My editor at The Roanoke Times once again asked me to write an original ghost story for the paper, the result, based on a suggestion from Anita, appeared on Halloween proper: “The Vintage Dress.” I crafted it as a sequel of sorts to “The Helping Hand,” my first horror tale for the Times. The fact that I get to make up ghost stories for my day job is pretty damn awesome. (My boss has told me to start thinking about next year’s story, heh.)
I also wrote a Halloween-themed guest post for The Little Red Reviewer called “Building My Own Haunted House” that, naturally, delves a bit more into why I write horror. Embedded in that guest post is the complete text of my flash fiction “Six Waking Nightmares Poe Gave Me in Third Grade,” which originally appeared in the Fall 2009 issue of Weird Tales. My thanks to Andrea Johnson for lending me her soapbox.
Finally, the anthology A Darke Phantastique (containing my new story “Tardigrade”) has been spotted in the wild! Alas, I will not be anywhere near the big Nov. 6 book signing in Los Angeles where the book makes its official debut, but I’ll certainly be there in spirit … or in other words, I’ll be haunting it.
My thanks to everyone who has bought Unseaming so far — by the standards of one of my books (admittedly not a high bar) the collection is doing quite well, especially on Amazon. Ordinarily I only get to play these sorts of games when I’m holding a Kindle giveaway:
These Amazon “bestseller” lists don’t mean much, but they’re fun.
@mythicdelirium Ah, hey, c'mon – top 20 baby! You gotta feel good about that.
— Joe Hilloween (@joe_hill) October 24, 2014
Oh, yes, I do.
So it turns out the rejuvenated Roanoke main library has a room that’s the perfect size for a reading. The first official launch reading for Unseaming turned out to be quite cozy. My thanks to Roanoke librarian Shalon Hurlbert (my good friend, whom the book is dedicated to) for setting this up!
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Anita and I are gonna be at the World Fantasy Convention in D.C. in two weeks, and I have my schedule in hand. Both of my scheduled events are Friday, Nov. 7:
Poetry in Fantasy: Yesterday and Today
Time: 11am-12pm, Nov. 7, Regency F
Panelists:Mike Allen (M), Maria Alexander, Rain Graves, David Lunde, Laurel Winter
Description: Including poetry in fantasy, both by the author and quoted from other sources, used to be more common, such as Alice in Wonderland, The Lord of the Rings, and The Worm Ouroboros. Why is poetry not as prevalent now as in the past? Are certain types of poetry, such as non-formal or non-rhyming verse, under-used in fantasy?
I have some bones to pick with the assertion made in this panel description, but don’t worry: the other panelists and I are already talking about how we’ll subvert it.
Reading: Mike Allen
Time: 5:30pm-6pm, Nov. 7, Arlington
I’ll be reading selections from Unseaming, of course, just before dinner. Folks interested in an appetite suppressant might consider attending, heh.
Fellow Antimatter Press author James Maxey (whose Bad Wizard came out the same day as Unseaming) will likely be joining Anita and me
Other than that, we’re wide open. We look forward to seeing all of you there!
My first official post-book-launch reading of Unseaming happens Tuesday, Oct. 28, 6 p.m. in the Parrot Room (heh) of the newly-renovated and reopened Roanoke Main Library. Naturally I’ll have copies for signing and selling. There will be light refreshments, though what I’m going to read may not be appetite-whetting (heh, heh.)
Here’s the Facebook event page, the newspaper listing and the Roanoke city website listing. My thanks to Shalon Hurlbert for pulling this one together.
Jeff VanderMeer took time out from his explorations of Area X to interview me about my story collection Unseaming, and graciously posted the results on his blog.
By the way, I’m hugely impressed with his Southern Reach Trilogy and recommend it without reservation. And I wasn’t induced to say that by hypnotic suggestion. So far as I know.
Last week Library Journal floored me with a starred review of Unseaming, included in a round up of authors way, way better known than I am (David Baldacci? Alexander McCall Smith? Well then!) — and here’s what the review itself said:
The stories in this debut collection range from the sly to the splatteringly horrific, with every nuance of dread and menace in between. It opens with Allen’s Nebula-nominated “The Button Bin,” which throbs with a guilty conscience highlighted by the use of second-person narration. From there, Allen sears readers with the visceral image of everyone on Earth waking each morning bathed in blood in “The Blessed Days.” Another gem is “The Hiker’s Tale,” a ghost story that does a wonderful job at misdirection. Grief turns to horror in the marvelous “Condolences,” in which a murderer offers empty regret to the daughter of his victims, triggering continuing horror in the young woman whenever she hears words of condolence. By the time “The Quiltmaker” rolls around and we get a bigger, even better story featuring the narrator of “The Button Bin,” Allen leaves readers with nerves jangling.
Verdict: These 14 stories show that Allen (The Black Fire Concerto) is an author to watch, as capable of wringing sadness from a tale as he is of causing chills. From his background in poetry, the author surely learned his deft construction skills, placing words and evoking emotions with impressive economy but maximum effect. —Megan M. McArdle, San Diego
Given the Publishers Weekly starred reviews for Unseaming and Mythic Delirium, I feel like I’m on a hot streak in a poker game. Given the many times in my career when I’ve felt the opposite, that’s not a bad thing!
A couple people have requested copies of Unseaming signed by me, and so I thought I’d share how folks can get one.
I have my own copies of the book now (snapshot at left is proof!) for my upcoming readings at the Roanoke Main Library (Tuesday, Oct. 28, 6 p.m., Facebook event page to come) and at the World Fantasy Convention in D.C. (Date/time not set but I’m told I’ll have one.) If you can’t make either of those and you want a signed copy, one can be yours, shipping included, for $20 (U.S.) or $35 (outside the U.S.), sent via PayPal (mythicdelirium[at]gmail[dot]com) or via check in U.S. funds made out to me and mailed to 3514 Signal Hill Ave. NW, Roanoke VA 24017. (And don’t forget to tell me your mailing address.) I’m happy to inscribe it however you wish, or you can leave that part up to me, heh, heh.