10p028: Step into Danger Slater's HOUSE OF ROT; cover art reveal, preorder information & more!
You should never have opened that door Now you're never gonna see her no more You don't know what I can do with this axe Chop off your head, so you better relax!
Hails, 10p Cult!
We’ve slacked a bit lately, getting these missives out as regularly as I’d like; but now we’ve got a few weeks of breathing room before the next leg of convention season kicks off—more on that below—and we’ve got big reveals regarding our next release.
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First though: some pics from an utterly delightful weekend in San Antonio for the Ghoulish Book Fest, which culminated in the wedding of the Head Ghouls themselves, Max Booth III and Lori Michelle. I can legit say that Ghoulish Fest is the most fun I’ve had tabling at an event; Max & Lori’s enthusiasm washes over everyone in attendance, and my fellow vendors and all the attendees were warm, inviting and rabid Horror nuts. A legit great mob of lunatics:
Friggin’ exhausting; and I can’t wait to do it again next year.
One more quick note about those two Ghoulish cool cats, Max and Lori: they just opened up the official Ghoulish Bookstore this past weekend as well! If you’re ever passing through Selma, Texas, go check it out.
StokerCon doesn’t know what they’re letting in
As I mentioned above: Alex and I will both be holding down the Tenebrous camp at StokerCon in six weeks. It was slightly more harrowing locking down Alex’s travel visa than I think either of us were expecting; but thanks to the timely intervention of a US congressman and the HWA higher-ups and a space monkey*, the pieces are in place to see what seismic aberrations occur when both of us are in the same place at the same time.
Come find us in Pittsburgh June 15-18th and say hey! We’ll be the ones most likely not dressed in fancy duds; not invited to any fancy parties; but still very likely pissing someone off. Hopefully the right someones.
We will be taking part in the Open Pitch Sessions that take place on the Saturday of StokerCon; we’re causing headaches already by stipulating that we’d like to focus on previously unpublished, ESL and underrepresented writers exclusively; we’ll see how well that gets accommodated, but we’re excited to hear your pitches!
We’ll also be celebrating the next Tenebrous release at StokerCon, with author Danger Slater in attendance:
June 14th, the doors to the HOUSE OF ROT swing wide.
About HOUSE OF ROT:
The pink mold growing on the walls isn’t the worst thing about Elenya and Myles’ brand new fixer upper.
There’s also the inexplicable footsteps in the night; the sealed-over windows and doors; the neighbor that hears their screams but can’t be bothered to help.
Soon, there’s no leaving at all. No hope of cleaning. And that encroaching mold? It’s practically become a second skin.
Welcome to the House of Rot. You’re never getting out.
Our friends at Dread Central made the official reveal yesterday; for the rest of you, here’s the first look at the cover art to HOUSE OF ROT, by surface pattern designer/custom wallpaper artist extraordinaire, Kate Blairstone:
And best of all: HOUSE OF ROT is available to preorder right now!
The point is…PREORDER HOUSE OF ROT.
HOUSE OF ROT features interior illustrations from our favorite horror vacui nutbar, Echo Echo, and is out everywhere (including StokerCon, where Danger will be celebrating with us!) June 14th.
Speaking of pissing off the right people…Here’s Alex with the Weather
I’m sorry I missed the last newsletter, but pleased to say that the interminable and improbable process to get my US visa approved was successful! Nothing standing between me and deep-fried-everything now. I’m almost surprised, considering I had to give them all my social media handles.
I intended to talk to you about tastes—the having and expressing and cultivating of. And I was, it was going to be a lovely talk about how much my experience improved since I decided to reframe the way I think about stories, and what amazing people and partnerships I’d have missed out on if I hadn’t.
But as usual, there’s only one thing faster than the speed of light, and it’s the speed of people doing terrible things in publishing. And I don’t know about you, but whenever I see something like that, I walk away—well, nauseous and angry, sure, but also—filled with thoughts on how we can do better. And this time, watching the latest in the series, “Turns Out the Horror Influencers Who Chase Clout and Intimidate People Also Do Other Terrible Things Secretly Because That’s How People Work, It’s Never Just One Thing”, I thought there’s one more important angle we can discuss when it comes to expressing your tastes in horror fiction: Why.
Not as in, “top ten reasons why you should cultivate and express your tastes”; you already know how much power one kind sentence about someone’s book or film or game can do. You know that no matter who you are, someone fears your opinion and someone looks up to it and everything you say matters.
No, as in why it’s important to genuinely have and stand by your tastes. How you, reading this, should treat your spontaneous feelings of love for a story, whatever format it’s in, like an act of rebellion and worship, like the improbable marvel of chaos and spirit that it is. I truly believe that’s a fundamental first step to making the literary world a little better.
So here’s why I believe you should yell “I enjoyed this” at the top of your lungs, either in public or to yourself: because actions turn into habits that turn into who we are. These days it’s very easy to forget yourself, to get bogged down in what you’re told you should enjoy, what’s packaged correctly, what’s advertised correctly. It’s very easy to end up paying attention to what the influencers want you to pay attention to. To be impressed by trust fund babies and starlets with connections. Like the world’s lamest magic trick, it’s all posturing that distracts you to a cheap sleight of hand, and away from the real magic.
And the real magic is yours. It might be what’s on your streaming services, or it might be a beaten down paperback in a discount bin with a brutalist cover and an author nobody’s ever heard of. It might be your friend’s cat poetry or your worst enemy’s transparent tweets. It’s almost never going to be what anyone in power tells you it should be. They don’t know you, they only know that you’re a number.
Must be weird for a publisher to be telling you to ignore advertising, but it wouldn’t be the first time we walk right over what’s useful and proper, and I sure hope y’all will make sure we never stop. As far as I’m concerned, my job isn’t to advertise to you. It’s to show you exactly who we are, and who our books are, and let you decide for yourselves.
That’s not what everyone wants, though, and I took my sweet time learning that lesson, too. It’s full, out here in the trenches, of award juries that never read the stories; editors who pick the toilet drafts of the biggest names; podcasters looking for a leg up. It’s also full of people in all those places of power who feel genuine love and joy for stories and want to transmit that, and we owe it not just to ourselves but to them to practice our ability to tell the difference. None of us are born with it, just like none of us are born knowing what we truly like. It takes work to figure ourselves and other people out. Often, it takes making mistakes. I’m good at that.
So whenever you feel a twinge of ick; whenever you feel any pressure that you must love or hate a specific thing in order to be accepted, whenever you feel that you must pay tribute for your opinion to matter, whenever you feel manipulated: turn away. When you feel too much pressure to impress somebody, that’s a warning. When you feel too much fear to speak out against somebody, that’s a warning. There’s no perfect system or checklist to follow; all we’ve got is our gut and looking at what people do more than what they say. What they do that brings no benefit to them, specifically.
And when you do turn away, find (or create!) a story you truly love so much that nobody else’s opinion matters to you at all, and worship.
The more you do that, and the more you push others to do that, and the more you love things honestly and earnestly and with fury, the less power we give to any of the people who are only influencers for the influence.
And it’ll be so much fun to watch them melt away.
And speaking of ignoring advertising…DON’T FORGET TO PREORDER HOUSE OF ROT.
That’s a smooth transition, no? And I mean, look at it. Look at it. And again. Isn’t it the kinda book that flaps its illustrious lashes at you from across a smoky low-lit bar?
OK, I’m not sure what we’ll be all up in arms about two weeks from now, but we’ll definitely be here two weeks from now. Take care of yourselves, and do your best to find a constructive outlet for your righteous outrage.
Hail the 10p Cult.
Hail Indie Horror.
Hail THE ROT.
Matt & Alex
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