Wednesday, March 06, 2013

The sundry news--

Reprints are cheerful! 

Thanks to Adam Mills, managing editor of Weird Fiction Review (brain child of that energetic duo, the Vandermeers), for asking for a reprint of "An Incident at Agate Beach." The story first appeared in James A. Owen's gorgeous, short-lived Argosy Quarterly, and went on to a second life in the Northwest Passages anthology and a third in Year's Best in Fantasy and Horror, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. An appearance in the online Weird Fiction will mark its fourth publication and be its home on the web.

I've also been asked for another reprint story for an anthology, tba.... I'm pleased about that one as well.


I'm still working out how to describe the new book.

My latest suggestion from Gary Dietz is that a summation of the book mention "dystopian," "story,""teens," and "in the future." Any thoughts? I find that Thaliad tends to exceed any description of it, and so any any attempt to describe it in a few words is insufficient. It's easier to depict in 500 words than in 20. So far. Also, everybody suggests not using possible "turn off" words like "apocalypse" or "epic."

My feeling is that after a while, the whole attempt feels de-natured. I never have liked summaries. If I wanted to write a book in 20 words, I would do so and be done. I tend to like other people's descriptions better than my own for that reason.

In THALIAD, Marly Youmans has written a powerful and beautiful saga of seven children who escape a fiery apocalypse----though "written" is hardly the word to use, as this extraordinary account seems rather "channeled" or dreamed or imparted in a vision, told in heroic poetry of the highest calibre. Amazing, mesmerizing, filled with pithy wisdom, THALIAD is a work of genius which also seems particularly relevant to our own time.
          --novelist Lee Smith

New page, also thanks to Gary Dietz--

Gary is a former student of mine (from another life, almost!) who gives me advice about the internet and other things. He's a creative sort and a good writer. Here he is: Here I am: Most compact. So now I have a kind of complicated signpost...

1 + 1 + 1

If you're interested in my poetry and fiction, please take a look at the pages (see tabs above) for my three 2012 books--the new Thaliad, the almost-new The Foliate Head, and the slightly less new novel A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage. Every now and then publication dates collide, and those books are a challenge.


  1. I think Lee Smith sums it up very nicely. I have no arguments against the words Gary has advised you to use (though I might quibble with "dystopian"), except that I think they suggest a different kind of story than what's inside. Those words trigger a particular series of expectations in a reader (particularly of the action and adventure variety) which may turn off the ones who would most appreciate it, and disappoint those looking for something a little more Mad Max.

    What I take away from it hinges much more on the spiritual journey (although even that word carries too much freight to be of much use). The planting, the lake, the faceless angel, the struggle to identify and accommodate love's various manifestations ... I don't know how you encapsulate that into a brief summary. But, to me anyway, it's much more about that than it is about the post-apocalypse.

  2. Yes, I think you are right. Entirely so!

  3. Marly, you are too kind. In my opinion, I always benefit more from our talks than you do.

    Ironically, our conversation consisted of many more than 500 words, but you summarized it in 3 words and one phrase. Which was sort of my point.

    A marketing communication exercise ("please read/buy/recommend my book") is a completely different exercise than experiencing the contents of the book ("this book is wonderful and made me think, changed my life, moved me, made me quit my job and move to Jacksonville, etc.)

    Creating content to convince someone to read the book, while necessarily related to the content of the book, is quite a different exercise than writing or reading the book.

    Anyhow, what the hell do I know? I'm just using your blog to avoid my own writing deadlines :-)


  4. Gary,

    Again I agree wholly. Still thinking about it.

  5. Robbi,

    Lee is a real expert at these summations, being bright and having been a popular author for so long now.


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.