Continuing my gradual catch-up between projects (more on what those projects are in future entries):
I’ve sold a new short story, a sweetly nasty tongue-in-grotesque-cheek little short called “Tick Flick.” It’s kind of horror, kind of sci-fi, kind of within the margins of “the weird,” a bit of a black comedy, but mostly it’s gross, except that it’s also sort of touching. The Drabblecast has offered to publish it in print and audio, my first sale there.
Funny story behind this: I originally completed this story (an idea that’s been with me for a couple years) for a specific market, which turned it down. Later, I composed a tweet about “pondering where to send a short, weirdly sweet yet spectacularly gross horror story” — but realized afterward that in fact that description did not match the story as written. It was only “spectacularly gross.” So I revised the tale to match the pitch. And lo! and behold, Nathaniel Lee with Drabblecast told me, “The shift into ‘Aww’ at the end saves this one for me, I think. I get enough gooey gory; it’s nice to have some good friends and empathy for a change.”
A curious habit of mine is that characters in my first drafts are often extremely unsympathetic and have to be humanized in subsequent drafts. I suppose that effect was amplified in a story where the main characters are oversized, sentient ticks.
And speaking of bizarre characters in even stranger settings, my poem “Dearly Beloved,” which appeared earlier this year in Postscripts to Darkness, got a nice writeup in a review of the issue at Just a Cup of the Good Stuff:
Inspired by Italian painter Alessandro Bavari’s series of grotesqueries, “Sodom and Gomorrah”, Allen cultivates a chilling series of images, of people willingly and happily transmogrified. In this poem, they have gathered in rapture and celebration, dancing and warping their forms even further, revealing non-static bodies, while they wait with bated breath to see what greater forms may be birthed before their very eyes. It is interesting and logical that, in describing these new forms, Allen makes generous use of gender neutral pronouns, reminding us that we can’t force our own labels on such an obscure world. It is a world that Allen has worked with before, in his “Twa Sisters” and “Still Life with Skull”, so it will be interesting to see just how these works could flesh out this surreal poem even more.
Funny side note: Postscripts to Darkness poetry editor Dominik Parisien and I both had the same reaction at the same time — “Wow! A review that mentioned the poetry!”