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Showing posts from May, 2019

Story Notes -- "Apple" / What I'm Reading

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Some stories are a lot more work than others. My latest one, "Apple," is one of those. It was originally written several years ago for a Star Trek-themed issue of an online lit mag. It didn't make the cut, but I tinkered with it off and on for the next few years while I was working on other projects, and it's found a place to live at Boudin, the online home of the McNeese Review, which gave it the swanky retro-tv artwork you see here.

It's hard to believe that I hadn't found a way to weave Star Trek into one of my stories until I started writing this one. I began watching the original series in syndication, when it aired in the afternoons just as I was getting home from school, and as I grew older the franchise grew with me. It's fair to say that it remains one of my earliest and most enduring influences. "Apple" is in some ways a love letter to Star Trek. But there's something in me that makes me want to burn down even that which I hold mo…

Story Notes: I Have Always Been Here Before

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One of the many things that no one tells you to expect when you become a parent is that the impostor syndrome will keep you awake at night. Maybe it's just the mind's way of slapping some sense into you and letting you know it's time to shape up, or maybe it's something altogether darker. I was ecstatic when my wife gave birth to to our son Faron in 2012, but a little part of me, the part that sometimes gnaws away at my brain in the middle of the night, couldn't believe the universe had entrusted me with such a helpless little miracle.

No wonder, then, that the first story I wrote after I became a father features a man who has no idea what he's doing taking care of a baby. It follows Porter Jones, the manager of Cedar Lawn Mobile Home Park, who finds himself looking after a newborn left in his care by one of his tenants, who promptly disappears. As his brother prepares for a grisly competitive eating contest, Porter finds himself trying to hide the baby from a …

I Have Always Been Here Before

It's been about a week since I learned that Cowboy Jamboree Press will be publishing my short story collection I Have Always Been Here Before in Feb/March 2020.

Cowboy Jamboree's online magazine has been around for a good while, specializing in grit lit, stories that, by CJ's definition, tend toward the "rural, hard-scrabbled, rough-hewn, pulpy, noirish ... and, of course, gritty." While some of my favorite writers -- Larry Brown, Denis Johnson, Dorothy Allison, Tom Franklin, et al -- are among the founding figures of the genre, and those are words I might use to describe my own stories if pressed to do so, I'd never really thought of my own writing that way until I stumbled across Cowboy Jamboree and felt at home there. One of the stories in this collection, "The Lizard Man of Okamassee County" was featured in the Summer/Fall 2018 issue of the magazine, and now I'm thrilled to be included in the initial CJ Press line-up along with four other w…