The ebook edition of He Stepped Through is now available for purchase in a variety of formats.  Tech fans should go buy it!

There have been some problems with the printer, but Bloodletting Books is scheduled to receive all copies of the print edition tomorrow.  They should start heading out to those who pre-ordered very soon, so keep you eyes peeled.

For those of you on the fence about whether or not to pick up He Stepped Through

One gray morning, the words appear everywhere: on the lips of the men shooting up an inner city burger joint, scrawled across a bloody crime scene, and written on the wall of the only occupied apartment in a downtown slum. In the space of a single day, they infect Los Angeles.

Crooked detective Walker wants to know what the words mean. Officer Megan Ricks can’t get the words out of her head. Gangbanger 2Bit wants to get as far away from the words as possible.

But the words can’t be escaped. They’re written in violence, and promise terror. When their meaning becomes clear, no one will be safe.

Chasing the Dragon

This past week, I read an amazing novella by Nicholas Kaufman.  You should do the same!  Chasing the Dragon is a work of modern day fantasy and horror with enough action, whimsy, and darkness to fill a three voume epic.

Chasing the Dragon stars Georgia, a descendant of St. George.  What most people don’t know is that St. George failed to slay the dragon all those years ago, and now Georgia is the latest in a long line of slayers who must destroy the dragon before it destroys the world.

Georgia has some issues, though.  Among them is a powerful heroin addiction.  She’s as damaged as she is tough, and she’s one of the most fully realized heroines I’ve seen in a long time.

Kaufmann writes some amazing action.  The scenes of Georgia battling the dragon’s minions are some of the best sequences I’ve read in years.  You really owe it to yourself to check out this one.  Chock full of shotguns, zombies, history, action, and emoion, Chasing the Dragon is one of the best books I’ve read this year.  Go pick it up.  You won’t be sorry.

2009 Shirley Jackson Award Nominees

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 are 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 Shirley Jackson Awards will be presented at Readercon 21, Conference on Imaginative Literature, in Burlington, Massachusetts. Nalo Hopkinson, Readercon Guest of Honor, will act as host.

The nominees for the 2009 Shirley Jackson Awards are:

Big Machine, Victor LaValle (Speigel & Grau)
Last Days, Brian Evenson (Underland Press)
The Little Stranger, Sarah Waters (Riverhead)
The Owl Killers, Karen Maitland (Delacorte Press)
The Red Tree, Caitlin R. Kiernan (Roc)
White is for Witching, Helen Oyeyemi (Nan A. Talese)

The Language of Dying, Sarah Pinborough, (PS Publishing)
Midnight Picnic, Nick Antosca (Word Riot Press)
“Sea-Hearts,” Margo Lanagan (X6, coeur de lion)
Shrike, Quentin Crisp (PS Publishing)
Vardøger, Stephen Volk (Gray Friar Press)
The Witnesses are Gone, Joel Lane (PS Publishing)

“Catch Hell,” Laird Barron (Lovecraft Unbound, Dark Horse)
“Each Thing I Show You Is a Piece of My Death,” Gemma Files and Stephen J. Barringer, (Clockwork Phoenix 2, Norilana Books)
“Lonegan’s Luck,” Stephen Graham Jones (New Genre 6)
“Morality,” Stephen King (Esquire)
The Night Cache, Andy Duncan (PS Publishing)

“The Crevasse,” by Dale Bailey and Nathan Ballingrud (Lovecraft Unbound, Dark Horse)
“Faces,” Aimee Bender (The Paris Review, Issue 191, Winter 2009)
“The Jacaranda Smile,” Gemma Files (Apparitions, Undertow Publications)
“The Pelican Bar,” Karen Joy Fowler (Eclipse 3, Night Shade)
“Procedure in Plain Air,” Jonathan Lethem (The New Yorker, April 5, 2010)
“Strappado,” Laird Barron (Poe: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, Solaris)

Everland and Other Stories, Paul Witcover (PS Publishing)
Fugue State, Brian Evenson (Coffee House Press)
Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical, Robert Shearman (Big Finish Productions)
There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby: Scary Fairy Tales, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya (Penguin)
Tunneling to the Center of the Earth, Kevin Wilson (Harper Perennial)
Zoo, Otsuichi (Haikasoru/VIZ Media)

Apparitions, edited by Michael Kelly (Undertow Publications)
British Invasion, edited by Christopher Golden, Tim Lebbon, and James A. Moore (Cemetery Dance)
Exotic Gothic 3: Strange Visitations, edited by Danel Olson (Ash Tree Press)
Lovecraft Unbound, edited by Ellen Datlow (Dark Horse)
Poe: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Ellen Datlow (Solaris)

Best Horror Honorable Mentions

Ellen Datllow posted the second half of her 2009 Best Horror Honorable Mentions, and it looks like I picked up three!  “Working the Bag,” “His Start,” and “Yellow Triangles” all made the list, alongside such great writers as Lansdale, Langan, Tremblay, Ketchum, Keene, Thomas, Moore, and others.  This is a huge honor for me.  Yay!

Dead Set

Dead Set, a charity zombie anthology edited by Michelle McCrary and Joe McKinney, is now available from 23 House Publishing.  It contains my story “In the Middle of Poplar Street,” as well as new fiction by Lee Thomas, Bev Vincent, Harry Shannon, and a host of others.  Proceeds go to a good cause, so pick one up today!


I haven’t written in two days.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been productive.  It just means I haven’t worked on anything new.  In the past two days i’ve proofread the second draft of a novella and the galleys of a novel, searched for a home for a short story, scheduled a shoot for author photos, and dug a little deeper into the Great Agent Hunt.  I’m happy for these distractions, because soon I’ll be handing that novella off to my final pre-reader, and that means I have to dive back into two novels that I’ve been working on for the past year and continue to push me as a writer.

But I’m jonesing.  Jonesing hard.

A couple of days without writing–without creating–and my skin starts to crawl.  Story ideas creep into my head and demand their spot in line.  The cover of a book makes me envious (the beautiful covers on ChiZine Publication’s books are really bad about this).  I start to look for vacation days so I can spend gigantic chunks of time just typing.

But I can’t. There are things in the queue.  A novella.  Two novels.  A few years ago, maybe even last year, I might have just busted through them and decided I was done.  They’d either sell or they wouldn’t (hint: they wouldn’t).  Now, I want to spend an eternity on them, crafting and carving and making them perfect.  I don’t want to be a hack.  I want to be a writer.

Sometimes the jones helps.  Sometimes it doesn’t.

All Good Things

Last week, I received both the contract and preliminary layout for my first novel, which should be available later this year. 

This week, I’m finishing the second draft of a novella that marks my first ever deadline.

Yesterday, I got Shawna on the back of The Late Late Show and took her to lunch.  It was her first time on the back of the bike (well, the first time she went further than around the block).

Friday, I’ll be putting her back on the bike and taking her to the Lone Star Roundup to look at cars that are both old and bad ass.

Saturday, I’ll be hosting a gathering of friends so that we can gorge ourselves on pollo pibil and talk writerly bullshit.

These are all good things.

Most of the time, my brain can turn even the best day into a full-blown catastrophe.  That’s just the messed up way my head works.  Every now and then, however, I wake up and realize I’m surrounded by good things, that life is pretty goddamn awesome most of the time.  Today’s one of those days, and I’m thankful.