by Rick Hautala

Artwork by Glenn Chadbourne

Signed Limited Edition - $45.00
Fine in fine dj; new and unread, direct from the publisher

ISBN: 1-881475-79-4

Cemetery Dance, 1999; 393 pp.; limited to 500 signed copies in dj

A message from Rick Hautala about the book:
Bedbugs is my first short story collection after nearly twenty years of being a professional writer, and I'm thrilled that Cemetery Dance Publications is publishing it.

The twenty-six stories (about half of my published output) range over pretty much my whole career. Many of them originally appeared in publications so obscure that I can guarantee none of you have read all of them. They range all over the place, and this is for a couple of good reasons.

First and foremost, I don't consider myself primarily a short story writer. I'm a novelist because that's the format in which I feel most comfortable. Short stories are difficult to write and, as we say up here in Maine, "wicked" hard to master. I like writing novels for the same reason my Uncle George said he always enjoyed rough-framing houses: "You can make a lot of little mistakes so the big ones won't show."

... at least I hope so.

You'll no doubt notice that there are a variety of styles, voices, themes, etc. in these stories. That's as it should be in a short story collection, and that relates to my second reason.

Since publishing my first novel, I have never written a short story just for the hell of it or because something was burning inside me and I just had to "express" myself. I have always written a story only when an editor of a magazine or anthology has called and asked me for a contribution. In most cases (but not all), those stories have sold and been published with little (if any) editing. (My contribution to Al Sarrantonio's recent 999, a story titled "Knocking," is a notable exception. Al made me jump through the editorial hoops several times, and the story ended up being much better than it was in its original form.)

I have used these excursions with short stories to try on different voices and styles, all of which (I hope) contributed positively to my later novels. They were "little" experiments I could do before trying to use them in a novel. Not warm-up exercises so much as preliminary trial runs before the big race. For the collection, I've "revised," to one degree or another, every story, so they're all different from their original publication.

So in Bedbugs, you'll find all sorts of things -- dark ... funny ... sexy ... sick and twisted ... scary ... touching ... autobiographical ... tragic ... happy ... maybe even romantic.

I'd be hard pressed to say which of my novels is my favorite, so it would be just as impossible to say which of these stories is my favorite. Possibly "Schoolhouse" is because it is based on a recurring dream I still have even after hoping to exorcise it with a story, but there are several others that I think really "get at" what I intended to "get at."

Perhaps the biggest excitement I feel about the publication of this book, though, has nothing to do with resurrecting a sampling of my short stories.

What I'm really excited about is Glenn Chadbourne's artwork for the book. I met Glenn a year or two ago through a mutual friend, Ralph Jessie, who told me that I just had to meet this guy and see his art.

Well, I did, and shortly thereafter, Glenn showed up at the house with the artwork we're using for the Bedbugs cover. It blew me away, and I asked him then and there if he would do the illustrations for the collection.

He said he'd love to, but I never expected to get what I got. A month or two later, Glenn dropped by the house with half a dozen illustrations for different stories of mine.

I was blown away!

Before long, we realized that we were going to have an illustration for every damned story in the collection! As you flip the pages of this book, I hope you'll take time to appreciate the detail and quality of Glenn's artwork. It is unbelievable!

So there you go.

A little something about Bedbugs that you won't get anywhere else. If you buy the book, I hope you enjoy the hell out of it. If it sells really well, maybe Cemetery Dance Publications will do Bedbugs 2 in the near future. Glenn already has a handful of illustrations for stories not in the collection.

In the meantime, "Good night. Sleep tight. Don't let the..."

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