Daily Nightmare Digs the Postcard Club!

Doktor Leech (from DailyNightmare.com) talks about my monthly postcards (and my fiction) in this five minute Youtube video.

 

Want in on the fun? Visit this linky-link for more information on how to get your own monthly mail from yours truly.

FORGOTTEN LORE #2: THE GREAT SHADOW

I just uploaded a new episode of my Youtube series Forgotten Lore. (In which I explore obscure works of dark fiction which deserve to be better-remembered.)

In this installment, I talk about The Great Shadow (and Other Stories) by Portuguese author  Mário de Sá-Carneiro (1890-1916). I also briefly discuss the links between this author’s work and the work of Thomas Ligotti. The video runs about five minutes.

 

News on How Voting HWA Members Can Get Their Free Copy of THE MIRRORS

The Mirrors Revised CoverRecently, HWA announced the preliminary ballot for the Bram Stoker Awards®. My debut novel Mr. Suicide was listed in the first novel category, and my short story collection The Mirrors was listed in the short story collection category.

Last week, I blogged here about how voting members of HWA can get their free copy of Mr. Suicide (to evaluate its merits for possible inclusion on the final ballot). Today I want to talk about The Mirrors. Voting members can email me at nicolecushingwriter (at) gmail (dot) com, and request a digital copy of the book.

Some Relevant Blurbs & Review Excerpts

“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

“…a strong collection of stories, one that celebrates and showcases a new voice in speculative fiction.” — Peter Tennant, Black Static

“Nicole Cushing’s stories grab you by the throat–and don’t let go until they have slapped you around a bit. I know of few writers of contemporary weird fiction whose stories pack the raw emotional power that hers do…” — S.T. Joshi (from his foreword)

“What an excellent collection!…Wildly imaginative and creative, I’m stunned by the quality of this volume.” — Horror After Dark

MR. SUICIDE and THE MIRRORS Make the Bram Stoker Award® Preliminary Ballot

MrSuicide_FrontCoverAs you may have already seen, two of my books landed on the preliminary ballot for the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Awards®. Mr. Suicide advanced to the prelim ballot in the first novel category and The Mirrors advanced to the prelim ballot for short story collections. While these aren’t (yet?) nominations, they do put the books on a possible path to nomination, and I’m pleased. Congratulations to all the writers and editors who have also earned places on the prelim ballots!

Today I want to talk a little about Mr. Suicide, specifically. Word Horde has set up a page on their website for voting HWA members to download a free digital copy. Simply click on this link, then select which type of ebook file you’d prefer (.pdf, .Mobi/Kindle, or ePUB).

You’ll need a password to download the file. That password is: hwamember2016. Voting goes from February 1-15, so I’m glad this is already up and running for those interested. For those HWA members needing copies of The Mirrors, watch this space in the next day or so for news on that front.

Praise for Mr. Suicide

“…a work of brutal and extreme horror…disturbingly graphic content…”  — Publishers Weekly

“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.” —Jack Ketchum, award-winning author of Off Season and The Girl Next Door

“After finishing Mr. Suicide, it’s difficult to believe this is her first published novel…I can’t recommend this book enough. One of the best I’ve read this year.” — Cemetery Dance (review by Frank Michaels Errington)

“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

Mr. Suicide by Nicole Cushing is one of the best debut novels in years, and I don’t say that lightly. This is an absolutely brutal, horrifying read that doesn’t rely on splatter to disturb. Cushing’s tale manages to get under your skin and into your head and refuses to let go. Seriously…this one messed my head up for days.” — Nick Cato, The Horror Fiction Review

“This is horror fiction that leaves marks.” — Ray Garton, author of Live Girls and Sex and Violence in Hollywood

“Cushing doesn’t give us an all-out splatterfest, aiming more for a narrative that unsettles its readers psychologically, disarming them from time to time with bursts of graphic violence. She handles this more cerebral approach deftly; and yet, her pages still seem to bleed, or at least to writhe with rotten blood itching to get loose.”  — LitReactor 

 

 

 

 

Announcing FORGOTTEN LORE

 

Today I’m kicking off a project I’m particularly excited about: a new series of brief Youtube videos called Forgotten Lore.

About twice a month, I’ll be sharing information about unjustly forgotten authors from the past. There are some excellent books out there languishing in obscurity, and I love the idea of shining a spotlight (however dim) on these works and their authors so that they’re not completely forgotten. Some of these books will fall squarely in the horror genre, others will belong more to so-called literary fiction, and still others will be somewhere in between. Generally speaking, though, they’ll all be dark (because, let’s face it, Mama Cushing is one pessimistic bitch)!

In this inaugural episode, I talk a little about the project as a whole and then plunge right in with a short review of The Revelations of Dr. Modesto by Alan Harrington. The video runs about five minutes.

I’m hoping to get episode two up sometime around the first week of February.

Both MR. SUICIDE and THE MIRRORS Mentioned On Tennant’s BLACK STATIC Best of 2015 List

MrSuicide_FrontCoverThe Mirrors Revised Cover

My novel Mr. Suicide and my collection The Mirrors have both been mentioned in Black Static reviewer Peter Tennant ‘s list of 2015’s best books.

Thanks to Ross E. Lockhart (of Word Horde) and Jason V Brock (of Cycatrix Press) for being such excellent publishing partners and midwifing these titles to success! Also, congrats to all the others mentioned! (Especially Sarah Pinborough and Ray Cluley–Tennant’s top choices for the novel and collection categories, respectively.)

For ordering info on both titles (as well as my other books), click here.

MR. SUICIDE Lands on Best of 2015 List Compiled by GINGER NUTS OF HORROR’s George Anderson

MrSuicide_FrontCoverI’m so pleased to see my novel Mr. Suicide find a place on another Best of 2015 list (this time compiled by reviewer George Anderson at The Ginger Nuts of Horror website). (Note: Anderson doesn’t assign specific ranks to his best of the year, which is totally understandable as I’m sure that can be an agonizing task for a reviewer!)

In any event, I will confess to being a little giddy about this news. (Today I consider myself the World’s Giddiest Nihilist.)

Why am I so giddy?

Well…

This is the third such list to include Mr. Suicide. Earlier in the week I mentioned that Nick Cato at The Horror Fiction Review named the book the #1 top read of the year. A bit earlier in the month reviewer Frank Michaels Errington gave the book an honorable mention on his list. It’s validating to see my first novel greeted so enthusiastically.

Here’s a brief excerpt of what George Anderson had to say about the book:

Nicole Cushing’s Mr. Suicide is a startling and jarring portrayal of a young boy’s spiraling descent into psychosis from the inside looking out… A jarring and discordant style pervades the book which left me at times feeling destabilized, unclean and grimy from reading it.I am most definitely going to be reading more of Cushing’s work.

Now comes the part of the blog post in which I tell you where you can pick up your copy of Mr. Suicide.

You can, of course, grab a paperback or kindle copy at Amazon.

Or…you can grab a paperback or Nook copy at Barnes & Noble’s website

Or…you can get the Kobo version.

Or…you can order directly from the good folks at Word Horde and receive a signed paperback (with an ebook in the format of your choice included at no extra charge).

Or…you can pick up the book at your local bookstore. So far, I know copies are available at the following independent stores:

Carmichael’s Bookstore on Bardstown Road in Louisville, Kentucky (signed paperbacks available)

Indy Reads Books in Indianapolis, Indiana

Mysterious Galaxy Books in San Diego, California

It’s likely there are copies floating around at other stores, too. (I don’t know where all the copies end up.) In any event, remember that even if the book isn’t on the shelf of your local bookstore you can special order it from them.

Have a safe and enjoyable New Year’s Eve, y’all!

 

MR. SUICIDE Named the #1 Top Read of 2015 by The Horror Fiction Review’s Nick Cato

MrSuicide_FrontCoverI’m not sure there’s much more to add to this blog post, beyond the news announced in the title.

My novel Mr. Suicide (published by Word Horde) has been named the #1 book of 2015 by The Horror Fiction Review’s founder, Nick Cato ! Thanks to Word Horde‘s Ross E. Lockhart for believing in my twisted baby and letting it loose to freak out the masses!

Here’s a brief excerpt of what Cato has to say about my book:

MR. SUICIDE by Nicole Cushing is one of the best debut novels in years, and I don’t say that lightly. This is an absolutely brutal, horrifying read that doesn’t rely on splatter to disturb. Cushing’s tale manages to get under your skin and into your head and refuses to let go. Seriously…this one messed my head up for days.

Now comes the part of the blog post in which I tell you where you can pick up your copy of Mr. Suicide.

You can, of course, grab a paperback or kindle copy at Amazon.

Or…you can grab a paperback or Nook copy at Barnes & Noble’s website

Or…you can get the Kobo version.

Or…you can order directly from the good folks at Word Horde and receive a signed paperback (with an ebook in the format of your choice included at no extra charge).

Or…you can pick up the book at your local bookstore. So far, I know copies are available at the following independent stores:

Carmichael’s Bookstore on Bardstown Road in Louisville, Kentucky (signed paperbacks available)

Indy Reads Books in Indianapolis, Indiana

Mysterious Galaxy Books in San Diego, California

It’s likely there are copies floating around at other stores, too. (I don’t know where all the copies end up.) In any event, remember that even if the book isn’t on the shelf of your local bookstore you can special order it from them.

 

Three Books I Fell in Love with in 2015

Note: I spent most of 2015 reading older, relatively obscure titles because those sorts of books were my crack this year. Books written before the rise of pop culture often hit the spot for me in a way other books don’t. So if you want a take on this year’s releases, consult any one of the several best of 2015 lists floating around in the blogosphere.

The books listed here aren’t books I merely enjoyed, or found mildly satisfying.These are books I absolutely fell in love with, that I can’t wait to re-read at some point. Books of such awesome dark beauty that I smile just thinking of them. (And, maybe, simultaneously cringe…but in a good way.) These are books that offer windows to places deep in the recesses of troubled brains.

So, with no further ado, on with the list.

Dr. Modesto#3. The Revelations of Dr. Modesto by Alan Harrington (1955)

My take on this book: it’s a dark comedy about psychological nihilism, teeming with astute madness.

Our protagonist, the insurance salesman Hal Hingham , is alienated and miserable.  Employed, but so unsuccessful he’s only kept on because of nepotism. Dating a steady girlfriend, but only going through the motions and never even trying to make any physical advances. He’s even sexually harassed by his repulsive landlady.

Then one night he reads a magazine ad placed by the eponymous Dr. Modesto, offering the balm of  “Centralism”–a self-help philosophy. Our hero comes to find that Centralism demands the complete erasure of one’s personality. ( Its first commandment: “Since your self grates on others, and makes you miserable, get rid of it.”)

Dr. Modesto encourages his reader to replace his or her personality with a pseudo-personality that constantly changes in response to its surroundings. The goal is to always be at the center of whatever crowd you’re surrounded by; to be utterly and completely average in each and every surrounding. If, in the morning, you’re surrounded by Republicans then you must try to be an average Republican (neither too harsh nor too soft). If, in the afternoon, you’re surrounded by Democrats then you must try to be an average Democrat (neither too strident nor too wishy-washy).

From that premise, dark hilarity ensues.

This is a short, episodic novel. Hingham isn’t a superbly-drawn character. But, in a way, he doesn’t have to be because the novel is driven by the idea that all people  (even “successful” ones) are miserable in the same way that Hingham is. So the characterization lacking in the depiction of Hingham is compensated for by the description of all sorts of other souls living lives of quiet desperation.

When added together, all the characters in the book seem to create a composite characterization of humanity that is both pitiable and chilling. Although this is by no means a work of horror fiction, it has one of the most disturbing endings I’ve read in a while.

This book is out of print in the U.S. I found it at a Half-Price Books outlet center in Bloomington, Indiana.The copy I have is a late-’80s edition. I don’t believe the book has been released in a new edition since then, which is a real shame. So, to get it, you may need to check out Abebooks.com or the used booksellers on Amazon.

#2 The Maimed by Hermann Ungar (1923)

The Maimed“…(a) horrible book, sexual hell, full of filth, crime and deepest melancholy…” — Thomas Mann on The Maimed

“This Hermann Ungar has a terrible preference for — what is the most simple way to say this — for bad taste, for the miasma of the soul, for stale, sweaty, dirty situations and his lack of sympathy for those with weak or sensitive nerves borders on the perverse.” — Gerhardt Pohl on The Maimed

I won’t write quite as much about this book, as I’ve spent a fair bit of time this year evangelizing on behalf of  it . Ungar reminds me a bit of early Kafka, but with far more of a transgressive edge to him (leading me to dub him “The Dirty Kafka”).

Our protagonist Franz Polzer is somewhat similar to Hal Hingham: alienated, miserable, and professionally undistinguished. They even share the same dilemma of being sexually harassed by a repulsive landlady!

But, in contrast to Harrington’s sketchy characterization of Hingham, Ungar does give us a superb, unsparing, merciless characterization of Polzer. We get to know, in rich detail,the way his mind writhes with anxiety, trauma, and (ultimately understandable) preoccupations with degeneracy and debasement.

A small Czech publisher, Twisted Spoon Press, has published an English translation of this book (available in both print and ebook editions).

You can order it directly from them (the price includes airmail worldwide), or from the usual online booksellers.

#1: The Seven Who Were Hanged by Leonid Andreyev (1908)

seven hanged

Seven criminals (some of them failed assassins, some just mundane murderers) face their imminent executions–each in their own unique way.

What is striking about Andreyev’s novella is his mastery of characterization. This is Dostoevsky-level characterization.

He plunges the reader deep, deep into the minds of each of the seven (and, remarkably, the assassins’ intended victim too). So what we have is in fact eight portraits of very unique personalities and belief systems encountering death.

To pull off this sort of characterization with even one character surpasses the ability of most writers. To do it equally well with eight characters almost seems like showing off.

I read this translation (available for free). There are others available, as well.

Andreyev is one of those authors whose obscurity is a crime. So I do what I can to let people know about him. (Honestly, though, that could be said of all three of these authors. I urge you to read these books and, if you dig them, spread the word. They’re too damned good to be forgotten.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE MIRRORS Lands on Another List of Top 2015 Books

Mirrors Selfie 2Last week, my short story collection The Mirrors was named one of the top ten “Indiana books” of the year over at  Bibliophilopolis.

This week, it was named one of the top five short story collections read in 2015 over at Char’s Horror Corner. Char briefly sums up her impressions of the book this way:

The Mirrors was dark, nihilistic and unnerving. Loved it!

To check out Char’s full-length review of The Mirrors from earlier in the year, check out this link.

I’m grateful the book blogging community takes the time to compile these best of the year lists. The holidays are never an easy time for me, so this has definitely put some wind in my sails.

(Imagine smooth, effortless segue to sales pitch here.)

To pick up your copy of The Mirrors, order online from…

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

the good folks at the publisher, Cycatrix Press

Or…

Support your local bookstore. Copies of The Mirrors can be found at:

Carmichael’s Bookstore on Bardstown Road in Louisville, Kentucky (signed copies)

Indy Reads Books in Indianapolis, Indiana

(Also, remember that you can always special order The Mirrors from any bookstore. Even if it’s not yet placed on the shelves.)

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