Another Tour of the Abattoir at TALES TO TERRIFY

/ June 16th, 2014 / No Comments »

This latest episode of Tales to Terrify concludes an epic four-part serial of William Hope Hodgson’s The House on the Borderland … and it also contains my latest “Tour of the Abattoir” audio column, in which, at the suggestion of Dominik Parisien, I talk about two weird collections: Karin Tidbeck’s Jagannath and Helen Marshall’s Hair Side, Flesh Side. I had mixed reactions to both books, but found individual stories that I enjoyed muchly. You’ll also hear me wrestle with the notion that, while both books partake of horror tropes, I don’t consider either to be “horror.” Give it a listen here, and share what you think, whether you agree or don’t. Especially if you don’t!

An interview with me at Online Writing Workshop

/ June 16th, 2014 / No Comments »

Jaime Lee Moyer (whose latest novel, A Barricade in Hell, just hit the stands) interviewed me for the Online Writing Workshop newsletter. I talk about why the standard approaches to putting together anthologies won’t work for Clockwork Phoenix, among other things. You can read the interview here (you’ll spot me mugging for the camera as you scroll down).

Two Mind Melds

/ June 5th, 2014 / No Comments »

Recently I was recruited for back-to-back “MindMelds” at SF Signal, in which assorted panelists of authors are asked to riff on sometimes esoteric topics.
In the first, “Our Favorite Food and Drink From Scifi and Fantasy!” I talk about the cooking and eating of ghoul flesh that occurs in my novel The Black Fire Concerto, because of course I would. In all fairness, Andrea Johnson, who organized this one, has read the novel. She had to know what I was going to contribute.
In the second, “When Genre Intersects Classical Literature and Myth,” I think my basic answer was, “When doesn’t it?” Heh. The hardest part was figuring out which examples of myth-mixing to limit myself to — there are soooooo many.
I’m honored to have been tapped, I’m in pretty classy company in both roundtables.

My first short story collection, UNSEAMING, comes out in October

/ June 2nd, 2014 / No Comments »

Unseaming_MD_webI’m thrilled to announce that my first short story collection, Unseaming, will be coming out in October from Antimatter Press, in time for the World Fantasy Convention in Washington, D.C.
This is a project that’s been in the works for at least three years, and is now with its third publisher. It looks like third time is the charm, though, as evidenced by the shiny proof that’s sitting on my home office desk. My thanks to Elizabeth Campbell and Jonas Knight of Antimatter for making this possible, and to Danielle Tunstall for that amazing cover image.
On its journey so far the book, which is a collection of fourteen horror stories, picked up a gracious introduction from horrormeister Laird Barron and approving blurbs from Gemma Files, John Langan and Thomas Ligotti (see below). Antimatter will have advance reviewer copies available before the end of this month (and by the way, if you’re interested in an ARC, ping me and I’ll see about hooking you up.)
Before I share what they said, here’s what’s actually in the book:

  • “Introduction: A Stitch in Darkness” by Laird Barron
  • “The Button Bin” (Helix: Speculative Fiction Quarterly, 2007; 2008 Nebula Award Finalist for Best Short Story)
  • “The Blessed Days” (Tales of the Talisman, 2009)
  • “Humpty” (Flesh & Blood, 2002)
  • “Her Acres of Pastoral Playground” (Cthulhu’s Reign, 2010)
  • “An Invitation via E-mail” (Weird Tales, 2008)
  • “The Hiker’s Tale” (Cabinet des Fées, 2007)
  • “The Music of Bremen Farm” (Cabinet des Fées, 2006)
  • “The Lead Between the Panes” (Lakeside Circus, 2014)
  • “Stone Flowers” (Scheherezade’s Bequest, 2009)
  • “Gutter” (original)
  • “Condolences” (original)
  • “Let There Be Darkness” (Penny Dreadful, 1998)
  • “The Quiltmaker” (original novella; the sequel to “The Button Bin”)
  • “Monster” (Nameless, 2014)

And now, what my colleagues and heroes have said (short version, Laird compares me to Clive Barker, Thomas Freakin’ Ligotti says my book is fun (!)):

Read the rest of this entry »

New arrivals

/ June 1st, 2014 / No Comments »

A big announcement coming (though you might be able to guess what it is) … but first, catching up on some print publications that have arrived chez moi.

Clockwise from top: Artemis journal, containing my poem "A Curtain of Stars"; Memory Man by Ian Watson, which contains all seven of the poems he and I co-wrote, including our masterpiece, "Propitiating Cthulhu"; Nameless magazine, which holds my short story "Monster."

Clockwise from top: Artemis Journal, containing my poem “A Curtain of Stars”; Ian Watson’s poetry collection Memory Man, which contains all seven of the poems he and I co-wrote, including our masterpiece, “Propitiating Cthulhu”; Nameless Magazine, which holds my short story “Monster.”

I'm quite tickled by the full-color illustration for "Monster"...

I’m quite tickled by the full-color illustration for “Monster”…

* * *
...and even more so by Tricia Scott's beautiful painting paired with "A Curtain of Stars."

…and even more so by Tricia Scott’s beautiful painting paired with “A Curtain of Stars.”

New Tour of the Abattoir columns at TALES TO TERRIFY

/ May 22nd, 2014 / No Comments »

Because of a multitude of projects and developments, some of which have been documented over at the Mythic Delirium Books site, I’ve been remiss in posting new updates here. (Part of the reason is that I’m planning a major revamp of this site, so that you can actually tell at a glance that I produce books — but the time window to do that is always just around the corner, heh.)
Anyway, I first want to get caught up with “Tour of the Abattoir” at Tales to Terrify.
Last Friday, Larry Santoro, chief torturer in the TtT catacombs, let me get away with passing off one of my short stories as a column: my newest “Tour of the Abattoir” is actually my reading of my 2,000-word rendition of world-swallowing apocalypse, “Let There Be Darkess.” (Click here to listen.)
It’s meant to serve a preview of my forthcoming horror story collection, Unseaming, due to arrive in time for this year’s World Fantasy Convention after a couple of false starts with a couple of previous publishers. You can bet you’ll be hearing more about this from me as the months progress.
I missed blogging here about my previous “Tour,” in which, inspired by the fact that Robert Aickman’s work will be one of the themes of World Fantasy in November, I took an in-depth look at three collections of his that are available in ebook format. (Click here to hear it.)
In between, there’s been a lot of cool stuff going on: for three episodes in a row, Larry gathered together audio adaptations of a number of the Bram Stoker Award nominees. And coming up, Tales to Terrify is tackling something enormous — an adaptation of William Hope Hodgson’s The House on the Borderlands. Download it to your iPods and check it out.

Opposite ends of the spectrum: new story, new poetry sale

/ March 12th, 2014 / No Comments »

ArtemisA couple of bits of news from opposite ends of the literary spectrum this week.
My poem “A Curtain of Stars” is being reprinted in Artemis Journal, a beautiful Southwest Virginia literary magazine that’s being revived after more than a decade of dormancy. Like many of my poems, “Curtain of Stars” is actually quite literal — it was inspired by the starchart-covered curtains Anita sewed for my office.
It’s one of the most wholesome poems I’ve written, and it’s one of those pieces that’s become something akin to an old friend. The only mainstream poetry review I’ve ever gotten reflected on it kindly, I’ve performed a version of it for The Best of No Shame Theatre here in Roanoke, and I included it in two of my poetry collections, Strange Wisdoms of the Dead and The Journey to Kailash (though it won’t be in the forthcoming Hungry Constellations.)
nameless 3I’m tickled that this poem will reach a new audience inside a book of coffee table quality, and I’m especially thrilled to be sharing space with Nikki Giovanni — the issue’s featured poet.
On the dark side of the world, the third issue of weird horror zine [Nameless] has just been released, and it contains my short, extremely strange horror monologue “Monster,” perhaps one of the least wholesome things I’ve ever written. The story’s title refers to the phenomenon once known as mathematical “monsters”: curves of infinite length that exist within a finite space. We know them now as fractals, and they come into play in the course of a police interrogation gone horribly wrong. I’m grateful (and I confess somewhat astonished) that I actually found a pro-rate paying home for this hybrid monstrosity.
This monster isn’t done — at present Anita and I have planned for this piece to be the closer in my forthcoming short story collection Unseaming, which I’ll be hawking at World Fantasy in November. Brace yourself, as you’ll be hearing a lot more about that down the road. But I’m not quite ready to go into detail yet….

SOLARIS RISING 2 a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award

/ March 10th, 2014 / No Comments »

Solaris_Rising_2This is actually old news, but it’s taken me quite a while to get around to making a note of it, so please forgive. The Ian Whates-edited anthology Solaris Rising 2: The New Solaris Book of Science Fiction, which contains my far future sf story “Still Life With Skull,” is one of seven finalists for the 2014 Philip K. Dick Award “for distinguished science fiction published in paperback.”
Though I’ll confess that I’ve lapsed into dirty-minded juvenile puns every time I’ve mentioned this award in conversation … it’s still an honor to be nominated (or to be 1/20th of a nominee, as Martin McGrath cleverly put it.) Wishing Ian all the luck when the winner is announced April 18.

The Paper Boy: new poem in STRANGE HORIZONS

/ February 24th, 2014 / No Comments »

Strange Horizons today released an all-poetry issue, complete with an extensive two part podcast, and I’m honored that my new poem “The Paper Boy” — the only new poem I produced last year — gets to be part of it. (You can read it here.)
Prompted by my buddy Dominik Parisien, this is a poem distilled from years covering the crime beat. I’ll share a secret: the epigraph is my own invention, and it has connections to a short story I’ve written that’s yet to be published and a new novel I’ve started. You can hear me read the poem in part two of the podcast.
The issue also contains a review of Mythic Delirium 30, the final bow of my zine in its old school print format. (The new school electronic version has been up and running for almost a year now.) It’s not a flattering review, though a few of the poems, especially those by Sonya Taaffe, Amal El-Mohtar and Jennifer Crow, receive high praise.
Obviously, I’m disappointed to see our joyful retrospective met with a sour note. (Anita’s response: “Phhtthb! We rock!” And we do.) However, there’s a really important, perhaps too-easily-missed silver lining to this that I want to shine a little light on (paraphrasing my own Facebook comment):

One of the biggest problems the speculative poetry field has is a dearth of real feedback. Either reviewers just ignore poems, or the reviews that appear, usually written by poets, are soft underhand pitches, because everybody knows everyone else. I’ve said more than once that sf poetry needs a Lois Tilton; someone willing to open fire with a critic’s full force. Well, here’s an example of what that would look like — and Strange Horizons thought Mythic Delirium‘s final bow worthy of that level of scrutiny. So if a step in the right direction means taking one for the team, then I can live with it.


Our MystiCon schedules

/ February 12th, 2014 / No Comments »

Anita and I will be on all kinds of panels and workshops at the upcoming MystiCon convention right here in Roanoke. I’ll be reading from my novel The Black Fire Concerto and Anita and I together will be talking about Clockwork Phoenix and anthologies in general, and Anita, it seems, will be sharing her costuming know-how just about everywhere. Here’s what our schedules look like:
Friday, Feb. 21

4 p.m. Anita. Two hour costume workshop.

7 p.m. Anita. Panel: You Wear It Well: Owning the Costume.

9 p.m. Mike. Kaffeeklatch/reading from novel The Black Fire Concerto.

Saturday, Feb. 22

10 a.m. Mike. Writer’s workshop.

10 a.m. Anita. Panel: Costume fusion.

11 a.m. Anita. Editor’s panel: “If you spell ‘cheif’ like that one more time…”

1 p.m. Anita. Panel: Beyond The Paintbrush: Non Traditional Mediums of Artistic Expression

2 p.m. Mike (moderator.) Panel: Kickstarting your project.

3 p.m. Anita. Panel: Costuming: Form, Function, and Fantasy

3 p.m. Mike. Autograph signing.

Sunday, Feb. 23

10 a.m. Mike. Writer’s workshop.

10 a.m. Anita. Panel: Steampunk Costuming.

1 p.m. Anita. Panel: The Real Dr. Venkman

2 p.m. Anita & Mike (moderator.) Panel: The Role of Anthologies


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