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.

Coming Soon! Lovecraft Mythos: New & Classic Collection

Exciting news! My story, “Let It Stand,” will be included in Flame Tree Publishing‘s upcoming cosmic horror* anthology, Lovecraft Mythos: New & Classic Collection, available in Fall 2020. The folks at Flame Tree recently announced the full TOC and…whoa! I’m seriously thrilled to be part of this roster. The details, from their release:

We’re delighted to announce the line-up of authors for our upcoming book Lovecraft Mythos: New & Classic Collection! Due for publication in October 2020 (November in the US/Canada), this anthology features a foreword by Ramsey Campbell and acts as a companion volume to our earlier collection: Lovecraft Short Stories.

Along with a few key Lovecraft tales and early influences, this latest anthology includes work from a number of authors who have emulated or expanded on the Mythos since Lovecraft, among his contemporaries and also our own. See below for the selection of tales by modern authors chosen for inclusion…

Lovecraft Mythos

Cthulhu-Seltzer by Hal Bodner

Offspring by Evey Brett

The Franklyn Paragraphs by Ramsey Campbell

Foxfire Future by Helen E. Davis

Grave Secrets by JG Faherty

He Opens a Window by Cody Goodfellow

The Innsmouth of the South by Rachael K. Jones

The Damage by Scott R. Jones

Black Ships Seen South of Heaven by Caitlín R. Kiernan

Always a Castle? by Nancy Kilpatrick

Let It Stand by N.R. Lambert

Up from Slavery by Victor LaValle

The Whisper of Stars by Thana Niveau

My First Abomination by John Possidente

By Any Other Name by John Llewellyn Probert

A Gentleman from Mexico by Mark Samuels

Usurped by William Browning Spencer

Entirely Surrounded by Water by R.S. Stefoff

Shed a Tear for Asenath by Jonathan Thomas

Cloaca Maxima by Donald Tyson

Tracking the Black Book by Douglas Wynne

New, recent and classic work by these authors will appear alongside stories by H.P. Lovecraft and the following: Ambrose Bierce, Robert Bloch, Robert W. Chambers, August W. Derleth, Lord Dunsany, Robert E. Howard, Henry Kuttner, Fritz Leiber, Frank Belknap Long, Zealia Bishop, Hazel Heald, Arthur Machen, Clark Ashton Smith.

Lovecraft Mythos: New & Classic Collection is scheduled for release in October 2020 (UK) and November 2020 (US & Canada) and is available for preorder now at:

Bookshop.org
B&N
Indiebound
Amazon


* 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.

Cover art by Carlota Suarez

New Story at Fireside: “The Words I Starved For”

Cover art by Carlota Suarez

Cover art by Carlota Suarez.

Wow…and I thought publishing a story during an inauguration was difficult! In all seriousness, I hope you and yours are safe and well and that you’re doing everything in your power to flatten the curve. If you can spare money or supplies, please consider helping others in your community. As I mentioned in a previous post, local food banks need money, food, and household basics, find one here, here, or here; or support World Central Kitchen in their relief efforts.

Okay, so today’s the day! My story, “The Words I Starved For” is out on Fireside Fiction. Even though this is technically a ghost story, at heart, it’s also a deeply personal one. So writing it, submitting it, and publishing it, all felt slightly-to-entirely terrifying at times. But I was lucky to have the supportive company of many fine people (including my wonderful therapist!) along the way…

First up, big thanks to the Draft Zero writing group, which at the time included Frances Rowat, Beth Tanner, Asha Bardon, and Shannon Fay, who are all incredible writers and you should read their work immediately.

Also, special shout-outs to Allison Escoto, Karen Bischer (preorder her book!), and Richard Shealy who lent their years of professional experience to me while working on this story.

Of course, last but not least, heaps of gratitude to Fireside’s Pablo Defendini and Chelle Parker (and everyone at Team Fireside), to Daniela Acitelli who narrated the audio version (available on podcast apps and libsyn), to Winter 2020 issue artists Kieu Vo, Carlota Suarez, and Omar Gilani, to Julia Rios who acquired this story, and especially to Dominik Parisien, who edited it. Thank you, all!

I hope you’ll take a few moments to read (and share) “The Words I Starved For.” Also, please consider supporting another very cool project from Fireside, Puestes pa’l Futuro on Kickstarter. Even if you can’t back this project, you can help by spreading the word!

Be well and be kind, all!


If you’d like the Winter 2020 print edition of Fireside Quarterly, I believe you can still get one by subscribing here. To purchase the digital edition of Issue 77, click here.

Cover art by Carlota Suarez

Sneak Peek at Fireside Quarterly Winter 2020

Cover art by Carlota Suarez

Cover art by Carlota Suarez.

The Winter 2020 issue of Fireside Quarterly, which includes my story, “The Words I Starved For,” begins shipping soon! It’s not too late to subscribe for Winter 2020, plus a whole year’s worth of incredible writing and art from Fireside.

This issue, edited by Dominik Parisien, with stories acquired by Julia Rios, also features cover art by Carlota Suarez and work from Taimur Ahmad, Annika Barranti Klein, Amy Griswold, Veronica Brush, Vajra Chandrasekera, Sam Kyung Yoo, nwaobiala, H. Pueyo, Michael Robertson, LH Moore, Mike Loniewski, Hal Y. Zhang, and Nibedita Sen, as well as illustrations from Kieu Vo, Carlota Suarez, and Omar Gilani.

I’m delighted to be included among all these talented authors, poets, and artists. As for my contribution to this issue…”The Words I Starved For” is, in many ways, a story that has taken me years to tell. It’s a ghost story that also happens to be some of my most personal, belly-baring writing, and I am hella excited about it being out in the world. I hope you will subscribe, read, and enjoy!

 

 

New Story in Factor Four Magazine!

Cover Art:
“Sunset City” by Holly Heisey

Hey-ooo! I have a new story out this week! “The Half-Life of a Broken Heart” is in Issue 2 of Factor Four Magazine. You can read it online (with a subscription) or get Issue 2 as a stand-alone in print or digital formats (additional retail links below).

This story means a lot to me–it’s one of my most personal, even though it doesn’t involve any actual personal details…it’s kind of hard to explain. I’m so excited it’s out in the world and in such fantastic company (seriously, fantastic)–I hope you’ll check it out soon!

Also, since this is a story about loss and grief*, please consider donating to RAICES Texas to help alleviate some of the grief we’re currently inflicting on children here in America.


Print:
Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble

E-Book
Amazon ~ Smashwords ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Subscriber Download

*and since I can’t do anything these days without also trying to chip away at some of the actual horror out there…

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.

New Story on PseudoPod!

I’m so excited for everyone to check out my new story, “When the Slipling Comes to Call,” which is up now at horror fiction podcast, PseudoPod.

Brilliantly narrated by M.K. Hobson and Tina Connolly, “When the Slipling Comes to Call,” is my first story-turned-podcast and finally hearing it on PseudoPod–the song is a real song now!–is an actual daydream come true. Seriously, ask my crit group! Speaking of, a hearty round of virtual high-fives to those wildly talented folks (Asha, Beth, David, Frances, and Shannon), as well as to my stoic first and final readers (Jon and Allison)–thank you, all!

Also, big thanks to Rebekah McKendry and David Ian McKendry, the fantastic hosts of this episode, as well as to producer Chelsea Davis. Finally, super extra special thanks to Artemis Rising 4 guest editor, Karen Bovenmyer, and associate editor Shawna Borman, for making all this possible. Now, go listen!

If you like what you hear, consider supporting Escape Artists by donating here or subscribing via Patreon so they can (fingers crossed) buy more of my stories. If you don’t like what you hear, consider supporting Escape Artists by donating here or subscribing via Patreon so they can buy different stories.

Also, read more about this episode’s wonderful cover art!