Whenever I am asked, as all authors are, who the writers were who influenced me, Edgar Allan Poe is always the first to come to mind.
I was an odd child, and in the year between seventh and eighth grade, I spent all summer wearing my swimming suit and living in my bed, reading. I read the collected works of Poe, of course, and everything from Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan, Pelucidar and more), Ian Fleming, Rod Serling, Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury… I read voraciously. The only time I got out of bed was to load the books in the basket of my bicycle and head to the library for another load. This immersion in literature was the most valuable use of time (though my mother never understood) for a fledgling writer.
I’ve since read most of those authors many times, none more than Mr. Poe: the author, the poet, the enigma, the influence. I glean new appreciation every time I read something of his.
Several years ago I was invited to contribute to an anthology entitled Poe’s Lighthouse, a collection of stories about the most mysterious story of all: an unfinished one by Poe. Chris Conlon did a nice job of putting the anthology together, and I was delighted to contribute. Now that story is available as a $.99 stand-alone short story for the Kindle.
I hope all Poe fans enjoy it. As always now and forever: if you read something you like, post a review.
I’ve been experimenting with publishing some short fiction on Amazon.com for the Kindle.
The latest short story I posted was “Moxie and the African Queen”, a sweet little read for kids of all ages. Inspired originally by Alexis America, whose beautiful watercolor painting still hangs on my wall, my daughter and I collaborated on the bones of the story for an anthology called Great Writers and Kids Write Mystery Stories, illustrated by the incomparable Gahan Wilson and edited by Jill Morgan, Martin Greenberg and Robert Weinberg.
I buy stand-alone short stories from Amazon, and am interested to find out if anyone else does. This is the fourth short story to appear in this form. Apex published “Music Ascending,” IFD published “Crosley” and I previously published “Charlie’s Grave.”
Check them out. They’re $.99, and as always, if you like what you find, please post a review on Amazon.com.
And if you want, I have some far darker pieces I could post. Let me know.
A quick update on what’s been happening.
First, my newest book, York’s Moon is available at Amazon.com and on my website. The launch party will be at Tsunami Books, 2585 Willamette St., Eugene, OR, April 17, 3-5pm. Come celebrate!
The trailer is up on the Candyland website! It’s very dark and creepy.
“Honing Sebastian”, a short story, is available as a podcast at PodCastle.
“Music Ascending”, a short story, is available as a stand-alone.
When Darkness Loves Us is in audio production.
I just got back from a great vacation and am now back at work.
It was an honor and a privilege to teach the fine art of fiction along side my pal John Reed for his first annual Adventures in Fiction–Mexico Style! writing retreat last week in Zihuatanejo, Mexico.
The week began Sunday afternoon in the third floor open-air classroom in the Hotel Casa Celeste with an exquisite catered reception, then all of us, including spouses, went to dine on the fine Mexican cuisine on the beach, under the stars.
Monday, we got to work, writing hard and fast, having sessions on structure, character, marketing and fielding all manner of questions. The participants each wrote two complete short stories and we critiqued them all in a marathon session on Friday.
It’s always my hope and intention that with every class I teach, each participant picks up a golden nugget or two to carry with them throughout their writing career. This time, I picked up more than one, both from Mr. Reed and from the articulate and probing questions from the participants.
After a hard week of work (amidst all that is wonderful about Zihua), we ended with a celebratory dinner. Then we went our separate ways with fresh knowledge and new friends.
There is something to the idea that group synergy equals more than the sum of its parts.
Last weekend, twelve of us got together at a beautiful riverfront resort up the McKenzie River in Oregon to write science fiction stories. This weekend, like the annual ghost story weekends, required all participants to write a science fiction story in 24 hours. We had some good chats about science fiction, and then at 7pm on Friday, after dinner, we all got down to it.
Saturday at 7pm, the dinner dishes done, exhausted yet energized, we sat in a comfy circle to hear the stories. It’s like having someone reading an entire anthology of excellent science fiction stories. We laughed, we shivered, we exclaimed, speculated, we clapped, we cheered. And then we realized that every one of the stories had certain elements in common. How could that be? There was no collaboration, no collusion. How could every single story have some of the same thematic elements? These were not things we discussed in pretrip meetings or over Friday night pizza and salad. They just happened.
I prefer to think that these things are in the ether. That our mind channels, when opened to the Great Creative Powers become not unlike an insecure internet portal. We wander around the grounds in the sunlight, pondering our stories, and those ponderings collide with another writer’s musings, and bingo! They both come up with a common solution for their outrageously different stories.
We’ve had this type of synergy before in these weekends. I’ve facilitated enough of them now that I thought I’d seen everything, but no. This was extraordinary.
And made every one of us eager to repeat the process.
Next spring: Fantasy Story Weekend.
A new short story of mine (a vampire story, no less) appears in the new Apex anthology now available via Kindle.
If you don’t have a Kindle (really?), it’s available in other digital forms from Apex Books.
…is now in the history books.
I have to say, this was perhaps the best weekend with the highest quality stories across the board. Everybody really rose to the occasion. You’ll be reading some of those stories in magazines soon, I expect.
And now we turn our attention to Science Fiction Story Weekend this fall, perhaps in a new venue with accommodations more befitting our advancing ages, and the next Ghost Story Weekend next Spring, God willing.