Authors Support Little Free Libraries

Do you have a Little Free Library in your neighborhood? You may have seen what look like oversized birdhouses or dollhouses on posts, filled with second-hand books. The idea is that you take a book if one catches your eye and leave a book if you have one to pass along. I love the idea that neighbors share books.

A bunch of Little Free Libraries sprang up in my neighborhood during the pandemic. There are six that I know of in one square mile.

A year ago, author Armand Rosamilia celebrated a Little Free Library Author Day. (Armand is a crime writer who hosts his own Little Free Library in Jacksonville, Floria.) I was inspired to participate, but wasn’t feeling well that day.

Still, I loved the idea of writers giving back to their neighbors and neighborhoods, so I’ve been inscribing copies of my books with behind-the-scenes trivia and leaving them in the neighborhood Little Free Libraries. It’s been surprisingly fun!


The first book I gave away was a first edition of my cemetery memoir, Wish You Were Here. I put it in a library that I passed nearly every day on my walks, one that had a charming book-shaped cut-out on its door. I inscribed it with a little historical tidbit about our neighborhood and sent it on its way with my best wishes.

Since then, I’ve gotten a lot of pleasure out of trying to match my books up with the books in the libraries. The library crammed full of strange San Francisco history got a copy of Lend the Eye a Terrible Aspect, the anthology I co-edited in the 90s about society in North America at the end of the century.

The library filled with thrillers got a copy of my space opera, Kill By Numbers. The library with science fiction got No More Heroes, another book in the space opera trilogy.

I’ve gotten my teenager involved in the adventure now. They really like picking through little libraries, so I’ve gotten them to come along to spot for me as I drive farther afield. We’re discovering neighborhoods we’re not family with, enjoying people’s gardens and marveling at how different the little libraries can be. We’re even getting in a little Mom/offspring time under the guise of doing something good for the neighbors.

And we found a beautiful new mural taking place in a neighborhood nearby.

The project is a win in every sense. I’m passing along books with bumped or creased covers that I couldn’t sell. They’re going into the hands of readers. I’m doing what I can to pass along the encouragement that real writers live and work in our neighborhoods, the inspiration that anyone could be a writer. I’m hoping some of my neighbors take up a pen or keyboard.

And if they get hooked and want to pick up another of my books? That’s the best!

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Tales of Nightmares is alive!

One night during a writers’ group meeting, Lisa Morton (former president of the Horror Writers Association and multiple Bram Stoker Award winner) was telling us about a series of horror anthologies she’d taken part in with four other authors. Each author edited one book in the series and contributed a story to each of the other four books. It sounded like a really fun premise.

Last December I woke up with a brainstorm: Why didn’t the Wily Writers do that? I’d joined the group of writers in September and it was really helpful for writing support and community. Why couldn’t we put together a series of anthologies to showcase our work?

By the end of the meeting of potential editors in January, we had titles, a publishing schedule, and various roles all sorted out. I was amazed how easily everything was coming together.

Last month, Lisa Morton’s Tales of Dread came out. It’s the first book in the Wily Writers Presents series. It includes my story “Guardian of the Golden Gate.” You can read the story behind the story here.

As of today, the second book in the series — Tales of Nightmares — is out! I had the honor of editing it and:

  • In “La Japonesa” by Lisa Morton, a college professor chasing tenure comes face to face with something with sharp claws and even sharper teeth.
  • Weston Ochse cuts deep in “Glue and the Art of Supermodel Maintenance.”
  • Officer Warren Hastings can’t escape the crime he didn’t prevent in Yvonne Navarro’s “Recall.”
  • In Jennifer Brozek’s “Twenty Questions,” Sara discovers some games must be played until the end.
  • E.S. Magill reminds us that every civilization has its myths of supernatural protectors of the natural world. During a hiking expedition, Harris Kimball encounters the spectral guardians of California’s Santa Lucia Mountains, whose mission is to stop the greatest threat to nature: humans.
  • In Angel Leigh McCoy’s “The Haunting of Mrs. Poole,” Amelia seems to have it all: wealthy husband, devoted sister, perfect daughter…and a gothic mansion on the shore of the James River where nothing is what it seems.
  • The line between reality and delirium blurs for an exhausted new mother in Alison J. McKenzie’s “Into the Quiet.”
  • In Bill Bodden’s “The House on River Road,” Ed and Jerry discover some urban legends are more than legendary…and some abandoned houses are better left alone.

You can score yourself a copy in paperback or ebook on Amazon.

Reviewers/bookbloggers/bookstagrammers/booktokkers, if you’d like a copy for potential review, please contact me and link me to one of your reviews!

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This Morbid Life wins an IPPY Award

My morbid memoir This Morbid Life brought home a gold medal!

The Independent Publisher Book Awards chose This Morbid Life as the first place winner for the IPPY Award for Best Regional Nonfiction E-Book.

It’s a tiny category, to be sure, but I’m still really proud and grateful that my book received the attention.

This Morbid Life was also featured recently on KALW’s New Arrivals podcast. (They call it a pocket-sized “socially-distanced book tour.”) You can hear me read a snippet of my 1989 earthquake essay here:

If you’d like to check out my award-winning memoir for yourself, here are the links:

Amazon paperback:

Amazon ebook: paperback:

Smashwords ebook:

Signed copies from my bookstore:

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My BayCon Schedule

I’m dipping my toe into in-person programming again this weekend at BayCon, the Bay Area’s major science fiction/fantasy/horror/gaming/costuming convention.

Here’s my schedule:

Creating your own anthology
Saturday, July 2, 2022 @ 13:00 – 14:30, Synergy 4 (San Mateo Marriott)
How do you get submissions, where do you advertise, how do you handle the subs when they come in, how do you vet the subs, should you do blind submissions, how do you pay and contract the authors, and how to do a charity anthology? Whether you want to start a small ‘zine, publish a print book, or go eBook format, this panel will discuss all the ins and outs.

The participants are: Emerian Rich (HorrorAddicts) (M), Loren Rhoads (Automatism Press), and J. Scott Coatsworth (Other Worlds Ink)

Afterward, I’ll be at the Liminal Fiction table in the Dealers Room, if you’d like to pick up a copy of Tales for the Camp Fire, Tales of Dread, Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues, or one of my novels. Come say hi!

Pitch Perfect
Sunday, July 3, 2022 @ 10:00 – 11:30, Synergy 5 (San Mateo Marriott)
A chance to pitch your story idea(s) live to industry experts and receive instant (and constructive) feedback. I did one of these panels a couple of years ago at FogCon and it was really fun! I’m looking forward to it again.

The participants are: Steven Radecki (Water Dragon Publishing) and Loren Rhoads (Automatism Press)
Sunday, July 3, 2022 @ 13:00 – 14:30, Synergy 1 (San Mateo Marriott)

Come geek out with us horror-style! We will also be talking about our new book Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2, a mostly non-fiction horror anthology. Prizes and spooky fun to be had by all!

The participants are: Emerian Rich (HorrorAddicts) (M), Loren Rhoads, R.L. Merrill, Laurel Anne Hill, and Mark Orr

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The updated Alondra Stories

Four years ago, I published 3 short collections of stories about Alondra DeCourval, a witch who travels the world to protect humans from supernatural creatures — and vice versa.

I was never happy with the covers I made for those books. I don’t have much in the way of design skills. I always wanted to work with a real artist to create something beautiful that did justice to the stories.

Then I met Lex from Huntress Studios. Lex created a social media icon for me that I truly love. They were amazingly easy to work with. I asked for the skeleton to be working at a silver laptop with a cup of tea. They added the lovely patterned wallpaper and the exquisite china pattern. I couldn’t have been happier.

When I got this spring’s installment of my 199 Cemeteries royalties, I decided to funnel some of it into something that would make me truly happy: new covers for the stories I love so much.

Lex was able to take my ramblings about images to represent each book and turn them into the beautiful covers you see at the top of this post. I’ve been busy correcting the text and getting the books uploaded to Amazon again.

The first book in the series, Alondra’s Experiments, is now on sale at Amazon. In this book, Alondra discovers in San Francisco that vampirism requires sacrifices she doesn’t expect. She solves the Philosopher’s stone in Prague. She searches for the perfect valentine in Oslo.

For the next week, you can step into Alondra’s world for only 99¢. Check out the ebook here:

If you like those stories, the following books Alondra’s Investigations and Alondra’s Adventures are also available.

Alondra’s Exploits, containing three previously uncollected stories and essays about how they were written, is available now for preorder. It will be published on June 23.

I can’t wait to hear what you think of these little books. Do you like the new covers? Where would you like to see Alondra travel next?


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