Thursday, February 28, 2013

On Agents, or the Lack Thereof

Sunday, September 11, 2005.

That's the day this blog went live. At the time, I had no web presence, no writing credits. Though I didn't know it yet, I was still a year out from the completion of my first novel (nearly seven years before a book of mine would see the light of day), and thirteen months from my first short story acceptance. I thought back then the novel would take a few more weeks at most to finish. And, having that very weekend finished writing my first short story ("The Toll Collectors," which didn't see the light of day until '09), I assumed my first publishing credit was imminent.

In short, I was an idiot.

But there was one thing I was right about that fateful day in 2005. Here's how I ended my first post:
"What, you might ask, does it take to be a working writer? Stick around -- maybe we'll both find out."
Since then, this space has served as record for every triumph, every milestone, and even the occasional speedbump on my winding path to publication. (The speedbumps, for the record, have been far more frequent than this blog may suggest, but I'm not one to revel in my misfortunes. I've been lucky enough in life that doing so might well piss people off.) Short story credits. Query woes. Landing an agent. Winning awards. Losing awards. Shelving that first novel after three years' worth of shopping. Writing a new novel. Shopping it. Selling it, and then two more. Reviews. Releases. A book tour. The whole nine.

My writing life, writ large for all to see.

Well, most of it, at least. See, the difficulty with blogging about one's writing life is, the farther one progresses, the more complicated it becomes to decide what can, or should, be shared. Back in '05, the only person affected by my blogging was me. Now what I say can affect contracts, publishers, editors, booksellers, agents, and what have you. That can, and should, and does, give a blogger pause. Which is to say, I've gone back and forth as to whether I should write this post. But ultimately, it proved too big a milestone for me to let pass unremarked upon.

A few weeks back, my longtime agent and I parted ways.

The specific details as to why are unimportant. Suffice to say that it was my decision, and that said decision was borne of differences in goals and strategy -- and of the direction my muse is taking me -- rather than any animosity or ill-will. The split was amicable, and I continue to hold both she and the agency in the highest of regard. The fact that I'm not including names here is simply a function of the search-engine world in which we live; a good agent ought not have her internet presence gunked up by what might be perceived by someone unacquainted with the business as a knock against her, particularly when it's not intended as such.

So what comes next? I'm not sure. I just sent one novel to an editor-friend of mine, and I've got another I'm putting a final polish on before I once more begin the query process. As for where it, or I, will end up...

Stick around -- maybe we'll both find out.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

CM: To the Extreme

Today at Criminal Minds, I tackle the question, "Is there anything off-limits to you in your own writing?"

Also, Marion at Fantasy Literature takes a look at THE WRONG GOODBYE, and declares it "Another fine example of supernatural-noir." Thanks, Marion!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

CM: Shortchanged

This week at Criminal Minds, the question we're tasked with is, "How do you know if an idea is a novel or a short story? How do you know if it has 'legs' as a long work?" You can read my take on the topic here. (Hint: it involves dinosaurs.)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

DEAD LETTERS gets its first review!

SJ over at Snobbery was kind enough to take a look at my new short story collection, DEAD LETTERS. Here's a taste (click through to read the rest):

"As with the rest of his work, this author is quite adept at blending the humorous with the horrific, and nearly everything in between... I’ve had a hard time picking a favorite, or even one that I’d tell you all you HAD TO READ RIGHT NOW, ZOMG! because really… I just want to recommend them all."

Thanks, SJ, for the kind words! For those who'd like to check out DEAD LETTERS, it's currently available for Kindle (and Kindle UK, not to mention everywhere else Amazon peddles their wares.) I hope to have it up in other formats in the weeks to come.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Hangin' with Jen Forbus

Today, I'm over at the inimitable Jen Forbus' blog, partaking in her Five on Friday interview series. You can read it here. And if you haven't already, bookmark the site while you're at it; Jen's good people, and her coverage of the mystery world is nothing short of stellar.

Thursday, February 07, 2013


As I type this, my new short story collection, DEAD LETTERS, is now officially available Kindle (and Kindle app) users worldwide. I hope y'all dig it.

DEAD LETTERS features my Anthony-nominated novella "The Hitter," which first appeared in Needle and was selected for THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES 2011; my homage to the comedic capers of Donald Westlake, "Action," which ran in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine; a creepy little horror-meets-adventure-pulp tale about infectious cannibalism along the Amazon called "A Native Problem," originally from BEAT TO A PULP: ROUND ONE; and (cue echo effect) A BRAND NEW, NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN story called "One Man's Muse," which answers the question of what happened to the modest little double-wide in Hermon, Maine Stephen King lived in when he wrote CARRIE and 'SALEM'S LOT. Oh, and there's five more tales in there to boot. (I was gonna throw in a set of steak knives and a Garden Weasel, too, but something went buggy on the upload, so nine stories'll have to do.) You can get 'em here:

For those of y'all who'd like a copy, but don't feel like cowing to our evil Bezos overlord, have patience. I hope to convert it to other (i.e. non-Amazon) e-formats in the near future. If it goes well, I may even try my hand at uploading 8 POUNDS in other formats, too. (If it goes poorly, you'll probably know on account of all the cursing and rending of fabric drifting through your open window from the general direction of Maine. E-formatting is a bitch.)

Enjoy. Be kind. And if you like it, feel free to say so: in a review, to a friend, with pie (I'm partial to pumpkin, but in matters of baked deliciousness, I am not picky), however you wish. And as ever, thanks for reading; y'all are aces. I  couldn't (and wouldn't, and probably shouldn't) do it without you.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

A Review, and Some Release-Day Pimpage

Brandon at Every Read Thing posted his review of THE WRONG GOODBYE today. You can read it here.

And in other news, today is Stephen Blackmoore's release day for his fantastic DEAD THINGS. If you dig my stuff, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Every Read Thing Interview

I recently sat down (virtually) with Brandon of Every Read Thing to talk all things Collector-y, and today, that interview is live. You can check it out here. Thanks, Brandon, for having me!