‘Writers on Writing’ out from Crystal Lake Publishing.

I have an essay on writing place, in this craft omnibus, Writers on Writing, titled “I Am Setting.”

In great company, with contributors such as Kevin Lucia, Tim Waggoner, Lucy A. Snyder, Jasper Bark, Mercedes Murdock Yardley and many more. Available in the usual formats. Always appreciate any reviews or comments on Goodreads/Amazon.

Thanks to the good people at Crystal Lake Publishing.

Five things to do/not to do at your first World Fantasy Con

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Thursday October 27

4:30 AM. My cousin drives me to San Jose airport from Gilroy, CA, to make my 6:20 flight to Columbus, OH. Howard Stern is on the radio and Lady Gaga plays “A Million Reasons” live in the studio. I start to cry in the dark truck, and I cling to my cousin on the curb, gripped by separation anxiety. Seriously. WFC? What was I thinking?

Inside at the check-in desk, I apologize to the check-in attendant. ‘It’s all right, no problem,” she coos like a dove. She takes my phone and gets my luggage tagged. I tell her I suck at good byes.

‘Good byes?’ she says. ‘So you’re going home?’

I shake my head. I have no idea where I’m going….

Where I went was World Fantasy Con in Columbus, Ohio. You can read all about it, in my latest LitReactor column, here.

Cover Art for Aletheia

Revealing Ben Baldwin’s final cover art for Aletheia, out soon from Crystal Lake Publishing.

Pretty much one of the most gorgeous covers I’ve seen, still can’t believe it’s mine. Thanks to Joe Mynhardt from Crystal lake for setting this up.
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In other news, just found out I’m on the Weird Fiction panel at World Fantasy Con in Columbus, Ohio with two of my heroes – Ellen Datlow and Michael Kelly. Unfortunately won’t have the actual book to flaunt—copies won’t quite be ready yet—but I’ll be reading from it anyway.

Writing the Weird resumes August 30

I’ll be teaching weirdness over at LitReactor again soon. August 30. Spaces left—hope to see you there.

Three of my students that I know of have sold their stories from the class. Here’s some hype:

[This] LitReactor class was unforeseeably phenomenal… It’s the most I’ve ever learnt in a writing class, and if all LitReactor classes are as genuinely relevant and engaging as that, then they might be on to some kind of creative revolution.” —Emila B.

Review of “Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories,” and Gamut sale

My review of Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories is over at LitReactor. Neat collection, lots of stories and images that linger. Couldn’t really name a favorite, because of the breadth of styles and subject matter, loosely connected around the idea of naked souls bared to elements not always of this world, but I have to say that Josh Malerman’s story, “The One You Live With”‘d have to be one of the ones I read twice.

Also, Gamut Magazine picked up Rogues Bay 3013, my AI story with, I guess, Frankenstinian undertones. Or maybe they’re undertones. This Gamut, by the way, is the one to watch. Get your subscriptions in, is my thinking. And submit if you have anything. They tend to reach their 300 sub limit 24 hours after opening, so it might take some planning, but worth it. The main thing is to subscribe. That’s their model, and I think the ave subscription is $60/year, which is just a few bucks a month, well worth the incredible material they’re packing into every issue, from what I can see. And they’re using the money to pay writers pro rates, so you get pro fiction. All the way.

Aletheia edit done and gone!

I write this in bed. I am reviewing books, having a look at courses I’ve been invited to teach, waiting on a call-back, and on a submitted story. And did I mention that I’m in bed?

I mean, specifically, bed at 1 pm, surrounded by cords and open laptops and phones and legal pads and my kindle and a stack of other books, including the wonderful Patricide, by D. Foy?

But getting back to my first point. In bed.

When my son was in junior high he and his friends would add, “in bed,” to the end of every sentence. Like the old guy at the pub who does the ‘Said the actress to the bishop.’ So (and thanks TP for the prompt), someone’d say, ‘I hate it when you get here early and you have to wait for Mr. Weiss,’ and the kids’d be all, ‘IN BE-ED!’

That kind of thing. Which is where I am. In bed. Because the edit’s in—and the visionary Ben Baldwin is working on the cover—this is a novel about memory, about a woman who returns home to her lake-town and gets bitten by the beast of memory. I read Borges of course, for inspiration, but also Kandell’s work on memory, more McCarthy (in fact, my agent-angel emailed me after reading a draft and said I am to Gila Monsters what Cormac is to watermelons—bless him) and Bronte and watched and finally abandoned American Horror Story at “Hotel.” My husband stepped up again as beta-reader. My son helped with spread-sheets, concept art, and comments like, ‘novel writing looks really fun.’ And sometime toward the end of the process, one of the people I love most in the world died, and I got shortlisted for a residency and a couple of prizes, and sold a new story, and have been asked to teach at a prestigious workshop and one best friend is miles away across this adopted country of ours, and another lost her job, and a sister went to Spain and tracked Don Quijote for me, and another was at the bedside of the person who died, as he lay dying, and kissed him for me, and he smiled.

Hands Across Australia

One of the astonishing pics taken by my friend Sarah Klenbort as she travels around this country with her family. Those shadows are camels, btw, on Cable Beach. Here are more, a freshie in the night, and rowing down the Drysdale River. More here.

Tunnel Creek croc

I’ll be visiting SK in Darwin in a couple of weeks, haven’t been around this country as much as I should have. Both of us are displaced New Yorkers, or replaced, or misplaced. Those camels up there speak to being in this place however I am, to this shadow of homelessness that follows me wherever I go.

ALone on Drysdale River

Wuthering Heights Wins by a Knock-Out

I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read this novel, how many strips of myself I’ve lost to it. I’d just watched “Southpaw,” too, which is basically about Jake Gyllenhaal gettin all up in the guts of what it means to be a man—and he was as believable as hell, love anything JG does, but there was that little problem of Rachel McAdams’s character gettin all caught up in the cross-fire of men getting all up in dem guts of what it means to be a man. A little problem easily solved by a stray gunshot —which never really got satisfactorily resolved in the film—because as one male who I talked to pointed out—the stray bullet (or was it?) that killed the woman in the way, “wasn’t really part of the plot”. The plot was that her death left the ring free for the main event: two messed-up dudes leading each other to bloody and violent redemption.

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Wuthering Heights (1847) says no to such easy solace, follows that stray bullet right to its source.

‘You and Edgar have broken my heart, Heathcliff! And you both come to bewail the deed to me, as if you were the people to be pitied! I shall not pity you, not I. You have killed me—and thriven on it, I think. How strong you are! How many years do you mean to live after I am gone?

Heathcliff had knelt on one knee to embrace her; he attempted to rise, but she seized his hair, and kept him down.
‘I wish I could hold you,’ she continued bitterly, ’till we were both dead. I shouldn’t care what you suffered. I care nothing for your suffering. Why shouldn’t you suffer. I do!’

Them’s fighting words, and Wuthering Heights wins by a knockout, IMO.

Weird as F@#k Horror up at LitReactor

In my latest column over at LitReactor five of my favorite authors talk about weird horror. Here’s a taste:

I think probably the biggest danger in writing that type of tale, however, is keeping it consistent throughout the entire story. I know that in my writing, as I get closer to the end, I tend to rush the words and drop a lot of the details and world-building that shapes the first half of the story. I get sloppy—it’s a common mistake. I think once a writer has finished their piece, it’s important to go back and make sure they haven’t neglected the atmosphere and details in the last half of the story (or novel) for the sake of wrapping up the plot.

Livia Llewellyn, author of Furnace,Word Horde.

The Weird derives from our attempt to grapple with an unreliable reality through the hooks and nets of literature, and the true monster signals the breakdown at some level of consensus reality, whether our shared understanding of the laws of physics or simply our place in the food chain, so the monster is often the horrific’s vector into The Weird.Scott Nicolay, author of Ana Tai Tangata, Fedogan and Bremer

We’re a species that looks under rocks, when it would have been perfectly fine for us to keep on walking by. But sometimes that instinct, it burns us. Sometimes our human curiosity, it brings us face to face with a vastness we can’t begin to comprehend. That’s kind of the magic of weird fiction, I think. It’s using our saving, maybe defining trait against us. In order to survive, we have to stop being human, basically. We have to cash out what we are in hopes of some version of what we used to be just walking on by that rock, into the future. Which is a bad trade. But, looking under that rock, it’s no guarantee of happiness either.

Stephen Graham Jones, author of Mongrels William Morrow

With classic horror the results are often expected right? It’s a demon, a ghost, a werewolf, a zombie, a vampire. With The Weird, it’s rarely what you are anticipating—it’s much worse, much stranger, so it’s hard to react, as a character. There is no silver bullet, no wooden stake. It’s something beyond comprehension. Richard Thomas, author of Tribulations, Crystal Lake Publishers.

My focus in stories is typically an emotional core. I’ve joked more than once that I like it when my work makes people cry, but it isn’t really a joke at all.

Damien Angelica Walters,author of Paper Tigers, Dark House Press.

Check out the full article over at you know where.