December 28, 2006:
HEART-SHAPED BOX caught another favorable review, this time over on Dread Central. So that was a nice way to wrap up the year.
My favorite new internet distraction is LibraryThing, which I first read about over on Neil Gaiman's blog. LibraryThing is an internet cataloging service; you list with them the books you own, and based on your tastes, LT will recommend other reads, point out interesting facts about your reading habit, help you find or start an online book group, and so on. One of my favorite features is AUTHOR CLOUD, which shows in very simple visual terms, which writers are best represented in your own personal library. (For me, AUTHOR CLOUD really does represent a key to the writers who have made the deepest impressions on me)
I've been making annual lists of my favorite books since 1990 – sad and compulsive, I know, but there you are – and after starting a LibraryThing account, I put all of them up there. So if you want to see a list of my favorite ten books from the year I was 18, you know, now you can.
Starting January first, I'll be using LibraryThing to make note of all the books I read in 2007... thus revealing to the world how little I actually manage to get read, and the depressingly narrow range of my tastes. Don't expect to see me rating these books, however. First, because I don't want to give some book by Jonathan Franzen one star, and then get a heap of e-mails from a mob of angry Franzen fans reminding me that there’s more literary talent in his used rubbers than there is my entire body. Also, I don’t want to publicly rate books by friends, for obvious reasons.
All this is by way of telling you, if you haven't tried LibraryThing yet, come on in, the water's great.
Other than that, just want to say happy holidays all. I hope your 2006 was as good as mine; let’s reload and do it again next year.
December 15, 2006:
HEART-SHAPED BOX isn't out yet, but the first reviews are, and I'm relieved to say they're good ones. Publishers Weekly and The Library Journal each gave the book a star and had lots of nice things to say. You can read the PW review, in its entirety, over at Amazon. The Journal review is available online to subscribers.
I try and take a relaxed attitude about reviews – inevitably someone is going to be turned off by what you're doing, so there’s no point in taking a bad one personally – but I'm pleased that the first couple are in the plus column.
Does looking at that make you want to say "Ich liebe es!" or words to that effect? Hope so... it's the German cover of HEART-SHAPED BOX (Heyne). The title, by the way, translates to, uh, BLIND. They don’t have heart-shaped boxes in Germany, Valentine's day not being a thing over there. If they had translated my title literally, most readers would’ve thought the book was about a heart-transplant container, and HEART-SHAPED BOX would be at risk of getting filed under medical reference instead of fiction. Which would be kind of funny actually.
My thanks to translator Wolfgang Mueller, and everyone else at Heyne, for all their hard work on the German edition of HEART-SHAPED BOX. German readers ought to see the book by mid-February, 2007, right around the same time it's released over here in the States.
Okay, that’s probably enough words out of me for a while. But if you still haven’t had enough of my talk, a while back I did an interview with Locus magazine, and now they’re offering copies of that issue, postage free, to those with an interest. Click the preview below to order.
November 14, 2006:
I wasn't able to make it to the World Fantasy Awards in Austin this year, was traveling abroad at the time, on a family vacation to Easter Island. And boy, we saw the strangest thing while we were out hiking around...
Huge thanks to the WFA judges for naming "Voluntary Committal" best novella, and giving me the coolest looking literary prize out there, the Gahan-Wilson designed HP Lovecraft head.
It may be trite to say, but winning a World Fantasy Award has been a dream of mine for a long time, and I’m tremendously grateful and honored to have received one. Congrats as well, to the winners in the other categories, and to everyone who made the final ballot.
Here's the complete list of this year’s winners:
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
"CommComm" by George Saunders
The Fair Folk, ed. Marvin Kaye
The Keyhole Opera by Bruce Holland Rogers
SPECIAL AWARD, PROFESSIONAL:
Sean Wallace, editor, Prime Books
SPECIAL AWARD, NON-PROFESSIONAL:
David Howe & Stephen Walker, Telos Books
The endless flight back from Easter Island wasn't an easy one – what is it with me and planes lately? I mean, just look at what happened to us while we were passing over New York:
It turns out thanks are also due to the judges of the 2006 International Horror Guild Awards, for voting 20th CENTURY GHOSTS the best collection of the year.
The opening story in 20th CENTURY GHOSTS concerns the editor of a year's best horror anthology, who goes on a quixotic quest to find the elusive author of a frightening and unlikely short story. In the course of his travels, my hero winds up at a convention, speaking on a panel about scary short stories. He says that since all fiction is make-believe, fantasy is more honest (and valid) than realism. And since fiction derives all its power from suspense, horror fiction is literature in its rawest, most intense state. I believe that myself, and so I can’t understate how much I appreciate my IHG award.
NOVEL: Lunar Park by Brett Easton Ellis
SHORT FICTION: "There’s A Hole In The City" by Rick Bowes
MID-LENGTH FICTION: "La Peau Verte" by Caitlin Kiernan
LONG FICTION: "Kiss of the Mudman" by Gary Braunbeck
PERIODICAL: Postscripts, ed. Pete Crowther (yay Pete!)
NON-FICTION: Supernatural Literature of the World, ed. S.T. Joshi & Stefan Dziemianowicz
ART: Clive Barker for Visions of Heaven And Hell (And Then Some) an Exhibition.
Apologies to anyone who may have e-mailed me in the last few weeks, and not heard back. For some reason yet to be determined, I'm not getting about half my messages. Hopefully I'll be able to sort the problem out in the near future.
That’s enough for now, but next month I should have a heap of new information about this:
October 1st, 2006:
I'm writing this while the plane bops and bumps around at 30,000 feet, on the flight back from England, but if you're reading this, I guess I lived and arrived safe to post it. No surprise I had a rough flight – look what was squatting out on the wing:
A lot of good things happened while I was in Mother Britain, but foremost: 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS received a British Fantasy Award for Best Collection, and “Best New Horror” earned one for Best Short Story. The book wouldn’t have won anything, though, if a lot of editors hadn’t taken a chance on the stories in the first place. So my thanks to them, and especially to Peter Crowther, who said yes to the book after everyone else said no. Pete, incidentally, won a beastly little guy for his shelf as well. He was awarded a British Fantasy Award for Best Small Press.
Here’s the other awards:
BEST NOVEL: Anansi Boys – Neil Gaiman.
BEST NOVELLA: The Mask Behind The Face – Stuart Young.
BEST ANTHOLOGY: The Elastic Book of Numbers – Alan Ashley.
BEST FANTASY ILLUSTRATOR: Les Edwards.
KARL EDWARD WAGNER AWARD: Stephen Jones (who was so busy swearing over a bottle of champagne he couldn’t open, he had no idea he was being called to the podium to receive a trophy)
A pair of stories from 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS were also selected for different Year's Best collections: "Best New Horror" is featured in Stephen Jones's MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST NEW HORROR 17 and "My Father's Mask" appears in THE YEAR'S BEST FANTASY AND HORROR (eds. Datlow, Link & Grant), both of which are now available.
Finally, on October 27th, I’ll be in Boston with fellow writers M.T. Anderson, Hallie Epheron, and Hank Ryan, to do a reading at Grub Street Gone Spooky. There will also be music and beer. Bring a book for the Grub Street writers program and your first brew is free. Information here.
August 24th, 2006:
20TH CENTURY GHOSTS was set to launch at the British FantasyCon last September and so I made my way over to England to be there for the release – how could I not? And it was some weekend. I had a chance to see my first book in print, something I had been daydreaming about for approximately my whole life, and shake Peter Crowther’s hand, and thank him for publishing me, and then there were two days of good talk about books and the fantastic, and I left feeling rich in new friends. And those couple days were really the beginning of a whole chain of happy, unexpected developments. I’ve had a very good and lucky year for myself. 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS has had about the best possible reception I could’ve imagined or hoped for. Every writer should have such good experiences accompany the release of their first book.
So I can’t say how glad I am to hear that 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS made the final ballot for the British Fantasy Award, and that “Best New Horror” and “Voluntary Committal” were nominated in the story and novella categories. Thanks all. As always, congratulations to the other nominees. I find myself in remarkable company.
I suppose now is a good a time as any to mention I’ll be at FantasyCon, for the 23rd and the 24th, and I’m looking forward to all of it, but especially sitting down with some of the good friends I haven’t had a chance to see for a year.
August 12, 2006:
I’ve had myself a hell of a ride the last few months, and thought it was time for a report. To begin:
The above work of sinister beauty is the U.K. cover of HEART-SHAPED BOX, images and design courtesy of Edward Bettison. I’ll post the US cover as soon as William Morrow makes it available.
HEART-SHAPED BOX, my first novel, is due out in February of 2007. It’s the story of a man who buys a ghost on the internet, and what happens to him after UPS delivers it. And if that’s not good enough, here’s what it says on the dust jacket:
Rock star Judas Coyne is a collector of the bizarre and the grotesque. He has a used hangman’s noose, a cookbook for cannibals, a snuff movie. So naturally when he learns there’s a ghost for sale on the internet, Jude doesn’t think twice. Some impulses require no consideration.
But this ghost is different from the spirits that have haunted Jude most of his life: the abusive father he fled as a boy, the bandmates he betrayed, the lover he abandoned and who killed herself. This ghost isn’t just in his head; it’s real. Delivered to his doorstep in a black heart-shaped box, the latest addition to Jude’s collection means to chase him to the limits of sanity -- and beyond.
If ever there was a case of caveat emptor, this is it. . . .
In addition to being a supernatural thriller, I also think it’s a story on a classic American theme – the possibility of reinvention, of casting off the person you used to be, and creating a new and more satisfying identity for yourself. Because before he was Judas Coyne, my hero was Justin Cowzynski, a lonely, desperate country kid, a person so unhappy he finally could not stand to be himself anymore, and so had to become someone else. The book is at least in part an investigation into whether or not anyone ever really walks away from their past clean. Furthermore, it also features a nicely pornographic sprinkling of goth sex, and several scenes of violent dog-on-man combat.
HEART-SHAPED BOX is being published simultaneously in the US and the UK in hardcover, and will be available in unabridged audio. There’s also a forthcoming limited edition from Subterranean Press, featuring art from Vincent Chong, who designed the eye-popping covers for 20th CENTURY GHOSTS. My relationship with Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press goes back several years now, and I’m proud to have a chance to work with him again. The print run will be less than 800 copies, so if the limited edition is something that interests you, it can’t hurt to put your order in.
In other news, I’m very honored and very happy to see that 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS was nominated for a World Fantasy Award in the collection category. “Best New Horror” and “Voluntary Committal” were also nominated for short fiction and novella, respectively.
Being a judge on these things is a hard, mostly thankless job, and you never know when your fairness or integrity is going to be questioned by some message board mouthbreather. So regardless of whether I win in any of those categories or not, I want to say thanks to the judges, just for giving my work their consideration; my congratulations to all the other nominees as well. I look up and down the list, and see all these writers that I’ve read and loved for years... I consider myself a very lucky guy to be in there among them.
June 22, 2006:
The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire,
We don’t need no water, let the motherfucka burn...
My deepest thanks to the HWA for giving me a hell of a fine evening the other night. The HWA voters very generously awarded a Bram Stoker to 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS for best collection, and another to “Best New Horror” for long form story. I’m blown away, and tremendously honored. Thanks, guys.
In other news: I now have a MySpace account, where you will soon be able to find me repeating all the same stuff I say here. One of these days, I’m sure I’ll get around to customizing the shit out of my page, but at the moment it’s pretty bare bones.
There’s a new review up of 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS. Check out what Nickolas Cook thought over at Hellnotes. And the SciFi wire (the internet news arm of the SciFi channel) is running an interview I did with John Joseph Adams in two brief segments. The first piece is already up and can be found here; the second piece should appear shortly (and may well be up by the time you read this). Additionally, some outtakes from the interview will be posted to John’s blog.
June 12th, 2006:
I just had the completely wonderful news that 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS made the final ballot for this year's International Horror Guild Awards. Two of my stories, "Best New Horror" and "Voluntary Committal," also were granted spots on the short list, in the mid-length fiction and long fiction categories respectively. The IHG awards are handed out each year at the World Fantasy Convention. I’m up against several of the usual suspects (Kelly Link, Gary Braunbeck, Caitlin Kiernan). My congrats to them, and all the other great writers who made the last ballot; thanks, as well, to the IHG, for some deeply appreciated support. I'm honored.
June 6th, 2006:
I'm retiring "The Black Phone" for a while as a free download from the website, but I still like the idea of people being able to sample some of my short fiction without shelling out $30 - $100 to buy a copy of my collection. If that person is you, head on over to Paul Kane's website, Shadow Writer. Paul has, for several years now, offered free stories by a Who's Who of writers in fantasy... everyone from Neil Gaiman to F. Paul Wilson. Starting this month, he's adding my story "Abraham's Boys" to the collection. Go on, go have a look; Mr. Kane is waiting for you.
Another one of my stories, "The Cape," which was an exclusive to 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS, appears in John Betancourt's HORROR 2006: BEST OF THE YEAR, available this month. The anthology also features contributions from literary studs such as Richard Bowes, Caitlin Kiernan, Clive Barker, and Joe Lansdale, and has already received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Look for it in your favorite independent or chain bookstore.
Come June 17th, I'll be in Newark for the Bram Stoker Award Banquet. "Best New Horror," is up for a Brammie in the Long Fiction category, while 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS stands nominated for Best Collection. Wish me luck.
And next month I should have a long-overdue update about the novel, Heart-Shaped Box. Lots of interesting stuff has been happening on that front; I just haven't had the time to sit down and work up a post about it.
April 11th, 2006:
My thnks to all the great people in the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, for having me down to Fort Lauderdale to attend their annual conference. While I was there, the IAFA was kind enough to award the William Crawford Prize to 20th CENTURY GHOSTS – an honor, and greatly appreciated, everyone.
Much thanks as well to all the good folks in the HWA. I learned just a couple days ago that 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS made the final ballot for the Bram Stoker Awards in the collection category, while “Best New Horror” is on the ballot in the long fiction category. My congratulations to everyone who made the last cut. Full ballot here.
If you’re an active member of the HWA, and you’d like a look at “Best New Horror,” drop me an e-mail and I’ll zap you a PDF of the story. Peter Crowther first published “Best New Horror” in his quarterly, Postscripts; it’s a magazine I really can’t say enough good things about. Those who like stories of suspense, wonder, the macabre, and the marvelous will find plenty to keep their imagination stoked here.
Finally, some new reviews of 20th CENTURY GHOSTS:
John Clute, Scifi.com
Colleen Mondor, Bookslut
Graham Sleight, Strange Horizons
Andrew McKiernan, Ozhorrorscope
March 9th, 2006:
I'll be in Fort Lauderdale on March 18th for the end of the International
Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts to talk up and maybe sell a few
copies of 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS, and to hang out with a collection of my
favorite writers and editors. If you're in the area, hope you'll pop by.
February 21, 2006:
I learned recently that my friend, Seth Fisher, who illustrated my SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED story, died by way of tragic accident in Osaka, Japan, on January 30th. In the short time I knew him, he was a great friend to me, generous with his time, energy, humor and ideas. He was also a tremendously gifted artist. Looking at his work, I see something remarkable and startling in every panel.
But why read about his art, when you can see it for yourself at Seth's website floweringnose.com? Go ahead, get an eyeful. If you want more, check out his stuff in GREEN LANTERN: WILLWORLD, or in FANTASTIC FOUR: BIG IN
JAPAN, a project he completed only days before his death.
February 18, 2006:
2006 has been treating me well so far. To wit:
Niall Harrison read 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS for the Internet Review of Science Fiction, and liked what he saw. You can peruse his review here. You have to sign up to read the IROSF, but last time I checked, registration was free.
I recently learned that I’ve been nominated for the William Crawford Award, a prize handed out by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts. The other nominees include Judith Berman, Hal Duncan, Frances Hardinge, Sarah Monette, Holly Philips, and Anna Tambour. Congrats to them, and my thanks to the IAFA for casting such a kind eye on 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS.
GHOSTS was fortunate enough to be honored with an appearance on the Locus Recommended Reading List. The book, and several stories from it, have also been nominated for Locus Awards, in an assortment of categories. Anyone can vote. You have until April 15th to make your voice heard.
Finally, a few months back I did an interview with Kealan Patrick Burke for the Subterranean News e-newsletter. Kealan just posted it in his livejournal. Anyone who missed it when it first ran, and who wants a look at it, can check it out there.
And that’s probably enough shameless self-promotion for one day.
January 19, 2006:
Well here you are at my digital thot’ful spot and I’m glad you could make it.
Joehillfiction has been around for a couple years, and over time, information has a way of piling up, until there’s too much of it, cluttering every corner. It’s like when you go on a long road trip, after a couple days, the floor is all magazines, old hamburger wrappers, empty wax cups and road maps. You need to pull over, dig through the mess, and get rid of all the crap you don’t need anymore. And that’s what we’ve done here – cleared space and tossed the crap (into the archives).
Also, I was thinking maybe it was time to reintroduce myself. Hi. I’m Joe Hill. I’m a writer of short stories, novels, and sometimes comics. My first book, a collection of stories titled 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS, was recently published by PS Publishing. You can read a lot more about it over on my fiction page. The book has caught some good reviews, including a starred notice in Publisher’s Weekly. You can also find reviews of the book here, here, and here. And if you’d like to check out a sample of my work, I hope you’ll download my story, “The Black Phone.” It’s about a child in great danger, and a disconnected phone which never-the-less sometimes rings with calls from the dead.
By great good luck, several of the tales from 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS have been selected for various Year’s Best collections, including THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST NEW HORROR (ed. Stephen Jones), YEAR’S BEST FANTASY & HORROR (ed. Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link & Gavin Grant), HORROR: THE BEST OF 2005 (ed. John Betancourt), and BEST NEW FANTASY: 2005 (ed. Sean Wallace). By now you may have guessed that my fiction has something to do with fantasy and horror. I’m yet to place a story with YEAR’S BEST CAT STORIES, but I continue to hope.
Did I mention 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS is available now, from any one of many delightful online dealers? Those who’d like a copy of the book for themselves can scratch their itch at Shocklines, Cold Tonnage Books, Clarkesworld Books, Dark Hollow Books, and right from the publisher. It’s available in three editions, trade paperback, hardcover, and slipcased, every one of them superwonderful.
My first novel, HEART-SHAPED BOX, was recently purchased by William Morrow, and will appear early in 2007. It tells the story of a man who buys a ghost from an internet auction site, and what happens to him after UPS delivers it. Beyond that I’m saying nothing.
Joehillfiction has also been home to a creepy flashgame, LAST BREATH, based on my short story of the same name, and featuring some incredibly unsettling imagery, created by digital artist Vincent Chong, who also designed not one, but two, remarkable covers for 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS. When LAST BREATH launched, I promised to pick one game winner at random to receive an iPod shuffle. Over three hundred people entered before time ran out on the sweepstakes. A couple days ago we held the drawing, and the prize went to Edward McMullan of Pennsylvania. My thanks to him and to everyone else who visited the site and played the game. It was fun for me too.
That’s it. If I have anything else worth saying I will, sooner or later. Poke around a while. I hope you find something to interest you. Thanks for coming by.
previous news --> 2006 / 2005 / 2004