Visual Inspiration: Marc Simonetti

R'yleh by Marc Simonetti

“In his house at R’lyeh, dead Cthulhu
waits dreaming.”

—H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu

While doing some research on R’lyeh this weekend I stumbled across an amazing image of the dead city by French artist Marc Simonetti. I had seen Simonetti’s work before—you probably have as well, he’s behind illustrations and covers for: Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice & Fire series, and guys like Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, Robin Hobb and Michael Stackpole—but had no idea he had done a whole series on Lovecraft! It’s all great stuff, but I wanted to share a few of my favorite pieces here:

Visual Inspiration by Marc Simonetti
Nyarlathotep by Marc Simonetti
Mountains of Madness by Marc Simonetti
Mountains of Madness

Really great stuff isn’t it? There’s a lot more at Mr. Simonetti’s site and I’d encourage you to check out the rest of Lovecraft’s World. You can see more of his work at his website or on his Deviant Art page and he has a Kickstarter-like campaign going with It’s Art for a new art book called Coverama which still has 22 days left. I think I will be backing this one.

Hope you found Simonetti’s work as inspiring as I did. What piece was your favorite? Leave a comment and let me know! Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

When the stars were right…

The Stars Were Right Print Proof

When the stars were right, They could plunge from world to world through the sky; but when the stars were wrong, They could not live.

—H.P. Lovecraft “Call of Cthulhu

This is the Lovecraft quote where I took the title for The Stars Were Right, it’s also the epigraph at the beginning of the novel. If you haven’t gotten a copy yet, you should enter to win a signed version over on Goodreads. US Only. Winners will be selected on the 11th! Good luck!

(If you have gotten your copy and finished the book, go leave me a review. I’d really appreciate it.)

My Two Projects

So what am I working on? Since starting this blog I’ve been fairly vague. Talking about queries and partials and never anything about what I am actually writing. I feel it’s important to share a little info about my two projects:

Coal Belly

This is the finished manuscript I am currently shopping. (The one with three partials currently out in the ether) It sits at 133k words. Which is kinda in that new-writer danger zone. (Most publishers won’t accept over 120k words for a new writer.) Coal Belly is a speculative title set on the fictional, river covered, world of Vale. It’s probably easier to post my query letter since it’s a good synopsis of what is happening:

Rumors whisper from the corners of the city: the world is breaking. Mountains swallow distant towns. Strange creatures prowl the ridges.

Captain Erasmus Hale can’t be bothered with the rumors. Broke, cheated, and facing repossession of his riverboat, the Transcendent; Hale accepts the offer of a mysterious stranger for a dangerous late-season trip upriver… unaware of the danger he’ll place upon himself, his passengers, his crew, and his boat.

Torrenting is changing the world. Its practitioners bend reality: lighting lamps, heating steam engines, and smelting iron without the need for fuel. And yet student torrenter Lisette Wakefield struggles with even the most basic fundamentals. When an old professor offers to send her north to a distant campus she agrees, and embarking on a journey that will change her life forever.

Beset by enemies on all sides, and with rumors of revolution brewing, the mood among the rivermen in Commonwealth’s Flotilla is tense. Gunny Cooper Rueben is a loyal, yet his ironclad loyalties are shattered. After a drunken mistake, he is betrayed by his country, sold into slavery, and forced to serve as a groom for a brilliant young torrenter.

Coal Belly (133,000 words) is a swashbuckling adventure set during an age of industry that tells the story of a shattering world, and the passengers and crew of an old riverboat steaming headlong toward its breaking. It’s Joe Abercrombie’s The Blade Itself meets Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi: high adventure, a bit of romance, and a little magic.

And… that is why I’m always posting pictures of riverboats. I’ll keep you updated as I keep getting responses from agents.

The Stars Were Right

Stars is my new project while I shop Coal Belly – I’m about a third done with my rough draft. It currently hovers around 36k words and is always growing. It is weird fiction heavily influenced by my appreciation for the works of H.P. Lovecraft and China Miéville and movies from my childhood. With Stars I’m trying to avoid the fantasy tropes while keeping it chock full of the fantastical stuff that makes weird fiction so great: strange races, interesting locals, unique cultures, dusty tomes, gigantic monsters, and death cults. You know, the fun stuff.

It centered around this quote from H.P. Lovecraft’s “Call of Cuthulu:”

When the stars were right, They could plunge from world to world through the sky; but when the stars were wrong, They could not live.

The plot is told from the perspective of Waldo “Wal” Bell, a caravan master leading caravans between the frontier city of Syringa and the multilevel megalopolis of Lovat. Fresh from a finishing recent cargo delivery for the importer Wilem, Black & Bright, Wal is arrested and accused of murdering two close friends.

All signs seem to point to him, though Wal is adamant he didn’t commit the murders. When the cops refuse to listen Wal makes a daring escape from his holding cell. Running from the law, he seeks to unravel the mystery and find out who is really killing his friends and how it’s all connected to him.

Short description, it’s the Fugitive if it was directed by Guillermo del Toro and art directed by WETA.

So those are my two projects. The things that occupy my free evenings and weekends and keep me up at night. I figured covering them in at least a basic level will help make sense of this whole journey so as you follow this blog. Hopefully this will be of interest and if you are writing something you’ll be able to learn from both my mistakes and my victories as I continue this journey.