Letters From the Labyrinth 328
But it's not Sunday...?
No, it’s not Sunday. But Mary and I were finishing up this most recent leg of the book signing tour last Sunday, and I didn’t send a newsletter as a result, so I figured I would send one today. You’ll still get one this coming Sunday, too, so consider this one a bonus.
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Thanks to everyone who made the most recent leg of the Honeymoon Tour such a wonderful success. Thanks to everyone who showed up and sometimes had to stand in line. And thanks to our hosts — Conquest Books in Ashland Kentucky, Butcher Cabin Books in Louisville, Kentucky, Books-A-Million in Beckley, West Virginia, and Barnes & Noble in Chesterfield, Virginia.
Most of our time was spent driving from one signing to the next, and then signing at the stores themselves, but Mary and I did resolve to take an hour and do one off-the-clock touristy thing in each town. In Ashland, we visited a comic book store and the city’s waterfront. In Louisville, we visited a Hunter S. Thompson mural and walked around the college district. After Beckley, we visited my grandmother, who turns 98 this year and convinces me more with each passing day that she might be Mother Abigail from The Stand.
While visiting her, we stopped by the spot where The Ponderosa — a community center in Renick built by my grandfather and his friends as a gift to the town — stood until recently. It was knocked down earlier this year, and all that remains now is the sign that once hung over its door. That sign faces the Keene Memorial Bridge, which spans the Greenbrier River. Drive over that heading from Renick to Auto, and you’ll find a church that my great-grandfather built, now well over 100 years old and still standing. Its current congregation consists of nine people. All of these places — Renick, Auto, the church, and the Ponderosa — show up as fictionalized locations in EARTHWORM GODS, EARTHWORM GODS II: DELUGE, and the forthcoming SPLINTERED: THE LABYRINTH Book 3. Indeed, the fictional version of the Ponderosa plays a big role in the latter.
But in real life, all that is left is a sign.
If you’d like to see more pics of our touristy pit stops, I’ve posted them on my Instagram.
We are home now for a few weeks and then we were supposed to head out again, but all of that has been thrown into uncertainty now. You see, ostensibly, Mary and I are on tour to promote her new novel ALIEN: ENEMY OF MY ENEMY. A few facts about that book. In the month of its release, it is the best-reviewed Alien franchise novel in years, and also the best-selling Alien franchise novel in years. But because of that, Ingram, the industry's book distributor, from whom retailers like Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million and indie bookstores all order their stock from, is completely out of copies.
That’s right. The entire first printing is sold out. Amazon still has some copies left in their warehouses, but I’m told by several sources that a number of those warehouses have now run out of copies, as well. If you’ve waited to get a copy, you can try your luck with them and hope the warehouse near you has some. And, of course, there is also the Kindle version and the audiobook edition, as well.
But it’s kind of hard to show up at bookstores and sign books when the bookstore is unable to get the books for you to sign. To further complicate things, because of the ongoing paper shortage, there’s no information on when the second printing will be available. And because of that, we’re hitting the pause button on adding any NEW signings. The ones we already announced? We’re adopting a wait and see attitude toward those.
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The autographed, hardcover collector's edition of Joe R. Lansdale's THE DRIVE-IN: MULTIPLEX edited by me and Christopher Golden is 90% sold out. We expect the remainder to go this week. So this is your last chance to preorder the book.
In 1988, Joe R. Lansdale’s The Drive-In launched onto the fiction scene and left an indelible mark, influencing generations of genre-spanning writers. In honor of this groundbreaking novel, twenty-one of those writers pay tribute to Lansdale with all-new stories and novellas set in the bizarre and terrifying universe created by the champion mojo storyteller hisownself, all those years ago.
In this quintessential anthology, not to be missed, Lansdale returns and the stories are wilder and darker than ever. Christopher Golden and Brian Keene, who cite Lansdale as an integral influence in their careers, have curated an incredible lineup featuring some of the finest storytellers in the field today.
The collectors edition is limited to just 350 copies signed by: Joe R. Lansdale, Christopher Golden, Brian Keene, Linda Addison, Laird Barron, Gary Braunbeck, Nancy Collins, S.A. Cosby, Rachel Autumn Deering, Aaron Dries, Gabino Iglesias, Jonathan Janz, Stephen Graham Jones, Owen King, Keith Lansdale, Josh Malerman, Elizabeth Massie, James A. Moore, Norman Partridge, Cynthia Pelayo, Charles R. Rutledge, Mary SanGiovanni, David J. Schow, and Chet Williamson.
Note: this is a pre-order. The book is expected to ship in the FALL of 2023.
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I tried out Substack Notes earlier today, as I continue to use social media less and less, and rely more on this newsletter and my Patreon.
Notes is a new space on Substack for us to share links, short posts, quotes, photos, and more. I plan to use it for things that don’t fit in the newsletter, like work-in-progress or quick questions.
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Currently Watching: Snowfall season 6 (Hulu), Survivor season 44 (Paramount+), and Joe Pera Talks With You season 3(HBO).
Currently Listening: Brian Keene Radio
Currently Reading: Marvel Value Stamps: A Visual History by Roy Thomas
The penultimate episode of Snowfall was a shocker, and reminded me — in an excellent way — of the most shocking episodes of The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, and The Shield. Indeed, there was a real “Shane drops a grenade in Lem’s lap” feeling to the most recent character death. Hard to say more about it without spoilers, but boy, I am anxious for the finale next week.
Marvel Value Stamps: A Visual History by Roy Thomas is something I picked up while Mary and I were traveling, and I read it in hotel rooms while she slept. Will probably only appeal to diehard Marvel Bronze Age kids like myself, but if you are one of us, it’s a beautiful book.
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And that’s it for now. As I said, you’ll get a fuller newsletter next Sunday, in its usual time. Until then, thanks as always for reading. I appreciate you.
— Brian Keene