The Quilts of Valor Foundation awarded my father with his own Quilt of Valor yesterday, custom made to represent his service and sensibilities. Myself, Mary, my youngest son, my ex-wife, my sister, and my brother-in-law were all in attendance. (Sadly, my oldest son, who works in a group home for adults with special needs and disabilities, was stuck working a double shift).
Here is Sgt. Keene, First Cavalry, 82nd Airborne, with his quilt. For more on the Quilts of Valor Foundation, click here.
Good morning. I’m Brian Keene and this is the 316th issue of Letters From the Labyrinth, a weekly newsletter for friends, family and fans of my work. You can read issues you may have missed here. I apologize in advance for any typos. I am typing this one-handed because Dallas refuses to leave my lap.
After the visit to my parent’s house, Mary, my son, my ex-wife and I stopped at a Hibachi in York for dinner. While there, author Wesley Southard and filmmaker Mike Lombardo texted me. They were about one mile away, exploring a new antique store that is apparently wall-to-wall with comic books and such. So, Mary and I are gonna go check that out today.
But before we do that, let’s get down to it, shall we?
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This Week’s Blog: The Machines Already Took Our Jobs
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You might remember a few years ago when I was terribly burned in an accident and — being a full-time writer — had no health insurance. My pal Laird Barron is in a similar situation, healthcare-wise. He’s in bad shape and — being a full-time writer — has no health insurance. Indeed, I'd say he's in a worse situation that I was. A GoFundMe has been started to help. Any contribution, even just ten dollars, will make a difference and possibly save his life. Thanks. Click here to donate.
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The latest from Manhattan On Mars Press — THINGS LEFT BEHIND by myself and Mary SanGiovanni — is now on sale in paperback and for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and Apple!
"A triumph... two masters of the genre!" -- Phobophile
In their first book-length collaboration, World Horror Grandmaster Award winner and Bram Stoker Award nominee Mary SanGiovanni take readers on a road trip across horror fiction's vast and disturbing landscape, incorporating the quiet, the cosmic, the supernatural, the surreal, and the splatter. From a basement in Baltimore were a writer uncovers a gruesome secret that threatens to rip his world apart, to a small town where trees hold a terrifying power, to a convention in Colorado gone terribly awry, to the golden shores of San Francisco where a young widow discovers she still has more to lose, stretches a dark and twisted trail of THINGS LEFT BEHIND.
Every copy sold goes toward paying for our wedding, so know that we appreciate it!
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If you missed last week’s newsletter, then you missed the launch of my new show. But that’s okay, because we’re only on the 2nd episode.
Brian Keene Live - Episode 2 : Bestselling novelist Paul Tremblay joins Brian to talk about Laird Barron, Knock At The Cabin, The Pallbearers Club, the definition of success, and more. Watch here.
On next Wednesday night’s show, my guest will be Cynthia Pelayo. And in two weeks, Josh Malerman and his fiancee, artist Allison Laakko, will compete against Mary and I in The Newlywed Game. And coming up in the weeks ahead we’ve got Hailey Piper, Church of Disgust’s Dustin James, Laurel Hightower, and many more. Episodes air live at 8pm every Wednesday night.
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This is the last call to register for Borderlands Writers Boot Camp 2023. The deadline to sign up and submit your story is January 31, 2023. After that, no further registrations will be accepted. To reserve your spot, click here.
(Note: If you are already a registered attendee, you should be receiving emails from facilitator Mary SanGiovanni. If you are not, please reach out and let us know ASAP).
For twenty years, Borderlands Writers Boot Camp has been the premier workshop for aspiring horror writers. With a roster of past instructors including Thomas F. Monteleone, F. Paul Wilson, David Morrell, Richard Chizmar, Ginjer Buchanan, Elizabeth Massie, and Douglas E. Winter, this intense weekend program has produced dozens of the genre’s most notable names over the past two decades.
We are proud to announce that Borderlands Writers Boot Camp is now part of the Scares That Care 501c3 charity’s family of events.
The 2023 Borderlands Writers Boot Camp will take place March 29 through 31 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel 50 Kingsmill Road Williamsburg, VA 23185. The event will feature two and a half days of personal classroom time with a focus on writing, editing, submitting, and selling short stories. Students will be required to submit a short story to be workshopped prior to attendance.
The instructors for 2023 are Brian Keene, Mary SanGiovanni, Maurice Broaddus, Jeff Strand, Norman Prentiss, and John Urbancik.
Tuition is $750 per student, and includes an intense three-day workshop and classroom experience, both one-on-one and in a group setting. Price also includes admission into the second annual Scares That Care AuthorCon, taking place in the same hotel immediately following the completion of Boot Camp, giving students a real-time opportunity to immediately utilize some of the skills they’ve just learned. Attendees are responsible for their own travel and lodging. Because the instructors will be putting in advance time with each submitted story prior to the actual workshop, a non-refundable fee of $100 will be charged should a student need to cancel.
Again, the deadline to sign up and submit your story is January 31, 2023. After that, no further registrations will be accepted. Click here to register.
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Currently Reading: Red Axe of Pellucidar by John Eric Holmes.
Currently Listening: Around The World In A Day by Prince.
Currently Watching: Tulsa King (Paramount+), George Carlin’s American Dream (HBO Max)
If asked to name the five best Prince albums of all time, most fans and music critics will usually deliver a lists that — while divergent from each other — all include either Purple Rain or Sign o’ the Times at numbers one and two. And yes, Purple Rain sits solidly at number one for me, as well — not just for Prince’s discography, but as my favorite album of all time. But Around The World In A Day has always been a solid number two for me, as far as Prince albums are concerned. That’s not to take away from the achievement of Sign o’ the Times. I just think Around The World In A Day is superior. From the psychedelic stoner rock of “Paisley Park” and the title track, to the Hendrix meets Sly and the Family Stone groove of “America” to the hauntingly beautiful ballad “Condition of the Heart”. And of course, the greatest sex song of all time — “Temptation”. And all the other songs in between. Like Purple Rain, Controversy, and 1999 there’s simply not a bad song on the entire album.
George Carlin’s American Dream is a two-part documentary, spanning his entire career. If you’re a fan, there’s a lot there that you’ll already know, but there were also a lot of surprises and deep cuts. For example, I had no idea that it was young Sam Kinison who inspired Carlin’s comeback in the 1980s. As a fan of both, that was a delightful revelation.
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As I said above, THINGS LEFT BEHIND is the latest Manhattan On Mars Press release. Next up and already in the production pipeline are AN OCCURRENCE IN CRAZY BEAR VALLEY and OTHER WORDS. The latter has never had a paperback or eBook release.
Some other production updates:
ISLAND OF THE DEAD — I have pre-read edits from Tod and Macker. Just waiting on Dezm’s. Once I have those, the manuscript will go off to Thunderstorm Books, who are doing the hardcover.
INVISIBLE MONSTERS — This is the next Levi Stoltzfus novel. Revisions on the final draft continue. The title is going to be changing, but I’m not sure to what yet.
THE DRIVE-IN: MULTIPLEX — Signature sheets have begun making the rounds among the authors. Thanks for your patience.
GWENDY’S BUTTON BOX — I’m finishing up the final draft of the final half of the script, and character designs and other artwork is in progress. There are no deadlines on this project — it’s something we work on in between other gigs, but nevertheless, it’s nearing the finish line, script-wise.
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I hope to have some signing dates and locations for you soon. We’ve pushed everything back a bit, as the release date for Mary’s Alien: Enemy of My Enemy novel has been pushed back a month, due to supply chain issues. I can tell you that things will kick off right here in Central Pennsylvania, however, with two signings at two Comix Connection locations in late-February, to celebrate the chain’s 35th anniversary. Artist Mike Hawthorne will be joining us for those, as well.
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And that does it for this week. I hope 2023 is treating you right, so far. As always, thanks for spending a little time with me this Sunday morning. I’ll see you back here next week!
— Brian Keene
Thanks for sharing Laird's GoFundMe page. Donated. What is the name of the antique store Wesley and Mike were at? Looking forward to seeing you at York Comix Connection! Be prepared to see a few pics of Azaiah 🙂