The Quiltmaker + 2014 eligibility post

/ Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014 / 2 Comments »

PROOFI suppose I should start with the obvious: my first ever short story collection Unseaming is new this year and eligible in “best story collection” categories. Someone saw fit to suggest it be included in this completely unofficial list, which still tickles me to no end.
Of the new works of fiction I’ve had come out this year, the one I’m proudest of is “The Quiltmaker,” my horror novella that also happens to be a sequel to my best known story, “The Button Bin.” Its length, its stylistic weirdness and its grim nastiness kept it from finding a home prior to appearing in my collection Unseaming, but now that Unseaming is out (and doing shockingly well by the standards set by my books, heh — my thanks to all of you who have promoted and purchased it!) “The Quiltmaker” has gotten some encouraging attention.
Not only that, but a long planned limited edition hardcover of “The Quiltmaker” is underway, forthcoming from the wonderful Erzebet YellowBoy’s Papaveria Press. The proofs are sitting on my bookshelf regarding me forlornly because they happened to arrive at the same time as three other ongoing projects — but please believe me when I say I am SO excited about this.
I should mention too that though I consider it the longest of long shots, “The Quiltmaker” is available free for SFWA members to read in the forum section for Nebula eligible novellas. (By the way, I’ve also uploaded copies to the forum of all the short stories published in Mythic Delirium in 2014; more about that in this post.)
I’ve also had six short stories published this year, which for me is some sort of record. All are horror/dark fantasy/weird/whatever:

  • The Lead Between the Panes,” first appeared in Lakeside Circus, reprinted in Unseaming
  • “Monster,” first appeared in Nameless, reprinted in Unseaming
  • “Gutter,” first appeared in Unseaming
  • “Condolences,” first appeared in Unseaming
  • The Vintage Dress,” written especially for my employer, The Roanoke Times
  • “Tardigrade,” written especially for Jason V. Brock’s anthology A Darke Phantastique
    Poems: Only had three new ones appear this year; two have ties to short stories of mine.

  • The Paper Boy” in Strange Horizons (“Gutter”)
  • “Dearly Beloved” in Postscripts to Darkness (“Twa Sisters,” “Still Life With Skull”)
  • “To Sail the Leaden Sky,” original to my new collection Hungry Constellations


    1. Taig Stewart says:

      Last night, during the appropriate hour of midnight, I finished Unseamed. I’m sure you receive countless communications from your readers–as well you should–but I must add my voice to them and assure you that your work is simply on a level of quality and genius beyond anything I’ve ever read.

      Like yourself, I grew up with and sought out, the weird and the creepy and all manner of frightening fiction since I was a small lad, so I’m well equipped–after 50-some years experience–to know good horror when I find it. Your fertile and finely-honed imagination is simply beyond anything I’ve ever come across and it defies categorization. Call it horror, weird, disturbing, frightening–whatever; your stories are all of these, but so much more too. They’ve gotten under the layers of my subconscious and nestled there so that long after the initial impact of them dissipates, they make themselves known over and over again in subtle, yet profound, ways for a very long time after indeed.

      All of the stories in Unseaming moved and impressed me deeply me but none so thoroughly as The Quiltmaker. It just reached down into my subconscious and pulled out memories and nightmares I haven’t accessed for decades and set them on display in my mind. The Quiltmaker was to me it far and away the sweetest tale of raw terror I’ve ever encountered! What a marvel, what a nasty treasure of creepiness! Wow. After I finished it I just sat there and pondered and ruminated, went back and reread it, shared particularly creepy bits with my boys, and then sat there and chewed my mental cud some more.

      I just can’t thank you enough for this masterwork of horror, Mike. It was important to me–even though I imagine I’m one voice of many you receive–to express both my gratitude and my strongest accolades for the finest, creepiest, darkest, most entertaining writing I’ve ever encountered in my life. Thank you! You’ve made my life just a little bit richer forever.

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