And that’s it. After two weeks and one day, Gardinel’s Real Estate is completely sold out! There may be a digital version coming in the near future, but more on that when it happens. In the mean time, for those of you who got a copy, we hope you enjoy it, and for those who missed out, Mike and I have already talked about doing something similar again in the future.

In the mean time, I was recently interviewed by Jeremy Maddux as part of his Surreal Sermons podcast, where we talked about Gardinel’s, fungi, found footage horror, the fact that I’ve never seen I Drink Your Blood, the carnivorous cosmos of Laird Barron, why I want to be Mike Mignola when I grow up, the William Hope Hodgson renaissance that we both hope is coming, and lots of other topics, including my next collection. Plus, if you always wanted to hear me say “um” and “so” a lot, this is the place!

Just a week-and-change into October, and we’re already most of the way through our stock of Gardinel’s Real Estate, helped along by an appearance yesterday on Super Punch. So if you haven’t already picked up your copy, do it now before you see a big SOLD sign out on the lawn. It’s been a hectic start to October, trying to process all the orders and make sure every copy got to its intended recipients, but the first batch of orders are now out in the world, and people have already started receiving them, so if you ordered yours over the weekend or before, it should be winging its way to your mailbox directly.

Last week I did a guest post for author G.G. Andrew wherein I discussed my abiding fondness for haunted real estate. I threw out a few examples in that post, but I thought that I would get in my Countdown to Halloween requirement while also further exploring that angle by running down some of my favorite houses from horror movies. I got the idea–and several of the images–from John Rozum‘s Countdown to Halloween post from a few years ago, which is well worth checking out, along with a follow-up that he did the next year. This list is by no means exhaustive, and is in no particular order.

1. The Bates Motel

univ_psycho_frame_aYou can’t start out a list like this without a nod to one of the great horror houses, and one of the great sets of all time. Someday I’ll make it down to the Universal back lot to see it for myself.

2. The House from The Changeling


Also one of my favorite ghost movies, The Changeling (1980) boasts one of the best houses in horror history. Sadly, it was just a facade that was torn down after filming was completed, so you can’t actually go visit it, but there was supposedly a real house in Denver that inspired the story!

3. The House from Drag Me to Hell

drag-me-to-hellDrag Me to Hell (2009) was sadly not a great movie, but it had a great house, in the form of the Doheny Mansion in Beverly Hills.

4. House of Wax

I’ve made no secret on here that I love the 2004 “remake” of House of Wax a lot more than maybe I should, and a big part of the reason for that is the delightful wax town at the center of the film. And at the center of that is the titular House of Wax, a building constructed entirely out of, you guessed it. The whole shebang was designed by Red Circle Projects.

5. The House from Deep Red


Deep Red (1975) is one of my favorite giallo films, and at the heart of its mystery is this particularly striking house, which is actually the Villa Scott in Italy. At the time that the movie was filmed it was the location of a boarding school run by nuns (seems suitably giallo-ish, right), while now it is unoccupied. So who knows what secrets you might find walled up in there?

I could keep going with these all day, but I promised that I’d limit myself to five, so there they are. If you share my affection for spooky houses and ominous locales, pick up your copy of Gardinel’s Real Estate today!

Today’s the day: Gardinel’s Real Estate, the first ‘zine from Mike Corley and myself is now one sale! You can get yours right here, but you’d better hurry, because they’re threatening to go fast, and they’re limited to a run of 100 signed and hand-numbered copies, so when they go, they’re gone forever! Thirteen spooky houses, illustrated by Mr. Corley with words by yours truly. It’s already gotten a write-up over at Norville Rogers, where they say it “would be a great gift for realtors, people buying or selling a house, or anyone who enjoys the Halloween season.” So if you know anyone like that, pick up your copy here!

Gardinels Detail

Named for the carnivorous houses from the writings of Manly Wade Wellman, Gardinel’s Real Estate began with an idea that Mike brought to me. He’d been drawing spooky houses, and he approached me with the pitich of writing up a faux real estate pamphlet for them. He drew the houses and sent them to me, and I came up with a suitably haunted history, narrated in the voice of our horror host-cum-estate agent Cedric Gardinel. Inside you’ll find tales of witchcraft, hidden fortunes, accusations of vampirism, demonic portraits, a haunted chair, and several experiments of a “most unusual nature.”

I had a lot of fun working on Gardinel’s, and I’m very happy to see it get out into the world. The same write-up at Norville Rogers calls it “charming rather than scary,” which I think is dead on, and is also a mode in which I love to operate, but don’t get to as often as I’d like. One of my biggest influences is E.F. Benson, who could do charming and scary in equal measures, and sometimes both in the same story. If I get to write more than a few stories that could be described as “Bensonian” in my career, then I’ll be a happy man. I certainly think Gardinel’s could be, and that’ll do for a start.

In honor of the occasion, my Countdown to Halloween this year is going to be more than a little haunted house themed, so keep an eye out for that!

Once again, I’m participating in this year’s Countdown to Halloween. As usual, I’m not sure of the precise form it’ll take, but I imagine that there’ll be a stronger-than-usual haunted house bent, in honor of the October 1 launch of Gardinel’s Real Estate. So prepare yourself for some rambling about spooky houses, the haunted house genre, and Manly Wade Wellman’s gardinels, all in the month of October.

The Countdown site itself is honoring the 60th anniversary of The Creature from the Black Lagoon, which is why all of the Cryptkeeper badges feature the likeness of the gillman, still maybe the greatest monster suit in movie history. I chose the 3D version, because having a 3D gillman head on my sidebar seemed like exactly what I wanted from life.

Creature is pretty far removed from haunted houses, alas, but maybe I’ll watch some of the Black Lagoon movies as part of this Halloween season, and if not, there’s always my annual viewing of Monster Squad to tide us all over.

Some time back, my friend Mike Corley approached me with an idea: He was drawing spooky houses, and he suggested that I should write descriptions of them and we’d put them together into a fake real estate pamphlet. I’d been a fan of Mike’s work since way before I ever got to know him online, and had been wanting to do a project with him forever, and as anyone who knows me knows there’s very few things I love more than writing about spooky houses, so I jumped at the chance. Thus, about a year later, Gardinel’s Real Estate was born!

Mike drew the houses and sent them to me, and I came up with a suitably haunted history for each ominous domicile, all narrated by our estate agent, Cedric Gardinel. We printed it up ourselves (with Mike handling the lion’s share of that end) and the result is a sharp-looking 32 page ‘zine that we’ll be offering in a limited print run of 100 signed, hand-numbered copies, 50 of which just showed up on my doorstep today. Thirteen houses, beautifully illustrated by Mike, with words by me, including stories of witchcraft, hidden fortunes, accusations of vampirism, demonic portraits, a haunted chair, and several experiments of a “most unusual nature.”

Gardinel’s Real Estate will go on sale from both Mike and myself on October 1, just in time for Halloween. More details will be forthcoming then.

[UPDATE: On sale now, here's the link!]


Immediately following Crypticon KC I came down with a bad case of the ol’ con crud which put me out of commission for the better part of two weeks. Shortly after that, I raised up my head and it was suddenly a week into September. The best part about September, besides its close proximity to October, is that it means I can finally put up my Pusheen calendar, which automatically improves, well, everything.

Has lots happened since Crypticon? Absolutely. Can I talk about most of it? Sadly, no. But here’s a few things, in bullet-point form, because I haven’t done that in a while:

  • Fractured: Tales of the Canadian Post-Apocalypse hit shelves, though I haven’t actually held a copy in my hands yet. It’s the latest anthology from my Fungi co-editor and frequent co-conspirator Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and I get to be an honorary Canadian for it, with my story of the ghost apocalypse, “Persistence of Vision.” It references Pulse AND Ghostbusters 2, among others, so what’s not to like?
  • Meanwhile, the roster of contributors was finally announced for Letters to Lovecraft, the first anthology edited by my good friend Jesse Bullington, which will include my story “Lovecrafting,” which, appropriately enough, is maybe the weirdest thing I’ve ever written, at least structurally.
  • Blood Glacier showed up on Netflix instant, and I made the mistake of watching it. Let me spare you the same fate.
  • On the other hand, I also watched (on YouTube, of all places) a surprisingly great movie called One Dark Night, the first film from Tom McLoughlin, who would later make the sixth Friday the 13th movie and the adaptation of Stephen King’s Sometimes They Come Back, as well as something called The Staircase Murders. In addition to being pretty fantastic (the first and last reel are, I think, truly great, while the middle is solid 80s horror cheese, he said as if that was a bad thing), and featuring psychic vampirism, floating corpses, and excellent use of hot pink, One Dark Night prompted me to observe that horror flicks in the 80s and early 90s were set in graveyards a lot, an observation which may yet bear an intriguing harvest. More on that later.
  • I finally read Stephen Graham Jones’ great The Last Final Girlwhich, as I said elsewhere, feels like the book he was born to write.
  • Assuming it updates, I will once again be participating in the Countdown to Halloween. I got an email from the organizers, so in spite of the ossified status of the website, hopefully it’s alive and well, or at least clawing its way free of the loamy earth like a suitable revenant. Even if it’s not, though, I’ll be doing something to mark the occasion, though I haven’t settled on a theme or anything yet.

Loads of other stuff is in the works, some of which I should be able to talk about very, very soon. In the mean time, I’ll try to avoid illnesses, so as to also avoid month-long gaps in posting, but we all know the actual likelihood of that second thing happening, don’t we, dear reader?

Well, that’s another Crypticon in the rear view, and like last year, I had more fun than I would have expected, and managed to sell a few books to boot, so I’m calling it a win. I split a table with Sean Demory, Marshall Edwards, and the fine folks from the KC Conjure Shop, who brought along a bowl of chicken feet that got a surprisingly strong reaction from a lot of the people wandering the vendor room. We were part of a “writers alley” taking up the back corner of the room, where we had a nice amount of space, even if it got pretty darn hot before the weekend was out.

Friday night we did a reading followed by a demonstration from the KC Conjure folks. It didn’t have a huge turn out, but seemed to go over well, and afterward someone came by and bought one of everything at our table, which was pretty cool. I finally snagged a Critters t-shirt from the folks at Atomic Cotton, and I saw someone wandering around wearing the Creepshow shirt that Trevor Henderson designed for them!

The costumes this year were less things-that-could-only-be-described-with-elevator-pitches (e.g. Stargate Wolverine, tiny Freddy Krueger) and more clearly characters from things that I just didn’t recognize (probably a lot of Walking Dead, a few videogames). I saw a girl dressed as–apparently–a “Clicker” from The Last of Us, which I’d never played but which is, apparently, a fungus zombie. So that was awesome. I think Sean captured the photo that defined the con when he snapped a picture of an ax-murdering panda hanging out with two demons, one with no skin. 

I think Sean really captured Crypticon. Captured its essence.

I think Sean really captured Crypticon. Captured its essence.

There was one distinctive elevator pitch costume, though. Almost certainly just a character from something–probably an anime–that I didn’t recognize, I could only describe him as “Matador Cop,” which led us all to the conclusion that Matador Cop is a show that desperately needs to exist.

I did get to meet all the Monster Squad folks who were there, including almost literally running into Stephen Macht. But probably the coolest thing I did was meeting and giving a copy of my book to Charles Band. He was incredibly friendly and seemed genuinely touched to receive the book, and because they were running a special on it anyway, I ended up walking away from their table signed up for the Full Moon Streaming service and with an armload of free merch. It was a blast, even if some technical difficulties meant that the signup took a lot longer than expected. I think me and the girl doing the signups bonded over our shared trauma.

I ended up selling through enough of my stock that I decided not to go back on Sunday, which is probably good because I got hit with a bad case of post-con crash and pretty much spent the entire day resting. I’m feeling a bit on the mend today, though I’m trying hard to avoid catching any con crud. 

All in all, it was a great con and I had a lot of fun. I don’t know if I’ll have a table next year or not, but I’ll probably be around, and if you’re in the neighborhood and think you might dig a cool horror convention, you should definitely stop on by!


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