Crime Night at the Cell, 3/20/18

On Tuesday, March 20, I’ll be part of Crime Night at the Cell Theatre, with a talented ensemble of artists. The night is a literary salon organized by the Irish American Writers & Artists, the brainchild of Malachy McCourt.

The lineup include John Kearns, Joseph “Good Guy” Goodrich, “Shameless” Seamus Scanlon, Gary “Too Cool” Cahill, Rosina Fernhoff, “Neon” Nina Mansfield, Guen Donohue, “Smartypants” S.A. Solomon, Larry Kirwan, Sarah Covington, Nancy Oda, Jen Cannibals Conley, Mark Butler, and M.C. Neuda.

I’ll be reading from my new novel, Hipster Death Rattle. The show runs from 7 to 9:15 p.m. #FREE

NB: Here is a great rundown of the event, which was a lot of fun!

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Speaking of Which

“What should we drink?” she asked.
“It’s pretty chilly outside right now, don’t you think? How about some hot chocolate?”
“Let’s drink beer.”
“Er, okay, but it’s morning time. Although I guess it is five o’clock somewhere on the planet, am I right?”
“Big ones,” the woman said. “Big as elephants.”
“I’ve never seen one.”
“Seen what?”
“A beer as big as an elephant.”
“No, you wouldn’t have.”
“I might have,” I said. “Just because you say I wouldn’t have doesn’t prove anything.”
“What did you say?”
“I was going to tell you that I’m running a workshop for the Bronx Writers Center. That’s in the Bronx, by the way.”
“Could we try it?”
“Well, sure, it’s a free workshop. Anybody can try it.”
“Is it good with water?”
“It is for me. All that speaking makes my mouth parched. But I try to make it interactive, so it’s not just me yammering on the whole time. Though I will be doing a lot of yammering.”
“It tastes like licorice.”
“What’s that now?”
“Yes, everything tastes of licorice. Especially all the things you’ve waited so long for, like absinthe.”
“Or this workshop! It’s about dialogue in writing. It’s called ‘Say What? Using Dialogue in Your Writing’ on Saturday, January 20. Get it? ‘Say What?’ I thought of that all by myself.”
“Wasn’t that bright.”
“From noon to 2 p.m. At the Bronx Library Center, 310 East Kingsbridge Road. Also in the Bronx, by the way. I’m taking the bus to get there because taking the train would take forever. I could take a CitiBike, but this high up in the Bronx, we don’t rate. Are you going to be there?”
“I guess so.”
“Oh, and it’s free. There’s a plus. But you should really RSVP.”
“Should we have another drink?”
“I guess. But who’s buying?”

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Back in Brooklyn

On Saturday, October 14, I’ll be participating in Indie Author Day at the Williamsburgh Public Library, 240 Division Avenue, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. That’s the library where I used to research my reports in sixth grade and junior high. I haven’t been back since, so this should be nostalgic. Or rage-inducing. Williamsburg does both for me.

I’ll be doing a brief workshop on “Writing Diverse Characters in Sci-fi, Mystery & Horror” at 11:15 a.m., reading from Roachkiller and Other Stories during the open mic, and then I’ll be hawking some books, mostly copies of Latin@ Rising. Come see me and some of my excellent author pals, including Lucky Henry Chang and Auspicious Adriana Erin Rivera (Swing Sets).

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Latin@ Rising across Four Boroughs

This September I’ll be doing a series of events to help promote Latin@ Rising: An Anthology of Science Fiction and Fantasy. The book’s stalwart editor, Matthew David Goodwin, is flying into NYC from Puerto Rico and hitting four of the five boroughs, so many of the local-area writers from the collection will join him in events.

You can find out more about the book here, and Matthew discusses my short story here. The book began with a successful Kickstarter campaign before it was picked up by Wings Press. This Foreword Reviews article also gives a great overview of the book’s genesis.

All these are free and open to the public.

  • Edgar Allan Poe Park Visitor Center Reading and Q&A
    2640 Grand Concourse, Bronx, N.Y. 10458 | Saturday, September 16, 12-3 p.m.
    Scheduled participants: Matthew David Goodwin, Carl Marcum, Pedro Zagitt, and myself.
  • New York Society Library Panel
    53 East 79th Street New York, N.Y. 10075 | Sunday, September 17, 3 p.m. RSVP.
    Scheduled participants: Carlos Hernandez and Sabrina Vourvoulias will be there with Matthew and me.
  • LaGuardia Community College Reading and Q&A
    31-10 Thompson Avenue, Room E-242, Long Island City, Queens, N.Y. 11101 | Monday, September 18, 3-5 p.m.
    Scheduled participants: Matthew David Goodwin, Carl Marcum, and myself.
  • Word Bookstore Reading and Q&A
    126 Franklin St, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11222 | Tuesday, September 19, 7 p.m.
    Scheduled participants: Matthew David Goodwin, Carlos Hernandez, Carl Marcum, Sabrina Vourvoulias, Pedro Zagitt, and myself.


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“Paumanok” on Great Jones Street App

My short story “Ending in Paumanok” is available, with this loverly illustration on the fiction app, Great Jones Street. Get the app and read the story here.

Some background on the story: I went to college at SUNY Stony Brook on Long Island, so when I wanted to contribute to an anthology called Long Island Noir, I asked if I could write about Stony Brook. Alas, that was taken, but the editor Kaylie Jones said she’d love to have a story about the Shinnecock Nation, a tribe of Native Americans from the eastern end of Long Island. She asked if I knew anything about them. I said, “Sure.” I knew nothing. But I really wanted to get a story into the anthology. I admit I was a little uncomfortable writing about 1) a culture that wasn’t my own, and 2) writing about individual members of the culture in a way that wasn’t necessarily positive, since, in a noir story, just about all of the characters are morally corrupt. But I made sure to do research on the Shinnecock people, with the aim of being as respectful as possible.

The story was inspired by a Native American name for Long Island: Paumanok (“land of tribute” in the Renneiu language). Also, I wanted to allude to Walt Whitman’s poem “Starting from Paumanok,” and alluding to a poem suggested an academic character. The story of the shipwreck of the Circassian mentioned in the story is true. It’s a tragic part of Shinnecock history. I knew I wanted to include it, and it inspired me to focus on the sea as a metaphor in the story. As far as intention, for me a noir story is by definition an observation of human suffering caused by desire, manifested via lust, greed, hubris, all that fun stuff. I got the crime plot from googling Shinnecock and local crime, where I found out about cigarette smuggling on the reservation.

The story was originally published in Long Island Noir and was highlighted in a New York Times article about the book.

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Story in Fantastic Stories of the Imagination

My flash story “The Chupacabra’s Charming Cuchifrito Cafe, Recommended Review” has been published in the latest and, sadly, one of the last anthologies from Fantastic Stories of the Imagination. The magazine was started in 1952 and this January announced that it was closing.

Here is an excerpt of “The Chupacabra’s Charming Cuchifrito Cafe, Recommended Review”:

★★★★ 7/14/2014 Discovered this frighteningly good place by accident. Arriving late from a delayed flight to my hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, late in the afternoon, I was starving. Taco Bells and Subways and Pollo Tropicals everywhere I looked. But I wanted something genuine. I knew from my amazing experiences as a world traveler that the best foods are served in small, humble, out of-the-way joints known only to locals. So I asked an older woman at my hotel, and she told me, “Take the road to Naranjito. But beware!” Then she cackled for a very long time. Before I could ask her what she meant, she was off to vacuum the next room. Although I could still hear her cackling.

You can buy the issue here and here.

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Beam Yourself Up for a Workshop on World Building

I’ll be running the workshop Creating Strange New Worlds: How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, as part of the Bronx Writers Center Big Read series — the read in this case being Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea, which is not to be confused with A Wizard of Avenue C, or Warren: A Geezer of Earth C.

“Whether or not your story takes place on Earth or another planet, dimension, or timeline, you need to build a reality for your characters — and your readers — to live in. Join us for look at science-fiction/fantasy world-building, with some writing exercises, in this two-hour workshop.”

Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos Community College
450 Grand Concourse, Rm C-190
Bronx, NY 10451 Earth A

When: Saturday, April 22, 4-6 p.m.

Cost: Free, but you must reserve a space

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