New Workshop for Young Writers

I’m delighted I’ll be returning to The Center for Fiction this summer (via Zoom) to teach a new speculative fiction workshop for young writers.

Supernatural Summer
July 17–20, 2023
1–2:30pm EDT via Zoom

Designed for young writers, ages 9-12, our Supernatural Summer KidsWrite Workshop returns for 2023, focusing on fostering creativity and confidence in a fun, encouraging environment over the course of four days. As we write supernatural short stories, we’ll explore key elements of genre fiction, including character, dialogue, setting, and world building. We’ll also discuss revision strategies, practice reading our work to others, and review techniques for giving and receiving feedback.

Note: These online sessions typically sell out in advance, so if you have any young writers (ages 9-12) in your life who might be interested, please don’t wait to register. Also, please help spread the word on Twitter (or wherever folks are gathering post-Musk)!

[Image art by E. L. Trouvelot]

Together Alone Virtual Writing Group

Screen Shot 2022-08-26 at 5.37.00 PMI’m excited to be hosting this week’s Together Alone virtual writing group on Instagram Live! If you’re interested, you can join in for an hour of quiet* writing time Monday through Friday, 1-2 p.m. EDT.

Organized by the wonderful KT Mather and Chris Tebbetts, the Together Alone writing group is a zero-pressure, virtual write-in hosted each week by a different author on Instagram.

Although TA launched in January of this year, I wasn’t well enough to participate until April, while I was recovering from surgery. I’m so grateful KT and Chris have created this series! Together Alone has cultivated an incredibly supportive community and these sessions were instrumental in getting me back into a regular writing routine (and in helping me feel less isolated for those long weeks and months when I was bed/home bound)!

As you know, I generally avoid selfies or the ticktacs or any social format that requires me to be on camera. But for this, I’ve learned (barely) to do a livestream on IG! Old dogs! New (to me!) tricks! I’ve also discovered an unexpected side effect of hosting: a muzzle for my inner critic! While I haven’t fully examined the mechanics behind this yet, I think it’s a combo of not being able to mutter a constant stream of trash talk at myself if I’m responsible for hosting a quiet writing environment, and that my anxiety is diverting all critique resources toward keeping me from making weird faces on camera. No matter the why (gift horses, etc.), it’s been wonderfully helpful and my sessions have been extra productive! If you’re interested in joining in, I’m hosting every day this week, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EDT. Come check it out! And if this week doesn’t work, Chris and KT post the upcoming weekly schedules on their Instagram pages:

Some additional info about the writing sessions:

Alt text Image 1: Together Alone Virtual Writing Group MONDAY-FRIDAY 1PM-2PM EDT Bullet points: Optional prompt Minimal chat Accountability Writing Simple!

Image credit: Chris Tebbetts

Alt text Image 2: Together Alone Virtual Writing Group. More info/Instructions: No experience required; all are welcome. No rules; join for as much or little of this quiet, shared online time as you like. You won't be on camera. Only the host can be seen and heard. Everyone else communicates via chat. To access the session, just go to the IG home page; when the host launches the live session, you will see a "live" indicator with their profile pic at the top of the page. Then just click to get in. (NOTE: You will usually have to follow whoever is hosting on IG that week in order to gain access.) Image credit: Chris Tebbetts

Image credit: Chris Tebbetts

*As I mentioned on my Instagram post on this (conjuring up that fast-talking pharmaceutical side effects voice at the end of ads): “Quiet” in Queens may include, planes taking off, planes landing, sirens, car horns, the ice cream truck that shouts at you, leaf blowers, a garbage truck perpetually backing up, jackhammers, the cement truck that sounds like an electric pig, one or more cats demanding attention, claw drills, the local murder of crows, the red tailed hawk that frequently pisses off the local murder of crows, the neighbor’s karaoke, the neighbor’s dog, the neighbor’s dog singing karaoke…

Coming Soon: Ample Hills Rooftop Readings

June 21 RR(1)I’m delighted to be reading with A.C. Wise, Rob Cameron, and Lyn Liao Butler on Tuesday, June 21st at Ample Hills Gowanus, as part of their monthly Rooftop Reading series. Tickets ($10) are available now and include a free scoop of ice cream!

A huge thank you to Randee Dawn for organizing this series!

Rooftop Readings
June 21, 2022 @ 7:00 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30)
Ample Hills Gowanus
305 Nevins St
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Buy your tickets soon, seating is limited!

Awards Eligible Stories: 2021 Edition

This sure has been A MONTH™* at the end of A YEAR™.** But I’d rather focus on the few bright, sparkling moments, which cast some light against all the roiling gloom: Getting vaccinated. Hugging my friends again. Pretty much the entire month of June. AND! Seeing three of my favorite stories published in the same year! I’d love for you to read them, and if you enjoy them***, to consider them for your Bram Stoker/Nebula/World Fantasy/Hugo/Shirley Jackson Award nominations, recommendations, and reading lists, and/or for any Best of 2021 anthologies.

For any of the below, if you’re reading for awards and need access to a review copy, please reach out via my contact form.


Horror / Dark Fantasy | Short Fiction
VASTARIEN Vol. 4, Issue 1
June 2021 | ~1,550 words



Fantasy | Short Fiction
The Modern Deity’s Guide to Surviving Humanity (Zombies Need Brains)
July 2021 | ~1,750 words


*Read more about this story here!


Horror | Short Fiction (flash)
99 Tiny Terrors (Pulse Publishing)
October 2021 | ~540 words


*As always, I encourage you to cut a few minutes from your monthly doomscrolling budget to find meaningful ways to help the folks in your community by donating time, money, food, clothing, medicine, etc. to local outreach organizations. You can even volunteer virtually now! As the Bezos Space Dick proved, even the sky’s no longer the limit!

**As I write this, news broke that Betty White passed. I know she had a good long life, but it’s still a super shitty 2016 move on 2021’s part.

***I received my first reader email this year! And it was positive! I know extrinsic rewards are ephemeral and dangerous, but I’m celebrating this one!

Out Now: The Modern Deity’s Guide to Surviving Humanity

ModernDeityCoverI’m thrilled my new story, “Charon Taxi & Limo Corp.,” about a New York City cabbie who transports lost souls, is included in The Modern Deity’s Guide to Surviving Humanity, out now from Zombies Need Brains in: a limited Kickstarter edition ($20), trade paperback ($17), eBook/epub/mobi/pdf ($7), and on Kindle ($7).

Working with editors Patricia Bray and Joshua Palmatier was a true joy and I’m so grateful this story landed in their hands and alongside all the truly excellent work in this collection.

Please check out all the ZNB anthologies, especially Modern Deity’s pub-day siblings, When Worlds Collide and Derelict. The Kickstarter for ZNB’s next three anthologies launches in August, so keep an eye on Twitter and/or Facebook for details.

A little about this story…

There are as many New York Cities as there are New Yorkers—every one of us has our own set of people, places, and memories that create our unique version of New York City. I fucking love this about New York.

Some days*, it is the only thing I love about New York.

“Charon Taxi & Limo Corps” is a tiny piece of my New York heart, a hug goodbye to versions of the city, and me, that only existed for a few years, or an evening, or a heartbeat. At any given moment, New York City (like most cities, I assume**) is changing. These changes happen slyly, over time, like that little crease that pops up now whenever you smile (but don’t worry, you have an amazing smile!). These are often bite-size losses—your favorite pizza place becomes a cell phone store; that club where you danced your ass off becomes a dorm (or a gym!); that bar where you spent so many nights with your friends that they’ve blurred together into one infinite and untouchable evening…effing condos. (Million effing dollar condos at that.)***

Other times, New York City changes abruptly—a hard reboot. Before COVID, I’d lived through two of these—9/11 and Sandy. (I could also make a case for the dotcom bust and the 2008 recession and Ghouliani’s disneyfication and Bloomberg’s billionaireapalooza, etc. but those shifts, while massive and destructive, lacked the abruptness of the hard reboot.) The hard reboot, as I see it, is real life time-travel, dimension warps, alternate realties—I got on the train for work in one New York City, and arrived in another. I went to bed in one New York, and woke in another.

With the pandemic though, the reboot happened in an instant and also over 16+ gutting months. During the early days of NYC’s lock-down phase, at home in Queens, I spent hours watching live-streams of Manhattan streets and parks (and even tourist spots) on YouTube, stricken by the pervasive, gutting emptiness and silence, and feeling so cut-off from my life and my home. I missed being an active part of “my city;” I didn’t realize yet “my city” was already long gone and still disappearing by the minute. For weeks, my mind clung to this stubborn idea that once the curse was lifted, like a fairytale, or The NeverEnding Story, the city would be restored.

But of course, that was never going to be true. Grieving this, adjusting to it, will likely take far longer than most of us expect. Because in addition to all the lost businesses, restaurants, arts venues, resources, jobs, homes, infrastructure, etc.—all significant and terrible losses on their own—we’re also missing so much of the mesh that makes putting up with the more exhausting aspects of sharing space with 8.4 million other people worth it—the other people.

There are as many New York Cities as there are New Yorkers. When we lost 33,484 New Yorkers, we also lost 33,484 New York Cities.**** Even this is an entirely inadequate and inaccurate means of gauging everyone and everything that’s missing from the city right now. I know some people won’t feel it, and that’s okay. There are lots of ways New York is still New Yorking, and I’m glad the energy is coming back, but I don’t know when New York City will feel whole for me again, or that it ever should. So, even though I wrote “Charon Taxi” long before the pandemic, I can’t think of a better time to share this tiny bit of hometown love, and grief, with you all.

Please get vaccinated.

P.S. I want to send so much love to the many people who kept the city alive, literally and figuratively, while the rest of us were home. “Thank you” is also woefully inadequate here, but it’s a start—so thank you.

The footnotes are the best part, right??? 

* Like, when one must leap over a squirming pile of maggots left behind by a garbage truck in order to cross the street; or when one must dodge the considerable output of a man pissing into the wind; or when one steps into a subway car that’s been painted with human feces; or when…(I limited myself to a single subway example, but I have hundreds, people).

** I don’t want to speak for other cities, not having lived in any…(yet?).

*** But that newsstand, where you sobbed to your friend because the guy you loved didn’t love you back (a refrain), is somehow, impossibly, still a freaking newsstand in 2021, and maybe you think of that night every. single. time. you pass it, but now it’s only with gratitude for the friend who held your bruised heart so gently, rather than with regret for the dude who didn’t want it in the first place.

**** At the time of this post.

Part of the milky way from the Trouvelot astronomical drawings (1881-1882) by E. L. Trouvelot (1827-1895)

A Winter Update

The last few months sure have been SOMETHING, haven’t they? I don’t even know where to begin this post. I’ve never been great at small talk–a condition that’s only grown more pronounced this past year. How do you respond to, “How’s it going?” when the inside of your brain is just alarms, Swamps of Sadness, and one long, guttural scream that started sometime in the early 90s? You don’t. Thankfully, Zoom makes it easy for me to briefly embody my favorite emoji (😬) and move on. So let’s just pretend I did the same thing here, with a bonus, “I hope this finds you well…” (because I do).

Lacking any immediate solutions to offer for deadly global pandemics and/or deadly domestic terrorism, I can only (again) urge you to look for ways to help others in your community. Volunteer, donate, signal boost–whatever you can do with the time and resources you have. Small changes are all most of us can offer, but they do add up.

On to the update…

[Art by: Alexis Goble] Glowing golden sparkles and stars rising from an old, opened wooden treasure chest. Darkly lit on a planked surface with black chalkboard background.

[Art by: Alexis Goble]

Cast of Wonders surprised and delighted me earlier this year, by selecting my story, “The Half-Life of a Broken Heart,” as a 2020 Staff Pick. This story originally appeared in Factor Four Magazine (gone, but never forgotten) and then appeared on Episode 413 of Cast of Wonders in May 2020. You might recall that editor and host, Katherine Inskip, brought me to tears with her gorgeous commentary at that time. Well, Cast of Wonders is two for two now, because host Denise Sudell, the Cast of Wonders Community Manager, did it again with her moving commentary, specially recorded for this Staff Pick reissue. Denise’s analysis captured the heart (pun!) of this story as I originally imagined it and you can’t ask for a better feeling as a writer–or, as a person–than to have your heart be so clearly seen and understood. “The Half-Life of a Broken Heart” is one of my favorite stories and I’m so grateful it found such a wonderful second home…twice! Listen at the link below…

Cast of Wonders 446: The Half-Life of a Broken Heart (Staff Picks 2020)

In February, as part of the Women in Horror Month festivities, I was thrilled to join Nicole Givens Kurtz, Meghan Arcuri, and Kaaron Warren for HWA-NY’s Galactic Terrors reading series. Watch the recorded event here and subscribe to the Galactic Terrors newsletter for info on future readings.

In April and May, I’ll be leading a new slate of workshops for young writers (Spellcasters, Cryptozoolapalooza, and Super Spies & Top-Secret Tech) at The Center for Fiction–read all about it here!

Note: These online sessions sold-out last time, so if you have any young writers (ages 9-12) in your life who might be interested, please don’t wait to register! Also, please help spread the word on Twitter (and anywhere else)!

Finally, I have several exciting new short story publications coming up, but I don’t think I’m supposed to officially announce any of those sales yet. So I’ll just say this: these stories are three of my absolute favorites (which I know I say a lot, but I think I only try to publish the work I love the most), involving (respectively) haunted hotels, nature vengeance, and a taxi driver who transports the dead. More details coming soon!

[Image art by E. L. Trouvelot]

Upcoming Reading: Galactic Terrors, February 11th

Guess what? I’m reading tomorrow night (February 11th, 2021) with Nicole Givens Kurtz, Meghan Arcuri, and Kaaron Warren as part of HWA-NY’s recently launched Galactic Terrors reading series!

Watch on YouTube at 8 p.m. EST and if you’d like to keep up with Galactic Terrors,  subscribe to the Galactic Terrors newsletter!

Can’t make it tomorrow? Fear not! All episodes are archived on YouTube!

Click below to watch, subscribe, and/or set a reminder on YouTube!

Awards Eligible Stories 2020

Yay! A 2020 awards eligibility post! I had four new stories published in this hellfire year and I’d be thrilled if you’d read and consider them for your Bram Stoker/Nebula/World Fantasy/Hugo /Shirley Jackson Award nominations, recommendations, and reading lists, and/or for any Best of 2020 anthologies.

Horror / Dark Fantasy
Fireside Magazine
January 2020 | ~2,300 words

“It’s powerful, and wrenching, and beautiful.”
Charles Payseur, Quick Sip Reviews

I can’t promote a story in Fireside Magazine without also talking about how it and its publisher, Pablo Defendini, recently treated Dr. Regina N. Bradley and her work, publishing a racist audio adaptation of her essay (described as an “audio version of blackface“) without her knowledge, input, or consent. The publisher issued a standard Dude in Publishing™ apology, but declined to comment for this Washington Post piece covering the lack of communication and oversight that contributed to this aggressive failure. Rather than allowing Dr. Bradley’s writing to be further overshadowed by the publisher’s behavior, please take a moment to read “Da Art of Speculatin’” and consider preordering her forthcoming book, Chronicling Stankonia: The Rise of the Hip Hop South, from your local bookstore on Small Business Saturday (or on any day of the week).

Don’t Turn Out the Lights: A Tribute to Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
September 2020 | ~1,400 words
*Please reach out via my contact form if you are reading for awards and need access to a review copy.

Horror / Dark Fantasy
Lovecraft Mythos: New & Classic Collection
November 2020 | ~3,000 words
*Please reach out via my contact form if you are reading for awards and need access to a review copy.

Community of Magic Pens
May 2020 | ~2,800 words
*Please reach out via my contact form if you are reading for awards and need access to a review copy.


Out Now! Lovecraft Mythos

Lovecraft Mythos, from Flame Tree Press, is out now and includes my new story, “Let It Stand,” alongside stories from Ramsey Campbell (who also wrote the foreword), Caitlín R. Kiernan, Victor LaValle, Rachael K. Jones and many others. To celebrate, Flame Tree Press recently posted interviews with contributing authors about the inspirations for their stories as well as a series of Q&As. They’ve also got video interviews in the works, which will post on December 6th.

Usually I write a little about my story and its genesis here, but since I’ve already done that on the Flame Tree blog (hint: it includes dudes behaving badly on Twitter), I’ll cut right to the shopping info. As of this posting, there are many (many, many) Black Friday deals going on (and a huge Am@zon strike), so shop wherever works best for your budget. But I’d like to highlight that Flame Tree Press is offering free shipping over $19.97* and these gorgeous hardcovers (with foil FX!) make extra fancy and excellent gifts.

Lovecraft Mythos is available from:
Flame Tree Publishing
Kew & Willow
Astoria Bookshop
(Amazon Workers are Striking Today, But You Can Buy It There Too)

*and also a 3-for-2 sale on journals!!! Save me!

**[Reposting my take on “Lovecraftian” from an earlier entry] I’m a big fan of the movement within the horror community for using “cosmic horror” to describe this branch (tentacle?) of the genre. It feels increasingly unnecessary (and inaccurate) to tie it to a known racist and bigot when–with every new voice and story–cosmic horror continues to expand far beyond the constraints of its early foundations.
UPDATED (8/5/2020): Adding a link to this excellent piece on the subject from Tor Nightfire.

Coming Soon! Horror Writing Workshops for Kids at the Center for Fiction

Illustration of a castle at night background for HalloweenI’m thrilled to be leading a new series of horror workshops for young writers at The Center for Fiction next month, kicking off the Halloween season *AND* the CFF’s KidsWriting program!

We’re going to have a lot of fun exploring some of the genre’s most popular branches and playing around with its most infamous tropes. Halloween is my very favorite holiday and even though I know this year will be different, I’m still all-in for celebrating the spooky season, and, IMHO, this is a perfect way to do that safely and creatively.

We’ll be meeting via Zoom beginning on October 10th, with the first of three sessions (detailed below), which can be bundled or taken individually. Registration is open now, but attendance is limited, so please don’t wait.

Additional info from the CFF event page:

Designed for young writers, ages 9-12, these writing workshops will focus on fostering creativity in a fun, encouraging environment. Each session breaks down a different branch of horror and will include writing sprints, interactive discussions of story structure and common tropes, and opportunities to share and review our work. Parents are encouraged to register for individual sessions based on their child’s interests or for multiple sessions at a discount.

Saturday, October 10, 11:30am – 1pm ET
Haunted Places & Ghostly Faces
In this workshop, we’ll be writing ghost stories, urban legends, and crafting original “local lore” about hauntings, cursed places, and other spooky, unexplained phenomena. Poltergeists welcome!

Saturday, October 17, 11:30am – 1pm ET
Movie Monsters & Creepy Creatures
From vampires, werewolves, and zombies, to shape-shifters, ghouls, and mummies–and everything in between–in this workshop, we’ll be writing stories about the terrifying things that go bump in the night (or in your closet)!

Saturday, October 24, 11:30am – 1pm ET
Scary Science & Techie Terrors
Whether it’s extraterrestrial invasions or evil scientists, destructive blobs or sentient computers—in this workshop we’ll be writing Sci-Fi Horror about the places where science and technology meet the unknown and the unexpected.