible. For me, with a demanding job and a family, it’s rarely possible, and just accepting that was a big step for me this year. It meant untangling a few threads of guilt at perceived failure from all thoughts of writing. If I found time, that became a good thing, not a reminder of yesterday’s failure . This translated into longer and longer stories, as I wrote four and five thousand words in a sitting. While I wrote two flash pieces this year for specific contests and calls, the other pieces I finished clocked in at 11k and 12k words, far longer than my old 2k word stories. I’m finding I quite like the wider canvas to work on, and that novelette and novella length stories are very difficult to find markets for… So, click through to see how this year stacked up:
Hello and welcome. It’s been a while since I had a formal update, but a lot of good things have happened. I’ve recently started a new job, as a narrative designer with Crystal Dynamics, which means that I now basically write and make things up for a full time living, and will be helping to tell stories in a franchise that I’ve loved for over a decade, Tomb Raider. I’m still a little starry-eyed about the whole affair. Additionally, I’ve completed a couple of longer pieces I’m quite proud of, one of which should see publication very soon. Here are some of the recent and upcoming releases I have planned in the next few months.
Miseria’s Chorale, a new horror anthology edited by David Nell, is now available from Amazon. Miseria’s Chorale contains my story “One”, as well as many many more stories from authors I have previously been honored to share pages with.
Click through for more recent releases and announcements.
You can look under Enter to Win on the Goodreads page to be entered into a drawing to win a free copy.
If you like free things, that is.
Cover by Justin T. Coons
After a bit of an unforeseen delay, the incredible Pseudopod podcast has just posted a reading of my story “The Blues”, read for you by Gabe Diani, writer and star of the fantastic horror-comedy “The Selling”.
Gabe, along with his partner-in-crime, Etta Devine, are the masterminds behind The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: The Robotic Edition, and are currently producing and gearing up for their next feature, Diani and Devine Meet the Apocalypse, a comedy road movie about two comedians caught unaware by the end of the world, or as they put it: “Like ‘The Road’…but funnier!”… which is perhaps the best tagline for a piece of art, ever. Check out their page, and when the Kickstarter is up, I’ll let you know.
Gabe and Etta are both old friends of mine, and I was honored that they volunteered to step in and read “The Blues” after the first reading suffered some issues. Their read turned out better than I could have hoped for, and I’m incredibly grateful to Shawn Garret, the editor of Psuedopod for all his help.
Having a story on Pseudopod is an enormous honor for me, as it was one of the reasons I started writing horror (4chan’s /x/ being my other big inspiration). I’m thrilled to have followed, at last in numerological sense, the incredible Thomas Ligotti, with episode 351 “The Bungalow House”, which was fantastic.
I am deeply appreciative to you all for your readership and support over the years, and thank you for being here with me. It would mean a great deal to me if you downloaded the show, left me feedback here, or at the Psuedopod Forums, and I would be especially grateful if you would share this episode with a friend if you liked it, or an enemy, if you didn’t.
Hit “Continue Reading” for some photographs of the locations in “The Blues”
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Jeff Clement and the good folks over at AuralStimulation have just sent me the following video, an awesome reading of “Dust” with music, stunning, eerie imagery, multiple actors and sound effects. Here it is, with my commentary, which is simply “wow”.
I’m a big fan of modern and old radio theater, and I think Jeff and company really nailed the aesthetic. There’s a lively community of people reading creepypastas on the YouTubes, and I’ve shared a handful before, but here’s a list I’ve compiled of all the ones I’ve found read from my stories. Hit “View Full Article” to see the rest.