Today marks twenty-five years since HBO’s CAST A DEADLY SPELL was released onto an unexpecting TV audience. A Lovecraftian horror story laced with comedy and cast in a noir mold, it’s a mad mix of genres that preceded both the Urban Fantasy boom in fiction and the rising tide of pop-culture Cthulhu mania...Read More
I love it when a publisher illustrates one of my stories, but in this case my story IS the illustration. Designed by Ogilvy & Mather, the cover of the Hemingway Shorts collection features a silhouette of Hemingway created solely with text from my story, "A Memory of Elephants."
Every time I look at it, I can't stop smiling.
I'm about halfway through the book, and I'm tremendously impressed with the quality of the work included. Hats off to the other authors, editor David Berner, and the production team at the Hemingway Foundation.
I'm thrilled to announce that my short story, "A Memory of Elephants" has been named the winner of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park's 2016 Short Story Contest.
The results were announced at the Hemingway Foundation's recent gala fundraiser, and while I wasn't able to attend in person, I am delighted that I now have an excuse to use the word, "gala" in conversation.
Gala, gala, gala!
My entry, along with all the other finalists, will be included in an upcoming anthology. I'm looking forward to seeing the collected works, and I'm happy to say that the fundraiser was a huge success. For more details, here's a quick write-up about the event from The Chicago Tribune.
My short story "Outpatient", which originally appeared in Nature, has been reprinted over at Digital Fiction.
I'm happy to give this story a chance to encounter some new readers, and glad to be in the company of some mighty fine writers on the Digital Fiction site.
I'm very excited to have my story "Ghosts, Bigfoot, and Free Lunches" appear in Flame Tree Publishing's forthcoming Crime & Mystery anthology.
My story will appear alongside a mix of classic and contemporary authors, in a hard cover volume with over two dozen interior illustrations.
Flame Tree is known for producing shockingly beautiful books, and I'm looking forward to holding the finished product in my grubby little mitts!
More info on Flame Tree's Website.
My story "The Hula-Hoop Heart" is now live at The Saturday Evening Post website.
The Post has published fiction by William Faulkner, Agatha Christie, Kurt Vonnegut, and now... some little bald dude in Ohio. I'm delighted to have my work appear in this publication, and I'm delighted to share it with you.
"The Hula-Hoop Heart" is a noir crime thriller that takes place on a middle-school playground. It's available to read here, free of charge. If you get a chance to check it out, let me know what you think!
Theme of Absence also interviewed me about the story and my writing process, so check that out if you're extra hard up for work-time procrastination....
In my time as a writer and storyteller, one of the most enjoyable projects that I've been a part of has been my work as a futurist for SciFutures. Pulling together Science Fiction authors and theorists, SciFutures helps organizations envision how their products and services may evolve in coming years, then creates functional prototypes to transform theory into reality. It’s really joyful work, and smoothly run by their Chief Futurist, Trina Phillips.
Now, SciFutures has released a collection of short stories, sharing glimpses of life in a city of the near-future. Edited by Trina and filled with stories by terrific authors, and topped off by a cover from one of my favorite designers, Holly Heisey.
If you want a glimpse of the future, or just want to sit back and read some great fiction, give The City of The Future a try.
If you ever need to be reminded just how much the impact a story can have on an audience, just watch a child as they read/watch/hear a plot twist for the first time. The combination of joy, shock, and wonder that spreads across their face is a wonder to behold.
And if you don't happen to have any children handy, you'll be happy to know that YouTube has done your work for you. A great example is here, and you can see a whole compilation of kid reaction shots here. (All of these are showing reactions to a particular reveal in The Empire Strikes Back.)
Adults have this same reaction, though sometimes we bury it under a layer of cool detachment. It may vary, both with the length of the tale and the skill with which it's told, but at heart, we're all the little kids gasping with awe when we hear a powerful plot twist.
Barrie Hardymon's recent piece on the NPR Monkey-See blog is about reading the Star Wars novelizations to her son, but it's also a meditation on the power of story and the great responsibility (and joy) that comes with being a story-teller.
Whether you're writing a short story, a biography, or advertising copy, remember the power of the surprising twist, and you'll stir interest and emotions in your audience.
(warning: the NPR story contains spoilers for Star Wars, Jane Eyre, Harry Potter, and several other stories from the 19th & 20th centuries.)
Detail of a page from the Bernie Wrightson illustrated edition of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.