Question: Where to Find My Writing?
2009 rings itself in with questions.  Questions about the economy, about peace in Gaza, about the viability of the flu vaccine, about the collapse of one African nation after another––and also questions, both large and small, from my eight-year-old, who has taken to reading the comics page in the newspaper.  The entire comics page.  This means he not only gets a dose of “The Family Circus” and “Peanuts” but also of “Rex Morgan, M.D.” and “Get Fuzzy” and “Funky Winkerbean.”  Life issues raise their heads in droves.
He also reads headlines.  A recent winner prompted this question: “What’s rape?”
The answer, provided my father, visiting for the holidays, was “It’s a special kind of attack on a woman.”  
Lucky for us, that was all the explanation my son required.  That’s the trick to all childhood questions, isn’t it?  Discovering––or predicting––exactly what level of response they want.  Sometimes, of course, one must translate this to mean “exactly what level of response they’ll sit still for.”
National Public Radio, which is on in our house most mornings and many evenings, is also becoming fair game for questions.  Said eight-year-old already knows where Iraq is, so now it’s only a matter of time before we have to explain why, precisely, the U.S. sent its citizen-soldiers to that far off land.  To explain this without bias (my wife and I both view the Iraq endeavor as a perilous mistake whose repercussions will be measured in centuries) will be perhaps the most difficult part of all, although we’ll surely try.  Dispassionate information must, after all, come before the messy business of opinion-making.
Here’s my question to 2009: Is this the year the world’s major powers finally accept that the big blue ball we all live on is a finite resource, and begin to treat it (and the world’s economic policies) accordingly?  It’s a question I wrangle every night as I drift off to sleep in my well-heated home, ensconced in downright luxurious flannel sheets.  Of course, there’s a nightmare coda to that first question always lurking in the background (it’s a monster under the bed): How long can such comforts last, and when will some commercial monopoly, bankrupt at last or perhaps controlled by Putin’s Kremlin, pull the plug on my heating oil?
Okay, on to more cheerful topics.  Look for new stories in the following upcoming venues:
1) In late spring 2009, you will be able to download a .pdf of “Karen Addy’s Cat Flap” from Strange, Weird and Wonderful at  Yours truly will also be a “featured author” on the Strange site, so you can find an interview posted there shortly, with me sounding off about all things writerly.  The focus, however, will be on the fantastic, known in the biz as science fiction, fantasy and horror.  None of which I write.  I just write stories.
2) At about the same moment (Spring ’09) look for the latest from All Hallows, the Journal of the (International) Ghost Story Society, in which you will find “The Surrogate.”  Don’t read this tale if you’re currently pregnant or nursing.  And don’t watch Rosemary’s Baby, either.  Trust me, both diversions can wait a few months.
3) Sometime a little closer to summer, Sam’s Dot Publishing will release a print anthology entitled Shelter of Daylight, containing “One Winner Only,” a long tale of mine set in Ray Bradbury’s favorite non-Martian location, a fairground.
I assume all you readers have rushed out already to order or pick up Traps?  If not, here’s the link:  
Inside Traps you’ll find “A New Grave for Monique,” the closest thing I’ve ever written to comedic horror.  Plus, it’s a lovely love story, created with the loving assistance of my loveable Aunt Monica, without whose solid comprehension of Jamaican dialects, this story would never have gotten off the ground.
And finally, if any of you will be in Cincinnati in mid-April, come see Nightjars, staged at Northern Kentucky University.
That’s the news for now––with more to follow shortly, I trust––and for all you parents out there, keep an eye out for low-flying questions.  They’re inbound and loaded for bear.
: )
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Friday, January 9, 2009