Ten Years On

It’s almost impossible to comprehend the fact that ten years have gone by since the death of Charles L. Grant. There has not been a single day of that entire decade that I haven’t thought about Charlie in some way. Whether I was re-reading his work or merely thinking about his legacy, he has never been far from my mind. I suspect that’s true for everyone who knew him and loved his work. Ten years? That’s a long time, but not nearly long enough to dim his memory or diminish his impact. The giant footsteps he left behind for the rest of us to follow will be there forever.

As I thought about what I could contribute to Neil Snowden’s Charles L. Grant Blogathon, I found myself wanting to explain how I felt about Charlie, what he meant to me. Then I realized I had already done that, in a post on an old website of mine, way back in September 2006. Unlike most things in cyberspace, which live forever whether we want them to or not, this particular post had long since vanished, the victim of a crash that wiped out that website and all its contents. For most of the things lost that day, I can honestly say, “No big deal.” But my post about Charlie, written when the shock and pain of his death was still fresh and raw, deserves a second chance. It expresses what I felt back then, what I still feel today, and it does so honestly and directly. This is the perfect time to bring it back.


It’s been a week since the death of Charles L. Grant, and I can’t shake the feeling — that hollow, floating feeling in the pit of my stomach. This is what it feels like when one of your heroes dies.

Over the years, I only had a few chances to work with Charlie. He was a supporter of my old magazine, Horrorstruck. He provided a pair of terrific tales for Post Mortem and Dead End: City Limits. He offered gentle, thoughtful, and constructive rejections every time I tried to sell him something. (He also was generous about suggesting alternative markets for a particular story, which shows just what kind of editor he was, although I probably didn’t appreciate it enough at the time. I didn’t want to see my work in this anthology or that magazine. I wanted to reach my own personal holy grail. I wanted to be good enough to have a story in Shadows, dammit.)

As you can see, Charlie and I weren’t exactly “colleagues.” More like ships that kept passing in the night, often within sighting distance, occasionally within hailing distance. But I still felt closer to him than almost anyone else in the field, simply because I idolized him so much.

When I attended my first World Fantasy Convention (WFC 5, Providence, 1979), I was only marginally familiar with Charlie’s work, but that all changed over the course of that magic weekend. After watching him on several panels, chatting briefly with him during the autograph party, and gobbling down part of a novel and several short stories … well, let’s just say that by the time I left the east coast and flew back to Michigan, I had a new role model. I spent the next several weeks immersed in the work of Charles L. Grant and never looked back.

It was a pivotal time in the life of a young writer who was just then taking the first tentative steps toward a career, and Charlie became a brilliant signpost on that winding, mysterious path.

He was the kind of writer I wanted to be — not insanely, stratospherically successful, but someone who earned a living with his craft, who seemed to find real joy in doing the work, who always took that work seriously, who understood the field and truly believed in it, who saw value in the genre and eloquently expressed his feelings about it, who charted his own course in defiance of trends, who switched back and forth from writer to editor with apparent ease, who was helpful and kind and generous, and who, along the way, earned the sincere respect of his peers. Wow, I thought. If I could do all of that, I would be a happy man indeed.

Did I achieve the goal? No. But as I’ve told a few other people this week, I only missed the mark because what I wanted to achieve was nearly impossible. Charlie had set a standard that was simply too high to reach.

I don’t know how much longer I’ll feel this sensation of loss, this little black hole in my spirit, this … this emptiness. A long time, I’m sure. Perhaps forever. That’s what happens when a piece of you suddenly goes away, when the signpost you relied on vanishes.

I’m grateful, of course, that I still have Charlie in my library, three or four long shelves worth of Charlie, dozens and dozens of books to touch, take down, reread, marvel over, and reread again. But right now, that seems like cold, thin comfort. It’s not enough, not nearly enough.

This is what it feels like when one of your heroes dies.

Posted in News Tagged with: ,

More on Manistique

Here’s an article on my upcoming book signing, from the Aug. 25 edition of the Manistique Pioneer-Tribune:

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 9.02.25 PM

Posted in News Tagged with: , , ,

Manistique Book Signing

Mustard SeedI’m looking forward to a special event that will be coming up in just a few weeks. On Saturday, Sept. 3, I’ll be traveling back to my old home base of Manistique, Michigan, for a book signing at one of my favorite stores, The Mustard Seed. I’ll be there from 1 to 3 p.m. that day, signing copies of Whispered Echoes and no doubt reading a story or two.

I lived and worked in Manistique for seventeen years, from March 1995 to February 2012. For the first year or so after I moved away, I made a number of return visits, but as often happens, those visits gradually grew farther and farther apart. My last trip there was a quick lunch-and-dash in … wow, November 2014. Tempus fugit, indeed.

I’m especially excited because my book signing will coincide with the annual Manistique Merchants Association Car Show, an event I worked at for many years. At various times I helped with set-up and registration, ran the kids’ tractor pull held during the show, and pitched in on various other tasks. Of course, I also covered the show each year in my job as editor of the town newspaper, the Pioneer-Tribune. If I’m not mistaken, this year marks the 20th anniversary of the show. It will be fun to see how much it has grown over the years.

Posted in News Tagged with: , ,

Talking About Whispered Echoes

WEI recently had another opportunity to appear on the Diabolique site, this time to discuss Whispered Echoes. As usual, the questions from Sheila M. Merritt were thought-provoking and fun. I hope my answers were, too! You can find the interview here and see for yourself what I had to say about the collection, the wonderful support I received from people like Chet Williamson and Jill Bauman, the challenge of writing short stories, the excitement of being published by Cemetery Dance, and more.

Posted in News Tagged with: , ,

Better Weird Interview

BetterWeird-cvr-lowres-2I was honored to do an interview this week with Sheila M. Merritt for Diabolique about the new anthology Better Weird: A Tribute to David B. Silva., forthcoming in April as a Cemetery Dance e-book and in print later this year. Doing the interview was a pleasure, because it gave me a chance to talk about the book and our amazing list of contributors: Kealan Patrick Burke, Brian Hodge, Joe R. Lansdale, Robert R. McCammon, Bentley Little, Elizabeth Massie, Brian Keene, J.F. Gonzalez, Steve Rasnic Tem, Billie Sue Mosiman, Kathryn Ptacek, Thomas F. Monteleone, Gary Raisor, Yvonne Navarro, Robert Swartwood, G. Wayne Miller, and yours truly. But most of all, it gave me a chance to talk about my great friend, the late Dave Silva, and everything he meant to the horror genre.
You can read the interview in its entirety here: Diabolique Interview

Posted in News Tagged with: , , , ,

Ultimate Edition released

The brand new “Ultimate Edition” e-book of my first novel, The Night Prophets, was published by Black Death Books on July 16, 2013, and is now available for Kindle, Nook, and other platforms. I’m calling this version my “preferred edition” of the book. It contains a new introduction, a piece called “Taking Communion With the Night Prophets,” which tells how I came to write the book and explains some of the differences between this edition and the original paperback:

It differs substantially from the novel that was ultimately published by New American Library at the tail end of 1989. Just for starters, the title is different. When I wrote the book, the title was three words: The Night Prophets. NAL later decided to drop the article and call it simply Night Prophets. Why? I wish I knew. That riddle always perplexed me, and the answer is a mystery to me even now. At the time the word was dropped, it seemed like a small change, nothing more than a cosmetic touch-up. But it was only the beginning. Much more important, this version of the book is substantially longer, as it restores a great deal of material that was cut for the original paperback publication. Some things are also in a different order, particularly at the beginning and the end of the story. Many of the changes are minor, some a little more significant. For example – and I don’t think I’ll spoil anything if I tell you this – at least two of the characters meet a different end in this version of the tale than they did in the NAL edition.


… what you’re getting this time around is much more detail, more background, more depth, a deeper inside look at the religious movement at the heart of the novel, and more time spent getting to know all of the characters – the good guys a little bit and the bad guys a lot. Things that seemed to happen with little or no justification in the original may now make more sense. Questions you may have had while reading the original will now be answered. Things that didn’t quite add up will now be explained. Two plus two will equal four, instead of 3.998. In summary, the book you’re holding now is the tale the way I always wanted to tell it.

Publishing the “complete and uncut” version of this tale is something I always wanted to do — something I had dreamed about for many years but never truly believed would happen. I am grateful beyond words to my editor, the incomparable K.H. Koehler, and the entire crew at KHP Publishers, Inc., for making it happen. They have been insightful, kind, supportive, helpful, enthusiastic, and downright fun to work with throughout the entire process of bringing this long-lost novel back to life.

You can buy the “Ultimate Edition” right now by clicking here!


Posted in News Tagged with: ,

Night will fall again!

The original 1989 edition of Night Prophets

The original 1989 edition of Night Prophets

I’m very excited to announce that I have joined the family at KHP Publishers, Inc., who will soon be releasing the first-ever e-book edition of Night Prophets. The book was my first published novel, released by New American Library way back in 1989, and has been out-of-print for years. The upcoming KHP edition will be “complete and uncut,” or to put it another way, “the author’s preferred edition,” restoring all of the material that was altered, rearranged, deleted or otherwise edited for the NAL publication. Look for it to arrive on your favorite e-reading device this summer!

Posted in News Tagged with: , ,


We’re not quite ready to release all of the details, but I can say that I’m getting very excited about a forthcoming project from Cemetery Dance Publications. I can also tell you that it’s a collection, and that it will contain lots of old stuff and something brand new. To get the full scoop, keep watching this space, join me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Posted in News Tagged with: , ,

Please stand by

After many years, it’s now time to give my website a complete and much-needed overhaul. Please stand by. Changes and improvements coming soon!

Thanks for your patience.


Posted in Uncategorized