NEXT BOOK!

People have been asking me what’s next? Several projects, actually. Beginning with my debut short story collection, Dark Black. All credit must go to the nearly impenetrable grind-core splendor of U.K.’s Mutation for the inspiration behind this title. When I first heard it, I absolutely loved it.

I flew to New York with my stellar wife two weeks ago and we had an amazing Manhattan evening with my agents, Judith Ehrlich and Sophia Seidner. This collection is Ray Bradbury’s The October Country fused with a fair share of punk rock and pop-culture. This is my voice and my ethos. I’m thrilled with this book. We hope to start shopping this collection to publishers later this fall. As of now, the book has 20 stories in it, including a few you may be familiar with like “The Girl in the Funeral Parlor,” “Conjuring Danny Squires,” “Live Forever!” and several others that have been published in lit journals and anthologies. But there are many new stories that I am so excited to share with you all. This book is gothic pop cultural horror. That’s the best way I can sum it up.

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WICHITA IN OCTOBER

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In early October, I delivered the keynote address at the Kansas Association of the Teachers of English Conference. I have been outspoken about the relatively recent willful political attempt to strip-mine public schools and public libraries of funding in order to cultivate an uniformed constituency (see this Chicago Tribune article).

Here’s the damn deal: censorship is going on right this very minute, right before our very eyes. It’s not happening vis-à-vis high-profile, ALA banned book lists or Hitlerean book burnings. Nope. That’s all way too obvious. Censorship is occurring in a much more inky and clandestine fashion, it is a creeping shadow that deemphasizes books, the word and the teachers who celebrate these monuments to power, knowledge and speech.

So I went to Wichita in October. And I knew right off that I was with my people. And I told them this. YOU ARE MY PEOPLE.

I often speak at comic book conventions and literary festivals to an assorted mélange of cosplay geeks, word-nerds, book-worms, collectors, furries, four-color weirdos and assorted genre freaks. -I get these pop-cultural urchins. I am one of them. But at the KATE conference, I was truly with my people. English teachers are the trench warriors on the front lines of education, facing the Trumpian mustard gases of fetid disinformation. Teachers yearn for an informed society.

NEW SHORT STORY

I had a new short story published in Arcturus magazine a few months back and forgot to mention it here. This story will likely be in my forthcoming collection. At present there are 16 stories in this book, five of them are all-new, never before published. A couple are super-rare and ran in low-circulation print literary journals. Hopefully I'll have this all wrapped up by the end of this summer.

LISTEN TO THE ECHOES 2.0

And here it is! The cover to the new, updated, art-book edition of LISTEN TO THE ECHOES: THE RAY BRADBURY INTERVIEWS. Available in late-November.

•Color photos throughout—many never before seen or published.

•A new introduction by Sam Weller.

•New afterwards by legendary writer Margaret Atwood and director/writer Frank Darabont.

•A new chapter of "outtake" interviews between biographer Sam Weller and Ray Bradbury.

Lots more details will be announced right here. Stay tuned. This book is going to be a real treat for fans.

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CITY OF ANGELS

This past May, I joined my old friend David Kipen, former Literary Director of the National Endowment for the Arts, for a discussion on Ray Bradbury and urbanism. This event was sponsored by the Los Angeles Office of Cultural Affairs and the NEA's "Big Read" initiative. Over the years, I have given many hundreds of presentations around the world, but this one was quite singular. The event was held at Clifton's Cafeteria in downtown Los Angeles. As a teenager, Ray Bradbury attended meetings of the Los Angeles Science Fiction League at Clifton's alongside other fledgling creatives such as Ray Harryhausen, Leigh Brackett, Edward Hamilton and Robert Heinlein and his wife Leslyn. The group would meet each week in "The Little Brown Room" to read each other's stories, commune, and talk about the future. It was an absolute thrill to speak with David about Ray Bradbury's visions for Los Angeles, mass transit, and urban planning. We were joined by several guests, including his dear friend Sid Stebel, who first met Ray in the late 1940s.

The event was marvelous. There was a great crowd with a ton of old friends. David Kipen is the consummate Master of Ceremonies. It was truly an honor to gather and pay our respects to Ray in the very spot he used to go to as a young man, the place where he dreamed of his future as a writer and then went to make that future a reality.

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