And six months went by like nothing

/ Wednesday, January 12th, 2022 / No Comments »

Who reads blogs anymore anyway?

The purpose of this post, basically, is to play a sheepish game of catch-up. My work-life balance got completely tipped over in 2021 — though for an arguably GOOD reason, a promotion — and because of that I let posts about the speculative fiction side of my career slide, even stuff that would have been handy to get out in timely fashion.

Though I still really, really don’t have time to write this blog post, I am shoe-horning it in under the theory that these things all deserve to be noted, and now is definitely better than never, especially as I have a situation where almost everything scheduled to appear this year is popping out all at once.

On the first Monday of January, long-running DIY Weird fiction zine Not One of Us published a new short story from me, “Falling Is What It Loves,” the title derived from Richard Wilbur’s poem “The Juggler.”

This story, though as strange as anything I’ve ever written, has deeply personal roots — even though it features juggling and a troubling form of time travel — so I am grateful it found a place to be showcased.

Here’s the full table of contents of the issue:

  • Opal, Everywhere, by Jennifer Hudak
  • Your Starving Days (poem), by Sonya Taaffe
  • Frosted Fruit, by Anne Karppinen
  • Revelations of the Artificial Dryads (poem), by Marissa Lingen
  • Falling Is What It Loves, by Mike Allen
  • Song for a Coyote (poem), by Jennifer Crow
  • Three Wishes and Your Fortune Told, by Alexandra Seidel
  • Suburban Pitcher Plant, Sarracenia suburbiana (poem), by Jay Sturner
  • Would That We Were Brownies (poem), by Avra Margariti
  • Art: John Stanton

But that’s just the beginning, and maybe the end

Within days of issue 69 of Not One of Us arriving in my mailbox, Plutonian Press editor and publisher Scott Dwyer shared the cover art for his forthcoming anthology Pluto in Furs 2.

I have !!TWO!! stories in this one, both horror, one (“This Rider of Fugitive Dawns”) surreal and nightmarish, one (“Abhors”) extreme body horror. Something that makes me super-proud is that my mentee, Hysop Mulero, also has a surreal nightmare in these pages, “This Is You on Lust.” Furthermore, it’s scheduled for a Feb. 1 release — that’s my birthday! Wild.

Here is the table of contents for what will be an amazing feast of adult horror:

  • Clopen – Livia Llewellyn
  • Gyr – Brian Evenson
  • The Living Column – Brendan Vidito
  • The Melody of Frostbite – Perry Ruhland
  • A Tryst at Candle Point – Max Stanton
  • Bunny in a Hole – Victoria Dalpe
  • Explicit – Sara Century
  • Border Lines – K. H. Vaughan
  • Cult of the Rabbit – K. A. Opperman
  • The Countess – Ashley Dioses
  • This is You on Lust – Hysop Mulero
  • One of the Whores – Liliana Carstea
  • Abhors – Mike Allen
  • This Rider of Fugitive Dawns – Mike Allen
  • Wedding – Anne-Sylvie Salsman
  • Whip Spiral – Rhys Hughes

Time is a delusion, fill it with words

Now to get to some stuff that I missed: two different interviews with me appeared last year in the wake of my Shirley Jackson Award nomination for Aftermath of an Industrial Accident:

Both were a lot of fun to do and required me to get a bit outside of my box. Some hat action was also required.

Melanie got very enterprising in her write-up, resulting in this description that I treasure:

For our interview, he wore a black baseball cap with the white insignia of Mongolian folk-rock band, The Hu, on its face. The shape made by the entwined snow leopards called to my mind an elephant skull. That elephantine white symbol surrounded by the black canvas dome of his hat inadvertently mirrored the hoary white center of a groomed dark beard, all of this cut by a wide smile.

Not eating crow this time

My short story “The Cruelest Team Will Win” get reprinted yet again, this time in CORVID-19 (heh), a charity anthology to benefit RavenCon in Richmond. The book was edited by convention co-founder Michael Pedersen. “Cruelest” is headed toward being one of my most reprinted stories, on par with “The Button Bin” and “The Blessed Days.”

Working with Danielle Ackley-McPhail, I recorded a video for that crowdfunding campaign, reading from “Cruelest Team.”

Verse reversal

I also had a third original poem appear in 2021, a 200% increase over 2020, ha, ha! — this is one that for better or for worse has gestated for years, inspired by some of the imagery that awed me as a young one when I read Charles Williams’ novel The Greater Trumps. (Of the three best known Inklings, the most legendary group of beta readers in all of 20th century speculative fiction history, Williams is the most obscure; the other two being C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.)

I’m grateful to Henri Gendreau, founder of The Roanoke Rambler, for giving “Dispelling the Arcana” a cool and unusual home. That poem lies here.

Ends and odds

Finally, here’s a real deep cut, related to my day job, an audio interview I did way way back in the summer. This podcast is pretty stunning and frightening. I turn up in Episode 7.

It’s been long enough, and so much has happened, I could easily have forgotten something. I’m honestly not sure if that gets me completely caught up — but this has to go up sometime, doesn’t it? So here we go.

I’ll conclude with this neat little recommended reading list that my colleague Laird Barron included me in just a few days ago. How flattered I am!

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