Tag Archives: Orrin Grey

An interview with Nick “The Hat” Gucker, cover artist for Orrin Grey’s Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts

Closing out our week of interviews, Sean M. Thompson talks with cover artist extraordinaire and all-around Art Creep Nick “The Hat” Gucker, the man responsible for making Orrin Grey’s Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts look as good on the outside as it reads on the inside.

How did you come you come up with the cover idea for Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts?

Originally the request was to do a horror take on Norman Rockwell’s “Triple Self-Portrait”. But after realizing the great artist William Stout had already done this to great affect, I was having a bit of a time re-inventing this concept. So I threw a few other sketch ideas at the Ross and Orrin to see if any anything tickled their fancy.

I was going for a bit of an old EC horror kind of idea where I could showcase a number of fiends in one go. Most of the monsters on the cover are inspired by Orrin’s stories, a few are interlopers.

All told, how many hours did it take from initial sketches to finished cover?

I’m really not quite sure, since I have a full time job and get to work on these projects evenings and weekends. Time starts to become elusive and I worked on this a bit sporadically among a few other projects.

Do you listen to music when you draw, and or do whatever picture magic you do?

I do listen to a lot of music when I’m working, I’ve a rather broad range of listening habits, so I often hit up iTunes shuffle or load my 5-CD carousel. Currently on deck is Chrome (Half Machine from the Sun), Godflesh (Selfless), Pye Corner Audio (Sleep Games), Berberian Sound Studio Sound Track (Broadcast), and Swans (The Great Annihilator).

Also some audio-fiction and I need to keep reminding me-self to keep up on podcasts, since there are some excellent ones out there.

What made you decide to grow wonderful, bushy sideburns?

It was against my will, the hair started a long chronic gravitational migration down to my cheeks.
I’m just it’s host. How long it shall remain there is anyone’s guess. The hair may end up on my shoulders.

Do you have a favorite hat?

Well, I have my current favorite daily hat and then I have a favorite fez, which is black felt with a cloisonne viking head (it’s actually a Mokanna head) and the word TACOBAT (which is part of the Tacobat Grotto, also known as The Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm and is an offshoot of a more casual branch Freemasonry with Lodges being called Cauldrens). Its esoteric seeming randomness amuses me to no end, which is to say symbolism is something I really enjoy.

If you could be any kind of monster, what kind would you be?

Probably a ridiculous kaiju of some some sort. I might have two opposing heads, id and ego, comedy and tragedy, that sort of thing on long swaying necks. A mass of tentacles, a multi-digit laden hand that’s a detachable limb that can explore and fight on it’s own. Some kind of horrid gas expulsion that would drive the humans insane or into a state of euphoria and hallucinations. A set of huge wings, slightly bat-like but unlike anything that would actually function for flight. Multiple legs like that of a moose, that could jackhammer the earth into forced tectonic plate-shifts. I’d be showing up in random cities, smashing buildings, gesticulating and posturing absurdly until some wee man that channels some alien super being transforms himself into a giant fighting machine as a dance partner for me.

Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts

Pre-order Orrin Grey’s Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts today!

An interview with Orrin Grey, author of Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts

Recently, Word Horde Social Media Manager Sean M. Thompson sat down with Orrin Grey to ask him a few questions about Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts

Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts

What made you decide to join Ross and the Word Horde?

Was there ever a decision here? Seriously, I had already worked with Ross a few times, on The Book of Cthulhu 2 and Tales of Jack the Ripper and so on, and I knew that he was a great editor and a blast to work with, so when it came time to start shopping around my second collection, Ross was my very first choice. Word Horde is, quite simply, one of my favorite publishers working right now, they’re putting out dynamite weird fiction, and they promote their books like rock stars. Who wouldn’t want to join the Horde?

If you could be any kind of monsters, what kind would you be?

Oh man, most of my favorite monsters (fungus people, monstrous puppets, graboids, C.H.U.D.s) aren’t necessarily anything I’d actually want to be. So for this I think I’d have to go with a Jack Kirby monster; something big and lumpy and lantern-eyed that talked about myself in the third person.

What do you think the role of genre is in fiction?

I think genre wears a lot of hats, depending on how the writer wants to engage with it. How’s that for a non-answer? For me, genre is a collection of traditions and tropes, a sandbox that I play in, a set of expectations that I can either use as shorthand or subvert, as needed. Genre is what gets me interested, and keeps me coming back. I like writing—I must, I freelance for a living, and a lot of that involves writing about plumbing or siding or deburring machines or other less-than-spooky topics—but at the end of the day, it’s genre that keeps me in love with what I do. In the immortal words of Guillermo del Toro: “If there isn’t a monster on the call sheet, I don’t show up for work.”

Is it tough buying clothes that fit, as you are in fact a skeleton?

I find that a nice suit and tie gives me that dapper look that you’ll find among all the very best skeletons. That said, I’ve got a human disguise that I wear when I make public appearances and things, so as to avoid the paparazzi. You know how it is.

You seem to be a big movie fan? What movies have you seen recently that have knocked your socks off?

I’m a huge movie fan, though I’ll have to admit that this year so far has been a little lean on movies—either new or new-to-me—that really knocked my socks off. Plenty of good stuff, but not many new favorites. I am a big fan of the Insidious franchise, though, and the last thing I saw that came very close to knocking my socks off may well have been Insidious: Chapter 3, which I think continued the series admirably. I also saw some really good, recent stuff for the first time earlier in the year, including The Guest, Nightcrawler, Resolution, The Taking of Deborah Logan, and The Canal, to name a few. The Canal and Deborah Logan, in particular, I have not seen nearly enough people talking about.

What do you think the goal of horror fiction should be?

I’m not big on telling anybody what their goal should be, so I don’t know the answer to this one, but I can tell you what the goal of most of my horror fiction usually is: I just want to have fun, and I want the reader to have fun, too. Don’t get me wrong, I love thoughtful, meditative horror as much as anyone, stories that stick with you, that carry a hefty thematic weight and leave you thinking, and I hope that my stuff manages that at least some of the time. But most of my favorite horror stories also have something of the spook house in them. Something of the carnival barker challenging you to “Step right up!” It’s why House on Haunted Hill sits right alongside The Haunting in my personal pantheon, and always will.

Pre-order Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts today!

Cover Reveal: Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts

Coming next month from Word Horde, Orrin Grey’s new collection Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts. Here’s your first peek at the cover!

Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts

ORRIN GREY LOVES MONSTERS. That is abundantly clear in the stories he spins. No matter where he draws inspiration from, whether the weird tales of Lovecraft, Machen, and Poe or the films of Murnau, Corman, and Argento, the end result is inevitably fresh and new. And wonderfully monstrous.

If you love monsters—the macabre, the murderous, the misunderstood; the strange, the sinister, the sympathetic; the cinematic and the literary—you will find plenty to love in Orrin Grey’s Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts.

Cover Art by Nick Gucker
Cover Design by Scott R. Jones

Table of Contents:

Introduction by John Langan
The Worm That Gnaws
The White Prince
Night’s Foul Bird
The Murders on Morgue Street*
Ripperology
Walpurgisnacht
The Red Church
Remains
The Labyrinth of Sleep
Lovecrafting
Persistence of Vision
Strange Beast*
Painted Monsters*

* Titles marked with an asterisk are original to the collection.

Pre-order Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts today!

Now Available: Cthulhu Fhtagn!

Happy 125th Birthday, H. P. Lovecraft. To celebrate, we baked you an anthology. Featuring 19 weird tales inspired by H. P. Lovecraft by 20 of the best authors working in Weird Fiction today, Cthulhu Fhtagn! is sure to satisfy. But don’t just take our word for it. Check out Cthulhu Fhtagn! for yourself!

Cthulhu Fhtagn! edited by Ross E. Lockhart

In his house at R’lyeh, Cthulhu waits dreaming…

What are the dreams that monsters dream? When will the stars grow right? Where are the sunken temples in which the dreamers dwell? How will it all change when they come home?

Within these pages lie the answers, and more, in all-new stories by many of the brightest lights in dark fiction. Gathered together by Ross E. Lockhart, the editor who brought you The Book of Cthulhu, The Children of Old Leech, and Giallo Fantastique, Cthulhu Fhtagn! features nineteen weird tales inspired by H. P. Lovecraft.

Edited by Ross E. Lockhart
Cover Art by Adolfo Navarro
Cover Design by MMP

Table of Contents

Introduction: In His House at R’lyeh… – Ross E. Lockhart
The Lightning Splitter – Walter Greatshell
Dead Canyons – Ann K. Schwader
Delirium Sings at the Maelstrom Window – Michael Griffin
Into Ye Smoke-Wreath’d World of Dream – W. H. Pugmire
The Lurker In the Shadows – Nathan Carson
The Insectivore – Orrin Grey
The Body Shop – Richard Lee Byers
On a Kansas Plain – Michael J. Martinez
The Prince of Lyghes – Anya Martin
The Curious Death of Sir Arthur Turnbridge – G. D. Falksen
Aerkheim’s Horror – Christine Morgan
Return of the Prodigy – T.E. Grau
The Curse of the Old Ones – Molly Tanzer and Jesse Bullington
Love Will Save You – Cameron Pierce
Assemblage Point – Scott R. Jones
The Return of Sarnath – Gord Sellar
The Long Dark – Wendy N. Wagner
Green Revolution – Cody Goodfellow
Don’t Make Me Assume My Ultimate Form – Laird Barron

2015-09-03 266

Pie by Petaluma Pie Company.

Ask for Cthulhu Fhtagn! wherever books are sold.

Now Available: Giallo Fantastique

An anthology of original strange stories at the intersection of crime, terror, and supernatural fiction. Inspired by and drawing from the highly stylized cinematic thrillers of Argento, Bava, and Fulci; American noir and crime fiction; and the grim fantasies of Edgar Allan Poe, Guy de Maupassant, and Jean Ray, Giallo Fantastique seeks to unnerve readers through virtuoso storytelling and startlingly colorful imagery.

What’s your favorite shade of Yellow?

Giallo Fantastique edited by Ross E. Lockhart

Table of Contents

Introduction – Ross E. Lockhart
Minerva – Michael Kazepis
In the Flat Light – Adam Cesare
Terror in the House of Broken Belles – Nikki Guerlain
The Strange Vice of ZLA-313 – MP Johnson
Sensoria – Anya Martin
The Red Church – Orrin Grey
Balch Creek – Cameron Pierce
Hello, Handsome – Garrett Cook
We Can Only Become Monsters – Ennis Drake
The Threshold of Waking Light – E. Catherine Tobler
The Communion of Saints – John Langan
Exit Strategies – Brian Keene

“Lockhart translates giallo fantastique as weird crime, and each story, while very different in style and tone, melds crime and supernatural horror with panache and verve. […] The stories’ conclusions are never definitive, leaving the reader with a delicious sense of lingering unease.” —Publishers Weekly

“A lavish, sumptuous tapestry of luxurious surrealism and strangeness.” –Christine Morgan, The Horror Fiction Review

“…ultimately satisfying, with a few tales that skirt tantalizingly close to brilliance.” –Mer Whinery, Muzzleland Press

Order from Word Horde or wherever better books are sold.

The Children of Old Leech Nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award

It is with pleasure and gratitude that we announce the following: The Children of Old Leech: A Tribute to the Carnivorous Cosmos of Laird Barron has been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award. Needless to say, we are over the moon.

SJA_9781939905079_covSM

It requires an army of people to put together an anthology like The Children of Old Leech, so a huge THANK YOU! goes out to the following: Co-editor Justin Steele; authors Allyson Bird, Jesse Bullington, Michael Cisco, Jesse James Douthit-Nicolay, Gemma Files, Richard Gavin, J. T. Glover, Cody Goodfellow, T.E. Grau, Orrin Grey, Michael Griffin, Stephen Graham Jones, John Langan, Daniel Mills, Scott Nicolay, Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., Molly Tanzer, Jeffrey Thomas, and Paul Tremblay; copyeditor Marty Halpern; hardcover artist/designer Matthew Revert; softcover artist Dalton Rose; softcover designer Scott R. Jones; and, of course, Laird Barron, for letting all of us play in his universe. Thanks also to all of you who purchased the book (and other Word Horde titles), and to all of the readers and reviewers who have taken the time to recommend the book to others. Thanks to the Shirley Jackson Awards Board of Directors and jurors. And thanks to everyone who shared a toast to Old Leech with us back when we launched the book. Cheers!

JustinLeechWhiskeyCigar

Read the full list of nominees here: http://www.shirleyjacksonawards.org/nominees/

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Cover Reveal

Cthulhu Fhtagn! edited by Ross E. Lockhart

Coming from Word Horde this August: Cthulhu Fhtagn!

Now available to preorder: https://wordhorde.com/product/cthulhu-fhtagn-bundle/

From Ross E. Lockhart, the editor who brought you The Book of Cthulhu, The Children of Old Leech, and Giallo Fantastique comes Cthulhu Fhtagn!, 19 weird tales inspired by H. P. Lovecraft.

Table of Contents:

Introduction: In His House at R’lyeh… – Ross E. Lockhart
The Lightning Splitter – Walter Greatshell
Dead Canyons – Ann K. Schwader
Delirium Sings at the Maelstrom Window – Michael Griffin
Into Ye Smoke-Wreath’d World of Dream – W. H. Pugmire
The Lurker In the Shadows – Nathan Carson
The Insectivore – Orrin Grey
The Body Shop – Richard Lee Byers
On a Kansas Plain – Michael J. Martinez
The Prince of Lyghes – Anya Martin
The Curious Death of Sir Arthur Turnbridge – G. D. Falksen
Aerkheim’s Horror – Christine Morgan
Return of the Prodigy – T.E. Grau
The Curse of the Old Ones – Molly Tanzer and Jesse Bullington
Love Will Save You – Cameron Pierce
Assemblage Point – Scott R. Jones
The Return of Sarnath – Gord Sellar
The Long Dark – Wendy N. Wagner
Green Revolution – Cody Goodfellow
Don’t Make Me Assume My Ultimate Form – Laird Barron

Preorder today: https://wordhorde.com/product/cthulhu-fhtagn-bundle/

Cover art by Adolfo Navarro

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Table of Contents Reveal!

485px-Cthulhu_sketch_by_Lovecraft

This August, the stars will be right. Cthulhu Fhtagn! Weird Tales Inspired by H. P. Lovecraft will be unleashing cosmic horror onto an unsuspecting–but deserving–world, just in time to commemorate H. P. Lovecraft’s 125th birthday. In the next few weeks, we’ll be revealing the cover and opening up pre-orders, so that you can bring this monster home, but today, as promised, here’s the full Table of Contents:

Cthulhu Fhtagn!
Table of Contents

Introduction: In His House at R’lyeh… – Ross E. Lockhart
The Lightning Splitter – Walter Greatshell
Dead Canyons – Ann K. Schwader
Delirium Sings at the Maelstrom Window – Michael Griffin
Into Ye Smoke-Wreath’d World of Dream – W. H. Pugmire
The Lurker In the Shadows – Nathan Carson
The Insectivore – Orrin Grey
The Body Shop – Richard Lee Byers
On a Kansas Plain – Michael J. Martinez
The Prince of Lyghes – Anya Martin
The Curious Death of Sir Arthur Turnbridge – G. D. Falksen
Aerkheim’s Horror – Christine Morgan
Return of the Prodigy – T.E. Grau
The Curse of the Old Ones – Molly Tanzer and Jesse Bullington
Love Will Save You – Cameron Pierce
Assemblage Point – Scott R. Jones
The Return of Sarnath – Gord Sellar
The Long Dark – Wendy N. Wagner
Green Revolution – Cody Goodfellow
Don’t Make Me Assume My Ultimate Form – Laird Barron

Photo: H. P. Lovecraft’s own depiction of Cthulhu.

Giallo Fantastique: Cover and TOC Reveal

Coming May 15, 2015 from Word Horde: Giallo Fantastique

GialloFantastique_TPB_FC_005

An anthology of original strange stories at the intersection of crime, terror, and supernatural fiction. Inspired by and drawing from the highly stylized cinematic thrillers of Argento, Bava, and Fulci; American noir and crime fiction; and the grim fantasies of Edgar Allan Poe, Guy de Maupassant, and Jean Ray, Giallo Fantastique seeks to unnerve readers through virtuoso storytelling and startlingly colorful imagery.

What’s your favorite shade of yellow?

Table of Contents

Introduction • Ross E. Lockhart
Minerva • Michael Kazepis
In the Flat Light • Adam Cesare
Terror in the House of Broken Belles • Nikki Guerlain
The Strange Vice of ZLA-313 • MP Johnson
Sensoria • Anya Martin
The Red Church • Orrin Grey
Balch Creek • Cameron Pierce
Hello, Handsome • Garrett Cook
We Can Only Become Monsters • Ennis Drake
The Threshold of Waking Light • E. Catherine Tobler
The Communion of Saints • John Langan
Exit Strategies • Brian Keene

Cover art by David Palumbo
Cover design by Scott R. Jones

Coming May 15, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-939905-06-2
Preorder now at Word Horde

The Children of Old Leech: Excerpt: “Walpurgisnacht,” by Orrin Grey

Our third excerpt from The Children of Old Leech comes from “Walpurgisnacht,” by Orrin Grey. Traditionally, April 30th marks the feast of Saint Walpurga, an 8th Century German Abbess. But it’s also held to be the night that witches meet and revel on the Brocken, the highest peak in Germany’s Harz Mountains…

On the train, Nicky told me about the Brocken Spectre. “It’s a sort of optical illusion,” he said, leaning forward, his elbows on his knees. Nicky was younger than me, and prettier, and his dark hair fell in front of his face whenever he slouched, which was often. “The sun casts a giant shadow of you on the clouds below, right, and your head gets this prismatic halo. Like an angel.”

“I hear the sun only shines here like sixty days a year,” I said. “Besides, it’s night.” I was only half-listening anyway, my head lolling against the cool glass of the window. I’d had more than a few drinks at the airport bar, and I could feel a headache trying to force its way out past my eyes. Outside, I could see our destination looming up out of the darkness, the two towers of the Sender Brocken, old and new. Like Tolkien’s Minas Morgul and Orthanc. The sun was still going down, and the towers stood out like shadows against the gloaming, their lights already on. Gleaming yellow ones in the windows of the old tower, now the Brocken Hotel, and blinking red ones to warn planes away from the new tower, a candy-cane-striped lance that jutted skyward from the peak.

“It doesn’t look terribly inviting,” Nicky said, noticing my inattentiveness and nodding at the towers.

Now to the Brocken the witches ride.” I intoned, and then, without bothering to glance and see his puzzled expression, explained, “It’s Goethe. From Faust.”

That was why we were going, of course. It was Walpurgisnacht, the night when the witches and devils gathered on the crown of the bald mountain to welcome the spring. Nicky and I, and whoever else was on the train with us, were the witches in this equation, and we were all gathering on the Brocken to kiss the ass of a black goat.

The Children of Old Leech: A Tribute to the Carnivorous Cosmos of Laird Barron may be ordered directly from Word Horde or wherever better books are sold. Ask for The Children of Old Leech and other Word Horde titles at your favorite bookseller.