Well, it’s almost the end of 2012 and I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around what an incredible year it’s been. I may post this early. I will just post it today. Frees up the rest of my year to just read, write and spend time with family. I’ll add any big developments before New Years. There are probably a bunch of things I’m forgetting.
Last summer/fall, when my first novel (Nursery Rhymes 4 Dead Children) and first novella (Iron Butterflies Rust) came out, was a very surreal time. I had been striving to learn how to write well enough to sell my work for almost a decade. It was a relief to sign the contracts, to get my author copies in the mail and see them, to mail copies to my readers, to dedicate the books, to get some feedback and strive to learn more.
This year has been even better. I had a ton of work come out.
But it’s funny how we can roar but still feel like we aren’t doing enough. When I was talking to my buddy Shaun Ryan, which I do so much you’d think we were married, I remembered that I always feared dying young. Like I’d never make it to forty. I think it’s been in my subconscious, spurring me on to write every story taking up space in my heart as quickly as I can before the worms claim me, before the cold, damp earth is my pillow. I do want to leave something behind whether I die prematurely or whether I live as long as Ray Bradbury did. Something of substance, that has meaning for somebody other than myself. I don’t think it’s a lofty goal. I think all true artists, whether they’re successful or not, want to connect with other people and share the beautiful things they’ve seen, and the tragic times that have scarred them, and how the world has shaped them. As writers, or painters, or musicians we hold a mirror up to ourselves and the time we live in, and it’s not easy. We’re a very quiet voice that can easily be lost in a lot of white noise. But I see how important it is to try and keep trying. I’ve gained some wonderful fans. They might not know it but they know me through my work.
Narrator Matthew Stevens recorded my first audio bookNURSERY RHYMES 4 DEAD CHILDREN. We’ll also be working on the audio for the sequel THE DAMPNESS OF MOURNING after New Years.
I also had a local paper interview me, which was neat. Thanks to reporter Bill Petzold! That was a lot of fun and I found I enjoy being interviewed much more than I ever thought I would.
Some other highlights this year were meeting John Connolly, Lee Child, Michael Sears, Stanley Trollip, Les Edgerton, Michael Connelly, Michael Koryta and Sabrina Callahan at Bouchercon (The World Mystery Convention.) I don’t know that I would be the writer, or even person, I am, if not for the books my heroes have written.
Me and my hero John Connolly
Me and the awesome Lee Child
Some of my heroes (Tom Piccirilli, Jack Ketchum, Brian Hodge, Robert Dunbar) read my work in 2012 and gave me blurbs. Having your heroes read something of yours is one of the greatest feelings there is. It’s fireworks in your head and a sudden jolt to your heart. It’s quite dreamy.
Reviews, which I never get very many of, have really taken off this year. Especially on Goodreads, which is one of my favorite sites. I get to talk to fans on there, too, which has been wonderful. And one of the groups (Horror Aficionados) has invited me to be the guest author for January 2013. They’ll be reading my brutal novella WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL and we’ll all discuss it. Very neat, yeah? Thanks to Jason and Tressa for the opportunity!
Sales grow as my audience grows. Thanks so much to everybody who has been buying the work and spreading the word about it! Word of mouth is vital. It helps me when I feel like I can’t write worth shit and then I find a stranger who enjoyed something I wrote, which leads to me finding my balance again. To remember that, yes, I’m writing for me, but I’m also writing to connect with other people. It’s weird, but it’s good.
New novels… I wrote three novels this year (The Collected Songs of Sonnelion, The Lesser People, and The Wolverine) and got halfway through a fourth (Gossamer). I have ideas for the next ten books that will range between 70-90,000 words. All I have to do is write them. Easy. My goal is to write four novels a year. I tell myself to take it easy, don’t work so much, but it’s part of my nature. I am an obsessive and the work gives me purpose that life would be too depressing without sometimes.
I signed a three-book deal with Darkfuse/Delirium Books in December. I’m very excited about it since Shane Staley has been awesome to work with and he publishes what he believes in. I’m writing and turning in a standalone novel every March, which works out great too because I have a ton of novel ideas and nothing for novellas or short stories lately.
Since I am quite prolific when it comes to novels, and I write more than just Dark Fantasy, I’ve decided to use several pseudonyms. I’ll keep the Dark Fantasy under my name. Have the name Thomas Morgan for Heartbreaking Coming of Age tales with a Historical Thriller slant; James Logan for suspense fiction that is very tightly plotted but has more hopeful endings than all my other work; Julian Vaughn for novels that are more big-concept with a lot of heart/more touching than horrific.
I had a writer I met at the World Mystery Convention (Les Edgerton) refer me to his agent for the pen-named work after he read WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL. That was really nice of him and whether it works out or not, him trying to help me counts for a lot. I’m really not worried about it since all of my worry is that the books are what I want them to be.
I got to interview a bunch of my favorite writers here. They are amazing.
I sold a couple of short stories. The River to my favorite mag Shock Totem. It will be in issue #6 along with Jack Ketchum and interview with me! And The Most Mysterious Silence sold to Nameless Magazine, owned by Jason V. Brock who made a great documentary about Charles Beaumont.
Not the Final Cover
Tuesday’s Training, my weekly writing advice essays for novice writers, has been a lot of fun. I know it’s helped a few people. That’s nice. I had help too: from things I’ve read, questions I asked answered by people far busier and far more experienced than I am, and help just through the encouragement that comes in something as simple as a smile.
Thanks to the publishers who have put their faith in me, the writers who encourage me, the pre-readers who help so much by offering feedback I can’t come up with on my own, the fans who help pay my bills and continue to come back for more of my work. 2013 is going to be an even more incredible year, which is really hard to fathom. But it will be. What a life. Thanks for helping me live my dream! Now go buy all my books for your friends for Christmas!
People have their own hidden worlds inside them as young Red Piccirilli has learned through the tragic events of his past.
His parents try to protect him by moving the family to a dead-end road out of town, but their plan is short-lived when a mysterious old man who seems to have a history with Red’s mother comes knocking at their door.
Red is quickly thrust into a crossroads between worlds, where he will soon learn from a broken god how to harness his true power…
Very happy to announce the Kindle release of my novellaWITHIN THIS GARDEN WEEPING. This story can be read as a trippy surreal standalone, or if you read it afterBefore Leonora Wakes, you’ll see more of Red Piccirilli’s character arc that lead him to his actions in The Collected Songs of Sonnelion (which will be released in 2013, I believe.)
Many thanks to those who already snagged it and shared it with the other dark fiction lovers in their lives! I can’t stress how important word of mouth is, and how much I appreciate it since my success is largely due to die-hard readers like yourself.
Please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads! Thanks!
Also happy that my novella,WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL, thatJack Ketchumcalled “Hard as nails,” andTom Piccirilliread pre-pub and said, “Fuses both genres together in the turmoil of terror, tragedy, blood, guilt, and lost chances at redemption…” is kicking some ass. Having two of my biggest influences read my work and give me blurbs has definitely been a highpoint in my 2012. Have you read it yet?
“WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL is as crazy as its tormented protagonist. Hard as nails.”
– Jack Ketchum
I figure it never hurts to ask a hero if they have time to read something. And I like when they say they won’t blurb it unless they love it because I’m taking that same route. Anyway, Jack Ketchum read my latest book from Delirium, WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL, and I’m glad he enjoyed it! Thanks for taking the time Dallas!
So go grab a copy and give it a chance. The hardcovers are sold out but you can snag it on all the digital readers (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iPad, etc.) and add it on Goodreads.
Still recovering from his brush with the magical, Red Piccirilli’s parents move them out of town and down a dead-end road where they feel things will be safe and quiet for their son. But when a strange old man with an agenda visits Red’s mother, the boy is quickly thrust into another world. He’ll learn from a broken god how to harness the incredible power that has been lying dormant since his last encounter with Glory on the Green…
Within This Garden Weeping (the 2nd Red Piccirilli book) will be released digitally before the end of the year. Very exciting! It also features great artwork from Dani Serra. I love that guy! I have an idea for a graphic novel that I think I’ll run by him one day to see if we can team up. Yeah. Go team!
This is much darker than the first book,Before Leonora Wakes, but is crucial in Red’s character arc in the Division Mythos, and it also sets things up nicely for the third book, The Collected Songs of Sonnelion.
With my Historical/Thriller novel The Lesser People finished and in the hands of my buddies Shaun and Kevin, I’m working on a new novella called Gossamer, and finding the pivotal moments for the Michael Johnston novel She Collects Grave Nectar, which will be a badass book in the Division storyline.
Received my author copies of WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL. They’re very sweet and have some awesome artwork by Dani Serra. Mailing out copies today to a couple of my heroes and to my buddies who have been there for the whole long haul. This book is short and powerful. A look into love, loss, revenge, and overcompensating for what has already been lost. I like it.
It also came out on Kindle! So grab a copy for your Kindle quick, read it, review it, spread the word! It should be out in other digital formats soon!
Only four more chapters to go after this one! Thanks to everybody who has been following along so far. If you know anybody who enjoys dark literature, be sure to mention the serial! It’ll be up for a few weeks after the last chapter goes live on August 30th so time is limited. Make sure you check out the Delirium Book club, too!
In this Division Mythos novel, which is being serialized on Darkfuse’s website, Red Piccirilli has known madness and magic. They’re in his blood and bound to his soul as much as love and loss are. But when his family moves to the town of Division, Pennsylvania, his father grows distant, his mother troubled, and a murderer roams the countryside.
He searches for meaning and truth while battling his own darkness and rage and despair, but corpses whisper answers the dead only share with one another.
That’s right, we’re approaching the one year anniversary since Delirium Book’s released NURSERY RHYMES 4 DEAD CHILDREN. The official date is May 17th.
To be honest, it feels like five years have gone by since last summer.
So much has happened in the last twelve months (from the release of NR4DC to selling 7 other books and now working on this serial novel THE COLLECTED SONGS OF SONNELION.) Those close to me know how often I’ve talked about how surreal it is to toil away for nearly a decade without any validation, and then for the scales to tip in my favor where everything I’m writing is selling within a matter of months. I’m guessing it’s somewhat like parents who want to birth a child so bad and they try for years, and they lose some along the way, and a lot of their hope and pride with it, until one day the miracle happens. Totally unexpected. Sometimes when they’re at their lowest point because they’ve already convinced themselves they’re not worthy or not good enough or it’s not meant to be. Like them, secretly I felt like a failure and every little quip from family just burned the hell out of me. Partly because I didn’t want to admit they might be right, partly because I knew from other ventures that if you want something bad enough you do whatever it takes to improve. And before you know it you start growing by leaps and bounds, and it’s only once you pause to look back at the tracks you’ve left in the sand that you truly see how far you’ve come.
The good news for a fiction writer is that there is no finish line. We do this until we die and if we’re fortunate enough maybe the work will live on a while after us. Maybe someone who read a novel of ours rereads it decades later and they get that glow of nostalgia in their eyes as they remember what was going on in their life the first time they read said book. If we’re going to dream, why not dream big?
It’s still surreal, especially since things have been snowballing since the summer of 2011. And I know I’m very fortunate that Shane Ryan Staley saw something special in my work and he has been so willing to help me and my career. I owe him a lot for that even though he’s the one cutting the checks. And I’ve had tons of others support me and make this dream work–editors, readers, heroes, writers, reviewers–who have helped give my career legs and taught it to walk. I thank a lot of them in the acknowledgements of books, some in dedications.
Sometimes it’s difficult to slow down when you feel like you’re building steam. It’s so easy to get caught up in the rush when you have news to share every week or every other. And sometimes I felt as if I’d burn out because the stories were burning up inside me, my past and every decision I’ve ever made, every thing I’ve ever seen, howled and sought release.
After we write and sell eight or ten books we think, Hey, time is really flying by. I wish there was a way to slow it and appreciate each little success fully, but the wind that carries us keeps roaring and the drive and hunger hurt if we don’t tend them.
I’m guessing it’ll burn me up one day. I’ve always had an all-or-nothing personality.
Five years from now I’ll probably have thirty books sold and released and hopefully entertaining some and making others feel and others dream all kinds of dreams. We’ll see.
All I know is I have a lot to learn yet, but learning gets easier when we enjoy most of the process.
What are your dreams? How are you going to go about making them come true?
Red Piccirilli has known madness and magic. They’re in his blood and bound to his soul. But when his family moves to the town of Division, Pennsylvania, his father grows distant, his mother troubled, and a murderer roams the countryside.
He searches for answers while battling his own darkness, rage and despair, but corpses whisper secrets only the dead can discover.
A big thanks to those who came to the live event and asked questions, participated in the polls, and won some great prizes! You all made it a wonderful night! And thanks to my publisher Shane Ryan Staley and his marketing director Dave Thomas for putting the event together!
All right! The first five chapters of my Division novel THE COLLECTED SONGS OF SONNELION are up on Darkfuse’s website. Give them a read, let me know what you think, and spread the word to anybody who enjoys well-written dark fiction.
"10 out of 10 Stars... GOSSAMER: A TALE OF LOVE AND TRAGEDY will blow you away my friends. It is that good." -- Peter Schwotzer/Famous Monsters of Filmland.
"WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL is as crazy as its tormented protagonist. Hard as nails." -- Jack Ketchum, author of The Woman.
"Lee Thompson knows his horror-noir. He fuses both genres together in the turmoil of terror, tragedy, blood, guilt, and lost chances at redemption."--Tom Piccirilli, author of THE LAST KIND WORDS
"The Dampness Of Mourning is taut, tough, and terrifying..." -- Brian Hodge, author of Picking The Bones
“The Dampness of Mourning is a riveting thriller." --Midwest Book Review
"Thompson’s voice is his own — strong, hypnotic, and unsettling--grabs you by the balls and rips them right off, breaking your heart and your psyche in the process.” -- Brian Keene, author of Ghoul, Dark Hollow and The Rising
"Brooding, soulful, haunted." -- Robert Dunbar, author of Willy and Martyrs & Monsters