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I’ve been having adventures!

Two weeks ago today, I left town to spend a week in Colorado, just a few minutes outside of Denver. I didn’t spend much of my time there sightseeing, though I did visit a cool movie theatre, catch up with a couple of writing acquaintances, and make several trips to the Flatiron Crossing mall where I bought cool shirts, ate delicious crepes, and picked up a vintage Warhammer Armies book complete with Zoats, Fimirs, and really racist Pygmies. Most of the time, though, I was in the hotel room working while Grace was attending an alto flute workshop. I wrote a 5,000 word story in a day, and also caught up on a bunch of freelance projects.

On the way back from the trip, I stopped off at a dinosaur museum in Hays, one that I had passed I don’t know how many times on similar trips but had never visited. It was amazing, though perhaps the best exhibit wasn’t any of the dinosaur stuff but a giant alligator snapping turtle in a tank just inside the entrance. His name was Levi, and he was apparently unusually active that day, and watching him was pretty much exactly like watching a kaiju swim around.

After I got home I had to start playing catch-up on everything that didn’t get done while I was out of town, including finally getting around to buying a new desk and a new laptop. I’m still working on getting the laptop set up and configured the way I want it, so I’m currently still doing work (and typing this) on my old laptop until I get used to the new one. I got a Lenovo Yoga 910, in case anyone is curious. So far I like it, though I haven’t actually done much with it yet. I also made it out to our local cool movie theatre the Screenland Armour to catch a double-feature screening of Creature from the Black Lagoon and the practical suit-monster short film “Shallow Water.”

Catching up got interrupted a bit, however, in order to have more adventures when, for various reasons, Grace spontaneously decided that she wanted to go fishing and rock hunting his past weekend. I tagged along, made friends with a snapping turtle and a bug, explored what was clearly some sort of troll tunnel, found a mess of snakes and a tide pool, wandered among the flotsam on the shore of a big lake, and mostly had a great time. Shortly after I got back from that trip, I found a box on my doorstep containing a whole pile of copies of the first Japanese edition of Fungi, the anthology of weird fungal fiction I co-edited with Silvia Moreno-Garcia. (The Japanese edition is getting split into two volumes, so this one is just the first half.)

As you can imagine, I’m still recovering from so much adventuring, and also still catching up on work, so if I owe you anything, including responses about getting copies of Fungi from Japan for those of you who were contributors, please bear with me.

I’ve got two books coming out this year. One of them I wrote, the other I co-edited. I’d be hard pressed to tell you which one I’m more proud of.

The first is my debut short story collection Never Bet the Devil and Other Warnings, due out pretty much any day now from Evileye Books. What you see up above there is the full cover spread for the collection, and over the weekend I got the uncorrected proofs in PDF. As soon as I get through those and get any notes sent back to the publisher, it should be on its way to the printers. It features ten stories (including my out-of-print novella The Mysterious Flame) and every story has an illustration by the great Bernie Gonzalez, whose work you can also see there on the front cover. It’ll be available in paperback and ebook formats, and I’ll be posting more about it just as soon as it’s ready to order.

The second is Fungi, the anthology of fungus-themed stories that I co-edited with Silvia Moreno-Garcia for Innsmouth Free Press. I’ve talked about it at some length before, and you can learn more and see the full table of contents at its website. It’s going to be coming out in ebook, paperback, and hardcover (what you see above is the cover spread for the hardcover edition), and it’s available for pre-order at 20% off the cover price from now until November 16. I know that I’m a bit biased, but personally I’d recommend picking up the hardcover. It’s got three extra stories, and ten illustrations, these also by Bernie!

As you can imagine, October is a busy season around our household, and this year that’s been especially true. Last weekend, Grace and I got dolled up and went out to see a ballet interpretation of the Carmina Burana at the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. It was the first professional ballet for either of us, and we were duly impressed. (The Kauffman Center was pretty nice, too.) Tonight, we’re heading to the Plaza to see The Oatmeal talk about his new book. And this coming Saturday we’re having some people over to watch Monster Squad, since the Alamo Drafthouse is being renovated for the month of October.

In spite of all that, I still managed to watch The Tall Man, Pascal Laugier’s follow-up to Martyrs. While it was pretty enjoyable, it wasn’t really as suitable for Halloween viewing as I had hoped. (For those of you thinking maybe it has something to do with Phantasm, sorry to disillusion you.) It’s really only a horror movie for about the first third, before it switches pretty sharply into something else entirely. It didn’t keep me as on my toes as Martyrs did, but I certainly wouldn’t have guessed where it was headed from the first reel, and that’s something.

There’s been a lot of stuff happening that relates in some way to books that I’ve been meaning to mention but, frankly, just haven’t had the time. Still don’t, really, but I’m going to try to wedge as much of it as I can conveniently remember in here. Bear with me.

Progress on my own two books is still proceeding apace, and they should both be out this year. Never Bet the Devil & Other Warnings any day now, and Fungi in December. Fungi has a website, which Silvia and I are updating every Friday with tidbits about the book, authors talking about why they wrote their fungal stories, and other bits of fungal weirdness.

Speaking of Silvia and the good people of Innsmouth Free Press, they’re currently doing a campaign to fund their next anthology, the very-excitingly-themed Sword & Mythos, and there’s only five days or so left to contribute, so toss some coins into that bucket. If you contribute at the right level, you can even pre-order a copy of Fungi that way. I’m not directly involved in this one in any way (besides that I hope to sub a story, if it gets off the ground), but I’m excited about the theme, and I know that the Innsmouth folks do good work. (And I’m not just saying that because they frequently buy mine.)

Speaking of the Mythos and books with which I am at least tangentially involved, The Book of Cthulhu II, which features a reprint of my story “Black Hill,” is now shipping from Amazon. I haven’t seen my copy yet, but I’ve talked to folks who got theirs. The Book of Cthulhu II also features a new story by Molly Tanzer, which continues the bizarre genealogy she began in “The Infernal History of the Ivybridge Twins,” one of my favorite new short stories in years. The rest of that mad family history can be found in her new book A Pretty Mouth, which, as fate would have it, is also shipping from Amazon, and early to boot. It’s like Christmas in September. If Christmas were a lot more squamous and eldritch.

Molly’s book is one of my most anticipated releases of the year, which is pretty impressive, since this is a year that’s seeing a lot of great stuff coming out, including a new collection by Richard Gavin, as well as John Langan’s second collection, both from Hippocampus Press. (Langan’s collection doesn’t seem to have a spot on their website yet, but I have it on good authority that it’ll be out soon, and I know from the stories in it that I’ve already read in their natural habitat that it’s going to be simply amazing.)

There’s a ton of other exciting stuff, either out now or on the horizon (including this incredible-sounding anthology, which is also available from Amazon, so you could grab it and the other two I mentioned and get super-saver shipping!) but I’m running out of time, so I’ll wrap this up and say my apologies to anyone I forgot to mention in this quick-and-dirty recap of exciting book times. More soon!

Today I’m celebrating the birthday of H.P. Lovecraft by watching The Call of Cthulhu and reading “The Picture in the House,” along with whatever else comes to hand. I might also watch some of Bride of Re-Animator or play a bit of Night of the Cephalopods! 

If you’re looking for something to commemorate the occasion, the Lovecraft eZine has posted a couple of lists (here and here) of Lovecraftian movies that you can watch online. I trust that everybody’s already got their favorite collection of Lovecraft stories laying near to hand, but if you’re looking to expand beyond the tales of the Old Gent himself, you can’t do much better than The Book of CthulhuAnd if you’re already in possession of that fine tome, you can pre-order the second installment, which features my story “Black Hill,” alongside many others.

Or of course you might check out Historical Lovecraft or Future Lovecraft from Innsmouth Free Press, featuring the original appearance of “Black Hill” and my story “The Labyrinth of Sleep,” respectively. And if you’ve got a Kindle, you’ve still got a little bit of time to take advantage of the absolutely free edition of Innsmouth Magazine: Collected Issues 5-7 that they’re giving away in honor of the occasion.

So that’s how I’m celebrating, and some suggestions on how you can, too, and to paraphrase my good friend Jesse Bullington, a very happy birthday to you, HPL, you cranky old weirdo!

Well, it’s been close to a month. So what’s been going on? Well, quite a lot, but not much that actually bears talking about. I was going to come at you with some links to a bunch of the movie trailers I’ve been watching and enjoying lately, and I may yet do that down the road, but some actual business came up first, so I figured I’d better go with that.

The official release dates and pricing have been announced for Fungi, the anthology of fungal fiction that I’m co-editing with Silvia Moreno-Garcia for Innsmouth Free Press. It’ll be out in December, which should be right on the heels of my collection, which is expecting a late-October or November release in paperback. As a further connection, I can now finally reveal that the (very reasonably priced!) hardcover version of Fungi will feature, in addition to three additional stories, ten new illustrations by the great Bernie Gonzalez, who’s also doing the illustrations for my collection. So when the time comes to pre-order, you should get that version, is what I’m saying.

I’m very proud to announce the official table of contents for Fungi, the anthology of fungus-themed stories that I’ve been co-editing with Silvia Moreno-Garcia for Innsmouth Free Press. We had a lot of great writers contribute a lot of great stories, and if logistics had permitted we could have put together an anthology twice as thick as this one. As it was, we had to leave more great stories than we’d have liked on the cutting room floor, but I think the final table of contents is really awesome, if I do say so myself.

The book will be released in paperback and e-book varieties, as well as in a limited-edition hardcover which will feature three extra stories. Without further ado, here’s the lineup:

  • Ann K. Schwader, “Cordyceps zombii” (poem)
  • A.C. Wise, “Where Dead Men Go to Dream”
  • Andrew Penn Romine, “Last Bloom on the Sage”
  • Camille Alexa, “His Sweet Truffle of a Girl”
  • Chadwick Ginther, “First They Came for the Pigs”
  • Daniel Mills, “Dust From a Dark Flower”
  • Ian Rogers, “Out of the Blue”
  • Jane Hertenstein, “Wild Mushrooms”
  • Jeff Vandermeer, “Corpse Mouth and Spore Nose”
  • John Langan, “Hyphae”
  • Julio Toro San Martin, “A Monster In The Midst”
  • Kris Reisz, “The Pilgrims of Parthen”
  • Laird Barron, “Gamma”
  • Lavie Tidhar, “The White Hands”
  • Lisa M. Bradley, “The Pearl in the Oyster and the Oyster Under Glass”
  • Molly Tanzer and Jesse Bullington, “Tubby McMungus, Fat From Fungus”
  • Nick Mamatas, “The Shaft Through The Middle of It All”
  • Paul Tremblay, “Our Stories Will Live Forever”
  • Polenth Blake, “Letters to a Fungus”
  • Richard Gavin, “Goatsbride”
  • Simon Strantzas, “Go Home Again”
  • Steve Berman, “Kum, Raúl (The Unknown Terror) – b. 1925, d. 1957”
  • W.H. Pugmire, “Midnight Mushrumps”

The three extra stories included in the hardcover edition are:

  • E. Catherine Tobler, “New Feet Within My Garden Go”
  • J.T. Glover, “The Flaming Exodus of the Greifswald Grimoire”
  • Claude Lalumière, “Big Guy and Little Guy’s Survivalist Adventure”

As I’ve already mentioned a bunch of other places, I had two stories make it onto Ellen Datlow’s very long list of honorable mentions for The Best Horror of the Year Volume 4, both of them from Innsmouth Free Press anthologies. “The Seventh Picture” from Candle in the Attic Window and “Black Hill” from Historical Lovecraft.

“Black Hill” is maybe my most successful short story to date. In addition to this particular honor, and to recently being acquired for reprint in The Book of Cthulhu 2, it was also selected for podcasting at Pseudopod, where it actually just won the readers’ choice poll for best story of the year! I’m particularly excited about that, because the only other time I published a story at Pseudopod, it also won the readers choice poll for best story of the year. (That would have been “The Worm That Gnaws” a couple of years back.) It doesn’t hurt a bit that both times the stories have been beautifully produced and read by the folks at that fine establishment.