A Friday Miscellany

library of congress photo

  • This will be my last rambling, bloggy post about “writing activity.” Two years ago I wrote a lengthy piece about stagnation in my writing, and since then I’ve thoroughly unstagnated. From regular productivity to setting goals to having projects lined up for at least the next six months, it would appear that writerly ennui is a luxury I can happily no longer afford, at least at such length.
  • I have fiction forthcoming in multiple venues, one of which is the reborn Weirdbook. When I first got serious about writing many years ago, I would blog, or later Facebook, every bit of writing news (“I got a rejection with feedback!” “My story is being held for consideration!” etc.). This seems like a reasonable time to stop doing so much of that, not least to improve the signal:noise ratio.
  • I have essays and critical non-fiction about horror or the Weird either forthcoming or with proposals accepted in multiple venues. One will be in a new non-fiction journal, Thinking Horror, and others will, all things going as planned, appear in 2017 publications. I also have various conference papers lined up  for 2016, so we’ll see how that goes.
  • The tide of readers and critics of the Weird, literary/cosmic horror, etc. is rising. I’ll  have more to say about that elsewhere at some point, I expect, but I come across roughly one interesting new (to me or otherwise) blogger, essay, review, etc. in this vein per week. This week I’ve encountered two: Celluloid Wicker Man and ClaireQuip Books.
  • The short story collection manuscript is one, or perhaps two, stories away from complete in rough. It’s lengthened and shortened a couple times now, but at this point it really does feel something like closing in on “done.” Various bits of polishing and editing remain, but my goal of finishing and submitting the ms before year’s end seems reasonable, if the rest of life cooperates.
  • One of the unanticipated side-effects of creating the list of weird fiction publishers is that not a few publishers have been offering or sending me free fiction, journals, etc. As a slow reader, I’ve been eyeing my TBR pile, thinking about ethics in reviewing, etc. The answer will probably be a generic disclaimer somewhere on this site to the effect that I’m a bastion of unbiased something or other.
  • Last weekend was Necronomicon 2015 in Providence, and not attending was one of the dark spots of the year, but I’ve been fortunate enough to attend  various literary conferences and conventions of late, learning a great deal in the process. I’ve come to realize that the people who attend the event make the event, but that most of us live in a world that doesn’t allow for infinite travel, and that many things make a literary community.
  • Finally, I’ve been enjoying horror shorts lately. As with shorts generally, they vary in quality, but the length allows for a broad range of tasting. He Took His Skin Off For Me is a grotesque that I enjoyed very much, describing it elsewhere as maybe, kind of, what you’d get if Raymond Carver and Kelly Link had collaborated to write Hellraiser:

Some Goreyesque Fiction

The Summer 2015 issue of Goreyesque has dropped, and it includes my flash fiction story, “The Doubtful Wonderland.” If you like Edward Gorey’s work and haven’t seen this journal, I urge you to check it out. I attended the Gorey exhibition in Chicago that sparked the journal, and the story of its birth is an interesting one. As for my story, it’s a reprint that originally appeared back in aught-eight in a now-defunct print journal called The Willows. It’s a nasty little thing, influenced by both The Loathesome Couple and The Gilded Bat. When “The Doubtful Wonderland” was first published, I had this to say:

Our affection for Victoria’s England is passing strange, much of it based on an idealization that blithely ignores the squalor, moralizing, and inflexible class structure. Meanwhile, we smile and wink at its covert bawdiness, the antithesis of the 21st century’s cold parade of silicone and latex. My intent here was to offer a view of our Victorianomania taken to its logical conclusion, wherein little girls are rancid and old men, however kindly-seeming, have hearts of spite. I can only hope that you find yourself slightly revolted.

Promo for Goreyesque

Promo card for Goreyesque at AWP

Makeout Creek in the House

As it says on the tin:

sample copies of makeout creek

Last night I got my contributor’s copies for the Twin Peaks-themed issue of Makeout Creek, and the issue’s a beaut. I’m grateful to everyone at Makeout Creek who made the issue happen, and particularly to Andrew Blossom, who edits thoughtfully, communicates thoroughly, and makes Richmond a better place.

Coming Soon: The Big Bad II

Cover for the anthology The Big Bad II

The Big Bad II

Soon to be released to ravage the land, The Big Bad II is an anthology focusing on—you guessed it—monstrous and evil things. Edited by John G. Hartness and Emily Lavin Leverett for Dark Oak Press and Media, this anthology features stories from a wide range of authors working in F/SF/H. I was delighted when they took my short story, “Mercy’s Armistice,” and I’ll have more to say about the story down the road. The TOC:

Mercy’s Armistice – J. T. Glover
A Family Affair – Selah Janel
Old Nonna – Gail Z. Martin
Letters to Logroth – Jason Corner
Skippin’ Stones – S. H. Roddey
The Sea Witch – Kasidy Manisco
A Day in the Life – James R. Tuck
Overkill – Sara Taylor Woods
Voodooesque – Eden Royce
A Fitter Subject for Study – Sarah Joy Adams
Ghosts and Sands – Jay Requard
Teacher of the Year – Riley Miller
Feels Like Justice to Me – Edmund R. Schubert
Portrait of the Artist as a Psychopathic Man – Stuart Jaffe
The House on Cherry Hill – Emily Lavin Leverett
Sticks and Stones – Bobby Nash
Sweet Tooth – Nicole Givens Kurtz
Just Pretending – Linden Flynn
Phone Home – E. D. Guy
I Think of Snow – J. Matthew Saunders
Little Gods – Neal F. Litherland
Drawing Flame – Misty Massey
The Witch Hunter – M. B. Weston
The Cully – D. B. Jackson

…and for those of you who want this on release, here’s the Kindle preorder link.

The Children Are Coming

Cover for Children of Old Leech

Available later this year from finer purveyors of insanity-inducing fiction.

I am delighted to announce that “Pale Apostle,” a short story that Jesse Bullington and I co-authored, will be appearing in The Children of Old Leech. Scheduled for release in summer of 2014, the stories in this anthology take place in the world of Laird Barron‘s Old Leech mythology. I’ve previously had a thing or two to say about that, and so you’d be right in guessing that the story was an absolute thrill to write. The full table of contents is TBA, but I’ve started to see posts like this one popping up from Mike Griffin, Orrin Grey, and Jeffrey Thomas.

I’m grateful to editors Ross E. Lockhart and Justin Steele for including this piece, and to Jesse, who extended me the invitation to write the story together. It was my first time co-writing fiction in a very long while, and it was a giddy experience. We created something together that actually creeped me out at a few points during the writing, so I’m hoping it will work for readers.