Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New story up at Mighty Mercury

My short story "Spacesuit Day" is up at Mighty Mercury. Be warned: It's a strange one.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The MC5, Wax Trax, and me

In the year 1990 a goofy little 18-year-old me went into Wax Trax Records in Denver and purchased a Headcoats LP. The man behind the counter, one Tim "Purple" Hayes, asked if I was into garage rock. He must have seen how confused I was, because he walked over to the racks, picked out the MC5's Kick Out the Jams, and forced me to buy it. It fucking changed my life. Whenever I listen to the MC5, I think of Tim. Thanks, man, wherever you are.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Catching up

Wow, it's been a crazy couple months. In a nutshell:

-I quit my staff job at The Onion, Inc., in order to return to freelance writing. I'm currently contributing to The A.V. Club, Westword (Village Voice Media), Weird Tales, Fantasy Magazine, and whomever else will have me.

-I attended the Odyssey Writing Workshop. It kicked my ass and changed my life. More on that later.

-I went to Readercon, wound up participating in a Sybil's Garage reading (which kicked ass), and sat in on a Fantasy Magazine planning meeting (which also kicked ass). I'm still committed to writing speculative fiction, but I'm also excited to get into the nonfiction side of the genre, too.

-I'll be doing a Sybil's Garage/Brain Harvest literary reading with the awesome Vylar Kaftan at Kilgore Books on 8/15. I'll also be releasing a chapbook that night for my recent Brain Harvest story, "The Occupation of the Architect."

-The novel is going to be undertaken in earnest. Soon. It's all coming together...

-I've started DJing again, and my old '70s/'80s night, Off the Wall, will be resurrected at the Hi-Dive in Denver on Wednesday, 7/29. The basic idea: no mashups, no remixes, no irony -- a mix of '70s and '80s music that, while danceable, is like no mix you've heard before. Flipper into Journey into Eric B. and Rakim? Yeah, I go there. But it's not a joke. I love all this stuff, and I aim to make people dance to things they never knew they could dance to. (That said, I'm more than happy to throw down dancefloor staples like Michael Jackson -- in fact, my 7/29 kickoff party will be a tribute to greatness of the man, with MJ songs being played liberally throughout the night.)

-On 8/1, my old soul party Chit Chat will get a one-night revival -- me and my DJ partner Big Al will rock the back patio of the Meadowlark in Denver with vintage soul 45s under the stars. Can't wait for this.

-My band The Fire Drills is on its way back, but I've also got a new project bubbling away on the back burner. I've started jamming with my old friends Nathan Marcy (of The Risk) and Jason Begin (of Christie Front Drive, and my old bandmate in The Blue Ontario). It's really fun so far -- scrappy, old-school indie rock in the vein of Archers of Loaf and Lync. Can't wait to get this rolling. But mostly I just love making some noise with two of my favorite musicians (and two of my favorite people).

Whew. Yeah. Lots of craziness. More updates coming soon.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

David Eddings appreciation up at Fantasy Magazine

Fantasy Magazine just posted my appreciation of the late David Eddings. I know it may not be particularly hip or edgy to profess one's undying admiration for Eddings' books. But I can't deny the fact that he had a deep and profound influence on me at an early age. And he still inspires me; I can only hope that I someday write novels that touch people the way his touched me. Rest in peace, David, and thanks.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Live on Brain Harvest: "The Occupation of the Architect"

I love Brain Harvest. Here's why:

1. Their flash-fiction format makes for a clear, clean layout with maximum exposure and impact for the stories they publish.

2. The stories they publish totally ROCK. Cross-genre, crazy-ass, visceral shit with no patience for stodgy tradition or cliche. It's exactly what the world of speculative fiction needs right now. A personal favorite lately: an amazingly weird story titled "Newsmaker 2049: An Interview with Rockin’ Killbot" by Van Choojitarom.

3. They just published a story of mine, "The Occupation of the Architect"!

And to top it all off: They pay good money for the stories they publish. Granted, I'm just happy to be keeping such great company. But it's nice to feel appreciated (and amply rewarded) for the work you do.

Go, Brain Harvest, go!

Friday, May 22, 2009

New sale, new publication

Kaleidotrope just bought my short story "Like a Cannonball" (yes, that's a Van Morrison reference) for an upcoming issue. This is my second sale (first fiction -- last one was poetry) to the magazine. Rad.

In other news, my short story "The Raincaller" is in the brand-spankin'-new issue 6 of the prestigious and amazing Sybil's Garage. Fuck. Yes. (P.S. This is the sequel to my Apex Magazine story "Behold: Skowt!" from last year.)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sold: "The Name of Calvin" to New Myths

I just made my twelfth short fiction sale -- a folk tale called "The Name of Calvin." It'll by published by New Myths on June 1. So glad this one got picked up... It's an odd little story written in a weird frame of mind after digesting too much Italo Calvino one evening (hence the title). Woohoo! The bad news is, I'm down to just five finished stories that I'm shopping around right now. A couple more are very close to being done, but I'd better get on them shits, pronto.

Ballard blog up at Fantasy Magazine

The fine folks over at the fantastic Fantasy Magazine just posted my blog about the late J.G. Ballard. I've got something a lot lengthier in the works that ties together the hallucinogenic and magic-realist facets of Ballard's fiction (two elements I feel are often overlooked in favor of his more obvious social criticism/commentary). In short: Ballard the provocateur has always overshadowed Ballard the prose stylist. And that's a shame. I'll post something here when the longer essay is ready to run; until then, read some damn Ballard. Discover him. Rediscover him. Just get ready to meld brain matter (and muscle tissue and precious bodily fluids and a few other things I probably shouldn't mention here) with one of the 20th century's unique and most uncompromising madmen/geniuses.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Behold: Skowt!" to appear in Apex anthology!

Holy crap, I can't believe it: My short story "Behold: Skowt!", which was my first-ever sale (and a pro-rate sale, at that), is being reprinted in the upcoming Apex Magazine anthology Descended from Darkness. The book is due in December. Pinch me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"A Voice Not Her Own" in Kaleidotrope #6

A poem I wrote a while back, "A Voice Not Her Own," has just been published (in print, no less!) in issue 6 of the cool speculative fiction zine Kaleidotrope. What's it about? Pink Floyd and a ghost in a jukebox, of course.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A weekend that didn't suck

Spurred, I'm sure, by the below-mentioned acceptance of one of my stories to Brain Harvest -- not to mention a writing challenge between myself and my fellow Codex member Jay Ridler -- I actually got some shit done this weekend. First I wrote a 3400-word draft of a short story titled "A Kiss for Krin." Ridler and I had challenged each other to write one hard SF story and one high fantasy story in two weeks' time, in an effort to launch ourselves (at least temporarily) out of the dusty, weird, slipstream ruts we'd dug for ourselves lately. Sometimes, when trying to write this edgy, interstitial, genre-smearing type of stuff, it's easy to forget where you came from: aliens, spaceships, wizards, and swords.

I had no idea what I was going to do for this weekend's fantasy story, but I did have a character in mind: a down-on-his luck assassin named Pinchbeck the Poisoner. The story I wrote around him came pouring out of my head in about five or six hours, and I think it might actually turn out decent upon revision. Total Robert E. Howard/Michael Moorcock/Fritz Leiber type of stuff, with a bit of M. John Harrison's Viriconium and KJ Bishop's The Etched City throw in (hey, there had to be SOME weirdness to it). I had a fucking blast writing it. I just put my head down, took aim at the screen, and went for broke.

Riding on that wave of momentum, I jumped back into a story I'd been tinkering with for a few weeks: "Octopus Factory Galaxy." It's one of those fuzzier slipstream type of things; set in 1913, it's the tale a blind man who's recently regained his site thanks to an experimental medical procedure. He slowly begins to realize, though, that his doctor has other motives for curing him after his new eyes start taking on a life of their own. I've been reading a lot of Thomas Ligotti lately, and there's definitely some of that in there -- not to mention a shout out to my boy, Giambattista Vico. And, of course, J.G. Ballard had an unwitting hand in the midwifery, as he does with most stories I write. Anyway, I finally nailed the two halves of the story together and sent it out to the slush pile! Fingers crossed.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sale: "The Occupation of the Architect" to Brain Harvest

I just made my eleventh fiction sale since starting this crazy endeavor almost a year and a half ago. The great new speculative-fiction site Brain Harvest just accepted my story "The Occupation of the Architect" (and yes, that title is another one of my odd little double entendres). It's about a city whose buildings come to life one day and demand a moral and aesthetic accounting from their architect. Then they puke and kill people. It's supposed to be published toward the end of May. I'm stoked! Brain Harvest = warped and edgy and weird, just how I like it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Live on Atomjack: "Julie, Spirit of Laws"

My story "Julie, Spirit of Laws" is now live on the speculative fiction site Atomjack. This story tied for third place in Apex Magazine's Election Horror Contest last November, which was judged by the pretty damn awesome Jay Lake. It's kinda silly, perhaps disturbing, shamelessly pseudo-intellectual, and taps into the election elation/anxiety I was having throughout 2008. Also: It has a fistfight with a talking ostrich.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

New story up at Farrago's Wainscot

My new, strange, fragmented, and maybe even a bit confusing story "Seven Men (in Various States of Fabrication)" is up at the excellent avant-spec-fic site Farrago's Wainscot. Watch out for that self-deprecating meta-punchline. Zing!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Live on Everyday Weirdness: "Transparenting"

Crap, I almost forgot about this: My poem "Transparenting" is up on Everyday Weirdness. I don't see a permalink anywhere, so if you click on this link after 3/18 you'll probably see someone else's story! And that will ruin your whole day, I just know it.

UPDATE: Okay, I applied a little deductive reasoning and came up with the permalink. The world may now rest easy.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ten is a magic number

I just realized I made my tenth fiction sale. I've been writing the stuff for about 15 months now, and I made my first submission on June 2, 2008. Not bad for a newbie! Here's the list as it stands as of today:

"Behold: Skowt!": Apex Magazine, published 11/08 

"The People Fever": Expanded Horizons, published 12/08

"The Astonishing New Adventures of Free Hot Boy Aboard the Slaveship to Venus": Pear Noir!, published 2/09

"Transparenting" (poem): Everyday Weirdness, forthcoming

"The Raincaller": Sybil's Garage, forthcoming

"Seven Men (in Various States of Fabrication)": Farrago's Wainscot, forthcoming

"A Voice Not Her Own" (poem): Kaleidotrope, forthcoming

"The Crackerjack Kids": M-Brane SF, forthcoming

"Julie, Spirit of Laws": Atomjack, forthcoming

"The Saint of the Moon": Aoife's Kiss, forthcoming

I've still got a handful of stories making the slush-pile rounds--and while my output in '09 has been s-l-o-w, I'll have two more stories finished by the end of this month. Fingers crossed on that shit.

Sale: "Julie, Spirit of Laws" to Atomjack

The online SF magazine Atomjack just accepted my story "Julie, Spirit of Laws." This piece came in third place (tied with one written by my fellow Codex member Erin Cashier) in an "election horror" contest put on by Apex and judged by Jay Lake last November -- which won me a free book but no publication. I've had a hell of a time selling it since then. So glad it's gonna find a home! Plus: "Atom Jack" is the name of my favorite Drive Like Jehu song, so that's kinda cool, too.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sale: "Transparenting" to Everyday Weirdness

My poem "Transparenting" -- which is about a single mom who wakes up one day with the power to turn invisible -- was just accepted by Everyday Weirdness. It'll appear there on March 18. Sweet.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Meet the new blog, same as the old blog

Sorry to pull the plug on my old blog, Puzzled Panther. It was actually, um, kind of an accident. Oh, well. In any case, here's where things stand with my writing at the moment, because I'm sure you're very curious: In the last six weeks I've sold four short stories (to Sybil's Garage, Farrago's Wainscot, Aoife's Kiss, and M-Brane SF). I've also been accepted into this summer's Odyssey Workshop for speculative fiction in New Hampshire, and I cannot fucking wait. I'm currently finishing up one bitch of a short story, "The Rise and Fall of Old Lady Coleridge and the Thirteenth Flight of Stairs," a piece that's undergone endless revisions over the past three months. Also: I think I have rabies. Stay back.