News & Blog

World Fantasy: The Hurricane Sandy Edition

Here in New York City, the heavy winds started last night. The rain started this morning around 6:30. Hurricane Sandy approacheth. It’s already terrible outside, and the worst of it won’t even hit until tonight. They’ve evacuated some of New York City’s coastal regions. They’re expecting storm surges that will be the tallest in our city’s history. Scary stuff.

Regarding World Fantasy, it seems the track of Hurricane Sandy will bring the storm right over the Toronto area on Thursday, the day I’m to fly in. I’m keeping track of things via, a really good site for checking whether your flight is canceled or not. Right now, though, I’d say it’s not looking good for my arrival Thursday. Friday looks like it could also be bad in the area, which means there may not be flights that day either. There’s a good chance right now that I won’t be able to make it in for my panel Friday at 1PM. There is also a chance I won’t make it to World Fantasy at all if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

I’ll keep you posted.

Announcing the New Title!

I mentioned earlier that there was a hitch with the original title of my novel, Not Dead Yet, namely that it was already taken by a novel St. Martin’s Press is also publishing next fall, the same season they’re publishing mine, and by a far more important author than myself. In order to avoid confusion among the sales reps and bookstore buyers, we had to come up with a new title.

My agent, editor, and I went through a variety of alternate titles, some of which were awesome but not right for this book (Die and Stay Dead, Wanted: Dead and Alive), others of which were kind of Hollywood generic (Dead Rising, Dead Ready). Finally, we found one we could all agree on. So the new title is… (drumroll please)

Dying Is My Business

I kind of love it. It echoes the title of Raymond Chandler’s Trouble Is My Business, and it also has a very hardboiled, Mickey Spillane feel to it, which is the direction they wanted to go in rather than a more traditionally fantasy-sounding title.

The change will take some getting used to, certainly. I’ve been calling the novel Not Dead Yet since I started writing it a couple of years ago, and I’ve been talking it up under that name, too, including in press releases. But I think the new title works. I’m happy with it.

So look for Dying Is My Business from St. Martin’s Press in the fall of 2013!

Every Shallow Cut

It’s impossible to describe the feeling one gets as a reader when you read a perfect sentence, or a perfect paragraph, or a perfect chapter. There’s a thrill, yes, but there’s also a sense of deep satisfaction. If you’re a writer, there’s an additional sense of jealousy, of inspiration, and of a need to pull out your notebook and write these things down so you can study them later to unlock their secrets.

Such is the experience of reading pretty much every sentence of Tom Piccirilli’s Every Shallow Cut. Though it’s published by ChiZine Publications (publisher of, ahem, my own novella Chasing the Dragon), this short, tight, searing novella (or noirella, as Piccirilli calls it) contains no speculative or fantastic elements. Instead, it’s the meditative, deeply introspective, and I imagine somewhat autobiographical tale of a midlist writer who has lost everything. His wife has left him. His house has been foreclosed upon. His career as an award-winning, critically acclaimed but little-read crime novelist (there’s the autobiographical part) is in the toilet (thankfully, this part is not). Sometimes it seems like the whole world is against him, from meth head muggers to snotty kids in fast food drive-through windows to his own sanctimonious brother. All he’s got left is his car, his trusty English bulldog Churchill, and…oh yeah, now he’s got a gun.

Every Shallow Cut is as much an indictment of post-collapse America as it is the story of a man going through a nervous breakdown and desperately trying to contain the violence and anger inside him before it consumes him. Before it hurts someone, or worse, kills someone. Think the Hulk, if the Hulk had nothing to lose. And a gun. Interestingly, Piccirilli doesn’t show us the end of every escalating confrontation our unnamed narrator experiences as he drives across country to visit his brother in Long Island, a decision that leaves you with a strange, unsettling feeling that maybe our narrator has done something bad already, maybe the violence has already been sprung, maybe the Hulk has gotten out and we just didn’t see it. In the end, as he realizes the depths of his nervous breakdown, he gets back on the road and faces a heavy decision. It’s here that Piccirilli leaves us, with the narrator’s finger both figuratively and literally on the trigger, and like the finest works of fiction, leaves us wanting more. The novella is the perfect size for this story, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t happily continue following this character through a full-length novel.

You may have also heard of Tom Piccirilli’s recent health troubles. Well, from now until the end of 2012, if you buy the e-book of Every Shallow Cut directly from ChiZine Publications, every cent of that sale will be given to Tom to help with his medical bills. That’s how I wound up buying it. I can think of worse reasons to buy a book, but I can’t think of any better books to buy. Donation or not, Every Shallow Cut is of the best noir stories you’ll read.

Yeah, No

Okay, I’m done with Arrow. Two episodes in and I’m not caring at all about anything.

Plus, Oliver Queen’s bodyguard didn’t even have anything to say to him after Oliver freaking choked him into unconsciousness in the last episode in order to slip away! He doesn’t quit. He doesn’t report it. He doesn’t even say, “Don’t do that again.” Nothing! So yeah, no. I’m done.