Thursday, May 24, 2018

HEX Part 1 and More

Just a quick update on some various things. In my last post I shared a snippet of Chapter 1 of HEX: A Novel of Cosmic Horror which I'm currently serializing for free on my Patreon and on Wattpad. Part I: The Eye of the Hexagon which consists of the first six chapters and about 12,000 words is completely available to read in both places for free and is now also available for 99 cents for Amazon Kindle and for preorder in a lovely limited chapbook edition. The three pieces of interior artwork shown in this post were created by the immensely talented Luke Spooner of Carrion House Illustration for this chapbook and are half of the included pieces.

There will be six parts in total, each with six chapters (chapters 1 and 2 of Part II: The Mouth of the Hexagon are already up on Patreon and Wattpad, actually), and each will have its own Kindle eBook and limited edition chapbook once all of its chapters have been unveiled online. The plan is for a new chapter to go up every week until the entire book is up. Then I might do a single volume limited edition hardcover. I haven't decided yet. I've also been posting short fiction and novelettes on my Patreon and will be including more as time goes on. Almost everything is freely available but I plan to post some Patron-only material soon including a revamping of my series on fiction writing called The Subtle Balance.

In other news, Nightscape Press is in the process of relaunching. Our first new title is Tim Waggoner's new short fiction collection DARK AND DISTANT VOICES and it's absolutely lovely and exquisitely bizarre. It's currently available for Kindle and in a trade paperback edition on Amazon. Each story includes a gorgeous illustration also done by Luke Spooner. Here's the cover copy:

"This is every card in the horror deck, played by someone who knows the game better than most of us ever will."—Stephen Graham Jones, author of MONGRELS, AFTER THE PEOPLE LIGHTS HAVE GONE OFF, and THREE MILES PAST

"'Hell is other people,' Jean-Paul Sartre tells us. 'Especially the one we see in the mirror,' implicitly says Tim Waggoner. Both give us the theme of Waggoner's splendid Dark and Distant Voices. Our children we don't quite recognize, colleagues not all that collegial, ghosts who silently speak the Truth ... They're all here and more in Waggoner's brilliant story collection."—Mort Castle, author of THE STRANGERS and CURSED BE THE CHILD

They come to you at night.

The voices.

Spinning tales of blasphemous wonder, terrible wisdom, and unspeakable truth.

You try to shut them out, try to get away, but you can’t.

For the voices you thought were coming from so far away… they’re inside you.

And they won’t stop screaming.


Nineteen stories of the bizarre and fantastic from the mind of Bram Stoker Award-winning author Tim Waggoner, “horror fiction’s leading surrealist” (Cemetery Dance Magazine).

Nightscape Press will have two novels out this year, THE COMING by Bryan Hall (an incredibly creepy novel of unorthodox demon possession!) and TALONS OF THE GREEN by Jonathan Templar (fans of Jonathan's THE ANGEL OF SHADWELL will be delighted to know this is the first Inspector Noridel steampunk horror novel!), before we transition into our new charity publishing model which... speaking of...

If you missed them on my Facebook page, another couple of big Nightscape Press announcements were made. This summer we'll be publishing a brand new Dunnstown-based novelette by one of my absolute favorite new writers, Jon Padgett, called THE BROKER OF NIGHTMARES in an illustrated, signed trade paperback edition and later on in a Kindle edition as well. This will be the debut release in our new charity limited edition line of books and will contribute a significant portion of its net sales to the ACLU.

If you haven't already, you owe it to yourself to read Jon's groundbreaking horror collection The Secret of Ventriloquism. I highly recommend the audiobook as Jon reads it himself and is also an incredibly talented voice actor and one of those rare writer/narrators that enriches his material greatly in the way that he breathes life (or in this case something far darker) into his own material. I would easily put him up there with Gaiman and Ellison in this regard, but with a bleak and creepy result.

The second piece of NSP news is that we'll be opening to new submissions for our charity novel line in September of this year. Some more details about both can be found on this post and more details are still to come.

That's it as far as news goes for now, folks! But remember... #meatbleeds

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Hex: A Novel of Cosmic Horror Chapter 1
I hope we find his corpse floating in orbit. Tahlia imagines Jason tumbling among the rocks and ice within those vast majestic rings, those beautiful hazel eyes staring out at nothing behind a transparent face shield. Her fury chills to anguish and then freezes into a deep heavy guilt. She shields her eyes from a bright glint of sunlight reflecting off of Ring F. The sight of the planet takes her breath away and she lets her eyes wander to the giant hexagonal-shaped storm that crown's the gas giant's north pole. A living dynamo of gas and wind and gravity. The subject of her life's work. She smiles. She's really here. She subdues any sign of outward excitement. They're not officially here for science, much as that hurts deep inside her. They're here to find out why Zazel went silent. If the crew is alive or dead. Her own crew of five sit silent as the tiny dot of Zazel grows steadily closer in the viewscreen. Adrenaline and anxiety swirl into one another and Tahlia has to fight to keep from holding her breath. "Still no sign of radio activity," Brothers says into the empty silence. Ahmed turns to Tahlia, a flash of pity in his otherwise emotionless face. A nervous swallow. "On course for docking. We should make contact in 56 minutes and 27 seconds." Tahlia nods. "Brothers, any other signs of activity?" David clatters away at the keyboard in front of him, face scrunching with focus and then he shakes his head. "Power's on and life support is running but nothing independent." Minutes stretch into eternity and then the dot resolves itself into a sleek tiny shuttle floating just along Saturn's western ring plane. White base, wings covered in golden solar panels, cockpit glowing yellow with inner light. There's nothing visible in that glow. It's still too far away. Tahlia taps her fingernails against the console in front of her. A collage of moments floods her memory. Jason lying naked in bed, watching her dress in front of the mirror, a sly smile arching up the side of his mouth, black hair tossled at the top of his head. Holding hands under the stars on the hood of his newly restored bright cherry red '57 Chevy, cold metal sticking to the small of her back. Getting lost for hours, hiking in the autumn-colored trees of Lieber State Park. The blinding afterglow of her laptop screen after reading the recovered emails Jason deleted between him and Johanson. Nearly breaking her hand beating on the door of his apartment, screaming for him to let her in. The clean-typed formal letter from Brizen Aerospace Command informing her that she had been "dismissed" from the crew of Zazel, Jason's familiar signature scrawled at the bottom. Watching Zazel launch from a nearby parking lot, fingernails digging into her palms and drawing blood. Focus, Tahlia. She exhales, letting the poison in those memories leak out of her in one long release, fixes her stare back on Saturn. Something big begins to overtake the left side of the screen. Ahmed gasps as Zazel's payload doors crack open. "Uh. I didn't initiate the docking procedure yet." He looks back at Tahlia with a mixed expression of excitement and... fear? Tahlia nods and Ahmed turns back to his terminal. "Brothers, anything?" He shakes his head. "Nothing. I've had the hailing beacon on repeat ever since we first made visual." The doors continue to stretch open in one long flowery bloom. Zazel's docking arm slides gently into the gap between them. Her petals fully extended, the docking arm rises to meet Perseus. For the first time in weeks, their vessel makes a very loud noise and shimmies unsteadily for a moment as the docking arm attaches itself to the ship's hull. "Docking complete. The ships' computers are talking to each other." Ahmed looks up from his terminal, a disquieted look on his face. All eyes are on Tahlia now. "Anything about who set up the docking procedure? Why we're not hearing anybody on the radio?" Ahmed shakes his head. "Nothing yet. The ship's log data is transferring now. I can search through them once they're fully downloaded." Tahlia stares out at the open cargo hold of Zazel and lets out a long sigh. "I suppose we had better take a look. Ahmed, stay here and keep monitoring the data transfers. Brothers, Melton, Chambers, you'll suit up with me... Someone is in there. Has to be." 
*** Read the rest of Chapter 1 for free on my Patreon page (new chapters will be posted there every week).