- Home > Archive: March, 2013
Moving from city to city, day to day. The schedule is so tight I didn’t have time to do a blog the last couple of nights, though I did download and post some photos on Facebook (If you want to check out the regular updates, please join my Facebook page.)
Thursday night I was in Houston, flew in from Dallas and spent part of the afternoon editing THE DARK BETWEEN THE STARS (I came on tour armed with notes and comments from my batch of test readers, though it’s difficult to get deep concentration time while on the road). Brian and I did an interview by phone in the afternoon, and then I got together with some dedicated Texas Rush fans I had met at RushCon last October—we went out to Gatlins, a hole-in-the-wall but fantastic BBQ place (gotta do that at least once in Texas), then went to B&N for a good crowd at the signing, as well as a batch of dedicated 501sters in full regalia. Gave out some petrified gummi sandworms, door prizes of t-shirts, coffee mugs, and advance reader copies. I signed a lot of HELLHOLE AWAKENING copies, as well as CLOCKWORK ANGELS and Dan Shamble, Zombie PI.
Right now I’m in Seattle, a book-signing last night at University Books and attending the large SF convention Norwescon all weekend. As soon as I arrived at the hotel, I met up with Brian Herbert so we could spend the afternoon brainstorming. Immediately, we ran into a succession of old friends, Terry Brooks, Duane Wilkins and Art Boulton from University Books, Kuo-Yo Liang from Diamond, Pierce Watters from Pathfinder/Paizo…and we rapidly realized we weren’t going to get much brainstorming done! So Brian and I went to a diner several blocks away and spent the next several hours hammering out the main plot of NAVIGATORS OF DUNE. Some great grand-finale scenes…though I think the waitress was a little disturbed when we kept arguing over who we would kill and how bloody it was going to be.
Brian’s wife Jan joined us, and we had dinner with Duane Wilkins before going off to the book signing, at a church across the street from the bookstore. We had chairs set up in the chapel—so there we were in a church, on Good Friday…um, talking about Hellhole. We had a stormtrooper escort, another contingent of Rush fans, some Dune fans, Star Wars fans, and a good crowd of supporters.
Today I could sleep in, no formal obligations until 1 PM for a panel about world building. Didn’t set the alarm, just slept until I was well rested, lounged around until I felt awake, rolled over to look at the time. 5:22 AM. *sigh* Bouncing around time zones is a bummer!
I did have breakfast with Tony Daniel from Baen Books, and we’ll have a very exciting announcement soon about WordFire Press and Baen…but not right now while I’m in the whirlwind of tour! Monday I’ll be in Atlanta and Tuesday in Dayton, and then in Richmond VA for RavenCon all next weekend. Hope to see you at one of the stops.
March 27, the second day of my HELLHOLE AWAKENING book tour, was my birthday, and I celebrated it in Dallas with a terrific signing at a Barnes & Noble. I flew in from San Diego, then arranged to meet some friends as well as a large group of 501st Legion members for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory adjacent to the bookstore. Total of 27 people at the dinner—which included cards and a North Texas Squad t-shirt and patch, and a cheesecake with candles, before the group rushed over to the back room of the store to suit up for the talk.
We had a very large crowd, over 80 people, and I gave a talk about my main influences from Frank Herbert and Rush, gave out door prizes (including some leftover petrified gummi sandworms from the PAUL OF DUNE tour, a LAST DAYS OF KRYPTON t-shirt, and a BUTLERIAN JIHAD mug), then signed lots of copies of HELLHOLE AWAKENING, CLOCKWORK ANGELS, and the Dan Shamble novels.
It was a terrific birthday.
Tomorrow, heading off to Houston for the next stop.
So I flew out of Denver this morning and arrived in San Diego (after a three hour delay at two airports), nearly finished inputting all the changes to The Dark Between the Stars manuscript from all the test readers.
After a brief quiet time in the hotel, I drove off to Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore, grabbed a quick dinner at the nearby sushi restaurant, then signed a lot of stock at the store before I started my talk. More than 40 people at Mysterious Galaxy, one of my best turnouts, and I drew tickets for the door prizes (in this case, an autographed Advance Reading Copy of Crystal Doors #1 with Rebecca Moesta, and a Last Days of Krypton t-shirt, then gave a talk about growing up in science fiction, being inspired by Frank Herbert and Rush, and then signing a lot of books. Mysterious Galaxy even provided cupcakes for my birthday!
Brian Herbert launched the novel in Portland, OR at Powell’s books.
Three blows, each one harder than the last.
Wednesday I learned that prolific and popular horror writer James Herbert died. He had a great influence on the genre, with his huge mass-market hits The Rats, Fluke, The Fog, Lair. Critics might have thought he wrote garish horror; he had the last laugh when he received the Order of the British Empire as well as the Grand Master Award at the World Horror Convention. Alas, I never met him.
Then on Friday, within an hour, I learned of the loss of two more, much closer friends.
Bestselling horror writer Rick Hautala died unexpectedly of a heart attack on March 22. Rick was a wonderfully good-natured, super-friendly guy who wrote some major bestselling horror novels in the 1980s. I especially remember Nightstone and Little Brothers. I met Rick several times at conventions as my career was taking off, though I headed more in the SF direction than horror. My girlfriend at the time, Ginger, was a big fan of Rick’s work, and I introduced him to her at a con. He gave her a signed copy of Little Brothers—and I certainly got brownie points for that! She was walking on air.
Rick had a tough time as the publishing took a downturn, and he reconnected with me with great enthusiasm and good cheer a few years back via Facebook, so we corresponded back and forth. He sent me new signed copies of his books The Mountain King and Bedbugs (he always drew a little skull next to his signature.) Rick was pulling out all the stops to get his career going again. Only four days before Rick died, his agent had just sold two new novels for him.
Christopher Golden sent a wonderful tribute, which expresses better than I ever could. I’m repeating it here:
I don’t have the words to put Rick Hautala’s death in any form of context. His wife, Holly, told me this morning that it’s blown a crater in her life, and that’s as good an image as any I could imagine. So many people have written so sincerely and so eloquently about their love for him personally or their admiration for him as a man and as a writer. Holly and those of us who were closest to Rick always tried to tell him how much he was loved, but he never believed it. I only wish he could have seen the outpouring of love and support that has come in the wake of his passing. Holly would like me to pass along her love and gratitude. She has been deeply touched and hopes, in time, to personally thank everyone who has reached out to her.
Unfortunately, Rick’s sudden death could not have been more untimely. The life of a freelance writer is often one lived on the fringes of financial ruin, and Rick struggled mightily to stay afloat in recent years. Just within the last couple of months, that struggle became difficult enough that he could not afford to continue paying his life insurance bill, and allowed it to lapse. Though he could never have foreseen it, the timing, of course, could not have been worse.
Then, just this morning, Holly discovered that the social security benefits she might hope to receive as Rick’s widow are not available to her until she turns sixty, three years from now.
Efforts are under way on projects that we hope will earn some money for Rick’s estate, but meanwhile there are costs involved with his death to consider, and then, for Holly, the struggle will continue.
If you’d like to help, any donation would be appreciated. You can PayPal directly to Holly at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Less than half an hour after I learned of Rick Hautala’s death on Friday, I got another round of devastating news—David B. Silva, horror author and long-time editor of seminal magazines The Horror Show and Horrorstruck, had also passed away.
Dave Silva was very important to me. His magazine, The Horror Show, was a truly influential and groundbreaking publication in the horror field, one of the very best small press magazines. He published many of my early stories, “Drilling Deep,” “Notches,” “Leatherwork,” “A Glimpse of the Ankou,” “The Circus,” “Baggage Check”…I can’t even remember them all. He featured an excerpt and an interview around my very first novel, Resurrection, Inc. When I was an aspiring writer, The Horror Show was one of my go-to markets. Many of those stories were collected and reprinted last year in my book Tucker’s Grove.
When I lived in the San Francisco area, Dave lived in northern California, but we never met in person. He was an avid correspondent, read all submissions, answered all letters, did a great job editing, but he was something of a recluse. I never saw him at conventions or writer’s gatherings. He published several novels of his own, and also published a news magazine for the horror field, Horrorstruck—the horror genre’s equivalent of Locus. When Dave stopped publishing the magazines, and I moved away from writing horror, we lost touch. I just learned that he had moved to Las Vegas. If I’d known, I would have tried to see him on one of my many visits there.
Even though I never met Dave in person, I like to think we were good friends via correspondence. And I can’t stress enough how important he was to me. Dave Silva helped launch my career; the exposure I got from being published again and again in The Horror Show was a key push to me when I needed it. Thank you for all you did for me, Dave. I wish I could have known you better.