I’m enjoying a restful getaway in rural Indiana this weekend, but I felt compelled to hop online for a moment and urge you to consider observing Small Business Saturday by dropping by your local indie bookstore.
If you’re in the Louisville area, you can find signed copies of Mr. Suicide and The Mirrors at Carmichael’s Bookstore on Bardstown Road. In Indianapolis, you can find (unsigned) copies of both titles at Indy Reads Books. (And bear in mind that Indy Reads isn’t even so much a “business” as it is a charity. All profits from the store go to provide free literacy and language tutoring through the nonprofit organization Indy Reads.)
What’s that, you say? You live in neither Louisville nor Indianapolis? Well, you can still support Small Business Saturday in a variety of ways. Remember that every small press is a small business. (And, by extension, every small press author is a small business.)
You can buy my novel Mr. Suicide directly from the publisher, Word Horde. In fact, when you buy a copy of Mr. Suicide directly from them, they throw in the ebook version for free! You can also buy my story collection The Mirrors directly from its publisher, Cycatrix Press.
Both books are perfect gifts for the strange people in your life.
A brief essay of mine appears today at SF Signal as part of their ongoing Mind Meld series of interviews (in which various authors address the same question). This week’s questions to ponder: What SF/F/H book (or books) have inspired you the most? How?
Anyone who knows me knows that Ligotti was bound to come up as part of my answer. But lately I’ve become more and more aware that Ligotti and his fan community, Thomas Ligotti Online, have acted as gateway drugs to a whole world of bizarre, neuron-tickling, soul-crushing texts. And, of course, I talk about those books and how they’ve inspired me, too. Some names that pop up: Mário de Sá-Carneiro, Leonid Andreyev, and Hermann Ungar (among others).
Guest blogger Matthew Warner and his wife Deena have been friends of mine for a long time (well over ten years, by my reckoning). In this thoughtful essay, Matthew ponders the emotional impact of the passage of time and wonders “Am I Old?” Sheesh…I sure hope not. Because if he’s old then that means I’m old, too. — N.C.
Am I old?
No, seriously, before you laugh at my fretting over this First World problem, consider the evidence.
I’m 42. I graduated James Madison University twenty years ago. Twenty. The girl who babysits my 4- and 6-year-old boys was born after I graduated. Our previous babysitter is now in college.
I got married twelve years ago. Since that time, our family tree has grown: children have been born who are now entering middle school. They’re fully formed people in the sense they can read, write, talk, and wipe themselves. Even my 6-year-old can do those things (most of the time). Their physical appearances change, radically, on a regular basis, while I just grow grayer and hairier.
When I was a kid, life had an agenda laid out for me. From ages 6 to 18, I attended first to twelfth grades. After that, four years of college. That all proceeded as expected. But then in my twenties, it fell to shit. No more predictability. I went through what we call “adultescence,” an adult adolescence. I worked crappy jobs and had to move back in with my parents to save money. I fretted over whether I would ever find a decent woman to spend my life with, defined at that time as a dependable source of sex.
At 30, I married my wife and in that way officially entered adulthood. About one third of my life gone. Now I’m twelve years farther down the road and asking myself existential mid-life-crisis questions: am I doing what I always envisioned for myself? Have I “made it”? Is this all I’ll ever be?
And I continue to wonder: am I old? My 25th high school reunion is coming up. When I attend it, I might judge how fat, wrinkly, happy, successful, or dead my former classmates are, as they’ll judge me. While there, we might discuss famous people who are younger than us, recognizing the absurd reality of the fact that that could happen. After all, people who are more accomplished than us have always been older. And I’ll ask myself, “Who is old?”
Maybe I’m looking at this all wrong. Most of the evidence I presented to you is external: children, school, marriage, employment, comparisons to others. Nothing internal, like whether I feel old. (The answer: not usually.) Nothing about the top-secret eternal life elixir hidden beneath my floorboards, which would make this discussion moot.
The only thing I’m sure of is that life is a series of events, some more significant than others. How these events permanently change us is the best measuring stick for determining how much of our life has passed and how much more we feel we deserve to have. It’s true that a 20-year-old Army veteran returning from combat could have lived as much, suffered as much, and loved as much as a 100-year-old on his death bed. Life is experiences, and experiences mean risk-taking. Through these events, we age, for better or worse.
My new short story collection, , attempts to identify these key experiences in the lives of a diverse set of characters, such as a Civil War soldier, a modern fashion model, and a far-future priestess. As a writer, it’s my job to dramatize the key domino in a character’s history — the event that changed them or aged them the most. By doing that, it’s my hope to teach myself and you something about life, so the next time any of us asks, Am I old? we can unequivocally give the correct answer.
“…a strong collection of stories, one that celebrates and showcases a new voice in speculative fiction.” — Peter Tennant, Black Static
“What an excellent collection!…Wildly imaginative and creative, I’m stunned by the quality of this volume.” — Horror After Dark
“…a fascinating and astounding range of style and content. Strange, bizarre and disturbing…” — Creature Feature: The Weekly Web Program
I’m very pleased to announce that I’ve just signed a contract with San Diego-based 01 Publishing for my novella THE SADIST’S BIBLE (tentatively slated for an early April 2016 release).
01 Publishing is operated by Kat Rocha and Josh Finney, and I’m excited to be working with both of them. The company has previously released successful anthologies (the Lovecraftian WHISPERS FROM THE ABYSS series, for example), graphic novels, and audio dramas. If I’m not mistaken, this is their first stand-alone novella.
For more information about 01, visit their website: http://01publishing.com/ Keep your eyes peeled there (and here at the abyss) for updates about this book. I can’t wait to share it with all of you!
The new issue of the UK-based horror magazine Black Static includes a lengthy (nearly 6,600 word) feature on me titled “The World’s Happiest Nihilist: Nicole Cushing”. Peter Tennant wrote a comprehensive, story-by-story review of my new collection The Mirrors and an in-depth review of my recently-released novel Mr. Suicide. I was also interviewed for the feature.
I don’t want to steal the magazine’s thunder by quoting too liberally from the reviews. (The magazine was just mailed out to subscribers late last week. I’m not sure when it will be appearing at your local bookstore.) However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share at least a quote or two to give you a sense of the verdict.
Peter Tennant’s Praise for The Mirrors
“…a strong collection of stories, one that celebrates and showcases a new voice in speculative fiction.”
Does that pique your curiosity? Check out more reviews at Goodreads. If you’re ready to buy, you can get The Mirrors at Amazon.com, at Carmichael’s Bookstore in Louisville (signed copy) or at Indy Reads Books in Indianapolis.
Peter Tennant’s Praise for Mr. Suicide
“Superficially this book reads like a conflation of the in your face horror of Jack Ketchum, who has contributed an inside cover blurb, and the intellectual rigour and sense of existential despair of Ligotti, whose own work foreshadows the Great Dark Mouth of Cushing’s fiction. Perhaps more appositely, it mirrors the work of the Marquis De Sade who explored the outer limits of the fiction of outrage, filling the pages of his books with extreme acts of sex and violence, but informed with a unique perspective and philosophy…In spite of all the sound and fury, the splatter effects and acts of outrage, in fact because of them, this is a serious work that addresses moral themes in an uncompromising and unflinching manner, a work of courage for the writer and reader both.”
Intrigued? Again, check out more reviews at Goodreads (or at LitReactor and Cemetery Dance). If you’re ready to buy, you can get Mr. Suicide at all major online retailers (including Amazon). You can also purchase it directly from the publisher (Word Horde). Wanna support an indie brick-and-mortar store? The book’s available at Carmichael’s Bookstore on Bardstown Road in Louisville (signed copies) or at Indy Reads Books in Indianapolis.
How’s this for a Halloween treat: the trade paperback edition of my short story collection The Mirrors is now available at Amazon.com. Weighing in at around 70,000 words (220 pages, twenty stories total), this collection includes some extra content that I think readers will enjoy. I wrote a preface, as well as story notes which discuss the origin of each tale. S.T. Joshi wrote the foreword. The ever-talented Zach McCain did the cover. Moreover, The Mirrors reprints (in slightly revised form) one of the stories from the ultra-rare chapbook The Choir of Beasts.
Amazon not your thing?
You can also order it directly from the publisher, Cycatrix Press.
What’s that you say? You want to support brick-and-mortar bookstores?
There are two signed copies at Carmichael’s Bookstore on Bardstown Road in Louisville.
Live in Indianapolis instead of Louisville?
What about Kindle?
There will eventually be a Kindle edition, but I don’t have an exact date for its release. So if you’re itching to read this one soon, consider the paperback.
Last night I made the trip up I-65 to Indianapolis for a reading and signing event at Indy Reads Books (to celebrate the official release of my short story collection The Mirrors). Indy Reads is a great bookstore for lots of reasons. There’s a small stage and seating area for readings. Also, the staff are quite helpful and welcoming. Even better, Indy Reads Books is an independent bookstore–-a branch of the Indianapolis 501(c)(3) non-profit literacy organization Indy Reads. The profits from Indy Reads Books go directly toward improving literacy in the community through the free tutoring services of Indy Reads.
The bookstore staff were pleased with the turnout and so was I. While several of my old Indianapolis friends from the Speculative Fiction Guild and Indiana Horror Writers were there, we also had a couple of total strangers show up (at least one of whom left with books in hand). Oh, and since I love giving out goodies around Halloween, I gave everyone at the event A WHOLE BAG OF CANDY! (Ask those who attended, if you want more details.)
If you live in the Indianapolis area and didn’t get a chance to make the event, there’s a copy of Mr. Suicide and a copy of The Mirrors there at the store, available for purchase.
Thanks to author R.J. Sullivan for taking the photo of me during the reading and granting permission for its use here.
The better news: We’re celebrating the book release at Indy Reads Books (in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana) on Thursday October 29 at 6:00 p.m. I’ll be reading and signing my novel Mr. Suicide, too.
The best news: Indy Reads Books is an independent, not-for-profit bookstore–a branch of the Indianapolis 501(c)(3) non-profit literacy organization Indy Reads. The revenue from Indy Reads Books goes directly toward improving literacy in the community through the free tutoring services of Indy Reads.
For more information about The Mirrors, go here: http://www.horrorafterdark.com/2015/06/review-the-mirrors-by-nicole-cushing/
For more information about Mr. Suicide, go here: http://cemeterydanceonline.com/2015/09/review-mr-suicide-by-nicole-cushing/
For more information about Indy Reads Books, go here: http://indyreadsbooks.org/about/
For more information about Indy Reads (the charity of which Indy Reads Books is a part), go here: http://www.indyreads.org/
Disappointment #1: M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit.
While many people are looking at this as a Shyamalan comeback, I found it to be a messy, stinky turd of a film. I recently elaborated on this with David Templeton of the San Francisco Bay Area’s Pacific Sun.
Disappointment #2: The 2015 Cincinnati Reds
With a record of 64-98, my beloved Cincinnati Reds ended the season in the cellar of Major League Baseball’s National League Central Division. (Sheesh, with a record like that I think “cellar” may be generous. The Reds might more accurately be said to dwell in an antediluvian grotto beneath the NL Central–like the subhuman blasphemies in “The Rats in the Walls”.)
It should be pointed out that two of their players, Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips, performed quite well throughout the year. Votto, in particular, shined.
But so many of the rest of them appeared to be going through the motions. I’m particularly annoyed by Jay Bruce (a pretty boy right fielder and past All Star who was only able to muster a .226 batting average this year). Appallingly, this is actually a slight improvement over last year.
But wait…it gets even worse. His batting average when it really counts (with runners in scoring position) was a miserable .180. This year, he’ll make twelve million dollars. His contract dictates that he’ll earn even more next year.
Whenever I pointed out Bruce’s shortcomings last year, his defenders were quick to point out that he was injured for part of the season and may have returned prematurely. I wonder what their excuse will be this year.
Disappointment #3: September Postcards
On Saturday (October 3rd) I sent out the belated September mailing for members of the Nicole Cushing Postcard Club. I don’t think too many postcard club members will take me to task for this. They all seem to be easygoing folks. But I always prefer to do things when I say I’m going to do them. Mea culpa!