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.

Release News

I’ve got two big things to share with you!

First of all, the sword and sorcery anthology SWORDPLAY, illustrated by the marvelous Dan Brereton and containing stories from folks like Christopher Golden and Cullen Bunn, was released this weekend. And oh yeah. I’ve got a story in there, too – “The Faces of the Winter Wood”. It’s a wonderful anthology and I’m proud to be a part of it, so check it out if sword and sorcery is your thing.

And then Friday is the big day – time for A MEETING AT THE DEVIL’S HOUSE. This one’s been a long time coming and I’m very proud of it. With stories about zombie frogs, a magical pirate rabbi, a man-eating Sasquatch in a top hat, a drunk unicorn, and more, it’s a collection of delightfully dark stories, seventeen in all. New York Time bestselling author Matt Forbeck said it was “twisted in all the right ways” and HorrorDNA raved about it, so pick it up if you’re so inclined!


A Meeting In The Devil’s House and Other Stories

Big news! Coming in July from Twisted Publishing is my second short fiction collection, the diabolically titled A MEETING IN THE DEVIL’S HOUSE AND OTHER STORIES. The cover is by the vastly talented Errick Nunnally, and the foreword by the legendary James A. Moore. It’s a dozen and a half stories about magical pirate rabbis, cosmic vending machines, zombie frogs and more, and it will be available soon!

Speaking of that cover…

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…

Five For Writing – James A. Moore

It is my pleasure to reinaugurate the Five For Writing interview series.

First up is James A. Moore. Some of you may know him from his work on the original World of Darkness setting. Others may be a fan of his horror, where his Jonathan Crowley novels have attracted both fans and critical acclaim. Then there’s his grimdark fantasy series, The Blasted Lands, which introduced him to a whole new audience. Most recently he edited Halloween Nights: Tales of Autumn Fright, a horror anthology with a murderer’s row of contributors. James was kind enough to sit down for his five questions. Without further ado, here’s James A. Moore’s Five For Writing:

1-You write a ton of horror, but some of your most successful work has been fantasy. Why the switch in genres?

Genres are a marketing thing. I don’t much care about marketing, I care about telling a story that I would enjoy reading, and sometimes that takes me away from Horror and over to science fiction or fantasy. Sometimes it means mixing my genres like oil paints. Wherever the story wants to go, I’m perfectly willing to follow. 

2-What does fantasy offer you as a writer that horror doesn’t?

There are certain rules to horror. Mostly it takes place in the modern world. Fantasy can take place in entirely different worlds. The best example I can give for that is the TIDES OF WAR series, where I built an entire pantheon of gods, and an entire continent of countries, and then merrily set about laying waste to everything. Really, it is horror, but with a different setting.

3-You’ve just edited an anthology for Halloween. How does editing compare to writing for you?

You have to look at editing as a collaborative effort. There’s a balance you need to achieve between the stories, the theme, and the authors. This was a Halloween anthology, so the theme was easy, but as with ay collection you want to avoid repetition, and you want as many original voices as possible. Also, editor or not, you don’t have as much control of the work as an editor. So instead of just relying on my words, I’m relying on fifteen different authors, all of whom are doing their own thing. After I get the stories I can make suggestions but really it isn’t about what tales I want to tell, it’s about how I can put the moving parts together. It’s a very different mindset and challenge and I love it.

4-You’ve done a fair bit of collaborative writing. What appeals about that to you, and how does your process work?

The process is different with each writer, but at the end of the day, I liken it to getting together with a friend and playing in a sandbox with each other’s toys. We are sharing the wonder, the challenge and the fun of each other’s imagination. Usually, you have to establish some rules up front, and you have to genuinely enjoy the other person’s work. It can also be a challenge collaborating with someone who works at a different pace than you do. Working with Charles Rutledge is normally a hoot, because he writes just as fast as I do.

5-Your signature character is Jonathan Crowley. What inspired his creation, and what do you think is his appeal?

I’ve scratched my head about that a few times. First, Crowley’s personality is a lot like mine, but without a censor button. He says and does things that I would never do in real life. But I’ve thought about a number of them often, and I realized that actually acting the way he does would likely get me in hot water. It’s fun to play around with that sort of personality, but it’s not always wise in the real world. I tend to play it safer than Crowley because I am not immortal, I do not heal bad wounds as quickly, and frankly, my mother raised me not to be that rude. As to his appeal, I suspect it’s exactly the same thing. He does and says what a lot of people would LIKE to say but never do. I had a few women tell me over the years that they find him incredibly sexy and I shook my head and wondered why. He’s a complete bastard most of the time. I expect the world works differently when you’ve been around long enough to no longer be threatened by most people and their attitudes. Crowley is an immortal. There’s very little he hasn’t seen or done, and most of the people he meets just annoy hjm. 


Halloween Nights: Tales of Autumnal Fright

I got my mitts on a copy of this anthology, edited by James A. Moore, and I am enjoying the heck out of it. Cover and interior art is by the always-stunning Dan Brereton and there are stories from Bracken MacLeod, Brian Keene, Mary SanGiovanni, Christopher Golden and many more. If Halloween is your favorite time of the year, as it is mine, then you’ll want to pick this one up.