I'm primarily known (where I'm known at all) as a novelist and as a comic book/graphic novel writer. I haven't published a whole lot of short fiction, partly because I haven't pursued that area, and partly because when I do get story ideas, they tend to be big, sprawling ones. Novels, in other words.

But lately I've been the recipient of various bits of happy news on different short stories.

At the invitation of a producer for Tucson's NPR radio station, KUAZ, I wrote a brand-new short story, "Long Road Home," meant to be read aloud. Friday, Dec. 16, I went to the KUAZ studio on the University of Arizona campus and, with the help of two producers and a tech, recorded the short story. They added music and sound effects, which really enhance the experience. The story has a holiday theme, though it's not a Christmas feel-good story, but more of a Twilight Zone-ish weird tale. It's about love, loss, and longing, all of which can be intensified by the holiday season. The station aired it on Friday, Dec. 23 (that's yesterday, where I live) and will rebroadcast it tonight, as part of their holiday "Arizona Spotlight" show.

The audio version is also online, to be listened to at the NPR website or downloaded as an MP3.

Since some people prefer to read with their eyes, I put the story out as a low-cost e-book. Links to various places (it's cheapest at DriveThruFiction, and available there in ePub, Mobi, and PDF versions) can be found here.

It's been getting some great feedback, mostly on my Facebook page, but also in emails and  message boards.

And that isn't all. This past year, the anthology San Diego Noir was released, containing my story "Gold Shield Blues," along with work by Don Winslow, T. Jefferson Parker, Luis Alberto Urrea, Martha Lawrence, and others. Last week, author Robert Lopresti named "Gold Shield Blues" "the best mystery story I read this week." His review is here.

Then, January Magazine and the San Diego Union-Tribune both included San Diego Noir in their year's best lists.

Also this year, I released an e-book collection of short horror fiction, Nine Frights, which is getting some very nice reviews. It contains previously published work (from anthologies including Hellbound Hearts, The Stories in Between, and other books) as well as new work. It's my first collection of short stories, and I'm proud of it.

My next short will be "Black Train" in the anthology Westward Weird. I'm looking forward to the rest of the stories in this one, which goes on sale in February. And as much as I love writing novels, I think I'll try to work more shorts into the mix, going forward.

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