Friday, September 30, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
You can check that out HERE.
Also, yesterday I appeared on The Ginger Nuts of Horror blog run by the inimitable Jim Mcleod. He asked really interesting and penetrating questions even though he's just a disembodied pair of fuzzy red testicles that looks like this:
You can check out that interview, right HERE.
Also, this week, I did an interview with Kristin at My Bookish Ways. It was such a pleasure talking with Kristin, I can't praise her highly enough.
You can read that interview HERE. She was also kind enough to do a wonderful review of SOUTHERN GODS to which she gave 5/5 hats. She said:
There is also another huge component to this story: hope. It shines in Sarah and Bull, especially in Sarah’s love for her daughter, and their humanity and strength elevates this novel far above the usual horror fare.Thank you, Kristin Centorcelli, for understanding and seeing what so many other reviewers miss. They focus on the blues, or the gore, or the Lovecraftian aspects, but YOU saw the hope at the end. SOUTHERN GODS is, at its heart (no pun intended), a story of one man's redemption. My thanks.
You can read that review right HERE.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Yes, I'm late. Looks like we'll have to do a winter issue to make up for my tardiness. I know. But here's the new cover, hope you like it.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
There is also something to this growing disconnect between writing and reading that Steve Himmer touched on in his excellent piece that appeared at The Millions: "Yet I can't help but remember that reading -- both the careful selection of books and being given enough privacy to quietly read them myself -- was among the first freedoms I had." Humanity is losing its ability to be alone with nothing but our thoughts. Both writing and reading are solitary acts. They are also liberating acts that can free practitioners of either from reality for as long as someone chooses to read or write. You fall into the moment of the act, commit yourself to it, indulge imagination to the point that it usurps the daily grind -- the tedium of work, relationship troubles, baleful news reports -- and you the reader, you the writer, are all that exist as a sounding board for the words, no matter what their story.
The pervasiveness of social networking corrodes the ability of words to bestow the enchantment of solitude. Being alone is not so much considered a freedom or luxury anymore, especially among teenagers. It's a punishment. Behind closed doors, away from nosey parents and annoying siblings, the connection to friends and the details and distractions of life stream through walls and windows, eradicate distance.
In fact, the channeling of experience through Facebook and Twitter as it happens, and seemingly before a moment is even allowed to pass fully, undercuts one of the traditional tenets of reading and writing: metaphor. In our age of immediacy, the associative distances that shape shift with the diversity of snowflakes are endangered. In the same way that Susan Sontag recognized how photography became the standard of visual beauty, trumping the figures and objects in the photographs, the diminishing of distance has irrevocably changed our sense of how we describe the world we inhabit. Immediacy kills metaphor and its demise unquestionably plays a role in perspectives on craft. Or maybe the bolder point is that craft is of little interest to certain want-to-be writers. In our 15-megabytes of fame culture that favors quantities -- friends, followers, number of comments -- over quality this might be what it all comes down to, because if you can be recognized and rewarded as a writer without being much of a reader, guess what, most people will not try to read James Joyce.
Go over to Salon.com and read the whole article and look at all the advertisements. Clicky.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Today I was one of a panel of authors in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette's Style section. What I learned from the exercise: do NOT try to be funny when speaking to journalists. Due to size requirements and whatnot, they (or their editors) will edit out either the set-up or the punch line of any joke, leaving you standing there with your dick hanging out. It's not their fault, honestly. But still. When speaking to journalists, keep it short and say exactly what you mean.
DO NOT TRY TO BE FUNNY.
That is all.
Monday, September 5, 2011
Just completed a cover for my friend John Rector and his new collection of stories, The Walls Around Us. Rector's probably one of the best writers working today, long or short form. It was a pleasure and an honor to design a cover for his collection.
Get it at the 'Zon. Here.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Got some writerly friends coming in during early September and I'm putting them up at the lakehouse. I don't think they know quite what they're getting into, yet, but they will soon. But I figured I'd give them a little preview of the lakehouse and they can call dibs on bedrooms and whatnot.
The lakehouse is in Arkansas. It is called Rob-Bell, a funky portmanteau of my family names, Robinson & Campbell. It's my favorite spot on earth (except when the mosquitoes are really bad). It's been in my family since before the Civil War, but the "clubhouse" has been at this location since 1928, the year after the Mississippi and Arkansas Rivers flooded. And that flood changed the face of the nation, truly. A series of damns and levees were created from upper Ohio to Minnesota and Kansas all the way south to the mouth of the Mississippi. We're reaping the rewards of some of those decisions now, the loss of wetlands in Louisiana and lower Mississippi. At the time it was a good idea.
The effrontery of man. We reshape the world to suit our ends and a mere 74 years later, it comes back to bite us in the ass in the form of Hurricane Katrina. Sheesh. I can't wait to see the rewards two centuries of the oxymoronic "managed wildlife" brings us. The story "When the Bears Discovered Fire" might be a tad prophetic. Maybe armadillos will spread leprosy like it was the common cold. Huh. Good times.
Okay. Back to Rob-Bell.
So, when the flood of '27 occurred, this lake, Old River Lake, was not a lake at all but a tributary of the Arkansas River. Plum Bayou would empty into the Arkansas and farmers would float their cotton or grain on the bayou waters to meet steamers to take it down river to sell in Helena, Greenville, Natches, or New Orleans. Before that it was home to one of the oldest cultures of Native Americans, the Plum Bayou Indians. Some folks call 'em Toltecs, but they'd be wrong. Anywho, they lived here at the same time Romulus was marking out the borders of Rome, I think. Google it. "Plum Bayou Culture." The Toltec Indian mounds are maybe two miles from here. They're some of the oldest structures in America.
Obscured by the bushes to the left - right beyond the diving board, is the old opening to Plum Bayou. It was truncated when Old River Lake ceased being a part of the river - the Corp of Engineers capped the ends - and it became a lake.
The house was not built in 1928. It had been built before 1917 - out of massive planks of cypress - as barracks for an US Army base from south eastern Arkansas - I don't know quite where, honestly. My great great grandfather bought the small out-buildings for a song - or so I've been told - because the government was planning on burning them. Great-great-gramps Gordon Campbell put them together for a larger dwelling. Then he had a wraparound porch added. All of this was intended as a temporary building to only remain for a few years until a more permanent residence could be constructed. That was 83 years ago. Kinda speaks to the longevity of good construction materials and craftsmanship. They don't make 'em like that anymore.
When my mom and aunts were kids, they'd spend the whole summer out here. No air-conditioning. AT ALL. I don't think you yanks realize the magnitude of that. The heat you felt earlier this summer on the east coast - multiplied by the humidity? That's what we've got every summer. Sometime in the mid-fifties, they bought a air-conditioning unit that was the size of a credenza and sat in the corner of the above room, its heat exhaust pipe running out the window. My mom tells me they'd close all the doors, pull the shades, and spin records or listen to the radio, playing cards, all day, until the sun fell and her father, James Tappan Hornor but referred to by his friends and family as Big Tap, returned from working in Little Rock. No television out here until the 1980s. Neither reception nor inclination to purchase one. But don't worry, future guests, we got an HD entertainment center kicking.
They'd eat dinner here. Banquet style. I can't even begin to imagine the amount of booze that's been consumed in this house. It might not be able to float a battleship, but it surely could drown an elephant.
So, you're probably thinking, "Yeah, all this history crap is cool and whatnot, but where the hell am I gonna sleep? Get my freak on?"
You'll have your choice of one of three bedrooms in the clubhouse, or the guest house. Guest house is pretty awesome. Built in the early 1960s, it feels like you're stepping back 50 years. The decor has not changed in all that time. Unfortunately, no pics of it on my computer.
Side bedroom. Comfy and I just put in a new air-conditioner for you. The floor slopes to the east, dramatically.
The back bedroom. It has a vanity - so the primpers will probably want this one.
Hell, I'll let you guys sort out where you stay when you get here. Meanwhile, here's some more pics.
Moms is chilling on the dock, sometime in the 80s, I think. The small house overlooking her is the guest house.
My kids and friends partying on the dock 30 years after the last pic.
My mom partying on the dock in the late 1940s or early 1950s.
Did I mention the golf-course? It used to be a cow-pasture but great-great-gramps converted it to a golf course. Private. Yeah, I know. The John H. Jacobs Professional is so NOT ME. My dad had these made. His name is John Howze Jacobs. If you've ever seen me play golf, you'd know that I would never - NEVER EVER - put my name anywhere near the word "professional" as it pertains to golf (and, honestly, Dad ain't that great either).
Yes, I realize that I did nothing to earn this wonderful place other than be born into my family. I did, however, outswim millions of other sperm. So, there's that.
I've written large chunks of all my novels here and typed the words "The End" on This Dark Earth sitting right there. I'm considering doing a writer's retreat here and inviting some of my favorite authors to visit. It's a thought. I mean, I have this place. I might as well use it.
The old plantation bell. Ring that bastard at dinner time and you can hear it miles away.
Did I mention there's a bar? With booze? There is. That's just the extra level of service I like to go to for all my guests.
Anywho, we're waiting for you to visit (you know who you are). It's gonna be a big time.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Me and the legendary David G. Hartwell. Note: No one actually vomited on his shirt. It just normally looks like that.
On the YA literature panel. I had more to say than I thought. In general, on all the panels, I discovered I had more to say than I thought. Which means, I am a windbag.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
I just thought I should repeat that.
So, a few items of note, today. First off, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette's own Phillip Martin has said some really kind things about Southern Gods over at his blog, blood, dirt & angels. This is notable because Phillip Martin - like the folks at The Onion AV - doesn't mince words. His blog and reviews in the newspaper ain't a popularity contest. He doesn't care if you like him. Which is, in my estimation, badass. Because I so desperately do care if you like Southern Gods.
So check this out. Another Arkansas magazine published by the Arkansas Business Publishing Group has pimped my book release party scheduled for tomorrow night.
I like the ring of that headline. And the author of the post, Karen Martin, was very kind to me as well. You notice any similarities in the names mentioned today?
That's right, they're married and work at different papers. That's pretty cool.
And finally, my friend Joe Howe of the fantastic Dead in the South review site has posted his interview with me in his ongoing series, We Interrupt This Author... over at the Horror World website. It was a fun interview.
Check out the interview, HERE.
And finally, over at The Night Bazaar, I talk about doing research for novels and I'm giving away a signed copy of Southern Gods to a commenter. (I'm crossing my fingers it will be an American who wins, not because I dislike foreigners, but because I'm cheap with postage).
That is all.