A September 1st update: LitReactor Book Club and Stephen King.

September! Back to school! Blah, blah, blah.

Take the sting out of the end of your summer by joining the A Head Full of Ghosts Book Club discussion over at LitReactor. It’ll be fun. Do it! Click here.

September, eh? Blog-wise, I slacked through August. I feel shame.

What did you miss? Mainly this tweet by Stephen King!

image

So amazingly cool and generous of him to read the book and say that. I started reading (never mind writing) because of him. Needless to say, I’m humbled and now (even more) insufferable.

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John Hay Library of Providence and H. P. Lovecraft

Quick intro-aside: Still exhausted and bleary-eyed from a wonderful weekend at NECON. Everyone there was friendly and wonderful and it’ll take me the rest of the summer to properly recover from the festivities.

On Friday morning a group of folks, (Brian Keene, James A. Moore, Charles Rutledge, Mary SanGiovanni, Nick Kaufmann, his wife Alexa, Dave Thomas, and me! Huge thanks to Brian for setting up and organizing the visit.) visited the John Hay Library at Brown University. Gorgeous building. Christopher Geissler, of the Librarian for American and British Literary and Popular Culture Collections, spent an our with us and shared some their Lovecraft artifacts. Christopher was so gracious and accommodating and we can’t thank him enough. The great news is the Library is preparing a Lovecraft exhibit for the public to open possibly the day before the Necronomicon convention begins. So con goers, put a trip to the John Hay Library in your schedules.  Let’s make with the photos!

“Commonplace” notebook.

First page of the commonplace notebook.

First page of the commonplace notebook.

another notebook

another notebook

interior of notebook 2

interior of notebook 2

Notes for At the Mountains of Madness

Notes for At the Mountains of Madness

more story notes

more story notes

Original long-hand MS of AtMoM. (ignore my shadow reflection on the plastic sleeve of the page)

Original long-hand MS of AtMoM. (ignore my shadow reflection on the plastic sleeve of the page)

page 2 of AtMoM

page 2 of AtMoM

cover page

cover page

original typed MS of AtMoM

original typed MS of AtMoM

CoC title page

CoC title page

CoC manuscript.

CoC manuscript.

The Colour Out of Space

The Colour Out of Space

Dunwich title page

Dunwich title page

letters

letters

letter2letterenvelope

In the library with HP.

In the library with HP.

Group shot (photo by Charles Rutledge)

Group shot (photo by Charles Rutledge)

Not pictured were all the Charles Dexter Ward pages, more letters, a smooshed mosquito that bit Lovecraft (so I suggest we make a Lovecraft Jurassic Park, but I do not volunteer to watch the Lovecraft paddock) and an and incredible collection of Lovecraft fan-art drawn by a teen-aged Robert Bloch. All of which will be on display from late August through January!

Brian Keene also talks about the trip and includes some pictures. 

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Essay at Nightmare Magazine: The Politics of Horror

A discussion of Alien vs. Aliens, footnotes, and why a progressive horror story works better than a conservative one. There, I said it.

“The audience always cheers at that moment. Heck, I cheer. It’s great fun. But if your audience cheers during a story’s climax, then you’re probably not a horror story. There’s no cheering in horror!”

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Thursday, June 18th, WORD in Brooklyn

I’ll be at WORD bookstore in Brooklyn on Thursday, June 18th, from 7:00 to 8:30, and so will the awesome Laird Barron and Cara Hoffman.

Join us. You know you want to.

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THE FAMILIAR VOL 1, by Mark Danielewski.

Math warning! Then a slight review!

I gave the book 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. It’s really 3.7564536 stars, an irrational number that I’ve rounded for your benefit. Remember an irrational number is a number with a decimal that never ends and never repeats. Or, a simpler way, perhaps, of remembering it, is that the number cannot be written as a fraction like rational numbers (2/3 is rational, so is -4 because that can be expressed at -4/1.). e, pi, square root of 2 are examples of irrational numbers. The real numbers are made up of both rational and irrational numbers. Despite our using rational numbers almost exclusively in our everyday math lives (yes, you do use them, I hear you snickering in the back row), the irrational numbers are dense in the real number system. What does that mean? Well, let’s imagine a real number line stretching from one corner of the universe to the other, with it conveniently wrapping around the earth once or twice, and I gave every person who ever lived a dart. Before perishing everyone gets a chance to throw the dart at the number line, which is comprised of both rational numbers (again, 2, 1, 0, -3, 2/3 etc) and irrational numbers. The probability that anyone would hit a rational number on that number line is 0. If you’re still with me, yeah 0. No tricks like the dart misses or bounces off like when you think you hit a bullseye but only hit the stupid metal circle enclosing the bullseye. Probability of 0, no statistical chance of hitting a rational number. Because…in the real number system there are no consecutive rational numbers, which implies that there are infinite irrationals between any two rationals, so that number line would essentially be those infinite irrationals between those two lonely rationals stuck somewhere at the edges of the (mostly) infinite universe. You know those rationals are out there somewhere, but you’ll never be able to hit them. Find them.

Reading THE FAMILIAR vol 1 is like dealing with and thinking about irrational numbers. You sense them there more than you know they’re there. You know there’s some grand, deeper meaning hidden in the seemingly random stretch of numbers that never repeat, but it’s just beyond your grasp.

House of Leaves is one of my favorite novels ever. Only Revolutions I couldn’t finish and thought the typographical trickery was just that. In THE FAMILIAR it works as there’s a wonderful sense of visual rhythm (as opposed to textual rhythm) within the book that’s genius.

The heart of the book are the Xanther sections. They are well done and compelling (although she’s a little precious and treated as the glass-figurine-little-girl (and the big emotional climax hinges on an everyday creature that made me say really? (and I said it out loud, like twice, in a lumpy space princess accent too))). Some of the other story threads are, frankly, an unreadable mess, but still entertaining.

There is more than enough there to keep me going. I do worry how, if this is to be a 27 volume THING, I can possibly keep up with this ever expanding irrational number.

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June 2: Release day for A Head Full of Ghosts/Brookline Booksmith Fun

I know, I know, I’ve been endlessly blabbing on and on about the book, but A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS is a real thing now. Crazy, yeah? Yes. It is. Today I’m feeling thankful and incredibly, obnoxiously lucky to have so many amazing friends and loved ones and talented cohorts who’ve helped and supported me, even when I didn’t/don’t deserve it.

Last night the wonderful Brookline Booksmith hosted a reading/discussion with my good friend, the brilliant and sometimes angry Jack Haringa as interviewer/James Lipton.

Make with the pictures, already, and some poignant funny descriptive words!

Jack’s kind intro and fun questions. I only got 9 and 10 correct.

speech

Here’s a goofy pic of me listening to the intro. Maybe thinking about food when Jack said “tantalizing”

booksmith

Next up, a couple of pictures of the discussion. We were such happy discussers! I hold the mic with my left hand apparently. Who knew?

paul and jack

pauljack2

After the event a mob posse gaggle gathering group of revelers friends and family when down the street to the Fireplace and ate tantalizing appetizers. I personally completed a meat Olympiad: salmon, short rib, lamb, slider burger, chicken wing(s). You’ll notice my brother’s large head in one shot. If you look closely you’ll see my sister and her husband Steve; their house was the model/setting for the house in AHFoG. I thank them for letting me make their cute house creepy.

Fireplace

fireplace2

One final picture and a warning. This is my copy of A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS. If I get the opportunity to sign your book, you’re going to sign mine as well. Fair is fair!

book sigs

Here’s what the morning after a release party looks like. It ain’t pretty. Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn. Sorry, just coughed up something nasty. Me and ineffable evil shuffling to the laptop to obsessively read ever digital pixel that might be said about my book today to check the weather, some email, that kind of thing.

morning after

Thank you everyone who came out last night. Thank you to those sending along kind messages, and to those who may purchase the book. If you’ll allow me to get a little contemplative navel-gaze-y  I admitted to the crowd (yes, crowd, there was a crowd: noun, a large number of people gathered together, typically in a disorganized or unruly way) last night that after my second novel was published and didn’t sell well at all, I allowed myself to sink into a self-pitying writing funk that lasted for longer than I care to admit. I only came out of it because of the support of friends and family. I’m eternally grateful to them all.

So lets end with the text of the acknowledgements pages from the book:

FIRST AND FOREMOST, thanks to Lisa, Cole, Emma, and the rest of my family who love, support, and put up with me. My wife, Lisa, went above and beyond this time around being a beta reader and her input was invaluable. Thanks to my sister Erin and brother-in-law Steve who let me fictionalize their house.

Huge thanks to this novel’s other beta reader, the talented John Mantooth. I think it was Louis Maistros who once said, “Being asked to read another writer’s rough draft is the literary equivalent of being asked to help a friend move a couch to a new place.” He’s so right, and I so appreciate the heavy lifting that John did with this book.

More huge thanks to my agent, Stephen “They’re coming to get you” Barbara, for his friendship, advice, and support. I’m so lucky to have him on my side.

A thousand and one thank-yous to my amazing editor, Jennifer Brehl. She helped make this the best book it could be. I’d never be able to fully explain how much her belief in me and this book means. (Everyone, put down the book and clap for Jen, please.)

Big thanks to Camille Collins, Pamela Jaffe, Ashley Marudas, Andrea Molitor, Kelly O’Connor, Caroline Perny, and everyone at William Morrow for their support, enthusiasm, and hard work. I’m so proud to be working alongside all these great people.

Thank you to two of my best friends and co-conspirators, John Langan and Laird Barron, for listening to me whine, agitate, complain, pontificate, and fret my way through this book, once a week by phone (and too occasionally in person).

Thank you to friends and colleagues who’ve supported, inspired, and helped keep me sane: Karen Brissette (the real one!), Ken Cornwell, Brett Cox, JoAnn Cox, Ellen Datlow, Kurt Dinan, Steve Eller, Steve Fisher, Andy Falkous and Future of the Left, Geoffrey Goodwin, Brett Gurewitz and Bad Religion, Page Hamilton, Jack Haringa, John Harvey, Stephen Graham Jones, Sandra Kasturi, Matt Kressel, Michael Lajoie, Sarah Langan, Jennifer Levesque, Kris Meyer, Stewart O’Nan, Brett Savory, Mark Haskell Smith, Simon Strantzas, Dave Zeltserman, and Your Pretty Name.

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AHFoG gets a nice review in the New York Times

So A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS got a great mini-review in the New York Times. Hot damn!

“Paul Tremblay’s terrific A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS generates a haze of an altogether more serious kind: the pleasurable fog of calculated, perfectly balanced ambiguity…. By the end of “A Head Full of Ghosts,” you may not be able to say with certainty whether Marjorie’s demon exists, but you know in your bones that evil does.”

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