For these past few months a mantle of quiet has settled on New Tales of the Yellow Sign, the collection of weird tales that will serve as my trial venture into ebook self-publishing. If the search terms section on my traffic stats is to believed, you, the Internet, have been anxiously looking for an update on this project for a while now. So here it is.
On Monday morning I found a delightful surprise in my inbox: the foreword to the book, written by master of mythos erudition Kenneth Hite. Entitled “I Pray God May Curse The Writer: Robert W. Chambers and Robin D. Laws” it is at once a lovely piece of writing, an incisive exploration of the stories and their horror pedigrees, and a source of great chuffedness around these parts. As Ken says:
All of these New Tales of the Yellow Sign orbit lost Carcosa, black star points poked through the white scrim of consensus reality by the force of Chambers’ book. But each swings past on its own trajectory, a mix of styles and concerns in counterpoint to Chambers’ unified “Gallic studio atmosphere” of the Yellow Decade. Each story launches itself in fugue from one (or more) of Chambers’ originals, passages that Laws plays adagio or largo on different instruments, plays for modern dancers and not Victorian wallflowers.
With this chip off Ken’s busy schedule gratefully in hand, I’m now ready to move forward. Next steps: a solid, professional proofreading, and finalizing the cover. Jerome Huguenin, the illustrator and graphic designer responsible for the distinct visual presentations of The Esoterrorists, Trail of Cthulhu, and Ashen Stars, has created a beautifully creepy modern take on the pallid mask image central to Robert Chambers’ King in Yellow mythology. Now we’re hashing out title treatment, with an eye to the punishingly small 88 x 135 size book images display on the Amazon website. It’s much like designing a postage stamp. If you zip over to Amazon or any similar book site, you'll quickly note the covers that work in that format and those that resolve into a blur.
I look forward to sharing our process with you as we shoot for the former and shrink from the latter.