Much has happened since last I blogged…


Isn’t this Scott Bakal image incredible?  My good fortune is that it accompanies my story, “All The Snake Handlers I Know Are Dead” at  It appeared on July 31st, but I was deep in the throes of a computer crash and a glacially slow Carbonite restore that’s had me on a forced vacation since returning from Maine.  Better late than never.  I recently visited the home that inspired this story and had a wonderful time in spite of continual driving rain.

My experience as a resident at Norton Island exceeded my wildest expectations.  What a wonderful place, what wonderful people.  I finished a story and completed a draft of another while there.  I almost lost it all in the computer crash, but fortunately I’d saved that work on a thumb drive as I was leaving the island.  My computer was completely dead when I woke it from sleep the day after I returned.  A humbling experience.

I start teaching on Thursday, an Advanced Fiction Writing class at VCU, and I’m looking forward to it.  Meanwhile I’m trying to reconnect to the e-world and sort out what I’ve lost.  If I’ve neglected anyone out there, it’s only because I lost my laptop, and I was adrift without my virtual life.  Somebody should write a novel about this.



I will be at Readercon, one of my favorite conventions, starting this Thursday. I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and discovering new writers. I read Thursday evening at nine from a forthcoming (July 31st) short story on, “All the Snake Handlers I Know Are Dead.” I’m also on a couple of panels, one about the wonderful fiction of Maureen McHugh, who is also the guest of honor; and another about the reexamination of the Civil War mythos, largely in the clutches of the Lost Cause folks since the war, in fantastic literature. I’ve done a bit of that. Most recently in “Christmas in Hollywood Cemetery” in the anthology Remapping Richmond’s Hallowed Ground. After Readercon I’m off to Norton Island off the coast of Maine for a couple of weeks of intensive writing. I have more publication news I can’t reveal yet.  Life is very good indeed.

Richmond Noir Returns

Just in time for Christmas. Join me and Richmond Noir editors Andrew Blossom, Brian Castleberry, and Tom De Haven at Barnes & Noble Libbie Place this Saturday 1-3 pm. We’re celebrating going into a second printing. Each story in the collection is a noir piece by a local writer set in a Richmond neighborhood. What better way to get to know our beloved city? There’s a handy map of corpses in the front. There must be someone a bit noir on your list? It makes the ideal solstice gift. What’s darker than the shortest day of the year?

Electric Velocipede revised schedule

Have you read “The Art Disease” yet?  You never know when it might strike someone you love.  Several other victims are publishing their fine work in EV.  Stay tuned:

Electric Velocipede Issue #23
Table of Contents & Publication Dates

October 31 “The Art Disease” by Dennis Danvers
November 7 “Dancing in the Winter Rooms” by David Tallerman
November 14 “Fastening” by Patricia Russo
“The Last Patrol” by Tara Barnett (poem)

November 21 “Fish Out of Water” by Deborah Fitchett
Blindfold Taste Test with Alex Irvine
November 28 Nonfiction: Spec Fic Poetry by John Ottinger
December 5 “A Reason to Fear Life, a Reason to Crave Death” by Andrew Kaye
“Her Mother’s Bees”
“The Girl and Her Cloud” by Alexandra Seidel (poems)
December 12 “The Empire Never Ended” by Brian Trent
December 19 “Through the Uprights” by Richard Butner

“The Art Disease” in Electric Velocipede

I’m delighted to report that after some delays, my story “The Art Disease” appears in the award-winning publication, Electric Velocipede today. EV is making the transition to online from print, and I’m most pleased to be a part of this exciting move.  Here’s the first paragraph, just to get you started…

  Derek and Emily had the art disease, the both of them.  Everyone they knew had it too.  That’s one of the symptoms:  Colonies, clusters, movements, splinter groups, manifestos.  Clumping, the experts call it.  She had a master’s in design and decorated cakes at Food One, not the one on 17th but the one near the park, open till midnight.  He refused to sell out.  He was determined to support himself with his art….


Electric Velocipede #23

The schedule for the launch of EV 23 follows. You’ll notice me bringing up the rear. Hope you’ll join me:
August 15
“Through the Uprights” by Richard Butner / Blindfold Taste Test w/Alex Irvine

August 22
“Fastening” by Patricia Russo / “Fish out of Water” by Deborah Fitchett

August 29
“Gray-faced Wench” by Andrew Kaye / “The Last Patrol” by Tara Barnett (poem)

September 5
“Dancing in the Winter Room” by David Tallerman / “Her Mother’s Bees” and “The Girl and Her Cloud” by Alexandra Seidel (poems)

September 12
“The Empire Never Ended” by Brian Trent / “Content TKTK: Speculative Poetry” by John Ottinger III

September 19
“The Art Disease” by Dennis Danvers / “Sampling the Aspic” by Penelope O’Shea

Richmond Noir is now an audiobook!

I haven’t had a listen myself yet, so I don’t know if the reader is up to the task of all the accents and dialects there are to be found in this rich collection, but it’s definitely worth a shot. Take it to the gym, listen to a few murders on the subway, give yourself a chill on the elliptical. Visit my fair city in all its noir glory.  Buy it here.

Everyone interested in online fiction, raise your hand, now put it on the mouse or trackpad or device of your choice and go to Electric Velocipede.  The award-winning publication is back in a big way, giving away some truly remarkable fiction.  I’ll have more on EV’s return soon.

Déjà vu all over again!

Realms of Fantasy is back, again. This is of particular interest to me because I had/have a story in the issue that was not/ but now will be coming out. This is the second time this has happened. “Healing Benjamin,” a story that has been very good to me was scheduled to appear in Realms when it went under before, but then it was rescued.  My story “The Banjo Singer,” was similarly accepted, then the mag died, but you can’t keep a good story down, and once again Realms is rescued.   “Banjo Singer” is a companion piece to “Here’s What I Know” (also published in Realms), which mythologizes my dad’s life.  This one’s about my mom. Anyway, the December issue.  Look for it.  Better yet, subscribe. Welcome back Realms! Woo-hoo! The good thing about resurrection is you get to celebrate twice, even if the death part’s a serious downer.

Spread the word that Realms lives. Anyone who has submissions in limbo there should check their website. Welcome back, Shawna!

Benjamin gets a nice notice

This review appeared recently on Beam Me Up—

Tails of Wonder & Imagination
Edit by Ellen Datlow
from Night Shade Books

Do you think of yourself as a cat fancier? Do stories about cats or with cats as the main character garner more than just a little interest? Well have I got a book for you! Tails of Wonder edited by Ellen Datlow has collected some of the finest “catâ€� stories I have seen to date. Now I am not talking about the cutesy puss in boots tales (no pun intended) either. Some of the most heart wrenching and frightening stories are contained within the covers, by some of the most esteemed authors in the field today. Stephen King, George R.R. Martin and Mary A. Turrizllo to name a few. Mary’s story you might remember from an earlier BMU program, is Pride which tells the story of a long dead sabre tooth tiger brought back through regressive dna (I know, I am mangling the science) and the horrifying effect that the big cat has on modern society. Or the absolutely indescribable Cat Skin by Kelly Link and one of my favorites in the book Healing Benjamin by Dennis Danvers is absolutely heart breaking.

Forty two stories in all with a fine intro by Ellen gives enough selection than anyone is likely to find several well worth the cost of the volume. I thought I would be wanting at the end knowing that most of the stories would be classified as fantasy, but I had no problem getting to the end and often a lot of trouble just putting it down.

This would be one that I would suggest you checking out no matter what your main story venue is. I think even the most hardened amongst us can warm to this collection.

posted by Beam Me Up at 2:50 PM on May 13, 2010

Summer school starts Monday, so I’m crazy busy.  I’ll be back with news from that front when time allows.