Last year it was one slot, this year it’s two. I’m really really happy to have made the cut twice over in Locus magazine’s Recommended Reading List for 2015.

LocusMag265Under the Short Stories category, there’s “This Stagnant Breath of Change,” from Shadows Over Main Street. And under Novelettes, landed “One Possible Shape of Things to Come,” from Eulogies III.

Credit where credit is due, though: the editors who put me up to them. That would be Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward; and Christopher Jones, Nanci Kalanta, and Tony Tremblay. Whatever creative lightning may have struck, these are the people who first set up the rods to draw it down.

Sometimes things fall through the cracks of time and take waaaay longer than they should to get where they’re going.

Lies&Ugliness(265)And so it was with Lies & Ugliness, my third collection, which has at last been released in e-book formats by Crossroad Press. It’s available there and the other usual outlets: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and eventually Apple’s iBooks. So have at it, you.

Lies & Ugliness was originally published by Night Shade Books, with gorgeous dust jacket art by John Picacio. This new edition features a gorgeous, if very different, cover by James Powell, who also did the e-book covers for Oasis, Nightlife, The Darker Saints, The Convulsion Factory, and Falling Idols.

He was one of those people I met on Facebook, instantly clicked with, and hoped very much to meet someday. Until, in one of those senseless tragedies that makes you question everything, he and his girlfriend and mom were killed early one afternoon last May by a drunk driver.

I lost track of how many times I saw James update his Facebook status with some version of this: “Tonight I’m going to put on some coffee and make some art.”

I still miss seeing that. Because it always meant something good was on its way into the world.

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Happiest of new years to you, and as we play catch-up on recent business, this has been out for a bit — Ellen Datlow’s latest lovely excursion into all things monstrous. My corner of it is “Our Turn Too Will One Day Come,” another float in my endless parade of really messed up families, originally published in John Pelan’s Darkside 5: Alone on the Darkside.

Monstrous(265)Had to bite my tongue at a recent review, though, in which the reviewer liked my beasties, but just couldn’t buy the connection I was trying to draw between Estes Park, CO, and the Scottish Highlands. Ummm, I don’t have to draw anything. The connection is there already, whether the reviewer is buying it or not. Every September there’s even a big Scottish festival up there, complete with Highland games.

More direct to the inspiration for the story itself, my favorite trailhead from which to hike lies at the end of a road called MacGregor Drive, which leads through the one-time ranch land of some prominent homesteaders from the 1870s.

MacGregor … you know, as in Clan MacGregor … Rob Roy MacGregor…

The lesson: If you’re going to spout off against something, make sure your argument is a little more substantial than a huffy, “Well, that can’t be!”

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August saw the release of Writers On Writing, Volume 1, the first in Crystal Lake Publishing’s new series of punchy little collections of essays from those of us in the trenches. Volume 1 implies a Volume 2, does it not? And lo, it has arrived.

WOWv2_265My share of it is Part 2 of “The Infrastructure of the Gods: 11 Signposts for Going All the Way.” The first half, in Volume 1, addressed the writer’s mental game of work habits and mindsets. This second half looks at the writer as a social creature with a life and career beyond the page. I wrote it as a single essay, but it ran long. Fortunately, it had a natural break-point in the middle.

A few choice nuggets of something or other:

“If you come off like you need electroshock therapy and Thorazine more than you need a publisher … do I even need to finish this sentence?

“When in doubt, ask yourself this: If I behaved this way with a savage, would I risk getting my skull split?”

“The greatest sales job you ever undertake could be to convince [your family and friends] how important this is to you.”

“Many great works of art and literature have come from a place of mental illness, suicidal depression, and physical decrepitude. But let’s not consider these virtues to be cultivated.”

“Be the kind of professional that other pros prefer to deal with.”

I read Volume 1 last month, and found it brimming with helpful tips and food for thought, and this looks like a worthy followup.

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So you haven’t yet nabbed your very own copy of Dark City, the novella collection that Gerard Houarner and I pitched in on? Then aren’t you the lucky one. Potentially.

DARK-CITY-Cover265

Over at Goodreads, the book’s publisher, Necro Publications, has just launched one of those ever popular Goodreads giveaways, putting 15 copies up for grabs.

It opened at midnight, and ends on November 26, meaning you have a scant 36 days to mobilize on this. So enter now, then kick back, think good thoughts, and wait for that Thanksgiving present to materialize.

 

This Sunday, August 30th, I’ll be making my second appearance as the sacrificial guest on the Lovecraft eZine’s weekly talk show.

HPLeZineBecause punctuality matters, that’s at 6:00pm Eastern / 3:00pm Pacific, and if you don’t know how the time zones break down from there, you probably shouldn’t be near a computer anyway.

Place? Show up here, and click the Play button in the YouTube live feed. Elsewhere on the page, you’ll find links if you’re of a mind to get a bit more interactive and fire off a communique either through the message board or Twitter.

Topics of discussion? I’ll find out when you do…

It’s two-for-one day here in the update mines.

First up: I’ve somehow landed in the Author Spotlight at the Examiner.com.

WOWv1_265Secondly: If you have any of the sort of writerly inclinations that keep a butt welded to a chair for long periods of time, Crystal Lake Publishing’s new Writers On Writing series should be of definite interest. Volume 1 features nine authors giving nine perspectives on what’s important.

My essay, “The Infrastructure of the Gods: 11 Signposts for Going All the Way,” is a roundup of good habits, mindsets, work ethics, and codes of conduct that keep you going for the long haul and avoid self-sabotage. Learn from what I did right! Learn from what I did wrong! Learn from the inspiring and hideously nightmarish examples of others!

And be forewarned that it’s just Part 1. I ended up writing a double-length essay that had a natural break point in the middle, so publisher Joe Mynhardt opted to save the back half for Volume 2, which should be out in early autumn.

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Dark City and “In the Negative Spaces”

August 7, 2015

Released into the wild today: the result of what happens when you give a couple of writers half a book each to do with as they please. Nobody planned it, but a sort of urban theme developed. Gerard Houarner split his half between a couple of longish tales: “Burning Bright in the Invisible Night” and […]

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Eulogies III: “One Possible Shape of Things to Come”

July 30, 2015

Back in the late spring/early summer zone, I had what appeared to be a story-of-the-week club going, as pieces written at different times came out all at once. Between the rest of them, and other things coming up and going on, this one got lost in the shuffle, announcement-wise. These things happen. For me, one […]

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Dark Advent: The Missing Afterword

July 24, 2015

About that newly released edition of Dark Advent: It was supposed to have an Afterword. I wrote it. The publisher typeset it. When I proofread the book in galley form, it was there. But when I received a finished copy in the mail the other day, guess what was nowhere to be found… One of […]

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Dark Advent Has Arrived! However…

July 15, 2015

The good news: Cemetery Dance Publications’ big fat hardcover edition of Dark Advent, my early post-apocalyptic novel, was officially published the other day, and started shipping. The bad news: Virtually the entire print run was sold out prior to publication. Which was why, on the publisher’s site page for it, the book’s status jumped straight […]

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Tales of the Lost Citadel: The Final 5 Days to Make This Happen

July 7, 2015

I’ve never signed on for a Kickstarter project. Until this one. Should Tales of the Lost Citadel make its funding, it’s going to be a very cool to get your paws on. Call it high fantasy suffering from terrible nightmares. Mastermind C.A. Suleiman has put in a ton of behind-the-scenes work already. In his day gig […]

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Dark City: Let the Pre-Orders Begin

June 23, 2015

Awhile back, David Barnett of Necro Publications gave fellow scribe Gerard Houarner and me each half a book to play with, and a kind of weird urban theme gelled naturally. Gerard split his share between two stories with the evocative titles “Burning Bright in the Invisible Night” and “The Fear Puppet.” My chunk is an […]

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Behind the Scenes: “Eternal, Ever Since Wednesday”

June 12, 2015

New feature alert. For that subset of readers with an itch to peek inside the factory to see how the sausage gets made, this is for you. I choose to think it could be more than self-indulgent wankery … that along the way, you might get steered toward a secret ingredient or two that went […]

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Better Weird: “Eternal, Ever Since Wednesday”

June 1, 2015

It always makes my tail quiver to be involved with new projects and see them born. The thrill never gets old. But there’s an extra layer of bittersweet significance to this one. Better Weird is a tribute anthology to writer / editor / publisher David B. Silva. When in the 1980s he launched a quarterly magazine […]

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