the year that was

Well, it’s a tradition, I suppose, the year-end sum up, hardly subverted by being posted on the first day of the new year instead of the last of the old. So.

In 2011, I published two books, a marvel of unprecedented proportion.

The New People (and its companion-between-the-covers, Brandon Bell’s Elegant Threat) made little impression on the world that Google can discover. Sad but not surprising for a book from a micro press whose publisher’s real life (read: more-than-full-time job) seems to have swallowed him whole in the last six months and at least one of whose authors is pathologically averse to self promotion. But it’s out there.

The Abode of Bliss: Ten Stories for Adam did somewhat better. The first month’s excellent reviews are catalogued here. Since, the estimable Out in Print: Queer Book Reviews published George Seaton’s appreciation. Hilicia of Impressions…of a Reader, who reviewed Abode very thoughtfully back in August, named it as her favorite LGBT read of the year and among her three favorites in any genre, and I am immensely gratified. [edited to add: Novelist and critic Alan Chin calls Abode one of his five favorites of 2011.] The book’s publisher, in his own year-end sum up, lists it among the titles he’s most proud to have released in 2011.

I published four stories, a personal best as far as my inadequate records reveal.

“The Arab’s Prayer” appeared in January in the second-anniversary issue of Chris Fletcher’s ’zine M-Brane SF (#24) and the print M-Brane SF Quarterly (#2) in March, some months before his job swallowed him up and the ’zine went on hiatus. Chris has plans to revive M-Brane SF in different, probably less frequent than monthly, form in the near future. Its return will be welcomed. Meanwhile, “The Arab’s Prayer” has been selected as the lead story in Wilde Stories 2012: The Year’s Best Gay Speculative Fiction.

“Captain of the World,” a story I was hounded into writing, appeared in the anthology of inspirational stories for GLBT teens Speaking Out, edited by Steve Berman and released by Bold Strokes Books in September. There is some thought of expanding the story into a novel. We’ll see if anything comes of that.

“Liam and the Ordinary Boy,” second in an on-going series, appeared soon after in the fall issue (#10) of Icarus: The Magazine of Gay Speculative Fiction. First in the series, “Liam and the Wild Fairy,” previously appeared in Icarus #5 (Summer 2010). Whether Icarus will take the third, “Liam and His Dads,” or the contemplated but as yet unwritten fourth through seventh remains in question.

“Turning,” finally, a long magical-realist story, appeared in the first issue of Chelsea Station. Under an earlier title, “Like Spinning Stars, Like Flowers,” it was one of fourteen finalists selected by John Berendt for the annual short-fiction competition of the Saints & Sinners Literary Festival. Not one of the ten selected for the annual anthology, though. Just as well, perhaps: Chelsea Station’s editor, Jameson Currier, suggested several very productive changes.

I sold two long stories to appear before the midpoint of 2012. Both, coincidentally (they were written two years apart), tales of American teenagers on vacation in Europe. “Tattooed Love Boys,” written first, sold second, will appear on line at GigaNotoSaurus.org, probably in March. “Wheat, Barley, Lettuce, Fennel, Salt for Sorrow, Blood for Joy” is scheduled for May, in Boys of Summer, Steve Berman and Bold Strokes Books’ follow up to Speaking Out.

I wrote three stories—not a record, but not bad. All, oddly or not, for projects edited by Steve Berman. The aforementioned “Captain of the World” in late winter and “Wheat, Barley, Lettuce, Fennel…” in late summer/early fall. Between them, “Ban’s Dream of the Sea,” which may or may not appear in The Touch of the Sea, an anthology of marine fantasy scheduled for July publication.

I sold a collection of fantastical stories, tentatively titled You Will Meet a Stranger Far from Home, which Lethe Press has scheduled for July release, just in time for my mumblety-fifth birthday. The table of contents keeps changing but needs to be fixed soon, as production of Advance Reader Copies can’t be delayed much past February. But I have to write one more story….

As editor/designer/entrepreneur, I published the first BrazenHead novella, Dayna Ingram’s ferocious and delightsome Eat Your Heart Out, which garnered BrazenHead’s parent Lethe Press its first starred review in Publishers Weekly and, I’m told, is selling briskly. (More briskly than my books.) Any day now, I hope to see the revised MS of the novella I expect to release as BrazenHead #2. Submissions are always open to works of queer spec fic between thirty and sixty thousand words.

As designer, I laid out a bunch of handsome books, the last several months’ worth of which have not yet made an appearance in the gallery. Because I have been busy with other things. Later in the day, perhaps.

As novelist, I completed a draft of The Unexpected Thing, an immense novel that I love unreservedly. Whether anybody else will love it I have no notion: potential early readers have mostly begged off—“144,000 words? I don’t have time!” they cry. Reasonably enough, I suppose. (No, I don’t.) Anyway, one of these days soon I’ll pester my agent, who’s had a copy of the MS since May. One of these days soon I’ll come up with an all-consuming project to take its place in my head.

And that’s it. What, you expected a recount of my personal, everyday life and interactions with the real world? Not bloody likely. (Charlotte and Jane are both well.)

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