Come Hang out with Me at #TBRcon

Watch “But, What Scares YOU?” Now!

Yesterday, I had the honor of participating in FanFi Addict’s TBRCon21. It was great! I spent some time with M. R. CareyLee C. ConleyAndy DavidsonJonathan Janz, and Tim Meyer talkin’ horror. At first, we stayed close to the topic and discussed what scares us both in general and in light of the pandemic. Still, as panels like these tend to go, we quickly expanded into a broader discussion about horror and horror-theory. It was a great conversation and a wonderful panel—one of the best I’ve been on. As I mentioned on Twitter, much of the time, it felt like a conversation with old friends.

I’ve embedded the recording above, but you’ll need to pop over to YouTube to watch it. The whole discussion is about an hour long. Towards the end, we all give out a ton of fantastic recommendations of some of our favorite horror reads—my own TBR pile grew significantly. If there’s one thing about the horror community I adore, it’s how excited we are to recommend other people’s books. Like, yeah, we all write books, but we’re always excited to talk about someone else’s work. It’s not something I’ve witnessed as much within other speculative-fiction subgenres.

Would happily do it again. I want to thank and say that I appreciate my fellow panelists being so welcome. Thanks again to  David Walters of FanFiAddict for pulling all of this together. He’s the hardest working man in fandom, and his enthusiasm shows through.

#TBRCon21 continues through Saturday. You can find out much more here, and tune in for free on YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook. Miss a panel you really wanted to see? All recordings of previous discussions are being posted on FanFi Addict’s YouTube page.


Panel Recommendations

Toward the end, David asked us for our recommendations. I’ve tried to list them all here and include any books that were mentioned. Links go to the author’s webpage or blog, and most book links will go to Indiebound. (Support your local bookstore!)

Authors:

Directors:

Come Hang out with Me at #TBRcon

Come Hang out with Me at TBRcon

2021 is upon us, so let’s start it off right by hanging out #TBRcon21 talking science fiction, fantasy, and horror at a safely-socially-distant online convention! David Walters of FanFiAddict has assembled an incredible slate of authorial talent for a week’s worth of panels all streamed on Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook. I’m going to be participating!

It’s also totally free! Instead of charging for tickets, TBRcon will be raising money for three great charities Shelter, No Kid Hungry, and the World Wildlife Fund. So make plans to attend. There’ a lot going on. You can check out the full schedule and donate to the charity of your choice over on the TBRcon21 landing page.

What will I be doing?

On Tuesday, January 26th at 1:00 PM (PST), join me, M. R. Carey, Lee C. Conley, Andy Davidson, Jonathan Janz, and Tim Meyer as we discuss writing horror today compared with writing horror in the past, what it takes to scare a reader, and what actually scares us horror writers in the “But, What Scares YOU?” panel.

Tuning in is super simple, just use one of the links below during the convention and enjoy the live stream.


YouTubeTwitchFacebook

See Full Schedule


There’s a lot more than just my panel as well. I’ll absolutely be checking out the “World-building and your place in it,” “Sensory Details in SFF,” “History in SFF,” and I’m stoked to see the panel with all of the recent SPFBO finalists. TBRcon should be a good time. I am looking forward to it. So mark your calendars, dear readers. Synchronize your watches! I’ll see you later this month.


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Shirley Jackson

Use Fear

“I have always loved to use fear, to take it and comprehend it and make it work and consolidate a situation where I was afraid and take it whole and work from there.”

Shirley Jackson


Most of us have read Jackson’s famous short story, The Lottery. But, since it’s October and the perfect season for spooky reading, I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, easily one of the greatest ghost stories ever written.

👻

Friday Link Pack 10-23-2015

Friday Link Pack 10/23/2015

Friday is here! That means it’s time for the Friday Link Pack. My weekly post covering topics such as writing, art, current events, and random weirdness. Some of these links I mentioned on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Do you have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Click here to email me and let me know! (Include a website so I can link to you as well.) Let’s get to it…

WRITING:

Win A Copy Of Red Litten World
The Northwest Horror Podcast is giving away signed copies of my latest novel, Red Litten World. To enter just Tweet, Instagram, or Facebook them and let them know your favorite Lovecraft adaptation. That’s it! (You have until midnight, tonight.) Good luck!

Advice From The Creator Of Calvin And Hobbes
It’s no secret that Bill Watterson is incredible. This comic, based on a graduation speech Watterson gave at his alma mater, does a fantastic job in forcing us to reflect on what matters in our lives. [Thanks to Sky for sharing this with me.]

10 Scary Books That Will Seriously Keep You Up At Night
Huffington Post compiles a list of the scariest books and just in time for Halloween. For whatever reason, Old Broken Road isn’t on this list, but it should be. (In my humble opinion it’s probably the scariest of the series so far.)

Fear Never Leaves
If you missed yesterday’s post, I got all emo and reflected on the emotions that build up over the launch of a book, and talk about working through my fears as I continue to fight towards my successes.

ART:

Reimagined Disney Animals With Human Personalities
What if the talking animals from animated Disney films were reimagined and humanized? What would Simba look like? How about Baloo? Well, artist and illustrator Alaina Bastian has answered those questions and more in her series Humanized. There’s a lot of fun work here. [Thanks to Dave for sharing this with me.]

Mark Zug’s Art For The Dune Card Game
I’ve been on a Dune kick this year ever since I reread it this spring. This week I stumbled across these illustrations of characters for the Dune card game. (Which is sadly out of print.) Some amazing work here, but my favorite is easily the Jessica Atreides piece. (Which is also the image featured above.)

Nanotecture
There is some disturbing and otherworldly about this cotton installation from Jennifer Strunge and Jonathan Latiano. It’s like a bizarre cuddly monstrosity is pushing in from some other reality.

RANDOM:

Better Reasons To Boycott Star Wars
So, some internet trolls started the #BoycottStarWars hashtag for some stupid trolly reason, and it went viral, and the typical people freaked out. In response, the Washington Post wrote up this article to offer some funny (and not racist) reasons to boycott J.J. Abrams newest film.

Dropping Water Levels Reveal Hidden Church
It’s like something out of Lovecraft, Mexico’s record drought has revealed a creepy waterlogged church that dates back to the 1600s.

A Treasury of Rare And Weird Star Wars Posters From Around The World
A collection of amazing (and often strange) Star Wars movie posters from around the world. No idea what is happening in Russia. [Thanks to my buddy Bartek for sharing this.]

WEIRD WIKIPEDIA:

Smiley Face Murder Theory
The Smiley face murder theory (variations include Smiley face murders, Smiley face killings, Smiley face gang, and others) is a theory advanced by two retired New York City detectives, Kevin Gannon and Anthony Duarte, that a number of young men found dead in bodies of water across several Midwestern American states over the last decade did not accidentally drown, as concluded by law enforcement agencies, but were victims of a serial killer or killers. The term smiley face became connected to the alleged murders when it was made public that the police had discovered graffiti depicting a smiley face near locations where they think the killer dumped the bodies in at least a dozen of the cases. The response of law enforcement investigators and other experts to Gannon and Duarte’s theory has been largely skeptical.

H.P. LOVECRAFT STORY OF THE WEEK:

Herbert West—Reanimator
The tale of Professor West includes creepy zombies and the first mention of ol’ Miskatonic University. This story was also the basis for the 1985 cult classic, Re-Animator.

GIF OF THE WEEK:

the majesty

Fear Never Leaves

Fear Never Leaves

Is there such a thing as post-publication depression? I mean we spend all this time working on a book losing our evenings, weekends, and holidays making sure it’s ready. Then the big day arrives, the launch happens! We’re giddy! We’re excited! The book is released! Then… silence. The book is out there. You see people buying it. You know it’s in the hands of readers. But you sit and wonder and wait and eventually fear starts creeping in.

Oddly, this is my third post on the subject of fear as it pertains to writing. (See: I’m Scared and Fear Is The Mind Killer for the others.) I say “oddly” because these are never the articles I set out to write, but somehow I still write them. Which shows how constant these emotions are in our lives. Over the last three years, with each successive launch I have taken the time to write about the tangle of emotions that swell around the launch of a book.

The greatest feeling in that knot is always the same; it’s fear. We’re afraid it’s not good enough. We’re afraid our books will be failures. We’re scared it’s full of mistakes. We worry that people will hate it. Those ideas can be debilitating. They gnaw at us, and if we let them they can devour us. But, here’s the kicker, I don’t think those feelings ever go away.

Worry comes with this job. Sure, in some magical land a writer writes a manuscript and everything is perfect, editing isn’t a bear, and reviewers laud them with praise, accolades, and candies. La de da. But that isn’t today, and it’s certainly not the world where we live. It can be tough out here. People can be mean. Some want to be mean. But, here we are. Three years ago, when I stared into that long tunnel and faced the launch of The Stars Were Right I was there. I was terrified. But I pressed on. A year later, when I set out to launch Old Broken Road, I still felt those pangs. Hell, here I am standing on the other side of Red Litten World‘s launch, and I still feel it. Those emotions are still there even three books and thousands of copies later.

“Perfect is the enemy of good.”

There is an ancient saying (Seriously, ancient, it’s attributed to Voltaire) that I like to quote, “Perfect is the enemy of good.” Now, I am not saying you shouldn’t try to achieve perfection. Quality matters. That’s a given. What I am saying is that so often we get so stuck in the chase of perfection that we never stop. We run and run and run afraid of failure. Projects never see release because they haven’t achieved an unreachable ideal we set up in our heads. Fear fuels it, and it’s empowered by those lingering “what if” questions. Questions that bog us down, snare us, and stop our momentum.

The biggest lie in life is the idea that failure itself is permanent. I’ve seen it crush writers, artists, designers, architects, and creatives of all types. I’ve seen it destroy dreams. But… it’s a lie. Failure is a state of being, and like every other state of being, you’ll realize that it’s temporary. Once you realize its temporal nature fear begins to take a back seat. The panic becomes a white noise. The post-publication depression that hangs over our head and sabotages us begins to fade. As that happens, you become powerful.

“You’ll have more failures than successes.”

Last week, Kari-Lise was watching The Trojan War, the latest in ESPN’s documentary series 30 for 30. (It’s a brilliant documentary series and I encourage more than just sports fans to watch it. A lot of great stories.) During the program, Lawrence Turman, the producer of The Graduate and American History X, had a great quote. It was something that has stuck with both Kari-Lise and me. I’m paraphrasing here, but it was something along the lines of: “you’ll have more failures than successes.”

Think about that for a moment, more failure than successes. That’s intense and yeah, it’s scary. But the trick, the thing a lot of people don’t understand, is you can’t fail unless you try, and you certainly cannot succeed until you’re willing to fail.

So, I’m scared. I feel the fear. I always do. But, now three books in, I’m realizing: that fear never leaves. It lingers, it picks, it torments. Somedays I give in, but more and more I find myself pushing past it. My reaction to it has changed. I’ve changed. The way I react is shifting. Emotionally I realize that fear is part of the process. Sure, I can still feel it moving beneath the surface. I know it wants to reach up, and (excuse the Lovecraftian imagery) grip and strangle me in its tentacles. But I push on. What else would I do? Give up? *scoffing noise* Not a chance. I want to write. I want to tell stories. I don’t ever intend on stopping.

So yeah, fear is out there. We all deal with it. But we can’t let fear stop us. Keep at it.

Now, go make great things.

H. P. Lovecraft

The Strongest Kind Of Fear

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear. And the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”

H.P. LovecraftSupernatural Horror in Literature


It’s been a while since I posted a quote, and since I’m close to launching my next Lovecraftian urban fantasy novel, I figure it’d be appropriate to post a quote from one of Lovecraft’s own works. This line also inspired the title for the Lovecraft documentary, Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend checking it out.