The stars are right, and It has arrived

Technical support takes a turn for the eldritch, a faulty GPS device leads straight out of this world, a bogeyman meets its match in a little girl, a murder investigation goes to hell and back, and six other tales of the Weird from two up-and-coming authors. That Weird City is a foray into the strangest areas of the world; the ones that normal people stomp through every single day of their lives.

Available now on Amazon!

Posted in ebooks, Weird, Writing

Real quick, for those what have this on the RSS

We didn’t forget about this.We’ve been busting our nuts on it, but there wasn’t much to report, per se–it was The Death of A Thousand Cuts.

THAT WEIRD CITY is just about done. The edits are all done, we’ve gotten good feedback from our press gang of beta readers, and we’re about to take this thing to market. Expect news within the next week or two–hopefully sooner rather than later; we’ve sat on this thing long enough, and it’s almost ready to be born into the world.

 

WATCH FOR THE SIGNS, WEIRDLINGS

Posted in Uncategorized

It’s finished.

Hail Fucking Discordia, the writing work on THAT WEIRD CITY is finally finished. I claim full responsibility for keeping everybody waiting, and for that, I apologize. It was originally a small project, just two bros collaborating on a fun little book, but my Inner Perfectionist came a-knockin’, and now five months after the idea was broached, it’s finished.

There are still minor tinkery little touches to be done, but, for my part, I’m proud as hell of the five little yarns what I done, and I can’t wait for everybody to see ‘em.

Patience, Weirdlings! The hour is soon to come, the stars are coming right, and ten fucked-up tales are hurtling through starless space for your Kindles.

WATCH FOR THE SIGNS

EDIT: Sorry, this is Chris–I can’t make the computer box to the good posting thing what i want

Posted in ebooks, Uncategorized, Weird, Writing

Storm’s A-Brewin’

Well, here we are on the week of the 22nd and as promised we have been doubling down on this project in spite of overtime at work, earthquakes wracking the coast and all the other little inanities that tend to distract one from writing about tentacles. We’re making far more progress than I ever would have wished for, though.

As a matter of fact, one of those little inanities is currently bearing down hard on my position; Hurricane Irene is en route to the scenic northeast as we speak. Well, I type and you read. Unless you’re reading this in the archives later. If you are, I truly appreciate a fan who takes the time to skim back through authorial ramblings on a blog. Anyway, Irene is scheduled to make sweet blusterous love with a tropical depression coming up off the water, which will supercharge her and send her barreling across the New England countryside. I fully expect to lose power this weekend, and as such have taken the precaution of printing out everything I have related to the project so I can edit by candlelight in the basement, if it comes down to that.

In other news, the blog has undergone a full beautification, as you may have noticed. The dark and somber colors did tend to wear on the old peepers so we replaced it with some crisp, classic black and white. We also have an new logo thanks to our good mutual friend Andy, who has also been generous enough to put together some business cards for Mr. Hickey to pass around at Dragoncon. If you are actually here from said con, hello and I hope he didn’t bite. He does get flustered so in crowds.

I’m afraid I don’t have any more writings from the book to offer this week, but I will leave you with a music recommendation: Deadmau5’s 4×4=12. I’ve been listening to it constantly this week, especially the Cthulhu Sleeps track. Great for working, working out, writing, carnal gymnastics, frightening the family pet(s), dancing, or any combination thereof. If you’re into dubstep or just plain having your brain rattled around by heavy bass, go buy.

Posted in Writing

Q&A

Well, last week we asked over the various channels for questions that we might answer. We got a pretty good response, I feel! Here’s what we came up with:

 

1. What, if anything, makes your puttering around in the Lovecraftiverse more compelling and worthy of my money than someone else’s?

Aaron: I like to think that we both have a firm grasp on the concept of cosmic horror and that we’ve done enough variance in stories to entertain anyone. In fact, I would say that a sizable portion of the anthology is untouched by Lovecraftian horror motifs and is more in line with contemporary weird fiction, the abject horror element replaced with surrealism and strange ways to look at the world around us.

Chris: I wouldn’t say we’re “in the Lovecraftiverse”, per se, in that we’re not writing pastiche. One of my stories deals with a cult and a horrible monster, and another uses some Cthulhu Mythos elements, but the thing we’re taking, and what Weird as a subgenre takes from the old stories, is more of a vibe than anything else. The main theme of this collection, as I see it, is that the world you see conceals a whole other reality, and it’s not always interested in your well-being, if that makes sense.

 

2. What is it about a place or a situation that inspires you to look for the weird? Following on from that, is there one place above all others that you’ve encountered that inspires it, and if so, why?

Aaron: I like to look for things that are ordinary and even banal, and then come up with weird explanations behind them. Been doing it since I was a kid; goblins making the garage doors go up and down with a complex system of pulleys, closets as doorways to other dimensions once the lights are off, the usual childish stuff. I never really lost that and I have a constant running commentary in the back of my head going “wouldn’t it be cool if…” when confronted with everyday life. I personally find the woods very conducive to this, since you’re out in the wilderness isolated from other people and your paranoia starts taking over the edges of your brain and coming up with all kinds of creative explanations for the noises you hear or the things you see around you.

Chris: For me, at least, it’s not so much an active search for the strange; it’s always there. Trust me, my life would be a lot more comfortable if I could shut it off!  As to the second part of the question, I remember this school where I used to live outside of Boston. I’d walk by it on my way back from the subway at night, and I had to resist a very strong urge to run. It was just a normal school building–picture “school” in your mind and I bet you’ll come close to what it looked like. But there was always one light on in the otherwise darkened building, and that scared the shit out of me. It was my overactive imagination, but it also informed a lot of my thinking as far as worldbuilding goes.

 

3. What made you decide to focus on the urban fantasy instead of the rural for this compilation?

Aaron: Pretty ironic coming after my whole forest spiel, actually! One of the reasons I enjoy urban fantasy is that, unlike the backwoods where I grew up, the weirdness would have to be hidden in plain sight. There’s a billion places for, say, a monster to hide in the woods but you’d have to come up with something really creative for the same creature to survive in a city populated by thousands of people in close proximity, many owning weapons. Having to go that extra mile and bury the weirdness in modern life makes it more believable, in a way.

Chris: Living in inner-city Boston in the 1980s, when recovery from the economic troubles of the past decade was still in progress, was a big marker for me. I remember exploring vacant lots, walking past bad neighborhoods, and blessing myself while walking past abandoned houses, and that really left a big footprint on my brain. When Aaron approached me about collaborating on this, an anthology focusing on the idea of “City”, I couldn’t say no–I was hooked on the idea from the word “go”.

 

4. You’ve both lived in “Lovecraft country,” what do you think differentiates it from the rest of the USA? Do you try to incorporate New England stuff into your stories?

Aaron: I tend to agree with Lovecraft’s original interpretation of the region and why he liked writing things based in New England: we are one of the oldest established areas of the new world and our predecessors were puritans possessed of a certain morbid streak. We also tend to be woodsy and insular, and that contributes well to a feeling that the people in that quaint little town you just visited were hiding something from you in a genial fashion. I definitely incorporate that into stories; Boston is one of my favorite settings in a variety of genres and I feel that it is often passed up in favor of New York, or Chicago, or even Seattle.

Chris: I think a lot of New England’s creep factor has a lot to do with the length of time it’s been settled by Europeans, as Aaron said, but also with the particular immigrant culture. You get all these different, rich folk traditions, all thrown into the same boiling pot, then ladled over the grim, witch-burnin’ Puritan Yankee mindset, and that’s a potent recipe for a haunted area. Plus, the region has every type of landscape–cities, mountains, ocean, forests–lots of places for Things to hide.

 

5. What books have had the most influence on your writing, and on this anthology in particular?

Aaron: Quite a variety! My biggest personal inspirations have been JRR Tolkien, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman; I consider the three of them master storytellers and reading their books, having feelings pulled from or shoved into my brain by written words, is what got me into writing in the first place. For this specific anthology though, I would say a blend of Gaiman, Lovecraft and perhaps a sprinkling of Charles de Lint. All very good at folding fantasy and horror into modern life without making it seem insane.

Chris: For me, of course, Lovecraft looms large over my stories. I also read some other, more action-oriented pulp stories in the creating of this anthology, and Burroughs’ Carter of Mars stories informed one of the pieces in it in a big way. Gaiman was another, and Stephen King as well. For me, though, everything in my writing toolbox goes back to Harlan Ellison’s brilliant “Deathbird Stories”. It was the book that made me decide that writing was for me, but also that I was made for writing.

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Tentative Release: Week of August 22

That’s right–I’m in the home stretch on my half of the stories, so THAT WEIRD CITY could be out as soon as the week of the 22nd. For myself, working on this project has been a real learning experience.

Lesson Number One: The Shitting Fear will get you if you let it.

Lesson Number Two: If you don’t think you need to outline, you need to outline more than anybody.

I don’t want to turn this into a mea culpa post, though–the book is coming, and it’s going to be something. Working with Aaron is something I’ve been wanting to do for years, and I want everybody to be as excited about it as I am.

Notice: we’re going to need to press-gang some people into reading the collection once it’s finished and edited. In exchange for reviews on Amazon, as well as on your blog and social network of choice, we’ll give you a free copy! Just shoot us an email and let us know if you’re available for BRAIN UPLOAD OF WEIRD.

As a thank-you to all of you Weirdlings who have shown such amazing support, we have a couple more samples for you!

Aaron writes about poor, poor little Ellie, and her anxiety problem:

Continue reading

Posted in ebooks, Freebies, Weird, Writing

A somewhat topical post

This week, if you may have heard, Borders finally went under. Their last attempt to sell fell through and as of this writing it looks like the franchise-wide liquidation begins Friday or over the weekend.

For those of us watching publication news, it’s been coming for a long time. Borders managed to burn bridges with a lot of traditional publishing houses due to their monetary issues, and they were too slow in closing down the sites that didn’t draw enough profit, probably because they were afraid of appearing weak. Over the last few years they tried to become some kind of weird book-department-store hybrid. I felt like they were selling almost as much candy and toys as they were books, and unfortunately they couldn’t match up to the prices of established big box stores like Target and Walmart in that arena.

It’s been expected, but it’s also sad. It’s sad because I think it may be one of the first big nails in the coffin of traditional publishing. It may well be the first domino to fall before the might of the ebook and online publication.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I like to consider myself a technologically apt fellow. I’d been waffling on getting an ebook ready due more to my financial situation than a dislike of the medium, but there is a little bit of nostalgia in hitting a bookstore. Wandering around, flipping through the books, relaxing in a pleasant environment. There was actually a Borders right up the block from where I used to work in NYC, and I regularly spent my lunch break there sipping chai and skimming whatever had caught my eye that day. Going even further back, I dragged my poor parents to Barnes and Noble at least once a week after one opened nearby when I was eight or nine years old.

But Borders is gone now, and I think Barnes and Noble is going under next. They place a lot of emphasis on selling the Nook reader, which probably brings in a great deal of money but… removes a reason for customers to return and buy more physical media. I think that is the chain survives into the future it will be in a very interesting shape. It’ll essentially be a Nook shop with a few older books on hand like some kind of vestigial organ. It’ll be a bit like an Apple Store but split between a Nook showroom and a Starbucks lounge rather than computer aisles flanked by a genius bar.

Beyond the nostalgia and future-dreaming, there’s going to be a very real impact on writers and we don’t know what it is yet. We could see more traditional publishers accepting more writers because with the closing of so many stores, they don’t have to worry about sending as much physical media out to the shelves. We could see some ignorant groups thinking that the slow collapse of traditional bookstores is due to a disinterest in reading rather than a dissatisfaction with the delivery of said reading. Self-publishers could see a potential boom as many consumers turn to online book shopping in wake of their local stores closing down, and their wandering around Amazon could well bring them to genre-appropriate selfpubs.

It’s interesting times we live in.

Posted in ebooks, Writing