I love spoken word albums and audiobooks, and while I’ve done some studio work in the past (mostly poems I wrote while at Arkansas Tech), I’ve never had a chance to record my fiction. I had planned on recording some of the stories in Tapeworm, but the opportunity never really presented itself. So when Monkey Puzzle Press accepted The Boy in the Well for publication, I wanted to make sure I recorded a spoken word version. Monkey-in-chief Nate Jordon gave his blessing, and we were off.
My long-time friend Caleb Hicks, recording engineer and audiophile extraordinaire, converted my home office into a home studio. His Art Institute of Seattle education and years of radio experience allowed me the opportunity to perform the first five stories of The Boy in the Well in the friendly confines of home. (We’re planning to do the title story in a few days—the rest are much shorter.) Although it was an exhausting experience (talkin purty is hard, y’all), it was a lot of fun. It’s interesting to hear how much the performance of a story can change from one reading to the next as we keep searching for that perfect take.
One of the best aspects of being a writer is the chance to share your writing with others, and I’ve always enjoyed performing my work. Several friends have asked if I’ve considered putting out a CD (or MP3, or whatever else people listen to these days), and my response was always “I’d love to.” Well, it’s coming, folks. In the not-too-distant future, you’ll be able to hear my voice reading my stories through your headphones, in your car, or wherever you enjoy listening to things. Stay tuned for more updates on The Boy in the Well.
The project that has occupied my attention for most of 2013 is my chapbook of horror stories forthcoming from Monkey Puzzle Press. (For the uninitiated, a chapbook is a short collection of writing, typically between 25-75 pages.) Since late March, I’ve been editing, ordering, and perfecting my little six-pack of stories. I’m finally in the last stages of publication; I’ve made all the edits, approved the layout, and now only wait for the final galleys to take one last glance to make sure everything is as close to perfect as I can make it.
These six stories are the best writing I’ve done in the three years since Tapeworm was published. They’ve gone through multiple drafts, and they’ve occasionally been performed and published. I’ve written quite a few stories over that time period, but these were the stories that most disturbed me. Whenever I read something I’ve written and it disturbs me enough that I feel I can’t re-read it for a while, I know I’ve found a winner. These stories, especially the title story, all had this effect on me.
These are horror stories, but not the kind of horror you find in airport bookstores. There are no vampires, werewolves, or sparkle fairies here. My brand of horror comes disguised as a beautiful spring afternoon in “A Lesson for Ducklings,” or as a fortune cookie in “Doppelganger.” My kind of darkness springs not from malice, but from good intentions in stories like “The Ambulance Driver” and “The Boy in the Well.” The chills in my type of horror come from exploring just how far we can take our desires in stories like “Mirror” and “Gravediggers.”
I’m proud of these stories. I’ve polished them for months, trying to find the just-right way to say everything and capture each character’s unique voice and perspective. The Boy in the Well is not yet out (official release date TBA), but it will be available soon in print, eBook, and audiobook formats. My level of excitement grows by the day. Stay tuned for updates—I’ll post them here as they become available.
This is my homepage. It will include information about where to find my books and where I’ll be performing. As it evolves, I’ll add other features as well.
You can find my first book Tapeworm at Monkey Puzzle Press.
You can find out more about the Denver F-Bomb Reading Series here. I’ll be the featured reader at the Jan. 15, 2014 event (which will also serve as a book release party for The Boy in the Well). I’ll also be hosting the June 11, 2014 F-Bomb event.