Yea, yes, I know–how am I supposed to build a effective author platform if I never update my blog? I know. I won’t. And so, yes, I must update this more often. But I’ve had a good excuse, at least. I have been stupid busy. Agh, I know, aren’t we all? We are all so very, very busy. Okay. Okay! I suck. That is my excuse. I suck. But I have been busy. Really.
Well, I’ll start with my biggest and most exciting news.
After much thought and negotiations, I have joined Robert Shane Wilson and Jennifer Wilson as a partner/editor over at Nightscape Press, for whom I had been doing some editing work. This is an exciting opportunity and I’m very much looking forward to working with them and helping make NSP the best little genre press out there. And, let’s face it, they’re already pretty great. They got two nominations and one win for a Stoker in Best First Novel last year, and this year they’ve (we’ve?) got another nomination in the same category. Stephen Graham Jones’s “Interstate Love Affair” (from NSP’s Three Miles Past) won This Is Horror’s 2013 Short Fiction of the Year last month. Must be doing something right.
So, that’s big news.
I’m also pulling things together for the first issue of Despumation, which is shaping up nicely. As of today, I have a bunch of submissions to read through. I am expecting to have enough stories accepted to be able to roll them over into the second issue, which is nice. I’m still working on some interior artwork, and the photo I’ve got from Rachael Deacon is going to make a sweet cover, which I will preview at some point. We’re shooting for a May 30th launch date. (And hey, if you dig metal and you write, then we’re open for the upcoming issues–send that shit in).
I’m expecting the Winter volume of the Monsters and Monstrous journal, which contains an excerpt from my Stevenson/Werewolf novel, to be out any day now. They sent me a pdf not so very long ago and it’s looking rather good. But the excitement doesn’t end there. I just got news yesterday that the conference associated with this journal, aptly named the 12th Global Conference: Monsters and the Monstrous, accepted my paper proposal! It went a little something like this:
“Mutual Monsterization and the Meaning of Monstrosity in Metal Music”
When metal music became self-aware, there existed a mutually beneficial popular-monsterization/self-monsterization relationship between the mainstream and the music: society demonized bands to maintain the status quo and bands demonized themselves to boost their popularity among those outside the status quo, sometimes as a step toward eventual integration into the mainstream. In addition, there is another, more ethereal form of self-monsterization among metal bands that derives from what could be described as the band’s initial biosphere—a combination of the music, attitude, intention, and environmental background of the band as an amalgamated functioning entity. It is this more “spiritual monstrosity” that connects fans to the music.
In the case of extreme metal, all popular- and self-monsterization is based on the bands’ musical instrumentation, vocals, lyrics, and appearance. Little-to-no attention is paid by the entertainment industry to that difficult-to-define “spiritual monstrosity.” Ultimately, in terms of financial “success” (which primarily denotes a band’s apex), the only way for an extreme metal band to “make it” is to allow itself to be scrubbed of the monstrous identity it self-generated and allow itself to be re-shaped through the PR mechanisms of their record companies in terms of what mainstream culture considers a “safe,” popular monstrosity: edgy enough to satisfy the teens who listen to it, but socially harmless enough so that authority figures don’t feel too threatened. This process seems, in all cases, to kill that core, inherent monstrosity that defines extreme metal at its elemental base, causing friction between hardcore fans and fans whose attraction to the band is based more on trendy aesthetics than the essence of that “spiritual monstrosity.” I intend to explore the struggle between these forms of monsterization in extreme metal and how they define or destroy “true” metal.
Aaaand, now I have to write it. So, there’s that and then I’m off to Oxford for it toward the end of July. It’s been a while since I’ve given an academic paper. I will try not to be too pedestrian (or throw up on myself).
As for writing, I am slowly working on a Free Snake Poem for the soon-to-be award-winning FREE SNAKE POEMS ABOUT SNAKES event, which I regretfully cannot attend, but hope to have my free snake poem read in my absence. If you live in Pittsburgh, or near it, I strongly suggest you attend this destined-to-become-a cult event.
Otherwise, I’m working on the second Stevenson adventure novel, working toward something memoir-ish, and working on getting as many novel rejections as possible before someone finally accepts the first RLS novel. Not to mention accumulating rejections for short stories (Who’s with me? *high five!*). I have no complaints, really.
Add to this our house-hunting, the eventual pack-and-move, and then getting this place on the market ASAP. We’ve got a trip to Florida this month (oooo, in just a couple weeks, actually) and then a Danube cruise toward the end of April (both are family-visiting/spending-time-with trips). Then the Oxford trip in July (but that’s bidness). Yeah, busy. Productive, but busy. I need to update this blog more often. We’ll see about that…