My first release of 2014 is not a novel, but a collaborative short story I wrote with the multi-talented author/actress/etc. Amber Benson. The story is called "Amuse-Bouche," and it's a very twisted horror tale that appears in an anthology called Dark Duets, which goes on sale today.
The idea of Dark Duets, edited by Christopher Golden (with whom--full disclosure--I collaborated on my first published novel, Gen13: Netherwar), is that each story is written by two (or more) people who have never before written together. So you end up with unlikely pairs of authors writing stories that are bound to surprise, thrill, and terrify. Amber and I were continually trying to impress and top each other, and we did. I'm sure many of the other first-time collaborators approached their stories the same way.
A review out today, by a reviewer named Cath Murphy, concludes: "And the other half of the entertainment does come from the stories themselves, which are, like their creators, wonderfully diverse and packed with gleeful mischief. There isn’t a theme, or a consistent style. You never know what’s around the next corner – cannibalism, aliens, Satan’s GPS system – you get to the stage where you hardly dare look. Some worked better for me than others, but all of them worked. Some worked spectacularly well – "Welded" from Tom Piccirilli and TM Wright gets my personal award for Most Disturbing.
"So even if you aren’t a hardcore horror fan, or shrink from anthologies as probably being about little known cultures, pick up Dark Duets and take a look. There will likely be some strange song in there to please you."
You should also know that on January 24, I'll be at Mysterious Galaxy San Diego to sign Dark Duets. Joining me at that event will be the aforementioned Amber Benson and Christopher Golden, along with horror/urban fantasy megastars Charlaine Harris, Jonathan Maberry, and Rachel Caine. If you can't make the signing*, you can order online or by phone and have a signed copy shipped to you. Another opportunity like this won't come around.
*Note: this is a ticketed event, and space will be limited. Please contact the store to get your ticket.
The following day, I'll be a speaker at the San Diego State University Writers Conference, along with an all-star assortment of authors that includes long-time pals like T. Jefferson Parker, Don Winslow, Gini Koch, Joseph Wambaugh, and many, many more. My panel is: "Building Suspense: One Page at a Time. Bestselling authors will talk about techniques for building suspense and how to create scenes that up the ante page-by-page. Questions and answers will follow."
If you've ever had the urge to write (or you just want to spend the day with some of the coolest folks on the planet), you can still sign up.
FYI, here are the stories and authors contained in Dark Duets:
TRIP TRAP by Sherrilyn Kenyon & Kevin J. Anderson
WELDED by Tom Piccirilli & T.M. Wright
DARK WITNESS by Charlaine Harris & Rachel Caine
REPLACING MAX by Stuart MacBride & Allan Guthrie T.
RHYMER by Gregory Frost & Jonathan Maberry
SHE, DOOMED GIRL by Sarah MacLean & Carrie Ryan
HAND JOB by Chelsea Cain & Lidia Yuknavitch
HOLLOW CHOICES by Robert Jackson Bennett & David Liss
AMUSE-BOUCHE by Amber Benson & Jeffrey J. Mariotte
BRANCHES, CURVING by Tim Lebbon & Michael Marshall Smith
RENASCENCE by Rhodi Hawk and F. Paul Wilson
BLIND LOVE by Kasey Lansdale & Joe R. Lansdale
TRAPPER BOY by Holly Newstein & Rick Hautala
STEWARD OF THE BLOOD by Nate Kenyon & James A. Moore
CALCULATING ROUTE by Michael Koryta & Jeffrey David Greene
SISTERS BEFORE MISTERS by Sarah Rees Brennan, Cassandra Clare, & Holly Black
SINS LIKE SCARLET by Mark Morris & Rio Youers
I'll have more short story news in the coming weeks and months, so keep checking back!