10p027: Submissions News, Gothic Views, and Preorders in two's
Alex here. And isn’t it weird not to have Matt at the helm, opening the newsletter with some obscure lyrics from some long-forgotten b—
“We stand to lose all time, a thousand answers by in our hand
Next to your deeper fears, we stand surrounded by a million years”
Hey, you know what? He has a point, this is kinda fun.
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I’m really only here to introduce the real star of this newsletter, Laura Keating, who’s going to talk to you about memory, death, and how a videocassette is like a Queen Anne.
But first, just a couple of items of news you might find interesting.
Novel & Novella pitches are now—and hopefully perennially—open!
One of the things I struggle with as a writer is how rarely I get to show my work to publishers I would really love to impress. In some cases, that’s ‘never’. In others, it’s a one-month window I had to miss because the right piece was already out in a no-simsub place. I can’t imagine y’all don’t find this stuff frustrating.
So, assuming Tenebrous Press is on someone’s “places I’d love to impress”, we’ve decided to fling the doors open and give everyone as much of a chance as possible. We will be taking pitches—a query letter with a solid elevator pitch of the plot & a sample chapter—at our QueryManager link.
SUPER IMPORTANT NOTE: although we’re taking pitches, make sure what you pitch is either complete or nearly so. We move fast, and if we ask for more and it doesn’t exist yet, there’s no guarantee there will still be space by the time it’s done.
Also super important note: having an open door and still hoping to keep a decent response time means rejections will be form, and are in no way a judgment on the quality of the work.
We talk about men!
Actually, Men, the movie. But also men, the creature. It’s a really great talk you should listen to at TheNecronomi.com, despite the fact that “we” is a relative term this time around.
We’ve got two preorders brewing!
Carson Winter’s SOFT TARGETS is out in two days, so this might be your last chance to preorder what Brian Everson calls, “At once visceral and deeply moral…a book about what it means to live in the face of a damage that paradoxically both did and did not happen.”
And AGONY’S LODESTONE by Laura Keating—a New Weird Horror novella blending elements of Found Footage with the stark climes of the Eastern Canadian seaboard, messy family drama, and a freaky-ass forest that just won’t maintain spatial consistency—is also available to preorder now, with a batch of limited-time goodies, available until March 20th!
Book-only preorders open March 21st, so hang tight if that’s more your bag.
What you get in this preorder package:
The book, in both print and eBook formats
11”x17” signed print by Horror artist extraordinaire, Trevor Henderson, of his cover art; printed on high quality textured uncoated cream felt cover stock
T-shirt (or tank top) featuring Trevor’s interior art from AGONY’S LODESTONE
Deluxe sticker, bookmark, and the usual excellent Tenebrous swag
And the floor goes to Laura.
I Found You: Gothic Rewind
By Laura Keating
There is something gothic about a videotape.
For many people, videotapes were their first connection not only to film and movies, but the first living connections to their own pasts. The camcorder perched on dad’s shoulder at the elementary school Spring concert, or propped on mom’s lap on Christmas morning, captured moments that otherwise would have been forgotten. If you play it back, everyone is younger in the video—but there is always someone missing, only their voice floating in from behind the lens, so the moment is never quite complete, never quite done.
Those tapes are almost never watched again. Sometimes the past is hard to look at. Sometimes the film is damaged, even if you wanted to look. Other times, the tapes are lost. But when they are found, pulled out from whatever dusty cabinet had locked them away, they are no longer just a tape but a piece of the past, a relic. A USB stick or an album entitled “Summer 2014” on a Facebook account doesn’t have quite the same mystique—likely, in part, because these things are not yet obsolete technology. Everyone records everything now, but the moments of time caught on a home video were rarified, not something everyone got to have, and for that reason oddly precious. Even when things moved to digital, the videotape remained a symbol of that kind of capture.
So, when we find a tape that we have forgotten, can no longer identify, or doesn’t seem to belong to anyone, a once-valued thing (because, in the end, what do we value more than memory and time?) discarded, we experience a moment of the uncanny, that unsettled familiar.
The German word for “uncanny” is unheimlich; a crude literal translation is “un-homed” or “un-homelike.” Gothic literature is ultimately a genre of the home undone. The older the house and the more layered those memories, the more broken its eventual decay becomes. It is easy to feel similar ways about a mysterious videotape, even if it does not seem so comparable at first. Obviously, a videotape is not a sweeping Queen Anne…but it could be just as haunted. After all, for those who believe in them, ghosts are just the people of the past, doomed to repeat their footsteps through perhaps long-changed rooms and hallways until they fade from sight. So too are the subjects of a home movie. We haunt ourselves.
Found footage as a genre is almost as new as ghost stories are old, yet they tap into the same psychic source. They are a way for us to look at ourselves and our pasts directly, no matter how unpleasant, confusing, or terrifying that past might be. Or they can be a warning to not go digging into the past, to let certain things lie, or that certain events should not again be replayed, not even once.
A timely warning, unfortunately.
It’s a delicate balancing act: warning versus knowledge.
And in the end, horror fans can turn to the Gothic to work out those balances, like the curious heroine creeping into the attic, her candelabra aloft, to suss out the source of the strange hissing in the night. When we push away the dark, when the static clears, maybe then we’ll understand what’s gone wrong, and we’ll have found a way to make it all right.
That’s all, folks.
Except this final thought: Y’all are pretty awesome.
Seriously. I know this isn’t news, but I wanted to take a second to thank you. Tenebrous Press has bloomed over the past year, and that only happened because of the sheer force of the people standing behind us, propping us up, kicking our rears to do better. We’re grateful for every reader, every reviewer, every bookseller, every librarian, every book club, and every connection. Every time someone says our name, we grow a little stronger.
Iä! Iä! Tenebrous ah nafl fhtagn!
(Too nerdy? Too bad nobody can stop me.)
Hail the 10p Cult.
Hail Indie Horror.
Alex (& Matt, lost somewhere in the Tidal Reality)