I have the hipness to produce inferior mockery

Lost Pages from the Black Guide
I started a creative writing club at my school this year. Pleased to report the club was a success! We met throughout the year to critique/discuss stories and poems the students had written. In the fall, John Langan and Laird Barron visited the school and met with the club. Suitably inspired by the visit of large, hairy, horror writers, for our end of the year collaborative project, we wrote LOST PAGES FROM THE BLACK GUIDE. The Black Guide makes an appearance in a number of Barron stories, most notably his "Mysterium Tremendum." The students were to take one page from the guide and have at it, with the spirit of John's and Laird's stories in mind. Below are those pages from the students and one from me. Click on each for the full-size version of the page(s). Enjoy!

The Black Guide's Cover:


From Edgar Escobar, grade 10


From Jackson McKeigue, grade 8



From Chris Kelly, grade 11


From Dan Fulham, grade 11


From James Elcock, grade 8


From Thomas Hovsepian, grade 8


From Nikhil "aka Randy" Basavappa, grade 12


From John Bartlett, grade 11


From Paul Tremblay, grade 19


From Jack Glynn, grade 9



From Joey Cerra, grade 10


From George Price, grade 12


74+ Scary Movies, 10 scary scenes
Stabby stab stab
Two years ago I threw down my top 74 horror movie list. Given the list is 2 years old now, I'd like to retroactively add a few more movies to that list, but do it without retroactively removing some of the old titles. That doesn't make total sense, I know, but I'm doing it anyway.

Movies I've seen after I made the list:

--Lake Mungo goes in my top ten. No movie in the past two years has moved me the way that sad, creepy movie did. Link to my review. Clicky.

--May. Top 30. Finally got around to watching it this past weekend. Funny, sad, and disturbing. Like Mungo, the sadness comes from the characters' authentic emotional lives and how those lives are broken or are being broken. The horror, of course, comes from the same place.

--House of the Devil. I'd put it somewhere in the late 60s of my list. The retro-horror movie dares to take its sweet ass time, and it looks real pretty. Effective enough to make the list.

--S&Man. Places in the early 60s of my list. A faux-documentary about extreme indie horror movies. Metafictional fun with a horrifying ending. Made doubly horrifying because REDACTED.


Ginger Snaps (Heathers with werewolves?) should've been on my list, and I should've given Clive Barker flicks some love toward the end of the list. Maybe Lord of Illusions (Scott Backula!) and/or Nightbreed.


Two years ago Stephen Graham Jones copied my list of top 74 movies. So this year, I'm copying his top ten scary scenes.

My criteria for top ten scary scenes is purely subjective. I'm going by number of nightmares given to me along with a quotient involving factors of I-think-about-this-when-I'm-in-the-basement-alone and how fast do I then run up the stairs, plus the cover-my-eyes constant multiple, which can't be forgotten. Anyway, enough math. The list.

1) Quint buys it in Jaws. I'm posting this scene but I'm not watching it. I saw it in fifth grade. I had twenty plus years of shark nightmares after. I've seen Jaws maybe 40 times since, but I won't watch the Quint scene again. I never do. I cover my eyes or change the channel.

2) Donald Sutherland now playing for the other team in Invasion of the Body Snatchers:

3) Nightmare on Elm Street. Freddy visited my nightmares almost as much as Jaws did. So much so, I really only watched the first and third of the Nightmare movies. His first kill messed me up good.

4) The end of Blair Witch project. So, yeah, anyone standing alone in the corner freaks me out. No one puts baby in the corner.


5) Event Horizon. The scene is when they find the film of what happened to the previous crew. This clip isn't quite it, but you get the gist. When I saw it at the time, I resolved to never watch it again.

6) 'Salem's Lot. The kid at the window. I still sleep with my windows locked.

7) Lake Mungo. Finding the of footage on the cell phone. I watched this movie by myself and when this happened I moaned out loud to no one. An existential moan.

8) Rec's final scene. I'd seen Quarantine first. So I figured I knew the ending to REC. Yeah, um, I was wrong.

9) Fright Night. The original. Sure it's campy now, but the big-teeth reveal (much like Karen Black at the end of Trilogy of Terror) scared the kid that was me witless.

10) The Ring. Still too scared to watch the original version (which I own on DVD, but haven't watched yet).

"A Night at the Paradise" essay at Manarchy
I wrote a big fat essay about the Helmet show I went to in August. It's about music, sibling relationships, existential crisis, pop culture obsession, influence, art, and toddler-sized beers. Go read it!

"Have you ever been alone in a room full of people? I ask because my most recent Sartre[1]-esque bout of existential loneliness happened after my brother cruelly abandoned me at a recent Helmet/Toadies concert. He left me in Boston’s Paradise Rock Club to haunt the all access box. All by myself. Not an Eric Carmen[2] fan to be seen."

Cole's promo vides
I’ve decided to put my son Cole in charge of making promotional videos. Here’s the first. I was sent through a playground obstacle course. I’ll have you all know I supposedly “tied” Emma’s best time on the course. I think there was some funny business with the clock, dammit.

In this second video, you can really see his directorial hand maturing.

Two interviews
Both interviews manage to cover some different ground.

--First up, at mybookishways

"How about Meet the Feebles meets Citizen Kane! (nah, too obscure, and while there’s a kernel of truth to that pitch, it’s not one-hundred percent accurate. I love that pairing though. I’d be willing to bet no one has elevator-pitched with those two films."

--And at Frellathon.com

"Right now I’m at the dining room table of my sister’s house (she’s graciously putting us up while we wait for the new house), and there’s a giant pelican staring at me."

Besides Feebles and Pelicans, I do manage to talk about Swallowing a Donkey's Eye as well.

My review of Evenson's IMMOBILITY at LARB
I wrote a review of Brian Evenson's IMMOBILITY for the Los Angeles Review of Books, and it's live today. Call me the critic. But for today only.

"IN 2010 A CLEVER BLOG titled the Imaginary Library posted covers, jacket copy, and blurbs for books that did not actually exist. The April 5, 2010 entry was for a bleak, post-apocalyptic detective novel, Immobility by Brian Evenson. In an odd case of art imitating art then becoming art, the description of the fake book caught the eye of an editor at Tor books, who then encouraged Evenson to write the real book. Got all that? Given its grim, all-too-plausible, post-nuclear disaster setting, let’s hope for no further iteration, no life imitating art...."

Swallowing a Donkey's Eye lives! Plus guest-blog post, LA Times, and freebies at Litreactor.
Timing is everything, right? Well, I don't have any.

In the midst of moving out of my house of 13 years, my novel SWALLOWING A DONKEY'S EYE was released yesterday. Now that I've unpacked my computer, I can participate in the promo fun.

In the mean time, go and consume! Buy here!

Some of the goings on and release bacchanalia:

--CZP started a website for the novel. The site has book excerpts (including an entire chapter), artwork, news, a discount offer, and there'll be some original content in the coming days/weeks as well.


--Litreactor is giving away two copies. You just have to jump through a few interpretive hoops to possibly win one. Check it out!

--David Ulin of the LA Times is going on vacation and he gave a brief list of books that he's taking with him. Yup, one of the books has a donkey on the cover. See?

--Jonathan Wilhoit kindly gave me some blog-space over at his I Read a Book Once for an essay explaining (somewhat) the connections between legumes, music, and satire to my novel and its title. GO HERE.

My Readercon schedule
I'm really looking forward to stalking seeing all my talented friends at Readercon this weekend. Special bonus of my family spending most of the con weekend in the hotel with me too. I hope they don't mind my coming back to the room after a late night of literary discussion!

To the schedule!

Friday July 13

11:30 AM VT Reading. Paul Tremblay. Paul Tremblay reads from his upcoming novel Swallowing a Donkey's Eye.

12:00 PM RI At School with Peter Straub. Andy Duncan, Jack Haringa, Nicholas Kaufmann (leader), Caitlín R. Kiernan, John Langan, Paul Tremblay. For the generation of horror writers who came of age in the seventies and eighties, the fiction of Peter Straub has exerted a profound gravitational pull. Glen Hirshberg has spoken of the importance of If You Could See Me Now to his development as a writer of ghost stories. Lee Thomas has acknowledged the influence of Ghost Story on his novel The Dust of Wonderland. Kelly Link has noted the significance of Shadowland to her stories. Laird Barron has written the afterword to the recent Centipede Press edition of Koko, in which he details that novel's importance to his work. This panel will bring together several writers who have benefited from the example of Straub's fiction to discuss some of the ways in which his work contributed to theirs.

Proposed by Nicholas Kaufmann.

Saturday July 14

11:00 AM NH Group Reading: ChiZine Publications. Gemma Files, Nicholas Kaufmann, Nick Mamatas, Yves Meynard, Paul Tremblay. Authors published by ChiZine Publications read from their works.

Sunday July 15

11:00 AM G The Shirley Jackson Awards. Nathan Ballingrud, Matthew Cheney, Michael Cisco, F. Brett Cox, Ellen Datlow, Sarah Hyman DeWitt, Elizabeth Hand, Jack Haringa, Caitlín R. Kiernan (leader), John Langan, Sarah Langan, Kelly Link, Kit Reed, Peter Straub (moderator), Paul Tremblay, Genevieve Valentine, Jeff VanderMeer, Gary K. Wolfe. In recognition of the legacy of Shirley Jackson's writing, and with permission of the author's estate, the Shirley Jackson Awards have been established for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic. Jackson (1916–1965) wrote classic novels such as The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, as well as one of the most famous short stories in the English language, "The Lottery." Her work continues to be a major influence on writers of every kind of fiction, from the most traditional genre offerings to the most innovative literary work. The awards given in her name have been voted upon by a jury of professional writers, editors, critics, and academics, with input from a Board of Advisors, for the best work published in the calendar year of 2011 in the following categories: Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Single-Author

The Harlequin and the Train now available as an ebook
Formerly only available as a limited edition from Necropolitan Press, The Harlequin and the Train is now a $2.99 ebook. Available at amazon now, and soon to be in Nook and Apple's iTunes as well. The ebook version is gussied up with hyperlinks. They're fun and informative!


Rudy has only been on the job as a train engineer for a few months. While at the helm of a commuter train headed to Boston, Massachusetts, it hits a harlequin clown, and in the chaotic aftermath, he witnesses the horrific and inexplicable actions of a group of people who were seemingly laying in wait for the accident. There are other accidents and as the group infiltrates his life (present and past), and as random global acts of violence and suffering seem to be connected, what Rudy believes about others and himself will be forever warped as he makes his final choice.


"Tremblay is an expert when it comes to piercing the veil of  prosaic suburban life to reveal its dark heart. Cryptic, elliptical, and profoundly eerie, The Harlequin & the Train unfolds inexorably as a nightmare."—Laird Barron, author of The Croning and Occultation

"Highlight this in yellow: With The Harlequin and the Train, Paul G. Tremblay manages to make the reader complicit in the narrator’s decisions. He pulls you down with him, giving you that uncomfortable feeling in your gut when being dragged to something you don’t want to see. Through clean, simple language coupled with bizarre and unsettling events, you are brought directly to that place you would never want to be. But it’s okay, it’s alright, everything will be fine: Just keep telling yourself that you’re not Rudy. Could never be Rudy. The Harlequin and the Train further cements Tremblay’s reputation of being one of the finest writers of weird fiction—hell, any form of fiction—working in the field today.”--Brett Savory, author of In and Down

“Don't let the title fool you. This story's about neither clowns nor trains. Instead, it shows us what terrible thing germinates in each of our hearts. And how it can grow into something beautiful, if we let it.”--Stephen Graham Jones, author of Demon Theory and Growing Up Dead in Texas

“Call it a novella if you want, but this fast little book engages you at a deeper level than most of the doorstop novels out there. It's one of those rare instances where the writing and the story have synched up perfectly. What I'm saying is that I wish I would have written this book. As is, I'll have to just be satisfied with having name small here, like this:”--Stephen Graham Jones (so nice, he blurbed it twice!)

"With The Harlequin and The Train, Tremblay cements his reputation as one of the finest craftsmen of dark fiction working today.  The story is emotionally complex and stylistically innovative in its exploration of fate and the cruelty of chance. Ambitious and exciting, The Harlequin and The Train is a remarkable achievement." Lee Thomas, author of The German and The Dust of Wonderland

“With THE HARLEQUIN AND THE TRAIN, Paul Tremblay accomplishes what veteran authors of the new genre still strive toward: the perfect balance between smart, innovative plot, and true characters who break your heart.  I loved it.”—Sarah Langan, author of The Keeper and The Missing

My LA Times Festival of Books Schedule
The festival is free to the public and held on the USC campus. If I have time I'll try to find where John Carpenter fell asleep in film classes. See you in LA!

Crime Fiction: Out of the Box, Saturday, 4/21/2012, 3:30:00 PM


Celeste Fremon


Nelson George

Gary Phillips

P.G. Sturges

Paul Tremblay

Fiction: Bump in the Night, Sunday, 4/22/2012, 11:30:00 AM 


Paul Tremblay


Melissa de la Cruz

Seth Grahame-Smith

Deborah Harkness

Richard Kadrey

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