In the Flat (Yellow) Light

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I like anthologies.

As a reader, they’re a Cracker Jack box that’s made up entirely of prizes. And none of those lame stickers, either. Anthologies are a great way to be exposed to the work of new authors in a low-investment (both monetary and time) setting. This is especially true when you’re young and getting your bearings in the genre, when even the most recognizable names on a table of contents are new to you and you’re trying to build a palate.

As a writer who started out the same way that a lot of writers do, writing (admittedly not great) short stories and sending them out to editors at magazines and anthologies: I’m less attached to the format.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love reading short stories and think keeping up with Nightmare and what editors like Ellen Datlow, Paula Guran, and Ross Lockhart are selecting is an essential part of keeping keyed into the scene, but I prefer writing longer works.

So up until last year I had drifted away from writing shorts. Then something weird happened, three quick lightning strikes:

First I was asked if I had a story for the awesome UK zine Splatterpunk. I didn’t. None of the reprints I had felt right for the market, and all the unsold stories I had in my “trunk” were locked away for a reason. So I wrote something new because I wanted to be in the magazine.

I was very happy with the results, it seemed like all that novel writing had limbered me up, made me better able to think about structure in the way the short story format demands (I would contest that short story writing is WAY harder than anything long-form, which is probably why I avoid it, because I’m a big baby).

That same week I was invited to contribute to an anthology in tribute to Herschell Gordon Lewis. How could I say no to that? The resulting story still hasn’t seen the light of day (the book is still coming, I have it on good authority, more news soon, but: publishing…am I right?), but I felt it was even better than the one for Splatterpunk.

A few weeks after that, I was tagged in a tweet between author Orrin Grey and Ross Lockhart, with Orrin lobbying for my inclusion in an anthology (thanks, buddy). It seemed Ross’s next antho after the awesome The Children of Old Leech (w/Justin Steele) was something called Giallo Fantastique.

An anthology of speculative stories taking cues from giallo? I. Was. Born. For. This. And with that sentiment I kinda bullied my way into a crack at submitting a story.

The result was “In the Flat Light” and it’s me going to the Italian director character well again (clearly it’s the best well), but a little differently this time. I didn’t even realize until they were finished, but, maybe because I wrote them rapid-fire like that, these three stories form a thematic trilogy (he said, polishing his monocle). I’m thrilled with how they turned out and can’t wait for people to be able to read them.

Giallo Fantastique streets in a few days, on May 15th, but I was sent an early contributor copy and I gotta give it to you straight: you need this. Look at that table of contents if you don’t believe me.

I haven’t finished, I’m taking my time and am 3 or so stories from the end, but what I’ve read so far has been aces. Anya Martin, Michael Kazepis, Nikki Guerlain and a host of others bringing their A game(some of the other contributors are friends of mine, how nuts is that? With the remaining ones people that I’ve been reading and admiring for years!).

You can order the trade paperback (which is bundled with a free ebook version) direct from Word Horde, the publisher, or if you don’t want to go that route then the ebook and paperback are up on amazon now.

AND. If you want more parenthetical-heavy babbling from me, you can check out this quick interview I did with My Bookish Ways talking about my story, among other things. Thanks to them for having me.

AND. If you’re a reader on the west coast, you should drop by the book launch event, happening May 20th at Copperfield’s Books.

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