A new poem in NOT ONE OF US, written with S. Brackett Robertson

/ September 24th, 2019 / No Comments »

I spent the last few months so busy that, though lots of things have happened, I’ve had almost no time and brainspace to post about them here and thus create a more permanent record than what appears on my Twitter and Facebook pages. (A well-meaning friend recently tried to persuade me to add Instagram to my repertoire of more immediate communications, but I have neither the energy for a third social network or an Instagrammable life, heh.)

One of those happening things just yielded an extremely tangible result — that is, a magazine issue that I can hold in my two hands. So I though I would use that a springboard to posting here. More to come, very very soon, I swear.

Last year I co-wrote three poems with S. Brackett Robertson. The first one to reach print, “Supernumerary,” appeared in February in Spectral Realms #10, edited by S.T. Joshi.

That poem’s older sibling (as in, we wrote it first), called “shore skin,” has just arrived in Not One of Us #62. Click here to see the issue’s full table of contents, which includes Jennifer Crow, Sandi Leibowitz, Sonya Taaffe, Neal Wilgus and more.

The concept involved imagining bodies of water disguised as humans and, you know, letting it run its course. (Hee hee.) This was the poem that brought me out of poetry retirement, and I have Sally Brackett to thank for that.

John Benson has been publishing Not One of Us continuously since 1986 (whoa!). I first got to be part of his zine in 2008, when he published my novelette Follow the Wounded One as a standalone chapbook. It’s wonderful to be back in these pages, and if you’d like a copy of this new issue for yourself, John and his zine absolutely deserve your support. Click here to subscribe.


My 2019 Readercon schedule

/ July 1st, 2019 / No Comments »

Anita and I plan to be at ReaderCon 30 in Boston in July. Our primary purpose for turning up will be to hawk the 2019 releases from Mythic Delirium Books, Snow White Learns Witchcraft by Theodora Goss and The History of Soul 2065 by Barbara Krasnoff, but of course we’ll have the full range of Mythic Delirium Books with us.

We also plan to host a launch party Saturday night for both books, details to come once we know which room we’re in, watch for those at @mythicdelirium.

For anyone who wants to find us and catch up, just look for the Mythic Delirium banner in the bookshop. Or the purple hat covered with buttons and stranger objects. Here’s the scheduled hours:

  • Friday, July 12: 3–7 PM
  • Saturday, July 13: 10 AM–6 PM
  • Sunday, July 4: 10 AM–2 PM
  • There will be a couple times when I won’t be on the table because I’ll be on panels — even moderating a couple of them. That schedule, which is pretty exciting, looks like this:

    Thursday, July 11, 9:00 PM, Salon A

    Killing Characters 101
    Mike Allen (mod), Charles Allison, Karen Heuler, Miriam Newman, Robert V. S. Redick
    The decision to kill a character is fraught (as it should be) and often tied to thematic elements, audience expectations of genre, and concerns around representation. Panelists will deconstruct stories that handle these issues well or poorly, and discuss their own challenges in making characters’ deaths as meaningful as their lives.

    Friday, July 12, 4:00 PM, Salon 4

    The Spectrum of Short Fiction SF/F Editing
    Mike Allen, Scott H. Andrews, Neil Clarke, Ellen Datlow, Mary Anne Mohanraj (mod), Sheila Williams
    This panel of SF/F magazine and anthology editors will discuss different approaches to their work, from very hands-on to very hands-off. What are currently accepted best practices for editing—if consensus even exists on that—and how have they changed over time? Do editors still commission stories and collaborate almost to the point of coauthoring, or is that era over? And how can a writer submitting a story know what kind of editing they’re likely to get?

    Sunday, July 14, 12:00 PM, Salon 4

    Journalism at the End of the World
    Mike Allen (mod), Jeff Hecht, Betsy Mitchell, Cadwell Turnbull, T.X. Watson
    Journalism has always faced economic, political, infrastructural, and technological threats, and the current era is no exception. How are today’s journalists dealing with these challenges, and how can both problems and solutions be extrapolated into near-future or far-future science fiction? How would journalists cover apocalypses, alien invasions, or the singularity? What if those journalists were robots or AIs? What does journalism’s history hint at for its future?

    Sunday, July 14, 1:30 PM, Sylvanus Thayer.

    Reading: Mike Allen
    I’ve got no idea what I’m going to read. Open to suggestions…

    When we went to Readercon last year, Anita and I were sick and didn’t know it, though it became apparent after we arrived. To my knowledge we didn’t spread the norovirus, thank goodness. We hope not to arrive already ill this time, and thus hope we’ll be able to be more social overall, not just at our own table and party. Do say hello, even if (especially if) we’ve only met online.

    Patreon launch, new stories and poems, upcoming appearances

    / May 2nd, 2019 / No Comments »

    This week I launched a Patreon to support my writing. For now, I’m starting small. I actually have a grandiose plan for how I could use this page but I’m nowhere near ready to set that in motion — the announcement that Patreon intends to raise the percentage it takes from pledges in the very near future motivated me to get off the fence.

    I’ve made the first chapter of a new novel and an unpublished story that’s destined to appear in summer 2020 available exclusively to backers. More content is coming. Click here to check it over:

    Though I’ve let a lot of time pass between this blog entry and the last one, it’s not because there’s been nothing happening. The opposite, really: so much going on that I’ve had no brainspace for blogging.

    ONE: I can at last share the news that my truly nasty horror story “Nolens Volens” will be appearing in the upcoming Broken Eye Books anthology Nowhereville: Weird Is Other People (pre-orderable here) edited by Scott Gable and C. Dombrowski. You don’t actually have to wait until the book comes out to read the story, though; it’s accessible at the Broken Eye Books Patreon, called Eyedolon, if you pledge a dollar. Plenty of other good reading to be had there too. (And for what it’s worth, “Nolens Volens” ties together my story “Gutter,” which appeared in Unseaming, with “The Sun Saw,” forthcoming in The Leaves of a Necronomicon.)

    TWO: I’m pleased to share that I’ve sold a brand new short story, “The Butcher, the Baker,” to Scott H. Andrews for Beneath Ceaseless Skies. The story is set in the same fantastical city (Calcharra) as my previous stories published at BCS, “The Ivy-Smothered Palisade” and “Longsleeves.” The new story in the series is essentially my version of the famed folk tale “The Gingerbread Boy,” but with way more murder. I’m super-proud to be back at BCS!

    THREE: My first new poem in two years, “Supernumerary,” co-written with S. Brackett Robertson, appeared in February in Spectral Realms #10, edited by S.T. Joshi. Sally and I have two more poems scheduled to come out this year, in print in John Benson’s Not One of Us and online in Sandi Leibowitz’s new poetry zine, Sycorax Journal.

    FOUR: Speaking of Sycorax Journal, my second and third published poems of 2019 appeared there in February and are free to read online: “The Sacrifices” and “Vacant.”

    FIVE: At the end of March, Anita and I went to the 2019 Outer Dark Symposium in Atlanta, where we got to hang out with a number of fellow travelers in the realms of disturbing, adventurous fiction. I love the Outer Dark Symposium for its erudition and its diversity. The folks behind the Outer Dark podcast have released the audio from Friday night’s program, in which I participated in a panel moderated by Gwendolyn Kiste, titled “Flora and Fauna: The Pervasive Presence of Nature in Weird Fiction”; several authors read terrific stories; and Chris Gavaler educated us all in the philosophy behind Swamp Thing. You can listen to the podcast here, and also peruse the reading list of flora and fauna-oriented Weird my fellow panelists and I put together.

    Photo courtesy Anya Martin. During the “Flora and Fauna” panel, Chris Gavaler and Eric Schaller enjoyed my karaoke rendition of Lionel Richie’s “Say You, Say Me.”

    SIX: Speaking of the Weird, Anita and I will head to Washington, D.C. in the first week of June, to speak at the Library of Congress about Weird fiction. (My talk is imaginatively titled “Horror and the Weird.”) I’m thrilled to be headed back; I did a talk there in December 2008, during a very different epoch in my career, called “The Poetry of Science Fiction.” I’m very curious whether I’ll see any of the same faces all these years later . . .

    There’s plenty more, but isn’t “Six things make a blog post” the old saying? So I’ll save the more for later, and close out with a happy picture.

    Anita and I on the first night of Outer Dark.


    / January 7th, 2019 / No Comments »

    Released just before Christmas, this book with a new story from yours truly is not at all a holiday-themed book: rather the opposite!

    Transmissions from Punktown from Dark Regions Press is a shared-world anthology, and the world shared is Jeffrey Thomas’s Punktown, set in a far future city on a distant planet inhabited by humans and a multitude of extraterrestrial (and extra-dimensional) beings, with a gritty, grimy noir feel — an elevator pitch description might be The Fifth Element meets Chinatown, or Touch of Evil set in the Star Trek universe.

    It’s an enormous book, which I attempted to convey with this iPhone photo.


    Jeff kindly asked me to write a story from this book after writing a blurb for my collection The Spider Tapestries. And as luck would had it, I had read his first Punktown collection, an excellent slice of dark worldbuilding, not long before the invitation came. (Extra thanks here to Scott Nicolay for putting me in touch with Jeff.)

    My story, “Aftermath of an Industrial Accident,” started with one of my few remaining spectacularly memorable childhood nightmares that I had not already worked into a piece of fiction, and from there evolved into a blacker-than-the-abyss workplace comedy. Here’s the opening, to hopefully lure you in:

    Shadeishi and I pushed the storage room door shut, not knowing whether anyone else had already dashed in to hide, or whether any of the creatures were waiting inside. The screams coming from the students down the hall deafened us to any telltale noise. My own panting breath whooshed in and out—I had a key and had spent precious seconds locking the door, as it couldn’t be locked from inside. Shadeishi’s face hovered an inch from mine the whole time, her wide, toothy, toothsome mouth silently shaping Hurry hurry.

    Neither of us were thinking past surviving the next few seconds. Our frantically chosen hiding place offered no other exit, unless we decided to break out a window and drop twelve stories. But that really didn’t matter. There was nowhere to escape to. Where the hall outside turned a corner, there were more windows, and as we ran past them I had snatched a glimpse of the company’s front lawn, its level green stippled with torn bodies. Outside and inside, we were all prey.

    I really need to mention that I am in intimidatingly impressive company in this book. Here’s the complete table of contents.

    Table of Contents

    • “Dreaming the City” – Jeffrey Thomas
    • “The Cyclops: Part One” – Jeffrey Thomas
    • “The Dilky Never Landed” – Paul Tremblay
    • “Bedbug Radio” – Ian Rogers
    • “Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring” – Nick Mamatas
    • “Growth Spurt” – Richard Lee Byers
    • “Novah On The Run (Her Blue Monday)” – Glynn Owen Barrass
    • “Ritual of Adoration” – W.H. Pugmire
    • “The Over and Under” – D.A. Madigan
    • “Lacunae and Nocturnes” – William Meikle
    • “Riding the Rainbow” – Don Webb
    • “Not For Human Consumption” – Peter Rawlik
    • “Sunup Over Misery Street” – Konstantine Paradias
    • “Blueshift Drive” – Edward M. Erdelac
    • “Aftermath of an Industrial Accident” – Mike Allen
    • “Less, Then Zero” – Jeff C. Carter
    • “Baphomet Descendent” – Scott R. Jones
    • “Crow-picked” – Christine Morgan
    • “The Monochromatic Betrayal of Frank Xerox” – Neil Baker
    • “Ksenija’s Pirate Prince” – Lee Clark Zumpe
    • “The Cherry” – Tom Lynch
    • “Payment for a Scar” – Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.
    • “The Extremities of Godfrey Aquinas” – Michael Griffin
    • “The Cyclops: Part Two” – Jeffrey Thomas

    Paperback and e-book editions are available now. Dark Regions will also publish a limited edition signed and lettered hardcover later this year — if you’re a big spender on dark fiction (bless you if you are!), it goes for $250 and there are 11 still unclaimed as of this posting.

    I’ll finish with the softest of all official book announcements. I have a new collection of horror fiction planned for 2020, and Aftermath of an Industrial Accident will be the title story. More details to come when plans for the book are a bit less protean.


    UPDATERY: upcoming short stories and poems

    / November 25th, 2018 / No Comments »

    I’ve been saving up for this updatery for several months, while the main action in my creative life happened over on the publication stage, the biggest news there being the publication of Nicole Kornher-Stace’s new novel Latchkey. (You really ought to check it out if you haven’t, it’s excellent.)

    A good deal of my own writerly activities in 2018 have essentially turned out to be jockeying for position with projects that will all (hopefully!!) come to fruition in 2019.

    So here’s what’s in queue.

    First up, one that might still appear in 2018. My science fiction/horror hybrid “Aftermath of an Industrial Accident” is part of the Dark Regions Press anthology Transmissions from Punktown, edited by Brian Sammons, based on the intergalactic noir “Punktown” stories of Jeffrey Thomas. Dark Regions just completed a massively successful Kickstarter campaign that included funding to add a signed, lettered hardcover edition of this book to the already-planned paperbacks and e-books.

    Transmissions from Punktown was included in all the Kickstarter reward levels and Dark Regions has posted pre-order links here. The delicious cover art comes from horror maestro Aeron Alfrey. Behold!

    The table of contents is pretty impressive too. Linky here.

    Second, my horror tale “The Sun Saw” is part of the Chaosium anthology The Leaves of a Necronomicon, edited by dark master Joseph Pulver and one of the cornerstones of Chaosium’s planned reboot of its fiction line. “The Sun Saw” recounts unfortunate events that befall a Korean War veteran named John Hairston, a character who has stuck with me, as he’s turned up in stories I’ve written since.

    Originally this book was going to be released this month, but publishing can be like the movies, and some production snags have caused delays. And, you know, distributing leaves from a Necronomicon must be done with caution.

    Courtesy of Chaosium, here is more terrific cover art to share:

    And another truly impressive table of contents, linky here.

    Third, my goodness, I have a new short story sale to announce! My brand spanking new horror tale “With Shining Gifts That Took All Eyes” has sold to editor-publisher Scott Dwyer of Plutonian Press for his new anthology Pluto in Furs, scheduled for release in 2019. In case you’re wondering, yes, the title plays on Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s novella Venus in Furs.

    I’m pleased to be working with Scott again. My horror story “Binding” was included in Plutonian’s first anthology, Phantasm/Chimera.

    Fourth, another story, titled “nolens volens,” featuring my recurring protagonist John Hairston, has sold to a project scheduled for release in 2019. At the moment, that’s all I’m allowed to disclose. More to share when I can.

    Poetry-wise, the situation is similar. I finished three new poems in 2018, all in collaboration with S. Brackett Roberston. Two of those poems have sold and are booked for 2019 debuts. They are:

  • “shore skin,” sold to Not One of Us, due out in early 2019, and
  • “Supernumerary,” sold to Spectral Realms, also due out in early 2019!
  • So, here’s to next year!

    P.S.: To my knowledge, no one has successfully guessed the proper order of authors for “A Game of Lost and Found,” an exquisite corpse story that I participated in for Lackington’s magazine along with Vajra Chandrasekera, Amal El-Mohtar, Natalia Theodoridou, and JY Yang. I am certain this is because Amal and I have indistinguishable writing styles. Do consider purchasing the issue and trying your hand at the game.


    “The Blessed Days” return via KALEIDOCAST + a #ShareYourRejections tale

    / August 21st, 2018 / No Comments »

    The Blessed Days” are here again. And if you’re familiar with this story of mine, you know that doesn’t herald joyous times to come, unless you’ve got a hankering for the end of all humanity. [Insert evil cackle here.]

    I’m absolutely overjoyed, on the other hand, to have a new adaptation of this blood-soaked horror tale available to share with the world. This new manifestation comes courtesy of the folks at Kaleidocast — today they’re re-released “The Blessed Days” as part of episode four of their second season of podcasts, paired with “Unleashed Beauty” by Nancy Hightower.

    Click here to listen to the episode.

    I also love this gif that Jo Ladzinski created to promote the story.

    I’m grateful to be part of this project, and I want to note there’s plenty more where this came from. Kaleidocast Season 2 launched with a story by three-time Hugo Award winner N.K. Jemisin, and also showcases stories from Carlos Hernandez, Marcy Arlin and ZigZag Claybourne; Season 1, released in 2016, has work by Jonathan Lethem, Richard Bowes, Tim Pratt, Amal El-Mohtar and more (not to mention an adaptation of “Squeeze” by Rob Cameron from Clockwork Phoenix 5.)

    Last month, I spent most of Readercon behind the first ever Mythic Delirium Books dealer’s table, which we set up for the launch of Nicole Kornher-Stace’s Latchkey. But one of the things I got to do beyond that was take part in a reading held by the Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers group — i.e. the people behind Kaleidocast. They offered a hilarious sample of the kind of skit they open each podcast with. I will forever treasure the term “brosquitoes”!

    I got a chance to share the opening of “The Blessed Days,” and other Season 2 writers shared snippets from their work. (Then we went to Mimi Mondal’s birthday party on the hotel patio and had cake!)

    “The Blessed Days” had a long road to publication. In a way the story is my attempt to channel the queasy emotions I’ve dealt with as a journalist when covering horrific large-scale tragedies. When I first attempted the story, I didn’t quite have the skill to pull it off. (In the spirit of #ShareYourRejections, one publisher I sent it to told me they that they found nothing whatsoever in the story related to my stated aim, though not put quite as politely as that.)

    I kept revising it, until I got an acceptance (from David Lee Summers of the late lamented Tales of the Talisman) — and did even more rewrites before David went to press in 2009. I continued to tinker with “The Blessed Days” as it was reprinted a couple more times, and rewrote it again before it appeared in my collection Unseaming, incorporating suggestions volunteered by none other than Thomas Ligotti.

    Worth noting, perhaps: I didn’t rewrite this story again for Kaleidocast. The way this worked: they read through several of my stories and chose that one to adapt. I’m honored they found it worthy. (And honored they went through all that effort in the first place!)


    My Readercon schedule & a new edition of STRANGE WISDOMS OF THE DEAD

    / July 9th, 2018 / No Comments »

    There’s two big events on my horizon this week. The first is the online release of Nicole Kornher-Stace’s novel Latchkey, which happens Tuesday. The second thing is: Readercon!

    As I noted over at the Mythic Delirium blog, Anita and I will be running a Mythic Delirium Books table in the Readercon bookshop this coming weekend. It’s the first time we’ve ever done this.

    Books for the Readercon bookshop table

    The primary reason we’re doing this is so we can physically premiere Latchkey, the first book we’ve taken on since releasing Clockwork Phoenix 5 in 2016. (A couple more are in the works!)

    But we’ll also be selling all the other titles in our current inventory, including the Clockwork Phoenix and Mythic Delirium anthologies, C. S. E. Cooney’s World Fantasy Award-winning collection Bone Swans, and just about the full range of my own tomes: my collections Unseaming and The Spider Tapestries; my novel The Black Fire Concerto; the handbound edition of my novella The Quiltmaker; the humorous novelette I co-wrote with Paul Dellinger, The Sky-Riders; and all three of my book-length poetry collections: Strange Wisdoms of the Dead (in a new edition), The Journey to Kailash and Hungry Constellations.

    Most of the time, Anita and I will be sitting behind our table, but I do have some programming events: a panel Thursday evening, and two group readings on Saturday. Here’s how that breaks down:

    Thursday, 8:00 PM
    Writers Who Edit, Editors Who WriteMike Allen, Scott Edelman, John Edward Lawson, Mimi Mondal, Julia Rios, Sabrina VourvouliasSalon 5
    Those who edit as a full-time job rarely do much writing on the side, but many full-time writers bolster their incomes through editing. Why does this equation seem to function better in one direction than the other? How do writers who edit avoid the pitfalls experienced by editors who write? What can be done to address an ever-widening taste gap, and the tendency to self-edit into the ground?
    Saturday, 10:00 AM
    Imagination All CompactMike Allen, Sara Cleto, C.S.E. Cooney, Carlos Hernandez, Sandi Leibowitz, Brittany WarmanBlue Hills
    Speculative poets perform their work.
    Saturday, 2:00 PM
    Group Reading: KaleidocastMike Allen, Marcy Arlin, Rob Cameron, S.A. Chakraborty, Phenderson Djèlí Clark, Danielle Friedman, Carlos Hernandez, Barbara Krasnoff, Brad Parks, Jessica Plumbley, Ted Rabinowitz, David Mercurio Rivera, Eric Rosenfield, Sam Schreiber, Michael Wells, Zak Zyz Salon A
    Authors featured on season two of the Kaleidocast podcast read from their latest work.

    Generally, I’ll be easy to spot, as Anita has recreated the Purple Hat I used to wear to cons (the original mysteriously vanished years ago.) By all means, if you’re at or near Readercon this coming week, come say hello!

    And since I mentioned it above, a little more detail: there’s a new paperback edition of my first book-length poetry (and fiction!) collection, Strange Wisdoms of the Dead. The quietly eerie cover art was derived from Johan Christian Dahl’s “View from Vaekero near Christiania,” painted in 1827, and it’s intended as an illustration of the horror story I co-wrote with fellow Roanoke, Va., writer Charles M. Saplak that concludes the volume and gives the book its title. In terms of content, it is, other than some minor updates to things like bios and book lists, essentially identical to the original released by Wildside Press in 2006.

    This version, released through the Mythic Delirium Books, exists mainly so that I could start hand-selling copies of it again — it was the one remaining major collection of my writing for which I couldn’t easily print additional copies. Now that’s fixed.

    There will be no e-book version released — Hungry Constellations remains my only poetry collection available in e-book format.


    An interview at POSTSCRIPTS TO DARKNESS, a reprinted story & poem, a new poem sale

    / June 10th, 2018 / 2 Comments »

    The past few weeks I’ve been occupied with getting Latchkey by Nicole Kornher-Stace ready for the book’s premiere at Readercon in July. (I couldn’t be prouder that Nicole’s novel received a starred review for Kirkus Reviews — the first time a Mythic Delirium Book has appeared in Kirkus, too!)

    While I’ve been doing that, a few things have happened on the writing front that I wanted so share.

    Sean Moreland’s Postscripts to Darkness has reprinted a horror story of mine, “Tardigrade,” that was first published in 2014 in the limited edition hardcover anthology A Darke Phantastique, edited by Jason V. Brock. It’s one of my most gruesome and most experimental horror stories, and I’m grateful PstD chose to share it more widely.

    Here’s the opening hook:

    Gunshots in the dark. One, two, three, four, five.

    In the abyss, a flatscreen monitor lights, as if awakened by the noise.

    From the computer, loud chimes play “Turkey in the Straw” as a creature dances on the monitor, a bear-like thing with chitin for skin and a circular sucking mouth in place of a face. Needles protrude and retract from the orifice in time with the music.

    Shuffling in the dark. Bare feet descending stairs. One, two, three, four, more.

    A ghost appears, a woman in a pale night robe, trembling all over, pistol clenched in one hand, a snub-nosed, square device. Her wide eyes are moons, her breath coming in half-sobs.

    Black stains spatter the belly of her robe. She stares at the monitor. One of the stains is moving, separating from the rest, inching up a fold of cloth over her ribs. She doesn’t notice, but we do.

    Click here to read the rest! There’s a new, fun, gross illustration by Ry Graham to go with it.

    The reprint of “Tardigrade” is the first prong of a triple attack at PstD. Sean also published a new interview with me that’s even longer than the one that appeared in Locus in December. Sean asked me a number of questions that I’ve not had to field before, and I’m grateful for both his curiosity and generosity.

    The interview covers the full range of my fiction, poetry, and editing, and goes deep into where my major stylistic quirks come from. I also expound a bit more on the recent closing of Mythic Delirium magazine. Here’s part of my response to a complex, multi-paragraph question about why all my writing contains elements of body horror regardless of genre:

    My father taught biology at the University of Guam and later at Clinch Valley College in Wise, and I remember, on visiting his offices and classrooms, being fascinated by the large plastic anatomy models — you could open them and remove the internal organs, the pieces of the brain, the eyes, you could open the heart up and look inside it. Also all the strange creatures from many phyla floating in formaldehyde, and the even weirder invertebrates described in textbooks. I never did get to see the biology department’s cadaver, but I knew it was there inside its coffin-shaped tank. Somehow, though, none of these things ever scared me the way Poe or Lovecraft did.

    And yet, I would have these astonishing nightmares, incredibly vivid, where streets would be lined with veins and intestines and people would suffer gory fates worthy of the grossest splatter films — which I had never watched! As a kid, when something too scary came on the television, I’d flee the room. Those dreams, I’m certain, guide my aesthetic as an adult.

    You can read the rest of the new interview here.

    Finally, PstD reprinted my poem “Dearly Beloved,” which first appeared in print in Postscripts to Darkness 5 in 2014, acquired by poetry editor Dominik Parisien, and was later nominated for a Rhysling Award. It’s set in the same far-future sf milieu as my short stories “Twa Sisters” and “Still Life Wife Skull,” both of which are reprinted in The Spider Tapestries.

    andante maestoso
    Long before the partiers arrive, the Arborists
    form the ballroom, standing in a dolmen circle,
    stretching their many arms until vine-fingers
    meet and entwine, bloodflow causing all
    their leaves to fan out in rosy canopy,
    transparent teeth unsheathed in long smiles
    that serve for windows.

    You can read the rest of the poem here.

    Last but hardly least, a new poem I’ve written in collaboration with S. Brackett Robertson, “shore skin,” has sold to John Benson at Not One of Us. This is the first poem I’ve written in at least two years, maybe longer, so it’s thrilling to have it find a home so quickly. More are coming, all in collaboration with Sally Brackett, so far.

    That catches me up. Anita and I (obviously) are planning to be at Readercon next month, hope to see folks there!


    Second story publication of 2018

    / May 21st, 2018 / No Comments »

    My second published story in 2018, just like my first, is a form of exquisite corpse! I am nonplussed but also tickled. The joke in journalistic circles is that if something happens three times, you can call it a trend, though I’ve not been invited to participate in a third exquisite corpse, thus no trend yet, heh.

    Also, like “It Began in Red Hook,” this new story, “A Game of Lost and Found,” is only available “behind a paywall,” as the kids say these days. Though it’s an old-fashioned kind of paywall, raised in support of a very worthy cause.

    “A Game of Lost and Found” was orchestrated by Ranylt Richildis, editor of Lackington’s, as a bonus feature available only to subscribers or to readers who purchase the newest issue of her zine, the “Gothics” issue, released last week. My collaborators in Gothic mischief were Vajra Chandrasekera, Amal El-Mohtar, Natalia Theodoridou and JY Yang.

    Amal came up with the story’s title, and it’s a perfect title. It’s also startling how smoothly this Gothic AF Frankenstein’s monster of a tale fits together, which makes the following contest pretty challenging.

    Ranylt is offering a chance to win the entirety of Lackington’s back issue archive to those who can successfully guess which writer wrote which section of “A Game of Lost and Found.” To play, you have to subscribe, a mere $9.99 for four issues, or purchase the issue itself, a mere $2.99.

    To further whet your appetite, here’s the full table of contents:

    • “A Thousand Tongues of Silver” by Kate Heartfield
    • “Satia Te Sanguine” by A.J. Hammer
    • “Letters Written to the Dearest Deceased Frances Blood” by R.M. Graves
    • “Nothing Must Be Wasted” by Arkady Martine
    • “Swans and Roses and Snow” by Laura Friis
    • “At the Hand of Every Beast” by Premee Mohamed
    • “Verwelktag” by Steve Toase
    • “Cavity in a Hurt” by J.M. Guzman
    • “A Game of Lost and Found” by Mike Allen, Vajra Chandrasekera, Amal El-Mohtar, Natalia Theodoridou, and JY Yang
    • Illustrations by Carrion House, Michelle MB, Pear Nuallak, Paula Arwen Owen, Dotti Price, Gregory St. John, Kat Weaver, Carol Wellart and P. Emerson Williams. Cover art by Richard Wagner.

    I do have other stories in the pipeline that are not exquisite corpses, I swear. I’ve signed contracts for them and in some cases I’ve even been paid for them. However, the question as to whether or not any of them will appear in 2018 is going to be answered by forces completely outside my control. So if you’re tempted to hold out, by all means, just give in and buy this magazine issue instead. You won’t regret it.


    Phase Shift

    Honoring National Poetry Month the lazy way

    / April 15th, 2018 / 1 Comment »

    THE JOURNEY TO KAILASHIt’s been in the back of my mind since April Fool’s Day that it might be neat to do a National Poetry Month tribute, even though the course of my writing has veered well away from poetry in recent years. I certainly wasn’t going to create anything new for it.

    But this weekend I remembered, I actually launched this incarnation of my longtime homepage in 2011 with a really elaborate poetry month tribute. Operating under the theory that it’s become old enough to be new again, I present thirteen poems from my 2008 collection The Journey to Kailash, with illustrations, detailed explanatory notes and even audio of me reciting each poem (you’ll have to activate Flash plug-ins to listen to those). And below the links to the main show I’ve included a bonus, my concrete poem “Phase Shift” from which this blog gets its name. Originally published in Tales of the Unanticipated in 1997, “Phase Shift” appears in my collection Hungry Constellations, but this stunning visualization by artist Bob Freeman appears nowhere else but here.

    Poems from The Journey to Kailash:

    I. “Defacing the Moon” (note about)
    II. “Requited” (note about)
    III. “A Curtain of Stars” (note about)
    IV. “Bacchanal” (note about)
    V. “Midnight Rendezvous, Boston” (note about)
    VI. “Manifest Density” (note about)
    VII. “Petals” (note about)
    VIII. “Giving Back to the Muse” (note about)
    IX. “Disaster at the BrainBank™ ATM” (note about)
    X. “No One” (note about)
    XI. “Sisyphus Walks” (note about)
    XII. “The Strip Search” (note about)
    XIII. “The Thirteenth Hell” (note about)

    Phase Shift


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