Publishers Weekly antics

/ November 24th, 2014 / No Comments »

My friend Michael M. Jones interviewed me for an impressive roundup article about how crowdfunding is changing the sf/f/h publishing landscape. The article, “Defying the Traditional Model: Crowdfunding in science fiction and fantasy,” appeared last week at Publishers Weekly, and contains quotes from a number of luminaries: Ellen Datlow, John Joseph Adams, Julia Rios and Alisa Krasnostein, Tim Pratt, C.E. Murphy: that’s amazing company to find myself in.
In the article I’m my usual cheerful self:

“I’ve seen a fair amount of fretting online about how supporting a publication such as a magazine via Kickstarter alone isn’t viable, because, of course, if your campaign fails to reach goal, you get no money and your magazine is dead. But I think what folks fail to realize is that these days, there is no reliable model for keeping a subscription base healthy.”

Publishers Weekly is also offering a free PDF download of a special “best of the year” issue that contains all its starred reviews published in 2014. I’m in this issue twice (!!!), for my story collection Unseaming and for the first trade paperback Mythic Delirium anthology, which I co-edited with Anita. (I note the pages those links lead to now have the correct cover images in place, woohoo!) Given all the other books highlighted, it’s an honor to be included, and more than a little humbling. This has been an amazing year.

Photo by Francesca Forrest


The origins of UNSEAMING: a guest post at The Review Review

/ November 24th, 2014 / No Comments »

RRlogioSo, the successive obligational pile-ons of preparing for the 2014 World Fantasy Convention, then attending said convention (with the whirlwind of first meetings and reunions that entailed), then catching up on unfinished tasks afterward (which, actually, I still haven’t quite managed) all mean that I’ve fallen way behind on sharing news of things. Luckily most everything is relatively evergreen.
The Review Review, a site devoted to reviews of literary journals, graciously allowed me to write a second guest post for their “Publishing Tips” column. “The Oasis and the Mirage: Adventures in Fiction Publishing” uses the Publishers Weekly starred review of Unseaming as a jumping off point for talking about how bloody hard it was to get each of the individual stories, then the book itself, into print.
My reason for doing this comes from my feeling that all the chirpy little “here’s some writing tips, and by the way, here’s how you cope with a rejection letter” articles out there don’t do much at all to prepare an aspiring writer for what’s really in store for them if they’re foolhardy enough to pursue writing as a long-term career. As I phrased it in the essay:

Reflecting on this review got me to thinking about the years-long ordeal that culminated in the making of this book: not a glamorous epic quest but a black comedy of repeated frustration and failure. Which led me to come up with this post, which isn’t so much about how the sausage gets made as it is about how the sausage gets contaminated and you still have to survive eating it. There’s another post on The Review Review about surviving rejection. Folks, rejection is just the first trap in the maze.

My thanks to Alicia Cole for lending me soapbox space once again (the first post I wrote for her, “On Crowdfunding, Paying Writers, and the Shift to Digital: An Editor Tells His Story,” is here), to Anita, Shveta Thakrar and Virginia Mohlere for helping me assemble these thoughts, and to Nick Mamatas for providing a rhetorical model I could work from, heh.

Y’all come see me now y’hear? #WFC2014

/ November 5th, 2014 / No Comments »


Halloween shenanigans: two new stories (and a sneaky reprint)

/ November 3rd, 2014 / No Comments »

Illustration for "The Vintage Dress" by Elena Hernandez

Illustration for “The Vintage Dress” by Elena Hernandez

It’s only fitting that Halloween was a busy week for me, beyond reading submissions for Mythic Delirium and all the little things I’m doing to promote Unseaming.
My editor at The Roanoke Times once again asked me to write an original ghost story for the paper, the result, based on a suggestion from Anita, appeared on Halloween proper: “The Vintage Dress.” I crafted it as a sequel of sorts to “The Helping Hand,” my first horror tale for the Times. The fact that I get to make up ghost stories for my day job is pretty damn awesome. (My boss has told me to start thinking about next year’s story, heh.)
I also wrote a Halloween-themed guest post for The Little Red Reviewer called “Building My Own Haunted House” that, naturally, delves a bit more into why I write horror. Embedded in that guest post is the complete text of my flash fiction “Six Waking Nightmares Poe Gave Me in Third Grade,” which originally appeared in the Fall 2009 issue of Weird Tales. My thanks to Andrea Johnson for lending me her soapbox.
Finally, the anthology A Darke Phantastique (containing my new story “Tardigrade”) has been spotted in the wild! Alas, I will not be anywhere near the big Nov. 6 book signing in Los Angeles where the book makes its official debut, but I’ll certainly be there in spirit … or in other words, I’ll be haunting it.

Fun with Amazon, UNSEAMING edition

/ October 30th, 2014 / No Comments »

My thanks to everyone who has bought Unseaming so far — by the standards of one of my books (admittedly not a high bar) the collection is doing quite well, especially on Amazon. Ordinarily I only get to play these sorts of games when I’m holding a Kindle giveaway:

Stephen King, Stephen King, & me

Stephen King, Stephen King, & me

Hangin' with Joe Hill

Hangin’ with Joe Hill

These Amazon “bestseller” lists don’t mean much, but they’re fun.

Oh, yes, I do.

Scenes from the first launch reading for UNSEAMING

/ October 29th, 2014 / No Comments »

So it turns out the rejuvenated Roanoke main library has a room that’s the perfect size for a reading. The first official launch reading for Unseaming turned out to be quite cozy. My thanks to Roanoke librarian Shalon Hurlbert (my good friend, whom the book is dedicated to) for setting this up!

Photo by Dwayne Yancey

Photo by Dwayne Yancey. I believe at this point I’m taking a question from one of the gentlemen in the front row.


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UNSEAMING at Weird Fiction Review

/ October 27th, 2014 / No Comments »

Jeff VanderMeer’s interview with me about my new collection Unseaming was republished last week at Weird Fiction Review. My thanks to Jeff (again!) and to David Davis, the new managing editor at WFR.

Our World Fantasy Convention schedule

/ October 23rd, 2014 / No Comments »

Anita and I are gonna be at the World Fantasy Convention in D.C. in two weeks, and I have my schedule in hand. Both of my scheduled events are Friday, Nov. 7:

Poetry in Fantasy: Yesterday and Today
11am-12pm, Nov. 7, Regency F
Panelists:Mike Allen (M), Maria Alexander, Rain Graves, David Lunde, Laurel Winter

Description: Including poetry in fantasy, both by the author and quoted from other sources, used to be more common, such as Alice in Wonderland, The Lord of the Rings, and The Worm Ouroboros. Why is poetry not as prevalent now as in the past? Are certain types of poetry, such as non-formal or non-rhyming verse, under-used in fantasy?

I have some bones to pick with the assertion made in this panel description, but don’t worry: the other panelists and I are already talking about how we’ll subvert it.

Reading: Mike Allen

Time: 5:30pm-6pm, Nov. 7, Arlington

I’ll be reading selections from Unseaming, of course, just before dinner. Folks interested in an appetite suppressant might consider attending, heh.

Some of the goodies Anita and I will have with us at the World Fantasy Convention. Small Beer Press has graciously agreed to sell our books in the dealer's room.

Some of the goodies Anita and I will have with us at the World Fantasy Convention. Small Beer Press has graciously agreed to sell our books in the dealer’s room.

Fellow Antimatter Press author James Maxey (whose Bad Wizard came out the same day as Unseaming) will likely be joining Anita and me later that evening Saturday evening for a little meet and greet social kinda thing in our hotel room. Friday evening, he and I will take part in the mass autograph signing.
Other than that, we’re wide open. We look forward to seeing all of you there!

UNSEAMING Halloween: Oct. 28 reading at Roanoke Main Library

/ October 22nd, 2014 / No Comments »

My first official post-book-launch reading of Unseaming happens Tuesday, Oct. 28, 6 p.m. in the Parrot Room (heh) of the newly-renovated and reopened Roanoke Main Library. Naturally I’ll have copies for signing and selling. There will be light refreshments, though what I’m going to read may not be appetite-whetting (heh, heh.)
Here’s the Facebook event page, the newspaper listing and the Roanoke city website listing. My thanks to Shalon Hurlbert for pulling this one together.

Southern Reach debriefing: Jeff VanderMeer interviews me about UNSEAMING

/ October 20th, 2014 / No Comments »

Jeff VanderMeer took time out from his explorations of Area X to interview me about my story collection Unseaming, and graciously posted the results on his blog.
By the way, I’m hugely impressed with his Southern Reach Trilogy and recommend it without reservation. And I wasn’t induced to say that by hypnotic suggestion. So far as I know.

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