February 10th, 2015

The Red Tree

"Too much is written by the men who can't write about the men who do write." ~ Jack London

It's bright outside, the sun shimmering off the snow, which, though no longer falling from the skies, is falling from the trees. Occasionally, an oak or a fir will, all at once, shed the lion's share of the snow bending its branches, and, despite the sun, there will be white-out conditions, a fleeting, miniature blizzard. The shadows between the trees paint a crosshatch of grey and white chiaroscuro on the ground. We've seen the tracks of deer, coyote, squirrels, turkeys, and fishers all around the cabin.

There's more snow on the way.


Yesterday, Melanie Tem died. You may or may not be familiar with her writing. I first encountered her by way of a novel called Wilding (1992) and then, backtracking, her Bram Stoker Award-winning Prodigal (1991). I loved those novels. And in 1993, I sent her pages from The Five of Cups, even though we'd never met and she had no idea who I was. It was an unpardonably unprofessional thing to do. But instead of tossing them in the trash (this was pretty much pre-email, so this was actual paper), she showed them to her agent, who then became my first agent. She also recommended me to her husband, Steve Rasnic Tem, who, that same year, was the first person to buy fiction from me. When I began my second novel, Silk, I borrowed the title from a poem in Making Love (1993; coauthored with Nancy Holder). Then, Melanie warned me away when a washed-up, third-rate author who will not here be named attempted to con me into writing a novel for him. So, it's an understatement to say that Melanie Tem did a lot for me.

For a while, in the early nineties, we often spoke and exchanged letters and then email, but, as often happens, we simply fell out of touch. I actually am not certain of the last time I saw her in person, but it was a very long time ago. And I am the poorer for that.


My magic toenail hasn't fallen off yet, but I'm afraid it's only a matter of time. I hear it can take up to two weeks. I've never yet lost a nail, which is sort of amazing, all things considered. Today I'm going to put a shoe on that foot for the first time since I smashed the toe five days ago. I'm getting stir crazy, looking at all that Outside, sitting Inside. It's not like Providence, where I can go a week without even noticing I haven't left the House.

Beginning in Sirenia Digest #109, "The Aubergine Alphabet." This will be my fourth alphabet and my first since 2010 (previously, "The Black Alphabet" (2006), "The Crimson Alphabet" (2007), and "The Yellow Alphabet" 2010). Each was later released as a chapbook by Subterranean Press. One "weird erotic"/horror/SF entry per letter. REQUESTS? I have a few very good suggestions already, but I'll be happy to entertain a few more. If I use your suggestion – and have your name – I'll credit you in the digest.

Now, time to get to work.

Auld Bees