About Me

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"We need to make books cool again. If you go home with someone & they don't have books, don't fuck 'em."--John Waters

I'm the author of more than twenty novels including SHADOW SEASON, THE COLD SPOT, THE COLDEST MILE, THE MIDNIGHT ROAD, THE DEAD LETTERS, and A CHOIR OF ILL CHILDREN. Look for my next one THE LAST KIND WORDS due out May '12 from Bantam Books. Contact: PicSelf1@aol.com

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


All right, we expect strange and unusual things from the people who worship Jerry Lewis, but I've got to say, the French really get seriously weird when it comes to their cover art. Or at least their cover art of my books. For A CHOIR OF ILL CHILDREN they had had a Raggedy Ann doll holding a hatchet. What that had to do with the book, I have no idea, although I thought it was pretty cool.

Now they give us the French translation of THE DEAD LETTERS, retitled THE REDEMPTION OF THE SANDMAN. This is much more in keeping with my original title THE REPENTANCE OF KILLJOY, which my editor considered to be too oddball. Maybe that's why the French embraced it. In any case, the cover art really caught me left-handed when I first viewed it, but I admit that it's growing on me now. In fact, I completely missed out on why the teeth were so much of a caricature until my French publisher reminded me that my protagonist has fits of rage where he champs on things like the trunk of his car. (Hey, I've written about 400k words of fiction since TDL, I can't remember everything).

So, let me know what you think.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Here's the cover of the German edition of The Midnight Road, retititled as the soft, warm, and fuzzy PAIN. Our German friends certainly do like their horror to be at least as hardcore as their music. In fact, the horror line itself is called HEYNE HARDCORE, and if you check the reviews of the German edition of KILLZONE (The Dead Letters) over on Amazon.de you'll see it gets pretty badly bashed by readers who find that it's not nearly gruesome enough as they've been led to believe. Well, anyway, you'll see that if you can read German or if you spend a large part of your morning cutting and pasting into the translator over at Dictionary.com.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Best Mystery Stories of 2008

Also wanted to drop a quick note to say that my tale "Between the Dark and the Daylight," originally published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, was chosen for BEST MYSTERY STORIES OF 2008 ed. by Ed Gorman & Martin H. Greenberg. A real honor for me.

All You Despise now shipping

Publisher Tim Deal of Shroud Publishing has informed me that my novella ALL YOU DESPISE is now shipping.

Here's the product info from Shroud's homepage:

Shroud Publishing (http://www.shroudmagazine.com/) is proud to announce the upcoming publication of a new novella by one of the most respected and dynamic voices in the horror and suspense genres: Tom Piccirilli.

In All You Despise, a signed, illustrated, limited edition hardcover, Piccirilli's characteristically lean prose grimly illustrates the high price of redemption and the violent limits of brotherly love.
When a nameless man awakens to find his blood-spattered brother passed out in his trailer it sets off a chain of painful, hard-hitting events that tests family loyalty and shows the savage impact of a father's dark legacy.

Fast-paced and packing a visceral punch, All You Despise will keep the reader anxiously turning pages all the way to its unexpected conclusion.

This exclusive offering from Shroud Publishing features a special introduction penned by Bram Stoker-winning author Brian Keene and stunning illustrations by veteran illustrator Alex McVey. Both contributors will also sign this special limited edition alongside the author.

Limited to only 500 copies and available only from Shroud Publishing, All You Despise will be a unique addition to your quality book collection.

All You Despise will be priced to move at only $29.99.

Tom Piccirilli is the author of twenty novels including THE COLD SPOT, THE COLDEST MILE, THE MIDNIGHT ROAD, A CHOIR OF ILL CHILDREN, and THE DEAD LETTERS. He's won the International Thriller Writers Award, is a four-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award and has been a finalist for the World Fantasy Award and Le Grand Prix de L'Imagination. Learn more at http://www.thecoldspot.blogspot.com/

Brian Keene is a two-time Bram Stoker Award winning horror author. His novels include Dead Sea, Ghoul, City of the Dead, Terminal, The Conqueror Worms, Fear Of Gravity, and many more. Several of his books and stories have been optioned for film, video game and comic book adaptations. The New York Times, Fangoria, the History Channel, and others have credited Keene with ushering in the new era of zombie popularity in pop culture.

Alex McVey is an award-winning illustrator whose work has been published internationally, ranging from album art to graphic design to book illustration. He has illustrated the works of Stephen King, Joe R. Lansdale, Gahan Wilson, Brian Keene, Ramsey Cambpell, and Richard Matheson, among others. His clients include ad firms, gaming companies, film studios, bands, and book and magazine publishers.

Send check or money order made out to
Be sure to include your current mailing address and enough to cover shipping:
US SHIPPING - $3.50 for first book, add $1.00 for each thereafter; CANADA - $4.50 for first book, $1.00 thereafter; UK - $8.00/$2.00
Be sure to indicate "All You Despise" in your order.
Check out the website at http://www.shroudmagazine.com/

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My Broken Bushy Tail

In the past couple of days two successful writer buddies of mine dropped me lines saying they were thinking of pulling out of the publishing biz. Their emails were practically identital. It was too difficult to make a buck. It was too hard on the ego to try to write quality fiction only to be told by one's editor that it wasn't commercial enough. Sales were down. Advances were down. The magic was gone.

Crises of faith, rages at peers, editors, and fans, disgust with the quality of work you read and the work you write, bouts of bitterness, thoughts of quitting, it's all a part of doing this insanity we do for a living. It's a part of the process, right up until the day that one of us actually quits and decides to 9-to-5 it and nab some health benefits.

One pal said that writing just wasn't fun anymore. It was a painful experience now having to make deadlines. Picking up the published books and seeing his work in anthologies and magazines didn't give him the same thrill anymore. The overwhelming, profound grandness of literature had downshifted into malaise. Writing had become just a job.

It's a lesson we all learn. Some early on and some later in life. I lost a lot of my bushy-tailed and bright-eyed sensility of fun early in the game. It's probably served me well over the long haul.

Listen well, chillun. We're about to go into a flashback sequence here, where the screen gets wavy and squishy, the film desaturates, and here we are in the yellowed past.

After my novel DARK FATHER came out I received a very positive review from Charlie Grant, which thrilled me to no end (I was always thankful to him for that, even though he seemed to hate my fucking guts in all the years that followed). A few days later I met Joe Citro for drinks at a bar on LI, which was a big thing since he was the very first living, breathing horror writer I ever met. If you haven't heard of Joe, he had a number of eerie novels out at the time, most famously THE UNSEEN. Talking to him was like being welcomed into the inner sanctum. Then Doug Clegg called me to say how much he dug my work. Another writer taking the time to chat with insignificant me.

I was 25 and still riding a high when a few months later I picked up the latest issue of CD--which was still pretty much in its infancy at that time--only to read an interview Citro did with a dude named Richard Weilgosh.

Who the fuck is he? asks you.

I'm still not sure. He was a reviewer, and who interviews reviewers asks I.

I'd never heard of him before or since, but Joe treated him like royalty. Of course, the inevitable question, "And what's the worst book you read this year?" came up, and--as if you couldn't see this coming--Weilgosh responded DARK FATHER.

Oh, my heart, my broken bushy tail.

He said it was both unreadable and predictable.

How can you predict what you can't read asks I.

To know there was some cat out there I'd never met before who actually HATED my book, called it THE WORST...well, that was an eye-opener. That was a bright-eye dimmer. And here it was in black-and-white for all to see between the pages of my fave mag.

But that's a part of the game. You need a thick skin to survive attacks from the outside, but you need to know that there's just as many skirmishes and wars going on inside. The doubts, the fears, the rust, man...you quit writing for two or three days and the rust just builds and clots and covers. It's a hellacious ordeal trying to break free.

You bitch and moan and vent. You try to keep the faith between the battles with frustration and disappointment. In the end it all comes back to being a part of the thing you love most...that searing, overhwelming, breathtaking feeling you get when words on a page are strung together so well that they come to life and squeeze your heart.

That's why we keep returning to the desk and doing what we do.

Well, that, and the hot chick groupies, of course.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Novembre De Luto

For all you Pic completists (Hi, Grandma!) the Spanish edition of NOVEMBER MOURNS is currently out from La Factoria De Ideas. They're the good folks who also brought out translations for THE NIGHT CLASS and A CHOIR OF ILL CHILDREN. Since I don't read Spanish, I'm only taking a guess that you can order a copy here. I haven't received my author copies yet, but their books are very quality products, printed as huge trade paperbacks that have those cool dust jacket flaps attached right to the covers. They even lifted a photo from my website of me mugging for the camera and holding up our chihuahua Byron.