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12/08/11 - WILDEST DREAMS: 99 CENTS!

For the next week, my novel Wildest Dreams is discounted to just 99 CENTS at the Cemetery Dance Store, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. This one's usually $4.99, so now's your chance to grab it if you missed the 500-copy limited edition (which is long out of print). Click on over to the CEMETERY DANCE store and buy direct, or use the links on that page to get to the online merchant of your choice.

Here's the flap-copy-orific scoop on Wildest Dreams, a dark-as-tar novel of hardboiled horror:

A storm is coming to Cliffside, California, and with it comes a killer.

His name is Clay Saunders, and he walks in two worlds. Born with a caul, Saunders sees ghosts. But to him, the world of the dead is very much like the world of the living. It's a realm of eternal pain -- inescapable and relentless -- that cuts as deeply as the razor edge of the hired killer's K-bar knife.

Saunders has spilled blood on Florida sand, and the snow-covered Canadian prairie, and the black lava of Hawaii. His latest target is Diabolos Whistler, leader of a satanic cult. Exiled in Mexico, Whistler is alone when Saunders stabs him just above the first vertebrae... alone, except for the mummies stacked like so much cordwood in his library.

But the living who await the killer's arrival in Cliffside are more frightening than the decayed corpses of the dead. There's Whistler's daughter Circe, a tattooed siren who leads Saunders to a bed of iron and satin... and Circe's bodyguard, a seven foot student of Egyptology whose sarcophagus rests in a redwood pyramid... and Janice Ravenwood, a medium with a startling hidden gift.

And there's a little girl, a ghost held prisoner by vengeful revenants. Only Clay Saunders can save her. To do that, he must bridge the worlds of the living and the dead in an unforgettable climax of darkness and blood.



Just saw that the trade edition of Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2 is now sold out over at the Subterranean Press website. Looks like copies can still be had over at Amazon... but my Spidey senses are tingling on this one (i.e. if you snooze, you lose, amigos).

My novella "Vampire Lake" is in this anthology, and thanks to all of you who've written to tell me how much you enjoyed it. The San Francisco Book Review just chimed in, calling my tale "a new classic." "Vampire Lake" also earned great reviews from Fantasy Book Critic and Locus, so I'm pleased with the reaction to this one.

And if you'd like to pull up a bucket of water from subterranean depths and have yourself a free taste, just click here.



Just had word from Brian Freeman at Cemetery Dance that Johnny Halloween: Tales of the Dark Season has gone out of print. You can still grab copies at Amazon and Camelot Books, and probably a few other places out there, but you probably don't want to wait too long to pull the trigger.

And: Thanks to all of you who already dug into your wallets and picked up a copy. I appreciate it!



Rich Chizmar and Brian Freeman have unveiled a reboot of the Cemetery Dance Website. Poke around the grounds and you'll find a Forum (I just registered), a Norman Partridge page, The Writer's Corner (where you can get some great advice from CD authors, including yours truly), Breaking News, and Interviews with some of your favorite writers.

And hey. What's that? There's even a tab for forthcoming eBooks?

Cue afterburners. These guys are ready to roll.



Thanks for the emails on my Year's Best three-for-three with "Lesser Demons." So far the only horror 3-fer a reader has identified is my buddy Laird Barron's "Proboscis," which made it into two horror Year's Bests and one for fantasy. So, not quite a strictly horror 3-fer... but, hey, always great to be shoulder-to-shoulder with Laird, and "Proboscis" is an outstanding piece of work.

Also, editors Ellen Datlow and Paula Guran emailed with a little history of horror's Best ofs. Here's a chunk from Paula's email (i.e. ring the bell, school's in, sucka):

"Prime did a Horror: The Best of the Year: 2006 (Wallace & Betancourt) and for 2007; Stefan Dziemianowicz was supposed to do 2008, but that didn't ever get published. So there were two years that there were three.

"Otherwise: Year’s Best Horror Stories was done by Gerald W. Page from 1976 to 1979, and Karl Edward Wagner from 1980 to 1994. Ellen's (and Terri & then Gavin & Kelly) Year's Best Fantasy and Horror ran 1988-2008, then her Best Horror of the Year started 2009, so this year is her third. Stephen Jones's Mammoth Book of Best New Horror started 1990 (with Ramsey co-editing first six). SO -- there were at least three or four years those three overlapped.

"Yeah, as Ellen said I think there have been stories that went threesies--maybe more... if you count year's best sf and/or f compilations. Of course I don't consider mine "horror"... it really is dark fantasy, but since I include non-supernatural stuff "horror" is in the title, too. Right now Strahan does The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy; Rich Horton does The Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy and, of course, Gardner is still King o' the YBSF. Hartwell & Cramer still do Year's Best SF, and I think they still do YB Fantasy."

Of course, I like Paula's other comment best -- "However you look at it, you are singular." Which I guess puts the rubber stamp to the whole deal (i.e. you can't argue with a lady who's right; not even a little bit).



Ace editor Paula Guran came knocking and I dropped a tale ("Three Doors") in her treat bag. P's compiled a great lineup for this forthcoming anthology... and I'm intrigued by the Lovecraft piece. I have no idea what that is.

Edited by Paula Guran
Prime Books
ISBN: 978-1-60701-283-2
480 pages | trade paperback |$14.95
September 2011

Shivers and spirits . . . the mystical and macabre . . .
our darkest fears and sweetest fantasies . . .
the fun and frivolity of tricks, treats, festivities, and masquerades.

Halloween is a holiday filled with both delight and dread, beloved by youngsters and adults alike.
Celebrate the most magical season of the year with this sensational treasury of seasonal tales—spooky, suspenseful, terrifying, or teasing—harvested from a multitude of master storytellers.

The October Game: Ray Bradbury
Tessellations: Gary Braunbeck
Memories: Peter Crowther
Auntie Elspeth's Halloween Story (or The Gourd, The Bad, And The Ugly): Esther Friesner
Struwwelpeter: Glen Hirshberg
Pranks: Nina Kiriki Hoffman
By the Book: Nancy Holder
The Sticks: Charlee Jacob
Riding Bitch: K.W. Jeter
At the Reef: Caitlin R. Kiernan
Memories of el Dia de los Muertos: Nancy Kilpatrick
The Great Pumpkin Arrives At Last: Sarah Langan
On a Dark October: Joe R. Lansdale
Conversations in a Dead Language: Thomas Ligotti
Universal Soldier: Charles De Lint
Hallowe’en in a Suburb: HP Lovecraft
Pumpkin Night: Gary McMahon
The Halloween Man: William F. Nolan
Monsters: Stewart O'Nan
Three Doors: Norman Partridge
Hornets: Al Sarrantonio
Night Out: Tina Rath
Mask Game: John Shirley
Pork Pie Hat: Peter Straub
Halloween Street & Tricks and Treats: Steve Rasnic Tem
The November Game: F. Paul Wilson
Sugar Skulls: Chelsea Quinn Yarbro



I'm pleased to pass on word that "Lesser Demons" will appear in another Lovecraftian anthology, New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird edited by Paula Guran and coming from Prime Books in November. From the description:

“That is not dead which can eternal lie, yet with stranger aeons, even Death may die.”

For more than eighty years H.P. Lovecraft has inspired writers of supernatural fiction, artists, musicians, filmmakers, and gaming. His themes of cosmic indifference, the utter insignificance of humankind, minds invaded by the alien, and the horrors of history — written with a pervasive atmosphere of unexplainable dread — today remain not only viable motifs, but are more relevant than ever as we explore the mysteries of a universe in which our planet is infinitesimal and climatic change is overwhelming it.

In the first decade of the twenty-first century the best supernatural writers no longer imitate Lovecraft, but they are profoundly influenced by the genre and the mythos he created. New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird presents some of the best of this new Lovecraftian fiction — bizarre, subtle, atmospheric, metaphysical, psychological, filled with strange creatures and stranger characters — eldritch, unsettling, evocative, and darkly appealing . . .

The Crevasse: Dale Bailey & Nathan Ballingrud
Old Virginia: Laird Barron
Shoggoths in Bloom: Elizabeth Bear
Mongoose: Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette
The Oram County Whoosit: Steve Duffy
Study in Emerald: Neil Gaiman
Grinding Rock: Cody Goodfellow
Pickman’s Other Model (1929): Caitlin Kiernan
The Disciple: David Barr Kirtley
The Vicar of R'lyeh: Marc Laidlaw
Mr Gaunt: John Langan
Take Me to the River: Paul McAuley
The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft: Nick Mamatas & Tim Pratt
Details: China Mieville
Bringing Helena Back: Sarah Monette
Another Fish Story: Kim Newman
Lesser Demons: Norman Partridge
Cold Water Survival: Holly Phillips
Head Music: Lon Prater
Bad Sushi: Cherie Priest
The Fungal Stain: W.H. Pugmire
Tsathoggua: Michael Shea
Buried in the Sky: John Shirley
Fair Exchange: Michael Marshall Smith
The Essayist in the Wilderness: William Browning Spencer
A Colder War: Charles Stross
The Great White Bed: Don Webb



Fantasy Book Critic weighs in on "Vampire Lake," my novella in the forthcoming anthology, Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2:

"One complaint I had about the first Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy was the anthology's lack of horror. As a result, I was pleased to see Norman Partridge in the new volume. After all, the author is considered a master of dark fiction, and after reading "Vampire Lake," it's easy to see why. Combining horror and fantasy within a gritty Western setting -- think Jonah Hex meets Preacher meets John Carpenter -- Norman Partridge's unapologetically dark, violent and bloody tale about a bounty killer, a blacksmith, a dynamite man, a preacher and a boy who possesses the second sight, and their suicidal quest to reach Vampire Lake and the vampire queen that resides there, is wickedly entertaining. Easily my favorite story in the anthology."


04/06/11 - THREE FOR THREE

Not only was my novella "Lesser Demons"the title story in my most recent Subpress collection, it was also published in S. T. Joshi's Lovecraftian anthology (Black Wings) pretty much simultaneously. Now comes the good news that my tale of a monster-hunting sheriff trapped in a (definitely) hostile environment has been chosen for all three of the genre's Best of compilations: Ellen Datlow's Best Horror of the Year, Paula Guran's Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, and Stephen Jones' Mammoth Book of Best New Horror.

Don't know if anyone has ever scored this kind of three-fer with the same story in any given year, with these editors or others who've edited Best of Horror anthologies. When I started out, Ellen and Steve each had a series going, and so did Karl Edward Wagner. Now Paula's the new kid on the block.

Anyway, it seems there have always been two or three different series going. Either way, I'm very pleased with this news... and if anyone knows if this is a landmark, shoot me an email and let me know. Or if other writers have done this with the same story, let me know that, too. I'm all about the esoteric knowledge -- send me some.



We've got the classic cover from a favorite paperback of mine: Robert Bloch's Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper. I'm pleased to announce that another book of the same title is coming later this year from Subterranean Press (check out the details here). I had the pleasure of writing the introduction for this one, in which I had a chance to share my own tale of encountering Bloch's signature Ripper story for the first time, plus recount my adventure meeting the man himself years later. That was fun. So is the SubPress Yours Truly collection. This one features all of Bloch's Ripper fiction plus a pair of essays by the man himself. And yep -- it's also got Bloch's classic Star Trek script for "Wolf in the Fold," the Original Series episode in which Scotty is suspected of being a futuristic RedJack. Not to mention that the new collection will have a J. K. Potter cover. All that all adds up to a bucketful of cool, if you ask me.


03/25/11 - BEST HORROR 3 COVER

Editor Ellen Datlow posted the cover for her forthcoming Night Shade anthology, The Best Horror of the Year, Volume 3. This one includes my novella, "Lesser Demons," and it'll be out this June. As always with Ellen's books, I'm looking forward to this one as a reader (and this time out, as a contributor, too).



Just got my contributor's copy of this new Joe Lansdale anthology, featuring my tale "The Mojave Two-Step." Also spotted a new review of same over at Horror World, spotlighting "Mojave" for praise. Nice way to start the morning.

I've got to admit I'm one of those readers who always flips to the author bios before I start reading an antho. I just can't help myself. I'm the same with story notes. Best unknown tidbit in Crucified Dreams so far: Noir master Tom Piccirilli apparently co-authored a book of lit crit called Deconstructing Tolkein... which makes me wonder what other secrets Pic's been hiding from me. C'mon, Tommy. Give 'em up, and while you're at it answer this question for me: Who'd win in a fight between Aragorn and Robert Mitchum?

My own bio takes a little bit of a wrong turn, though. It puts me on the map as a San Francisco guy, but I'm born and bred in the North Bay (Vallejo), now living over the hill from Oakland in Lafayette. In other words, I'm not a big city guy. I need some hills around. We've still got a few of those here. We even have a few cows on 'em. About five miles from my house there's a redwood grove that makes you feel like you're a couple hundred miles up the coast, somewhere between Eureka and Crescent City. And last year I spotted a coyote while out on a walk. All that works for me just fine.



Paula Guran has slapped a Cthulhu-sized bear-trap on "Lesser Demons,"grabbing the tale for The Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2011. In my book that's good news times two, because Ellen Datlow chose the same novella for her own Best Horror of the Year compilation just a few weeks ago.

Conclusion? I guess I should write stories about monster-killing sociopathic sheriffs more often.

Here's the complete TOC for Ms. G's anthology:

How Bria Died: Michael Aronovitz
Frumpy Little Beat Girl: Peter Atkins
The Broadsword: Laird Barron
Thimbleriggery and Fledglings: Steve Berman
The Dog King: Holly Black
Tragic Life Stories: Steve Duffy
The Thing About Cassandra: Neil Gaiman
He Said, Laughing: Simon R. Green
Hurt Me: M.L.N. Hanover
Oaks Park: M.K. Hobson
Crawlspace: Stephen Graham Jones
Red as Red: Caitlín R. Kiernan
Mother Urban’s Booke of Dayes: Jay Lake
A Thousand Flowers: Margo Lanagan
Are You Trying To Tell Me This Is Heaven?: Sarah Langan
The Stars Are Falling: Joe R. Lansdale
Sea Warg: Tanith Lee
The Mystery Knight: George R.R. Martin
The Naturalist: Maureen McHugh
Raise Your Hand If You’re Dead: John Shirley
Lesser Demons: Norman Partridge
Parallel Lines: Tim Powers
The Moon Will Look Strange: Lynda E. Rucker
You Dream: Ekaterina Sedia
Red Blues: Michael Skeet
Brisneyland at Night: Angela Slatter
Malleus, Incus, Stapes: Sarah Totton
The Return: S.D. Tullis
The Dire Wolf: Genevieve Valentine
The Things: Peter Watts
Bloodsport: Gene Wolfe



This anthology of western noir is coming soon from editors Ed Gorman, Dave Zeltserman, and Martin H. Greenberg courtesy of the fine folks at Cemetery Dance. My story "Durston" is included, and it's in dangerous company. You can check out the full Table of Contents over at the Cemetery Dance site.

A few words about the tale itself: On rare occasions, lightning strikes. This was one of them. Ace writer/editor Ed Gorman asked me for a hardboiled western with a brutal, noirish bent, and the opening of "Durston" came to me as soon as I sat down at the computer. From there it was a race to type fast enough to tell the story without forgetting any of it. Even better, "Durston" was one of those stories that hit the page at final-draft quality. I wish every story went like that. I'd wear out a lot more keyboards if they did.



"Vampire Lake" has snagged Lois Tilton's Good Story Award in her latest Short Fiction column over at Locus. In part, Tilton says of my forthcoming novella in Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2: "This is it. In many anthologies there is a standout story, one that readers will always recall when the book comes to mind. ["Vampire Lake"] is the longest, darkest tale in the book, a dark dark fantasy in the Western mode... There is more than spatter here, there is hemorrhage. There is horror."

Tilton also makes an interesting point about the Weird Western, writing that it's a subgenre which "not only tolerates but encourages hyperbole and highly-colored language." Which, in truth, is one of the major attractions for me. Stories like "Vampire Lake," "Durston" (in Lesser Demons), and "The Bars on Satan's Jailhouse" were flatout fun to write, allowing me to bust off the cinches more than a little bit and go for it.

I like that... and it's just one reason I'll be writing more Weird Westerns.


02/22/11 - CREATURES!

Editors John Langan and Paul Tremblay have popped the cork on a forthcoming anthology, releasing the Table of Contents for Creatures! Thirty Years of Monster Stories. The nitty gritty runs like this: twenty-six tales, 150,000 words, coming at you in trade paperback from Prime Books ($14.95). I don't have a release date yet, but will let you know when I get word.

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to this one. Hey, it's got a Jeff Ford story I haven't read (an Island of Dr. Moreau piece, at that), plus a Creature from the Black Lagoon tale. That's enough to get me to dig in, right there.

Godzilla's Twelve-Step Program: Joe R. Lansdale
The Creature from the Black Lagoon: Jim Shepard
After Moreau: Jeffrey Ford
Among Their Bright Eyes: Alaya Dawn Johnson
Under Cover of Night: Christopher Golden
The Kraken: Mike Kelly
Underneath Me, Steady Air: Carrie Laben

Rawhead Rex: Clive Barker
Wishbones: Cherie Priest
The Hollow Man: Norman Partridge
Not from Around Here: David J. Schow
The Ropy Thing: Al Sarrantonio
The Third Bear: Jeff Vandermeer

Monster: Kelly Link
Keep Calm and Carillon: Genevieve Valentine
The Deep End: Robert R. McCammon
The Serpent and the Hatchet Gang: F. Brett Cox
Blood Makes Noise: Gemma Files
The Machine Is Perfect, the Engineer Is Nobody: Brett Alexander Savory
Proboscis: Laird Barron

Familiar: China Mieville
Replacements: Lisa Tuttle
Little Monsters: Stephen Graham Jones
The Changeling: Sarah Langan
The Monsters of Heaven: Nathan Ballingrud
Absolute Zero: Nadia Bulkin



Just had word from ace editor Ellen Datlow that "Lesser Demons" (the title story from my last SubPress collection) is included in this compilation. This latest volume of Ellen's Best Horror reboot series clocks in at 140,000 words (a little more robust than the previous two), and it will be coming at you later this year from Night Shade Books. Anyway, great to be shoulder-to-shoulder with so many talented writers, some of whom (I'm lucky to say) I also count as friends. Not that I'll name names -- you can check out the complete Table of Contents below, and make your own guesses on that score.

Only a couple comments now: Langan in there twice? What a literary brute that guy is. And Cody Goodfellow leading the pack? Nice going, pard... but no resting on your laurels, Cody -- slap leather, and go write another!

At the Riding School: Cody Goodfellow
Mr. Pigsny: Reggie Oliver
City of the Dog: John Langan
Just Outside Our Windows, Deep Inside Our Walls: Brian Hodge
Lesser Demons: Norman Partridge
When the Zombies Win: Karina Sumner-Smith
-30-: Laird Barron
Fallen Boys: Mark Morris
Was She Wicked? Was She Good?: M. Rickert
The Fear: Richard Harland
Till the Morning Comes: Stephen Graham Jones
Shomer: Glen Hirshberg
Oh I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside: Christopher Fowler
The Obscure Bird: Nicholas Royle
Transfiguration: Richard Christian Matheson
The Days of Flaming Motorcycles: Catherynne M. Valente
The Folding Man: Joe R. Lansdale
Just Another Desert Night With Blood: Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.
Black and White Sky: Tanith Lee
At Night When the Demons Come: Ray Cluley
The Revel: John Langan



Comin' at ya this February, a new anthology from Joe R. Lansdale and Tachyon Books. Crucified Dreams looks like another great compilation from Hisownself, and I'm proud to be part of it.

Introduction: Joe R. Lansdale
The Whimper of Whipped Dogs: Harlan Ellison
The Monster: Joe Haldeman
The Mojave Two-Step: Norman Partridge
Front Man: David Morrell
Interrogation B: Charlie Huston
The Quickening: Michael Bishop
The Evening and the Morning and the Night: Octavia E. Butler
Love in Vain: Lewis Shiner
Beast of the Heartland: Lucius Shepard
Coffins on the River: Jeffrey Ford
Game Night at the Fox and Goose: Karen Joy Fowler
Copping Squid: Michael Shea
Access Fantasy: Jonathan Lethem
Singing on a Star: Ellen Klages
Quitters, Inc:. Stephen King
Nightbeat: Neal Barrett, Jr.
Window: Bob Leman
The Pit: Joe R. Lansdale
Loss: Tom Piccirilli



Here's a little reprint news on a couple of stories that just won't die. The Best Paranormal Crime Stories Ever Told just hit the porch here at Casa Partridge courtesy of editors Marty Greenberg and John Helfers. This one includes my novella, "Road Dogs," a bad patch of desert noir with a werewolf in there among the cactus. So load up your silver bullets and come along for the ride, pardner.

Also, "The Hollow Man" has been picked up by John Langan and Paul Tremblay for the forthcoming Creature! Thirty Years of Monster Stories from Prime Books. This one will include tales from Joe Lansdale, Kelly Link, China Mieville, and David forkin' Schow (!). In other words, I'm really looking forward to reading it, and I hope you feel the same.



There's a great new review of my short story collection Lesser Demons over at the Cemetery Dance website. In part, Jason Ridler has this to say: "...Partridge is free range writer of fiction, a mercenary of genre stories that range from the gentle and atmospheric to the true grit of the fiction he's best known for, hard-boiled horror. With an equal love of horror and rugged literature, the influences etched on his sleeve range from Ray Bradbury to Lee Marvin, Poe to Peckinpah, and his body of work, from novels, to short stories, should sit comfortably on the shelf of any fan of Joe Lansdale, Richard Matheson, or John Skipp."

Of course, that's the kind of review that's a definite day-maker, but apart from that it's got me wondering what would have happened if Mssrs. Poe and Peckinpah had managed to get together and uncork a bottle or two...



Good news for all of you who preordered the limited or lettered edition of Oktober Shadows from Cemetery Dance during the four-day window when the book was available -- we've got a couple of great artists involved in the project, and we're ready to announce them now.

First off, Jon Foster will be doing the cover. If you've seen the piece Jon did for my novel Dark Harvest (above), you'll understand why he's one of my absolute favorites. His work is flatout amazing. And while it's the oldest line in the book, it's true: I really can't wait to see what Jon comes up with for Oktober Shadows. Just imagine: a Jon Foster cover for a novella about a WWI soldier battling his way through a world inhabited by werewolves, vampires, and other assorted dead things? I can tell you that it will be a keeper before the brush even hits the canvas.

Just as exciting: Glenn Chadbourne will be doing interior illustrations for the project. A Cemetery Dance-favorite, Glenn's the talented artist behind the amazing Stephen King collections, The Secretary of Dreams, Volume One and Volume Two. This is my first time working with Glenn, and I'm looking forward to it. I've admired his work for a long time -- since he illustrated a tale ("The Kiss") written by my bride, Tia Travis, for the anthology Subterranean Gallery -- and it's great to have him on board for Oktober Shadows.



...with a new interview over at Cemetery Dance. I had fun talking to Joe Howe about Halloweens past and present, the novella market, and upcoming Norm Partridge projects. Check 'er out.

While I'm at it, this is the kind of content you'll get if you subscribe to the Cemetery Dance Insider newsletter. If you're not already getting that, you might want to sign up. It's a great way to stay informed about my upcoming projects with CD -- and the best way to get a virtual head's up about limited-time offers like Oktober Shadows.

And: you will want to stay tuned. Just saying...



Thought I'd take a minute and pass on the limitation numbers for the special Cemetery Dance limited and lettered hardcover editions of Oktober Shadows, determined by the orders that came in last weekend:

Limited Edition: 586
Lettered Edition: 52

A few notes: the Limited Edition will be bound in full-cloth and Smyth sewn, and the Lettered Edition will be traycased and bound in leather with a satin ribbon page marker. Both editions will be signed. But that's just the tip of the iceberg with this one -- CD has some great art and production plans we'll announce later. Stay tuned.

And while I'm at it: thanks to all who preordered Oktober Shadows during the four-day window of availability. Rich and Brian at CD are very happy with the numbers, and Brian tells me they've never had such a good response to an offer with this short an ordering window. From my side of the fence, I appreciate you showing your support for my work with your hard-earned cash, and I hope you're as excited about the novella as I am. It'll be great to see Oktober Shadows between hard covers courtesy of the folks at Cemetery Dance.



Just wanted to check in and thank everyone who took a break from the candy corn and ordered a copy of my forthcoming Cemetery Dance novella, Oktober Shadows, over the weekend. I'm happy, the folks at CD are happy, and from the emails I've received it looks like you readers are happy, too.

Just to answer a few questions that have popped up:

  1. We don't have an exact number on the limitation of this project yet. I can tell you that all 52 lettered copies of the book have been sold, but the number of limiteds is still to be determined as the CD crew processes the orders that came in before the pre-order window closed on Monday.
  2. We're aiming for a publication date well-in-advance of next October. A factor in that will be how long it takes the artist to complete the work -- Rich and Brian are planning to include quite a few illos in this one.
  3. And when it comes to the artist, we might be talking artists. Been trading some emails with Brian about that today... so stay tuned.



The good folks at Cemetery Dance have just announced a new novella project from yours truly. It's called Oktober Shadows, and you can check out ordering info and details about the project right here. But a word of warning -- if this sounds like a book you might be interested in, don't wait to check it out. CD will only be accepting orders for the limited and lettered editions of Oktober Shadows for the next four days, with orders cutting off on Monday, November 1st. That means the print-run will be determined by the number of copies ordered -- so after Monday, that's it.

A little more about the book:

A lone man takes a wrong turn into another world... one with cobbled streets lit by Jack o' Lanterns, where all cats are black and monsters haunt the endless night. Werewolves prowl beneath a moon that is always full, and vampires feast in forgotten catacombs. Patchwork creatures stalk twisted forests where black roots dig into blacker soil.

This is Oktober, a dead land ruled by dead things. But Oktober has never seen a man like the soldier who has just cut a path through a river of poisonous fog. He's coming with a shotgun in his hands and a blood-stained Bowie knife strapped to his belt. Things are about to change in this darkest of worlds... and they will change forever.

Needless to say, I'm very excited about this project, and hope you will be, too. Great to taking another dance in the cemetery... and Happy Halloween!



Kevin Lucia of Shroud Magazine has weighed in with the first review of Johnny Halloween... and it's a great one. In part, Lucia writes:

"[Partridge's] ability to invoke the autumn-spiced magic of this season securely places him alongside writers such as Ray Bradbury and Al Sarrantonio; however, his edged, two-fisted noir sensibilities gives this celebrated autumn season an added punch, and because of this Partridge continually offers something new where others have merely tried to imitate."

Also: Brian Freeman tells me that copies of Johnny Halloween will be back from the printer before the official October 15th publication date. Cemetery Dance will begin shipping copies as soon as they arrive in the warehouse. If you haven't taken advantage of CD's offer of free shipping on preorders of the collection, click on over and do that soon.

Lastly, thanks to all who've already preordered Johnny Halloween. I appreciate it!



We’ve just posted a piece from the Subterranean Press edition of Mr. Fox and Other Feral Tales. Check out “The Care & Feeding of First Novels,” a true-life adventure featuring advice for aspiring writers, musings on the Betty & Bob horror novel boom of the nineties, zombies, and a guest appearance by Stephen King.



Just a head's up that Cemetery Dance picked up "The Roller Coaster's Heartbeat," my blog post from last weekend. It's over on their Advice For Writer's page, along with articles by folks like Tom Piccirilli, Tim Lebbon, Kealan Patrick Burke, and F. Paul Wilson. There's even another piece by some guy name Partridge -- "Dr. Frankenstein's Secrets of Style."

Anyway, if you're looking to break into the writing game, this is one page on the CD site you should bookmark. Good stuff there... and sound advice.



We've just posted an excerpt in the Free Fiction section from "The Iron Dead," an original novella that appears in my new SubPress short story collection, Lesser Demons. As I've mentioned before, "The Iron Dead" is a tribute to the classic pulps -- Weird Tales in particular -- and the kind of characters that were known as "weird heroes" back in the day. And while we don't meet the weird hero of "The Iron Dead" in this excerpt, we've included Kevin Nordstrom's rendering of Chaney, which I'm still digging mightily. Enjoy!


08/08/10 - DEMONS ON REVU

There's a new review of Lesser Demons over at SFRevu. In part, Drew Bittner has this to say about the collection:

"Norman Partridge delivers hard-hitting, visceral horror like a flurry of gut punches in Lesser Demons, a collection of dynamite short stories. Like Joe R. Lansdale and Howard Waldrop, the man has a knack for delivering powerhouse chills with an economy of language and a surgical precision... Strongly recommended."


08/03/10 - A SWARM OF LOCUS

The new issue of Locus has a great review of Lesser Demons, singling out my new novella, "The Iron Dead," for praise:

"The one previously unpublished story, 'The Iron Dead,' is a tour-de-force of narrative drive and imaginative horrors. Set during the Prohibition Era, it begins like a hardboiled crime story, with a truck full of rumrunners running afoul of a nemesis, but it quickly turns into something much more intriguing and imaginative as that nemesis reveals itself to be something horrifically alien. Partridge doesn’t waste time explaining it or its motives. Instead, he conjures a hero as weird and wild as the monsters, amps up the firepower, and draws gangsters and gunmen together in an uneasy alliance against an formidable mutual enemy. The story has the energy and audacity of a superhero comic, and would make one helluva graphic novel or movie adaptation. It’s Partridge firing on all cylinders, and it’s the perfect finish to this very fine compilation."

Can't ask for a better nod than that. There are a few copies of the limited edition of Lesser Demons still available from SubPress, or you can grab the trade edition over at Amazon (it's sold out from the publisher).



Just a reminder that the special preorder offer on Johnny Halloween at Cemetery Dance will be ending soon. Order the new collection before 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday, July 26th, and you'll get a $15 off coupon for a future order. If you're buying the signed limited edition, that's like getting the book for half the cover price.

While I'm at it -- thanks to all who've preordered the book, and thanks for the emails and the enthusiasm. Glad to hear you're looking forward to another Run with the October Boy, and (as always) I appreciate the good word.



Once upon a time, Cemetery Dance publisher Rich Chizmar called me up. "Write me a Halloween story for the magazine," he said. "But make it a dark suspense story."

"Do you want a mean one?" I asked.

"Sure. Make it as mean as you want."

So I did. The story was called "Johnny Halloween." It was about the kind of ghosts you can never outrun, and it appeared in Cemetery Dance alongside a Stephen King tale. Even so, folks noticed it. Especially editors. "Johnny Halloween" made it into Mystery Scene's Year's Finest 25 Crime and Mystery Stories, and I received several anthology invitations based on the tale's popularity.

Given that little slice of history, it's with great pleasure that I announce Johnny Halloween is back at Cemetery Dance, this time as the lead story in a special Halloween collection due this fall. Along with a fantastic Alex McVey cover, Johnny Halloween features a half-dozen tales of the darkest season, including a new story set in the world of Dark Harvest.

That's right. The October Boy returns in the pages of Johnny Halloween -- and this time he's got a shotgun and one bad döppelganger on his tail. There's also a brand new introduction and a nonfiction piece on the Zodiac Killer ("The Man Who Killed Halloween"). You can check out all the details right here, plus snag a $15 coupon for a future purchase if you preorder the book in the next seven days.

In the meantime, keep your eyes on the shadows. Listen for the whisper of that October wind. It's coming your way... and sooner than you might think.



There's a nice review of Lesser Demons over at the Shroud Magazine blog. In part, Kevin Lucia says:

"Like Bradbury's The October Country, Lesser Demons features stories of a wide and diverse nature, and Partridge himself displays a unique sense of lyricism. Also, for a collection of 'dark fiction', Partridge still manages to infuse several of his tales with hope and a sense of resolution, if not happy endings, which is hard to find in horror and noir fiction, something that makes enduring the darkness worthwhile."

In other news, I'll have a feature interview in the upcoming Halloween issue of Shroud, along with a surprise or two. Stay tuned...



Stomping On Yeti reviews "Red Rover, Red Rover," saying it might just be the best horror story the big albino beast has read this year. And hey, that kind of praise (and comparisons to Stephen King) are always guaranteed to make a writer's heart go pitty-pat. Gracias!

As for availability, "Red Rover, Red Rover" isn't in the trade edition of Lesser Demons, but it's the extra jolt of juice you get (in chapbook form) if you buy the limited edition, which you can still grab over at Subterranean Press.



Spotted a new review of Lesser Demons over at Dark Scribe Magazine. Writing in the style of a guy you might recognize, Blu Gilliand has this to say:

"Lesser Demons by Norman Partridge is a collection of tales as hard as sun-bleached bone and as sharp as Hell-forged steel. These are stories that dig deep into your gut, claw your heart out of your chest, and force you to watch as it shudders through its last desperate beats."

Well, there's a keeper image...and one I might just hijack someday. If you're interested in more, check out Blu's full review right Lesser Demons over at here.



Subterranean Press popped the cork on a great review of Lesser Demons today, courtesy of Booklist. Here's the word from the SubPress Newsletter:

Some of the demons in Norman Partridge's new collection may not be of the major variety, but as Booklist notes, there's nothing minor about Lesser Demons: "In the afterword to this collection, Partridge credits his lifelong love of fantasy and horror for a versatile writing style that has garnered three Bram Stoker awards. Before that remark, 10 finely calibrated, genrebending tales display his broad range, from dark detective fiction to equally dark western yarns...his gift for twisting genre conventions in surprising new ways is unsurpassed."

Also, I've had some emails asking about a mention in this week's Cemetery Dance Newsletter concerning a forthcoming novella project. And, yep, I can confirm that's a go, and I'll give you a little more detail while I'm at it. Johnny Halloween is a collection of my short Halloween fiction and nonfiction, and it will include a brand new novella set in the Dark Harvest universe which involves one of the characters from the novel. It's a bit of a prequel, and the title of the piece in "The Jack o' Lantern."

Anyway, this project is slated for publication in the fall, but hasn't been officially announced. Stay tuned. I'll drop some links as soon as ordering info goes live on the CD site.


03/22/10 - LIKE THE MUMMY SAID...

"That's a wrap." Last week I finished up the page proof corrections for Lesser Demons and shot them over to Bill Schafer at SubPress. That means the hatches are pretty much battened down on this book. Hoo-rah -- I can't wait until a box o' Demons lands on my doorstep. Front cover to back, I'm very pleased with this collection.

Also turned in correx for another book-length project with a different press. The publisher hasn't made an announcement yet, so right now (like Kharis) my lips are stitched.

And: had news that one of my stories, "The Mojave Two-Step," has been picked up for reprint in a Joe Lansdale anthology coming from Tachyon Publications in February 2011. This one isn't up for preorder yet, but publisher Jacob Weisman tells me that Crucified Dreams will be an antho of genre-busting noir tales in the Lansdale tradition, and I'm proud to be part of it.



We’ve just posted one of my personal favorites, “Red Right Hand,” in the Free Stuff section. Check it out…and while you’re at it, enjoy Kevin Nordstrom’s marvelous illo for the piece.


03/06/10 - BORN IN THE U.S.A.

Click on over and check out American Frankenstein, the new Norm Partridge blog. The first post (3/5/10) contains some very big personal news (in fact, I can’t imagine bigger—even though the package is kind of small!). In the weeks and months to come I’ll be updating frequently with writing news, thoughts on books and movies, tips for young writers, and tales from the writing trenches. Hope you’ll all enjoy this…I know I will.

And while I’m at it: a bucketful of gracias to tech-savvy librarian Sarah V for helping out with setup on this one. Not only do you lend a hand, you actually buy my books instead of asking for a freebee. That’s way past cool (i.e. frosty)!



Just heard from my editor Paul Stevens at Tor—Dark Harvest is scheduled for release as a mass-market paperback this October. The mass-market edition will feature the same great cover art by ace talent Jon Foster, so save some room on your bookshelf for this October Boy reboot. (And for those of you in the bookselling biz, the ISBN for this edition is 9780765358714.)

We’ve got some other Halloween news cooking—but nothing official to announce quite yet. Stay tuned…and listen for the rev of engines out there in the darkness.



Just received an advance of premiere horror critic/editor S. T. Joshi's review of Lesser Demons, which will appear in Dead Reckonings #7. It's a long piece, but I'll share a bit of it here:

“Norman Partridge has such a wealth of talent—a prose style of wondrous luminosity and grace; a narrative drive that carries the reader inexorably to the spectacular climax; an ability to convey violence and gruesomeness without the least suggestion of crudity or exploitation; and an imagination that opens new worlds to all who venture within his realm—that it will be engaging to chart his course in the future. Lesser Demons is one more building-block in what will be an impressive body of creative work that Partridge will leave to the future.”

That's the first review of the collection that I've seen. Nice way to start things rolling!



Good way to start the day--just spotted this great review of Dark Harvest over at Stomping On Yeti.


1/13/10 - THE FIFTH ACE

Yep. Let’s slap cards on the table. Philadelphia’s baddest crime writer weighs in on Lesser Demons:

“Any new book with the name ‘Norman Partridge’ on the front is cause for celebration. But hot damn—Lesser Demons is my favorite Partridge yet, fusing hardboiled, horror, pulp and suspense in bold new ways that should be illegal in some states. You need this book. You need this book now.”

--Duane Swierczynski
Author of Expiration Date



I have to admit that I hate asking writers and editors for blurbs. But as luck would have it, I love getting them. There’s nothing quite like getting the good word from someone you admire to make you want to push some extra chips out there on the table. And right now I feel like I’ve got four aces in my hand with these quotes for Lesser Demons, so here you go. Let’s ante up!

“Norman Partridge writes with the economy and power of a Noir master. His new story collection, Lesser Demons, displays his unique ability to give a reader all the kick-ass pleasure of pulp suspense and action along with vibrant, complex characters and deep insight into the mythic hearts of distinctly American Nightmares.”

--Jeffrey Ford
Author of The Shadow Year

“Norman Partridge pulls no punches whether he’s writing hard-boiled westerns, contemporary noir, or monster tales—often combined. His stories will take you on a helluva ride.”

--Ellen Datlow
Editor of Darkness: Two
Decades of Modern Horror

“Norm Partridge is an extraordinary storyteller and his welding of noir and horror has created a signature style renowned for its lean, sinewy power. Lesser Demons is a brutal and unsettling collection from an author who has begun to cast a long shadow across the field.”

--Laird Barron
Author of Occultation

“Norman Partridge writes as if the devil himself had a sawed-off shotgun pointed at his head. In Lesser Demons, he goes drag-racing hellbent-for-leather across the rich and bloody drive-in graveyard of pop culture that he claimed years ago, digging up Lovecraftian horrors and ’56 Chevys, bloodthirsty spiders and atomic-age giants with real human hearts. I loved this book.”

--Joe Schreiber
Author of Star Wars: Death Troopers



Art by Vincent Chong.

You don’t want to knock on that door, pardner.



The first real deal mummy I ever saw? That was at the Rosicrucian museum in San Jose, and the petrified fellow in question was a little chimp that made my eleven-year-old jaw drop the same way Kharis did when I watched those Universal movies. Add to that the Winchester Mystery House—a place advertised in intermission spots that ran at the local drive-in theater for ten years straight—and you could say that Silicon Valley’s central city definitely notched into the red on my personal strange-o-meter, even as a kid.

So San Jose seemed like a natural place for a fantasy convention. Tia and I made it down last week. Tia hit some panels, we talked writing biz with editors (and each other, which we sometimes don’t find time to do), and I recharged my creative battery by talking to other writers. Great to see my old buddy Jeff Mariotte (and his wife Maryelizabeth Hart), because Jeff has one of the driest senses of humor in the genre. Chatted with Gordon Van Gelder about old movie novelization pbs and Mexican wrestlers—laughter ensued. Saw John Klima, Cody Goodfellow, and John Skipp. Met S. T. Joshi for the first time, and editor Danel Olson, too—Danel gave Tia and I a fascinating virtual tour of Vlad the Impaler’s stomping grounds. Enjoyed quick visits with Ellen Datlow, Paula Guran, Peter Straub, John Helfers, and Stephen Jones, too.

Great to meet some writers I’ve only known from the other side of the page. That’s always the best part of a con for me—wandering around, bumping into someone whose work I’ve admired, and there goes the next hour. This year I met Jeff Ford and Laird Barron—two writers who definitely have a gift for making the clock spin too fast. Meaning, yep, I really wish I’d had more time to talk with both these gents, as they are genuine and talented in equal measures. Jeff shook my hand and said: “Norm Partridge. The Man With the Barbed-Wire Fists. I thought you’d be more wild-eyed.” You can’t beat moments like that. Also had a chance to say hello to Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. Had the pleasure of telling her those Charlie Grant Shadows anthologies she often appeared in were like textbooks for me. What a gracious lady, and a real pro’s pro (and thanks for the intro, Paula—nice to know I’m still capable of a fanboy moment).

Spent some facetime with my old buddy Bill Schafer and the SubPress crew. Amazing to watch Bill operate for three days on Excedrin and bagels. Hung out with Jason and Jeremy of Night Shade Books (who provided not only signature Night Shade beer plus a box of hard- and soft-cover swag; and all they got in return was a full-on Muhammad Ali impression, which I am proud to say spelled KO 1 for both of ’em [I’ll admit they were in a weakened condition]). Somewhere in there I ran into Jeff Conner, too—the guy who not only edited my Crow novel Wicked Prayer, but is in part responsible for getting me interested in writing. Way back when, Jeff’s Scream Press Dennis Etchison collections were the first small press books I ever tracked down. They led me to a little Berkeley bookstore called Dark Carnival, where I discovered a whole lot of choice writers and books. So, in a way, I guess I should blame Jeff every time I have to buy a new bookcase.

Anyway—great weekend. Congrats are due to Jeff Ford, who picked up two World Fantasy awards over the weekend. Me, I’ve decided that I need to attend cons more often. I’m thinking about hitting World Fantasy in Columbus next year...I’ll have to see how things are going once the calendar flips a few more pages, but the spirit is definitely willing.


11/1/09 - SAWTOOTH JACK 2009

Tia and I made it home from the World Fantasy just in time for me to sharpen up my butcher knife and get to work. Here, for your edification and amusement, is the result of my efforts. It’s the one and only October Boy, the merciless trick with a heart made of treats, the butchering nightmare with the hacksaw face... the thing that’ll getcha so you know you’ve been got!

Hope you all had a great Halloween. We did, thanks to home-popped popcorn, Boris and Lon and ol’ Glenn Strange in House of Frankenstein, Don Knotts ghost-bustin’ in The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, and a few other old favorites. Now I’ve got to settle down and check back in a day or so for a con report. We had a great time.


10/25/09 - YOU LOOKIN’ FOR ME?

Yep. For those of you who have emailed, I will be at the World Fantasy Convention in San Jose. The Bride and I are arriving on Thursday and will be cutting out Saturday morning to get home in time for our annual Halloween movie marathon. Can’t miss the corndogs and home-popped popcorn. That’s the real deal.

I’m not doing any panels or readings, but feel free to say hello if you see me. Or check in with my buddies at the Night Shade Books table in the dealer’s room. They can probably point you in the right direction.



Lesser Demons is now up for preorder at the Subterranean Press website. Both the trade edition and the signed limited are available for preorder here. But if you want that extra-crunchy version, don’t hesitate. There will only be 250 of ’em, and I’m sure they’ll be spoken for before the book is released next April.

Great to be working with the folks at Sub on this one. As things develop we’ll have word on the special chapbook that accompanies the limited edition, the cover artist, and stay tuned.



I’ve turned around the page proofs for Lesser Demons, my forthcoming short story collection from Subterranean Press. Though the book isn’t up for preorder yet on the SubPress site, those among you looking for an early bargain can find it listed over at Amazon (along with the flap copy teaser). Currently the price is $16.50, and that ain’t bad at all.



...not with a match. But those of you with spiffy Kindle e-book readers can grab your plastic and order up copies of Dark Harvest right here.

And, hey, that’s definitely one way to light my fire.



Trading emails with SubPress honcho Bill Schafer about a prospective design for my next short story collection. Lesser Demons has a different vibe than my earlier work, and we’re working on a look that’ll fit the book just right.

Bill: “I kind of like [this one] because you haven’t had anything like it before. My only concern, which is a bit of an overstatement, is that it doesn’t look Shirley Jackson-ish.”

Norm: “C’mon, Bill: it looks EXACTLY like Shirley Jackson…working w/ a Makita Sawzall greased with testosterone!”

Which is how this book may read. Maybe. You guys can let me know in about six months.



This October will see the release of Between the Dark and the Daylight: and 27 More of the Best Crime and Mystery Stories of the Year, edited by Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg. This anthology includes “Road Dogs,” a mashup crime/werewolf story by yours truly which originally appeared in Subterranean Online. I’m also looking forward to the title story by my buddy Tom Piccirilli, which earned an International Thriller Writers Award nomination for Best Short Story. Don’t know how I missed reading that one, but I did. Just another reason I like contributor’s copies, amigo...



That’s the title of a new anthology of vampire stories just released by my buddies at Night Shade Books. It’s edited by John Joseph Adams, who brought you last year’s hallmark zombie anthology (and current World Fantasy Award nominee), The Living Dead.

My contribution is a personal favorite, “Do Not Hasten to Bid Me Adieu.” The tale features Quincey Morris, the unlikely cowboy you’ll remember from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and I originally sold it to Poppy Brite for Love in Vein. Still have the acceptance letter for that one. Poppy wrote: “...the story contains some of your best writing I’ve seen yet—the third paragraph on page 2, with the description of the West Texas night sky, choked me up with the sheer beauty of the prose in a way that only Lucius Shepard can usually do. Goddammit, Norman, you just write so goddamn pretty.”

Now that’s what you want to hear from an editor.

Anyway, Mr. Adams has whomped up a website for By Blood We Live. Click on over and you can check out “Do Not Hasten...” absolutely free for your reading pleasure, not to mention an interview with yours truly.



Been kicking emails back and forth with Subterranean Press Overlord Bill Schafer about my forthcoming short story collection, Lesser Demons. The manuscript will be off to the designer in the next couple of weeks, and the likely publication date is February or March of 2010. The book isn’t up for preorder yet on the Subterranean website, but keep your eyes peeled for it—and in the meantime, check out Subterranean Online, a very fine (and free) magazine.

I’ll have more to say about Lesser Demons in the coming months, but for now I’ll mention that this collection includes a 17,000 word original novella called “The Iron Dead.” This piece is a tribute to old school pulp heroes, and it’s basically the tale I would have submitted to Farnsworth Wright if I’d had a crack at him back in the glory days of Weird Tales. Stylistically, I brought my own game to the table, but at heart the piece is pure pulp, featuring bootleggers, monsters, and a bad man named Chaney. In other words, if any of you manage to slot a bookmark while reading it, I’ll be very upset.



Going over some proofing notes for a forthcoming book today, and came across this note:

p. 12 – “cojones” is italicized (I’m assuming b/c it’s Spanish) but then on the same page “frijoles” and “tortillas” are not.

These are the type of questions that keep writers awake at night. In other words, I actually had to think about this. I came to the following conclusion: if you’re apt to find a word on a menu—like frijoles or tortillas—no italics are necessary. But a word like cojones? Definitely not a menu word. That sucker needs italics.

Unless we’re talking Rocky Mountain cojones.

In which case I’d probably just eat somewhere else.



Well, not really, but I do have a story in Black Wings: New Tales of Lovecratian Horror, which is forthcoming from editor S. T. Joshi and PS Publishing.

My piece is called “Lesser Demons.” I’ll admit that it was a challenge for me, since the gentleman from Providence and I do have major differences in terms of worldview. Ultimately, those differences are what made writing the story interesting, and I hope you’ll enjoy the result. And since Pete Crowther of PS has fast-tracked this anthology for October publication, you won’t have long to wait.

Here’s the complete Table of Contents:

Foreword: Michael Marshall Smith
Introduction: S. T. Joshi
Pickman’s Other Model (1929): Caitlín R. Kiernan
Desert Dreams: Donald R. Burleson
Engravings: Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.
Copping Squid: Michael Shea
Passing Spirits: Sam Gafford
The Broadsword: Laird Barron
Usurped: William Browning Spencer
Denker’s Book: David J. Schow
Inhabitants of Wraithwood: W. H. Pugmire
The Dome: Mollie L. Burleson
Rotterdam: Nicholas Royle
Tempting Providence: Jonathan Thomas
Howling in the Dark: Darrell Schweitzer
The Truth about Pickman: Brian Stableford
Tunnels: Philip Haldeman
Violence, Child of Trust: Michael Cisco
Lesser Demons: Norman Partridge
The Correspondence of Cameron Thaddeus Nash: Ramsey Campbell
An Eldritch Matter: Adam Niswander
Susie: Jason Van Hollander



We thought we’d kick off a little reboot action here at the website with a free story, “The Hollow Man,” which most recently appeared in S. T. Joshi’s fine Penguin anthology, American Supernatural Tales.

“The Hollow Man” was written during a time when I was just beginning to find my way as a writer. Fact is, I think it may be the first really solid piece of work I turned out. I actually wrote it in college, when I was still making my first trip through the strongest tales from the Lovecraft/Howard era of weird fictioneers. And I’d probably be remiss if I didn’t mention that Jack London had a little bit to do with it, too—I’ve always loved “To Build a Fire,” not to mention some of London’s own weird tales (and there were more than a few of those—if you have any doubt, check out a London collection called Fantastic Tales, with an intro by none other than Philip José Farmer). Anyway, put all that on the boil, and that’s what cooked this one up in my brainpan.

Besides the tale, I hope you’ll enjoy the accompanying illustration as much as I do. It’s the work of a talented young gun, Kevin Nordstrom [ email | gallery ], who did a great illo of the October Boy for us awhile back. Kevin’s done covers for Marvel’s Epic Comics line and concept art for Wildstorm Comics, not to mention graphic art work for newspapers and custom design companies. Besides that, he’ll be illustrating some Norm Partridge stories for us here at the website, and we hope you’ll be looking forward to them as much as we do.


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