shameless cannibal edition

Hi friends,

Here\’s a really fun nature story that I got a kick out of last week. My favorite detail is that he hung on to the megabug for a decade before figuring out it was actually a monumental discovery. Incidentally, the megabug\’s littler cousin, the green lacewing, is a really lovely insect I only very recently became aware of and admire quite a bit. 

The Writing
Well, I started out really strong with that flash-piece-every-day-for-a-week thing. And I do mean strong! Out of the four that I finished, I\’m excited to revise three, and the fourth may not be entirely scraps either. I did scratch last night, although to be fair, the massive procedural emails I was firing off in all directions instead of doing anything I wanted to be doing sort of felt like they added up to at least a novelette. I\’ve still got tonight and tomorrow to get a couple more drafted, and 6 out 7 is a passing grade. Next week, my challenge is to revise and submit at least two of them.

I really did mean for this newsletter to be \”A.V. has writing news,\” and not \”A.V. sends you weird messages every week,\” so I promise I\’m really trying to get some work out there to produce said news. I\’m just having too much fun writing these things to wait to send them until I actually have something of substance to say.

I\’m also trying not to be too disheartened by the AI problem or the Kindle newsstand situation. I know that querying literary agents is rough right now, from very personal, very raw, very extensive experience, but it hadn\’t occurred to me that the short SFF landscape might get exponentially more daunting as well.

BUT you\’ll be able to find me soon in an upcoming edition of Frightmarish and of Apex, and so it\’s not over for me yet.

The Reading
Last weekend, I devoured Patrick Barb\’s Gargantuana\’s Ghost, a truly moving novella about the ghost of a giant ape haunting a subway car. I\’m telling you, it hit all these notes of childhood fascination, grief, what it\’s like to watch the world change as you grow older, and unexpected human primate connection. It\’s in an overt conversation with King Kong, of course, but altering the chemistry between the giant and the human clutched in its palm from a beauty and the beast story to a friendship story produced unexpected and really wonderful results.

Speaking of unexpected and really wonderful, White Horse! I\’m about 80% cooler for having been anywhere in the vicinity of protagonist, metalhead, horror junky, and urban Native Kari James, who\’s inherited a family artifact that puts her in very, very uncomfortable contact with the ghost of her mother. The book also had me looking up pictures of Dave Mustaine, and I had no idea that all this time I could have been cosplaying him so well. I guess I need to get on that before my hair stops flirting with and gets serious about going gray.

Finally, Otessa Moshfegh\’s Lapvona, which I\’m about halfway through, is something. I think it got on my radar because of an article somewhere about literary cannibalism, so I can\’t say I was particularly shocked when there was, indeed, beautifully written cannibalism served up inside.

The Watching
We\’re doing a rewatch of the first two seasons of Party Down before we watch the new episodes, and it is a treat. And speaking of cannibalism, we\’re also keeping up with The Last of Us. [*******SPOILERS******] I guess David\’s congregation cult was out hunting other people for meat, and that\’s why they attacked Joel in the first place, which is clearly wrong. But as far as eating people who are pre-dead goes, I just don\’t have that much of a problem with what I think of as \”ethical cannibalism.\”  I remember when Alive came out in 1993 and my classmates were so horrified by the human flesh consumption. Even back then, though, I remember sort of shrugging it off as a \”well, you do what you\’ve got to do\” situation. It\’s not an effective shock device for me. The Donner Party, sure, what an awful predicament, but if it\’s a choice between death and eating people who are already dead and thus probably don\’t mind at all, I mean. I know what I\’d do.

So, all this to say that if we\’re in some kind of hellish dystopian mess together and I die first, you are welcome to put me on ice and then get yourselves through the winter 100% guilt-free. I promise, it\’s okay.

The Living
I have StokerCon tickets, a room reservation, and a plane ticket, so it looks like I\’m going to Pittsburgh this summer (I say to a group of people primarily consisting of horror writers who may also be going to this event, right after admitting that under certain circumstances I just don\’t think cannibalism is that big a deal)! It\’s good to have something to look forward to!

The Murder Garden
You know who\’s had a great 2023 so far? This magnificent boy! Just look at him and all his little toothy little grins!


I\’m also pleased to report that my new sundew did get some of her sparkle back after a few sunny warm days, too.


Those little droplets are the sticky gluey stuff (charmingly named \”mucilage\”) she traps her dinner with. When she catches something, her tentacles also roll up like a yo-yo. <3 

I hope all of your tentacles have lots of mucilage too and that you have things to look forward to. Love you and have a perfect weekend.

Keep up with me.

No promises.


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