Monday, March 25, 2013

The Black Train Blues

That's the title of a new Jonathan Crowley story coming out May 31st. It's available only in Midnight Echo #9, the magazine of the Australian Horror Writers Association. You can follow the link for more information, including the complete table of contents.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Rick Hautala, Rest In Peace

Rick Hautala had a beautiful smile. I mean that. When he smiled his face changed and the world around him was brighter.

Before I was a writer, back when I was just a crazy fan of horror fiction and a voracious reader, I met the woman I would later marry. We were reading the same Dean R. Koontz book when we met and we discussed that book and several of our favorite writers. Right at the top of that list was Rick Hautala. He was a writer who could evoke emotions, paint with his words and make you absolutely love and hate his characters. Which is what a writer should do, as far as I'm concerned. 

Back when I was starting out in the writing business he and I ran across each other at my first Horror Writers of America meeting (back before it became the Horror Writers Association) and meeting Rick was, well, it was unique. First, I was surprised to find out he wasn’t Hawaiian. I had assumed with that last name he just had to be. That shows nothing but my rampaging ignorance of world cultures and last names. Turns out Hautala is Finnish. Second, he was, hands down, one of the nicest individuals I had ever met. We hit it off immediately. Talking with Rick was like talking with a friend you’ve known for years, and that was a feeling that never went away. Through times when we talked every week and times when we were both far too busy to pick up a phone and call each other, whenever we did cross paths—far too seldom for me—we were friends.

Just a few days ago he got good news on a couple of novels and Chris Golden picked up his phone while we were at a conference in Florida, and called Rick to congratulate him. Chris, Jeff Strand, Lynne Hansen, John McIlveen and yours truly all bellowed out our congratulations into Chris’s cell phone.

If I’d had any idea that would be the last time I conversed with him, I would have broken apart there and then. Assuming you can call two words bellowed into a phone a conversation. Really, I can’t, but you get my point, I suppose.

There were times when we talked every week like clockwork. Back in those days I had a semi—regular schedule and getting hold of me wasn't nearly as challenging. These days, well, I work retail and there’s no such thing as a regular schedule, regardless of how much one might hope. I didn’t talk to Rick nearly as much as I meant to. I suck at picking up the phone and calling my friends, even the ones I love and I can say without hesitation that I love Rick Hautala. He was part of my extended family. He still is, but damn, I’m wishing I’d called more often. The world is full of regrets, isn’t it? It’s often said that writing is a solitary business and that is true, but you know what? It’s only partially true. There are still people I talk to with great regularity and people I MEAN to talk to in the same fashion who proved that to me a long time ago.

There were plenty of times when I was starting out that Rick and I would have conversations about the business and about our lives and we even though we MIGHT see each other once or so a year at conventions, we kept in touch. Hell, we even kept in touch back in those long ago days when long distance calls were charged by the minute and neither of us had the spare change to actually make those calls without wincing at the cost.

Earlier tonight I got a call from Chris Golden. He’s been the intermediary for keeping me caught up on what goes on in Rick’s world and I suspect he returned the favor with regularity. It is seldom that I have heard Chris sound so very devastated. I heard it in his voice when I called to let him know that my wife had passed away, and I heard it in his voice tonight when he called to let me know that Rick Hautala was no longer among the living. He called me while I was at work, and I felt my world go a little numb. It does that when the news is too big to want to hear, too big to want to absorb.

Rick is survived by his family, his friends and his fans. He will be missed. Dear God, he will be missed.  His wife Holly--Who made him smile more than I ever saw before she entered his life. His kids. His family, both those related by blood and those related by spirit. They will all miss him.

I keep thinking just one thing right now, as I look back on a wonderful man, a brilliant writer and a dear friend. Rick Hautala had a beautiful smile. The world is a little darker for the lack of it, I think.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

James Herbert: Rest In Peace

The Rats, Magic Cottage, The Fog, The Dark, Lair, The Secret of Crickley Hall,'s a long list, really. the books that James Herbert wrote since he started writing lo those many years ago when I was around eight. I remember reading The Fog back when I was just starting to read anything more substantial than an occasional short story or comic book. His books were always a bit gory, a bit short--I always wanted a more--and always a delight for me. His writing style was eloquent and tense with an impending sense that things were about to go horribly wrong for the characters I quickly came to know and sympathize with.
Did I read every last one of them? No, but the ones I did read were always a pleasure. He was a talented writer who has, according to the Huffington Post, now passed away. He leaves behind a wife and three daughters and over twenty novels. My heartfelt condolences to his loved ones. He will be missed.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Cover Artist for Seven Forges

The fine folks at Angry Robot informed me today that the cover artist for SEVEN FORGES is going to be Alejandro Colluci. I had never heard of him. Now, having looked over his website, I am delighted. I look forward to seeing what he comes up with.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Contracts and other things

So, signed the contracts today for my books with Angry Robot Books--SEVEN FORGES and (Tentatively)THE CRUCIBLES OF THE SOUL, the sequel to the same. I also signed a contract for a collaborative work that has been accepted into an anthology. More news on that when I can. Now I'm working on finishing a reread of the manuscript to send off for edits.

The scheduled release date for SEVEN FORGES is in October of this year. I am, as I suspect I have already said repeatedly, delighted.

The sequel to BLIND SHADOWS, is called CONGREGATIONS OF THE DEAD and I'm delighted to know that Alex McVey will be handling to cover art as he did for the first book. Charles R. Rutledge and yours truly spent a while today bouncing ideas back and forth for the cover and have sent our suggestion to Alex. Whether he choses to use it or not is in his capable hands, but I have no doubt no matter what he comes up with, we'll be delighted.

There's a link to the review of CONGREGATIONS OF THE DEAD courtesy of Literary Mayhem.

And just because I like pretty pictures, here's the cover for BLIND SHADOWS, to whet the appetites of any McVey fans out there.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Eulogies II: Tales From The Cellar

I'll be showing up in a new anthology in the not too distant future. Of course, I'm not showing up all alone. instead there will be several other writers as well (without which, I suppose it wouldn't technically be an anthology.). 

It's a collection of tales from the nice folks at and the authors included are:

Tom Piccirilli
Gerard Houarner 
Gary Braunbeck
James A. Moore
Maurice Broaddus
Lucy Snyder
Matthew Warner
Steve Vernon 
Keith Minnion
Monica O'Rourke
Gary McMahon 
Eric Dimbleby
Rose Blackthorn
Michael Boatman 
Thad Linson
Janet Joyce Holden 
Wesley Southard 
Nicole Cushing 
T. T. Zuma 
Brent Jenkins 
Theresa C. Newbill 
Abra Staffin-Wiebe
David Schembri
Magda Knight 
Malcolm Laughton
Jonathan Templar 
Mary Madewell
Eric J. Guignard 
Arthur Crow 
Rebecca Brown
V. M. Zito
John McIlveen
Sean Logan

The cover looks something like this (But I suspect the actual, physical copy will have a bit of actual paper involved not only in the cover itself, but in all of the pages behind the cover, so, you know, it'll be a wee bit thicker. 

Should be fun.