A Vicious Variety of Verisimilitude

As it relates to my personal (and somewhat erratic) habits of writerly creativity, the first few weeks of June, 2020, have been a time when reality, and rightfully so, has been too tangible for the folly of fiction.  With pervasively observable pain too palpable for self-indulgent promotion, I found myself temporarily losing the taste for zany, self-indulgent make-‘em-ups.  I continue to accept this difficult and socially-sobering period for what it is:  an acute time to connect and listen.  

Even as I write this, I sense that un-artistic logic to be flawed, as fiction itself operates like a mobius strip with reality.  This particular, pivotal period calls for a vicious variety of verisimilitude.

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I intentionally delayed promoting this, though it deserves both a mention and a cordial note of gratitude to Laird BarronIn an interview by Marshal Zeringue, posted June 1, 2020 on the Campaign For the American Reader site, Barron shared the following:  

I also recently finished The Skeleton Melodies by Clint Smith. This collection of horror and weird fiction stories nicely ups the game from his 2014 debut, Ghouljaw and Other Stories. A resident of the U.S., Smith nonetheless has a gift for language and story that reminds me of my favorite weird fiction authors across the pond, namely Conrad Williams, Frank Duffy, and Joel Lane. The Skeleton Melodies is good work in its own right, however I admit to a trace of nostalgia. Smith’s affable and easy tone changes on a dime; monsters lurk in the shadows. He writes pulp of a literary sensibility that I relished in 1980s anthologies by editors such as David Hartwell and Karl Edward Wagner.

Last week, Hippocampus Press afforded a preview of two cover-art proofs of The Skeleton Melodies from Dan Sauer Design; and true to Sauer’s reputable form, the proofs are phenomenal.

2020-06-04_17.23.38

Also, The Skeleton Melodies now has a dedicated Goodreads page with the collection’s description (I’m unaware of who penned the overview pictured above, but am grateful for it):

In 2014, Hippocampus Press published Clint Smith’s first short story collection, Ghouljaw and Other Stories. Now, Smith has assembled his second story collection, and it features all the virtues of his first book while adding new touches that will broaden his readership.

The Skeleton Melodies features such stories as “Lisa’s Pieces,” a grisly tale of cruelty and murder; “Fiending Apophenia,” in which a schoolteacher reflects poignantly on his past derelictions; “The Fall of Tomlinson Hall,” wherein Smith draws upon his own expertise in the culinary arts to fashion a story of cannibalistic terror; and “The Rive,” a highly timely post-apocalyptic account of the horrors that inequities in health care can foster.

Other stories treat of domestic strife leading to supernatural or psychological horror, such as “Animalhouse” or “The Undertow, and They That Dwell Therein.” The volume culminates in the richly textured novella “Haunt Me Still,” one of the most subtle and powerful ghost stories in recent years.

If you’ve read an advanced copy, please visit the Goodreads page and share your thoughts.

 

 

 

APOSTLES OF THE WEIRD Premiering at StokerCon, 2020: Update from PS Publishing (03/23/2020)

AOTW, hardcover

Cover Art by John Coulthart, Cover Design by Michael Smith

The following is an update from PS Publishing (announced yesterday, Monday March 23, 2020):

As some of you know, we had planned to launch a dozen or more exciting new titles from a very special bunch of authors to showcase at various events at StokerCon.

Since that is no longer an option, in spite of the sterling efforts of Marie O’Regan, Paul Kane and the rest of the StokerCon organising team, we are still going ahead and releasing the titles we planned to launch.

Furthermore, in the lead up to StokerCon, we had planned to announce the new titles in our weekly newsletters. We have decided to carry on doing so. Thus, every Friday, we will be announcing the pre-order pages for the following titles (including previous newsletters):

Friday 6th March
THE MYSTERIES OF THE FACELESS KING: THE BEST SHORT FICTION BY DARRELL SCHWEITZER VOLUME 1
THE LAST HERETIC: THE BEST SHORT FICTION OF DARRELL SCHWEITZER VOLUME 2
APOSTLES OF THE WEIRD edited by S.T. Joshi
HIS OWN MOST FANTASTIC CREATION edited by S.T. Joshi

Read this newsletter, here: http://ow.ly/AquK50yPMst

Friday 13th March
BEST OF BEST NEW HORROR VOLUME 1 edited by Stephen Jones
BEST OF BEST NEW HORROR VOUME 2 edited by Stephen Jones-Editor
DEAD TROUBLE AND OTHER GHOST STORIES by Aidan Chambers
THE CURSE OF THE FLEERS by Basil Copper

Read this newsletter, here: http://ow.ly/tec150yPMBJ

Friday 20th March
WARTS AND ALL by Mark Morris
THE STORM by Paul Kane
FOREVER KONRAD by Martin Goodman

Read this newsletter, here: http://ow.ly/7DQV50yT3Gh

Friday 27th March
THE COMPANION AND OTHER PHANTASMAGORICAL STORIES VOLUME 1 by Ramsey Campbell
THE RETROSPECTIVE AND OTHER PHANTASMAGORICAL STORIES VOLUME 2 by Ramsey Campbell
RAMSEY CAMPBELL, PROBABLY

Friday 3rd April
STUDIO OF SCREAMS by Christopher Golden, Tim Lebbon,
Stephen Volk, Mark Morris and Stephen R. Bissette
ENGLAND’S SCREAMING by Sean Hogan (Electric Dreamhouse Press)

Friday 10th April
WE ALL HEAR STORIES IN THE DARK by Robert Shearman

So, there we have it. We are very disappointed to say the least, but for now we can only remain hopeful. So, please, signup to our free newsletter and spread the word. You can subscribe, here: http://ow.ly/A6sO50yPMDf.

We will also be posting content to our social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

But, most importantly, stay safe and look after each other during these uncertain times.

update from PS

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I’m keyed to announce that my short story, “Lisa’s Pieces,” is included in the upcoming Apostles of the Weird anthology.  From PS Publishing:  “The eighteen stories making up Apostles of the Weird demonstrate that weird fiction is a multifaceted genre whose emphasis on fear does not preclude pathos, poignancy, and a brooding rumination on our place in this fragile world.”

apostles, full

The anthology is edited by S.T. Joshi and will premiere at StokerCon (April 16 – 19, 2020) in Sacrborough, UK.  Here’s the impressive TOC:

Introduction, S.T. Joshi
Sebillia, John Shirley
Come Closer, Gemma Files
Widow’s Walk, Jonathan Thomas
The Walls Are Trembling, Steve Rasnic Tem
Trogs, Nancy Kilpatrick
The Zanies of Sorrow, W. H. Pugmire
This Hollow Thing, Lynda E. Rucker
The Outer Boundary, Michael Washburn
Black Museums, Jason V Brock
The Legend of the One-Armed Brakeman, Michael Aronovitz
Lisa’s Pieces, Clint Smith
Everything Is Good in the Forest, George Edwards Murray
Three Knocks On a Buried Door, Richard Gavin
The Thief of Dreams, Darrell Schweitzer
Axolotl House, Cody Goodfellow
Night Time In the Karoo, Lynne Jamneck
Porson’s Piece, Reggie Oliver
Cave Canem, Stephen Woodworth