First New Story in a Decade

Cover of the first Subterranean anthology

Subterranean Press will be publishing my novelette “Not Last Night but the Night Before” in Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2, edited by Subterranean’s own Bill Schafer. The hardcover will be published January 2011; the limited edition will feature full-color art not in the trade edition and a chapbook of two original short stories by the truly amazing wild talent Joe R. Lansdale.

I’ve written earlier in this blog that I really miss writing shorter work. I used to only write short fiction and swore I’d never write a novel. We all know how closely I abide by such vows. Usually when I don’t publish for a while, people assume I haven’t written anything, which is often far from the truth.  I’ve probably written a bunch. I just don’t talk about it here because it doesn’t always end up published. My career’s funny like that. F’rinstance, I turned in a new novel last week. Have I talked about it here? Hellno. Cuz it might not show up, and then what do I say? Oh, sorry, do-over.

But in the case of short fiction I haven’t published any because I haven’t written any in a very long time. I jumped at Bill’s flattering invitation, and used it as an opportunity to dig out one of the two last short stories I’d started and left unfinished quite literally over a decade ago. The other one I still might do — it’s a killah — but “Not Last Night but the Night Before” was one I’d really wanted to finish but had gotten absolutely stuck on. I didn’t know how it ended, which is very unusual for me. I almost always know where these things are going.

But perspective is generally a Good Thing: I read the unfinished story, made some notes, and had the ending staring me in the face. Duhh. Sometimes ya just gotta let ’em brew for a while.

Subterranean produces absolutely beautiful editions, and Shafer’s editorial acumen is up there with the best of them — which is why I’m so tickled to have been asked to contribute to a collection in which I will be in some very good company indeed. Check out this table of contents:

  • Joe Hill – Wolverton Station
  • Kelley Armstrong – Chivalrous
  • James P. Blaylock and Tim Powers – Untitled
  • Steven R. Boyett – Not Last Night but the Night Before
  • Glen Cook – Smelling Danger
  • Caitlin R. Kiernan – Hydraguros
  • Jay Lake and Shannon Page – The Passion of Mother Vajpai
  • K. J. Parker – A Room with a View
  • Norman Partridge – Vampire Lake

Around  November or December I’ll bring out a PDF of the story’s first act. It’s sort of a Tim Burton foreign movie that’s very dark, very funny, and strange as hell. Naturally I’m quite fond of it. According to Bill it’s “an affecting reflection on love, death, and acceptance.” Well, golly.