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The “Next Big Thing” Chain…

Now I get to jot some innocent words which, in their Phoenician curves and syllabic groupings, may not have any inkling about their trend towards impropriety… Poor words…

I speak — in a manner of speaking (or writing) — of a recently created internet phenomenon called “The Next Big Thing”. I came across it when Mark Morris answered some questions started by (I believe) Paul Magrs, and he passed it on to such great writers as Stephen Volk and Adam Nevill, who passed it on to knockout talents like Sarah Pinborough and Wayne Simmons. Think of it as an entertaining virus, spread from one killer writer to another by electronic contact.

Okay, I think you can see how much I like these writers and their work. Both personally and professionally, they’re top-notch, sharp-skilled, perceptive authors who are deeply, DEEPLY dedicated to their craft. And I think you can see where my skeletal hands are headed on the keys here…

But before we get into that territory, let me include something I consider important. This is my second blog entry, and as such, I feel it’s key to express something I’ve been planning to mention in this piece, right from the inception of the blog: I am IN AWE of a few writers. I say that without a hint of hyperbole, and at the risk of destroying any semblance of respect you might have for this here scribe. What I mean is that as I have pursued the expansion and refinement of my skills as a prose writer, I have made it my focus to find and study the work of people I consider to be very talented and at the top of their game. As a result (and take this with 100% surety of my earnestness), I’ve found some stunners. These people include Sarah Pinborough, Graham Joyce, Mark Morris, Christopher Fowler, Adam Nevill, Tim Lebbon, Mark Morris, Gary McMahon, Joe R. Lansdale, Lisa Morton, Jon Oliver (write more stories, Jon!), Conrad Williams, Simon Bestwick, Rio Youers, Mercedes Yardley, Paul Finch, Laird Barron, Stephen Volk, and Wayne Simmons, to name but a few. Honestly, I write their names here not only to entice you to look for their work, but to express to you the degree of sheer lyrical beauty and structural finesse they offer in their writing. Think of those names (and a few others I’ll mention in upcoming posts or those I’ve mentioned in my first post) as paintings in an art gallery, replete with word-colors and amazing, stylish strokes.

Which brings me to the title of the post, and Wayne Simmons. See, Wayne is really somethin’. A talented and creative writer who can crush your gut with a fist made of words, he’s also a very, very good guy, and Wayne has (perhaps during a feverish state) chosen me to be part of the “Next Big Thing” blog chain. Very, very, very, very cool!

So I’m excited, and want to reveal to you the questions, and my answers. BUT!!! I also want to refer you to Wayne’s answers which can be found at http://www.waynesimmons.org.

So, thanks to my friend and mentor, I will take the baton he’s handed to me. Thank you, Wayne, here we go!

1) What is the working title of your next book?

Next… Hmm… Depends. Regarding soon-to-be-released titles: I have two coming in 2013. The first, from Pendragon Press, is called “Bite”, which will debut at the World Fantasy Con in Brighton. Can’t wait! (Cover art by Ben Baldwin!) And the second is entitled, “Gorge”, which will be released by Bad Moon Books. Both are novellas. As far as material in progress? Well, because of some interest from a couple publishing houses, I’m working on the novel version of “Gorge”, which will be KILLER — I mean total MIND-ASSASSIN, baby! — and two novellas called “Fishing” and “Wounds” that are almost complete, plus another novella I’m outlining, and a YA novel based on a TV series proposal I’ve written.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

For “Gorge”, the idea originated when I reflected on setting foot in this bizarre, ancient Australian landmark called Carnarvan Gorge. It’s thousands of years old, and filled with prehistoric looking flora, wild bore, deadly snakes, cockatiels, koalas, and these amazing Aboriginal cave paintings placed there by hands long since turned to dust. Knowing how badly the native people of Australia were treated (as a matter of Australian law, until the 1950’s) and that the Australian government considered them sub-human, bereft of a written language and fodder for murder and land seizure, I thought, “Hmm… What if a team of explorers had access to some blurry photos of Aboriginal cave paintings that seemed to indicate they had a written language? And what if, as they entered the gorge for a long hike to get better pictures, their team started to encounter… ‘trouble’…” 🙂 So the idea sprouted from there. The other ideas, for “Fishing” and “Wounds” — the two novellas on which I’m working now — popped into my head thus: “Fishing”: my bro told me about meeting this old couple near a lake in the woods, and the couple hid their fishing poles in an old, dead tree. Odd. The other, “Wounds” came about by thinking about tattoos and relationships and secrets long-hidden.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

“Gorge” is an adventure-horror story. The expanded version includes a super-cool double-twist and a lot of history about Australia and the US in the 1940s. The others are horror.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

You sure do ask tough questions, Mr. Internet Chain! I suppose for “Gorge” I’d go with the female lead portrayed by Claire Danes, perhaps with dark hair, since that’s what I envisioned. But she’d be perfect, a female lead who is one of the first ladies to enter the field of anthropology, struggling to balance her old devotion to her former mentor and her new love for her writer-finance. The character of Kobi, a fellow anthro-scientist originally from Hong Kong, would have to be played by Daniel Dae-Kim.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

“Gorge”: In 1947 a team of Australian anthropologists are granted five days to reach mysterious Aboriginal cave paintings that could prove the natives have a written language, but as they enter the dangerous gorge, members disappear, one by one, and they discover that there’s more to the place than meets the eye, ears, nose and throat.

“Bite” is all about a rumpled, Kolchak-like private detective with a checkered past who works in a very strange field: he gets hired by insurance companies and corporations to kill vampires, and now he wants out…

“Fishing”: In 1972, an escaped murderer and former hippie guru races to reunite with his lost love, killing and remembering how he got to where he is as he flees…

“Wounds”: In 1988, a college kid sees and becomes obsessed with a woman who is totally tattooed, and his obsession leads him to begin committing crimes he never imagined, even as he allows her to make his body a work of art, like hers…

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

As I mentioned, the novella of “Gorge” will be published by Bad Moon Books in 2013, while the novel will be sent to a couple larger publishing cos in the US and UK. “Bite” is coming next fall from Pendragon. I’ll be looking for homes for “Fishing” and “Wounds”.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

The “Gorge” novella took two months, with polishing a few months later. “Bite” took about four, with some great editorial comments from F. Paul Wilson, Tom Monteleone and Doug Winter. The others are still in progress…

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

“Gorge” is a touch of Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None” mixed into an Indiana Jones setting, but really, it’s just it’s own animal. “Bite” is an homage to “The Night Stalker”, and even happens in Vegas. (Darren McGavin, baby!). It’s a very noir piece. “Wounds” is it’s own thing, as is “Fishing”. With “Fishing” I wanted to be more poetic while very violent at the same time and give the reader a real gut punch in the end.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

For all of the stories I write, the tales themselves simply demand to be written. The only control I exert is the order of their execution and where and when to apply attention to them to get the best effect and get them done.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

In “Gorge” I hope the reader really gets a sense of the locale, of Carnaran Gorge. I’ve been there and experience it and there is a lot of history in the tale, some of which works perfectly into the mystery of early scientists who claimed the Aboriginals had a written language, but suddenly went silent. Hmm… For “Bite”, I think they’ll be interested in the underbelly, the real, dusty, small-shack-home underbelly of the bad places behind the Vegas glitz. For “Wounds”, I think folks will get a kick out of seeing what Boston was like in the 1980s, and they will like the musical vibe of punk and underground rock I’ve put into the story. The rock clubs all existed, and were very, very cool. For “Fishing”, I think people will dig the candies that come with every purchase of the– Wait. No… Strike that. 🙂

Opening Ceremonies…

Greetings, readers, readsters, scribblers, viewers, reviewers, and producers…

Welcome to a virtual getaway, a vacation spot where you can test the waters of this writer’s thoughts, life, and suggestions, and see if they’re invigorating and worthwhile. Consider it a sort of seaside hotel sans the expensive occupancy bill… No mints on the pillows here, but at least you’re not expected to tip the cleaning staff before you leave…

This is my first entry, straight from the cranial curves and lanky fingers of GG to you. So by way of introduction, I’ll tell you that this site is dedicated to my fiction. Although I have an extensive library of articles on political-economics and anarcho-capitalist philosophy, this pretty little spot on the intertubes is opening because I’m a writer who loves entertaining tales that are well told. I also hold in high regard those who can write well, who can turn a phrase and make it poetic while not distracting me from the narrative. I like authors who know when and where to flex their word-architect muscles, and I respect and learn from them. You’ll see me mention many of them here, partly because I just can’t contain myself when I feel that explosive enthusiasm for stunning work, but also because I hope you’ll seek out some of the authors I suggest. I love their work, and I want them to achieve even more success.
So as I close this first entry, for the few who will see it, I want to let you know that, yeah, I’ll be building the site as the days pass, adding jaw-droppingly breautiful observations on life, art, fiction, music, movies and fascinating locations around the mostly harmless planet called “Earth”, but I’ll also be thanking a few people along the way. I think it’s only right that as one travels along new pathways and publishes his work, as one tries to touch people in ways they’ll remember, as one establishes a career as a writer, he acknowledge the efforts of those who helped him get started.

As such, I’d like to tell ya that I owe a great debt of gratitude to certain writers. This site is dedicated to F. Paul Wilson (www.repairmanjack.com), Tom Monteleone (www.borderlandspress.com), Doug Winter, Jack Ketchum (https://twitter.com/JackKetchum), Chris Golden (www.christophergolden.com), Gene O’Neill , Tim Lebbon (www.timlebbon.net), Conrad Williams (conradwilliams.wordpress.com), Guy Adams (www.guyadamsauthor.com), Gary McMahon (www.GaryMcMahon.com), Rob Shearman (www.RobertShearman.net), Mark Morris (www.markmorriswriter.com), Graham Joyce (www.grahamjoyce.co.uk), Sarah Pinborough (http://sarahpinborough.com/), Cavan Scott (http://cavanscott.com/), Lisa Morton ( http://www.lisamorton.com/), Wayne Simmons (http://waynesimmons.org/), Christopher Fowler ( http://www.christopherfolwer.co.uk), Mercedes Yardley (www.abrokenlaptop.com), Paul Finch (http://paulfinch-writer.blogspot.com/), Simon Bestwick (http://simon-bestwick.blogspot.com/), Ronald Malfi (http://www.ronmalfi.com/), Rio Youers (http://rioyouers.com/), Brian Keene (http://www.briankeene.com/), Wrath James White (http://wordsofwrath.blogspot.com/), Laird Barron (http://lairdbarron.wordpress.com/) and the ever-frightening John Skipp (you know where he can be found, standing behind you…) Each of these people has, through his or her work, shown me something awesome, and helped me learn, even while forming great bonds of friendship.

This site is also dedicated to Rocky Wood, editors Stephen Jones and Ellen Datlow, and my family and close friends.

To my departed folks, Paul and Shirley Goldsmith – thanks for listening to the stories as I read them to you, and thanks for a lot more!