For one, no broken neck

The other day I wrote out a long e-mail to my friend Andrew charting the rollercoasting craziness in my life recently.  It takes a certain amount of self-centeredness to complain to Andy, because the guy recently broke his frickin’ neck. Seriously. He’s not paralyzed or anything, and he’s back at work, though he feels sore whenever he spends too much time doing, well, anything involving his body. But he’s better. And his band, Attic of Love, is playing gigs again.

So in that spirit — Andrew’s spirit — today I shall speak only of the peaks, n0t the troughs.

For example, my mom is out of the hospital and recovering at home, with no infections or other nastiness. Props to my little sis and her employers for arranging for her work at home and help out. Because this is an all-peak post, I shall not mention my older sister, who just found out that the muscle tear in her shoulder is not JUST a muscle tear, but a cracked shoulder bone — with a missing chip floating somewhere in her body. Jiminy!

Also, I have a new agent that I’m just thrilled to be working with. Martha Millard represents some of my favorite writers, including Sean Stewart, Michael Swanwick, and William Gibson. I am the small fish in her pond, and happy to be swimming there.

Two days ago I finished the first draft of a story that will appear in an anthology of superhero stories later this year (or early next). The current title is “Message from the Bubblegum Factory.” And the first sentence:

The guards, Dear Reader, are kicking the shit out of me.

I’ve also found out the release date for my second book. The Devil’s Alphabet will be out November 24, 2009. To celebrate, I’ve just posted up the first chapter. It may be rewitten by the time the book’s published, but it should give you a taste of what I’m up to this time.

Hulk Says Read Now

Hi, ready to talk about Daryl again? Great! We have lots of fun facts. For example, did you know Daryl enjoys bean dip? It’s true! He also loves talking about himself in third person, Hulk style!

Okay, enough. I do still have to talk about me, though, because this blog is all about overcoming native midwesterner reticence and telling the world what’s up in my writing life.

So, some good news in the first week of February — David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer picked two of his my stories for their “year’s best” anthologies. “Glass” will be appearing in their SF edition, and “The Illustrated Biography of Lord Grimm” will be in their fantasy book. Which brings my “best of” count for 2009 up to 4 anthologies. Now if only I’d published more than two stories last year.

On the other hand, everything I did manage to publish made it onto the recently released Locus Recommended Reading List for 2008. Pandemonium is in their First Novel category, “Glass” is in Short Story , and “Lord Grimm” is in the Novelette (AKA long short story, for you civilians out there).

I haven’t read a lot of the other stories or novels — I’ve been falling behind this year — but I was happy to see some of my favorites on the list.  For example, Eugene Mirabelli’s “Fallen Angel” (F&SF 12/08 )  . Like everything he does, beautifully written from an oblique angle. And they also recommended the best Iain M. Banks book in a couple years, Matter.

Friends of mine also had some stories on the list that you have to check out: Cat Valente, Ted Kosmatka, Paolo Bacigalupi, Charles Coleman Finlay, all doing some of their best work. I mean, Cat’s incapable of writing an unbeautiful sentence, Ted’s been on fire the past two years, Paolo is continuing his long run of cutting edge stories, many of which are in his new collection, Pump Six and Other Stories. If you’re not reading these people, you gotta start.

But Charlie. This is a great year to start reading him. His “The Political Prisoner” novella is hard-hitting stuff. And he’s about to launch a three-book series from Del Rey that combines his graduate-degree history chops with fantasy adventure, all appearing within months of each other starting in April.

The “Traitor to the Crown” series starts wtih The Patriot Witch, then A Spell for the Revolution, and The Demon Redcoat. Witches fight the American Revolution, people. I got to read a couple of these books at Blue Heaven, and now you can download The Patriot Witch free on his website. He also blogs the details of the deal.

So, yes, it’s freezing in most of the country. Hunker down and start reading, people.

Hulk Smash!