In Memoriam – James A. Moore

Reposted from Facebook:

The thing you have to know about Jim Moore is this:
When I was still a little baby fiction writer churning out White Wolf tie-in novels, Jim advised me that I should seek broader horizons and that I needed to come to this gathering of horror writers called Necon. He explained what Necon was to me and who would be there, and I said it sounded really interesting but that I didn’t know if I could do it (because in those days I never let myself do anything). Jim nodded and then told me that if I didn’t go to Necon, he would rip my legs off and beat me to death with them on the spot. So I went to Necon. One of the best decisions I ever made.
Then again, it might be the time he encouraged me in 1997 to use the HWA directory to cold call Ray Bradbury’s house for reasons that are unimportant now. It was a terrible idea, but it reflected perfectly Jim’s belief that we were all here, the mighty and the meek, to help one another, and that to not attempt the impossible was to guarantee failure.
Or it could be all the times he would walk into my office at White Wolf when he was freelancing game writing for us. For a big man, he could move like a cat, and he would materialize behind me, put his hands on my shoulders and ask pleasantly, “Do you have any work for me?” I pretty much always answered yes – he was a valuable and trusted and imaginative writer, and he made such lovely toys for the sandbox we were playing in. But he never knew what I was doing behind the scenes. If Jim had one flaw, he was a classic over-writer. If I contracted him for 10K words, I would get 20K, and I wouldn’t be able to use them all (and if I didn’t use them, I couldn’t pay for them, so….). What I ended up doing was that every time I needed 10K words from Jim, I would contract him for 5K, knowing that he was going to give me 10K. I would then cheerfully take what he delivered, make sure he got paid for the whole thing, and we were both happy. He didn’t know that until 2 years ago, and when I told him, he laughed uproariously.
Or maybe it’s the love he had with his first wife, Bonnie, that made them a joy to be with. And that love, after Bonnie’s passing, was purified and transformed into the heartbreaking DINNER FOR ONE: A JOURNEY TO HEALING. To go from monsters and gore to something so delicate and warm was an act of consummate love and skill.
No, no, it’s the fact that in his first attempt at X-Files style sci-fi paranoia horror, FIREWORKS, he Tuckerized me as a rabbi, all because previously I’d managed to explode a Tupperware container of homemade matzah ball soup I was bringing to him all over the back seat of my car. The car smelled like soup for a solid year, and it was a constant source of laughter.
Who knows? It could have been the joy he found later in life with his old high school sweetheart, Tessa, who put a smile back on his face that was so good to see.
Perhaps it was the way he was always encouraging others to stretch their boundaries and bust out of their self-described envelopes. With me, he hounded me to try my hand at sword and sorcery because he was having so much fun doing it, and when I finally worked up the nerve, he snatched the story up with words of praise I had never been expecting.
Many people would think it was the way he was always excited to greet new friends and old with one of his bone-crushing Sasquatch-level hugs. He shared that love equally with everyone he met, a constant font of affection that raised the spirits of the already happy and brought comfort to those who needed it.
Other folks would say that it was his relentless efforts to elevate new writers. He always had someone for you to meet, and nine times out of ten it was someone you had professionally admired for years who just happened to be there. Jim’s introduction was the golden ticket into the secret world, and he shared it freely with any he thought would benefit. I remember telling him back in the day how much I loved the work of a particular author, and he remembered. Two years later, he grabbed me at a White Wolf party at DragonCon, hustled me across the floor, and introduced me to the object of my professional admiration. He had remembered, and he had gone so far above and beyond to do so that my head spun.
Or maybe…..maybe not.
I have a million Jim Moore stories, and they are all written in the language of love and laughter and respect.
And now, sorrow, because I will never get one of those back-cracking hugs again. Because he is gone.
All I can do is share those stories in the spirit of love, and to try to carry on what Jim taught me: about professionalism, about writing, about life, and about people.
May his memory be a blessing for all of us.

New Year, New Post, And A Recap

Hello everyone! Welcome to 2024! I want to talk a little bit about what’s coming up, and also do a rundown of the year that was 2023,

Let’s start with the latter. 2023 was a busy year for me. I launched re-releases of my first two original novels, FIREFLY RAIN and VAPORWARE. I also had my second collection, A MEETING IN THE DEVIL’S HOUSE, published in July by the fine folks at Twisted Publishing. It got kind words from lots of readers – solid five star ranking at Amazon – as well as great reviews from places like HorrorDNA and PseudoPod. New short fiction included two stories at PseudoPod – “Swing Batter Batter” and “Billy’s Garage”. I also managed to get a story in the star-studded SWORDPLAY anthology, which was my first attempt at hard-core sword and sorcery. And I wrote two essays on films I may have seen too many times in this life, ZARDOZ and GREMLINS 2, for Ghost Show Press.

The Official Website of Richard Dansky — Meeting in the Devil's House


2023 was also a year of a great deal of conventioneering. Leaving aside the shows I attended for video game work (there were four), I also made it to, among others, AuthorCon II, my very first StokerCon, Necon, and GenCon. And in a late surprise, By Night Studios invited me to join their inaugural Vampire: The Masquerade LARP event in San Antonio, where many people were incredibly effusive with their appreciation for my work at White Wolf and what it had meant to them.

And lest we forget, I also got to give a reading in conjunction with the death metal band Eldritch Horror at Moon Dog Meadery in Durham. That was a thrilling event and I had a ton of fun – thanks to the folks at the Durham Public Library for putting it together! I also gave a reading in Rocky Mount in December, pulling up a story from SNOWBIRD GOTHIC to regale the audience with.

So, from that perspective, a pretty darn good year. And like I said, that’s without mentioning the video game side of things, which is pretty durn important to me – my excellent first year at Crytek after over two decades at Red Storm, multiple trips to Frankfurt wherein my luggage got sucked into a cosmic vortex, the pleasure of joining an exciting panel at LudoNarraCon, many GDC adventures, and of course the hometown fun of ECGC (and the mysterious post-ECGC thing We Do Not Speak Of).

But on to this year. There’s nothing officially in the pipeline for publication, though I have a novel, some short stories, and a card game design in submission to various spaces. Fingers are crossed. I also am looking to wrap up the edits on work in progress NIGHTMARE LOGIC, which has proven surprisingly resistant to finishing. There are at least three short stories I’m working on at the moment that I hope to turn around and submit soon, and I am looking at an exciting new project in a new medium that I can’t talk about quite yet.

And oh yes, I want to write the next novel.

Conventions will hopefully be a little less hectic, but I’ve said that before. Thus far I seem to be going to:

AuthorCon III

Still debating Carolina Fear Fest and a few others – we shall see how Teddy and Goblin feel about my frequent absences.

I hope to see you somewhere along the way in 2024, whether at a con or online. Here’s hoping you enjoy my work, and please, if you do read something of mine, do me the kindness of leaving a review. It really is a tremendous help in getting the work seen, which is what really matters to me.




Kind Words For Ghost Of A Marriage

James A. Moore had some nice things to say about Ghost of a Marriage:

Richard Dansky’s voice is unique and compelling and his latest novel GHOST OF A MARRIAGE is a unique take on ghost stories and the tragedies that befall us, Funny, poignant, and terrifying in a truly phenomenal blend that stands head and shoulders above the average ghost story, Here is a ghost that will haunt you.–James A. Moore, author of the BLOOD RED series.

Now I’m blushing…

Miscellaneous Upcoming Goodness

Just some quick reminders as to what’s coming down the pipe….

There’s still time to pitch a talk at East Coast Game Conference, which happens in Raleigh April 19-21. I curate the narrative track, so if you have any questions, ask me!

I’m running three (count ’em) narrative round tables at the upcoming Game Developers’ Conference. I’ll be running those remotely, but they still figure to be a blast. That’s the week of March 21-25. And don’t forget the Game Narrative Summit content which I advise for!

And finally, there’s still room in my Game Writing seminar at Scares That Care Authorcon. Four hours of intense interactive game writing instruction from a guy in a sasquatch-patterned Hawaiian shirt (that would be me). Hope to see you there!

Good News Everybody

A couple of notes.

First of all, today marks the release of the ebook version of Ghost of a Marriage, available at fine purveyors of electronic books everywhere for the low, low price of $2.99.

Second, I am pleased to announce that my short story “The Taste of It Fresh” has been accepted for publication in the anthology Counting Bodies Like Sheep. This story is my first experiment with body horror, as opposed to my usual weirdness, and I’m very proud of it.

Oh, and just a reminder, I’ll be running virtual round tables on the subject of game narrative at the upcoming Game Developers Conference.

There’s more good news in the pipeline, but I’ll hold off on that until I have more details to share with you. Just a hint, though – if you’re interested in learning about writing for games, keep the weekend of April 1 open…

Five For Writing – Nicholas Kaufmann

Nicholas Kaufmann is a Stoker, Thriller and Shirley Jackson Award nominated writer. His works include General Slocum’s Gold, Dying Is My Business, and the bestselling 100 Fathoms Below (co-authored with Stephen L. Kent). His newest book, The Hungry Earth, is just out from Crossroad Press. Nicholas was kind enough to take some time to answer the five questions, so without further ado, here is Five For Writing with Nicholas Kaufmann:

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The Western North Carolina Cheese Trail

This weekend was spent with friends in the tourist hub of Asheville, NC. We were up there to hang out of course (and try a couple of the legendary local restaurants and pie joints), but also to try to make some stops on the Western North Carolina Cheese Trail. What is a cheese trail, you ask? It’s a collective effort of a bunch of creameries to provide cheese-minded individuals like myself with a map to local cheese and related stuff production in the Western NC area, enabling us cheese hounds to do cheese tourism by making appointments at the creameries to take tours and suchlike. There’s a comparable trail primarily in the eastern part of the state called simply the North Carolina Cheese Trail, presumably because it’s got some members to the west, but that’s neither here nor there.

We started our cheesy journey at the North Asheville Tailgate Market, because we  had good intelligence that several of the cheese trail members would be in attendance. This intelligence turned out to be correct, and we collected seven cheeses ranging from a Havarti-like “Mountain Dane” to the locally made feta, We also picked up side dishes for our incipient cheesy feast. And some cookies, because, well, cookies.

While we were purchasing cheese we mentioned our quest to one of the cheesemongers. He suggested two creameries that might be open for tours, and specifically instructed us to call ahead at one of them. So we did, and no one answered. So we went to the other one, which was waaaaaay out a narrow, twisty, windy bit of mountain highway. But we persevered, only to see a sign when we got there saying “Appointment Only”.

Disappointed, I went to turn around, and a woman came out of the creamery’s cheese store. She told us that there were two people on the tour already, so we could all come along.

So we did, and we tasted delicious goat cheese, and met some goats.

And after that, we were all cheesed out (as opposed to being cheesed off), so we headed back into Asheville from the lovely Round Mountain Creamery, and got on with the rest of our weekend.

As for the cheese, we had it for dinner, though the concept of using a lazy susan as a Wheel of Cheese (as opposed to a wheel of cheese) got dangerous when some of the goat cheese came flying off it.

Clever readers will note that we only made two stops, as opposed to the seventeen or so listed on the trail web site. And that’s OK. We got plenty of cheese, talked to plenty of cheesemakers, and got to pet goats. All in all, a very enjoyable sojourn.

But don’t just take my word for it. If you’re ever in Asheville, go hunt some cheese yourself. You’ll be glad you did.




I Have Seen It

The cover for GHOST OF A MARRIAGE, that is. It is gorgeous and I will share it with all of you as soon as I can.

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur is a day of reflection. You’re supposed to spend the day thinking about the wrongs you’ve done over the past year, and trying to find ways to be better.

This year, I didn’t go to synagogue, for reasons that are long and boring and ultimately unimportant. As my niece Paige puts it, you can talk to God as easily in a forest as in a synagogue. Well, maybe she doesn’t put it quite that way, but the sentiment was there.

Instead, I spent the day at home in contemplation. There was a lot to consider – moments when I was less than kind, when I was  jealous of friends’ success, when I didn’t reach out to help when I could have. Hopefully I will do better in the coming year.

And one of the things I vowed to do was be a better writer. Whatever you think of my writing, I like to feel I have been given a gift, and I have spent too much time squandering it. This year, I hope to truly earn the title “writer”. I’ve already cranked out one story, but that’s just a start. Here’s to a year of better writing, and of being a better person for it.