“Once More Into the Abyss” on Tor.com

I’m delighted to announce the publication of “Once More Into the Abyss” on Tor.com, the third and final in a series of stories about Stan, who believes his parents to have been aliens.  The previous stories are “Adult Children of Alien Beings” and “Orphan Pirates of the Spanish Main.”  They are edited by Ellen Datlow, with the marvelous artwork of Chris Buzelli.


All Sorts of Pub News

I’ve been neglecting the blog lately. (Curse you Facebook!) I have lots to report. A new short story is on Tor.com, “Adult Children of Alien Beings.” A sequel, “Orphan Pirates of the Spanish Main,” will appear next summer.  The fantastic artwork for ACAB is pitch perfect.

Even more exciting is the publication of my eighth novel, Bad Angels in October.  It’s available for preorder on Amazon.  I’m giddy about it frankly.  It’s a love letter to Richmond and a whole lot of fun.  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll fly!


For Part One go here; Part Two here; Part Three here.


Chapter 19. Looks Downhill To Me

 For the more we look at the story (the story that is a story, mind), the more we disentangle it from the finer growths that it supports, the less shall we find to admire. It runs like a backbone—or may I say a tapeworm, for its beginning and end are arbitrary.

 —E. M. Forster, Aspects of the Novel


 I swing by the shop to get some donuts to take to Whit’s, and because I’ve just got to see it—the new parking lot, even more lovely than I’d imagined, a pristine black plain with crisp white stripes and not a speck of trash. It gives me a good feeling; all the cars parked in front of the shop, an even better feeling. I even love the guy standing out front talking on his cell phone, making what-are-you-an-idiot? gestures as he speaks, so he’s even obnoxious to watch. He’ll be all right once he has a donut. It’s today’s newspaper in the machine, and I don’t even mind the headline is about my favorite President. People can read the bad news eating my donuts for a change. Continue reading




For Part One go here, Part Two here.


Chapter 13. Even Steven

The art of writing is rewriting.

—Sean O’Faolain

I open my eyes. We’re stopped. It’s dark. Where the hell are we? We. I look to the driver’s seat, and Nicole’s not there. I jolt awake. Where is she? The ignition’s off, but the motor’s still ticking, cooling, contracting. How long does it do that? I crank my window down. It’s cool out. I check my watch. 3:22 am Monday morning. The big moon sits low in a starry sky. We’re on a country road somewhere, on the narrow shoulder, in front of a darkened white house. A meteor arcs across the sky. My first short story ever was about people living on a meteor. That was the surprise ending. Zap. Just terrible. If that kid time-traveled his ass to the here and now and showed me that story, what would I say? A couple of stupid pages. No characters, no plot, no point. Give it up? I get out of the car and close the door. Who am I kidding? I know what I’d tell him: Revise. Continue reading



For Part One go here.


Chapter 7. The No-Holes Situation

The beginning novelist who has the gift for inhabiting other lives has perhaps the best chance for success.

 —John Gardner, On Becoming a Novelist


I’m an hour and a half late. All the way here I’ve been longing for the comfort of work, both aching feet on the ground, instead of flying through the woods—the last man to speak with Nicole before her explosion experience. I try not to imagine it. I want a dough, a plain of floured canvas, a pin, a cutter. Roll and cut. Order out of chaos. Ouroborus sweet and fried. It’s not like I can talk to anyone about Nicole unless I’m looking for arrest or treatment.

Except Nicole herself. And Whit, Whit who got me into this mess without a word of warning. If she was keeping that big a secret, what was I to make of our newfound friendship and old-fashioned flirtation? What part of that was real? What did I want to be real? But now I’m here, at the shop. Sanctuary. Home. Where I’ve exhausted such questions a long time ago. I’m standing just inside the door, the bell still ringing in my ears, but something’s not right. Continue reading