I have a new short story called The Return over at Hex Publisher's Words ezine. This story comes with a trigger warning. It's one of the more aggressive stories I've ever done, and I imagine many will find it offensive. Whether it matters or not, however, let me say that it's not my intention to be offensive, or insensitive, or derogatory. "The Return" likely risks being read as an anti-Christian, or more specifically anti-Catholic in its sentiments. But that's not where my heart is at all. While I'm not a Christian, I was certainly raised one--a bit Southern Baptist, a bit Methodist. And while many, many, many Christians drive me up the wall, their antics don't sabotage any fundamental truths might lay claim to. As to whether those truths are in fact true, I don't know.
As for myself as a writer, I have a few personal rules, and one of them is to pursue a story's premise to its fullest extent, no matter where it leads and no matter if it makes the story unpublishable. "The Return" is case of my thinking what Lolita would be like if authored by William S. Burroughs, with a hearty mashup of both The Exorcist and the movie Spotlight. So pedophilia, pedophiles, and man's fallen state are major themes here. But the larger risk is the portrayal(s) of Christ and how he returns to walk the Earth in physical form. Those readers who grant me their time and follow the story to the end might feel highly affronted. I can only accept their criticism, whether delivered in a harsh rebuke or an annoyed rolling of the eyes, and thank them for the time they spent, and hope they didn't feel it was entirely wasted.
My first novel, Trigger Point, is getting re-released at some point next year. It was originally released in 2012 as an e-book by a publisher that folded a couple of years later. The staff who worked on bringing it to the market were all professional, but the publisher might not have had the best business model or alternate sources of capital to survive in such a tough industry.
The re-release is happening through Hex Publishers, with whom I worked on Nightmares Unhinged. They're next anthology, Cyberworlds (edited by Jason Heller), will feature stories by a Who's Who of contemporary science fiction writers.
I've been pretty lucky in my associations with publishers: first Lethe Press and Steve Berman, and now Hex Publishers and Josh Viola. I hope to have long friendships and business relations with both.
About a week ago, roughy five minutes on a Friday morning before I had to go staff the reference desk, my publisher Steve Berman rang with one of those classic "are you sitting down?" calls. Anyway, Steve's call delivered some of the best news I've ever received: Lord Byron's Prophecy is a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Awards, but I couldn't say anything until May 2nd, when the official announcements were made.
Well, the announcements have now been made, and I can say plenty.
But I'm not sure I have many remarks, other than thanks--to Steve and Lethe Press; to the people in my little writer's group (Carter Wilson, Linda Anderson, Dirk Anderson, Ed Bryant, and most recently, Abram Dress) who read the whole manuscript over the course of about 15 months; to Hal Duncan, whose editorial insight is invaluable and with whom I hope to work again; and to Darren and Jack Buford, such good friends to whom Lord Byron's Prophecy is dedicated.
Congratulations to all the nominees in the various categories!
I'm happy to announce I'll have a story in the forthcoming anthology Ghosts on Drugs, edited by Hy Bender. The anthology has an outrageous thematic concept that freed me to write a story that is as insane as I could make it. Can't talk much about it, except to say it's called "The Ash Heads; or, a Gram of Pure Humanity."
The submission period for the anthology is still open, and you can read more about it here.
Lord Byron's Prophecy, which was published in October, has been named to Kirkus's Best of 2015 for Indie Fiction. A pleasant surprise!
I've been remiss not to mention this anthology, which I'm very happy to participate in. I contributed a story called "Riveter" which I believe to be one of the best tales I've ever done.
Publisher's Weekly reviewed the anthology a few weeks ago. The review did make a little mention of the story:
Sean Eads’s “Riveter” is a truly unexpected take on Hitler’s mistress, Eva Braun, here envisioned as ruthless but sympathetic.
"Truly unexpected" is a good thing, right? Right?
The anthology comes out in August. Buy yourself a copy or five.
The first review of Lord Byron's Prophecy has arrived. This is from Publisher's Weekly:
Events come together a little too quickly at the novel’s end, but readers will be engrossed by Eads’s skillful weaving of the past and present through the troubled psychology of sympathetic, fully human characters.
Jason Rennie, the publisher of Sci Phi Journal, wrote me today to say he'd like to take "Ghostwritten" for a forthcoming issue. I'm naturally excited by the story acceptance, but I'm more excited just by the existence of this publication. Their first three issues are already available.
Sean Eads is a writer living in Denver, CO. Originally from Kentucky, he works as a reference librarian.