Welcome to the web site of freelance writer Pierre V. Comtois where you’ll find information on my latest projects, books available for sale, and upcoming releases.
The next year will see plenty of exciting developments including the long awaited publication of Autumnal Tales collecting the very best of my weird and fantasy stories, publication of River Muse: Tales of Lowell and the Merrimack Valley, and a raft of appearances in both traditional magazines and e magazines as well!
But before getting to that, I want you to learn a bit more about me and what I’ve been up to over the years.
Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, I grew up in the 1960s a fan of Marvel Comics, a voracious reader of science fiction and fantasy, a lover of non-fiction and history, a connoisseur of such TV shows as the Outer Limits, Thriller, Twilight Zone, and anything produced by Irwin Allen, as well as a dedicated viewer of 1950s era sci-fi movies (especially those films by director Jack Arnold).
It proved to be a toxic mix that soon yielded early attempts at writing my own tales and entertaining the dream of some day becoming a professional storyteller. But with enthusiasm running ahead of experience, that dream ended up being deferred for some time as I was forced to learn the actual craft of writing.
Along the way, my literary interests began to fan out with new discoveries such as Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan and John Carter, H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu, and Walter Gibson’s Shadow. Later, the fantasies of William Morris, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord Dunsany, E.R. Eddison, William Hope Hodgson, Robert W. Chambers, Clark Ashton Smith, Mervyn Peake, James Branch Cabell, and Katherine Kurtz also captured my imagination.
Then came four years at Salem State College where I became an editor of the student newspaper and eventually received a BA in English and Communications. From there, it was the dull routine of a local reporter’s life punctuated here and there with continued efforts at fiction writing.
Unfortunately, by the early 1980s the market for short stories had almost completely dried up and I was forced to the conclusion that if my stories were to see print, I’d have to publish them myself. Thus, Fungi, “the Literary Magazine of Fantasy and the Supernatural” was born. I published Fungi with the help of friends (some of whose art can be seen elsewhere on this site) off and on for over two decades (along with companion ‘zine The Cthulhu Codex) which indirectly offered me entrée into the larger world of small press publishing.
With my discovery of the small press, I began to submit selections from my backlog of short stories and slowly began to have them published. Small press magazines with such titles as Crypt of Cthulhu, Haunts, Nocturne, Vortex, Astro Adventures, and The Horror Show were regular venues and my name slowly became infamous in the fan community. My notoriety was such that I began to receive offers to write stories specifically for anthologies resulting in celebrated appearances in such collections as The Ithaqua Cycle, The Cthulhu Cycle, Tales Out of Innsmouth, Eldritch Blue, and Anton Zarnak: Supernatural Sleuth. Finally came the crowning achievement for any fantasy writer, inclusion in a book released by fantasy publisher Arkham House; in my case it was an interview segment in a book celebrating the life and career of writer E. Hoffman Price called The Book of the Dead.
Thus emboldened, I decided to branch out to paying gigs by indulging in my other interest: non-fiction. Successful from the very start with an article sold to Military History Magazine, I was soon cranking out full length features for such publications as World War II Magazine, Wild West, and America’s Civil War.
When I had a few minutes to spare between short stories and articles, I began to dash off other articles to various comic book magazines as well including Comic Book Marketplace, Comics Source, and The Jack Kirby Collector. It was the article I wrote for CBA though, that eventually evolved into my book on Marvel Comics in the silver age entitled Marvel Comics in the 1960s: An Issue by Issue Field Guide to a Pop Culture Phenomenon, which was released in July, 2009 and its sequel Marvel Comics in the 1970s in 2011.
Those books, however, were preceded by The Way the Future Was: An Anthology of Science Fiction Fables released in October, 2008 and Our Lives, Our Fortunes, Our Sacred Honor: Capsule Portraits of Figures from the American Revolution released in March, 2009.
Later in the spring of 2009 came the release of my novel Strange Company: An Untold Story of the American Revolution as well as a young adult novel entitled Sometimes A Warm Rain Falls.
All of which brings things up to date except to mention that the latest issue (after a 10 year hiatus) of Fungi, my aforementioned magazine of weird fiction, was released only last year to tumultuous praise from all quarters and the publication of Real Heroes, Real Battles, a book from Sons of Liberty Press collecting all of my non-fiction articles dealing with the American Revolution, the Civil War, and World War II!
More immediately, Sons of Liberty is scheduled to release a new anthology featuring stories and articles dealing with my home town of Lowell, Massachusetts. River Muse: Tales of Lowell and the Merrimack Valley will include a lengthy piece by yours truly on my experiences as a committed bibliophile growing up in the city during the 1960s. The volume also features a stellar list of other contributors as well as never before published material by that other Lowell native son, Jack Kerouac. River Muse is on sale now with a formal unveiling bash to be held at the University of Lowell on June 8.
Also in 2012, after finally finding a home with Chaosium Inc., the makers of popular role playing games, Autumnal Tales will be published within the next 12 months (and hopefully sooner!) under the popular Chaosium Fiction imprint. This highly anticipated collection features my best horror and weird stories as well as poetry and some related non-fiction.
Finally, expect to see any number of my short fiction appearing in several places over 2012 including a sequel to H.P. Lovecraft’s classic tale “At the Mountains of Madness” entitled “Second Death” for a collection called Beyond the Mountains of Madness, edited by Robert E. Price and published by Miskatonic River Press. “Final Plea” is another sequel of sorts to Lovecraft’s “Whisperer in Darkness” scheduled for an original anthology being planned by editor David Conyers for Chaosium Fiction. A science fiction tale, “Beachead” and a crime suspense story “Fatal Error” will appear in chapbooks by Rainfall Books. Two more SF stories entitled “Final Extinction” and “Starter Dome” are scheduled to appear any time now in an e zine called Planetary Stories.
For more information on each of these projects, keep checking back here or click the appropriate links elsewhere on this page. And don’t be shy about letting me know what you think by using comment links provided.
So, the upcoming year is expected to be another exciting one for me and one I hope you’ll decide to share through any of the different access points my career offers to the interested reader: history, science fiction, horror, fantasy, mystery, or comics.
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