Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Audio Fiction News: Short Story "In the Cave, She Sang" Featured in March 2014 Edition of Horror Podcast TALES TO TERRIFY

It's always a trip hearing your written work read by a voice artist.  Sometimes it's a complete hit, and a revelation, as an actor can bring out a nuance or detail you didn't really focus on or know existed when writing the story.  Sometimes, it can fall flat, with the reader either missing a certain emphasis or rhythm, or the work itself not properly setting it up on the page to be translated by the reader.  Either way, it's always very interesting to hear a stranger read one's work.

My story "In the Cave, She Sang" (originally published in the ill-fated Aklonomicon) is featured in the current, March 2014 edition (#114) of the Horror Fiction podcast Tales To Terrify (part of the District of Wonders podcast network), which has one of the best logos this side of Strange Aeons.  My story leads off the podcast, followed by a reading of India Drummond's tale "The Reaver."

I hooked up the the TtT crew last May when host, creator, and silky smooth voiceman Lawrence Santoro asked me to send him a story to be read on the show.  Looking over my stories already published, I figured "In the Cave, She Sang" - a Charlie Manson meets Cosmic Horror in Death Valley on New Year's Eve 1968 sort of joint - might work best, as it was written as an ode to the protagonist, the era, and all those beautiful Beats who set the world on fire a decade before The Family tried to do the same, albeit using different matches.  This might have been the second or third short story I had ever written, but the few reviews it had received in the past had all been positive (including one relayed to me from a certain Northampton writer/shaman/eternal winner of Beard Wars).  So, I sent it off, and - because my brain is composed mostly of Swiss cheese - had honestly forgotten about it over the last 10 months, until Lawrence PM'd me last week, letting me know that it would go live on Friday.

Such an unexpected surprise!, made all the more wonderful when I actually heard the reading by Stephen Kilpatrick, who laid out the prose in a fantastic voice - all low register and musical deadpan.  Depending on the story (and the genre), my writing can sometimes be a bit, ah... "verbally vigorous," especially the older stuff and especially when read aloud.  But Stephen killed it.  I'm very thankful to him for his time and talents, and to Lawrence for taking on this tale that is pretty graphic in its salty language and sexual imagery (pretty rare for my stories, especially the latter).  Indeed, Lawrence describes "In the Cave, She Sang" in his entertaining intro as "using explicit language and sharply disturbing ultra, graphic human/goddess sexual congress imagery"; while Stephen wrote the following in his blog posting about his work in the March issue of Tales To Terrify:

This week’s show features two stories that I narrated as part of my introduction as editor for the podcast, it includes T. E. Grau’s “In The Cave, She Sang”, which contains several quite grown up passages. So, if you’re not a fan of rated R content, you might want to skip this one. Some of the passages are fantastically gritty:  "Like an orphan sold for a pitcher of beer."

Listening back through the narrative without having the roadmap of familiar words arranged in a familiar way on the page to guide me, I am reminded of how my writing has changed over the last four years, moving from a more dense style to something more lean and hopefully no less mean.  I feel there are some decent lines in the piece, but sometimes - even with the purposely stylized way the story was told - the language founders in a bit too much muck.  But overall, I like the tale, and love the reading, and am very happy and honored to be featured in Tales To Terrify, who also have a really kick ass print anthology that you need to pick up right... about... HERE.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Publishing News: 'White Feather' Accepted for Publication in WORLD WAR CTHULHU, Edited by Brian M. Sammons & Glynn Owen Barrass for Dark Regions Press - Indiegogo 60% Funded

Cover Art by Vincent Chong

I am very excited to announce that my story "White Feather" was accepted for publication in the anthology World War Cthulhu: A Collection of Lovecraftian War Stories, edited by Brian M. Sammons & Glynn Owen Barrass for noted publisher Dark Regions Press.

"White Feather" is a period piece set primarily in New London, Connecticut during the American Revolutionary War, and centers on the desperate measures a Privateer captain takes to regain his good name and honor after finding himself the lone survivor of his entire crew, which was brutally slaughtered during the return trip from a raiding party along the coast of Nova Scotia.  As a history buff, I had a ball researching the era and the area, and then dumping in a healthy dose of Cosmic Horror.

The story joins an impressive line-up of fellow contributors, which will be detailed below via the magic of cutting and pasting boosted text from the DRP website.  Before we go into that, it is incumbent upon you, gentle reader, to prance your silly ass over to the World War Cthulhu Indiegogo campaign currently chugging along at full steam, eating up much coal and sweat as the funding goal has now risen to over 62% complete with less than 40 days to go.  Don't be left out, facing the slings and arrows and plasma bombs alone.  And certainly don't let these fantastic stretch goals and pledge perks go unrealized, several of which include me - yours goddamn truly - tuckerizing you into "White Feather" itself (only six more spots left), killing you in an upcoming story or book (only four spots left), or even writing an original Lovecrafitan story with you as protagonist - or the antagonist, if you prefer (eight spots left).   Put my ass to work.  Force me to shame you, kill you, make you dance, or place you in battle either for or against the cold cosmic forces at work in our multiverse.  Become a part of the Mythos, by my pen or those of my esteemed colleagues.  Opportunities like this are fun, and not readily available every day.  Seize the day, fear the night, and lay down your lucre.

War is coming, from within, and from without.  But it is coming, and once it does, nothing will ever be the same again.

Check these illustrations by the great M. Wayne Miller which have already been unlocked by backers so far (getting to $13,000 - a very real possibility - gets the book eight more):

World War Cthulhu: A Collection of Lovecraftian War Stories contains 19 stories of war and horror from the mythos of H.P. Lovecraft written by many of the top names in Lovecraftian fiction:


"Loyalty" by John Shirley - In Loyalty, John Shirley tells a tale of a stranger in a strange land, a man out of time that awakens to a future where horrors unexpected battle mankind. A deal with a tentacled devil is required to save humanity, but will we really be saved?

"The Game Changers" by Stephen Mark Rainey - The Vietnam War, a journey through a jungle of madness and death. What are brave men to do when their very own superiors have given their loyalty to things that should not breathe the same as us?

"White Feather" by T.E. Grau - This is a tale of a heroism without reward, of a life ground down by the horror of seeing too much, knowing too much. During the War of Independence, a Privateer captain fights for his jaded soul’s redemption, or perhaps, destruction.

"To Hold Ye White Husk" by W.H. Pugmire - A dreamlike scene of men stranded at sea, the terror of war replaced by the horrors of slow death and starvation. Yet there is a beauty in horror, and a mysterious amulet leads these sea battle survivors to face the unimaginable.

"Sea Nymph’s Son" by Robert M. Price - A tale describing the Legend of Achilles, epic, bloody battles and the story of monstrous titans and a hero that needs to remain masked for the sanity of all. The fate of Troy is unimaginable, unexpected, but somehow apt.

"The Boonieman" by Edward M. Erdelac - A return to the rank jungles of Vietnam, where soldiers allied with local villagers discover ancient secrets far worse than the losing war they have been waging. The Boonieman Cometh, and the jungle quakes.

"The Turtle" by Neil Baker - Another return, to America during the War of Independence. In a war at sea, a man pilots an ingenious device against the British Navy. Other things lurk under the water however, things for the sake of sanity he would rather remain there.

"The Bullet and the Flesh" by David Conyers & David Kernot - A modern day tale of horrors perpetrated by man against man. The use of child soldiers in Zimbabwe are not the worst things to be encountered as lives are given less worth than shiny baubles from the earth. Evil men mess with things unpredictable, and brave men such as Major Harrison Peel (from Cthulhu Unbound 3) are forced to fight for justice and balance.

"Broadsword" by William Meikle - Two soldiers mountaineer across mountain ranges during WWII, in an attempt to deal with a threat against the allies and the hated German’s. The threat is otherworldly, the solution bringing difficult choices to those that would prefer peace to annihilation.

"The Ithiliad" by Christine Morgan - We return to Troy, where humans and things part-human worship decadent horrors. Epic battles are forged spilling blood and ichor. We are as playthings to the gods in this tale, and again, Troy is to meet an unimaginable fate.

"The Sinking City" by Konstantine Paradias - Warring factions use an unwitting man as their puppet in this tale, detailing a sinister journey to R’lyeh. The inner war, the fight of a man to retain his identity and his sanity, proves just as important as the one beyond his violated body.

"Shape of a Snake" by Cody Goodfellow - The Spanish-American War is the setting here, Lt. Col. Roosevelt and his men encountering a strange group of people at a hotel. They have faced the horrors of war, but what about the ancient secrets they’re about to encounter here?

"Mysterious Ways" by C.J. Henderson - A Roman Centurion makes a choice about his immediate future, a choice made by making a deal with a many-faced god. The choice has repercussions for the centurion, and Humanity, for millennia to come.

"Magna Mater" by Edward Morris - World War One, France, a collection of arcane books and a place of mysteries. A man called William Hope Hodgson experiences these mysteries in a personal apocalypse of discovery.

"Dark Cell" by Brian M. Sammons & Glynn Owen Barrass - A contemporary tale where two unlikely heroes, an American CIA Agent and a criminal Army Intelligence Officer, work together to discover what the IRA wants with a sinister tome and what reading that book will mean to the people of London.

"Cold War, Yellow Fever" by Pete Rawlik - During the Cuban Missile Crisis, a covert group led by a Terrible Old Man sets off to investigate bizarre events and a strange signal. The city they encounter once resembled an earthly city, its inhabitants too.

"Stragglers from Carrhae" by Darryl Schweitzer - Two Roman Soldiers, last survivors of a bloody battle, set off on a journey across Asia minor to renew their lives. The companions they find on their way are impossible in a sane world, and madness seems the only explanation and the best refuge.

"The Procyon Project" by Tim Curran - A war veteran haunted by the dreams of his past, guards something for the government, something that begins to haunt his waking hours. Some things are best left alone and undiscovered, things that are not meant to be guarded by fragile humans.

"Wunderwaffe" by Jeffrey Thomas - On an alien world, in a sprawling city called Paxton, or Punktown, to its residents, war, magic and religion are brought together in a hellish way. Colonial Forces are summoned there to fight something, something they are completely unprepared for.

An Indiegogo campaign has been launched to to fund this project, and hopefully expand it by adding on more stories/authors, as well as an array of other perks.