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 fucking 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…fucking condos. (Million 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 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 will 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.

Art by: @ArtisticJ0urney

Out Today! Community of Magic Pens

Cover of The Community of Magic Pens. The background is a soft buttery yellow, with doodles on the border. Four anthropomorphized writing instruments pose under the title: a tan mechanical pencil using a cane; a purple marker, a black roller ball pen wearing a rainbow hajib, and a wood fountain pen in a jaunty beret.

Cover art by: Artistic Journey

I know it’s been a minute (2.7 decades in pandemic years) and that here on Earth we’re still firmly in the vice-like grip of these “Unprecedented Times” (© 2020). As always, I encourage you to help wherever and however you can, either in your community or on a national/global scale. Consider supporting a local food bank (find one here, here, or here) or support World Central Kitchen in their relief efforts.

But, it’s not all bad news, good things are still happening and I’m excited to share one of these good things–Atthis Arts’ latest anthology, Community of Magic Pens is out today!

Community of Magic Pens includes my new story “Do Not Write to Wrong,” which I first drafted back in 2018 as an outlet for my rage frustration rage re: certain stable geniuses in America. After I submitted it to my crit group (of excellent humans who are also excellent writers), and revised it based on their notes, I immediately…just…stalled…out. I loved the story, but I wasn’t sure where it would fit and I froze in an indecision loop. Flash forward almost a year, to when I saw the submission call for Community of Magic Pens. My quirky story (about a magic pen) seemed a perfect fit for a new anthology entirely about magic pens (interpreted in all sorts of inventive and unexpected ways), and, to my delight, the editors agreed.

I am thrilled to be part of this hopeful, joyful collection, alongside so many fantastic authors, especially during such grim times. Huge thanks and mad props (the kids still say that, right???) to our wonderful editor for this collection, E.D.E. Bell, and everyone at Atthis Arts.

Community of Magic Pens is available in print and ebook format from:
Atthis Arts
Bookshop
Apple Books
B&N
Kobo
Amazon

If you’re not in a position to buy this book right now, please consider asking your local library to order it, adding it to your “Want to Read” list on Goodreads, and/or spreading the word online!

Please stay safe and well. (Also, please wear a mask/face cover in public spaces–all the cool, considerate humans are doing it.)

Image description (since I still can’t get the bleeping alt text to appear): Image is the cover art for Community of Magic Pens. The background is a soft, buttery yellow, with doodles on the border. Four anthropomorphized writing instruments pose under the title: a tan mechanical pencil using a cane; a purple marker, a black roller ball pen wearing a rainbow hajib, and a wood fountain pen in a jaunty beret.

Cover Reveal: Don’t Turn Out the Lights

I started this post 18 years ago, i.e., Wednesday. Things here in the U.S. (and abroad) have changed dramatically since then, so before we talk about this awesome cover, a brief message:

If you are in an area affected by COVID-19 (and even if you’re not…yet), please actively practice social distancing to the best of your ability. Also, if you can spare money, food, or household basics, please consider donating to a local food bank (find one here, here, or here) or to World Central Kitchen.

Okay, back to our previously scheduled programming:

I’m super excited to share the cover reveal for Don’t Turn Out the Lights: A Tribute to Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, edited by New York Times bestselling author, Jonathan Maberry, with illustrations by Iris Compiet, and (a creepy AF) cover design (and hand lettering!) by Laura Mock. Obviously, it’s completely perfect…and wait till you see the interior illustrations! Last week, I got a sneak peek at the art Iris Compiet did for my story, “Tag, You’re It” and it is terrifying in the best possible way–I can’t wait for it to give you all nightmares!

That’s all for now–thank you for taking a moment to share this little spot of joy with me! Please be safe and be well.

If you’d like to pre-order* Don’t Turn Out the Lights, take your pick: 
HarperCollins
Books-A-Million
IndieBound
B&N
Amazon

*and/or “preorder;” it seems the world hasn’t landed on a preferred spelling for this redundant phrase.

Art by: @ArtisticJ0urney

Preorder This Book! Community of Magic Pens

Cover of The Community of Magic Pens. The background is a soft buttery yellow, with doodles on the border. Four anthropomorphized writing instruments pose under the title: a tan mechanical pencil using a cane; a purple marker, a black roller ball pen wearing a rainbow hajib, and a wood fountain pen in a jaunty beret.

Cover art by: Artistic Journey

I’m delighted that my story “Do Not Write to Wrong,” will be published in Atthis Arts’ forthcoming anthology, Community of Magic Pens.

The official cover copy isn’t up yet, but on the preorder page, Atthis Arts describes this anthology as: “Stories of joy and hope. A collection to celebrate community.”

Our wonderful editor for this collection, E.D.E. Bell, has been sharing additional details about Community of Magic Pens online. Rather than paraphrase her, I encourage you to check out this thread (partially quoted below) and to follow @edebellauthor and @atthisarts for further updates. [ETA: Full TOC up now–so excited to be included in this stellar list!]

If Community of Magic Pens seems like a book you’d love to read, go ahead and preorder it today! If you’re not in a position to preorder right now, consider asking your local library to order it and spread the word on Twitter (or the social media hellscape of your choice)!

Community of Magic Pens will publish in Spring 2020!

 

**Since I cannot get the alt text or image description copy to show in WP’s new block editor, herein lies the image description: Cover image for Community of Magic Pens. The background is a soft buttery yellow, with doodles on the border. Four anthropomorphized writing instruments pose under the title: a tan mechanical pencil using a cane; a purple marker, a black roller ball pen wearing a rainbow hajib, and a wood fountain pen wearing a jaunty beret.

So Many Metaphorosis Updates

I have a bunch of updates from Metaphorosis Magazine, so I’m grouping them together–fun and efficient!

First up, Metaphorosis‘s talented editor, B. Morris Allen, has collected together all of the January 2017 stories into one fine-looking Kindle edition. The January 2017 issue includes my story, “Business As Usual,” which, unfortunately, becomes relevant again every 1.2 days or so.

If you’re interested in reading all the stories published by Metaphorosis in 2017, check out Metaphorosis 2017: The Complete Stories available on Amazon in paperback, hardcover, and Kindle editions.)

To my delight, “Business As Usual” was also selected for Metaphorosis‘s Best Vegan Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2017 anthology, available in print and Kindle editions. All the stories in this collection are meat-free and excellent–check ’em out!

Finally, if you enjoyed “Business As Usual” in any of its appearances, I encourage you to support Everytown or March for Our Lives.