DARK AWAKENINGS: Signed, sealed, and delivered at last

Jason Van Hollander's preliminary cover art and layout for DARK AWAKENINGS

Jason Van Hollander's preliminary cover art and layout for DARK AWAKENINGS (click for a larger view)

Yesterday around 2 a.m. I hit the “send” button to email the completed manuscript of my forthcoming collection of horror stories and essays, Dark Awakenings, to its publisher, Mythos Books.

This was a long time coming.

People who liked my first book, Divinations of the Deep, have been asking me ever since its publication in 2002 when I would be writing another one. I did have a novella published in a standalone edition in 2004 (The God of Foulness, which is included in its entirety in Dark Awakenings), but that’s not quite the same thing. My answer was always noncommittal until I had amassed enough new material to constitute a next collection.

That amassing occurred two or three years ago. The scope and nature of that fabled next book became evident. It’s theme, that of dark and horrific religious and spiritual awakenings, became clear. (Of course this theme wasn’t surprising since it’s the one I involuntarily return to time and again.) Ever since then I’ve been steadily telling people that the book is forthcoming. At first my answers were semi-specific and involved the naming of years. Maybe in early 2007, I would say. And then that became late 2007. Then that became early 2008, and then late 2008. Then that became 2009. When I saw that maybe even 2009 wouldn’t happen either early or late, I reverted to the noncommittal approach and starting saying “forthcoming” without specifying exactly when it would come forth.

The delay was mine, not the publisher’s. I knew I had a real mountain to climb in terms of revising, editing, and shaping all of the material into the form I wanted. Some of the stories began to relive themselves from the ground up when I reapproached them, expanding their length and revising their prose with dramatic thoroughness. I’m a very slow writer, especially when it comes to fiction. For me the experience of authorship really is the way Walker Percy described it: a painful and messy process that’s analogous to a woman’s giving birth to a child.

So, to sum up, there have been delays.

Last week I was on spring break from my adjunct teaching job. I had told David at Mythos that I would use this time to get things done(really, honestly!) if at all possible. Early in the week I realized this simply wasn’t going to happen unless I positively buried myself in the project. So, along with maintaining my regular paid blogging activities, I ended up throwing myself wholeheartedly into Dark Awakenings and effectively not seeing my family or anybody else all week. I didn’t keep track of my total hours worked, but I know they were upwards of 60 and maybe 70. Of course I’m hardly the first or even the ten thousandth writer to push through such a marathon-sprint hybrid to the finish line. But it was the first time that I myself had ever done it. And I’m telling you, the fact that I’m able to type these very words right here kind of surprises me, so taxed are my authorial muscles.

Then again, I did get a nice flow going.

The verdict in terms of the book’s contents is that it includes seven stories, including the aforementioned novella, and three academic essays, for a total word count of about 116,000. This means it is substantially more substantial in total size than Divinations of the Deep, which was only the length of a novella even though it contained five stories.

In a future post I’ll list the final table of contents for Dark Awakenings, after I’ve conferred with the publisher. For now, I offer my thanks to everybody who has waited patiently while I held out for sacramental inspiration.

About Matt Cardin

Teeming Brain founder and editor Matt Cardin is the author of DARK AWAKENINGS, DIVINATIONS OF THE DEEP, A COURSE IN DEMONIC CREATIVITY: A WRITER'S GUIDE TO THE INNER GENIUS, and the forthcoming TO ROUSE LEVIATHAN. He is also the editor of BORN TO FEAR: INTERVIEWS WITH THOMAS LIGOTTI and the academic encyclopedias MUMMIES AROUND THE WORLD, GHOSTS, SPIRITS, AND PSYCHICS: THE PARANORMAL FROM ALCHEMY TO ZOMBIES, and HORROR LITERATURE THROUGH HISTORY.

Posted on March 19, 2009, in Arts & Entertainment and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Great news, Matt. I’m quite looking forward to it!

  2. I’m looking forward to this as well! Time to save up!

  3. EnigmaticWinter

    Oh yeah MC! I have got to buy this! Congrats on getting it finished! Now i have another book to look forward to!

  4. Many congratulations on your work, Cardin. May it provoke the thoughts and emotions of a vast, captive audience!

    thefaithfulmind

  5. great stuff Matt! Looking forward to it.

  6. Many thanks for the well wishes, all. As you know, I’ll keep you updated via the blog here.

    And Leon: Wow, how long has it been since we brushed past each other? Years, I think. I hope everything’s great in your world.

  7. Great news about the book. Now you can start work on the next one …

  8. Olivia Dresher

    Matt, I peek at your blog every now & then, always interested in what I’ll find.

    The cover of your new book is fantastic. I look forward to reading it.

  9. Many thanks, Stu. But wait a minute — did you say “another one”? Is that how it works? Crap. As one of those writers who tends to enjoy having written more than writing itself, I find this idea intimidating. πŸ™‚

    Olivia: Always excellent to hear from you. I agree with you about the cover art. Jason VH is possessed of awesome talent, skill, and vision, and I’m ever so pleased to see what he’s done for this book. Here’s hoping the contents fulfill the promise of the cover.

  10. Really looking forward to this, Matt. And congratulations on the receiving praise from Mr. Joshi.

    Jim

  11. EnigmaticWinter

    I agree: The cover art IS amazing!

  12. Many thanks, Jim and EW.

  13. It looks lovely. I picked up your “Divinations of the Deep” last year after reading your analysis of Ligotti and Lovecraft for awhile. It was dark, strange, and delicious! I can’t wait to have this new collection in my hands. Keep up the good work, Mr. Cardin.

  14. Thank you for the kind words, GB. Glad you found something of value in DIVINATIONS OF THE DEEP and my Lovecraft-Ligotti ruminations. I hope you enjoy DARK AWAKENINGS as much.

  15. Hi Matt
    This I cannot wait for. Absolutely loved Divinations of the Deep.
    Jason Van Hollander was kind enough to send me some of his Hell Stamps recently – wonderful stuff.
    With best wishes
    Mathew

  16. Many thanks, Mathew. Very glad you liked what you found in DIVINATIONS. I hope you like DARK AWAKENINGS as much or more. As for Jason, I receive a holiday card every year with new original art from him. Wonderful stuff indeed. Cool to hear that you’re in the inner circle as well. πŸ™‚

  17. EnigmaticWinter

    i’m all psyched about this! I assume you’ll post a new entry when the release date is set?

  18. Certainly, EW. I’ll give updated news as it’s available. Thanks for the enthusiasm.

  19. Cardin,

    Be sure to stop by my blog sometime and check out the page I have made for my high-fantasy series. It doesn’t have a whole lot right now, but I would also be willing (and eager) to email you a copy of the story as it stands and get your opinion on what is already present, if you are interested.

    Keep in touch!

    thefaithfulmind

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