Before and Afterlives and The Shirley Jackson Award

In all the hustle and bustle that lead up to the release of “Jamie Marks is Dead” I failed to report a fantastic bit of news that occurred in mid-July. As I’d mentioned in an earlier post back in May, my short story collection Before and Afterlives had been nominated for the 2013 Shirley Jackson Award in the category of Best Single-Author Collection. In July it was announced that I had won the award. In fact, there were two winners: my collection and Nathan Ballingrud’s amazing collection, North American Lake Monsters.

I could not be happier to have this collection–something of a retrospective of the best of my short stories from the first decade of my life as a publishing writer–recognized with this award. Shirley Jackson’s work has been an enormous influence on me since I was a teenager assigned to read “The Lottery” in a high school English class, like so many of us from a certain generation were. Her small town spooks and just-on-the-edge-of-surreal thrills spoke to me on so many levels. To have my collection of stories recognized in her name is really, as they say, a dream (or perhaps in Shirley’s case), a nightmare come true.

I’d like to thank Steve Berman, my publisher at Lethe Press, for believing in my stories and for bringing this collection out into the world. I’d also like to thank Alex Jeffers for the gorgeous interior design, and Steven Andrew, who designed the cover, which I still look at from time to time and think, Damn, that cover is unbelievably fantastic.

Thanks, too, to the many editors of the magazines and anthologies that first published the stories individually.

Here’s a photo of the book and the award itself.

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Jackson and Nebula Award nominations

It’s been a few months since I last updated here. Since “Jamie Marks is Dead” debuted at in the Sundance Film Festival competition in January, a lot of other really wonderful things have occurred.

First, I was nominated for a Nebula Award in the category of Best Novelette for my story, “Paranormal Romance”!

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This is the fourth time I’ve been nominated for a Nebula Award. The first time was in 2007 for my novelette, “The Language of Moths”, and the second time was in 2010 for my novel-in-stories, The Love We Share Without Knowing. The third time was in 2011, for my novelette, “Map of Seventeen”. Clearly the novelette is my category!

I’m always honored to be named a front runner for the Nebula Award, and this time is no different.

imgres-1Secondly, my collection of short stories, Before and Afterlives, has been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award, in the category of Best Single-Author Collection. I’m ecstatic to be nominated for this award. I started out as a short story writer, and it remains the form I feel most affection for, regardless of my becoming a novelist too. For Before and Afterlives to be nominated in the Best Collection category is the proverbial dream come true for me, both because the book collects many of the short stories I wrote over my first ten years as a writer, but also because Shirley Jackson has been a huge influence on me as writer for years and years. I constantly go back to her strange and eerie stories from the 1950s and 60s and the still hold immense power for me as a reader (and as a writer). For my stories to be recognized as a body of work for this award is really affirming for me.

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The semester at Youngstown State University, where I teach fiction writing, has finally ended, and I’m looking forward to a productive summer of writing. More news when I have any to share. Until then, I hope everyone reading this has a great summer.

And good luck to all of those nominated for the above awards.