The Shirley Jackson Award Nomination & Post-WHC Wrap-Up
I’ve talked about this extensively on Facebook and Twitter, but have yet to share this with blog readers: my novella Children of No One has been nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award. This is my first award nomination ever, and I’m thrilled and honored that the jury found a little book set in Nowhere, Indiana worthy of inclusion in such a strong short list. Congratulations to all nominees, especially my DarkFuse colleague Brian Hodge and the legendary Ramsey Campbell (both fellow-nominees in the novella category), as well as Joe Pulver (nominated for editing The Grimscribe’s Puppets, in which I have a tiny story) and Livia Llewellyn (nominated in the short story category, for her Grimscribe’s Puppets story “Furnace”).
I’m grateful for the extra attention the nomination has granted my work. It’s a relief to get such high profile recognition, after spending so long honing my craft in isolation and true obscurity out here in the Midwest, far from the both the NYC publishing scene and the nurturing milieu of a MFA program. An award nomination helps establish that I actually belong in this gig. I
knew suspected that all along, of course. But a nomination like this lends some bona fides.
It also occurs to me that the nomination, in and of itself, is the sort of accolade that will end up in my Locus obituary someday (if I end up with a Locus obituary someday…Is it morbid to think about that? Surely, I’m not the only one who thinks about such things).
At the same time, I’m trying to approach this (as I do all career ups and downs) with equanimity. I have a staggering amount of work in front of me (on many fronts), and so I find it healthy to just focus on the tasks at hand (which I have control over) rather than ruminating about the awards (which I have zero control over). But it merits a blog post, at least. So there it is.
The other important thing I should mention is that I recently returned from attending the World Horror Convention in Portland, Oregon. I saw many, many people there. Friends, old and new (perhaps the biggest highlight, for me, was finally meeting W.H. Pugmire). I only wish I’d thought to have someone take a picture of us together.
I participated in several business meetings, and am cautiously optimistic about all of them. I read my story “A Catechism for Aspiring Amnesiacs” to a small audience that included S.T. Joshi. I had one of my first experiences of someone I’d never met looking at my name tag and asking: “Hey, didn’t you write that story…the one about the maze?” I met Vincent Price’s daughter, Victoria, and chatted with her for a pleasant five or ten minutes. Overall, I had a blast. I wasn’t crazy about Portland. It’s not a good fit for me, as far as cities go. Far too frilly and obsessed with cutesy irony. Portland is a warning to the rest of America: this is what happens when the hipsters win.
But, annoyance at the host city aside, it was actually a positive business trip. I’m leaning strongly toward attending next year’s gig, in Atlanta.
And so this is where I bid you all au revoir. I’d love to sit here and blog in greater depth. But the day job is calling. Suffice to say, things are going very well — for now. And I’m doing my best to enjoy the modest success while simultaneously keeping my nose firmly planted to the grindstone.