My poor little story baby is languishing in the horror section of the ebook orphanage, with so many zombies and vampires. No one is buying, and who can blame them? Story baby is coated with grey slime, its diaper is always full, and it tries to bite anyone who gets too close. Still, I want to find it a home, so I’m dropping prices. Nine Rooms Deep is now 1.99 for the ebook, and 3.99 for the audio version. That’s six hours of hardcore horror for the price of a Starbucks Peppermint Mocha Twist, and it’s more effective at keeping you awake. Get it now at http://www.tomzimmerman.net
Okay, so Nine Rooms Deep was already out when I came across this excellent image, but the photoshopped fashion model looks very much like how I picture my villain, Pinch Pie.
“Yousch juss schot out my fuckin’ tooffh
Nine Rooms Deep started with a nightmare I had after taking the sleeping aid Lunesta. My dream was essentially the last scene in the story. It actually made me wake up screaming (which never happens) with an awful metallic taste in my mouth.
Here’s a hint: when you read a warning label on a drug, and see the term ‘vivid dreams’ it actually means ‘the worst nightmares of you life.’ Just do a Google search for Lunesta side effects, and read all the horror stories. I think I got off easy.
So thanks Lunesta! Thanks subconscious!
Something I love about self publishing is that I don’t have a legal department telling me what I can and can’t admit too. I’m sure if an author wrote a successful book that was influenced by another piece of media, like say, the Japanese film Battle Royale, there would be team of lawyers from their publishing house telling them never to acknowledge the influence.
But I’m free to admit that I was deeply influenced by The Courtyard and Neonomicon by Alan Moore. Those comics, published by Avatar Press, were like an instruction manual on how to approach a modern story set in the Lovecraft mythos. Currently Moore is working on a follow up called Providence, and I’m dying with anticipation to read it.
Obviously a great debt is owed to HP Lovecraft himself, especially his story The Horror At Red Hook. It’s far from his greatest, and the racism in the story has made it notorious, but I like that it’s set in Brooklyn, and it was instrumental in providing certain themes that I explored with extreme discomfort in Nine Rooms Deep.
Another big inspiration was Clive Barker. I’ve been a huge fan since the first volume of The Books Of Blood came out. The tapestry section of the maze in Nine Rooms Deep was inspired by ideas in his novel Cold Heart Canyon. It’s an amazing book, and it’s frankness urged me to be bold with the sexuality including in my story.
So those were some of the ingredients I tossed in the pot, but once I got going, I just let my Id write Nine Rooms Deep, while my ego and superego looked on in horror.
Okay, you know how authors are always thanking their wives and husbands at the start of a novel? There’s a good reason.
The partners of writers are often also their first draft readers, and their initial input and encouragement is vital to the process. So I want to give a huge thank you to Beth Green, who has heard more about anorexic witches and diarrhetic cats than anyone should have to endure.
Beth always told me to go for it when I got cold feet about the extreme content in Nine Rooms Deep, and reminded me that if I were reading this story, instead of being responsible for it, that I would praise the writer for taking risks. Thanks for keeping me brave, Beth!
I also want to give special thanks to Teresa Pappas, Kathi Kowalski, and Andrew Pastore for vital feedback and early encouragement.
There is an audio version of the story available, which I hope everyone listens to.
I’m a staunch proponent of audiobooks.
Recently I’ve seen some lame arguments online about how audiobooks somehow reinforce illiteracy. This idea seems preposterous to me, since the only people I know who actively enjoy audio fiction are already voracious readers. Just try getting a non reader to listen to an eight hour audiobook. They rarely have the staying power.
When a reader is good, it can bring something magic to a story, and I feel incredibly lucky that I got Luis Moreno to narrate Nine Rooms Deep. Luis has a large body of work already available on Audible. I recommend starting with his fantastic reading of The Wild Boys by William Burroughs. He totally kills it!
When recording Nine Rooms Deep, Luis had to deal with my first time engineer jitters, and working in an apartment instead of a proper studio, but his performance was amazing. So thanks, Luis. And thanks to Meredith Yayanos for putting us in touch in the first place.
The awesome 80’s horror movie style music is by Mark Stanley. Mark is one of my oldest friends, and he’s insanely talented and prolific. Check out his work at markstanley.net. Mark did the music in trade for a pig mask I’ll be sculpting soon. It’s in conjunction with his demented new project; Pig Manikin, which is available now on bandcamp.com. It’s a total paranoid fever dream, and at the same time, hysterically funny.
Okay, that’s it! I’m working on a new story now. It’s shaping up to be about twice as long as Nine Rooms Deep, which I guess makes it officially a novel.
The tone of the new story couldn’t be more different. It reads almost like a young adult novel. It’s still horror, but not nearly so nihilistic. My goal is to have it released by the end of next year 2014. I hope you’ll come back for more.
I’m Thomas Zimmerman, a writer and artist living in Brooklyn, New York. If things go as planned, I won’t be updating this blog very often, because I’m too busy writing horror stories.
I’ve just released my first novella, Nine Rooms Deep, which you can check out here. It’s a bit of a Lovecraft pastiche, which is not the ideal way to introduce myself as a unique creative voice, especially since the Cthulhu mythos could well become the next horror concept to be utterly strip mined by popular culture; like what’s happening with vampires and zombies.
I could be accused of writing fan fiction . . . or, given the strong sexual themes running through the story, Nine Rooms Deep might even be labeled slash fiction, which is infinitely worse!
Too late to worry about that now. Besides; I really like my first full term story baby, even if it is kind of hateful and ugly; and clearly shows the moose jawed DNA of one of it’s progenitors: good ole HPL.
But the bones of the story came from my own subconscious. The Lovecraftian flesh was layered on during the plotting phase, but the core concepts are my own. I hope you check it out and enjoy the story.
As to the name of this blog . . . I don’t know. It just sounded creepy to me.
. . . Like, say you place an ad seeking a roommate on Craigslist. The guy who responds; he’s pleasant enough, just a bit standoffish. He always pays the rent on time and keeps the place fastidiously clean. Still he unnerves you. There’s a coldness to him. A shark like absence of gleam in his dark eyes. He rarely goes out during the day, stays in his room with the door shut, then takes long walks late at night.
It is during one of these absences that you sneak into his bedroom, just to see what it is that he does in there . . . To see what makes those rattling sounds you sometimes hear through the thin walls, like he’s rolling handfuls of dice.
The room smells of artificial vanilla. Some kind of air freshener? You’re certain you’ve smelled it before. You go to his desk, where any normal person would have a computer. Instead, he’s laid out a rectangle of purple velvet, with a glimmering set of medical implements arranged in precise order. You can tell that one tool is missing. The dent of it is clear in the rich fabric. Looks like some sort of pliers. Unnerved, you decide to make a quick check of the contents of the drawers, and then get the hell out of there.
The first drawer you open, it’s filled with teeth. They all look to be human. They’re mostly stained yellow by coffee and tobacco, and many have cavities. The pile should stink, but all you can smell is sweet vanilla.
Dizzy from the sight of all those teeth, you snatch the next drawer down. It clatters as you cause another heap of chompers to shift. They’re festooned with brilliant bits of metal. Mostly silver amalgam, but rare glimmers of gold as well. Others are affixed with the brackets and hardware of braces, A few teeth are still linked by the wires, like ghastly strands of jewelry.
Head swimming, you open the bottom drawer. These teeth are much smaller, and very, very white. Baby teeth you realize.
A metallic clack from directly behind. You spin, and he’s standing there. He’s got a surgical mask up over his mouth and nose, but you recognize those flat black sharkish eyes. You try to jolt away, but stumble instead. You finally recognize that vanilla odor:
It’s nitrous oxide.
As you fall back on the desk the WOM WOM WOM starts throbbing in your head. Your roommate, the amateur dentist, capers nimbly on top of you, raising a shiny pair of pliers. You recognize it as a dental implement, but it isn’t delicate at all. It’s a heavy insect fashioned from stainless steel, with ragged jaws and legs specially angled for leverage.
He slides it deftly between your slackening lips, and reaches for the back in your mouth, and you realize he’s going for the wisdom teeth.