Autumn Is Coming

Just got word from Mike Davis that my story "Cul Du-Sac Virus" is going to be included in his Autumn Cthulhu anthology. As an avowed lover of Autumn (there really is no better season) I'm both honored and excited to have one of my stories among the leaves.






Feeling Down? Read About a Clown!

So, well, I'm not really afraid of clowns per se, but I've never really been comfortable around them. No particular reason, no formative incident buried in my childhood memories, hell, the father of one of my friends growing up was a professional clown with Barnum & Bailey, and he was hilarious (when I was six).

I've read articles citing everything from the uncanny valley, to the fact clowns model socially transgressive behaviors, to the lingering shadow of John Wayne Gacy on the popular consciousness, and yet, I feel like there's something more primal. Evil Clowns have been around for centuries, Grimaldi from Dickens' Pickwick Papers, being the first I came across (if there are earlier evil clowns I'm excited to hear about them). Really, I feel it's trying so hard to be loved that makes clowns just a little bit monstrous.  

Maybe that's why clowns still have a place. Like an old, rickety roller coaster they shudder and screech, rattling through our imaginations in a blur of mismatched clothes and wide, feverish grins. Clowns represent the outsider in every way that counts--their dress, their high voices, the casual violence of slapstick--there's an element of schadenfreude in every performance.  

Why do clowns make me uncomfortable? I don't think I’ll ever know, but, like most things that scare me, I find them absolutely fascinating. So understandably, I leapt at the chance to plumb the depths of my unease in in prose. Better yet, the wonderful editors at Unlikely Story enjoyed my work enough to publish it in their Coulrophobia: Remix anthology.

Right now, it's still in kickstarter stages, but looks pretty set to meet the funding goal, which is great. I'd be shilling one of the $50 rewards (a story critique by yours truly), if someone hadn't already snapped it up. In any case, knowing the quality of the authors I managed to squeeze into this anthology clown car with, I'm excited as hell to see the thing in print.

Don't be scared. Or better yet, be a little scared, it'll make show more fun.


Full Circle

When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time in used bookstores. If you're reading this, I'm sure you had a similar experience. There was one in particular Twice-Loved Books that was close enough I could ride my bike too. It was a big old house that the owner had converted into a bookstore, every room filled almost to the brim with all manner of interesting treasures. Unsurprisingly, the fantasy, science fiction, and horror sections were all in the basement. I would come in on Saturday or Sunday morning, allowance in hand, and over the course of hours work my way from one side of the basement to the other like some genre trogolodyte. 

I'd usually only have enough money for two or three books, but I must have perused hundreds. Even at only a dollar or two a piece they seemed the most luxuries astounding of luxuries--something that would be mine and only mine, at least until I sold it back to Twice-Loved for a quarter or two in the hopes of earning enough to buy another.

Yeah, it was quite a racket, but I was hooked. Still am, in fact.

The reason I'm going on about this is that without Twice-Loved, and more importantly, without that basement full of genre fiction, I'd never have become the author (or the person) I am today. I grew up with Bradbury,Bradley, Norton, Burroughs, King, Howard, LeGuin, Tolkein, Macaffery, Lackey, Feist, and scores of others. Their worlds were mine to explore, to devour, to love.

The value of giving kids and young adults good genre fiction really can't be understated. As readers, and lovers, of genre I feel like it's our duty to be almost evangelical in the pursuit of new audiences, which is why I was so incredibly honored to be part of an anthology aimed at doing just that.

The Young Explorers Adventure Guide is just great, any way you slice it. 20 Stories from some of the best mid-grade genre fiction writers in the field, and also me (somehow). I'm not trying to get you to buy a copy, I'm just excited about the prospect of some kid spending his or her allowance on something I've written. Which is why I picked up a few dozen copies, then turned around and sold them to used bookstores in my area.

Self-serving, yes, a bit, but I make no excuses. My goal is to hook another generation and keep this crazy thing of ours going for years to come.


I Am Very Lucky

So December is shaping up to be a great month publication-wise. First, my story "Citizen of the Galaxy," is in Analog. Seriously, ANALOG--one of the publications that made me want to start writing fiction in the first place.

Adding to the joy, my story "From Salted Earth," appeared in the fourth quarter issue of Worlds Without Master, a fabulous pro e-zine that pushes the boundaries of the sword and sorcery genre by publishing great fiction and short-form roleplaying games.

Last, but certainly far from least, I've got some apocalyptic flash fiction sleighted for publication in Daily Science Fiction on December 16th.

Yes, three pro pubs. Really, really?!

If you're curious--no, I've done nothing to deserve this.   


Doom and Gloom? Not Really

Contrary to all rational expectations given my slew of sales, I've been feeling a little down, lately. Fortunately, I've been able to mine the existential doldrums for all they're worth. The result being a slew of cosmic horror stories, one of which will be appearing in the next issue of Shock Totem (out soon), and another upcoming in Daily Science Fiction. I'm particularly proud of both of these stories, and am quite excited that they found such great homes.

I've never been a strong proponent of authorial privilege. I feel much of art's power lies in its faculty for interpretation, so I'll try not to bore you with any self-obsessed rambles about what I "intended" in writing these stories and others. Whatever you take from my writing is yours.

Apocalypses have always fascinated me. As a horror, dark fantasy/SF writer it stands to reason that I'd take the cosmic view. While the current trend toward apocalyptic (specifically: ZOMBIE) fiction has run the sub-genre somewhat ragged, I can't help but feel there's still a lot of room for exploration. As humans, I feel like we try to understand the apocalypse, figure out its rules, even give it agency in some regards. Part of this stems from our frame of reference—namely that we only have one--and part from who we are as a species. Basically, if we hadn't always been trying to figure everything out, I don't think humanity would've reached such great heights.

But what if the apocalypse was beyond our comprehension? What if there was no why?

Obviously, I borrowed liberally from the usual suspects: Thomas Ligotti, Anna Tambour, Laird Barron, Caitlin Kiernan, Michael Wehunt, and others. I'm not saying I added anything revolutionary to the corpus of cosmic horror/apocalyptic literature, but it sure was fun to grapple with.   


Good News, Everyone

It's been an exciting few months--publications and sales enough to make me wonder when the other shoe is going to drop. My story "Semiosis" came out in Fiction Vortex. Primarily a love note to the silver age sci-fi I read as a kid, it's a planetary adventure that follows the estranged daughter of a famous scientist as she tries to piece together his final research project. Also, as always, I couldn't resist cramming in as many aliens as I could.

In a similar vein, my story "Citizen of the Galaxy," is slated to appear in a future issue of Analog. It's funny, but many of those aforementioned silver-age stories I enjoyed as a child (and more recently as an adult) appeared in the pages of Analog. Unsurprisingly, I'm a little north of ecstatic about coming full circle.

Also, my story "When it Was Ripe," will be appearing in the next issue of Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine. The issue had some delays, but I promise it will be worth the wait.

I'm also honored to announce that my story "Saturday" will be appearing in the July issue of Shock Totem. Although a relative newcomer when compared to luminaries like Cemetery Dance and Black Static, Shock Totem has published some of the best horror and dark fiction I've read in the past year, and has rapidly become one of my top picks for disturbing prose. As you can imagine, I still can't quite believe my luck.

Last, but certainly not least, my story "The Matchbox Sign," will be appearing in Darkfuse #2. I bought the first Darkfuse anthology on the recommendation of a friend, and enjoyed it so much I picked up a few of their books as well.

In truth, a small, but by no means insignificant part of me sincerely believes I'm being gaslighted (gaslit?) by a coterie of respected editors. I know, I know, it sounds insane, but until I have the actual magazines in hand, I'm not going to be able to quash the suspicion this is all just an elaborate practical joke.