Clavus Insomnium

Posted in Liber et Auda on September 1, 2015 by cairnwood

I dreamt last night that my roof was leaking, although I was living in a far different house than my own. It was a large brick building, multiple floors with turrets and balconies and old storerooms filled with left over remnants from businesses that had dried up.

I was upset because I had just spent a large sum of dream cash on a roof repair and had begun remodeling the insides… a remodel that was being ruined by the pounding tempest outside (that was now quite a bit inside).

I walked down the street through the rain, unable to see, but feeling my way, until I entered a hardware store (that was selling fish in Pepsi bottles and livestock in pens). Brent’s Grandpa Dick was there, a chewed up cigar in his mouth, wearing a dirty white tanktop and suspenders that held up his Sunday-go-to-meetin’ pants

I asked Dick for some pig troughs, which I think I was planning to use like funnels (don’t ask me?). He said that he just rented the last of them to my cousin Jeff, but that Brent might be able to help. He was out back.

I walked through the aisles, wandering this way and that, till I stepped into a large room that looked like a roller rink but had cardboard cement tubes stacked all over the place and the floor was covered with nails.


“Mind your step,” Brent said. He was standing in the center of the room using a hockey stick to sweep up the nails.

“I need a couple of sections of pig trough,” I called out.

He stopped his sweeping.

“No you don’t,” he replied. “You just need it to quit raining.”

He walked over and handed me a nail… and I woke up.

Wes Craven 1939-2015

Posted in Horror, Media Macabre on August 31, 2015 by cairnwood


Brain Cancer took the life of Horror Legend Wes Craven on Sunday. He was 76.

A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, The Hills Have Eyes, The People Under the Stairs, The Last House on the Left, and my personal favorite, The Serpent and the Rainbow… these are just a few of the brilliant horror films he was a part of. And, to be honest, a part of me.

His movies were a staple of my youth, frequently rented for weekend vhs horror marathons. They were cheap scares on a cheap budget and I loved it.

He produced movies that fed the nightmares of young people from the seventies on… and those films will continue to be classics of the genre.

Wes Craven will be missed, but his legacy is forever.


Homeward Bound, Spirit Having Flown

Posted in Liber et Auda, Magick by Trial & Error on August 28, 2015 by cairnwood

As a young man, one of the biggest problems I had with magick in general was the obsession by most occultists with exotic cultures other than their own. Be it Egyptian, Sumerian, Hindi, Taoist, Buddhist, or what have you, it seemed like British Occultists, those cats of whom I read the most about anyway, were hellbent to look outside their own heritage for the most part, denying the rich tapestry of the folkway in their own backyard.

I mean, I get it now, from a historical context, but in my teens and tweens, it seemed alien to me. It’s why I never felt drawn to Christianity in the first place. I never felt a connection to the characters in the Bible nor to the tribal desert god they worshiped.

I got that same sense from the martial arts with the emphasis on Japanese, Chinese, and Korean styles, especially when my ancestors had their own weapon and hand-to-hand techniques that were every bit as viable as their eastern counterparts.

You gravitate toward what speaks to you. I just think a lot of people looking to fill an empty space inside themselves overlook what’s right in front of their faces, clamoring for something to make them feel more special, more unique, all the while moving farther and farther away from what would truly make them whole.

There’s something to be said for embracing who you are and where you’re from.

Not that I’m judging. Far from it. A person’s spiritual path is their own to follow. I’m just putting it out there that if you’re still searching, if there is an empty place inside, maybe, just maybe, you’re looking in the wrong places. The answer might be right outside your backdoor and not somewhere over the rainbow.

Keepers of the Dead

Posted in Horror, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags on August 26, 2015 by cairnwood

Seventh Star Press’ editions of my Cairnwood Manor series continues. Shadows Over Somerset was gorgeous and I expect nothing less from Keepers of the Dead.

Late yesterday afternoon I made the final approvals of the erratum my editor, Scott Sandridge, so carefully uncovered, and I sent the manuscript off to Stephen Zimmer at Seventh Star. Along with it, I included some ancillary material — chapter endpages, scene transition cuts, and the title page, which I reproduce here:


Soon, I’ll be working with Shadows illustrator Enggar Adirasa on the cover art and interior scenes for Keepers and then, sometime this fall, the book will drop. The third volume in the series, Shadow of the Wolf, should be available this time next year.

In the meantime, if you haven’t had a chance to pick up Shadows Over Somerset, now would be a good time to do so.

The Shadows Over Somerset trade paperback is available on Amazon for less than $12 and the ebook is less than $4.

Sacris Spelunca

Posted in Liber et Auda on August 25, 2015 by cairnwood

Spending the day with Keepers of the Dead, giving it one more pass before sending it on to Seventh Star Press for publication this fall (gods willing and the creek don’t rise)…

But first, some reminiscing… and with Keepers on my mind, a trip to the Reservoir seems appropriate.

thecliffsThere are a lot of special places out along the Mississinewa. I can only imagine how magical it was before the Dam. But there was still quite a bit of magic in the place back when we were all still young men. One of our favorite spots was what was once Peoria, nestled up alongside where the old Tahkonong Reservation once held court.

For us, it was known as “The Cliffs”. There was a shelter house at the top of the hill surrounded by a deep forest that held a number of secrets, especially back then — old, abandoned homes filled with ghosts and Lovecraftian horrors, sacrificial altars, and shadowy cultists. There was a steep boat ramp and a winding shore road. And there was the stretch of overlook that gave our little hangout its name.

A lot of kids used to go cliff diving (and presumably still do) into the reservoir from atop that rocky ledge, but Brent and I and a handful of others were more taken by the natural cave formation in the cliffside itself, just below where less intelligent types leapt into the waters below (we witnessed more than a few teens get hurt pretty good there).

The cave was a seemingly perilous climb down and across, where we were forced to scale along a narrow finger and toe hold to reach a small, narrow cave entrance. Skinnying our way back inside, we would sit in a cramped limestone room, scribe charcoal poems and sigils on the walls, smoke cigarettes, and dissect life, love, and magic.

Autumn was the best time out there. It was cool, people were more scarce, and the reservoir was let out and the river could breathe again, like it did before the Army Corps of Engineers ruined everything, before Somerset was submerged, and the dead were washed away.

Still, it was sacred to us. It lived and breathed and gave life to a rag-tag bunch of teen-age misfits.

I don’t go out there like I once did, but it still haunts me. I remember Brent saying once how he hoped when we died we could create our own heaven and how, if we could, it would be the Mississinewa River, from Five Mile to Seven Pillars.

I’ve got to say, I couldn’t wish for anything more.

Dead Letters (#writingintheoryandpractice)

Posted in Writing in Theory & Practice with tags on August 24, 2015 by cairnwood

On August 24, 1456, Johannes Gutenberg completed the task of printing the Holy Writ, the first major work to have been done so through the use of movable type. It revolutionized the printing industry, obviously. The guy who gets overlooked in the process all too often is the proofreader. Now there’s an unsung hero if ever there was one.

I hate it, personally. To be honest, I even hate looking over the edits someone else has done on my work. It’s a tedious, but necessary, part of the process.

Some people dig it.

They’re the ones I don’t wholly trust, but I do recognize the need for such demented types.

kotdavI bring this up because I am currently poring over edits on my second Cairnwood Manor novel, Keepers of the Dead. Scott Sandridge has done a thorough job of making Keepers a better book. My job, at this point, is pretty much just agreeing with his proof edits. So far, so good. Except for one little thing — I prefer leapt over leaped and I don’t know why… but I do.

That’s my one sticking point… and by the gods, I will defend it unto my dying breath.

Or not.

The thing about typos and proofs and all that rot is, I do so hate to admit that I’m capable of mistakes. Looking over this thing, I see I’m more than capable… I’m damn near a professional at it.

And with that, I bid you adieu as I dive back into misplaced commas, dropped words, and run-on sentences.

Dark Providence (#HPLovecraft)

Posted in Horror, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags on August 20, 2015 by cairnwood

It is the 20th of August, 2015, marking the 125th anniversary of the nativity of Providence’s Mad Master of the Macabre. H.P. Lovecraft had ascended to an almost godlike station overlooking the horror field, though his pedestal has been chipped at of late by the hands of the simpleton sheep of nouveau liberalism. I am not here to defend Lovecraft the Man, for instead I choose to celebrate Lovecraft the Author.


‘Author’ is such an inadequate word for defining Lovecraft’s vocation. He was an architect, a world builder, an originator. He was a master of the form. He painted with words dark, muddy, surreal images of the profane and cosmic. Purposefully laborious and antiquated, even for his time, Lovecraft’s pose invokes and evokes an oppressive, malignant atmosphere that strips away the world outside the stories he writes, leaving only the wreckage of the desolate and fragile worlds within the pages of his nightmarish fictions.

It may be in fashion to dismiss this artisan of the abhorrent, to classify him has a racist, misogynist, homophobic, and more, but as S.T. Joshi so eloquently put it, “Lovecraft’s status in weird fiction, in American literature, and in world literature is now so assured that attempts to deny or denigrate it are restricted to cranks and ignoramuses.”


Lovecraft is our tenebrous god, lurking in the murky shadows, corrupting our dreams and turning them into nightmarish landscapes of afflicted madness. We worship at the altar of his dark providence, sacrifice the light that we might bask in the infinite black of the corruptible oblivion his cthonic visions made manifest.

125 years ago today, a fiend slithered from out his mother’s womb to leave a trail of despair forty-six years long, but so invasive was it that its malignant chronicles continue long after, because a thing cannot be killed that was never truly born.


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