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Old Projects (And New Ones)

Four years ago, a short story of mine appeared in The Third Alternative #37, and at the end, a brief author bio reported that I had completed three books: a children’s picture book called THE HALLOWE’EN COMPANION, a Y/A titled THE EVIL KITES OF DR. LOURDES, and a novel, THE BRIARS. A reader recently asked about these three stories in a comments thread, curious as to what became of them; because none of them have ever appeared in print.

This is probably a lesson to me that I should keep my mouth shut about unpublished work. It isn’t a lesson I seem to have learned (I’m slow on the uptake). My bio in the back of the LOCKE & KEY: WELCOME TO LOVECRAFT hardcover states that I’m at work on a novel called THE SURREALIST’S GLASS. I do have a new book done, finished in first draft, and I feel really good about the way it came out. It isn’t, however, titled THE SURREALIST’S GLASS, but something else entirely.

As for those other stories… none of them ever appeared under those titles, but EVIL KITES and THE BRIARS provided elements that were worked into other narratives. THE BRIARS, for example, was the story of a gifted but emotionally disassociated young man who, under the influence of a terrible supernatural force, commits a grisly home invasion with the help of an ogreish thug. If that sounds familiar, it’s because much of the material in THE BRIARS was folded into LOCKE & KEY. Until a story is actually published, everything and anything is subject to change; not just titles, but characters, concepts, scenes and themes.

Now at the risk of doing the very thing I was just scolding myself for – talking about an unpublished story – I’ll say that the current working title of the new novel is HORNS. I think that’ll be the final title too, but I wouldn’t swear to it until the book is in stores. I do also feel that what I’ve got is solid enough to maybe risk a description of what it’s about. So, for those who are interested, a (very short) plot overview appears after the jump.

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24 Responses to Old Projects (And New Ones)

  1. Rossi says:

    Hey Joe (hey Joes Fans)

    Was watching the Jets blow a 34 point half time lead. Instead of “throwing something” I logged on to see what was happening here. I can’t wait for my copy of : LOCKE & KEY: WELCOME TO LOVECRAFT. Can’t wait for Gunpowder. Thanks for the heads-up on Horns. Who will publish that one? I’d like to keep an eagle eye on the website. Anyway, thanks for the distraction. Back to the game..

  2. Barry Wood says:

    Like the title “Horn.”

    Joe: I must also learn to keep my big mouth shut. Once a reporter did a little interview on me in a little town called Chester in Nova Scotia in their small newspaper. [Funny to remember story now because they’d asked for a photo of me which I initially declined, but then finally obliged by giving them my passport photo.]

    Anyway back to the newspaper article. I said, “I would love to live in Chester when I retire.” I just said that to appeal to the Chester area readers. And nothing could be further from the truth.

    I’ve also told people I’ve been working on this (or that) and then I lose interest. But the people I told do not forget. They ask, “How is that story coming along you were working on?”

  3. Jenn_E says:

    *snaps fingers* Darn you, Joe Hill!

    You may have fooled me this time…….

  4. mike d says:

    Horns sounds awesome! Okay, it’s just a title, but still, it’s a good one. I wonder if the picture has any significance though. Lets see, time to get all Holmes-y up in this biatch! He has one hoof and one foot. Is it about a half devil half man? Or how the devil lurks within the hearts of man? Or how evil can disguise itself well? Or about a crazy man who thinks he’s the devil? Or just a cool image you found on google? Damn it I need a Watson!

  5. Rio says:

    Yeah, I thought something had gone wrong with my browser. Stupid IE7. I am a PC, after all, and I wear blue jeans.

    Nice teaser, though. And HORNS is an ass-kicking title. Good work, Joe. I’m looking forward to reading it.

  6. Ben Eads says:

    I had to learn that lesson the hard way as well my friend. = )

  7. poisonlily says:

    Excellent overview. Very amusing, my friend.

  8. Jeff says:

    I like it.
    If you really want to go out on a limb here, you’ll tell us when in 09′ you think it’s coming out?

  9. Sean says:

    So I’m going to make the assumption that HORNS is about David Lee Roth’s solo album “A Little Ain’t Enough”.

  10. This_Girl says:

    I’ll have you know I made sure my phone line here was on “away” so I could read what you were willing to post on “Horns”. Well…see, we all make assumptions huh? The picture is spooky. Thanks for the update, though. I’ve been waiting for info on Surrealists Glass. Good to know that’s no longer the title.

  11. LauraK says:

    HMPH. Nope, not funny. Laugh it up, horny devil. (Joe, you’re a meanie.)
    So what is The Surrealist’s Glass? The novel subsequent to Horns? Or your first working title for what is now Horns? LK, nosey one…

  12. Orrin Grey says:

    I will be sad forever if a book called THE EVIL KITES OF DR. LOURDES never comes out.

  13. Betsy Boo says:

    Hey Mike D…I’d love to be your Watson! I love the ideas you came up with. Unfortunately, the only thing I can come up with is the fact that Joe’s little devil is laughing his ass off, so that could mean that’s part of the joke!

    But seriously…Joe thanks for posting this. I’ve been handing out wrong info on the message board about the novel and I’m glad you cleared it up. And I’m so excited! I don’t suppose you have a ballpark release date, eh? I know…I’m too pushy. Especially when my to-read pile is so high. On the other hand, as soon as the new novel is out you’re going to the top of the pile and all the others will have to wait. :)

  14. Ross Warren says:


    This is a little off topic, but I was reading though your dad’s book ‘On Writing’ again and I got to wondering if you are ‘Frank’?



  15. Greatest “psych!” ever!

    I suspect this is a story about a demon boy named Cad who runs away from hell in order to become a porn star, except he has a compulsion about doing random acts of kindness and every time he does, his horns grow a little longer, which only makes him more appealing as a porn star, even as he is torn about abandoning himself to good forever.

  16. The Fourth Craw says:

    That Devil looks like he’s either having a belly laugh, a heart attack, or has been shot. Suppose it depends on the mood you are in. I think he is laughing…

  17. Neil Leo says:

    I never claimed to be great at all this online stuff, so it is no real surprise to me that I took, like, 10 minutes to stop looking for a story sample. There I am, admiring the picture, and calling my friends, who are more ‘puter savvy, to ask, “What’s a jump? What do I hit? This says ‘Trackback,’ is that it? It was everyone’s comments that, finally, caught me up to speed. Thank you all. Anyway, Mr. Hill, if that is your real name, read “Locke & Key” last night, in one sitting, after seeing a mention of it in “The Living Dead,” and the dedication to TJK seemed to confirm some rumors I’d heard, but came to this site for some “BIO” which is sadly lacking. Are the rumors true, or do you not want to say? Or does everyone know the scoop, but me? Either way, you are a talent in your own right. P.S. Was “Joe Bachman” too obvious?

  18. Neil Leo says:

    Okay spent the last couple hours reading all the Archives, back to 2005 I believe, and your right ups on “Throttle” answer my main question, conclusively. Still don’t get the name “Hill.” Middle name, family name? Anyway, not a big deal, just think I actually hoped it wasn’t true. Like debunking an urban legend or something. Like some guys gonna claim that every good horror writer who comes along is related to SK, and what a nerve and all, right?
    I’m kind of glad I didn’t know when I first bought “Heart-Shaped Box,” because I might not have bought it.
    I have a short list of authors who’s books I buy “on site, no questions asked.” They are SK, Anne Rice, Clive Barker, and now you (no last minute suck up, I came down this road trying to learn about you, and when your next book was coming already). Well, I made the mistake of buying a Christopher Rice, and, you know, you don’t want to make comparisons, but you do, and uck, poor kid. It turned me off of author’s kids stuff, and it is why I didn’t buy Owen’s book a littte while back there, I just thought I couldn’t be objective, etc. Anywho . . . I was able to know you on your own, and now this is just a little extra treat.
    One last bit, ironically this did not stop me from buying and enjoying “Candles Burning,” around the same time. She only married him after all, after being her own person beforehand. Must be a “kid” thing, or something.
    Can’t wait to see what is next from HillHouse.

  19. Neil Leo says:

    Oh God the spelling mistakes! I’m tired. Meant to write,”your write ups on ‘Throttle'” and there are a couple other obvious ones

  20. Mark Parsons says:

    Hmm. I think I heard you read some of this at Comicon, although maybe that’s wishful thinking? Real or imagined, IT WAS F*CKING COOL, as was Fingerprints, which I just read in full. Very powerful shortie there.

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  23. Jessica Smith says:

    I just finished reading Heart Shaped Box. I was so impressed I am looking to get the rest of your work. I read it in one night, something I haven’t done in a long time. I am looking forward to reading the rest of your collection. Good luck and best wishes,

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