Show Me Your TBRs


My current TBR (To-Be-Read, for whoever might not know that acronym) pile.  I’m quite happy with it.  Books I can’t help flip through whenever I pass this bookcase (the pile is currently covering a portion of my ego-shelf; hanging in the upper righthand corner is the illustration Glenn Chadbourne did for my story “The Agonizing Guilt of Relief (Last Days of a Ready-Made Victim)” in Chiral Mad 3).

I know a lot of people who buy and buy and buy books, piles of books, stacks of books, with the intention of reading them…eventually…but the idea makes me all spastic.  More power to those people, but I was once at a party at a house, and the walls were lined with crammed bookcases.  I asked the host about them and the guy shrugged–I can’t remember his name; he was a friend of a friend–saying that he hadn’t read most of them.  I wanted to scream.  Maybe I’ll never lose that aspect of renter’s mind, that facet of my personality that kicks in whenever I’ve moved (which is frequently over the course of thirty-three years), but if something’s taking up space, and I’m not using it or have no intention of using it, it’s got to go.  I…I just can’t.

So, I see these memes of book-buying addicts and I just go, “Yeah, not me.”  I have, typically, five bookcases filled.  If it gets to the point where I have more books than space–frequently–I go through and purge anything I’m not going to read again.  What people see is the distillation of frequent re-reads.  If I had more shelves, I’d have more books, but there you go.

Secondly, I have a kid, so if I’m picking up something for myself, I have to justify it hard to myself or else I feel guilt (most books I get, then, is due to ARCs and gifts from family) for not putting the money to the kid, or the house, or–hell–savings.

But, anyway, this TBR pile.  Again, I’m excited to dig in.  There’s not a book there where I either don’t already love the writer or the plot of the book.  If the picture sucks to you, this is what’s stacked there:

Paper Tigers – Damien Angelica Walters (re-read)

The Get-Away God – Richard Kadrey (kinda annoyed with this one; it’s the sixth book in the series and I’ve only read the first two, but when I see a hardcover Sandman Slim, I pick it up)

No One Gets Out Alive – Adam Nevill

The Minority Report – Philip K. Dick

The Silent Lands – Graham Joyce

Cabal – Clive Barker (re-read)

Flashfire – Richard Stark (re-read)

Godbody – Theodore Sturgeon

A Matter of Blood – Sarah Pinborough

Little Star – John Ajvide Linqvist

Bird Box – Josh Malerman

I Am Providence – Nick Mamatas

Code Zero – Jonathan Maberry

Predator One – Jonathan Maberry

End of Watch – Stephen King

Silk – Caitlin R. Kiernan

Spear – James Herbert (re-read)

Right now, I’m reading The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester.

But, what are you doing?

If you want to add a book to your own mammoth TBR-pile, may I suggest Bones Are Made to be Broken by, um, me?  It comes out in a month!


Illustration by Pat R. Steiner, design by Michael Bailey

When You Ask Me How I Break My Bones

So I did a quickie interview with Stephanie M. Wytovich today.  As an aside, Stephanie said this about Bones Are Made to be Broken:

“Intense and emotionally crippling, Anderson’s stories are not for the faint of heart.”

Stephanie M. Wytovich, author of The Eighth & Brothel

(It was because of the second book mentioned that I almost titled this post “So a Brother Madam Asked Me How I Break My Bones”; I beta-read that collection, then blurbed it, because it was awesome.  Go check it out here. )

Both Stephanie and I are currently perks for Dark Regions Press’s IndieGogo campaign for special editions of three new anthologies–her with her first novel, The Eighth, and me with Bones–so we decided to chat with one another.  Stephanie should be dropping by here at some point within the next week.

For a quickie, it was fun; it’s pretty much a process interview and I can talk about that for hours (my interview with Joe Hill–you should, ahem, ignore the header image of Part One–back in June had to run in two parts due to length) because…well, fuck, it’s what I do, right?   Gimme questions like “What’s the hardest part of the writing process for you?” and I’m off, friends and neighbors.

You can peruse the interview here.  Also, afterwards, go here and pre-order our books (can I interest you in some trade-paperbacks and eBooks?  Or deluxe editions of same?)


Pre-ordering Bones Are Made to be Broken (a How-To)

So, right now, my main publisher, Dark Regions Press (via Written Backwards) is running an Indiegogo campaign for three upcoming anthologies: Return of the Old Ones: Apocalyptic Lovecraftian Horrors; You, Human; and The Children of Gla’aki: A Tribute to Ramsey Campbell’s Great Old One.  My upcoming collection, Bones Are Made to be Broken, is a perk, along with Stephanie M. Wytovich’s first novel The Eighth (I’ve read her poetry and I can’t wait to see this, and Marc Levinthal’s Other Music.

It’s weird being part of a campaign.  I’ve never been, as they say (loftily).  Hell, I’ve never backed a campaign–not because I haven’t come across really awesome things in the past, but because, when you have a kid, any spare cash goes to him or her.

Because of this, the whole process has been an education for me–how it works, how it’s made, how it’s marketed.  I had to have my editor break it down for me over a series of days as to how it all works and the dude, the ever-reliable Michael Bailey (I’ve, uh, mentioned him a few times on here before), is still answering my periodic questions about the whole thing.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice.   People are seeing the book, backing the campaign, picking up the perks.  Michael calls this the “pre-pre-order” of Bones, which almost makes sense, but since I’m a kinda babe in the woods on this whole thing, doesn’t (I have a pre-order page, but it links to the Indiegogo campaign).

But, if you’re like me, it can be a little confusing if you’re looking for the perks only.  A few people over the past few days have told my wife or me (or both) that they’ve gotten hung up in the midst of pre-ordering my book (or they’re coming up with really bitching reasons to get out of buying the book, but I’m an optimist).  Because of this, here are the steps to get either my book, or Stephanie’s book, or Marc’s book (or, hell, splurge and get all three):



  1. On the Indiegogo page, you see the BACK IT button, but ignore that for now. Scroll down the page.indiegogopage
  2. On the right side of the page, you have a series of PERKS. You can pre-order my book from three of these: 

    a. If you select “Trade Paperback 2” ($22), you can select either my book BONES ARE MADE TO BE BROKEN, Stephanie M. Wytovich‘s THE EIGHTH, or Marc Levinthal‘s OTHER MUSIC in trade paperback/eBook. These are the pre-orders for those books, essentially.


    b. If you select “BUNDLE – Paperbacks + eBooks 2”, you get ALL of the perk books, plus the three main anthologies (I have a story in one of them).bundleperk

    c. If you select “Choose Your Deluxe 2”, you can pick up a signed, slipcase hardcover edition of the three perk books (again – me, or Stephanie, or Marc).chooseperk


  3. Pick one of those Perks and click it.


  4. You’ll be taken to the payment page, asking for name, mailing address, and billing information. Yes, it’s kinda counter-intuitive to give payment info before making your information. Took me a minute, too. Bear with me. Fill out that, and click “Submit Payment.”payment-page


  5. In a “post-campaign survey”, you’ll confirm which book you want (in my case, BONES ARE MADE TO BE BROKEN; in Steph’s case, THE EIGHTH; in Marc’s case OTHER MUSIC)
  6. That’s it. You’ve pre-ordered my book. Congrats. Thanks! Give me your money.

And, again, here’s that Indiegogo campaign link, ’cause I want it to do well.


Killing an urban legend (what did Hemingway say?)

In the recent published Lost Signals (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, edited by Max Booth III and Lori Michelle) and the upcoming Bones Are Made to be Broken (ahem), I have a story called “All That You Leave Behind”, which has the following epigraph:


Illustration by Luke Spooner; design by Max Booth III & Lori Michelle

Note the tag at the end of that quote.  Since I first sent that story in to my editors, I’ve been tagged with the inevitable question, “Wait–didn’t Hemingway say that?” at least six or seven times.

Unfortunately, no–Hemingway didn’t say that.

So we’re all on the same page: According (loosely) to legend, Ernest Hemingway was eating a meal with some other writers.  A bet was thrown down that none of the attending could write the shortest story possible.  Hemingway took his napkin, jotted those famous six words, and collected his winnings from the other participants.

It’s a great story, both the circumstances and the “story” itself.  When I want to convey  to my students the importance of word choice, and the effect good word choice can have, I’ll turn around and quickly write the six words on the board.  No comment, just action.  Then I turn back and wait.

First, there’s confusion–the kids (juniors, usually) are puzzling it out.

Then, around the ten-second mark, you get the first gasp as it clicks home. A few seconds later, another gasp.  Then, a rattle of them.  Eventually, all 20-some students have gotten the point.  Then they all begin talking at once, over each other, reacting to it.

That’s some good goddamn writing.

But Hemingway didn’t write it.

The best distillation of this legend–and the truth behind it–can be found in this article from OpenCulture.  The salient points are: variations of the six-word story can be found in newspaper ads going back to the turn of the 20th century and, when noticed, caught fire.  Hemingway might have been aware of it–he’d worked as a reporter, after all–but the details of the incident I summarized above appear nowhere a literary agent made an anecdote out of it in 1974, then republished it in a writing manual in 1991.

Since then, it’s been referenced by titans of the field and used in either a Broadway show or off-Broadway show (I forget which) about Poppa.

If enough people repeat a legend over and over and over again, does that make it true?

When writing “All That You Leave Behind”–which, oddly enough, is one of my more positive stories–I knew I was going to use the epigraph at the top of the story–something I’d never done before (though, in Bones Are Made to be Broken, I used an epigraph in the title novella, too, and “Behind” follows that immediately).  But, do I attribute it to Hemingway or the “true” (read: unknown) author?  This was something I seriously debated with myself (yes, my day-to-day thoughts are kinda dull).

In the end, it was my own training as a newspaperman that made me go “Unknown Author”.  No one can confirm whether it was Hemingway or not–Snopes lists the urban legend unequivocally as “false”–and so I went with that.

It’s not a stake through an urban legend’s heart, nor that groundbreaking of investigation (do five-second Google searches count?), but there you go.

Oh, and make sure you order Lost Signals (it’s damn good, even discounting my own, ahem, brilliant part) and pre-order Bones Are Made to be Broken (select either “Trade Paperback 2”, “BUNDLE – Paperbacks + eBooks 2”, or “Choose Your Deluxe Edition”…Poppa needs some royalties).


Illustration by Pat R. Steiner, design by Michael Bailey (also, yes, Jack Ketchum blurbed me, as well as a host of other awesome people; that’s a story for another day)


Jacket image by Matthew Revert