Catching Up on Life, One Page at a Time

First off, thanks to all the people who purchased Sybil’s Garage No. 5 and Paper Cities this week. I have sent out about half of the orders, and I expect to mail the rest of them on Monday. There has been so many, it’s been hard keeping up, but they will all go out!

I was very excited to see Paper Cities rise to #4 in Amazon.com‘s ranking of SF anthologies this week. Always at the top is John Joseph Adams’ Wastelands anthology. Go John! Wastelands is John’s first anthology he edited, and Paper Cities is the first anthology from Senses Five Press, so in some ways we’re like brothers-in-arms!

All this publishing stuff has taken away from my writing though, and I’m looking forward to the next few weeks when I have no deadlines, no proofs to sign, no stories to slush and copy-edit. My writers group, Altered Fluid, visits Jim Freund’s radio show, “Hour of the Wolf,” about once per year to do an on-air critique of a story. We drew names from a hat, and this time my name came up (previously Kris Dikeman and Mercurio D. Rivera read). I will be reading my story on May 10th. I have already written it, and I like the story very much. It might be one of my favorites. I showed it to my parents and they liked it too. They said, “We wanted to keep reading.” And I said, “I wanted to keep writing.” But at 4200 words, it’s about the maximum length I can read on the air. Anyway, we’ll see what my writers group says. I’m embargoing it until a week before the reading.

I’ve also recently sent out several stories to markets. One story, of which I am very fond of, was originally written in present tense. I converted all 8000 words to past tense and managed to remove about 1000 words in the process. (Applause). Present tense can be very tricky. At times, I think it can be used as a crutch, to add tension to a story where none exists. I’ve relied on the present tense many times. It can work, but this particular story works 1000 times better in its new, past tense, I proclaim.

Also, I’m settling into my new duties as Fantastic Fiction at KGB co-host with Ellen Datlow. We’ve booked guests for nearly the entire year already, but I can see that there will be a lot of shuffling and last minute cancellations. Also, sometimes we deal with an author’s PR agent instead of the author herself, so there’s a flurry of emails crisscrossing in cyberspace before each event; logistics can sometimes be complicated. But our job is made easier by the fact that the date and time of the readings never change. (Trying to schedule a reading at a con is an entirely different beast.) Anyway, I’ve moved the reading schedule over to my domain and have taken over as moderator of the Yahoo group. Do you like the new logo I created? These two websites are the best ways to keep informed about Fantastic Fiction at KGB.

Lastly, I have been slowly catching up on my piles of short fiction, and I’ve recently read the previous two Weird Tales. For months, people have been asking where Ann VanderMeer, as their new editor, might take the magazine. To a good place, I’ll say. I was extremely impressed by both the quality and the diversity of her selection. And while I thought a few of the stories might work better inside their sister publication, Fantasy Magazine, overall I felt excited about the future of the magazine. They also have brought in a “Weirdism” non-fiction column, a Lovecraft exegesis section, and even short comic/graphic novels. This new stuff is the dreamchild of mogul Stephen Segal and his awesome eye for content. It’s been a long time since I’ve been this excited to get a magazine in the mail. Oh, and did I mention that I wrote a short biography of Lovecraft for their 85th issue? I thought it was cool as heck to honor the man who helped make Weird Tales immortal in the very same magazine.

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