Friday, May 30, 2014

i say with no ego

The lovely and talented Abby Higgs tagged me in this blog tour thing, so I'm answering questions about my writing process and stuff.

1.)  What Am I Working On?
I'll assume that this question disqualifies the freelance hack work I do for extra cash every so often.

Now that MY NAME IS HATE is done, I'm working on a sci-fi noir project, a mash-up of Dracula and Reefer Madness, and a steampunky thing about a sasquatch who witnesses a murder. I also write lots of goofy poems and freewrite when I can.

2.) How Does My Work Differ From Others in the Genre?
I write mostly speculative fiction, and I think my work explores surrealism and anachronism more than other writers in the genre. I also make my characters as physically unattractive as I can, and the tone of my work is bleaker and lonelier than a lot of modern spec-fic.

I really enjoy the line that Leslie Nielsen walks between straightforwardness and total absurdity in Airplane!, and I try to mirror that as much as I can in my own writing, even if humor isn't the intended result.

3.) Why Do I Write What I Do?
I write a lot of steampunky stuff because I think there's a ton of unfulfilled potential for literary weirdness in that genre, and because I grew up reading sci-fi and other strange literature (Roald Dahl could be incredibly dark, and John Bellairs was basically HP Lovecraft for children) and fell in love with it. Some of my work starts with the idea of taking an idea that's salacious and/or vulgar and lending it some humanity.

Also, I find New Yorker-style literary fiction kind of tedious and insipid, so I'd be lying if I said my work wasn't a reaction to dull academic writing in some ways.

4.) How Does My Writing Process Work?
I write whenever I want to; sometimes it's not much, sometimes it's a lot. I write a lot by hand and take lots of notes. Sometimes I'll take a small notebook out and find a spot in the city to sit and record my observations. I keep a thesaurus handy. I read a lot.

Monday, May 26, 2014

buy my book you jackals

Okay so since there are people on this planet who live outside of Baltimore for some reason, I've made it easier to buy MY NAME IS HATE via Paypal. Honestly, I should have done this way sooner.

MY NAME IS HATE is $9, shipping included, and it is a bleak, steampunk/Western flash novella about a pregnant woman searching for her runaway husband and being followed by a mysterious, violent black dog.

You can read Lavinia Ludlow's review of MY NAME IS HATE here.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

not all of you, either

Well dang someone really liked my new book

Speaking of, I've been working on a book release party for MY NAME IS HATE, which is challenging for someone who entertains as little as I do, and also trying to branch out to reading series in other cities. No wonder event coordinating is its own job. This shit is hard.

So I read Brian Moore's Catholics not too long ago and really enjoyed it. It's a short novel about a very old Irish monastery that refuses to adopt an imaginary Catholicism's new, more ecumenical practices. It's really a story about faith and the inevitability of change, told simply and without any false grandeur. The monastery's Abbot is as funny as he is conflicted about what he believes, and speaks in that classically Irish way where they know they're smarter than you (as opposed to that classically English way where they assume they're smarter than you).

I should also finally talk about my friend Timmy Reed's book Tell God I Don't Exist, which is just great. Timmy is a Baltimore fixture whose work is just effortlessly funny and weird, in that George Saunders kind of way. A lot of his stories exist on the unstable juncture between urban life and nature; animals and semi-hospitable natural environments abound in Timmy's work, and there's a touch of Lovecraft's cosmic indifference in the narrative tone. Timmy delivers this with considerably more optimism than ol' HPL, though, and the result is a sensuous fictional landscape that can never be fully conquered or understood by people, despite their efforts.

Back to work, Stuart.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

the character's eventual revival.

Good lord, another month has passed? Really? I've got to get back on a schedule for this thing.

Anyway, MY NAME IS HATE is here! There's a huge box of them sitting on my dining room table right now, and they look great. I'm really happy with how the design turned out, and I think the content has officially stepped up my writing game. Writing it tore big emotional chunks out of me, but I think the results are worth it, and hopefully any reviews I get will agree.

One goal I have for this book is to read outside of Baltimore. I've technically already done this for stone a pig, since I had a reading in North Carolina, but there are other literary cities around me and I'm curious about how well I'd do where no one knows who I am.

In addition to all that, I've been reading a lot and working on some short stories, attacking one of my novel-length projects again, and helping the Baltimore Rock Opera Society write their next full stage production. That goes toward explaining why I've let this blog go to seed, but my plan is to return to a weekly posting schedule. That seems like the best fit for me.

My next post will be a recap of what I've been reading lately. For now, though, I'm going to go make lunch.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

sing from a woman's perspective

Whoa it's been a long time since I wrote here.

The western is done and laid out as well as it can be for now. I'll be emailing the printer shortly to let them know that it's that time again. I'm working on a couple of other projects as well, and I made a short little e-chapbook of poems that I'll post on this site later on.

I've been reading a bit as well: finally finished The Wind-Up Girl, and read Gabe Durham's Fun Camp after that. I also read Chelsea Hodson's chapbook, Space Camp, because I felt like I was on a roll with books named "[x] Camp" and didn't want to stop. I can't tell whether or not I was being guided by pangs of nostalgia for a more innocent-yet-hormonal time. It's not like I spent a significant amount of time at camp. I only went once, really.

Anyway, I don't have the energy for more in-depth reviews of either thing, so I'll just say that both Fun Camp and Space Camp were good, even if they suffered from the common indie lit phenomenon of ending just as they're getting interesting. This is especially true of Space Camp.

Wind-Up Girl was awesome aside from where it followed the unfortunate spec. fic. trend of making the central female character a beautiful prostitute. I mean yeah sex sells books and all but it's just weird when so many books fall into that same rut.

It's also impossible to complain about this without sounding like a prude. Whatever.

Good lord I am tired.