Ben Templesmith’s Cover Art for Shriek Limited

Here’s Ben Templesmith’s kick-ass artwork for the limited edition Shriek coming out from Wyrm Books next year. John Coulthart is doing the cover design and interior design.


Weird Tales: Michael Boatman on Lady Hollywood

Writer: Michael Boatman
Weird Tales Story: A Father’s Work (Issue #347, Nov/Dec 2007)
Writer Bio: Michael Boatman is an actor and an author. His short story collection, God Laughs When You Die: Mean Little Stories From The Wrong Side of The Tracks, is available at


Die, Lady Hollywood: DIE! DIE! DIE!
Or… How A Thirty -Year- Old Horror Movie Made Me A Terrorist.

Anybody else waiting for I Am Legend to suck?

Don’t get me wrong. I respect Will Smith’s talents and box office achievements as much as the next movie-lover. As an actor I respect his contributions to our industry. He’s hands- down one of the most bankable stars of all time and its no accident. I’m not hatin’ on the man in any way: From my perspective, he’s a talented performer who’s merely taking the much- deserved opportunities presented to him.

Now that that’s out of the way…let me tell you why I can say, without fear of contradiction that I Am Legend will blow like Mount Vesuvius.

And why ultimately, I must destroy Hollywood.

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Weird Tales: chiles samaniego on Guest Blogging

Writer: chiles samaniego
Weird Tales Story: Time and the Orpheus (Issue #352, Sept/Oct 2008)
Writer Bio: When asked to write about himself, chiles samaniego enjoys using lower case letters and the third person; “Easier to make things up about me that way,” he says. As a writer of fictions, he wonders if everything he writes might be true, and therefore not to be trusted.


Right. Guest blogging. When Ann asked if i would be interested in guest blogging, i exercised some restraint, flexed some prodigiously underused mental muscles to hold back the WillSmithian “Aw Heil Naw!” (that meant yes, by the by, just so we’re clear) that Ann’s email had sent bouncing around the inside of my skull, and replied, “Yes. Very. Interested.” or something equally autonomic. But then, of course, i had to sit down and actually write the thing. Horrors: i had no idea what i might write about. i was facing the Dread Blank Page (only slightly less notorious than the Dread Pirate Roberts, unless you’re from Florin where it seems virtually unknown), that pale-eyed monster writers are so familiar with, and of which many have written long and lengthily and with A Great Many Words.

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Surfacing…and work ethic

Surfacing from Predator novel writing and revisions just for a moment to say more interviews with the bookless are forthcoming, along with a sneak peek at Ben Templesmith’s cover art for the limited edition Shriek, and excellent news about Finch.

In the meantime, I’ve gotten almost a dozen emails saying basically, “Jeff, how do you accomplish so much?” I really don’t feel like I’m doing that much, in fact I often feel downright lazy, but in case my process might be of help, here it is: Prioritize your workload to start with the stuff that takes the most mental energy–and make sure you get enough sleep, exercise, and the right kind of food.

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Weird Tales: John Kirk on Geliophobia

Writer: John Kirk
Weird Tales Story: The Talion Moth (Issue #349, March/April 2008)
Writer Bio: John Kirk is a screenwriter and a member of the Writers Guild of America, west, in Los Angeles. He’s worked as a staff writer and story editor for several TV shows in the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genres, including Roar and Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda. His story Nestor among the Antelopes was a finalist in Glimmer Train magazine’s Very Short Fiction Competition for 2007.


We’re a phobic species. There may be some folks out there perfectly adjusted to life in this world – no cringing at thunder or hiding from parrots – but I’d say those people are about as rare as tabletop fusion. Thanks to their universal presence phobias have always served as ideal inspiration for tales of horror and wonder. As Cat Rambo points out in an earlier blog, to create a body of work that today enjoys worldwide acclaim, H.P. Lovecraft constantly dipped into that barrel of fear he hauled around strapped to his back.

Don’t misunderstand — I’m not throwing stones. I’m dragging my own barrel (more like a bucket, but it’s got the drag of a barrel) through this life, and I’ve ladled out plenty of that murky soup to save me from staring at blank pages. Still, there is one phobia of mine I’ve never used to inform a story… until now.

I suffer from geliophobia, which the online DSM-IV-TR  defines as “the fear of laughter.” Mine is a strange form of the condition, strange because I fear the laughter of only one person: my grandmother.

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Weird Tales: Robert Davies on The Winged Man

Writer: Robert Davies
Weird Tales Story: Bruise for Bruise (Issue # TBA 2008)
Writer Bio: Robert Davies writes things his mother doesn’t like to read. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his high-school sweetheart Sara, two cats Lilith and Tiamat, and a lot of books. His favorite Horseman is Pestilence.


“Why does the main character have wings?”

Any writer who dabbles in fantastic fiction will be asked such a question at some point in life, usually in one of those soul-wrenching critique circles in Fiction Writing 101, or by a mother wondering if all those tuition checks were ground up and smoked in some strange gilded hookah.

“I’m a little confused…”

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Shooting War Bookslut Column

My latest comics column for Bookslut is now up.

The Iraq War, and the context surrounding it — from the curtailment of civil liberties in the United States and the United Kingdom to the through-the-looking-glass insane discussion of torture by a sitting president, from the continued slaughter of Iraqi citizens to the emotional and physical brutalization (by and) of American troops — has an element of satire and sad, even bitter, absurdism that can make a writer of fiction freeze up. How in the hell can you treat the situation with the necessary savagery, respect, contempt, and intelligence? How do you avoid lapsing into two-dimensional stereotype? How do you convey the complexity?

Appoggiatura: Story from Logorrhea Now Online

John Klima has now posted the links to a neat little promotion for his Logorrhea anthology. It consists of Jason Lundberg‘s podcast of my story “Appoggiatura” and links to the 20 pieces of the story in text form, released under creative commons. Basically, for my story I took each word the other contributors used and created a short story out of vignettes based on each. A couple of reviewers have suggested the story is a series of unrelated short-shorts. In fact, it’s a coherent single narrative somewhat like, for example, Robert Altman’s movie Short Cuts. I also think it’s one of my best stories, for what that’s worth.

Anyway, some of the pieces have been posted by other contributors, including Tim Pratt, Daniel Abraham, Hal Duncan, Clare Dudman, Matthew Cheney, Jay Caselberg, Neil Williamson, Liz Williams, Anna Tambour, Leslie What, Alan DeNiro, Jay Lake, and Elizabeth Hand. So the feature is doubly cool in that each of those writers also goes into why they chose their word for their story.

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Weird Tales: Adam Corbin Fusco on Salad Dreams

Writer: Adam Corbin Fusco
Weird Tales Story: Belair Plaza (Issue # TBA 2008)
Writer Bio: Adam Corbin Fusco’s fiction has appeared in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, vols. 7 and 17; Science Fiction Age; Borderlands 5; and The Best of Cemetery Dance. His blog is Heliopoli.

The Dreamquest of Unknown Salad

Well, it involves Clive Swift, a broken cathedral, the planet Saturn, and a giant cherub. It has to do with scale … and salad.

It began with the salad.

It had been some time since I had eaten a respectable vegetable. I had been having all sorts of trouble sleeping, so I thought a good dose of vitamins and minerals would help things along. So into a bowl I threw romaine lettuce, cut-up baby carrots, raisins (it’s OK; raisins are cool in salad), garlic, onion, cheese, red pepper flake, pepper, and Annie’s Naturals Goddess Dressing (I’m not kidding and it’s delicious).

Apparently, this is a recipe for dreams of cosmic terror.

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Weird Tales: Nir Yaniv on Writing Speculative Fiction in Israel

Writer: Nir Yaniv
Weird Tales Story: The Dream of the Blue Man (Issue #352, October 2008)
Writer Bio: Nir Yaniv is an Israeli writer, editor, musician and computer programmer. His story collection, “One Hell of a Writer”, was published in 2006 by Odyssey Press. In 2000 he established Israel’s first online SF&F magazine, and edited it until early 2007, when he became chief editor of “Dreams in Aspamia“, Israel’s only pro genre magazine. He lives in Tel Aviv with his girlfriend Keren and records his music in his own studio, The Nir Space Station.


Small Crowds – Big Dreams
There’s no law of physics, as far as I know, preventing a person from becoming a speculative fiction writer by deciding to become one. I’m sure that there are such writers in the genre’s history, though I wouldn’t know. To me, however, and to some other Israeli SF writers I know, becoming worthy of that title seems more like a sort of accident, albeit a happy one.

How does one become, then, a member of that rare breed, that semi-secret society of people who write speculative fiction in a 2000 year-old language, in a land that, to its great misfortune, some would call holy?

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