The ever-vigilant Scott Dwyer—writer, editor, and administrator of The Plutonian site and its attendant newsletter—has published a generous essay titled “Clint Smith: Poet of the Weird Underbelly of America.” Link: here.
Ghouljaw and Other Stories (Hippocampus Press, 2014)
The Skeleton Melodies (Hippocampus Press, 2019)
Dwyer’s awareness of the horror genre (as well as related genres) is evident in his commentaries and insightful criticisms. That said, I’m humbled that he would find some merit in my work. Pursuing character relatability in my stories is of paramount importance—something that produces an echo not only in my audience, but in any errant reader.
With as much fiction currently being produced in the Weird / Horror / Dark Fantasy fields, adroit voices like Dwyer’s are critical for both tempering the dimensions of our creative zeitgeist, and clarifying the fundamental features of these aforementioned mediums. It’s quite clear that Dwyer does his homework—so if you’re unfamiliar with him, you have some homework too. An ideal primer is his website, The Plutonian; afterwards, check out his seminal publishing project, Phantasm/Chimera: An Anthology of Strange and Troubling Dreams.
And keep your eyes peeled on his follow-up project, Pluto in Furs: An Anthology of Erotic and Strange Horror (he’s accepting submissions through December 31, 2018—details here: The Plutonian, Facebook).
I’ve had several pleasant exchanges with representatives from Hippocampus Press over the past month or so, culminating in (among other processes) the completion of the galley proofs for my second collection, The Skeleton Melodies (due out mid 2019). This volume includes twelve short stories and one, previously unpublished novella. The table of contents follows:
- “Lisa’s Pieces”
- “The Undertow, and They That Dwell Therein”
- “Fingers Laced, as Though in Prayer”
- “By Goats Be Guided”
- “The Pecking Order”
- “Her Laugh”
- “Knot the Noose”
- “The Rive”
- “The Fall of Tomlinson Hall; or, The Ballad of the Butcher’s Cart”
- “Fiending Apophenia”
- “Details That Would Otherwise Be Lost to Shadow”
- Haunt Me Still
I was recently afforded the opportunity to appear on Scott Nicolay’s podcast, The Outer Dark (Project iRadio).
L’esprit de l’escalier has been particularly pronounced in the wake of the interview and subsequent social-media (ephemeral as it may be) conversations. Still, we managed to discuss the eerier writings of Henry James and Hawthorne, as well as the relationship with my writing and the structure (houses included) of societal rituals.
For over a decade, Thanksgiving Day (owning to the typical, day-off-work traditions) has been, for me, a day to absorb more of what I’m reading (sneak in an extra story or two), and reflect on the writing exercise I’ve accumulated during autumn. (Standing out in my mind with Kodachrome clarity is Thanksgiving, 2000, when I completed Dan Simmons’s Summer of Night. Ignorant of the craft (as I still, in great part, am), that novel was a revelation to me, and I had that quiet period during the holiday, and extended winter holiday, to wonder what it would be like to write something — anything.
Scott Nicolay has been enormously supportive of the Ghouljaw endeavor. So, on this Thanksgiving Day, 2015, I’d like to record my gratitude for his writerly camaraderie, and for his high-octane celebration of little-known scribblers dog-paddling in weird waters.
Latest installment of Dead Reckonings now available via Hippocampus Press. Review of Ghouljaw and Other Stories by Robert Butterfield: “A Tale of Two (Word)Smiths.” From the review:
“‘Dirt on Vicky’ is another standout — a mix of psychological and supernatural horror that further showcases Smith’s fine writing. Set shortly before Halloween in a small Midwestern town, the story allows Smith to demonstrate that he can capture that particular seasonal feel as well as anyone.”
Lettering by Jared Boggess
In a recent post on his website, cover artist, Jared Boggess, writes about his strategy for executing the project, and graciously provides some initial, illustrative drafts.
Ghoulish Sketch by Jared Boggess
Here’s an excerpt from his post:
“The centerpiece of this collection of short horrors follows a young man tormented by series of hallucinations and dreams. Clint Smith beautifully depicts a surreal dream experience in which this young man finds himself swallowed by the ocean haunted by an apparition known as the Ghouljaw.”
Stop by Boggess’s site — there are plenty of impressive pieces of eye candy from his numerous projects: www.jaredboggess.com
About eight months ago, I had an impromptu conversation with an old friend, Allen Kell—front man for the band SHADELAND, who’s also produced his own solo material under KELL. The result of that collaborative brainstorming session is this: GHOULJAW: the Soundtrack—14 songs inspired by the 14 stories which appear in the forthcoming short story collection, Ghouljaw and Other Stories.
My creative comrade Kell has invested a woeful amount of time and energy into this unique project—a comingling of music and spoken word—and it’s reflected in the quality of the album.
Ghouljaw: the Soundtrack is available on iTunes for $10 and cdbaby for $8. Give the song previews and track excerpts a test run—you won’t be disappointed.
Another big thanks to the galactically talented Kell.
Well, my friends, here it is…
Cover art by Jared Boggess
Tremendous gratitude to the amazing Jared Boggess who’s created this bullseye of a cover. And I’d like to thank Derrick Hussey at Hippocampus Press for snagging this guy. Do yourself a favor and get to know Boggess’s artwork—click over to his website: www.jaredboggess.com.
One last thing: the first review (that I’m aware of) for Ghouljaw and Other Stories is available on the Risingshadow website—click on the photo below to read the review:
Found: New Bethel library, circa 1986
Stay tuned form more updates: @clintsmithtales and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/Ghouljaw