December 12th, 2011


Big in Canada, Part Two

Canadian horror magazine Rue Morgue is probably my favorite magazine of all. Its articles and reviews tend to be in-depth and thoughtful, even if I don't always agree with their assessments, and its covers don't usually embarrass me the way other horror magazines' covers do (I'm looking at you, Fangoria!). So one of my dreams has always been to have a book of mine reviewed or featured in the magazine. That hasn't happened yet, but something very close to it just did. The December 2011 issue's "Library of the Damned" column, written by Rue Morgue's managing editor Monica S. Kuebler, focuses entirely on one of my stories.

That story? "Street Cred," the only "traditional" zombie story I've ever written. It first appeared in the 2001 anthology Bloodtype, edited by Michael Laimo and published by Lone Wolf Publications, a boutique press that published anthologies on CD-ROM, complete with illustrations and original music. (It's the only anthology I've ever been in that came with its own theme song!) Later, it was reprinted in my short-lived story collection from Prime Books/House of Dominion, Walk In Shadows. Which, according to the column, is where Ms. Kuebler originally came across it. She writes:

"Street Cred" permanently left a mark on my psyche. So much so that when I first met its author a few years later, I blurted out, "Oh my god, you're the guy who wrote that fucking amazing zombie story!"

I remember that encounter well, actually. It was at the 2005 World Horror Convention in New York City. Monica and I have remained friends ever since, and it was her publishing company, Burning Effigy Press, that published my novella General Slocum's Gold, which went on to be nominated for the Bram Stoker Award.

As a side note, it's funny how one thing can lead to another in your career. Monica's feelings about "Street Cred" led directly to her soliciting me for a novella for Burning Effigy, and I wrote Slocum just for her. Its subsequent Stoker nomination pretty much led directly to ChiZine Publications soliciting me for a book, which in turn led to the publication of, and multiple award nominations for, Chasing the Dragon. Where that will lead, who knows?

Anyway, Monica goes on to flatter me ridiculously by writing, in part:

What makes "Street Cred" successful is its extremely potent mix of reality and repulsion....Stories such as "Street Cred" prove that despite the saturation of same old, same old, if we'd just stop fixating on the apocalypse and start asking what happens next, we might be surprised by the horrors we find.

Obviously, I couldn't agree more! Thank you, Monica S. Kuebler and Rue Morgue, for shining a brief spotlight on a story from my past! As I mentioned to a reader recently in email, who saw the column and asked if there were any plans to reprint Walk In Shadows, I feel like everything I've published since then is so much better that I never gave the idea of reprinting the collection much thought. Also, despite uniformly glowing reviews, I was an unknown author and the book sold pretty poorly, which is why Prime Books only kept it in print for two years. But to know that there are readers out there who actually do like it or might still be interested in it makes me happy, and reminds me why I'm in this silly business to begin with: To write stories that people enjoy, and hopefully, if I do it right, stories that make a lasting impression.