A word about what’s coming

I have four stories appearing this year, three of which are originals.

Teeth, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, is coming in early April. My story is “Sunbleached,”about which I’ve already written, so I won’t go on about it anymore here.

Of the next two, I don’t know which will appear first. But as of today I’m able to announce that “Wild Acre” will be appearing in Visions Fading Fast, the first volume of a two-part anthology of novellas edited by Gary McMahon. It’ll come out sometime this summer.

“Wild Acre” was written a couple of years ago, but I had a devil of a time finding a home for it. I think it might be my best story, but then again writers are often the worst judges of their own work, so who knows. In the barest sense, it’s about a man who survives an attack by a werewolf. (This story and “Sunbleached” are the only times I can think of I used traditional horror tropes in any of my stories, and I have to say I’m pretty pleased with the results. Maybe I should write about a mummy next.) It doesn’t behave the way people usually expect a werewolf story to behave, which may have worked against it when it was on the market. In any case, it’s finally going to see the light of day, and I couldn’t be happier.

Next is “The Way Station,” coming this July in Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy, also edited by Ellen Datlow.

I think I can safely say that the people who pick up this book on the basis of the cover alone are going to be mystified by “The Way Station.” It’s about Beltrane, a homeless man who leaves New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and goes to St. Petersburg, looking for his estranged daughter. This search is complicated by the fact that he is physically haunted by New Orleans, which manifests in his body and tends to blur the lines of reality for him. The character is loosely based on Sunbeam, a regular at the Avenue Pub, who would get free drinks and tell stories about how he used to wrestle bears in Mississippi for money when he was a young man. I’ll be writing about him directly in one of these posts, before long. I’m pretty fond of this story.

Finally, the reprint: “The Monsters of Heaven,” which won the Shirley Jackson Award a few years ago, will be appearing in Creatures: Thirty Years of Monsters, edited by John Langan and Paul Tremblay.

A few years ago I was invited by my friend Dale Bailey to go to his Oscar party, which was really just an informal gathering at his home. In attendance would be Kelly Link, Gavin Grant, and Karen Joy Fowler. Kelly, I believe, was writer-in-residence at the university where Dale teaches. I wasn’t going to go, because I was pretty sure I’d be nervous and out of place. Another friend, the far-more-pragmatic-than-I Pam Noles, basically told me I was an idiot if I didn’t go. I knew she was right, so I did. Of course I had a great time, because that’s a collection of some of the nicest people on the planet. But a side benefit was Kelly telling me that Ellen Datlow was putting together this anthology of original horror fiction, and perhaps I should contact her. I did the next day, and a year or so later “The Monsters of Heaven” appeared in Inferno, and I got my first award (“first,” he said, optimistically). So thanks, Kelly.

I remember the night I was kicking this one around. It was in the Avenue Pub, and I was talking to Neal. I had a few of the core ideas, but I didn’t know how they would fit together. I told Neal I wanted to close the story with the protagonist having a vision of his son’s dead body, and that this would be presented as a moment of release for him. It would free him. It would be a good thing, though of course the reader would recognize it’s sadness. Neal said he didn’t think it could be done. So then I had to do it, just to prove to him that I could.

(And a bonus for me: the cover art looks like it could have been taken directly from the story. Of course it wasn’t, but allow me my little fantasy.)

I’m glad to see this one still has life. The anthology comes out in November.

And that’s everything I have in the pipeline. I’m finishing two more right now: “I Know You” and “Worms in Love.” I hope to have news of their fates in the near future.