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Archive for the ‘Lovecraft’ Category

My new novel, Black January, is now up for preorder from JournalStone. The second book in the SPECTRA Files trilogy, this one should also be pretty accessible for newcomers to my Lovecraftian apocalypse in progress. But if you haven’t picked up Red Equinox, why not take it to the beach this summer and catch up?

Speaking of the apocalypse, next Friday I’ll be hosting the Apocalyptic SF, Horror and Fantasy discussion at NECON in Rhode Island with guests of honor Joe Hill, Mark Morris, and other smart folks who like to ponder the end of all things. The con is sold out for full registration but single day walk-in passes will be available.

You can add Black January to your Goodreads list here, and I’ll post links to Amazon, Indiebound, and B&N as soon as we have them.

I started sketching ideas for this book about a year ago in my hotel room at NecronomiCon.  It feels like longer. It came fast in first draft and has been long in revisions, and it feels good to see it all dressed up and ready for readers in Chuck Killorin’s drop-dead gorgeous art.

 

Black January Cover Medium

WELCOME TO THE WADE HOUSE

WHERE THE DOORS OPEN YOU

Two years after the Starry Wisdom Church unleashed their dark gods in Boston, Becca Philips is trying to put the events of the Red Equinox behind her when Agent Brooks tracks her down in Brazil. Becca has been summoned back to Massachusetts by SPECTRA, the covert agency entrusted with keeping cosmic horrors at bay. Her special perception and skills are requested at the Wade House—a transfiguring mansion of portals to malevolent dimensions.

Becca would like to refuse, but Brooks believes her estranged father may be lost between worlds at the abandoned estate. As Becca struggles with grief and forgiveness, she joins a team of explorers uniquely suited to decode the secrets of the strange house in the black snow. But what secrets do her companions harbor? And who among them will take theirs to the grave?

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Necronomicon Providence 2015

Wow, it’s August already? Summer is flying by and I’ve had a great time teaching my son how to swim this year, but August means two things for this writer:

1. I’d better wrap up the last of the short stories I owe editors and get cranking on the sequel to Red Equinox.
 
2. It’s almost time for NecronomiCon Providence!

Always a great convention, this year promises to be something extra special as it coincides with H.P. Lovecraft’s 125th birthday. Here’s a summary of what to expect, from the official press release:
 
 

NecronomiCon Providence is a celebration of weird fiction and its roots in the city of Providence. It is a four-day convention that features panels and talks by experts, authors, artists, and historians who are influenced by the life and works of H.P. Lovecraft. It also includes Lovecraft-themed gaming, creative workshops, art exhibits, films, concerts, walking tours, and special events.

Sound cool? It is. And there are still some tickets available.

I’ll be joining in the conversation on several panels throughout the weekend. You can also find me in between panels signing and selling copies of Red Equinox at the Lovecraft eZine table in the vendor’s hall, which is open to the public.

Talking about the nuts and bolts of fiction writing is all well and good (you can catch me doing just that in this recent interview with the Los Angeles Examiner) but when you write weird books, talking about weird shit once in a while is even more fun, and boy do I get to do that at NecronomiCon.

Here’s my schedule:

Friday – 2:30-3:45pm
AH-CULT! MAGICK IN ELDRITCH AND PRACTICE – Waterplace Ballroom, Omni Hotel 2nd Floor
“Magic” is a large part of Lovecraft’s writings even if it is not meant to be magic in the traditional sense. How did Lovecraft use the concepts of magic in his fiction? How close is it to ritual traditions? Is there a connection?
Panelists: Richard Gavin, Scott R. Jones, Justin Woodman, Douglas Wynne
Moderator: Anthony Teth

Friday – 5:30-6:45pm
INSANITY IS A SANE REACTION – Narragansett Ballroom, Omni Hotel 1st Floor
Insanity, or the seemingly inevitable path toward it, seems to be a common pattern in Lovecraft’s stories. How (and why) did Lovecraft employ this common theme, and what might this say about his own psychology? And, why does his writing appeal so much to society’s “outsiders”? This panel explores the aspects of Lovecraft’s fiction that set it, and us, apart.
Panelists: Joseph Zannella, Kenneth Heard, Shane Ivey, Damien Angelica Walters, Douglas Wynne
Moderator: Jack Haringa

Saturday – 1-2:15pm
FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE – Waterplace Ballroom, Omni Hotel 2nd Floor
We all know the scene: investigator finds ancient book of forbidden knowledge that unleashes evil and terror upon the world. Lovecraft created the most sinister of them all with the NECRONOMICON but there are many more as well. Enough to equip a library of ‘forbidden knowledge’. Do you know who created “Nameless Cults”? Or ‘The Book of Eibon’? Join us for a bibliophile’s delight, or NIGHTMARE, as we chart the best and worst of these forbidden tomes.
Panelists: Robert M. Price, Sean Hoade, Douglas Wynne
Moderator: Pete Rawlik

Sunday – 10:30-11:45am
ON LOVECRAFT AND PHILOSOPHY – Garden Room, Biltmore 2nd Floor
Just what is “cosmicism” and where does it fit into the philosophical realm? For all of his professed loathing of modernists, Lovecraft used his fiction to push some radically modern (if not post-modern) ideas. Panelists will attempt to tackle the “pessimism”–this is hardly an appropriate word–of Lovecraft’s cosmic horror, as well as place it within the greater context of the evolution of 20th-century thought.
Panelists: Michael Cisco, Andrew Migliore, Mike Davis, Sean Hoade, Douglas Wynne
Moderator: Alex Houstoun

Here’s the official site with the full schedule and more info. I hope to see some of you there!

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Narragansett Lovecraft Honey Ale
I am writing this under an appreciable mental strain for Friday evening has arrived and the pressures of dark forces have accrued, but by the time I set down my pen, I shall be buzzed, for I have obtained the amber elixir.

The origins of the potion are shrouded in mystery. The formula is hinted at in the dread Necronomicon: honey from the hives of winged creatures that haunt lonely hills and whisper with voices that buzz in crude imitation of the speech of men. Hops from the meadows that border the river Oukranos where it winds beside the Enchanted Wood on its way to the Cerenarian Sea. Alcohol content calibrated to the mystic numeral seven. A potion shunned by pregnant women, for it is rumored to produce abominations.

The dark satanic mill from whence it came was founded in Rhode Island in the Yuletide of 1890, year of the nativity of our prophet H.P. Lovecraft. Whether or not the prophet himself ever ingested the earlier incarnations of the sacramental brew is a matter of some speculation. However, his writings predict the fate of the potion with oracular clarity.

At the end of Lovecraft’s tale “The Haunter of the Dark,” a superstitious doctor casts the gem of power known as The Shining Trapezohedron into Narragansett Bay, where it is believed to be lost forever. And yet, in the book Red Equinox, we learn that the gem was subsequently retrieved from the depths by descendants of the Starry Wisdom Church and its power once again tapped to fuel their dark rites. So too, the Narragansett brewery was once relegated to the wrecking ball but has since been resurrected to unleash the power of Lovecraft Honey Ale on the world in January of 2015, three days after the publication of the dread tome Red Equinox.

Great power lost, now tapped again.

Coincidence? I think not.

Some believe the potion is the Space Meade foretold by August Derleth, prescribed as a defense against interstellar travel. I hope they are right as I intend to serve small doses of it to the celebrants who will gather to hear readings from the red book at Jabberwocky in Newburyport, MA and Water Street Books in Exeter, NH on the evenings of January 30th and 31st.

The elixir, difficult to obtain, now occupies a glass upon my desk: a deep amber red reminiscent of the lost gem, topped by lacy golden foam. It flows smooth as the sea into Innsmouth harbor, bringing a scent of sweet honey and herbal overtones. And yet there is an underlying bitter note—a darkness befitting its origins—that courses through the sweet bouquet and lingers for a moment inspiring one to ponder the fathomless icy reaches between the stars.

I have acquired 24 canisters for my congregation. I may need more, for having sampled one; I am tempted to consume them all.

Narragansett Lovecraft Ale page

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With just one week to go until Red Equinox drops, you can now read the first two chapters at Tor.com. Tor is my favorite hub of geek goodies, so I’m thrilled to get a ride on Stubby the rocket! I hope you’ll head over and give the story a chance with your Saturday morning coffee. And if it hooks you, why not pre-order the book at Amazon? Thanks for checking it out.

Red Equinox Excerpt Douglas Wynne at Tor.com

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CthulhumasHC

Before Chuck Killorin designed the killer cover for Red Equinox, I tinkered with my own design while working on the final revisions to the book. Just for fun. Also just for fun, I ran off a couple of hardcover proof copies with Lulu to see how it would look in print. I think it came out pretty spiffy. And since I’m feeling jolly about unleashing the book on the world next month, I’m giving away this copy to one lucky winner.

santa-cthulhu-2786-1292327464-5So step on up and tell Santa Cthulhu why it should be yours. Tell us how you’ve been nice, or naughty, or why you should get to read this cosmic horror novel before anyone else.

I’ll select my favorite comment from this blog post or the related Facebook thread on Saturday December 27th.

The copy I’m giving away is an uncorrected proof version of the novel, so there are some differences from the final copy-edited text. There are also little errors in the cover (see if you can find them if you win) but that sort of thing just might increase the value of this rare tome someday. And since there are currently no plans to release Red Equinox in a hardcover edition, it’s a rare prize indeed.

Oh yeah, I’ll also sign and personalize it if you want, before mailing it out. 

Good luck, and Merry Cthulhumas!

More about the book:

The Red Equinox has dawned, and the old gods who have slept for aeons are stirring.

Urban explorer and photographer Becca Philips was raised in the shadow of Miskatonic University, steeped in the mysteries of her late grandmother’s work in occult studies. But what she thought was myth becomes all too real when cultists unleash terror on the city of Boston. Now she’s caught between a shadowy government agency called SPECTRA and the followers of an apocalyptic faith bent on awakening an ancient evil.

As urban warfare breaks out between eldritch monsters and an emerging police state, she must uncover the secrets of a family heirloom known as the Fire of Cairo to banish the rising tide of darkness before the balance tips irrevocably at the Red Equinox.

Coming from JournalStone in January 2015.

UPDATE: I’ve read through all of the entries here and on every Facebook post where the link appeared. Thanks to all who entered and shared, and congratulations to Mark Burns who won the book with a sustained campaign of groveling and photo meme bombing. But don’t envy Mr. Burns the nightmares the dread tome may induce…

MBLovecraftmeme 

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Red Equinox by Douglas Wynne cover artMy third novel, Red Equinox, will be released by JournalStone on Friday, January 16th in trade paperback and a bunch of e-book formats. It’s about Becca Philips, an urban explorer and photographer who discovers malign forces seeping into our world from a parallel dimension in the flood-ravaged Boston of 2019.

Equal parts horror-thriller, urban fantasy, and sci-fi, the book riffs on the mythology of the late, great H.P. Lovecraft, but you don’t need to be familiar with his work to enjoy it. I set out to pay homage to his influence (while defying some Lovecraftian tropes), but my main goal was to tell a suspenseful story with characters I cared about.

I hope you might come to care about them too.

I’ll be doing a couple of signing events to celebrate the release: Jabberwocky Bookshop in Newburyport, MA on Friday 1/30 and Water Street Books in Exeter, NH on Saturday 1/31. Both kick off at 7PM.

I can’t wait to get out and talk about the story, read a creepy scene from it, and doodle some tentacles on title pages.

And if you need help getting off the fence and giving this one a try, here are a bunch of nice blurbs from writers and editors who were kind enough to preview it:

“Douglas Wynne has accomplished a rare feat in Red Equinox. He has written a thrilling action-adventure story while at the same time melding it with hints—and more than hints—of chilling Lovecraftian cosmicism. Vivid characters, a keen sense of place, and a cleverly executed plot contribute to making Red Equinox one of the more notable novels in the Lovecraftian tradition.” S. T. Joshi

“No Lovecraft fan—or horror fan for that matter—should miss this one! Philosophical and creepy, RED EQUINOX is a Mythos tale set in the real world. I enjoyed it immensely. Douglas Wynne is definitely a writer to watch.” Mike Davis, editor, The Lovecraft eZine

“RED EQUINOX is an enjoyable book touching on the unique legend of H. P. Lovecraft’s Nyarlathotep, that most mysterious of Outer Gods. Cleverly plotted, with engaging characters and wonderful Lovecraftian touches, the book reveals Douglas Wynne a true acolyte of Eldritch Horror!” W. H. Pugmire, author of The Strange Dark One

“In RED EQUINOX, Douglas Wynne has done what countless authors have tried—and most have failed—to do; he’s brought Lovecraft into the modern world. And he’s done it in such a plausible and unsettling way, you’ll wonder what lurks just beyond the understanding of man and you’ll fear the coming of darkness. A love letter to Lovecraft, no fan of the Mythos should let this one pass them by.” Brett J. Talley, author of That Which Should Not Be

“Douglas Wynne’s RED EQUINOX is a propulsive, edge-of-your-seat supernatural thriller that drop-kicks H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos into the 21st century. Wynne summons dark, ancient horrors into our hyperconnected, high-tech era with taut prose, captivating characters, and refreshing originality. The Great Old Ones will surely be pleased.”—Michael M. Hughes, author of The Blackwater Lights trilogy

Want to know more? Head over to JournalStone for the back cover synopsis.

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A few years ago I was out grocery shopping when I noticed a helicopter circling the parking lot and sweeping out over the surrounding streets and fields. I would later learn from the news that it was a police chopper scanning the bushes for heat signatures in an effort to find a masked man who had pointed a gun at the attendant of the local tree dump before running off in the direction of the middle school.

 

On this outing, I needed to hit two different supermarkets and a drug store, all in the same plaza. At the checkout of the first supermarket, I heard the cashiers talking about a guy with a gun on the run somewhere between the middle school and the stores.

 

Needless to say, this added a bit of an edge to my second stop. I gathered my groceries in a heightened state, worrying about my toddler, who was spending the afternoon at his grandparents house in the same neighborhood, and wondering exactly what I would do if a maniac appeared around the bend and started popping people in the produce section.

 

By the time I entered the pharmacy to the sound of rotors from a not-so-distant stretch of gray sky, my heart rate was up and my breath was shallow.

 

But then…walking over the electric doormat, I was enveloped in the incongruous sounds of Steely Dan playing loud and clear through the overhead speakers. The song was “Hey Nineteen,” with its laid back, feel good groove, and my tension melted away.

 

It’s just not a song people get shot to.

 

It wouldn’t even be ironic or blackly comic to get shot with that relaxing grove playing in the background. And I realized in that moment that it is physically impossible to feel fear while listening to Steely Dan.

 

I don’t know what you can do with that information; if the Department of Homeland Security can utilize the fact as part of some kind of mass panic prevention strategy, I just know it’s true.

 

The guy with the gun was never found and no one was hurt.

 

Now, I’ve been playing guitar since age ten, I’ve been to music school, and worked in a studio for a while, but I learned something that afternoon about the power of music to hijack the autonomic nervous system and change your emotional channels instantly. Something I already knew intellectually (same as anyone who takes note of the tension in a horror movie soundtrack), but in that moment I learned it anew on a more visceral level.

 

So I could never write horror to Steely Dan, but I do sometimes use the emotional energy of music as fuel for writing. Especially when starting a book, I’ll loop a playlist of songs that capture the feelings and themes I’m going for, and invite them to get under my skin for the duration of the project.

 

My current book is an urban Lovecraftian thriller titled Red Equinox, and it has been fueled almost entirely by Tool. In particular, the song 46&2 is the leitmotif of my main character, Becca Philips.

 

Now that I’m digging into the final drafts and deepening her character, I’m finding this cover version with female lead vocals especially inspiring. Check it out. These kids will take your breath away.

 

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