Friday, November 5, 2010

Bad-Ass Faeries: Behind the Scenes

My guest blog entry has been posted over at the official blog for the Bad-Ass Faeries series. I give a little insight behind-the-scenes of my contributions to the anthology series and the creation of the fallen faerie, Gorge, and discuss the give and take that sometimes occurs between authors and editors.

Bad-Ass Faeries: In All Their Glory (Volume 3) has just been announced as a finalist the 2011 EPIC eBook Award for Best Anthology. This continues a tradition for the BAF series. The first volume, Bad-Ass Faeries, was a Finalist for the 2007 Dream Realm Award for Best Anthology. And Bad-Ass Faeries: Just Plain Bad (Volume 2) won the 2009 EPPIE Award for Best Anthology.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

BAF in the NYT

It's official. The Bad-Ass Faeries anthologies are part of a trend. I know because the New York Times said so, mentioning the BAF books in the same sentence as Neil Gaiman's Stardust, no less. The thrust of the article in the NYT Sunday Book Review section is the popularity of fairies in YA lit, but BAF gets a mention as a nice sampler of the style. Of course, they're still listing the old Marietta Publishing editions. The new editions of Bad-Ass Faeries and Bad-Ass Faeries: Just Plain Bad are now available from Mundania Press and available via Amazon. The most recent addition to the BAF family is series editor Danielle Ackley-McPhail's new novella, The Halfling's Court: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale.

In my admittedly biased opinion, the BAF books are really something special. The range of stories in each anthology speaks volumes about how far creative folk can take a simple concept, finding new layers and life in it without falling back onto shopworn conventions. Writing for these anthologies has been a challenge, not only because of the nature of the concept, but because of the level of talent involved. I don't want to be the one guy who didn't pull out all the stops.

The third BAF anthology is in the works now. I finished up a solid draft of my piece for that last week. With this story in particular, I've finally determined that I do, indeed, enjoy writing fantasy. It's taken three BAF stories to convince me, and each one has drifted farther and farther from the dark, horrific sort of tales for which I've become known. In the past I've been tepid about writing fantasy, because of all genre fiction, I find it's conventions to be the most cumbersome. But writing my BAF stories forced me to stop thinking of fantasy in traditional terms (magic, royalty, romance, mythical creatures, poor peasants undertaking world-shaking quests, and so on), and look at it in the truest terms of the word.

So my latest BAF story blends traditional fairy folklore with some of the legends surrounding the blues, in particular the kings of the Delta blues, like Robert Johnson. It may be one of the best pieces of fiction I've ever written. I only hope my editors like it as much as I do.

Coming up this weekend, I'll be appearing at Philcon in Cherry Hill, NJ, promoting Resurrection House, BAF, and lots of other stuff, as well as hanging out with writers, readers, and other cool people. Come by if you live in the area.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

More Signing Photos

It looks like my next appearance/signing will be at Philcon, November 20-22, the formerly Philadelphia-based convention now taking place in Cherry Hill, NJ. In the meantime, here are some more photos from last weekend's book signing at Between Books. I'll be posting some news and upcoming book covers later this week.

Here's most of the gang from the signing: (from left to right) A.M. Boyle, me, Danielle-Ackley McPhail, Bernard Mozjes, and CJ Henderson. Not pictured is Mike McPhail, who was busily rummaging through the amazing inventory at Between Books, or maybe gabbing with Greg, or possibly eating cookies, or... editing the next volume in Defending the Future.

Here, Danielle shows off So It Begins, the latest volume in the Defending the Future series, edited by Mike McPhail. Up against a deadline, Danielle had only two hours sleep. So, of course, we made her read first.

And, lastly, CJ mugs for the camera with a Ben Fogletto illustration done for CJ's short story collection, Degrees of Fear, published by Dark Regions Press. Forgive the strategically placed lens flare.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Resurrection House @ Between Books

The signing at Between Books went very well, despite some heavy rain (we almost had to row through part of south Jersey) and a slow Sunday time slot. A decent group of folks turned out at the shop. Even better, most of them sat still through the various author readings! I read a selection from "Resurrection House," the title story of my short story collection, which got a great response. Snacks and soda were enjoyed by all.

The haul this time: And the Angel with Television Eyes by John Shirley in hardcover for me, and a stuffed Krypto toy and Flash Chronicles volume 1 for the young'uns.

Will post more pics later this week.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Book Signing

Tomorrow I will be appearing at Between Books in Claymont, Delaware for a book signing between 1 and 4 p.m. Between Books is the coolest bookstore ever, no exaggeration. The first time I was there I found a David Schow collection and two Dennis Etchison collections I'd been trying to dig up for more than 10 years. (Okay, I wasn't trying very hard, but still...) And those were only the tip of an iceberg made up of cool, rare books, comics, and graphic novels that fill the stacks of Between Books. Greg, the proprietor, is a great guy, and he's kindly surrendering some space to me, CJ Henderson, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, and Mike McPhail to meet with readers, do some readings, and hopefully sell some books. So, if you're in the neighborhood, drop by. The location is 2703 Philadelphia Pike, Claymont, Delaware.

Regular blog entries will resume shortly!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Springing Forward

Damn, I've been busy writing lately. That's good. Very good.

Back in March and April I felt off track. I was writing, but it wasn't clicking the way I like it to, and I wasn't finishing things. Everything felt like an uphill march in the snow with the wind in my face. And I wasn't alone. At least two of my writer friends commented to me back around that time (independent of each other) that they were in the doldrums too. Of course, there was another writer friend of mine who was chugging away on his book full-steam ahead, making us all look bad. But by the end of April things had turned around for me. Sometimes it's only a matter of slogging through enough scutwork to build up some momentum.

Because May was a pretty darn good month writing wise, and June is looking bright.

I'm 30,000 words into the second draft of my second novel. It's infinitely better than the first draft and I love the direction it's going.

I got a story synopsis in on deadline (literally, on the deadline) for a very cool anthology featuring a classic character. Then I got word that it was approved and to go ahead with the story.

I wrote a new short story for another anthology, submitted it, and the editor liked and accepted it. That's particularly pleasing because it's a piece of crime fiction, and I haven't written a lot of crime fiction. I like it, and I want to do more. Plus, the editor of this anthology has genuine expertise in the field of criminology, so passing muster with him makes it that much sweeter. I'll be posting more about this one as soon as the editor says it's okay.

To top it all off, I finished proofreading Resurrection House. It's always cool to read your work in print. Reading stories in pages has a distinctly different feel than reading them in manuscript. For me, the final litmus test for whether or not a story really works is if I still like it when I read it in pages or in a printed book. So I'm glad to say, everything in Resurrection House works. Admittedly, I might see a few things I'd do differently now, especially with a book like Resurrection House, which includes a range of work from my first published short story up to the present. But seeing those things is part of the fun, so I leave them be. There were relatively few corrections to be made (Note: Fingers crossed that publisher and designer agree with my definition of "relatively few"). To the best of my knowledge everything is now in and the book is heading toward publication. Exciting.

It's a cliche, but it's true: It can be hard to see the forest for the trees.

For writers that happens when we get deep into projects, and we focus on all the bits and pieces and details, the characters, plots, pacing, and prose, and forget that even when the trees all start to look the same, we're still making progress. (I spent two weeks rewriting Chapter 1 of my novel, but that work had to be done, that chapter had to be right for everything else to fall into place.) Then after awhile we can lift up our heads, look back at what we've been doing, and say, "Damn, I've been busy writing lately."

With a little luck, I'll be saying that again come sometime in July.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Resurrection House

Over the weekend Joe Morey, publisher at Dark Regions Press, sent me the first proofs of Resurrection House. The book is coming together beautifully. Dave Barnett has done an elegant job in designing it, and Jason Whitley's illustrations strike the perfect mood for each story. It's exciting in a unique way to be holding these proofs and going back over these stories. Looking at it now, I think it's a terrific mix of my horror writings. The deluxe limited hardcover edition (which will include two stories not found in the other editions) and the limited hardcover edition are now available for preorder at Horror Mall. Details on the paperback will follow. Awhile back, I promised to post the final cover and table of contents, so here they are.

Mooncat Jack
Gray Gulls Gyre
Resurrection House
The Feeding Things
Last Stand of Black Danny O'Barry
The Tale of the Spanish Prisoner
Vicious Swimmers
Five Points
Swamp Hoppers (deluxe hardcover edition only)
Derelict (deluxe hardcover edition only)