New Anthologies

There are two new anthologies out with my stories in them.  Both of these books contain excerpts from my book Backwoods (which is currently in slush-pile limbo).  Check em out.


The Story-Sequel Poll


I love getting email from readers, and whenever I post a story on Nifty I get a good handful of them.  Inevitably, one or two readers ask if I intend to write a sequel to whatever story they’ve just read, and  I always say the same thing:  Nope.

I’ve written serials before, and though I enjoyed it, they are truly the least-read stories on my website.  But the main reason I don’t write sequels is that I just like leaving things open ended.  It’s too easy to fall into the trap of piling on the action until “Frat-Fuck-Fest-Part-32” becomes an orgy with Sam Worthington and his passel of cousins.  You know – unrealistic.

But still, it’s fun to wonder about what might happen if certain stories were continued.  Recently a reader named Matt suggested a sequel to Dr. Craig, and it gave me the idea to post a poll and allow readers to pick one story, to which I will then write a sequel.

If I only get five votes, I probably won’t do it. If I do get an adequate response, I will compose a sequel to whichever story garners the most votes, and I’ll post it on my next scheduled update, February of 2010.

I chose these five stories based on their popularity and also on whether I thought they’d be fun to continue.  The poll will close on January 6 January 3 (sorry, I didn’t realize I’d get as many votes as I’m getting and I don’t feel like waiting that long). Please vote!

Which Story Should I Expand into a Novella?

Total Voters: 25

Loading ... Loading ...

Shopping Center Sunsets

Repost from old blog, 12/22/07

Good to remember around this time of year: shopping centers are often the best places to watch sunsets – a combination of wide open parking-lot horizons, plus (at least in my hilly western-Pennsylvania town) the fact that most shopping centers are built above the road.

Tonight my lover and I were doing some last-minute Christmas shopping, something nobody looks forward to. The parking lot was full, the lines were long, and I was waiting to buy a few things from the dollar store when I caught sight of an awesome sunset out the window. I ditched my items and went outside, sitting on the curb and taking it in while shoppers streamed around me.

It’s kind of great, the contrast between shopping – this very ground-level activity where thousands of small products compete for your attention – and communing with something gigantic, rare, and free. A few people stopped to look. What was more important?

Today was the winter solstice, which is the real reason for the season. The shortest day of the year went out in a truly glorious fashion, and I felt grateful to have witnessed it.


Favorites of ’09


1. Wendy and Lucy

This came out last year, but I saw it in ’09 and no other movie affected me as much.

2. Coraline

3. Adventureland

4. Ponyo

5. House of the Devil

6. Up

7. Drag Me To Hell

I’ve slacked off on movie viewing this year.  Still need to see:  Antichrist, Avatar, The Girlfriend Experience, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Humpday, District 9, A Serious Man, Where the Wild Things Are, Precious, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, The White Ribbon


Music :


1. Papercuts, You Can Have What You Want

Songwriter Jill Sobule said this year, “I think today, instead of everyone being famous for 15 minutes, everyone will be famous for 15 people.”  Papercuts have toured with some of the most acclaimed and popular indie bands around – Grizzly Bear, Beach House, Camera Obscura – yet even modest popularity eludes them.  There’s pleasure in liking things nobody else knows about, of course, but that’s not why this is my favorite album of the year.  It’s the music.  I’ll take this over any of the bands I previously mentioned, some of which have showed up on multiple best-of-09 lists while this album has been largely forgotten.  Guess I’m one of the lucky fifteen.

Instead of listing other albums I liked this year, I’m doing individual tracks:

Annie:  “I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me,” “I Don’t Like Your Band,” “Songs Remind Me of You”

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart:  “Ramona,” “The Tenure Itch”

Washed Out: “New Theory

Atlas Sound: “An Orchid,” “Sheila,” “Criminals”

Deerhunter: “Disappearing Ink”

The Hidden Cameras: “He Falls to Me,” “Colour of a Man”

Here We Go Magic:  “Fangela,” “Tunnelvision

Cass McCombs: “Dreams-Come-True-Girl,” “Don’t Vote

Grizzly Bear: “Two Weeks,”  “Cheerleader”

Animal Collective: “Summertime Clothes”

Air: “Bee a Bee”

The Flaming Lips: “Watching the Planets

Girls: “Lust for Life,” “Hellhole Ratrace”

Camera Obscura: “James

Phoenix: “Lisztomania”

Vitalic: “Poison Lips”

Black Moth Super Rainbow: “Tooth Decay

Jarvis Cocker: “Pilchard”


All I read is old stuff, though I did enjoy Dennis Cooper’s Ugly Man.


New Website Alert!

So yeah.  New website.  Hopefully everything is self explanatory.

I’ve posted a new story, “Biology Lesson,” which is from the November 2009 issue of Handjobs Magazine.  I had a good time writing that one.

You may have noticed that my Blogger blog is gone. Well, I haven’t deleted anything, but I wanted to start fresh. I plan on recycling my old posts periodically, which will hopefully allow me to post more frequently (with old content, natch).

I spent a lot of time designing this site and it’s been fun. I’m glad to be done, though. Much thanks to Rob Wolfsham, my WordPress guru (who nevertheless defected from WordPress in the time it took me to get this site up), who provided much help and moral support.



One huge problem with art lies with the extent of artists who need to connect with an audience. What I’m talking about is a relationship with art. The success of this relationship seems to rely on a certain limitation of public interaction. It’s not absurd to regard art as a coded outcry to be loved properly; therefore when you start giving it away it invariably dilutes in an almost alchemical sense. This pervading sort of pathetic hopefulness—the idea of wowing people, is corrupt from the start. I find it disgustingly vain and needy. So to undercut all that it’s been my method of obsessively questioning the purity of an expression and accepting its expiration date so I’m only left with the inception of the idea when it’s most exciting. I realize that some of the truth behind this is that I can’t endure defeat gracefully, so I act fast and take what I can. Achievements mean little; any enjoyment I’m lucky enough to scrape up usually just gets buried in the process anyway.

– Mark McCoy (from DC’s)