“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.
Taking time to write a blog post about the Charlie Hebdo killings seems stupid. I have a lot of shit on my to do list right now. Commenting opens a can of worms. And, of course, if I say something controversial I may be misunderstood or pigeonholed in a negative light. I’m a little neurotic. The last concern is probably unwarranted (and is undeniably selfish). But it’s there.
And, let’s face it, it’s not like I’m Neil Gaiman or Stephen King or Stephanie Meyer. It’s not like my two cents about Charlie Hebdo is going to make headlines. It’s not like there’s a demand for me to make a statement about things.
Even so, I feel compelled to say something. I feel it’s necessary.
Because, like the staff of Charlie Hebdo, I’ve often criticized religion. Sometimes in harsh, colorful and – dare I admit it in these walking-on-eggshell times? – scatological and irreverent terms.
After forty-one years on this planet, I’ve come to this conclusion: religion is a speeding bus that takes a lot of people where they need to go but runs over a lot of pedestrians in the process. And when the inevitable collisions happen, they’re always hit and run (sometimes, but not always, accompanied by cheers from the passengers on board). Sometimes (as with the fundamentalist Christian ex-gay movement), the injured pedestrian amazingly manages to pursue the bus, bang on its windows, and beg to be let in. The bus driver esteems himself merciful to let the limping man come aboard.
There are lots of reasons people get on buses. They advertise that they’re going to a desirable destination (far better than wandering aimlessly or, heaven forbid, staying put where you are). Infinitely better than admitting there is no desirable destination, that this grubby street corner is it, that the universe is just one grubby street corner after another. Moreover, one can share an esprit de corps with one’s fellow passengers (far better than traveling alone).
American Christianity was the make and model of the bus that ran me over, and so my fiction often addresses my concerns about that institution. Earlier in my career, this took the form of transgressive satire in fiction and performance art. As far as I can tell from the few cartoons I’ve seen, some of this work came close to the flavor of Charlie Hebdo. In more recent times, my emphasis has been less on satire and more on exploring the horrific nature of the Christian faith. (And yes, I do not think “horrific” is too harsh a word for systems of thought and behavior which offer solace, but only if granted submission in return).
But, as it should now be abundantly clear, a bus is a bus is a bus…
What pisses me off the most about the attacks is that they’re clearly an attempt to intimidate those who would satirize the Muslim faith. And the chilling effect is already taking place, particularly among my friends on the far Left (who seem to have spent a cursory five seconds mourning the deaths but have gone on now for five days wagging moralizing fingers at many of the corpses).
One would think that punching at god (or someone who claimed to speak for god) would be the ultimate “punching up”.
Based on this blog post, you may assume that I belong to the Right. And…here’s the kicker, I don’t. I’m generally anti-war. Definitely anti-torture. Appalled by the flagrant violation of privacy underway with domestic surveillance. Deeply uncomfortable with nationalism. Anti-Guantanamo. I condemn any and all vandalism and violence towards Muslim individuals and mosques in the wake of this attack (and all others).
But I feel the need to stand up with my peers at Charlie Hebdo, my brothers in blasphemy. And, in closing, fuck the terrorists. Fuck em in the ass.