Okay, time to just admit it: I dropped the ball on this whole Countdown to Halloween thing this year. It’s only four more days ’til Halloween, and I’ve managed to post all of three times this month. October has been a weirdly busy and stressful month, for a variety of reasons that aren’t very interesting to go into here, but rather than wallow in my own crapulence shortcomings, I’ll instead settle for dropping some news items on you before the month is out:

  • While the limited-run print edition of Gardinel’s Real Estate sold out within the first couple of weeks, artist M.S. Corley and I have released a digital version on Gumroad. You can pay as little as $2, or as much as you’d like, if you’re feeling generous. While it may not be as cool as getting the print edition, hopefully it’s the next best thing for those of you who missed out.
  • The Nickronomicon–a vile tome of Lovecraftian tales from author Nick Mamatas and publisher Innsmouth Free Press, for which I wrote the introduction–is currently available for pre-order on the cheap, and the pre-order sale has been extended through Halloween, so if you want to grab a copy, now’s the time.
  • Also available for pre-order is Letters to Lovecraft from Stone Skin Press, edited by my good friend Jesse Bullington, and featuring my story “Lovecrafting,” which is probably the weirdest thing I’ve ever written.
  • While I’m on the subject of stories, I can officially announce that I sold my story “The Red Church” to Ross Lockhart over at Word Horde for his forthcoming anthology Giallo Fantastique, which I can assure you is going to be every bit as awesome as that title suggests.
  • For many of the same reasons that I haven’t managed to post more frequently this month, I actually haven’t seen many seasonally-appropriate movies in theatres, in spite of a wealth of great programming from local powerhouses the Alamo Drafthouse KC and the Screenland Armour. However, I did go out to an advance screening of Ouija and wrote up a review for Downright Creepy.
  • Lest I am making my October sound too drab, however, today’s mail brought me an early birthday present in the form of the Subterranean Press slipcased hardcover editions of Clive Barker’s The Books of Blood. No contest, there has never been another original single author collection that had a bigger impact on my formation as a writer, and I’ve been waiting for a full, six-volume hardcover set of The Books of Blood what feels like my entire life. And of course, it couldn’t come at a better time of year, though it may be November before I get to do much more than admire them on my shelf.

A bunch of other stuff has been going on to keep me hopping during this spookiest of all seasons, and around everything else I’ve managed to watch a few movies and take some long walks and one long drive amid the changing foliage, so all is not lost. I’ll try to fit another post in before November 1, but in case I don’t, I’ll see you all on the other side of All Hallow’s, at the beginning of ghost story weather…

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?


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