Well, lookee here! This would be 1980-something and the kid in the photo would be yours truly, immersed in a close study of The Marvel Try-Out BookTry-Out featured half of a Spider-Man story. Aspiring artists had a few blank pages to illustrate; aspiring colorists had illustrated pages to bring to life; and aspiring writers were challenged to script the ending of the tale. So I penned my own colossal conclusion and sent it in and that was my first professional fiction submission. They turned me down then… but I got another shot a mere 20 years later, and that time they said okay, which is how I wound up with an 11-page story in Spider-Man Unlimited, back in 2005 or thereabouts. I have my share of professional regrets and one of the biggest is that I didn’t keep the check from Marvel, with its cool image of Spidey on it.
I get asked sometimes what I like writing best: novels, short stories, comics, screenplays? I just like playing make-believe, man, and every form has its own unique pleasures. But I was a comic book writer first. I don’t ever forget that. I don’t ever forget I was this kid with the bad haircut before I was anything else.
And here’s a more recent snap, this one by Alan Amato, who photographed me for a project he’s developing, a gallery of various folks in the horror field. I present it to you as proof that I do possess at least one button down shirt.

So what’s on for the first part of 2018? Well, I know Strange Weather is, like, SO last year, but I’m still out there blabbing about it. I’m at the Music Hall Loft on January 12th, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, at 7PM, to read, take questions, and talk up the book. I do hope you’ll come see me. I’ll try and make a decent evening for you.

And the book is still out there in the world, collecting responses and reactions. The day a book is released it begins to live its own life, free of the person who wrote it. It goes off and has secret, personal, private encounters with readers, traveling to places I’ve never been, meeting folks I’ve never met. Every once and a while I’ll hear something, though, kind of like getting a postcard from a good friend. With that in mind, I was glad to see that Strange Weather caught a lovely review in the Toronto Star only a couple weeks ago.

It also landed on this amazing fuckin’ list of the best in SF, fantasy, and horror from 2017. Honored to be there, and honestly… I think I want to read every book here in 2018. Some of what’s on The Verge’s list was already on my radar (the N.K. Jemisin, Naomi Alderman’s The Power), but much of what’s here is completely new to me. Seriously, check it out. You’re all but guaranteed to find at least three books you want to read.

Looks like I’ll be keeping busy in February. I’m at the Savannah Book Festival on the weekend of February 15th – 18th. And then two weeks later I’ll be at the Emirates Literary Festival in Dubai (!) with my comic-book-brother Gabriel Rodriguez (!!) to talk about Locke & Key, modern fantasy, and what’s next for both of us. By the time it goes down, we’ll know one way or another if we’ve got a TV series with Hulu (and maybe we’ll even have something to share, you never know).

Can’t catch me at one of the above mentioned events? You can still listen to my delightfully dulcet tones on Audiofile’s podcast, The Download. I talked with Dennis Boutsikaris, one of the narrators of the Strange Weather audiobook, about books on audio, the delight of a great reading, and our own favorite listens. It’s a conversation so intimate, you’ll feel like I’m sitting in your lap! In a totally non-creepy way.

That’ll get us out of the winter and into the spring. Then we’ll see what’s what.

Have I mentioned Brian Coldrick’s Behind You, a collection of terrifying (and often bleakly funny) one-panel horror stories? It’s the physical counterpart to his chilling animated blog, which is a daily required stop for me.

If, over the holiday, you unwrapped a gift card to a book or comic store, this is a good way to spend it.

Wouldja believe I’ve got a new story out? “All I Care About Is You” appears in the Subterranean Press tribute to Dave McKean, The Weight of Words, alongside the image that inspired it. Pretty happy with this one. Hope you like it.

I finished two other short stories in the last three months, and that finally puts me past the halfway point to completing a new collection, my first book of shorts since 20th Century Ghosts in 2005.

Strange Weather was a collection too, but of almost-novel-length works, which I think gives it a different flavor altogether. Still, the next book of stories probably won’t appear until 2020. Because maybe it would be nice to have a novel between collections? Let’s see what happens.

I don’t have any resolutions — anything worth resolving to do is worth starting right away, not waiting for a new year to begin — but there are things I’m hoping for in 2018. I’d like to bake some bread (I used to bake bread all the time, but between parenting and work, ran out of time for it). The kid with the bad haircut who lives inside my head is wondering why I didn’t read any comics in 2017 (blame Ken Follett). I’ll rectify that in the next few months. I’m hearing great things aboutDescender and need to catch up on Saga. But then I’d like to read much more eclectically as a whole: more plays, more poetry, more non-fiction. I am about books the way Christopher Plummer is about cash in All The Money In The World. What do I want? MORE.

Here’s wishing you more in 2018: more happiness, more good conversations with friends, more laughs, and more good books. Catch you around.