What fresh literary hell have I for you?

We’re heading into the busy Con season for Yours Truly. The huge Con season is actually during the summer, but I was off in the wilds of Oregon (well, a small town) getting the big mofo novel for hire written and also enjoying highs of 78 while Las Vegas was, apparently, on fire at 116 degrees in the shade.

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Pictured: Vegas shade.

I went to the Tampa Bay Comic Con with Brutha of Anutha Mutha Sean Conner, an excellent Con pal who understands my need for frequent naps. He also understands that I bring earplugs for him to make it through the night of my toilet-flush-gurgle-from-hell snoring. His snoring is more jackhammer-like, even and so something one is able to get used to. Mine, on the other hand, “isn’t even rhythmic! You can’t get used to it!” These are his actual words from a Con in New Orleans. My wife has not stopped laughing since I told her.

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“Ha ha! Ha! HA HA! HA HA HA HA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” Continue reading

Failing, yes, but failing UPWARD!

O Gentle Reader, your faithful correspondent thought it would all go so well. Taking the Greyhound Bus (now with alleged Wi-Fi and power outlets!) across the country from Las Vegas to Providence, Rhode Island over 3 full days would be an honest homage to H.P. Lovecraft, who traveled by bus back in the day before regular commercial flight (and, apparently, quixotic attempts to write a novel draft on two cross-country bus trips).

Yes, folks, “riding the dog” across our fair land was a FAIL creatively and even makingsensely. Even when the Wi-Fi appeared AND the plugs were working (“A fuse musta blown,” several drivers in a row said, and also said that only mechanics at a major stop could flip the breaker back into the “Keep bored passengers from forcing the bus off a goddamn cliff” position), did you know that a bus is an incredibly distracting environment to work in? This is why you rarely read historical reports of Vincent van Gogh or Hieronymus Bosch doing their best work at 70 mph seated next to a sweaty farmboy.

hieronymus-bosch-das-weltgericht-191083For example, Bosch originally intended this to be a still-life of a bowl of fruit.

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Cthulhu Attacks! gets a bloody thumbs-up from The Horror Fiction Review!

The unimpeachable taste of Christine Morgan strikes once again with her Horror Fiction Review take on Cthulhu Attacks! (I just want to say that the typos she mentions were definitely in the Advance Reading Copy she had, but are fixed now in the finished book.) Have a look and then buy a copy, or maybe two—the holidays are fast approaching!

CTHULHU ATTACKS! by Sean Hoade (2015 Severed Press / 220 pp / trade paperback & eBook)

Dear Hollywood: THIS is the Lovecraftian movie you need to make, the surefire big-budget blockbuster special effects extravaganza. This book, right here. It’s perfect. Gets around the various issues of directly adapting one of ol’ H.P.’s works, while acknowledging them in glorious triumphant homage. Plus, geek-cred galore.

And seriously, the scene describing Cthulhu’s emergence … best I’ve ever read. So beautifully done. Short, sweet, simple, evocative, and haunting.

A lot of giant monster or cosmic horror fiction struggles to express the sheer sheer size and scale and scope. Sean Hoade nails it, not only nails it but takes it several steps beyond. Reading this book is to shiver from an overwhelming sense of immensity, of alienness, of strange inhumanity so far outside our comprehension as to bend the mind. I think Lovecraft himself would be impressed with just how well that’s all conveyed.

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A sneak preview of Cthulhu Attacks! More to come soon, too …

My sweets, as we gear up for the publication of Cthulhu Attacks! Book One: The Fear, I will have some teases to keep you entertained and wanting more of this most eldritch tome.

Below, behold the section/chapter names, each of them more suspenseful and horrying than the last. There are six main sections in addition to a prologue and an epilogue. Take a look!

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Publicity! or How Ima Get Everybody To Know My Name

Gentle Readers, I must apologize. it has been inexcusably long since I have sattened down and written a true “Sean the Writer” blog entry. Actually, I do have a good excuse, one that many of you writers out there may be familiar with: I had come down with a serious case of employment. It lasted for eight months and three days, but I underwent a sudden remission on March 31st, when my boss cured me of this particular strain.

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“Good news, sir. We have removed every trace of that dastardly ‘affluenza.’ “

Now, while this has had a somewhat negative effect on my immediate financial situation (on a totally unrelated note, did you know that a LOT of people at McDonald’s don’t finish all their fries?), I have been free since the end of March to do the following:

  1. Cry into my booze.
  2. Finish getting the books that were supposed to be published by a certain press actually out there into the world.

The Perdition of Self-Publication

Fortunately the former took up only a couple of days, and I’ve been concentrating on the latter since then. So now I have five—count ’em, FIVE—self-published books out there in the libraverse. Self-publishing is kind of like hanging out outside the gates of Hell, you know? You refuse to abandon all hope and enter, but it doesn’t look like you’ll be experiencing Heaven any time soon, either.

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Kinda like this, only while you were in there the doctor retired and the building was condemned.

You are probably nauseatingly familiar with these books, but what the hell, get a bucket while I provide a bit of background on the shocking story behind the self-pubbing of each of them:

  1. Ain’t That America. I first put this out in 2000, before the current craze of everybody who has an email address writing and publishing a book-like entity. It did all right, but I was never really satisfied with how it looked and felt. So in 2014, I changed everything up and published a second edition with CreateSpace. This edition is beautiful and also $14.99 instead of iUniverse’s (the former publisher) kind of extortionate $19.95. It is my most exciting book–find out why by reading the first 150 pages free on my website. Then you will SO want to buy it.
  2. Darwin’s Dreams. Too experimental for mainstream publication, too historical and pensive for genre publication, my tale of Darwin and his Beagle captain came out in 2008 and I still think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written. I did this with CreateSpace as well, which gives the author complete control over all aspects of the book’s presentation. (I stayed with CreateSpace for the next three as well.) Take a look at the first half. I believe it will leave you spellbound and wanting to read the rest.
  3. Inappropriate Behavior. My weird collection of stories from pornographic to literary. It came out in 2011 to no fanfare, but those who have bought it seem to have enjoyed it. Want to read a story from the collection? It’s perfect to buy if you’re tasteful and eclectic and generally cool.

Sean dancing at SLCCC

Like me.

  1. Deadtown Abbey. Okay, this is where Permuted Press’s utter anal abuse of its authors comes into play. They contracted with me for this and for 9 other books, but then pulled their shit and I canceled the contract. However, before that happened, I had “published” the advance reading copy of this to sell at Cons and use for reviews and such once the actual book was close to coming out. Now that it will never be coming out from those jerks, I have a new jacket design, have made a few corrections to the copy, and republished it just this past week. It is a riot but also has good horror elements too. Judith O’Dea (“Barbra” from Night of the Living Dead) read it and called it “hilarious.” (I love Judith O’Dea.) You can read the first 100 pages of it for free (and then buy it if you like it) right here.

Me and Judith O'DeaDid I mention I’m a fan?

  1. Reviva Las Vegas! Okay, as much as I despise that joke of a publishing outfit now, I must admit that this book probably wouldn’t exist without the impetus of their (now I know) phony contract. I don’t know if people really get the gag of the title, so I will explain it here: It’s a story about Las Vegas after the zombie apocalypse. Zombies are “revived” corpses. A famous saying (and song) is “Viva Las Vegas!” So I put them together and made it RE-viva Las Vegas! Semi-interesting factoid: This is technically subtitled Book 1: Dead Man’s Hand. That’s because it was originally going to be the first book in a trilogy. That isn’t the case any longer, but Amazon won’t let me officially change the title. Ah, well. I self-published an advance reading copy with a cover I just threw together, but once the contract fell apart, I redid it and made it right as rain. Now it’s available with a real cover, correctly formatted interior, and truly magical words inside. Want to read the first half? Then I bet you’ll want to buy it—you’ll love it.

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You, after reading the samples. I can totally shut up and work with you on the money thing.

Next time: The actual publicity what is happening!

MINOR WRITER SEAN HOADE DIES AT 46, PROBABLY

“Death, where is thy stingOUCH!!!”
1 Chicagonthians 25:6-4

People, listen up: It would seem, according to the science of numerology, family curses, and my own magical thinking, that I will die sometime in the next 366 days. Yes, I am marked for death.

Hey, don’t cry. That doesn’t do anyone any good. Just quickly cycle through your denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance so you can move on with your life and read the rest of this blog.

You see, February 5 is my birthday. My FORTY-SIXTH birthday. This is an age fraught with danger in my experience. It could be a piano falling on my head, it could be a school bus driver distracted by a spitball running me over, it could be cleaning my plugged-in toaster with a fork. But mark my words: By February 4, 2016, it seems I will have shuffled off this mortal coil. I will be an ex-person.

The world will remember my beautiful plumage, though.

Let’s look at the evidence, shall we?

Writers who kicked the bucket at 46

First off, my theory is poetically sound. If I croak at the age of 46, I will be in the company of most of my literary heroes. It’s like age 27 for rock stars. To wit:

Howard Phillips Lovecraft, 1890‒1937. One of the first Lovecraftians, H.P. created a body of work that follows an exponential curve where the X axis is time following his death—at 46—and the Y axis is popularity of his writing and his concepts. He died horribly of stomach cancer, but we all should be so lucky to have such an literary impact.

Albert Camus, 1913‒1960. The world-record holder for most cigarettes smoked in a disdainful manner, Camus was a hugely influential and controversial existentialist who wrote world-shaking essays, novels, short stories, and plays. His own existence came to an abrupt end—at 46—when he died, absurdly, in an automobile accident. Ah, c’est la mort!

Oscar Wilde, 1854‒1900. I am in love with the décadents of the late 19th century. Truth be told, I’m a bit obsessed with them. And had I been alive back in the day, I would have been (even more) obsessed with Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde. [Note: That really was his real name.] While I am too rotund and bearded and bald to have been attractive to Wilde (as is the case with most humans, sigh), I think we could have had a great time sitting around and trading bons mots and drinking absinthe and shit. The brilliant wit died—at 46—after losing his health during a gaol term for falling in love.

(Note: Artist’s conception.)

David Foster Wallace, 1962‒2008. A brilliant story writer, a confounding novelist, a piercing laser beam of an essayist, and an accomplished amateur mathematician. DFW, despite sharing an acronym with one of the nation’s busiest airports, reached heights of literary fame that every writer dreams of when s/he decides to go for publication. Unfortunately, it was not enough for Wallace, who died—at 46—by his own hand.

Each of these men was a huge influence on not just my writing, but on my conception of what it means to live a literary life. My own natural timidity, not to mention the legal requirement that I work enough to pay child support, has kept me from living a fully literary life, but it isn’t for lack of strong and beautiful examples.

My family history

This is where it gets a bit spooky. I think there is evidence of this family curse in the Kabbalah of Melvin Schmeckelhof, a work currently little known due to its lack of existence. But in that book, I found that I would most likely buy the farm at 46. Check it:

  • My paternal grandfather died at 46. His middle child (my mom) was 21.
  • This year I will be 46. My middle child (my daughter) is 21.
  • Um … that’s it.

Convincing, non? It’s the circle of life, Simba, so give up now and become one with the grass or whatever the hell Mufasa was talking about. I was so stoned when I watched that movie, all I remember is hyenas disemboweling Jeremy Irons for some obscure reason.

Oh, right, that’s why.

Sean’s Magical Thinking™

This is, at least to me, the most damning evidence of all. I have sleep apnea so bad that I never, and I mean never, feel rested. I’m always drowsy, not to the point of being narcoleptic but definitely to the point of doing nothing except my job because after that I either go to sleep at home or sit on the couch and mumble to myself. It’s no way to live. Also, sleep apnea can kill you. Hence, I am doomed. (And I know there’s the CPAP machine, because I actually did use that for about six months in 2009‒2010. However, it gave me horrible headaches, made me feel intensely claustrophobic, and made me feel like I was in my brave final days hooked up to a goddamn intrusive life-support machine.)

Just look how well-rested I was.

Also, I have a job I enjoy, some small but wonderful publishing contracts, a lovely wife, my kids are all adults now, and I am a member of the community of Lovecraftians and Bizarro writers who accept me and love me as I am. It would be the most ironic time to die, hence the most likely time to die. (See Morissette, A.)

It’s not that I want to die, seriously

A death obsession is not the same as a death wish. I like life, even love it sometimes, despite my incredible fatigue and lethargy. I enjoy my literary relationships (which includes my wife, who reads so much she makes me look like I’m still learning the alphabets). I enjoy my family (from a safe distance). And I know there ain’t nuthin’ after death, so life is better than death in most cases (unless you find you’re a Kardashian or something).

Actually, let me amend that last statement. I don’t know there’s nothing after death—but I do feel very confident that if there is anything, it will be along the lines of the King In Yellow and utter, gibbering madness and excruciatingly painful torture.

Or maybe it won’t really have one goddamn thing
to do with the King In Yellow.

So what I’m saying is that I want to live. I WANT TO LIVE!!!

(Cue falling piano.)