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Blood Standard by Laird Barron

My attempt at a spoiler free review. I’m terribly bad at reviews, so I’ll really just give my thoughts.

Isaiah Coleridge is a man of halves – half Maori, half Caucasian (all Army brat, he proclaims). Alaskan, Maori, yet mobbed up, when we meet him. Part biblical prophet, part Romantic poet. With an eclectic yet brutal upbringing, he’s a literate bruiser. As our narrator, he’s possessed of an penetrating and worldly-wise voice that can swing from hard-bit noir to ruminations on mythology. In Laird Barron’s Blood Standard, the heroes of myth are figurative ghosts that the narrator sees everywhere, infesting his storytelling. Yet, this is a crime novel, with missing persons, assasins, the mafia, neo-Nazis, native American gangs. It’s a wonderful intersection of multiple cultures and backgrounds, filtered through the lens of the criminal underworld in New York state’s boonies. Much to my personal delight. “The bonfire built into a roiling pillar, and in my delirium I imagined sacrifices of squalling babes to Baal and Chemosh and all the jolly old death gods that got it in the neck after the New Testament.” Or: “The scene reminded me of a hybrid of a Viking longhouse and a honky-tonk…” Or: “He glanced at me and, by the dashboard glow, his expression was solemn as an Arthurian knight’s from some kid’s picture book.” This juxtaposition of myth and noir works exceptionally well. It’s really a testament to Barron’s style that he pulls this off so effortlessly.

The story rolls along at a steady clip, the plot is surprising and inventive in turns, while still familiar enough to satisfy crime noir tastes. In Coleridge, Barron has found a winning combination, I think – a narrator with the chops to be both brawn and brain while remaining believable and immediate. Identifiable. Also, I’m so tired of reading crime noir books in which the author or his or her narrator adapt a criminal patois, in efforts to make their character harder or tougher. The fact that Coleridge is literate is a refreshing change.

What I think really makes this book resonate for me, is the power of myth in individual lives. In Coleridge, mythology coexists with a hard-boiled reality, making it not only more bearable but giving his existence meaning. We see Coleridge torch his situation with the mob for the sake of animals, risking his own life (very very early in the book – no spoilers!). And that connection to others deepens throughout the course of the story, contrary to most crime noir protagonists – individual men operating alone until whatever bitter end their indomitability brings them to.

Anyway, this novel was a pleasure through and through, and I look forward to whatever other stories of Isaiah Coleridge the author chooses to bring us.


Also, Laird Barron is pretty much, in addition to being an amazing novelist, a master of the horror short story form. His collections Occultation , Swift to Chase, The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All, and The Imago Sequence are required reading for horror fans. I haven’t read his novel The Croning yet but I’ve heard great things.

I took some notes as I read. I’ll include them here.

Isaiah = Biblical Prophet

Coleridge = “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and Kublai Khan, In Xanadu did Kublai Khan a stately pleasure dome decree… something something… down to a sunless sea.

Coleridge is a man of halves – half Maori, half Caucasian. A literate bruiser. Half hard-bit, noir; half rumination on mythology “The bonfire built into a roiling pillar, and in my delirium I imagined sacrifices of squalling babes to Baal and Chemosh and all the jolly old death gods that got it in the neck after the New Testament.”

Juxtaposition of the mob and Alaska.

Humane treatment of animals, central to Coleridge’s values – tied into Maori belief? Coleridge mentions living with his Maori grandfather

Mister Lucious Apollo – Uncle Lucious – gets Coleridge into working for the mob. Messenger of the gods.

Describing the effects of alcohol: “…a sacred medium between the civilized veneer and the primordial savage.”

Myth and legend: Ourobouros, Rasputin, Bad Wolf, Alexander the Great, Virgil, Dante, Polyphemus, Callisto, Achilles, Hercules, Bacchus, Thor, Beowulf, Gilgamesh, John Henry. Prodigal sons. Alice in Wonderland. The Tenth Circle of Hell. Obi-Wan.

Noir and legend: Sinatra & Martin, Goodfellas, Elvis, Mack the Knife, The Sopranos, Get Carter

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Journal June 25

I was pretty worthless this weekend. Ate a bunch, though kept it keto. Watched a bunch of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, hit level fifteen playing The Witcher III.

The Witcher is a great video game, beautiful to look at, set in a massive world. I’m trying to take it slow, enjoy the ride (literally, on Roach) and soak up the atmosphere. It always trips me out in modern video games when there are sex scenes within the storyline. In addition to it them looking like animated sex-dolls frolicking in the uncanny valley, the game writer’s ideas on the mechanics of wooing, courtship, seduction are equally bizarre. When playing as Geralt, in some instances, his seduction technique consists of constant flattery, in others it’s doing endless errands (insert marriage joke here). But then, when you’re playing Ciri, it’s just saying, “I fancy you” and then there’s kissing and stuff. Seemingly different standards for the characters. I feel like it would be educational for most men (and especially young men) if there’s a seduction component to a game, there’s heavy input from both women and gay people (if that’s an option) so that maybe the game doesn’t reinforce detrimental stereotypes. Also, if I can remember far enough back to my single days, there was always a bit of absurdity in hook-ups – either from drunkeness, or opportunity, or the magic of environment meeting… something. Granted, it’s been over twenty years since I’ve been single, so, I possibly don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.

Oh, you do the deed with Yennifer on the back of a stuffed unicorn. So I guess there’s some absurdity, after all.

At another lull in the writing project. Trying to figure out the best way to wrap it up quickly while not rushing it. It’s supposed to be a novella, and I’m at 32,000 words, giving me only eight thousand words to play with before I blow through the novella terminus and enter short novel territory. I don’t think my publisher will worry about it being a short novel, honestly, and so I’ll blow through that limit if the story suits it. It more than likely will.

I know the ending, but only in the broadest strokes. I’m happy I have a couple of conventions coming up – the long drives always give me amble brooding time and I’ve found they always help wrap a novel.

I’m only attending two conventions this summer, HyperiCon in Nashville, and ArmadilloCon in Austin.  I don’t understand why the folks at HyperiCon haven’t gotten their shit together, but I’m not listed on either the website nor their social media feeds. Their website is in utter disarray. But, I’m still attending. Feeling the need to be amongst the energy of convention goers. And, the hotel looks like it has a nice pool. A weekend of hotel life will not go amiss for this overworked fellow.

I went to see the new Jurassic Park movie. Big disappointment that even my love of sexy Andy Dwyer could not save. Do not bother wasting your time on that garbage.

This administration is driving me batty. Fuck Trump, fuck Pence, fuck Gorsuch, fuck Sarah Buttermilk Sanders, and fuck every person who voted for them, defended them, or has ever said Trump is better than the alternative – Hillary Clinton.

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Journal June 21

Turns out I’m fixated on comfortable pants. In years past I’ve searched for the perfect jeans with mobility and ruggedness and found them in the Volcom brand. But I was served an ad almost a year ago for DRESS PANTS SWEAT PANTS and it turned out they were advertising them but not selling them yet. I kept getting the ads (because I searched for them) and about seven months ago I pre-ordered a pair. They arrived yesterday.

I’m the proud owner of Betabrand Dress Pants Sweatpants and I can see how these guys will change my life. If I could wheel kick someone to the face, I could wheel kick someone to the face in these pants. I’ll have to settle for wheel kicking people in the dick, but that’s not the pant’s fault.

Wearing them right now and boy howdy, I look fancy and I’m comfy at the SAME TIME!

Um, I did not realize how uncomfortable I would be on day 2 of this tattoo.

I posted photos to Instagram and FB and everyone was complimentary about the tattoo with the exception of my aunt who commented “Yuk.” She has never had a job.

I’m sure I’ll receive the same sort of commentary from my dad.

Down over 40 pounds now doing ketogenic diet, exercise, and counting calories in and out. I don’t drink anymore (except out of state, Twitter thread on that here), I don’t drink diet sodas, I don’t have any sugars. Whatever carbs I get are micro amounts. I take turmeric and milk thistle and fish oil every morning. I feel really amazing. It’s bizarre not waking up hungover on the weekends. About twelve years ago, I had to do a sleep study and the doctor told me I had sleep apnea (I always knew I snored) and it could damage my heart. Been using a CPAP machine ever since. Fell asleep last night without my CPAP and actually got restful sleep without snoring. I can always tell when I snore because the back of my throat is sore from the vibrations.

I’m becoming a healthy-ish person!


I want to live long enough to watch Trump’s funeral.

That is all for today.

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Journal, June 20

At 47 years old, I got my first tattoo. I realize by saying “my first” it indicates a motion to get more. We’ll see. Right now, it feels like someone took a belt sander to my forearm. Still, it’s a beautiful tat, one that my daughter and I designed over a series of 20 or 30 drawings, refining the design. The words, BE BRAVE IN WORD AND DEED apply to speaking out against what I deem is wrong, to act against the same, but it’s also an admonition to remember to be fearless in my writing. Funny, for a guy who is 6’2″ and who’s been told he looks angry all the time, I’m remarkably trepidacious and fearful – what will they say? What will they think of me? Don’t rock the boat. Don’t cause a scene.

The worse part of Southern society is the veneer of false cordiality. It’s about time I put all that behind me. While remembering to be kind.

In the shower this morning, it occurred to me that words are deeds. So there’s a wrinkle.

Kendall and Helen have left for Dallas – K until Saturday. Helen until August. When she returns, she’ll know a schisse-load more German, and possibly be a witch. I don’t know.

My tattoo artist was/is Aron Matthews at 7th Street Tattoo. Great guy, great artist. Check out his Instagram feed.

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Journal, June 19th

Today is Juneteenth, as important a day in American history as any and deserving of more attention. A few years ago, when I worked as the senior motion designer at Soul of the South, an African American television station. This whole last week, I’d have been creating promos for Juneteenth. I did love that job, for a variety of reasons. First, the people were great and my boss, a brilliant guy named Maurice James, was a pleasure to work with. Maurice has gone on to work at NBC Universal, and his success is well deserved.  Second, it was all animation which is my favorite task at any job. Third, at Soul of the South (which self-destructed through mismanagement – lawsuits still pending) my experience there was interesting. To have the race table turned – I was the sole white person on a team of people of color – I found the reversal opened up some of my insecurities. At first I was nervous, standoffish. But the team welcomed me and made me feel one of the group. I daresay they were far more welcoming and solicitous of my inclusion than most white offices would be to a new POC hire. It’s an experience every white person should have and so few ever do.

On Father’s Day I went to Barnes & Noble with the kids. Forgot to mention it in my last post, going to Barnes & Noble always makes me a little depressed. They never have my books in, and I’ll walk around seeing all these friends lining the shelves and I’m nowhere to be found. Like, I’ve published nine novels, but my local BN can’t be bothered. My daughter said that it might be they’re always selling out of them, smiling at me. Oh, sweet summer child.

In addition to all the other stuff I’ve given up (mostly) – alcohol, carbs, sugars – I also quit drinking diet sodas because apparently they do something to your glycemic levels and they ain’t good for you. So I’ve been drinking buttloads of iced tea. I have a few observations about it. First, home brewed iced tea is never as good as store bought. Second, as they say, often the juice ain’t worth the squeeze: it takes over an hour to brew a 2 quart pitcher of ice tea – heating the water, steeping the bags, allowing the tea to cool enough to place into a pitcher – and I can drink 2 quarts in an hour alone. I’ll come home wanting a nice glass of iced tea and suddenly I have all this work to do. Better to just buy gallons of it.

I stopped myself from inviting people on Facebook to comment on a status if they voted for Trump. I had intended on then insulting and unfriending them – no rational dialogue – but I stopped myself. There’s no rational dialogue with them anyway – despite copious evidence, they can’t admit to themselves that Hillary was the better choice and they contributed to America shitting the bed. In other news, I’m having fantasies of running into Tucker Carlson or Sean Hannity on the street of New York, without their security details, and beating the fuck out of them.

Wife and youngest leave tomorrow for Texas – wife is dropping off Helen so she can take a direct flight to Montana, where she’ll be living with two German women for five weeks, speaking only German. She’s worried about America, and we’re worried about America, and she’s making preparations to go to University in or around Freiburg. She’s only fifteen.

In other news, I’d say that there’s a 67% chance that I could be sending my kid to live with two German witches who’ll either eat her (bad) or take her under their wing and teach her magic (good).


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Father’s Day Recap – June 18

Not going to make a big deal of it, but I’m going to try to spend less time on Twitter and Facebook and post my errant thoughts in blog posts. Twitter is an increasingly toxic environment – much like booze – and I have to limit my access to it – much like booze. I follow Caitlin Kiernan on some social media and in addition to being a brilliant writer, she can be somewhat of grouch which endears her to me (I tend to prefer grouches), but whatever the case, I like how she uses LiveJournal – weather, recap of the day’s events, some thoughts. Nothing too in-depth, just notes on the day, so maybe I’ll try that instead of constantly Tweeting my often juvenile and ill-informed thoughts. (It’s hard not to make butt jokes.)

So, the weekend was wonderful, and I can’t always say that. I work hard all week at the day job (a job I love as a partner and senior art director at an ad agency) yet I often come home exhausted by Friday, and my wife is ready for me to take over since she’s been wrangling two teenagers all week. But for the last six months I’ve been sober – I made a rule that I’ll only drink out of state and so far I’ve been out of state once and didn’t – and focused on living healthy, and my energy and attitude has increased dramatically.

Allowed myself a sleep-in on Saturday, managed to make it until 8am and then just popped out of bed, raring to go. The girls, Lily (17) and Helen (15), usually sleep in late during the summer and we allow them. For many reasons I won’t go into today – some other journal entry, maybe. My wife was at Two Rivers Park, walking the dogs. She likes to walk them before the heat of the day. Having the house to myself, I sat down at the computer and wrote two thousand good words on a chapter that had been stymying me for a week or so. My Heart Struck Sorrow is coming along nicely, though if I want it to remain a novella I’ll need to do some heavy editing and come to an end in another 10,000 words. I’ve been leaning into my Southerness, if you will, since the world seems to want me to be a southern writer. There’s a simultaneous responsibility and freedom when you bow to expectations. The past few things I’ve been writing, I feel like I’m really doing some great work, defining my style, playing to my strengths. A sample:

Something grew in me, as he sang in the failing light. Some sense of order, descending. It’s said that music is a ritual with the power to transform both the singer and the listener. Steck’s stature grew as he sang in my mind, his mouth became cavernous and dark, and I felt a heaviness descend on me. Hairs stood on my arms, and I looked at Bunny and Vester who both also seemed enthralled by Steck’s music. When he finally let the song die, I raced to the SoundScriber to make sure acetate had cut properly and played it back.

It was such a small sound compared to what had come before, echoing out above rows cotton. A flight of crows erupted from the far tree line and wheeled in unison, passing overhead and then diminishing into the west for what seemed like an eternity, their caws drowning out the sound of the disc playing. When their avian vocalizations finished, the recorded song ended. He’s a bad man, Stackerlee.

I’ve been leaning into my musical experiences, as well. When I spar, I try to use my strength and size to my advantage. When I write, I’m learning to accept that certain subjects and themes are right in my wheelhouse.

After writing, I went down to the dojo to work on katas. I train at martial arts, I’m not very good at it, but I’m okay at sparring because I’m big and faster than most of my opponents think, at least the first time we go at it. I enjoy the camaraderie of everyone at the dojo and I’ve really lucked out – at Unity Martial Arts, there are no meatheads, Foot Fist Way guys, just smart people. Doctors, professionals, writers and artists. Gamers. So, a community I feel at home in.

Anyway, it was my intention simply to run through my katas and pinans but I got cozened into joining the high-intensity, higher rank class: doing burpees-thingys, tossing medicine balls around, grappling. At times I felt like I was going to vomit. After class, quivering in exhaustion and drenched in sweat, I went down to Rob-Bell, and swam in the lake to cool off. It’s getting so very hot though, the top foot of water at the lake is warm, and you have to dive to get to the cool shit. Mosquitos teem in the shadows, ravenous. You have to walk in the sunlight, beware the shadows, or you’ll go home with a million welts.

Had my favorite keto meal that night, courtesy of my wife – salmon, coconut-curried kale, shirataki noodles – and hung out with Helen and watched Brooklyn 99, played Witcher 3. When I die and discover there is a heaven, and strangely I’m welcomed there, Saturday will probably be the day that plays over and over, or some variation of it.

Saturday – Father’s Day – hung out with my kids, dealt with soreness from the previous day’s class. They gave me wonderful and hilarious letters, some ‘Merica boxers, which are pure ridiculousness. Saw The Incredibles 2, which was fun! Not as good as the first, but still great. I guess I didn’t remember that The Incredibles was set in the 60s. For some reason, that fact jumped out at me.

Cooked two lovely strip steaks, Gordon Ramsay style, for dinner. Holy smokes, they were good. Blew through my calories – normally I try to keep a 15-25% deficit to decrease my body weight. Still, I’m down over 40 pounds since the first of the year. I could feel it this morning, though.

Wrote some last night. But didn’t feel any pressing need to make a lot of progress. Haven’t decided if I’ll work to keep My Heart Struck Sorrow a novella or just let it be a short novel. If the story needs more than novella length, I’ll let it have it. I hope the lords and masters at Harper Collins will be fine with that.

Excited for The Sea Dreams It Is The Sky to come out in ebook, but I’m more excited for it to be bundled with My Heart Struck Sorrow in hardback. Equally jazzed that David Pomerico signed off on the title of the… duology?… A Lush and Seething Hell. That title really encapsulates both stories.

At the Cranford Co offices now and people are demanding things of me. “It’s going to be a busy week.” I wish I could show you my daily to-do lists. They’re not pretty, but I’m glad we have so much work. Especially when profit checks are dispersed.

This journal entry turned longer than I thought it would. I guess if I do them more often, they’ll be more perfunctory. Hope you all have a great day.

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The Sea Dreams It Is The Sky

I’ve been working on a big, haunted, historical Southern novel and consequently, I’ve been learning quite a bit about writing historical fiction – it’s much less forgiving than secondary world fantasy simply because anyone can call you on errors, anachronisms. The possibility of real verifiable mistakes are endless whereas in fantasy, there’s a nice glaze of Vaseline over the lens. And with near present history – the last hundred years or so – everything has to be researched. Not a paragraph goes by without having to check something. And that can slow down the process. This big, haunted, historical Southern novel (which I will henceforth call BHHSN for expediency) spans from the early 30s to the mid-50s and one of the main protagonists fights in World War II. You can imagine the amount of historical reference books I have to wade through simply for verisimilitude’s sake.

It became obvious I wasn’t going to finish BHHSN in 2017 and possibly not even in 2018. Around Christmas, I started becoming nervous that I’d not have any book come out this year. And (let’s be honest here, folks) I’m not a novelist that’s at the top of anyone’s list or cropping up in many conversations, either online or off. This isn’t false modesty, it’s just a hard truth that most novelists have to grapple with. For me, it’s exacerbated by my state of residence – there are very few literary events in Arkansas and those that do happen tend to look down their noses at genre. I don’t have many opportunities for the society of other authors or audience. Anyway, I felt that I needed to have something come out in 2018 just so I don’t fall off the edge of the world.

I had recently read Stephen Graham Jones’s Mapping the Interior – it’s amazing, by the way, no one writes with such intimacy and immediacy about the adolescent experience. Or the adult experience, come to think of it. Really, just pick up anything by Stephen Graham Jones. The guy is a genius. <end digression> After reading Mapping the Interior, I came to realize how wonderful a format novellas truly are. They have the pacing of a film, but with space to really develop characters like a novel. I decided I’d try my hand at one, just to complete something this year. I put aside the BHHSN.

A few years ago, I wrote a post about Writers as Protagonist. On the whole, I’m not a big fan of that. I was re-reading Bolaño’s 2666, and thinking, “Jesus, this just feels like the set-up for a horror novel. A Lovecraftian horror novel.” Archemboldi, the murdered Mexican women, the hyper-literate, over-sexed scholars. And I had an idea for novella about Chilean exiles having to return to Chile at the height of Pinochet’s power. But I knew it would have to be about writers, and scholars, which is pretty much the same thing, in the end. This was a first for me. I broke the seal, committing my own pet peeve – I created a writer as protagonist.

Between the beginning of the Christmas season and January 22, I wrote it. It was probably the fastest I’ve ever written anything, except maybe the first 50,000 words of Southern Gods during NaNoWriMo.  I sent it to my agent, Stacia Decker, who is notoriously miserly with words (or praise) and she said it was mesmerizing which made me giddy. She agreed to represent it. By February 22, we had a few offers (one from my dream publisher, though in the end, we did not go with them).

Today the deal was announced on Publisher’s Marketplace. Pretty cool, huh?

Here’s my agents pitch for the book:  “Isabel, a young professor, forms a tentative friendship with an older poet—both of them Chilean exiles now living in Spain. But when the poet decides to make a dangerous journey home and leaves Isabel the keys to his apartment, she discovers a mysterious Latin text the poet was translating and, with it, another dimension to the horrors they experienced under Pinochet.”

The details of the deal: The Sea Dreams It Is The Sky will be released this year as an ebook. Once I deliver the second novella (I’m writing it now and super excited about it, too) the ebook of TSDIITS will come down and the two novellas will be released in one hardback.

Since finishing The Sea Dreams It Is The Sky, I’ve been working with the estate of Chilean poet Carlos de Rokha to secure rights to some of his poetry (that was easier than I thought) and finding Chilean sensitivity readers (harder than I thought).

YE OLDE MORAL TO THE STORYE: I told you all that to tell you this – when you feel bogged down in your writing, and it’s not coming easily, switch to something else. Break your own rules. Try something different. It’ll re-invigorate you, and spark enthusiasm for your project, both the new one, and quite possibly the old.

Now, I’m rarin’ to get back to the BHHSN.

But I’ve got to write another novella first.

That is all. Thank you for reading.

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Infernal Machines is Nominated for a Gemmell Award

Infernal Machines, the last book in The Incorruptibles series, is up for a Gemmell Award. Because the Gemmell’s are a voting thing, it’s the longlist that’s really the honor, at least for writers like me. I do not have a readership to compare with the likes of Nora Jemisin, Peter Brett, Terry Brooks, Mark Lawrence, Stephen Donaldson. Or really any of the authors on the list.

I am disappointed that the Gemmell Award organizers didn’t have the cover art of the various books nominated for the Ravenheart Award on the voting page (rather than a separate page), because if they had, I think it would be obvious that the cover for Infernal Machines is the fucking best. I would never make that claim of my prose, but of the cover, rest assured, Patrick Knowles deserves the award.

Anyway, go vote for your favorite author but make sure you vote for Patrick.

That is all.


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MidSouthCon 2018 Schedule

Next weekend I attend MidSouthCon in Memphis. It has some great guests and often huge attendance. Cosplay, gaming, masquerade, drinking, revelry – the works. The convention smell starts early and then escalators break and then the real fun begins. I’ve always enjoyed my time at MidSouthCon. It’s where I met the illustrious and gentlemanly John Picacio, and it will always have a warm spot in my heart for that event alone (we drank quite a bit of Balvenie, the finest of drinks).

Here’s my schedule for the weekend. As I mentioned in my last post, my story Luminaria is up for a Darrell Award. I’ll have copies of my books for sale, full sets of The Incorruptibles and Incarcerado Sequence (that’s what I’ve decided to call my young adult series three years after the last book was published). I’m gonna be on panels and stuff, talking about how to string words together to induce a shared hallucination.

Fantasy Fiction: Past, Present, and Future – Friday, 7:00 PM  Promenade 2
The best authors in the field discuss modern Fantasy Fiction! Enter the worlds each of these authors creates and hear about what works influenced their creations. Listen as they discuss where Fantasy has been, where it is today, and where they and others will take it in the future.

Panelists: Melinda LaFevers, Jamie Marchant, Susan Murrie Macdonald, John Hornor Jacobs

Why Do We Create Horror Stories – Saturday, 2:00 PM  Promenade 2

What drives us to embrace the things that scare us?

Panelists: Ellen Datlow, Jared Gillaspie, John Hornor Jacobs

Darrel Awards Saturday, 3:00 PM  Director’s Row 5

Jump Scares, Monsters, And More: Horror Fiction – Saturday, 7:00 PM  Director’s Row 4

Join authors and film makers of modern horror as they discuss their works, the appeal of Horror, and discuss what goes into building a terrifying tale.

Panelists: Tommy B. Smith, Cyndy Hendershot, Chris Copeskey, John Hornor Jacobs

Pro Row Signing, Books, and Shooting the Shit –  Sunday, 11:00 AM  Pro Row

Meet your favorite MidSouthCon professional, maybe get their autograph or buy their works. Pro Row is located in the hallway outside of the Tennessee Ballrooms.

John Jackson Miller, John Martin, John Hornor Jacobs

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Luminaria is up for a Darrell Award

My novelette Luminaria has been nominated for a Darrell Award. The Darrell Awards are literary awards given to science fiction, fantasy, and horror works that take place in and around Memphis and its outlying regions. And that includes eastern Arkansas, where my family hails from. Helena, to be exact. To this day if you go to the ruins of Helena (that isn’t really an over-exaggeration) you’ll see the Hornor name on certain edifices around town.

Anywho, I wrote a long story with vampires and Jason Sizemore at Apex Magazine was kind enough to buy and publish it and Jeffrey Alan Love was kind enough to work with me for a cover. And then the Darrell Awards committee was kind enough to find it has enough merit to be nominated. So, lots of kindness.

I go next weekend to MidSouthCon where I’ll see if the story wins. I’ve been honored in the past by the Darrell Awards jury – Southern Gods received the award for it in 2011 since large tracts of that novel take place in steamy, humid Memphis – and having a brace of Darrell Awards on my wall might look quite fine. But to whoever wins, I will make sure I have fun at the event.

That is all.