Saturday, September 25, 2010

Meanwhile, Back at Vampire Lake...

Heard from Subterranean Press honcho Bill Schafer that my 14k novella "Vampire Lake" will be included in Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2 after all. The piece ended up meshing well with an anthology built around signature author-created worlds and alternate versions of this one... though I'll bet green money that my tale ends up to be the meanest dog in the bunch. "Vampire Lake" is definitely one of those stories that stacks up the bad guys against the worst guys.

Top-drawer bunch of writers in this one, too: Blaylock and Powers, K. J. Parker, Caitlin R. Kiernan, and Joe Hill, just to name a few. Plus the antho will weigh in at over 100k, so it looks like most of the contributors turned in novellas. That's good news, and so is the publication date. January 2011 isn't that far off.

Anyway, click on over and check out the details. And if you want a little taste, here's the opening of "Vampire Lake":

They heard the bounty killer an hour before they saw him. Out there in the desert night. Playing that harmonica of his, though the sounds that came out if it weren't anything you'd call music. But he kept at it, and the racket carved the desert sands like Lucifer trenching a brimstone field with his pitchfork. A man who could raise that kind of hell with a harmonica was a man who could unsettle a room full of other men.

And that's why the customer sitting in Rumson's saloon did the things they did. Some slapped coin to the bar and made their exits. Others ordered up and drank more deeply, which pleased the barkeep. Still others unbuckled their gunbelts as the man with the harmonica drew nearer. They rolled leather studded with sheathed bullets around holstered Colts, and they stowed those weapons far from reluctant hands.

Outside, the harmonica had grown silent. The creak of saddle leather put a crease in the night. Then footsteps sounded across plank boards, and the bounty killer came through the batwings of Rumson's place.

He wore a patched coat the color of the desert, and he was dragging a man on a chain. One yank and the bounty killer bellied up to the bar. The gunman set his harmonica on the nicked pine surface. No one noticed the blood on the tarnished instrument, not with the poor skinny bastard trussed up in chains and padlocks crouching at the killer's feet. As far as the occupants of Rumson's saloon were concerned, that was the hunk of misery worth looking at, not a bloodstained Hohner that blew sour even on days that were sweet...