Monday, February 15, 2010

"Wings" Appearing in Best New Zombie Tales

My short story “Wings,” which appeared in the most recent issue of The Nocturnal Lyric, has found a second home in Best New Zombie Tales, an upcoming print anthology from Books of the Dead Press. This is a collection made up entirely of reprints, showcasing some of the best zombie shorts to have come out over the last few years. I’m really looking forward to it.

The best part of this, aside from having impressed two editors with the story, is that “Wings” beat out over two hundred other stories to find a place in the Table of Contents. It trumped two hundred other stories, all or which (if the authors were following guidelines) were previously accepted by at least one other editor.

The editor’s email response to my submission was one of the kindest and coolest I’ve ever received, as well. There’s nothing like enthusiastic praise from an editor to put a smile on my face.

Wow. I am kind of shocked right now. What a pleasant cap to a somewhat stressful weekend. Best pick-me-up ever.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

"In My Office" in Freehand Issue #3

Back when I worked nights, I’d often come up with writing exercise ideas to keep myself entertained and my literary muscles flexed. Most of them were the oft-mentioned “1000 Word” exercises, where I picked a topic and rambled for a thousand words, hoping to make a complete piece of flash out of whatever I managed to type up. Some were successful, some not so much.

Occasionally, I’d ask other people for ideas instead of aggregating my own poor, sleep deprived brain for content. Sometimes I suffer bouts of creative deficiency, when everything I manage to think up sounds lame as hell or it’s already been done to death. On one of these evenings, I told Eric to give me an idea and he wound up asking me to write him a piece of detective fiction. He was in the middle of a course on detective fiction at the University of Pittsburgh, and so he was interested in seeing if I could write something similar.

I have no experience with detective fiction. None. I like Japanese “women’s crime fiction” (Kirino, Miyabe, Nonami, et al), but I’ve never been into the fedora-wearing private dick type thing. I know there’s a trove of great fiction hiding in the genre, and I fully intend to get around to reading it someday, but I haven’t yet.

What resulted in this request was a short piece called “In My Office,” which, while being nothing like any detective fiction I’ve heard of (in my very limited experience), is about as close as I think I’ll ever come to writing the “sitting in the dismal office smoking and waiting for a mystery” cliche story. It was fun, though I’m not sure just how good I am at it.

Anyway, it’s making an appearance in Freehand, a literary zine run by a woman I know from a message board I’ve been frequenting. There’s a website and a print version, which looks so close to the zines I used to read in the 90s that the nostalgia almost gives me vertigo. Cool. Very cool.

Read it, comment on it, let me know what you think. I had fun writing it, and I hope you have fun reading it. My only regret is that I didn't get to use the phrase "I was sweating bullets."