first thus

In which I return from Canada, bearing gifts

As usual, I had a wonderful time reading at Pulpfiction Books in Vancouver, BC last Friday. Store owner Chris Brayshaw and his significant other Lisa Jean Helps took me out to dinner and let me know that, in the event of a Donald Trump regency, they’d be happy to sponsor me and my Lisa for Canadian citizenship. I love Vancouver, so if I ever did have to flee the U.S. I could see settling there, though given current real estate prices I’d probably have to sell the family Picasso to afford it. (Note to self: acquire a family Picasso.)

While I was at the bookstore I got a surprise visit from Richard Smart of the Old English Bindery, who’d been commissioned by my friend Ed Smith to do a custom-bound version of Lovecraft Country. Richard has previously done special bindings for The Mirage and Bad Monkeys, but this one is particularly cool, with a definite Lovecraftian grimoire vibe.

In other good news, Charlie Jane Anders wrote a wonderful review of Lovecraft Country for io9.com, declaring it “one of the most thrilling books of the year.” (Thanks, Charlie Jane!) Lovecraft’s hometown Providence Journal has also weighed in, calling Lovecraft Country an “adventure-stuffed, often terrifying, always thrilling, rollicking roller coaster of a novel.”

My next public appearance will be here in Seattle, at Emerald City Comicon, where I’ll be signing books at the University Book Store booth (#5100) on Friday, April 8, from 11 AM to noon. And a week later I’ll be taking another trip down to Oregon, to read at the Book Bin in downtown Salem, OR on April 15 at 7 PM. Hope to see you there!

It’s (really) a book!

cover design and illustration by Jarrod Taylor

Last Friday the mailman brought me the first copy of the finished Lovecraft Country. This photo doesn’t do it full justice, but it’s a thing of beauty. Hardcover, with paper pasted over boards, like the Hardy Boy books I had as a kid. The aging effect that was used on the ARCs has been amped up even further, so that it looks and feels as if it really could be that old. Very cool, like an artifact from an imaginary past.

The official publication date, February 16, is just four weeks away now. I’ll be reading and signing books that evening at 7 PM at Elliott Bay Book Company; in the following days and weeks I’ll be doing additional readings in Seattle, Portland (OR), Sunriver, Wenatchee, Leavenworth (WA), and Vancouver, BC. Hope to see you there!

Signed books for the holidays

Just a reminder that signed copies of my novels make great holiday gifts.

I’m selling signed first editions of Sewer, Gas & Electric, Set This House in Order, and The Mirage; email for details.

Signed paperbacks of all of my novels are available from Secret Garden Bookshop in Seattle. You can contact them by phone at 206-789-5006 or via email; tell them what books you want, and they’ll order them, have me sign them, and ship them wherever you like.

I get the coolest door prizes

Last weekend I attended the Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair at Seattle Center. One of the exhibitors, my friend Ed Smith, surprised me with this awesome custom-bound copy of The Mirage:

The binding and original decoration are the work of Richard Smart and Alanna Simenson. Richard, a third-generation bookbinder and restorer who runs the Old English Bindery in Vancouver, also did a custom-bound Bad Monkeys several years ago:

You can see more of Richard’s work here and on Facebook. And you can see Alanna at work in this video pitch for a crowdfunded letterpress edition of Pride and Prejudice:

Although Richard and Alanna’s Mirage was by far the coolest thing I saw at the fair (and the only cool thing I got to take home), there were as always lots of other nifty items I wish I could afford. Among my imaginary purchases this year:

* A advance review copy of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.

* A 1911 report by Seattle’s Municipal Plans Commission on hoped-for changes and improvements to the city’s infrastructure. I’m curious how much of this survived contact with reality:

* A set of Analog magazines containing the first publication of Frank Herbert’s Dune, signed by the author.

* And in the Bauman Rare Books booth, David Collins’ 1804 Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, with hand-colored engravings:

I don’t think there’ll be much call for quadruped illustrations in my next novel, but I’m already thinking about how I might justify their inclusion in the special-bound edition of book #7.

Special edition

Ed Smith, a rare book dealer I know, just sent me a cool custom-bound edition of Bad Monkeys as a gift (Thanks, Ed!). The photo below doesn’t quite capture the 3-D effect of the bars in front of the Rorschach mandrill, but it does give you the general idea:

The binding was done by Richard Smart at the Old English Bindery.