This morning my interview with Christopher Shultz of LitReactor went live. So far, there seems to be a number of readers who dig it because I go into a lot of detail about my creative process. And if that doesn’t convince you to take a look, Christopher and I also chat a bit about Svengoolie, the future of transgressive fiction, and The Sadist’s Bible.
Where’s the link, you ask?
Hubbie and I went up to Chicago’s Thalia Hall last week to see The Residents on their SHADOWLAND tour. Although marketed as a band, these folks are much more than that. They’re performance artists. They’re spoken word performers. They’re visual artists. They’re clowns. They’re shamen.
Although their work is rife with social and philosophical commentary, they offer no platitudes or certainties. That’s not their bag. No, they offer an experience. This live show–SHADOWLAND– is a sacred/profane ritual/farce. And we all need such immersive experiences, from time to time.
There are still several tour dates remaining. I highly recommend you check it out if you have the chance.
With several groundbreaking works under her belt, one of them the Bram Stoker nominated Mr. Suicide, Nicole Cushing is making huge waves in the horror community, taking readers and critics alike by surprise with her daring and unique brand of weird cosmic horror. The Sadist’s Bible takes that brand of weird to previously unimagined levels. Cushing is quickly becoming a household name for horror fans, and for good reason. Her voice is evocative of an unholy marriage between Clive Barker and Poppy Z. Brite, with a few dashes of Dante Alighieri tossed in for good measure, and her style is all her own, darkly erotic, wickedly unapologetic, and often ferociously violent…Nicole Cushing is a star that rises a little higher with each work she produces, using strong measures with daring and unapologetic subject matter to up her game and set the bar a little higher for other authors in the business of making high quality horror stories. If you haven’t read her work, you’re depriving yourself of a treat.
Full review at the link.
As some of you may already know, my novella THE SADIST’S BIBLE was released last week. It’s taken a little time, but the reviews are finally starting to trickle in.
The UK-based website TERROR REALM has this to say:
The style builds from a dull hum of curiosity to a scream that evokes Barker’s Cenobites and Dante’s Inferno in equal measure as each chapter is masterfully handled to build tension.
Click the link to see the full review.
Meanwhile, over at Goodreads, author Mark Matthews says:
The Sadist’s Bible is an incredible piece of work. Cosmic. Transgressive. Suspenseful.
Here’s the link to the full text of his review.
First things first…let me make it clear that (despite the slightly tongue in cheek headline) I’m not writing this post to complain. I’m not a complainer and I personally find online complaining a bore. I’m forty-fucking-two years old and if I don’t have a thick skin by now, I probably shouldn’t be a writer.
No, I’m writing this blog for the benefit of newer writers who look at the critical acclaim my novel Mr. Suicide has received and feel emboldened to write transgressive fiction, themselves.
The good news: If you write transgressive fiction, your book probably won’t be banned from U.S. shores (like Henry Miller’s was). You probably won’t be taken to court in the U.K. for obscenity (like Hubert Selby, Jr. was).
The bad(ish) news: You will, from time to time, be horribly misunderstood. You might even be snubbed by certain journalistic entities on the blogosphere.
Case in point: a freelancer (known only as Carl…no last name provided) initially agreed to interview me for a popular SF/F/H website. Then he pulled out of doing the interview, after doing a little research and finding out that my work’s transgressive.
I’m not going to name the website, because if Carl’s a freelancer he’s not on their staff and his actions really don’t reflect on them. I’m not going to quote directly from his emails (because that’s not right either). But I will say this: when he agreed to interview me he stated that my Shirley Jackson Award nomination and Bram Stoker Award® nominations definitely made me newsworthy enough to cover. He sounded upbeat and enthusiastic about the whole thing. It was the nature of my work that made him reverse course.
Now, Carl certainly has a right to do this. I’m not going to whine that this is unfair (because I long-ago accepted that the world’s unfair). He’s under no obligation to interview anyone. I’m sure, if we met each other, we might even get along well. He’s not Darth Vader, nor is he the worst person in the world. To his credit, he was exceedingly polite about withdrawing from the interview. He’s just a human being, like all of us. I honestly wish him well.
But I will say that this ranks among the strangest incidents I’ve encountered during my eight years in the business (and I’ve seen some crazy shit go down, y’all). At this point in my career, I’ve done dozens of interviews for all sorts of venues (including–a couple of years ago–the one Carl freelances for). I’ve never had anything close to this happen before.
But I’ve never had a transgressive novel up for a Stoker before, either.
Anyway…I’m inclined to turn this around–look at it as a positive instead of a negative. I feel like I’ve just earned my wings. Transgressive work probably isn’t truly transgressive unless it rubs some folks the wrong way. There has been a bit of a backlash against Mr. Suicide, but it’s been mostly confined to Goodreads. Now I feel a bit more “officially” transgressive (if I had any lingering doubts about my bona fides, they’re now gone).
But yeah, newer writers take note: doing transgressive work still has its consequences. If you need to be universally adored, it might not be right for you.
I wanted to show off the ever-growing collection of gospel tracts that I’ve procured during my years in southern Indiana, so I made a brief video (about five minutes long). In the video, I talk about how the weird images in these tracts helped influence “The Choir of Beasts” and my new book The Sadist’s Bible.
Today’s the day!
Oh, and check this out: I’m a guest on the latest episode of The Two Towers Talk Show.I chat with the Towers about StokerCon, my recent Bram Stoker Award® nominations, and The Sadist’s Bible.
I wanted to give everyone a heads-up that the pre-order price for my next book, The Sadist’s Bible, is now $1.99. (It was originally $3.99.) Pre-order now and the book will be automatically zoomed onto your Kindle on release day. (Tuesday April 5th.)
This is a long novella (about 30,000 words). I think folks who enjoyed Mr. Suicide will dig it. And if you’ve never read my stuff before, this is an affordable way to give it a shot.
More About The Sadist’s Bible
How well do you know the people you chat with on a social network?
Thirty-seven year old Ellie Blake is about to find out. Her Bible Belt community wouldn’t dare accept her if she came out as a lesbian. Her husband, her pastor, and her neighbors would be scandalized by such a disclosure. But Ellie’s desire for another woman’s intimate touch grows stronger with each passing day, as does her desire to be dominant – to tell another woman just how to please her, to tie up another woman so that she’ll never, ever leave.
Ashamed of these feelings and hopeless of ever satisfying them, Ellie goes to a secret group on the social network and seeks out a partner for a suicide pact. There, she finds twenty-four year old Lori Morris–a woman who also claims devotion to death and lust. She agrees to meet Ellie in a hotel for an intense night of decadent sex and torture before suicide. But Lori has another agenda, too: to escape an oppressive force that might be God or might be the Devil. A force that even suicide may not allow her to escape. A force that wants Lori, Ellie, and all of humanity broken and brought to its knees.
On Saturday April 2nd, from 10 a.m to 5 p.m., I’ll be selling and signing books at an authors fair in Madison, Indiana. If you dig my books and are within driving distance to southeastern Indiana, please stop by. I’d love to meet you.
Here are the details:
Event: 6th Annual That Book Place Authors Fair
Location: Madison, Indiana National Guard Armory (Google says the address is 1533 Clifty Dr, Madison, IN 47250)
Books I’ll Be Selling/Signing:
Cassilda’s Song (a King in Yellow themed anthology in which my story “Yella” appears)
This is my first appearance of 2016, and I’m excited to be getting back on the road a bit. See you there?