Mickey

It has been a week since I heard the news, and honestly, I’m still reeling.

On February 6th my agent, Mickey Choate, died after a brief battle with lung cancer. He was 52.

I was only with Mickey for ten months. Not long, I know, but long enough to appreciate his professionalism, his knowledge of the industry, his consideration, and his enviable patience. I trusted him implicitly, and knew I could go to him with anything, however trivial.  In addition to his many kindnesses and qualities, he also secured me a two-book deal with Thomas Dunne Books—the kind of deal I’d been working toward for over twenty years. That’s something that will always bind us … that will ripple into every future deal, every book I write.

Last May, I had lunch with Mickey in New York City. Now, this was big for me; one of my ambitions as a young, daydreaming writer was to have LUNCH WITH MY AGENT IN NEW YORK CITY, and Mickey made it happen. He took me to the Gramercy Tavern on East 20th St., and I’m not kidding when I say that it was the greatest dining experience of my life. Not only was I having LUNCH WITH MY AGENT IN NEW YORK CITY, but Mickey was a food enthusiast. He agented successful cookbook authors and was an accomplished cook in his own right. Needless to say, he knew his way around a menu. He ordered an array of wonderful dishes, each complimenting the other, and a sprinkling of drinks that enhanced every flavour. I swear to God, my taste buds were doing the conga. And Mickey loved it. He delighted in my delight. There we were, talking books, business, and music, eating wonderful food. Mickey was in his element. He didn’t stop smiling.

This is the only time I met Mickey, so whenever I think about him—now, or in the future—I will think about that smile. It’s impossible for me to imagine him without it.

I’m good with that.

Mickey is mourned by his adoring wife and children, his many friends, his colleagues and clients. We are all emptier.

Cancer darkens everyone’s lives. To help shine a light—in memory, perhaps, of your own smiling friend—please consider making a donation to the Cancer Research Institute. They do fantastic work.

Mickey was my agent, but more than this, he was my friend.

I will miss him entirely.

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Far Voyager

POSTSCRIPTS: FAR VOYAGER, featuring my dirty l’il rock ‘n’ roll story, SISTER FREE, is available now from PS Publishing.

Just in time for Christmas. How about that for great timing?

And because it’s the holiday season, here’s a snippet from SISTER FREE:

London, England. July 1969.

The girl leaves in tears. Eighteen years old. A Mary Quant model, pretty enough to outshine starlight, but faded now, filled with cum and cocaine. Tommy watches as she gathers her things. Makeup blurred across her face. Fingers looped into the straps of her heels. He is expressionless. He has seen tears before, and will again. Success has handed him many things: the best clothes money can buy, the fastest cars, nameless girls with fragile hearts … the hammer with which to break them.

The door slams behind her.

He drifts into sleep and dreams about pain.

Awakens some time later. Some … time. Could be midnight or noon. The curtains in the suite are tightly drawn and the electric lamps hum a piss-yellow tune. He can hear someone crying, and wonders how many tears fall through his life these days. He gets out of bed, slips into a pair of trousers, and walks through to the suite’s sitting room. The smell of strong spirits and sweat. Debris everywhere. A broken table. Shattered mirror fragments glittering in the carpet. Filthy plates and glasses. Flies with thick bodies, droning constantly, as if they are tapped into the power grid. The “Do Not Disturb” sign has been on the door for five days.

In the corner, Joe snorts cocaine from the cover of Melody Maker. His hand trembles. His tears splash into the white powder in tiny puffs.

“You’re snorting your tears,” Tommy says.

“Brian is dead,” Joe says. A line disappears up the tube—a tightly rolled ten pound note. He gasps. Spit glistens on his lower lip.

“Jones?”

“Yeah.” He draws back the powder in his throat and swallows with a click. Leans over the newspaper for another line. Lennon and Yoko are on the cover. The Stones, too. With their new guitarist. They fired Brian a couple of weeks ago. And now he’s dead.

“Fuck,” Tommy says.

“Drowned in his swimming pool.”

“Fuck.”

Joe runs his forearm across his eyes, smearing tears. His thin chest quivers, and Tommy imagines his heart running too quickly. Heart of a bird. Something about to fly away. He watches Joe shake a spoonful of coke onto the newspaper and use his thumbnail to cut it into two tracks.

“Here …” He hands Tommy the rolled up note. “For Brian.”

Tommy drops to one knee and snorts. Both lines. When he looks up, Joe is pouring whiskey into two cloudy glasses, half-filling them. They drink to Brian’s memory—empty their glasses. Then they drink again. Time moves like a dog on a leash, running ahead and snapping back. Running ahead. Snapping back. Joe throws his glass against the wall. It shatters with a sound like laughter. He drinks from the bottle. Passes out. Tommy toots another line. At some point Noel Redding calls. Have you heard the news? Tommy doesn’t reply. He turns on the radio. The Rolling Stones are singing “Paint it Black.” Tommy puts the receiver next to the speaker and walks away.

As stated in a previous post, SISTER FREE marks my fourth appearance in this award-winning publication. I’ve had a long and wonderful relationship with PS Publishing, and I’m proud for it to continue here.

Edited by Nick Gevers, POSTSCRIPTS: FAR VOYAGER is available in a beautiful jacketed hardcover for £30.00. You can order it (and check out the impressive table of contents) right HERE.

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Point Hollow

I’m incredibly pleased to announce that my new novel, POINT HOLLOW, will be released by ChiZine Publications in March 2015.

This is my second novel with ChiZine (the first being WESTLAKE SOUL), and I’m thrilled to be working with Brett and Sandra, and the entire ChiZine crew, once again. These guys are deeply passionate about what they do, which is evident in the quality of the books they publish. I’ve always felt honoured to be part of the ChiZine family, alongside so many great authors, and I’m delighted to have POINT HOLLOW join their outstanding library of books.

Also, check out the amazing cover by Erik Mohr. Creepy as hell. But beautiful, too.

I just LOVE it.

Okay, here’s the skinny on POINT HOLLOW:

Point Hollow, NY. A town with unspeakable secrets. To the tourists that visit each summer, it is quintessential America. They stroll through its picturesque streets and hike its stunning trails. No one sees the cracks in the town’s veneer. No one knows its terrible history … a secret that has been buried—forgotten. But Abraham’s Faith, the mountain that overshadows Point Hollow, doesn’t forget so easily. It booms, wicked and controlling. It is filled with the bones of children.

Oliver Wray is Point Hollow’s favorite son, its most generous benefactor, admired by all. But  Oliver, like the town, has a secret: Abraham’s Faith speaks to him, and he has spent a lifetime serving its cruel needs.

He believes his secret is safe, but one person has glimpsed the darkness in his heart …

Matthew Bridge hasn’t set foot in Point Hollow for twenty-six years. Something horrifying happened to him there. Memories of an ordeal that flicker and taunt, but cannot be recalled. Now, trying to find the answers to his failed marriage and failing life, Matthew is coming home. Back to Point Hollow. Back to Abraham’s Faith.

And some early blurbage:

“POINT HOLLOW proves Rio Youers to be the real thing.  His prose flows without a ripple and his conflicted, multidimensional characters— even the villain—demand you care.  The edge-of-the-seat finale is as relentless as it is terrifying.” —F. Paul Wilson

“Rio Youers is one of the most promising new writers to come along in ages. POINT HOLLOW is a dark and twisted thriller full of small town secrets, horrific murders, and the way evil takes root if we’re not careful. Read it!” —Christopher Golden

“Rio Youers has written an incredible story with all the right ingredients to keep a reader turning the pages quickly–and staying awake in the dark! Marvelous and creepy!” —Heather Graham

I should probably point out that POINT HOLLOW is straight up horror—very different to WESTLAKE SOUL. So if you like ’em dark and twisted, this may well be the book for you.

POINT HOLLOW should be available for preorder soon from all of your favourite places. I’ll keep you posted.

 

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PAN. FONTANA. SPECTRAL

I’m very pleased to announce that my short story, “Outside Heavenly” has been accepted for publication in THE SPECTRAL BOOK OF HORROR STORIES.

This annual, non-themed anthology, edited by Mark Morris, is inspired by the old Pan and Fontana books of horror. As a fan of these books growing up, I’m all the more thrilled to be included in this inaugural volume.

The incredible cover art is by the one and only Vincent Chong, who produced the breathtaking cover for my novel, END TIMES. Check out his website HERE.

The full table of contents is below. So many great names, as you can see. So many great stories. I’m honoured to be among them.

ON THE TOUR – RAMSEY CAMPBELL
THE DOG’S HOME - ALISON LITTLEWOOD
FUNERAL RITES – HELEN MARSHALL
SLAPE – TOM FLETCHER
THE NIGHT DOCTOR – STEVE RASNIC TEM
DULL FIRE – GARY McMAHON
THE BOOK AND THE RING – REGGIE OLIVER
EASTMOUTH – ALISON MOORE
CARRY WITHIN SOME SMALL SLIVER OF ME – ROBERT SHEARMAN
THE DEVIL’S INTERVAL – CONRAD WILLIAMS
STOLEN KISSES – MICHAEL MARSHALL SMITH
CURES FOR A SICKENED WORLD – BRIAN HODGE
THE OCTOBER WIDOW – ANGELA SLATTER
THE SLISTA – STEPHEN LAWS
OUTSIDE HEAVENLY – RIO YOUERS
THE LIFE INSPECTOR – JOHN LLEWELLYN PROBERT
SOMETHING SINISTER IN SUNLIGHT – LISA TUTTLE
THIS VIDEO DOES NOT EXIST – NICHOLAS ROYLE
NEWSPAPER HEART – STEPHEN VOLK

My story, “Outside Heavenly” is about a small-town policeman searching for the truth behind a mysterious house fire and a mutilated corpse. The tone is southern gothic. Think ANGEL HEART meets TRUE DETECTIVE, and you’ll be on the right track.

THE SPECTRAL BOOK OF HORROR STORIES will launch at FantasyCon in the UK in September 2014. In the meantime, there’s an interview about the anthology with Mark Morris HERE, and the official press release from Spectral Press—including all ordering information—can be found HERE.

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