Monday, January 20, 2014


Hello again! (so soon?)

I've had two new stories bloom into cyberspace over the past couple of weeks. I'll tell you about them, because they were both written during the same summer, and occupy two sides of the same coin:

1. "The Inventory of Marcus, Level 16" in Issue 54 of The Collagist.

This is the biggest story I've ever had published anywhere (6400 words!). It was one of those magical things that came out more or less correctly the first time, written, initially, during the summer of 2012, very quickly and in very tiny handwriting. This is the story that finally put the hundreds of hours I spent playing Diablo and Baldur's Gate to good use, as well as most of my high school angst. Writing solves problems!

The Collagist, too, has been a personal publishing benchmark for a couple of years, and so it's extra-satisfying to have such a thick, meaty story in there. It is, as always, a stellar issue all around, and I'm in there this month with Meghan McCarron, an amazing writer whose 2010 story "WE HEART VAMPIRES!!!!!!" was a very formative short-fiction read for me.

Also, "Inventory" is illustrated! With ASCII images! Which was also something that I was into during the summer of 2012, apparently (see, for example, these poems in Word Riot many moons ago). Many thanks to Gabriel Blackwell, for taking the story and giving it so much time and care as we prepared it for the issue (did I mention it was long?).

2. "Two Heads" in Issue 15 of Crime Factory.

Basically exactly what it promises. I wrote this story staring at a lake, which makes sense because the story is set in a desert. The first draft of it was written for the PANK 'pulp' special issue in 2012, and then rejected, so the fact that, many editions later, it's found a home in Crime Factory - a no-holds-barred hardboiled noir journal - is a particular kind of revenge (it has stitches on the cover, so you can tell it's hard).

It'll cost you $1.99 to get this issue, but there's 220 pages of legit crime writing (including my 2400 words) and you got 640,000 for free in the last story, so it all evens out. If you're saving up money to buy SATURN when it comes out, though, I understand.

"Two Heads" was originally part of PARTNERS, the story-collection I've mentioned here a few times, which is out searching with big googly-eyes for a home. On my last round through, I nixed "Two Heads" from the lineup, because there are enough painful sex scenes without it. Which is to say, you won't be seeing this one anywhere else, so hop to it while you still can.

There are a couple of personal meta-morals to take away from the publication of these fairly 'old' stories. First, if there's a story that's been kicking around for a really long time, and which hasn't found the right home yet - sit tight. It will get there, eventually. Second, going through "The Inventory of Marcus" again has made me realize that there's nothing quite as fun as a good, shaggy story. After a full year of focusing on hyper-concise David Bowie stories, I think it's time to sprawl a little bit. Like the suburbs.

(FYI, when I think of a 'shaggy' story, this s generally a variation of what I imagine, along with Matthew Lillard:)


SATURN is getting so close, and I am too excited. I have basically run out of things that I can do to 'prepare' in advance of its publication, other than making .gifs, so if you have ways to keep me busy or are interested in doing something with the book, let me know and I'll be in your debt forever.

All for now,

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