Breaking Silence

Been quiet around here for some time, and I can’t say for certain how diligent I’ll be about this here blog in the days to come. But a lot’s been happening of late, and I figured I was overdue for an update of sorts, so what follows is a round-up of how I’ve been more or less spending my time since my last post.

Fan Art Poster Concept courtesy of

Fan Art Poster Concept courtesy of

The biggest news is that the film production of Dermaphoria was completed last year, and the world premier screening will serve as the opener of the East End Film Festival in London, this coming June. Directed by Ross Clarke, it stars Joseph Morgan as Eric Ashworth, Nicole Badaan as Desiree, Walton Goggins as Manhattan White, Ron Perlman as Detective Anslinger, and Kate Walsh as Morell. Not sure when it will be in major release Stateside, but until then, here’s a taste:

More on the film front, the elusive Smoke and Mirrors will finally see the light of day, as the closing short for the Future Shorts San Francisco Edition Film Festival. The screening will be this Thursday evening, 5/22/14, at San Francisco’s Firehouse 8. Director Scott Krinsky and Cinematographer Chris McGilvray will be on hand for a Q&A afterward. Tickets are on sale at Brown Paper Tickets.

For those curious backers, DVD duplication is scheduled for this week, and premiums will be mailed out within the next two weeks.

Most recently, the Authors Guild has weighed in on the entanglements following the demise of my former publisher, MacAdam/Cage. In short, the print rights to my back catalogue (The Contortionist’s Handbook and Dermaphoria) have reverted back to me. As I’m currently shopping my third novel, Mother Howl, around to agents, I’m holding off on doing anything with that back catalogue until I have representation. That said, I hope to have my earlier material back in print before the film procures wide distribution.

Mother Howl

The Sunday Rumpus published a short story of mine recently, Vapor Trail, thanks to the efforts of Gina Frangello. That particular piece has been expanding in my brain and has become the seed of novel #4 (yet to be titled).

But said novel is churning along at a brisk pace, which is doubly strange given that I’m working with no outline, no bloody clue where it’s going. But I’ve joined a writing group for the first time since college, so now have to crank out pages at a regular clip, as I’m accountable to a lovely group of heavyweight writer/misfit types: Rob Roberge, Bernadette Murphy, Patrick O’Neil and Jillian Lauren. Our meetings are the highlight of my month.

Another short of mine, Act of Contrition, was reprinted in The New Black, a neo-noir anthology from Dark House Press. And I should have sounded the trumpets here a while back on this, but another short, The Confession of Adelai Shade, was published in the Booked. Anthology, courtesy of Robb Olson and Livius Nedin, the Top Gear of book reviewers.

And things wrapped up last year with an interview with Books and Booze. I’ll be honest, my memory of that one’s a little shady, though there could be something in the podcast title that might clue y’all in as to why.

That about brings everything up to date. I’ll be back when I have more news on Mother Howl.

By all accounts,


Posted in Fiction, Film, Insomnograph

Word Made Flesh

The good folks over at Six Finger Films are almost finished with their short film, Smoke & Mirrors. It’s a script I wrote, based on a chapter of my current novel-in-progress. Have a gander at the trailer, and feel free to spread this link far and wide.



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Back Above Ground

Just a quick note about some recent/upcoming developments:

A new interview over at Curiouser & Curiouser, in which we discuss the contents of my pockets, eating llama meat, stalling on birthday presents and a few other completely non-literary issues. Plus, a couple of readings lined up here in San Francisco this summer, the first being Oakland’s “Beast Crawl.” I’ll be reading with Beth Lisick and some other local luminaries during the third leg of said crawl, specifically:

Saturday, July 7, 2012
ERA Art Bar & Lounge

More info over at Beast Crawl.

Later that month I’ll be reading at the Portuguese Artists Colony; more details as that approaches.

And Six Finger Films is rapidly approaching the shooting date for Smoke and Mirrors, a short film penned by yours truly, cribbed from a chapter of my forthcoming third novel. You can read all about the production thus far over on our Kickstarter blog.



Posted in Insomnograph

“Smoke & Mirrors” short film

The good folks at Six Finger Films (not my company, I swear) have taken a shine to a certain chapter of my new novel, so much so that they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to shoot a short film from the material.

I drafted the script myself, using a core sample bored from somewhere halfway between “once upon a time” and “happily every after.” It’s your basic boy meets girl story only without the romance or the girl. More like your basic unlicensed medic meets escaped psych patient who claims to be an angel in an abandoned subterranean surgical theater following a massive earthquake kind of story.

There’s Icarus, who hit the dirt soon after his wings burst into flames upon punching through the ozone. That’s his story anyway, and he’s sticking to it. Nevermind there wasn’t a witness who saw anything but for a naked guy (i.e., Icarus) who fell from, well, somewhere overhead, but without so much as a sunburn or blister (to say nothing of a set of scorched wing stumps). As you’d expect with most anyone wandering downtown in their altogether, Icarus finds himself on the business end of a 5150 and ultimately a ward of the System. In his case, the System is personified by a shrink on the county payroll who duly probes for holes in Icarus’s story, that story being pretty much: “I’m on a mission from God and when I get word I’ll walk out of here as I please.” The shrink ain’t buyin’ it, but that doesn’t matter; the film fades in soon after Icarus has made good on that promise. And that’s how he got hurt.

Enter Twenty Long, the last hope of the ailing indigent, and unknown to the legions of clock-punching civilians in the daylight world above the street-level. He’s something of an urban legend and, for all Icarus knows, a main character in a pain-induced hallucination. There is no “standard” in Twenty Long’s operating procedure; he’s spent his life mining the scrapyards of modern civilization—abandoned hospitals, decomissioned libraries and condemned clinics—for the tools and know-how to ply his trade. What Twenty Long lacks in board certification, he compensates with uncanny improvisational skills at the operating table and a sideshow barker’s bedside manner.

With barely seventeen days left in our fundraising efforts, we’re still just over $4,000.00 shy of our goal. Check out the “Smoke & Mirrors” project page over at Kickstarter to see the (very cool) pitch video and learn the details about the project. And if you’re inclined to sharing the link with anyone and everyone, then by all means, feel free.

Posted in Insomnograph

Seventy-Two Hours Without a Blink

A good friend turned fifty this weekend. If he was melancholy about hitting the half-century mark, he didn’t show it. All he wanted was some drinks with a few close friends and his wife, which is exactly what he got.

On my twenty-fifth birthday, one of my cards said, “Happy Birthday. You are now old.” I knew it was a joke, and that I wasn’t really old. But whenever in the company of late-teen or college age kids, I would shoulder my way to the drink table, certain I was leaving a wake of whispers and sneers.

Then came thirty, the cultural death knell of youth. By age twenty-nine, I’d given up on writing; I was earning more money than I ever imagined I would, but the job was draining the life out of me. And I had a recurring dream that my teeth were falling out. But my first thought the next morning was,“Really? That was it?” The pressure was off; the dread was over.

Age forty is when the jokes really begin around the birthday cake. But I’d had my pre-emptive midlife crisis after the first crash, when I decided to try my hand at writing one last time (I hadn’t put pen to paper in years). When my fortieth came around, I’d moved to San Francisco (something I’d wanted to do for years), and my first novel had been released to, if nothing else, critical success. I was officially middle-aged, but I had nothing to look back on and second-guess.

But something else happens at forty. Those increments of time—minutes, hours, days, years—begin to lose their magnitude. At age ten, a year is a whole tenth of your life (a goodly chunk of which you can’t remember) and everything takes forever. The school year, long drives, waiting for Christmas, the last five minutes of the school day, everything. By age fifteen, a year is a little shy of 7% of your life; skip ahead to forty, and a year isn’t so long at all, anymore. Your friends and colleagues have been getting married, buying houses, having children. Maybe you’re one of them, maybe you’re not, but by this point in your life, the day fires you out of a cannon as soon as you wake up.

Then you blink, and you’re half a century.

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Posted in Insomnograph

Dispatch from Interzone: The Monster, the Shaman and La Casa Cero

Peter Maravelis and I meet about once a month back in San Francisco. We exchange one or two brief messages to set a time and day; always the same location, known only to us. Nothing else is discussed until then. We could be swapping Christmas cards as easily as black briefcases, with nobody the wiser. Our cells are turned off, severing us from the noise grid—the phone calls, text messages, emails, status updates, tweets and news feeds—those things we were all perfectly fine without barely a decade ago. For the next three or four hours, we walk. Taxis and public transport are likewise against protocol; walking keeps the eyes open and maintains a shade of the unfamiliar on home turf. Our conversation sprouts an array of tentacles during these walks: writing, publishing, book selling, history, conspiracies, spirituality, furniture, skepticism, martial arts, family, love, death, drinking, comics, travel and whatever else the conversation wants.

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Dispatch from Interzone: Shopping for Centipede Meat

Back in November of 2009, City Lights hosted a celebration honoring the 50th anniversary of the publication of Naked Lunch, during which a mix of local authors, old friends and colleagues of the late William Burroughs gathered at San Francisco’s Make Out Room to read passages from his seminal Beat novel. I was honored to be among them, though I’m the first to admit I’ve struggled with Naked Lunch a number of times. The book simultaneously demands and yet defies being read, at least my own attempts. Burroughs as an orator, however, has few equals. I will never forget the night when I was eleven or twelve years old, watching Saturday Night Live in one of its earliest seasons. The host, Lauren Hutton, stepped onto the stage and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. William Burroughs.”

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