I’m thrilled to finally share the cover art for my debut novel, Eighty Days of Sunlight (Thought Catalog Books/Prospecta Press). Special thanks to my friends and family, Mink Choi, Chuck Kinder, Cathy Day (my thesis chair at Pitt), Hannah Johnson, Geeta Kothari, Nick Kinling (who designed the cover!) and so many more I forgot because I’m delirious with joy right now. More details (including the 2015 release date) to come soon.
“Remember that clerk at the convenience store? It was late at night, near a generic exit on the weed-choked part of the interstate. You bought some gas and the clerk took just a little too long to swipe your card and hand it back to you. A few days ago, a bird mask arrived at his house.”
I wrote a short story, in the vein of Poe-meets-Buzzfeed, for Thought Catalog. It’s called “8 of the Creepiest New Photos on Streetview.” Maybe I should have titled it “Captions from 8 of the Creepiest New Photos on Streetview.” Maybe I should have just included the photos, LOL.
Special thanks to Mink Choi for soliciting my work and for Chrissy Stockton for publishing it! I’ve been interested in writing straight-up horror stories, in the vein of Turn of the Screw or “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” for awhile now, and it’s really neat to have an outlet.
It’s not every day that you get to celebrate a former student’s book release. I can’t tell you how proud I am of Beth Gilstrap (pictured above), who was in my graduate publishing practicum at Chatham University. The full blurb for I AM BARBARELLA had to be condensed for obvious reasons, but I’d like to post it here, since it nicely sums up how I feel about this collection:
This is a leathery, beautiful, steel-toed collection. Each story is a labyrinth—tall, weathered, and covered in vines—containing at least one Minotaur in the form of an oddly heartbreaking description or a perfect Southern turn of phrase or a mother’s surprising-yet-inevitable gesture.
Ranging from damaged, unforgettable characters to sharp portraits of Southern landscapes to family intrigue and wicked flashes of humor, the delights here are spring-loaded, carefully placed, and patiently waiting.
Despite her attention to setting, the (often-interconnected) stories here are ultimately about people contemplating the hidden costs of their own “magnificent mistakes.” Just like us, they struggle to do right and come surprisingly close at times, and this collection has some remarkably powerful moments as it examines the beauty and heartbreak that stem from our unique frailties. This book is both an indictment and a celebration of “how similar we are to porcelain on the inside,” and it’s definitely a ride worth taking.
I was happy to read it for the blurb, and I can’t wait until my pre-ordered copy arrives so I can read it again. There aren’t many books I can say that about, period.
Author photo by Tatyana M Semyrog.
To my mind, shining a light on diversity in any field is important–not just because minority viewpoints matter, but because honest and truthful representation is important. What actually happened, and who was actually there, isn’t always what we choose to remember. To that end, I’d like to introduce some people to Annie Easley. I’m sad to say that I only learned about her a few years ago, but Ms. Easley was a pioneering rocket scientist–her research made space travel and hybrid vehicles possible. And she has a great story.
Also, I’m thrilled that Engadget, one of my favorite technology blogs, is spreading the word. A number of different people–especially women and people of color–have contributed a lot to various fields and artistic movements. But sadly, you don’t always hear a lot about them. And while that silence might not be intentional, it is a political decision (what you choose to know and not know, what you teach and don’t teach–it’s always political). And, not to preach for too long, those decisions can lead to dangerous and lasting misconceptions.
I’m also sad to say that in my crowded life, it’s easy to shove some things in corners–I ran across this by accident, and Engadget mainly ran the article because it’s Black History Month. But I’m hoping that I can reorient my thoughts–year-round–to more important issues such as these. I mean, I know about Henrietta Lacks and Sophia Stewart, but my goal is to expand my knowledge beyond a few key figures. I’ll be reporting my progress here, and please feel free to keep me on task.
Back in 2010, I was fiction editor of The Fourth River, and I was thrilled when I discovered “Marine Biology,” a story by Sandra Gail Lambert, in the slush pile. I quickly picked it up and published it in issue 8. A few weeks ago, I interviewed her to discuss her new novel THE RIVER’S MEMORY. You can read the interview, in which we discuss the role of memory, describing violence in fiction, and the depiction of women in literature, here. Special thanks to Robert and Jeff at Braddock Avenue Books for publishing it.
#TBT. Thanks to John Palen/NewPages and Joelle Jameson/The Review Review for their reviews of “Cottontails.” It was a difficult story to write, but I’m pretty happy with the end result.
Also, thanks to Colorado Review for publishing the story. To read reviews of the entire Summer 2013 issue, click on the images.