FULL BLEED: JANTHINA JANTHINA

Hey, if you're into atmospheric drone that sounds like folk music from the Plateau of Leng, check this out: https://worstward.bandcamp.com/album/ulaan-janthina-part-i

It's pretty good.

In other news, no BLACK TRACE chapter this week. There may be one next week. But really I need to solidify release plans, and, frankly, you've got enough to know if you want to keep reading or not. Though as I can actually see how many people have clicked on these previews, I do wonder if this whole move was simply a giant self-own on my part. Ah well.

In cosmic horror news, I'm an official sponsor of the Outer Dark Symposium next week. Hopefully I might even attend next year or open my fool mouth on mic and say something that will make people want to take away my cosmic horror fan club card. I'm old enough that I don't care about club membership, so go ahead. But I'm happy to hang with folks who seem interesting and sharp. Unfortunately, I'll be moving my son back to college and won't be able to attend, but maybe I'll drop in by Zoom if I get a chance.

That said, there is a bit more about MY DROWNING CHORUS that I can share. Something almost resembling a blurb. I was asked to come up with an elevator pitch, but frankly, I ain't gonna. Here's where I get on my high horse as a writer.

So, you ever watch a movie you like, one that's pretty good, and all of a sudden they drop in a historical figure or counterculture hero or even just a movie or TV show or hell, a song you like. And then they lean on that instead of doing the work? "See! We like the things you like! We're just like them!" Take for instance, STRANGER THINGS, the first series, which was the only one I made it through. Remember when the kid goes missing and in order to get him to come out of hiding, his mom buys him tickets for POLTERGEIST? Heart-rending moment, yeah.

Not so much. It's borrowed power. It's not even stolen. When you steal something, you make it your own. This is showing the registration tags as belonging to someone else, another thing entirely. "You liked POLTERGEIST? Us, too! Let's squee together!"

Now, this has been an issue since the postmodern mode popped up on the scene: borrowing, copying, marginalia-driven plotting, revisionism, referentiality. It's an easy way to familiarity, to understand that there's a common language between the artist and viewer. (I'd say "consumer" but I'm not feeling *that* mean this morning.) "We're both part of the same club! Now smash that like and subscribe!" Again, it's easy, almost effortless. And yeah, it's hard to break in a new thing, new approach, new characters. I've been trying to do it since 1990 and seriously since 2005 or so. It's really hard. People want to be impervious to it because, well, there's a lot of work out there (much of it just content). Go to a comic show and through the small press area and you'll be bombarded with new works, some great, some not. But the thing is, they all gotta get through that armor, the armor we put up just to stay goddamn sane in this looney-bin world.

We can't take it all in. It's not even a firehose any more, but a torrential rain, constant, unrelenting. So many things shouting for eyeballs and brain-time. You have to be selective. Even if you stick to pretty much one genre/mode, much less try to branch out across multiples. There is too much. And, again, Sturgeon's law applies in even the most niche microgenre or mode. Most of it's crap (sometimes even enjoyable.)

So of course, appearing as another thing that people already love is a great way to sneak past that armor. "See, you're already halfway to liking this thing. It's STAR WARS meets GREAT EXPECTATIONS." Only the sad fact is that just STAR WARS is STAR WARS. Just because you have robots and spaceships and laser swords doesn't mean there's any quality there. It's just checklisting. It's trope-counting. It's pretending. Now, that's convenient for the algorithm, but doesn't take into account that it's genreally bullshit.

But then marketing was always bullshit. Only now, creators have internalized that bullshit and think they have to present as something they're not in order to get people to read it.

Hence the elevator pitch. It's THE FRENCH CONNECTION meets KRULL. NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET meets THE JETSONS. James Bond meets NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. It's borrowed power. Worse. It's begged power. "Look at my work through this prism and not as it is."

Marketing. Mis-representation.

I know. You've only got ten seconds to get the hook in on the show floor or when someone is browsing Amazon. It's really easy to overthink and get yourself lost in the seeming of being another thing because you think you have to. You really don't. It's not a game that you need to play.

Yeah, you need to think of something catchy. But don't borrow.

So, with all that in mind, I won't two-things pitch you on HAZELAND, or MY DROWNING CHORUS. There's not a lot of point in it. I'll tell you that there's Cosmic Mysteries, Weird Crimes and Gothic Rock and that it's set in 80s Los Angeles. I figure that's enough for you. I know. There's a word missing there. I wonder what it is.

Here's the teaser copy for MY DROWNING CHORUS, which is a book I really enjoyed writing and think it's the best thing I've written. But then there's always room for improvement.

Cait MacReady is haunted by creating then un-creating the Sightless Eye, preventing the end of everything six months ago, an end that came at the hands of the queen of No Tomorrows.

Now Los Angeles itself is haunted by something out in the waters, older than anything, older than names or people to give them. It is both calling and being called, dragging pieces of lost time into Cait's present. When it's finished arranging these pieces, the city will be crushed under the pressures of both water and time.

Unless Cait can turn it back.

But how can she do that when she can barely hold her own life together?

Hopefully you're intrigued enough to check it out when it comes out from Broken Eye Books next spring.

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