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Posts Tagged ‘Lovecraft’

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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On Halloween night, I’ll be reading with Matthew Bartlett and Jonathan Thomas at the Lovecraft Arts & Sciences Council bookshop in Providence, RI. Event starts at 6PM. Should be a scary good time, and I might even read something brand new.

WeirdHalloweenEvent

Click the poster for the Facebook event page.

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H.P. Lovecraft

The original Slim Shady dropped mad hooks.

H.P. Lovecraft knew how to write a hook. Say what you will about his adjective addiction or his lapses into florid prose; one place where he knew how to get to the point was in an opening line. He may have meandered a bit after getting your attention (and I’d argue that’s part of his charm), but in his pulp fiction heart Lovecraft understood the importance of grabbing you right away to earn your patience, and his stories consistently showcase his mastery of the intriguing opening.

I’m currently writing a novel with a strong Lovecraftian influence, so I’ve been revisiting his body of work, and recently, while discussing hooks with a young writer I’m mentoring, I realized that any horror writer, no matter how modern their style, would do well to look at Lovecraft’s openings for good examples of powerful hooks. Here are my top ten favorites from the gentleman of Providence.

10. THE DUNWICH HORROR

When a traveler in north central Massachusetts takes the wrong fork at the junction of the Aylesbury pike just beyond Dean’s Corners he comes upon a lonely and curious country.

Subtle and atmospheric but for me the hook is that it’s a WRONG turn. You wouldn’t go there on purpose. And that makes me curious about that curious country.

9. AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS

I am forced into speech because men of science have refused to follow my advice without knowing why.

The reluctant narrator. He doesn’t want to talk about this shit but no one will heed his warnings without an explanation? I’m in. Give up the goods.

8. HYPNOS

May the merciful gods, if indeed there be such, guard those hours when no power of the will, or drug that the cunning of man devises, can keep me from the chasm of sleep.

Um, dude, are you okay? What’s so bad about falling asleep? Could it be the dreams?

7. THE HAUNTER OF THE DARK

Cautious investigators will hesitate to challenge the common belief that Robert Blake was killed by lightning, or by some profound nervous shock derived from an electrical discharge.

Dead body introduced by a rational, journalistic voice that you just know is going to suggest that something far stranger than lightning killed Mr. Blake.

6. THE DESCENDANT

In London there is a man who screams when the church bells ring.

And I want to know why.

5. HERBERT WEST – REANIMATOR

Of Herbert West, who was my friend in college and in after life, I can speak only with extreme terror.

All about dissonant juxtaposition. Why would the memory of a longtime friend become a source of extreme terror?

4. THE CALL OF CTHULHU

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.

This one’s a classic. A concise philosophical statement that makes you wonder why connecting the dots and reaching certain conclusions would be so bad that your ignorance is the ultimate mercy.

3. THE WHISPERER IN DARKNESS

Bear in mind closely that I did not see any actual visual horror at the end.

What end? And WTF did you see, exactly, if that’s your opening?

2. DAGON

I am writing this under an appreciable mental strain, since by tonight I shall be no more.

Top that! Hard to do, but I believe the man himself did with…

1. THE THING ON THE DOORSTEP

It is true that I have sent six bullets through the head of my best friend, and yet I hope to shew by this statement that I am not his murderer.

Possibly one of the best opening lines in all of horror literature. Within 31 words you know that some heavy shit went down. You want to know why one bullet through the head wasn’t enough. Was emptying the gun enough? And how is he not his friend’s murderer? Put a paradox like that up front with highly specific details and visceral language and promise to resolve it in the story that follows, and you have me eating out of your hand.

What do you think, did I miss any of your favorites? Which of Lovecraft’s opening lines hooked you on his writing?
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The Devil of Echo Lake – Book Trailer from Douglas Wynne on Vimeo.

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MM_LastChordA while back I came across a short article in Rolling Stone about Bob Dylan’s legendary Fender Stratocaster, the one he busted out at the Newport Folk Festival to make his electric debut.  Supposedly the guitar had been found by an instrument appraiser after being lost for many years.  Dylan himself denies that it’s the same guitar, which he says he still has, but I suspect that Dylan just likes to be contrary whenever a journalist gets him on the phone.  Anyway, I liked the idea of a kind of forensics being used to verify if the wood grain pattern matched photos from the 60’s, and it stuck in my mind.

I’m a guitar geek, so it didn’t take long for that scrap of a story to get remixed in my mind with my own geeky obsessions, such as some of the details of David Gilmour’s famous Black Strat.  I’ve even worked up my own replica of that guitar for when I want to bask in some Pink Floyd tones.  Mine is nice, and cost a lot less to assemble than the one sold by the Fender Custom Shop.

When the guitar obsession collided with the horror fiction obsession, I finally got a short story out of it that I’m quite happy with.  “The Last Chord” is about a vintage instruments appraiser, a Rock n Roll Detective if you will, who discovers a haunted Stratocaster.  It first appeared in Dark Discoveries magazine, and is now available on Kindle.

I almost titled the story “Black Widow Blues,” but then my friend Jill proof read it and picked “The Last Chord” from my list of possible titles.  I’m glad she did, because in a way the story is a final chord of The Devil of Echo Lake, struck years after the events of that novel, when we find sound engineer Jake Campbell once again wrapped up in some sinister paranormal weirdness with a Lovecraftian twist. You don’t need to have read the book to enjoy this standalone story, and if you do pick it up, you also get a preview chapter of my next book, Steel Breeze, tagged on at the end.  Not bad for a buck.

Since this is my first foray into self publishing… (clears throat, sheepishly swats dog hair from his sleeve) if you do read the story and like it, a really short review would make me love you long time.

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