Friday, October 24, 2008

How's Tricks? (and a Halloween Treat)

So, I had a little medical procedure today that required them doping me silly, making it hard to focus on writing. Instead, I thought I'd do a little update on all the news, cool and crazy, happening now.

First, the biggest news...but with only slim details, as I can't say more about it right now. One of my book series has just been optioned by a TV network and I'm soon to begin work co-writing the pilot. The central character is very dear to me, and I can't tell you how thrilled I am by this development, and with the group of people who have come together to make it happen. More on that later.

I wish I had concrete news on some of the other film and TV projects in various stages of development--BALTIMORE, TALENT, OUTCAST, THE SISTERHOOD, THE HOLLOW, and GHOSTS OF ALBION--but though there is definitely action, there's nothing to report at the moment. Hopefully that will change soon.

Tim Lebbon and I are hard at work on our first YA collaboration, THE SECRET JOURNEYS OF JACK LONDON, and it's turning out to be very cool and, I believe, unique. It's a very creatively rewarding partnership, I think. In fact, in addition to those, Tim and I have also made a deal with Bantam for the next two novels in our HIDDEN CITIES series (though "series" is such a strange word for books that are so UNconnected).

The next Hidden Cities book, THE MAP OF MOMENTS, will be out at the end of January. Every book in the series stands on its own, without any need to have read or even know about the others. They are only thematically connected. Tim and I both feel MAP is one of the best things either of us has ever done.

SOULLESS and PRINCE OF STORIES: THE MANY WORLDS OF NEIL GAIMAN, both hit stores this month. I haven't heard whether or not Neil has seen the book or what he thinks of it, but it's important to us all that he like it, so fingers tightly crossed.

Speaking of new deals (as I was just a bit above), I've also signed on with MTV Books (publishers of SOULLESS) for a new book with them. It's modern dark fantasy with a classical twist, but it's too early to say more about it.

There you are. That's probably all the update my drug-addled brain can manage at the moment. I should add, though, that on November 16th, both Joe Hill (Heart-Shaped Box) and I will be signing at the Portsmouth Comic Book Show (in Portsmouth, NH). If you're not too far away, come by and visit.

And now, as promised, a Halloween essay I wrote a number of years back for a big fat Cemetery Dance anthology. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!

by Christopher Golden

Was I eleven?

I don’t think so. At least not quite. Let’s say nine, then, though perhaps I’m erring on the side of vanity, not wanting to admit just how long I held on to the more gleefully childish parts of Halloween.
So, yes, nine.
Before I begin, though, you need to know about my mother’s hand. Or, rather, her lack of one. The left. From birth she has been forced to manage with what one might call a truncated version of a left hand, dealing both with the practical impact of that loss as well as the emotional. She’s done very well, thank you. Though an attorney now, in her youth she was a singer and performer whose efforts took her to Off-Broadway shows in New York.
In order to prevent audiences from being distracted by her handicap, she had one made for her. It was plastic and felt not unlike a turkey baster to the touch.
By the time I was nine—we all agreed on nine, did we not?—my mother had long since abandoned the stage. But the hand remained in my basement for me to discover it one early fall. It was a fascinating piece of equipment, particularly to one of my darkly mischievous mind set. Thus, that Halloween, when I put on my father’s torn black jacket that hung to my knees and pulled my Frankenstein’s Monster mask over my head, I also slipped that hand over my own . . .
Poor Mrs. Nye.
I lived in a suburban Massachusetts town twenty miles west of Boston, on a quiet, dead-end street with plenty of kids. My road was part of a warren of them that comprised a single, enormous middle-class neighborhood called Pheasant Hill.
Halloween on Pheasant Hill was truly something to behold. My brother and I took huge white pillowcases out before dark and began our rounds, filling up once, twice, even three times before finally settling down to fish through our booty and trade what we didn’t like for things we did. If I close my eyes now I can remember the bustle of garishly costumed children roving up and down the streets in small packs.
Cabbage Night, what we called the local night of mischief and misdemeanors the evening before Halloween, had just passed. And yet we had the unmitigated gall to approach the front doors of homes we had egged or soaped the windows of or toilet-papered the trees of not twenty four hours earlier.
One house, on the far end of Briarwood Road, offered cold sodas instead of candy, and at least one Halloween was hot enough for us to be sweating in our masks and costumes. I had a devil’s mask as well, but I think that came later, after the Frankenstein.
Of course there were sinister elements as well. The LaVolley mansion—which wasn’t much of a mansion at all, to be honest—had shattered windows and an overgrown lot and that was our haunted house, the one we all sprinted by when we had to pass it. If we dared go down that way at all on Halloween night.
The whispers of razor-blades in apples and poison in candy. But we were foolish enough to think a wrapper that wasn’t ripped meant the candy was safe to eat. We were children. And children in a time when parents thought most of those stories were just urban myths.
It didn’t matter. Halloween was a glorious night. The best night of the year. When cable television came in, I could go home from trick-or-treating and watch Halloween or Magic on HBO. Conveniently, one or the other always seemed to be on that night. There were others, of course, but those are the ones I remember.
I got older, of course. Old enough, eventually, to bitterly accept that the solicitation of candy was reserved for younger children. And then older still.
But I never stopped loving Halloween. I usually take my children out trick-or-treating because I’m too dangerous to leave at home on Halloween night with my gore-drenched ghoul mask and lots of gullible little garishly-dressed neighbor kids to frighten.
Which brings me back to Mrs. Nye. What a sweet old woman she was.
I rang the bell, a group of other kids behind me. She came to the door and I was the one who yelled “trick or treat” the loudest. With a kindly smile she dropped a Zagnut and a Reese’s cup in my bag. I thanked her and thrust out my hand for her to shake.
My left hand.
She shook it, of course. It came off in her hand and I shouted as if I’d been injured and she shrieked in shock and terror and dropped it on the ground.
Mrs. Nye stared at me in horror.
And I liked it.
A lot.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

To My Friends in California

It's inconceivable to me to think that anyone in the fair state of California would wish--now that they have made such a proud step into a future that is kinder and more just--to return to a darker era of prejudice and inequality.

The opponents of gay marriage want to make it about religion, but it is not about that. If there's one thing I learned in twelve years of Catholic school, it's that Christ was about inclusion, about opening your arms to people others would look down upon.

What IS marriage? It is a vow of love and a union of spirit. It is a legal bond that provides protections under the law where children, health, and crisis are concerned. It is the freedom to proclaim a commitment to one another that is deeper than mere intention, or words like "girlfriend," "boyfriend," and "partner" can communicate.

The people who are trying to pull the state back into an era of intolerance are fighting for the right to HATE. Those who need your support--who need you to VOTE NO ON 8--are fighting for the right to LOVE. Whose motives do you respect more?

California, VOTE NO ON H8TE.