Entries tagged with “writing


locusThis month’s Locus has a familiar name on the cover…

Yeah, what? I dunno! At ICFA, back in March, Locus asked if they could interview me. I had a lovely time chatting with Liza Groen Trombi, who was so fun and interesting it was very hard to stay on topic, and then we goofed around taking ridiculous glamour shots of me for a while. Anyway, the result of that pleasantness is an interview entitled “Ghosts ‘n’ Shit,” which is apparently one of if not the cuss-heaviest interview they’ve run, according to another editor.

In it I talk about Vermilion, The Pleasure Merchant, and the novel I just turned in to my agent, The Ginger Eaters, along with some other stuff… like the journal I used to keep as a kid where I’d go about my day surrounded by invisible snarky dragons. You can legit buy this at like Barnes & Noble. It’s on the news stand! So cool. Many thanks to the Locus crew for the fun time, the I’m sure brutal process of editing my interview into something coherent, and the gorgeous design and layout.

congress-june-2016Additionally, here’s the cover for Congress for our debut issue next month:

Stories by Livia Llewellyn, Robert Levy, Matthew Addison, and David Nickle. I’m really stoked about this. Not only does it look gorgeous (just wait until you see the site! Jeremy is a wizard) but the stories are all top-notch smut, this time all with a speculative bent. Not all issues will be so fantastical (or science fictional) but I’m excited it has a bit of genre flair.

I’m reading for the next issue already. If you have a pitch, query me. If you have a story with me, hold up I’mma gettin there.

Swords v Cthulhu is coming out this year, official cover release will be soon I hope, plus pre-ordering and such. Look for it soon! It’s pretty, and I’m so proud of the work our authors put into this book.

Otherwise… woof, I dunno. I’m working on the first short story I’ve written for myself, not for an anthology, in literally years, and it’s giving me back a bit of my joy over short form writing. This isn’t to say I’m not thrilled to have had two short stories accepted into anthologies already this year: “Cognac, Communism, and Cocaine,” co-authored with Nick Mamatas for Through a Mythos Darkly, ed. Glynn Owen Barass and Brian Sammons, and “That Nature Which Peers Out In Sleep,” for The Madness of Dr. Caligari, ed. Joe Pulver. It’s just that as someone who isn’t a particularly prolific short writer, having every single one I write be for a specific purpose, and for anthologies with lots of vision but a limited audience, has burned me out a little.

Perhaps I will muse on that more later. For now, I’m excited to finish this story—for love!—and begin the thrilling process of submitting to magazines again.

 

The end of the year is fast approaching, and as usual it has inspired me to make a fruitcake and do fruitcake 2a little housekeeping, taking stock of what this year has meant for me as a writer, a reader, and just a person, too.

I confess that 2014 has been a difficult year for me. Sort of like Longfellow’s little girl with a curl right in the center of her forehead, when this year was good, it was very good indeed, and when it was bad it was horrid.

I struggled with personal relationships this year, with both friends and with my family, but I also reconnected with several old friends, and was privileged to witness a truly amazing event in my immediate family—my uncle surviving a bone marrow transplant from my mother.

After enjoying performing lion dance over Chinese New Year I decided to take a leave of absence from my kung fu studio for personal reasons both physical and mental. And while I felt less fit overall this year since 2011 (the year I committed myself to taking time for fitness) I ran my first triathlon and achieved the times I wanted.

I wrote a novel that is a total mess, that I may trunk forever, but I also wrote one that I believe may be my best yet.

As is apparent from that last point, I struggled with my writing this year, aesthetically and emotionally, but I also sold a handful more short stories than usual, ones that I like more than usual, even, and I also sold my first novel, my second novel, and a novella.

Though I struggled with feelings of career stagnation, I achieved some other firsts this year. I edited my first ever magazine edition (in spite of being Managing Editor/Assistant Editor of several magazines over the years, I was never invited to take part in actual fiction-selection), and was invited to edit two more projects, an issue of another magazine, due out next year, and another project which has not yet been announced.

Though I did not have a book come out this year, I saw seven short stories published, one of which earned me my first-ever mention in Publishers Weekly, and I sold seven more. I also began (and completed, more impressively for me) a blog series for Pornokitsch, where I am now a regular contributor.

For the first time since 2009 I did not attend a single con, but I was invited to be a guest—an actual guest, not just a participant—at a con next year, a first for me. I turned down cons for good and bad reasons this year, a learning experience, but I also traveled to Japan, which was an amazing experience.

I read more this year than I have in many, many years, in part due to a concerted effort to do so. I kept track of my adventures on Goodreads, which was enlightening. After beginning the year at a good clip I had hoped to read 75 books this year. I’m currently at 65 and I’m not sure I’ll be able to squeeze in ten before the new year, but I’ll try–and whatever I achieve will be extremely rewarding, I’m sure.

I also played video games for the first time in years—Dragon Age 2, and I just started Dragon Age: Origins. As this was also a rewarding experience, I hope to play more games in future, as I am woefully ignorant of the state of gaming, having never owned a video game system that wasn’t Nintendo. Onward to Skyrim, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Mass Effect, and more!

2015 should be an exiting year. Having my first novel come out, and my second, is already a thrilling but intimidating prospect. I’ll be doing two other blog series for Pornokitch, which I hope to complete with the same or greater level of success as the last. I’m enthusiastic to do more races, to have new adventures (didn’t get to my annual 14er this year), and to begin new writing projects with more confidence and self-assuredness in what I do best, rather in what I wished I did better.

I hope you all had wonderful years, and if you didn’t I hope your 2015 is better. Cheers!

John Langan, that illustrious author of quiet horror, was so good as to nominate me to be part of a Writing Process Blog Tour. I goofed and did not get to it in within a week, and as it’s sort of a chain letter, I guess I’ll be cursed or something. But, hey, first-hand curse experience isn’t such a bad thing in my field, I guess?

1) What are you working on?

Currently I’m working on a short novel. It’s been sold but not announced, so I don’t feel comfortable revealing the title yet. I will say it’s a period piece, and one with a limited speculative element. I hop it will please anyone who enjoyed the title novellas in A Pretty Mouth and Rumbullion.

2) How is your work different from others’ work in the same genre?

I tend to be a lot goofier, I guess. And I often write in historical settings. Horror/Weird/Lovecraftiana these days is very often Very Serious, or quiet and meditative, and largely modern. (I’m not dismissing any of the above; I love quite a bit of that stuff, most recently this story by Simon Strantzas, but you asked how I was different!) My most popular works, by contrast, tend to be ridiculous, and set in the past. For example, the first chapter of A Pretty Mouth (the novella), which is set just barely before the Restoration, involves a pudgy loser writing a poem honoring a schoolmate, not realizing it’s full of homoerotic entendre, getting shamed for it in front of his class, tripping, farting loudly, and then getting kicked in the ass by his professor. Not really deep, serious stuff. “The Infernal History of the Ivybridge Twins” got a lot of attention because it has twincest and… okay, probably because of the twincest. And “Herbert West in Love,” another story that has been reprinted and will be reprinted again (announcement when I can!) is just ridiculous.

3) Why do you write what you do?

I write stories I’d like to read.

4) How does your writing process work?

With short fiction, sometimes a title comes first; sometimes an anthology has a theme that calls to me. Most often these days, someone asks me to write something for a project, and I try to produce something that I think will be different from everything else they’ll get, and that (again) I’d like to read if I picked up that anthology. I write so slowly it’s been a long time since I’ve just written a story “because.” I’m not bragging; I hope once I clear my plate of my current obligations I can write some short fiction just for fun, but I came up with an exciting new idea for a novel a few weeks back so I’ll probably go down that hole once I’m a bit more free.

I don’t know if I have a writing process, when it comes to getting words on paper. I sometimes just blart out things and then go over them, revising and reworking until the story I want takes shape. Sometimes, especially with longer projects, I’ll use Scrivener to organize myself. I wrote the first draft of Vermilion, my forthcoming novel, in Scrivener. But I wrote A Pretty Mouth in Word, so, who knows?

As most of what I write is historical, I tend to make a trip to the library to research before I put down a single word. Like with what I’m working on, I grabbed such books as Developments in the History of Sexualities, Disorderly Women in 18th Century London, and How to Create the Perfect Wife. (So that’s a clue as to what I’m working on!)

Then I just spit on my hands, pray to Dionysios, and hope for the best. Sometimes it works; sometimes not. I junk a lot of biz.

Okay! Thanks again to John Langan, whose trust I squandered. I think I’ll tag… Simon Strantzas, as I mentioned him above, and Ross Lockhart, who is a writer as well as an editor. Huzzah!

This month for my Roald Dahl series for Pornokitch I tackled Rhyme Stew and Dirty Beasts. Both were… sub-par. Well, they can’t all be hidden gems.

April flew by in a haze of work. I was busier than I’ve been in a long time. But, I’ve made significant headway on my WiP, turned in two short stories, only one of which was unprofessionally late, and did quite a lot of work for my various freelance jobs. I also performed with my lion dance friends twice, both at CU.

The weather is changing, but slowly. It’s sunny… most of the time. And warmer, most of the time. But the wind is still cruel and ferocious. It’s been blowing around the blooming tulips and plum trees and cherry trees. Even so, the beauty of spring been inspiring me to get outside more, which is good. I got my bike its annual tune-up and have been riding around more.

What else… well, I discovered that Boulder has its very own Kombucha tap house… I mean, I guess I should have assumed that was the case. It’s called Rowdy Mermaid (!). I tried their kombucha at the farmer’s market and it’s really good! They had it in a kegerator. It’s 2014 in Boulder!

 

 

 

2013 was a strange year. I didn’t expect to have a book come out; instead, after being contacted by Egaeus Press, I wrote a weighty novella (“Rumbullion”) and subsequently held Rumbullion and Other Liminal Libations in my hands this last October.

I thought I hadn’t published much, but looking back over this year, I had a story in the Magazine of Bizarro Fiction, a porny piece in Geek Love, a great, raunchy anthology that seemed to go largely unnoticed for various unfortunate/silly reasons, a zombie story in Zombies: Shambling Through the Ages, a mummy story in the beautiful anthology The Book of the Dead, and a tale of Chinese vampires and illegal betting in Schemers, which is (apparently) out. Also, “Herbert West in Love” was reprinted in the last ever volume of Icarus. I already have a few pieces scheduled to come out next year, so all in all, I’m pleased.

I also began and have subsequently written a substantial chunk of a new novel, something I have not done since 2010. Over the last three years I wrote and published plenty of short stories, and two novellas around 45k (“A Pretty Mouth” in A Pretty Mouth, and “Rumbullion” in Rumbullion). But the last time I set out to write anything weightier was a long time ago. I’m very happy with it so far, and hope to continue to be so…

In terms of things I read, which is also something (writerly) I finally read Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law trilogy, and the subsequent volumes. Damn. So good! I think The Heroes was my favorite, but it’s difficult to pick. The First Law books were so smartly constructed, they really blew me away. In terms of other books I enjoyed, standouts ambling through a lot of Wodehouse, Astoria by S.P. Miskowski, both books out from Lemony Snicket’s latest series All The Wrong Questions, Diary of a Young Girl (which I’d never read), Showdown in Oakland, and the comics from Avatar: The Last Airbender, which were by and large better-paced and written than most of the third season. Oh, and  a friend got me American-Born Chinese by the same author (Gene Luen Yang) for Christmas, I devoured that already. It’s hard to remember everything I read… I need to get better about keeping track of such things. But I won’t.

Overall, I’d have to say that 2013 was a good year!