All Manner of Dark Things Available for Pre-Order and Release Details

allmannercoverfinalAll Manner of Dark Things is available for pre-order on Kindle, right now. It contains almost thirty pieces written over the entirety of my writing career. I like to think of it as my senior thesis as a short story writer. Over the last ten years, I’ve experimented with several forms of dark fiction. Horror is a diverse genre, and I had a ton of fun experimenting with its capabilities. I know that I am nowhere near the completion of my literary experimentation, but the collection is a nice summary of what I’ve done, so far. From poetry, to flash fiction, to short stories. It is all there, in several styles ranging from dark literary to straight up creature horror, from quiet psychological to gritty and brutal. I’ve tried it all, and I want to share it with all of you before I move my focus on to longer work. I will still write shorts, but there will be fewer of them. Go check out the collection, and let me know how you like it.

The official release date will be April 7th. The e-book will be available exclusively on Kindle for at least the first three months. I am taking part in Kindle Select, which means if you are a Prime member, the book will be available to borrow, if if you have Kindle Unlimited, you are golden there, as well. Don’t have a Kindle? Fear not. The print edition will be available through print-on-demand. I will post links as I get them.  As a special deal, I have also signed up for the Kindle Matchbook program, which means that people who by the print edition will get a discount on the e-book.

I am expecting to have much more news in the next few months, so stay tuned.

As always, thanks for reading.


Literary Archaeology

I’ve been working on putting together a collection of short stories. The book, which is tentatively titled All Manner of Dark Things, will be a sort of retrospective of everything I have written over the last ten years. It won’t have everything in it, but will be representative of my development as a writer. Reading through the old stuff, I found two things to be amazing. First off, I don’t remember writing some of it. I know I wrote it because my name sits on the by-line and its stored in my dropbox in a file of stuff that was recovered from an old computer hard drive that wore out its welcome several years ago. Second, it’s pretty obvious what I was reading around the time and what I styles I was experimenting with.

While I classify myself as a horror writer, in general, I write a fair amount of dark literary fiction. In the beginning, nearly all of my stuff was more literary than horror, although all share elements that appear again and again in my horror writing. As I read through the stories, I could almost see myself struggling to figure out who I was and trying to find my voice. I have tried nearly every style of dark writing there is from neo-noir to supernatural horror to quiet atmospheric tension to splatterpunk. I still experiment a lot and have fun paying tribute to all of my literary loves.

From Updike to Hornby to King to Bradbury to Blackwood to Poe to Hammett, I paid constant tribute to the masters and attempted to emulate them. I’ve always thought that emulation is a big part of a writer’s education. You begin by emulation, and then one day you find that you have reached actual innovation.

Looking back at all of that work, I realized that I have reached a transition point as a writer, one in which I will change my focus from short work to long work (although I love the short story form and will continue to write it.) I have also reached a point where I am no longer a mimic, but am myself. I have developed an identity as a writer that will continue to grow and develop as I continue writing.

I can’t imagine my life without writing. Hopefully I have a long career ahead of me. I hope that in another ten years, I can look back on another decade of work and still see progress and productivity. Maybe I will have enough work for another collection, so that I can stake another signpost it the long road of being a writer. Till then, the first major intersection has been reached, and I am excited to see what new roads lie ahead.

Beneath the Avalanche of Previously Read Pages

I  have a very good memory for images and phrases.  I have largely relied upon that memory when it comes to one of my favorite hobbies, used book stores.

I will find a book by an author I like, or simply something sitting in the $1.00 bin that looks interesting.  I will then mentally compare it to images in my head, deciding whether or not I already it.  Is it one of the hundred books I own that I have yet to read?  I buy books at nearly the same rate I read them, if not more quickly, meaning the gap between read and owned just keeps getting larger.  Thus, I found myself returning a copy of The Resurrection by John Gardner, of which I found an older edition already upon my shelves.

It’s not my fault, really.  I am a book addict.  I walk in to a used bookstore and I breathe in the pages.  The bookstore is a comforting smell and a comforting sound.  Despite being a mercantile establishment, the bookstore is quiet and serene as a  library.  I walk the aisles and find books with worn spines.  These books were once read passionately.  If I listened closely, I could probably hear the dreams of its past readers.

I open the book and flip through the pages.  Sometimes I am lucky and find artifacts of the book’s past life.  Here, an inscription to John, from his mother, who gave him the book.  John, in turn, apparently sold it to the bookstore.  I  found entire papers on literary theory written in the margins and blank pages of As I Lay Dying.  My favorite recent find was a postcard used as a bookmark within Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird.  Someone visited a place they loved enough to buy a postcard.  Finding it inside a book on the writing life was like finding seeing another person’s life in object form.

A friend suggested I try tracking the books I owned on  Last night, I logged them.  I own around 350 books.  If you add the collection on my Kindle, that puts me well over 500.  It’s amazing how quickly the count snuck up on me.  It didn’t seem like I had that many books, even though the wall of my bedroom is lined with shelves, straining from being overfilled by paperbacks.  Most of them are in their second life, having been purchased used.

As a writer, I find them comforting.  They represent a successful writing project for the author, as in successfully published.  Some of the books aren’t exactly successful, if you know what I mean.  They also represent a past reader.  Within the bookshelves exists hundreds of examples of the writer-reader relationship.  It is a reminder that people still care about books, and what is written in them.

I can’t imagine trying to move again.  Books are heavy and the last time was a real pain.  Ironically, for a used book lover, I have a very hard time selling books.  Although before long, space might force my hand, or risk dying under a heap of collapsed oxidized-yellow pages.

Next time you are in a used book store, don’t shun the books with writing in the margins, or names written inside the covers.  Realize they were loved once, and you may love them again.  Be suspicious of perfection in a bookstore.   Books without cracked spines and dog-eared pages can’t be trusted.

Happy hunting.  You may find yourself lost for hours, or at the very least, with a very space-consuming habit.  Just don’t blame me for the weight of the UHaul boxes the next time you move.