Sunday, January 22, 2012

Looking Ahead: Dark Tales for Bright Children, Coming from SlaughterHaus Press in 2013

 As I concoct, write, and assemble the stories for my first collection, I look ahead to so many amazing opportunities, in terms of anthologies and other projects.

The one that has been in the planning stages since I first decided to embrace the Weird and the beautiful Horror that has lurked inside me my entire life is a collection that focuses entirely on the terrifying experiences of children.  Thus was born Dark Tales for Bright Children, an assemblage of short stories that Ives Hovanessian and I - under the collective moniker Grau Haus Nightmares - will unleash upon the unprepared public in 2013, ushering in a new era of dark, literary quality, from paper stock to cover,  issuing forth from our SlaughterHaus Press, overseen by Ives and I. 

Boldly into the night.....  Look out for us...  You've been warned.....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Squid Amongst the Goggles: EOD Archbishop Cody Goodfellow Rings in the Last Year on Earth at The Queen Mary Cthulhu Prayer Breakfast

This past Sunday, whilst the majority of bipedal inhabitants of the western hemisphere were flocking to places of worship (churches, revival tents, sports bars, sports bras, shopping malls, etc.), so too were the devoted adherents of the West Coast Chapter (SoCal Lodge) of the Esoteric Order of Dagon, who undertook an open-air rite known in the common tongue as the "Cthulhu Prayer Breakfast" at last weekend's Her Royal Majesty's Steampunk Symposium, held in the Royal Salon amid the haunted timbers of The Queen Mary passenger liner, which is lashed - dead but dreaming - to the splintering edge of this bloody New World in Long Beach, California.

EOD Archbishop Cody Goodfellow - a rapidly rising figure in the Order (groomed by legendary unholy man Cardinal Robert M. Price) who hawks his celebrated Lovecraftian, Bizarro and speculative fiction as a way to afford dazzling religious frocks and ever-climbing headpieces for his far-too-infrequent public ceremonies - oversaw the Prayer Breakfast, giving his sermon, providing church news, and then the benediction, supported by the Amorphous Tabernacle Choir, of which I was a member.  I was luckily able to hide my lack of pitch and stage terror behind a green, hardened leather Cthulhu mask and writhing foam tentacle (which served as one half of the eye popping "special effects" for a slightly rejiggered rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine"). 

After a hymn or two (accompanied by John "Froggy" Skipp on keys), Archbishop Goodfellow threw off his outer cloak like an Innsmouthian James Brown, adjusted his tentacular collar, and scooped up 75-80 extravagantly adorned Steampunkers into his scaly palm like so many brass and lace Skittles.  Once in his grip, it took only a matter of seconds before the puppet master had them chortling into their murky, reconstituted "eggs" and shape-shifting hash browns, delighting young, old, and otherwise over the course of the 2 hour brunch, as he mixed in enough winks to Steampunkery into the sublimely Lovecraftian sermon on tolerance that many a corseted and goggle-chapeau'd attendee shouted out "Ia!" to punctuate a particularly salient - or oftentimes hilarious - point made in the oration.  In short, he seemed to make believers of them all.  At least for brunch last Sunday.  But, that's a start...

Pictures are still trickling in, having a tough time passing electronic customs under the old Bush-era "heresy laws."  For those needing a rare still shot to soak up all the masked goodness of my sweet moves, check out me handling my tentacle like a seasoned pro in this pic posted by Brian Bubonic on Flickr.

Whispers amongst the damp and legend-haunted halls of the EOD's SoCal Lodge tell of a planned second Cthulhu Prayer Breakfast in 2012, held at the third annual H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival - Los Angeles this September.  Details are still coagulating, but if I was a betting man, I'd go "all in" on this going down nine months hence in San Pedro.  There's something about that chewed up coastline of California, and its proximity to the South Pacific, that calls out for prayer.... and breakfast.  I'm trusting the provender will be better - and far more recognizable - next time around, while the sermon and the message will maintain the brilliance that only the good Archbishop can summon from deep inside the mystical confines of his iPhone.

Mark you calendars, prep your knees for bending, and join us on the edge of the infinite this fall.
EOD High Cardinal Robert M. Price

Friday, January 6, 2012

"Transmission" Gets a Shout Out by Lovecraft eZine Founder Mike Davis in Interview with Innsmouth Free Press; Vote for LeZ at CWW

It has been Innsmouth Free Press sort of week around The Cosmicomicon, as I was just pointed to a recent IFP interview with Mike Davis, creator and head honcho at the stellar Lovecraft eZine, in which he gives a little love to my story "Transmission," published this past summer in Dead But Dreaming 2 from Miskatonic River Press.

An excerpt of the entire interview with Mike is posted below:

IFP: What do you like to see in the slush? What don’t you like?

MD: I like cosmic horror, the feeling that reality is not all that it seems; I don’t mind references to Cthulhu, the Necronomicon, etc., but just throwing them into a story doesn’t make it Lovecraftian. There are some really great stories in the Dead But Dreaming collections and Lovecraft Unbound that are wonderful examples of what I love to see: The short stories “The Crevasse” by Dale Bailey and Nathan Ballingrud in Lovecraft Unbound, and “Transmission”by T.E. Grau in Dead But Dreaming 2 come to mind. [emphasis added]

I'm always so amazed and moved when my writing strikes a chord with readers.  It makes all the long hours of planning, plotting, writing, tinkering, gnashing, rewriting, editing, and ultimately collapsing worth every second.  I'm honored that Mike digs my work.

Also, please follow this link to vote for the Lovecraft eZine at the annual "Preditors & Editors Readers' Poll" sponsored by the Critters Writers Workshop.  Mike is a swell guy (with obviously exceptional literary taste) and a true blue Lovecraftian, and his 'zine adds immeasurably to the empyrean fabric of the ever-expanding, yet always deferential, Mythos. 

So do your part, take a few minutes, and place your vote on the side of quality and dedication.  I, and Wilford Brimley, assure you that it's the right thing to do.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Anthology Open Call for Submissions Starting January 15, 2012: 'Fungi' for Innsmouth Free Press to Celebrate 'The Year of the Mushroom'

Fungi cover art (c) by Oliver Wetter
With the chiming-in of the New Year, the holiday season is now sadly yet officially behind us, which turns our vision away from the magic in the air, to the sorcerous conjuring brewing in the mind.

As stories written in the rapidly fading Old Year burst forth from their tightly wound cocoons and blossom in anthologies and publications, a new swath of waiting display cases open up, eager for interesting, beautiful, and often terrifying specimens.

2012 promises to be a very exciting year rife with opportunities, both personally and throughout the overlapping Weird fiction and Lovecraftian multiverses, as more and more compelling books are in the planning stages by various major indie and small press outfits.  As I write toward the release of my collection in late 2012/early 2013, I'll also endeavor to embrace as many anthology invites and open calls as I possibly can.  It'll be a labor intensive tight rope walk, and I've already had to decline a few choice opportunities that in a "normal" year I would have jumped upon.  But sadly, when time is limited and every creative move shaded by cold calculation, tough decisions must be made.  2012 has dawned as the Year of Opportunity for me, if I can stay focused, inspired, and continue down the path that has been hacked through the jungle by so many trusted (and trusting) friends and colleagues.  As such, this is my year to raise my ink-stained banner, as it were, as room on the horizon has been made.  Now, I just have to pitch strikes, and knock them down one by one.  Heady times, indeed, and not without its share of anxiety.  Need to keep that forked grip tight, and the sinker low and inside.

The first of the open calls that really piques my interest and plays to what I perceive to be my strengths as a writer is the intriguing anthology Fungi, edited by Orrin Grey and Silvia Moreno-Garcia, for publication by Moreno-Garcia's stellar Innsmouth Free Press, which has lately produced such handsome tomes as Historical Lovecraft, and Future Lovecraft, and the Gothic fiction collection A Candle in the Attic Window, and puts out the tri-annual fiction review Innsmouth Magazine, featuring an array of some of today's top Lovecraftian scribes, available for free download at the IFP website. 
I wrote for but didn't complete in time two respective stories for both Historical Lovecraft and Future Lovecraft (back when I chased every submission call I ran across, wrongly thinking I could finish any and all story to which I set my mind and energies).  After two misses, I'm trying like hell to not blow the deadline for Fungi, as just the spectacular cover alone - combined with the impressive efficiency and professionalism shown by Innsmouth Free Press in the past - makes this collection definitely one of the can't-miss books of 2012, as both a writer and a reader of Weird/speculative/Lovecraftian fiction.  On a more superficial level, a writer (or maybe just me) loves to have their work wrapped in a gorgeous bow, and that cover shown above by the genius Oliver Wetter (who also goes by Fantasio) is exactly that, and then some.  Cover art counts, for writer and customer, and it rarely gets more eye-catching than Wetter's work.

From the official IFP submission call press release:

Days Micotic: Announcing Fungi for 2012

In 2012, Orrin Grey and Silvia Moreno-Garcia tackle the darkest of all horrors: fungi. William Hope Hodgson’s “The Voice in the Night”, and its Japanese film adaptation, Matango, terrified and fascinated the editors. And now, they’re back for more.

Fungi is an anthology of dark speculative fiction (horror, fantasy, science fiction, and any other variant, such as steampunk) focused solely on the fungal. Full guidelines for the anthology will be posted in December (Don’t send anything, yet!).

In the meantime, we are trying to build a comprehensive mushroom fic list. Do you know of a story, movie, TV episode, or book that featured fungi in it? Add it to our little spreadsheet. The list will be used to compile a comprehensive database of fungi fiction, to be used as an appendix for the book. You can see the items we have already collected here.

Fungi will be released by Innsmouth Free Press as a special edition hardcover, paperback and e-book. Look for it in October of 2012, which we are gleefully dubbing “The Year of the Mushroom”.

About the editors:

Orrin Grey writes stories of the supernatural and macabre, which have appeared in a number of Innsmouth Free Press anthologies, as well as other venues like Bound for Evil and Delicate Toxins. His first collection, Never Bet the Devil & Other Warnings, is due out from Evileye Books in 2012. His fascination with monsters and fungus, and fungus monsters, is longstanding and shows no sign of waning any time soon.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s stories have appeared in Fantasy Magazine, Evolve 2, The Book of Cthulhu, and a number of other publications. In 2011, Silvia won the Carter V. Cooper Memorial Prize (in the Emerging Writer category), sponsored by Gloria Vanderbilt and Exile Quarterly. She was also a finalist for that year’s Manchester Fiction Prize. Together with Paula R. Stiles, she has co-edited Historical Lovecraft, Candle in the Attic Window and Future Lovecraft.

Fungi: Guidelines


Orrin Grey and Silvia Moreno-Garcia tackle the darkest of all horrors: fungi. William Hope Hodgson’s “The Voice in the Night” and its Japanese adaptation, Matango, terrified and fascinated the editors. And now, they’re back for more.

Fungi is an anthology of dark speculative fiction (horror, fantasy, science fiction, and any other variant, such as steampunk) focused solely on the fungal. No happy mushrooms from Mario Bros. A fungus of some type must be a key element in the story, not just a throwaway element. A character can attempt to poison someone with a mushroom, mushroom cultivation may be of importance to the story, the dark patch of mould on the ceiling may begin to terrify an unhappy tenant, a group of people may consume hallucinogenic mushrooms, etc.

We are looking for a variety of settings and protagonists. Mushrooms sprout around the world, after all.

Oh, and if you can add a story, novel, movie, or TV episode with mushroomy content, please do it! We are keeping a spreadsheet, here.


•      1 cent per word for original stories.
•      Reprints paid at a flat rate of $35. Canadian dollars, eh. Indicate where and when it was published.
•      One complimentary print copy and one e-book copy provided.


Short fiction up to 5,000 words.


  • E-mail us at fungi.innsmouth AT Subject line: Fungi, [Title of your Story, Author's Name].
  • Do not send more than one short story submission at a time. If we reject one story, you can send another one.
  • Include a cover letter with the story word count, salient writing credits and any reprint information (if applicable). Yes, we do read cover letters, so include the information.
  • Attach story as an RTF (preferred) or Word document. Use standard manuscript format. Italics as italics, bold as bold. No fancy fonts.
  • Stories can be sent in English or Spanish.
  • Submissions are accepted from January 15 to February 15, 2012. Do not send anything before or after that date. If you do, we will ignore it.
  • Final story selection will take place in the spring of 2012. Check back for updates.

So, hug up to that toadstool, meander amongst the molds, and listen closely to the lichens. They definitely have a story to tell, and a firm place amongst the strata of Weird fiction and cosmic horror.  HPL wasn't just whistling Dixie (can you imagine?) when he penned Fungi From Yuggoth, in which he famously wrote:

This is the hour when moonstruck poets know
What fungi sprout in Yuggoth, and what scents
And tints of flowers fill Nithon’s continents,
Such as in no poor earthly garden blow.
Yet for each dream these winds to us convey,
A dozen more of ours they sweep away!

From penicillin to yeast to black mold and Cryptococcus, the smallest and most innocuous living things amongst us can either grant life, or take it, on a massive scale.  That's the stuff that sets the mind a' wheeling, and the eager spores swirling out into the evening gloom.

That's the stuff of Fungi.