The Final Missive

Just a short post to say that in addition to deleting all of my social media this past week, I’ve decided that I’m no longer going to be going to cons, attending readings (as a reader or as an audience member), or doing any of those social things that one is required to do nowadays to be considered a writer. I’m done with that. I’ve been trying for over two decades to grasp at some level of success, and it just hasn’t worked out. And that’s fine! I’ve been published, I won an award, and I think that’s more than most who attempt a writing career are able to achieve. Going forward, I’m going to continue to write and submit stories, but all of that other stuff – trying to find an agent, trying to get a book deal, networking online and IRL – will end. I don’t need to do it, it makes me miserable, it makes other people miserable to see me fail, and while I’ve appreciated the “you can do it” cheers from all of the writers I’ve met over the years, at some point we’ve all come to realize that, no, I in fact cannot do it. And honestly, it’s become exhausting and cruel to everyone to make everyone keep up the pretense. You’ve all done so well, and it’s been amazing being allowed to hang out with so many writers who’ve achieved so many incredible things. It’s been a privilege and a joy to know all of you – you know who you all are, and I will miss your company. But I’ve been stuck in this fork of the road for two decades, and now it’s time to move on, down a different path from everyone else.

So, in conclusion. No more appearances. No more online stuff. No more interviews (I mean, come on…). But this website will remain. The writing will continue. The publications will continue. Occasionally a story in an anthology will appear. Hopefully an occasional collection or short book might appear. Everyone I used to know will be happy in their various lanes of success, moisturized and unbothered, flourishing. I’ll be off the path, in the dark of the woods, where no one else really wants to follow. And that honestly is okay with me, I’m done fighting for any other outcome. It’s where I was meant to be.




Since we last met…

Last year around this time, I had a novel deal with a Big-5 publisher and was looking for an agent, which I got after a very stressful and horrifying search (FYI, conventional industry wisdom says that agents will look at your manuscript immediately if you contact them with a deal in hand, they are wrong: I contacted over 20 agents and got only three replies, of which two were rejections. A deal in hand is meaningless if you’re a woman who writes sexually explicit horror – most agents don’t want to read or represent that.) Anyway, by the end of the year, I had nothing, again – no deal, no agent, and no career. I won’t go into what happened, only that it was a perfect storm of mistakes and acts of a very dark and humorless god, who had put me through something similar two years ago.

I stopped writing for a while. I pretended this website no longer existed. I thought about doing other things besides writing. I did a lot of nothing.

Yesterday, the single short story of mine that was published last year – “One of These Nights,” in the anthology Cutting Edge: New Stories of Mystery and Crime by Women Writers (Akashic Books, edited by Joyce Carol Oates) – won the 2020 Edgar Award for Best Short Story. I know I’m supposed to say that it’s not a big deal, but after 15 years of writing, I’d come to assume that winning just wasn’t going to be in the cards for me for me, that I wasn’t going to be the kind of writer who wins things and gets book deals and gets that level of success I think most writers want. I wanted to win, but it never occurred to me that I actually would win. I guess what I’m saying is that I really needed this. I know it won’t change things, because I’m still writing the kind of fiction that most people make “yeesh” faces at when they read it, but to be completely honest, I feel like a little black cloud of despair that’s been hovering inside my chest for the longest time has lifted, if just for a moment.

Maybe something might come of my writing, after all.

The full list of Edgar Awards winners is at Crime Reads.





I am a beautiful beautiful butterfly

Well, blogging as a thing has pretty much been over for a while now, and I hate to cave in, as I’ve been blogging since the heady Livejournal days of 2004, but… I think it’s time to wrap up this iteration of my online self. Not that I’m completely going away – much like a baby Alien, I am merely cocooning for a while until I burst forth as my beautiful and new Xenomorphic self. That’s a poetical way of saying, this website will be undergoing a design update – the information will remain the same, but in place of the blog, there will be a News page, as well as scrolling feeds from my Instagram and Twitter accounts, where I now spend 99% of my online time. I love this website design, and I’ll miss it, but some new writing projects are at the horizon’s edge, and it’s the right time for an update. On to the next chapter.




FINALLY, some publishing news

It’s been a slow couple of months – I didn’t realize how emotionally demoralizing sending a novel out into the world would be, and it’s slowed my writing to a slug-like crawl. But! I am working on a few secret projects, and this weekend I received news of an anthology that I submitted to several years ago – it’s finally come together. Sisterhood: Dark Tales and Secret Histories, edited by Nate Pederson, will come out later this year from Chaosium. Below is from the publisher:

In churches and convents and other religious communities, sisterhood takes many forms, forged and tested by such mundane threats as disease and despair, but also by terrors both spiritual and cosmic—Satan’s subtle minions and the Lovecraftian nightmare of the Outer Gods. Sisterhood: Dark Tales and Secret Histories presents sixteen horror stories by some of the genre’s leading female voices. Their settings range around the globe and across the centuries, from 14th century Spain to 17th century Virginia to England in the present day.

Contributors include such award-winning and critically acclaimed authors as Nadia Bulkin, Livia Llewellyn, Molly Tanzer, Sun Yung Shin, Gemma Files, Kaaron Warren, Damien Angelica Walters, and Selena Chambers. With original cover art by Liv Rainey-Smith.


Table of Contents:
“The Wine of Men” by Ann K. Schwader
“From an Honest Sister, to a Neglected Daughter” by Monica Valentinelli
“Étaín and the Unholy Ghosts” by Lisa Morton
“The Barefoot Sisters of Saint Beatriz of the Mountain” by Kali Wallace
“Unburdened Flesh” by Penelope Love
“Only Dead Men Do Not Lie: The Trials of the Formosans” by Kaaron Warren
“Jane, Jamestown, The Starving Time” by Sun Yung Shin
“Dorcas and Ann: A True Story” by Molly Tanzer
“The Resurrected” by S. P. Miskowski
“The Low, Dark Edge of Life” by Livia Llewellyn
“The Anchoress” by Lynda E. Rucker
“Siūlais ir Kraujo ir Kaulų (Of Thread and Blood and Bone)” by Damien Angelica Walters
“Gravity Wave” by Nadia Bulkin
“The Veils of Sanctuary” by Selena Chambers
“The Sisters of Epione” by Alison Littlewood
“Red Words” by Gemma Files





Hey, I wrote a novel

It’s been a rough couple of just-under-two-years, and I certainly didn’t mean to be away for so long, but, well, it was a rough couple of just-under-two years. But that’s all water under the bridge: I’m still alive, still hanging in there, and I finished a goddamn novel. Not only that, but since I last checked in here, I snagged an agent as well – Martha Millard of Sterling Lord Literistic, who also represents the phenomenal Elizabeth Hand and the iconic William Gibson. Also, SLL was the literary agency of Jack Kerouac, so I feel my fiction has a good home – at the least, they do appreciate writers who enjoy red wine.

Anyway, I wrote a motherfucking novel, and now it’s making its way into the world, and I’m one part thrilled and three parts nervous, but I have to keep on keeping on, so it’s time for some housekeeping. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be updating each of the pages here, in addition to returning to blogging on a fairly regular basis. I’m sure those of you who still check in here are anxiously awaiting all the amazing stories I have to tell about the bees and the squirrels and the mice; and of course, it wouldn’t be an update without news on the teeming megacolony of ants, who have blossomed and flourished like you wouldn’t believe. Except you would believe, because this is my life, and as we all know, my life is all about the ants.




Two more anthologies

Both were announced a while back, but I’m still playing catch-up here (day job woes). The first is Black Feathers, edited by Ellen Datlow and coming out from Pegasus Books in 2017. No cover art yet – I’ll post that as soon as I get it. Below is the Table of Contents:

The Kick-Ass Table of Contents:
O Terrible Bird by Sandra Kasturi
The Obscure Bird by Nicholas Royle (reprint)
The Mathematical Inevitability of Corvids by Seanan McGuire
Something About Birds by Paul Tremblay
Great Blue Heron by Joyce Carol Oates
The Season of the Raptors by Richard Bowes
The Orphan Bird by Alison Littlewood
The Murmurations of Vienna Von Drome by Jeffrey Ford
Blyth’s Secret by Mike O’Driscoll
The Fortune of Sparrows by Usman T. Malik
Pigeon from Hell by Stephen Graham Jones
The Secret of Flight by A.C. Wise
Isobel Avens Returns to Stepney in the Spring by M. John Harrison (reprint)
A Little Bird Told Me by Pat Cadigan
The Acid Test by Livia Llewellyn
The Crow Palace by Priya Sharma

The second anthology is this:

NightmaresWOW, right? Right. This anthology, the sequel to Ellen’s 2010 anthology Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror, is coming out sometime in the fall of this year. The full table of contents is at this link.











Children of Lovecraft

Children of LovecraftEllen Datlow has just handed in the manuscript for her next anthology, Children of Lovecraft, which will publish on September 20 from Dark Horse Books. You can pre-order the trade paperback at Amazon.

The Table of Contents!

Nesters by Siobhan Carroll
Little Ease by Gemma Files
Eternal Troutland by Stephen Graham Jones
The Supplement by John Langan
Mortensen’s Muse by Orrin Grey
Oblivion Mode by Laird Barron
Mr. Doornail by Maria Dahvana Headley
The Secrets of Insects by Richard Kadrey
Excerpts for An Eschatology Quadrille by Caitlín R. Kiernan
Jules and Richard by David Nickle
Glasses by Brian Evenson
When the Stitches Come Undone by A.C. Wise
On These Blackened Shores of Time by Brian Hodge
Bright Crown of Joy by Livia Llewellyn




FURNACE is reviewed at

“Beautiful and hideous in the same breath, its 13 tales of erotic, surreal, existential horror pack a logic-shattering punch.”

To say I’m utterly fucking THRILLED is something of an understatement.




Link round-up

Furnace is now available on Kobo.

Over on The Dreamcatcher of Books, D.F. Lewis is posting a real-time story-by story review of Furnace. His reviews are kind of amazing – very much Kerouac disembodied poetics stream of consciousness, that are both baffling and illuminating. I love them, and I think (I hope) fans of my fiction will love them, too.

Sean M. Thompson interviews me for Word Horde Press. Hilariously, I get the name of my own erotica collection wrong: it’s Tales of the BLACK Century, not Dark Century. Now I know how my mother felt when she called me by the dog’s name – it’s annoying to be wrong, but after a while, everyone in the family really looks the same, and deserves whatever name I want to give them.







Furnace Release Day

Today is the official release date for Furnace. You can buy it at the following places below, for wildly varying prices, of course – but if you want the best deal, IMO, get the trade paperback at Word Horde Press, because at the checkout, you’ll also be able to pick up your choice of a PDF, Kindle or ebook version at no extra charge.

I’ve updated my Books page – I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to actually have BOOKS published rather than BOOK, which means my Books pages is no longer a terrible, hideous lie. For those of you who are secretly thinking bitch, you need to write faster (I think the same thing, believe me), it will please you to know that by the end of this year, I’ll have enough short fiction (both published and new) in reserve to come out with two more collections. That’s what happened when you keep writing stories but don’t smash them altogether into a book for at least 5-6 years – Furnace is just a portion of what I’ve done since Engines of Desire published in 2011. At any rate, that’s the longest any of us will have to wait for a book by me again. Winter may still be coming to Westeros, but in Livialand, summer has just begun.