I’m in the midst of a substantial amount of work, these days. So I must keep this brief.
April’s mailing to members of the Nicole Cushing Postcard Club went out today.
As always, I use the postcards to help get the word out about an under-appreciated writer from days gone by (I’ve started calling this part of the postcard “The Obscurity Showcase”). This month, an early twentieth century Eastern European author takes his turn in the Showcase. I call him “The Dirty Kafka” (as in, reminiscent of Kafka, but transgressive) . Who is he? If you follow me on Twitter, you may have already seen me mention his name and work. In any case, I do hope you’ll find the postcard informative.
Hell, not just informative. Also entertaining. As always, each postcard also features a custom, signed self-portrait doodle of yours truly. This month, I seemed to focus on pictures of myself with different hairstyles (even though I’m not really into the whole “let’s try a gazillion hairstyles” thing). Also, some of the doodles depict me at the moment of severe head trauma. Make of that what you will.
As of today, the Postcard Club is comprised of fourteen members in three countries (yes, I send postcards overseas…the postage isn’t that much higher than sending a postcard to a destination in the U.S.) Interested in joining the club? Just email me at nicolecushingwriter (at) gmail (dot) com (or send me a message on Facebook).
Okay troops, now back to the rest of my to-do list.
This is an extremely busy time for me. (Possibly the busiest yet in my writing career). I’m in the process of working with Ross Lockhart on the final round of corrections for my debut novel, Mr. Suicide. I’m also working with Jason Brock on the production of my short story collection, The Mirrors. And, hell, I’m also wanting to finish work on my next novel (tentatively titled Knife & Wound).
This weekend, Jason showed me a rough version of Zach McCain’s cover for The Mirrors and I’m thrilled with it. Zach knows how to translate the emotional core of my work into a strong cover image. I can’t wait to share the cover with you.
But, alas, I don’t yet have the go-ahead to share it with you.
But I want to share something with you.
So I’ll share this: the table of contents for The Mirrors!
Foreword by S.T. Joshi
Preface by Nicole Cushing
The Truth, as Told by a Bottle of Liquid Morphine
The Cat in the Cage
The Orchard of Hanging Trees
A Catechism for Aspiring Amnesiacs
The Company Town
The Choir of Beasts **
All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Piggy Class
The Last Kid Scared by Lugosi*
I Am Moonflower
The Suffering Clown
Eulogy to be Given by Whoever’s Still Sober
Youth to be Proud Of
The Peculiar Salesgirl
* This is a new story, not previously published.
**Note: to be clear, this collection will only publish the one short story titled “The Choir of Beasts”, not all three stories from the chapbook titled The Choir of Beasts. See this blog post for more information.
Oh, and I should point out that I wrote about two thousand words of story notes for this collection. I’m not sure if Jason is going to position them at the end of each tale or in one location at the end of the book. But I talk a little about the origin of each story.
I don’t want to make any promises (because delays do happen in book production, obviously), but this one may be available for purchase at the World Horror Convention in Atlanta.
“This tale of a damaged and murderous child is the most original horror novel I’ve read in years. Cushing’s prose is rapid-fire, grisly, and passionate.”
–Poppy Z. Brite, author of Exquisite Corpse and Lost Souls
So pleased Billy Martin dug the book!
Now would, I suppose, be an opportune time to mention that Word Horde is running a special deal on this one. If you preorder directly from them now, you get both the trade paperback and the ebook (in your choice of format) for $14.99. They call it the “Mr. Suicide Bundle”. Click here for more info.
Just a quick note to members of the Nicole Cushing Postcard Club: your March postcards have been mailed!
A few highlights
The author in this month’s Obscurity Showcase is mighty damned obscure, indeed (and has a fun name). I won’t spoil the surprise by naming the individual, but I look forward to hearing what you think. I also share a little bit about what I’m up to in my writing life. I had to cram that part in at the bottom of the postcards, but it’s there. Oh, and I hope all of you enjoy the various custom self-portrait doodles I created for you. Some are, admittedly, far better than others. But this month, they seemed to share a common thread. They all gravitated toward the monstrous.
And for those of you who aren‘t yet members of the postcard club here’s the linky-link for more information. Note: international members welcome. Everyone‘s welcome. To join, just email me at nicolecushingwriter (at) gmail (dot) com or send me a message on Facebook or Twitter.
Okay, I’ve been keeping this little secret for a almost five months now.
In October, I spent nearly an hour interviewing actor Doug Bradley (perhaps best-known for his role as the lead cenobite, aka “Pinhead”, in the Hellraiser films). This was a face-to-face interview, conducted when he appeared in Louisville for the Fright Night Horror Weekend. I did a significant amount of research to prepare for this interview, and we ended up talking about everything.
A long excerpt (nearly two thousand words) has been posted on the website for Nameless Digest. In this excerpt, Bradley shares one or two small (but intriguing) bits of information about the new Clive Barker novel The Scarlet Gospels and his thoughts on the future of the Hellraiser franchise. He also talks about his early days working with Barker in the UK avant-garde theater scene. Many thanks to Fright Night Horror Weekend organizer Ken Daniels for making this interview possible.
The full interview runs about six thousand words and is slotted to appear in issue #5 of Nameless (forthcoming later this year). But, in the meantime, I’m really proud of the excerpt. Check it out, eh?
Well, looky here…
“Nicole Cushing comes in smart and hard, skilled and strange times three. Many aspire. But you can’t fake this kind of weird.” — New York Times Bestselling Author John Skipp
Awww, shucks! :)
Revelation #1: The Cover
As always, I dig what artist Zach McCain was able to pull off here. He was the cover artist for my DarkFuse titles Children of No One and I Am the New God, and it just made sense to continue working with him on this one, as well. He seems to have a knack for translating the ideas and emotions of my books into eye-catching, visceral images. I’m so grateful Ross Lockhart at Word Horde agreed he was the right person for the job.
Revelation #2: The Praise
I’m honored that Jack Ketchum (2011 WHC Grand Master and recipient of this year’s HWA Lifetime Achievement Award) has offered the following praise for Mr. Suicide:
“Novels don’t come much more transgressive than this one, folks. Got a taboo? Watch Nicole Cushing grin while she dances all over it. In other hands that might be reason enough for the witty MR. SUICIDE to exist. But this is more and better than that — a truly nightmare world, richly imagined, told to us in a canny, subversive second-person voice that makes you, the reader, the hero of this tale, like it or not. That it also manages to be ultimately life-affirming is yet another wonder.”
Revelation #3: The Deal with Preorders
I’m really excited about this part…I’ll be signing all preordered copies of Mr. Suicide. Word Horde is also offering this as a bundle (you get both the trade paperback and the ebook when you preorder). Check out more details at this linky-link.
OK, now I think I’m going to go for a walk and absorb all this. I’m just overwhelmed by the many well-wishes on Facebook and Twitter. The news about the novel’s pending release has been out there for awhile, but there’s nothing like a cover reveal and a blurb to make it all very real and imminent.
The answer is: yes and no.
For the uninitiated, The Choir of Beasts is a limited edition chapbook published by Dunhams Manor Press (the weird fiction imprint of Dynatox Ministries) in 2013. How limited? Only twenty five numbered copies (and a handful of publisher copies that I sold or gave away, myself). As one might expect, given the tiny print run, they sold out very quickly.
The chapbook is comprised of three stories, “The Choir of Beasts”, “The Temple of the Fly”, and ‘The Sermon in the Pit”. “The Choir of Beasts” takes up roughly seventy-five percent of that chapbook. The other two stories (set in the same world as “Choir”) take up the remainder.
The Mirrors will reprint “The Choir of Beasts”, but will not reprint “The Temple of the Fly” or “The Sermon in the Pit”.
This seems to be the best solution for everyone involved. It makes a significant chunk of the chapbook available to a larger audience, without completely sacrificing the specialness of the chapbook. The chapbook is the only place to find “The Temple of the Fly” and “The Sermon in the Pit” (and I don’t see any reason, at this time, to make those pieces available elsewhere). I want the limited edition to retain some of its limited-ness, if that makes any sense.
Oh, and another thing: the version of “The Choir of Beasts” that appears in The Mirrors is just a hair different from the version in the chapbook. Don’t misunderstand me: there are no differences in plot or characterization. But I found the need to give the story another polish and I added one or two new sentences, just to flesh out things that I felt needed greater fleshing out. (The truth is, I gave most — if not all — the stories another round of polishing. Tightening bolts. Buffing out scratches. That sort of thing.)
Oh, and ANOTHER thing: I can officially confirm S.T. Joshi is writing the foreword for The Mirrors. (Actually, I can now say that he has already written the foreword. I’ve seen it.)
Any more questions? I’d be happy to answer them in the comments section, below.
Recently, as a way of supplementing my income, I’ve started writing some nonfiction pieces for genre magazines. The first fruits of this endeavor appear in this month’s issue of the UK-based Scream magazine. I interviewed Nightmare on Elm Street 3‘s Jennifer Rubin and Halloween 5‘s Don Shanks and both pieces made the cover.
UK readers should be able to pick up a physical copy of the magazine in stores. Readers outside the UK can get an electronic copy on the magazine’s website (they call this program iScream…what a hoot!)
Things are hectic, so I’ll make this brief. My first full-length short fiction collection, The Mirrors, will be coming out soon from Jason V Brock’s Cycatrix Press.
Jason has been an enthusiastic supporter of my work for awhile now (my stories have appeared in Nameless magazine and in his anthology A Darke Phantastique). In fact, we first discussed the possibility of Cycatrix publishing this collection almost two years ago at a pitch session at WHC in New Orleans. (Three cheers for WHC pitch sessions!). Anyway, it’s sweet to be able to talk about this, now that the contract is signed.
I’m also pleased to announce that S.T. Joshi is involved with the project (he mentions it briefly near the end of his most recent — January 2 — blog post).
I’ll be disclosing more details about this one as we get closer to publication. It’s going to be a busy year. This book comes out in late spring/early summer. My first novel, Mr. Suicide, will be released by the good ship Word Horde in July. Things will no doubt get a little frantic, but that’s a good problem to have. (In fact, I’m not inclined to view it as a problem at all.) I’m grateful that six and a half years of perseverance in the writing game is paying off. I’m also grateful for my readers. You may not yet be legion, but you’re passionate. Thanks for traveling with me this far into the journey. I’m looking forward to seeing what you think of this year’s crop of books.