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Letters From the Labyrinth 347
Things To Come
This week’s issue is dedicated to Bruce and Charles Rutledge.
Good morning! I’m Brian Keene and this is the 347th issue of Letters From the Labyrinth — a weekly newsletter for fans, friends, and family. I’m sure many of you might be tuning in for Day 2 of the fourth annual Buzz Books Expo, hosted by my wife and her fellow authors Somer Canon and Matt Wildasin, but that’s four hours from now, so we have time, you and I. (If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a free livestream where horror publishers, authors, agents, etc give readers sneak peeks at their upcoming releases, etc.)
Mary asked me if I’d like to participate this year, given that my own Manhattan On Mars Press will soon be branching out to publishing works by people other than myself. (We’ve got a primer collection by Edward Lucas White called Dreams and Whispers and a novel by Mary called The Everywhere House coming soon). Sadly, I’m too swamped to participate.
It’s funny. Manhattan On Mars was supposed to be the beginning of my 4-stage retirement plan, wherein I wouldn’t be destitute in my later years like so very many of the authors who came before me, and so my loved ones wouldn’t have to chase down royalty checks and try to keep books in print after I was gone. Ultimately, it was supposed to lead to less work for me, giving me more time to focus on the writing itself.
And yet, I find myself busier now than I ever have been. The closest I think was probably 2005 through 2007, when in the space of those three years, I wrote five novels, six novellas, thirty-five short stories, seven comic scripts, two screenplays, and 80,000 words worth of nonfiction.
I feel that busy again these days. The only problem is, my output is nowhere near what it was back then. Between the arthritis, carpal tunnel, and fading eyesight, I’ve slowed down, production-wise. The weird, sporadic cognitive issues don’t help, either.
In years past, J.F. Gonzalez and I often talked about a writer whom I won’t name here because I’m not sure it’s public knowledge. This was a horror writer who’d found what all of us would consider enviable success. They had an excellent career. And yet, in their final years, while suffering from dementia, they were still trying to crank out books and stories and scripts. Jesus and I always assumed that they needed the money, and we used to swear to each other that we weren’t going out like that. (And of course, Jesus kept his word and did not go out like that).
These days, it occurs to me that Jesus and I might have been wrong. Maybe the writer didn’t need the money. Maybe they just needed to keep writing, and keep busy doing what they love, no matter what obstacles were in their way. Maybe they just loved the hustle.
The hustle is real, and as you get older, and new authors who are way better than you ever were or ever will be arrive on the scene with new voices and fresh takes, the hustle increases. The hustle is all. The hustle is your friend and your god. And that isn’t nearly as scary as it sounds. As David J. Schow told me yesterday, reaching that stage of your life and career leaves you, quote: “COMPLETELY FREED to embrace and own ‘your own phase’ while watching others take the baton and lift the torch to keep the fires burning.”
So, yeah. Hustle or die.
Also learn the value of a good nap.
Anyway, here’s an update on Things To Come. These are book-length works by me. I’m not including short stories, anthologies, film adaptations, or other ephemera.
Most Recent New Releases and Rereleases:
2. THE DRIVE-IN: MULTIPLEX — Paperback. (Autographed hardcover forthcoming).
Forthcoming New Releases and Rereleases:
1. ISLAND OF THE DEAD — Hardcover from Thunderstorm Books before end of 2023. Paperback, eBook, and audiobook from Apex next July.
2. THE FALLEN — Hardcover graphic novel from Thunderstorm Books before end of year.
3. SPLINTERED: THE LABYRINTH Book 3 — Hardcover from Thunderstorm Books and paperback and eBook from Manhattan On Mars before the end of this year. Audiobook from Crossroad Press early next year.
4. Rereleases/reprints of AN OCCURRENCE IN CRAZY BEAR VALLEY and JACK'S MAGIC BEANS in paperback and eBook from Manhattan On Mars before end of the year. Audiobook from Crossroad Press next year.
If you don’t see it listed above, it’s either being written (probably in first draft on my Patreon), or is in production but won’t be released until next year.
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I am still collecting and handing out Bluesky invites. A reminder that if you want one, comment at this link only. If you ask me for one elsewhere, I’ll miss it. I’ll be contacting many of you this coming week as we process a new batch.
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Currently Playing: Fallout 76 and Clash of Clans
Currently Watching: They Live
Currently Listening: Sometimes Y by Yelawolf and Shooter Jennings, and Mob Rules and Heaven and Hell by Black Sabbath.
Currently Reading: The Vile Thing We Created by Robert P. Ottone
My pal John Langan said to me last week, in regards to Robert P. Ottone, “That guy can write.” And yes, he absolutely can. Really excellent read, and I recommend it.
Last Sunday, me, Mary, my 15-year old, Stephen Kozeniewski, and Wesley Southard went to the theater for a 35th anniversary screening of They Live. It’s my 15-year old’s favorite movie of all time, and it’s certainly in my Top 10 of all time, as well as my second favorite Carpenter movie (The Thing is first and Escape From New York is third). My son wore one of his three They Live t shirts, and he was sooooo excited to be able to see the movie on a big screen. A really lovely evening.
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Spent my only free hours last week roasting tomatoes from the garden (much easier and vastly preferable to canning — I cut them in half, lay them out cut side up on a wax paper line cookie sheet, drizzle them with olive oil and garlic, and roast for thirty minutes to an hour. Then put them in freezer bags and slide them into the freezer). I’ll be doing more of that this week.
My other activity during my limited free time is socializing the new kittens. I’ll begin finding homes for them this coming week so if you are in or near Central pennsylvania and would like to visit your favorite author’s hose, you can do so as long as you take a kitten home with you. Reach out to me for details.
And that does it for this week, I think. Thanks, as always, for reading. I’ll see you back here next Sunday.
— Brian Keene