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Old 04-30-2015   #1
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The Nameless Dark - A Collection

My debut collection of short fiction, titled The Nameless Dark, featuring an introduction by Nathan Ballingrud, is now up for pre-order, via the Lethe Press website:

The Nameless Dark - Lethe Press

... and Amazon:





Many of the tales have a cosmic horror/Lovecraftian bend to them, while others dip into the Weird Western, the uncanny, and rural Noir. Overall, I think the collection could be of interest to readers of Thomas Ligotti.

I'll post some of the blurbs that the book has received, which might act as a primer, and a better preview than I could possibly write:

“Major new voices don’t come along often. This is one. Read it.”
— Michael Marshall Smith, author of Intruders and The Straw Men


"Packed with ideas that transform the ordinary into the extraordinary, and a wide cast — a chorus of disgruntled outsiders, misfits, the put-upon, the socially unacceptable and self destructive — who totter at the edge of the life they wanted, and by doing so seem to conjure associations with things that no one would want to know. Above all, T.E. Grau has that special touch that leaves part of a reader trapped inside his tales, and that's always a sign that others should proceed, wide-eyed, into these stories. For me, he's right up there with the best new generation of horror writers. A must have collection."
— Adam Nevill, author of No One Gets Out Alive and The Ritual


"The Nameless Dark isn't a great debut collection, it's a great collection, full stop. T.E. Grau's writing is dynamic and vital and reinforces the notion that the 2000s and 2010s are a high water mark in the tradition of horror and the weird."
— Laird Barron, author of The Croning and The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All


"What's most impressive about T. E. Grau's stunning debut collection is the range of his settings and histories, and of the desperate and authentic voices of his doomed characters. The cumulative effect of these smart, evocative, unsettling creepers is a sense of dread as deep as the secret ocean underneath Nebraska."
— Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Little Sleep


"Debut collections rarely exhibit such literary deftness and raw power. The Nameless Dark is brutally poetic and poetically brutal. The shadows evoked by T.E. Grau have teeth, and they shall endure."
— Richard Gavin, author of At Fear's Altar


“Some authors become contemporary favorites of mine on the merits of only a story or two. Such was the case with T. E. Grau. With his first story I was exposed to, 'Free Fireworks,' he seized my attention, and when I read 'The Screamer' I was flat-out sold. He’s never disappointed me since. Even as a relative newcomer, he’s writing stories that can stand tall alongside those of much more established writers of modern weird fiction. His stories are sometimes tragic, sometimes blackly humorous, often cast a probing gaze at society, and may very well do all these things within the borders of a single tale. His range is especially to be admired, his settings diverse but always convincing and immersive. A story like 'The Mission' reads like a feverish blend of Cormac McCarthy and H. P. Lovecraft, but is all Grau: wildly imaginative, fiercely gripping, brazenly unpredictable.”
— Jeffrey Thomas, author of Punktown


T.E. Grau's stories range across time and space, from Victorian-era London to contemporary Los Angeles, from America's western frontier to the bohemian gatherings of Beat-inflected San Francisco. In prose elegant and engaging, he details the lives of men and women, children and adults, who have arrived at places where the world they know peels away to reveal another, darker place. It is a place where childhood fairy tales converge with stories of things older still, where the history we know is a mask for things better left concealed. Grau's attention to character makes their discovery of this other place resonate long after each story is done. There are echoes of Bradbury in here, Lovecraft and Chandler, among others. But it is Grau's success to evoke these writers without lapsing into pastiche. Instead, he has produced an impressive, gripping collection of fiction. I recommend it highly.
--John Langan, author of The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies


"In The Nameless Dark, T. E. Grau finds the sweet spot between terror and acceptance, horror and beauty, the unusual and the familiar—both frightening and touching at the same time. Not an easy task. These unsettling stories grab your heart and squeeze—a sensation that is both terrifying and like coming home.”
— Richard Thomas, author of Disintegration


"T.E. Grau's odd, edgy stories shine a new light into the dark corners of human experience. These stories shine with smart prose, clever - often quirky - insights, and enough weirdness to make any genre fan froth at the mouth with glee. Start reading Grau before he hits big, then you can say you were one of the first."
— Gary McMahon, author of Pretty Little Dead Things and The Concrete Grove


"More than any other genre, perhaps, horror is defined by its places -- from the snowy streets of Lovecraft’s Kingsport to the windswept beaches of James’ Seaburgh or the ancient hills around Machen’s Caermaen. In such places the alien exists alongside the familiar and the horrific mingles with the beautiful. T.E. Grau’s The Nameless Dark follows in this same tradition, evoking within its pages a world of haunted landscapes: blasted cities and barren deserts, suffocating jungles and sun-bleached plains. The horrors Grau describes are likewise diverse, encompassing ghosts, monsters, and existential despair. Perhaps most notable of all is Grau’s willingness to engage the all-too-human problems of cruelty and brutality, with the lyrical qualities of his prose providing a startling and effective counterpoint. Thrilling and memorable."
— Daniel Mills, author of The Lord Came at Twilight


"The Nameless Dark is a horribly good collection from the incredibly versatile T.E. Grau, featuring stories ranging from the nihilistically bleak to the darkly humorous. You’ll find harrowing accounts of modern day life alongside stories of an old west that’s wild with monstrous things, Lovecraftian horror holding hands with the Ligottian. Each story is written with a clear love for language, the prose evocative, heartfelt, and often heartbreaking, providing observations of human nature that are wickedly astute and well considered. The stars must have been right when he wrote this because Grau has created magic here, magic of a very dark kind. The Nameless Dark is an excellent collection – I loved it."
— Ray Cluley, author of Probably Monsters and Within the Wind, Beneath the Snow

[Edited to add in John Langan blurb]

TEG

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Old 05-21-2015   #2
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Re: The Nameless Dark - A Collection

Print ARC arrived today.

For those interested in reviewing the book for public consumption, and would like a print or electronic ARC, please contact me via TLO PM.
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TEG

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Old 05-22-2015   #3
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Re: The Nameless Dark - A Collection

Not knocking the hustle or anything. But think also with the promotion of your work you can tell us a little about yourself or your work or maybe a sample paragraph or something? Promotion threads tend to go off to pasture and die on here..
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Old 05-22-2015   #4
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Re: The Nameless Dark - A Collection

Mr. Grau contributed two very nice pieces to the Short Short Horror thread if I recall correctly !
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Old 05-22-2015   #5
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Re: The Nameless Dark - A Collection

Quote Originally Posted by luciferfell View Post
Not knocking the hustle or anything. But think also with the promotion of your work you can tell us a little about yourself or your work or maybe a sample paragraph or something? Promotion threads tend to go off to pasture and die on here..
Read the first message in the thread.

"...the uncanny is to me the defining trait of this strange and terrible world and our strange and terrible minds." --Thomas Ligotti
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Old 05-22-2015   #6
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Re: The Nameless Dark - A Collection

Quote Originally Posted by Druidic View Post
Mr. Grau contributed two very nice pieces to the Short Short Horror thread if I recall correctly !
I still remember one of them. "If you are reading this..." !

I think the cover art is very effective. Always nice to see a debut collection.
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Old 05-22-2015   #7
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Re: The Nameless Dark - A Collection

Congrats!

Those are some heavy-hitters endorsing your work. That alone must be satisfying to some degree.
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Old 05-22-2015   #8
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Re: The Nameless Dark - A Collection

Indeed, luciferfell. I didn't want to barge into the TLO living room and start shouting, but you're right -- some random book share without context is pretty meaningless.

As a brief intro and background, I'm a Los Angeles-based writer of dark fiction, grounded in an interest in the works Lovecraft, Ligotti, Hunter S. Thompson, Robert E. Howard, CAS, Blackwood, Machen, Lawrence Block, Bradbury, etc., although most of my horror reading started after I started writing horror. I was a fantasy fan growing up, tempered by the Beats in college.

I reckon I could post a paragraph, or story portion, here. After a far too brief search, and much hand wringing over what would and wouldn't make sense as an excerpt, here is a sampling of one of my older stories (from 2010), titled "The Screamer":

It was about ten minutes ‘til lunch when he heard the scream.
One of the florescent lights was buzzing and blinking. Something must have been trapped. A moth, most likely. The illumination it coveted so desperately would eventually kill it. Boyd leaned back to ponder the slow death on the ceiling, when a scream came from outside. He thought nothing of it. The valets often communicated with a series of woops and catcalls. Curious sounds weren’t uncommon in this town.
But it came again.
A scream. A loud, strange scream.
Boyd spun around in his chair and scanned the perimeter. Nothing but industrial brown, with a sliver of opaque blue above and a ribbon of charcoal below.
Another scream penetrated the air. Boyd surveyed the buildings, but no one else was looking out. Windows didn’t open in Century City. Suicide wasn’t billable, and should be handled on your own time.
The screaming continued. It seemed masculine at first, but grew to transcend gender. Such an odd sound... Sometimes joyful, sometimes anxious. It had no terror in it. Just an expression of… something. Inscrutable, but surprisingly tantalizing. A scream wasn’t supposed to sound like this.
Boyd sat at his desk and listened. The screams came every ten seconds for about two minutes, then ended abruptly. After several moments of silence, he stood in the doorway, looking up and down the hall at his passing co-workers. There wasn’t a mention of screams in the snatches of conversation, usually devoted to obscure films playing at the Nuart or the latest article in Slate. Uppity bunch, or at least pretending to be. Though it made sense that the rest of the office didn’t hear what Boyd did. Most didn’t have windows with a spectacular view of nothing. Still, those on the same side of the suite would have heard it, too.
“Holding up the wall, Stansfield?” Boyd flinched. His boss, Mr. MacIntosh, squinted at a quivering sheaf of papers he always held in front of him like a corporate shield. MacIntosh never looked anyone square in the eye.
“No sir,” Boyd fumbled. “Did you, uh… Did you hear?”
MacIntosh shoved a portion of the invoices at Boyd. “Make these calls. It’s the end of the month, and seven… no, eight of your clients haven’t paid.”
Boyd took the bills, as MacIntosh shuffled down the hallway, his face buried in statements, like a vulture fussing over a carcass. “You gotta stay on people, Stansfield,” he added over his stooped shoulders. “That’s the only way to reach the top.”
“Capitalism is for killers,” issued a voice from the next office. Boyd ducked inside, where Neil nested amid a cluttered womb of files. The walls were plastered with bits of French philosophy, maps of forgotten French cities, and various ironic and rarely funny Internet memes. France and irony were very important to Neil.
With his earbuds firmly in place, Neil banged away at his keyboard while spooning brie onto those fancy crackers from Trader Joe’s. He somehow kept everything straight in this junkyard of paperwork and vegetarian snacking. The slovenly order of chaos. “I wonder how many bodies MacIntosh has stashed in his bank account,” Neil said, grinning through a mouthful of soft cheese.
Boyd smirked. “They died for our sins.” He enjoyed their wry banter, but couldn’t imagine having a beer with the guy. It just seemed like too much goddamn work.
“At least somebody did,” Neil said. “Jesus had better things to do.”
Boyd chuckled, then remembered why he came in. “Oh hey, did you hear that this morning?”
“Hear what?” Neil said, rummaging through a folder.
“The screaming.”
Neil shrugged, pointing to his ear. “All I heard this morning was Claude François and lectures from MacIntosh.” The Uppity Bunch had found their king.
Boyd walked to the window. Neil only had one. “It was coming from somewhere outside.” Boyd looked out at the intersecting geometry of building, roof, wall, and sky. “There aren’t any hospitals around here, are there?”
“Hospitals?”
“Yeah. You know, like, mental hospitals.” Of course there weren't. The insane were secreted away inland, amongst the dust and hills of the “other” California you never see on Entertainment Tonight. “And no one lives in Century City. Not even the homeless.” They all lived in Boyd’s neighborhood, he thought. By now, Neil wasn’t listening. This was obviously more interesting to Boyd. “Seems weird to me,” he said quietly.
“It’s a weird city, man,” Neil mumbled, his flight from the conversation punctuated by a belch. “You hear about the sink hole?”
“Hmm?” Boyd wasn’t listening either, internally mapping out the suspect points on Century City’s coordinate plane.
“Took out a whole block of warehouses in Commerce last night. The ground just imploded.” Neil’s chubby fingers danced over his keyboard like a concert pianist. “The Mayor took a break from banging news ladies to show up and declare it ‘a cause for concern’,” he air quoted, shaking his head. “I mean, can you believe—?” Neil looked up, realizing he was alone.
“Asshole.”
***
Boyd walked into the file room to grab a cup of coffee before heading off for his lunchtime smoke. He never ate lunch. Didn’t have the stomach for it. Margaret, the doughy office lifer collecting chins instead of wedding anniversaries, stood humming by the copy machine. She unconsciously counted along with the sheets of blue G-28 forms spitting out of the Sharp X3400.
“Hiya, Boyd,” she chirped, without even turning. 25 years of surviving company politics gave one extraordinary peripheral vision.
“Heya, Margaret. How goes it?” Boyd said. He found himself putting on a chipper attitude when he talked to her. He had a gift for adapting to the postures of those around him. “Professional blending,” his girlfriend called it, trying to hide the irritated roll of her eyes. But it seemed to serve Boyd well, as his reputation for affability would attest. Boyd’s girlfriend thought it left him indistinct, like a reflection in a bowl of milk, and about as deep.
“Oh, you know…” Margaret said. She always answered the same way, as if on the verge of launching into a string of uninteresting complaints that thankfully never came.
“Yeah,” Boyd said, reaching for the door. He always answered the same way, too.
“Crazy screams, huh?” Margaret said absently.
Boyd stopped. “You heard it?”
“It sounded like a little girl.”
No, it didn’t, Boyd thought. It sounded like anything but a little girl.
“I called the police,” Margaret said, lining up the edges of paper on top of the copier. “They said they’d search the area. They’re always so nice.”
“That’s probably a good idea,” Boyd said, still baffled by her description. He saw this woman more than his own mother. More than anyone in his life outside the office, but didn’t know one thing about her other than her penchant for mauve nurses shoes and bedazzled QVC blouses. He opened the back door to the suite.
“Spooky, right?” Margaret said as Boyd walked out into the hallway. “Poor little thing,” she added, returning to her hum. The door shut slowly behind him.


As for hustle, it's something I learned long ago in several different creative fields, as no one cares about your work unless you do, and no one is going to help you (or pay attention) without you being proactive. And really, I wouldn't be shilling my work on TLO without the creation of this sub-forum (big thanks again to Dr. Locrian for thinking of and including me), as it seemed disrespectful to leave it empty.

It's always that weird, fine line between sharing and over-sharing/being annoying. I hope this thread, or this dedicaqted sub forum, doesn't ever veer toward the latter.

Quote Originally Posted by luciferfell View Post
Not knocking the hustle or anything. But think also with the promotion of your work you can tell us a little about yourself or your work or maybe a sample paragraph or something? Promotion threads tend to go off to pasture and die on here..

TEG
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Old 05-22-2015   #9
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Re: The Nameless Dark - A Collection

Thanks much, bendk.

Quote Originally Posted by bendk View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Druidic View Post
Mr. Grau contributed two very nice pieces to the Short Short Horror thread if I recall correctly !
I still remember one of them. "If you are reading this..." !

I think the cover art is very effective. Always nice to see a debut collection.

TEG
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Old 05-22-2015   #10
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Re: The Nameless Dark - A Collection

Thanks, Fenris!

I'm pretty much over the moon about the reactions my book has generated amongst my writing peers. I feel incredibly fortunate, and quite humbled, by the blurbs, early reviews, and the Ballingrud foreword.

Quote Originally Posted by Fenris Technique View Post
Congrats!

Those are some heavy-hitters endorsing your work. That alone must be satisfying to some degree.

TEG
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