Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ghost Rock Update

This was the last thing I was working on when I shut down in mid-January. Hand lettering is something brand-new to me, and I think I might need to work on it as a general skill. There's something about unifying word and image that exerts a certain magnetism...

I'm definitely out of the Vale of the Shadow. I'm busy again, functioning unsteadily but with will and effect. I would have started work on the next issue of Swill yesterday, but I made the mistake of deciding to take out the last major pile of crap in my studio.

What looked like a box and a couple of bags turned out to contain everything from old bank and school records to crumpled sketches and lyrics to a highway patrol signal and a decaying fencing mask, all woven together into a solid mass by a collection of cables ranging from MIDI to USB, with connections ranging from 1/8 inch to RCA, many with adapters of one kind or another dangling from the end. Partially unraveled, it's covering most of my floor right now.

I suppose that if you don't clean a room for three or four years while actively accumulating crap, the results should be predictable. Hopefully, by the time this is done, my gross lair will be a terrifyingly functional media laboratory.

It is a dream of beauty, is it not?

And before I came upstairs today, I uncovered the manuscript of the fucking novel. It just needs a light line-edit and gork-removal before going out, and I will return to that project before I stop working today. Up top is the state of the cover, and just below is the current state of the query. (Sorry to keep you waiting, Neil.) Does this hit the right note of balance between literary and genre? Who the fuck cares -- I managed to fit it on the page.

Gentle because he knows his own strength, patient because he fears his own temper, Matt Cassad stands apart as he wages war with himself. When musicians Lulu and Willy come to visit, Lulu’s otherworldly vocal harmonies blow through reality and propel Matt into a decaying afterlife where he struggles to heal a cosmos that’s half organ and half artwork. Lost in a hallucinatory wilderness, Matt is forced to defend himself against a pair of muggers-turned-monsters. Pursued by their angry ghosts, haunted by his own savagery, Matt is taken in by Corrie, a green-haired woman who says she’s the survivor of a lost Colonial village. Matt is heartbroken when he’s pulled away from her, back to Earth, but he doesn’t go home alone. One of the ghosts invades Matt’s house, screams through the wiring and possesses the appliances. With Lulu and Willy threatened, Matt returns to the afterlife in search of a solution only to find Corrie’s world terrorized by the other ghost. Caught between life and death, fighting for a chance at love, Matt finds three unexpected sources of strength. True friends. True heart. And the power of rock and roll.

American culture, history, and mythology seethe in GHOST ROCK, a novel complete at 53,000 words. Patrick Nielsen Hayden of Tor Books has requested this manuscript and graciously instructed me to mention this.

I’m a writer, artist, and performer living in Berkeley, California. I wrote many episodes of the award-winning, BBC-broadcast cult cartoon Thugs On Film, among other Mondo Media productions. I’ve worked as a writer, editor, and artist in the underground press, primarily for Swill magazine. I’ve studied genre fiction at the Viable Paradise and Taos Toolbox writer’s workshops. I’ve had two short stories published professionally, Tourists at Tor.com, and Deep Blue Dreams in the anthology Future Lovecraft from Innsmouth Free Press, to be re-released by Prime Books. My Amazon page is at (my Amazon page). An interview concerning the artwork done in conjunction with this novel is posted on Scientific American’s Symbiartic blog. And my performance work – which also spun out of the novel – has been favorably remarked upon here and here.

Thank you for your attention,

Sean Craven


Neil Vogler said...

Good stuff. Sounds like a cross between the work of Burroughs, Hunter S. Thompson, and the contemporary-set novels of Philip K Dick. In other words, it sounds like something I want to read.

I'm still preparing my own query. Maybe I'll run it by you sometime.

Nice work...

Sean Craven said...

Hey, Neil! You've called two of my main influences in Burroughs and Thompson. Dick is one of the writers lingering in my to-do list. I've read and enjoyed a fair chunk of his short genre work, and got a weird thrill out of VALIS, but aside from that, he's unknown to me.

And if you'd like to run your query by me, I'd be happy to look at it. I found your advice quite useful.