“Allow myself to introduce…myself”

My wife reads this blog because, you know, she’s supportive like that. After reading my thoughts on August Derleth‘s “The Lonesome Place,” she said, “Sounds like a good story.”

“It is,” I answered.

The silence drew out.

“Something wrong?” I asked.

“It’s just…are you ever going to do a post about yourself? Like, about your own writing?”

“Oh,” I said and tried not to look sheepish.

The fact is, I’d sort of forgotten the fact that one of my main motives for starting the blog was to promote my own writing. It wasn’t the only reason, but let’s be honest here—I want people to read my stuff.

So yeah…about that stuff.

The Sorrows

I have a novel coming out on December 6th in ebook and paperback on March 6th. I’ve written other things and have some other stuff coming out, but for now let’s talk about that December/March book.

It’s called The Sorrows. You can read an excerpt of it here on the Samhain Horror website.

The book was inspired by a few different things and influenced by a great many more. Here are a few of them…

Arthur Machen Is a Stud

Arthur Machen’s “The Great God Pan: Each one of these influences will become a future blog post, I’m sure, and this one will be a hoot to write. For now, all I’ll say is that ever since I read this novella in my early twenties, I’ve been fascinated with the Greek god Pan, not just as a character, but as a representation of some important themes. Among many other things, Pan can be a symbol for lust—particularly cruel male lust (for an incredible representation of both this theme and this figure, read Brian Keene‘s amazing Dark Hollow, which doesn’t precisely deal with Pan, but does boast a narrative that is clearly aware of Pan’s existence and influence)—and I’ve long been amazed at what a destructive force lust can be. I take an unflinching look at that in The Sorrows.

So Is Brian Keene

Brian Keene’s Dark Hollow: Truth be told, I finished the first draft of The Sorrows before I read Keene’s book, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t stick with me during the editing process. A quick comment on Keene here: when I read reviews of his work, many people seem to “get it.” Others, however, don’t. What bothers me about those who don’t isn’t the fact  that they criticize—that’s every reader’s right, after all. No, what irritates me is that people often do to Keene what they do to Richard Laymon, which is to de-literize him. By that I mean that they equate a fast pace with a lack of profundity. Nothing could be further from the truth. One need only read—really read—a Keene book to see just how much the guy knows and how completely aware he is of the heritage with which he, as a writer, has been bequeathed. The fact that he is also able to channel all of that absorbed reading and allow it to subtly season his own narrative voice—which is clear, powerful, and capable of breakneck momentum—should be to his credit, not to his detriment. The same goes for Laymon, but that’s a post for another day…

Craigievar Castle (pictured above):  In scouting “locations” for my novel, I wanted to find a castle that captured the ominousness and delirious height of the castle I’d been imagining. When I stumbled upon Craigievar, a Scottish castle built in the early seventeenth century, I knew I’d found my setting. And while my castle was constructed on a mythical island off the coast of northern California (an island called The Sorrows), it shares a deep kinship with its real-life Scottish cousin.

Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C Sharp Minor: You’ve all heard it, but if you can’t place it straightaway, here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-qwJoFQ3qo. The song is featured in a lot of movies (Geoffrey Rush’s Shine comes to mind), and it always has the same jarring effect on me. The first time I heard the song I wondered how it would impact a listener coming by surprise and out of complete silence. Then I wondered how the song could be even more shocking to a listener…and under what scenario would it terrify the most? From that idea grew one of the central scenes of the book, as well as the work’s original title (Tower Song).

In wrapping this up and reading through it, I see I’ve only partially succeeded in the fulfillment of my wife’s wishes (to talk about my book). But I did talk about The Sorrows in a way, for if you’ve read this, you’ll have an idea of the flavor of the story. And since it won’t be released for another seven weeks or so, we’ve got plenty of time to discuss it further. For now, though, consider this…

On a fateful evening in 1816, Lord Byron, Mary Shelley, Percy Shelley, and another poor bastard named John Polidori spent a stormswept evening telling horror stories in a medieval château on Lake Geneva. From that meeting would spring forth one of the most influential horror novels of all time.

Mary and Her Monster

Present day: You are Eddie Blaze, a movie music composer with an unspeakable secret. Like Byron almost two centuries earlier, you find yourself in a spooky castle on the water during a storm. One of the women in your party has just related a ghastly story about her past, and you begin to feel terribly uneasy. Your back is to the fifth-story window, but impossibly, you begin to feel as if you’re being watched. You tell yourself it’s only nerves or the bone-rattling peals of thunder shuddering the castle. But when you turn around…

To read what happens next, you can go here and order The Sorrows.

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