Archive for the ‘ news ’ Category

My best-of 2014 list

  • January 4th, 2015
  • Posted in news

Four or five days late, but, you know, I was finishing a novel. So. Three of my best reads from 2014 weren’t actually 2014 books, as it turned out: John Scalzi’s Redshirts, Jeff Lemire’s The Underwater Welder, and Megan Abbott’s Dare Me. But, from 2014, it’s got to be Lev Grossman’s The Magician’s Land, Matt Kindt’s continuing MIND MGMT, Tod Goldberg’s Gangsterland, Steven Pinker’s The Sense of Style, and Jeff Strand’s Wolf Hunt. I wish I could erase all of these from my mind and then sit down, read them all over again. And, I wish I could track and remember short stories, and I’m sure I could somehow search them up through my inbox—I’m always forwarding them around, assigning them—but, man, this might be more task than I’m up to. Two I remember very distinctly are Junot Diaz’s “Miss Lora” from the 2013 BASS and Peter Watt’s “The Things.” But neither are 2014, alas. Oh, I know: two This is Horror chapbooks, each of which blew me away, only one of which is available yet—Ray Cluley’s “Water for Drowning” and Nathan Ballingrud’s “Visible Filth.” Both are ridiculously good. Like, I just want to stop writing because of both of these stories, because how can I ever match up? As for best 2014 short films—I was in Texas while Mile High Horror Film Fest was going on this year, so didn’t participate in the selectioning process. But I did recently get to see Robin Schdmidt’s “Dog,” which is flat out amazing. Every love story is brutal, man. There’s  . . . → → →[ READ MORE ]

Werewolf Class

  • May 16th, 2014
  • Posted in news

My second or third year teaching, somebody caught me in a hallway, asked me my thoughts on how detective fiction’s put together. And, listening to myself answer—of course I’d been reading noir and p.i. and crime and thriller forever—I realized that I only knew detective fiction as a reader, not a writer. And, I say ‘only,’ but not to diminish. Rather, to highlight that how I, anyway, learn about a thing, it’s by doing it. So, dissatisfied with my answer in the hall that day, I sat down a couple weeks later, started writing the novel that became Not for Nothing. The way I learn about stuff, I mean, it’s to vivisect, sure. But it’s to vivesect with full knowledge that I’m just hollowing out that skin so I can try it on. And, man, I’ve been into werewolves so much longer than I’ve been into . . . I don’t know: detective fiction, sure. But also hamburgers, say. Yet, yes, I’ve been teaching a zombie course for a few years now. And it’s been a ball, and I’ll do it again, of course. The zombie’s far from dead. But now I’ve got a chance to bring things back to the heart, as it were: werewolves for a summer course. Four weeks of tooth and claw, paint-the-walls-red because they’re going to be anyway. As prep, last fall I started what I thought was going to be my monsterwork best-thing-ever werewolf novel, The Lord’s Highway. Kind of a start-over of a werewolf novel I wrote in  . . . → → →[ READ MORE ]

Reeling in the Years

Back in the late nineties, I’d see Stephen Dixon stories all over and flip back to his author bio at the end of the journal or whatever not because I didn’t already know it, but for the rush: it always said he had some three hundred stories published. I had maybe six at the time? Three hundred was an amazing, impossible, never-get-there kind of number. And I’m not there yet. This isn’t that post. Though I did just total up my stories from print- and e-mags and anthologies and best-of-the-years and textbooks, meaning there’s some doubling, even some tripling, and maybe a ‘forthcoming’ or three sneaked in (I did manage not to count novel chapters that ran in different places, anyway), but still, sitting at 201, looks like. Since my first publication in Black Warrior Review back in 1996 (well, ‘first’ would be this little mag MindPurge, then there was North Texas Review. But BWR was the first I got a check for. And checks matter). Still chasing Dixon, though. And, as anybody who’s ever requested a bio from me knows, that’s the thing I suck at the most. I’d far rather just write another story. Or make up a bio. Just because I can’t keep track. But, near as I can tell, here’s the count as of early March, 2014: fifteen novels (just counting ATBS once, though it’s now two way-separate novels, and including Not for Nothing, already on some shelves), five collections, one e-novella that’s soon to be print, and another novella going  . . . → → →[ READ MORE ]