This coming Thursday, April 28th, I’ll be participating in the Queens Literary Crawl in Forest Hills. According to the website, “The event, the first of its kind in the borough, celebrates the literary and artistic community of Queens and NYC while creating a hip event celebrating national poetry month.”
Yes, I’m from Brooklyn. Yes, I usually tend to avoid events that describe themselves as “hip.” So sue me.
I’ll be part of a group of 14 writers who will be reading short works from 7 pm to 10:30 pm at the Aged Restaurant on 107-02 70th Road in Forest Hills. It’s a great line-up, with lots of writers whom I admire and others whom I look forward to discovering, including Rajan Khanna, Marleen S. Barr, William Shunn (who is organizing this segment of the event on behalf of his Line#Break series of readings), Robert Howe, Nancy Hightower, Keith RA DeCandido, and many others.
So if you’re planning to be in the neighborhood — or even if you’re not, but you happen to have an evening free — see if you can drop by. There will be readings at several venues (and breaks every so often so you can switch between venues) and a party at the end of the evening. Tickets for the event cost $9.99; proceeds will benefit the Queens Book Festival.
I’ll be participating in the first segment, which starts at 7 pm. So get there early!
You can find all the information at their website. Come if you can!
Triptych Tales is one of the online publications that I’ve been lucky enough to have sold more than one piece to. It’s worth checking out: It publishes science fiction, fantasy and non-genre short stories which, in the words of the editors, “take place in our world, our world with a twist, or our world as it could be in the very near future.”
And, of course, to fit its name, there are always three stories on the home page.
So why am I talking about it now? Because Triptych Tales is coming out with a print/ebook anthology of stories published in past issues called Triptych Tales: The Anthology 2016. It will include my story “The Waterbug” along with some excellent fiction by James Aquilone, Sarina Dorie, Melissa Mead, Rati Mehrotra, Ken Schneyer, David Steffen, Anna Yeatts and others.
More details as I know them. Meanwhile, here’s a link to The Waterbug if you’d like to read it online.
Skeleton Crew, a play at the Atlantic Theater’s Stage 2 in NYC, is a really fine, moving play by Dominique Morisseau, a playwright whom I was not familiar with before. It concerns four workers in a Detroit auto plant in 2008, when there was a virtual collapse of U.S. manufacturing. The play opens as there is word that a sister factory has just shut down, and before the first act is over, it’s obvious that this factory is being prepared for the chopping block as well.
As the play progresses, we slowly learn about the lives and hopes of four people who work in the factory — Dez (Jason Dirden), an ambitious and angry young man; Reggie (Wendell B. Franklin), who made it from the factory floor into lower management; Shanita (Nikiya Mathis), a soon-to-be single mother who is proud of her work and her independence; and Faye (Lynda Gravatt), a union rep who is nearing her 30-year retirement. The entire action takes place in the break room of the factory and the actors do an incredible job of bringing the characters to life.
My mother, who saw the play with me, also thought the actors did a splendid job and liked the play; however, she felt the resolution at the end was a bit pat and somewhat forced. I didn’t have that issue; perhaps because I was so caught up in the characters’ problems and conflicts, both external and internal.
I only do occasional reviews of plays and/or books, but in this case, I wanted to promote what I think is a really excellent slice of life about a group of people to whom attention should have been paid. Skeleton Crew runs through February 14th; if you have a chance to see it, I recommend it.
February is almost here, and on Tuesday, February 2nd, I’m going to be doing a reading at the NYRSF Readings series with one of my favorite writers, Richard Bowes.
Rick and I have been part of the same writing group (currently called Tabula Rasa) for a few years now, and he is the author of several excellent novels and short stories, including one of my absolute favorites (and the best 9/11 story written, in my opinion), “There’s a Hole in the City.” Appearing on the same bill with him will be great.
I’m still back and forth about what I’m going to read: Right now, it’s between a maybe-it’s-real-and-maybe-it’s-not story that I recently sold to Mythic Delirium called “The Ladderback Chair” and a science fiction tale that just appeared in Abyss and Apex called “With Triumph Home Unto Her House.” I probably won’t decide until I absolutely have to (the same way I sometimes decide what to eat at a restaurant; wait until the waiter shows up and then pick one).
So come on by if you can. With any luck, at least some of the snow will be gone by then:
Tuesday, February 2nd
Doors open at 6:30 pm; begins about 7 pm
The Brooklyn Commons
388 Atlantic Avenue (between Hoyt & Bond St.)
Just thought I’d take a moment — since this is the time of year when writers are looking back to what they did (and, if we’re going to be honest, forward to awards nominations) — to remind folks of the two stories of mine that appeared last year. Both are available online, so if you’d like to read them, they’re easily accessible. Hope you enjoy them.
This is part of what I’m coming to think of my series of “Lost Connection” stories — stories about several generations in the lives of two families, one starting in Germany and the other in Russia. This one is about a young girl who learns that she has the power to look back through time in order to help her great-grandmother win an important game.
Of Their Sweet Deaths Are Sweetest Odours Made
A standalone about a woman who feels as though her life has been wasted until she meets a strange and somewhat unpleasant man in the park. (And no, this story is not a romance.)
I’m happy to announce that my story “The Ladder-Back Chair” has been officially accepted by Mike Allen’s lovely magazine Mythic Delirium. It will appear in an upcoming issue.
“The Ladder-Back Chair” is sort of — maybe, perhaps — a ghost story, prompted by my memories of my parents’ home (which was sold a little over a year ago when my mother moved to an apartment, and so no longer exists as it was except in those remembrances). It’s the second story I’ve sold to this venue (the first being last year’s “Sophia’s Legacy”) and it’s very exciting to be able to appear there once again.
With all the fuss, bother and excitement of CES (the tech trade show that takes up a week of my life each January), I somehow completely neglected a highly important event: The publication of my short story “With Triumph Home Unto Her House” in issue 57 (the first issue of 2016) of Abyss & Apex.
“With Triumph…” is more science fictiony than fantasy; it takes place in a near-future U.S. in which a formerly middle-class woman tries to earn her way back into society after committing the crime of unemployment.
I’m really pleased to have my work appear in Abyss & Apex. It’s now online and available for reading; I hope you enjoy it!