Better to reign

Happy Halloween! My sons are going trick-or-treating tonight as a Power Ranger and a Dragon Ninja, while my daughter is dressing up as Maleficent. In an unexpected bit of synergy, this morning I opened up my contributor copy of the latest installment of Outposts of Beyond:

As you can see, I’ve got a story in this issue (top billing, no less, woo hoo!), which was accepted as a reprint. I mentioned this way back in January when I had a slew of reprints accepted all at once. This particular tale, Rendered By Her Deeds, is a dark fairy tale which turns the figure of the wicked queen into the protagonist – though decidedly not the hero. My Queen Jivonne is not a direct analogue to Maleficent or Snow White’s stepmother or any other Disney or Grimm character, but she certainly could go trope-for-trope with any of them. And the story of her ambitions and their unexpected realizations is rife with spiders, snakes, wolves, and of course the spectre of death, so it’s an apt read for All Hallow’s Eve! Grab your copy here!

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Deep and disturbing

This week is Horror Week over at GoodReads! I could use this opportunity to hype any of the fine and frightening horror anthologies to which I have contributed stories over the years, but instead I just want to pay my respects to one of the giants of the field, inspired by the fact that I saw someone comment that Horror Week was inspiring them to finally tackle reading the novel: House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski.

I picked up House of Leaves for the first time about ten years ago and found the entire experience deeply affecting. That’s the thing about House of Leaves, you don’t so much read it as experience it. It is immersive and meta and, for me at least, highly unsettling. It’s both a compulsive page-turner and a little bit repellent. Now, granted, at the particular time in my life that I fell into House of Leaves my oldest child was my only child, not even two months old. So on the one hand I was not getting much sleep and was susceptible to suggestion and weird flights of fancy, and at the same time I was highly attuned to ideas of home and family and the fragility of happiness and the meaning of life and all that. But given the enduring reputation of the book, I don’t think my individual circumstances at the time account for all of it.

I’m being deliberately vague about the content of the book itself because if you’ve never read it I highly recommend doing so (assuming you have a reasonable threshold for being existentially creeped out) and further recommend going in knowing as little as possible. If you want a little more concrete info you may click on the first mention of the title above, which links back to my GoodReads review of it from 2008. One thing I mentioned in that review which I think bears repeating was the fact that over the course of making my way through House of Leaves it got so harrowing I had to stop using a bookmark. Because you see, at the time, I was using a snapshot of my wife as my steady bookmark, and the story the book was telling started to feel like something malignant I was wrestling with, and I had an unshakeable feeling that using an image of my wife to keep my place in it would somehow expose her to a dark, corrupting influence. I knew on most rational levels of my brain that was completely crazy, but my animal instincts to be better safe than sorry won out. And a decade letter, I can still remember that sensation of needing to protect my loved ones from the yawning abyss inside of House of Leaves.

Cheers to all the horror out there that can rattle people’s skulls half so well!

Scorching hot action

The latest, greatest and sort-of-tied-to-a-date-est collection of new pulp adventures is here! In the proud tradition of its Christmas and Halloween Specials, PulpWork Press proudly presents the 2018 Summer Special!

Granted, summer isn’t so much a date like December 25 or October 31 as it is a season, but my story “Strike Down the Sun” is focused on the summer solstice itself, which should come as no surprise since it is yet another rip-roaring case file from druid-reared private eye Kellan Oakes.

Break out the SPF 50, grab an ice cold beverage, and enjoy! The Summer Special is available now at Amazon – and if you click over there between now and August 19, you can download the Kindle version FOR FREE!

Updated to add: The giveaway period has ended, but the collection is available for a mere $3.95 on Kindle, and if you happen to be a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, it’s still free for you!

For those in the cheap seats

Have you been curious about checking out some of my stories to see what exactly my writing is all about? Have you been hesitant to jump in by ponying up for an entire anthology filled with stories by people you don’t know and (likely) have never heard of, plus one story by me? You, potential yet circumspect reader, are in luck today, because I am going to point you toward all of the stuff I’ve written which you can read right now, online, with absolutely no money down! I’m making it rain free stories!

Red Screamy – This link will take you directly to a domestic drama about raising a creative child, which takes a creepy turn at the end.

The Lengths That He Would Go To – This link will take you to a tale of a college love triangle and horror from the cosmic beyond.

The Dying Desert Moon – This link will take you to a pulpy adventure set in an alternate history of retrofuturistic automobiles and gas-powered weapons.

Requital – This link requires some scrolling, as it will get you the entirety of the April issue of an e-zine featuring a morbid poem by me on page 92, some scrolling required.

Preservation – This link also requires some scrolling, past the lead short story until you see the Enter the Drabble header right above my 100 words putting a twist on the start of the zombie apocalypse.

Click, read and enjoy! And watch the blog for an announcement by summer’s end about more FREE STUFF (if you have a Kindle).

Another orbit

This online enterprise in authorial self-promotion has, as of today, completed three full trips around the sun!

In all that time I’ve gotten a bit better about posting regularly, and the posts themselves have gotten longer, though whether that is a good or bad thing I leave to your judgment. I’ve also gone from having a whopping three tales in anthologies to my credit, to now boasting dozens of published stories. (Yes, plural meaning two. 24 stories. And one poem. Not bad for three years’ work.)

Thank you for visiting this corner of the interwebs, and for reading and reviewing my stories! Let’s all keep it up for years to come, shall we?

Leafing through the past

The creeping, choking vines have unfurled their black tendrils, pushing open the gates of DEATH’S GARDEN!

This anthology from LVP Publications contains both short stories and poems, including my short story “Green Growing Things” which you may remember had its genesis in an attempt to write for a specific anthology call, as I detailed in this post. I’m not sure what I can say about the tale that I didn’t divulge earlier, but just in case you’re avoiding that post for some reason, here’s the highlights: it is yet another entry in the continuing adventures of everyone’s favorite druid private eye Kellan Oakes, it was written as a pulpy horror story in which Kellan faces off against an adversary with extreme botanophobia, it sheds a little more light on Kellan’s unusual childhood, and it even delves into Kellan’s love life, such as it is. Mystery! Monsters! Romance! This one has it all!

You can pick up a copy for your library from Amazon right now. Don’t be left behind on the tour through Death’s Garden!

Branching out

If you check out my Works page you’ll see that I have added a new category: Poetry and Drabbles. This month saw my first ever poetry publication, in the Siren’s Call eZine, and my first ever drabble publication, in Trembling With Fear.

These are different literary forms for me but, for better or worse, very much in a familiar genre, namely fantastical horror. So if you tend to like the things I usually write, “Requital” and “Preservation” aren’t exactly revolutionary departures.

“Requital”, in terms of form, is a villanelle, perhaps most famously typified by “Do not go gentle into that good night”. Although, more accurately, my poem is a double villanelle, which is a variation on the form which I made up because I couldn’t fit my whole idea into nineteen lines. More power to Dylan Thomas that he could.

“Preservation” is a drabble, which is a prose piece of exactly 100 words. Clearly this is the shortest thing I’ve had published (by an inverse order of magnitude at least), and it’s hard to imagine myself ever being able to say much of anything more concisely than that.

In any case, you can find “Requital” HERE and “Preservation” HERE. Enjoy!