Itís a simple enough concept.
There are houses like this all over the world. Most people only know of them from whispered stories over campfires; tall tales told to scare the unwary. But some, those who suffer, some know better. They are drawn to the places where what ails them can be eased.
If you have the will, the fortitude, you can peer into another life, where the dead are not gone, where you can see that they thrive and go on, in the dreams that stuff is made of.
There it is in a nutshell. There are houses where people can go to get in touch with their dead loved ones.
But this gives me lots of things to play with. To even get inside a room, you need a sigil; a tattoo or carving on your skin, and a totem, a memento of your loved one. Then thereís the fact that your loved one might be a parallel universe version rather than the one you actually know.
And where do these houses come from? Whatís behind the walls? How do they work? Why do they work? And who chooses the concierges who run them? Or fixes them when they donít work?
So Iíve got all that to play with, plus the fact that the houses can exist anywhere, at any time. Theyíre like lots of boxy, multi-faceted Tardis, spread across space time, places and situations into which I can hook in characters and stories.
I've also started linking it through to some of my other characters and ongoing work, so there's sigils and totems stories featuring members of the Seton family, Derek Adams, the Midnight Eye, and Carnacki. Augustus Seton will be getting involved in 16th C Scotland soon too.
I think Iíve stumbled into something that could keep me busy for a few years.
The novellas that used the concept, BROKEN SIGIL, THE JOB and PENTACLE were well received and are in standalone ebooks, and also collected in a single omnibus edition. There are two novels that expand the idea further, SONGS OF DREAMING GODS, where a house is lying empty in the town center of St. Johns, Newfoundland after a brutal ritual murder, and THE BOATHOUSE, where the rooms are on an old whaling boat in a derelict shed and seem connected to an old chess set, and the arrival of a hurricane. Alonside them, there are two new novellas on Amazon, GREEN DOOR and SEVENTH SIGIL, and a growing number of short stories, including the title story in my latest CARNACKI collection, THE EDINBURGH TOWNHOUSE.
Iíve also got an idea for a big honking fantasy trilogy using the concept, but thatíll have to wait until Iíve got time to do it justice.
Wish me luck, Iím about to knock on the door again.
- Broken Sigil (Crossroad Press) *
- Songs of Dreaming Gods (Crossroad Press)
- The Boathouse (Crossroad Press)
- Pentacle (Crossroad Press) *
- The Job (Crossroad Press) *
- Farside (Occult Detective Quarterly Presents / Ulthar Press )
- Sigils and Totems: A Collection of Novellas (*) (Crossroad Press)
- Green Door (Amazon Kindle and Print)
- Seventh Sigil (Amazon Kindle and Print)
- Cool For Cats (Midnight in the Graveyard / Silver Shamrock Publishing )
- Renewal ( The Black Room Manuscripts Volume 2 / The Sinister Horror Company )
- Stars and Sigils ( Halfway to Anywhere / Sinister Grin Press)
- The Edinburgh Townhouse (CARNACKI: THE EDINBURGH TOWNHOUSE collection / Lovecraft ezine)
- The Longdock Air ( Shadows Over Main Street 2 / Cutting Block Press)
- Outposts (Further tales of Cthulhu Invictus / Golden Goblin Press)
- The Dreaming God is Singing Where She Lies ( Terror Tales of the Scottish Highlands / Gray Friar Press)
- The High Bungalow (THE GHOST CLUB collection / Crystal Lake Publishing)
- The House of the Dead (THE GHOST CLUB collection / Crystal Lake Publishing)
- The Scrimshaw Set (THE GHOST CLUB collection / Crystal Lake Publishing)
- The Nest (Occult Detective Quarterly #1)
- Refuge (In Darkness, Delight / Corpus Press)
- Beyond (3 story sampler on Amazon)
- The Glasgow House (CARNACKI: STARRY WISDOM collection / Dark Regions Press)
- Gateway to Oblivion (Dark Rites of Cthulhu 2 / April Moon )
- A Virgin Birth (Midnight in the Pentagram / Silver Shamrock Publishing)