“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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“Nuyoricans Go Home” Finds a Home

My essay “Nuyoricans Go Home,” a fictionalized memoir, is now up in the premiere issue of Latino Literatures: A Cultural and Literary Journal.

The journal hopes to be an online source for contemporary discussion on Latina/o literature and culture, and publishes visual art, short prose fiction, poetry, essays, interviews, and relevant book, album, and film reviews. Mil gracias to Thania Muñoz Davaslioglu and Fabio Chee Madrigal for considering and accepting my work and for giving me very good editorial notes.

Here is an excerpt from the essay:

In Puerto Rico that summer, red from the sun and so bored his ankles itched, Fever saw the boys playing softball. He saw them from his aunt’s front porch, picked up the bat his uncle had given him and ran across the street. He was twelve, thin, and had a boxy head.

The players were around his age, dark haired and bronzed. Fever stood off to one side and did practice swings with the bat.

He went up to one of the boys and, in English, asked the boy’s name.

The boy looked him up and down and said, in a thick accent, “Janqui go home.”

“I’m not a Yankee,” Fever said. “I’m a Met.

You can read the whole thing by clicking here.

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A Working Visit to the Motherland: Puerto Rico

Early next month you can find me doing a flyby visit to Puerto Rico, courtesy of Matthew David Goodwin, editor of Latin@ Rising: An Anthology of Science Fiction and Fantasy, and the University of Puerto Rico at Cayey.

Airport security, planes, student strikes, and impending apocalypse permitting, on Friday, March 3, I’ll be running a Fiction Writing Workshop at Sala Héctor Campos, UPR, in Cayey, from 9 to noon. If you’re in PR and want to go, you can register here.

From 1 to 3 p.m. that same day, I will be part of a book presentation of Latin@ Rising with Matthew at the Chancellor’s House.

On Saturday, March 4, from 6 to 7 p.m., I will be part of a panel on “La Ciencia Ficción en un Tiempo de Crisis,” also with Matthew and with Miguel Adrover, at Libreria La Tertulia, 251 Calle de La Cruz, in Viejo San Juan.

Apologies to all my relatives on the island! There won’t be time for visiting, but come see me if you can!

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Upcoming Appearance: Hosting a Mystery Mash-Up

On Saturday, February 11, 2017, 7-9 p.m., I’ll be hosting a mystery writers night at KGB (85 East 4th Street, New York, between 2nd & 3rd Ave), as part of Ducts‘ Trumpet Fiction reading series. I thought it would be good to showcase a group of writers whose works bleed into crime fiction. Together, their diverse genres include erotica, fantasy, historical, horror, romantic suspense, steampunk, and probably a few more. See you there! (It’s free!)

Actress, playwright, artist and award-winning, bestselling author Leanna Renee Hieber has written 11 Gothic Victorian Paranormal novels for adults and teens, set in 1880s New York City and London. Her Strangely Beautiful saga hit Barnes & Noble and Borders Bestseller lists, garnered numerous genre awards, and has been reissued in a special edition from Tor. Her new Gaslamp Fantasy trilogy, The Eterna Files, an X-Files meets Penny Dreadful kind of series, is now available from Tor. A proud member of Actors Equity and SAG-AFTRA, she has been featured in film and television on shows like Boardwalk Empire and leads ghost tours through Manhattan with Boroughs of the Dead.

John Langan is the author of two novels, The Fisherman and House of Windows, and two collections of stories, The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies and Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters. With Paul Tremblay, he edited Creatures: Thirty Years of Monsters. He is one of the founders of the Shirley Jackson Awards, for which he served as a juror during its first three years. Currently, he reviews horror and dark fantasy fiction for Locus.

LaQuette is an author of erotic, multicultural romance novels. She is the 2016 Author of the Year Golden Apple Award Winner, 2016 Swirl Awards 1st Place Winner in Romantic Suspense, and 2016 Aspen Gold Award Finalist in Erotic Romance.

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“Merry Xmas from Orchard Beach” up at Spinetingler

Copyright Tony SheaMy story “Merry Xmas from Orchard Beach” is now up at Spinetingler magazine. Many thanks to Jack Getze and Sandra Ruttan for publishing it.

I’ve always wanted to write a story set in the Bronx Riviera. I went there several times as a kid, the memory of it being very distinct from my memory of Coney Island. When I went back as an adult, I was struck by the sense that this place had been quite magnificent once but had fallen into disregard and decay, cracked sidewalks, abandoned colonnades, a place where dreams floated away like globs of suntan lotion atop salty, mucky water. Well, hello, noir!

This is my second story for Spinetingler. A few years ago they published “Watching the Iguanas,” which is now included in Roachkiller and Other Stories.

Here is a quick excerpt from “Merry Xmas from Orchard Beach”:

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Tito asked.

“Never mind,” Heather said. “He’s got jokes.”

“I have your money,” Ledesma said. “Where is this so-called evidence?”

“I have the evidence against your client right here.” From her coat pocket, Heather pulled out a sealed manila envelope. The day before she had folded up a couple of pages from the New York Post and shoved them in there. “Money first, my friend.”

“You know what? I think you’re a couple of jokers, and I smell bullshit. What the fuck do you really want? I got three screaming spoiled brats waiting to open their goddamned presents. If you don’t tell me what the fuck this is about, I’m getting out of here. And don’t think you can stop me.”

“No, you’re not.” Heather pulled out a .38.

“You have to be kidding.”

She waved him over to one of the doorless bathroom stalls and pointed to the seatless toilet, where the water was frozen.

“Cop a squat,” she told him.

You can read the full story here. If you read it, and you like, please leave a comment there.

Photo courtesy of Tony Shea.

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