Monthly Archives: November 2011

Update city: Grift & Murder Your Darlings

News breaking out all over:

Had a flash piece go up over at Grift. “The Smooth Shoulder” will take you approximately 2 minutes to read, so, won’t you? Here. A bit of it:

 Across the street, Merilyn nearly dropped the baby scrabbling in her pockets for her phone.  She had to yell to be heard on 911, the baby howling to halt a freight train.

“The fuck you doing, man?” said Angus.

Angus’s heart rate was two-twenty, his irises vanished, skin waxy and bubbling with boils.  He hadn’t slept in four days, on the smooth shoulder of a long meth ride ever since Ginger had left with the kids.

Thanks to John Kenyon for taking this piece, and providing some very nice edits.

The very cool Cort Bledsoe was kind enough to do an interview with me over at his place, Murder Your Darlings. We talked about a few things, such as writing and parenthood:

 Me: How has being a father influenced your writing?

Court: As I type this, I figure I’ve got about more 10 minutes to work before my oldest gets up and needs fed and watered. Kids hem you in, no question.

And yet it is wonderful to be interrupted by a slobbering 10-month old.

I’m one of those who willingly retreats for whole days into the sanctuary of your head. My kids won’t allow me to stay there that long, though. I am thankful for it.

Go have a look, please.

Other good news coming shortly.

 

So much rejection: #s 260 – 267: Harpur’s Palate, Asimov’s, Beat To A Pulp, Shotgun Honey, Connotation, Apex

David Cranmer at Beat To A Pulp rejected me, twice, kindly and personally. Beat To A Pulp – along with Needle – are pulp markets I WILL CRACK.  You heard it here first, people.

Mid-American Review reports that “there were quite a few favorable comments made, supporters of your work speaking up on its finer points.” I would like to hug those supporters. I wish there more of them. Enough to get this goddamn story published.

Shotgun Honey didn’t feel the story was right, but told me to keep ’em coming. All right.

Connotation Press fiction editor Meg Tuite and I have been corresponding on a few stories – she’s already taken one; it’s just that the other wasn’t right. We’ll work on it.

Apex regrets to inform me &c.

Asimov’s appreciates, but &c.

Harpur’s Palate thanks me but &c.

So much rejection: #s 260 – 267: Harpur's Palate, Asimov's, Beat To A Pulp, Shotgun Honey, Connotation, Apex

David Cranmer at Beat To A Pulp rejected me, twice, kindly and personally. Beat To A Pulp – along with Needle – are pulp markets I WILL CRACK.  You heard it here first, people.

Mid-American Review reports that “there were quite a few favorable comments made, supporters of your work speaking up on its finer points.” I would like to hug those supporters. I wish there more of them. Enough to get this goddamn story published.

Shotgun Honey didn’t feel the story was right, but told me to keep ’em coming. All right.

Connotation Press fiction editor Meg Tuite and I have been corresponding on a few stories – she’s already taken one; it’s just that the other wasn’t right. We’ll work on it.

Apex regrets to inform me &c.

Asimov’s appreciates, but &c.

Harpur’s Palate thanks me but &c.

VACUUM MAN: crime, cruelty & a touch of amity in the Sex Capital of Asia

A few years back I had a gig in a 5-star resort in Pattaya, Thailand and we had a customer there, an American expat, who used to close down the all-you-can eat buffet. While so doing he routinely abused the staff, harassed the waitresses, made endless spurious complaints, left gigantic messes, came in reeling drunk and once even screamed at a small child for some reason. He was also obscenely obese – as in, his sandal straps disappeared into his foot fat. On the day he was kicked out of the resort and asked to never return, I heard one of the waiters mutter under his breath, “Go die.”

And Vacuum Man was born.

None of the foregoing details made it into the story.  “Vacuum Man” is told from the perspective of a couple petty street punks.  But I did think a lot about Vacuum Man, how he got that sorry place, what inner core of sadness could wreck a person so irretrievably. I don’t really know, of course.  I never saw Vacuum Man after he got the boot from the resort. I hope the real Vacuum Man ended up better off, though I’m not sure the staff that actually had to put up with him would agree.

“Vacuum Man” is up at A Twist of Noir.  Many thanks to Christopher Grant for taking this one onboard.

Vacuum Man, by the way, was rejected nearly 20 times before finding a home.

When the door closes: on race and having biracial children in America

I’m going to be posting monthly over at Specter+ (soon to be renamed).  My first essay is on race, Hank Williams, Jr., and my own biracial family.  It opens thusly:

Many years ago I was a waiter in a tiny Cajun/Creole restaurant in Omaha. Worked with a chef there, name of Jerry. He was an itinerant fellow. He’d left DC some years previously, working his way down South and out to the West Coast. Now he was slowly working his way back to DC.

After the place shut down the two of us sometimes sat up front helping ourselves to beers from the bar cooler, speaking truths. I was 20. I didn’t know any truths. Jerry was forty-something, a black man in America. He knew plenty.

“The thing about the South is,” he said, “you know where you stand.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Down there they’ll call you a nigger to your face.”

Head on over to Specter to read the rest.

Thanks to Mensah Demary, editor, for pushing me on this piece.

“Some Place” is up at Necessary Fiction

My story “Some Place” is up at Necessary Fiction.  I wrote this story while I was still living in Thailand, thinking about America from a tropical distance, reflecting on my days working as a surveyor, mostly on subdivisions in Colorado (sorry, Colorado).

It took me 5 tries to crack this market and it finally happened with a story I wasn’t really sure had legs or not … a further lesson that all you can do is write the story as best you can and then let editors and / or the market decides its relative value.

A big thanks to Steve Himmer for accepting the piece, and for some very deft editing.  A sampler:

“Yep,” said Jeffroach. “From now on, be plenty of time for me to get to what I like.”

“Guess she’s going to stay in there,” said Thom.

“Fixing up old trucks. That’s mostly what I like. Take this puppy here. Wasn’t much more than a bucket of rusted-up bolts when I found her. But I got her going. Been a struggle, let me tell you, with ole horseface all the time throwing bottles at me.”

“Empty ones?”

“Don’t you know it. She ain’t about to give over a bottle she ain’t finished with. She’d say it was throwing bad liquor after a worse man. You ought to hear her sometime.”

"Some Place" is up at Necessary Fiction

My story “Some Place” is up at Necessary Fiction.  I wrote this story while I was still living in Thailand, thinking about America from a tropical distance, reflecting on my days working as a surveyor, mostly on subdivisions in Colorado (sorry, Colorado).

It took me 5 tries to crack this market and it finally happened with a story I wasn’t really sure had legs or not … a further lesson that all you can do is write the story as best you can and then let editors and / or the market decides its relative value.

A big thanks to Steve Himmer for accepting the piece, and for some very deft editing.  A sampler:

“Yep,” said Jeffroach. “From now on, be plenty of time for me to get to what I like.”

“Guess she’s going to stay in there,” said Thom.

“Fixing up old trucks. That’s mostly what I like. Take this puppy here. Wasn’t much more than a bucket of rusted-up bolts when I found her. But I got her going. Been a struggle, let me tell you, with ole horseface all the time throwing bottles at me.”

“Empty ones?”

“Don’t you know it. She ain’t about to give over a bottle she ain’t finished with. She’d say it was throwing bad liquor after a worse man. You ought to hear her sometime.”

Rejections # 258 & 259

I did a rewrite for Pulp Modern but it still didn’t make the cut.  AC over there digs the dealing with other cultures but not the narrative structure.  He did invite me to send him more, though. Frustrating with a dash of hopefulness.

Hot Metal Bridge regrets &c.