“A Peripheral Vision Sort of Friend” at Campfire Queer Storytime

campfire queer storytime

The intrepid Miss Ruby Lamb will be adding her rendition of my short story “A Peripheral Vision Sort of Friend” to tonight’s virtual edition of Campfire Queer Storytime, which in a less bepandemicked era was hosted at the Vortex Theater in Austin, Texas. Instead the event will be broadcast & archived on YouTube. Sunday, October 11, 2020 from 7-8pm CDT.

Shine on, beautiful distant diamonds.

Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine blog

“The Moment Expectations Change” by Zandra Renwick for EQMM

Short fiction writers, of all genres, for any number of reasons, surely must universally dread the question: What are your stories about? The smart thing to do (a path one sadly rarely chooses, amiright?) would be to not overthink the business and toss off a quick, “I tend to write crime fiction” (or “historical” or “westerns”—or even “historical crime westerns with hot time-traveling feminist werewolves”*). But such limited answers feel so ungenuine, so inadequate, so lacking the scope of what you write, right?”

*Sadly, there is no story like this in the works, but you can read my personal essay “The Moment Expectations Change” in its entirety over at the Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine blog, where I reminisce (drinks with writer pals in a Portlandian bordello bar! barstool fiddlefaddle and coffee shop philosophizing!) and talk about the joy of seeing short fiction translate to the screen. This one’s in celebration of my sweet petty criminal story “Killer Biznez.”

two recent(ish) crime shorts

Crime fiction! Both available online.

“Random Blonde”

I’ve been bitter a long time. It’s like sucking a wedge of lemon on and on and on, pulp disintegrating, everything dissolving until the flavor turns mellow and mild, almost sweet…

read Random Blonde

& “Is a Goodboy”

“Huck is a gooddog. Huck is suchagooddog. Have his people forgotten whatagooddog Huck is?”

read “Is a Goodboy”

life sentence in Mslexia Magazine


Just got a note from gorgeous Mslexia that they intend to include in their December issue a one-sentence snip from a current work in progress, a little something I’m calling Notes from the Castle. If I had to title this as a stand-alone piece, I suppose it would be called “My Neighbour the Priest.”

Unlike many of my writings, this actually happened in Real Life. Look for it in December in the Life Sentence section of Mslexia.

Seattle Reading Thursday 6pm!

Hey! I’m reading at Norwescon Thursday April 2 at 6pm-6:25pm. It’s a tough slot. I know this. Anyone attending the reading has already been promised a drink in the bar immediately afterward. We’ll talk about writing, yo.

…and if you see me wandering around, come say hi

quickshot interview: “Three-Step Program”

interview - canadian noir
interview – canadian noir

Cory Redekop is running a swell series of mini interviews asking authors of Exile Edition’s NEW CANADIAN NOIR about their individual stories. It took me two tries, but I finally described my story “Three-Step Program” as my favorite television show:

It was the ultimate unconventional materials challenge but Jimmy knew he had to make it work. One minute you’re in, and the next, you’re out…

… Guess what the show is?

Read the interview in all its hardboiled glory.

Cascade Writers Workshop, July 2015

If you’ve ever had the yen to submit yourself to the crucible of Milford-style workshopping and the waters of intensive writers retreat/workshops, now’s a swell time to consider the Cascade Writers gig just outside of Seattle. Late July is a great month for it – I mean, if you’re ever going to take time away from work, school, or reality, that would be the now. Unlike other workshops, this one is open for all writers of all interests, at all early career stages. Very inclusive, which is a balm to my recovering punk anti-establishment soul. Join Tor editor Claire Eddy, editor Laura Anne Gilman, authors JA Pitts, Shannon Page, Mark Ferrari, Alex C. Renwick (hey-hey!), Everett Maroon, Laura Anne Gilman, and Randy Henderson for a full lineup of workshops, classes, and one-on-one sessions.

jay lake, firing his hair before ii quits | photo by alex c. renwick
jay lake, firing his hair before ii quits | photo by alex c. renwick

jay_haircut jay haircut 2Those interested in joining the workshop (come ask me there about anything you want! pen-names! editing anthologies! the lonely road to poetry! noir! westerns! weird antisocial cross-genre behaviors!) should know about the Jay Lake Memorial Scholarship.

In memory of the ebullience of our friend Jay, here are a couple pics I took of him getting his head shaved down the street from my house in the uberhip Hawthorne strip.

The Big Click, & a study in bête NOIR

the big click I’ve guest-edited an issue of the electrifying electronic crime magazine The Big Click. The exact circumstances surrounding the genesis of my guest editorial gig are lost in a distant cocktail-tinted haze, but I recall Nick Mamatas in the bar at World Horror Con in Portland last year saying something along the lines of, “You wanna guest-edit an issue? Sure! How ’bout January? And do a theme. Themes are good.”

This led to that, and that led to me acquiring stories from two of the most incredible short fiction writers currently slinging stories in the field: Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Ray Vukcevich.

I had recently finished heading up the Sunburst Award Jury, which had selected BC author Moreno-Garcia’s short fiction collection This Strange Way of Dying as one of theJackals-196x131 five most outstanding speculative fiction books in all of Canada, or written by any Canadian anywhere in the world, for the entire year prior. This debut collection kept company on our considerations list with Booker Prize winners and recipients of numerous other literary awards.  It’s a huge honor to make a shortlist like that, and it was an honor and a joy to have read such a book. Her story “Jackals” lovingly treads that seductively weird, frightening line between what is and what shouldn’t be.

And anyone who pays attention to fiction emerging from this other coast (I’m squinting at you, New York, so far away) recognizes Vukcevich as another regional literary treasure. Also from the Pacific Northwest (though from the other side of the Peace Arch from Moreno-Garcia), Vukcevich’s short fiction collections are award-worthy themselves. His Big Click piece “All About the Ball” is an exercise in surreality, an offkilter crime story set in a swiftly tilting universe, centered on what is most definitely not your typical police interrogation.

The wolf manAdd to these two fabulous stories an interview with David Liss by Claude Lalumière, a peek review of Robert Crais’s Suspect, a deeply thoughtful examination of Patricia Highsmith’s The Animal-Lover’s Book of Beastly Murder, and an essay by noirist Barry Graham titled “Meeting the Werewolf.” This last opens with a quote from the 1941 film The Wolf Man: “Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright…”

Here’s my full editorial for the Bête NOIR issue of THE BIG CLICK.