Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bad TV Saves the Day, or, New Sales and Summer Heat

y only excuse for being so tardy in blogging since May is that I have been busy writing.  I think that is the best excuse, really.  Unless you’re unemployed or you never sleep, there are simply not enough hours in a day to write two-thousand words of new fiction, edit or polish the latest chapter or story, tend to your Facebook peeps and still Twitter away.  And now folks want me to jump on Google +.

Not unless you’d like to land in divorce court.

Fortunately for me, summer television is a savior.  While my wife and kids gorge themselves on the voyeuristic pleasures of “MTV Teen Moms,” “The Bachelorette” and “Wipe Out,” I can slink away in the shadows to tippity-tap-tap away.  If you’ve watched the hapless adventures of the contestants on “Wipe Out” (an Americanized version of popular Japanese shows), you know the title should really be “Nut Busters” or “That’s Going to Leave a Mark.”

OK, I’m not going to lie.  I’ve made the mistake of pausing for a moment with coffee cup in hand, plopping down on the couch, and having thirty minutes stolen from me by the always mesmerizing (snort) Chris Harrison.  That dude is an android, I’m telling you.  They are among us.

Since May I have kept my nose to the grindstone.  I finished a new spec story that didn’t make it into the latest John Skipp anthology, but Skipp was kind enough to provide some very helpful suggestions to make it stronger, and it is out making the rounds.  I had near misses with two SF stories at Redstone SF and at Strange Horizons, and another urban fantasy/SF hybrid is in final consideration at Realms of Fantasy.  Fingers crossed. I received official word from James Roy Daley that “The Boys in Company Z” will appear in the Books of the Dead Press anthology ZOMBIE KONG, and we all saw the way-cool cover painting by Daniele Serra in June.

I sold another story, “Still Life,” to Andy Cox at TTA Press in the UK for Black Static magazine They also publish the award-winning SF magazine Interzone and Crimewave.  They use some amazing artists and their magazines and books are incredibly beautiful showcases for speculative fiction.  Andy sent me a scan of the spread art for my story a week ago (a million thanks to David Gentry, the artist), and it rocks.  The story is slated to appear in the August issue.  If you like the looks of that, be sure to visit TTA Press at and you can see more of David’s terrific visions at
I also sold another short story, “Jesus When The Sun Goes Down,” to Carolina Smart’s BEST NEW WEREWOLF TALES, edited for BOTD Press. That story came very fast and naturally, and was a fun trip down memory lane.  It also had to come very fast and naturally because I waited until nearly the submission deadline to write it.

At this year’s World Horror Convention in Austin, I pitched a novel to a couple of indie publishers and there was interest to see samples.  I completed 11K words of Wildfire -- the prologue and six chapters -- and one of the publishers has asked when I can complete the entire book.  I’m shooting for September.  Wildfire is a love letter of sorts to the late Michael Crichton and a blend of very near-future SF, medical thrillers, horror, and hopefully a new take on how zombie-like creatures (us) might refashion the world.  A million thanks to Rhodi Hawk, the talented novelist who ran the pitch sessions at WHC.

I also completed a nearly 20K novella commissioned by Roy Daley at BOTD.  There are a handful of talented writers involved in this book project, which is going to be so much fun once Roy stitches all the interconnected stories together.  I loved writing each tight little action-packed chapter and cramming as much bizarro fun as possible into each one.  It felt a lot like scripting a graphic novel; maybe someday the book can be adapted into that format.  It is worth mentioning that for a small indie press founded in 2009, Books of the Dead Press is rocking along with a number of collections released and something like eight books in the pipe, including beautiful reissues of Gary Brandner's The Howling series.  Best New Zombie Tales Volume 1 (containing a reprint of my story, “Connections”) has sold thousands of copies to date and is still trucking. Check them out at or on Amazon, Smashwords, etc.  Roy Daley is a novelist and drums in a band (High Heels LoFi

So it’s been a busy but amazingly fun spring and summer.  It’s blazing hot here in Tulsa -- we’ve had triple-digit heat for several weeks -- so not great for the flowerbeds and grass, but good for the fiction growing out of my ears.