Letters From the Labyrinth 317
Greeting from the banks of the Susquehanna River where I’ve spent the last week simultaneously writing, verifying and sorting Splatterpunk Award recommendations, planning a cross-country book signing tour, and planning a wedding. It is a maddening, stress-inducing process but I managed to score a reception hall and a wedding photographer, finish several pages of script, several chapters of novel, and most of a short story, and set up about 17 dates thus far, so I’m calling it a win.
Of course, I’m not doing this alone. Mary has helped with the wedding planning, inasmuch as she’s picked out the colors of flowers and such. (I kid. She’s actually super busy editing a collection of Edward Lucas White stories for Borderlands Press and is knee-deep in her collaboration with Edward Lee). Mostly, Dallas likes to help, and by help I mean supervise. If he had his way, he’d sit in my lap all day and stare at the computer screen. As he makes a better door than he does a window, I have arranged for him to have his own desk chair, positioned right next to mind. He’s pretty happy with it. (The orange and yellow blanket on his chair was handmade for me by author and editor Regina Garza-Mitchell, but Dallas claims it, as well).
Good morning. I’m Brian Keene and this is the 317th issue of Letters From the Labyrinth, a weekly newsletter for friends, family and fans of my work. And yes, I too can see that I put on some pounds over the holidays. But I’m back on the exercise bike now, and hiking a mile or two a day (weather permitting) and lifting weights once again, so I’ll be back under 200 again very soon.
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Thank you all for a great first week of sales on the trade edition of THINGS LEFT BEHIND. The sales from it are going directly to paying for the wedding and paying for the book signing tour.
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Speaking of the book signing tour (which Mary and I are calling the 2023 Honeymoon Tour), we’ve gone ahead and announced a few of the dates in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, and California. This is still early stages and there will be dozens of other states and locations added, so please don’t hammer me with “Why aren’t you signing in New York?” or “Are you not coming to Florida?” or “Will you be adding New Jersey?” We will be coming to all of those places, and many more. Patience, grasshopper. The best thing to do is just keep an eye on that page, as I’ll be adding new ones every day for the next month or so.
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This Week’s Blog: The Eternal Tugboat Captain — in which I talk about, among other things, ageism in our industry. And lots of other things older writers have to contend with.
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BRIAN KEENE LIVE - Episode 3 is available to watch. I was joined by International Latino Book Award winning and three-time Bram Stoker Awards nominated poet and author Cynthia Pelayo. Watch here.
Nest week’s show features the recently engaged Josh Malerman and Allison Laakko versus me and Mary in The Newlywed Game. We’ll be playing for charity, and it won’t work without questions from the audience, so make sure you tune in this coming Wednesday night.
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SWORDS IN THE SHADOWS is an anthology of sword and sorcery tales with horror themes edited by Cullen Bunn and including creators such as myself, Joe R. Lansdale, Mary SanGiovanni, Stephen Graham Jones, Hailee Piper, and Jonathan Janz. It is the first release from Cullen Bunn’s new Outer Shadows horror imprint. You can preorder it here.
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Currently Reading: Wednesday Is Waiting by Donnie Goodman and Notes On My Personal Undoing (How Note-Taking Helped Me Adapt And Improve My Life After A Cancer Diagnosis) by Francis Setnocis
Currently Listening: Sticky Fingers, Some Girls, Tattoo You, and Goat’s Head Soup all by The Rolling Stones
Currently Watching: Billy the Kid (Prime/MGM), Doctor Who (HBO Max)
The Billy the Kid series is pretty good. We’re only a few episodes in so I’m not sure yet how historically accurate it will be, but if you’re a fan of the Old West or the legend of the Kid (of which I am both) then it’s well worth checking out. The first two episodes are free on prime. After that, you have to pay for it.
I’m about halfway through Donnie Goodman’s Wednesday Is Waiting. With this latest book, it is clear that he’s found his voice and is in full command of it. Very confident writing. Great read so far.
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Something else I worked on this week (in addition to writing, wedding planning, tour planning, and Splatterpunk Award recs), was sorting through my archives, which — along with selections from J.F. Gonzalez’s archives — are going to have a permanent home at the University of Pittsburgh. By the end of the year, many of our manuscripts, correspondence, and other papers will be available there for interested parties to look through. There are some gems among the correspondence — letters between Richard Laymon and myself, letters between Robert Bloch and Jesus. Things like that. Some stuff I intend to leave out (if it’s something my sons and stepdaughter or Jesus’s daughter might want, such as Christmas cards from Bentley Little) but for the most part, I intend to give it all to the horror genre. I’ll update you as things progress. (And a special note of thanks to author Robert Ford, who had the original, bound, red-penned manuscript for THE RISING in his personal collection, and who arranged to have it included with the rest of my manuscripts for the University).
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You might have noticed up above that I said “my sons and my stepdaughter” rather than just “my sons” the way I normally do. I like saying that. I like that feeling. And I am very much looking forward to this wedding in 68 days. I’m not only gaining an awesome wife. I’m also gaining an amazing stepdaughter. ;-)
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The above screencap was sent to me by my good friend Darren McKeeman (founder of Gothic Net and co-founder of Kink BNB). It’s from the Carrot weather app.
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And that does it for this week. I hope your Sunday morning is going good so far. Author Somer Canon and her oldest son are coming over today. Somer and Mary will hang out, while the boys and I (and also my oldest son and author John Urbancik) stay upstairs, playing high-stakes Magic the Gathering in our library/game room.
I hope that you get to spend some time with people who are important to you today, as well. And if not, then I hope you get to relax, at least, and maybe curl up with a good book or some good music or a good film.
As always, thanks for reading, and I’ll see you back here next week.
— Brian Keene