I know, I know … the blog has grown a little mouldy these past few months. Press your nose close to the screen and you’ll probably detect the odour of old dreams and promises, both of which smell like open wounds. But I’ll run this page through the shower, scrub behind its ears, and splash on some inexpensive cologne. Something between Axe and Paco Rabanne. Which is, kind of, where I see my career.
It’s been a busy couple of months for me, though. I don’t need to go into all the details, but suffice to say that, just before Christmas, we moved into a house that needed a good deal of TLC. We’re most of the way there now (thank God), and just about able to focus on other things.
But yes, this blog (though I think of it more as a newsfeed) has suffered. What precious time I found to write was actually spent on, well … writing. There are two brand new stories sitting on my hard drive. One of them—SINS LIKE SCARLET—is a collaboration with British horror ace Mark Morris. More on that very soon. The other is called THE WIDOW, and I hope to give you more info on that soon, too.
I have also been chipping away at the new novel. Late last year, I ditched 30,000 words of a project I’d been working on (it was called CRADLE) because it didn’t feel like the kind of book I wanted to put my name to, and certainly not the kind of book I wanted to follow WESTLAKE SOUL. It felt like I was writing it for someone else—for a place in the market—and I just couldn’t get behind it. So I scrapped that puppy and started something fresh. Glad I did … and while I’ve only scratched at the surface so far, it already feels much more like a “me” kind of book. If the house doesn’t fall down, I should have it finished by the tail-end of summer.
I have a few other things to mention, but I’ll save them for future posts. I will, however, take a moment to say just how sad I was at the passing of James Herbert a couple of weeks ago. I grew up devouring his books, and pretty much wishing I could be him. Novels like THE FOG, THE MAGIC COTTAGE, and (my personal favourite) DOMAIN, had a huge impact on me, and I readily point to them as major influences in my own writing. You can imagine how thrilled I was to meet Mr. Herbert, first at World Horror in 2010, and again at last year’s FantasyCon. Ramsey Campbell introduced me to him on this second occasion, and for five magical minutes the three of us sat at a table talking about stories and writing. I’ll never forget that moment, as I’m sure you can imagine.
R.I.P., Mr. Herbert. Thanks for rocking my world. And filling it with rats.
Also, I mourn the passing of my friend, Rick Hautala. I’d only known Rick for four years, but in that short time he’d become someone very special to me. He was one of my Necon brothers, and every memory I have of him is a happy one. I remember how he’d smile and pull his chair a little closer when I played “Redemption Song” on my guitar, and he’d sing along with a beer in his hand, eyes glowing. We had a little Necon tradition, too—just the two of us: we’d drunkenly recite The Doors’ “Horse Latitudes” in loud, obnoxious voices (Chris Golden would roll his eyes and walk away, which only made us louder), and we vowed to recite it—unbridled and brilliant—every time we got together.
We did it three times. Not nearly enough.
If you come to Necon this year, you will, at some point, see me reciting “Horse Latitudes,” as per tradition. And though I may appear to be on my own, you can rest assured that Rick will be right beside me.
R.I.P., Rick ol’ buddy. I’m going to miss you.
So, yeah … maybe you didn’t know James Herbert or Rick Hautala. But that doesn’t mean you can’t know them. Go to your local bookstore, or to Amazon, buy their books—read their books. And if you’ve read them once, read them again.
Invite them in.
They’re great company.