Saturday, October 21 @ 11 AM: I’ll be on a panel with HWA CT co-conspirator John Opalenik asking, “Why Do Readers and Writers Choose to be Unsettled by Horror Writing?” It’s part of the Woodbury Public Library’s literary festival, A Confluence of Readers and Writers.
Saturday, October 21 in the PM: I’ll be at StoryFest 2023 at the Westport Public Library. StoryFest is Connecticut’s biggest literary festival, and I’ll be manning the table with my fellow HWA CT members selling and signing books.
Monday, October 30 @ 6 PM: I’m leading a Gothic fiction writing workshop titled “What We Write in the Shadows” at the Mystic and Noank Library. Participants will learn about the history of Gothic literature and leave the 90-minute workshop with a finished piece of flash fiction. Space is still available!
Saturday, November 4 @ 10 AM: I’ll be hustling books at the Norwalk Local Author Festival at the Norwalk Public Library. Come meet me and a bunch of other local authors and maybe pick up a book or three.
Saturday, December 9 @ 1–4 PM: I will be at Rule of 3 Brewing in East Hampton reading, signing books, and hanging out with other great authors. Grab a beer and a new book.
The premiere anthology from Onotology Books, A Darkness Visible, has hit virtual shelves just in time for Halloween.
The anthology is a collection of postmodern horror. Sounds heavy, you say. What is “postmodern horror?”
Put simply, the fiction of A Darkness Visible plays with or overturns the conventions of both fiction itself — how it’s presented or by using nontraditional methods to communicate the narrative — as well as those of the horror genre.
A Darkness Visible includes my contribution, “The Book of Pangloss,” which is a piece of interactive fiction — what’s otherwise known as a choose-your-own-adventure story, complete with numbered passages that end in a decision to be made by the reader.
In the story, YOU are the defense attorney for an accused murderer. But is your client actually guilty? And what do the murders of three women have to do with a mysterious occult volume known as the Book of Pangloss?
Writing “Pangloss” checked off a box that’s long sat on my to-do list. Like other Gen Xers, I grew up on a heavy diet of CYOA paperbacks sourced from B. Dalton and Waldenbooks, with Fighting Fantasy being an absolute obsession that lasts to this day. I’d always wanted to write interactive fiction but could never find an appropriate market for it until the call for A Darkness Visible came around.
To write “Pangloss,” I used a freeware app called Twine and designed the story so that it stretched about 3,000 words long no matter which path the reader took. It was challenging but a blast to create, and the experience whet my appetite to write more CYOA.
A Darkness Visible is available now in paperback or as an e-book.
This October I’ll be leading a 90-minute workshop on gothic fiction at the Mystic and Noank Library in Mystic, Connecticut.
The gothic is the past returning to haunt us in the present. Yet like vampires and werewolves, gothic stories can assume different shapes and forms: Bram Stoker’s Dracula involves a supernatural evil unleashed in contemporary England, while the narrator of Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” is haunted simply by his own guilt. In this workshop, join author and freelance writer Jackson Kuhl for an evening investigating the dark art of gothic fiction writing. We’ll look at some examples of classic gothic literature to inspire us, then brainstorm ideas, sketch a brief outline, and craft a piece of gothic flash fiction to take home.
Interested in attending? You can register at the library’s website. There’s no charge but it’s expected to fill up fast.
Editor extraordinaire Sara Crocoll Smith is preparing a third volume of her anthology series, Love Letter to Poe, this one themed around Poe’s story, “The Tell-Tale Heart.” For this entry she’s using Kickstarter to fund its production. It hasn’t launched yet but you can follow the Kickstarter to be notified when it does.
In related news, the previous volume, Love Letters to Poe, Volume II: Houses of Usher, which includes my story “The Last Stand of Sassacus House,” has been nominated for a 2023 Saturday Visiter Award. Winners will be announced in October.
The initial book in the series (which also included a story of mine) won the 2022 Saturday Visiter Award in the category of “Original Works Inspired by E.A. Poe’s Life and Writing.”
You can purchase copies of Volume I here and Volume II here.
Recently I reinstituted a Contact form on the site after someone expressed difficulty getting in touch with me. Since then the site has been bombarded by brute-force hacking attempts, which is why I removed the original Contact page back in 2021. I don’t know what is about web forms but they’re blood in the water for attracting bots. I’ve now taken it down a second time.
If you want to contact me, the best way is through social media. Links to my profiles are available at the bottom of every page on this site and I’ve added a second set at the top of the sidebar that appears on blog pages (if you’re reading this on a desktop).
• Instagram and Threads are the best way to reach me. I’m often on Insta spending too much time watching videos about dogs, chimpanzees, and chimps petting dogs; and while Threads is a little chaotic during its salad days and I don’t check it often, I will receive notifications.
• I have a Facebook profile but I rarely check it. Facebook’s interface is like a child’s toy, full of buttons meant to keep you distracted while the grown-ups eat dinner but it’s cumbersome to use for practical purposes. You can reach out to me there but I may not notice for a couple of weeks.
• The less said about the website-formerly-known-as-Twitter, the better. If you tweet or DM me there, I will lock my car doors and stare straight ahead through the windshield while pretending I didn’t see it.
Ransack the sofa and bring your spare change to downtown Branford, Connecticut this Saturday, May 6, where me and about 40 other authors will be hawking our wares as part of the first annual Branford Book Festival.
We’ll be posted outside local stores along Main Street selling, signing, and talking to readers. I will be at the corner of Main and Ivy outside Elements Massage, at the northern end of the festival. Drop by, buy a book, and then buy a gift card for that special someone. Remember — Mother’s Day is only a week away.
Many of the merchants have donated prizes for the raffle to be held at the Blackstone Memorial Library from 3 pm to 5 pm. The process to enter the raffle is a lot of fun: you need to acquire 20 signatures from authors in your festival passport, which you can pick up at any of the authors’ tables.
However, to encourage foot traffic throughout the downtown area, four signatures are mandatory for the passport — and because my table is at the northern periphery, I’m one of them. In order for you to enter the raffle, I’m a boss battle.
Don’t worry, just hit left-right-O-X and I’ll jot my name down. I will also be happy to sign a copy of Samuel Smedley, Connecticut Privateer or A Season of Whispers for you.
The Branford Book Festival is Saturday, May 6 from 10 am to 3 pm, with the raffle to follow.