Blood under the bridge

v4i23-cover-front-copy-200x300Monday morning. Holy finish line. I could kiss my desk, which is almost clean enough to eat off again, now that I’ve scraped off all the blood. Barely a trace of the last three months left, and the bones are beginning to set. Feeling a twinge of wonder at having pushed through 4 part time jobs and a bunch of other hurdles, working 7 days and 3 nights a week, since the beginning of March, and coming out of it with just the regular teaching left ongoing, a two book deal, a new column gig, and two new stories sold. It doesn’t get easier and the stakes get higher, and it’s true, you do fail better.

It’s all true. Everything they tell you.

One thing is that I want to add Jacob Haddon, at Lamplight Magazine to the list of editor/writers without whom this whole “golden age” of smart genre fiction wouldn’t be possible. I’ve talked about this before. Zack Wentz, Keith McCleary and Matt Lewis, Tobias Carroll, Cameron Pierce and Kirsten Alene. J.W Wang, Richard Thomas, John Joseph Adams, Ellen Datlow, Joshua Chaplinsky, J. David Osborne, Joe Pulver, Neil Clarke. And now Jacob Haddon, whose eye and sense of story is behind the classy Lamplight Magazine, where you’ll find my new story, “Fairy Tale,” as well as work by Tim Deal, Gwendolyn Kiste, Subodhana Wijeyeratne, Matt Mikalatos, Douglas F. Warrick, Leanne Karwatowski, and Kevin Lucia returning for his Horror 101 series.. Please consider buying the double issue for $4.99 or subscribing to this dark drink of water. $10/year for four issues to mess with your dreams.

A rising tide lifts all boats…

Congrats to my student Melina Anderson for her first published piece, finessed from an exercise we did in our Tues night SFF workshop. Antipodean Sci-fi snapped it up, and I’ll post the link as soon as I have it. I get pretty pumped when this happens.

Speaking of Australian talent, here is poem I had the privilege of teaching last week. It’s by Omar Sakr, called The H Word, and I haven’t been able to let it go.

The H Word

My suburbs had hoods.
They weren’t neighbours – just hoods.

And the kids were the lums born of them.
Hood-lums hood-winked into dark spaces,

into tunnel vision: that this is all there is.
Just pockmarked streets and bruised knuckles

for homes. Another H-word.
The scariest one. Not horror or homicide

or haemorrhage or hate. Not hope.
Home. Read more

New article up at LitReactor: Six Killer Death Scenes

in which I talk about Laird Barron, Don DeLillo, Shirley Jackson and others. Here is a taste but you can read more at LitReactor. Image courtesy of LitReactor.

When my kids were little we had a family fun game called “Death Scenes.” We’d gather in the back yard or in the playing fields behind our house—the same fields, by the way, where Peter Jackson shot his matricide movie, Heavenly Creatures—and we’d compete to see who could die the best. Enter alien sniper, medieval archer, Zombie-werewolf, or evil wizard/giant/ogre guy, and… action. My son’s death scenes were of the running start-spiralling-fall-anguished-yowl-false-alarm-staggering-second-wind-high-pitched-screech-down-but-not-out-oh-wait-feotal-curl-is-it-over-yet-maybe-not variety. His four year-old sister in contrast went for a speedy demise followed by an unsettling open-eyed stare, and my death involved much thrashing and gnashing and pounding of fists. As the, um, adult I had to make sure that I went for just enough dramatic effect to win my son’s wide-eyed admiration, but not enough to make my daughter cry.

Thing was, I sometimes failed. I mean I failed not to make my daughter cry. I’d try to wink or smile or get up at exactly the right moment to make sure that she knew I was okay, but it was often too late. By which time her mouth would be quivering, and her brother’s eyes would be clouded over with concern (for her, not me) and Eugene the Killer Dog would be at her side and I’d be lying alone on the grass beneath the great pink expanse of New Zealand sky, just another drop-dead mom.

Lamplight Magazine to pick up “Fairy Tale.”

It can be a long time between drinks in the writing life, either because the day job gets in the way of making stuff up and subbing it, or because rejections tend to come in swarms and leave you allergic to your keyboard…. or you get caught up in a novel. Last year I was caught up in writing Aletheia and I pretty much only wrote one story. Thank you to Jacob Haddon’s Lamplight Magazine, the very classy publisher of dark fictions from Tim Waggoner, Damian Angelica Walters, Mercedes Yardley and the like, for picking up “Fairy Tale,” my story about a war veteran haunted by the fourteen year old shooter who put him in a wheelchair.

More good news in tomorrow’s post.

Crystal Lake Publishing picks up Aletheia and book number 2.

Crystal Lake Publishing Logo.png.opt266x188o0,0s266x188Crystal Lake, awarded Best Horror publisher of the year in 2013, and currently in the ring for a slew of Stokers, has picked up my new novel, Aletheia, to be released late in the year (cross fingers) as the first of a two book deal. Stoked for sure, and grateful to my agent, and to the kind, smart people in my corner who keep my eyes on the prize and my nose to the grindstone. Above all, pumped to be working with the tireless Joe Mynhardt and the CL team.

10 Reasons to Back Gamut Magazine

Here they are.

I am so behind this. I hope it happens. It’s going to be great. A magazine with the best of everything. Stories, poetry, podcasts, art. Backers get amazing prizes and rewards. Contributors get paid. I know, right? Super super hopeful that it happens. Getting close, but not close enough. Gamut magazine needs you. You need it. Please help.

Gamut Magazine: are you in?

Richard Thomas is the author of Disintegration and Breaker; he’s Dark House editor of Burnt Black Tongues and The New Black (my favorite anthology of last year) and Exigencies. He’s also a columnist and fellow instructor a LitReactor, sought after Transylvanian panelist and now… Richard has started this Kickstarter project that I’m proud to be a part of. $30 gets you a years worth of balls to the wall fiction, essays, poetry, a whole gamut of shamelessly transgressive words from the likes of Palahniuk, Stephen Graham Jones and Amelia Gray, Helen Marshall, among others, including self.

Here’s a peek at the line-up, excluding poets and artists: Stephen Graham Jones, Laird Barron, Brian Evenson, Usman T. Malik, Matt Bell, Damien Angelica Walters, Letitia Trent, Mercedes M. Yardley, Alyssa Wong, Benjamin Percy, Lindsay Hunter, Axel Taiari, Amanda Gowin, Laura Benedict, Nathan Ballingrud, Dino Parenti, Ted E. Grau, Rebecca Jones-Howe, Sarah Read, Paula Bomer, Kelly Luce, Livia Llewelyn, Josh Malerman, Carmen Machado, Peter Tieryas, Kevin Catalano, Paul Tremblay, John Langan, Nina McConigley, Nik Korpon, Craig Wallwork, Steve Himmer, Antonia Crane, Steve Rasnic Tem, Kristi DeMeester, Tara Ison, David James Keaton, Cassandra Khaw, Nikki Guerlain, Lucy A. Snyder, JS Breukelaar, Helen Marshall, Amelia Gray, H. L. Nelson, Craig Davidson, Jacklyn Dre Marceau, and Lincoln Michel.

More here.

Imagine this coming into your inbox every month. Not to mention craft essays, podcasts, and a graphic novel. Heaven with a twist.

Go ahead and browse the campaign, only 22 days to go. There are editing packages, signed books from your fave authors, postcards and art rewards. As little as $10 buys you a written acknowledgement, or if money’s too tight to mention right now, appreciate you spreading the word and sending us your good vibes.

States of Terror launch in San Diego

States of Terror, JS Breukelaar

My uncle and aunt drive us down to the launch and they are there in the back with my husband and cousin – sirens and choppers overhead as soon as I start to read – I’m last. I talk about the Proctor Valley monster with Lizz Huerta after the reading. She grew up with it. Everyone was too scared to go out on Proctor Valley Road after dark, she said. They knew it was out there.

States of Terror Reading at Digital Gym, San Diego

States of Terror Vol 2 JS Breukelaar

And so the countdown begins. In just over a week, I’ll be heading to my second hometown, to read along with fellow contributors, Zack Wentz, Heather Fowler and others, from States of Terror: Vol 2. I snagged a local monster for my story, you could call him a history monster, stubborn as hell and old as shame. Thanks to editors Matt Lewis and Keith McCleary for doing this.