The Rest of 2019…

I definitely should have stuck with my plan to do quarterly updates. But you probably know how it goes by now and have come to expect (and adore?) this kind of feast-or-famine communication from me. Here’s what I’ve been up to since the Spring 2019 update.
[Updated with new photos!]

StokerCon 2019

StokerCon is always a good time, but this year was especially fun owing to the reading and panels on my schedule. So, without further ado, I present, What I Did at StokerCon 2019…

I did a reading!
I was incredibly honored to share a reading slot with Shirley Jackson Award Winner and StokerCon 2019 Guest of Honor Kaaron Warren. She read from “The First of Many Shudders,” which was recently published in The Unquiet Dreamer: A Tribute to Harlan Ellison (PS Publishing) and which was, of course, so SO good–I still think about it regularly. Also, go check out her new novella, Into Bones Like Oil.

Kaaron Warren.

For my part, I read a horror story inspired by my time working in hotels and in travel publishing…and I didn’t die from nerves. Actually, during this reading, I discovered that I really enjoy doing readings. Who knew! I don’t know if it’s the therapy kicking in (finally) or one of the delightful  zero-f*cks-to-give side effects of aging, but I had a truly wonderful time and I hope the folks in the audience did too (even though, let’s be real, I was the one thing standing between them and a legend).

Photo by Douglas Peyton.

I also moderated two panels!
Kicking off the weekend, Coming-Of-Age Horror In The Era Of Netflix–a full house with my delightful, insightful, and wonderful panelists, Kyla Lee Ward and Tom Deady. I have zero pictures of this one, to my eternal regret. (I’m sorry, all!)

*Unrelated to this panel, Kyla also stepped in as a pinch hitter during Bedlam Hall: An All Female RPG Game, GM’d by Karen Bovenmyer, and featuring Joanna Nelius, Lee Murray, Kaaron Warren, and Kathleen Kaufman. Easily one of my favorite “panels” of StokerCon–and by far the funniest–I would 100% subscribe if these ladies made it a regular event on YouTube (or whatever the kids are watching these days…it’s TicTac, right?).

The Bedlam Hall family: Lee Murray, Kyla Lee Ward, Kathleen Kaufman, Karen Bovenmyer, and Joanna Nelius. Not pictured: Kaaron Warren.

My second panel of the convention, Writing Horror For Kids and Teens, was another standing-room-only event, no doubt because we had Lucy Snyder, Gaby Triana, Daniel Kraus, Jonathan Maberry, and Josh Malerman all on the same stage! Someone posted a great shot of this on FB, but I want to get official blessings before I link to it. Thanks to Mark Matthews, I have a picture proving this dream panel happened (at least in this timeline/dimension). I may be biased, but I thought these peeps packed a lot of great insight and advice into a mere 50 minutes. Also, this was just a whole lot of fun. I don’t think anyone recorded it, but if so, I will add a link.

Photo by Mark Matthews. Left to right: It me! (N.R. Lambert), Josh Malerman, Daniel Kraus, Jonathan Maberry, Gaby Triana, and Lucy Snyder.

Thanks to everyone at StokerCon 2019 for an amazing weekend! Looking ahead, I’m planning to attend StokerCon UK in 2020 and will post my schedule here once I have it.

Artist-In-Residence at Fire Island National Seashore

Hot on the heels of StokerCon, I left for a two week residency at Fire Island National Seashore, courtesy of the U.S. National Park Service. I’ve got a detailed post here, but for the tl;dr set: it was an incredible experience, both as a writer and as a human who loves this planet. During my time there I started a new novel, revised a novel-in-progress, and wrote several new short stories. (So productive! Who was that person and how do I get her back?) I also got *really* into bird watching, dabbled in being a morning person, and collected approximately ten million balloons from the beach. (Seriously, #banballoons forever, peeps.)

The folks at FINS were amazing and supportive, and really made sure I enjoyed every minute of my residency. If this sounds intriguing to you, please consider applying for a 2020 residency at Fire Island or check out one of the many other NPS residency programs.

In the bungalow at Watch Hill. Photo by NPS.

Summer Dark Reading

Later in June, literally days after (reluctantly) returning from my residency, I took part in the Summer Dark reading series, hosted by the Horror Writers Association’s New York Chapter. On a lovely New York City summer evening (with requisite 3000% humidity), Steven Van Patten, Carol Gyzander and I read creepy stories in a gorgeous little gem of a garden–the appropriately named, Oasis Community Garden. If this sounds like something you might have enjoyed, fret not! The Summer Dark reading series will be returning in 2020, so keep an eye out for updates from HWA-NY.

Photo by Carol Gyzander.

Short Fiction NEWS

In case you missed it, Fireside Quarterly‘s Winter 2020 issue is shipping now and includes my story, “The Words I Starved For.” I’m in especially excellent company in this issue, so if you’d like a copy, it’s not too late to subscribe!

Cover art by Carlota Suarez

Cover art by Carlota Suarez.

***

New Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark has a pub date and a new title! Look for Don’t Turn Out the Lights: A Tribute to Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark on Tuesday, September 1, 2020, which will include my story, “Tag, You’re It.” I’m guessing we’ll have cover art soon and I’ll do a separate post when we do. Don’t worry, I will never shut up about this anthology. Never.

Other writing news

For my day job, I worked on a few new magazine projects this year, including editing for PBS’s Secrets of the Dead (available now!) and writing for Entertainment Weekly’s The Ultimate Guide to the Office (February 2020). For more news from the freelance realm, visit my other site, wordcenary.com.

Coming Up in 2020…

Plenty of tears, anxiety, and insomnia!
JK, JK!
(Not kidding at allllllll!)

Seriously. Please make sure you are registered to vote.  You can check via vote.org or through your local board of elections.

If you are registered to vote (YAY!), consider volunteering to help others vote in upcoming elections. Rock the Vote, Carpool Vote, and When We All Vote offer lots of ways to volunteer, including by hosting voter registration events or offering rides on election days. There are also opportunities to volunteer with your local election board.

If you are not registered to vote, please register to vote. Do it now.

If you’ll need an absentee ballot, plan ahead.

Generally speaking, let’s just all try to do a better job taking care of each other and the planet we share in the new year (and beyond).

Happy 2020, all!

All Kinds of Updates: Spring 2019

There is much to discuss and I keep intending to do individual posts, but work-work has been intensely busy this year and there just hasn’t been time. (In addition to writing fiction, I also run a freelance copywriting and work-for-hire business–so get in touch if you have an upcoming project you’d like to discuss! Yay, self-promotion-within-self-promotion! Incepromotion??? Probably!)

In order to get to everything before it is covered in the ash and brimstone of this dark and relentless timeline, I’m trying something of a round-up/newsletter¹ format.  Let’s see how it goes…

In case you missed it, I have a story coming out next year in NEW SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK! It’s a tribute anthology to the classic series by Alvin Schwartz (which featured those incredibly iconic and nightmare-inducing illustrations by Stephen Gammell), and is edited by Jonathan Maberry (who has been delightful to work with). I don’t have an exact pub date yet, but it will be out sometime in 2020 from HarperCollins Children’s Books.

Speaking of horror-related things, I’ll be at StokerCon again this year! I’m doing a reading and a couple of panels, both involving the intersection of horror and the YA reader/horror fan. Please stop by and say hello if you’ll be there too.

Looking further ahead, I’m thrilled to be a 2019 National Park Service Artist-in-Residence this summer. As an AIR, I’ll have two glorious unplugged, uninterrupted weeks of writing at Fire Island National Seashore in New York. For those unfamiliar with New York’s geography, Fire Island National Seashore is a gorgeous, coastal park on a section of Fire Island, which–according to the Native Land app, (support them here)–occupies the traditional territory of the Unkechaug. (If you’d like to learn more about the Unkechaug, check out this recent episode of WSHU’s “The Full Story,” in which Unkechaug Indian Nation chief, Harry Wallace, discusses efforts to preserve Native American culture.)² I love our national parks system–they were formative for me growing up and I’ll be writing lots more about this incredible opportunity as my residency draws closer.

Even further ahead–as in, sometime in 2020–Fireside Magazine, one of my very favorite fiction magazines, will be publishing my story, “The Words I Starved For,” and I don’t think I could be more excited. Fireside recently announced some editorial changes, so there’ll be more news and a longer post to come, including details on the issue and editor, but for now a deep and heartfelt thank you to departing editor, Julia Rios, for believing in this story–all the heart emojis!

What else is new(ish) and of note, you might ask? Or not. I’ll still tell you!

  • I recently taught a writing workshop for kids at the Center For Fiction‘s gorgeous new space. We had a lot of fun and I hope to host similar workshops in the future, so stay tuned…
  • Check me out on Curious Fictions, a site which features short fiction (mostly reprints) and posts from some of your favorite authors. If you love short stories, definitely take a look around.
  • I’ll be reading at Summer Dark, on Friday, June 28th at 6:00 p.m.

² For additional reading, check out (and support!) Jeremy Dennis’s excellent resource, On This Site.

¹ Back in olden times (the mid-naughts), when I worked in online marketing, newsletters were all the rage. “Newsletter! Newsletter! Newsletter!” the people cried in joy. Then Twitter and Facebook stomped in, newsletters lost traction, and in the new world of social mediocrity, the people just cried. But now, in the toxic wake of those sites, it seems like newsletters are staging a comeback–just in time for the apocalypse and possibly thanks to the Patreon model, which may also be floundering I hear? idk. I didn’t board that particular train, not having that kind of platform at the time (or really ever) and now it seems like there isn’t any point and–to complete the metaphor–that maybe the Patreon train has left the station. I should probably join Patreon. We’ll see. Maybe we can all try this app called Real Life. But it would have to be spelled without vowels, right? RLLYF? Is this app’ening? Where’s my hoodie and TED Talk and IPO?

³ I know these footnotes are out of order, but honestly, an ambling tangent about newsletters doesn’t deserve top billing.