Five days left!

That’s right.  Only five days remain to order a copy of Broken Skin, my first short story collection.  Featuring seven reprints and eight new stories, including the brand new novella Deeper Waters, it’s a helluva book.  The hardcover sports a beautiful cover by Zach McCain and an introduction by Brian Keene.  After Friday, this hardcover will no longer be available.

Order your copy now!

Your open door to the weekend

A strange round of sleep last night.  When I wasn’t dreaming about finding the world’s smallest strip club (ever received a lap dance in a closet?), I dreamed about my girlfriend having sex with Green Day.  Please don’t send me interpretations of these dreams.  I know I like strippers and that Green Day is trying to go to town on my girlfriend.

Yes, that last bit was a joke.

We have another Personal Injury winner.  Mark Beauchamp gets to be Mr. Blue.  I’m working on his story now, and I hope to have it finished this weekend.  The final Personal Injury winner will be drawn on May 2nd, one day after pre-orders for Broken Skin are closed.

In other news, the week has been spent looking at proposals from hotels.  The World Horror work is getting fun.  Hopefully, it’ll all turn into a great convention.

Have a good weekend, folks.  I’ll be busy getting an oil change and trying to win a Harley at Central Texas Harley’s customer appreciation night.  Wish me luck!

I must be crazy

For at least the last year, Lee Thomas and I have been considering placing a bid to bring the World Horror Convention to Austin.  Some may call the idea dumb.  Some may call it suicidal.  Well, as of this weekend, we’re calling it an idea with which we are proceeding.  Nothing is set in stone, of course, but we’re getting cracking.  One of our Guests of Honor has already said yes, and I get to do the hotel shuffle this week.  With any luck, we’ll have a con in Austin come 2011.

Broken Skin update!

Well folks, we are reaching crunch time…

As of today, there are only two weeks left to pre-order my debut collection Broken Skin.  That means there’s only two more chances to win the Personal Injury contest.  I’ve already written four stories for the winners, and each one has been a blast.  Here’s hoping I get a chance to write a story for you.

I have no idea if Broken Skin will be available as a paperback somewhere down the line.  If you don’t order in the next two weeks, you could miss out.

Order Broken Skin here.

The Shirley Jackson Awards

Press Release
For Immediate Release
Contact: JoAnn F. Cox
Awards Administrator

Nominees Announced for The 2008 Shirley Jackson Awards; Ceremony scheduled for July 12 at Readercon (

Boston, MA (April 2009) — In recognition of the legacy of Shirley Jackson’s writing, and with permission of the author’s estate, the Shirley Jackson Awards have been established for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic.

The Shirley Jackson Awards are voted upon by a jury of professional writers, editors, critics, and academics, with input from a Board of Advisors. The awards will be given for the best work published in the preceding calendar year in the following categories: Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Single-Author Collection, and Edited Anthology.

The nominees for the 2008 Shirley Jackson Awards are:

Alive in Necropolis, Doug Dorst (Riverhead Hardcover)
The Man on the Ceiling, Steve Rasnic Tem and Melanie Tem (Wizards of the Coast Discoveries)
Pandemonium, Daryl Gregory (Del Rey)
The Resurrectionist, Jack O’Connell (Algonquin Books)
The Shadow Year, Jeffrey Ford (William Morrow)
Tender Morsels, Margo Lanagan (Knopf Books for Young Readers)

Disquiet, Julia Leigh, (Penguin/ Hamish Hamilton)
“Dormitory,” Yoko Ogawa (The Diving Pool, Picador)
Living With the Dead, Darrell Schweitzer (PS Publishing)
The Long Trial of Nolan Dugatti, Stephen Graham Jones (Chiasmus Press)
“N,” Stephen King, (Just After Sunset, Scribner)

“Hunger Moon,” Deborah Noyes (The Ghosts of Kerfol, Candlewick Press)
“The Lagerstatte,” Laird Barron (The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Ballantine Books/Del Rey)
“Penguins of the Apocalypse,” William Browning Spencer (Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy, Subterranean Press)
“Pride and Prometheus,” John Kessel (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, January 2008)
The Situation, Jeff Vandermeer (PS Publishing)

“68° 07′ 15″N, 31° 36′ 44″W,” Conrad Williams (Fast Ships, Black Sails, Night Shade Books)
“The Dinner Party,” Joshua Ferris (The New Yorker, August 11, 2008)
“Evidence of Love in a Case of Abandonment: One Daughter’s Personal Account,” M. Rickert (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Oct/Nov 2008)
“The Inner City,” Karen Heuler (Cemetery Dance #58, 2008)
“Intertropical Convergence Zone,” Nadia Bulkin (ChiZine, Issue 37, 2008)
“The Pile,” Michael Bishop (Subterranean Online, Winter 2008)

A Better Angel, Chris Adrian (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
Dangerous Laughter, Steven Millhauser (Knopf)
The Diving Pool, Yoko Ogawa (Picador)
The Girl on the Fridge, Etgar Keret (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
Just After Sunset, Stephen King (Scribner)
Wild Nights!, Joyce Carol Oates (Ecco)

Bound for Evil, edited by Tom English (Dead Letter Press)
Exotic Gothic 2: New Tales of Taboo, edited by Danel Olson (Ash-Tree Press)
Fast Ships, Black Sails, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer (Night Shade Books)
The New Uncanny, edited by Sarah Eyre and Ra Page (Comma Press)
Shades of Darkness, edited by Barbara and Christopher Roden (Ash-Tree Press)

Shirley Jackson (1916-1965) wrote such classic novels as The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, as well as one of the most famous short stories in the English language, “The Lottery.” Her work continues to be a major influence on writers of every kind of fiction, from the most traditional genre offerings to the most innovative literary work. National Book Critics Circle Award-winning novelist Jonathan Lethem has called Jackson “one of this century’s most luminous and strange American writers,” and multiple generations of authors would agree.

The Shirley Jackson Awards will be presented on Sunday, July 12th 2009, at Readercon 20, Conference on Imaginative Literature, in Burlington, Massachusetts. Elizabeth Hand, Readercon Guest of Honor, and author of Generation Loss, which won the 2007 Shirley Jackson Award for “Best Novel”, will act as host.


A Pause for the Cause

Met my good friend and much more talented writer Lee Thomas for coffee yesterday.  In between all the snark and coffee imbibing that goes down at our meetings, we got to talking about writing (makes sense, right?).  More specifically, we got to talking about my writing and ways I can improve.

See, I’m constantly looking to get better at what I do.  I’m always writing and always reading, and as my tastes in writers changes, so does the benchmark I want to reach with my writing.  In the last two years, my world has been rocked by such writers as Sarah Langan, Laird Barron, Paul Tremblay, Ken Bruen, and Charlie Huston.  They represent a level of prose that most days feels like a pipe dream to this schlub.

So, Lee pointed out some helpful things I could do, and things started making a bit more sense.  See, I’ve been writing nonstop for several years.  A lot of it isn’t published, and there’s a reason for that.  I’d love for it all to see the light of day, but it’ll take some work.

That’s where the problem enters the mix.  I’ve been so concerned with my output, my craft hasn’t had time to progress.  I’ve been churning out words without really working on my own abilities.

So what’s a guy to do?

Well, if you check out my bio at the bottom of this story, you’ll notice I’ve got a pretty good year coming up.  With a collection, a novella, and a novel all due to hit shelves by year’s end, I can afford to spend some time working on my craft.  So until the end of May, I’ll be concentrating on creative writing exercises.  I won’t be writing stories, but will instead focus on my voice and mechanics.  I’ll be working to expand my abilities.  I’m even looking into creative writing classes in the area, because every little bit of practice helps.  When June rolls around, I’ll begin working on that old stuff, banging it into shape.

Taking a pause for the cause, because sometimes that’s what you need.

And… sigh!

So Saturday I finished the latest draft of a new novel.  This was a tough one, which makes for an experience that’s both fun and draining.  It’s now out to a few pre-readers.  Had to go with my regular crew minus one this time, as the minus one has enough going on in her life right now with reading my stuff.

Received the first round of edits for an upcoming novella.  Nothing major needed to be done, and for that I’m thankful.

You’ve got just under three weeks left to grab a copy of Broken Skin.  Joseph Gellis (not Hellis as my clumsy fingers would have you believe) won the fourth Personal Injury prize, and will now star in a short story. Get in there and try to win you something!

This week, I’ll be working on an essay about one of my favorite movies.  Here’s hoping I don’t much it up too much!

Two down, four to go

Jan Darga and Jim McLeod are officially the first two winners of the Personal Injury contest.  They will serve as Mr. Brown and Mr. Gray.  I have one short story done, and the other one will get tackled this weekend.

Now, there are still four chances to win a starring role in a short story.  The next drawing takes place tomorrow, so head on over to Thunderstorm Books or Horror Mall and order a copy!