My Sunday Soundtrack: “La Mer” by Nine Inch Nails

The Fragile

On Friday I announced an upcoming publication in a new series by Crystal Lake Publishing. My contribution is an essay about using your fears in fiction, which is something I’ve got experience with, as I usually end up doing it in some form or fashion in pretty much every story I write. Anyway, I used a sample of ALT to demonstrate one of the essay’s points (I’ll let you guess which scene), and that got me thinking a lot about where I was at the time when I wrote it.

So many people tell me that ALT is a positive story, how it inspired them, and so on. And I think that’s wonderful. But it wasn’t like that for me when I wrote it. That book–the whole trilogy, really–comes from a dark place. Me and Erica were barely scraping by. She’d just lost her job, which put more of a burden on my shoulders to cover the bills. The job I had–the infamous law firm–was awful, to the point that I’d have panic attacks about going into work every morning. I was young and didn’t really understand my own brain back then, but now I know that I was in the clutches of depression. I considered suicide once or twice, and the only reason I didn’t is because I didn’t want to put that kind of burden on Erica.

I’m in a much better place now. I have been for a while. But listening to this live performance of “La Mer” and what Mr. Reznor had to say about the song’s origins, combined with my work on the essay, just brought a lot of those memories back.

“I’m afraid to go back to that place because it feels kind of haunted to me.”

I think that’s one of the reasons why I put off working on the final Monochrome book for so long. But I’m going to go back to confront those demons . . . and to finish what I started.

More soon.

TK

Coming soon!

WritersOnWriting

Joe Mynhardt, the editor for Crystal Lake Publishing, approached me a couple of months ago about contributing to a new series called WRITERS ON WRITING. I was excited about the prospect because Crystal Lake does good work–just take a look at Kevin Lucia’s latest release, as well as Horror 101: The Way Forward–so of course I said yes.

I sent a draft of my essay to Joe on Wednesday night, and he accepted it for publication on Thursday afternoon. The essay is called “Never Look Away: Confronting Your Fears in Fiction,” and it will appear in the first volume of the series along such names as Jack Ketchum, Brian Hodge, Monique Snyman, Jasper Bark, and a few others which have yet to be announced. I’m deeply honored and excited to be a part of this project, and I can’t wait to see the final product when it’s released. Speaking of which, the first volume should be released sometime next month. For more information, check out the page at Crystal Lake’s website.

TK

P.S. There’s just nine days left to order a Monochrome T-shirt. Get on that.

My pal Joe.

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Meet Joe Bannerman. I’ve never met this guy in person, but I know him online. He’s one of my readers. A few months ago, Joe suffered a stroke and had to undergo an emergency surgical procedure called Parietal Temporal Craniotomy. The surgery was a success, but the aftermath has taken its toll on him. The stroke left him partially paralyzed on his left side, necessitating intensive physical rehabilitation.

Admittedly, I wasn’t in the loop on most of this–I just knew that he’d had to have surgery and that he was on a long road to recovery. I learned the details today when he shared a GoFundMe campaign on Facebook. The campaign was set up to help his family with the onslaught of medical bills that have started to roll in. Having dealt with that same onslaught myself just a couple of years ago, I know all too well how quickly the bills can pile up and overwhelm a person.

So, to help out Joe and his family, I’m going to share the GoFundMe campaign here. Give a buck, give ten bucks, give a hundred–it doesn’t matter. Every cent is one more than they had before. And if you can’t spare a penny, maybe you can spare a few seconds to share this campaign with others. Every little bit helps.

Thanks for your time, folks.

TK

In which I’m interviewed by a Mouth of Madness:

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For those of you who aren’t in the loop, Zachary Walters (aka Z-Dubbz) is a book reviewer for the horror podcast The Mouths of Madness. Last week, he sent me an email with some questions about why I’m putting the ULT series on hiatus. One email led to another, and then suddenly an interview happened. Here’s an excerpt:

TK: I made a commitment to readers about three years ago when my second novel was published. That book ended on a cliffhanger, and I promised I’d return to finish Donovan Candle’s story after I’d taken some time off to work on other things. Those other things turned out to be the ULT series, which grew to be something bigger than I expected it would. Earlier this year I realized that I only have enough bandwidth to focus on one or the other, so I had to make a judgment call.

ZDubbz: Was this a difficult decision to make?

TK: It was. The ULT series defied my expectations and became more successful than I imagined it would. It’s been a fun ride and I’m hesitant to bring it to a halt, but the Monochrome’s calling my name.

ZDubbz: Are you leaving any ULT stories unfinished? If so, are you concerned with losing touch, losing momentum, with these stories, and do you expect any difficulty in reconnecting in the future?

TK: Oh yes. I have incomplete drafts of seven other stories that will eventually see the light of day. Combined with ULT #5 and ULT #6, they will complete the second volume of the series. Honestly, I’m not all that concerned with losing touch or momentum. Hell, ULT #3 was in various states of progress for about four years before I completed it. ULT #4 dates back to 2007. Sometimes these stories need longer to cook. They’ll be ready when they’re ready, you know?

You can read the full interview here. And I strongly encourage you to check out The Mouths of Madness podcast if you’re a horror fan. Do it!

TK

My Sunday Soundtrack: “Influence of a Drowsy God” by Stone Sour

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I recently discovered this song after a friend’s recommendation, and . . . well, ever hear a song that just fits? I’ve gone all-in with the final Monochrome novel, and while thinking about the endgame, this song happened to start playing at just the right moment. It’s a Donovan song for sure, and when I listen to it, I see the climax of the trilogy. I won’t say anymore than that. Instead I’ll leave you with the song and its lyrics:

All those times before
When I was just another face
Among the others
Keeping secrets to save myself
I could blend into the background
And savor the unknown
I could practice preservation
And hide behind this shell

But my god’s unleashed
On a world that is falling down
My call is a beast that will not
Let me give up now
I know I’m all or nothing

Giving my elation
A little something to relax
All the other and decisions
Will make me go mad
There’s no time to hear the arguments
Or simply close my eyes
I believe this confrontation
Deserves my full attention

When my god’s unleashed on a world
That is falling down
My call is a beast that will not
Let me give up now
I know I’m all or nothing
I’m all or nothing

I can see why nothing has happened
Promises strain
I’m writing this down as I run
Take all the examples
And what have I learned?
Nothing can heal you
And everything burns

My god’s unleashed on a world
That is falling down
My call is a beast that will not
Let me give up now
I’m all or nothing
I’m all or nothing
Nothing
Nothing
Nothing
Nothing

 

ULT #6: HOUSE OF NETTLE AND THORN is on sale now!

UGLY LITTLE THINGS #6
UGLY LITTLE THINGS #6

From the twisted mind that brought you THE HARBINGER comes a new tale of the macabre.

Following a devastating breakup, Jim Auster’s roommate Nick suggests an off-campus sorority party to cure Jim’s heartache. “Be my wingman tonight,” Nick tells him, “and I’ll introduce you to some of the ladies in my history class.” Jim is reluctant about being Nick’s wingman, but he figures the party beats sulking in his dorm room all night.

When they arrive, the unnerving atmosphere shakes Jim’s resilience. The neighborhood is abandoned, the sorority’s front gate bears the ominous effigy of a man in submission, and the sorority sisters’ strange talk of harvests and reconciliations only work to further disturb Jim.

Try to relax, he tells himself. It’s just a party. After all, a little socializing never hurt anyone . . .

In his latest ugly little thing, Todd Keisling invites readers on a journey into the depths of madness and desire. Welcome to the HOUSE OF NETTLE AND THORN. We’ve been expecting you.

 

Where to Purchase

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Announcement #2: Signed Paperbacks Available on Storenvy!

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I haven’t offered signed paperbacks in a long time, but my pal Anthony Rapino’s recent success with Storenvy persuaded me to give the site a try myself. So I ordered a small stock of ALT & TLM paperbacks a couple of weeks ago and decided to announce their availability during tonight’s broadcast. There are currently 5 of each book in stock right now. If they sell out and demand is still there, I’ll order more.

The pricing is the same as retail, plus shipping. I’ll sign them and personalize them to your liking. Check ’em out!