Listening to The Language of Moths

t4_image Hey, cool, I hadn’t seen that this was available until today, but here is an audiobook version of my Nebula nominated novelette, The Language of Moths.  I love the image they gave the story, and even better: if you go through the link above to the audible.com page for the book, you can hear the beginning of the story as a sample.  Very fun to finally hear someone else read something I’ve written.

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Are you reading?

Last week I posted an excerpt from the introduction to Interfictions 2 here, and a link to the whole deal.  But we also now have two of our Annex stories live online.  Have you checked them out yet?  The first one is Genevieve Valentine’s “To Set Before the King” and this week’s addition is F. Brett Cox’s “Nylon Seam” which comes along with a song written and sung by Brett, who is also totally rockin’ the guitar as well.  A blend of music and story.  I love stuff like that.  If you’ve got a free moment, and work is slow and boring anyway, or the kids are in bed, etc, take a swing over to the Interstitial Arts Foundation website for all the free content that is going to keep appearing over the next few weeks until the second volume of Interfictions itself appears in November.  I just looked over the copyedits for the book this past week, by the way, and was reminded of how kick-ass the table of contents is.  I can’t wait to re-read the book, and wait till you see the full cover.  Sweet, sweet stuff.

Damn, I love making books.

The Ghost Hunter’s Beautiful Daughter

In the October/November issue of Asimov’s, on magazine shelves now, you will find a new story penned by me, entitled “The Ghost Hunter’s Beautiful Daughter”.  It’s set in Warren, Ohio, just a twenty minute drive from where I sit in my office on the North Side of Youngstown, an old floundering steel town with a richly beautiful courthouse square that serves as its downtown, and wonderful old mansions and churches from a time when the region was prosperous.  Every year in the month of October, a local community theater, along with a local church, puts on a Ghost Walk through Warren’s historic district.  When I was a teen in high school, a troop of friends and I would always go on the Ghost Walk, which is more history oriented than it is interested in horror and frightening anyone.  The lives of former residents in the historic district are recounted, at least those who have a bit of a thrill in their family histories.  It’s always something I look forward to each autumn.  For this story, I wanted to set a scene at the Ghost Walk in Warren, which seemed appropriate since I was writing a ghost story.

As an aside, this is the first time a story of mine has been published in Asimov’s, over which my teenage self, if he could know about it, would totally be geeking out.

You can get a taste of the story over at Asimov’s right now, actually.  Just click here. And, if you like it, go out and buy a copy to read the rest of it, or order it online.  I hope you enjoy it.

We’re getting ready

If you’ve managed to forget that the second volume of Interfictions is being released later this fall, I certainly haven’t.  We’re getting ready to start posting our Annex stories online, as we lead up to the publication date of the book itself, but today, over at the Interstitial Arts Foundation’s website, you can already take a look at the introduction to the book, written by Henry Jenkins, the Provost’s Professor of Communications, Journalism, and Cinematic Art at the University of Southern California.  Previously, and very recently, he served at the co-founder of the Comparative Media Studies Program at MIT.  Henry’s written a really great intro to the book, which I will excerpt here:

“Please accept my resignation. I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.”

– Groucho Marx

Let’s start with some basic premises:

  1. I do not belong in this book.
  2. The contributors also do not belong.
  3. You, like Groucho Marx, wouldn’t want to belong even if you could. Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t have picked up this book in the first place.

Let me explain. The editors of most anthologies seek stories which “fit” within prescribed themes, genres, and topics; the editors of this book have gone the opposite direction – seeking stories that don’t fit anywhere else, stories that are as different from each other as possible. And that’s really cool if the interstitial is the kind of thing you are into.

At the heart of the interstitial arts movement (too formal), community (too exclusive), idea (too idealistic?), there is the simple search for stories that don’t rest comfortably in the cubbyholes we traditionally use to organize our cultural experiences.”

Why not go over to the website to read the rest of it, and see if you don’t belong either?

Late to the party

Apparently on September 1st a little something called “The Outer Alliance”–a group that advocates for queer speculative fiction and those who create, publish, and support it, whatever their gender identity or sexual orientation, and make sure their work and actions reflect this support–made it’s debut on the internet.  Late to the party I am, as usual.  So here’s my banner of support:

oalpridebannerDC

And, as spec-fic writers I know have been doing, here’s a link to a couple of my short stories which reflect my engagement with these issues in some way:

Born on the Edge of an Adjective

The Language of Moths (Nebula Nominee)

Caryatids

And, since I’m a week late, I present you with this very cool advertisement for gay marriage from Ireland:

Sinead’s Hand

Towards the end of something

One of the things I’ve become conscious of after writing two books and being in the latter stages of a third one is when I’m nearing the latter stages of narrative.  I’m not a plot outliner; I write forward, sometimes at a charge, sometimes groping in the dark.  This makes for an organic, non-linear process, but I prefer it to planning everything out prior to writing a book.  I’ve tried that; books I’ve planned I’ve never been able to get off the ground, because by the time I’ve figured everything out in terms of the plot and the language for the telling, among other things, I feel like I haven’t really left myself any of the fun stuff to do, and what’s left is work.  I abhor work, and have no qualms about complaining about it.  Work is what anything is when there’s nothing fun in something.  But as long as I’ve got something fun to look forward to, I can manage to do a lot of what other people might traditionally call work.  It’s a state of mind, I suppose, that distinguishes activities that might look very similar from an objective perspective.  It’s the subjective feeling of play, and what conditions must exist for that feeling to exist, that colors work so that it does not feel like work, for me.

But because I am not a planner (in terms of knowing absolutely everything before I go into writing a novel), I sometimes find myself at stages in a book that I had not anticipated, because it’s very much like turning a corner and suddenly the hallway with the door at the end–the one you’ve been searching for–is right there in front of you.  You might surprise yourself with what you find behind that door, it may open up onto a vista you hadn’t expected, but you know that it’s most likely the last door you have to walk through.  I’m at the beginning of that hallway, and I’ve got a long hallway to walk to make it to the door, but it’s there.  What frustrations and annoyances I may encounter from taking a more spontaneous and intuitive journey through a book rather than a planned itinerary are made up for by my own encounter with surprise and an ability to receive new ideas about the story I’m writing as I go along, rather than trying to control it from the beginning, to beat it into submission, to fit it into a preconceived form.   Afterward, of course, I tend to do a lot of the controlling stuff; taking out what no longer needs to be there, putting in things that must be there, because of some strange growth the story took on that I had not anticipated initially.

One of the things that I realize now, as I approach a novel’s last corridor, is that it is probably coming when I begin to want to go back to the earliest chapters and start the pruning and shaping of the story, to tear out whole sections and replace with something new.  Lately I’ve had that impulse, and it wasn’t until I turned the corner the other day and realized where I was in this book–in the last leg of it–that I realized the feeling of wanting to go back and start revising is inherently linked with being near the end.  It’s obviously the next step in the process, and because I can see the end and know it, I know what I have to do in the revision stages already.  Now my biggest problem is curbing myself from jumping ahead to revision, so that I can finish that last leg.  And despite it being the last leg, it’s still a long run to make.  It’ll be very satisfying when I reach it.

And even better when I can start in on those revisions I already want to make.  Some people hate revising and rewriting, but I have learned that it’s the best part of writing, because it’s the stage when you know exactly what you’re doing, and you’ve got the general item itself there, right in front of you, so no complaints.  At least not from me.  Revising and rewriting means I’m more than halfway done with making a book.  It means you’ve reached a stage of the creative process that feels, to me, very close to seeing the thing you’ve been making as something more and more apart from you, about to take on its own existence.  And that is an event that feels mysterious and amazing.